Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet Place of Breakthrough

My breakthrough came at the end of last summer. I had gotten to a point of being so dissatisfied with myself and how heavy I had become. I was uncomfortable in my clothes. I was never happy with how I looked. I was miserable.

I started Weight Watchers in August. This was going to be my time. I just knew it. It wasn't because my mom had encouraged me to go. It was because I wanted to go. I needed to go. So I followed the plan and watched what I ate. I learned what I could eat so I wasn't feeling deprived. And slowly, but surely, the pounds came off. I lost the first 5, then 10 and, can you believe it, 15. I had broken through my mental barrier that to eat healthy meant feeling deprived. I felt really good - about myself and about my weight loss.

But then it stopped. I stopped.

I went out of town, didn't grocery shop and got lazy. I stopped going to the meetings and then canceled my membership altogether. And of course, the weight came back on. I have gained about 5 pounds back. That may not seem like a lot, but I have a long way to go before I am at a healthy weight.

Knowing I was gaining weight and then seeing I was gaining weight, brought about the cycle again. Dissatisfied with myself at how heavy I had become. I am uncomfortable in my clothes. I am not happy with how I look. I am miserable.

That was the main reason the Made to Crave study was one that I was desperate to do. But I have been a slacker, not completing the assignments and just being lazy. The Excuse Monster is all over the place. Work is stressing me out. It is so cold that going outside is a chore, so it is easier to stay inside and plop on the couch.

But in the back of my head is the gnawing of needing to get healthy and knowing I can do it. I think Weight Watchers is great. I like their approach and it works. I can attest to that. But I need the spiritual part to really make it life transforming. Sure, losing weight in and of itself is good. But it becomes all about me. I look good because of the work I did. Look at me and how much better I feel. I, me, I me. There is no God. It is through God alone that the true life transformation can begin. He is the only that can truly satisfy.

Maybe this was another breakthrough! :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Snapshots Into My Life

What I am seeing through my lens this week. The week of dogs.

Luna has started carrying around shoes. She has been pretty good not to chew on them, but we have shoes every where. And good luck trying to find a pair that matches.

When I sit on the recliner to work, Luna wants to get up in my lap and sleep. Sometimes it works because she sits on the lift of the recliner. Other times it does not work, there I cannot work.

Every once in a while these two pups get along. But even as I am writing this, Liberty just went after Luna and got yelled at.

Luna's lip gets stuck in her teeth somehow, but she has the goofiest little smirk on her face. And I just love how her little paws are crossed so nicely.

Ever the helper…she just always wants to be close.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


What a week it has been so far! As I mentioned last week, I am participating in a Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study. I have jumped into it feet first because struggling with my weight and being healthy in general is something I battle with month after month, year after year. I am taking advantage of every opportunity I can get to join in to learn from other people and share in their triumphs and encourage them in defeat.

Because I am taking this seriously and not being blasé about it, I am feeling empowered! I am not alone in my struggle and I have sisters in Christ who are feeling the same way I am. But with the power of Christ in us, we are overcoming our physical cravings and satisfying them with a spiritual one - craving God!

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God.
Psalm 84:2

But this week hasn't been easy, either. I still have to be conscious of what I am putting in my mouth. I have to make the decision to work out. And because it being so cold and snowy here, I just want veg on the couch and watch TV.

I haven't had victory in every decision I have made, but I still feel empowered. I don't have to let one bad decision derail me. It is celebrating the small victories - drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables during the day, getting on the treadmill.

Resisting the cravings of this world is going to be a life long battle. And it isn't always going to be food doing the tempting. It could be the craving of material possessions or the craving of me-time. But just as Christ has given the power to overcome food cravings, His power is more than sufficient to satisfy those cravings, too.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

So….I think I have found my house. It is in a great area. It has almost all the features I would want in a house, and some that were bonuses - dining room, two living areas, two bathrooms, a decent size kitchen, a fireplace, fenced yard, an attached garage. It is a good size, not to big and not too small. The price is right, too.

But, I don't have the emotional attachment that I have felt toward other houses. In a way, I almost feel indifferent toward it. It would feel comfortable in my decision knowing that it would be a responsible purchase. I think my biggest hinderance is that it isn't updated at all. Most of the houses I have seen have been updated in some way. That isn't to say this house is in bad shape because that isn't true. It was clean, but dated. There is a lot of wallpaper.

I am okay with putting in the work and also waiting for work to be done. I know then it will truly be my home and not a home that other people worked to update. I told my mom this morning that if it had new carpet and paint, I would probably feel much better about it. The master bathroom also needs a lot of love. It was a bit gross. I feel a little like those people on HGTV's House Hunters. Some of those people are absolutely ridiculous in their expectations.

In a way, I think not being emotionally attached is a good thing. I wouldn't want to be so "in love" with the house that I side step structural issues or any other major issues that I would have to deal with down the road. There is a possibility that the house is in a floodplain. But I will have to wait to talk to the bank to see for sure. 

Either way, the next few weeks will be interesting. I am ready to truly get settled and I am just not able to do that at my mom's. It is a good place to be while in transition, but I am ready to be on my own.

So this story is to be continued….

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snapshots Into My Life

What I am seeing through my lens this week.

I can't get over this face! Brynley has the absolutely cutest smile! I may be a little biased, though.

And those cheeks!! I die.

I started working out this week. My first night on the treadmill, I walked 2 miles. I am doing a 5k in April, so I need to get my mileage and my speed up.

After spending the weekend in the kennel, Luna stunk! Like really, really stunk. She got a bath and was exhausted afterward. But the peace and quiet was very enjoyable.

A Christmas gift from Brynley…a mug covered in her pictures. It is definitely my new favorite!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Made To Crave - You're Invited!

I am on the brink of starting another Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. I am sad to say that I have not yet finished one. But I am hoping this is the one that sets me on a straight way. It is such a perfect boost into the New Year. The book that we will be going through is called Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst. I am very excited about it.

Every year, I seem to tell myself that I want to lose weight. And it is an ongoing battle every single year. At the end of last summer, I joined Weight Watchers and lost 15 pounds. All of it by controlling what I ate. I didn't do any exercise. I was really proud of myself. Then I fell off the wagon and stopped going. I have also gained some of the weight back.

On Tuesday, I joined a gym. My mom is also a member, so I do have her encouragement to actually go. We went to a Zumba class last night…my first experience with it. I am also being a little more mindful about what I am eating too.

There is shame with being overweight. It could be 20, 50, 100 pounds…anything. Clothes don't fit right and maybe uncomfortable. Causing you to be uncomfortable in the experience. You wonder if people are watching you eat thinking "how can that person sit there and eat all that food." It isn't fun.

It is more than being uncomfortable in your own skin. It is also about health. I am putting myself at risk because of laziness and poor eating habits. My family is full of heart disease. I should want to do everything in my ability to stay away from that same fate.

Weight goes much deeper than just physical appearance and even health issues. It is a spiritual battle. How can I honor God with my body if I am unhappy, ashamed, unable? I can't. I am choosing myself over God. So more than just losing any weight, I am hoping to regain my relationship with the Lord and learn how He is the only thing that can truly satisfy. Not food, not people, not things. For me, it isn't a matter of not understanding it, it is a matter of it not being in my heart, not fully trusting God to fulfill me and turning to food instead.

Whether it is food or something else, we often times turn towards other things to satisfy us when we were created to crave God. I encourage you to join! This will be a great study because God is going to do GREAT things!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas in Wisconsin

My family was finally able to celebrate Christmas together. We knew we were going to celebrate in January, but it seemed so far removed from December 25. Unfortunately, I didn't take too many pictures. However, I do have some of my beautiful niece. I just love her so much!

It was nice to have a relaxing weekend to spend together. Our celebration of Christmas really only consisted of opening presents. The rest of the time was spent enjoying the time together. It wasn't rushed and we didn't feel overly extended. We missed the busyness of the holidays by getting together in January.

My mom's birthday was Saturday, so it was an extra special weekend. My sister-in-law let it slip to the restaurant hostess that it was my mom's birthday. So she was surprised with singing by the wait staff and an apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream. The ice cream was so good!

It is always had to leave, but I am very fortunate to have a family that enjoys spending time together. It isn't a frustrating experience and I leave wishing we lived closer together. Being far away is hard, but it makes the time together that much sweeter.

The holidays are now officially over for me, so I feel like life can return to normal. So, to honor that, I am joining a gym tonight and that story is definitely to be continued!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Snapshots Into My Life

What I am seeing through my lens this week.

Libby acts like she can't stand Luna. But every once in a while I catch her contradicting herself.

More snow! About 10 more inches of snow fell on top of the 10 inches that were already on the ground. It is quite the Winter Wonderland.

I love snow. I think it is really pretty especially when the sun shines on it and it is all sparkly. Although it was still gray in this picture.

In addition to all the snow, we experienced bone-chilling cold that froze much of the country. The weather kept people inside for days. Roads, businesses and schools were shut down to keep people from going outside.

Christmas may be over, but I think we had North Pole weather!

This chair is at Hobby Lobby. And I LOVE it! It would go perfectly in the office of my new house that I have yet to find. I am definitely thinking ahead!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Pain Of Moving

As I have mentioned before, I am in the process of moving back to Ohio. I still have my apartment in Pennsylvania for a few more months, so there wasn't a need to pack everything up right away.

I was back on Saturday because I had to return my cable and internet equipment. I was a little annoyed about the trip because I was supposed to return my when I left before Christmas, but I couldn't disconnect the cords because they were screwed on too tight. So I came back with a little tool to help me with the task.

I drove the 4 hours over there, cleaned up a little bit so it would be presentable to any prospective renters, returned the equipment and drove the 4 hours home. I went to Comcast on a Saturday, so traffic was much lighter than it would have been the Friday before Christmas. I realized that because of construction and detours, there would have been no way for me to return the equipment when I would have wanted. I think that would have made going back much more frustrating.

When I was in my apartment, I did get the sickening feeling have having to pack all that stuff up. Stuff….way too much stuff. Hopefully, I will have a little time and can go back on a few weekends. My landlords listed my apartment, but of course there isn't a guarantee that anyone will be interested. Even though it is a nice little place in Pittsburgh.

I am always so worried about my own schedule and getting things done when I think they need to be done. If I would instead rely on God's timing, I would realize that He has a perfect plan. He knows if I will have to move my stuff before March or if I won't. He knows when I will find my new house and that it will be the right one for me. And God is not looking at my timetable.

My whole job situation has turned out to be an incredible blessing that I would have never dreamed about. But God knew what would be happening in my life and all that I would be able to do because of it. And it was in His timing.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Snapshots Into My Life

Here is what I am seeing through my lens.

Some after Christmas shopping! Cannot wait to decorate this pastel tree next year. I just have to buy the tree.
My old high school hosts a basketball tournament during the Christmas break. Going back there brought back a lot of memories. Especially since the cheerleaders are still doing the same cheers I did in high school.

Luna has found a new spot at my mom's house. She will also just sit here because she has two different windows to look out at her surroundings.

My brother texted his good friend, Chris, and told him to tackle my mom when he saw her. After I sent him this picture he said that Chris should take her out at the knees. My brother is so sweet.

The first major snow of the season. What a mess! But it makes me appreciate working from home.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In With The New

The new year is officially on upon us. I love the feeling of the new year. There is something about the freshness of it. The anticipation of what the new year has in store.

2014 has a lot of new things in store for me. January 1 started my new role in my company. I am house hunting, so I will hopefully have a new home in 2014. So big changes are in store. It is an exciting time.

I am not one for resolutions. My relationship with the Lord should be my primary focus when most of the time it isn't. I always want to lose weight no matter what time of the year it is. I always want to get control of my finances, too. Just like most people, I never follow through. However, this year I am praying that those things change.

I am going to work on reading through the Bible in one year. To be honest, it is sad that I have never done that before. When I was little, my church had a poster with the names of people who committed to reading through their Bible. I can still see the dot stickers marking off the months of people staying committed. Some made it through the year and some didn't. But that would definitely help with accountability.

As the year begins, I pray that you begin not with trying to control what the year may hold, but allowing God to control and following his will.