Posted in food, Grace, Growth, Healing, Health, Hope, Intentional Self, My Journey, Prayer, The Journey, Uncategorized, wellness

The Journey Continues…

With 2017 comes a renewed sense of hope and a journey to better health.  For several years now I’ve been doing more wellness things and have seen a great change in myself and my life. As I begin the new year I realize that the journey has really just begun. I didn’t get unhealthy overnight and I won’t get healthy overnight. So,  as my journey begins (or continues), I’m more hopeful than ever that it will bring lasting changes so I can live out the next 30-40+ years of my life healthy and whole!

I love food. I love to eat. I eat when I’m happy, sad, angry, frustrated, anxious… the list goes on! Last year I read through a book that was very powerful and helped me begin to look at food differently. The book is called Thin Within – A Grace-Oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss by Judy and Arthur Halliday. It is a grace-based approach to food and weight management. It does not involve diets or pills or quick fixes. It’s meant to change me from the inside out. Over the years I’ve lost weight and then found it again!  Obviously I did not get to the root of the issue as to why I eat. I have often prayed and asked God for help. This is a book full of tools and God’s Word to help me on my journey.

I mentioned above that I’ve already read this book. Yep, it was great and I was looking at things differently… until one day. I can’t even pinpoint that moment in time when I threw it all out the window. I think it happened gradually over time. So, as the new year begins, I’m committing to walk this journey again and would like to share it along the way with you! Perhaps you have food issues… or maybe you don’t. It’s still solid biblical ideas that help us to put food in it’s correct place.

As I read Chapter 1 this morning, here are the nuggets of truth that I came away with that are very encouraging to me at the start of my journey…

  • You will find yourself drawn closer to God, the lover of your soul and the designer of your body, the one who purchased your liberty. He longs for you to see His handiwork displayed in a most miraculous masterpiece – YOU. 

(Wow! I’m His most miraculous masterpiece… and so are you!)

  • God is crazy about us! God loves us exactly the way we are! 
  • God is able and willing to lead us to freedom from food and to the abundant life!
  • I want to “release” weight… not lose it. When you lose something you are always hoping to get it back!  (I don’t want it back!)
  • I am ready for my heart to be set free! 

There are some simple keys to conscious eating which include only eating when my body (not my heart) is truly hungry and stopping when I am satisfied… not full but satisfied. That is NOT the way I was raised and have lived most of my 53 years! Next is to eat in a calm environment and reduce distractions… like social media and TV. Eat when sitting down! Eat when my body and mind are relaxed… invite the Lord into the meal. Eat and drink things I enjoy… no guilt while listening to what my body craves. Pay attention to what I’m eating… eat slowly, actually enjoying the taste of the food I’m eating, and STOP before my body is FULL.

Sadly, these are counterintuitive to the way I was raised. We ate three times a day (and many snacks in between) whether we needed it our not. We ate at specific times each day. We ate everything on our plate because there were starving children in Ethiopia. As a teenager dealing with my parent’s divorce, I ate to heal a broken heart and never even paid attention to any sort of hunger.  I don’t think I was ever actually hungry. I lived to eat instead of eating to live. I also have strange ideas about what a meal must include. I grew up in a large family and learned to eat quickly in order to get seconds.  As a teacher, I also eat quickly to get on with the business of teaching! I have always eaten beyond the meal… food sitting on the table as we visit, putting it away and even as I prepped the meal. I’ve consumed WAY more food than my body has or ever will need!

I know that these keys to conscious eating are powerful and work… when I use them and make them a part of my day. So, here’s to round 2 of this grace-based way of thinking about food! I’m worth it and have a very grace-filled Papa on my side who has designed this plan for my benefit, to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

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It’s a new day and the sun is shinning!

And my windows are very dirty!

Posted in 28 Days, exercise, Grace, Health, Hope, Lessons Learned, life happens..., Prayers, Questions to Ponder, Seasons, Struggles, The Journey

It’s Not a Sprint…

As I continue down this path to better health, I’m learning more and more about myself each day.  Today I ventured out on another walk by myself.  I’m rather enjoying these solo treks as they give me time to breathe, process, let go, pray and just BE.  I decided to head to the high school and walk the track on this sunny day, knowing the entire track would be in the bright sunshine!  I have a routine. First I begin in lane one and each time I loop around I switch to another lane working my way to lane 8.  Walking alone gives me “think time.”

Today I had a huge revelation about myself and why I chose to go to the track and not walk the neighborhoods.  The track is predictable.  I know where I am, where I’m going and how to get home.  When I walk the neighborhoods, I am not always sure where I am.  I get caught up in looking at yards and houses, allowing my mind to get distracted by those things.  On the track, I don’t have to think about where I am or where I’m going.  Being that this whole exercise thing is something I’m learning to like, it felt good to have a little control of the situation.  I like things to be planned out and predictable.  I wish I were more spontaneous and daring.  I love the comfort of the track.

Today there were three high school girls there with a track coach.  They were warming up and then moved to the other side of the track and were working on starts for their sprints.  They were coming out of those starting blocks very quickly.  I tried to steer clear of their work while still keeping to my 1-8 lane progression!  As I watched them come up out of those blocks quickly, I realized something else about my journey.  This journey is not a sprint.  I can’t think that I can do everything fast and furious to get quick results.  I did not get fat overnight and I won’t change overnight.

Today is Day 15 and I was very discouraged over the weekend.  I don’t look different at all.  I feel better, but nothing has changed as far as my body.  Another mindset that I need to let go of.  Just because I have done good things for a few weeks does not mean I’m good to go and a changed woman!  Past failures can be linked to this very mindset flaw.  I’m in this for the long haul, not for a short sprint.  I am changing old habits and old belief systems.  First and foremost, my goal is better health so I can live my remaining days on this earth active and able to fulfill God’s calling on my life.  I want to feel good each day as I get out of bed and have energy to attack the day!  I want to be fit for the day when we have grandchildren!  It is not going to happen overnight.  It’s a daily decision I make to love myself enough to make good choices and afford myself the time to take care of ME.

My initial goal was February.  I can do anything for 28 days.  After that I was not sure what I would do, because deep down I thought that in those 28 days my life would be transformed and I would be “normal.”   I’m still looking to the end of February to celebrate the initial goal I set, but I know that I like this and want to continue into the rest of my days!  I’ve now set another goal for my 52nd birthday and I honestly think I can get there!  Funny thing about it is that it’s going to take time and energy and work… all things that I have to do.  No one can do them for me.  I have to love myself enough to make it work!  My biggest supporter, God, has assured me that He will never let go of me or my dream.  Together… we’ve got this!

So, today I celebrate 14 days of healthy eating and close to 20 miles of walking!  It feels great!  I’m encouraged!  I hope you are encouraged if you need that today.  If I can do this… so can you!  If you are doubting that you can make changes in an area of your life, invite God to join you and love yourself enough to try it today!  One foot in front of the other!  

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Posted in 28 Days, Fun, Gifts, Grace, Gratitude Friday, Healing, Health, Hope, Lessons Learned, Seasons, The Journey, Uncategorized

To Share or Not to Share…

As I approach my 52nd birthday, I’ve come to the conclusion that good health is not going to happen on it’s own.  If I want to be healthier, thinner, in better shape… I must work at it!  I’ve struggled with my weight since the womb!  I was born fat!  With this gift has come 51 years of bad habits, disappointments, old tapes that play over and over and a very fragile self-esteem.

Upon turning 50, I began to be a bit more assertive and confident.  Having spent my entire life being a people-pleaser and peace maker, I decided it was high time I took care of ME!  I’ve slowly begun to care more about what is best for me and not just what is best for others.

Also upon turning 50, my body began to show more signs of aging than ever before!  It’s true what they say… everything goes downhill… literally!  Things that I could always do, even being overweight, were getting more difficult.  This bummed me out and worried me.  If I feel this way at 50 then what will I feel like at 60?  70?

Over the past 4 years or so I’ve been taking wellness steps.  They have been life-changing.  I’m healthier than I’ve ever been… except for the weight.  The weight that has been mine and only mine for 51 years.  It’s a heavy burden to bear… literally!

February 2, I began walking down a new path.  A clean-eating path that does not include sugar, processed foods or gluten.  The gluten part is an experiment to see how I feel.  Today marks 12 days of freedom from these things!  I’ve also committed to some sort of movement each day.  If you know me at all, you know that I’ve never met an exercise that I like!  It’s not my go-to!  In my mind I long to be a sleek runner out enjoying the fresh air.  My reality – too much weight on my old bones and it’s just not pretty!

For the past 2+ weeks, I’ve found a new love for walking outside.  I have walking tapes… they bore me to death!  We have had spring-like weather and I’m starting to take advantage of it!  It feels good!

I’m learning so much about myself as I work to care for me on a more intentional level.  I’ve got some very old tapes to destroy and some habits to break… one day at a time.  One thing I’m learning is that I have to make my journey public.  Without accountability I will never succeed.

My struggle is that it feels very self-serving to tell others about the successes that I’ve had.  I’m more inclined to tell you when I’ve failed than succeeded.  That is a mindset that I must change.  I need the encouragement of others and I want to be that encourager to others as well!  Why does it feel bad to share the positive?  If feels like bragging and I learned as a kid that bragging was not a good virtue.

So, when I post on FB a success I’ve had, I’m not bragging… I’m celebrating!  And yes, I love the “way to go’s” and “good job’s”!  I love the encouragement… we all do!  We all need to surround ourselves with a community that lifts us up and helps us along the way… even when we slip and fall.

This morning as I walked, I was smiling the entire way!  I was outside moving!  I was breathing and moving and doing something good for ME!  All by myself!  If you know me, you know that I don’t really like to do things alone.  Today, I put on my big girls and my new bright blue shoes and hit the road!  I was accompanied by the Decemberists and walked a Personal Best!

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I’m so thankful to not be on this journey alone.  I have a wonderful support network and I’m learning that it’s okay to let the world know!  I have a new love for ME that I have never really had.  And that love is fueled by my amazing God in heaven!  He created me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made!  I am not defined by my job, my husband, my scale or anything or anyone else.  I am a daughter of the King and He is the reason I got out of bed this morning!

So, here’s to 50 more years of healthy living… for it’s never too late to make a change!

Posted in Healing, Health, Hope, Lessons Learned, life happens..., Prayers, Questions to Ponder, Seasons, Struggles, The Journey

Too Much Information…

Do you ever feel like you know too much?  Overwhelmed with health and wellness advice?  Hearing in the news what’s good for you and what’s not?  Hear about the side effects of medication made to help you?  Read about the latest and greatest way to eat?

At this juncture in my life I feel overwhelmed by too much information.  I have been on a wellness journey for the past 3+ years.  It involves regular visits to an amazing chiropractor who is helping me with my overall health and wellness.  Along with that, I regularly get my feet zoned.

“Footzonology is a method that utilizes the signal system in the feet. By utliizing the signals system in the feet it helps to rejuvenate, balance, restore and detoxify the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual body. Allowing and assisting your body to heal itself on its own.”

http://www.naturalfeetfootzonology.com

My wellness journey has been amazing and life-changing.  My overall health is much stronger and I’m making changes that will last a life-time.  Am I there yet?  No.  Am I getting there?  Yes!

Both of my “wellness coaches” have filled me with information.  Diet, food choices, supplements, essential oils, dry brushing, organic products.  The list goes on and on and on.  At times my head swims with all they share.  How can I do it all?  How can I afford it?  How can I NOT afford it?

We’ve discussed wellness vs the American Health Care System.  I have GP who loves to send me home with samples of medication to try.  She works hard to find reasons to treat me.  That is her lively-hood.  After a year or so of my wellness journey, she was finding it more and more difficult to treat me for anything.  After referring me for a blood work up, she told me that after the results were in I can come back in and she would get me going on a regime.  I was showing markers for heart disease and she wanted to start me on a dose of medication to cure that.  Well, after the results came back, all she could find was that my Vitamin B was low and she suggested a shot!  Needless to say, I did not leave her office that day with a brown bag of samples and a stack of handouts with medical advice.

So, I’m back to being filled with too much information.  At times it seems easier to just throw in the towel and go back to the way it used to be.  Don’t think about what I’m putting into my mouth!  Skip the daily routines that strengthen my health and well-being.  Forget finding organic food sources.  Processed is cheaper and easier.  Coffee and pop are much more satisfying that water (so I used to think anyway!).

I’m slowly learning that I don’t have to do everything I hear about.   I need to slow down and listen to my body.  I’ve learned to do my own muscle testing to see if I really need a particular supplement on any given day.  If there is not a need then I don’t take it.  Amazingly enough, our body can get too much of even the good stuff.

I’ve learned the importance of emotional and spiritual health.  If those are out of balance, then the physical health tips as well.  In the past 3 years, I’ve gone from taking various medications for depression, anxiety and sleep issues to taking NOTHING!  Zip!  Zero!  Medication free!

Another health and wellness journey I’ve been on is taking Redox Signaling molecules (ASEA) each day, thanks to another wellness coach in my life.

Redox Signaling molecules are created within every cell of the body and are vital to the immune system and to cellular healing mechanisms.  They are so essential to life that without them, you would die within seconds.  A proper supple of Redox Signaling molecules enables cellular healing: damaged, dysfunctional cells fading away and healthy, vibrant cells taking over. They are vital for the health of our cells; that’s why our body makes its own supply.  But after the age of 12, our cells make fewer and fewer of these molecules.  The is the first and only source of balanced stabilized Redox signaling molecules outside of the body.  It is completely native to the body.  Proven to be completely safe, with zero toxicity.” 

http://www.jennylynch.myasealive.com

While this journey is a newer part of my wellness trek, I have seen amazing results.  No more medication to sleep.  Overall energy level much greater.  Mental clarity!  I not only drink 4 oz each day, but I spray it on everything!  Amazing healing qualities!  I made it through this very rough winter flu season without getting sick!  I’m seeing miraculous healing in friends that have been plagued with health issues their entire lives.  Athletes are using it!  It’s God-made, not man-made.

As I wander on this health and wellness journey, I’m again reminded that my amazing Father in heaven is right there with me.  I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to learn that He is in every corner of my life… including my health.  I’ve compartmentalized Him into the spiritual things, not the “more worldly” parts.  I’m discovering that my body does not really belong to me!  It’s on loan while I’m alive.  I’ve got to take care of it.  It’s His temple that I’m temporarily living in.  What I invest into my life directly effects my rental property!

I don’t know how may days I will walk on this earth.   What I do know is that I want to be obedient to Him who created me.  I don’t want to leave Him out of any part of my life… something I’ve done in the past.  It’s quite simple really.  When I feel like I have too much information and don’t know what to do, I can quietly sit before my Father and He will show me which path to walk along.  This is a truth that I’ve known and used in other areas of my life, but never my wellness.  Yes, I’m a slow learner!   He’s blessed me with these amazing resources and I want to use them for His glory and my health!  If God can grow flowers out of rocks, then He can certainly help me strengthen and heal my body, as well as use me to help others!

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Posted in Grace, Healing, Health, Hope, Lessons Learned, life happens..., Prayers, Questions to Ponder, Seasons, Struggles, The Journey

When The Fog Rolls In…

Our journey as a Christ follower is never finished. We will be learning and growing until we take our last breath and graduate from this life into eternity. The older I get, the more excited about that I become.

On our journey, we hit milestones of growth along the way, Today was one of those for me. It was subtle, but strong.

Backing up a bit, it’s been the year of all years. Some good, but lots of bad and ugly. One of the most difficult years I’ve been through. Oh, over the years I’ve struggled and had some hardships along the way. Each time I felt God’s tender touch and grace guiding me through. I also worked hard to walk through it on my own, now truly understanding His place in my struggles.

It’s easy to celebrate and thank the Lord for the good. It’s easy to pray and ask Him for things that would make my life easier. I pray and pray and know that He will come through. I amp up my walk, believing that the more I do, the more He will hear and answer!

This past year has taken me down a different path. As we have trudged through some really tough times, I was able to begin to understand the idea of thanking Him… even in the storms. But then things would look up and I would go back to taking it on myself and working it out.

This summer I hit an all time low. I had the most difficult two weeks of my life. On my face, I cried out from the depths of my soul. I begged Him for help and healing. Then I began to praise Him as the storm raged around me.

When the fog finally lifted, I felt renewed in my faith and looked at Christ with different eyes. And alas, as time went on, I slowly took over taking care of business. All the while, working harder to make sure that He would always notice me, listen to me, hear me and then answer. In the depths of my soul, I felt that if I worked hard enough at loving Him and doing good for Him, that He would surely shelter me from the really big stuff.

Fast forward to this morning. I’m sitting in our Sunday service listening to my pastor preach his last sermon in his Epic Grace series.

He spoke of being in the fog. What do we do when the fog rolls in and envelopes us in hard times? I began to think about the past year. There seemed to have been more days of fog than usual. But it eventually rolled out and things cleared.

He spoke about letting go of the worry and fear around things that we can’t control. Life is going to happen. Hard times will fall on us. We’ve got to be okay in this moment because we don’t know what is around the corner. Why do we worry about things we don’t have control over?

Then he said something that hit me hard and was the moment of that shift for me. In so many words, poorly paraphrased, we will have hard times. We will have difficult times until the day when it will be made perfect. People struggle day in and day out. Some people have chronic illness and suffer daily. LIfe will be hard, but we will be made perfect when we leave this earth.

I know that the difficulties this past year are not the end. God has not given us our allotment and now we are good to go until we die. There will be struggles and most likely struggles greater than what we’ve already been through, but I get to choose how I respond.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
(Philippians 4:4-9, 11-13NIV)

It finally made sense to me. Just because I’m a Christ-follower, does not mean exempt from hardship. And when I’m in the midst, He may not take it away from me. I may have fog that will envelop me for the remainder of my days on this earth. But the good news is that I have a Savior who loves me enough to give me strength when I need it and grace when I don’t have enough.

If you would like to read an amazing book about the epic grace available to you, check out http://www.kurtbubna.com/thebook. You won’t be disappointed!

www.kurtbubna.com/thebook

Posted in Gifts, Grace, Healing, Health, Quiet Pleasures, Seasons, Struggles, The Journey

Just For Today…

Today I have a day.  A week day.  A bereavement day.  A day all to myself.  A day to rest.  A day to invest in some self-care.  A day…

Awake before the crack of dawn because of the time change, I reluctantly got out of bed much earlier than I had hoped.  If I’d lay there any longer, my mind would have gone to all of the things that I should be doing at work on this day I’ve taken for me.

Up and holding a hot cup of coffee I sat to enjoy the quiet of the very early morning.  Instantly my brain goes into list-making mode.  Looking around at my house that has seriously been neglected for the past 6 weeks, I began to create my to-do list for my day off.  Added to that list was an errand for my husband.  Both of us working full time makes mid-week errands a bit more difficult.

Suddenly, I had a long list of things that needed to be done.  Excellent!!  I have an extra day to try to get ahead!  WHAT?????

What happened to “my” day?  A day to lay low.  A day to recoup all that has been lost over the past busy weeks.  A day to call my own.  A day to rest with Jesus and find some peace.

Hmmmm… that thing we call “life” has once again gotten in the way.  Why is it so hard to put aside all of the stuff we need to get done and just be?  The dishes are done.  The leaves are raked (for now!).  Can laundry wait one more day?  The dust will still be on the mantle tomorrow and will gladly wait for me, adding to its already beautiful collection!  How horrible would it be to crawl back in bed with a good book?  The bank closes at 5:00.  I’ve got time!

Ahhhh, time.  That precious thing that I’m not very adept at managing.  Tomorrow I’m back on the gerbil wheel hitting it hard.  For now… just for today… I’m going to work hard at not working hard!

I’m going to enjoy this cool fall day all snuggled in my warm house – thankful for all of that which I’m blessed with.  I will not feel guilty that I should be working and that many of you are working right now.  I’m laying guilt at the foot of the cross and basking in this day set before me.  My heart is full of thanksgiving…

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Posted in Grace, Healing, Health, Lessons Learned, life happens..., Prayers, Seasons, Struggles, The Journey

Never Have I Understood…

They say that through struggle we grow the most.  I’ve always nodded and agreed… amen.  Wow, never did I know truth in that simple statement until these past two weeks. In several previous posts I have shared my recent battle with anxiety and depression.  The pain and struggle for days on end seemed almost unbearable at times.  I was no longer able to control my world.

Early on I began crying out to Jesus.  Along with that I tried medication.  That was a disaster and only set me back further.  I continued to cry out to the heavens… day in and day out.  Sometimes the cries were more like groans and I could barely breathe.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as powerfully as I have lately.

Each morning I begin my day by reading Jesus Calling (Sarah Young). Each day I am blessed beyond measure when the message for that day spoke directly to me and my situation.  I reflect and pray over the truths that God has placed on my life.  I rebuke the lies of the enemy… often!   I have come to realize that I have 50 years of lies behind me and 50 more that the enemy wants to set before me.

A friend recently shared that depression is rooted in what happened yesterday and anxiety is fed by what will happen tomorrow.  Neither of these matter.  Yesterday is done… forgiven… and over.  Tomorrow is not here yet.  Heck, I’ve come to realize that “this afternoon” is not even here yet!  There is nothing I can change about yesterday and nothing I can do about what is not here yet.  I’ve got to live in the moment… my joy is in this moment.  As fragile as life is, I’d better relish right now and where He has me.

I’ve spent a great deal of time listening to music.  I’ve created a Healing & Restoration playlist in my iTunes.  I’ve listened to the truths of God’s healing grace and mercy.  I’ve surrendered, wept, prayed… over and over again.

One song in particular that has been my cry the past day or so… and will continue to be, is Oceans by Hillsong.  The end of the song is this…

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.  Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my savior.

I will call upon your name.  Keep my eyes above the waves.  My soul will thirst in your embrace.  I am Yours and You are mine.

Oh, how I pray these words from the depths of my soul.  NEVER have I understood like I do right now the magnitude of God’s love and mercy.  NEVER have I wanted more than anything to walk in that most intimate place with Jesus.

My journey has now taken a turn… and I NEVER want to go back from whence I came.  I know that my battles will continue to rage.  The enemy is lapping at my feet as I type these words.  But my hope is on the One greater than anyone could ever imagine.  My strength comes from God and God alone.  Oh, I have amazing family and friends in my life to love, support, pray and encourage me on this journey… and for each one of them I’m eternally grateful.

I’ve spent the past two weeks letting go of things of the past.  Now, I get to embrace the struggle of not worrying about tomorrow.  For in the moment, I am loved… and He knows every thought before I think it and every word before I speak it.

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