Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturdays are for: Preparing

Our little guy has recently become obsessed with looking at, handling, adjusting,
and matching up what few pieces of true "church clothes" that he has.
It was becoming something he did everyday of the week until I started just sort of hiding this shirt and tie until Saturday when we would hang it up in preparation for Sunday morning.
Our sweet youth pastor's wife took these shots of him when they were here
on a Monday evening a couple weeks ago.

This afternoon, we put together nearly 20 gifts for all our Sunday School teachers and church staff.
If you want to know what's inside.....look here and here.

The girls also bagged up the little goodies they made for their friends too.
We'll be giving out over 30 bags tomorrow!!

Finally tonight, I'm hoping to get some pretty curls in my "personal assistant's" hair tomorrow morning.
Her hair is pin straight and whispy and super prone to static,
so I wrapped her hair in socks.
I'm hoping these curls will actually take.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just for fun...

About a week and a half ago, we hosted our youth pastor and his wife for dinner.  She is an amazing photographer who did pictures for Lexi's 13th birthday party in August.  She ran out of daylight before she could finish getting portraits of Lexi, so she took this opportunity to do a lengthier photo session with her.
She did such a wonderful job capturing the personality of my multi-faceted girl!!
Here's a few of my favorites:

You can find out more about Tori Adele Photography here!!

Nurturing a giving heart

I have always felt it so important that my children learn to have a giving heart.
To have eyes that see beyond their own little world to the needs of those around them.
All year 'round, but.....
Especially at Christmas.
I mean, isn't that what Christmas really is?
The Great Give-Away.

So I've had my eyes and ears wide open the last month for opportunities we might have to really experience how much more "blessed it is to give rather than to receive."
To learn how to give to those who have no way of giving back.
To be a follower of Christ....don't I want to follow His example?

Last Christmas I really wanted to send a box of encouragement to our dear missionary friends who are on the mission field of Thailand.  They have 8 children and are such faithful ministers of the gospel of Christ.
But I just couldn't get everything together in time and the shipping is so very expensive.
This year I spoke with another friend of mine from church who is Thai by birth, and is going with her family to spend 2 months visiting her homeland.  She told me she would be visiting my missionary friends, and when I asked her if she could take some things to them from our family, she immediately said, "YES!"
I was so excited, but only had a few days to gather together some things.  It was so much fun asking my friend in Thailand what they needed (via Facebook), and then being able to put my hands on those items so quickly.
So we were able to send off some things to Thailand for FREE in my Thai-American friend's suitcase!!

But I'm collecting ideas for next year, and I feel the Lord has already given me an exciting idea for our missionary friends for NEXT Christmas!!

But we've also been busy in our kitchen again this year, making gifts for each of our children to give to their friends.  A few of my children naturally want to give presents to their friends, but a couple have to be taught to think about that.  So every year, for the last several years, we have made it a tradition to make gifts.
Children need to know that not everything can be, nor has to be, purchased to be a treat.
I feel every child has creativity within them and the ability to make beautiful items with the proper supervision.
So we make lists of all the children they want to give to,
and we start creating.

Click here and here for a peek of what we made last year.
This year I saw an idea for making candle jars out of used jelly or pickle or baby food jars, and thought as Charlie Brown....."That's IT!!"
Here's what we did:

Start with any clean used little jar.  
As you can see, we didn't get upset that the label didn't completely wash off in the dishwasher.
Slather the outside of this jar with "mod podge."

 While the "mod podge" is still wet,
cover it with tissue paper in any design you want.
Then slather more "mod podge" over the tissue paper.
Let dry.

Drop a tea light candle inside and wrap pretty ribbon around the top to finish off.


We've also been making these:

We put two in a snack size baggie per person, and they go into the gift bag along with two of these.....

Our children can't WAIT to take all their gifts to all their friends.
It's one of our favorite ways to teach them the joy of giving!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Journey: a plateau

Plateau:  From "Wikipedia"

In geology and earth science, a plateau, also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau. A volcanic plateau is a plateau produced by volcanic activity.

Another definition of a plateau:  Taken from ""

a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach plateau in one's career

And finally from the "Calorie King" website:

If after losing weight successfully for some time, you reach a point where the number on the scale suddenly refuses to budge - sometimes for a number of weeks - you're said to have hit a "plateau".

After about 9 weeks of continual, gradual weight-loss, I hit my first plateau!!  Thankfully, the little challenges that you read through each week on the "Calorie King" program had already discussed this rather frustrating phenomena, so I wasn't too upset about it.  I just kept going.  Moving ahead like I had been doing and journaling my calories everyday, and exercising whenever I could.  Sure enough, the following week gave me another 1 pound loss.  

Two things became so clear to me almost immediately into this journey.  Weight loss is not (and should not be) this dramatic downward slide to 10 or 20 pounds of weight loss.  It is a slow gradual stair step down of consistent and purposeful retraining of yourself.  It comes slowly.  When you slip into old habits, you get back on track and continue to move forward in the things you have been learning.

It struck me how much this is exactly like my walk with the Lord.
There have been times in my life when I had time to consistently read God's Word on a daily basis, spend time in prayer, and memorize His Word.  
I knew my heart was searching for His leading in my life in every decision I faced at the time.
I felt like I was growing in my understanding of Him and His ways.
But then, something would change.
A new job.
A new schedule.
A new marriage to my husband.
A new lifestyle.
A new baby.
A new diagnosis.
I let those bumps in my life interrupt or stagnate my walk with the Lord.
I needed to keep on "in the things I had learned."
When I wasn't able to spend time with the Lord like I needed, I reached a plateau.
Where I wasn't growing or learning more and more about Him every day.
Where I wondered what was wrong.

But through this process, I remembered to get back to what I knew.
That's the answer.
To just keep on keeping on.
Do the right thing.
Do the things you know have been successful for you in the past.
Get back on track.
Get off the plateau.
Try something new to keep things fresh.
A new delicious, low-cal smoothie.
A new time in your day for your quiet time with the Lord.
Add some quiet music or a cup of coffee.

Work on your own version of a "Plateau Buster" and 
keep on going!!
Your body will forgive you and settle back in to weight loss.
My Heavenly Father extends grace.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturdays (in December) are for: Rehearsals

Every. single. Saturday in December we have at least one member of our family who has to travel the half-hour to our church for a Christmas program rehearsal.  My husband usually is working his 12-hour shift on Saturdays, so that means I get the job of loading 6 children up (or finding child care for those not involved that day) and getting them into their place.  Last Saturday though, was a little different.
Rehearsal for the two little people was at the same time as our Ladies Christmas Brunch.  My two oldest girls dressed up and came with me to enjoy some lovely fellowship, while the two rehearsed for their program which was Sunday evening, and the other two played in the nursery.  

I hear this phrase often on Sundays,
"I just don't know how you do it.
I only have two children and it's so hard getting out the door.
I just don't know how you do it."
I always tell them,
"It starts on Saturday."
I have to pick out all the clothes and lay out all the shoes and socks,
or invariably at least one person will be missing a shoe or
 have NO appropriate socks to wear on Sunday morning, and then things only slide downhill from there.
I also have to have every. single. meal planned and ready to go
because by the time we get home after morning service (remember that half-hour drive),
my children and husband have become borderline cannibalistic.
In the past, I've tried packing snacks,
but then I learned no one is hungry enough to actually eat their lunch,
AND our van is trashed with crumbs and wrappers!

So toss in outside activities, coupled with Sunday preparations,
and our Saturdays are usually very busy.
This last Saturday was no different.
Not only did I need to have our family out for the aforementioned festivities,
but I also needed to prepare for the MOST PRECIOUS baby shower EVER
on Sunday afternoon.
This sweet baby has been long prayed for
and long
His Mama very tragically lost his older brother at just 26 weeks (if I remember correctly)
gestation just about two years ago,
so they are so anxious for his safe arrival.
Lots of tears.
Sheer joy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Are you "Multilingual?"

During my journey to weight loss, I began thinking about the food we eat in America.
 I have come to realize that we all eat for different reasons.
Some far more legitimate than others, obviously, based on the soaring obesity rates we are seeing in this country.

So when I came across an article entitled:
So I stopped eating

I was intrigued.

But I found something far more profound than the story about the girl who gradually succumbed to

"Also, I had cried when I’d gone to kindergarten, so Mum had brought me home, ordered books, and vowed to teach me. That kind of thing was supposed to tell me she loved me, but I didn’t feel it; because to me, love was words and gifts."

Did you see that?  Did you SEE what she said?
She said that what her mother did for her in wanting to homeschool her was her mother's way of saying,
"I love you."
But she didn't get it.
The girl didn't understand.
It wasn't HER language.
Love, in her language, was "words and gifts."

I have been reviewing a book on my personal bookshelf, the bookshelf in my bedroom, entitled

In this book, the author lays out five "languages" of love understood by most people.
He theorizes that many communication issues between spouses are caused by not understanding how your spouse interprets your expression of love to him/her, and vice-versa.
According to the author, the 5 different languages of love are:

1. Giving of gifts
2.  Physical touch
3.  Quality time
4.  Acts of service
5. Words of Affirmation

Everyone is different.  Everybody speaks and understands their own language (naturally), 
but it takes some time and study to learn what your spouse's language is.

It's the same with our children.

My oldest daughter is a gift-giver.
She has always been the one who couldn't go to a friend's house without something to give them.
Even if she gave something of her own.
She would wrap it up and was just as excited to watch them open the gift as they were to receive it!

But if I try to tell her that I love her by guarding the types of media I let her watch,
or by washing all her clothes for her every other day,
or by protecting her from some of the humanistic philosophies that she would be exposed to in a formal school setting
and sacrificing my time and desires to homeschool her....
I'm pretty sure she would misunderstand what I was trying to communicate to her.

See, she doesn't speak my love language.
Even though she is my own child, we don't always understand each other.
It's the same in my marriage.
I need to learn to be fluent in another language.
The language of the one I chose to marry.

It's a different language than my daughter's too.

Sometimes, it's really hard to learn a new language.
Sometimes I wish we all spoke the same language so it would be easier.
But then, wouldn't that be boring?
Wouldn't that be awfully monochromatic?
Should I be resentful of someone simply because they don't speak MY language?

Shouldn't I be willing to study and communicate in the most effective way I can with those I love the most?
Isn't that what our Heavenly Father did for us?

He knew that as mortals, mere humanity, we would never be able to fully grasp the endlessness of His love for us.
That we, as simple human beings are not capable of truly comprehending Who He is?
How CAN we know if we've never seen Him or heard Him?
We have our own very finite definition of greatness, of holy things, of things that never end.
But it doesn't translate into the God of the universe, the Almighty, Elohim.
So He spoke to us in a way that we can understand.
Through the spectacular varieties of species of all animals and plants, of land forms, cloud formations,
temperatures, weather patterns, human races, languages, stars, planets, galaxies, 
and the simple complexity of the human body!

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
and night unto night shows knowledge.
There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard."
~Psalm 19:1-3

As mere finite beings, we can understand the language of creativity and of a force much
greater and wiser than ourselves to have started this marvelous world we occupy.

Yet, the Holy One knew that even some would not understand Him through the language of nature and creation.
So He wrote down His thoughts for us.
He put His thoughts into written form.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God...."
2 Timothy 3:16

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction,
that through perseverance and the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope."
Romans 15:4

"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,
in order that you may know that you have eternal life." 
I John 5:13

Yet, humanity would still not "get" it.
Many of the things that were written down were a mystery to those
confined to an earthly existence with earthly limitations.
And our loving Father knew we needed a visual.
We needed to be able to SEE His Word in action.
What love really looked like.
What a servant's heart really looked like.
What humility really looked like.
What grace really looked like.

So He wrapped Himself in skin.
He became one of us, so that we could understand Him in the simplest of terms.
He willingly imprisoned Himself in a human body because He wanted us to get what He was saying.

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory,
glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace 
and truth."
John 1:14

"For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish
but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved."
John 3:16,17

Don't my children deserve what my Heavenly Father has extended to me?
To understand my love for them?
Shouldn't I be willing to keep trying over and over
until they get it?
Shouldn't I try to reach them in the most effective way possible?
Am I willing to learn THEIR love language?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Been busy!!

Since Thanksgiving the time seems to have sped up and I can hardly sit down to do anything, much less journal out our days or a few thoughts here and there.
These special holidays are always so much fun and full of meaning,
but I almost dread how busy we become with activities to attend,
sights to see,
treats to be baked and prepared,
the lovely sounds to be heard,
the driving here and there,
the laundry that still accumulates,
the schooling that needs to be planned and purposefully DONE,
the groceries that still need to be shopped for and stored,
the packages that must be sent,
the library books that need returning,
the carbs that must be counted and medicated for.
It can all get overwhelming.
It's seems the antithesis of what we're even celebrating.

The quiet, and peaceful stillness of a newborn.

So we've been spending our last few days creating some serene, peaceful spaces filled
with the beauty that is Christmas.
We've been "decking" our halls......

......and turning the lights down low in the evening.

We've pulled out all the glorious music that fills our home with the stories of the birth of Christ
 that fill us with the wonder of the Divine King of Glory coming to earth in bodily form as a tiny baby.
We light fragrant candles that add wonderful aroma to the rooms and remind us that everything
we do should be as a fragrance ascending to the Holy One.  
We're preparing our gifts to give to those who have meant so much to us this year
 (and some for many, many years).
Children need to learn how to give of themselves,
and how to give from their heart.
So we spend many hours making little gifts that don't cost us much monetarily,
but require a sacrifice of our time and the use of our God-given creativity.
Here's a sneak peek:

Most of our children are ministering to others and serving the Lord through 
the special presentations of the choirs they participate in at our church.

We've also been spending time together enjoying the sights and sounds of this season.
Tonight was the annual Christmas parade in our little town.

What does your family do every year to build fun memories together and to teach your children
what Christmas is really about?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving for children: Ideas

Since our national holiday of Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I've been thinking about different ways I can teach my children about this most lovely time!!  Not only in ways that we can celebrate the roots it has in our national history and some of the founding events in our country, but also in the state of mind in which we live everyday!!
As a parent who has been given 6 delightful lives to nurture and guide in Biblical values and truths, I want my children to learn how to live always in a thankful mindset.  In scripture we are told that it is God's will for us to be thankful in everything we experience.....good times and bad.

"In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

This verse certainly gives no limitations on when we are to be expressing thanksgiving to our Lord, so even though we certainly do verbalize things we are thankful for at this time in November, I want my children to learn that we should be thanking Him ALL the time!!

But practically, how do we do this?  How do I teach my children to be thankful for EVERYTHING?  For the things that are good in our lives, as well as the things that are uncomfortable or, dare I say, downright ugly?

For one thing, I think it takes practice.  Naturally, we are grumblers and complainers.  I know I am anyway.
It takes a conscious effort on our part, a disciplined mind, to praise the Lord in difficult times.

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and (enter) into his courts with praise.
Be thankful unto Him,
and bless His name.
(1.)  For the Lord is good.
(2.) His mercy is everlasting.
(3). His truth endureth to all generations."

~Psalm 100:4,5

My children are memorizing this entire Psalm this month, and I think it's significant to point out to my babes that no where in this scripture are we commanded to thank the Lord for the circumstances around us or the material possessions we have.  Our focus is to be on the attributes of our Heavenly Father.  We can always find something to praise Him for because we know that God never changes.  He is always good.  His truth never changes.  His mercy to us is "new every morning!"

Another way I can teach my children to be thankful is to learn to see things the way our Heavenly Father sees things.  We don't always understand why things happen to us that we may perceive as being "bad".  But scripture tells us:

"And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose."
~Romans 8:28

I want my children to understand that even though we don't know the outcome, our Heavenly Father has the blueprint of our life that He is following, and that sometimes we have sorrowful, or painful, or hard times to teach us to trust Him more, or for a purpose that we may not even be aware of yet.  We are told to just be thankful.  Even if we don't understand.....even when it seems illogical...we must trust Him.

Finally, I want to teach my children to write things down!!  Write out everyday something you can be thankful for!!    Two of my favorite ideas are found at :


"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body;
and be ye thankful."
~Colossians 3:15

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturdays are for: Visiting with precious friends!!

This precious couple has been friends of our family for years.
When I think back over the years of knowing them,
 what has always stood out about them is their love for children.
They have been foster parents, he has been a history teacher in tough public high schools,
and she was always my "craft lady" for Vacation Bible School.
Their generosity to our family alone is incredible.
They have blessed us over and over.
The sweet boy between them is the son of one of their adopted daughters.
They are now raising him.
Today, we helped them celebrate his 4th year of life.
And what a celebration it was!!
We all went hoping to be a blessing to them, to play with this little guy, to delight him with a gift,
and express our admiration to them for the daunting task they have so willingly taken upon themselves.

But guess who ended up being blessed the most?

 Of course, it was us!!
Again, their generosity to us was very humbling, and my children
were very touched that THEY were the ones who came away with gifts and so much love.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The journey: Getting Started

That's such a lame title.
Maybe, as time goes on, I'll think of something a little more descriptive.
What I DO know is that I don't want this to be all about me.
Over the course of this year, I have learned so much about how SO MUCH is not about ME!
I write the following information strictly for the curious.
Since the beginning of this year, I have run into people I haven't seen for awhile and here is the first reaction:
"Wow!!  You've lost weight!"
The second statement that ALWAYS follows is this:
"How did you do it?"
So I quickly want to answer that question before I move onto what I actually gained this year!

When I decided that I was GOING to lose weight, I knew I was going to need a plan.
Something outlined in map formation.
With little goals along the way that would help me reach my ultimate goal of losing 45 pounds.

But I did not want to spend a lot of money on this.

I didn't want to buy any exercise equipment:

1. I don't have space in my crowded house for something like that.
2.  I don't know one. single. person who has purchased a piece of exercise equipment who didn't end up moving it out onto the patio for storage or just selling the thing. 
3.  I didn't want to get involved in something I would not want to continue once I reached my goal.

I didn't want to go out and spend a fortune on a gym membership,
or for a fancy, shmancy set of tennis shoes and matching workout clothes.

I didn't want to get involved in some kind of fad diet that you grow so secure in that you don't
learn how to change your lifestyle on your own for lasting weight loss.

No pills (what are you learning about yourself when you pop a pill?).
No weight watchers (great group, but not for me, 
hard to maintain unless you keep going to the support groups).
No pre-packaged meals sent to my house (too expensive, processed food, how are you learning portion control yourself when they do it for you?).
No cleanses or flushing of the bowels for this chick!!

I remembered that when we were sitting in the hospital with Ashlyn when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes nearly 2 years ago, that our "Diabetic Educator" handed us a book
that you take everywhere you go that has nearly every restaurant in the country listed
along with every entrĂ©e that restaurant offers.  Then they have the calories and carbs listed so you
can figure out how much insulin you need with your meal.
It's called "Calorie King."
I remembered that when I read through this book, I realized the guy who started putting all this information 
together was passionate about making weight management easier.
So I went to their website.

I read through the information on the website, and did the 1 week free trial.
What was there to lose (besides 45 pounds???)
I immediately liked the user friendliness of the program and ALL the tremendous information they give you.
I liked that it was simply about learning how many calories your body needs every day, 
and then reducing that amount by several hundred (calories) to lose 1-2 pounds a week.
I liked that you have to learn that every morsel you put in your mouth has a calorie attached to it,
and to remember that amount, you must write it down.
I especially like that they said up front, "You don't HAVE to exercise to lose the weight."
I wasn't sure how I would fit exercise into my already overloaded daily routine.
I didn't want my weight loss to become the overriding obsession of my life to the point
that it impacted my time with my children and husband.
I didn't want them resenting that I was gone everyday for hours!

So I signed up.
And I followed it faithfully.
I recorded my calorie intake everyday in their online journal, weighed in once a week, and learned that with exercising you can eat a few more calories on that day.  
I started walking 30 minutes 3 days a week.
Then I bumped it up to 45 minutes for 4 days a week.
The first week I lost 5 pounds, then every week after that I lost 2 pounds....until about the fourth week.
That's when I ran into my first experience with the phenomenon known as:
the plateau!!

That is the infamous point in your weight loss journey that can occur over and over where you lose very little weight one week to no weight at all!!
Those are very frustrating weeks!!
I'll tell you more about what I learned through those times and how to "bust 'em"
in the next installment of this journey!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Fundays!!!

Last week my husband was gone all week to a conference that was several hours away in another big city.
Today, neither of us really had the energy or desire to pack up everybody and go do something.
So for today's "Monday Funday" we had a stay-at-home game-day.

Games are a great way to practice with your children certain
math skills, reasoning skills, vocabulary skills,
how to take turns, be accepting of each others differences,
 and self-control among other critical social skills.
Here are a few of our family's favorites:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturdays are for: A Random Act of Culture

I just loved this when I first saw it, and just had to share!!
Crank up the volume and enjoy!!
Can you just imagine how much fun this was!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Classic Conversations"

Do you have conversations like these with your children?
Here is just a taste of the confabulations at my house.....

Garrett (who is 4 1/2):  Mom, do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Yes. Daddy is my boyfriend (said with much gushing)!
Garrett:  I'm your boyfriend too, and so is Grant.  You have 3 boyfriends, Mom.

Abby (who is 6):  Uh...Mom!!  Why did Garrett get both an ice cream cone AND a slushie?
(Asked of me at Sonic the other day, after some confusion on Garrett's part as to what he wanted for his treat.
He had originally asked for a slushie, but upon seeing everyone else's ice cream decided he wanted ice cream.  So I got him an ice cream with the intention of the his slushie going home with us. But after eating the ice cream, he then was chugging down the slushie before I realized he had it; and, of course, Abby witnessed all this with a completely different interpretation.)
Me (knowing what she was unintentionally implying):  Because Garrett is my favorite!!

My husband has been gone all week to a work related conference in another big city 5 hours away.
The second night he was gone, Ashlyn (who is 10 1/2) asked me where her daddy was sleeping.  
"Is he just staying up at the Hilton Garden Inn?"
(This hotel is just 5 minutes from our home and 3 in minutes from his employment.
Apparently, she thought that his week long conference was at his place of employment,
and that instead of just driving home, stopped in at the most convenient place to stay for the night!!!)
Me:  No, Ashlyn.....he's in San Antonio.
Ashlyn:  He's in SAN ANTONIO????

Abby: Mommy, how long til Christmas? 

Me: Um, I think like 8 weeks or so.

 Abby: I think 2 (weeks).

I was sitting in the front room of the house enjoying the quiet, when I hear from the other room
where all 6 children and Daddy are:


Me:  "What is it?" 

 Lexi:  "A piece of carrot from the salad......way up in Aryn's nose!! Daddy had to dig it out with tweezers!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Before and After....My Journey

Why did I choose to blog?
What motivates me to sit down a few times a week and record the lessons I've learned,
the events our family has enjoyed together,
the struggles I'm growing in,
and the methods by which I do things?

One of the reasons I blog (journal) is so that my children will have a written record of why their mother did the things she did and how she did the things she did (in case by some wild chance they would want to follow that pattern too!)

I also blog with the thought that I'm not alone in this journey of motherhood and life.
I talk to other ladies everyday who are struggling with areas of their lives incredibly similar to my own,
and sometimes I'm a little farther down the road and want to offer some encouragement and ideas
to help her keep moving forward.

Finally, with those ideas in mind, I blog to point both my family and others to Christ.
He alone gets the credit for the beautiful things in my life,
as well as the challenging times which I know He has
sovereignly, deliberately planned for me to purge things out of my life,
and to grow new things in my life to make me more like Him.

On January 1st of this year (2010), I began a journey toward better health.
By December of last year, I just wasn't feeling like myself.
I've told many friends, "I just didn't feel like myself.  I don't know WHO I felt like,
but it WASN'T me."
I didn't like feeling the lifesaving flotation device around my waste every time I sat down that had gradually developed over a few years.
I had noticed that I was exhausted all the time.
Like, new pregnancy exhausted every time I woke up in the morning no matter how much sleep I had.
I noticed I was beginning to feel that my mind was in a thick fog. 
I always felt two steps behind every one else, and I had trouble remembering where I had put things, or names of people from long ago in my life, and if I didn't pay attention my mind would wander off.
These were such little issues I know, but they were beginning to bother me and interrupt my daily life.
Then, I was talking to a friend who was struggling with some thyroid issues.
As she began describing some of her symptoms, I could see some of the same things in me.
One evening, just by chance, I tried to find my thyroid, and low and behold I felt a knot!!
I couldn't believe it.

I told my husband that I thought it might be a good idea for me to have a physical done since my 40th birthday was just 2 months away.
I went to my OB, and during his exam I told him about my feelings of hopelessness some days,
and like I was drowning in my responsibilities.
I asked him if this knot on my thyroid should be there, and he agreed that it should not.
He did some bloodwork, and sure enough my thyroid levels were high, and he referred me to an
endocrinologist (which, of course, I was completely comfortable with!).
To make a long story short, the knot is just a "beneign nodule" but I needed to be on some thyroid medication.
I told him I had set a goal to lose weight this year, and he told me that I wouldn't have lost much to ANY weight if I hadn't addressed this issue first.

Those two visits (and my impending BIG birthday) motivated me to get my physical health back under control.
I know I wasn't falling apart, but I know that's the mindset that gets folks in trouble.
Don't do anything.
Don't try something new because it's hard.
"It's not THAT bad."
I didn't want to be a statistic.
Type 2 Diabetes runs like a river through my family, and I just knew I was headed to take a dip in that river.
I knew I needed my energy back if I was going to continue on this path of homeschooling these children that I felt the Lord has brought me to.
So on the 1st of January, I set a goal to lose 45 pounds.
I weighed 180 pounds.
(I don't know why I hate putting that number out there.  For some reason, I feel embarassed that I somehow intentionally "let" myself get to that unhealthy weight when in reality it just grew there so gradually that I hadn't noticed.)
It has taken me just over 10 months, but this last weekend I FINALLY reached my goal!!

With the motivations in mind that I mentioned at the beginning of this post,
I will be journaling a little bit about where I've been and what I've learned to do to accomplish this over the next couple weeks.
Maybe I'll do a weekly series with a posting every Tuesday.....I'll have to think of a name.  
Any ideas?
(Maybe something like....."Weight-loss Wednesdays"......but then I'd have to do it on Wednesdays!)
Over time, this journey has become about WAY more than just losing the weight.
The Lord has taught me many things about myself, 
 about Him,
and that my sufficiency is found in Him alone!!

This picture was taken just 11 months ago at the end of December 2010.
I have such mixed emotions looking at this picture of myself (not of the people in the rest of the group!!).
I remember so vividly how the flags were waving violently in my head that I was not in a good place.

45 pounds lighter in October 2010 (several weeks ago).
What a journey this has been!!