Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mama to Males

So it has been a while since I have posted anything but I thought that since I was starting a Online Bible Study thru Proverbs 31 ministeries I would take the time to add a quick post.

This weeks blog hop is to share our "Mama Story" so here is mine:
When I was 20 I knew that by the time that I was 30 I would be married, with children, (probably 4 if I had my way) and have a wonderful career.
The day of my 30 th birthday, which was when all of my dreams were going to come true, I was single, not even dating and working a mediocore job at best. And being a Mama, was looking more and more like a pipedream.  I had no idea that God was about to do a great thing in my life over the next three years.
It started at a 3 day weekend at a church that I'll just call life changing. That weekend changed my priorities from all about me to a whole lot more about God and others.
A couple of years later I was actually dating a godly man. I was not just happy I was estatic! By then I was 32 and I beginning to wonder about where this relationship was going. I mean really I was already 2 years behind on MY plan..and I was not going wait until I was 40 to have kids. If I was going to be a mama, I was going to be young enough to enjoy it.

So one night as my then boyfriend was getting ready to leave my house to head for his own, I ran out to his truck and when he rolled down his window, I declared, "I've only got eight more years to have kids!"

To hear him tell the story, he was half way home before he said to himself, "I hope that she's not expecting me to do something about that."

But I was...and when we finally did get married a little over a year later, I was hopeful that we wouldn't have any problems starting a family......We didn't.
9 months after our wedding we were welcoming our son Andrew into the world and 18 months later, another son Benjamin.

I was happy, I finally had my family.  It was picture perfect actually...that was until things didn't go as I had planned.

We, like so many others, have had ups and downs, but the hardest thing for this Mama, (besides sitting in the hosptial for 10 days in burn unit with my youngest son who was 3 and he had pulled a pot of speghetti sauce over on himself ) was the diagnosis that we received a year later of his Autism Spectrum Disorder.  That was only the beginning of what I truely do consider our nightmare (at least somedays). Benji, as we call him, was nonverbal for much of his toddler years. Last year he was in first grade in a special education class and had worked his vocabulary up to maybe 20 single words. Most of them are food items. Our biggest challenge with him is that he has LITTLE, if at all, safety awareness. So we have to cover the windows in his room upstairs and have elaborate chains on the doors to keep him from opening the doors and running out into traffic or just wandering away.

Our older son Andrew was just diagnosed during last school year (3rd grade) with Austism (Level 1) what used to be called Asperger's.  He has trouble in class, staying on task and is socially lacking.

About 3 years ago we found it more expensive for me to work full time and find daycare then to get stay home. So that's when I started my career as a homemaker. The problem is, most days I feel like a failure as a housekeeper.
These days I wonder what the home of a "normal family" looks like. I am pretty certain that it doesn't look anything like mine.  I am spending less and less time on social networking sites because I am tired of looking at pictures and posts from my family and friends of their wonderful children getting straight A's and going to basketball camps and playing awesome little league soccer. Even hearing about something as simple as a family vacation at Disney World or the beach, makes me tear up.
Every thing is hard with kids on the spectrum. Or at least that is my experience so far. Vacations have to be planned carefully so not to over stimulate the youngest and do things that will let adults do things with the kids, I have given up on the idea that my oldest son will ever play a team sport or even be able to be with a group of kids his own age for extracurricular activities.  My kids are very smart about a lot of things but not necessarily acedemics. Certainly neither of them are genuses.
I feel comfortable that Andrew will be able to find a niche and a job somewhere along the way but I worry whether Benji will ever be able to be independent and in the workforce.  Heck at this point I just want him to stop having accidents in his pants and throwing every item that he picks up in the air. I don't want to make my house a prison because I'm afraid he will get away from me and I'll not be able to catch him before he get hit by a car.
I want my boys to be be able to ride their bikes and go play with friends at the park, participate in school programs without being the one that everyone is staring. I want to be able to send them outside in the backyard to play to give me give a few minutes of peace.
Does it sound like I am complaining? Yup I am. But you wanted my story, and this is it.

Please don't get me wrong, I love my kids, I cry when they hurt and I smile when they laugh. And most of the time I love their quirkyness. It is afterall the way that God made them. And he gave them to me to mother. (Although sometimes I have to wonder why because often I don't know what to do with them) And as my best friend tells me, "neither of your kids hit any branches on the way down the ugly tree". They are good looking guys!

My prayer is that over the course of this study God will renew my heart and restore my soul as I study His Words!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

3 Simple Steps.

Why is it that those words, "3 Simple Steps" make us feel so much better.  Somehow knowing that there are three simple steps to anything, makes us much more likely to try it!   

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog and during that time I have been working on my healthy eating habits from the Made To Crave Action Plan Bible Study by Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 ministries. Now I am on a healthy eating plan, working on increasing my exercise and working through the book "Living So That" by Wendy Blight with the Online Bible Study of Proverbs 31 ministries. 

So day's question is: 3 Simple Steps that combat the flesh and feed the spirit?

I came up with a variation on the theme of the old "Stop, Look and Listen" 

1. Stop- take time every day to spend time in the study of God's Word and Prayer. It is far too easy to be distracted by the things of this world, Computers, Smart Phones, Television, Families, they all compete with each other for our time. God does not...he waits for us to come to him. Make time to stop and spend time with him. 

2.Look - Take some time to search in the scriptures for your special message from God for that day.  Sometimes I use a devotion book to guide my study, sometimes I explore something that God puts on my heart.  You can look at a verse 5 times in a week and find something new that speaks to you each day. But don't just stop at your Bible. Look around you...look for the things that God is doing in the world around you.. If you take the time to look, you will find him...then join Him there.

3. Listen - This seems self explanatory but I would encourage you to spend intention time in your prayer time not only giving God your petitions and thanksgiving but also still yourself so that you can hear that small still voice when it speaks to your heart.  

I can't say that I have ever heard a booming voice from the sky, but I have "heard" a thought in my head that I know came from him.  

Stop-Look-Listen.....the best way I know to combat the flesh and feed the spirit! (It is also helpful before crossing the street) 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Intentional Sacrifice

So six weeks ago, I started this journey with P31 Online Bible Studies thru Lysa TerKeurst's Book "Made to Crave".

Now I know what you might be thinking, "Yeah, one more diet book......"

I have to admit that at first I kinda thought the same thing...however, what I have discovered in this book is a clearer picture of the "why I need to" and luckily I have found my "want to" to become healthier. Huge deal, huge difference in the way that this past 6 weeks have gone.  As of last week I was at the edge of a 10 lbs marker. I was about, if I lose 1 lbs this week, to move into the 2-teens. Now while I would be happier if I was hanging on the cliff of the 200 lbs marker, I will take this, because I have been able to maintain this weight loss and I have no intention in letting my weight slip back into the 230's.

What will lasting, sustainable, discipline mean for me? Well, I think that it will look a lot like what these past 6 weeks have looked like.  Many more days of victory then days of slipping off the wagon.  Moving more and increasing energy....

I am not sure that I know how to articulate the true change that has taken place in my life that helps me know, that even though I will have days that I don't want to eat right, or heart has changed and I know that with God's help I can have the finally victory. It may take years to get to that number that I really want, and perhaps I won't get there, but if my heart and my appetite has been changed, that is what really matters.  I have the ability to make the right choices.....I am just praying that Spring comes soon so that I can start jogging....something that I am being convicted to do. It is not possible right now with the negative wind chills and single digit temps, ice and snow!!  

Do I believe I can make the intentional sacrifice of the high fat foods that I love so much, do I think that I can make the sacrifice of time for exercise that my body needs so badly? Yes...yes I do.  Not by my strength but by the one that gives me strength.  Praise be to the Lord!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Soul Filling Satisfaction

"He poured great draughts of water down parched throats; the starved and hungry got plenty to eat." Psalm 107:9 (MSG)

This promise is one for me today as much as it was when it was it was written to celebrate the Jews' return from their exile in Babylon. This promise reminds me of the promise that Jesus gave to the woman at the well for the living water that would forever satisfy her thirst.

In this weeks chapters, of the Made to Crave Bible Study written by Lysa TerKeurst, the titles are enough to make you stop and think "Overindulgence" and "Emotional Emptiness".  In reading these chapters and contemplating the questions at the back of the chapters, I have to admit I have a feeling of deja vu.

In the last couple of weeks, if you recall, I have discovered that I have a problem with gluttony which spurred on my weight gain over the years. So reading these chapters, gave me confirmation of the truth that God has been revealing to me through these five weeks of bible study. The most awesome thing that I have discovered over the years of walking with Jesus is that God doesn't want me to stay stuck in the places of my defeat, He wants to give me the forgiveness and victory over them.  And that my friends is #soul-filling satisfaction.

The truth is that my eating problems have a deeper root, one that God can remove in his mercy and I can, for the first time be free from. We all can!  I will still have to do the work to lose the weight. It took many years to put the weight so I can't expect it to come off overnight (although I do know that God is capable of even that miracle). I would ask for that but I know that he answer would be, it doesn't work that way.
Besides that, there is a huge lesson to be learned in working hard to reach your goals. It always makes me much less likely to take it for granted.

My purpose for walking down this path is not only to reach my physical goals, but to grow closer to God in the process.  To find that soul filling satisfaction not in things of this world but in Him. Those things that only God can fill in me.That would be the thing that I ask God for to help me feel a deep and soul-filling satisfaction...Fill me up with the living water Lord. Amen

Friday, February 14, 2014


Ok, so it is Friday, the Made to Crave Blog Hop was yesterday...but yesterday I was a little busy. In the morning my husband, oldest son and I ran errands at Noon we had an appointment for my son to be evaluated my autism.  Unfortunately we had to travel about an hour away to get that done.  Lots of time on the road yesterday.

I did discover a couple important truths about myself this week though. When I give up my sins to God, he is faithful to deal with them. In my last blog I talked about discovering a spirit of gluttony in myself.  A need to overeat and "supersize" everything I ate.  The root of this spirit goes back a long way and I won't bore anyone with the details. But the moment that I confessed this and gave it over to God, the truth that I have been living under changed.

It moved from, "If I don't eat this pizza, french fries, the large portion of spaghetti now, I may never get it again" the "if one hot dog is good then two hot dogs are better" too:

2 Corinthians 12:9 - "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...."

The truth is, God's grace, provision, love is will never run out....there is no need for me to be a glutton in the way that I eat. I live in the United States of America. My husband brings home a sufficient paycheck, we live in a wonderful home provided by the church that we serve, we have two vehicles to get around in, my children get a good education at the public school, I don't have to struggle, worry or beg for my families next meal, I go to the kitchen and find things there to feed them and myself.

And the truth is that only in His power, my weakness, my sin, my mind, can be overcome. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to the food choices and willingness to exercise.

I have spent years believing God's truth in so many areas but hanging on to Satan's lies about my weight, will power and abilities to do something about it.  I have been morbidly obese for almost 9 years when I was 210 pounds at the birth of my oldest son.  18 months later I delivered our youngest son weighing 232.  My highest weight got to 241 a couple of years ago.  I didn't see myself as obese or I would even say fat until the past couple of years. I have always clung to my internal image of myself as the skinny girl that I was at 12.

 The truth hurts sometimes but for me, this has been good. If you don't think that there is anything wrong with you, why fix it?

I am ready to believe God's truth through his scriptures and ready to listen to what he has to teach me. I was particularly hit by Chapter 11 in this weeks Made to Crave book by Lysa TerKeurst where she uses a quote from Ruth Graham talking about being victims..."Either we can be victimized and become victims, or we can be victimized and rise above it.  Often it is easier to play the victim than take off our masks and asked for help. We get comfortable with our victim status. It becomes our identity and is hard to give up...."
She goes on to use Deuteronomy 2:3 (NASB) "You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north."

I have moved around the same mountain of weight gain and laziness for more then long enough. It is time for me to turn NORTH! Lift my hands toward heaven.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Delighting in Obedience

There it is......the Blue Bunny Chocolate Ice Cream container staring at me in the refrigerator. It looks at me EVERYTIME I go to the freezer.  That happens several times a day....

This week the word of the week in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study that I am doing of the book Made to Crave by Lesa TerKeurst is #PEACE. This is week #3 of both the bible study and the changes to my eating and exercise habits that will get me to a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately the ice cream in the freezer will not do that! But in this week, I have found a peace in that ice cream container that I have resisted all week. It is a metaphor for my weight loss journey.  Chocolate ice cream is not a craving of mine but it is something I would gladly eat.

I have been staying away from refined sugars, putting sweetener in my coffee and staying away from candies, sweets, etc, etc.  While I can't say that I have even been a big sweet eater, sugar has been a staple in my diet. And a part of my frustration in giving up sugar is that I don't believe (as a nurse) that artificial sweeteners are a good idea.  There are too many chemicals in them and too little agreement from "experts" as to how safe they are.  With that said, I don't want to influence any one's decision about sweeteners but I will say I try to stay with sweetening products made from  natural products. Stevia and Agave nectar are two of my favorite when I need something for my morning coffee. Sorry....I can't do it black!

So, as I open my freezer to get my morning Jimmy Dean Delights sandwich or my Smart Ones frozen meal for lunch, I find that Chocolate Champion container looking at me.  It first it tauted me, now after 5 days, it makes me laugh.  Why??   Because I realized this week that I am the Champion, not the ice cream! of my least favorite words. However, scripture is full of reminders of how important it is.  And in truth, without obedience to my exercise routine or meal plan health will not improve. I was always pretty obedient to my parents until I hit college. It was there that I started making rebellious decisions. That was also when I rebelled against my Heavenly Father as well. So the idea of learning to Delight in Obedience especially as it relates to exercise and food is painful.

Why is it painful? Because I learned a truth about myself this week that hurts me to the core. It was revealed to me during my devotional and study time this week that I am a glutton. That is, what a lot of my issue with food is all about. Gluttony is defined is Webster's Dictionary as "excess in eating or drinking; greedy or excessive indulgence."

Proverbs 23:19-21 says "Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."

Ouch!......The truth in that scripture convicted me.. I want to be wise, I want to keep my heart on the right path, I have been a glutton for food and during a different period of my life, material things as well (but that is a different story).  And if I look at the results of my gluttony, it is true that it has made me health, in spiritual wellness and emotional drowsiness. My excessive appetite has lead me to a poor eating habits, high blood pressure and a lazy lifestyle.  All of the things that I am fighting against right now.

So back to the container of ice cream in the I stared into the freezer yesterday, I realized that it was getting easier to shut the door without panging for a spoon to dig in to the container. God, in his mercy, has given his Holy Spirit with wisdom, guidance and love to heal me from this spirit of gluttony.  How do I know this? Well......I have started praying for God to replace the desire for eating to excess with a desire to eat less.  It sounds to simple, to easy, to good to be true...but since praying this way I have found a peace in my soul as I eat less at meals which is my downfall. I have found peace in the obedience of choosing better foods and eating less at one time.

I love the promise in Isaiah 45:3 - "I will give you treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord the God of Israel who summons you by name." It is the verse of the week in the study and I am taking it to my heart that as I do with less food, I am storing up treasures in heaven.

Now next week, I am going to tackle the exercise, right now I am going to close and go put in my walking DVD...and pray for Spring! And laugh at the Chocolate Ice Cream container in the refrigerator when I get my pre-portioned lunch out!

God bless you today and everyday with treasures beyond your wildest dreams!!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1 Peter 5:7-8

Okay, so I have had better starts to diets in the past. I am not exactly sure what has been my hang up...other then my own stubborn self that is. Perhaps that it is the knowledge that this time it has to be a complete lifestyle means forever, it is admitting that I have been making poor decisions in my eating habits and my exercise habits. Poor habits that have to change.

There is anxiety for me in the idea of change.  I know that I am not the only one....never really talked to anyone who says they like change.  If you do, drop me a line, I would like to get to know you better.

So as I eat my Lean Pocket and Carrot sticks instead of those BBQ chips in the kitchen calling my name...

Let's take a closer look at 1 Peter 5:7-8.
I was curious about a few of the key words in the verse.

1. Cast- defined by the dictionary in terms: to throw; to throw with force, hurl; to shed; to throw forth, drop; to throw on the ground; to deposit; to turn or direct (as in eyes); and in Nautical terms to turn (a ship) change to the opposite tack.
2. Anxieties- defined by wikidictionary as "an unpleasant state of inner turmoil a feeling of fear, worry and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation.

So just the first few words spoke volumes to me:
I am suppose to throw, even hurl my anxieties, which are: my feelings of fear, worry and uneasiness (note they are usually unfocused and an overrection, hum).... It implies to me that I need to turn in the direction on God (turning my eyes toward), even turning "my ship" around to head a different direction (towards him) .  I was surprised bit as I looked at John Gills's Exposition of the Bible entry for this verse: (didn't see this coming) " ; the care of the body, and of all the affairs of life, concerning which saints should not be anxiously thoughtful, but depend upon the providence of God,.... as also the care of the soul, and the spiritual and eternal welfare of it, which should be committed into the hands of Christ, on whom help is laid, and who is become the author of eternal salvation."
Now on to the second half of 7- "for he careth for you;
for the bodies of his people, and their outward concerns of life, for food and raiment for them, and for the preservation of them, who will not suffer them to want, nor withhold any good thing from them, or ever leave them and forsake them; and for their souls, for which he has made provision in his Son, and in the covenant of his grace has laid help upon a mighty Saviour; and who has obtained an eternal redemption for them, bestows his grace upon them, and gives every needful supply of it to them, and keeps them by his power through faith unto salvation."
Hello!!! it talks about the body, food.......In the commentary!!! God cares not only, per this scripture reference about my spiritual well-being, but my physical one as well.

Humbling and a bit disconcerting too.
So....moving on.....
vs. 8a: "Be self-controlled and alert" 
Self-controlled is defined as "control of one's emotions, desires, or actions, by one's own will."  
Alert- "vigilently attentive; watchful (alert to danger); mentally responsive and perceptive; quick, brisk or lively in action." 
So I need to be in control of my emotions, desires and action and watch for the dangers to which I might befall quickly, lively....not slowly!

So in terms of my dieting......this verse tells me that I need to throw my fears, worries (about never having a dish of my favorite foods again) my Lord who does care for me and every thing about me.  My body and food included. Then......I need to learn how to be control my cravings by my own will and be always on the alert for dangers to what I am trying to do by changing my lifestyle.

Believe it or not, I this really helped me in terms of my struggle against food choices.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

When I read this scripture, I hear the voice of God.  It's promise has carried me through the deepest valleys of my life.  Our God has plans for us. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past or what we are in the of...His plan is one of hope and holds the future....

Often in my life I have felt that whatever muck I was stuck in was all that there was for me.  The same issues, the same situations, the same for my future as was in my past...things would never get better. I often wondered, why!? Why was I always doomed to live this way, what had I done to be punished.  When others around me were getting blessings and success. 

It was then that I find myself looking at Jeremiah 29:11...a reminder that he is in charge, that his plans for to prosper me, not to hurt me, plans that promise a hope and a future. So I held on...clinging to that promise.  

One day I was reading on and discovered a nugget of truth that I had conveniently missed before. 

 "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you" declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity....." Jeremiah 29:12-14

Did you see what I missed for way too long? 
I have to call upon him, come to him and pray...he will listen to me.
I have to seek him with all my heart...I will find him. 
When I find him...he will bring my out of the captivity that I am living in..

I have discovered the truth of is only when I surrender myself to God, when I humble myself to call upon His name and pray that I find him when I look with all of my heart.  I can't give him half of me or half of my situation. I have to surrender all of myself and all of my situation..

In this scripture Jeremiah was talking to the captives in Babylon, giving them the word from God.He a plan for them and after a time he told them that he was going to give them a new beginning and a new purpose. Just like for the people in Babylon, God used my time in unpleasant circumstances to prepare me for the blessings that he was going to give me in his time with his purpose.  

Are you experiencing a time of hopelessness or frustration? Take Jeremiah 29:11-14 to heart and see what he does with your obedience. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

All I can say is goodbye to 2013 and......HELLO 2014!

I am so ready for the new year and what blessings are in store for my family in the new year.  This year, in just a couple of more days, my husband will technically be a Full Time employee for the first time since we started on our journey serving God 6 years ago.

I know that God is in charge of our ministry and we had spent a lot of time in the last few years wondering what He was doing...waiting for fruit to appear. His timing is perfect even if I don't understand it. And believe me, I don't....

During our time of waiting, I have learned a few things worth sharing...
1. Just because you don't feel God's presence in your life, doesn't mean He is not there.
2. If you think that He has abandoned you,  check to see how far you have strayed from Him.
3. Sometimes it is good to just let God have his mysteries...we don't always need to know why things happen..

Here is my verse and word for word for 2014...

The verse is: "See, I am doing a new thing, Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wastelands." Isaiah 43:19

While I am not exactly sure what this verse will mean for my life, I do know that it is a promise for all of us..A promise and a warning.. make sure that you pay attention to the blessings (new things) in your life.

The word is "Generosity" - with new blessings comes a new responsibility to help others with what we receive in his provision and blessing. My heart's desire is that my family can begin the process, with our financial blessing to hope others in the same way that others have helped us over the last decade.

To everything there is a season....

God's Blessings in this New Year as we get to know our Savior and Lord better in this 2014!