Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hosea

Just a little book in the Old Testament.

A man called to be a prophet.

Hosea, a man, righteous enough to be entrusted with God’s responsibility.

He was told to marry.  Marry a woman who wasn’t faithful.  She had that cheating heart.

Beyond probably any manhood advice not to marry this wayward woman, Hosea married.

And a cheating heart is stronger than his love.

She cheats.

She strays.

She boastfully walks away.

But Hosea, runs after.  He proclaims his love, his duty, his vow of marriage.

Enough for her to turn back to him.

Then the urges were too hard to bare.  She once again.

Cheats.

Strays.

Boastfully walks away.

And he runs after his love.

Oh, Christ-followers……

You proclaim.  You turn from those idols ways.  You walk the straight and narrow…. focused.

Then the urge reveals the temptation.  The weakness.  Your weakness.

You cheat.

You stray.

You boastfully walk away.

And yet, He runs after you proclaiming His love, His grace, His mercy, His vow.

And Hosea’s cycle begins again.

Oh,  Regina…..

You proclaim.

You focus.

You are overcome from the temptation. That weakness.  That numbing thoughts.

You cheat.

You stray.

You lose focus.

And Hosea’s God, Christ-followers’ God, Your God, Savior drops everything and runs hard after you.  He pours out His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and His Vow to keep you.

You bathe.

Soak.

You cover yourself in what He poured out.

Then you pray….. that Hosea’s cycle….. the one you know so well, is broken.

 

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Found a Name

You hear parents whose child has been diagnosed with an illness.

“At least now we have a name for it and we can finally go forward.”

Bravery.  Solid Bravery.  Me, probably would crawl under the sheets and stay.

To have a name for something does holds a true validity.  Once you name it, you own it.  You have a choice to be beaten down or to proclaim Holy victory over it.

No, I’m not ill.  Well, maybe not physically but emotionally I’m still healing.

Last night, I heard a revelation.

“My best isn’t good enough.” the Biggest Loser contestant cried out.

A sledge hammer just barreled down upon me.  Yes, that is the root of my yuck.  I have a name for it now…… or a feeling of unworthiness…… no not unworthy, insignificant.

As a teacher, I gave my best under the oppressive situation.  It wasn’t good enough.  No matter what I did as a Children’s Minister, great planning, hard work…. approval or recognition wasn’t applied.  Again, good wasn’t good enough….. even when I thought I had done my best job ever….. it never reached a satisfactory nod.  Then as a writer, I packaged all of the rejection letters into a neat little file marked, “Not Good Enough.”  Speaker….. same thing.  Housekeeping abilities….. ha! Whatever.  Never feel my home is good enough for anyone to visit.

See.  It’s there through and through me.  And guess what??  That same feeling of insignificance encased every chance I had for losing weight.  I would drop 20 and then, it would hit me.  And I would never proceed.

Crazy.  Absolutely Crazy.  I know it.  Intellectually I get it and think now that is just nuts.  But emotionally and spiritually, I have never even considered the nuttiness of it all.

Look, I can’t be alone in this sinking ship.  We have to learn to listen to God’s truths.  I am significant or I wouldn’t be here.  God has a plan.  It is beginning to evolve.  I see it so clearly now.

I can actually put that Not Good Enough file into the spiritual trash and begin to live and bask in God’s freedom.  Six months of begging God for a label.  Asking for true understanding of the underlining fixation.

And there it was….. I found the name.  Now, please excuse me my mental paper shredder is hungry.  I have just the file to feed it.

 

Makeover Mentality

Okay, it is no secret that I have a weight issue.  Always have.

Funny story….. My doctor once stated, “You know, you haven’t always been this overweight.  You were just plump in your 20’s”

I chuckled and said, “Yea, put I smoked, drank, and partied more than I ate.  So, I don’t think that lifestyle is where I need to return.”

Thank God, he agreed.

Over the past 6 months, I have gone through what I call a Mental Makeover.  I’ve always said that change has to start in the brain.  But there is more to it than just making up your mind to embrace change.

Ahem.  You have to live it.

Think about it like this……

11 years ago, my family stepped into a church for the first time as a family.  My dad included.  Yes, we attended with the attitude that we needed to say thank you for saving dad’s life.  A valid reason.  But there was nothing more than that simple attitude.

Little by little, Sunday by Sunday, change took place.  At first we only attended church and dropped off our daughter to enjoy the children’s stuff during the week.  Then, over time, we started to be more and more involved.  Our attitude became “This is What God Intends.”

Attending church, Bible classes, small groups, responsibilities, out reach, and ministry became the “want to’s” in our daily lives.  It seemed the more we wanted to attend and minister and be a part of Christ’s church; the more we wanted and strove for  the more personal relationship with Christ.

Do you see where I am headed?  Do you get it?

The more we changed the more God we wanted.

Here’s the secret I have uncovered over the past 6 months…..

The more I change my views, attitudes, accountability, and choices; the more change I want.  And the more I allow God into this brokenness; the more I want to give Him.

And its funny…..  the more He reveals to me about my sabotage efforts, triggers, and how I see myself; the more ready I become for change.

And my family has been very supportive.  I am more honest with them and we are all learning to accept the more healthier changes.  Oh, yes, they grumble but they see and understand the makeover mentality that is needed for success.

Praise God, you know what I mean??!!  Leading life as a Christ-follower requires one step at a time.  It is one thought at a time.  One positive and morally right attitude at a time.  It is one Bible class at a time and one Sunday at a time.

My daughter was once criticized about her attitude towards church.  She stated she enjoyed and wanted to attend.  Whereas the adult leading her group could not believe because she didn’t have the more expected, “I Don’t Want to Go” attitude.

That’s what I want my healthy lifestyle to become.  It is hard.  Trust me, I have cried, fussed, and even yelled at God for the past 6 months.  I have always fought tooth and nail to keep my weight issue mine.  I can’t no longer.  God has opened my heart and mind for the change.  He has placed wonderful people who hold me up and help me through all of this yuck I have stored in and on me.

And the stronger I become, the stronger the temptation becomes.  That’s is where I find myself today.  Struggling.  I have finished the Daniel Fast and I know it.  I can’t hide behind the label and attitude that I am fasting.  Rather, now, I am arguing with myself that I can enjoy foods that are sugary and full of caffeine simply because the fast has ended.

I am holding strong with the caffeine free idea.  Sugar is another thing entirely.  I made the mistake on Saturday to enjoy a spoonful of chocolate frosting.  And I quickly started down the path to sugarland.  This morning, all I wanted was chocolate muffins.  Mine are low fat and low calorie but sugar is there.  I had to make the decision….. and quickly I might add or else I was going to sabotage all the hard work I have done.  And if history repeats itself…. once the sugar rush is crashing the want for caffeine will take over.

So this morning I made muffins….. blueberry muffins that have gone through a major…. MAJOR makeover.  My everyday blueberry muffin recipe is delicious.  But I did the math….. one blueberry muffin is 183 calories.  One. Muffin.  183 calories.

So, I made a few changes.  Oil replaced by applesauce.  Sugar…. stevia baking blend instead.  (I realize there is sugar in the blend so it isn’t totally sugar free but it is a start.) White Flour took the back seat to Whole Wheat Flour.  Vanilla Soy Milk was added instead of whole milk.  And most importantly, they tasted delicious.  And only 98 calories.

So, I know it will be difficult to wipe out sugar completely but I am learning to use more natural alternatives like honey and agar syrup.  And of course Stevia.  Now my attitude is making over one recipe at a time.

God give me strength to continue!!

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Thought Patterns

Now, I guess you might say I am a deep thinker.

Or an over-analyzing thinker.

Maybe I am just becoming more in tune to my thoughts.

Perhaps, I’ve learned to accept the fact that thoughts are just there  ALL. THE. TIME.

Don’t feel like I’m in despair over this….. really I’m not.

Yes, I’ve blogged on this topic before (you’re probably thinking “Build a Bridge and Get Over It!”)

This morning over a nice talk with my accountability partner we were talking about the thoughts that make us disengage, discourage us, and even prevent us from battling our weight.

We both had an AHA moment even though we knew this sort of dysfunctional brain- thought pattern has always occurred.  You know those “Don’t deserve”, “Can’t do this so why try?”, “I really don’t like myself”, “I’m unworthy” thoughts.

A year ago, those thoughts would have stopped me in my tracks and caused me to run back to the comfort foods.  Today, with my friend, I discovered that I don’t turn into the eating machine that had no recollection nor regard of what I was consuming.  Instead, I counter suit.

I either reroute my thoughts to something else.  I’ll pray….. sometimes plea for mercy! Find something to do.  Or just plain state out loud, “That is just a lie and I know it.”  I’ve even screamed, “Go to Hell, Satan!”  Boy did that feel great!

But here’s the key, a year ago, I would have done the same exact techniques then give in to the eating machine tendencies.

Education has been the factor that is different.  I’ve discovered over the past 6 months in extensive research and proven to myself that sugar and artificial sweeteners cause me to want more and more and more.

Look at it this way, if an alcoholic kept booze around, chances are he/she will drink.  Right?  Makes sense.

I am a sugar and caffeine addict.  I’ve gotten the temptation out of my sight.  And I am going to be real honest here.  Yes, I have done the Daniel Fast in the past.  But I didn’t go to the extent nor as long as I have this time.  Yes, I have given up meat and dairy before as well….. it didn’t last. And it wasn’t the meat or dairy that kept me from losing….. it was the sugar.  So,  I fell back into the thought patterns.  Ahem, like……It is too expensive to eat healthy.

Now, I come back with….. yeah, at what cost?

I half way did a food diary.  I didn’t write down the foods in the binge mainly because I didn’t know what I was consuming.  And now, the switch that blinded me has been disconnected.

I have kept a pretty thorough diary for four months now.  And I’ve gotten more and more honest about what I enter.  Because, I am aware.  And it has helped me recognize the effects sugar and caffeine has had on me.  Irritability, irrational, grumpy, angry, tired, out of focus,….. oh the list can go on and on.

So this morning I broke the news to the kids…… No sugar.  No caffeine. This will continue.  I will add some chicken and fish to our diet but limited.  I am going to continue with the fresh and with the philosophy of  “If I can’t read and know all the ingredients on the label, it won’t be in my cart.”

Trust me, I don’t want to ever have to go through those withdrawals EVER AGAIN!

Yeah, I have thought about celebrating with a Pepsi but then I am reminded of the horrible feeling I had that Friday.

So, now, here’s the thing.  I went through my blog posts from last year in January and February.  It was the beginning of this journey.  I was in despair and I really scared some friends and family with my raw honesty and perception of myself.  Scared me too.  Some things I have completely abandoned, some I failed, and well, there is one thing that has improved……

I am still taking it one day at a time and I don’t beat myself up as much.  Talk about abuse!  I mentally took a beating daily.  Not so much now.  Praise God. I am learning to talk about what I have done and not what I am going to do.  I’ve learned that I will sabotage my efforts….. you know, setting myself up for failure then drowning myself in food.

But most of all….. I have learned to lean….. I mean really lean….. on God.  His grace and love encourages me everyday.  Yes, He loves me.  Yes, He is rooting me on.  Yes, He is there to pick me up, dust me off, and set me back on track.  He placed a wonderful person to be my accountability partner.  She understands me.  Gets what I am saying.  And she has lived it as well.  She knows how hard it is and battles with the same things I do on a daily basis.

Thank God!  I mean really, I am standing and shouting, “Praise be to You, Lord!”  Without Him, I wouldn’t be here today a little lighter in weight and thought.

I am content…. with the idea of no sugar or caffeine…… with the daily walk…… with my efforts……

Oh, and thank you, for your prayers and your wonderful inspiring emails and posts.  They mean the world to me.

A Will

I washed the four brown eggs.  So perfectly formed.

My heart grew warm from the giddiness inside.

God has a way….. no a will like no other.  A tiny hint of faith in Him carries the demonstration of His will.

The cool water rushed over the winter night’s coldness.  How wonderful!

No eggs have been collected since October.  Worms, a neighbor explained.  Short days, another piped in.  Molting, read the dummy’s guide to hens.  Whatever the reason, I had given up on those poultry divas of mine!

Sing to them, a friend suggested.  So I did for an entire week.  Found myself out in the cold and rain singing a sweet melody of joyful noise.

I thought after doing everything I possibly could, I would just talk to the ladies.  You know explain what that shocking word “Cull” means.  I cried at the thought of culling.  They are my divas and well, this human diva had to have a stern talking to the poultry divas.

My speech only fell upon blank stares.  They just wanted their daily spoiling of meal worms, fresh fruit, veggies, and yes, stale bread.  I tried explaining to them that they had to start laying or we will be forced to send them away.  (I didn’t have the heart to tell them about culling.)

I couldn’t will them to lay eggs.  Oh, I don’t want to lose them……  I’ve spoiled them rotten and well, they are family.

As silly as it sounds, yes, I stood over that chicken coop and prayed like I had never prayed before.  If I couldn’t convince them then perhaps, just perhaps, God’s will would be done and the forces of nature would make eggs appear.

If God could make a 100+ year old woman conceive, then my chickens would lay eggs!  If He could rain down manna, then He could provide fresh eggs for us.  If God could make a small amount of oil burn for eight straight days, then by-golly, I could have eggs in my basket!!

Then, yesterday, my daughter set out to clean the coop.  Within minutes she brought in 4 beautiful perfect eggs.  If I was at home alone, I promise you I would be out there hugging each chicken!!  But I refrained…… but a happy dance seemed more appropriate….. and ahem…. less crazy.

Nothing in my power could make those divas lay an egg.  I know it may have something to do with the longer days, molting being over, and possibly a healing from worms…… BUT, I think God made it happen.  My tiny faith and His will provided proof in those eggs that God listens to prayer.

Even if they are said from the chicken coop!