Monday, February 25, 2008

Where Is My Sense of Adventure?

Today was my ladies bible study (Jerry Bridges book, "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts". We just went over a chapter about trusting God in his power over nature (i.e: weather, sickness, disease, infirmity, barren wombs etc). I did not get a chance to share my closing thoughts on this chapter so I came here to do that.

How often we respond to these circumstances with questions of "why God?". There is nothing wrong with being honest with God and voicing these things. Yet, you know what I really am starting to long for? An incredibly deep understanding of the character of God that allows me to bypass this step in processing life. I long for the inner core of me to be so trusting of Him in the most vile of happenings, or the strangest uncertainties, or the most mundane annoyances, that I can just lay back and enjoy the ride.
The question at the end was "How can coming to grips with the fact that God is in control of nature affect your daily life?

My answer:
I think the core of handling the uncertainty of nature is in knowing that God will always provide our needs. He won't give us what we cannot handle through Him. I think he wants to stretch our sense of adventure to live under the mystery of His direction and provision. Sometimes we become like the Old Testament people in the stories and God asks us to set out into the unknown, with unknown resources. He takes away our daily comforts, our stocked pantry, our expected budget, our appointment list and to-do's and throws us out an adventure of His timing and choosing. I think He wants us to experience the greater joy of leaning fully on Him rather than the security of our planned out lives.

That is what I am learning. To find joy in the adventure of God allowing my life to be stirred up a bit. See, the joy comes from knowing that he is orchestrating the events both good and bad, and that the journey may not have a visible end, but a reassuring result. That result it my growth to walk by faith. To play a complete game of trust throughout my whole life and enjoy the thrill of the adventure and that I can't loose when He's in charge. This does not mean that my journey though an adventure, would not have its painful moments. Yet, as I process the pain, I want to be okay with the mystery of the bad as well as the mystery of the good. I want to be totally engulfed in my gratitude to be on the journey as His servant.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Encouragement for PMS (follow up to PMS post)

Tami's comments (thank you Tami:) on the last post reminded me that I wanted to post this. I know you read this Tami so I have to tell you that you were an instrument of encouragment to many ladies in my bible study when I took your little note to me and read it out loud in praise for God loving me enough to send such simple encouragement through you.

(For those of you who don't know, Tami Rutledge is a wonderful servant of Jesus Christ who shared her heart with we women of Cornerstone Community Church at our last ladies retreat. She is gracious enough to read my blog from time to time and give me "treats" from God through her. It truly blesses me.)

Tami wrote me this after my post on PMS:

(Tami I know you thought I'd post this as comment, I hope you don't mind me putting it in the spotlight instead.)

About your pms post I was going to post a comment but I thought I would just send it to you!


Well, let me tell you. I found my own special trick for those horrible days. Much to my children's delight.

When I recognized that I was having one of those days, you know the days when my children hope that they will still be alive tomorrow..., well when I realized what was happening (or they pointed it out) I found that the best place for me to be was anywhere ALONE. And my girls were allowed to have free run of the kitchen and all the videos they wanted to watch. This meant, they weren't going to be bothering me about what they could do next, they weren't going to complain about the food and I had peace and quiet. The outcome was that they lived and I was not being a bad example. I wasn't angry at them for breathing and by the next day came we were ready to resume life.

YOu might think that cookies, cereal, chips, and peanut butter combined with 6 straight hours of videos would be a horrible thing. But honestly, the worst thing would be them seeing me be a wicked sinner, out of control. I was able to reflect the fruit of the spirit this way instead of the fruit of the flesh!

A dreaded day became a vacation day.

You see, I am 50, I was home schooled and I lived through some very frightening days, I would have given anything if my mom had recognized her limits and had gone to her room to read a good book and have a day off. I didn't want my girls to go through what I went through.

But this is one of the areas where God leads each of our families differently!



My heart and soul took such a deep sigh after this letter. I think we as mom's are sometimes too hard on ourselves. Or we try to push our agenda when the Lord want's us to take a back seat and let him do something different. The line that hit me the most was "I would have given anything if my mom had recognized her limits." Could it be that I am being proud when I try to push right through these PMS days? This was so good for me, and for the women in my study group who I did not expect to be so encouraged too, but they were.

Tami, I would just like to thank you again for living out a Titus 2 woman by encouraging me to love my children. To remind me that loving my children may mean recognizing my limits. I am sighing still let me tell you!

Ladies, be encouraged, God is aware of your body, heart and soul. He is watching and longing to have you bare HIS yoke. What was that about "easy...and...light", Lord?

Lord, lead me beside still waters....even if I fight to tread otherwise like some raving idiot. In still waters, you are reflected.

Friday, February 15, 2008

And Now You Know the Rest of the Story

(this is part three of an on going story, scroll down to rewind and catch up if you need to)
I continued on as a Sophomore at Masters, and Rick continued at his new job as....yes, a mailman. He got the job the week we met I’m pretty sure. I guess the Lord knew it was time for him to be a family man. We dated in the most frugal of ways. This is one of those things we look back and kind of regret. Rick was saving up EVERYTHING for a backpack trip to Europe with his best childhood friend. So, I came in right when he did not want to use a penny unless he had to. We learned early how to do things cheap. Now he regrets he did not splurge a bit more on our dating because we have been scrimping ever since. We did a lot of Taco Bell dates, and I would make spaghetti at his apartment (remember he was one of four so there were plenty of people around).
One of our favorite dates was to go up on a place called "Nike Point". From this hill top way out in the country you can look down on the whole San Fernando Valley. At night it is really beautiful. We would sit there and have lots of good talks. Usually there was one or two more cars parked at the top.
One night on the way home driving the curvy roads in the dark, I found myself overwhelmed by the silence. We just had one of those moments when neither of us had anything to say and I was stunned by how okay we both were with that. There was not awkward silence! How can this be? I blurted out "I love you". Yes, it was me that said it first. Rick was quiet and pulled over to stop the car. I was not sure what that meant. As it turned out, he did not want to be distracted in this moment. I must have gone mush brain because all I remember is him turning toward me and putting his arm up on the back of my seat. I know he said he loved me too somewhere in there, but I'm sorry to say my heart was pounding so hard, I think all the blood was there and not in my brain. (my 19th birthday outing at our beloved coffee shop)
Time went on. It was my birthday, my 19th birthday. December 13th, 1995. Rick had planned an outing with us and some of my friends from college. Nothing big, just a quiet time out at our favorite couch coffee shop. When we got home we sat in the car in front of the dorm listening to STAR 98.6 ("the best of the 80's and 90's" ....but mostly 80's, much to Rick's delight). He told me happy birthday and leaned in to kiss me for the first time. I remember the song on the radio was "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight". I'll keep the rest of that moment to myself:).
Then, it was May and school was ending. Rick was packing up for home in Washington. I think somewhere in here I met his parents and we went out to the famous "Pookies" for lunch (this is the picture up on the side bar for Feb. with all the cups:). The plan was that I was going home, and he was going home for a few days only to head off to Europe for four months. I was not excited to go home. Not only was I leaving all my friends, but I was leaving him for a LONG time. I remember hugging for a long while.
Well, I did go home and he called from Washington. I think it was on May 4th, but I'd have to look at the records, when something unexpected happened. We were on the phone and Rick just blurted out "Will you marry me when I get back?". I think I stammered, I know I did. A proposal over the phone!? Well, this was not exactly what I had imagined, but I have learned that life does this to you sometimes and you better just put your storybook down and seize the reality of goodness that you have. I told him he needed to call back that evening and talk to my dad. By then I think he was very flustered. He forgot that part. Not out of disrespect, but out of the fact that his proposal came purely unplanned out his mouth and there was not time to think. I'll never forget that night. I had to tell my mom the minute I got off the phone, but my dad was wondering why we both had these gidy faces when he came home from work. I remember pacing in my room for the phone to ring, and when it did, I'm sure I bounced in the air a little and started to sweat and get cold at the same time. He was in the living room which was right next to my bedroom. I tried not to listen. I heard a lot of conversation and then my dad came to my door with the sweetest sheepish face and said that Rick needed to talk to me. My heart must have been racing so fast. He asked officially, and I officially said yes.
It was a LONG four months. I racked up 500 dollars of phone bills throughout all of Europe. He had made me a schedule of where he would be when. I worked two jobs, one at a video store and one at a hardware store. I was bored out of my mind, and very lonely. I had no engagement ring. I had been wearing a purity ring for years. Rick and I had gone to Disneyland days before he had to leave and there he bought us both matching shell rings, so I wore it with that. I did have someone ask me out while he was gone and I had to say I was actually engaged, man I wanted that ring on! (Our visit to Victoria, BC for the day, when Rick came home from Europe)

I flew up to Washington days before he was to come in. I was there at the airport when he arrived. I was so happy to see him walk down through that plane exit. We had a wonderful time with his family and visiting Victoria, BC while we were there. That is when we decided we wanted to Honeymoon there. I was 19 and he took me to a Greek restaurant and ordered one glass of white wine. I was legal there. I was anxious to be a big girl. I choked on it and gagged. He drank the rest. :)
Rick moved down to my area of the world and lived with some friends of his parents who happened to be close by. He got a job with the local Post Office. When he came back from Europe he did not have a penny, so the goal was to save enough to have some kind of Honeymoon, and set up our apartment. Once again, we were pinching. (Us months before our wedding)
We were wed on April 5th, 1997. It was a beautiful day. We stayed the first night locally at the Madonna Inn. Rick had a friend who worked there and when we checked in we discovered that he had upped us to one of the grandest rooms. The next morning we drove to San Jose Airport. We were going through the scanner when a bag I had (a paper gift bag) that contained candles, our toasting goblets from the wedding and some other romantic mish mash, tipped over on the conveyer belt and spilled out all over the place. Someone came up to us and helped us start picking it up. I turned to see it was Rick’s dad. His parents were there! We did not realize they would be at the same airport at the same time. I was a wreck by the end of the day when we were finally in Victoria. We had missing luggage. The rest of the time was good.
Two weeks after we were wed, we found out we were pregnant. You should have seen the look on my dad's face. I think he turned white.
.......and now you know....the rest of the story.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Journeyman
I set out years ago to journey-
To walk life’s road with you,
I couldn’t see where steps would lead,
Or what we would go through,
Yet certain as the sunshine bright,
Was the prospect of my delight,
To just set out with you.

And so the days began to turn,
And months gave way to years,
We welcomed many a right good laugh,
We endured such waves of tears.
Yet emotions ranging high or low,
We kept our ever steady flow,
And carried on as two.

You’ve been the kindness of the morning,
You’ve been the comfort of the night,
With all the world that’s ever turning,
I’ve kept you always in my sight.
And I look forward to the morrow,
Be it good or be it sorrow,
To pass this way with you.

To think that my Creator loved,
More than math could measure,
And gave on top of all the rest,
This one perfected pleasure.
This journey birthed inside his mind,
That brought us to each others find,
That I should walk with you.

The way reaches on to meet the sky,
Where my eyes fail to see,
But Christ leads ever on before us,
And “Oh, how he loves you and me!”
So my heart with thanks abounding,
Now eager, full and pounding,
Sets out to walk with you.

For my Valentine- Feb.14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Our Story Phase Two: First Date

(For part one of the story, you need to scroll down to previous post)
Well, as it turned out, we never went to Sadie Hawkins. We began talking a lot on the phone and just seemed to not be able to get enough of each others thoughts. Our relationship took such a quick escalation, that we went on our first date before the event that brought us together ever took place. Rick asked me to a dinner out at a Mexican restaurant. I really enjoyed his company. (Photo is Our Date at Ed Debevics)
It was a great evening except for my distraction from his very 80's shirt. It was a bright turquoise blue with black circles/dots filled with various florescent shades of color. Lilo would have loved it. :)
The night of Sadie Hawkins, Rick and I and another couple decided to do it better with a night down at Ed Debevics in Beverly Hills. The theme of the Sadie Hawkins was fifties so we just went with that, but better. It was a fun night but I remember wishing we had just gone somewhere as the two of us. The couple we were with were heavy on sarcastic humor and neither Rick nor I are prone to that. We sat in the back seat all the way back to Masters and with a quiet demeanor.
Our relationship became so intense from the beginning that I began to get a little panicked. The more I got to know Rick, the more I liked him A LOT. It was just one of those things that fit together so well that you think the bottom of the world is going to fall out any minute because it's too good to be true. Our first date was on Nov. 7th (that Mexican restaurant date) and by two weeks later, I asked that we take a back up hit the breaks. I thought we should try to be just friends. I was so unsure that this was really what it was gearing up to be.
Rick came home with me for Thanksgiving, as friends. My parents loved him. My dad especially loved him, and thought he was the best. That scared me even more and I tried hard to fight the gushy feelings I had when I looked at him across the table of food and heard him so easily converse with my family as if he had been there forever. I was still fighting it when we sat out on the swing that swung from the big oak on the hill behind our house (my favorite teenage get away in tough times and hormonal surges). As we sat there swinging and talking I looked over at him and just KNEW this was the man I was going to marry. I knew it was true because I didn't want to know but something was telling me anyway. I was still trying to emotionally fight it.
Rick and I had another amazing and heart wrenching connection, something I had never shared before with anyone, not even any of my girl friends. We both had disabled siblings. My brother Scott is Rick's age and has Cerebral Palsy. Rick's sister Heather (who has since gone to be with the Lord) was mentally retarded (I hate that word, I wish there was another. I grew up in a time when kids used it fluently and toward each other and it would make my little stomach sick to hear them. The word itself has its place but I even have a hard time using it in context). So one of the sweetest surprises to me was that my brother Scott LOVED Rick from the beginning, and Rick had such ease around him. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Scott still loves Rick, sometimes I think more than me, but that's okay.:)

We came back to school and I felt like I was the only one out of my kin who was unsure. That was different; I had never had that happen before. Well, I don't remember how long I held out, but I know it was a matter of days after returning. We frequented this coffee shop that we just loved because it had a loft with couches and games, and they played jazz or forties music. We were sitting on the couch talking when we just noticed how we were scrunching closer and closer. I think Rick said something to the effect of "have you noticed that" and I responded affirmative. He asked me if this meant anything and I said I thought it did and he said something to the effect that he was glad. It was official, we were dating, and friendship alone was forever in the past tense.

Yes, there will be more!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The First Time Ever I Saw His Face

The first time I saw Rick's face, I was disinterested. Not because he was not cute, he was very cute. I was in a bad place in my head. Not only in general, but on that day in particular. I love that I was disinterested because I look back on it now and am tickled that God was working to bring me amazing love and I was not even paying attention.

My heart was still mending from great breakage. I had been a year at Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There I had met someone who was an amazing Christian young man and I was sure that was who God had for me. The Lord did not have it in his plan and he used location separation to show me that. I thank him for it now. I was always feeling second place in this young man's life and as some of you know by now, I'm a person who get's intense about what's in my heart and I needed someone just as intense and loyal as I am. I would have been struggling over and over for attention. I'm thankful God knew me and wanted something else for me. Yet, at the time I was heart sick.
(Us in my college dorm lounge)
My parents could not afford to send me back to the Midwest school. The cost of travel on top of school was too much. So, I went to Masters with a scowl in my heart. I did not want to be there. I cried a lot. I made girl friends pretty fast but was not interested in the guys at all. Finally the Lord used some things in email correspondence with this other young man to prove once and for all to me that the relationship we had was not what I had thought it was. On his end, it was much more superficial. I kid you not, it was the very day that this email arrived or one of the emails trailed from it (conversing back and forth) that I first saw Rick.

A guy friend of mine was going to a play. "The Mousetrap" and I was invited. I was not very close to him but he and I had chatted about what I was going through and he thought this might be a good diversion. I am always up for a good play and so I said a slow "okay". Well, we were supposed to be getting a ride from some other college kids that he knew and I didn't. He said he had coordinated that they would pick us up in front of a dorm. We stood there and they never came. You can imagine my sarcastic attitude. I almost expected such a downer that day. Well, he thought that we might as well walk down to the gym and watch the girl’s volleyball game. Now, I am not much for watching sports but I didn't care what I did that day. So, I went along slowly and with slumped shoulders.

We sat down in the first row of bleachers. After a few minutes he turned around and spotted someone he knew way up at the top. "I'll be right back", he said, "I'm going to say hi to someone". "Okay" and I just sat there. My brain was swimming and I don't even remember the game except my occasional envy of some of the girl’s power and athletic abilities. He came back and sat down next to me and said something like "My friend was wondering who you were". "Who?" I said. "My friend up there, he asked me who I was with and if she was my girl friend. I told him no." I turned around to see a tan brown haired, blue eyed guy in the back. He was handsome but he looked older than me. I was 18 at the time. "How old is he?" I asked. "He's like 25 (he had just had his birthday days before, and I was due to be 19 in December)". "Hmp." I said, that seemed old to me. I didn't think another thought about it. I didn't want to.

A few days later, this very guy came right into my dorm lobby where I was doing homework. He was with a girl I knew downstairs in my dorm. They had just been out to dinner. I found out later on that this gal had liked Rick for a long time. She was very nice but they were out as friends. Well, she introduced me. I think I was sitting there working on my paperwork for application to the semester of study in Israel that I was supposed to do. Well, that was the spark that set off the rest of our lives. He had been himself for a semester and we just starting talking and talking and talking. The gal he was with eventually said goodnight and went downstairs and we just sat there forever. He loved to travel, I love to travel. He loved history, I love history. He loved anything English, or Italian, so do I. Our words just flowed back and forth like the ease of waves coming in and out of the ocean. At the time I just found him incredibly interesting and easy to talk to. That was just what I needed at the time.

Then came time for Sadie Hawkins. I did not want to go. I did not want to ask any guy to go. I had one friend who was really goofy and funny who I thought I might ask. He was like a big brother kind of person. I knew I would have some laughs, but something in me longed for some depth of conversation. I thought of Rick. I didn't even know how to contact him. His little sister went to Masters at the time. I knew who she was but we were not close. She was in a different dorm. My roommate did the work for me; she called Joan and got Rick’s number. I was raised that a lady does not call a guy so this whole thing went against what I was trained was right. I let her do it for me. I don't remember much of the details but he said he would love to.

Stay tuned for more of the story......... I have to start school. :) Don't you love the mystery?????

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lord Bless My PMS

Well, I said this blog would be the perfect and the imperfect. The following is a large dose of "im".
Today was a day I want to forget. If God works for good, I gave him plenty to work with, and that grieves me.
PMS and the homeschooling mom have to be two of the worst combinations on the planet. Usually it's not to bad, but every few months it's absolutely horrible and I feel like I barely survive it (it is now known as PMDD, and I would suggest you read up if you feel nutts about every three months or if you have it this severe every time. Remember that being aware of what you're body is going through will help you know how to prepare. I am personally not one for medication but I can clear my slate ahead of time or at least that is what I'm learning I really need to do). I don't know if it's because we get older, or because it increases with multiple births, but since Superkid it has been harder.
I was very encouraged about a year a go by a Family Life Episode I listened to that talked about this issue. I'm not remembering who the speaker was, but it was a lady (My hard drive is telling me it was Martha Peace the author of "The Excellent Wife") which made me feel better. (I also use to assume that PMS meant the pain and moodiness you have during your cycle, duh? I should have realized the "pre" meant something. She made me feel better by explaining that it can occur five to ten days before your period starts) She explained that your brain actually does swell physically and that makes it harder to think and deal with normal every day things. I was relieved to know there was a reason for my madness. I began to think I should prepare better to down shift during those times. However, the strange thing is, I always forget to plan ahead and the opposite happens. It comes on a day when ... well.. let me just give you a picture of what I woke up to today....
Yesterday was bible study and Rick had been home sick this past weekend so I did not get much housework done. So, I did some school with the kids but had to leave early enough to get some errands one before the study. We managed to unload the dishes before leaving ..That was it.
So, this morning my counters were covered with a very indefinite line between yesterdays clean unloaded dishes and yesterdays all day of dirties. The counter behind me had scraps from making the rest of the dinner when we got home at near six pm, and salsa had been left out and open so you can imagine the lovely onion smell through the house added to the nachos for dinner dish pile. I had gone to bed at 8pm! Remember that I'm a night person, I don't go to bed at 8. Still, I was about to fall over and sleep anywhere if I didn't. That was warning sigh number one, and I should have taken more heed.
Back to the scene...
Lilo had made three "tents" in the living room the day before and remnants were still all over the place. The few TJ's groceries (not perishable) were on my kitchen table, along with the text books, pencils and notebooks from school the day before, accented with some yummy plates from lunch. Each kids room was covered with toys, pop-beads, clean laundry, dirty laundry, hand-me-downs' that needed to be decided upon, and all manner of clutter. My room had two brown wicker chairs filled to overflowing with clean laundry that had been moved from the bed to the chairs, from the chairs to the bed, and back to the chairs more times than I want to count all week. There are final piles of things that need to go out to the shed from Christmas or whatever and a huge tack board that we removed from the girl’s room that I have not figured out what to do with. That has clean laundry draped over it too.
Anyway....enough with all that.
I walked my hour on the treadmill thinking that and a good quiet time would help me with the day. (I have blogged about this before on my old site about my tendency to think that a quiet time is my right of passage to a good day. My thinking is wrong and yet I seem destined t repeat it.)
I don't want to go into the ugly details of how the day unfolded, you don't want to hear and I've all ready re-lived it once with my husband when he asked what had happened that put me in such tears. If I could sum it up it would be a constant repeating pattern of me telling the kids they needed to do something and them in a constant pattern of forgetting or loosing focus every one to three minutes, or sighing and claiming great tiredness when asked to help. It ended with me crying through most of my own chores through the afternoon, two trips to my room to cry out to God and just sob, and a sore nose from crying and blowing.
In our bible study we have been searching what it means to trust God. To know that he is sovereign and want's us to bend to his agenda and recognize that he allows certain things to come our way. I was devastated today at how poorly I was responding and how I felt my body and circumstances were being taken to the very edge of my sanity. In my tears I prayed something that I've never prayed before. I asked Jesus to cover me with his blood. I think the words I repeated were "cover me right now Lord, please cover me". I could literally feel the state my head was in as being so not normal. It's a very strange combination of adrenaline that want's to get it all done NOW, and an overwhelming reaction of "I CAN'T, IT'S TOO MUCH!" all coming at once. Oh and now that the day is over I know I have to trust that he will use today for His glory because I really feel like I blew it. Yet, He is God, that is what He does. I am learning slowly to deal better with these days. I was convicted today to really plan ahead on the calendar this next month. To clear the path for a total down shift to first gear so that when that day comes I have a easier school day (or day off!), a frozen meal ready, and an effort put out to have things fairly tidy so I can just love my children and not become a crazy woman.

One thing that occurred to me today that I shared with my husband is that a homeschool mom's life is like not other professionals. It would be like a working woman taking her kids off to school, and leaving for work with a fairly clean house and coming home to find that some little dwarves had come in and ate, played, messed dishes, pottied, bathed, studied, painted, slept and all manner of doings all day long. Now, she has to make dinner and get it all ready for the next day to do it over again while she goes off to her job. What is our job? Schooling, only we get to attempt to be productive in the midst of the daily affairs of all different life needs, habbits, and goings on as well as a combination of ages meeting us with challenges at different developmental levels. That can drive you crazy on a good day.
So, Lord, please...bless my day of PMS!
PS: I would like to thank my husband for making mac and cheese tonight....thanks honey.XXOOXX
Added Later On:
If you sense that you may have some PMDD symptoms, please read the comments of Flo here on this blog post (for you who are not sure, click where you read "5 comments" or whatever number it is by the time you get to it. Yes, I do have some who have told me they are not sure where the comments are). I appreciated her help. I think I will be doing more research on this myself. Ignorance is NOT bliss on this one!

No Way.....To Werid

I copied Fishmama and took her "which movie are you quiz" link. I never expected this.
No, you don't understand...."Much Ado About Nothing" Is "our" movie! We absolutely love it! Our Honeymoon suite was named "Much Ado About Nothing" (It Was the Old England Inn in Victoira, BC) as all the rooms had Shakespeare names. We went to see the play for a date last summer as well. We own the movie for sure! I even have a label for my blog subjects called this!
You know, I'm glad I did this, I think I found my Valentines flick for us to cuddle up and enjoy.
Rick will think this is pretty cool.

The Movie "I Am"

What Romantic Movie Are You?

Much Ado About Nothing
Take this quiz!

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

This Journey I'm On

I've been learning a lot the past week about baby steps to change. I'm not big on change inwardly. I love outward change, spontaneous moves to shake things up a bit, adventures, but get me down to the inside of me and my habits and you've hit a brick wall. Yeah God that He is stronger than my will!
(if you don't want to hear my story, you can skip down to the important stuff)
I have struggled with weight ever since my first pregnancy. I never dreamed I would, I was so skinny. I have no younger siblings, and I was never around pregnant women having babies (or if I was, I was too much of a tom-boy to notice). When we conceived Princess on our honeymoon I was not fearful at all. I was not fearful because I had not a clue what was going to happen to my body. I remember the day like it was yesterday ,that I looked in the mirror at six months pregnant and freaked out because overnight I developed all these purple streaks accross my previously newlywed hips! I called my mom. "What are these!?" I asked, feeling like I'd been taken over by something. "Honey, those are called stretch marks." And so my life began to change forever. Would I have gone back? No, I loved that I was expecting, but the shock of what was happening to me was hard.

I also took an attitude of "pregnancy liberty" when it came to food. If I craved a cheeseburger (or three) I ate them. If I wanted a Snickers bar, Rick ran across the street to fetch. Neither of us knew what we were doing. I was one of those dumb women who thought that someone removed the cushions magically at the hospital and I would still come home in my size six jeans and tiny knitted top. Oh, poor naive girl that I was!

I gained fifty lbs. Only ten were gone when I came home with my beautiful baby girl. She was seven point nine of them. I was not too worried, I was enjoying my fullness in other areas that I had never had before, and I was distracted by babyhood. I went from "pregnancy liberty" to "nursing liberty" with my eating and was almost worse because I was so hungry all the time. The hunger was of course, for carbs. Again, I had never been close to anyone who had been through this that I could glean wisdom from. Exercise became less and less an option with each pregnancy because I was so sick w/ Lilo and then on bed rest, and again on three months bedrest w/ Superkid. I felt like a beached whale at the end of his. That was a precious time for me though as I spent time leaning on the Lord and talking to my baby boy through the day as we were left home by ourselves to rest. He would wiggle, I would talk, good times.

I'm not making excuses for my weight gain; I just want to visit where my mindset was so I can praise God for how much He has taught me since then.

When Princess was about 26 months old, I decided to focus heavily on regaining my health. Rick's friend and Sister were both getting married up north and my mom said she would take me shopping for a whole suit dress outfit if I reached my goal weight. I did it but with the help of the then popular "Metabolife". Now of course, it's main ingredient "ephedra" (sp?) has been banned. It worked but made me very jittery all the time and a little cranky even.

I dropped near thirty lbs and enjoyed it for two-three months until.......yes, I got pregnant. I was happy to be so, we had been trying for eight months. Lilo's pregnancy was different. I did not eat as much but I was also very ill the whole way. Still with bad nausea and eventually weeks on end of bronchitis, I still at the end put that glorious fifty on. Oh, the magic of hormones!

Ever since then I have not been able to focus enough to go back down that thirty or so lbs. I have gone down ten to fifteen and up again many times but I have not put change into my lifestlye enough for a return to healthy weight.

The me before kids did not crave things. I was not a big eater and believe it or not I did not like sweets too much. Rich foods I could only handle a bite of. I attribute this to the way I was raised w/o sugar and on whole foods. I didn't like it much, but it did have an effect on my health. Pregnancy, and marriage to a chocolate/all sweets lover changed my metabolism in a drastic way.

So, now that my mom is paying the money for me to use the Arbonne Figure 8 system. I am feeling like I need to be a good steward of her money and give her a good return for her investment. It's good because it gives me a drive to focus. My personality requires an all or nothing stance for big change. I don't really like that I'm this way, I would rather be more consistent and patient, but I'm learning these along the way too. Exercise is my largest bane. I was never athletic...NEVER. Yet, to make a great change it is so important. Not only does it get my body into the mode it needs to be, it also releases those endorphins that help my mood and stamina in the day with the kids and even my responses to my husband. It's crutial and yet so hard to do.

I'd like to share what the Lord is teaching me if you'll let me. I've been wanting to write these out for myself but you may find it useful if the Lord has been laying similar things on your heart.
Steps in the Journey:
1. Prayer- "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:4-
I need to pray about this as any other area of my life. I pray over homeschool, groceries, marriage, parenting, money......why would I not pray about health? My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so God is very interested in what I'm doing to damage it or make it strong. He want's to be involved and leading as in everything else. The desire of my heart is to get to a healthy weight, I delight that He is with me, I trust HIM to do this in HIS time. I pray that my motives will remain pure, and I pray for all the following items trusting His Sovereign will and His Holy Spirit's aid.
2. Prioritize- I need to map out what is priority. I need to do this often because it changes. Some things always stay at the top but many others fluctuate. Different seasons of life create different priorities for different people. This may not be on the front burner all the time, but let's try to keep it on the stove shall we?! This is a crucial step that involves step #1. Why? Because my priorities may not be God's and so I need to seek Him. When our kids are little we don't have as much time for this. Ask God to show you how and if He want's you to take this time. It may only be ten minutes, but if it is that, it's a start. You may also have to put this above napping, reading or TV time for a while until you get closer back on track.
3. Plan- "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." That is a good quote for me. Planning is not my strong point because I have a spontaneous personality. I have finally come to peace with the fact that, in general, I am not a scheduled person. I am however learning to find a routieen. I like routieen because it can move inside time and really is more like a process of accomplishing priorities, which is why step #2 is crucial before this step. Timing is everything, and so it is true with this. For me, morning is crutial during this intense time of kicking off my goals (what I mean by that is that I am committing this two months to really stress this area of my life so that I can firmly develop some healthy habits- again this is an aspect of my rather intense personality and may not be the best for someone else), later I may find that I can fit it in anywhere. If I do the morning, it's done. I am not a morning person so I am praising God that he is doing a work in me in this area. I get up to have coffee w/ Rick, see he gets off to work w/ all he needs, spend some quiet time w/ the Lord, and then exercise.
Another planning need is food. This is crucial because if I don't have a plan, it's easier to grab the nearest thing which is usually corn chips and peanut butter and jelly.
4. Prepare- This is where I need to remove obstacles both mental and physical that will stop me and bring in what is helpful to the goal. Examples: Make my time, their time. My kids like to wake up slow so it works good for me to be ready w/ something for them to watch at about seven am when I am ready to walk. This is their only TV time so it becomes special to them which makes them want to sit still. (You may have different circumstances such as tiny ones where this is not as easy especially if you don't have older children able to watch them in a playpen or whatever- so, here you refer back to what your priorities were and perhaps give up your nap or part of it so you can walk while the littles nap, and the olders watch) The best way may be for you to exercise with your children (this does not work for me, a treadmill is better because it removes a lot of obstacles like weather, kids don't feel good, etc. Don't think that money has to be a hindarance either, I bought mine for 10$ at a garage sale and it works great). I am preparing good viewing as well. This includes educational or biblical themes. That way they are watching and getting something. Yesterday they watched the IMAX "Deep Sea" movie from the library and it was beautiful. Veggie Tales, Superbook, Greatest Bible Adventures (Hannah Barbara series), National Geographic's (or Christian versions), Boz the Bear, all are good choices.
Get on the library computer system and you'll be amazed what you can find.
Preparing myself means I don't shower till I'm done walking (is that preparing or the lack there of?:*). I exercise in my pj's w/ the only change being a sports bra added. That way I don't dirty up more sweaty laundry. Nightgowns not recommended :)
It also means favorite music. I made a CD from songs (many of which were on last month's playlist)that mean a lot to me and get me moving. I always end up having a worshipful time because of the music I choose. I would be happy to mail anyone a copy of this CD (it is formulated for exercise but is also great for housework or driving) if you email me- my treat.
5. Push (yourself)- I encourage my girls to do their school and clean their room even when they don't want to. I need to do that for getting on that treadmill. I may not want to for the first 20 min even (as was the case this morning) but I always get felling better as my body adjusts, and I'm ALWAYS glad I did it when I get off. This is a great testimony to my kids that mommy is pushing herself for what is good just as I'm asking them to do. I can also let them know I'm in prayer to have the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Pushing yourself includes you pallet (your tastebuds) as well. I push my kids to eat their healthy foods, should I not push me too!? Hey, if the bushmen in Africa can adjust to grub worms then I can switch to mustard only on my sandwich w/o complaint. Their tongue is the same as mine.
6. Patience- I have to remember that this is a journey, not a "beam me up Scotty" sort of thing. Results take time. Some are immediate: I feel energized, I think more clearly etc. Others take patience. If I went to MacDonald's and downed 12 double cheese burgers I would not be 10 lbs. heavier when I walked out the door. Eventually it would show up. Taking it off is the same way. I cannot expect to get off the treadmill, go look in the mirror and be amazed.
I have to also be patient w/ the change of plans. What I want to do may not work out and I need to be okay with that. This brings me back to step #1.
7. Persevere- Here is where I fail. I get interrupted by life and fail to get back on track. This also brings me to #1. A good support group is necessary. My husband is very supportive in helping me if he can but I am also need accountability to someone. "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor" Ecclesiastes 4:9 I have learned from experience to go to someone who is strong enough to tell you the truth and is just as committed to the goals as you are.
8. Praise- I need to remember to praise God for every step toward improvement in this journey. I have to remember that this is not MY work, it is HIS. I have to lean heavily on the Holy Spirit and obey His convictions. I have to open my eyes to see what God has done and thank Him for it. He is the vine, I am the branch, and apart from Him I can do nothing. I find that my exercise time becomes a wonderful time of reflecting on the Lord. My music helps with that. I find myself praising him that I'm even on the darn thing to begin with.