Monday, July 30, 2012


Here are the clothes from my closet (the second time) laid out in piles so that I can sell them to get some that fit!

I NEVER thought I'd be here again...right here cleaning AGAIN...have I mentioned AGAIN? When I cleaned out in April, I truly thought I was done and fully ready for the summer and fall/winter. I guess I should have done a more thorough search of the clothing and actually tried on the items for the colder months. Because they were about 6-10 sizes TOO BIG. I honestly didn't notice.

In hopes of getting some help in the "style" department, a friend recommended that I go back through my closet and do some adjusting...try on everything, take pictures and see what you really like. Now, determining what I REALLY like is an issue...I'm more of an analytical thinker and there's not a creative bone/muscle/tissue/thought in me... I am serious - the reason I enjoy Pinterest is because I can follow instructions and copy someone else's idea easily, but to come up with that on my own...umm, nope!

So, with the help of Safety Patrol (who I believe volunteered just to monitor my health and make me sit down after EVERY outfit....Lord, I truly do thank you that this child will one day be used by You to save lives...I have NO DOUBT), I took every.single.thing out of my closet and tried it on. We took pics so I could see how it fit. There were things JT could have worn...I am not jesting. I had to let go of some items that I actually wore and liked. I think I have 4 items left for winter...since it doesn't get that cold in Alabama, I'll be sporting a t-shirt under my winter jacket (never mind, I bet that doesn't fit either but it was in the mudroom so I haven't tried it on yet).

Apparently, when I cleaned out the first time I still had a slight plan B...get bigger in the winter? I'm not sure if I just didn't want to deal with long sleeves and sweaters at that point or I honestly thought some of the size 14s and up would fit or if I thought I was going to gain weight by then....I am still pondering all of those options. Part of me was definitely planning on wearing some of those clothes because I thought they would fit well (as opposed to how tight they were).'s where I am. I have grown in the development of commitment over the past 8 months. Only by the grace of God! It is God alone who has created a level of commitment in any of us who live under this roof. There have been days of utter exhaustion and frustration and a strong desire to give up. But, He has reminded us of why He is bringing us through this time. And, we must be committed to Him!

No matter how I FEEL, or what I THINK, or what is going on in my life (or the lives of others), I must remember that He is my FIRST LOVE. I live FOR HIM. I will die FOR HIM. I must eat FOR HIM. I must parent FOR HIM. It's ALL for His glory and for Him alone. I will not bow down to my own desires or feelings or thoughts that will definitely lead me astray.

His Word stands true no matter how any of us interpret or believe it. It is true. What I think of it doesn't matter...nor does what you think of it...or anyone else. Thus, when He says that our bodies are the temple of the living God, it is true. How are you housing Him today?

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Breakthrough or Breakdown...In the Dressing Room

Safety Patrol and I on our morning exercise duties this morning outside!!!

This past Friday I made good on my promise to take the kids to see Ice Age (on a side note, they can handle the father figure in a movie getting separated from his family only to pursue them and find his way home. If the mother is turned into another animal, abducted, even thought to be hurt, etc, they do not handle that well. Nightmares for weeks and endless questions about my safety....we will not be seeing any movies like that. Again. Ever.). We were right across from the mall, and since we have a small list of clothing needs (after clearing out all of our closets), we headed over there for a few minutes.

Of all days, they had a fire in the mall...that should have been a clue to leave, but alas, it was not. I went into the department store to find a few pair of pants for Z, but I would have to haul everyone back in the van (insert huffy sigh) and use a different entrance. So, since M needed a few things, we headed to the women's department.

After eight months of eating healthy and exercising, I can finally look at clothes in a new light. I only have 2 pair of capris that fit, so I found a rack where there were plenty (and they were on sale). I delightfully picked up a single digit size and hauled my littles into the dressing room (at Belk, there's plenty of room for all of them which is a very good thing). I put them on, and my kids immediately shouted (and I do mean SHOUTED), "Momma, those are TOO big." I looked in the mirror several times and checked the tag over and over again. Can this be so? I know that every brand fits differently, and even every kind of pants in that particular brand fit I tried some other brands/types. They were all too big.

If my kids hadn't been shaken to their core by my tears, I would have dropped to my knees right there in the dressing room. All those moments of weakness, questioning, doubt, fear, sweat, weariness, and fatigue came flooding back. The images of early morning runs, tying my running shoes, grocery store runs without entering the middle aisles, saying no to desserts, choosing healthy portions, eating well, and exercising no matter what I felt like flashed before my mind. People who have held me accountable and encouraged me came to mind. God used those moments to remind me of how far He has taken me.

I had tried on all of four items when I just couldn't stand anymore...that's a side effect of surgery...I only have so much time on my feet, and then I am done. If I sit up straight without my feet elevated or stand for more than 30 minutes, I am worn out. I'm hoping that disappears soon!

All the way home I just praised the Lord for His conviction. I remember my tears back in December over what I could and could not eat....and over my lack of ability and endurance to even walk a 5K...and about not fitting in a size 18. I recall my desire to do something different but not knowing how or what to do. God reminded me of the days when I would say one thing (I don't want to look this way or feel this way) but how my actions proved differently. Wow...His conviction is good, and His Word can be trusted! When He says that our bodies are His temple and we should honor Him with our bodies, He MEANS it. And, He will do it through you.

You are not alone today in your struggle to get healthy, lose weight, tone up, and honor God with your physical body. He will enable you to do it. If He commands it (and He His Word and see what He says), He will make a way for it to happen. You must be willing to submit your will, your appetite, your preferences, and your excuses to His ways. Submit and know that it will NOT be easy. You will still have to suffer the consequences of your eating habits/lack of exercise....I say this with great experience. I am STILL reaping the results of years of bad habits. But, our God is faithful, and He will be faithful in spite of our faithlessness.

Take those first steps today, and seek the Lord. Admit the sin in your life as it relates to eating/exercising. Ask for forgiveness. Repent and turn the other way! He will show you what He wants you to do! What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Surrounded by community

Community... we often long for it and desire it with our core being. We witness it when a tragedy happens and marvel at how people pull together in such times. Some of us envy community when we see others who have it. We see it modeled in the New Testament church. Look at the guys in Acts and see how they handled was called community. They shared everything they had in common. They met each others' needs. They ate together. They worshipped together. It's the model that we are to follow.

Many people come home from mission trips with a great sense of biblical community. There are few distractions, ministry happens and true community is built. People eat every meal with one another, share life together and minister alongside one another. It is often grieved and longed for once people are home.

I have experienced times of great community in my faith journey. I have often been surrounded by people who were the hands and feet of Jesus to me and I was the same for them. It has been beautiful and messy and glorious!

Over the past few weeks I have seen my community grow. A good friend from my small group, LL, put together a meal plan so that people could help our family after my surgery. Honestly, I hesitated to even tell people about the surgery much less about the need that we had for meals (with a wife down for the count, only 12 days until the next international trip and 5 kids to care for, I figured my husband could use the help). But, people stepped up big time. They filled all the slots and then some.

And by the way, these people are no slouches in the kitchen. They can cook..yummy, I tell ya. One friend drove 35 minutes just to leave the meal on my counter because I was taking a nap. Another went to Homewood to pick up our favorite sweet (Steel City Pops, of course) and surprised us with them. A good friend came early to bring her meal so I could have some adult conversation. One brother came by to check on me and hung out for a while so I could get some work done. A friend brought our favorite lunch on a day and let me borrow a book she hadn't even read yet. A great friend dropped everything and spent a Sunday afternoon with me. And, there were more offers to get groceries, take the kids, drive me around, move in (that was my personal favorite),etc.

Then, there was the day when I felt like I was at the end of my rope. I had already been to the doctor twice to get excess fluid drained. The first time, I passed out which pretty much messed with my mind (feeling helpless and out of control can do that to a person). That experience was topped with the knowledge that JT was about to leave the country for 2 weeks, and I still couldn't lift anything...or drive...or make it through the day without resting...and still taking care of 5 kids. I woke up that morning with tears that wouldn't stop. I sent a text to some good friends/family who immediately shot back encouragement, calls, wisdom and prayers.

When I am part of a community and give to others, it seems natural and God-ordained. When I am the one who has to's harder...much harder. But, I see that God has a purpose in both. He inconveniences the one to minister to the other. It's like a is the eye and one is the foot...seems like I've heard this story before. It is true, and I know it to be true (and even if I didn't know it, it would still be so).

People who have given up their own schedules and preferences and agendas and desires to minister to me in a time of need....that's my community. I'd name them all if I didn't think I might forget a name or two or three... I am blessed beyond measure!

Community....I love it, I crave it, and I need it. I'm glad to be part of one. And to all of my community...I love you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to work....

I've been out of commission for two weeks now with absolutely no exercising. In fact, the first week I was on complete bed rest except for trips to the bathroom and the doctor. Last week I was able to get up more but still required a nap EVERY day (due to the fact that I am not sleeping all night yet). But, the doctor has released me to begin walking again. After a few weeks he says I can start to run again! Woo-hoo!

I probably need to clarify...I do NOT feel like doing anything. I am in still in some pain though it doesn't prohibit from doing normal tasks. It's just uncomfortable and distracting. I want to stay in bed all day or just sit in the recliner. However, I know that I must get up and become active.

So, a plan is needed. Why? Because I really, really enjoy a plan...and marking things off a list is a pretty good thing too. It might make me a little giddy. I'll put something on my to do list just to mark it off (even after I've done it), so I'm all about a plan! So, this is the system I have developed for my get-back-to-running status!

I dare to put this in writing in order to be accountable to my friends and family. I need people to ask me how I am doing in this area. But additionally, I know that I may or may not have to change this plan based on how my body is reacting. I hope that my recovery speeds up and this goes even faster than I thought. Reality is that it may not, and I may have to slow down. I am preparing myself for either way!

Week of 7/17 - Walk 1 mile a day for 4 days (with my husband out of town and my older girls in protective mode, especially Safety Patrol, I'll be doing this on the treadmill)

Week of 7/24 - Walk 2 miles a day for 4 days (on the treadmill for 2 days, outside for 2 days)

Week of 7/30 - Walk 3.1 miles a day for 4 days (walking with someone in the family outside every day)

Week of 8/6 - Begin training for 5K in September with the Jeff Galloway app on my phone

Friends, does this seem reasonable to you? What are your thoughts? I need all the advice/wisdom/input I can get!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


We live in a society where to-do lists reign, relaxation (to the point of laziness) is often promoted and mindlessness is encouraged. Think about it....

We turn on the television to entertain us so we don't have to think.

We ask our children for just a few moments of quiet so we don't have to use our brains.

Our prayers become repeated mantras with no actual conversation with God.

We go to church and check that off the list for the week.

We study God's Word by just reading it and knowing that we don't have to do anymore.

We eat without even thinking about our food.

I have been through these cycles in my life where I was literally just coasting without thinking AT ALL! I have eaten a whole meal without contemplating what I was eating or how much. I have certainly given in to spur of the moment temptations and not even thought about what I was eating.

How about you? Do you eat without thinking about you eat without making sure it's what God wants for you? Does what you eat line up with Scripture?

To combat mindless thinking, our family set guidelines to help us. First, we make a menu every week with whatever is going to be harvested from our garden plus healthy choices from the grocery store. We also put our schedule of important activities on the menu so we can account for those meals that need to be quick! Next we shop at the grocery store every Friday morning or early afternoon. We stick to the outside aisles where the good food is located.

In addition, we prep many of our meats (marinate them) and veggies for the week on the weekend. I promise you our "littles" can go through a 5 lb bag of carrots in less than a week, so we make sure to cut them all up early! With some of the prep work already done, it is easier to cook during the week and helps us to avoid the temptation of eating out.

Speaking of eating out, we do occasionally get an opportunity to do just that. On Sundays and Wednesdays, we eat out before church. We plan for where we are going to eat ahead of time. We look up the nutritional guide online and decide what our healthy choices are. We have to think through EVERY meal in order to make decisions that honor the Lord.

How do you eat purposefully?

Monday, July 9, 2012

A change in plans....

Surgery...I haven't mentioned it publicly because it was really something that I don't feel comfortable discussing. So, that's all the information I'm giving on that. I had surgery on July 3rd and came home to six wonderful caretakers. They have been at my bedside every half hour with something to drink, entertainment, food and encouragement.

Since JT would only be home for 11 days after the surgery, we would need some help. Biblical community to the rescue. My friend, Lora, set up a meal schedule so that we wouldn't have to concern ourselves with cooking each night. What a HUGE blessing! Never underestimate the help that a good meal brings to this family!

I am humbled and so grateful for friends and family who have texted, sent emails, made a meal, etc. to show us their love. I am overwhelmed. Saying thanks is just not enough!

My fear before and after surgery has been the same...that I will get used to not exercising at all and fall back into lazy patterns. My eating has stayed consistent, but my body just wants to do nothing. Please pray that God would give me endurance to exercise and the patience to know that it will take a while to return to running like before. I am trusting in Him to be faithful just as He says. I know that He will sustain me!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Poop in the brownies

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13.

The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family's church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it. The cons were that it contained ONLY 3 profane words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said), and act of intimacy was ONLY implied. The pros were that it was a popular movie - a blockbuster.  Everyone was seeing it.  If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie's stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards.

Many of the members of their Christian church had even seen the movie and said it wasn't "very bad".  Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; "Now we've got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can't turn us down!"  So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie then he would let them go to the movie.  But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well - they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.

Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a "little bit of poop" and not be affected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with "just a little bit of smut" and not be affected.
Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room.
Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks, "Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?"

JT told this story many years ago to the students at our church. It has never left my mind. And, I find myself thinking about it now. What's a little extra dessert going to hurt? It's only a little. A few extra calories today won't undo all the work I've done so far. It's not a big deal. Do you hear my justifications? I do, and I KNOW that I cannot go down that road.

Let me be clear. There is nothing inherently wrong in sweets, but I have rules that govern when and what I can eat to keep me out of trouble.

1. I cannot eat alone. If I want a sweet, I need to be with someone who knows my struggles and can hold me accountable. It was definitely easier to eat a few sweets on our vacation in Cancun because JT was with me...he knew how much I had run that day and we shared only three times...a very small dessert.
2. I cannot eat a sweet after 7 at night. I have NO way (or no intention) of getting rid of those sweet calories before going to bed, so I'll just drink some green tea and go to sleep.
3. I will not eat on a whim. Just this week my girls were baking delicious cinnamon rolls for their business. The house smelled amazing. But, I posted my thoughts on Facebook, and my friends stepped in to encourage and challenge me!
4. I will seek accountability when I know that I'm tempted. If I have not planned to eat something, I will find something else to do or call a friend.

These rules are mine because I will spiral down a road that is ugly. Once I eat something sweet, I want MORE, MORE, MORE! I don't want to stop. So, these guidelines help me to honor Christ with my body.

What about you? Do you have any guidelines that help you to exercise self-control in regard to food/exercise? I would love to hear yours!