Let It All Be Joyful!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may be wondering what’s up with my blog name. It may still feel familiar but you smell something different in here!

I recently had a convicting moment in my bible study time. I was challenged to check my motives in the things I do. Just because our motivations start out good doesn’t mean they will always stay good. It’s probably a good idea that we all step back every now and then and make sure we’re still on the right track!

So I took a look at my blog and stopped to think about why I’ve been so inconsistent in writing. Had my good motives of showing how God was working in my life …of bringing Him glory through my stories somehow changed.

What’s next is a hard to admit,true confession…..

What I discovered was…well…a bit more selfish and less than my original motivation. I mostly was keeping “God touches” in my writing but I learned from the likes and comments and views that the more I wrote about the God things, the less attention my blog got. And the less attention I was getting, the more my motivation to write things became smaller.

Did you catch that? The less attention *I** was getting the more I thought “why bother”! And that’s when it hit me. God didn’t ask me to write to show how fabulous I was or to draw attention to myself. He wanted me to write about how He brings joy and hope and love and all the good things into my life. But when what I wrote , whether it focused more on me or on Him, didn’t get the attention I perceived it needed, I took it all personally and withdrew.

My motivation to write somehow became more “how much attention can I get” rather than simply writing what God put on my heart for His glory not mine.

And for this Jesus loving gal, that was a big old OUCH!

So in an attempt to take any focus off me, I’ve changed the title of my blog from My Clamorous Life to simply “JOYFULLY CLAMORING”. Because I really want this to be more about showing the JOY that comes from living a life out loud for the Lord. A life not so much focused on MeMeMe but on how much fun life can be with Him!

I’m human. And I might fall back into needing all the affirmations. And I might write something that is more about me and less about Him. It could happen. I hope not. Because my true intent is to just share what I feel He wants me to. Period. If that moves someone to respond ,whether that response is just for them or they respond to me, it’s all good. My job is simply to be obedient.

To keep JOYFULLY CLAMORING!

A Work in Progress

Today is a big day. A sweet anniversary. A year ago today God grabbed me and said “I have a better plan!” You see, I had asked him sorta “tongue and cheek” to just make me magically thin and fit after my sister declared on Facebook she was ready to lose weight and get healthy. I knew I needed to do the same thing….but the past 15 years had only proved to me how excruciatingly hard this was! So why not ask God for this little favor! I thought it would be an amazing thing for Him to do. I’d just wake up the next day and be 10 lbs lighter. And as I barely changed my eating habits and continued my crusade to never exercise a day in my life, I’d continue to lose weight like butter slipping off a hot steak. It would be spectacular! After this past year of talking to people on social media who are trying to lose weight, God could stay quite busy helping people achieve their own pre-laid quick weight loss plans! People get so agitated and discouraged if they don’t lose 5 lbs or more a week.

But I digress. Back to God’s better plan! I did truly pray for God to make losing some weight easier for me. I did hope I could lose at super fast lightning speed. Because who doesn’t? I knew,though, I needed a mindset change and that’s what I honestly prayed hardest for. Because I knew that if I woke up every day thinking it was OK to be the “fluffy grandma” , that cookies were life and that sitting on the sidelines watching life pass me by was cool, I’d never ever ever lose weight again. I had to have better thoughts passing through my head.

So I went to bed on February 28,2019 with this prayer on my heart. And when I opened my eyes on March 1st, something was different! No, I wasn’t amazed at my new size 10 body staring at me from my bathroom mirror. The size 20 girl was still there with all her bed head glory. But what lay beneath all that crazy hair was not the same! I can’t explain it beyond God’s miraculous touch, but I knew I knew I knew that all my “I can’t possibly do this” thoughts had left the building and would no longer be an issue.

Could I really “do all things through Christ who strengthens me”? I was about to find out….

So I grabbed my phone and purchased the WW app. I scoured through YouTube for all the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home videos I could find. I threw out all the sugary , yummy junk that was lingering in my pantry. I went to Kroger and filled my buggy with lean meats and fruits and veggies and all the healthy things I once snubbed my nose at. I joined my sister’s Facebook group with others who were trying to commit to new and healthier lifestyles…because accountability is a good thing. Then I set about the business of listening to what God’s better plan was and doing it.

My first big surprise was how easy it all felt . It wasn’t hard to hit play on the walking video and actually spend 30 minutes marching and kicking around my living room. It wasn’t hard to kick the cookies to the curb and eat blueberries instead. It wasn’t hard to tell people “no thank you” when they offered me a piece of cake because they knew I always wanted cake! None of it was hard. And that was weird and so amazing.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”…Lamentations 3:22-23

Part of His better plan for me was to teach me this. His mercies truly never end. It’s been an every morning thing. I go to bed each night unaware of what the next day will bring. But God knows. So He wraps up the strength I’ll need to make healthy food choices all day. He boxes up the stamina I’ll need make it through the harder workouts. He ties up all the positive words I need to say to myself. Then when I wake up in the morning, He hands them all to me…a new gift each and every morning.

So by this point, you must be wondering if doing all these things with my new “Jesus super powers” made everything so super easy that I reached all my goals at the exact time I wanted to reach them and never struggled.

And the answer to that is a big fat nope!!! God promised His forever presence with us. But He never promised us His presence would make life super easy with every single thing going just like we want. Over the course of this last year , some things have happened exactly like I wanted them to….like losing 30 lbs in the 3 months before our fancy Alaskan cruise. The picture above of my husband and I was taken on that vacation. We were standing in our “adventure cart” on a mountain trail in Ketchikan, Alaska. SO! MUCH! BEAUTY! Let me just stop here and say if you ever have the chance to go to Alaska, don’t think twice about it. Just go! Best as I could figure, losing 30 lbs would be a reasonable 3 month goal and it would be just enough to make me more comfortable with all the vacation things we’d be doing. And I was right. By June 15th , I had lost 33.5 lbs. Because God sometimes like to show us how He is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or think, simply because He loves us.

After those first three months of abundance , I had new lessons to learn. And the biggest thing God had for me was wrapped up in the s l o w n e s s of the weight loss I would have for the remainder of the first year. I lost 33.5 in the first three months. Over the next NINE months ( and to this very day), I would lose only 32 more pounds. The tail end of my first year of weight watching was full of plateaus, roller coasters… gaining and losing the same 3 or 4 pounds over and over. I’m telling you, a weaker person would’ve just said “Hallelujah for those first 30 pounds but this is for the birds” and thrown in the towel.

Now I’m human. And even though I had given God control of this venture into “healthierness”…yes,that’s a word and I just made it up and it’s good…I still felt big needs to help Him speed things up when the wheels started screeching on my weight loss. So I changed my WW plan . I changed my exercise program.

And ya know what?

I kept losing weight! Yay me!!

You wanna also know what?

My efforts didn’t speed up a thing! Yep. In spite of all my incredible efforts to get to my goals and reach the end of this race quicker , I was still barely losing 1/2 a pound a week. What the heck was going on?? I had accepted the fact that I was gonna lose slowly because of my age and I was OK with that. But this just seemed excruciating. I needed to have another serious chat with my Leader about this.

It went something like this…..

Me: “Hey God! I know You’re for me and with me and all that but I’m just wondering if You , for some reason, have put my request to lose all this weight on Your back burner. I still have a good 15-20 to go and I’m not even losing a pound a week. This is gonna take forevah!!” (insert semi-frustrated grunt here)

God: “Take heart, Sweet Girl, and wait for me. Be strong. I am making you strong now. Don’t you feel that?”

Me: “Yes! I’m so much stronger. I DO feel that. Have You seen that I’m lifting heavier weights now? And I’m doing real burpees! I still can by pass the cookies and cake but even if I have just a bite, that sugar monster You helped me slay stays asleep!! Seriously!! But I really thought I’d be at my goal weight and coasting through maintenance by this point. I need help to not just grow tired of this!”

God: ” What you are doing is a good thing. You’ve made so many positive changes . Continue to use my strength to help you not grow weary in doing these good things. And at the proper time, you will reap the harvest of your efforts because you did not give up. Remember that My timing is perfect even when it’s not the same as what you’d like.”

Me: ” Oh I know!! I won’t forget that. But I’m still an impatient human, just like You created me. I also know to You a day is like a thousand years and that makes me a tad bit nervous! Please please please tell me I’ll reach my goals quicker than that!!”

God: “Stay faithful to the good things I’ve taught you this year. Let your perseverance finish its work . You don’t want to reach your goal prematurely. Let all you’ve learned and accomplished come to completion so that you won’t be lacking anything. When you feel frustrated , like you don’t know what you’re doing anymore, come to Me. I love to help. I won’t look down on you or think you’re weak. I’ll just help you. Ask boldly and then believe without a second thought that I will help you.”

Me: “So if I do these things I don’t see how I can help but reach my goals. In Your time and in Your way. I will wait patiently. I will stay steady and strong. One good decision after another. One at a time. “

And that my Friends, I guess is the secret to my success over this past year and into the years to come. By my own power , I’m a mess. With God leading the way, I at least stand a pretty darn good chance of getting what I truly need. Healthy weight loss….not super fast, at the speed of light loss. A mind set that is changed for the good and for the better because anything that is slowly simmered is superior to something quickly boiled into a mushy mess.

I’m still a work in progress and will continue to be.

Until next time, keep JOYFULLY CLAMORING!

Doing Christmas Well When All the Kids are Adulting

I look around my house at all the signs of Christmas approaching. The tree in the corner brightly lit. The garland on the mantle with stockings hung with care underneath. The wreaths on the front door and windows. Scattered nativities to remind us of the birth of Christ. Snowmen to remind us there’s rarely any blasted snow in Georgia!! Gosh, that reminds me of the Christmas my #4 kid was three years old. First, we had to wake him up on Christmas morning to run downstairs for present time. What three year old has to be woken up on Christmas morning? And second, he thought we were fooling him that it was Christmas because when he ran to the window he saw no snow! And how could it be Christmas without snow?? Little goof ball actually climbed back into bed!! Oh my! He’s gotten used to brown grassy Christmas time in the 18 years that have passed since that morning! We just live in a big snow-less bubble!!

In spite of the fact that I have seven whimsical stockings hanging, each with their own child appealing design on the front, all five of our kids have grown up and are adulting like bosses these days. Yes, these are the stockings I purchased at Michael’s back in 1998. Yet every year I have this inner debate with myself over whether or not to gift these stockings to their much older owners or just continue the tradition of hanging them in order on our mantle. Each year, “continue the tradition” seems to be the winner. Because as non-traditional as I am sometimes….as much as I attempt to live in each present moment…these stockings are the holder of so many Christmas memories from the childhood of my five. And I hang on to them. Why not? I loved Christmas with my own 5-pack of adorable kidlets at home. I miss it to be honest. Christmas isn’t the same without the pitter patter of their little feet racing to the tree on Christmas morning.

It’s just not. Not whining here. Just stating facts and all!

With that said, while I embrace the memories held in each Santa stocking, I am also learning to embrace each new moment of Christmas-ing with my adult kids. We’ve had to start new traditions. Sometimes each year has been the beginning of a new tradition….no biggie! We’ve had to bend a bit. That’s OK…God made us flexible on purpose! But all this has lead to doing Christmas well with these amazing grown up people!

So I don’t stomp my feet and insist on having Christmas my way!! I cringe at the thought of creating that much stress for my family!! Stress is born when a momma holds on too tightly to wanting all the Christmas things to remain the same year after ever-lovin’ year !!! That would get boring, right? But I’m not gonna lie. If I could have all my babies and their babies under my roof every merry Christmas Eve night , I would be happy as a kid who just found Santa’s workshop! But the last thing I want to do is put pressure on my sweet things who are trying to make more people happy than just me. So come here New Way of Doing Christmas! Let me give you a big old hug!

I’ve also found this year the need to be more flexible with the day and time of our family celebrations. We celebrated Thanksgiving the weekend before Turkey Day because of conflicting work schedules. It felt a bit weird in the planning but when that Sunday came, I found a Macy’s parade on YouTube that we watched , the Cowboys were playing football and nothing about the day felt less than completely Thanksgiving-y! Tiny changes in our Christmas celebration will happen as well because sometimes ya gotta share your people. And that’s OK! Sharing is caring and all that. I think we all learned that when we were kids!

Truth is, though, I’m not certain if I’ll ever stop missing my kids being little at Christmas. Not a Christmas has gone by since my kids started growing up and adulting that I haven’t had at least one “moment” in my darkened living room as I sat basking in the glow of the lights from the tree. A cozy fire roaring in the fireplace. A lone tear escaping my eyes. Memories flooding back of my own childhood Christmases, blurring lines with remembrances of the joy I felt each Christmas with my own small children.

Have you ever done this? If you have, know it’s OK because now you know at least one more person who does the same. We don’t ever want to forget the good memories we made with our young families. But living in the moment as we build new memories is honestly just as amazing. I can look forward to each new Christmas no matter how we “do” it. The other night, my man and I hopped in the car by ourselves with no children buckled in anywhere and toured the neighborhoods in our town so we could ooo and aah at their spectacular light displays.

I also bought Christmas cards for the first time in a bazillion years. Pictured on our” re-entrance to holiday card sharing ” is just me and my man. Just us. None of our kids. None of our grandkids. Felt weird…but also very accepting of our empty-ish nest status.

I’ve known forever that Christmas isn’t about the things we do to bring on the Christmas feels. I’ve known forever that the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus….God sending His Son as an adorable baby with a mission to be our Savior. So part of doing this Christmas season well is letting my focus be more on that and less on what my now vintage stockings remind me I’m missing.

Because even in the memories of “1990’s and 2000’s Christmas” is Jesus. In the “right now Christmas” is Jesus. He’s the only thing with any amount of consistency. He’s always the right answer. Especially when the house is too quiet. And when our row at church, which used to hold all seven of us, feels empty. When we’re singing Christmas carols off key by ourselves. And when those grown up kids we love so much may not even see in person the stockings we hung just for them. Jesus is in it all. Always and forever.

So Merry Christmas to the young and those who will always be young at heart. Happy Holidays to one and all.

Until next time, keep clamoring with all the holly jolly you have!

The Tape Measure

The Tape Measure

I stood in the kitchen. Shirt pulled slightly up and tucked under my chin. Waistband pulled slightly down. I opened the junk drawer and found it. The tape measure. The tape measure and I had not spoken for years. The scale and I had the same relationship. We were estranged. Honestly, I’m not sure what made me pull it out that day. I mean, I hadn’t exercised in eons. So it wasn’t like I was needing to see how many inches I had lost because of the amazing number of crunches I’d been doing. Maybe I just felt like torturing myself that day. Who knows? But for whatever reason, I took a deep breath, sucked it all in and wrapped that 60 inches of tape around my midsection to find my number.

I think I died a little inside that day.

Depending on where your mouse lands when you google “what’s a healthy waist measurement”, this number should be anywhere between 31.5 and 35 inches if you’re a woman. Around 40 inches if you’re a man. I’m tall and I’ve always carried more weight in my belly. In other words, I’ve never been a “Twiggy” but in my younger, healthier days, my waistline was at least in the high range of being a-ok. So I figured in spite of all the weight I’d gained over the years , I was probably at least in the healthy man range.

I wasn’t. Not even close.

Deeming the tape measure defective, I threw it in the nearest trash can as quickly as I could. There was no reason to keep such negativity in my life after all !! Ugh!! But the number on the white tape had already left it’s mark on me. I cried out in despair and defeat, “HOW CAN THAT BE?”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I added it to my Click List order. (side note…..if you live near a Kroger and they offer Click List, DO IT!! You’ll never walk into another grocery store again if you can help it!) It’s completely possible if I had to find the tape measure on the shelf myself ,I may have just skipped over it. Because really? Where the heck are tape measures in a grocery store?? But I figured the nice Kroger employee doing my shopping for me would know where it lived and not die with frustration searching the store for it. I got my groceries home and started emptying out the bags. I was way more excited to see that blasted tape measure than I was my bag of whole wheat pasta! I finally found it. My new tape measure was pink.

I stood there in my kitchen and held this girly pink thing. As excited as I was by my $2.25 purchase, I was equally intimidated by it. The first time I wrapped this indicator of my girth around my parts was several months into my weight loss journey. I was in the first week of a new workout program and it felt like a good time for a reality check. But I admit it was still scary. I had thoughts of the last time I had measured my mid section running through my mind and I simply wasn’t sure I wanted to know this number again. By this point in time, I’d lost over 50 lbs. I knew in the rational part of my brain that my measurements would be smaller. My number on the scale was less and my clothes had a new lower number. But the irrational part of me was still screaming “IT’S ALL A FLUKE!!!”

I put on my brave face and wrapped my new pink tape measure around my waist. I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord this is just a number. It’s not an indicator of my worth or my ability. No matter the number this tape measure lands on, I will praise You.”

I opened my eyes. Placed my finger on the spot that would be my number for the day and I looked. It was still larger than “Dr. Google” deemed healthy but by golly. It was less than it was that day a few years ago. A FOOT LESS! A foot!!!

I continued with my daily workouts. I continued putting the right food in my mouth. I continued praising God for all He’s done for me the past 9 months. And 50 days later, I measured again.

And once again, I exclaimed, “How can that be?”

But this time it was an exclamation filled with joy not despair or defeat. It was an exclamation filled with gratitude not shame. It was an exclamation that caused me to pause and thank the One who changed me.

“For this I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Your Name.”…2 Samuel 22:50

Until next time,keep joyfully clamoring!

The “I’ll never go on another diet for as long as I live” post

The “I’ll never go on another diet for as long as I live” post

If you just love being on a diet, raise your hand…

As I sit here waiting for nobody to raise their hands, let me finish my fat free cottage cheese and mandarin oranges! I have serious love for this stuff! I’d almost take it instead of ice cream…almost! Seriously! I’m fighting the urge to go grab another bowl of curdly cheesy orange love. Cottage cheese was once the food of my dieting nightmares. Now I crave it like it was ice cream! Oh my word!! Who am I??

Truth is, if someone caught me eating cottage cheese they’d probably ask me if I was on a diet. Oh how I hate that word! Honestly, when someone talks about “going on a diet”, I just wanna cringe! I. HATE. DIETS !!! I’ve been on dozens of them throughout my life. And in spite of the fact that many of these diets helped me lose weight, not one of them was successful. Every single time I’ve gone on a diet, I’ve ended up overweight again. Every single time was just progressively worse than the time before.

I think I’ve found a “sweet spot” though that will keep me from ever having to “diet” again. I’ve pinpointed five things I’m doing that I’m certain will keep me from boomeranging back to where I was in this before picture. And because I like to share , I’ve written these things down for any of my “dieting” friends who may need a boost.

Picture on the left was a year ago. The snazzy dressing room selfie was a few weeks ago . I hate dressing room selfies by the way. But I couldn’t help myself because I was a bit stunned at the “smaller than I’ve been in 16 years” size jeans I was comfortable wearing. I waited until I was back in my car before I allowed the tears of joy to begin dripping from my eyes.

(Side note…I’m not a weight loss expert even though I did work as a Weight Watchers leader many years ago. I’m not even a nutrition specialist. I’m just someone who’s walked this road a time or two and learned a few things along the way. )

1. Find your proper motivation…

Honestly, if your motivation is to lose some weight and get to a certain number, that’s not enough! I’ve been there done that. When all I wanted was to be several pounds under 200, this motivation alone failed me in the end. Because once I got to that elusive number, I celebrated the “end of the road”. And you know what happened? I got lazy again. I got a bit cocky thinking I no longer needed to do all the things I had been doing that got me to this point. I had arrived and now I could relax. That worked for me for a while. But Picture One up there is the proof of my failure in making a number my motivation.

That “getting to xxx-pounds” can be a good start, but a better lifelong motivator needs to go deeper than that. EVERY DAY I want to feel amazing. EVERY DAY I want to be able to get up and move and groove and enjoy life with my family and friends and not ache because of sugar induced inflammation. I want to be able get up off the floor without needing help. I want to be able to cross my legs and bend over to tie my shoes. I want good numbers at EVERY yearly physical as a result of my good health choices. These goals motivate me more to a lifetime of good choices than simply reaching that number well under 200!

2.Give yourself a fair chance to create new habits…

How many times have you started a “diet” and given up within a couple weeks? I’ve done this too many times to count. When I think about why I gave up so many times it usually boils down to a huge lack of patience with myself. Those first few days of exercising were hard and I didn’t like getting sweaty or being out of breath and really? Who has time for such things? Then it was hard to drink enough water or to cook more and eat out less or to simply keep track of what I put in my mouth all day long. Those times I gave up too soon were also the times I didn’t give myself enough time to break my old bad habits and create new healthy ones.

The “researchers” ….whoever they are…say it takes 21 days to bust out of a bad habit and create a new one. But I say be patient even beyond 21 days. That new habit may be created but in my own experience it’s gonna take a bit longer to make sure it sticks..to get to the point where drinking water and exercising and picking up an apple instead of a brownie is just second nature. Once all the good habits become second nature, your chances of ever having to be on a diet again diminish greatly!

3.Believe you can do this…

From the day I had a “weight loss expert” tell me losing weight was just harder for women in their 50’s, I stopped believing I was even able. I filled my head with all the lies of “I can’t”. And I was totally right. As long as I believed I was unable to lose weight, I was doomed to a life of being overweight. I could start with a decent attitude but the second I allowed doubt to slip in , it was all over. Such a vicious , ugly cycle that lead to a “diet mentality”. Yuck!!

If you want to stop that vicious cycle, you MUST get the words “I can’t” out of your vocab!! You CAN eat vegetables. You CAN skip dessert. You CAN exercise every day. You CAN do every single thing it takes to get healthy. You CAN do all the hard things AND live to tell about them! Believe all these “I can” statements. Write them on sticky notes and put them where you can see them . Fill your sweet head with the truth that you can do this . BELIEVE IT! It’s true after all! This simple change in believing in yourself will be a big part of stopping the diet yo yo.

4.Be willing to do things differently…

Are you a creature of habit like I am? I can certainly get set in my ways. And I was pretty darn set on ice cream every night after dinner… and don’t you dare offer me the no sugar added variety! Yuck! Three cups of coffee every morning with enough Extra Extra creamer to make my black coffee the color of my favorite white sandy beach. Resting every day during the kids nap time…do not make me get up off the couch for anything please! I had some pretty solid, not very healthy habits. For so long,the thought of changing any of my routines made me cringe. But the day came when I knew I had to.

And seven months into this new journey of healthy disciplines, I’ve come to realize I still need to be open to doing things differently every so often. Why? Because my weight loss stalls from time to time. This happens mostly when I get in a rut of eating the same foods, doing the same workouts and basically fall into a bit of boredom with all the things. When I start to feel even a smidge of the ho-hum, I’m far more likely to fall into that “diet mentality”. I’m far more likely to skip the workout, eat bigger portions, run for the full sugar ice cream! Left unchecked,this leads to finding a seat on a roller coaster you will get very few thrills from!!

5.Don’t put time limits on your goals…

“I must lose 50 lbs by Christmas”

“Losing ten pounds a month is necessary for me to be successful.”

I can’t count on both hands the number of times I’ve put limits on myself. Some were realistic. Most were not. A few of my self made limits were met. And when they weren’t? Well, cue the wah-wah music. Utter defeat. Failure. Feelings of worthlessness and weakness set in. And most of the time, those unmet timed goals lead to gigantic steps in the wrong direction.

Being healthy, eating right and losing weight isn’t a sprint with a big old fancy finish line at the end. Treat it as such and B A M!! You’ve arrived. You’ve achieved your goal. You’re done. And now you don’t have to worry about that stinking old “diet” anymore. Surely we all know what happens next.

As long as you have a heart that’s beating and breath in your lungs, that journey to your healthiest self isn’t over. There are no time limits to your healthy goals. Eating right and exercising isn’t a punishment we must endure as penance for being overweight. It’s a reward for a life well lived.

Set goals for yourself. Goals are good. But time restraints on a plan to lose weight could backfire. Make it a LIFETIME goal to do all the right things, to eat well and move more. If that’s your lifetime goal, the weight will come off and stay off.

And you’ll never have to go on another “diet”again. Ever.

I’ll end with a prayer for you from my favorite encouraging book…the Bible.

“Dear Friends, I pray that you may enjoy GOOD HEALTH and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. Lord help these friends show discipline in their bodies and keep them under control. Whatever they eat or drink, whatever they do, may they do it all for the glory of God.”

From 3 John 1:2, 1 Corinthians 9:27 , 10:31

Until next time, keep joyfully clamoring…

Food Pushers I Love You, But Please Stop It…

Several weeks ago , I stopped and had lunch at the wonderful “Christian chicken” restaurant my son works for. It’s always fun to sorta sneak in there amongst the crowd of famished travelers, shoppers and parents entertaining their preschoolers and just watch my youngest do his thing. I had a hard time being sneaky that day though. He saw me as soon as I graced the side door entrance with my presence.

Now for my fellow WW friends, the Lord’s chicken palace is a great place to get a super low point meal. The grilled chicken nuggets have ZERO POINTS! That means GIVE ME ALL THE GRILLED CHICKEN PIECES…..PLEASE! They really are yummy! Plop them on top of your side salad and tada! You’ve got yourself a nice and healthy fast food meal for 3 measly points. Now isn’t it odd that the salad has more points than the chicken? Darn you cheese !!!

Speaking of c h e e s e, you may have heard about this new Mac and Cheese that God Himself created and gave to CFA. My son came home with a bowl of this deliciousness one afternoon after he got off work. Because he’s smart, he added a spicy chicken filet and some bacon pieces into it. I sat across my very own kitchen table from him and was in some sort of trance as I beheld his holy creation. I couldn’t move. Mainly because I was afraid Six Months Ago Me would take over and demand every bite of my kid’s food. I sat there and prayed (of course I did!), came to my senses and calmly asked if I could have one small bite of his Mac and Cheese Delight. He glared at me for a second, probably going over in his mind if he wanted to be a good son and fully support my weight loss goals OR be a good son and hand over a single bite of his food before I bit off one of his arms. There was a thin line there! I got the bite. I don’t know if this was a win or not because that one bite was so dadgum amazing it left me wanting to steal food from a baby. Hmmmm…..I behaved. But hey? Is it stealing food from a baby when said “baby” is a 6 ft 4 grown man?

Anyway, back to my original story before I got distracted by the Mac and Cheese of Jesus. On this particular day I was feeling mighty and strong in my resolve to eat well and make good choices. I got my grilled chicken nuggets and my well-done fries (I needed Points SOMEWHERE in this lunch) and topped it off with a refreshing diet lemonade. My sweet son came over and gave me the excellent news that his boss wanted to give me a gift….a peach milkshake!

Oh! My! Word!

A P E A C H M I L K S H A K E!! I’m certain this is what I’ll ask for on my death bed and I’m pretty sure that my mansion in heaven will have a milkshake machine that only makes peach shakes…oh and banana pudding!

I smiled at my precious son , my heart full of such love for this man-child of mine who had the power to bring me the gift of sweet , creamy, Georgia-peachy joy! Then he looked at me , shrugged his shoulders and said, “I told her you were on a diet and probably wouldn’t want it, though. She’s pretty insistent. What do you think?”

Oh the dilemma!!!! So I pulled out my WW app and like every great weight watching person diligently seeking their best and most well self, I looked up the Point value of a large peach shake. Because I COULD just have it and count the points and go about my day. But my jaw dropped flat to the ground because it became pretty evident that the “powers that be” did not clue in to the fact that all dreamy ice creamy treats at the Christian chicken place should NOT count as a a full day of Points plus some! Oh my gracious sakes alive!

Suddenly I was singing “let the devil know not today!” in my head and looking in my purse for the holy water to sprinkle all over this temptation! But my precious son was right….I did, in fact, no longer want the delectable treat I had so kindly been offered.

I sent him back to work, feeling strong and good about my decision to skip the shake. As I sat there proudly munching on my ZERO POINT chicken nuggets, she came to my table. TheFood Pusher. The really sweet and with great intentions Food Pusher. He was right, though…she was pretty insistent on gifting me that day. She offered me a small instead of a large…thank you but still no. Then I told her about my weight struggles and how far I’d come to overcome those obstacles. Our banter went back and forth for many minutes and it became clear to me our thoughts on getting healthy in our 50’s were a bit different. I also began feeling I needed to accept something from her so I asked for a lesser of the ice cream evils … a frosted DIET lemonade. That satisfied her need to gift me and I felt like I was still in control of my choices. For the record, I could have THREE small frosted diet lemonades for the same points value as that large peach milkshake! Jesus take the wheel!!!

Truth is, I should’ve passed on the ice cream treat altogether. I walked into lunch that day strong and with great resolve. I knew what I wanted to eat. I had my plan. But I let someone else’s plan for me break through and rule for a minute.

Friends, we will all have to face Food Pushers as we work towards our health and weight goals. It’s just inevitable unless you live under a rock or in a far off space station orbiting a distant planet all alone. People generally like to share food. It’s a means of entertaining. Of saying “Hey I like you…join me”. Sometimes we’re gonna feel weak and give in. We’ll believe the lie that we “deserve” this treat. We’ll believe the lie that one bite won’t set us back! Believe me….ONE BITE can absolutely wake up a sleeping sugar monster inside you and remind him he’s famished!!! We’ll believe for a minute depriving ourselves of the treat in question is bad and giving in to it is our due reward.

You know what you truly deserve, though? Not the brownie or the milkshake or the 61 point Texas sized nachos!!! Yes, they DO exist! You certainly don’t deserve the massive amount of guilt you’ll feel afterwards either! You deserve believing YOU ARE WORTH MORE!! More than the”here now , gone in a flash” satisfaction of a few guilt-ridden bites . You deserve to feel amazing about your decision to eat healthier and to take control of what you put inside your body…no matter what anybody says!! Stand firm in YOUR convictions. Don’t let them be swayed by someone who doesn’t believe in you like you do!!

Let me take a minute and speak to anyone reading this who may be an unknowing Food Pusher. Please stop it!!! It’s nothing personal when someone politely tells you no thank you when you offer them something to eat. I promise!! Speaking from experience, I normally always want whatever someone is offering me . If I could eat all those delicious brownies you made and take them home with me and eat them in the bathtub full of bubbles I would. But what I really need is simply your support of my decision to eat healthy and be healthier no matter what your own opinion is !!

Now I just wanna speak to the person in the mirror. Can we just stop a minute and admit that we are way too often our own worst enemy? We can self sabotage like it’s our job some days. What then? What if the food temptations around you are so strong you just know you’re gonna crumble?

Walk away! Go outside. Take a walk. Just go into another room!

Bring to mind or pull up an old “before” picture or a picture of yourself at your goal weight!

Eat something better! I always have fruit around to grab in hunger emergencies. If the temptations are in your own kitchen, throw them out! It’s OK! If you just can’t throw out food because of all the starving children in the world and all that, I get that! Give it to a neighbor or box up all the tempting delicacies and donate them to a local food bank.

Pray! I’m serious!! Lord give me strength is a great little “flair prayer” even if you have to repeat it a dozen times before you feel an ounce of strength.

Repeat encouraging phrases. Write them on note cards and keep them at your fingertips. Words like I am strong! I can do this! I am worth more! Being healthy will feel better than this will taste! Whatever works for you!!

One of my favorite things to remember when I feel weak is simply a verse from scripture. It’s this…

I remember I can eat that brownie. Or that bowl of cheese dip. Or that ice cream. It will always be available for me. I’m allowed to have it. It’s not taboo! However, it’s not necessarily beneficial for me. It’ll make me feel bad. I’ll probably feel a twinge of guilt. Really, nothing good will come from it! So I decide to not let any food be the boss of me…and trust me I know some pretty loud and bossy food!! I think about all the years food mastered me. When I lived to eat and eat some more! When food was a great source of entertainment for me! And it makes me mad…and sad…and determined to be the master of what I eat and drink and not the other way around!

So Food Pushers, I love you! But I’m gonna choose to love myself more!

Until next time, keep joyfully clamoring!

A Very Weighty Story

A Very Weighty Story

I remember the day and the humiliation like it was yesterday. Standing in line with my 6th grade classmates in a warm , muggy gym in Arkansas USA. It was a day I dreaded every year once the powers-that-be declared it was important to know the height and weight and general fitness level of all little kids in elementary school. I dreaded it for many reasons. My fitness level was down around zero. I never liked exercising or playing any sort of sport. I guess that came from a lack of coordination, which I’m certain came from my very fast growth spurts. This particular school year it was all extra bad though. The summer I turned 11 was a painful one for me…literally! I had grown to the height of a giant, leaving all my friends looking like I could be their teenage babysitter. I can still feel those growing pains!!

So after going through a drill of excruciating tests that once again proved my total lack of fitness, I was made to stand on a scale, a line of class mates behind me waiting their turns. The girl who went before me was a perfect 4 ft something or other and weighed in at about 70 lbs. She was the norm in my class of kids who still looked like kids. The anxiety I felt as I waited for the teacher to say my height and weight out loud was ridiculous. I wish I could’ve stopped her. I wish I could’ve knocked her to the ground before she said my facts out loud. But I couldn’t. So my whole class heard the truth that I was 5ft 10 and weighed an enormous 125 lbs. Heavens to Betsy!!!! I was a freak!!

All I could think about was the 70 lb girl who went before me. She was normal. I was fat! Nobody else in my class weighed even close to 125 lbs. Of course, nobody else was even close to 5ft 10 either. But that didn’t relate in my barely 11 year old mind. It didn’t click that my weight was actually pretty darn low for my height. All that seared into my young mind was how much more I weighed than everyone else.

Having breakfast before school with my sisters during my “I’m a fat giant” days. It was clearly all in my head.

As I think about this moment of sincere humiliation, I just want to go back in time and give little me a huge hug and tell her it’s all going to be OK. I’d just want to reassure her that she’s perfectly proportioned and beautiful and that , yes, the boys WILL bypass her gigantic height one day soon. I’d want to let her know that weight is just a number and not an indication of her worth as a person. I’d want to let her know how amazing it would one day be to be so tall…how it would be so nice to be able to help people reach things on high shelves. How it would be easier to see over other people’s heads in crowds and that would be especially important at the Shaun Cassidy concert!! How one day she would applaud her height because she could weigh more than her shorter friends and look amazing while doing so!

I thought about all these things last night as I divulged my current weight to my husband. I had been fighting a stomach bug for about 24 hours and was trying hard to down some egg drop soup and rice. We talked a minute about the blessing of a stomach bug…quick weight loss. I had managed to lose 2 lbs in 24 hours! I wasn’t sad about that! But as my husband cheered for my still over 200 lb weight, it just struck me as funny. I’ve now lost just shy of 45 lbs and I look and feel so much better than I did 5 short months ago. But I’m still over 200 lbs. I’m still just a smidge heavier than my biggest cheerleader. And the truth is, I AM SO GOOD WITH THIS!!!! SO. GOOD!

So if I’m good with how I look and feel right now, why not stop the insanity of trying to keep losing? Hmm….couple things. I know how much more amazing I feel at my goal weight. I’ve been there within the last 15 years and it’s even better than the good of where I’m at now. And then there was that ONE doctor in my life. ONE doctor who had the good sense to actually comment on my weight as she saw me heading over 200 lbs while pregnant with my first child. She looked me in the eye and said , “Becky, you may be tall. But you do not need to weigh over 200 lbs. It’s not healthy.” Harsh? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely. But I look back on that now and I appreciate that truth being spoken to me. Because for a good portion of my adult years, I’ve hovered at 200 lbs or been well over. And that doctor from long ago was just right. I don’t feel my best when I’m over that number or even hovering right below it.

I still have about 30 lbs to my ultimate goal but I no longer look in the mirror and make grimacing faces at myself. That little girl who once thought her world ended because her whole class knew she weighed 125 lbs can rejoice in 218 and mean it….and even admit that on a public blog with only a mild amount of embarrassment! According to “all the charts”, I’m still obese. Shoot, when I reach MY goal weight, that all mighty BMI chart will still tell me I’m overweight. But to heck with those charts. I think I’ll throw them away!! How did they come up with those numbers anyway? I’m in my mid 50’s!! I DO NOT need to weigh 4 pounds more than I did as a scrawny 11 year old to be at a healthy weight!!!

I left out one thing I’d say to my 6th grade self. And it’s probably the most important thing I wish I had known then. Which may be why I left it for last.

Dear 6th Grade Me…

STOP!

COMPARING!

And I’ll offer this same advice to you if you’re struggling with your weight right now and find yourself comparing yourself with anyone else. Even if that “anyone” is a younger you who lost weight easier and faster!! There are going to be people who lose weight faster than you. That’s OK. There are also people who will lose slower than you. Also OK. There will be people who can lose weight and eat dessert every night or pizza every Friday while you feel like you have to eat salad every day to even lose a pound. There will be people who can lose and never do a lick of exercise! While others work out every day and love it!

It’s ALL good . What YOU are doing is good as long as you believe in yourself and don’t give up. Just keep doing YOUR thing and you will amaze YOURSELF !!

Until next time…

Keep Joyfully Clamoring!!

Is This Really ” Living The Best Life”?

“You won’t realize how bad you truly felt until you start feeling really good.”

Friends who’ve been there done that

I was told this sooooo many times last year. And I was hoping it would one day ring true for me. I had been feeling gross! In the months leading up to my surgery last August, I’ll admit I felt amazingly hellish! But I have an extremely high tolerance for feeling yucky. I grin and bear it. I ignore it. I pray for healing. All the things. And normally I start to feel better and I go about my life as usual. I managed to skip my way past needing to see a doctor for about 10 years. Yay me! But a little over a year ago, things went south quickly. The draggy feeling. The rapid heart rate. The wondering most every day if I was going to just pass flat out with a house full of toddlers under foot. It all become too much to grin and bear.

So I made the doctor appointments. The first one told me I was anemic. As I went to the next doctor to attempt to determine the why, my hemoglobin level had dropped so dramatically I really should’ve had a blood transfusion that day. But the doctor wanted to try to get my level up “naturally” and wanted to wait 48 hours before she’d do a transfusion. What we did worked and, thank You Jesus, I was able to bypass the transfusion…barely. I love bypassing medical procedures!! But the “why” of all this crazy anemic business was clearly my uterus . I needed to start saying my goodbyes to it. The decision wasn’t difficult for me. This month marks the year anniversary of the day I said toodles to my once friendly, life bearing uterus.

As I’ve gradually healed over the last year, that statement so many well-meaning friends shared with me has, indeed, rung true. A year with no cramps. No achy back. No planning my life around all those”days of the month”. A year with energy to move and groove like I haven’t in years. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so good. When we were in Myrtle Beach a few months ago and we were walking to the pool, it really hit me. And it nearly made me cry. Because I hadn’t dreaded the walk that would end at the poolside cabana. I hadn’t tried to convince my husband why we needed to drive the few blocks to the pool. The walk didn’t wind me or tire me out. I didn’t feel like I was going to D I E !! A year ago I would’ve insisted on driving to this pool. But two or three or even four years ago, I would’ve insisted the same thing. It was in that moment that I realized the “good” I thought I had been feeling all those years wasn’t good at all. I had likely been anemic and ill for many years but I became so used to feeling weak and tired that it was just normal for me. I’m sure I blamed it all on just getting older because , you know, getting old ain’t for sissies and all that! But the truth was , I had just become blinded to my best life and was living a life of settled OK-ness.

Settled Ok-ness is not necessarily OK. Well, not if you truly want to live your best life.

And who doesn’t want that?

So why do we so often settle for the equivalent of the thievery of our “best life” ? John 10:10 says , though, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

The thief here is that pesky devil. He longs to steal our joy. He longs to kill and destroy any and all good we feel or desire. He gets quite the chuckle when we settle for anything in our lives that’s less than God’s best for us…

When we just feel mediocre and declare it “good enough.”

When we’d rather engage with people on social media than face to face because hiding behind a screen seems easier.

When we’d rather sit on the couch and watch TV by ourselves and begin to feel closer to fictional characters than to the real people in our lives.

When gorging ourselves with junk food becomes the norm simply because it’s easy and tastes just fine. So how can it be that bad?

When we do anything in private that we’d never do in the sight of others because we know it’s not right. But if nobody sees you, well….

If our ears could hear things in the spiritual realm around us, I’m certain the uproarious laughter of that evil snake would ring loudly as we continue to live less than our best lives. Why oh why do we give him the satisfaction of joy at our expense?

Can we let that thought make us angry for a sec ? Because if someone came into our home and actually stole something we loved and worked hard to obtain , we’d be beyond angry. Yet, the enemy of our very soul steals from us daily and we just let him ? Can that thought spark enough fire in us that we flip over to recognizing our “best life” things? Because those best things are meant for us. Why? Because Jesus! He’s the “I’ in the verse above and He was the originator of “live your best life”. He came and did His thing so we could live that best life with abundance.

Abundance as in Amply. Bountifully. Comfortably. Copiously. Extravagantly. Fully. Freely. Well. Lavishly. Sufficiently. Thoroughly. Generously.

But do we? Do we live more in that abundance meant for us or do we live in a constant state of less than? I think we all know when our life isn’t quite as on track in all the things as it should be.

We are all just beautiful works in progress, aren’t we?

It’s a good thing our God loves us so greatly. And is so patient with us as we figure out that best life He has prepared for us.

I can’t sit here and tell you what your best life should look like. You can figure that out on your own. Better yet, pray about it and ask the Lord to reveal to you what you need to do to get to that best life! I’ll do the same. And I promise , once we’re there, we’ll never want less !

Until next time…..

Cheers to Another Year

Cheers to Another Year

I just celebrated another birthday. Cheers to that! It was not a biggie…you know, one with a zero at the end. But still one where I sat and realized I’m not that much younger than my early memories of my own grandparents. It’s a weird feeling. It’s almost like I hold my breath every time I look in a mirror. Will this finally be the day I look in the mirror and see my Mamaw staring back at me….silver, short grandma hair perfectly coifed. Nice, tailored dress with an apron over it. Sensible shoes. Perfectly polished fingernails. My grandparents were of the generation with that stereotypical “grandma look”. This “look” was beautiful and precious to me as a kid….but I don’t particularly want to stare at it every time I pass by a mirror! So please pass the hair color and the fancy skin care my way!!

This birthday, though. This year that sees me 4 years short of the next “zero at the end” birthday. It’s all caused me to stop and do some reflecting. I’m not really surprised that one of my very first real memories is of a birthday. My 4th birthday was a year my parents threw a little party for me. This shin dig was at our house, which was a sweet single wide mobile home in Fort Walton Beach. I can remember being super excited about my friends coming over…I can’t tell you a single one of their names today. And I can remember NOT being excited about the nap my mom insisted I take before the shenanigans began. But she let me fall asleep on her lap as she sat in her chair…that I DO remember. My head on her shoulder. Her arms wrapped tightly around me. Being warmly embraced by the love of my mother. That memory is much stronger than the names or faces of the kids who came to my house or the presents they brought for me.

Why? What would make me remember anything about a day fifty something years ago? I’m sure it’s because of the love I felt that day. Because love is a powerful thing!

And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”…1Cor 13:13

Little me looking adorable enough in our “nap chair” that this could’ve actually been the day of that 4th birthday party.

With love powering my sentimentality and with birthdays on my mind, I’m not surprised that memories of birthday’s past have been filling my head this week.

  • Year 15 was celebrated at a local and newish water park. This was 1978 and water parks just weren’t all they are today. But by late 70’s standards, this one was…well…standard. I only remember it having a few different big water slides. I remember the brown bikini I had that summer, certain it showed off my tan all the better. I remember the friends who joined me on this day. And the plethora of cute lifeguards hanging around for me and my teenage friends to gawk at…I mean to save us if our lives were ever in peril from the swishing, raging water! I also remember feeling incredibly loved because my parents knew this outing would make my heart happy . And they were right!
  • The following year we were in a new town. It’s H A R D to move to a completely different state when you’re 16. The summer of this milestone birthday found me knowing pretty much zero people. We had only been in small town Texas for a few weeks, school had yet to begin, and our neighborhood was devoid of anyone even remotely near the ages of myself or my sisters. But this birthday made my heart smile because even in the simplicity of our family of five sitting in a Pizza Hut eating strangely amazing pizza, I felt all warm and cozy inside. It was my birthday and my family, who I knew loved me, surrounded me as we munched on my favorite food together. I think your favorite food and love will always go hand in hand!
  • How can I ever forget my next momentous birthday? I turned 18 in 1981. My friends and I celebrated with an overnight party and our first legal drinks. We made strawberry daiquiris and planned to wake up in time to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana. Because why not? What could be more special than royal love! I really needed this time of friendship and love on that very day. When I left my friends later that morning , after basking in the richness of this royal wedding and all the birthday fun, I learned of the death of my beloved Papaw. How sweet of God to surround with me so much fun and love right before what was one of the worst days of my young life.
  • By far my most memorable adult birthday was the big 4 – 0 ! This day saw my one and only surprise party. Somehow my husband was able to pull off a full fledged unexpected gathering of new friends, old friends and family from near and far. How I managed to not notice the line up of my Texas family’s cars as I strolled through the parking lot to the fellowship hall could only have an act of God. The love I felt that day bowled me over. As I walked through the different “layers” of friends and family who had come to celebrate this day with me, the affection we shared was sweet. It was almost like a glimpse of heaven.

Looking back on these birthdays from the past, I’m struck by one thing. The REASON I remember them. There was a very evident strand of love weaving through each of those days. The love of my mother’s arms…the love of a group of friends….the love of family. The feeling of being seen and known and loved is a powerful, grounding feeling. It’s a necessary one, I think.

We all want to be seen.

We all want to be known.

We all want to be loved.

God made us to need these things. Maybe that’s because HE sees us and knows us. And He IS love. Perhaps when we’re craving love, we’re really craving God. Hmmm….because as good as human love is, His love is a million times better. It just is.

So cheers to another year. A year to be loved and seen and known. A year to love and see and know.

Until next time…

Not Exactly Yesterday

Not Exactly Yesterday

Our oldest son had a birthday this week. I remember the day he was born like it happened this morning. The weird thing about this is while this memory from 26 years ago is immediate, I have to stop and think a minute about what I had for dinner last night. Can I get an amen from my other 50-something’s ?!?

Son #1 was actually due on my birthday. One of those biggies with a zero at the end. I think about turning 30 and how old that made me feel at the time. It must’ve been all the raging pregnant hormones! Thirty is awesome! But exiting my 20’s just felt huge. Like I was suddenly gonna wake up into a brand new level of maturity and experience I didn’t have even the day before. I think I’ve felt that way with each passing year but as I approach this next birthday that will launch me to the other side of my mid-50’s, I think I’m over feeling ancient over the calendar changes. That was so 26 years ago! Maybe!

But I digress. That mid July day in 1993 started like most of my summer pregnant days. It was four million degrees in our corner of Georgia…at least. And the humidity was just as bad. I’m sure my hair was awful as I drove my enormously pregnant self to my doctor’s appointment that Friday morning. (FYI…. I’ve slept a few times since this day and may not remember this part exactly right. My Man may have gone with me and been in the drivers seat. We may have even stopped for donuts on the way! Who knows?? ) I was just happy to have the morning off work. I planned on dilly dallying and getting to work really late. I didn’t know as I buckled my seat belt that morning just how long my delay back to work would be! My doctor gladly cooperated with my dilly dally plan. Seemed I was in labor. (I had a tendency to be in labor and not know it…please don’t hate me mommas !) He sent me immediately to the hospital, likely afraid I’d spit out this baby over the weekend and totally ruin his golf plans! My labor with this third child of mine was the roughest and the fastest. Sweet baby boy nearly came while the doctor left me in the “c section recovery room” to find me a real labor suite. The full moon had labor and delivery packed to the gills and I was far from the first one there ! There was nearly “no room in the inn”! My man had also left the room to go tell his mom what was going on. Now before anyone goes bashing these men for leaving a laboring woman all alone, all was well when they left. In the 10 minutes they were gone,however, this sweet child of mine got in a real big hurry and was almost born with no audience! Yikes! But the doctor returned just in time to deliver my bouncing baby boy!

Oh the memories! It really IS hard to believe 26 years have passed. But then I think about all that has changed since 1993 and it feels like eons ago.

In 1993, the average cost of a new house was $113,200. The price of a gallon of gas was around $1.16. It cost $4.00 to go see Jurassic Park or Sleepless in Seattle in a theater. And we had to see it in the theater because , well, no Netflix or Amazon Prime Of course we could wait for movies to come to Blockbuster, but the pressure to “be kind and rewind” or to return said movies on time was large! Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey could be heard blaring from our car radio speakers. Bill Clinton was president but had not yet “not had sexual relations” with that woman. The World Wide Web was still a tiny baby . Cell phones as we know them today were still a dream but big boxy car phones were all the rage if you were well-to-do. When new parents took photos of their babes, they held their breaths and hoped for a decent shot because they wouldn’t be able to see the picture until the film was developed. Commodore released the Amiga CD32 and Atari had the Jaguar. But the Playstation was still a year away.

And of course, there was Sears Portrait studio for all your baby’s first professional photo needs. Don’t you love how they disguised my steadying mommy arm with that amazing furry backdrop?

Today I look at my 6ft 2 son and wonder where the time went. I mean,wasn’t I just swaddling him and laying him in his Jenny Lind crib; just singing our made up “big buddy buckle up ” song every time we got in the car; just packing his little backpack for school ? But that car phone thing? That makes me feel like we walked with dinosaurs back then and I realize 26 years ago wasn’t exactly “yesterday”.

A lot has changed over the years. But one thing has remained constant. The days may feel like they’re dragging … especially when the crying seems to never end and you’ve stepped on the 110th Lego and they won’t eat their peas even with cheese sauce and they roll their eyes at you one more time…

But the years are short.

In the blink of an eye, that adorable baby becomes a curious toddler who turns into a messy elementary kid who barrels into teenage rebellion. And before you know it, he’s a grown, married man with a job and bills to pay and little furry mouths to feed. Just as it should be.

So parents of yunguns, cherish those moments . Even the ones that make you want to claw your eyes out in frustration. Stop wishing time away. Stop always looking forward to the next amazing thing your child will do and simply enjoy the things they ARE doing. Now. In this moment. We can get so wrapped up in the next best thing that we don’t even see the now best thing. And I bet that even in those pesky pre-teen years where they’re trying so hard to be the boss of themselves and they’re on your last nerve all. the. time…..even then there’s something they’re doing that’s their now best thing. Find it. Love it. Brag on it. And in the proper time, you’ll all gracefully slide into the next little piece of greatness .

So Time, thank you I guess. Thank you for faithfully doing your thing and always marching on. Thank you Time for the weird ways you cause us to think you’ve stopped because those moments are filled with delightful memories. Thank you for the times that drag and for the times that seem to move forward too quickly.

And to that little boy who grew up too fast (and all his siblings) and to all the other children who seem to do the same …. my prayer for you…

“May God bless you and keep you. May God smile on you and gift you. May God look you full in the face and make you prosper.”

Until next time…