Still Calm and Knowing

Still Calm and Knowing

As I look at the calendar today, it’s almost shocking to me that we’re at the end of yet another school year. Our school district is on an early start/early end schedule so our seniors will actually graduate a week from Friday! We have sat at the graduation ceremony of all five of our children now. Not one of them any easier than the one before them . Graduation is a stark reminder of how quickly time passes. It seems just like yesterday we were bringing home our brand new, fresh from God newborn and yet today , there they are. Walking across a stage or a football field, ready to take on the world on their own. It hardly seems fair!

Every so often on this blog, I’ll resurrect a post from my former blog if it’s fitting. Today is one of those days. Because it won’t be long until another set of parents will be on the verge of launching their baby birds out of the nest and into the world of adulting. And we can all use a reminder of Who is ultimately in control, not only of our lives, but our children’s. So once again…or for the first time…be encouraged and calm and know that our beloveds are in far better hands than even our own.

I put them in a car to spend their first weekend away from me. It didn’t matter that the person they were leaving with was their dad. They were 2 and 4 years old and I had legitimate concerns. Would their hair get brushed in the morning and would he know how to attach the all essential hair bow in that mane of hair ? Would their clothes match all weekend? Would they eat the right things? Would they be afraid at bedtime because I wasn’t there to tuck them in? Would they sleep OK in a bed they weren’t used to? Would they play in the street or fall off a swing or skin their knees or get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions?? Would they miss me as much as I missed them?

And a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re their mom but I AM God.”

It was kindergarten registration. I sat with my sweet little 5 year old boy on my lap in a tiny little chair that I’m not sure I would’ve fit in comfortably even if I was 5. As I sat and watched other parents come in and out of the room with big old smiles on their faces , anticipating the freedom that was about to ensue in their lives as their kid finally started school, I sat with tears streaming down my face. Oh I was about to go into the full out ugly cry right there in front of 24 other beaming parents and God Himself. Then the sweet kindergarten teacher came and sat next to me, patted me on the knee and said she understood how difficult it can be when it’s time to send your first born to school. I looked at her with tears welling up into big Lake Michigan sized puddles in my eyes and said ,”He’s my FOURTH child!!” Then I proceeded to release the dam of tears that was blocking my vision from filling out the mountain of paperwork required to send your precious baby to school. Would he make friends? Would he be too shy to even say a word? Would he eat his lunch? Would he fall off the monkey bars during recess ? Would other kids make fun of him? Would he get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions roaming the playground? (Those darn west Georgia mountain lions!! They need to leave my kids alone!!)

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

We were standing out on the front porch, about to go shopping for this , that and the other when she looked up at me and very matter of factly said these words. “ I know I’m only 13, but I’m pretty sure that if I could drive, I could completely take care of myself and have my own house, pay my own bills and all that.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at my darling baby girl. This wasn’t a fit of teenage rage, mad at me and wanting to be away from her family as soon as possible. She was a 13 year old girl wanting me to know that she felt she could handle life on her own one day. I loved her spirit of confidence and independence but the thought of my first born child on her own, away from me, doing her own thing….forever…..well. Was she really ready to face those pesky mountain lions? I wanted to cry….she was growing up too quickly.

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

The music started. It was a familiar tune . My vision blurred. Babies in long black robe- like garments with weird looking hats on their heads began marching in from the other side of the football field. Oh wait….they’re not babies. They’re full grown mini-adults finishing high school … or college. Ready to make their marks on this big old world. Ready to face life’s challenges and excitements and adventures. On their own. Without their momma’s by their sides. I’ve done this seven times now (5 high school graduations, 2 college graduations) and I still have at least 1 more college graduation to go. Will it ever get easier? Will I ever be able to watch my children pack up and leave the safety of our home without getting a big old lump in my throat? Will I ever stop having mini panic attacks when I think about those proverbial “mountain lions” waiting to pounce on my kids and devour them whole?

Then a little voice deep within my soul, One I’m way more familiar with now that I’m older, gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re a good mom. But I AM a GREAT God.”

I am Mom……not God.

Let me tell myself that again, just one more time.

 I AM MOM…..NOT GOD!!!!

Ok, so I yelled it that time but sometimes I just need that loud reminder that as a parent, there comes a time when I just have to trust that I’ve done a decent-ish job as mom and let go and trust God with the rest.

When they want to drive a car…..God is riding shot gun.

When they want to go off to college and haven’t invited me to be their roomie….God is there with them.

When they have to make those first grown up decisions and they don’t want my opinion….God is waiting to guide them.

When they become parents themselves and they see Mom through new eyes…….God gently starts this process with them.

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And a gentle voice will speak into their souls just as gently and persistently as He did mine, “You are Mom ( or Dad). And I am God.”

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”..Luke 1:45

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The Gift of Lessons Learned

What would you say is the greatest gift you’ve ever received? Maybe it was an item of some sort you’d been longing for. Maybe it was a relationship you had been praying would work out. Maybe it was a lesson well received and needed.

I’m currently living in the middle of one of my greatest gifts … healthy life lessons learned. Progress towards a goal I never thought would happen. New habits formed when I thought the old ones would never die. Seeing God do things I. KNOW. I. COULD. NOT. DO. ALONE!!

LESSONS WITH FOOD

I love to eat. The only food I’m allergic to is walnuts. So you can keep those nuts of death but pass me everything else. And therein lies one of the deep roots of my weight problems. You have to eat to live. But I have spent so many years living to eat. Cheese, bread, sugary treats, buttery goodness… I did not have a grasp on healthy portion sizes. I didn’t have a desire to avoid things I knew would pack on the pounds faster than a cheetah racing to his next meal. Nothing felt off limits to me.

“”I have the right to do anything”, you say – but not everything is beneficial.”I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive.”

1 Cor 10:23

Over these last two months , God has shown me the enormity of this lesson. I had been living life “high on the hog” , exhibiting my right to have anything I pleased. What He’s shown me is that by doing that, I was putting way too many things in my body that had ZERO BENEFIT to me.

Not only has He killed the great Sugar Beast that was always raging inside of me, He has shown me that I don’t have to have 4 slices of bacon on my sandwich to enjoy it. One slice is good enough. When I break it up and spread it out, I still get a taste of bacon in every bite and isn’t that the goal of bacon anyway? Also, bread isn’t always necessary! This grilled chicken sandwich from a nearby fast food restaurant was delicious wrapped in a leaf of lettuce! Truly! Who knew?? See the bacon? And the yummy sauce? Still very WW friendly and low point when you take off the bun!

He’s also shown me that there’s more than one way to enjoy old favorites…in a more beneficial way. I’ve discovered pancakes that are different but so delicious. Sugar free maple syrup, warmed up, and in a small portion…not dripping off my plate…is good enough! And just look at this cheesecake. If you were to walk in on me eating this, you’d likely think I was having a “cheat day” or that I’d decided to heck with this diet thing. But nope….this one piece of cheesecake is exactly zero WW points , made with non fat Greek yogurt, sugar free pudding and eggs. Crazy huh?

Lessons with Exercise

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

1 TImothy 4:8

Did you know the bible actually talks about exercise being good? Valuable even! I’ve gone through phases in my life when exercise was important to me. Fun even. But for the past 14 or so years, exercise was nowhere on my radar. Working out became boring for me. Then it became difficult as I put on more weight. I’d get winded way too easily. I’d break a sweat. And neither of these things was even remotely desirable for me. But that’s what happens when you become content with “Fifty, Fluffy and Fabulous”.

But as God has been transforming the way I look at food, He’s also done a work in me on the importance of MOVING MY BODY!! Our bodies were made for motion and quite frankly, walking to the chair on the back porch or to the car in the garage is not enough!! So as I began this journey, I had to tell God “Exercise is H A R D and I don’t want to do it . But I know it’s important so PLEASE HELP!! I’m sending out an S O S !!!”

And just like that, He heard my plea and answered! In this second month of my journey back to healthy, I’ve embraced the fact that I need to bump up my workout routine. I’m not a “go to the gym” kind of girl right now. So Jesus and I have been meeting 5 days a week in my living room and He’s been getting an ear full from me as I’ve started jogging and carrying weights and high intensifying myself into an hour long sweat fest! Oh He’s had His work cut out for Him with me, that’s for sure. Slowly but surely, though, I’m starting to enjoy each day’s time with whatever “walk leader” is on tap for the day and , of course, any time I can “cry out loud to my Ultimate Walk Leader ” is time well spent. “Oh Lord do we really need to do this? Can’t you just zap me into physical fitness? Please keep my legs from buckling and the sweat from blinding me. And oh yeah, please don’t let me die!!” And what do you know…I’m still alive and kicking and ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Lessons with Attitudes

When my thought process was… “I’m over 50. I don’t burn calories like I used to. My metabolism is shot. Menopause has my hormones whacked out. I’ll never lose weight again.” …I was right. Nothing happened anytime I attempted to lose weight. When my attitude shifted and I began to let hope sneak in to those dark places of “I can’t” and my thought process became ” I absolutely CAN AND WILL do this! To heck with my age” , I was also right.

Working on getting healthier is a good thing. Moving easier is a good thing. Not being controlled by my appetite for junk food is a good thing. Losing weight is a good thing. This I know to be absolutely true… “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” (James 1:7)

So my attitude when I have a slow week and only lose a pound or less is one of extreme gratitude! THANK YOU LORD!! Every ounce I lose at this stage of my life is a G I F T!! It should be harder than it is. But it’s not. And I know it’s because my attitude is in the right place. My faith is on point. And my Helper never leaves my side. I had a goal to lose 20 lbs in 2 months. I did it. Or I should say “we” did it. Because I know I didn’t do this by own strength.

As I close this post, I’d like to offer a prayer for anyone reading this who may be struggling to lose weight or to just have a better mindset about food and exercise.

Lord, we can do all things with You by our side. You are our strength when we feel weak. You are the Yes You Can to our No I Can’t. You are our biggest cheerleader , always on our side. Give us eyes to see the things that are beneficial for our health and help us to walk away from those things that aren’t. Thank You for the gift of Your presence as we walk this road of healthy living. In Jesus Name…Amen


There’s More Than One Way to Make a Pancake

I love pancakes. I want pancakes almost as much as I want pizza and tacos! It’s true! Homemade pancakes. Good old original IHOP pancakes. Cracker Barrel blueberry pancakes…..sigh…can we just pause a minute and reflect on their buttery, blueberry goodness.

In the Name of Jesus who gave us blueberries and pancakes….Amen!

Let’s move on quickly now because temptation and all that jazz! This should kill the urge for all the WW journeying friends reading this today. Three of these lovelies with butter and syrup are 27 points…TWENTYSEVEN!! (this is straight from my WW App that calculates all the points so we don’t have to!) Oh Satan get thee behind me!

So, what’s a pancake loving fool like me to do when the pancake craving comes a calling. I’m certainly NOT going to give up an entire days worth of points for a plate of pancakes. Just ain’t doing it!

A couple months ago, a friend shared a recipe for lemon blueberry pancakes she found that was very WW friendly. Today, though, I was fresh out of blueberries and in need of some pancakes. I did have bananas…and chocolate peanut powder. So I made some changes and came up with a variation of the lemon blueberry pancake that is pretty good.

Now if you make these scrumptious CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BANANA PANCAKES, know this. They are very WW friendly …only ONE POINT per pancake. But they do not have the taste or exact texture of traditional pancakes. If they did, they’d be 9 points a piece. So don’t expect them to taste and feel and be just like a yummy old plate of IHOP goodness. Close…but now quite! Go into this pancake experience grateful that there’s a pancake alternative that you can eat without guilt or fear of all the miles you’re gonna have to run later on to get rid of the calories you just consumed!! But they’re also really tasty!

So without further ado, I present to you CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BANANA PANCAKES!!!! (Because you didn’t really come here to just hear me talk about pancakes, ,did you?)

GRAB THESE THINGS FIRST

  • 2 bananas (or 3 if you want a more banana-y taste)
  • 2/3 C self rising flour
  • 1 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 T chocolate peanut butter powder
  • 1/4 C sugar free maple syrup

THEN DO THESE THINGS

  • Beat the egg whites in a bowl until fluffy…like the above picture if you’re wondering how fluffy is fluffy enough
  • In another bowl, smash one or two bananas. I just did one today. Next time I’ll do two. The choice is yours as to how much banana flavor you’d like
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the syrup) to the smashed banana. Once all the ingredients are happily intermingling, fold in the beautiful, fluffy egg whites.
  • Using your 1/3 C measuring cup, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Flip the pancakes once they get bubbly on top. Continue cooking until other side is light golden brown. Because these pancakes are made with yogurt, you may notice they don’t brown on both sides exactly like you’re used to and they made seem a tiny bit “squishy” . This is OK. They’re done.
  • While your amazing low point pancakes are cooking, make your banana syrup. Pour 1/4 C of sugar free maple syrup into a small skillet and add a cut up banana. Heat and stir until it’s as hot as you like!
  • This recipe made 8 1/2 pancakes. That half pancake is great for your small child who is begging you for a bite, bite, bite!! Each pancake is ONE POINT….truly! So have as many as you want! This amount of syrup was good for 3 pancakes and adds 1 point to your meal.

There ya go. I hope you like these as much as I did. If you try them, let me know in the comments. And if you’d like to try the lemon blueberry version that inspired today’s recipe, find WW Pound Dropper on Instagram or Facebook. She has TONS of great low point recipes I’m sure you’ll love.

The Lies We Believe and the Truth That Will Set Us Free

I was new in town. Newly single in my late 20’s. Didn’t know anyone but a handful of work people and my ex husband. So what better way to meet new lifelong friends but to join a gym. I’d find friends and because I was gonna be so “buff” from my amazing workouts, I’d surely also snag a new guy. I am woman hear me roar!! Full of my own power to make it all happen in this gym…a quite foreign and new place to my 20-something-self. A gym where those who were playing racquet ball and working on leg presses were fighting the “leg warmer and leotard” phase and wondering if the” Richard Simmons short shorts” phase was the next best thing. Oh I guarantee you I was a sight to behold…BOTH times I went to this gym during my 3 year contract. Two visits full of arguing with the treadmill, tripping over my feet in the step aerobic class and trying my darnedest not to get a concussion from a ricocheting racquet ball. Working out at this gym at this time in my life was a horrendous train wreck. I wasn’t quite as roaring and powerful after a few weak visits. I was there for the total wrong reasons…Mr. Right was NOT there and I really had no desire to ever break a sweat! It took quite a bit of finagling to get myself out of that way too long contract. But I did. The “work out” of my “fabricating a believable story” skills were far greater than any motivation I ever had to actually work out during this time.

I totally believed the lie that “roaring” in to find my new boyfriend would be enough motivation to go to the gym . It wasn’t. And I was humiliated more often than inspired.

I was about to turn 50. Enough of those 80 pounds I had lost in my early 40’s had crept back on that I needed to pay attention to it. And remembering how easy it was to lose this weight the first time , I became full of “all hail me, I am invisible” power. Oh who am I fooling?? Those pounds crept on when I unplugged from the “Power Source” that lit me on fire the last time. What happened when I tried to maintain my weight loss in my own mighty power was this…the weight didn’t “creep back on” like an unknown thief in the night. It came barrelling back on when dessert became my best friend again…when the drive through window at the nearest fast food place sang my name and I gladly answered back …when my biggest workout was carrying a toddler to nap time! I turned myself in to the nearest Weight Watchers jailhouse. I dragged myself in, shackles still firmly in place, kicking and screaming the whole time. I went and tortured myself at the scale for nearly a month, having lost about 2 lbs the entire time. When the receptionist saw my complete dismay and disgust with myself, she simply said…

It’s just harder to lose weight the older you get…..blah blah…blah diddy blah….wah wah”

What she really should’ve said is…

“Where the heck is your motivation? Where’s your power to make this happen? You don’t have any! You’re believing too many lies about yourself. Come back when you’re properly motivated and ready to believe the truth that you can do this!”

We all need someone in our lives who loves us enough to speak real truth to us! This receptionist at the Weight Watchers place was not that person for me. That was the last time I attempted to get healthy and lose weight. In fact, it was probably that day when I created my new life mantra….”I’m Fifty, Fat and Fabulous” And I was totally OK with that. I told myself a bazillion times over the next 5 years that I was totally comfortable in my fluffiness. It’s a bit sad when you can’t even find it within you to be truthful with yourself.

Because the real truth was I cringed a little inside every time I saw a picture of myself from the neck down. I died inside a bit more every time I bent over to pick up toys off the floor and all those poor food choices I’d been making were in my way of really bending over. With every out of breath step I took, I felt helpless to do a thing about it. I just lacked the motivation to do anything about all these bad feelings, so I bought into my own lie that I was good with how I looked and felt.

Those lies were slowly killing me. Oh I know that sounds dramatic. But five years after declaring my new triple F mantra, I was 5 pounds over my highest ever weight. I found myself completely addicted to sugar, afraid to break a sweat and get my heart rate up. My hips hurt most of the time. So did my back. And I pretty much avoided any activity or social outing that would require me to stand too long or have to walk too far. My lifestyle was far from healthy.

The truth I needed to hear and live by during both of these times in my life was one I knew like the back of my hand but, for whatever reason, I had shoved it to my back burner. I can do some things on my own, but I can do any and everything with Christ. Philippians 4:13 is a familiar verse to many people, “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” This is a steadfast TRUTH in my life because I’ve seen it play out at least a hundred and twenty bazillion times!!

If you are trying to lose weight right now or you’re trying to overcome any other hurdle in your life and you feel you’ve hit a wall, can I be the person who speaks truth into your life today? On your own , you can only get so far before you hit a stalemate. The sooner you let the Lord in on your thing, the sooner you’re gonna press on, overcome and achieve. Stop believing lies…they’re a load of rubbish!! Believe this…

Next week, I hit the two month mark in my journey back to healthy. I’ll share my progress then. But I’ll say this…as a 55 year old menopausal woman who once believed the lie that I’d be fluffy forever and I’d never be able to lose weight again, this is an exciting time for me. Any time I surrender and just see what God can do, it’s thrilling! So until next time…


Not Your Momma’s Beans

Not Your Momma’s Beans

Do not be confused by the title of this post!! You haven’t accidentally stumbled upon another food blog. It’s still little old me! But because food is a big part of my life, I will occasionally share a recipe that even Jesus would’ve liked on His last supper table!

On Tuesday nights , we host a small group bible study at our home. And because we meet at dinner time, we start each week’s gathering around the table having a meal together. Well to be honest, the women sit at the table and the men stand around in the kitchen hoping to find some empty counter space for their plates! But they don’t mind, being the good southern gentlemen they all are! The recipe I’m sharing with y’all today is one I made this week for our “End of Semester Cook Out Extravaganza”. These are not your average old baked beans. These are really good. Really, really, really good even!

So with no further ado, here ya go……the actual recipe near the actual top of the post. No scrolling through 1500 words and ads to get to this one!!

This is what you need

  • 1lb ground beef (or turkey if you prefer less fat)
  • Bacon (I won’t tell you how much to use. That’s between you and Jesus!)
  • 2 cans each kidney beans, white beans, pork ‘n beans (or whatever beans float your boat)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3/4 C light brown sugar
  • 3/4 C ketchup
  • Little less than 1/2 C molasses
  • 2 big glubs of yellow mustard (if you must measure, start with 2 T)

This is how you doooo iiiit (did you sing that?)

  1. In a large dutch oven type pot, cook your ground beef (or turkey) with the diced onions. After you feel confident you have the perfect amount of bacon (because Jesus said USE AS MUCH AS YOU WANT BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!) cut the bacon in small pieces and cook it with the meat and onions. You can also cook the bacon separately if you like but I really like saving steps. So I cooked it all together! Drain!
  2. Stop and say a little prayer of thanks for bacon…just because!
  3. Drain and rinse all your beans except the pork ‘n beans. Then add all these yummy, belly filing beans to your meat mixture.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients. Besides the bacon, these are the things that help make these beans so incredibly yummy!
  5. Bring to a boil. Or at least let them get really hot before you cover then and turn them down to simmer for a while. I let mine simmer for about an hour but you can dig in way sooner than that if you need to!

This recipe fed 9 people very generous portions. And there were left overs. I feel confident you will love these beans, especially if you already sorta like baked beans. If you just can’t stand beans, make these for your bean lovers and try a bite. You just might change your mind about beans after that! And if not, Jesus still loves you!!


My Clamorous Life

My Clamorous Life


Like most new parents, I can remember fretting over what we would name each of our five children. Did I want a name with an impactful meaning? Did I want a Biblical name? A family name? A trendy name? A popular name? A unique name? I knew whatever name we gave our children, it would be theirs forever. Unless, of course,we chose Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii! Thankfully, none of our children were so embarrassed by the names we gave them that they had to fight to legally change it!

Several months ago when I started this blog, I had a similar struggle. What would I name my little piece of real estate on the world wide web? I had waited to reboot my blog, The BeBe Dyearies, until I felt God was giving me the big go-ahead. I knew I needed to change the name but I struggled with WHAT to name it. So in a moment of impatient desperation, I hunted down an old Facebook post from years ago where I begged for help naming a blog. And one person commented they would read a blog called “Dyehard Truths and Happenstance”. It was a cute little play on my name so I thought why not? If one person would read a blog with that title, surely thousands would! But there was one problem with this name. Even though I settled for it, I never truly felt peace with it because it wasn’t a name I felt in my spirit came from God.

So when I felt that nudge to make some more changes in my little corner of the Internet, I prayed hard for a new name for my blog baby. And patience to wait for it! What He gave me was just crazy enough that I knew it wasn’t just me hoping it was Him. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have come up with this name completely on my own!

So I present to you my new blog name…

“MY CLAMOROUS LIFE”

Photo by Mariusz Prusaczyk on Pexels.com

Believe me when I say I questioned this name. Was He sure about this one? When I think of the word “clamorous”, I think of loud annoying sounds I wish would stop!! The word means “noisily insistent” for crying out loud!! When I think of clamorous, I think of how quiet my life is now that my nest is empty. When I think of clamorous, I think about how I crave stillness and peace at the end of a day with my sweet preschoolers…who often are the very exact definition of “clamorous”!! When I think about clamorous, I think about how OPPOSITE of the true meaning of this word my life is most days! But I felt that overwhelming insistence and I couldn’t shake it.

Then He gave me this. Not only was He wanting to do new things with my writing, He wanted to give new meaning to how I live my life “clamorously”. Am I living my life “noisily insistent” for the sake of others? Am I showing the love of Jesus to all I encounter in a way that makes them want to know Him more? Not only in my home but when I’m traveling or out to eat or shopping or driving down the Interstate? In this Internet/Social Media driven society we live in, am I writing words that show love, kindness, peace, patience , goodness and gentleness? Am I making a JOYFUL NOISE? Or just a noise for the sake of being heard or right ?

Lord knows I don’t always make noise for the right reasons! But I am encouraged now to try harder. I am encouraged to always be aware of how He’s moving and grooving in my life! My prayer and hope is that as you read my little blog through the years (yes I’m feeling super hopeful right now!),that it will become easier for you to notice how the Lord is working in all the areas of YOUR life. And that because of your own open eyes, you too will be encouraged to live your life in a way that is “clamorous” in all the right ways, for all the right reasons! Until next time,

Pay to Caesar and All That Jazz

Pay to Caesar and All That Jazz

So Happy Tax Day Y’all! Today may find you sitting pretty, spending the giant refund you received back in February because you filed your taxes so stinking early. Are you enjoying that new couch? Have you planned and paid for the perfect summer vacation to paradise? Or you could be biting your nails today hoping you can get it all done before midnight, weighing out the likelihood that you’ll just go ahead and file an extension. Raise your hand if you’ve ever filed an extension and still waited until mid October to get ‘er done! Cue the wah wah music…

I spent my E N T I R E weekend debating whether I should get my taxes done on time or hit that “File an Extension” button looming over on the left side of my TurboTax screen. I mean, it would’ve been much more enjoyable to sit on my couch and binge watch seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones. I like doing things that don’t involve hours of digging through paperwork to prove I really spent “xyz” on this , that and the other. I don’t like mileage logs or documents with number/letter names or any of that jazz. I like having fun on my weekends.

But I put on my big girl pants, grabbed my bottle of Motivate , said a prayer , and commenced on the 10 hour journey to find how much I had to “pay to Caesar”. Oh Jesus, I wish you had said “Then give bubble gum to Caesar because he loves it” or “Then give Caesar a pat on the back for a job well done” or anything else . But scripture is full of references to why we must pay our taxes so journey on fellow American tax payers.

Doterra’s Motivate Blend really is good! I applied it many times through my tax journey and I did get done well before the GOT premier!

But that’s enough serious tax talk. It is what it is and I figured today we could all use a little bit of humor. I have scoured the Internet and asked Comedian Google for her best Tax Day Jokes. So I now present to you some of the best funnies I found .

  1. From Jimmy Kimmel…”The IRS suggests filing early to reduce the chance that someone will steal your identity and file before you. Honestly, if somebody wants my identity so badly they’ll file my tax return, go crazy. You can mow my lawn while you’re at it, too.”
  2. From Tom Lehrer…”On my income tax form 1040 it says “Check this box if you are blind.” I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away!”
  3. From some anonymous dude… ” Taxes. Of life’s two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.”
  4. Me to Siri…”Hey Siri, tell me a tax joke” Siri………. Again Me to Siri…”Hey Siri, tell me a tax joke” Siri…… All I got was dead air. She had nothing for me.
  5. Until about 5 minutes later, my phone randomly starts talking to me and Siri finally has a joke. Why don’t koala bears hang around with all the other bears?…Because they don’t meet the Koala-fications.

I guess Siri knows that there’s nothing to joke about when it comes to taxes. So today my tax procrastinating friends, trudge on. Smile whether you want to or not. Find something to be grateful for. Know you’re not alone in your delay. Take a deep breath . Be thankful you have another whole 365 days until you have to do this again! And if you can find that “Check here if you’re blind” box, please let me know if you check it three inches away!

The Muffin’s In the Bag

The Muffin’s In the Bag

Why did I just eat that?

How many times in my life have I said these words to myself? How many times have I caught myself with a child’s leftovers in my mouth? Because you know, nothing screams “Eat Me I’m Yummy!!” more than pasta or a muffin or a cookie that’s been poked, prodded and used as jewelry by a toddler.

How I’ve survived all these years as a “food addict” with a house full of messy toddlers is beyond me! Because the germs alone should’ve had me curled up in bed, clutching my achy stomach on the daily! I don’t know how many times I got to the end of the day and realized all I had for lunch was a few bites of the one year old’s spaghetti and a couple Goldfish off his tray. Thank You Jesus for the germ protection when my own inner toddler seemed to be screaming, “If you have it , it must be good enough for me! Gimmee! Gimmee! Gimmee! ” (insert gigantic eye roll here…or maybe a good old toddler foot stomping tantrum because if the shoe fits and all that! )

Bad food habits obviously include way more than just eating three desserts after a pizza feast! Or sitting down with a full bag of a chips while you watch a movie and the chips are gone before the movie is over !

I love how 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 reads in The Message. And by “love”, I mean that it steps all over my toes! If you need your bad eating habits stomped on , continue reading. If being convicted over your poor eating habits isn’t in your plan today, skip over the next paragraph!!

“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, ‘First you eat to live and then you live to eat’? Well it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food…”

As I move further down the path of improving my health and losing weight, I’ve found that confession is just good for the soul. Putting a voice to all my secret bad habits causes them to lose their authority over me. So yes, I’d eat toddler leftovers right off their tray. I’d eat a dozen cookies without blinking. I’d fill my pantry with complete junk food and somehow convince myself it was somehow healthy. I’d put sugar plus sugary, extra creamy creamer in my coffee . I’d stand in the kitchen with an open container of ice cream and a spoon and blindly eat it while standing over the sink and watching TV. And all the exercise I ever got while destroying myself with all this garbage was basically walking from the living room to the kitchen. Gosh,I should count it a blessing I only gained 80 lbs and not twice that!

Over this last 4 weeks of living in the loving conviction that God threw in my lap, I’ve discovered and overcome many things…

1. My morning coffee was a major culprit in my weight gain game. A month removed from drippy sweet coffee has made me see that all that sugar and cream in my coffee just wasn’t necessary! A protein shake added in a decent portion size does wonderful things for my coffee. I can get my coffee my preferred shade of light beige and enjoy the fact that it doesn’t taste like dessert! And now the thought of the coffee of my past makes my teeth hurt. Yikes!!

2. I can bypass brownies, cobbler, cookies and cakes without even feeling a twinge of desire for them. There is nothing God can’t do!!

3. I LOVE cottage cheese and fruit! Like I crave it now! Also, fat free Greek yogurt. Same story! I eat this now and instead of regular ice cream. And I’m OK with that!

4. A carton of blueberries is more delicious than a bag of chips. I can sit down with my blueberries in front of the TV and if I eat them all before the movie is over? So what? No biggie!

5. Exercise can be fun! My preferred work out right now is good old Leslie Sansone Walk at Home videos. THERE ARE SO MANY!! While I used to make excuses that I couldn’t exercise with a house full of kids or at the end of the day or because something was achy, I can say now that I’ve thrown those excuses out the window. It delights my heart to watch the one year olds work so hard to get all the moves right as they exercise alongside me! And all those aches can just take a hike!

6. No more toddler leftovers! This week I actually bagged up their leftover muffins instead of mindlessly stuffing them in my mouth!! And God as my witness, when they still hadn’t eaten them by the end of the day, I threw those rascally scraps of deliciousness in the garbage!!

Coffee with 1/2 cup or so of Premier Protein with my morning bible study

So toodleloo LIES I’VE BEEN TELLING MYSELF AND BELIEVING! I am leaning into TRUTHS now!! I AM able to do this because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) When I feel weakened by old cravings or by my desire to just sit on the couch, I know “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me.” (Psalm 28:7a) . When I feel unworthy, I know that I can praise Him “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” ( Psalm 139:14)

If you are believing any lies about your own abilities to overcome weakness and you need help finding the truths to grasp on to, grab your bible and start pouring God’s truths about you into your heart and soul! If you need help, let me know!

Until next time…let’s keep eating to live and not vice versa!!

ps…in 4 short weeks, this 55 year old, with the weight loss obstacle of menopause firmly in my path, has lost 10 lbs! And for that, can I get a big old Hallelujah!!


The “Hmmm” of God

The “Hmmm” of God

I’ve heard from God about my weight problems exactly twice in my life now. The first time was in January of 2003. 7 months before my 40th birthday. I knew I didn’t want to be “fat and forty”. I hate the word “fat”, coincidentally, but I was distressed about approaching my 40th birthday and being overweight so I wasn’t thinking in nice terms! And I was frustrated because I hadn’t exactly had a great amount of luck losing weight in my past. I could look in the mirror and the size tag on my clothes and knew I had quite a bit to lose. This wouldn’t be pretty. Or fun. But I was lost as to where to begin.

So one day as I was driving home…probably with a giant cheeseburger and fries in my lap…I began crying out to God. I knew I was hopeless trying to tackle this giant in front of me without Him. And I knew that whatever approach I took to losing the weight would literally have to come from God’s lips to my ears. So I opened my ears to hear Him, hoping He’d have something to say. Like “Becky, you are so amazing . When you wake up in the morning, you will be 80 lbs lighter. You won’t have to lift a barbell or ride a bike or walk 10 miles a day. You won’t have to eat broccoli or salads every day . You’ll just wake up fit and thin. And you’ll stay that way forever! You’re welcome!”

But you know what? He didn’t say that. He’s not a genie in a bottle handing out three wishes to every one who calls His name. He’s also not Santa with a bag of goodies to pass out.

I didn’t hear anything.

But in that moment , I looked up from my drippy , greasy cheeseburger and on the side of the road was a billboard. It was bright and flashy. Like literally flashing! And in neon green letters were two words….Weight Watchers. My first thought was “Wow, Weight Watchers has gotten so fancy with their billboard advertising!” My second thought was “Maybe I’ll try Weight Watchers. There’s a meeting in town on Thursday night.”

So I joined Weight Watchers on a cold January Thursday along with hundreds of other New Years Resolutioners. I was determined to make it work but I wasn’t terribly hopeful. Until my first weigh in. I had quite a large loss in that first week ….and in the second. And suddenly I was a Weight Watchers “super star” knowing with full confidence that I would lose every pound I needed to. And I did. My before and after pics were up at the local gym. I’d be stopped in the grocery store by people who recognized me from those pics and they’d offer their words of awe and encouragement. This happened back in the day when AOL was still a great thing. Their Lifestyle and Health people contacted me for permission to share my pics and a few words about my journey in their little corner of AOL. I paid all this forward and worked for Weight Watchers as a leader, helping other people to achieve their goals.

Why was this time different from all the other hundreds of times I attempted to lose weight and be healthier? HmmmBECAUSE GOD. I became certain my bright green neon flashing sign was from God when I was driving down the same road a few weeks after that January day and it wasn’t there. Oh it hadn’t been replaced with another company’s advertising. The billboard itself wasn’t there. It didn’t appear that it was ever there based on what I did see there.

Yes, I know it sounds weird. We often wish for God to speak to us in obvious , crystal ball, flashing billboard ways. But that doesn’t happen often. Why He chose to lead my path and speak to me in that way is beyond me. I know this though…

“I, too, give witness to the greatness of God, our Lord, high above all the other gods. He does just as He pleases – however, wherever, whenever.”

Psalm 135:5-6 (The Message)

God can do whatever He wants, however He wants, wherever He wants. He can be big and flashy. Like when He gave me the literal flashing sign. Or He can be quiet and whispery. He can come in like a marching band or He can gently tap you on the shoulder to get your attention.

I mentioned at the beginning of this that God had spoken to me twice about this one subject. The second time wasn’t so big and flashy. In fact, it was just a still , small whisper.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself praying about our upcoming 25th Anniversary Vacation Extravaganza. I’ve already been praying for nice west coast weather and calm, smooth seas. I’ve already been praying for the provision to make this trip financially easy for us. But when I realized how out of shape I was…how overweight I truly was AGAIN…and how much walking would be required to get the most out of this trip, I added a few things to my prayers.

It went something like this…”Lord, you know how hard it is for me to comfortably walk or stand up for extended periods of time. You know how out of breath I get with too much activity. You know how wimpy I’ve become with a weak back and bad hips. So Dad, could you please make sure our cabin is near the exit of the ship so I don’t have to walk too far to get off the boat to begin our adventures each day. …..” I had much more to add to this oh so eloquent prayer but in that moment, I felt it. God’s answer was nearly immediate.

That Still, Small Voice was whispering to me. I felt it in my spirit and I knew exactly what the “Hmmmmm…” I felt meant. I could just imagine God standing there, arms crossed, giving me the side eye. Then looking the other way and getting a good laugh out of my oh so humorous request. That “Hmmmmm” said so much to me. And as the voice of God so often does, it changed me. Right then and there I felt the inner conviction I’ve been begging to feel for years. All the failed attempts to keep the weight off since it started creeping back on in 2006. All the weak efforts to be at a healthy weight again as I approached my 50th in 2013. Nothing worked for me because I did not feel that inner conviction that only God can give me. But with that holy “Hmmmm” , that conviction came rushing back to me.

I knew exactly what I needed to do. God had helped me do it before. I knew it was time to return to where God had lead me in the past. It was time to let go of the old frustrations in overcoming my weight battle and remember that God is always in control!! That I do so much better when I GIVE GOD ALL CONTROL!


“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

My “suffering” has been gaining every bit of that 80 lbs back. My “suffering” has been joint issues because of the weight…bad back, bad hips. My “suffering” has been feeling like an 80 year old every time I get up out of a chair or have to walk more than several feet at once. I’m only two weeks into my God lead journey back to better health and I’m already feeling a difference. I have a long way to go. But I know that HE will restore me. He will make me strong and firm. And I will be steadfast on this road far beyond reaching my goal.

I try to only share head shots of myself. My weight isn’t as obvious from the neck up! But to stay transparent and honest here, I share this photo that is now my “before” shot. I like my dress. But I cringe a little when I look at this and can see how far off goal I am. I trust, though, that God is leading me . I trust that He will hold me tight to this road. My good health WILL be restored. I can’t wait to share my progress over the next many months!

ps…this is in no way an endorsement for WW. It’s just what works for me and is part of my weight loss journey testimony!

In the Waves with Matching Socks

In the Waves with Matching Socks

Picture me standing on my rooftop (which I’d never really do because heights are scary!) screaming at the top of lungs, tears rolling down my face, tearing at my clothes, kicking up roof tiles, madder than an old wet hen on a snowy winter’s day. That would’ve been me on one particular gloomy day in January 2014 … if I’d had the nerve to climb on my roof. Well, and tear at my clothes that I spent good money on and kick up roof tiles that I don’t have the money to replace! No, I’d never really do this. But I was pretty stinking mad that day.

I’d love for all the little stories that make up the testimony of my life to involve butterflies and rainbows and cuteness and all things lovely, true and pure but I live in the real world just like you do. So ,many times, the stories of my life are going to involve the opposite of the things listed above!

Finding beauty in sticky situations. It can be tricky, but I believe that through every rough spot we face in life, God provides us with something beautiful in the end…..

In spite of the ick.

In spite of the trial.

Beauty from ashes.

Always…because He is faithful.

The end of 2013 was one icky mess after another. I got the flu… or maybe it’s evil twin… on Thanksgiving Day. And it liked spending time with me so much that it hung around for weeks. Like until just days before Christmas. I can’t remember the last time a seemingly “simple” illness hung around with such tenacity. I had a horrible cough for weeks and completely lost my voice for the good part of a month. I still couldn’t sing a note by Christmas Eve…which was quite tortuous for this girl who loves nothing better than to “spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!” I’m still not sure why I chose to go to the mostly song-filled worship service on Christmas Eve since all I could do was my best Milli Vanilli impression . Remember them? Then 10 days before Christmas, while I’m STILL trying to recoup from the flu, I get a call from my son’s school that they’ve called an ambulance to transport him to the hospital of our choice. He’s severely broken his arm. They weren’t kidding. I’d post a picture of Noah’s arm for your viewing pleasure but you’d probably never come back and read this silly old blog again. It was hideous! He had surgery and spent 3 nights in the hospital. Shortly after this, we get a call that my husband’s dad had taken a fall and broke many ribs and punctured his lung. He was in the hospital awaiting surgery….one he might not recover from. Sadly, he didn’t. Two days after Christmas my father in law was finally breathing freely in the presence of Jesus.

This was just December. I won’t bore you with tales of job losses, extremely reduced income and other stresses that plagued us January through November!

Oh sweet 2014 please be kinder………

…sigh…

But the trials of 2013 weren’t quite over. January had a rough start with flooding in our house. Twice we tromped through little unwanted rivers in the back of our house caused by frozen, busted pipes.

And so we’re back to the opening rooftop story here. On that day, I found myself standing in my sons bedroom ankle deep in water for the second time in a month but this time I was in matching socks. Yes, I said matching! My day had started so well because we all know that matching socks is a victory. Especially when your dryer loves nothing more than to always eat one sock from each pair you own!! Now my beautiful matching socks were soaked in yucky flood water.

I closed my eyes , took a deep breath and made the calls I knew were next after a flood. Then I was mad again. Still in disbelief…..I’m pretty sure I went to bed that night wondering what in the world was going on. Why were we continuously being plagued with one challenge after another?

In my mind, I deserved a big huge pity party. Who wouldn’t after going through all we’d been through? I’d invite friends over to cry with me. We’d have cold pizza and hot diet coke. It would be a blast.

No sooner had I created the guest list for my pity party than I got a little nudge from God. A nudge to remind me to open my pity filled eyes and really see what was going on. Nothing had really dramatically changed from Flood One . Flood Two happened on concrete floors, a stripped down bathroom. The floor was mostly empty of all the clothes, books, and computers that were ruined the first time. We had a roof over our heads. We had heat, clothes on our backs, food in the pantry. And the livable portion of our house was still livable.

Just like that I was reminded of a few things…

  • Blessings abound , even in the midst of turmoil. The faster I start looking for the blessings, the more quickly I’ll find them. The quicker I remember how greatly blessed I am…well, wet matching socks just seem so insignificant.
  • The faster I turn to God with my troubles, the faster I feel better. I like to feel better. Who doesn’t?? Why do we hang on to anger, fear, uncertainty, etc. etc. sooooo long?
  • I don’t have it near as bad as I think I do. Somebody slept in the cold last night. Somebody is begging for food. Somebody doesn’t have a penny to his name and only has what he can carry around in a bag on his back. Why is it so easy for me to fall into a pit of pity for myself when I have it better than a good majority of the world……misplaced water, concrete floors, ripped out walls, kids sleeping on the couch or not?

And those things were my BEAUTY…..in spite of it all.

As I stood in my son’s room on a patch of dry ground, I looked into the bathroom where water was still dripping out of the pipe into the house. There were already fans blowing attempting to dry things up as quickly as possible but the breeze from the fan was having a rippling effect on the standing water on the floor. There were waves on my bathroom floor. As I think back on that, a song came to mind. So I’ll close with the lyrics to that song and pray you too can allow your soul to rest in the embrace of the One who puts up with every pity party we indulge ourselves in and still calls us His own.


“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine”
……

”Oceans” by Hillsong United (chorus)



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