Monday, January 16, 2017

Confession Time

After my amazing year of weight lose last year, I slacked a bit, well maybe I slacked a lot!  I must tell you the truth, I hate eating healthy.  I hate veggies and salads and all those things that are good for my body!  When my year of no sugar, no pop, no chips, no fast food diet was over I slowly let the sugar back in my diet.  I love sugar and can eat sugar eat all day with no adverse affects to my health other than my weight.  Sooooo...... after losing 80 pounds last year, over the last 5 months I have gained back 30 pounds!  I am almost embarrassed to write that, but it's true.  Not only did I start eating sugar again, I also have not been exercising or running the way I was.  Of course I have given the excuse that's it's too cold out to walk, which it is but I can easily exercise inside.  I also was a bit discouraged as so many people began saying my face was looking gaunt and I was too skinny.  The normal weight for my height is actually 135lbs. to 140lbs. and I was still over 30 pounds away from that goal so I know I was not in danger of being too skinny.
Over the last five months I have had a stuffy nose.  This is a huge issue for me as for the year I went without sugar I was not sick once and did not once have a stuffy nose.  I was fitting into a medium in clothes and now I am stretching my large size clothes.  My nightly sleep pattern is off and I am just so unhappy with many things as I have gained some of this weight back! 
Thus being said, today is the day that I have started my no sugar, no pop, no chip, no fast food or anything yummy diet again.  I know many people say you have to have a  cheat day now and then but that does not work for me!  If I have a taste of sugar, I simply have to have more and more and I get carried away.  If I totally cut myself off from all sugar and treats and only eat my veggies, fruits and meat, I do really good at being disciplined and constant in my diet.
So, as of today I have 60 pounds to lose to make my goal of 140lbs. My fridge is stocked with fruit and veggies and I am ready to start eating healthy again!  I also have my FitBit on and am in competition with my amazing friends as we try to outstep each other as we all strive to lose some unwanted weight.   I must admit I am not looking forward to eating a year of no sugar again but the weight loss and health benefits far out weigh the need for sugary treats and I know I'll get excited as I see each pound disappear and  when I'm able to fit into the clothes I bought last fall!
Do you want to join me on this weight lose journey?  I would love to be your accountability partner or your FitBit buddy!  Comment and let me know!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ignorant, Indifferent, or Inquity

Today is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day but because it's so cold out we decided to make Strawberry Smoothies instead.  For the recipe I used 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of strawberry yogurt, 3 tablespoons sugar, 8 strawberries and 6 ice cubes.  I made several batches about a half hour before people started showing up, put them in cups and then put the cups in freezer.  I then was able to pull them out of the freezer and give them out as people walked in the door. 

They turned out so yummy and everyone loved them and thought they were a great way to start out the morning! 
In my studies the last few days I have been running across verses such as Joel 2:12 ...Turn to me with all your heart....  So many verses about turning to, serving and following God with ALL our heart.  God wants not just part of our heart but all of it.  Tonight, right before church started and I was greeting people, something happened that made me feel very unloving and it showed in my words and actions.  As I sat in my seat I was telling myself that God wanted me to show unconditional love and understanding but I explained to God and gave Him excuses why I didn't have to in this instance.

The last song we sang before the sermon was Trust and Obey and instantly God smote my heart.  I was not obeying Him in the way I knew he wanted me to.  Each verse spoke to me and I was feeling convicted as per my words and actions not measuring up with what God had been showing me in His Word.

As the last song ended I looked at my phone to make sure the nursery worker hadn't text me saying she needed help.  She hadn't text me but when I looked at my screen saver, God smote my heart again.  I had made a new screen saver last night because my goal is to always ask God this question, Lord, how can I glorify you today?  Again I knew that my words, thoughts and actions did not glorify God.
As the sermon started I knew God was not finished rebuking me as I was convicted within moments of the first words of the sermon.  My husband preached tonight on being ignorant of the Word, indifferent of the Word, and how our iniquity stops us from doing the Word.  How we need to perfect what we are learning in church and perfect what we are reading in our Bibles.  Point after point hit me in the heart as I remembered how last night I had prayed and asked God to help me to give all my heart to Him by obeying, serving and doing His will in my life.   I realized I only want to follow and obey when it agrees with what I'm feeling and not when something upsets me or makes me uncomfortable.  I had tears streaming down my face as I realized I had let my God down once again and I needed to change my thoughts and attitude to align with His Word and what God was trying to do me in.  After praying and asking for forgiveness, I was able to be more loving in the situation and correct the my words and actions.
Lamentations 3:22-23 - It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
I am so thankful for God's mercy as I fail and have to overcome my sinful nature over and over.  He forgives me and gives me a new chance every day to ask, Lord, How can I bring you glory today?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

SuperHero or SuperZero

It had been a long week and my husband and I were sitting together enjoying the silence.  He was reading a message on his phone from someone when he turns to me and with a tinge of defeat to his voice asks me, "How can you be a SuperHero to one group of people and a SuperZero to another group of people?  You know what I mean?"  I sat in stunned silence for a second as I mulled over what he had just said but I knew exactly what he meant.  How can one group of people love what you stand for, love your ideas, love the things you talk about and the advice you give and think you are the most loving, kind and giving person while another group of people think that everything about you is fake, selfish and arrogant, everything you do is stupid, and you are seriously among the worst people on earth and they really do not like you!
I have both those groups of people in my life.  One group is made of friends from around a little bit of everywhere.  We keep in touch, we talk about everything, they ask my opinion or my advice and I ask theirs, we exchange ideas, I encourage them and they encourage me, we can talk for hours and laugh and have a great time together..  They make me feel loved and cherished.  The other group I rarely see, they barely know me but somehow they 'know' me and give me advice, tell me how I should have done things and how I should be doing them now.  I always I feel like I have to defend myself and that is where things break down.  My words come out wrong, I feel stupid and misunderstood and I end up sounding like a blathering idiot as I cry!  I can stand in front of a room full of women and teach about God's truth, mercy and grace, I can counsel and give Biblical advice to those in need but I cannot speak two decent, sensible sentences when I talk to the this group of people who make me feel unlovable, inadequate and well....... like a zero.
Is it my ego or my pride, but I really think I am a pretty great person and when someone doesn't like me for a reason that I just don't understand, it hurts my feelings.  I think most of us are like this.  People are saying all the time that they feel so insecure with people because they have a poor self esteem but I don't think that's true.  I think we think too much of ourselves and it makes totally no sense to us when people reject us or don't like us.  I am sure I have given people plenty of reasons to think I am selfish, arrogant and a little stupid, because if I'm truthful with myself, in many ways I am. 
The thing is, whose thoughts are we going to let define us?   The group that thinks we are SuperHeroes and love us, uplift us and encourages us even when we do act stupid, arrogant and selfish or the group who thinks we are SuperZeroes and don't really know who we are as a person and no matter what we say or do will always think the worst of you?   If I dwell on those that think I am a SuperHero my pride expands and I become sinful in my thoughts of myself but on the other hand if I dwell on the thoughts of those who think I'm a SuperZero, I get stressed out with a mixture of anxiety and fear.  We need to realize God wants us to define ourselves in Him and not what others think of us.  God wants our thoughts to dwell on Him and His truth.  We need His truth so we can be a vessel he can use to love, encourage and teach others but we also need His truth to see where we need to grow and change as we overcome any sinful behaviors or patterns in our lives. 
In the end it does not matter if people think I'm a SuperHero or a SuperZero, I am a child of God, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, living by His grace and mercy and unconditionally loved by Him.  How great is that!!!
Leave me a comment and tell me if you feel like a SuperHero or a SuperZero today and why?  Will be praying for you my dear friends! 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mercy Said No

We were so excited for the Tabb Family to stop and see us as they were traveling through Wyoming today.  Every time they sing for us, we are so blessed and there are very few dry eyes left in the sanctuary by the time they are done!  This time, as every time, I fell in love with one of their songs!  I had never heard this song before but it's definitely one that I will be putting on repeat as I listen to it over and over again!  Over the last few weeks in my daily Bible study, God has shown me verse after verse that have the word 'mercy' in them.  Verses about why we need mercy and how we can use mercy to live a victorious Christian life and then tonight to hear a song about God's mercy just had me in tears as I thought on God's goodness to me! 
Mercy Said No
I was just a child, when I felt the Savior leading
I was drawn to what I could not understand
And for the cause of Christ, I have spent my days believing
That what He'd have me be, who I am
As I've come to see the weaker side of me
I realize His grace is what I'll need
When sin demanded justice for my soul
Mercy said no
I'm not going to let you go
I'm not going to let you slip away
You don't have to be afraid
Mercy said no
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You Jesus, Mercy said no
For God so loved the world, that He sent His son to save us
From the cross He built a bridge to set us free
Oh, but deep within our hearts, there is still a war that rages
And makes a sacrifice so hard to see
As midnight fell upon the crucifixion day
The light of hope seemed oh so far away
As evil tried to stop redemption's flow
Mercy said no
I'm not going to let you go
I'm not going to let you slip away
You don't have to be afraid
Mercy said no
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You Jesus, Mercy said no
And now when heaven looks at me
It's through the blood of Jesus
Reminding me of one day long ago
Mercy said no
I'm not going to let you go
I'm not going to let you slip away
You don't have to be afraid
Mercy said no
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You Jesus, Mercy said no

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Getting off the Spiritual Roller Coaster

Today was our January Ladies G.A.B. Time and since we have had so much snow lately I decorated in a snow theme.  We almost had a full house for both the afternoon and the evening sessions and we had so much fun both times.
For our ice breaker game we played the logo game.  The ladies were laughing and singing old jingles as we guessed each product and answered questions about them.  Who remembers the jingle to Almond Joy and Mounds bars?  Some of the ladies had never heard it before and were laughing as we sang it to them!  Sometimes you feel like a nut......Sometimes you don't!
I wrote and gave a devotion on "Getting Off the Spiritual Roller Coaster".  1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us that God wants us to be stedfast and unmovable in our faith and not constantly going from a spiritual high to a place where we are depressed and defeated.  We need to be guarding our hearts against spiritual apathy and watch for what makes our spirituality plunge. 
Some things that hinder our spiritual growth are; Pleasing people rather than God, Not applying Scripture to our life, surrounding ourselves with non-believers who do not help strengthen our faith or hold us accountable to the standards of God, little to no prayer life, lack in morals or adapting to the world's morals, religious tradition where we look sanctified on the outside but not changed on the inside, independence and no dependence on God, no spiritual discipline, no consistency and not having a mentor or spiritual counselor you can talk to.
It is so easy to say that God is our highest priority but does your lifestyle prove it?  We must stop making excuses and stop expecting God to understand when we put him at the bottom of the ladder.  We need to not let our emotions rule our time with God, be willing to make sacrifices, embrace godly discipline, choose the important over the urgent and not listen to the lies of the enemy as we develop a fervent, stedfast, and unmoveable passionate relationship with God. 
For our craft we Mode Podged the verse onto tiles and added embellishments.

I think they turned out so cute!  Of course we had so much fun and laughter as we fellowshipped together.  I love our Ladies G.A.B. time but was so happy when we were done for the day.
I had received word at 11:30 this morning that my absolute favorite uncle, the one who had lived next door to me for most of my life, the one who loved me and taught me so much, had passed away.  I knew he was slipping away and that I would receive word any minute that he was gone but it was still heartbreaking.  I had the senior ladies headed to the church in an hour for G.A.B. time and was still running and trying to finish a few last minute things before they got there so I couldn't really stop and just bawl my eyes out the way I wanted to.  I prayed for God's strength and I started singing..... "the joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the Lord is my strength.....", and it was so true.  I joyfully taught the senior ladies G.A.B. time and was then able to head back to the house and write a blog post about the wonderful man I loved.   By the time I had to head over for the evening session of G.A.B. time, I had shed my tears and was so excited to teach the ladies the things that God had put on my heart about being stedfast and unmovable in him.
I am so thankful for the strength that God gives me to serve Him even in the sad or stressing times.  He is my help and my comfort and I truly do find joy in His strength!

Uncle Allen's Kids

I had just pulled up to his house and Uncle Allen was sitting in the front yard in his wooden chair as he greeted me. "Hey!  You just missed Cookie."  I had no idea who he was talking about and tried to change the subject but he kept bringing it up.  So I finally asked, "Who's Cookie?".  He proceeded to tell me a funny story about Kae Dene and her coming to him with her face covered in chocolate from getting into and eating some cookies. He was smiling ear to ear as he told me about this sweet little girl that would follow him everywhere and how he had fallen in love with her.  That's the first time I noticed it, Uncle Allen claimed "Cookie" as his kid and he loved her as his very own.
As I thought back, I realized he did this with so many of his brothers and sisters kids. I could tell you conversation after conversation I had with Uncle Allen as he loved, worried over and rejoiced in his nieces and nephews.  As his brothers and sisters would keep him updated on their kids, their kids would become his kids.  Here are a few of those conversations that made the biggest impressions on me.

I remember when I was in Junior High, sitting at the kitchen table with him and grandma as I did my homework.  I was muttering and complaining about the work and I remember him telling me, "Look at Doug and Mark!  They worked hard to get where they are."  He proceeded with pride to tell me about what they had accomplished and what they were doing now because of working hard on their studies and he didn't want to hear me complain anymore.  You see, Doug and Mark were his kids and he was so proud of them and all their accomplishments.
It seemed often, when I would go into his house, he would be sitting there thinking about one of his "kids".  One day I asked what he was so deep in thought about.  He said had spent many years worrying about Michael.  So saddened that he had to have lost his father so young and everything that had happened since.  He then told me how that boy had a plan and a purpose and was overcoming his circumstances and he had a great future ahead of him.  He knew Michael would go far and was excited to see what he would do with his life.  You see, Michael was his kid and he wanted nothing more than for him to succeeded in everything he set his mind too.

I remember when Tawnya was having trouble with her first husband.  As I came into Uncle Allen's house, he was muttering and upset.  I asked him what was going on and he told me a little of what he was agitated about and said how he couldn't believe that anyone would be treating Tawnya like that.  He said, "Good thing she has brothers or I would have to go down there and take care of him myself.  I'll just let David and Kenny take care of it, cause if I go down there......" and he just shook his head because he was so mad.  You see, Tawnya was his kid and he was so protective of her.
I'll never forget the day I walked into the house and found Uncle Allen sitting at the table with tears streaming down his face.  I had never seen him cry before, even when grandma died, he hugged me and let me cry on his shoulder but I don't remember seeing him cry.  I asked him what had happened and as he continued to cry, he told me how his beautiful Jamie had left this earth way too early.   I cried too as we shared story after story about this beautiful blonde girl who had stolen his heart years ago.  You see, Jamie was his kid and he loved her and couldn't believe he'd lost her.
He always kept me updated on Dominic and bragged about his athletic ability in soccer.  He told me how he was doing in school and what his plans were for after school.  As Chep and I moved around for the military, he called me while I was living in Missouri and Germany to let me know how Dominic was doing as he served in the military too. You see, Dominic was his kid and he was worried about his safety as he was so far away from home. 
Every time he mentioned Laura he would smile.  He said she had a rough couple of years but then she turned everything around and was raising an amazing young man.  Uncle Allen was so thrilled with Jacob and what a good kid he was and he always bragged about how smart Jacob was.  Whenever Jacob would come visit or someone would call to tell him how Jacob was doing, Uncle Allen would glow with pride as he told me what Jacob was doing next in his life.  You see, Laura and Jacob were his kids and he loved watching them grow up .
Although Patrick is my brother, Uncle Allen would still call me and tell me what Patrick was up to and how Patrick and Amy sent him steak or some other goodie in the mail.  If ever a month would go by and he hadn't heard from Patrick, he would call me to see where Patrick was and why he hadn't heard from him.  You see, Patrick was his kid and he wanted to know exactly what was going on in his life.
One of my favorite conversations was at a funeral a few years back.  We were standing with some of the family and they were holding their three year old daughter.  Uncle Allen asked if she could talk yet and when they answered she was talking a lot, he pointed at me and said, "This one scared me to death when she was three, she stopped talking one day and didn't say another word for a full year......"  It was a story I had heard him tell a hundred times, but I didn't mind because you see......... I was his kid and I knew how much he loved me.

Uncle Allen, my life has been forever changed by your wisdom, teachings and love and no one will ever truly understand how much you mean to me.  I love you and my life will never be the same without you, thank you for everything!   

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Nuggets of Truth

Today was National English Toffee Day!

Everyone thought it was so neat to get a Heath Bar and thought the idea of getting something each Sunday is going to be fun.  Pastor Mason was a little upset with me because I forgot to give him one, but I left the box with the leftover bars in his office to make up for it!

This little sweetie turned two days old today!  I loved cuddling her during Sunday School and was totally in love as she watched me intensely as I talked to her!  We took her with us as we went couponing today and everyone thought she was adorable!  Two things you can't start teaching too young, being faithful to God's house and couponing!
While we were out couponing I met a sweet lady named Karen.  I asked her how her church services were and she said great.  She then shared with me about how she tends the nursery at her church.  Very few churches in her denomination actually run a nursery so I was fascinated as she told me about how her mother-in-law had run the nursery faithfully for the last 40 years.  Her mother-in-law then passed the nursery to her when she could no longer do it.  The kids love her and you could tell that she truly loved them as she talked about them!  I really loved talking with her and gave her my card to call me so we could talk more.
I have gotten such nuggets of truth out God's Word today!  This morning I read and studied Romans 6-8 on the flesh versus the spirit as I get ready for my Ladies G.A.B. time devotion on Tuesday.  I am so glad that Paul shared how he struggled with this as everyone of us do too!  This afternoon as I was studying Romans 12, I got stuck on "by the mercies of God".  I really looked into this phrase wondering how and why it was being used and what it really meant. 
 "the mercies of God" - Because God justified me by His grace - Because He enables me to live a righteous life - Because I'm adopted in Jesus Christ and find my identity through Him - Because God has set me under grace and not the law - Because of the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling in me - Because He helps me in all afflictions  Because I am confident that nothing can separate me from the love of God - Because  of His faithfulness, it is by the mercies of God that I can do what the rest of the verse says.  I can present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.  Through the mercies of God, he gives me all power to live a life well pleasing to Him.  I can not do it on my own but only by Him and His mercies.  Such meat to think on as I head to bed after another busy day!  The thought on my mind as I go to bed, because I want it to be my first thought when I wake up is this....
"Lord how can I bring you glory today?" 
We will see what tomorrow has in store.......