Friday, November 27, 2009

A Perfect Day

Our Thanksgiving Day was close to perfect. We stay home for this holiday now because our weekend following is full of our Christmas traditions and we want them to be special and simple. So traveling is out (we do make exceptions on occasion). So we invite family here. Yesterday, my parents and Uncle and Aunt and their grandchildren came for the day. John and I did most of the cooking. I can make a mean pot of chicken and dressing and can't taste it without missing my mawmaw from whom it originated. The visit with the extended family was great and they left late afternoon. We all put on pj's. The boys watched their new Santa buddies movie downstairs while John and I watched Four Christmases (HILARIOUS). Then we made a paper chain for one of our trees in with the boys. Had leftover dinner and watched chicken little as a family. At bedtime we all sat on the boys bed and talked about being thankful and what we were all thankful about each other. My heart is full!!!
After the boys went to bed, John and I cleaned up from the day. He cleaned the kitchen and I took down all of my fall decorations. For a split second last night I panicked because the living room is bare and it looked like we were packing house again. But we are not moving, just transforming the warm and cozies of fall into a winter wonderland. This is where my inner child finds great delight.
I am so thankful that God filled my heart with a glimpse of heaven yesterday. For that I am thankful!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

True Thanksgiving

I am not a mother who has lost a child. I am not fighting my own battle with cancer wondering if I will get to watch my children grow up. I am not walking along side a spouse or family member fighting for their life against cancer or other sicknesses. I am not a wife whose husband is on the other side of the world fighting to keep our country safe. I am not a widow who is grieving the loss of her best friend all the while raising their 3 and 5 year old children. I have not been sexually abused as a child by a family member. I am not the product of divorced parents. I am not the wife of a man who would rather be elsewhere doing other things. I am not the wife of a man that God has called to labor in a place that is dangerous and our lives can be in danger at any moment. I am not a woman longing to conceive a child of my own, not understanding why God won't let me be a mother. I am not the mother of a sweet 18 month old baby who received a devastating phone call this very week telling her that her child suffers from a terrible syndrome that will completely change the life of that entire family. I am not any of these things. But I know someone who is or has walk through EVERY single one of these things. And in these lives I see AMAZING stories of God showing up. He becomes so real and so tangible in the lives of these people. They inspire me to want to know the God that walks them through these TERRIBLE times in their lives.

This morning on my way to the doctor I was listening to Laura Story's song Make Something Beautiful. Take a minute and read these lyrics:

When I'm at the point of breaking at the place where I resign,
And I'm at the stage of shaking my head as I look back on my life,
When I'm halfway through the grieving, but not quite through the ache,
When I cannot see the ending, Or which road I'm supposed to take,
All i know to do is lift my hands to you..

Take all of my life, all of my life,
All I know to do is lift my hands to You.
And make something beautiful.
I open my hand, trusting Your plan.
Make something beautiful so all will see
Your work in me, as You make something beautiful

Verse 2:
When I'm tired of pretending, and I cant recall my lines,
Do I say, I'm barely breathing., or just say, I'm doing fine.
I admit there is a yearning, for the hurting to subside,
But not at the risk of missing what Your doing with my life
All i know to do is lift my hands to you

I had never heard this song and it ministered to my heart tremendously. But as I thought about how appropriate this song is for my life right now I heard a voice whisper in my head "but your husband didn't fight brain cancer like hers." It was in that moment that this post was born in my head. Because I realized that I, like most of you reading this, have bought into the lie that I should be "thankful" for my life because it could be so much worse. That idea that we should be thankful is not the lie. The reasoning that brings us to the conclusion that we should be thankful is the lie. To look at another person's lot in life and concluded that our could be worse so we should "look on the bright side" is to say to God - "I will be thankful only because it could be worse." But my lot in life is exactly were God has me. And His promises are true to me as well. The circumstances in my life right now are very hard for me. We are all dealing with the consequences of sin - either with tragedy and sickness or weariness and depression. On this earth they are assigned values giving more weight to some over others. But in the eyes of our all knowing, all powerful God who is able to comfort all of the tragedies that I listed above all the while hold his very "sad and weepy" daughter in the palm of his hand there is no difference. Not that grief is more or less - because it is. But that what is going on in my measly lot here on this earth matters to my Daddy. It matters because He is my maker and my creator and He loves me. It matters because He hand selected this life for me and He is using my sin struggles and my heartache and my depression (there I said it) to teach me all these things. He has just as much time to hear my broken heart as He does to heal a child who is dying. And when I realized that today it made me want to RUN RUN RUN to His feet. Living in a world surrounded by people who don't have the time to do anything anymore I came face to face with my Father who has all the time in the world and wants me to sit at His feet or curl up in His lap.
Yes this was a very personal thing God did in my heart today but if you have been reading this for any time you know that I am ok with laying my heart on the table for the world to see. Yes, I have made stupid decisions in my life, I have regrets that I wish I could take back but I am here asking God to take all of my life - all of my life and make something beautiful. And I felt compelled to share this because I know that many of you are like me. Struggling in the midst of a "normal" life and you feel like God doesn't have time or that your struggles are not that important but they matter to your Father. So I am running to my Daddy and asking Him to take out my old and sinful heart and create in me a clean heart. And just as she says in the song
- "I admit there is a yearning for the hurting to subside but not at the risk of missing what you are doing in my life." So join with me and ask God to take your life and make something beautiful. With this mindset and heart I hope you can truly give thanks this week for the life you have.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Week 9 Update

So here's the scoop on the weigh in. I got to the Dr office and the nurse told me I had to many clothes on before I even got on the scales. So I weighed and lost 2 lbs. She told me to go home and weigh on my scales with clothes on to see how accurate they were and then to put my shorts on (what I usually weigh in) and weigh. So I did and I had lost 4.5 lbs total from last week. She told me to make sure I wear shorts next week :). So I am pleased with 4.5 lbs considering I have not stepped foot in the gym this week. AND I only have 11.5 more pounds to my end of the year goal!!!!
On another not so happy note, please pray for me this week. I am still struggling really bad with sadness and weepiness. Yes I guess I should say depression but that is such a hard pill to swallow for me. I feel like the word depression defines me while sadness and weepiness just describes me at the moment. Silly I know but it is how I feel. Anyway, I am still having a hard time. I told John tonight that I am ready to talk about medication. It is just hard to know with all these thyroid issues. So could you just pray that God would give us wisdom in what to do and that He would heal me. I really want to enjoy my family this holiday season and right now I really just want to curl up in the bed and cry - and I have lost 39lbs in 9 weeks. I should not feel this way!!! UGHHHH!!

The Holidays

I had great expectations for the holidays this year. I "NEEDED" to make them happen. I needed to follow through with all my thought out plans and new traditions that I want to do. These are not extravagant ideas - in fact I think they will make the holidays much more simple, magical and meaningful in the end. But most of them take initial work and preparation on the front end. And well, I have spent the better of the last month and half fighting to stay off the couch - honestly some days I don't even fight. So I have decided that I will finish my Jesse Tree Ornaments this year (starting this weekend) and that will be the only special addition to our holiday seasons. I am trying to use the energy and what little ability I have to make and hold complete thoughts to get our family settled into life and routine for the beginning of the year. So I have decided that I will lower my expectations for this season and enjoy my family.
This move has created in me a renewed heart for my home. Not the physical place as much as what it encompasses. John and I have survived for a long time and we are ready to settle and thrive and I want our home life to be a haven for all who live here. Simple and intentional are the words that resonate with me these days. So hopefully if I can plan for January then I will be ahead of the game instead of frantically playing catchup. My hope is this will set me on a course to have a fruitful, simple and intentional year with my family. Soon I hope we are thriving again - not sure again is appropriate here because John and I aren't sure we have thrived since we had children.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Week 8 Update

I lost 2 more pounds this week making my total 35lbs in 8 weeks!!! I am really pleased. I have had a really hard last month and still having troubling getting my nose to the grind again. So I am pleased with 2lbs all things considered.
FYI to challenge you on the upcoming holiday season. My nurse told me this week that Americans gain an AVERAGE of 8-10lbs from Thanksgiving to the New Year. WOW!!!!
So in lieu of this fact I have decided to set a goal for the remaining 7 weeks of this year. I am going to shoot to loose 15 more pounds by Dec. 31st. That will put me at 50lbs weight loss - half my goal. It is about 2lbs/week average loss. I think this is a pretty reasonable goal considering most other Americans are gaining almost half that much :)
Also, thanks to a good friend who has also done this diet I now have a handful of skinnier clothes in my closet as my new motivators.

The Artist Meets The Artist

Today was a wonderful day!!! We walked around The French Quarter in NOLA. We went to Jamie Hayes' gallery - one of Jake's favorite artist. And to our delight he was there signing his art. So Jake started talking to him and told him "I am a great artist too!" Mr. Hayes told him to come around and he would teach Jake a new way to do letters. He also wrote a book called Up In the Air with the Mingling Brothers. He signed the book and then wrote Jake's name in the book and taught him a fun way to do letters (see below)

this is Peter the Pianoeater - one of Jake's favorites

If you look close you can see were he wrote Jake's name

here he is teaching Jake how to add color to the letters

here he is PATIENTLY helping/encouraging Jake to write his own name in the book the way he learned. Mr. Hayes spent about 15-20 minutes with Jake. One lady walked up and ask for something and he politely told her he was taking his time with this little man and she could wait until they finished. Well as a momma that delighted my soul. I wish we would have captured the sheepish delightful grin on Jake's face after that experience. It was such a wonderful moment!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can I Just Say....

In the last week I have been able to go in my closet and wear WHATEVER I put on!!! I am no longer an owner of my "smaller size" clothes. Nope the few that I have kept over the years I am now wearing!!!! So much farther to go but this is a great milestone for me and I am enjoying it!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Week 7 Update

I Lost 3lbs this week which is GREAT considering I haven't been to the gym this week. Every 6 weeks I have to do blood and I got those results back this week. I am happy to report that my overall Cholesterol is down to 192 which is in normal range now. My TSH (thyroid hormone) is down from 9.56 to 6.5. This probably doesn't mean much to most of you - unless you have thyroid issues. The normal range is .45-4.5. As you can see I was way high and though I haven't returned to normal range we are creeping along. I have had a VERY hard 2 weeks with my thyroid issues. It makes me very sad - emotional all around and extremely tired. So the doc said about 2 weeks and I should be feeling better - made it through week 1. So considering all this chaos I am very pleased with 3lbs!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Climb

Tuesday, on the Biggest Loser I hear Miley Cyrus's The Climb for the first time and man it resonated deep within me. 55 days ago I took a major step forward in my commitment to health in all areas of my life. That night I told John that I was so afraid. Never in my life have I wanted something so bad - to be healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. All three areas have taken drastic hits in the last few years. But I know that this was God's doing. He is in pursuit of my heart - all of it.
I don't have to be skinny for that to happen nor do I have to be a spiritual "giant" for that to happen. But I have dug for myself broken cistern's that do not hold water and no matter how much I keep pouring in they NEVER get full. And as a result of my trying my heart, my mind and my body are a wreck!!!!
My fear 55 days ago was that it would not happen. That I couldn't do any of it. I couldn't lose my weight, I couldn't deal with the idols of my heart, that I couldn't be happy. And yes I know that I don't have to do it on my own - this was part of my great epiphany this summer. But commitment and discipline and effort were necessary on my part and I was afraid that I could not do it. DEATHLY AFRAID!!!
There is that voice in my head that she talks about in her song. And the last 2 weeks I have hit a really hard "mountain." And in my frustration I told John that just as I got going here I am faced with another setback. But when I heard her song I realized that this will be a life long journey for me. The last 2 weeks have been really hard for me (thyroid issues again) and I have struggled but the "click" in my head has happened. I am moving forward very slowly but I am moving!!! In 55 days I have lost 30 some odd pounds and I am facing the issues of my heart head on. Last night after hearing this song I settled into the fact that it won't be over in a year - not even close. But I am here and I am in it for life.