Thursday, December 31, 2009

Counting The Blessings of 2009

I like to count my blessings. Doing so reminds me that I'm indeed blessed, no matter what my circumstances.

Here they are for this past year, as they come to mind:
  • Losing 23 lbs and keeping off 18 (I'm shooting for another 30 in 2010!)

  • Celebrating 18 years of marriage

  • Witnessing the celebration of my in-laws' 50 years of marriage

  • My oldest son getting great grades in his first year of high school and attending the Phenom camp in San Diego and a few local basketball camps, leading to his name popping up on a few national lists for his class and his first Varsity games

  • My middle son getting accepted by lottery into the Science Magnet school of his choice and exploring his "Mad Science" yearnings

  • My youngest, prekindergarten son showing an artistic bent in photography and drawing

  • Not sleeping a day on the streets nor missing a meal despite coming painfully close at times as we await the release of God's blessings for us

  • Continued employment

  • My critique partners

  • A used laptop from one of my critique partners who heard my cry

  • Millions of words, in the form of the 130+ books I read

  • Free books from publishers, publicists, review sites enabling me to indulge my voracious reading habit in exchange for my opinion

  • Writing encouragement from fellow writers, bloggers, critique partners, agents, family, and unexpected places

  • Creditors who would normally not give a flying fig about my circumstances who offered me options and on occasion prayed for me

  • The health of myself and my family

  • My mother's continued life; 88 years and going strong

  • Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones through Facebook and Twitter

  • The smiles, hugs and laughter of my children

  • The love and respect of my husband

  • A determined, if, on occasion, deterred spirit

  • A renewed, less fearful, more patient faith

  • An ever faithful God
For these things, and many more, I'm thankful as 2009 draws to a close. I look forward to the promise and blessing of 2010.

Happy New Year!

For what are you thankful?

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Six Months Have Passed But My Thoughts Are The Same

I wrote this entire post at the end of April but never posted it. I'm glad I kept it in draft mode because I just about could have written this same post today. I'm at 196 lbs., still down 18 from this year's high, but up 5 from this year's low. I'm in one of those in-between places, struggling to stay on the right path even if I'm dragging myself down the straightaway and around the curves.

Below is what I was thinking in April and am still pondering today. Later in the week I'll write the post I planned to write, "Potato Chips Are Of The Devil".


Been thinking about food as a source of comfort. I don't just mean in terms of enjoyment but as a type of balm for what ails me.

Not a new topic in the world of dieting. I remember Oprah talking about this very same thing almost 20 years ago.

At the time, I thought, "Not me." I assumed I (a) didn't know how to eat properly, which could be fixed; and (b) I had no willpower.

Well, I now know how to eat properly. I really do, even though it remains a challenge from meal to meal, day to day.

As for the willpower, I'm still tossing that one around in my head. Dr. Kessler's research suggests that willpower isn't really the problem, or is only part of the problem, thanks to the profit-hungry food industry.

No, I'm talking about eating to fix what ails me inside. I began thinking about this because I was wondering why the scale's been stuck for the past two months. I know it's because I've slacked off on both eating right and exercising.

But why?

Because when other things just aren't right, I use food not only to comfort myself, but to punish myself.

Yep, I said punish, a revelation I had last night.

When things are going really well in my life, when everything's in order and moving forward on all cylinders, I find it easy to eat right and to exercise diligently. I'm eager and enthusiastic. It becomes almost effortless.

But when things are not quite right, I start to tell myself those "treats" are okay, as long as I don't over do it. It's all right if my workout isn't quite as long or as intense, as long as I'm still working out.

Before I know it, the eating is more bad than good, and the exercise, although consistent in frequency, is way down in duration and intensity. Is is a wonder that the scale won't budge?

Then I begin feeling bad, a sure-fire recipe for falling completely off the wagon.

Eating the right things 50-75% of the time, and working out but not giving it my all is not the ticket to losing weight. I watched The Biggest Loser on Tuesday, and I continue to be amazed by just how hard those folks work to lose their weight. So what makes me think I can lose mine by slacking?

Why do I eat things I know will come back to haunt me, especially when I'm telling myself I shouldn't do it, even as I chew? Why do I tell myself it's okay to sleep another five, ten, thirty minutes, knowing I'm sabotaging any chance of beginning my day with exercise?

I'm not beating myself up here. I'm just trying to understand. I believe it has to do with my "deserve quotient". Deep down, how much do I truly believe I deserve to be healthy, at an appropriate weight, and in good physical condition?

I don't know.

Do you feel you deserve to be healthy? If so, why aren't you? Do you use food to soothe or medicate yourself? If you used to, how did you stop?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Joy...On The Mountain...Who Could Imagine?

Two more days until Christmas. A lot of people are scurrying to buy presents, prepare feasts, travel to loved ones, and a host of other holiday season tasks. Are you one?

Regardless, take a moment. Still yourself and take a deep breath. Yes, right now.

Now think on the blessing of Jesus' birth with the help of Take 6 and this Christmas medley:

How about a jazzy version of Go Tell It On the Mountain from Crystal Lewis:

Putting the finishing touches on the atmosphere with "Who Could Imagine A King?" from the melodious Whitney Houston and The Preacher's Wife soundtrack:

Feel better?


Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Back to Eden

Now if you're really a literal person, you recognize this song as not quite Biblically correct. We in fact will never return to Eden. Original sin fated we believers to miss out on that fabulous opportunity for eternity.

But, you have to admit that the sentiment behind this song is right on. We take on so much stuff mentally, spiritually, and even physically that, if we believe we're living under grace, we truly don't have to take on.

Scripture tells us, in Romans 4:13-15 (NIV),
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
Think of "law" as "limitations", the things that get in your way and block your kingdom mindset. Where there are no limitations, i.e nothing blocking you, then what is the problem? What's stopping you?

The 16th verse goes on to say,
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.
Which is to say that we who are of the faith of Abraham are also heirs to the promise by faith and by grace.

If you are an heir to a vast fortune, and that fortune is available to you now, why choose to live as though you have nothing, as though you must fight and claw for every blessing that comes your way?

Blessings come not by what you do, but by your belief in God's promise.

Granted, we do have to work to eat and survive (there are other Scriptures aboutthat). But again, we're talking a mindset here, one that either strangles your faith or causes it to blossom and be fruitful (not talking prosperity gospel here, either). That fruitful mindset is what Donald Lawrence is singing about.

Back to Eden had to grow on me, but now that it has, it's one of my favorites on the CD, and here's a live performance featuring Blanche McAllister:

What keeps you from living "on top of the world"?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Heart of Worship

Today is one of those days when I feel the need to simplify, to fortify myself against the traps of appearances, other people's expectations, self-doubts, social pressures, especially seasonal ones, etc.

I don't know who is performing this version of Michael W. Smith's Heart of Worship, but I liked it. It met me at the point of today's need.

Hope it blesses you too.

What do you need to put aside today to get closer to Him?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Worship: How Deeply I Need You

Oft times we feel unworthy of God's love and mercy. I'm not talking about unworthy but gratefully drawing nearer to Him. That's spiritually healthy.

No, sometimes we feel unworthy and therefore, we begin to pull away, to separate ourselves, to believe that maybe our lives are not important enough or God doesn't have time or any number of lies the enemy would have us to believe.

But that's just it. All those negative thoughts are nothing but lies.

God cares.

God loves us.

And we need Him.

Like the desert needs the rain, I need you
Like the ocean needs the streams, I need you
Like the morning needs the sun, I need you
Lord, you are my only one.

Peace & Blessings,