Day 340: The End

Yesterday I wrote about how my mother helped me to “discover” vitamin B12.

I woke up easily (instead of sleeping through three alarms like the past couple of weeks).

I did three loads of laundry.

Washed a couple of pots and pans.

Kept up with my toddler.

Took my kids to the park.

Made their lunch.

Got them down for naps.

Chatted with my parents.

Went to dinner with some friends.

Watched Captain America on Netflix.

And unfortunately here I sit at 2:08am unable to sleep.

Not because of the B12… at least I don’t think so… but because of the stuff in Connecticut.

And I keep thinking of those mommas.

Those mommas.

Sitting… sitting somewhere. And I say sitting because they aren’t sleeping. Not tonight. Not when their babies are gone.

So they are sitting somewhere. Somewhere crying. Somewhere with a hole in their hearts so big… the hole is bigger than they are. The hole feels like it’s going to swallow them. And, tonight, they probably want it to swallow them.

And I can’t get out of their minds. I can’t stop myself from thinking their thoughts. And now it’s 2:17am and I am nearly suffocating with pain for them. For their lives that will forever have a hole. a shadow. a ghost. a life unlived.

And ohhhhh the regret. That one momma… there has to be one… that was snippy with her child this morning. That forgot to look deep into her child’s eyes and say “I love you.” I feel her regret more than anything. She will choke on it for days… for weeks. She will know it every time she parts from someone. She will carry that moment of… self… forever.

And I am not sure if I will sleep tonight. I fear her regret. I admit it. I fear it. Tonight I hugged my brother… and we said “Peace”. I thought to myself “Say ‘I love you.’ Say it. Say it.” But then the moment was gone. And I opened myself up for that moment of regret. And I walked to my car. And that was it.

And I left my son asleep at my parents house this afternoon. Why? Cause it was easier than waking him up and him wanting to wave goodbye.

20121215-023223.jpg

Why????

And right now I stop myself.

Because… because…

God.

Because God is the Beginning and the End. I fear the endings of this world because they feel like they are the end. But these “endings” are not.

Only HE is the Beginning and the End.

Day 339: Mother Knows Best

20121214-070840.jpg

B12.

Ever heard of it?

Well, I hadn’t.

Nor had I heard that it is an essential vitamin for vegetarians.

Ohhhhhhhh, but I’ve heard of it now!!!

{Background} For the past two or three months I have been… exhausted. I just sorta chalked it up to having a toddler. Cause I mean, I’d been eating healthy and that was supposed to give me more energy. In fact, people were always asking me, “Don’t you just have so much more energy?!?!” And I’d probably say “Yes, oh, yes!” cause I’m a good southern girl… but no, oh, no I did not have more energy.

And it wasn’t like the kind of mild-exhaustion. It was a ready-to-sleep-18-hours-at-1:00-in-the-afternoon kind of exhaustion. I mean, I had more energy when I was teaching high school, directing one act play, raising a toddler, AND 9-months pregnant than I have had these past few months.

Serious exhaustion. Serious enough to make me mention it to my mom.

Now. If your mom is anything like my mom…… well, then, first of all, you are blessed, and secondly, things like illness you sorta wait up until you know it’s bad before you mention it to her. Because you know that she will immediately get on MISSION to fix it. You’ll get website links with suggestions. She’ll offer to pay for a doctor visit. She’ll text at strange hours asking how you’re feeling. And she won’t stop checking up on it until it’s resolved.

So, I mentioned it to my mom a couple of weeks ago. And she actually had just seen some show on TV where a famous actress got so exhausted that she had to start taking B12 shots.

Well, that certainly got me interested in B12 and so I did a bit of research on it and lo and behold, it is highly connected to energy and it is only in meat… which I don’t eat!

Wow- she knocked that one out of the park on her first swing!

{Back to now} But being a typical… well, whatever is typical about me… I sorta shuffled my feet around about it. Tried to eat more eggs for like four or five days. Ate some more fish. But it wasn’t helping. And I’m sure it really didn’t help that I got so sick the past two weeks.

I even crossed my fingers yesterday as I went on another walk that the exercise would help.

Nope. Exhausted.

So, when my toddler woke up, I loaded up my boys (under the auspices of going to the store to get tortillas for fish tacos) and went and got some B12.

Now I ain’t gonna lie to you. I took the stuff at like 4:00 and by 9:00 I felt a teensy bit less tired than lately. I even did the dishes!!!

I have no idea if that was just a placebo-effect or the real thing actually working (I mean, it said that it was 50,000% of the daily value) but either way, it was nice to have some energy… or at least to not be 127% exhausted.

So, today, nothing spiritual (that’s coming tomorrow). My only message today is… listen to your mother.

    If you follow my teachings and keep them in mind, you will live. Be wise and learn good sense; remember my teachings and do what I say. If you love Wisdom and don’t reject her, she will watch over you. The best thing about Wisdom is Wisdom herself; good sense is more important than anything else. If you value Wisdom and hold tightly to her, great honors will be yours. It will be like wearing a glorious crown of beautiful flowers. Proverbs 4:4-9

Day 338: Stop …… Temple Time.

{How about my post title… pretty awesome attempt to reference MC Hammer’s “Hammer Time”… eh?!?! Hehe!}

Soooooo I need to work out.

I hate to admit this to myself. I hate to admit it to you. And I really hate to admit it to God… cause then that means that I’ll actually be accountable to it. Ha!

And it’s not because I want to lose weight but because I am realizing that the better my body is in shape the longer it will hold out (in theory). My hip being a prime example. Not that I would be pain-free but I would at least have minimized the pain had my hips been stronger.

But I have spent several years taking care of everyone else but myself. And not that I’m switching over now for myself either.

I had this mental convo today:

Jesus Me: I really should go for a walk.

Earthly me: Yeah, but I don’t have time for a walk. There’s the dishes and the laundry and the bills and Christmas gifts and…

Jesus Me: Look, you make time aside from all those things to make sure you read the bible, but you won’t make time to take care of the temple of Christ entrusted to you?!?!

Earthly Me: Well, the only time I could go on a walk is early morning when it’s dark or late night… when it’s dark and I don’t feel safe at either time.

Jesus Me: Newsflash. Your husband works from home. You can go while the kids are asleep. God has provided a time for you.

Well, after my little Moses-moment there, I “agreed” with myself and got all geared up.

It was a) do the dishes or b) take care of the temple of God.

Hmmmmmmmmm. No brainer.

20121212-122612.jpg

So I went. Just twenty minutes. Just one mile. And it was beautiful. And peaceful. And it honored God.

    Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Day 337: Restraining Order

I’m going to a breakfast party today for my ladies’ bible study.

Sorry. Allow me to be a bit more specific…

I’m going to a breakfast party today for my ladies’ bible study without my kids.

We get to drop them off at the church and then go over to the leader’s house for our final meeting. I’ve been a part of this ladies bible study for a couple of years now (it’s called Mom Matters… isn’t the double meaning cute?) and this last meeting is my favorite part! It’s just relaxed and a great time to spend with the women that I’ve been growing with all semester.

And we are all bringing a little something for breakfast. Our leader had us reply all to her email and state what we are bringing…

20121211-211638.jpg

And there were also emails claiming donuts, sausage balls, pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, cookies and the like.

Now don’t get me wrong… I ain’t knockin homemade cinnamon rolls or sausage balls. On the contrary, I love them both under old circumstances.

But, it just sorta struck me that it always seems to go this way with parties (especially those at Christmas and really especially those with only women) that we slough off all desires of being healthy and dive into decadence and indulgence.

And…… why? I mean… well, why???

(And trust me… this is not me pointing fingers! This is a self dialogue, really, to myself… about myself. Next year I have planned on having “free days”, and even as I write this I know that I will need to sit back and evaluate that plan… cross examine it against the Word of God.)

    For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear. He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good. Titus 2:11-14

I read these verses and I am reminded that God has called me to a higher standard (what an honor!) and, often, that standard looks very different from the way the world views things. Things like ladies’ breakfasts. and book club meetings. and birthday parties. and holidays.

He has asked me to practice… restraint. And in a world where self-indulgence is king and self-denial is frowned upon, well… that action is different. It sticks out. It looks weird to people. It looks weird to me.

Which is why I love the last verse of that chunk, verse 14…

    He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good.

I mean… look at those words I bolded.

To rescue us.
To make us a pure people.
To make us belong.
To make us eager to do good.

Gosh, isn’t that worth a little self-restraint here and there?!?! It’s just cool to think that I have been rescued from pumpkin bread and cranberry blitz bars.

So, anyway, I’m gonna have to read up the Word to see what I can glean from it. (Cause I know that there were a plenty of celebrations back then…)

But for now, for today… I know that I want to go to that party and “live [a] self-controlled, upright, and godly life in this world”. And give God thanks for His Grace through my restraint.

Day 336: Sin Switch

I was thinking this morning about  how I am going to need to stay with my covenant for a longer stretch of time.

I got a bit of a complex, wondering a bit why I needed to still stay with it when the people on the WeighDown testimonials had been skinny for years and years. Was there something “wrong” with my covenant? Was there something “wrong” with me?

But then I was reminded that not everyone that has done WeighDown has lost tons of weight and kept it off. I have a friend that did a WeighDown course and lost weight but gained it back.

And ya know… I think I am having to readjust just as much of my mind to remember that gluttony and food addiction are not just sins that you can switch on and off like a light switch.

These sins are sooooooo ingrained into my flesh and my habits that it will take years (and possibly my entire lifetime) to overcome. And maybe that’s how I’ve gotten so far in my life without really breaking this addiction… I did all these diets and short-term “fixes” when really I needed to address the main issue of gluttony and all the things that pushed me toward gluttony (boredom, procrastination, sadness, etc). It was like that analogy… a diet is like putting a bandaid on a seriously massive, festering wound and expecting it to heal.

I’ve focused on the short game for so long, and now I’m finally addressing the REAL issues in my heart that drive me to overeat.

And our dear friend Paul understood the struggle with sin so well…

The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:14-15

So, so, so accurate… but here’s what I love about what Paul has to say even more. Just this kind of talk is depressing. Full of hopelessness, but Paul always seems to point us back to The One Who Saves…

I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:22-25

And if PAUL HIMSELF continued to struggle with sin, even after having been blinded by the glory of Christ on the road to Damascus, well… then… maybe I’m not such a spiritual freak after all. But I have hope… I continue to run this race because, Jesus Christ will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death!

He is the switch… no matter how many times I sneak into my soul and flip it back down and pout in the darkness, He has the power to flip that switch back on… and flood me with Light.

Day 335: Dessert Definitions

What is a dessert anyway?

Cause I bought some Strawberry and Honey Greek Yogurt which my sister-in-law (verrrrrry healthy eater) gets and it was sooooo good it was like eating dessert.

And it started me thinking… really, what IS dessert?

So, like any good English nerd, I looked it up. And ahhhhhhhh, lookie what I found:

20121209-144112.jpg

Yep. It’s not necessarily what you are eating… it’s when you are eating it that designates something as dessert (unless you’re British, apparently, and then it’s fruit for you).

So of course, my next thought: I wonder then what a snack really is???

Back to dictionary.com!

And whadda know?!?!

20121209-145501.jpg

Not what, but when.

And I think that really mirrors a lot of what I have discovered this year about my own eating… it’s not so much the what but the when and, if I may, the why. (Well, once I got past that nasty sugar addiction.)

It’s not that I’m eating strawberry and honey yogurt… it’s when. But not necessarily snack-time or dessert-time or whatever, but when… when I am hungry? when I am bored? when I am sad? when I am procrastinating? when I am sleepy?

Cause daily… daily… I see myself using these as the reasons for “snacking” or “desserting”. The indulgences rarely come when I am truly, truly hungry. So often, strawberry honey yogurt, crackers, chips, tortillas, peanut butter, etc. are just fillers for some other “emotional hunger”.

So I must stay the course to continue to learn to rely on Christ for all of my “emotional hunger” needs.

This is how I want to be filled!

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Day 334: Justification Station

20121208-111639.jpg

Oh how I love to justify eating “bad”.

It’s really the second main reason that I eat stuff I shouldn’t, or don’t need, or whatever. (The first one being pride.)

I’m sick, so I need more food so I’ll just eat one of these waffle-donuts.

I’m sad, so I need to eat these chips so I won’t feel the pain of hunger and the pain of sadness.

I’m tired, and my body needs more food to help me go to sleep, so I’ll have a tortilla… or four.

I’m going to be running around with the boys later and so I’d better stock up by eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich even though I’m full now.

Seriously. I have these mental conversations. My evil conscience is very persuasive.

But fortunately/unfortunately, there is this verse to consider:

    Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17

But I think if we consider that verse, as Christians, we must consider this verse in conjunction with it:

    Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:11

And that is just an encouragement to me today. I may have been a “sin justifier” yesterday, but I can remember today that I am cleansed. holy. and {happy sigh} made right with God.

Now that’s justification for ya.

Day 333: Sing A New Song

The number 333 is one of our family’s favorite numbers… it’s because of Psalm 33:3…

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.Psalm 33:3

That’s the verse that helped inspire my husband to invent Chord Dice (which helps people to write a new song). And then God started to just… use those numbers to communicate His Love to us.

I know I referenced it earlier in another post about how He made that be the time that our dice were delivered for Chord Dice. That night my husband and I sat at Rick’s Chophouse having a date night and we cried with joy… not because the hope of this investment. not because of my husband’s dream. we cried because of the raw knowledge that God. loves. us.

He, in all His Greatness, reached out and arranged the cosmos so that those dice were delivered and scanned exactly at 3:33. For us. Little, puny, relatively insignificant… us. It was overwhelming to be “spoken to” so directly.

And now every time I see the time 3:33 or the number 33 or 333 anywhere it serves to automatically remind me that God loves me. And sometimes that reminder can be the thing to support me and redirect me and encourage me.

When I know that Someone loves me so purely. so perfectly. so completely. and so wholly. Well, it empowers me to do… right.

When I want to eat some chips, I can know that God loves me. And they lose their pull (at least a bit)! And when I give-in and eat the dadgum chips, I can know then too that God loves me. And I can hope that the next time those chips call my name that I will tap into that love.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” )

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

Day 332: Sin Speaks

Sometimes I come against a road block spiritually.

Okay, okay…

A lot of times I come up against a road block spiritually.

There can be lots of reasons for it, I guess. Satan. Lethargy. Business. Anger. Denial.

Sin.

And I oftentimes want alllll those other things to be the reason… but sin? No. Not sin. I don’t even want to evaluate that as the reason. I often don’t want to admit that it’s even happening.

And today I came across these verses in Jeremiah. And I really liked verse 3 about calling to God and He’ll reveal things. And I really liked verses 6-9 about how He will make everything happy and prosperous and peaceful.

Butttttt I sorta wanted to just skip over verses 4 and 5. Cause they just aren’t as nice. happy. encouraging. friendly. feel-good.

And yet I must remind myself that verses 4 and 5 are just as much Truth as verses 6-9.

“This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

(verses 4 and 5) For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness.

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.

Jeremiah 33:2-9

And oh the sins I could list here.

Of course, gluttony has reared its ugly head one or two times of late. Pride. Selfishness. Slander. Not honoring the sabbath.

The list could go on.

But I am reminded today of when God says He’ll heal us…

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:13-14

So first I gotta:
• humble myself
• pray
• seek His Face
• turn from my sins

And so I might as well start now. And start with gluttony.

God, You are the One in control. You know my sins and yet you are The Forgiver. You are my righteousness. You are there.

My sin is… embarrassing, God. With all your power, your love, your peace, your comfort, your guidance… still I turn to the world for those things. I am… just… human. Please forgive me.

I look to You in your perfection. But I also turn to you because you want me to be… good. You want me to experience… good. blessings. righteousness. I look to You, God, for power. for hope. for refinement. Only you can change me. Mold me back into your image God. Make me… the inner me… radiate You.

God, I want to turn from my sin of gluttony. Help me Lord to turn to You for all of my needs, needs of my soul and needs of the body. Help me God… make me willing to obey. Purify and refine me.

You are the only One who can.

Amen.

Day 329: Freedom Fest

This week I am with my hubs and my boys visiting my husband’s brother and his fam in Colorado.

God has been kind to me and they tell me that it is unseasonably warm here… although to a Texan that lives the heat, “warm” is quite the misnomer! Ha!

Anyway, I went with my sister-in-law to her bible study’s Christmas fest a couple of nights ago. It was fun to get to have a “night out” with just a bunch of ladies even if I didn’t know anyone!

And boy was there a spread! Lots of appetizer type things but also some delish looking desserts (including those cute pinterest-worthy reindeer cupcakes) and a margarita mix as well as about ten types of wine.

I thought to myself, “Well, it won’t be long and I’ll be able to have some of this sometimes!”

But, then, honestly I was like… I’m not so sure I’m really looking forward to that as much as my mind thinks it should be looking forward to it. I mean… gosh, the freedom with which I just walked through that line without having to dread the battle of dessert versus no dessert… the way I felt comfortable in my jeans all night (or as comfortable as one can feel in jeans)… and the way I felt, in a way, set apart, when I slipped behind the counter to get a plain ol glass of water.

I sorta had to admit to myself that I like being… this kind of different. I like so much about it. Yes, I truly am glad that next year I’ll be able to enjoy more foods… hopefully without much struggle. But I am glad that it will still be restricted so that nights like that one (not a full moon, birthday party, or national holiday) will still remain freedom nights even though I am “restricted” and I’ll still be having a regular ol’ freedom fest.

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9