Day 685: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is upon us.

And so are the blog posts.

My email inbox has been inundated with all kinds of recipes that could meet any, and I mean, ANY dietary need. Gluten-free, low-carb, fat-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers. You name it, someone’s made a Thanksgiving recipe to go with it.

{And really, I do understand why a lot of people need and want those recipes.}

Right now, though, I am not thinking about recipes, or ingredients, or calories, or weight.

But I am thinking about Thanksgiving.

And what I’m thinking about doesn’t really fit into a recipe. And it isn’t really diet advice. And it isn’t even really about food at all.

I’m thinking about what Thanksgiving really is.

And I’m thinking that I need to celebrate. You see, I looked up the word Thanksgiving at dictionary.com just cause I was curious. I mean, I remember in elementary school there was all the talk about the Pilgrims and the Indians and there was a big deal to do with like, I dunno, corn or something (which I always find funny because I can’t think of a single Thanksgiving during which my family ate corn). Anyway, the definition said, Thanksgiving: a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

It doesn’t say anything about food. It’s just a celebration. And as I’ve learned over the past 685 days of this covenant…

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A celebration does not have to be about food.

I can celebrate God’s favor by running around with my little kids in the leaves making a point to play so hard I come back into the house looking like I raked the yard with my hair.

I can celebrate God’s kindness by asking my mother to tell me a few stories that she recalls about my Mamaw being kind as we mourn her absence and yet celebrate that she has gotten to spent the past year in heaven.

I can celebrate all that God has done for me by cleaning the dishes for my Aunt Martha who is going to get to host our family Thanksgiving for the first time in ages!

I can celebrate all the kind words God has written on my heart by sharing a kind word of encouragement with each of my family members. My mother for defending my happiness all my life. My father for teaching me how to laugh at myself and the world around me. My brother for teaching me that there is only one place where the bible is wrong: there truly isn’t a friend that is closer than a brother. My husband for always, always, always allowing me to dream and plan and think and imagine even when my dreams and plans and thoughts and imaginations are not feasible.

And I can celebrate the freedom and forgiveness that Christ has given me, both eternally and here on earth, by focusing on blessing those around me this Thursday instead of focusing on the food around me.

I can look for as many ways as possible to BE the celebration instead of thinking about GOING to a celebration.

See?

Even just thinking of these things and I’m already SO looking forward to Thanksgiving, but my thoughts have nothing to do with sweet potato pie, or green bean casserole, or even that huge bird.

In fact, all of that seems so very insignificant compared to the kind of Thanksgiving I’m now planning.

Because I am planning on spending this Thanksgiving focusing on acknowledging the divine favor and kindness of my God and my Savior.

For He is truly my Thanksgiving.

 

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Day 399: Lent Life

Last year on Fat Tuesday, I published this post. It was an interesting thought process for me, especially since I was only on Day 42. Here is the main point of what I wrote:

I guess though that the more that I think about Fat Tuesday I sorta get a little insight into my “issues” of overeating. Fat Tuesday is pretty much all about getting to overindulge simply because lenting requires sacrifice. It’s almost as if we fatten up on this day because we feel like we deserve it since we will have to self-sacrifice the rest of the time. And that is kind of the mentality that I’m afraid of having...

…But now that I get to thinking about this whole Fat Tuesday mentality, I’m kinda of wondering if maybe that’s not what would please God. I mean, my whole thing has been about Him changing my mind, my heart, my soul. Wouldn’t that be just like me turning my back on Him pretty much as soon as He has delivered me into the promised land? Which is so much of what the Israelites did when He dropped them off. After the generation that had been wandering in the desert died off, the people started worshiping other idols in no time. And God was NOT pleased with that scenario. I’m reading through Judges right now and it seems like any time one of the judges gets the people back in order, everything is good, then he or she dies, and everyone gets right back into their mess of looking somewhere other than God. And then He punishes them.

Yeah… I don’t want that.

And wow – reading that now, after my weekend of… gluttony… I’m even more assured that sticking to a more strict covenant is what is right for me. It was one thing for me to have a night off in California when I didn’t have a lot of options, but it was an altogether DIFFERENT experience being here at home AND baking a bunch of sugary treats! I just… lost control.

No, I gave up control.

But either way, I let myself get into a Fat Tuesday Mentality of I have to “sacrifice” the rest of the year so I should be able to eat whatever I want and as much as I want during this “off” day.

And it was just a terrible, terrible time.

I mean… I didn’t even really enjoy it because it was all about breaking the rules instead of celebrating in what God had done. I knew that the only sugar I was supposed to have was at my husband’s birthday PARTY (cause that was the agreement that I made with God), but I started eating sugar the night before while making all of his cakes and cake balls and red velvet cake popcorn.

On Saturday morning, I tried to get back on the right page and I was resisting eating one of the cake balls that I had made for him, but I eventually gave up and ate one.And I think that’s when I first started lamenting what  was going on. I was “fighting” with those cake balls. I hadn’t “fought” with sugar for so long. It was horrible. It was extra horrible because I gave in.

My mind immediately told me: See. Nothing’s changed. Just live it up and give in. You can just get back on track tomorrow and no one will know the difference but you.

And then at the party I was too busy to eat, but I did load up on my dessert plate… But WHY? What was the point? I’d already had everything!

Once I got everyone to bed then I ate some more, although not too much, I was stuffed and exhausted.

Then Sunday… oh my. Sunday I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate until I was, quite literally, sick.

I ate TRYING to make myself so full that I couldn’t eat anymore. I wanted to stop eating all that junk and I knew felt that getting obscenely full or eating everything was the only way at that point. I finally collapsed into bed, feeling horrible and sick and knowing that I was done with sugar again.

Monday would be a new day. A fresh start. A day without fighting the food. A day without sugar. A day without justification or rationalization. A day of boundaries. A day of joy and peace and comfort like I had known for the past year.

And Monday was all of those things for me. Much like an Ash Wednesday will be for some tomorrow. A breath of fresh air as they step away from something that has its hooks in their soul: Diet Dr. Pepper, Facebook, television, etc. And really, I sorta “bashed” Fat Tuesday last year, but now that I sit here and think about it… the Fat Tuesday to Ash Wednesday is really such a beautiful picture of our salvation. We think we need to party it up to live, and then we step from the things of the world into a new life because of Jesus. Not condoning Fat Tuesday for those reasons, but… really, salvation is just this exact process for all of us.

Our life before Christ = one big ol long Fat Tuesday
Our life with Christ = choosing to follow rules and a code in order to honor Christ and focus on Him

The main difference is, we don’t have to keep going back to Fat Tuesday year, after year, after year. We can live a Lent life… all the time.

Day 397: Lovate

You know that relationship that you had in high school (or maybe college) during which you were desperately, insanely, blindly in love?

Past all judgment.
Past all hurdles.
Past all advice.

He was…… it. The end all. be all. of existence.

You had some kind of almost supernatural bond with him. You always deferred to him because you wanted him to be happy. You could have been stranded on a desert isle for years and had a grand ol’ time. You were just… connected. Not at the hip, so much… but connected in the soul.

.

And he was totally, completely, thoroughly, absolutely, and altogether horr.ib.le. for you.

You despised the hold he had over you. Felt terrible because of all the times you told yourself you were over him. Felt even worse when you would let his opinion of you become truth even though it was often false. Lived in fear that one day he would leave you… and then who would you be without him?

You loved him.
You hated him.

You… lovated him.

Heyyyy, ya like my new word?!?!

Lovate: v. to simultaneously love and hate someone or something.

Brilliant? Yes, I know.
And yes, I promise that I have a point. It’s coming. In a minute.

I spoke of “him” as a generic figure that we have all interacted with… {and shout out to my guy readers, I went with the “he” analogy cause, well, I’m a girl, but feel free to replace “he” with a “she”!} …but, in reality, this boy was a real figure in my life. A real “love”. A real emotional torture to my soul.

I went off to college far away from him, got myself a good, down home boyfriend and pretty much moved past the emotional hang up with my former lovate.

{Oooooo, look, my new word is also a noun apparently!}

And thennnnnn, my good, down home boyfriend broke up with me.

And so what did I do? I reverted back to my lovate again. Knowing that he didn’t love me. Knowing that he was terrible for my self-confidence. Knowing that nothing good would come from my running after him again.

But I did it anyway.

You see, looking back on this experience today, I thought- Wow. You would think that after a year of being without him and away from him that I would have realized what a terrible match we actually were. You would think that I would have realized by then that it would never, ever, never work and that it shouldn’t ever work. You would think that after a year I would see what I see now. that I would have laughed at the thought of returning to him. that I would have perhaps sighed a bit in sadness at the poor, confused little girl I had been.

But I so quickly slid right back into what had given me my identity for so long.

Much like I did this weekend with sugar.

Sugar. My other lovate.

I love it.
I hate it.

I love the way it tastes. I love the way it takes me away momentarily. I love the explosion of feeling on my tastebuds. I love the connection and the memories that I have with it.

I hate the way it makes my heart race. I hate the pimples that I always get. I hate that I can’t manage to have just a little. I hate that once I’ve had some I can’t stop thinking of it again.

But more than anything, I hate that I can’t seem to tell it no.

And this weekend, as I prepared on Friday night for my husband’s family birthday party, and all day Saturday… I just went back to my lovate of sugar. Even though I have found True and Lasting Love in my God… I went back to sugar.

And I hate it now. I gorged myself on it all weekend. And I felt almost entirely guiltless. I felt superior. I felt… bad. sick. sad. empty. hopeless.

I. DO. NOT. LIKE. TO. FEEL. THAT. WAY.

I realized… wait, if it took me years, and years, and years, and years to get over my first “love” so long ago… then perhaps I should expect my loveate relationship with sugar to be the same. Perhaps it IS too early in the game to even allow myself “celebrations”. Perhaps I was just asking for it by allowing myself to dive back into that so quickly.

So, I revert.

Tomorrow sugar is out again for the year. I will make one exception. On my birthday, I may have ONE PIECE of cake that my mom makes. But that’s it.

Sugar… my lovate of days past… farewell. Perhaps we shall never meet again. And… well, perhaps that is for the best.

Day 385: Back In The Promised Land

Well, Texas, that is. I’m back in Texas. Which… to me, if you’re gonna live in America… Texas is the promised land. Yep… I love me some Lone Star State. (But don’t get me wrong, if I ever get a chance to live in like Costa Rica or something… I’m totally gonna bail on Tejas and go soak up some rays on the beach.)

AN.Y.WAY.

You might have not even known that I was gone, but I have been in Anaheim, California for the past week with my husband at the 2013 NAMM Show doing demos for his product, Chord Dice. It was an awesome, awesome, awesome week, and dare I say, completely exhausting. This is one reason why I have not posted… I would literally come in from dinner every evening (the show closed at 6pm every day and we’d usually sit down to dinner around 8pm) after standing from 8am-6pm nonstop, and I would wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, and then fall asleep before my head even hit the pillow. (I actually did fall asleep at dinner one night!)

chord dice namm 2013

The other reason I didn’t post was because the WiFi in our hotel was abysmal and I guess since there were, literally, thousands of people staying right there in that convention center area of Anaheim all the 3G data was being evenly distributed between all of us… cause even my iPhone would take forever to load stuff.

But I did work on some posts on my new little laptop that my brother got me for a Christmas/Birthday gift so there is some coming.

What I wanted to share right now, very quickly is this… for the first time in over a year, on my celebration day…

I had a steak.
I had chocolate dessert.
I had a glass of red merlot.

And it was not all that I had imagined I was missing all this time. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. It was very good. But it was no where near as good as the joy of God has been this past year. It was no where near as good as fitting into a size 8 day after day after day. It was no where near as good as not having to fight with a plate of brownies or a bag of Oreos or a tube of Pringles.

So, right now… right before I run to pick up my son from pre-school, I want you to know that if you are considering covenanting from something that is a stronghold in your life… do it. That thing that has such an amazing hold on you… it’s no where near as important or good or necessary as you think it is. And the only reason I know this is because for a year, I didN’T have what I thought was important and good and necessary and I just DID have it and nothing about my life changed or was infinitely better.

Whatever that “thing” is in your life that is holding on to you… don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that it’s so awesome that you can’t give it up with the help of Jesus.

You can.
You should.
You must.

Allow God to take you somewhere new.
Allow God to take you to the REAL promised land.

And I’m not talking about Texas this time.

Day 358: First Donuts… For Real

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This morning I woke up before everyone else and (honestly) my first thought was: Donut Day!

I had planned on keeping today as a “Celebration Day” of no restrictions even though it wasn’t a birthday party, national holiday, or full moon. It was more of a Celebration Day for the past year.

Only as I started to think about it… having a hamburger, maybe some cake or ice cream, a pepperoni pizza for dinner… I realized, that I actually didn’t even want those things today.

Well, wait… I wanted them but I more so wanted to keep my jeans fitting. And I realized that I would have plenty more opportunities for all of those things… so it wasn’t so vital for me to have them today. I have certainly learned over the past year that cravings come and go. That I don’t have to give in to them. That I can just eat to live.

But…… I still wanted that donut.

There were several donuts leftover from the bunch that my father-in-law brought over yesterday (see my post Day 357: First Donuts for that story), and there was a half of one of them that is my favorite: a chocolate covered “tractor wheel”, as we call it (I think our donut shop labels them as sour cream).

And so I didn’t wake anyone up… cause I was remembering my cookie dough incident that I wrote about on Day Twenty-One… this whole thing started with just me and God. alone. Well… I guess it was me and God and a huge vat of cookie dough. Anyway, I just thought it was appropriate that it be just me and God and the sugar once again.

And it was a beautiful experience… eating that half-donut. And not because it was so amazingly good (although it WAS good), but because of the celebration in my heart and the thanks to God for bringing me to this point… to the point where eating a donut was a big deal instead of just another regular ol’ day of gluttony.

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And after I finished the donut… it was just… over. I poured myself a cup of coffee and went on my way with the day. I never even thought about the fact that there was still another donut.

This is a big. deal.

For yearsssssss I would have obsessed over that donut until I would have just given in and eaten it. And today I ignored it as if it weren’t even there.

Cause it might as well have not been there. I had already decided that I was only going to have half and that God would find honor and joy in the fact that I didn’t HAVE TO have the food just because I COULD.

How far He has brought me.

I suppose I have learned a bit from God and He has renewed me enough this year to know that it would be foolish to return to the same habits.

But more importantly, this is something I have to say only God could do for me. You see, I “knew” all of this before in my mind. I “knew” I shouldn’t overeat. I “knew” I shouldn’t eat pounds of sugar. I “knew” I shouldn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry. I “knew” I shouldn’t eat what I wasn’t craving.

But it took God to renew my heart so that it wasn’t just my mind that knew those things but also my heart and soul.

Now, I truly know

And it was His wisdom that kept me from being a fool today…

    As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. Proverbs 26:11

Day 137: Sushi Struggle

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For my “birthing day” treat (a tradition that my husband’s family does to honor the mother that delivered the baby on each birthday), my husband got some sushi for me for lunch. I love sushi but I can never justify going to get it and we never tend to go out to eat and get it. I often tell him to go with his buddies to the sushi buffet instead of on date night with me because it is such a rip off for me to go… I never eat enough to make it worth all the money!

Anyway, I ate a little bit of it at lunch that day and it was yummmmmay! But I have learned that sushi makes me very full, very fast… so I can’t eat a lot of it. Luckily, I didn’t eat a lot of it that day.

Later that evening after the birthday party, I was pretty tired and I really didn’t want to do the dishes or pick up, so I sorta defaulted back to my old “stall” technique and I went and got out the leftover sushi to finish. I sorta rationalized it to myself by saying that I hadn’t gotten to really eat any dinner because none of it was on my covenant (which I talked about here), but when it came down to it, I knew that I wasn’t really that hungry.

Of course, then commenced a little internal battle… but luckily, those verses popped back into my mind that have helped me to honor God with self-control over and over again. They are probably some of the most important verses anyone needs to know for the covenant.

“I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

And I know that I keep bringing them up, but I keep bringing them up because the Holy Spirit keeps bringing them to my mind. And those two verses keep helping me to make the right choices on this covenant. Because I want to honor God. I want for Him to receive glory… and I think that He does through my weight loss and through my telling people about how I’m losing weight because of Him.

Day 133: Face To Facebook

I haven’t been very… good… about taking “real” pictures of my kids the past several months.

Okay, so I have been horrible about it. My iPhone is just so totally convenient, so I never remember to take my “real” camera… and I kept forgetting to charge it whenever I would take it to an “event”. Thank goodness my mother goes to most of the “big” events in my life and she always remembers her camera, so I often just piggy back off of her pics!

Anyway, I did finally charge my camera and take pics at my son’s preschool graduation and at my toddler’s birthday! And I was just so stinking proud of myself that I put them on Facebook (which I also haven’t done an official “album” in a while… most of my pics are mobile upload pics)!

Well, in doing so, I had to go through and choose which pictures I wanted, because… come on. Let’s all be honest here. It don’t matter if there are 37 people in a picture and alllllll of them look fabulous… if I don’t look good then it’s not a good pic. Haha! So, I went through and weeded through some of the less desirable pics of me and others there.

And my emotions at looking at pics of myself were a little back and forth. I’d look at myself in one picture and think, “Wow. I look way skinnier than I realized” and then five seconds later I would look at a pic and think, “Wow… I’m not nearly as far along as I thought.”

But what I think is cool… is that those thoughts just sorta… ended… right there. I just stopped thinking about how I looked and went on with my day. I more so enjoyed all the comments that people were making about my precious boys in the pics having fun. And it wasn’t like I consciously had to think, “Now January… you are beautiful just the way you are.” It was more like my thoughts ran subconsciously but more in this vein: “Now January… The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

And I love that it was subconscious… that I never really thought about the fact that I was feeling “unconcerned” about my looks. I was just… well… unconcerned! To look back on that now at the end of the day, well, it’s just… cool. In fact, I’m kinda smiling to myself right now. Kinda… feeling the joy.

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart. Psalm 40:8

Day 132: A Celebration Of Life

So today is my youngest son’s two year old birthday! We had his party last night and listen to the menu I so brilliantly came up with and see what you think I could eat:

hot dogs, chips, cupcakes, ice cream

Yeah, none of it.

I almost feel like a hypocrite changing all my ways and then feeding everyone else the same blech stuff that I am avoiding! But all of that to say, I just didn’t eat any of it. I had grapes, peanuts, a banana, and a glass of tea. I was fine. Which is just so weird and yet cool at the same time to be able to say.

I mean, last year for his one-year birthday party we got the same cupcakes from Sam’s only they had Elmo “rings” on them as toppers instead of Cars 2 toppers like they had this year. And last year over a span of a few days, I ate… ohhhhh, I dunno… about a dozen of them that were left over.

A dozen cupcakes people.

About a month before had been my sister-in-law’s wedding shower and guess what we had there? Oh, yes… cupcakes. And I think that I had eaten about a dozen of them as well. And take a wild guess as to what we had at my older son’s birthday party just a few months later? Oh my gosh… you’re good.

Yep. Cupcakes.

And yep. There were leftovers. (Emphasis on the word: were since I ate all the leftover cupcakes.)

So that’s why I say it is weird to think that for this cupcake birthday, I ate… none… of the birthday food.

And what’s even weirder and even cooler is that it wasn’t difficult for me. There was no battle inside. There was not a sneaking into the bathroom to shove a cupcake down my throat. There was just… a birthday. A celebration of my son’s life.

And silently… all by myself… hidden away in a party room in my soul… I had another celebration. A celebration of my new life.

My new life of freedom.

So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:8

Day 100: Don’t Stop When You’re Full

Day 100. Wow. I mean… I’m a little more than pleased to be here. I don’t think that I have ever tracked myself doing something for 100 days straight. Sooooo this is cool just on that level.

It is also cool because I decided, ohhhhhh, around day twenty-eight that when I got to the triple digits that I would start to put the day number in numerics instead of spelling them out. So now I don’t have to write the word “ninety” again… which I misspelled like three days in a row last week as “ninty” and had to go back and change it.

But what was cool today was that I did have myself a little celebration day before I even remembered it was day 100. I was celebrating though not because of how long I have been doing this but because I experienced the evidence of a mind renewal having happened in my mind.

I was eating this new pasta florentine dish that was yummay and then I was like “Oh wow- I’m full” and I just stopped eating… but it all happened sorta subconsciously. About fifteen or twenty minutes later, I realized what had happened and was doubly excited because not only was that evidence of a mind renewal but also because when I was feeling “full” it was actually me just being satiated… it was no where near what “full” would have been a few months ago.

So today I am totally living that verse…
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

And when it comes to that kind of “full”… well, then I don’t ever want to stop!