The Worst Kind Of Success

I feel as if I need to come clean before we even get started…

I just ate four Lindt chocolates.

(Hey… at least I went for the good stuff.)

And ya know, I’m not entirely killing myself over it either. It was sort of a test run. First of all, I haven’t had sugar since December 26th and compared to how my covenant eating has gone over the past few months, THAT ALONE is like a flipping miracle!

Tonight I went to my niece’s birthday and someone plopped a piece of strawberry shortcake in front of me. And not just any ol strawberry shortcake, but made from scratch strawberry shortcake… and if you don’t think “from scratch” is an important detail to this story, then maybe this blog is not for you… cause here at this “diet blog” we reallllllly like food. ;) And I thought “Let’s see what happens… let’s see if somehow, in the lengthy experience {sarcasm} of the past nine days, I have possibly found the fortitude within to eat a little bit and then resist.” So, I ate the cake and then that was it! Success!

Until I got home and accidentally stumbled across those dadgum Lindt chocolates. If it had been the icky-no-good-low-quality regular ol’ chocolates then I probably would have been fine. But nooooooooooo. It had to be Lindt.

Well, you know the rest of the story… if you haven’t lived it yourself then you can certainly fill in the blanks: Because I’d already had sugar tonight, I “might as well”, so I ate “just one” whichhhhhhhhhhhh turned into all of them.

But, I’m sorta glad for a couple of reasons. Here’s why…

I was sorta on the fence about going hardcore with the sugar thing again this year. Like, maybe I should try out that whole balance thing again. Honestly, I knew… I mean… I KNEWWWWWWW it wouldn’t work to have both. But I guess I just needed one last reminder.

Even more so though… ya see, my teacher, James Tippit… he has been talking a lot lately about the idea that sometimes the parts of our lives that we think are successes, God might look at them and just brush them away. But parts of our lives that we view as dismal failures… He might say…

Oh no honey… look… look where I was here… here… and here. This part where you thought all was lost, where you thought you were a mess, a disaster, a wreck… oh, dearest… this is when I was DOIN WORK in your life… in your soul. I was filling in those parts where you were weak… to be strong. I was changing you, forming you, molding you. Making you more like me.

And this is why, tonight, after those infuriating (but honestly… totally divine) Lindt chocolates, I wasn’t in utter dispair. Because this looked like a dismal failure.

Heck, this whole COVENANT DIET itself looks like a dismal failure to me right now… but when I am weak, then HE. IS. STRONG. Perhaps He is just using this whole thing to help melt my heart and reform me… renew me… purify me.

So, tonight, I ask God…

Be strong within me God. Show me how strong you are through my dismal failures. Melt my heart and help me to fall in love with You again. Help me to fall in love with your kindness, your compassion, your ever-ready forgiveness, your patience. Help me to look back on my life and see all of these wonderful, beautiful moments that have changed me, formed me, molded me. Melt me down and make me more like You, so that I might be a blessing. I love you, God. I do. I love you.

Day 638: Sometimes It’s Simple

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Sometimes what I have to say and what I learn on here is complicated and intricate. It takes time and lots of words to explain, but today… I want to just focus in on this one thing.

Just this one verse for today.

I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

I know that you have read it and seen it a million times, but I just want you to say it to yourself over and over and over and over again today. Sometimes… sometimes we just need a reminder that it’s true.

We need to remember that we are not weak.
We are not terrible.
We are not incapable.

In Him, YOU are strong.
In Him, YOU are good.
In Him, YOU are completely and totally capable.

In Him, YOU can do ev.er.y.thing. Because HE gives you strength.

Day 500: Strong Spirit

Gonna admit… I’m starting my writing of this on what is technically Day 498. It’s just that I got such encouragement from the positivity (I am new!) and prayer (Draw me closer to you, God) today and so I wanted to get ahead a little bit to make sure that each day coming had that positivity and prayer already set for me.

POSITIVITY: I am strong!

God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Honestly, this is one of those verses that I have heard a gazillion times and so at this point I sort of just let it slide through my brain and then trickle down into long term memory. And in true pessimist form, it’s probably because I so often focus on the first part of the verse. All I hear is “fear” and “timidity”. But as I focus on the positive aspects today I just zone in on the second half of what He HAS given me!

POWER! LOVE! SELF-DISCIPLINE!

And really, what a wonderful spirit to have… a combination of power, love, and self-discipline!?!? How cool that He threw those three together into a combo! But really, those three are THE things that I would want! Power… to stand up for what is right and to do whatever God calls me to. Love… to balance the power so that I don’t just run over everyone and everything with power but that I am kind and caring and patient and all that stuff from 1 Corinthians 13. Self-discipline… honestly this one almost throws me off at first as to why it’s in there, but then again, no, it belongs there. For what is power and love is all the more powerful when controlled.

PRAYER: God, You are strength. You are power. You are love. And you are self-discipline. Thank you for giving me all of these things as well. God, please remind me that I already HAVE all of these things! I need to know that you give me the strength to resist things, and well… not just to resist things, but also the power to be above those things. Remind me today God that I have the power to focus on You. to keep my mind on You and Your… awesomeness. to think about the things of eternity instead of things of the earth. Help me to see over and over again that You and Your Words and Your Love is lasting and fulfilling. Keep my eyes lifted to you today God. And remind me that I am strong! Amen!

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Day 161: Best. Anniversary. Everrrrrrrrr.

Today was my 8th anniversary of my marriage to my husband… aren’t we cute?

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We met about ten years ago in the singles group at our church (despite the fact that I was convinced that once I joined the singles group that I would be single forever), dated for almost two-years and got married at that same church. We are truly the only two people in the world that could probably put up with each other… a match made in heaven! Haha!

Last summer, we went to Cabo to celebrate our anniversary (our first trip without kids, and our first real vacation since we got married) but this year it wasn’t quite in the budget to do something so extravagant, so we arranged for some childcare from my mother and father-in-law. We have been talking about our plans for days, and my husband was really open to the fact that Saltgrass probabllllly wasn’t going to be the best option for our anniversary dinner this year (he’s doing a similar covenant this month), and so I suggested that we go somewhere and get some seafood. Knowing that he was going to try to pressure me into sushi (which I like, but I just wanted something… different… this go round), I jumped on facebook and asked people what the best seafood places were in the area. I got tons of responses and narrowed it down to a place called the Oceanaire.

Now, he automatically gets some props because he was so cool about supporting my covenant during our anniversary, but his real props come from while we were actually at dinner.

The waiter offered us champagne, and when my husband locked eyes with me he could see the “I can’t” that I was transmitting to him telepathically, and he asked for a Pellegrino with lemon.

Later the bread came, and he deferred eating that as well.

The meal options were all within our range so that was no problem (but absolutely delicious to be sure)!

But when the waiter came over and said that he would be giving us a dessert, I got a little panicked. I have this difficult time saying “no” to gifts from people. How would I handle the situation. Just have a bite and be thankful and then let my husband eat the rest? But then, he was trying to avoid all of that stuff as well. After mulling over it for a few minutes, I just said to my husband that I was going to eat my dinner and enjoy it and then worry about it.

After a bit, I went to “powder my nose” and apparently while I was gone my husband had told the waiter that I didn’t eat sugar and so I…

wait.

Whole story… he didn’t just tell the waiter that I didn’t eat sugar. He told the waiter that I’d had a life changing experience with food and with God. He told the waiter that I was like an addict that had been freed.

And then he told the waiter that it would be cool to get me a fruit bowl for dessert instead of the Baked Alaska.

And it was the sweetest dessert ever.

Not because I drizzled it with honey (which I didn’t, by the way… I didn’t need to). Not because the fruit was amazing (which it was). And not because I felt svelte and thin and classy (which I did).

But because my husband was truly my knight in shining armor. He defended me. He defended my covenant. My covenant with God. He helped me to stand up against the world when I my defenses were crumbling. And he presented my covenant and my God shamelessly to our server.

Yep. My knight in shining armor!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Day 139: Strong Arm

I know that I have also talked about my thoughts on working out before as well. It’s just… well, it’s just not my thing. And I chose, on purpose, not to work out during my covenant. Why? Well, I’m going to just copy-paste in part of a post where I talked about this because it’s easier than re-explaining it again!

“I am not working out because I don’t want to lose weight any other way than by my eating habits changing. That might sound ludicrous and weird, but here is my reason: I need my overeating food and addiction to food and focus on food to be eradicated from my life. If I find another way to be “skinny” (i.e. working out) instead of getting this addiction under control then it defeats the purpose of this entire covenant. My focus this year is not to change my body (although I will totally admit that I hope it changes for the smaller) but to change my heart, soul, and mind.” From Day Forty-Four

Why bring that up? Well, because I think that I am going to start working out.

Ya see, I have this thing going on with my hips… we are essentially guessing at what it is, but aren’t entirely sure (no insurance + four of us living on a teacher’s salary = no testing to find out definitively). I know that I mentioned it before… but basically, the pain sorta comes and goes. When I am having a painful day it is… well, it’s pretty excruciating. I went for about 9 days of pain-free bliss last week and then, bam… it was back.

I have learned pretty well to manage the pain with medication, stretching, and ice, ice, ice… instead of managing it with eating, eating, eating like I mentioned on Day Thirty-Eight, but lately I’m just… well, I’m just irritated with pain. It changes my patience level. It changes my outlook on life. It just… changes me. And that irritates me!

I did notice that when I really make my abdominals tight and use them as a support that it eases the pain a bit, and so I thought… well, it would be worth it to tighten those suckers up even if that alone kept the pain closer to a minimum. But I’m nervous about working out because that is what caused my hips to go all crazy in the first place (well, I think that was it). I had started trying to do that dern Couch to 5K thing and I was starting some pilates, so I’m not entirely sure which one to blame. I had even tried to be smart about it all and I had been walking for months to get my endurance up and get my body into slightly better shape so that I wouldn’t fall apart when I started running. Buttttttt, I fell apart anyway!

So, I don’t want to start trying to tighten my abs and then make my hips completely deteriorate!

But all of that was the long story to say that I am going to start working out. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do… I’d like to be able to swim because it is just… well, it’s just such a great way to get a work out without all of the stress on the body. And, honestly, I don’t want to hurt my body anyyyyymore than I already have!

And plus, God is cool with us taking care of our bodies… even Proverbs 31 mentions it when talking about the uber perfect woman…

She does her work with energy, and her arms are strong. Proverbs 31:17

I know that the list of a Proverbs 31 woman is more of a list of guidance for what King Lemuel’s mom thought his wife should be like, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t strive to obtain a lot of those qualities. And I would love to be a woman that does my work with energy and is strong… especially strong arms! So, working out could potentially work for me in two ways: help me manage my pain and help me to become more like a Proverbs 31 woman! That’s one power-packed workout!

Day 130: Nit Gonna Get Me Down

Over the past day my oldest has been scratching his head a lot. I thought it was because of a recent change in shampoo and decided to give both he and his brother a good ol Head N Shoulders washing.

And then I went to check the scalp on my youngest to make sure it was squeaky clean and noticed these itty bitty brown dots on his scalp.

My stomach flip flopped. Oh please Lord, let that be something he got caught in his hair playing outside and not lice.

Apparently though you have to pray that prayer way before they even get it. Haha! Cause lice they were… well, a bunch of those little nits that turn into lice. So I sent my husband out to the pharmacy to pick up that RID stuff (which, for the record, smells exactly the same as it did when I had lice in fourth grade).

I looked through the hair on my oldest and he looked clean but I decided to treat him anyway. Good thing- he had more than his brother.

All of that to say, after four hours of scrubbing, rinsing, gelling, picking, combing, gelling again, picking again, and combing again, then washing again… both of my boys were deloused.

And I don’t know if you have seen a pic of my curly fro, but getting lice would be catastrophic for me, so I thought y’all would get a kick out of how I attempted to “protect” my scalp while I was working away on the boys and their little friends…

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Now. That is gross information for someone getting on this blog… haha, maybe it will keep you from wanting to eat though for a bit!!!

But I bring it up to say that delousing a toddler and a four year old is a rather stressful event… especially since you have to do it well or else you’ll just be in the same boat again the next week. There I was delousing and feeling all sorts of tense and then I had a cool moment… I realized that I had not even thought of chocolate. or sugar. or bread. okay, I did think about eating a saltine.

A saltine?

Yes. A saltine.

Why would you be tempted to eat a saltine???

My toddler loves them and he was snacking on them while I picked at his head like momma orangutang. And when I passed the little stack of them I was about .5 seconds away from popping one on in my gullet.

Annnnnnnd ya know what stopped me? The covenant.

I am so glad that I “upgraded” the covenant to include cutting out bread and chips… and yeah I know a cracker isn’t a chip, but yeah… it might as well be. As I reached out to snag one, my brain said, “Hey Jan… covenant. Upgraded covenant. No chips.” And I put it back and that was that. I returned to my ever glamorous life of delousing children.

And I know that I have mentioned this verse a lot lately, but I just have to bring it up again. I think maybe God is in the process of writing it on my heart. deeeeeeeeep on my heart. Haha!

O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 2 Chronicles 6:14

But also this one… I had to have strength to resist the saltine (haha- that even sounds funny to me, but, eh, such is an addiction to food. All of it qualifies)! And that strength comes from God- and out of my love for God.

And now that I look at this one, I’m liking it just as much as the previous verse:

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong. Romans 16:25

Cause that’s where it comes from! My strength comes from God. There is no other way to explain it.

Yep. Even that saltine. those dad gum lice. that bully Satan. They’re “nit” gonna get me down. Haha! Gotta love the malapropisms!!!