Two Years of Freedom

I’m finally free- 

free from the bondage of food

now I eat to LIVE 

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Today marks 2 years since I found food freedom!  Two years ago today, I embarked on a new way of eating- a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama”, developed by two fabulous sisters named Pearl and Serene.

Before I tried THM, I was a slave to numbers- counting and imputing the calories of everything I ate in my phone apps.  Counting how many calories I would burn on the treadmill or the elliptical.  Food was a reward and a punishment for me.  And the guilt I experienced when I skipped a day of working out, or when I would eat something indulgent was ridiculous.

And even though I did all the things I thought would help me reach a healthy weight- the weight loss never came.  Just a feeling of discouragement.  I couldn’t lose a pound- no matter how little I restricted my calories and how much I would work out. I was exhausted all the time and miserable.

But two years ago, I traded in all those habits for something NEW!  I got rid of those calorie counting apps, and ditched the scale.  I stopped counting calories and I stopped working out completely for a while.  I cut out sugar and bread.  I ate well balanced meals with lots of protein, veggies, and occasional healthy grains.

I traded in my sugary creamers for stevia and half and half in my coffee- and I actually love it that way now!

I lost about 35 pounds in 8 months, but I gained so much more!  For the last two years, I have learned how to eat to live instead of living to eat.  I feel better than I have in years, and I have stayed at a healthy weight for the last year and a half without much effort.

I am praising the LORD tonight for the freedom I have found from food!

I know not everything works for everyone- but if you have struggled with weight loss or self control when it comes to food, I would highly recommend you look up THM.  The rules are simple- eat protein at every meal, only eat every 3 hours, and have healthy fats OR healthy carbs with your protein at every meal.  Never mix fats and carbs together if you are trying to reach a healthy weight.  That’s the basic idea of the eating plan.  No special ingredients are needed.  It’s that simple!

If I can do it- anyone can do it!  In fact, my whole family has decided to do it with me beginning tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the changes in my family as they begin their journey with me in 2019!

And fyi- the newest book- Trim Healthy Table is available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble for  $1.99!  That’s a steal of a deal!!  Here’s a link-

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trim-healthy-mamas-trim-healthy-table-pearl-barrett/1126396593?ean=9780804189996&st=PLA&sid=BNB_NOOK+EBooks&sourceId=PLAGoNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Google_c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmafhBRDUARIsACOKERPxw2Q8i_9YNOFQX8xGGSaUB-fC5pGMLXwl8JFm15onx-nzFrGE2oEaAvZDEALw_wcB#/

I hope all of you have a very blessed New Year!!!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  

2 Corinthians 5:17

I Wonder as I Wander

1. I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

2. When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

3. If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.

This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns.  The lyrics paint beautiful pictures in my mind, and the melody is in a marvelous minor key.  I recorded my own version of it today.

The story behind this song is fascinating.  It was written by John Jacob Niles, an American folk singer, in 1933.  However, the original idea came from a young girl that he met while attending a fundraising event.  Here is Nile’s account of that meeting-

“A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached to the automobile. She began to sing. Her clothes were unbelievable dirty and ragged, and she, too, was unwashed. Her ash-blond hair hung down in long skeins. … But, best of all, she was beautiful, and in her untutored way, she could sing. She smiled as she sang, smiled rather sadly, and sang only a single line of a song.”

“The girl, named Annie Morgan, repeated the fragment seven times in exchange for a quarter per performance, and Niles left with “three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material—and a magnificent idea”  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Wonder_as_I_Wander

Niles went on to write two more verses and it was performed for the first time in North Carolina on December 19, 1933.

The song is just as beautiful now as it was then.

make the time

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on a weathered

bench I play 

minutes…hours…

half a day!

How I wish 

to pause the time 

play the day away 

on this piano of mine!

Every year when the Christmas season is over, I always wish I had spent more time playing through my favorite Christmas piano books.

Not this year!

I am determined to set aside time daily to play my favorite carols.

There is something special about sitting down with a good piano book, lit by Christmas lights, and just letting my hands dance across the keys.  It’s like meeting an old friend for coffee and a little conversation.  The piano books come to life as I read and play and reminisce about all the years I practiced and learned to play these old songs.

The first Christmas carol I ever learned to play was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  It was from a Muppet Christmas book with Kermit the Frog on the front of it.  I played and played that song so many times that I thought I’d never want to hear it again.  And yet, even now, when I play it- it’s like a home movie running through my mind.  I remember what the keys felt like on my old piano and I can see the dimly lit dining room where I sat as a young girl.

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I’ve still got my first Christmas piano book!

When I sit at the piano and play, I feel like a kid at Christmas again.

So, what’s that one thing that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit? 

Whatever it is- make time for it this year-

and DO IT!

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“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” – Sergei Rachmaninov 

“Music is the shorthand of emotion.” ― Leo Tolstoy

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” ― Maya Angelou

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ― Aldous Huxley

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”  ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.” – Ludwig Van Beethoven

Windows

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Separate 

inside from out 

behind curtains 

we peek out 

 illumination 

cannot hide

the life that carries on 

inside 

I have been thinking a lot about windows.

I have always loved glancing into windows of the homes we pass by when we drive through neighborhoods.

Shakespeare said it best- “Eyes are the windows to your soul”.

We had a family picture taken recently at church.  It’s nothing short of a minor miracle that both girls and hubby agreed to sit for a photo. As a mom of two teenage daughters, we have reached the stage where no pictures are taken without lots of preparation.  Of course, I tell my girls how beautiful they are all the time… how they don’t need makeup.  I tell them they could wear brown sacks and still be beautiful!

But I can sometimes be such a hypocrite.

Because the first thing I said when I saw the picture was how un-photogenic I am.  I always have some strange expression on my face, I’m not looking in the right direction, I have a weird, “fake” smile, or my eyes are half-way closed.  Any combination of those things is what I usually see when I look at a picture of myself.

And this photo brought out the same reaction in me.  I actually laughed out loud at what my husband said to me when I showed the picture to him.

I said, “Look babe- it’s such a great pic of you and the girls!  Not so great of me- I am always un-photogenic.”

Without skipping a beat, he says “what kind of super-model expectation do you have of yourself? It is a perfectly fine picture of you!” 

Good question.

Why can’t my eyes see the things that other people see in me?

I think social media is a huge culprit.  Instagram and snapchat have these lovely filters that make you look like a million bucks. And then when you see pictures of other people online, many times we are looking at these same filtered photos- masking what people really look like.

That, along with all of the anti-aging ads for women doesn’t help our self-worth.  There are literally hundreds of wrinkle creams- for your eyes, face, neck, lips… you name a body part,  and I’m sure you can find the perfect cream to improve it.  And hair- I have finally settled for the hair color with the least maintenance- highlights a few times a year.  Low maintenance appearance is my goal!

What makes a house a home?  It’s the love of the family that lives inside.

What makes a person beautiful? It’s not how few gray hairs you have, not how smooth your skin is, not being the perfect size.  It’s not even about having the perfect smile, or outfit.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

It’s what’s in your heart.

I want to see the world through His eyes.  I want to see YOU through His eyes.

And in order to do that, we have to begin with seeing ourself the way He sees us.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

Let the light of Christ shine through your windows!

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May our “windows” reflect the Son!

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light-  Matthew 6:22

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Happy Thanksgiving!!! 

When the sun rises, so do I

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colors blaze

across the sky-

when the sun rises,

so do i

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a fresh new day 

another try

when the sun rises 

so do i

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ocean crashes

seagulls fly 

when the sun rises

so do i

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I climb the stairs

with a pensive sigh

when the sun rises

so do i

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This past weekend we had our annual women’s retreat with our church.  We went to one of my favorite places- the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

At home,  I am usually the first one to wake up, and the first thing I do is make a cup of coffee.  I like my quiet time in the mornings.

But one of the things I enjoyed most about this weekend was waking up early and finding fellowship with the other ladies who were also early risers.  I loved drinking coffee together, watching the sunrise, and sharing stories with one another…and then sometimes we sat in silence.

I told the ladies that I LOVE it when our clocks “fall back”- because I LOVE getting ready for bed early!  As soon as the sun comes up, I naturally wake up- no matter what time I go to bed, so the earlier to bed, the better!

When the sun rises- so do I! 

…weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning- 

Psalm 30 

 

Hope

I am not really one who likes to talk about politics. Not at all. I definitely have my own thoughts and opinions about things but I do my best to try to look at situations with an unbiased view. I happened to watch the news the other day, and I was heartbroken.  Heartbroken at how our country is so completely divided and how we refuse to even consider where people on the “other side” are coming from.  Instead, we immediately villainize others as the enemy.

I believe that most people (including me) generally have the desire to see justice served- to see wrongs made right.  I also believe that there are people in power who use other people’s sufferings to promote hidden agendas… which makes it nearly impossible for us to know the truth about anything!

As heartbroken as it makes me to turn on the news, I still believe that God is on the throne and He is a God of justice and mercy.  If we put our hope in people and politics, we will be let down every time.  God is faithful and He is Lord of all.

This is a song I wrote about putting aside our political opinion and fully trusting Him.  Are we honoring Him with the words we speak on these matters?   I am hopeful, and I am praying for a Holy Spirit revival to sweep across this country!

“Unwavering”

Caught in between 
A lie and a sympathy
What to believe?
The world is a mockery
When I can’t trust 
What I see 
I  still  believe 
You are God and 
You are king 
You have won the 
Victory 
You are God of 
Everything 
And my hope is 
Unwavering 
Everyone’s got a side
Fighting for their right 
But what if we’ve all been blinded by 
The filter of our pride 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful- Hebrews 10:23

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All Things New

“All Things New”
I wish  
some things 
in my  life  
had been 
just a little  bit
 different 
when I take time to 
reminisce
wax poetic 
with my pen 
it’s then I see that He 
has made all things 
work for His good 
every little dash and line 
brush strokes 
with His hands of time 
He’s making all things new
every regret 
I’d like to forget- 
all things led me 
to You 
every day 
A new lesson learned 
touch the burner 
you will get 
burned 
forgive me Father 
for I have sinned 
a new creation 
then begins 
Now  I see that 
He has made all things 
Work for HIs good
“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43 
Now that I have two teenage daughters, I think a lot about my own teen years… the decisions I made, the things I did.  Now I can look back and see how He has taught me so many important lessons over the years from the not-so-great decisions I’ve made.  I am grateful for God’s grace, and how when we surrender our life to Him completely- he takes ALL THINGS, even our regrets- and uses them for His glory.

hands

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Do you ever wonder 

if God has hands?

And how He formed the face

of this beautiful land?

How He carved the mountains

and the valley below?

Did He hand-pick every green thing

and tell them all to grow?

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder if God has hands?

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

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Do you ever marvel over the simplest things?  Like hands, for instance….

We totally take them for granted!  It’s AMAZING the things we can do with our hands!  The fact that I can sit here and type all these letters out, and all 10 of my fingers can work together independently is a miracle!

And how about-

Tying our shoes?

or lacing your fingers through someone else’s hand?

how about painting… or coloring?

or playing piano?

I am so thankful for the hands God gave me!

I have often thought back to my early days of taking piano lessons.  I was about 12, and my teacher was in his early 20’s.  I clearly remember him saying this during one of my early lessons-

“You know, you don’t really have “piano hands”…your fingers aren’t long enough…”

And I remember feeling a lump in my throat and a sinking feeling in my heart.

Because playing piano was the ONLY thing besides singing that I loved doing! So what that my fingers are short and stubby?

I didn’t let that stop me from doing what I loved.

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As I continued playing piano, I improvised when I needed to- like omitting those crazy chords that had over an octave span.  I learned that it was ok to not play every note on the page and that playing piano with passion could make up for any technical skills I was lacking.

And honestly, I hated playing piano in front of people.  Extreme “stage fright” came over me whenever I had a recital, or even when someone asked for me to play for them.  I have often said it felt like I was a pet being asked to do a “trick”.  So besides teaching lessons, I only played for my own enjoyment.

Until I completely gave my life to Jesus.  I told Him that day- even the music I played would be His!

That was a life-changing moment for me. Within a few months, I began leading worship.

And the most amazing thing happens to me every Sunday when I lead worship-it’s almost like He puts gloves on my hands.  I don’t even have to think about what I’m playing.  The worship music just flows-it’s like my fingers are dancing across the keys!   It is the most wonderful miracle that He allows me to play in such a way that I am able to be 100% focused on Him and worship when I am leading music at church.

So, no- I’m not the best pianist.  And singing? There are better out there.  But when we say YES to God, He takes whatever our limited talents are and He makes up the difference.

Our ability to be used is not limited by our short comings (or short fingers, in my case 😉

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me-  2 Corinthians 12:9 

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hurry up and wait

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hurry up and 

wait- 

what’s the rush? 

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lay down a while 

and feel the lush 

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fresh dewy grass 

beneath my feet 

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a  morning’s walk 

nearly complete

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perched under a kelly-green

foliage canopy

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that’s where you’ll 

be finding me! 

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I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13 

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Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

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born to fly

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You can’t

keep a butterfly 

down

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born to fly- 

won’t stay 

on the ground 

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flitting and floating 

you’d think it was gloating

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that her post-cocoon

freedom 

was found! 

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“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest”-  Psalm 55:6

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My girls went back to school this past week.  It spiraled me into a mini- midlife crisis, realizing that BOTH of my daughters are now in high school!   I started thinking about how few years they have left before they will one day “fly”.

That morning, I went to sit up at the cross on the hill behind our church.  It was a beautiful day, despite the extreme heat and humidity.  As soon as I got to the top of the hill, I noticed there were an unusual amount of butterflies flying around me.  One in particular was HUGE!  Bigger than my hand!  It was bright blue and reminded me of a peacock.  Every time it landed, I tried to get a picture of it- and as soon as I took a step forward, off it went again.  It stayed right near me the whole time I was at the cross, never staying in one place long enough for me to get a picture.

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The funny thing is that my girls have become like that, too!  I asked to take a picture of them on the morning before they went off for their first day of school-   “Mommmm…. PLEASE don’t “post” a picture of us anywhere!”

Gone are the days of making them pose for sweet smiley school pictures and waiting with them for the bus at our bus stop… gone are the days of controlling their every move!

They are preparing for take off, shedding layers of their childhood cocoons one day at a time.  And as the days fly by- they are needing me less and less.

It is a juxtaposition of feelings-

both bittersweet and overflowing joy.

“You may outgrow my lap, but never my heart”

– author unknown 

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but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.  

Isaiah 40:31