more than a feeling

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focusing on feelings 

leaves my heart reeling 

and my goal becomes 

a far distant dream 

but when I instead

plan each step ahead  

the destination’s 

not as far 

as it seems 

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I had an “aha” moment this morning.  Yeah, that happens occasionally- but not as often as I’d like 🙂

I really wanted to start working out again- for no other reason than it’s good for your body to move.  I needed to do something that was easy and didn’t require a lot of thought, so I decided to download one of those “couch to 5k” apps.  I love those because it takes the guesswork out of your workouts.  3 days a week, all I have to do is start the app and get on the treadmill and it tells me when to run and when to walk.  Easy enough!

Until this past week.

I have been doing this for 4 weeks now, and instead of getting easier- it is definitely getting more challenging.  I haven’t missed a single workout, and I have run/walked every minute the app has told me to.

But this morning I got up and dreaded it.  I knew I’d be running for even longer bursts today… and I was already tired before I even got out of bed! But I had already laid out what I needed to “get my workout on” the night before

“Stop thinking about how you feel, ” I kept saying to myself over and over.  “Just do it!” 

I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, and slipped on the headband.  I went through all the steps… and then my oldest daughter saw me in the kitchen.

“What in the world are you doing?” she asked me when she saw my crazy head gear and my outfit.

“I’m trying to get in the mood to do the treadmill this morning.”

And as I had this conversation with her this morning, I was struck with the idea that my girls are always watching me.  Not just what I say to them- but what I do.

I want to be a person of my word- someone who follows through. Someone who sets goals and accomplishes them.  I always talk to the girls about how important it is to not to be led by their “feelings”… and here I was, ready to take the morning off from working out- simply because I didn’t “feel” like doing it.

But the simple action of doing what I had planned on doing the night before kept me on track.

My shoes were by my bed when I woke up.  Headband was put on my night stand.  And I slept in my workout clothes (yes- they were clean!)

So I went downstairs and as soon as I took the first step on the treadmill, it was like He was carrying me.  He gave me every ounce of energy I needed to complete my goal.

I finished, and came upstairs to both girls sitting on the couch.

They asked how my run was.

It was hard, but good.  It wasn’t easy- but nothing worth doing ever is!

And the best part?

My daughter said she’s going to get on the treadmill when she gets home today, too.

“Failing to plan… is planning to fail.” 

Set your mind on things above- Colossians 3:2 

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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

Free at last

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I am free 

like a bird 

flying high I soar 

because I’m not

weighed down 

anymore 

the chains

broke 

the shackles

fell 

and I am feeling- 

pretty swell 

because you see- 

I am finally 

free

New Year’s Eve marked the one year anniversary that I began following the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It has been a year of food freedom for me- but so much more than that!  For years I have been a slave to counting calories- how many calories I consume at each meal and how many calories I burn at each workout.  Even on the days when I would “take a break”… I would still keep a running tab in my head.

And the worst part of it all?  None of that effort made any difference!  No matter how much I worked out, no matter how carefully I watched my calorie intake- I couldn’t lose a pound to save my life!!  For years I felt defeated and discouraged.  My body hurt all the time and I had no energy.

I have my friend, Natalee to thank for introducing me to the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  Just give it a try, she told me.  So I began reading about it and checking out recipes on Pinterest.  I started looking for ways to make the things I already eat fit in with the program. And the great things is that I have found ways to eat everything I love!

For all of 2017, I have not counted a single calorie! That is a miracle for me!  And I have worked out less this past year than I have in the last 15 years!  And praise the Lord- at 40,  I feel better than ever!  I have lost 35 pounds over this past year and I have gained so much more-

-balance 

-food freedom 

-freedom from the scale 

-self confidence

Thank God Almighty-  I am free at last!!

 

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36 

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finish your own sentences

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While I am not slim by any means, I do try to take care of myself.  I watch what I eat and exercise at least 4-5 times a week.  My girls have joined me in this quest to be in the best shape we can be, and so the three of us- along with one of the girls’ friends- went to run/walk at a local track.

I was so proud of the girls!  They kept on going, even when they got tired.  They commented that they stopped before they had wanted to.  But you showed up-I told them in my best “Jillian Michaels” voice… I’m proud of you!

As I ran, I passed by two elderly ladies.  They seemed quite surprised that a girl of my size was running, and I could tell that each time I passed them they made comments about me. I know I don’t look like an athlete or anything, but I am healthy.  The last lap I heard them say “That girl in front of us- that girl with those big wide hips…”

Fortunately, that was all I heard before I was out of ear shot of their comment.  Usually, that’s all it takes to get me in a bad mood… to discourage me from working out in front of other people.  Honestly, I didn’t know how they finished that sentence, but I had a feeling it was not positive.  But 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ!  As I kept running, He told me to finish it…

And so as I jogged along, He brought to mind all of the things that I’ve accomplished, and all I have to be thankful for…

 this girl with those big, wide hips-

-is BLESSED to be ALIVE and have breath in her lungs and legs to RUN with

-has given birth to two awesome, amazing girls

-lost over 100 lbs before I had my children

-loves her curves… because that’s the way He made me

-is trying to set a good example for her girls by taking the best care of her body that she can

-got a college degree and worked multiple jobs to pay for it (and I’m STILL paying those loans!!)

-knows where to find her SELF-WORTH…. in CHRIST ALONE!

-has a stronger walk with the Lord than ever before

You- yes, YOU,  are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Don’t let anyone else try to finish your sentence.  Give God that pen and let Him write it for you.  By His grace, He will turn it into something beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end-  Ecclesiastes 3:11

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canopies of gold… a walk through autumn’s peak

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canopies of gold

dancing in the autumn air

singing their swan song

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branches leaning in

hoping to hear the last laughs

of summer’s folly

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The grass withers and the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God stands forever.  Isaiah 40:8

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Let the whole earth be filled with His glory- Psalm 72:19

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to every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1

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I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1

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Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

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To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness is everlasting:  

Psalm 136:7-9

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He has made everything beautiful in it’s time- Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  

Psalm 119:105

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The Lord upholds all that fall,

and raises up all those that are bowed down- 145:14

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Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
    Let the trees of the forest sing for joy  

Psalm 96:12

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He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.  

Psalm 1:3

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Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.  

1 Chronicles 16:27
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Breaking the (food) chain

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peel me like an onion

heavy on the layers

I shed the outer skin

as I go to You in prayer

crying as I’m sliced up

a little more, I’m diced up 

I’m ready for the next plan

dump me in the pan

straight into the fryer 

turn the heat up higher

cook me till I’m done 

I’m in refiner’s fire

the hotter I’m becoming 

the more clearly I can see

molting all these layers 

leads me to transparency 

Tears welled in my eyes as I sliced the onion in half. I broke through that top layer of skin, and the tears freely flowed down my face.  Onions have a funny way of doing that to me.

I tossed them into the hot frying pan to sauté them. They sizzled as I stirred them back and forth. I was no longer tearing up, but noticed the sweetness of the aroma.  After they had been sautéd, their translucency was striking.  

Isn’t it something that an onion could be so drastically different in appearance, in taste, aroma, and in sight- after experiencing a little bit of “heat”?  Honestly, I don’t like being uncomfortable.  That’s why we all like comfort food, right?  It makes us feel good.  But it’s only an emotional reaction- not the real thing.

For  my entire life, I have used food for reward, punishment, pleasure, and emotional comfort.

I’m tired of being comfortable. I want to be all God wants me to be- and I really do believe that He wants me to be free from this ridiculous food obsession.

I woke up this morning, ready to cook some eggs, and I tried to tell myself that it was what I really wanted for breakfast.  Not true. I really just wanted a ginormous bowl of oatmeal.  But more than oatmeal, I want to break that chain…the never ending cycle of obsessing over food and using food for comfort.

And the only answer is more Jesus. And less self-gratification.

Less of me (literally and figuratively)…more of Him.

I’ve jumped into the frying pan with both feet, I’m feeling the heat, and I’m ready to be changed!

God- make me uncomfortable so I find comfort in YOU not FOOD! 

eat to live, not live to eat

There is power in His Name to break every chain!

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 

Hungry, I come to You

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Running on Dunkin’

at the end of my own strength

is where I find Him

After my morning cup o’love, I hesitantly got on the treadmill this morning. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I know it’s good for me-mentally, physically and emotionally.

Sometimes I forget that it is good for me spiritually, too.  Whenever I chose to make Him my focus, whatever I do becomes an act of worship! I began my pace slow and steady- and as my worship tunes played on, I began to feel fatigued.  I prayed for His strength to keep going.

What am I running towards?

“Hungry, I come to You, for I know You satisfy…”

I found myself singing as I ran. I could almost feel Him lifting my arms as the steady pounding of my feet rhythmically fell in time to the music. On that treadmill to nowhere, I was running- running to Him.

“I’m falling on my knees… offering all of me… Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for…”

On that treadmill to nowhere is where I shed tears of joy. With every breath I took in, I felt Him drawing closer to me, encouraging me every step of the way.  Happy tears and beads of sweat fell down my face as I continued to pick up my pace.  The moments when I realize I can’t do anything on my own- that’s exactly where He’s waiting to show me His strength.

Shout to God with joyful praise!  Psalm 47:1

I thought about all the times I feel the need to go somewhere so I can be alone and focus- when He is right here…Emmanuel- God With us.  Not only that- He is God In us!

He is always choosing to be with us. And to think- He gives us the choice to choose Him…and the moment we do, He is right there. We don’t ever have to go anywhere to find Him-

He is always right here, right now.

His gift to us-

He is always present, always ready to fill our cups!

Shout to God with joyful praise!  Psalm 47:1

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”  Matthew 1:23 

Love Lifted Me

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…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29 

I adore little moments with my husband that bring me back to the early years… the days B.C. (before children) When we had so much free time, did lots of fun things, and simply enjoyed being together.   

We used to go to the gym together every evening -it was one of our favorite things to do.  That was like 14 or 15 years ago. Literally. I can’t even believe how fast time is flying by…

So, one recent evening, my dear husband listened to me whine again about how discouraged I am with my fitness routine, and that despite putting in lots of effort- I am not seeing any results. So he lovingly asked me “Why don’t you start lifting again? I can help you!”  

The last thing I really wanted was for him to show me how to do anything fitness related. After all, I used to be a certified fitness instructor…sheesh… 

I hesitantly agreed to be his “client”.  

And from our very first “lifting” session, I saw that old smile on his face.  You know- the care-free, laid back smile of the ole’ B.C. (before children) days… and he looked as young as the day we met.  And for those 45 minutes, it was as if we had gone back in time.

My husband may not be the fittest, or have any previous knowledge in how to train someone… but one thing is for sure.  He loves me and he believes in me- even when I don’t. When I think I can’t lift another pound, he is right there- cheering me on.  Helping me.  Encouraging me.  

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Slowly, I am remembering what it used to feel like to work out with a purpose! Remembering how strong I used to feel. Remembering what it was like to work out with passion- and to push myself farther than I thought was possible.  

And I must admit- I am learning to love lifting weights again.  Learning to love how strong God made the human body. And I love sharing this again with my husband- something that not only brings us closer together, but that is good for our health- one that will help us have many more years together.  

And to think I almost didn’t take him up on his offer to be my “coach”… 

Honestly, other than Jesus- who is better than my husband to turn to for support and encouragement?  

I told my husband I have faith again. Faith that I CAN do this. I feel stronger than I have in years. And even though I still don’t see any fruit from my labor, I know that He is strengthening me in more ways than I see.  Strengthening my body, my mind, and my soul; helping me to persevere… and the best part of all- He is strengthening my relationship with my B.H. – bestest hubby!

blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29 

 Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help

Love lifted me!