Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I'm So Done With Making Excuses About My Body

A bit of a preface.

  This post is one of those monthly what-I-learned / what-I'm-into offerings.  

Please know that I am keenly aware that any conversation concerning those ominous numbers on our bathroom scales involves a very sensitive, delicate subject.  The following personal observations and calls to action are about my own specific health concerns, and are in no way a commentary on where you may or may not be.

We offer each other grace ...
  and maybe a nutritious smoothie.




In recent years, tending to the needs of my body has taken a bit of a back seat behind other seemingly more pressing concerns.  A string of major life-altering decisions, a huge relocation from New York to New England immediately followed by the deaths of my dad and my grandson, and a seemingly endless period of transition have crowded out thoughts of much else.

Yes, life happens.

I'm been the master of excuses as to why a low level neglect has become my reality, but recent days have found me done with my endless rationalizations and feeble half-baked efforts.  After too many months, I've begun to make more positive choices to take better care of the skin I'm in.  I don't want to look back and regret that I refused to follow the healthier direction that God had been nudging me toward.

Bottom line?  I want to be the healthiest woman I can be in this season.  I want to live a pro-active, no-regrets lifestyle.  I want to honor God with all that defines who I am ... soul, mind, and body.

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3 REALIZATIONS & ACTION PLANS

#1
Food shouldn't call the shots.
  I need to own what I put on my plate.



The past few years have seen my weight slowly creep up.  Up. Up.  I ate what I pleased, all the while inwardly making lame excuses and vowing that some day I'd get back to where I knew I needed to be.

I'm so done with that.  I'm back on Weight Watchers after a long season of emotional dining, aimless grazing, and mindless noshing.  I'm relearning to pay attention to my body's genuine feed-me signals, thoughtfully working on choosing to eat something decent just before hunger pangs arrive full force.  

I'm loving that the program is all online ... no more driving 40 minutes each way to weigh in.  Easy tracking, more flexibility {and points!} and heaps of videos, recipes, and all kinds of online support make embracing a long-term healthy relationship with food possible.

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#2
Lounging around is overrated.
  Soon after I wake, I need to grab my sneakers and head out the door.



I've never had an athletic bone in my body.  Growing up, I was usually the 2nd to last person chosen for any kind of team in gym.  I'm a born and bred curled up on the sofa / sitting at my laptop kinda woman.  Blogging hasn't done me any favors in this area.  

But recently, I'm up and out more days than not, hitting the pavement before heat and humidity lend more excuses for why I shouldn't be walking.  Every jaunt offers a different path, another bend around the road, a bit of a different vista.  I breathe gratefulness that my body still works ... and these minutes are when I have some of my most meaningful conversations with God.  And where future blog posts birth and morph into being.

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#3
I'm at a bit of a higher risk for some medical concerns. 
Neglecting checkups and followup is not a brilliant idea.



One of the big challenges of moving to a new area is that you have to find new caregivers.  So far, I like my dentist {even though I've seen her probably 13 times since last fall}, primary care doctor, gynecologist, and massage therapist.  I'm lining up the tests that need to be taken care of.  I'd much rather be anywhere else than in some strange examining room, but there's relief and gratitude when each visit is completed, knowing I've done what I needed to do.

And there's a sweet peace in knowing that absolutely every part of me rests in His capable hands.  

let's talk about self-care

what mid-summer challenges are you facing?

what's working for you ... and not so much?



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sharing summertime's discoveries with
Emily  .  Leigh  .  Holley

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Big Brave Adios to Fear & People-Pleasing

For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
 but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
 {NKJV}




Life's a series of choices, isn't it.  We get to choose how to respond to what's happening to us.  What to do with our emotions and thoughts.  And how we invest our time, energy, and whatever resources we possess. 

Consider some of the decisions you've made recently.  Big ones, small ones, whatever.  Were they well-informed and wise choices prompted by confidence, love, and sanity?  Or was fear calling the shots?

Our natural bent and unfortunate past life experiences easily combine to lead us to believe that something catastrophic is always lurking 'round the corner, that the other shoe's just waiting to drop, that a black cloud hangs overhead with lightening bolts aimed straight toward us.  If that's our story, then chances are that our laced-with-fear decisions will reflect those beliefs. 

And / Or ...

If we're obsessively controlled by what other people want / expect / demand, the choices that spring forth from their manipulation are probably going to end up falling flat or going nowhere fast.  And that simply makes the endless, vicious 'I am such a loser' cycle spin all the more, doesn't it.

We've recently been chatting back and forth about praying that God's will be done in our lives and knowing that something good is in the wind.  But beware!  Those two obnoxious fear and people-pleasing bugaboos are lurking in darkened corners, just waiting to jump out and trip us up every time we head forward in faith.

Make no mistake, they'll do their best to keep us from hearing the victorious freedom song that emerges when we truly desire to hear God's whisper, His direction, His purpose for our lives.  And you can be sure that the enemy of our souls would love nothing more.

Consistently living out 2 Timothy 1:7 is not an easy assignment, is it.  Fear is a tough taskmaster and an all too common default mode.  And people-pleasing always leaves us feeling 'less than' as our confidence continues to ooze away.

Fear?

  People-pleasing?
  
Which one trips you up?

And how do you close the door
 on these destructive decision-motivators?



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chatting with 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

For When You Just Know That Something Good Is In the Wind

There are those misty mornings when you absolutely know that you must clear the decks and write away.  I lean into that unspoken invitation, tapping letters quickly on the keyboard, but the resulting words are going nowhere fast.  They make no sense.

Not even to me.

I gather them up and delete them all, choosing instead to gaze out the window like maybe some kind of magical inspiration or wild revelation might show herself in living color.

There's something swirling in my head, stirring in my heart that is aching to be birthed, but I just can't find the right words.  And it's not because I need an improved thesaurus.

For all I have in my hand are His whispers entwined with some wispy dreams ... and little else of substance.





All I know is this.  There's something coming.  And it's way bigger than my rather limited self.

I'm not even sure what that means.

I am waiting calmly, which is not typical for me.  I am long done with my old striving from back in the day and there's nothing frantic going on in my soul.  I can't wrap my hands around whatever this is, so I simply keep them open and waiting, my arms lifted high.

It's like praying, like trusting, like praising.  All expectant and hopeful.

You, too?

There's a knowing that comes, a whispering of the Spirit when He's cooking up some fresh plans.  His timetable is usually different than ours, and as much as we try to stretch our necks to peek around the corner, He knows we're not quite ready for the the call, the leading, the change, the challenge ahead.

So instead He whispers, 'peace, be still.'

And in that stillness we patiently peer through a glass darkly at yet to be discerned opportunities, for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen {Hebrews 11:1}.  We feel it, we know it, we've prayed for it.  And all we can do is open ourselves up to the leading of our Sacred Guide, the Holy Designer who cares for each and every detail of our lives.

I can't wait to see what He's got up His sleeve.




I believe that He's readying you, He's preparing me to walk forward 'round the next bend.  It's a faith journey, the map is His Word, the Spirit is our Guide.  And we simply follow His lead, taking the next step and the one after that.  Our hearts beat in a steady rhythm of anticipation.

For He alone knows the hope-filled future plans He's prepared for us {Jeremiah 29:11}, and wonder of wonders, He specializes in doing immeasurably more than we could ever begin to ask or imagine {Ephesians 3:20}.

Are you experiencing similar stirrings, some kind of hope, an expectancy?




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traveling with

Sunday, July 17, 2016

On Clinging to Those 4 Sacred Words



Don't you just love that we can be our authentic selves with our Heavenly Father?

This most sacred of relationships ain't no masquerade party, friend.  There's no place for masks, filters, fancy language, or pious platitudes as we gaze deeply into our Redeemer's loving eyes.  When we begin to truly get that He already knows what's deeply encased in our wrecked souls and yet loves us anyway, we get one of those sparkling 'aha' moments where we are freed, standing vulnerable yet strangely unashamed before Him, our needy hearts linking fully to His holiness.

There's no condemnation for those who are in, who are with, who are owned and loved by Christ Jesus.

And in that great grace-filled mercy that defines who He is, He invites us to place all our burdens and baggage, fears and hopes, traumas and dramas right on the table of His presence in all their raw, agonizing, ugly reality.  We name them each and every one, as we let go, surrender, and relinquish their powerful hold over our souls.

Not an easy task, is it.

Yet we know that there have been seasons when the only thing we could do was pray.  Unspeakable tragedies, private heartaches, unanswerable questions, and major decisions seem to come at us like relentless waves pounding on a sandy beach at high tide, eroding our hope, our energy, our zest for life.  After awhile, there seem to be no more words left to speak to God.  He's already heard it all from our groaning overloaded hearts.

But this, the prayer that never fails, the one spoken by Jesus Himself.

Thy  .  Will  .  Be  .  Done.

I find I'm breathing that simple plea more and more these days.  I'm long past done trying to be the Savior of the world or someone's Holy Spirit.  I've run out of words, my heart empties.  I release all I hold dear to Him.

I'm thinking He must love this simple yet oh-so-powerful four word sacrifice He taught us to pray.  Because it leaves the results in His hands.  Instead of me figuring it all out for Him, telling Him what to do, how to do it, when to have it done by.

I love that about my Savior.  He knows the end from the beginning.  And time and again He has shown me this unalterable truth.

He  .  Does  .  All  .  Things  .  Well.

He is worthy to be trusted.  He is worthy to be praised.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Remarkable Gift of Practical Assurance for Your Introvert



If you're an introvert, there's a good chance you read Susan Cain's huge 2013 bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.  And you probably breathed huge sighs of relief as you found yourself in every chapter.  At last, someone finally gave clear voice to who you truly were ... and you felt so incredibly validated, uplifted, and empowered by the time you finished the last chapter.

{Not sure if you're an introvert or an extrovert?  Take this little assessment!}

If you have younger introverts in your life ... kiddos, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, whoever ... you'll want to grab hold of Susan's brand new Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts.  Her latest book is geared to 'tweens / teens and focuses on the big challenges they face in navigating schoolwork, the cafeteria, parties, extracurricular activities, peer relationships, and family life.

In a word, I think it's superb.

And while it might be written for the next generation, the author doesn't talk down to her target audience ... and the adults who read this little masterpiece won't find her style in any way childish.  The illustrations are charming and Susan's practical wisdom and down-to-earth stories offer hope to quiet kids who are weaving their way through the oft' overwhelming maze of daily life.

You'll wish this book had been available to you back in the day.

Introverts have beautiful gifts, marvelous strengths, and unlimited potential.  The more we understand ourselves and the unique way God has shaped us, the more we're empowered to live life big and bold ... but in ways that align with who we are.  Giving this gift of insight to the kids in our lives is a priceless gift that equips them to soar.

I'll go out on a limb and predict that this will be THE parenting book of 2016.

If you're a teacher, a youth leader, a coach, or a parent of introverted children of any age, this is absolutely MUST reading.  Here's the bounty of insight you've been searching for.

Explore Susan's comprehensive Quiet Parenting website, too.




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visiting with Anne & Holley