Simple Joys

We got a small pot belly pool off of Craigslist about 2 years ago and the summers have not been warm enough up here to use it until this week! Yay!

Our children are more than thrilled with the back yard addition even if it is still cold! It’s been so fun to laugh with them as they play and enjoy being outside. They usually have to be MADE to stay outside so this is a welcome change!!

The pool is shallow enough that our 2-year-old can stand just fine in it, but she stands there shivering so today I got her a tote bucket to call her own and filled it with about 3 inches of hot water and 4 inches of pool water and she loved it!

Using simple things to make life sweeter is so much fun!

Have a blessed day!

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Thought for Food…

No, that title isn’t suppose to be Food for Thought, chapter 3 of our book study through Made to Crave is about preparing a plan of eating and action for ourselves.

This is a daily battle, not one that is a quick fix and not one that will be always fun or easy. Why bother then!?

James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Yes, my weight loss struggles, my choices to make between what is best for me and what would be fun to eat or do ARE trials that will produce perseverance and I will finish lacking in nothing, mature, and complete! THAT is the goal after all, the side effects will also be being trimmer, firmer, and able to fit into those goal jeans. Daily, I need to remind myself that choosing what is best is NOT depriving myself, but gifting myself with the JOY of self-control and health.

So make a plan, I see all sorts of different meal planning ideas out there and the key is to find one that works for each of us. Is there something that looks completely divine yet way too calorie full or fattening? See if you can find a way to cut the calories in it! This is a wonderful learning process that will encourage us that healthy eating doesn’t mean rice cakes and spoons of peanut butter as a meal. 😉

Take a few moments sometime soon to sit down and list out some meal and snack choices for the week and make your grocery list reflect anything your missing too.

Grocery store tip: Buying the low or reduced fat isn’t always best! Be a label reader. Many times in order to reduce the fat they load up the sodium and the calories remain the same. Compare labels and don’t be fooled by weight loss marketing.

 

 

An encouraging video

I hesitate to share this video only because I am not a fan of the 700 club and Pat Robinson, however, Karen Ehman was mentioned in my Made to Crave devotional this morning and a further look to her site www.karenehman.com led me to find her story in this format.

It is encouraging to see her success and to hear that it was not through a text book “diet”, but from making changes, even small ones. I feel the same way about weight issues and ministry as what she tapped on during her interview. My ministry can be so much greater if my body is healthier and showing my obedience to God even in my food and care choices. (like exercise)

http://www.cbn.com/media/index.aspx?s=/vod/SUT2_KarenEhman_090507

So, I’ll cover chapter 3 of Made to Crave tomorrow and it starts the planning process of making a plan. Have you made a plan? Remember, this is not a study about finding our how-to, but about finding our want-to.

In the Made to Crave participants guide page 12, Lysa defines the HOW-TO as diet programs and the WANT-TO as the spiritual and mental motivation to make lasting changes.

So lets talk. I will be calling those in Sisterhood of the Shrinking Pants group that personally know and setting up times with them to weekly talk and pray together as we encourage one another to continue on this journey to put food in its proper place and grow our relationship with God instead of our waistline. 😉

If I don’t know you and you would like personal accountability, I encourage you to connect with the person that referred you to this study and make a weekly appointment call.

In this call we can discuss… (the following questions are from the Made to Crave Devotional: 60 days to Craving God, Not Food, by Lysa TerKeurst page 18, which is from www.karenehman.com weight loss Wednesday blog topic)

1. Did I overeat this week on any day?

2. Did I move more and exercise regularly?

3. Did I eat in secret, or out of anger or frustration?

4. Did I feel that, at any time, I ran to food instead of to God?

5. Before I weighed in, did I think I had a successful, God-pleasing week?

And our own personal questions:

1. Is there anything specific I can pray for you this week?

2. What verse encouraged or empowered you this week?

3. Are there any exercise tips to share?

The call doesn’t need to be a long one, but even writing the questions was convicting for me to be more pro-active in my steps to better health and shrinking pants.

Have a blessed day!

My homeschool convention journey…

This year I attended the HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia) convention in Richmond, VA. We use to live in that area so the 10, almost 11 hour trip for this wonderful convention and the opportunity to see an old friend again and some family was completely worth it.

My husband couldn’t get the time off work so the kids and I made a whole week of the trip and spent Tuesday driving, Wednesday playing with cousins in the pool, Thursday through Saturday in Richmond for the convention, visiting a good friend,  and hotel pool play, and Sunday at church with family and pool time again. Monday was a big day filled with going to the National Zoo in D.C. and taking a boat tour of some of the D.C. monuments.  It was a long day but lots of fun! (Other than the massive headache I ended it with that made it hard to even move or see straight…I’m thankful those don’t hit often)

The convention wasn’t what I originally dreamed it would be for me… a complete mommy break with me slowly strolling the convention booths and thoughtfully considering the plethora of choices that are presented. (whew! That was a sweet dream, but not a practical one!)

Instead, I had our four blessings with me, we drove around the 6 block radius of the convention hall for almost a half hour looking for available parking, stomachs were hungry after walking through one aisle. One! Ha! So we took a break within the first 20 minutes and spilled our drinks, chips, and various other munchies in the table area.

I made a decision after realizing that going to sessions wasn’t practical with four kids to purchase the convention MP3’s and that decision was so very freeing to me. I didn’t have to be upset that I was missing encouragement and refreshment or new ideas, I’d get them later and focus on enjoying my children now. I’m so thankful I did that!

God cares about my heart and wanted me to enjoy the children that I had been dreaming of having an escape from! We all had a great time, the boys enjoyed controlling Robots and getting their “robot drivers license”, the girls made bracelets, we played with puppets, watched amazing young jugglers, shopped the massive used curriculum, and my highlight was getting to meet Debbie Strayer.

I really had not heard of her before, but God knew she was exactly who I needed to speak with and be encouraged through. Debbie is the author of Gaining Confidence to Teach, and the co-author of the Trailguide to Learning series. (there are more too, but those are the key one’s I’ve looked at) 🙂  I spent a lot of time (at least the kids thought so) at her Geography Matters booth and even left after one conversation and came back in an hour or so for more.  She was friendly, understanding, empathetic, and offered practical solutions laced with grace and wisdom. She felt like someone I could easily spend hours at the kitchen table chatting with and an oasis to me as I have felt my soul to be in an emotional desert for some time. (especially in the long dark winters of our north country dwelling place)

I began reading her Gaining Confidence to Teach last night as it just came in the mail and within the first 3 pages she showed me again why I so enjoyed our short conversations together. Her daughter put it best… “She lives in the real world, she knows things aren’t always perfect”. (her daughter told me this when I was going to have the children apologize to Debbie for her having to sit them down and stop a squabble)

That’s it! That’s why I connected with her, I love transparent and real people. She is a woman who understands that life happens and chooses to allow God to teach through those happenings and make her a more effective ministry to others for Him. It’s what I desire, what I’ve been taught by wise leaders in my youth, to take each moment good or bad, and to glorify God because of it.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Some people think we as Christians shouldn’t share when we are having a hard day or season or when we are struggling in certain areas, but in truth, in hiding our own weaknesses we are hiding the ability for others to see God at work in us.  I’m not saying we should be complaining or moping, or constantly negative, but things happen in life that aren’t fun! IF we are vigilant to seek God’s will for each happening, we are bound to bring glory to Him, or perhaps someone else may be able to help our perspective change to see His hand. I desire to always be willing to be used by God, even  if I feel inadequate. According to the above verse it would show God’s power even more greatly if I know that I was weak so that His power would be perfected.

Blessings,

One,Two,Three, Four… I Declare a Food War!

I suppose I have never truly considered food battles to be a war for my soul. At first thought, it seems a bit of an extremist view to take, but in further looking, it is scary and true.

What’s the first thing I do when I am sad or bored or stressed out? I probably say a quick prayer but then I find myself in the kitchen searching for a fix to my moment. This action leads to indulgence followed by guilt which for me is usually translated into self-loathing and saying negative things to myself. This, is why this is a war that threatens my soul. By giving in to the “lust of my eyes” and indulging when I am probably more than not, not even hungry, I am taking control for my self and lacking in dependence on God. By self-mutilating myself mentally with harsh words thought or sometimes even said I am grieving my Creator.

This is not an impossible journey, on my own power it may be, but with God on my side nothing is impossible. This means that I must rely on HIM more to fill my spirit and give me joy than I rely on food to temporarily satisfy a need.

In Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food,Lysa Terkeurst urges the use of scripture to defeat temptations just as Jesus used scriptures many times. There is a scripture for each and every circumstance that we may face in life.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So, using scripture to rebuke the lie that I need food to satisfy a desire for contentment or comfort is completely doable and something I must incorporate into my kitchen and heart.

No more status quo, no more excuses, or regrets or self-hatred, no more running to emptiness. I have to decide for myself, as each of us do, that God loves me as I am and desires so much more for me than I am allowing Him in my life. Letting go of reliance on food to comfort will not always be easy and I won’t always want to talk to God about it, but I must. This is the only way to truly benefit my life and the lives of those I love. To live fully craving my Creator and allowing Him to satisfy my longings and fill my spirit with a joy that bubbles over into each aspect of my life.

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Lord, please fill me with your power and love. Help me to cling to your words, to hide them in my heart and apply them to my steps, forgive me for trying to make food meet a need that wasn’t physical but a mis-understanding of my soul crying out for your bread of life.

Give me the clarity to see these attacks and bring to mind your words to win each battle. I desire a closer communion with you so that I may be a more useful life for your kingdom. Thank you for creating me, for making me beautiful in your eyes. Help me to see me through your eyes daily, I no longer want my tainted glasses that lead me to insult your work in me. May each day that you give me be another day that I see more clearly your love for me and your desires to use me, and my family to glorify you. In Jesus precious name I pray all this, Amen.

No more excuses, rationalization, and promises for doing or being better tomorrow. I want each day to count and can’t waste moments on empty attempts to satisfy a craving that can only truly be satisfied by reaching for the one who completes me wholly, my Creator, my Savior, my Lord.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

 

There I went again…

So, I know I’ve said it before, I am hard on myself. Harder than anyone else ever could be, and now I have expected something of myself that I would never have asked of anyone else.

This past week I have been traveling alone with my four children and visiting family, attending a homeschool convention, visiting the national zoo and touring the memorials. In all this I somehow expected that I would keep up a rigorous blogging schedule that entailed a book study of Made to Crave.

I need to apologize, I should have never expected that much of myself, it wasn’t fair to anyone. So we’ll start again… but I’m giving myself until Monday to start it as my husband has the weekend off (something we don’t get often!) and I want to spend guilt free time with him since we’ve been missing him for a week.

Thanks for understanding. Keep reading if you already are! Feel free to share any of your thoughts about what you are learning! 🙂

Michele

Through my eyes…

I’m a little unsure of myself on this journey online,  but I have to say,  the pressure is felt and does affect me and my choices. 
Did you read chapter one? 
As with any book,  her social media examples  become more dated and less familiar,  but I do vaguely remember that orange monster trying to get the woman to eat.  I get the picture on my own too though,  night times at home can be a temptation smorgasbord of delights.  The kids are finally down and all I seem to want to do is sit and snack and completely vege out.  I’ve being doing better at either not walking in the kitchen at all,  or talking myself out of the open door to frozen dairy wonders.  😉
I love the look at Eve’s temptation versus Jesus’ temptation and the bottom line being where our sights are set.  Jesus, despite His complete manhood being in need of nourishment and escape from circumstances kept His allegiance and heart set on the Bible and God’s ultimate plan. 
Eve had a garden created flawlessly and with abundance of fruits by a God she was able to daily walk and talk with and yet she still fell to the serpents tempting.  I will fail and succumb the temptation as well, because of that one choice,  over food.  Ironic.  Even more so because I too have to ability to walk and talk with God daily, and sometimes I stand Him up in my attempts to do life my way.  In missing that connection I do believe Lysa’s premise that we are Made to Crave,  and it is indeed God Himself, our creator and king, that we are to crave. 
I’ve found myself craving a craving in life before.  Desiring to be passionate about a cause,  career,  hobby,  or anything!  What I truly need to be passionate about,  even when I’m tired from the day, the cleaning,  ironing,  children, schooling,  shopping,  or even traveling,  is my own cravings to be in a closer walk with God so that I am armed with His word when temptations of eating,  sleeping too much,  or wanting more of nothing come my way I can stand firm as Christ did and be ministered to more because of following Him, than I would be by those instances of pleasure.  Did you notice that part of Jesus’ temptation?  When He gave Satan the final no and vacate demand,  He was then cared for by angels.  God cares about our daily needs, we just need to be more in tune with need vs. desire and trust that He will minister to our needs and even delight in our desires, if our eyes and hearts are first set to crave Him. 
Have a wonderful Sunday! 

Delay at Start

I am traveling and having limited to no wireless opportunities. I wrote a note about it hours ago on my tablet on the hotels limited range WiFi and it kept timing out. I’m going to have to delay chapter one until at least Saturday night and will do my best to post about chapter 2 on Sunday as scheduled. Monday is a day off for a full family day out.
Sorry for the delay, I’m not going to peck at my phone keypad for a chapter post though. 🙂
Have a great evening!
Michele

Baby steps on a long journey

Hello again. It’s been a while since I’ve been back on the computer to let you in on what is going to be happening with our Made To Crave study and walk together.

It took until Monday for me to get my book/workbook delivered and Tuesday I traveled 8 hours with our 4 kiddos to WV. I’m here and in VA for a week, but the study MUST start no matter where I am located, because after all, that is part of life… taking trips and staying healthy at the same time.

I have the workbook, but after getting it and looking through it, we will not be able to maximize its usefulness in our online sisterhood. So much of what is filled in on the pages of that book are for notes from the study DVD session. BUT, it isn’t a waste, there are great “Between the Sessions” daily personal Bible study prompters for us to utilize. It looks like in those daily plans she lays out to cover a chapter every other day. So we’ll stick with that agenda too.

So, I will start with chapter one due Friday (just in case someone still needs the book).

Sunday the 10th we’ll talk about chapter 2.

Tuesday the 12th we’ll talk about chapter 3.

Thursday the 14th we’ll talk about chapter 4….

You get the picture. I’ll post next steps in each chapter chat.

So how are you doing? I’ve lost 3 pounds just since I started talking about this study so I am excited to see where our journey leads.

I enjoy watching Dr. Oz and so I will also be putting helpful hints from him in some of my posts as well.

One that has already helped me is when I am able to I try to eat something high in fiber about 20 minutes before I have a meal so that I feel full faster and am contented on less.

So happy reading to you, grab a notebook and have some heart to heart with yourself on her personal reflections questions at the end as well.