W12Win (Week 12 weigh in)

2.5 more pounds down. 35 pounds down since May 23 and 43 pounds down from my highest weight. This is getting fun!!!  God is faithful to all His promises.

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W10Win (week 10 weigh in)

Weight loss since May 23… 35.5lbs

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W8Win (Week 8 weigh in)

It’s been a lot of weeks since I posted an update and some have asked. So, here goes:

-Total lost since May 23 • 33 lbs
-Distance I can now walk • 2-3 miles
-And I no longer sit to participate on the worship team.

My God is a good, good Father. I am so grateful. Thanks to all who continue to encourage me.

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The Great Health Adventure 2016 – Entry #8 – Reentry

There is a phenomenon that takes place whenever I am floating in the pool for more than a few moments.   Completely cut off from all but the smallest of external stimuli, I relax deeply into prayer and pondering.  It is a place I am trying to learn to replicate outside of a body of water.  At the end of the long moments or what seems like hours, I slowly drop my arms and leg, lift my head and let my feet find solid ground.  No matter how slowly I make the transition from floating, bliss-filled solitude, moving out of the pool and onto land is alway a bit jarring.

I have recently returned from several bliss-filled weeks of a similar ‘floating.’  God gifted me with time away at Duke Diet and Fitness center.  For five weeks I have focused solely on God, resetting my relationship with Him and with food, and working out several times a day.  I stayed with a dear friend during this time who knows me and loves me.  It was as if God had given me a space to float in where the external stimuli were minimal and the internal landscape was fathoms deep.

Much was redeemed.  Much was released.  Much was rewritten.  My heart was overcome by the joy of time with one who has marked my life so well.  This gift of God has only begun to unfold to its truest depths.

Then came reentry.  A wee bit jarring.  How do I keep this journey going outside of the ‘pool’?  I have changed.  A lot.  How do I walk this out and leave room for those around me to shift and change?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Time with my sister and her family I love so much was a great way to start out.  They did my journey WITH me, instead of just near me.  I love you Andi, Kev, H and A.  I miss you like crazy but you made returning possible; less jarring.
  • Don’t wait until you are think you are ready.  Grab someone who loves you and walk the journey with them.  Even if they have to adjust their pace to yours, let them. Set the pace you need.
  • Life is often jarring.  Don’t let what shakes your soul, shake your freedom to choose.  Take time.  Pause.  Be mindful.  Choose what moves you toward health.
  • The same God who gave me space to float and focus is the One who whispers in the jarring noise of the everyday.
  • It is ok to let your focus BE your focus.  I am being obedient to a call from God to get my health in order.  It is good to arrange my life and choices around that focus.
  • When the shock of the day-to-day is overwhelming, use it as a reason to pause and pray and move your body; not hide and eat and be lazy.  These last few days in our country have undone me a good bit.  It may seem odd to my reader, but there is strength in choosing health in the face of despair.  I will write more of my heart on our nation’s heartache another day.   Today, I am focusing on being present; on reentry; on health.

What is jarring you?  What or Who are you focused on?

 

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She Walks with Dragoflies

They were everywhere. As I took my last walk around the pond I had come to love in NC, I was accompanied by a myriad of dragonflies. They flitted in and out of my pathway as I stepped toward the day’s two mile goal. I notice dragonflies. They are beautiful, and mysterious; full of light and color; timid and skittish as they avoid contact with everything around them until they find the ones they can love and then they hold on with a tenacity that belies their delicate structure.

Dragonflies. They possess a fragile strength that woos me. They dance their way into and out of my line of sight, bringing a smile to my face each time. It is difficult to capture their beauty, but I am grateful they so often grace my journey.

As I watched these creatures dancing all about me, I found myself thinking of a dear friend of mine. I equate her with dragonflies. She has an affinity for them. They bring meaning to her. In some ways, she is like them. She is all full of color and light, dancing her way through life, full of fragile strength. She has taught me mindfulness and allowed me into her journey. I have seen her heart crushed by the weight of life, yet she rises to fight for her family, her dreams, her beliefs. Even the very steps I was taking as I danced with these present dragonflies were fraught with impossible hope my friend had sparked in me. There were deep blue and purple dragons skimming the surface of the water next to me. They danced and twirled, lighting briefly on reed’s end, only to spin off on another adventure. They are so like my friend; the one who calls me to dream bigger and believe. The one who dances and makes me believe I might dance one day too.

As I continued on my way, adding step to step, I was joined by another dragonfly, one of my favorites. This wonder was all blacks and whites, transparent wings and contrasting beauty. This one did not light on the fragile reed or skim the surface of the water. This one landed on the warm, solid path in front of me. When I got too close, it flew up, around me and landed behind me a little, again on the warm earth. It seemed to love being near, but wanted a solid place of comfort around it. It had presence. I realized as I walked along that there are other women in my life who are dragonflies in their own right. This black and white beauty reminded me of one these women. She had done battle for me. At times she even fought me for me. She made a strong, welcoming space around her old soul and invited me in. I have the seen the beauty of her tenacious heart. She fights boldly for those she loves. She owns who she is, flaws and oddities, and seeks to be all of who God made her. I have watched her dreams fulfilled and then shattered into jagged shards. The grace and mercy she has shown in her own fragile strength is still something I am in awe of. She could have quit. She could have gone into hiding. She could have cursed God and died. Yet, she let the King off all things pick her up, love the dirt off of her and speak the word LIVE over her. There is such beauty in the black and white of things when it rises on gossamer wings of hope and mercy and grace. There are not words to express my heart toward this Jesus-follower.

I rounded the corner of the pond that takes me over a little footbridge. Here I found some red dragon beauties. As I watched them a while, I saw how they remained close by the shallows, sitting atop cattails. Yet, every once in a while one of them would lift off in a buzzing of wings and fly off across the pond with purpose, only to return moments later to the safety of the footbridge. Suddenly, one my oldest friend in all the world leaped into my heart and mind. She is wise. She likes the comfort of familiar and predictable. She appreciates the bottom line of things. There is always laughter and joy at her table. It is safe there. Yet I have watched her these many years grow into an imposing woman of God who stands tall in her strength and fragility. She has gone places and done things she said she would never do. She has taken risks, put herself out there, left the safety of the familiar and the bottom line and even when she gets knocked down, she rises again. Over the last few years there has been such great loss all around and within her. Yet, she rises and risks, letting go the safety of her own “footbridges” and venturing out across the waters.

As I neared the end of my two miles, I was struck anew by how very rich I am. God had surrounded me, all of my life, with women of fragile strength, women after God’s heart who have loved me fiercely. I am undone. Each step I am taking toward health is fraught with the fragile strength and beauty God had created in these women who grace my life. When I leave this world, I pray they will say of me, “She was a servant of the King. And she walked with dragonflies.”

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The Lasts

Today I walked away from the first leg of this amazing fitness journey I am on. I will write more later, but here are a few things I said goodbye to.

My last swim in the pool I love so much.

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My last lovely meal that I didn’t have to cook. 😜  (No worries; I didn’t eat the pita!)

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The two benches where I found such solace, one shaded for days over 90 and one sunny for “cooler” days.

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The views from said benches.

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Locker number 98. The center of my universe for the last 28 days.

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This Center that God has used to give me such hope.

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And these new friends I sweated alongside all these weeks (except one who refused to be in the photo).

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The Great Health Adventure 2016 – Entry #7 – Making Space

Today, for the first time in my 57 years, I had a full body massage. Those close to me will understand that this is no small thing.  I have been encouraged by many to give it a go.  Because I am a first time client at DFC, I had a discount. It seemed silly to waste it.

I am grateful that my friends were right. This hour of someone ministering to my body was pure bliss. I felt all my aches and pains washing away. After several moments of work on my back and legs, I was asked to describe how I was feeling; how was my body?

Pause. Listen. Be mindful. It was as if lmy muscles and joints could breathe for the first time in a long time. I told my massage therapist that everything felt less compacted, less pulled in and pushed down.

She said, “Like you have more space everywhere.”

As she spoke those words, contentment settled over me. Making space was what this journey had been about for me. Not just the last four weeks, but the last two years. God had asked me to get my house and health in order. My heart’s desire has been to honor Him with love and obedience in these two things. I never realized how much He would give me back in return.

– With the help of friends, I purged my belongings, making space around me that I could keep uncluttered. My soul gained a newer level of freedom with each possession I let go of.

– I was laid off from a job and people I care about and found myself with so much time and space, I am able to take this journey I am on and consider other options for a while.

– I have been on a journey of becoming a spiritual director and have re-discovered the joy of silence, space and breathing.

– As I pursue health, I have discovered the power of pausing, being mindful and making space around my soul before shoving food in my face.

– To top it all off, today I put on a shirt that was too tight to wear when I arrived in NC. Today it is a bit too big. Made me smile and offer God gratitude

Making space, within and without. I highly recommend it.

 

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