Less of Me – Literally 

For fifteen years I have been on a weight-reducing, healthy-choosing, activity-increasing, life-extending journey. 

My wake-up call began with a visit to my doctor and the diagnosis of diabetes. I reacted with denial first, resentment second and finally fear. I was astounded by my weight. 

I was in a terrible state of mind, let me tell you. And for the record, I was not a person who fantasized about food. I did however find comfort in food. Mostly, I just didn’t have time to think about it, or so I thought. 

I was physically and emotionally tired. By that time we had been fostering for over a decade. I had experienced more heart-ache and loss than I like to admit to even now. I had been traumatized and I was worn out. So, I ate what was easy and inexpensive and convenient. That’s the simple truth. 

Besides the diabetes I also had developed an enlarged liver (the non-alcoholic sort) and various other ailments that seemed to declare that any efforts to change now would be too little and too late. Still, I determine in my heart to try. 

I would seem to do really well for a while and then fall back into old habits or hit a plateau with the weight loss that would discourage me. But today, I stopped to consider where I was and how far I have come. I have certainly not arrived, I have many more pounds to lose and many more health issues to address. But I’ve come a long way baby! 

I almost didn’t write this blog for several reasons. For one thing, I didn’t want to sound bragadocious (a word of my own invention). For another, I still have so far to go. And finally because it’s personal to me, a private matter. You know?

But anyway, I decided to go ahead and write this because I am SO THANKFUL and maybe I could encourage another struggling soul. 

If you feel like it’s just too little and too late to change your lifestyle, let me assure you, it is NOT. You can start fresh today and again tomorrow if need be. 

This morning when I weighed I had broken a plateau that had roadblocked me for several years. I just never seemed to be able to get past that point. I’d give up. I’d try again. I’d gain a few pounds back. I’d try again. I’d get frustrated. I’d try again. 

And so, today, I can celebrate that 68 lbs of unnecessary weight is gone. It took a long time and I’m still losing more, but hey, 68lbs is worth mentioning and celebrating. 

I wore size 22/24 and now I’m fitting into size 14. I’ve been able to come off blood pressure meds and have greatly reduced my diabetes meds and my liver has returned to normal size. I am healthier than I’ve been in decades. 

I hope you’re taking good care of yourself, eating right, exercising properly, resting enough. But if you aren’t, you CAN change that. It may not be instant results, but the results will come. #takecourage 

Advertisements

Your Day Is Coming

Today, this very moment, I am the busy mom of many. I am trying to get myself together this morning before I wake the kids and prepare myself for the onslaught of activity and noise. I will likely have to raise my voice to be heard above the din. (In case you are wondering, din is a loud confusing mixture of noises that last for a long time and boy, does it describe my life.)

Today, this very day, I will likely speak with one of my teen daughters concerning her attitude and with my other daughter concerning her bossiness. I will most likely have to remind one son to keep on task and another to keep his hands to himself. I will surely pray hard as I attempt to teach my son with dyslexia his reading lesson. Oh, and let’s not forget the grown children. I’ll most certainly be cautioning and encouraging them. 

My life is full to the point of me trying to catch my breath and maintain my sanity at times and the reason why? These children. The ones I asked God to give me. My answers to prayer. They have filled my empty arms. They have stretched me and challenged me. I am stronger and wiser. I am exhausted and spent. I am their mother and it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. 

Even as I look for my courage to face my overwhelming day  I am remembering those who are still waiting. I am praying for those who will wrap their arms around each other and at times around themselves to try to cope with the terrible time of waiting for those arms to be filled with a child, their child, their very own child.

Your day is coming. Your path will be different than mine. Your disappointments may be many. Your waiting may seem unbearable. Your plight may seem hopeless. Your plan may be altered. Your hope may be almost diminished. But, I assure you, your day is coming. 

So, take courage if you are still waiting. Your day is coming. And when it does, I’ll be rejoicing with you.  And if your day has already come, seize the day and embrace every moment of your miracle.

I Didn’t Sign Up For This – Did You?

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls and catching us unaware. When that happens we sometimes  think ‘Whoa! I didn’t sign up for this!’  What we mean of course, is things aren’t turning out like we hoped. The wonderful expectations we had suddenly crash with reality and the result isn’t something we recognize much less something we hoped for. 


Sometimes the crash with reality is so jarring that we lose our balance and become confused as to what exactly went wrong and what exactly it was we were trying to do anyway. ‘How’d I get myself in this mess?’ You may be thinking. 

This disappointment could be a dead-end job, a poor business venture, the purchase of a money-pit house, a bad investment and other wrong choices. Financial hardship is tough, but it can be overcome with better choices. 

I think what really throws us into a dizzying downward spiral is when relationships disappoint us. People that we care about, people we trust, people that matter to us can betray, deceive and generally let us down. When this happens emotions swell and our opinion of self shrinks. After all, ‘What WAS I thinking?’

Self-doubt can be a result of broken relationships, dreams turned into nightmares and disappointment. Before long we may be asking ourselves, ‘What’s the point?’


A struggling or failed marriage is one sure example. No one marries with the intent to divorce. Yet, divorces happen every day. One or both spouses break covenant and the relationship dissolves. 

A distressed parent wonders what they did wrong. Guilt weighs them down as they decide they have somehow failed. Shame attempts to bind them until they feel powerless. 

An abandoned friend can’t comprehend that the person they trusted wasn’t the person they thought they were after all. They feel foolish for not seeing the truth. 

To these examples I want to speak a few words of encouragement. Your situation of disappointment may be slightly or vastly different, but I believe you too can take courage from what I am going to say. 


1- We can not control other people and in the end, we are not responsible for the decisions they make. We can love them, pray for them, forgive them, encourage them, attempt to teach them, guide them and advise them. But we can not make their choices for them. 

2- People make mistakes and we are people too. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves. Human beings are notorious for being hasty  and not thinking things through. They are sometimes reckless, impulsive, thoughtless and down-right mean. But that’s not all they are; it’s not all we are. A mistake is something we have done. It is not who we are. It is not who they are either. 

3- Make every effort to learn to trust again. Forgive, let it go, shake the dust off your sandals, see a counselor, take it to the altar, whatever it takes, find your courage to trust again. If you don’t, life will be lonely, your heart will be bitter, your future will be dismal. You can do it, it won’t be easy and yes, if you trust again, you can be hurt again. There is risk involved in every worthy venture. 

4- Find your courage to dream again, new dreams. Believe things can be better and different the next time you try, the next time you give your heart away. Make plans and develop goals and anticipate a better tomorrow. Remind yourself that no matter what is happening right now, it is only one chapter in a book of a lifetime. This isn’t the end of the story. 

5- Finally, sometimes you just have to accept things as they are even if you hope this isn’t how it will always be. I have a personal little beatitude that I often say to myself as a reminder when things aren’t going as planned. ‘Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.’


Look, I don’t know if your marriage has suddenly ended or if your beloved child has landed themself in jail. I don’t know if your friend threw you under the train or your parent has rejected you. I don’t know if a church leader betrayed your trust or if a family member deceived you. I don’t know if your plans and dreams are piled in a heap of brokenness at your feet. 

What I do know is there is hope for today and yes, even tomorrow. What I do know is you can try again. What I do know is circumstances can change. What I do know is that different can sometimes be better. Don’t be afraid. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and take one tiny but brave step forward and then one more and then another. 

Take Courage

Do y’all ever crash and burn after the holidays?  I seem to operate on pure will and determination for the months of November and December. Six of my children have birthdays during those eight weeks besides the major holidays and accompanying events. Then, comes January and not surprisingly, I am spent. Running on fumes, I continue the course determined to start the new year off right. 

I remind myself of all the tender moments, answered prayers, beautiful blessings and great expectations that fill my life. Even so, amidst all the wonderful, sometimes I am alarmed to discover I’ve misplaced my courage. As soon as I realize this, I begin to search for it diligently. I do all the things I know to do. 

I read scripture. I get some rest. I pray. I tell myself to take courage but that only reminds me that I can’t seem to find my courage. 

Have you been there in that place? Are you there now? I have been before and as a matter of fact I’ve been there for about a week. It’s been a struggle. 

The New Year came and the decorations were put away and my scales revealed more than I’d like while my wallet revealed less than I’d like. My children resisted returning to school routines and were just basically out of sorts. Then we began to have car trouble. Oh how I despise car troubles. Let’s not forget a couple of flu encounters and viruses. 

To tell you the truth, my head was aching and my heart was heavy and I had begun to think I may have packed away my courage in one of the boxes of seasonal paraphenalia because it was no where to be found. 

I entered into a stage I have dubbed as the ‘next thing stage’. That’s when the thoughts of everything that needs doing overwhelms me so I just focus intently on the next thing that needs doing and repeat until I lay my weary head on my pillow each night. 

I pressed on. I kept on. I was not making great strides but I continued taking one small step after another, doing what I needed to do and all the while wishing I could find my courage. 

Then, last night, a call came that stirred my heart and made me think surely my courage must be close by. This morning I awoke to participate in the 21 days of prayer my church is doing just as I had done all week, and I realized that my heart didn’t seem quite so heavy. Then, quite suddenly, or so it seemed I found my courage again. 

There it was! All I needed to do now was to #takecourage. And so I did. It was such a relief. I found that there with my courage was clearer thinking, focus and the ability to breathe more deeply. Not a thing had changed about my situation, my responsibilities and the vehicle that is broke down is still being towed home today. 

What had changed was simple and yet powerful. I found my courage. I took courage and made it my own. 

I am writing this today with this hope. If you, like me, have lost your courage, I want to urge you to keep on trying, do the next thing, read the Bible, pray for help, parent your children, pay the next bill, call the tow truck, count your blessings, don’t quit! Here’s why. 

Today may not be the day you find your misplaced courage but, your day is coming. Suddenly, or so it will seem, you’ll discover it once again and then, like me, you can #takecourage too. 

  

Easy

Life can be fun and fulfilling and fabulous but, I’ll tell you one thing it isn’t, it isn’t easy. Even though our struggles may vary, the struggle is real. You know why? Well, lots of reasons but, the one that’s on my heart today is this. Life isn’t easy because people aren’t easy. It’s the truth. 

Whether you’re the mom of a toddler or a divorced woman feeling alienated from your friends or a foster-parent or the caretaker of your aging parent or a public school teacher or a nurse or a struggling college student or any other station in life! People aren’t easy. 

I’m the first to admit I’m not easy. If you’re honest you’ll admit the same about yourself. We all have our quirks and our faults and failings. We have our moments and our moods and our issues. People aren’t easy. 

And that means, relationships aren’t easy, ministry is not easy, parenting is not easy, nursing is not easy, teaching is not easy, caring is not easy, loving is not easy. And YET these are the places we find ourselves, right in the midst of people (who aren’t easy). Do you know why that is? I do. 

We were created for relationship, relationship with God first and foremost and then relationship with other people. 

I was pondering all of this and came across this quote in my notes from George MacDonald. I was encouraged and thought perhaps you would be as well, so I’m passing it on. 

If you are really trying to do what you must and be what you must and yet cannot, remember, you are not necessarily doing it wrong because it isn’t easy. Perhaps it is just the opposite. Maybe the struggles you are facing are because you are indeed trying to make a difference in the lives of others. Remember HE knows that people aren’t easy and life isn’t easy. He knows all about our being. He knows. We can take hope and courage. We can ‘faint not’ because we know that easy isn’t the goal. 

  

Your Day is Coming

Today, this very moment, I am the busy mom of many. I am trying to get myself together before I wake the kids and prepare myself for the onslaught of activity and noise. I will likely have to raise my voice to be heard above the din. (In case you are wondering, din is a loud confusing mixture of noises that last for a long time.)

Today, this very day, I will likely speak with one of my teen daughters concerning her choice of clothes, scold my other daughter concerning her bossiness. I will most likely have to remind one son to keep on task and another to keep his hands to himself. I will surely pray hard as I attempt to teach my son with dyslexia his reading lesson. Oh, and let’s not forget the two ‘grown’ sons. I’ll most certainly be cautioning and encouraging them. 

My life is full to the point of me trying to catch my breath and maintain my sanity at points and the reason why? These children. The ones I asked God to give me. My answers to prayer. They have filled my empty arms. They have stretched me and challenged me. I am stronger and wiser. I am exhausted and spent. I am their mother and it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. 

This week, this very week, I’ve been privy to a life-altering event, an answer to prayer. A niece and nephew who have waited as long as Henry and I did (thirteen years) brought home their long-awaited and prayed for child. They texted me a picture of him wearing the little crocheted booties I made them two years ago as a token of faith for when the day came. Your day is coming, I told them. And, now their day has come! Suddenly, they are seeing their dreams fulfilled right before their eyes. Suddenly, the world looks different, priorities change, sleep will become a rare commodity. This tiny life will explode the world as they knew it. It won’t be long that the memories of waiting and hoping and praying will slip into the form of a dusty, stored away yesterday. 

Even as I look for my courage to face my overwhelming day and even as I celebrate their new day, I am remembering those who are still waiting. I am praying for those who will wrap their arms around each other and at times around themselves to try to cope with the terrible time of waiting for those arms to be filled with a child, their child, their very own child. 

Your day is coming. Your path will be different. Your disappointments may be many. Your waiting may seem unbearable. Your plight may seem hopeless. Your plan may be altered. Your hope may be almost diminished. But, I assure you, your day is coming. 

I believe that adoption has a great spiritual significance. I believe if the Lord has given you the desire to adopt you have been called and chosen to a uniquely beautiful form of parenting. I believe that adoption is a result of answering that call. 

So, take courage if you are still waiting. Your day is coming. And when it does, I’ll be rejoicing with you. 

  

Inspired

What inspires you? What gives you the strength to try one more time? What gives you the courage to keep pursuing your dream?

Is it a person? A past experience? Your faith? Music? Scripture? 

Whom do you inspire? With whom have you shared insight? Which person do you share your courage with by encouraging them?

Is is a family member? A friend? A coworker? A student? A child?

  

As for me, I’ve got quite a list of inspiring folks to mention. 

Some I’ve never met but, I’ve read their words that have outlived them. 

  

Then, there are my children of course. They are a constant source of inspiration. Their innocent faith when they pray inspires me to believe without doubting. 

There are countless women in my life that inspire me. My grandmother who faced hardships and held tight to her faith through it all. My mom who is an excellent example of physical discipline, taking care of her body. My mother-in-law who survived illness that threatened her life and thrives today. My sisters, my friends, my heart daughters often inspire me with their encouraging words. 

I must not fail to mention the Word of a God. Oh the many moments I have turned to the Bible for inspiration and never once failed to find it there. 

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”  2 Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬ NLT

There are certainly days when I misplace my inspiration and instead slip into drudgery and dread. How about you? Are you facing days in this season when it feels as if the sun will never break through the gloomy clouds that seem to hang above your best efforts. 

I have discovered a truth about discouragement. When I feel it creeping upon me, I begin to look for another heavy heart. Instead of commiserating about the woes of the world and multiplying the gloom, I do what I can to lift their spirits. Almost immediately, I find my own spirits are up as well. It’s this wonderful spiritual law. We give joy and courage and then we harvest  joy and courage. 

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah‬ ‭58‬:‭10-11‬ NLT

Be the inspiration that you need! Invest into another weary soul when you yourself are weary. Give out of your own need and watch God supply yours. Be the light in a dark place that someone else travels and you’ll find you will also keep yourself from stumbling.