Friday, February 13, 2015

Begin Again

I had a beautiful painting in mind.  Beautiful, wild, swirly, moving colours with two words on the
painting.  Begin Again.  I will still do it.  But not before I write this blog post.

A few years ago - well quite a few now,  I got serious.  I got serious about losing weight.  I joined weight watchers.  I rallied the troops around me so that I would have a large support group.  And I went after it with all that I had - 120%!!  I saw the pounds fall off.  Looking back on it now,  it didn’t even seem that hard.   I am sure that it was at the time.  I don’t remember plateaus.  I don’t remember discouragement.  I just remember that I lost weight.  And I felt amazing at the end of that journey.  I looked amazing too.

Then, guess what happened?!  Yep, you are right.  I gained it ALL back and then some more.  I have spent many a minute, kicking myself for making the wrong choices over and over again until I saw the weight come back on.  All that hard work.  It’s not hard to fall back into those patterns.  It’s not hard to take leaps back when you have taken steps forward.   Those grooves are ingrained in your journey - like deep, familiar ruts.   It’s easy to slide back into those old grooves when you haven’t quite created the new ones as deep.

A few weeks ago, my son just went in to his room and he yelled,  “oh my goodness, that looks awesome!!”   We had spent the afternoon cleaning it and organizing it.  He loves it when it looks like that.  But he doesn’t always make the choices in order to bring the peace and order to his room - even though he knows that he likes it so much!!  As an adult,  I know the things that give me peace, the things that I enjoy, but I don't always make the right choices to get me to that spot.

About a year before my father in law died,  I started again.  I was determined to be healthy.  I have all the right reasons.  I have a family I want to grow old with - really old.  I even started a group on facebook that was great.  It was not only motivating to me - it was motivating to others as well.  I did well.  I saw weight come off.  This time it was slower and it was harder and I saw more plateaus.    Slowly but surely I saw weight come off and I felt healthier. 

When my father in law, got ill, I laid down all my work outs that I was doing.    I was obsessed with working out and being healthy and eating right.  For a season, it was okay to lay it down.  Hours by his bed, meals at the hospital, meals provided by amazing friends and heart family.  I needed to put it on a back burner for awhile while I shifted my priorities.  It was the right thing to do.  What I didn’t need to do is to turn to food after my father in law died; to turn  to those familiar thoughts of food that have been so much a part of my life; to let food comfort my soul.  That’s where I went wrong.   I see it now, but not before I gained most of my weight that I worked so very hard to take off.

Now I could hurl insults at me.  I could be ashamed.  I could be mean to myself and hate myself for the decisions that I have made in these last years.  I could berate myself.  I could even give up altogether.  All of those things are tempting things to do.  But I realize that they wouldn’t be helpful things to do.  They wouldn’t give life to my soul or health to my body.  So this is what I am choosing to do.

I am choosing to Begin Again. I am choosing to start all over again, with the same resolve, with the same determination, with the same gusto that I had those other times.  

Life is like that.   Life is full of mistakes and failures and stopping and quitting and then beginning again.   Life is full of hard places and soft places.  I like the successes so much more than the failures.   I like the strength so very much more than the weakness. But that is not reality.  Life is both. 

Will I fail again?  Will I make two giant leaps backwards again?  Will I derail again?   I hope not.  But if I do,  I will pick myself up,  dust myself off, and I will begin again.  Until one day I can say,  “I did it.”

This is where you come in.  The most successful endeavours are done with a support group, with vulnerability and accountability.   That means that I need you.  Will you join me on this journey?  I plan to post every Friday and call it Freedom Friday on my blog.   It will be really simple.  I will post tips and ideas and thoughts that have helped me along the way.  I will post menus and recipes that I have found helpful.  And (God forbid) if I get discouraged with my journey,  I will post that too.  What I am asking you to do is the same.  Post your thoughts and your ideas and your discouragements and your encouragements.  I would love to hear how others are coming into more health in 2015.

 Are you in???  Good.  Together we can become healthier - one decision, one habit and one day at a time.   Let's do this!

Monday, February 9, 2015


I always choose a new word for myself as a new year approaches.  I usually think about it and pray about it and decide what this year is going to look like for me and what this year is going to mean in my life.  This year I felt like my word should be 'miracles'.  I have been mulling over this word for a month now.   Every where I turn I find something to do with miracles and a stirring in my spirit which means, simply,  that I chose the right word for my life in this year.

The other night I went to a worship service with our church and I began to think of a man in the Bible.  He was a blind man.  He wanted to be healed and so he stood in front of the only One he knew could do so.    Very gently but intentionally Jesus bent down and took dirt in His hands and mixed it with His spit and smushed it in the man's eyes.    The man didn't move.  He stood there and let Jesus do this bizarre thing to him.  I don't know what Jesus was really doing.  I don't know why he chose to put mud in this man's eyes.   And he didn't explain it as you would suppose - He just did it.  Then he told the man to wash in the pool of Siloam.  So,  off he went to do exactly as Jesus had instructed him.  In the end, the man was totally healed.  So you can imagine, that he wouldn't have for even a second regretted that he let Jesus do what ever he did - however odd that it seemed.

 There was another man in the Bible.   His name was Zacheuus.  He wasn't a well liked man because he was a tax collector and well known for cheating people out of a lot of money.   But this particular day,  Jesus was coming to his town and Zaccheus wanted to see him.  He wanted to see what this fuss was all about.  He just wanted to observe this Man who healed and spoke in strange parables and had such power over crowds.  He just wanted a glimpse of Him.  Most of us know this story well.  He was a small man and he knew that he wouldn't be able to push to the front of the crowd very easily.  People wouldn't let him in because, as we remember, people didn't care much for him.  Before he even got to where Jesus was, he had devised a plan.  He knew just what he was going to do.  He would climb a sycamore tree!!  Above everyone, he would be able to see Jesus.  He would be able to see what was happening in the crowd below.

It was working well until Jesus saw him!  Imagine how horrified he would have felt as Jesus began slowly walking up to his tree and gazing up at him.  What would He do?  What would He say?  Surely,  he  KNEW everything about him.  Zaccheus could sense that the minute Jesus started staring into his eyes.  I imagine that he wanted to run.  I imagine that he wanted to climb down the tree and get out of there at lightening speed.  He felt as though he had been caught.  But he was paralyzed.  He couldn't move a muscle as the power of His stare gripped his very soul.   He hung onto the tree branch, hanging on for dear life.  And then Jesus spoke.  And in one sentence, one paragraph, one moment,  his life was changed forever.  Jesus wanted to come to his house.  Jesus didn't hate him.  Jesus didn't shun him.  Jesus wanted to be with him.

 Zacchaeus woke up like any other day.  He got ready for the day like any other day.   He had one interruption to his day and that was to climb a tree to see a Man who was changing the world as he knew it.  It wasn't going to be a huge deal.  He was just going to take a peek at this guy and then go about his daily business.  Little did he know that that he would be climbing down the tree a different man than when he climbed up.   Little did he know that the very act of climbing that tree, that day would culminate in a miracle for his life.  Zacchaeus repented of his wayward ways,  Jesus saved him, Zacchaeus gave back all the money that he had cheated people out of, and he was a different man.  Completely reinvented.  What would have happened had Zacchaeus decided against climbing that tree?  What would have happened had he decided that he just had too much to do and besides climbing a tree to see Jesus was just too beneath him?  Only little kids climbed trees.  It was embarrassing.  It was humbling.  It was downright crazy.   But on the other side of that crazy act;  on the other side of the unconventional thing to do - was his miracle.  It was that thing that turned his life upside down.

I look through the Bible and there are many times  where Jesus reaches out his hands and the miracles flow.  Then there are many times that he required the recipient to do something - and sometimes something even strange.   But on the other side of the obedience was always a miracle; a life changed.

My question for  you today is -  what is your sycamore tree?  What is that thing that he is asking you to do?  He may simply be asking you to take a leap of faith and follow him  - believe in him wholeheartedly.  He may be nudging you to do something  you have known for a long time.   Or he may be asking you to do something that you think is bizarre.   Whatever he is asking you to do whether it is big or small, listen to him.  Your miracle may be waiting for you on the other side of that sycamore tree.