Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Proof of God's Love for Me

Last month, I read a devotion written by Charles Spurgeon in which he discussed how great is the love of God. He recalled various times God showed him love throughout his life, besides His merciful salvation. I began to think through my past and thank God for all the ways He has shown His love for me.

I came to realize that one of the greatest examples of His personal love for me is Eric. Not only bringing him to me, but WHEN he brought him to me. I was 16 years old and at a cross-road in my life. God knew I was insecure and desired love. While not at all popular with the guys, there were some who were beginning to notice me. Eric noticed me, loved me, was kind to me and I loved him in return...as I probably would have done with anyone who came into my life at that time. However, Eric also loved The Lord and he challenged me to grow in God, as well. While we made mistakes during our dating years, I know I grew in Christ and in the knowledge of His Word due to Eric's encouragement.

Eric was (& is) my first and only real boyfriend. God preserved me from much heartache and a bad road by giving this wonderful man to me. It took me many years to really learn how to love Eric in the way he needs, but he's been more patient than any man would be. He demonstrates God's love by the way he loves me and how he lives his day-to-day life.

I am over-whelmed at the thought that God cared enough to see me as a 16 year old nothing and give me the man I needed in order to be the woman I needed to become. The love He gave to me proves that He truly loves and cares for me and I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting in Shape - physically & spiritually



Oh, look! A vacant blog. Guess I could make use of this space to write just some of the thoughts and happenings of my life. Yes, I still have a life...a very busy one...which explains my embarrassingly long absence.

Let me tell you about a couple of my New Year's resolutions.  First of all, if you've been around here for any length of time, you have seen my lack of commitment in action.  I start and end things on a regular basis.

In my defense, I would like to say that my blog in no way reflects the reality of my day to day life.  I have been married for almost 19 years, I have 7 kids that I haven't left or booted out of my home (yet, anyway!), I've run a homeschool co-op for 5 years with no end in site, I've home-schooled since our oldest was five, I've been a member at the same church for 14 years, and I've had the same best friend for my entire life.  Good grief, I am even committed to foods - PB&J remains my all-time favorite lunch; if I could order Grilled Cheese every time I went out to eat, I would; and chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream has been my favorite since high school (which, as we know, was FOREVER ago).

It's only my blog commitments that I drop and that's because, quite frankly, they're not a priority.

What is a priority in my life is my family, my God, and my health.  My resolutions this year (while I'm not usually big on those) involve two of those categories - my God and my health.

First, I resolved to read my Bible every single day this year.  While I have been saved for almost 34 years, I am not sure I've ever succeeded in this.  I have read my Bible through several times.  I read my Bible regularly.  But, there have been days skipped.  In all honesty, there have been WEEKS skipped in my past.  For many years, I have hoped to not miss a day, but I usually fail sometime in January.  However, by God's grace, I have not yet missed a day in the Word and I am so very happy.  I resolve to continue to meet with God each day for the rest of this year.

My next resolution was to get healthier.  By this, I mean to eat better, drink more water, exercise and lose weight.  I will be 40 years old in forty-six days.  I am in a wedding at the beginning of May.  I really feel a push to get healthy and look half-way decent.

Ladies, you always KNOW when you've gained weight, even if no one else can tell.  Your clothes don't fit right and you just feel....BLAH.  That was me.  I went to the doctor for an ankle injury back in October and I weighed 15-20 pounds more than what I weighed when I got married.  This was way above my comfort level, but I wasn't surprised at the number.  I KNEW before stepping on that scale.  (BTW - why must they weigh you if you're there for an ankle injury, anyway? REALLY?)

By January 2, I found that I had succeeded in losing about 6 of those pounds without trying too terribly hard.  But, I wanted to really focus my attention on getting healthy and in shape.  For the month of January, I abstained from sugary foods and desserts.  I started drinking water, exercising and counting calories.

I am blessed to have an elliptical here at home.  I started out the year working out 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.  I am now up to 60-90 minutes 5 days a week and 90-120 minutes on Saturdays.  Last week, my elliptical was out of commission, so I headed to the local gym while my husband and father-in-law rebuilt the needed parts.  Yesterday I did not work-out and it was the first time since the beginning of the year that two days in a row passed without exercise (I don't work out on Sundays).  I felt horrible.  I ate horribly.  I was glad the day ended and that I could start anew today.

I use the MyPlate app from Livestrong.com.  While it can be a pain to count calories, I have found it the only successful way for me to lose weight.  I measure most things and have really begun thinking about how to make recipes healthier.  For instance, I use plain yogurt in place of sour cream for many recipes and my family doesn't notice.  When I make mashed potatoes, they get the original version in all of its buttery-milky glory while I put aside a bit and just mix in non-fat yogurt & salt.  Before putting brown sugar and butter into the family's squash, I put aside 1/2 a cup and just add a tablespoon of honey for myself.  I measure my salad dressing and my coffee creamer.  Little things make a big difference.

I also resolved to go to bed at a decent hour.  Before, midnight-1:00 was my normal bedtime.  This is not a good plan for a successful school day or for weight loss. My average bedtime is now 10:30/11:00.  The main reason for my lack of exercise yesterday was the fact that I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning.  Not good - I felt awful.  As I work-out first thing in the morning, I have to guard my bedtime with my life....because it may come down to the matter of my very life.

So, what are the results of all of these changes?  I have lost 12 pounds since January 2 and have only 2 more to go to reach my ultimate goal weight.  I will be back to what I was the day I got married, but I believe I will be healthier as I am eating better and exercising a whole lot more now than I was then.  I have found that my physical health impacts my spiritual health.  By being more rested, I am more alert in my time with God.  Because I have to MAKE time to exercise, I realized I have to MAKE time to read God's Word.  I don't feel right working on the physical without working on the spiritual.  These two things go together and I am healthier in so many ways.

So, that's where I've been and where I am.  How about you...have you made any resolutions that you are sticking with?  I would love to hear about them!