Saturday, November 27, 2010

If Life is Such a Bowl of Cherries

One of my favorite authors, now passed from cancer, was Erma Bombeck.  I found her as a young mother when I had 3 kids under 6 years of age.  My hands were full, my knees were calloused, (from mandatory daily baths whether they needed it or not), and suffered from too little money and not enough time.  Erma became a friend and co-conspirator during some days when getting my own bath was only possible with careful timing of naps and the school bus returning in the afternoon.

She wrote a book called, "If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits."  Just the title made me laugh out loud and thus began a long adventure of motherhood, the American flag and peanut butter and jelly.

Earlier this week there were some situations that brought on a bout of depression.  I think being single around the holidays has something to do with it.  That, and the kids are grown and have their own lives.  (I sure hate it when a plan works so well that the kids are actually gainfully employed and happy!)

But as I spent the day with my 7-year old nephew Sam, things brightened.  Sam is my only reason that I get to be called Auntie.  His parents were working so he came over around 7:30 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving.

By 8:00 a.m. we were deep into playing Monopoly, talking about things boys talk about like, well, you know, noises and stuff.  By 9:00 a.m. we had put on the Star Wars dvd.  At 10:30 a.m. he remembered he was hungry.  Four mini bagels with sugar and cinnamon later and we were on a roll.  Fred Meyers saw our faces as we needed icing and candies for the gingerbread house and when we got home we started a game of Sorry that turned into three games (we had to have a tie-breaker).

That evening when his parents came over, we ordered pizza, built the gingerbread house, made Thanksgiving pies and played a rip-roaring game of Monopoly (which thankfully, my brother won, as we are not very good losers in the Holzbach family).

I went to bed that night feeling so fulfilled.  FAMILY.  That's what makes the difference.  It's not the big things like a job promotion, a new car, bigger paycheck, or spendy vacation.  Those can all be wonderful but if not with FAMILY, what does it all mean?

God renewed my spirit of thankfulness.  I was reminded to Count My Blessings, Name Them One by One.  My mind wandered back to many a dark time when God was with me, when He knew all along exactly what I needed, even when I didn't.  As I counted the blessings, the blues just blew away.

I didn't go to bed sad and tearful as in past years, missing my children and the family life.  My heart was content and at peace.  Counting my blessings, and the love and care of my family, made all the difference.  I felt so ashamed of my earlier emotions of sadness and regret.  Just counting the times God saw me through put a skip in my step.

That little song that I have heard and sang all my life goes like this:

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings,
See what God has done.
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

As we enter into the Christmas season, there will be many who feel they don't have enough.  They will feel shortchanged by life and cheated by love and the feeling of loss will fill their heart.  YOU and I may be the only ones who can share and show how a thankful spirit can change our circumstances.  Be sure to look outside of your circumstances.  Don't miss the opportunity to reach out a hand of hope and a heart of caring.  Like family.  We all need each other. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There's Gotta Be Something More

Ever have an emotional week?  One that just leaves you feeling powerless and drained?  This week was filled with topsy-turvy emotion that literally left me bewildered.

During these times, I never doubt that God is with me.  And I know He has done so much for me.  But I found myself saying several times to myself, "there's gotta be something more."

It is because God has done so much for me that I ask this question.  I don't feel like my life demonstrates all that He has done.  I doubt anyone looking at the messy failings and brokenness of my life would see much of what God has to provide.  There just has to be more.

I'm not talking about things.  I don't mean trips, money, success or fame.  I just don't feel my life is the testimony it should be, even though I have had some pretty dark days that God has helped me through.

And can you believe it?  After this week, I go to church and the title of the sermon?  SOMETHING MORE.  (Hey God, guess you got tired of listening to me all week?)

Throughout the sermon, I kept thinking the words to this song:

Jesus is the answer for the world today.
Above Him there's no other
Jesus, is the way!

No matter what our confusion or question, He is the answer.

Then the speaker said, "Be thankful for what you have.  Whatever you have plus God is more than enough."

And then the speaker said something that I felt was right at me:  "Someone here today has been disqualifying themselves long enough."

Wow.  That hit me in the gut.  I cannot tell you how long a voice inside has repeated over and over destructive comments to me.  How unworthy, how ugly, how bad, how old, how broken, how fat, how unloveable.....I need to overcome this and get back in the game.

There is a country song that has been my theme song this week:

There's gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I'm gonna take my chances
Taking any chance I might
Find what I'm looking for
There's gotta be something more

As I look back over the sermon notes, I reread the title of the sermon.  It is actually RELEASING Something More.  It says thankfulness RELEASES us into something more.  Being thankful for what you have releases what you need and changes your perspective.

So what a great week to look back over the times in our lives when God was there.  Take note of the way He answered your need.  That same God is with us today to release "MORE" into our lives.

Whatever you hold in your hand is enough with God.
Thankfulness releases us into something "MORE".
We must stay connected to Him.

Dear God,  I continue to shortchange Your impact on my life.  I let the circumstances raise doubts and questions and I try to handle everything by myself.  Show  me again, where you brought me from and where I could have been.  Help me to be grateful for every day, every minute, and to always, always look to You for the anwers.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010




the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation.
the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.
something expected; a thing looked forward to.
Often, expectations. a prospect of future good or profit: to have great expectations.

I realized something over the weekend at the Take Shape Conference.  I have come to expect things to fail, to go wrong, to not work.  Not just weightloss, but alot of things.  If I don't get the client I hoped, if I lose my keys, if my watch's considered par for the course.  That's just how it happens to me.

What is worse than the low expectations, is the acceptance of it.  I will always be overweight, I will always feel alone, I will never be loved....It is a slippery slope!  In no time at all, I can be at the bottom of the slippery hill with my feet rotating like Road Runner, trying to find my grip.

But when I looked up the word I found two interesting things.  EXPECTATION always is something good, high, better, new.  

And it's a noun.  A thing.  It isn't just some concept or high spiritual notion.  It is an actual thing.

I want to learn the habit of expectation.  Looking forward to good happenings, expecting a sunny day, expecting to run into a friend, expecting to succeed at my food plan.  I have gotten into the habit of ACCEPTING the worst rather than EXPECTING  the best. 

Join with me in setting a new course each morning.  Take time out to plan for success.  Write your feelings down.  Make your food plan for the day with times and meal.  Whether you feel like it or not, make the effort to put a skip in your step and a twinkle in your eye.  Shake hands with your neighbor.  SMILE!

Like the song says:
If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly

Let's change accepting to EXPECTING!

Dear God,  It is easy for me to believe that You have good things in store for me.  Help my unbelief.  During the times when I feel doubt, undeserving, critical....please come into my heart with the warm salve of Your unconditional love so that I may love myself too.  It is only through You that we can be whole.  Help my broken life become something beautiful so that I can share it and help others to find You too.  Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Day, Another Decision

Another day, another decision.  Each morning it has to be made.  I realize now that the days that I don't make the decision or "think about it later" gets me into trouble.

So I am starting here this morning.  This is what was working.

1.  I have started (and stopped many times) a food plan that I have seen work wonders for LOTS of other people.  It is ME that doesn't work IT.  But when I was starting the day by blogging my feelings, even if irrelevant to the cause, it got my mind right.

2.  I also have added to that a journal at my computer desk, with the list of times and food choices for each meal just for that day.  In an effort to minimize the task of losing 75 lbs., looking at one meal at a time and conquering that one meal has been most rewarding.  I get to conquer one meal at a time!  That is not as difficult as wanting to lose 75 lbs. sounds.

Whatever is a continual battle in our lives, we can only conquer it one day at a time. 
Or one hour, one minute, or one meal, one bite.

Let's get going!

Dear God, You see the daily struggle that I fight and easily give in.  I need You and Your super-natural strength to keep my mind on the goal and to move forward each day, hour, minute and meal.  I know that this has been a thorn in my side for a reason and it has ruled my life and thoughts like a tyrant for too long.  I believe that I am supposed to become victorious.  This is not a dream just for others but it is possible for me too!  Amen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Advil PM and a Visit to the Chiropractor are Under Rated!'s been a dreadfully long month or so with my Sophie pup having health problems and being in pain.  We have both been awake many nights with her in pain and crying, yelping, biting herself.

Going to the vet is really no comfort as the visits cost money and there is no resolution.  Even the pain meds weren't relieving her!

Without going into the very long version of this, suffice it to say that yesterday morning the vet prescribed prednisone (only cost $9.47) and it is working!  Last night when we went to bed, Sophie took her meds and me, well, the title says it all.  I knocked myself out! 

You know, sometimes we need to take care of ourselves.  No, I am not advocating drugs but you have to know what I mean.  The need for sleep and comfort had to take priority.  When I woke up today, it was like I was loaded with sugar.  My energy was back!  I felt a skip in my step, I felt my brain working better and I had interest in what was going on around me.

Sleep is so important.  It is vital.  Nothing works its best without having rest.  So don't under rate the basic needs.  Get your sleep. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fried, Scrambled, Poached

Anyone who has seen the movie "Runaway Bride" knows that Julia Roberts is playing a character who does not know herself very well.  It's to the point that she doesn't even know how she likes her eggs cooked because she always defers to the man of the moment and eats eggs how he likes them.  She claims it is her favorite!

The character also bounces from football to rock climbing to auto repair in her chase to be what she "thinks" her guy wants.

Excuse me, (and this is mostly for the ladies out there since we are the people-pleasers), but this is not acceptable.

I am not pointing fingers.  This has been my problem practically my entire life.  I wanted to avoid conflict.  I wanted things to go smoothly.  I thought being agreeable meant we got along in our marriage.  I didn't like to be "in trouble".  So I went along.

Oh, I planned there would be a day when I took care of myself.  One day, when the kids were grown, I would look into it.  I would lose weight, exercise, read, have friends.....when the kids grew up I would have time for that.

So over the course of 20 yrs plus, I lost myself.  Who am I?  What do I like? What do I want to do with my time?  What's me?!

It occurs to me that when we were little girls playing dressup, we thought we could be anybody.  There was no hesitation to declare ourselves Queen and fight for the prettiest outfit in the dressup box.  My daughter particularly fancied a pink and white feather boa and pranced around the neighborhood like Queen of Boise Street.

Wouldn't it be great to feel so positive about ourselves once again?  And so deserving too!  And the visions we had for ourselves were unlimited.  If I wanted to be a great roller skater, all it took was a few swoops around our basement on skates to declare it.  If I wanted to be a teacher, in just a few adjustments of the play furniture and one change of outfit from the dressup box and Ta-Da!  Or if I wanted to be a loving mother just a few turns again of the play furniture and the addition of a crib and baby doll and I was cooing with the best of them!

Where did that confidence go? 

I have looked around and for a long time blamed anyone else but me.  Mostly, because it was convenient. 

But girls, alas, we are adults now.  And the responsibility to feel good about ourselves lies within.

I admit that it isn't as simple as knowing how you like your eggs cooked.  And you are not alone to say you don't know where to start.  And may I add that we have somehow come to think that taking care of ourselves is selfish.  I beg to differ.  It is selfish NOT to take care of what is God-given in you.

So take a deep breath.  Take a long look.  Make a list of wishes, dreams, hopes, that have yet to come true.  DO NOT PUT A LIMIT ON THIS.  Anything is possible....with God!  Make other lady friends to share and confide your journey.  Read, read, read starting with the Word and listen to your friends who recommend a great book.  I personally have a few faves if you need some ideas.  Write about your feelings.  It doesn't have to be public.  But I have found this blog to be the best source of strength as I unwind what I have been holding inside for so long.

If this sounds too methodical for you, or even overwhelming, then just start simply.  Take care of the physical you by doing a face wash before bed, getting a pedicure, take a short road trip (30 minutes works).  Go to church, take a walk, write cards to others in need.

Be your own best friend.  Love yourself.  Treat yourself kindly.

At the very least, find out how you like your eggs cooked.

At the end of Runaway Bride, when all of the relationships have failed, and Julia is left alone, she makes great discoveries.  She takes time to prepare eggs all the different ways and learns what she likes.  She takes a creative lamp she designed and parlays it into a business.  And she realizes the man she swore she didn't even like is the one!

God is your strength, your high power.  With Him, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  Only believe....and get started!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mind Over Matter

I was introduced to Winnie the Pooh many years ago.  But even now as an adult, I have an unexplainable attraction to Pooh and his friends.  If you have ever stopped long enough to watch some of the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, you will witness a strength of friendship that is hard to find.  Here is an example of a conversation between Christopher Robin and Pooh:

Christopher:  Pooh, promise you won't ever forget about me, ever.  Not even when I'm a hundred.

Pooh, pausing to think:  How old shall I be then?

Christopher:  Ninety-nine.

Pooh, nodded:  I promise.

There are lots of Pooh-isms that are fun to read.  And since he is a bear who loves hunny, and I like to eat, he is very near and dear to my heart.  I like to eat things.  Happy, sad, stressed, tired.  Anytime is hunny time!

The last few days have been mentally draining.  It may sound slight to you but my puppy is having health problems and it is difficult to handle, emotionally and financially.  So guess what?  My Pooh Bear tendancies have taken control and I have fallen off the food plan wagon.  And not just one meal.  Many.

But here is a Pooh-ism that can help for today, whether you are fighting an addiction to hunny or just have something to overcome:  Mind over matter.

It is a fight in the mind to choose the right answer, to overcome bad thoughts, to stick to a promise, to be courteous, to eat right.  If we can control our thoughts, we can control our actions.  Slow down and think before speaking, acting, eating!  CHOOSE what you will do, what you will think, how you will act. 

Recently Pastor Joel Osteen's daily devotion said this about "One Thought at a Time":

 “...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”(2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Transforming something in your life whether it’s your attitude, mindset, financial situation or bringing change into a relationship can seem like an overwhelming task. But as the old saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Likewise, the way you change your life is one thought at a time.
Your thoughts set the direction of your life. If you need to change the direction you are headed, you simply need to change your thoughts in that area. When a thought comes to your mind that “you’re never going to get well; this is your lot in life,” don’t dwell on that. Don’t sit around and have a pity party. No, immediately reject it and replace it with God’s Word. Just say, “Father, You said in Isaiah, ‘By the stripes of Jesus I am healed.’ You said in Jeremiah, ‘You would restore health unto me.’ So Father, I thank You that I’m coming out of this in the name of Jesus.”
I encourage you to be aggressive in taking every single thought and making it obedient to Christ. Stay determined, stay focused and keep declaring His Word because you can change your life, one thought at a time!

Isn't it the truth?  As those wrong thoughts invade your mind and take over your day and your attitude, replace those negatives with a positive.  Mind over matter.

And the rest of that little tune says:  Mind over matter, will make the Pooh un-fatter! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Energizer Bunny

During the past 5-6 years when all of the unaddressed issues in my life sprung a major leak, it has been difficult to keep going.  Many times I wanted to give up.  Quit.  Every step took great effort.  Answers were few and far between.

Everyone goes through similar periods when we feel so everyone....and we would bet the farm that we will never be any good again.

This is exactly how the enemy wants us to feel.  He keeps pounding on us, stomping us, tripping us, kicking us until we are so battered and bruised that all we can do is lay down and listen to his words of failure and pain:

See, everyone knows what you are really like.
Yes, they do know what you did and they have told everyone.
No one will ever love you.
You can never be fixed.
You will always feel this way.  Always.
Don't bother trying because it won't make a difference.
Nothing will change.

These are just a few of the destructive words I heard when I felt so down, out and hopeless.  And as I have started this new food plan, it can be easy to hear some of those same taunts:

It's not enough.
It won't make a difference.
No one will ever love you.
Why bother?  Everyone knows all your mistakes anyway.

Well, let me encourage you and me again.  There is ALWAYS a way to get there.  God does not give up on us so who are others to give up on us?  Are they bigger than God?  Who are we to give up on ourselves?

Just keep taking one step at a time.  Keep breathing.  If you trip (and bust your teeth, break a foot, ruin the tendons in your hands), GET BACK UP!  It's not about the fall.  It's about the getting up and righting your circumstance.

Oh, I can't tell you it will be easy.  Most things that are worth something are NOT easy.  If it were easy, we would have more heroes in this life.  Everyone would do it.

Look, faith isn't faith when everything is rosy.  The good times are mercy and grace and faith is rarely required.  Faith is when you believe even though you cannot see the good.  We have to be like the Engergizer Bunny....take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

There was something that God gave to me when I first got divorced and had just moved back to Oregon to live with my parents.  Everyday on my way to work, when I took the turn onto Burnside headed east, there sat Mt. Hood in all of its glory.  Beautifully white with snow and the sun coming up behind it.  I cannot even begin to tell you how gorgeous this sight is to me.

But I felt like God spoke to me and said, you know, when the mountain is covered up by gray clouds and rain, you never think that someone took the mountain away.  It never crosses your mind that, oh no, what happened to Mt. Hood?  It's gone! 

No, there is a blessed assurance that it is still there behind the clouds.  We can remember the days of sunrise and snow and we can know those days will come again.  (In Oregon, they don't come often enough during the winter but hey, we have the mountain!)

God is just like Mt. Hood.  Even when the days are gray and cloudy, HE IS THERE!  We can count on Him.

I have thought of this story often and have shared it at times when a friend was in need.  It is a wonderful reminder when we feel lost, alone, like we don't matter, that the clouds WILL part and the sun WILL shine and the mountain WILL appear again.

One more thing:  there is no storm so big or cloud so gray that the Mountain can't show His glory. 

Don't give up on the callings in your life.  You can make it.  The Mountain is there just like you knew He was when the sun shined.  Just believe and keep taking that next right step, one at a time.


ps  So my friend has joined the food plan with me and it looks like when I get this weight off I will be a health coach.  (I said when, not if!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So today was my second weigh-in.  I have lost 6 lbs. in just two weeks! 

In the long view of things, this is not alot.  But have you ever been on a food plan that you saw those kinds of steady results?