Finding the Magical

My dear reader, hello!  I have glimpses of the magical things when I look.  Almost two weeks ago the labs came back showing I’m depleted of: dopamine, serotonin, epinephrin, norepinephrine, glutamate, and cortisol. 

Whew!

Then more labs came back that I have iron deficiency anemia again.

And yet….

little by little

I am finding the magical.

Day by day I pour over the word of God in the Bible. Day by day I take the supplements my doctor gave me for adrenal dysfunction and neurotransmitter support.  Later this week I will get the first of 6 iron infusions to resolve my anemia.

Oh did I mention I have bleeding stomach ulcers to boot?

I tell you all of this not to discourage you but to ENCOURAGE you because through all of this God is my provision.

Have you looked at Instagram or a photographers’ beautiful work & caught yourself thinking it was magical?  You see something so lovely and seemingly unattainable.

Goodness knows that in the past months with how awful I’ve felt at times these images proved unbearable.  When you see those lovely things your brain releases dopamine and you feel just a little touch of bliss. However fleeting you do.

For a while I just didn’t.  Even now with my labs as they are it seems impossible that I could.

But today I did.

It snowed buckets for our part of the globe.  I peered out across our backyard and noticed our frozen hummingbird feeder topped with a lovely whip of snow.

Huzzah! The magical is here. Right before my eyes. I saw it. Truly I had that happy moment where I knew God is healing me because that little moment came over me like a warm lovely wave.

Perhaps you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes. Perhaps you have.  Either way, we can all relate to that surreal blog post somewhere with perfect photographs in idillic lighting.  We just need to slow down and see.

Really look.

Look at the little things in your part of the world; your little plot of land you call home.

He’s there if you look.

Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”IMG_0066.jpg

Dear Lord,

Truly it is as the Bible says.  You are our provision and all-in-all.  Praise be to your glorious name.  I trust you Lord and praise you for the healing you have done and the healing you are going to do.  You are wonderfully faithful, positively perfect and the everlasting hope for all mankind.  Thank you for helping me to experience you by the magical things you put within my reach.

Amen.

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Depression from Nadalol: life is full until it’s not.

Hello! My sweet reader. It has been so very long since I’ve sat down to write.  You see, life is just so full…

  • Homeschooling 7&8 year old boys is amazing and surreal
  • Keeping our chickens and frogs and dog is wonderful and stinky work.
  • Making a house a home takes CONSTANT attention as the gardens go wriggly and birds dig up my seeds!
  • Homeschool co-ops are a blessing and a commitment.
  • The continual search for myself beyond the words “wife” and “mother” proves a God size task.

 

Life is wonderfully full! I apologize as this just afforded me no room to write, for far too long.  I hummed along with my health conditions still buzzing in the background of life.  Doing the daily duties while working in endoscopies and appointments with this specialist and that.  Well, about a year ago I was assigned a hepatologist because I was informed my portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a type of liver disease and I should be followed in case I may develop complications.  The first endoscopy revealed indeed, I had.  They found 3 very large esophageal varices.  They’re like varicose veins in your esophagus (the part that connects your throat to your stomach).  The protocol for this is to place rubber bands around them so they will slough off.  Then, start a blood pressure medication.  The medication is used in a sort of ‘off label’ fashion for me because I have low overall blood pressure… but, not in what remains of my portal system.  There the pressure is too high causing the bulging veins.  If the veins break, a life threatening bleed can result.  So, of course when the director of hepatology suggested I start a beta blocker called Nadalol I did just as he said.  I have two sons to raise and a full life to live. If Nadalol lowers my risk of a dangerous bleed then great!

I was told Nadalol relaxes vessel walls lowering the pressure.  I was not told the mechanism by which this happens.  Let me tell you what I know now. Nadalol blocks dopamine and norepinephrine.  Over time the receptors become dulled… and fewer in number.

But I didn’t know that then…

The first day on Nadalol I noticed I was exhausted and a bit down.  I told the director of hepatology and he advised me to give it time as my body would adjust.  The days went on and for 6 months I continued to take Nadalol 20mg once a day.  I developed migraines for the first time in my life and blurry vision.  Daily life became more and more gray.

Life was full until it just wasn’t anymore…

Depression and blurred vision are two common side effects of Nadalol.

But the prescribing doctor would not admit to this… I found this only after speaking with a pharmacist as I attempted to leave no stone unturned.  I used to be a joyful “doer” type.

Suddenly, I was just listless and joy eluded me.

I became withdrawn little by little until one day the spiritual attacks started. While standing in my kitchen chopping bell peppers the thought came over me like a storm, “You could end it.”  I was horrified. “What is wrong me?” I began to plead with God to make the cloud lift and to bring me through it. I could not understand how I would be in the grips of such an awful thought.  Just 6 years ago I fought to stay alive. I plead and prayed and begged to live.  Now the exact thing I vigilantly avoid for fear of a bleed is going through my mind as if it’s even an option.

In that moment, I knew I needed help!

Well, scripture says that God is faithful to provide a way of escape.  And He did.  Just then, my husband came through the door returning home from a long days’ work with no idea the assault I was under.  Praise the Lord the door opened.

I cried and told him what had happened. I told him I thought it was the Nadalol and I didn’t want to take it anymore. We talked about how that would be a huge risk. You know the bleed!?!

I prayed and prayed.  I contacted my hepatologist’s office. The original doctor had left the practice and a new one took over but I hadn’t met her yet.  I wrote to her anyway explaining the situation and by God’s grace she replied advising me to stop the medication.

She also never admitted the Nadolol causes depression…

We agreed the risks were outweighing the benefits.

At the next endoscopy they found not only more varices but new clotting to boot! The explanation I received for the clotting was that any time blood flow is slowed the conditions are favorable to clotting. I can only conclude the Nadalol also made the environment more suitable for clotting! Why? Well, it slowed my heart rate reducing the pressure and flow. As well, this is the first and only time I’ve developed new clotting since the sepsis that started this whole mess back in 2012. Now I cannot prove my assertion but I feel the circumstances point to the medication.

When I stopped Nadalol I experienced a week of 1-2 hour long anxiety attacks as the once blocked norepinephrine flooded my system. This went in combination with the weighty depression, blurred vision and spiritual attacks.

Thankfully, God provided a few very dear friends to come along side me through this dark night of the soul. I clung hard to the Scripture and saw every doctor I have in my care.

I was validated by my Naturopath who told me Nadalol had depression and blurred vision listed as possible side effects. I will tell you I was afraid to tell her I was struggling so. I had this notion she’d deem me unfit and send me to the hospital to be inpatient. Instead she simply said the medication caused my symptoms and she’d put me on supportive therapy to rebalance my system and stop the scary thoughts of doom and gloom.

I am more and more myself every day. I am following God’s perfect promises and resting in His care. Daily I try to create beauty in some small way and replace every fiery dart from the devil with the living word of God.

I will leave you with this great wisdom a dear friend gave me…

I am not my own. I was bought at a price.

Because of this I’m free from the bondage of sin and a servant to the almighty God. He will never leave me nor forasake me.

My friend, the same is true for you.

love,

Erica

Dear Jesus,

I’m beginning to understand why you allowed this suffering to come. You’ve shown your perfect love to me again through this awful time. I rejoice that I love myself in a new way I couldn’t before because I better understand how you see me. Oh Lord God almighty thank you for carrying me through the scary times and anxiety and fear. Your word tells us not to fear more than anything else. You know our weakness and thank you for helping me to understand your strength more and more. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

 

The Significance of 6! Jesus and Lego’s

There’s something very significant about turning 6! Who knew?!? I anticipated planning a party, buying supplies and singing “Happy Birthday” to our boy. What I didn’t know was that he would become a Christian and learn to build Lego sets alone.

Just a week before Hank’s 6th birthday we went through the Roman’s Road with him:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans: 623

“But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

As I read each verse and paused, looking up at Hank to see what he thought, he professed with his own words that he believed.

I have both joy and trepidation for my son. He will live the rest of his life with the perfect intercessor. He will have the Word of God to rely upon. But, he will also be guaranteed suffering by which the Lord will proof his faith like silver in the fire.

Dear Sweet Hank,

As your momma, I cannot be more proud of your acceptance, belief and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t take it lightly, you will need your savior dearly at times of suffering and even in times of abounding joy. Your daddy momma and brother are here for you no matter what, to point you back to Jesus. I pray you will read the living Word of God and from it draw strength for the great purpose God has for you.

love,

Momma

On Hank’s 6th birthday, March 15th 2016, we went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and purchased The Action Bible so Hank can begin his daily discipline of reading the Word of God. I am proud of him.

IMG_20160315_142944_edit
Hank holding his new Bible on his 6th Birthday

The following Saturday, Hank had his birthday party as planned (despite my having recently recovered from pneumonia and three of us fighting head colds). He had a wonderful time celebrating with 10 of his good friends at the Dojo where he takes Karate. I must say I really enjoyed it too. There’s a cool joy that comes from watching your child having fun. It trumps almost every kind of joy I can think of (beside the Joy that comes from the Lord, that one wins hands down). Hank received wonderful gifts too. Among them were three lego sets.

Pardon my tangential backstory for a moment:

Several months ago, I asked Hank how he and I can connect more and he said he really likes building Lego sets with me. I took that seriously and decided I would purposely help him with his future sets. I want to do whatever I can to foster meaningful life giving relationship with my boys because I know the benefit will be more than I can measure with regards to their sense of assuredness in life. Plus, I really Super Duper love them and want to enjoy them as much as possible.

After the party we went home and started building legos. To my surprise, Hank was doing them all on his own! I was both excited for his new skill and nostalgic.

Have I missed my chance to build lego’s with him!?!?!

Thankfully, he still enjoyed me sitting by his side as I sat in awe of his ability to follow the instructions step-by-step to completion. I love him so much.

6 is significant! Hank has been maturing right before my eyes. I’ve seen him choose to be generous with his brother. When I ask him to do something, without complaint, he helps me (more and more often). He is becoming a light in this world as he learns more and more how to reflect Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for bringing Hank to you. I am so very thankful that he will have you to rely upon all the days of his life. I pray Lord for his future family too. Please bless Hank as he grows. I pray he will one day marry a woman who loves you too and together they will see their children love and serve you. Thank you for the gift it is to be Hank’s momma. In you I am delighted and humbled. Amen.

If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda

well

If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.

Momma, tell me about your owies again…

Have you ever heard yourself teaching your child and learned too?  Hank has been asking about my enlarged spleen and liver a lot lately.  We often tell our boys to be very careful around me because I have “owies” in my tummy.

This morning while laying on the sofa snuggling with Hank, he asked me to tell him about my owies again.  I explained,

“Momma has two owies.  They’re kinda like water balloons that are too full.  If you push on them too hard they’ll pop.  Then momma will need to go to the hospital.”

Hank, “What will they do?”

Me, “They’ll open my tummy and take out the popped balloon.”

Hank, “Why?”

Me, “Well, do you reuse a popped water balloon?”

Hank, “Oh! No. Then what happens?”

Me, “Then we wait and trust God to make me better again.”

Then we went back to snuggling.  I heard myself tell him we would trust God to make me better and he just accepts that.  Its beautiful.  But for me its tough, you see, for me that is a HUGE call to faith that I live out every day.

We ALL will have our call to faith.  If only we can have faith like a child.

Matthew 18:3, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like a children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I am writing this to you as we await test results from our veterinarian.  We adopted a dog named Sadie over Easter.  She has been a wonderful, playful, voracious eater until recently.  I suspect that she has eaten dirt that is contaminated with antifreeze.  Antifreeze causes kidney failure in dogs.  Now the call to faith feels big as we wait on the labs.

I am also writing this to you as my sisters’ significant other, Steve, is in the hospital with heart problems.  He has been there a few days and they cannot figure out why his heart rate won’t stabilize.  Add to that his white blood cell count is elevated.

THE CALL TO FAITH IS EVERYWHERE!

Why must the call be so big?

What is your call to faith?

Dear Jesus,  I feel it.  You are the mighty king and you can bear our burdens.  You tell us to lay our burdens down and take up yours, that which you give us is light.  But Lord, it doesn’t feel so easy.  I want to fear.  Please set my eyes on you.  Help us all to have faith like a child.  Amen.

My First Devotional, The Secret

Today I am sharing with you the very first devotional I have written.  May God meet you right where you are today.  ❤

True Hope Comes from Christ’s Strength

We don’t muster it ourselves.

We have probably all heard someone say, “I can do all things through Christ.” But do we know the verse that precedes that? What about the words that complete the phrase “I can do all things through Christ”?

Philippians 4:12-13 says,
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Paul is writing to the Philippians from his jail cell. Imagine what he may have been experiencing? Isolation. Hunger. Pain. Sickness. And Hope!?!

When we think of Hope, can we imagine the type of Hope Paul experienced? Think of a way that you desperately need Jesus, a way that you just aren’t enough. There is hope.

I had a pancreas tumor removed in 2012. I went from being told “you’re young and healthy” to 115 pounds & wrecked by illness. I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. My doctors were at a loss. I cried out begging God for deliverance. For better circumstances. My Mom, in her wisdom said to have Faith when you cannot see. I remember the fight I had inside my body during those months of agony. Never before had I experienced my flesh at war with me and yet God seemed to keep me there. Not healing me, not letting me die. It was a hard truth to face. During that time and even to this day, I have many very dear Bible verses. God is faithful. Philippians 4:12-13 means SO much to me. I hung on every word of verse 12. When everything was stripped away, all my earthly strength and comfort, I finally intimately knew the secret of facing such things. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. The secret isn’t becoming a Christian. The secret is Hope. The Hope of the Bible, the steadfast kind that comes when we know God sustains us and gives us strength despite all odds.

As you can see, I am still here. God has granted me partial deliverance from my physical sufferings. I can see the gift it is to remember. I look at my surgery scars and still feel pain. Because I know the secret that Paul speaks of I have Hope. Not the fleeting kind we think of when we say, “I hope tomorrow is sunny.”

Paul’s words are not a self-help statement or some type of trite pep talk. Paul is telling us of the everlasting, eternal, deep, rich, vibrant, redeeming Hope; hope in Jesus’ perfect strength.

Dear Jesus,
Help us to rest in your word. To experience your deep HOPE through the truths you teach us. Jesus, help us to lay our fears at your feet and know that we can even suffer well like Paul by knowing your steadfastness. Lord, you strengthen us, you sustain us. Jesus, because of your strength we can face all things both wonderful and tragic. Amen.

A Mother’s Love

Educated or so I thought
Asked a million questions
Questions I haven’t sought
Need I answer them?
Again and Again?
To a future man who doesn’t know
the complexities of why businesses come or go.
When this pupil becomes distraught
I the momma must enter a battle that’s already fought.
Silently my heart cries out
His words so strong
Inwardly I ask, “God what’s gone wrong?”
Rest in me, I hear so clear.
Rest in me, my dear.
Slowing down I pull into a parking spot.
Out I step.
Out my eldest boy does too.
Kneeling down to his height.
I ask why I am seeing such a sight.
He pleads for no consequence.
God’s love in my heart I give grace instead.
Sadly, I know his heart is a wreck.
Silent prayers he never hears.
While I hold back motherly tears.
The Lord’s love for us might be like this.
While we whirl out of control.
He’s quiet, heart heavy.
He knows what we need before we think we’re ready.
Rest in Him, I know I must.
In God’s sovereign love I can trust.
I trust you Jesus to always keep this treasure in your care.
Because I know that you were there.
Please grow him to be strong in faith and write on in his heart what you speak.
May he be a man of character, gentle, humble and meek.
I pray he leads many.
I pray he leads well even when there aren’t any.
Please strengthen my heavy heart to know
You are trustworthy.
So endure these heart breaking moments I must.
Knowing one day the fruit will bear.
Knowing you, Lord, will be there.

Saved By God’s Provision – Our Experience With Broadside Collision

Just before Valentine’s day this year we had our usual weekly church small group meeting.  This time it was a dark and rainy Wednesday evening. Bart arrived home from work especially tired.  He decided to stay home with our younger boy, Gideon, while Hank and I went to group.

We celebrated Valentine’s day a little early at our small group with a white elephant gift exchange.  I brought an unopened bag of whole-bean coffee and we received a starter kit and a cute little blue betta fish.

After group, Hank and I loaded our things into our new 2009 VW Jetta.  Hank climbed into his car seat which was positioned behind my drivers’ side seat and I secured his seatbelts.  Then I placed our new betta fish (who was in a small plastic cup at the time) into the center console cup holder.  Away we went heading home around 9:40pm.  All seemed fine except for being a particularly dreary evening.  Having been a few weeks into a great workout routine I felt alert and well.  Hank sat quietly in his seat and we drove home.  The radio was off, my phone was stowed away safely in my purse.  It was calm and I was driving very cautiously.  (I have a very low platelet count, so I am ALWAYS cautious driving because if I get in an accident I could bleed to death.)  I came to the intersection where we usually turn to go home.  I stopped in the turn lane, signalled and when the road appeared clear proceeded to turn left.  Once fully into the intersection something very unexpected and bizarre happened…

I heard a loud sound like metal bending and immediately we began spinning in circles.  By the time the car stopped we had flown off the side of the road (God is so good) and safely up a berm.  I was horrified and immediately put the car in park and turned off the engine.  I called 911 and looked in front of me to read the license plate off the other car to the officer on the other line.  I remember so clearly that my headlights illuminated their car but there was no light shining back at me.

They didn’t have their headlights on!

I never saw them coming.  I never heard a thing until the hit.  No skidding.  No horn.

Nothing then WHAM!

As soon as I got off the phone with 911 I realized Hank was in the back seat crying hysterically.  My heart sunk, I was horrified.  My precious baby boy.  I turned around and saw he was safely surrounded by his car seat and didn’t even have a scratch.  I started consoling him then realized I was completely soaked in betta fish water.  Our new pet had flew out of the car and his cup shattered around me.  Then I saw the passenger side of our car smashed in, the side curtain airbags deployed and glass all over.

Adrenaline pumping and in horror of what had just happened I called Bart to come get us.  We wound up being there for an hour while the police took their reports.  Praise God, Hank seemed ok and was able to go home and go to bed.  While my mother-in-law stayed home with our boys, Bart drove me to the emergency room.  There I learned I had a concussion and severe whiplash.  I couldn’t control my head.  That is a very strange feeling!

I received a shot of morphine to ease the already severe pain and was discharged with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.

I don’t know what your experience has been with serious car accidents but up until February 12, 2014 I had none.  At the time of impact the other driver was going at least 45 miles per hour!

Here’s our Jetta after the accident before it went to the junk yard.

Passenger side of Car-1Passenger side of Car-2

All that damage and we walked away from it alive!

VW Jetta’s are Safe!

Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us.  Thank you that Bart wasn’t driving and Gideon wasn’t in the car.  If that were the case (as it usually would be on a Wednesday night) Gideon and I would have been on the side of impact.  Jesus, I believe it is in your sovereignty that Gideon and I didn’t die that night.  Praise and honor and glory be to you, our mighty king.  Amen.

How To Get Into Fitness For Real- Part 2 Nutrition

Today is February 28th and I have officially been Into Fitness since January 29th.  I started with getting into a sustainable workout routine that I like.

Remember when I wrote part 1 of how to get into fitness?  Well, I have stuck to it and added the other half of the fitness puzzle: nutrition.

I am down 7.6 pounds as of today! So I guess you could say what I’m doing is working! 🙂

BUT MORE THAN WEIGHING LESS, I FEEL WAAAAY BETTER!

Woot! That’s my goal. 🙂

We all gotta eat to live but what we eat really impacts how well we live.  I started thinking that NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL.  With that in mind I took a look at what calories would help me to FEEL GOOD.  Afterall, feeling good is my goal here.  I want to live a long life feeling as good as I can by living out Real Fitness.

Real Fitness (to me) means sustainable healthy exercise and healthy eating.

  What makes it sustainable is choosing quality calories so you aren’t starving.  I mean it.  If you eat primarily junk calories, then you are starving and no amount of junk calories can deliver the nutrition you NEED.  The result is you are nutritionally starved.  I have noticed that when I eat McDonald’s for example that I am hungry soon after eating.  When I eat hard-boiled eggs and toast I am way more satiated for fewer calories.  I don’t think it is right to tell you what to eat.  I just want you to think about what you like to eat and ask yourself:

Are these quality calories?

&

How can I make substitutions to improve the quality of what I eat?

With that said, I enjoy a mocha almost, if not, every day.  This mocha has milk chocolate and white chocolate powder *read* NOT QUALITY CALORIES.  But, I want to eat in a way that I enjoy so I substituted skim milk for whole and don’t go overboard on the chocolate.  I put just enough in to make it enjoyable.

I make sure my calories are in large part from real food, not processed crap.  Remember, the tiny part of the food pyramid is fats and oils.

I’ve also started counting calories so I know how much is in what I eat.  This helps over time to learn what appropriate portion sizes are.  I’m also finding I don’t want junk food as much because I know it won’t make me feel good for very long.  In fact, it will make me feel awful if I let it get out of proportion in my total daily intake.

You know what else?

Those fatty sweet and salty foods spike your appetite and when you eat more and more, you gain weight.

I want to feel good and when I eat quality calories there’s just no need to binge on junk.

Instead, I measure out a serving of the goody I want and put it in a seperate container or bag.  For example, I bought Cadbury chocolate eggs (the little ones that come out for Easter every year).   I love them enough to pay the outrageous price!  Since I am focusing on eating quality calories I don’t need Cadbury to fill my hunger.

I get to enjoy Cadbury Chocolate Eggs for what they are; just a treat.

So, I hope you can see my point here that eating well doesn’t mean eliminating the treats (at least in my book).

FOCUS on making sure you get the QUALITY CALORIES you need first, then if you still want  a treat, you can enjoy a serving.

If you are wanting to get into Fitness for Real I hope you’ll join me!  I am loving it.  I feel so much better.  Fitness is all about giving your body what it needs.  I love the stress relief of exercise and losing a few extra pounds is awesome too!  I love the stress relief of quality calories.  I love the stress relief of not being on some sort of “diet”.  Sure you won’t lose 20 pounds in a week this way but you could in ten weeks and then NEVER see that 20 pounds again.  When you are into fitness for real, you care about what your body needs to work its best, not about losing weight right now.

 Believe me, if you do something hasty like take pills that raise your “metabolic heart rate” *read* “up your risk of a heart attack!”  you are more likely to lose weight and gain it back and have long-term health problems.

That just doesn’t meet my goal.

Dear Jesus,  You are ultimately in control of our health.  Thank you that you designed our bodies to be efficient machines and gave us the means to be fit.  I pray that anyone who reads this is blessed by it and that you will enable them to take good care of the body you gave them.  I love you Jesus.  Thank you for sustaining me and giving me each breath.  Amen.

The Three Words, Why we feel Disconnected

Here on the west coast at least if not everywhere, we function in a busy busy mentality.  In other words if you have something to say get it out quick and make it compelling or you are likely to get ignored.

I used to do cold calls to New York coffee companies.  It would usually go something like this:

Ring Ring Ring

“Hello”

“Hi my na…..”

Call ended.

Really?  I lost you before I got to my name?  I have three words before you have decided whether-or-not what I have to say is worth listening to?

But that was cold calling.  I realize most people don’t have the patience or interest in listening to someone like that.

What about those close to us?  What about our family and friends?  What about the people we serve?

Do they get three words too?

I have known for some time that I need to grow in my question asking ability.  I want to be better at drawing people out and really pursuing them.  I think that is hard to do with quick, yes/no questions.

Over the past several months God has allowed me to see a great disconnect more keenly than ever before.  On my pursuit of really knowing others by asking good questions and genuinely trying to listen I found one thing over and over.

We live in a busy busy mentality.

Have you ever been three words in when speaking with a loved one and you notice they aren’t listening?  They *might* bother to look but their eyes give them away.  I often take this opportunity to simply stop talking mid-sentence.

Call disconnected.

Why are we so busy?  What is so important that we cannot simply listen to one another?  In my pursuit to be a better listener it grieves me to see painful disconnect on the very ground of building close relationships.  Everyday conversations are the brick and mortar of connectedness, of being known.

James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Be the change you want to see in your relationships and with those you serve.

As James says, “Let every person be quick to hear.”

I believe we disconnect because we don’t really hear each other much.

We might see each other’s Facebook post or tweet.  We might send a quick text.

But do the majority of us intentionally listen to hear?

I think we listen for snippets of “useful” information because we buy the lie that we are too busy.  Or maybe we buy the lie that we connect through the non-physical means of technology.

Well guess what?  We actually need to be physically and mentally present with each other to foster connectedness.

Does a “like” on Facebook feel the same way a physical hug does?  Or even a high-five?

It doesn’t because it can’t.

Let’s not forget that God designed us for community.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

While all the electronic communication is buzzing the air ways, I want to remind us all (myself too) that we are to not neglect meeting together.

Dear Jesus,  I thank you for the friends and family you have put in my life.  I realize you chose them for me and I for them so that, as your word says, we can meet together and encourage each other.  I believe one way we can encourage each other is to be quick to hear.  Lord I pray we would prioritize the people you put in our lives.  Amen.