Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "Z" Edition

Weight Loss Zingers for the Child of God

  • It’s going to take more time than you planned for or wanted it to.
  • If you weigh every day, be prepared for fluctuations and say no to discouragement.  Patience is vitally important.
  • You may possibly temporarily gain weight with exercise.
  • There will be days you don’t do everything “right.”
  • There will be days you don’t do anything “right.”
  • If you rely on your own strength, you will invariably struggle.
  • If you rely on God’s strength, you can pick up on Monday where you left off on Friday…after that weekend food-fest.   And He will help you to overcome those overdone weekends and/or nights.
  • God hears every prayer for freedom, but He requires you to believe that you have what He has already paid for with the blood of His son, our precious Jesus.
  • You will hit plateaus.
  • Some plateaus last a long time.   Again, patience.
  • You may need to give up sugar.  It certainly helped me.
  • You can do this…even if you need to lose 175 pounds.
  • You don’t have to wait until Monday to start.
  • You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to restart.

As I was zipping through my posts, I omitted some pictures.   I thought I could include them here:

Orange Daisies photo 2013AtoZOrangeDaisies_zps776a571a.jpg 
Orange Daisies
Port of Floence photo 2013AtoZ-PortofFlorence_zps64757414.jpg 
Port of Florence
Railroad photo 2013AtoZ-RailRoad_zps257da76d.jpg 
Red Flower photo 2013AtoZRedFlower_zpsda2c91f4.jpg 
Red Flower

Wheeler Dam photo 2013AtoZ-PowerLines_zps49d73765.jpg 
Power lines at Wheeler Dam
Yellow and brown photo 2013AtoZYellow2_zps33737d3c.jpg 
Yellow and Purple photo 2013AtoZYelllow3_zps89f64806.jpg 
 photo UUNA11.jpg 
 photo Dam1.jpg 
Wilson Dam
 photo HayStacks.jpg 
Amish Haystacks 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dear Youth: What I wish I'd known....

If ever I were to speak to our youth today, I would say, “If you believe you are anything less than what God created you to be because of the way you look, your size, your grades, or your history (no matter what it is), then you are believing LIES straight from the pits of hell.  Any thoughts you have regarding yourself that make you believe you are different, and therefore less worthy, are not true, no matter what you have done or what has happened to you.

I would tell them that drugs will only exacerbate those feelings, and inhibit their decision-making abilities, and that decisions made under the influence are life altering. 

I would tell them that the drug to NOT start with is nicotine.

With tears in my eyes I would tell them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made; that God had a plan for them before time, and no matter what mistakes they may have already made, God still has a plan.   I would tell them about freedom, and how they don’t have to live their lives under the bondage of lies making them believe that they need drugs or alcohol or food to dull the pain, and that sex does not equal love. 

I would tell them that Jesus does, indeed, love them, just as they are, and He really does make a difference. 

Some wouldn’t listen.
Some would.

If you are reading this and feel unworthy of love,
I will tell you the very same thing.
And food can also be a drug…
But you can be a winner.
Christ loves you.  

Pictures from my yard from a spring past:
Yard Azalea photo 2013AtoZ-YardFlowers2_zps370686b8.jpg 
Yard Azalea and Iris photo 2013AtoZ-YardFlowers1_zps32b6ba2c.jpg 
Yard Azaleas photo 2013AtoZ-YardFlowers3_zps5a2d29e4.jpg 
Yard Bud Peony photo 2013AtoZ-YardBud_zps7c895e3b.jpg 
Yard Cardinal photo 2013AtoZ-YardCardinal_zps2b1ebeef.jpg 
Yard Red leaves photo 2013AtoZ-YardLeaves_zps590ff755.jpg 
Yard Wisteria photo 2013AtoZ-YardWisteria_zps5b40a6fb.jpg 
Yard Woodpecker birdhouse photo 2013AtoZ-YardWoodpecker2_zps4ef78b0c.jpg 
(Previously posted in 2013...still so very true.)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "X" Edition

Examining What I Believe…

If you read my last two posts (Here and Here), you know that I’ve spent a lifetime believing lies about myself simply because of my size.   Had I realized my value; that I was worth taking care of, my choices would have been much more careful and self-preserving.  

The truth is, personal value isn’t based on appearance.  You can know that in your heart, but argue it in your head, and believe that somehow you don’t quite measure up.   I know from personal experience.   But…all of my past mistakes have helped mold me into the person that I am today, and I am beginning to like this chick. 

So I got to thinking about choices and lies in my life now.

I was waiting to see freedom so that I could believe it, when in fact, I had to
believe it in order to see it.  Jesus died a horrific death in exchange for my freedom; He doesn’t give me freedom, He IS my freedom.  All those years I was begging him for freedom, I already had it.  The struggle was like trying to put on clothes I was already wearing.   I twisted and turned and struggled until all I got was my clothes on backwards…much like my thinking.

I don’t know why God put me on a path that started with low carb.   In His infinite wisdom, perhaps He just had mercy on my thick-headedness and allowed me to shed some weight so that I would lose some of the insulation (weight) that was affecting my heart hearing.

I mentioned that I’ve started walking again.  (I also mentioned that after I did, I gained weight.   That weight has again disappeared.)  During my walking time, God and I have some good conversations, and He sometimes gives me revelation.   Now you, Dear Reader, may see what I’m about to say as common sense, but I have often questioned the most simple of things…like how do I seek the Kingdom of God first?   God spoke to my heart while I was walking this past week, and He told me that it’s all about love.  If I love Him…truly, madly, deeply fall in love with Him, that I would naturally seek Him first.  Everything else will fall into place.

I’d like to say I now have it all figured out…that I have all the answers and I will share them with you.  But I don’t.  I’ll tell you what I do know, though.  If my brain is telling me that I want to eat 30 minutes after I ate my last meal, it’s a lie.  If my brain tells me I want to eat, eat, eat just because I ate something I like, such as ice cream, it’s a lie.  From now on, I refuse to believe blatant, obvious lies.   I can eat a cookie, two cookies, or no cookies.  Right now, I choose no cookies, but that doesn’t mean that someday, a cookie just might sound good to me, and I’ll have one.

X crossing photo 2013AtoZXRailroadCrossing_zpsc23f604a.jpg

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "W" Edition

It's Friday night after a long week, and I am just too tired to write the last part of my personal tale....tomorrow...I'll do that tomorrow.

W Pictures...
 photo WhitePansy.jpg 
White Pansies
  photo Whiteorchids.jpg 
 White Orchids (Nashville)
 photo WhiteAzalia.jpg 
 White Azaleas (UNA)
 photo 2013AtoZWhiteWedding_zps6da85752.jpg 
White wedding
(Looking off Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, Nashville)
 photo 2013AtoZWood_zps35bc0c05.jpg 
Wood...my next door neighbor's house 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "V" Edition

A few years ago, I went to counseling to understand why I was doing the things I was doing, specifically, compulsive eating.  I went three different times, the first time, I quit.  The next two times, both counselors told me they didn’t know what else they could do to help me.   

I was so far into my pit that God Himself had to come after me and pull me out.  The fact is, He pulled me out more than once because I dove back in a time or two…eagerly and willing going back to the place that had been my emotional home all of my life.  I was deeply entrenched in self-loathing, so far in my pit, that being outside of its insulation was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. 

The lies about myself that satan dangled before me in my pre- and primary school years were so much a part of my life by my teens that it became part of my personality.  Because of my faulty thinking, while in junior high and high school, I was very susceptible to experimenting with “outside influences.”  Drugs.   I had already tried my first cigarette when I was in the fourth grade.  Later, I tried pot, pills and alcohol, but because of God’s abundant mercy, I never enjoyed them.  My drug of choice, always, was food.  Even though I wasn’t terribly overweight through high school, I already had the obsession for food.  Eating a dozen donuts or a whole pack of cookies…or a whole box of pop tarts was normal for me.   I learned to do it in secret, of course, to avoid the humiliation of others knowing what I was doing.  I would diet, lose weight, then start the whole process again.

When you don’t like yourself, it’s hard to believe that others like you, and everyone wants to be liked, to belong, especially a teenager.  Because of the self-loathing, the missing identity, the lies I believed that I was somehow unloveable, I made choices that altered the course of my life, including marrying a 29 year old man I barely knew who turned out to be very abusive.  When you add an abusive situation to an emotionally battered girl, you get someone who has no clue who they are, who can’t understand why they continue to make one bad choice after another.   After my divorce, I made some very, very bad choices.

Believing lies about who we are truly a vicious trap.  If we believe it, we’ll take care of destroying our lives with any further help from the devil. 

When I returned to Christ in my early 30’s, I brought my baggage with me, and I kept a death grip on the lies I believed, not letting God have them even for one minute.  My life was very hectic at that time.  I was working two jobs and I was helping raise three teenagers who liked to keep me on my toes.  By the time my life slowed back down to a normal pace, I was extremely overweight and extremely unhappy. 

It was at this time that I truly began to seek God for help in this area of my life.  But I was deeply entrenched in the lies I believed, and for 10 years, I tried it every way but God’s way.   

I obviously like talking about myself…I am already well over that blasted 500 words mark…so, I will continue tomorrow.  I didn’t even get to my V words…vindication and value!  And now I’ll have to come up with a W word to go with it…

 photo VineyardGrapes.jpg 
 Amber Falls Vineyard in Summer (above)
and Winter below
 photo Vineyard-AmberFalls.jpg

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "U" Edition

Proverbs 4
Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;

Love her, and she will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.

I’ve always felt different because of my size.   When I was a young child, I was skinny and tall…taller than all the other kids my age.  Perhaps I looked older than my 5 or 6 years because of my height.   Before I was in the first grade, at my grandmother’s house, my uncle was giving my smaller cousins a “horsey ride” on his back.   When it came to what I thought was my turn, he told me he wouldn’t ride me because I was “bigger.”   At the time, I thought it was because I was taller, and I really don’t know why he did that…maybe he was tired, or he thought I was 7 or 8 instead of 4 or 5, but that’s the first clear memory I have of thinking I was unworthy or different because of my size.

In the first grade, my teacher was a tyrant.  My seat was practically right under her nose, and she was not nice to me.   An example of things that happened:  My classmate, Regina, dropped her pencil (those fat pencils that the school provided) and the lead broke.   My back was to the teacher’s desk (we sat at tables, 4 to a table) and I never saw what was coming.   Regina apparently told the teacher that I broke the lead, and the next thing I know, I was jerked up out of my seat and paddled, in front of everyone.  I had no clue what for!   Even if it had been my pencil, we had a pencil sharpener!  Another time, a classmate threw up right beside me, and she wouldn’t let me move.  I had to sit there until the janitor got it cleaned up.

I was afraid to tell my parents what was going on because that was the days of “if you get in trouble at school, you’ll get in trouble at home.”  But that treatment reinforced the lie I already believed:  I was treated that way because I was bigger (and wore cat-eye glasses to boot) than the other kids.  The belief of that lie has caused much grief in my life.

My “unworthiness” was not a conscious thought process.  I was not thinking, “I am treated this way because I am tall.”  No, it was something I just believed, but didn’t realize it until much later in life.  I can’t explain what that six year old Margaret was thinking.  (But I’ll have to add that I felt just as punished because my name was “Margaret” in addition to being tall, skinny, and wearing glasses.)

As I approached middle school age, I was still taller than most of my classmates, and I was getting a little chunky in addition to being “big boned.”  I never felt as if I belonged anywhere, I felt like I couldn’t do anything “good enough.”  Good enough for what, or for whom, I am not sure…but I certainly felt unworthy.  It was in these elementary years that I began my quest for satisfaction in the form of food…especially junk food.

If you are still with me…you’ve read almost 600 words.  Any good blogger knows you shouldn’t use more than 500 in an entry.

Tomorrow I’ll finish my history and tell you about vindication and my value.

umbrella photo 2013AtoZUmbrella_zps5d86c7dc.jpg
Umbrella...at a little restaurant in Florida...
I spent some quality sister time here one day a few years ago.
under the bridge photo 2013AtoZUndertheBridge_zpsd6bf0f7c.jpg
Under the Bridge...O'Neal Bridge in Florence

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "T" Edition

Being thankful when I’m thwarted…

I have days of being completely ungrateful, when I really have nothing to be ungrateful about!   I have made a decision to adopt an attitude of thankfulness.   I had actually spoken that thought out loud this weekend.

So what do you think happens?
I stepped on the scales this morning, and I’ve gained weight.

And I thought I deserved to see a loss!   Last week, I started walking again after not walking for two or so months…about a mile a day.   We went to Tuscaloosa for “A Day” and I did a lot of walking and stair climbing (with not a lot of overeating…but definitely some unhealthy eating).   Yesterday, I upped my mile to 1.5 miles.   Today, a weight gain. 

I really wanted to moan, groan, and carry on.
But I decided to thank God for every pound I’ve lost,
For every day I have walked in freedom…
And stay off the scales for a few days!

I shouldn't complain.  It has occurred to me that the longer it takes to come off, the less baggy-skinned I may be.  I can already see that I’m going to have to start working out my arms…getting a little saggy on the upper arm!  I know I won't be tight and toned like a 20 year old, but I don't want to be a deflated balloon, either.  And I’m noticing extra lines on my face that I didn’t use to see.   I’m sure pushing 50 has nothing to do with sags, bags and lines!

May 13 will be nine months walking in freedom.   I will post weight loss on that day…just in case you’re interested.

 photo 2013AtoZFlowers2_zps709cabc8.jpg 
Tulips, UNA
Tulips photo 2013AtoZTulips_zps71487c62.jpg 
Two Trees photo 2013AtoZ-TwoTrees_zps757d6118.jpg 
Two Trees, Florence Harbor/McFarland
 photo ABCQueertree.jpg 
Tree limbs, Memphis Botanic Garden
 photo ABCNature.jpg 
Lauderdale Co, AL
Tractor photo 2013AtoZ-Tractor_zpsfe5d00c9.jpg 
Tractor, Loveless Cafe, Nashville

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The "S" Edition

Food Stamps and Such…

Food stamps and WIC are now called EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer), and stamps and vouchers have been replaced by debit cards.   In an economy where food, gas and utility prices have skyrocketed, it can be difficult to not notice (and sometimes judge) the lady in front of you at the store using an EBT card.  

Sadly, America is in a mess, and Christians helped us get there leaving God out of the election process.  Unhappy taxpayers have taken to Facebook and forums to express their thoughts:    “Drug test welfare recipients!”   “Replace Congress…vote them all out!”   “Impeach Obama!”   People get very passionate in their comments and feel they have the answers…but unless they are including Jesus in that equation, they really don’t.

But I digress.

Do we want real change?   We should start with ourselves.   Then, we can go to the mission field called “the poor,” where second and third generation EBT users live who know no other life.   Take them Jesus!  Get your church van and go pick them up on Sundays and/or Wednesdays and take them to church.   No church van?   Find one or two children, talk to their parents, and take the children to church in your own car.   These are small steps toward the process of change.   Search and Rescue!   Head up a project to take the parents some Bibles and some “non-essentials” people like to have.  Sow some seeds!  That’s when real change will start.  Take them the Better Way.

Not happy with the current administration?  Stop complaining and start praying.  National Day of Prayer is May 2nd…join others at your local court house or other designated gathering place and pray…but don’t wait until the 2nd, and don’t stop on the 3rd.  Pray for our country!

And while I’m on my soapbox, let’s talk about that lady in the checkout line in front of you using her EBT card.  You notice that she’s got on nice clothes, and shoes, and with a raised eyebrow, you check out her cart to see some choice items that you didn’t dare toss in yours.  You think to yourself, “I bet your car is better than mine, too, and I’m working so that you can live a better life than me.  Get a job, why don’t you!”   She knows you’re looking at her, and she glances your way.   You offer a guilty half smile, but she’s seen that look before. 

Instead of nosing around in her cart, why not offer a short prayer for her blessing, her salvation, her situation.  You don’t know her heart, but God does.  She may be a sister in Christ who’s picking up food for a mother who is home with a sick child.   Or perhaps she’s wearing the best clothes she had (or borrowed) because she just left a job interview, only her third one in two months because no one is hiring.   When she glances your way, give her a whole smile.  Compliment her, and tell her that Jesus loves her. 

There will always be people who will take advantage of government programs…doesn’t that mean they need Jesus all the more?   We can’t punish every person receiving assistance because some are taking advantage of it.  We can’t save the world, and we don’t have to answer for the ones doing wrong.  As we come together to pray for a sinking nation, we can put those people in God’s hands while reaching out our own hands to help the ones we can, and pray for the ones we can’t.   

Lots of S pictures....

 photo 2013AtoZ-Sunset_zps693c3780.jpg
Sunset over Christ Chapel, Florence
 photo Bridge-ShoalCreek3.jpg
Old Shoal Creek Bridge
 photo Bridge-ShoalCreek4.jpg

Squirrel photo 2013AtoZ-Squirrel_zps4e6d97a9.jpg
Squirrel, Children's Museum of the Shoals, Florence

Sunflower photo 2013AtoZSunflower_zps188c7a71.jpg
Sunflowers...my back yard
 photo sunflowers.jpg

 photo Flight3.jpg
Sea Gulls, Deibert Park
 photo Gullsonfence.jpg

Skyline photo 2013AtoZ-Skyline_zps50ddd1fd.jpg
Nashville Skyline

Signs photo 2013AtoZ-ShiverdeFreeze_zps0422c2df.jpg 
I'd never seen a street name like this... 
Near Big Al's BBQ and Pizza, Berry, AL

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge...the "R" Edition

I'm sure, by now, you've seen the Dove Real Beauty Sketches...
I wonder how many of us don't realize that others see us as beautiful.  


 photo RockSpringreflection.jpg 
Natchez Trace Nature Trail (near Colbert Park)
 photo RockSpringTrail4.jpg 
 photo XBridge.jpg 
Deibert Park


Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: The Q Edition

I mentioned the other day that I'd like to start an Advice Column type of entry every now and then...so my Q entry is, of course....


Anonymous asks, “What makes you think you’re qualified to give advice?”

Anyone can give an opinion to a question...even children come up with some of the best advice sometimes!  This is just something I’ve wanted to do for a while, so now I’m putting the idea out there…outside of my head.

Sometimes people like an objective point of view…an impartial opinion.  Qualifications?  Well, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice.  I also completed a couple of counseling classes:  CreationTherapy and Basic Theophostic…not that the classes qualified me for anything; they did, however, introduce me to some prayer and counseling concepts, and I have also gone through counseling myself with some wonderful Christian counselors.   We’ll see how it goes.  Folks may not want my advice…but some may. 

Question:  What do you do it you see a friend making a terrible mistake, but you know from experience that if you point out her error, she will quit speaking to you?

Based on your previous experience, you answered the question yourself:  Don’t say anything and pray.  (Sound advice that should be used more in today’s world!)  If her mistake is not putting her or someone else’s life in jeopardy, I would suggest just being there for her in a non-judgmental way if she decides to come to you when the mistakes is realized.  Keep in mind that she may never see her action as a mistake.  

In my last post, I said:  What if...eating carbs made me feel guilty, and that's why I want to eat more and more, and it has nothing to do with my physical being, but just my way of dealing with the pseudo guilt. 

And was asked, “What if is it NOT pseudo-guilt?”

If you mean that it’s real guilt, perhaps you overate…a lot (as it was often in my case), you ask forgiveness, and almost as importantly, you forgive yourself, you pick yourself up, dust off, and go on.

If you are asking what if the cravings aren’t pseudo guilt-related, I suppose we are back to Square One…limiting those carbs! 

For me (I have no additional health factors such diabetes or gluten allergies), I have just about decided that I have been believing a lie that my freedom is limited.  I have more praying and thinking to do, but this is really making sense to me!  Getting rid of strongholds and a wrong belief system, a renewed mind and reaping the fruits of the spirit (which include self-control) sounds really good to me at this stage in my life. 

I have a lot more to write about this topic, and I will be posting about it in the coming weeks.  Some very interesting thoughts….

For more A to Z entries, clicky:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z Challenge: The "P" Edition

Physical Vs. Spiritual

What if...eating carbs made me feel guilty, and that's why I want to eat more and more, and it has nothing to do with my physical being, but just my way of dealing with the pseudo guilt. 

 I'm going to give this some extra thought.

red divider photo: pink, red flower divider DIVIDERS.gif

Parrot photo 2013AtoZParrot_zps0fc05520.jpg 
  Parrot, Nashville Zoo
Phlox photo 2013AtoZPhlox_zps40608412.jpg 
Pigeon photo 2013AtoZPigeon_zps71d37371.jpg 
  Pigeon (Nashville, TN)
Pink Leaves photo 2013AtoZPinkLeaves_zpseb24906d.jpg 
Pink Leaves 
pink dividers photo: DIVIDERS 2545203f48gafsdjj.gif

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