Shelly's Spot

The Words That Tumble Onto The Page

Author: mrscinaz (page 1 of 6)

Faith Fuels Faith

Faith fuels faith, in good times the faithful thank God for their blessings, in hard times the faithful lean on God to pull them through. The faithful learn that they are never truly in control, that it is God who sets the stars in the sky, and puts them in motion, and it is God who sees my days unfold and knows where I am going.
The Faithful know that we are small and helpless without God; we know that it is through His glory, through the blessings poured out by Jesus Christ, it is the Holy Spirit in us; that makes us what we are. We don’t earn the blessings, we can’t. We can’t prepare for the journey, because we can’t know where we are going, but we move forward in faith. We gain nothing without the loving grace of God.
The purpose of our life is to humbly seek Christ in all we do. People spend so much time trying to follow rules or looking for signs that they miss the signs while breaking the rules. Instead of looking for signs, look for Christ, instead of following a bunch of rules, just follow the one command: love one another. If we love one another, the rest of the rules will fall into place.
I have been spending a lot of time working on meditation, learning to turn off my mind and just be silent and still with the Spirit, it is an amazing and difficult journey, but one I am joyfully undertaking. I want to grow spiritually, I want to experience all that God wants me to experience, so I endeavor each day to connect with the Spirit who is in me, and to remember that Christ is in me and I am in Christ.
Matthew 24:42 reminds us to be aware in the moment.  “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is more precious than anything else we can acquire in this life, once found we can only fully enter if we let go of those “things” that hold us here, and instead devote and invest ourselves in our relationship with God. (Matthew 13:44-46) The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
When we try to hold on to the things of this world, we sacrifice the things that really matter, the eternal gifts of God. This world, this life is fleeting, but if we spend all of our time dwelling on/in the past or fretting/dreaming about the future, then we never truly live in the present. When we cling to things that don’t matter, we lose sight of the things that do. (Matthew 16:24-26)  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
So, what have I been doing lately? Trying to work on being in the moment with the Spirit, and now I think I am ready to start writing more about the things that occur to me through the process, as this practice is opening scripture up to me in new ways. In faith, I will continue forward, believing that this is the path that the Lord has set my feet on. Blessings to all –

Where I Am On This Journey Of Faith

I am in a good place in my faith journey, when I wake up in the morning I feel the peace of the Lord surrounding me, calming me and strengthening me for the day ahead. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ is such that I do not feel compelled to convince others that I am right, to convert others to my way of thinking, or to condemn those who disagree, on the contrary I feel driven to be more caring, more supportive, more accepting and more loving to all of God’s children without regard to the path they follow. Today I read from 1John chapter 4 and it spoke to me about love, and how we are supposed to be loving and are loved and I realized that we all too often get so hung up on being right before other people that we forget about being right before God.

How quick we are to make excuses for why we cannot do God’s will, cannot follow God’s path. How quick we are to excuse our own failings and condemn others for theirs. How quick we are to believe that we alone have the wisdom to know right from wrong, to judge rightly the sins of others, to be more holy – we are not supposed to be the judges, we are no more holy than another, we are never wise enough. As long as we wander through our own egos, we will continue to stumble.

The Church in the book of Acts must have been amazing, the perpetual threat of pain or death and yet the promise of the Holy Spirit. Watching miracles happen daily, seeing people come to a relationship with Christ in large numbers. Speaking in languages never learned. What an amazing journey and process. In that time, as the Church was being born, formed and imagined, all members of the Church helped as they could the group as a whole. Those who had much, gave much, so that those who had nothing could grow closer to God, could develop a deeper relationship with Christ, could answer the call and become more fully faithful.

I still find it amazing, that a story told so long ago, that it reaches through history, through today and on into the future. God has seen each day of my life, of all life, He is present in each moment. His will is the only will that matters. He created the world, told the story, our story, for all time. Everything we do, every step we take, every word we speak, every breath, every heartbeat, every joy or sorrow, the Lord is there, here and with us through it all. He sees us, knows us, loves us, saves us, carries us and blesses us. It is amazing and still people don’t, can’t, or will not see the truth, that is amazing as well.

Is it fear? Is it fear of the Lord or fear of the truth? Do they fear punishment or fear that they deserve punishment? All of our days are spent deciding what kind of person we will be, each new day. Will we stick to the path we are on, or wander away? Will we rely on God or on man? Will we be strong or weak? We pray for forgiveness, strength, blessings, but do we have them, do we admit the truth of our own minds? All of our lives we begin each day with a choice, what path shall I travel today?

Christ does not wander away when we do, He does not lose interest, or forget His promises, or lose sight of us, we lose interest, forget our promises and lose sight. Today, I will be more loving, I will endeavor to be more faithful, I will strive to be better, not because I fell short yesterday, but because all of life should be spent striving for better, striving to be stronger in my faith, to be closer to Christ, and in accepting the fact that it isn’t to measure up, or to deserve something, it isn’t to earn anything, it is to show my gratitude, to celebrate my salvation, to rejoice in the blessings given to me, so many years ago. Each day is a new day, a new chance, not to get it right, but to experience the fullness of His love and to be grateful for the gift. I will not judge others, but invite them to be loved, I will not condemn others, but invite them to live forgiven, I will not turn my back on another child of God, because we are all children of God and only God knows the heart, only God sees the days of each of His children, and only God knows what will happen from each of my encounters, each of my conversations. I will not try to do anything for God, but rather be open to God doing things through me, and that is all I can hope for, all I can be, is a child of God, willing to receive His love and to share that gift just as it is given to me, freely.

Bless Me

Dear Lord,

I know that there are blessings too many to count that You would love to give me, and I know that I fail to come to You and ask for them because I limit myself. Please forgive me this day my weakness and fear and please shower on me the blessings I have not had the wisdom or courage to ask for, the blessings that You created just for me.

I know that You created me in Your image and that You have prepared for me a wonderful life and a personal destiny, I know too, Lord, that my weakness and my fear keeps me from that life, from the fullness of Your will. Forgive me, today, for staying in my small little world, for limiting myself and in so doing limiting Your glory. I pray for Your will in my life, to reflect You in all I do.

Please open Your heart to me this day, please be gracious to me, please use me, today, to carry Your blessings into the world I live in. Please expand my world to include all that You would have me see, please use me, mold me and strengthen me to be Your true disciple. Please bless me, Lord, so fully, that I can see Your hand as clearly as my own. Please bless me, and grant me confidence and assurance that You are with me, that the path I follow is the path You have laid out for me. Please use me and bless me in this journey, so that I can be called Your child. Please forgive me my hesitations, my doubts, my fears.

Bless me, expand my influence in Your service and bring me to a place where my faith can flourish and I can be a better servant, for I am Your child, Your servant and Your disciple.

Here I am, Lord…

Your humble servant, through prayer and petition, awaiting Your call, please bless me with the wisdom to know, the ability to see and hear Your call and the faith to answer.

Amen

New Year, New Promise

When the clock strikes twelve and a new year begins a lot of people have grand ideas about how this year will be their year. They will write that novel, lose that weight, find that love, cut those strings, leave behind their bad habits and poor choices and pick up good habits, make good choices. But, why, what is so magical about the stroke of midnight that makes people believe that every bad thing will be set aside and life will instantly be better? Or to go further, why then do we wake up on January 1 and expect all the things we promised ourselves the night before to have suddenly come to pass with no effort or attention on our part. New Years sets us up for failure all too often, as we see it as a line in the sand, here I am, tomorrow I will be on that side of the line and I will find the courage, strength, drive, ambition, whatever it is I need to make my dreams come true. Then we sleep in on January first, often sleeping off a night of drinking and we wake up groggy and wondering why our lives haven’t changed.

This year can be different, this year can see those promises made to ourselves come into being, but only if we do them. Only if in faith we step forward and do what needs to be done. We can lose the weight, maybe write the novel, it is harder than some people think, we can leave behind the things that we know are no good for us, we can improve our relationships, we can be better people. We have to really want it though. We have to spend the time and energy, and we have to have the faith that with Christ all things are possible. We have to accept that we might need a little divine intervention on occasion, we need to pray, and pray some more and rely on God and the people who God places in our lives.

Jesus told us to ask, seek, knock. So, maybe we should be doing that. This year I will daily knock on the door and invite Jesus to join me on the journey, to come along with me, to be beside me, to go before me, to surround me and strengthen me, to keep me on the right path. This year I will seek out the opportunities He places in my life to serve Him and His people, I will seek out the path He would have me walk, I will seek His will for my life, and in seeking, I will find and I just might write that novel or book, if that is His plan for my life. This year I will be bolder, I will ask for what I want, I will ask for guidance, I will ask for blessings, I will ask for help, I will ask. When the clock strikes twelve every night, a new day begins, and this year I will see each new day as a new chance to be who I am meant to be, and I will not worry about yesterday, and I will not worry about tomorrow, and I will not worry, because I will once again knock and invite Christ to walk with me, each day. I do not have a New Year’s resolution, I have a daily resolution, a new day resolve, a new view of life, each day is a blessing, and I will walk through this year in that knowledge.

 

Dear Lord, 

Please bless me today and every new day with renewed faith and hope, with renewed focus and ambition to be Yours. Bless me with the gifts necessary to do Your will, to follow the path You have placed before me. Remind me daily to knock, and invite you to come along with me, to seek Your will, to ask for your blessings. Remind me that each day is a new day, a new chance, a new moment, and bless me in those days, in those moments, in the path, so that I will be who You want me to be, who You are making me into. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Your blessed Son –

Amen

Ending One Year And Beginning A New One

When 2016 began I weighed a remarkable 283.6 pounds, I was eating poorly, drinking a lot of diet cola and not exercising. I was slowly and with little regard for the truth, killing myself. By the last day of 2016 I had given up my diet cola addiction, I had completely changed the way I eat and the way I view food, and I was exercising daily and looking forward to adding to my workout routine. So, I ended 2016 a full 90 pounds lighter than when I started, for those of you who can’t do the math that fast, that means that when I woke up on new years day 2017 I weighed roughly 193.4, a little over 90 pounds lost. I am now 4 days into the new year and down a little more, I weighed 192.6 this morning, which is a 91 pound loss since starting this journey. I began this journey on April 28, 2016.

I met a woman at the store not that long ago, and when I knew the exact day I started on this path, she pointed out that I sounded like an addict who had given up something. In a way, I feel a bit like an addict that has given up something. Certainly my diet cola habit was an addiction, when I went without for more than a day I would get headaches. Certainly the fact that I craved sweets and junk food, and not the healthy options, meant that my eating habits had turned from nourishing to filling some other need, some addiction that I had developed over time. So, maybe I am a recovering addict, but food, unlike most addictions people get through, can’t be shunned forever, food is necessary and isn’t evil or the enemy, even if sometimes it seems that way. The addiction then must be conquered in a world where I will forever be exposed to food. I am no longer an addict, I no longer crave the garbage and junk food, I no longer crave or am even tempted to drink the diet cola, I am not interested in the sweets or artificial sweetener that brought me back for more over and over in a constant cycle of unhealthy eating and drinking that only left me wanting more and weighing more.

I know this is my path, and that it isn’t for everyone, and it might not even work for everyone, we are all of us individuals, my new goals are to continue on this journey, to keep losing weight and to getting fit and to building strength and stamina. My new goals are to being more active, every day, to learning more about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, to living as clean as I can. My new goals are to not become that know it all, who will tell you every mistake you are making in your life, who will lecture you about your choices in that overbearing way, because I gave up what you still do. I am not looking to jump on a bandwagon and spout off about how my way is the best way, or the only way, or what everyone should be doing. This is my lifestyle choice, it is not my religion, it isn’t going to work for everyone. What I can tell you is that I had to give it all up at once, I had to make the change quickly and with no looking back, because that is what worked for me. It might work for some people, others might need to make changes gradually, still others might not need to change as much, everyone is different and their path must be their own. What I will tell you is that if I can do it, if I can change my life and lifestyle so drastically, and have so much success and find myself growing smaller everyday as I grow wiser and stronger, then anyone can do it.

I didn’t find a magic lamp that did it for me, through my faith and the support of other people I have continued on this path. I think talking about it, making it public and putting it out there, so that people were interested and watching, that made me have to be honest and forced me to either stick with it, or admit defeat and I am not good at admitting defeat, or losing in general, or in giving up in front of people, so I knew my own mind well enough to know that I would rather keep going than to admit I couldn’t do it to other people. Maybe that made the difference this time, so often we go on quiet diets, where we don’t want to mention it, in case it doesn’t work, or people can’t see the results fast enough, and they begin asking. I don’t care if it slows down, as long as I don’t. So, bring on 2017, the new year promises to be a healthier one than I have had in years, and I know I will get to go shopping for new clothes, more than once, and I will move more, and eat less and be healthier and happier and it will be good.

Closing In On The End Of The Year

The scale today tells me that I have lost 87.6 pounds since starting this process, I would love to end the year at or beyond 90 pounds lost, but only because I am so close. When I started this at the end of April I would have been happy with 30 pounds lost by the end of the year, at some point in the summer I began to entertain the idea of ending the year 60 pounds lighter than when 2016 began. Now I see 90 pounds getting close and I am so excited. Now, with more than a week left one might think that losing less than 3 more pounds would be easy, or with more than 85 pounds lost you might think that I should be happy with that, both are true and I am happy and proud. I have all of 2017 to continue to work on what I have started and now it is who I am, this person who eats less and healthier, this person who works out every day, this person who no longer lives behind the weight and baggy clothes. I see 90 pounds as possible, when I would have never dreamed that would be true when I started this process, but 90 pounds isn’t where this ends, I still have quite a ways to go before I am where I am headed. 90 pounds will put me at 193.6 pounds, which leaves me with almost 60 pounds to go on the way to where I am going. I am eagerly awaiting my new AB bench, which should arrive today, but is for Christmas, so I don’t know if it will get put together before this weekend. I am looking forward to adding to my workout routine in the coming year, I have great plans, I am adding strength training, working my core and my arms a lot more. I will continue to do Zumba, and will increase my walking. We went to the Grand Canyon this past weekend and I was excited to be able to climb the stairs from the train depot to the rim without having to stop to catch my breath, and was able to walk around without ending the day sore or too tired to walk. I am looking forward to adding some hiking into my life this coming year, where we live we can hike year round, it will be nice to finally take advantage of that fact.

I am looking at resolutions for the new year a little differently than I have in the past, mostly because I am so good at breaking the resolutions that are made with no regard to where I am starting. So this year I plan to continue what I am doing, and I plan to add gradually to my routines more workouts and more challenges. I plan to continue eating the way I am eating, I might try new things or remove more old things, as I learn to balance and plan for a future where I am fit and active. I plan on continuing to write, and to build my skills as a writer and nurture my creative side. This year my resolutions are about continuing on the right path and to let the weeds grow over the wrong paths, to walk past my old ways as I head into becoming who I should be. I am looking forward to the coming year, one that promises to be better than I could have hoped for when I set about losing weight and getting in shape. This coming year will be about living life to the fullest, about loving more and growing in my faith, using my gifts toward fulfilling my calling in life. This coming year will be about taking care of myself, and taking care of those I love, those people who I can now better care for because I am healthier, because I am now setting a better example.

The scale today tells me I have lost 87.6 pounds since the end of April, but it tells me so much more than that, it tells me what I have gained, it shows me how far I have come, it shows me where I am heading, it affirms what I am doing and it shows me that I am on the right path. I am looking forward to the coming year, because it promises to be a great one, full of personal growth, full of promise, and full of hope. Whether I end the year with a 90 pound loss or not, I am so thankful for the blessings that made it possible to get to this point and I will continue to move forward.

Is, Was And Will Be

It is far too easy when going about our daily lives, when mired in the minutia of our overstuffed calendar, while trying to multi-task to such a degree that we lose sight of what is important, to easily forget what matters most. Time is not our god, in fact, time does not even come into the equation. Our God is, was and will be, our God is constant and beyond the constraints of time. In the span of eternity, our lifetime is barely a blink of an eye. We lose sight of this because we prioritize based on our own desire, our own schedule, our own clock, but our time is not the same as God’s time. When we ask for something in prayer, we want the answer to be now, the direction to be clear now, not tomorrow and certainly not next week, month or year. The danger is when we look for the signs or answers in artificial places because we are in such a hurry that waiting can seem daunting, but waiting on the Lord is part of what we are working on. Learning to rely fully on God means waiting, patiently, for those answers, those nudges, those signs. God is not always in a hurry, and by His standard even being in a hurry might be a long time for us. Our lives are spent waiting, and yet we are not very good at it. Whether you are waiting for a good thing, the long anticipated arrival of a new child, the airplane to land and your loved one to walk through that door and into your arms, the walk down the aisle or the wait at the altar as she walks slower than you thought humanly possible. Maybe you are waiting for the results of a test that will determine the course your life will take. You might be waiting to hear from someone far away or to see someone in person, you might be waiting in line behind someone who has never seen the card reader at a grocery store and doesn’t know how to use it. Waiting for the phone to ring, for the other shoe to drop, for the letter in the mail, or the text to come through. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time waiting, we should be great at it, and yet, when it matters most, in matters of faith we lose patience, we want the answer now, and so often when we get the answer we are not paying attention to the details and so miss the signs. We are so busy filling every moment of our lives with stuff that we forget to focus on what is important. God has all the time in the universe, but we do not, and He not only understands but knows all too well how limited our time is, but He will not be rushed for our convenience, His plans are set and they will unfold in His time.

God is, was and will be, He is eternal, He is limitless, He is not bound to our rules of time, but He still wants our time, He still wants us to give to Him quality and quantity time, He still wants to be important enough to us to make our schedules, to be our focus, to be worth waiting for. We are heading into Christmas week, anyone who has ever had a child, or waited for one to be born should understand the anticipation, the excitement, the overwhelming urge to see the baby now, but we must wait, a baby will be born when it is time, even with the convenience of modern medicine, a baby cannot be rushed and can always surprise you and change your plans. We are about to celebrate the birth of our Savior, the birth of a baby who was born just to save us, just to bridge the gap, just to answer our prayers, so shouldn’t we focus on Him a little more and on our “other stuff” a little less? Can we make this Christmas about Christ, can we turn to God in patience and celebration and await the birth of His Son with Him? God is, was and will be, He is eternal, His time is not our time, but for a short time, the span of a young man’s life, God did limit His time to match ours, He did walk the days away serving us, protecting us, teaching us, promising us, working miracles and saving us. For a time, a brief time when you measure it, God did walk in our shoes, He did live within the confines of time as we understand, so He does understand us, He does know how hard it is for us to wait, for us to see the signs when we are so hurried, so stressed. God is, was and will be, we just have to be patient.

Dear Lord, 

Thank You so much for being patient with me, even as I often forget to be patient for Your will to express itself in my life. I know that You are eternal, that You are good and will work all things to Your will, and yet I lose focus and fail to listen, to see, to wait. I pray Lord that You will continue to bless me, that You will continue to guide me, that You will continue as you have from the beginning, I know that You are a God who loves me, that You have always been a God who loves me, and that You will always be a God who loves me, I am so thankful for that love, for that eternal promise, that gift that knows no end. As I look forward to celebrating Christmas Lord, I pray that you continue to bless me, continue to walk with me and continue to join me in the waiting. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Your precious Son and my Savior, I praise and thank You – Amen

Even More Of What I Am Doing

As I read the last post about the things I changed in my life to get me losing weight and moving to get fit, I didn’t mention that I log everything in the MyFitnessPal app, which is a handy (yes, there is a free version) tool for tracking everything you eat, drink, every workout, your weight, etc. I like this app, and there are others that are good as well, but I like the articles on the blog from this app. It links up to my fitness tracker, I have a Fit-Bit right now, and it also links up with the MapMyWalk app I use to map any walking routes I take and keeps track of distance and speed. I also started taking Collagen Peptides a few months ago, which I believe are helping with some of my achy stuff I have/had. There are great articles on-line about collagen peptides and their benefits, so I do not have to go into detail here about what I learned.

What I have done isn’t that difficult, it just takes some determination and some self informing research, all the information is available on-line, and available to anyone with a computer or smart phone and connection to the Internet.

How the process worked/works: I had to be painfully honest with myself, I had to write things down and really admit what I was doing to myself. This is probably the hardest part, you aren’t writing it down for anyone but you, but you have to take a good hard look at your habits and figure out what needs changing and what that change will look like. Once I had listed my personal “sins” or weaknesses, my bad habits and my falling off a cliff cravings that would and had sabotaged me in the past, I then took each one of those as smaller parts of the same whole and decided how I would eliminate them from my life. I do not plan on picking up those bad habits again, I do not plan on going back there. With my lists and notes to myself, I began searching for information that made sense to me, and once I hit on an idea I would go deeper into the research from that point. I looked at both sides of every discussion, looked for the science or lack there of, and moved forward when I felt sure that was the right path. I could have turned back and started over again in a different direction if I had needed to. As I have continued on this path I have continued to read, to research and to follow the signs I find toward a healthier and more fit me.

Why I am not calling this a diet: because it isn’t. Well, it is a complete life overhaul and one that will continue for the rest of my life. All the research indicates that if I want to live a long healthy life I need to work out for the rest of it, working out is not a punishment it is a reward, follow the logic, because I am active I am more able to go out and do what I want to do, the activity of working out leads to the other activities I want to do. Somewhere along the way my workout has become something I look forward to, so it really is a win-win. What I eat is what I want to eat as the new person I am becoming, I do not want the things I left behind, I feel so much better now, cleaner now, vibrant now, why would I ever go back and reintroduce into my life, diet and body the things that made me, not just obese, but feel bad. I am not taking this in stages, where with each new stage I get to add back something, I am actually regularly looking at my life and seeing where I can take away and where I need to add. I am regularly listening to my body and trying to live in such a way that I am working with my own body and not against it.

Where am I getting this stuff? Well, one of the things I decided was to figure out what got me where I was in the first place and I figured out that while it was all my own doing, some of it was also some of our cultural norms, so I pondered that and wondered what do other cultures historically do differently, recently and ancient, that keeps their populations thinner and living longer. One of the things I am working on adopting and implementing is the Japanese practice of “hara hachi bu”, this means that you eat until you are 80% full, no matter how much food is still on your plate. In our culture we eat all of it, if it is on our plate, we don’t know what 80% full even feels like, because we are not paying enough attention to our body and the signals it is sending out. If you want to learn more about the philosophy just perform a google search for “hara hachi bu”. It sounds so simple, yet I am undoing a lifetime of cleaning my plate. I wish this was something we taught our children, because instead what we do is fill their plate with adult sized portions and tell them to eat up or there will be no dessert and that is a recipe for disaster, just look at our obesity rates in this country. Ah, but this is not a lecture from a reformed “fat” girl and we must all decide where we are, where we are going and who we will be when we get there. So, to keep it in perspective, where I started was at 283 pounds an obese 52 year old woman. Where am I going, I plan on being below 140 pounds, my ideal goal when I started was 135 pounds, but not just a thinner me, a stronger and more fit me, picking up healthy habits along the way toward living a long, happy and healthy life.

Who will I be? That is still being decided, as I lose weight and work out I am discovering things about myself, my likes and dislikes, my style and outlook, I am discovering and rediscovering myself. I try to practice a Japanese philosophy as it relates to food, I drink my Matcha tea and use Matcha in baking. I do Zumba everyday. I take collagen peptides. I drink Kombucha, which if you haven’t tried it, there really is a difference in taste between brands. I continue to take some of my supplements, and look into changing some things, like looking for a better multivitamin. I am changing, for the better, I am more connected to my faith, probably because I am not cluttering my life with so much junk, I am writing again, which is great for my mental state. I want to live to be 104, a number based on doubling how old I am now, because I am finally getting it right.

I am heading in the right direction, and for now I am taking it one day at a time. I had a messed up relationship with food, I am recovering from that, I was not working out, I am remedying that, I was not taking care of myself, I am changing that. For now, I have to go get ready to do my workout this morning, so, make today an adventure.

Forgiven and Forgiving

The Bible regularly reminds us to be prepared, to stand ready… Luke 12:35-40

Watchfulness

35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

How we prepare is important, while we prepare ourselves physically, we must also prepare ourselves emotionally and spiritually. On the idea of preparing spiritually I have decided to clean out some of the cobwebs in my spiritual life and get things cleaned up and ready this year as I prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In preparing for the coming of the Lord, whether I am preparing to celebrate His birthday or preparing for His Second Coming, I need to let go of the things that distract me. So, I will live a forgiven life, and I will be a forgiving person. Forgiving someone is as much, if not more, for my benefit as it is for theirs. Forgiving someone releases the negatives and frees me to focus on my faith and my family, unrestricted by anger. I can forgive someone, but that does not mean that I need to forget and thus put myself in a position to be hurt again. If I forgive someone who is truly sorry for a transgression and we move on together, rebuilding our injured relationship that is good. What about those relationships that can’t be repaired? What about those people who are not sorry, who do not recognize the hurt they caused and don’t own their portion of the problem? I can still forgive them, because holding on to my hurt probably does nothing to them, if they are so blind to my initial pain, they will not see the continuation of my pain. No, I will forgive them, pray for them to be blessed, (not pray for them to see the error of their ways, that is making it all about me)I can and will pray for them to feel peace and to find their way on the path the Lord has placed before them. I do not have to enter back into the lion’s den and place myself at their mercy, I do not have to list for them the ways in which I believe they wronged me and wait for their sincere apology, I do not have to open myself up to more pain or risk future heartache, I can forgive them and move on. I am free to forgive because I am forgiven. God knows what I have done, and I am forgiven, the Lord does not forget my transgressions, He forgives them. So, in preparation for Christmas this year, as part of my getting ready and as part of my faith journey I choose to forgive, to let go of any and all baggage I am carrying around packed by someone else and weighing me down needlessly. I am clearing my head and heart and preparing myself, I hope that anyone who I have wronged can do the same, can let go and forgive, not for my sake but for their own.

Dear Lord,

Please let me live a forgiven and forgiving life, a life filled with love and not anger, a life filled with peace and joy and not resentment and regret. Please help me to be mindful of the traps that exist that would lead me to hold on to negative feelings, please keep me on the path You would have me walk, so that I don’t get mixed up in the situations that You would have me avoid.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Savior

Amen

How I Got Where I Am

When I started this weight loss journey I was not ready to admit out loud, or in print, how much I weighed. I wasn’t ready to admit how out of control I had gotten, but as I near another milestone I suppose I should go back a little and really explain how I got to the point of changing everything in an effort to take back control of my life.

My scale said I weighed 283 pounds, you read that right, 283 pounds is a big number and one I never thought I would see on a scale when I stepped onto it. It had been a gradual process, but it had been happening and I knew it and did nothing but talk to myself about it for years. I had recently been on a trip where my weight working together with other factors had made me be the person that keeps everyone else from having fun. I couldn’t walk that far, my knees hurt, my back hurt, I was the reason we sat still. When I got home I realized that all the dreaming and talking about losing weight were never going to change me. The only thing that could change me was me, and I didn’t want to have surgery to lose weight, but I also didn’t want to have surgery because of some complication from being obese. So, I began to list my issues and hit the Internet and look for what I could do, and how I could get control of this thing. I made a lot of discoveries, some of which the science is still in debate, but I jumped in with both feet and made changes.

I mentioned that I cut out a bunch of stuff, you can go back to my earliest posts to see what I did there. What follows is a more detailed description of what I did, it is not medical advice and please do not take it as such. I am not trained in medicine, I have no expertise and don’t think anyone should just do what I did because it worked for me. I know my own body and mind pretty well, and through my research I decided to take some steps.

I came to the conclusion that I probably had Candida overgrowth, a somewhat controversial issue, if you read enough articles, but I went through them and decided that if indeed this was possible then I did have it. So, I took a supplement to kill off as much Candida as I could and I also began taking a good pro-biotic to replace the bad with good. I say good pro-biotic because I had taken a useless pro-biotic for years. The pro-biotic I take has over 30 billion live cultures, from at least 10 different strains and some are colony forming spores. It was time to take back control of my gut. I also began taking fiber supplements. I took the full dose of the Candida supplements for 2 full months and then 1/2 a dose for another 2 months. By then my diet was completely different and my work out routine was well into habit levels. I began taking a supplement that curbs appetite naturally, without any negative side effects. I also began taking a supplement that aids in digestion, which I continue to take. All of these supplements are plant based and there are no harsh chemicals in them. I did do a gentle colon cleanse early on and I did take a supplement to aid in kidney cleansing/health for a brief time. My thought there was that I had been pumping toxins into my body for years and as I worked on flushing those out of me I might want to help my garbage flushing systems recover as well.

I will say that within 24 hours of stopping all the junk food, and starting the supplements I had lost the desire for the junk. Within a week I could easily pass by my old favorites in the store and even bring them home for my son and not even be tempted. My system began to react almost instantly in other ways, for one, my weight loss that first month was amazing, and it has continued to drop at a steady rate. I began working out about 3 weeks after starting this process.

My diet is now made up of healthy options, I do eat fruit and veggies more, but I still eat lean meats and grains. My grains are healthier and more resembling their original form. I eat a lot more fish, as I live in the desert my fish tends to be in the sardine form, which I have found a couple of brands that are packed in tins with nothing but other sardines, and are responsibly caught and tasty. I also like salmon and have found a pouch version that is also responsibly caught, from safe waters and I buy the one serving in a pouch as I am the only one in the house who will eat it. It is great on a salad.

I continue on some of my supplements, the appetite suppressing supplement is still part of my routine as is the fiber, pro-biotic and digestive aid. I also drink a bunch of water and a cup of tea each day, with matcha tea mixed in for good measure and health benefits. I work out every day, something I look forward to now. I am different than I was when I weighed 283 pounds, I have lost over 80 pounds and am almost under 200 pounds, so close I can feel it. I will continue to lose weight and work out to get fit, I will not go back to the things that got me so big to begin with. I am happier than I was, I feel better and look better, not just thinner but I look better.

That is how I started this whole process, I didn’t mention brands because I am not recommending or suggesting these to anyone else, I just thought I should be honest about how I got this far.

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