Thursday, January 31, 2008

Too Busy? (*edited)

Ever feel like you're simply too busy? Too much to do, not nearly enough time. Clean the house, cook the meals, help with homework, spend time with hubby, have coffee with friends, drive from here to there 40 times a week, take kids to soccer/ballet/art class, do ministry work, do service projects, go to Church, Bible study, life group...

It's weird, but I often go from one extreme to the other. One day I'm so busy I can't even think straight, the next day I'm bored out of my mind (not usually for lack of something to do so much as lack of motivation to do anything). When I'm sitting at either end of the spectrum one thing is consistent - I find excuses to skip out on my time with God. Too tired, too busy, I deserve a rest, taking the day off, other very important Godly things to take care of...

The funny thing is, any time I skip out, my whole day suffers. I feel either rushed or completely lacking in 'get up and go;' I am either frantic or frustrated; I feel angry, sad, cranky, lonely, irritated - all at the same time! I want to be left alone, but hate feeling isolated.

God has called me to spend time with Him each morning. (Morning might not be everyone's time, but I do know that He wants time from each of us, whether morning, evening, mid-day.) It seems counter-intuitive, but the days where I'm up at 6:00 or 6:30am are my best days. Even if I was up with a baby 14 times that night. Even if I have 6 million things to do, plus errands to run, plus misbehaving children. Although, I've even noticed that the kids' behavior is better on these days (or maybe it's just the mom's disposition).

* Here's a quote I read today that spoke to my heart:
It's so easy to be caught up with the busy things of life that we overlook tending our inner lives. Then we often find chaos in our heart and mind and wonder why God seems distant. During those times we will most likely find our Bible starting to gather dust. God's Word is nourishment for our souls. ~ Gail Rogers

It's crazy! I would never risk not eating the food my body needs for survival (and enjoyment, lol). I don't risk driving without my seatbelt (and my cell phone in case of emergency). I can't imagine hopping on a motorcycle without a helmet (okay, if you know me I know you're thinking, "come on, Tyler, you would never get on a motorcycle to begin with!" true). So why do I take risks with the very ESSENCE of my life?! Nothing is good without Christ at the heart of it. My best intentions at life - parenting, housekeeping, ministry - none of it is worth anything if I've done it on my own. My very soul cries out against it!

"Keep God's Word at the very core of your life. As a Christian you simply cannot risk living otherwise." ~ Gail Rogers

* In reading my daily devotions, I made the mistake of crediting a really good quote to the wrong author! The "verse" I had listed was, in fact, not scripture at all, but a fantastic quote. (Ooops.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thin is IN! Tuesday

It was not a great week. My biggest exercise was sledding on Sat (which I calculated to only be worth 3 points of extra food - darn)...didn't get to the gym at all. Ate birthday cake twice, and went out to dinner and a movie once. Actually, I'm surprised I lost anything at all!

So, here's this week's stats:
weight: 153.2lbs (down 1.2 from last week, down 7.8 total)
body fat: 29% (down 1 from last week, 2 total)

I will be super happy when I can comfortably fit more than just this one pair of jeans that I've been washing 4x/week for the past few months! (Soon...I wore them last week once, but they were a bit snug...made quite the muffin top effect, lol.)

Oh, and here's my greatest fear... Malakai is hungry! So hungry that I can nurse him (both sides) and he'll still drink a 4-6 oz bottle. Which indicates that, in spite of my diligent efforts, I am simply not producing enough milk. And I know that if I am supplementing regularly (like several bottles per day) it will become irritating to both breastfeed and bottle feed. AND DID YOU KNOW I GET TO CONSUME 10 EXTRA POINTS PER DAY WHEN I'M BREASTFEEDING!? I cannot imagine surviving on only 20 points a day - right now I'm at about 30 and some days I'm starving! (Guess I'll really have to kick up the efforts at the gym.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Interesting thing about Men...

Recently, my husband suggested to me that we pick up a marriage book and work through it together... As most women would, I responded with glee! My husband cares enough to work on improving our marriage, sigh, happy face. Now, imagine for a moment that I was the one making the suggestion - the more likely response from him would be: a) ignore the suggestion; b) reject the suggestion; c) ignore the suggesion; d) take offence at the implication that he is a less-than-perfect mate; or e) all of the above! (On a side note, this is not a commentary on my darling husband in particular, but more a general observation about the differences between men and women.)

Incidentally, the book we intended to study is available in DVD format, and being offered by the marriage ministry in our Church - being the kind of folks that we are (that is, just slightly this side of completely lacking in motivation, lol), we went for the easy route. Tonight marks week 2...

The author/speaker, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, has quite the humorous take on how the genders view things differently. Take, for example, the statement "I have nothing to wear." What does this mean? When I say it, it probably means I have nothing NEW to wear, or possibly I have nothing THAT FITS to wear. Heard from Pat, on the other hand, it likely means I have nothing CLEAN to wear. LOL!

Now, indulge me for a moment as I ponder the title of the book... "Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs." Huh? I get the love part - we all need love, right?! It's up there next to food and water on the hierarchy. But respect? Seriously? Shouldn't respect be EARNED??? According to Eggerichs, no! Unconditional love for the woman (that is, love that is not contingent upon actions and performance, but simply for being) is equivalent to unconditional respect for the man (that is, respect and honour for who he is and what he does, even at those times we feel his performance is lacking). I must say, this concept is almost beyond my ability to grasp!

An example? I recently picked up a picture of little Kai for our wall of fame (Pat's actually quite good at photography, and we posed the baby all nicely). Unfortunately, the picture was slightly off-centre. Pat comments on this flaw (I wonder if he's hinting that it's somehow my fault...) and my reply is this, "yeah, I noticed those pictures you took for my blog are a bit off-centre, too," with a chuckle. And we move on to living life with 5 kids...

A couple hours later, Pat enlightens me - somehow, in my casual observation, he has interpreted a slight to his ability. What he heard - "you are terrible at taking are a should never take pictures again." Again I say, HUH? My comment (or perhaps a better word is criticism) made him feel disrespected. Until that moment, I had interpreted the word 'respect' to mean ("you are a good person who does good things") - nope! Respect really means "you are capable, you are able, you do a good job." Ah-hah! No wonder my husband figured we needed a marriage book... (On another note, I have realized this to mean that every time I comment on, or God-forbid correct the way he parents, I am disrespecting him. Which is essentially the same as if he were not loving or appreciating me - for example not answering with a resounding "NO!" when I ask if something makes me look fat.) Shoot. I've got a lot of work to do!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thin Is IN! Tuesday

Over the years of many pregnancies, I have tried my hand at several weight-loss regimes. To be honest, I can't even say which is most effective - because I ALWAYS end up pregnant within a couple months of reaching my goal weight! LOL! But this time, I expect to be reaching my final goal weight (that is, as long as the test results come back as "0 mobility/motility;" if they don't, Pat figures that's God's way of telling us to go for building ourselves a whole football team, ha!).

Here's a little background for ya...
110 lbs - age 18, 1996
118 lbs - age 19, 1997 (never lost the weight following a miscarried pregnancy)
174 lbs - age 20, March 1998 (day before Braeden's birth)
*140 lbs (approx) - age 21, July 1999 (our wedding)
172 lbs - age 24, February 2002 (day before Abbey's birth)
**132 lbs - age 24, April 2002 (6-8 weeks after Abbey's birth)
181 lbs - age 25, April 2003 (day before Meg's birth)
***138 lbs - age 26, summer 2004
182 lbs - age 27, April 2005 (day before Shea's birth)
****140 lbs - age 28, December 2006 (wore a bikini in the Dominican)
189 lbs - age 29, September 2007 (day before Kai's birth)

* just basically dieted, reduced calories
** worked out hard at the gym 3-4 days/week (for a few months, lol)
*** joined a group ran by a woman in our Church, based on healthy lifestyle habits
**** weight watchers, gym occasionally (like 1-2 times per week)

Starting Stats (Jan 7, 2008):
5'6" tall
161.0 lbs
31 % body fat (this means 50 lbs are FAT, gross!)
BMI score of 25.7, "overwieght"
goal weight = 140 (or less)
total to lose = 21 (or more)
Method: weight watchers and regular gym attendance (2-3x/wk)

Jan 14, 2008:
157.8 lbs (3.2-)
31% body fat
lost 15% of goal

And this week!!! (Jan 21, 2008):
154.4 lbs (3.4-, total 6.6-)
30% body fat
lost 31% of goal to date

So, here goes the weight-loss journey! There's a scary kind of accountability to keep losing and not be a pig with all of you watching - ugh! I'll keep you posted each Tuesday, and maybe periodically throw in a pic - but not every week...I want the difference to be noticable!

BTW, my hubby Pat and my friend Louise are joining me in this weight watchers challenge, and they're doing great (though I'm not at liberty to discuss their actual progress - everyone is losing ;)). We were planning on making it a bit of a contest, so if you have any suggestions of a prize for the winner, please comment!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Got Fat?

FYI - weigh-in day is Monday, but whatever. ;)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Out of Control

self'-control', n. restraint of oneself or one's actions, feelings, etc.

also known as... self-discipline, self-possesion, restraint, poise, composure, reserve (see resolution)...determination, will, decision, strength of mind, resolve, master over self, moral couirage, tenacity, doggedness

also referred to as... "denying one's flesh" (the flesh, or the human nature and its desires are often driving human choices...Scripture says to deny the flesh - or refuse to give in to our human desires - and instead seek God's will)

I have been on a binge! A binge of selfishness and greed. I have been out of control!

While pregnant with this last beautiful child (Malakai), I ate what I wanted when I wanted it. The result - a weight gain of 49 pounds (not something a woman nearing 30 can afford to do to her body).

I spent the last year (or many years, really) of my life spending money on what I wanted when I wanted it. The result - every single bill behind (some unpaid for 3 months), creditor phone calls, NSF cheques and the accompanying fees.

While I know I should be up each morning reading my Bible, praying, and connecting with my Lord, I hit the snooze button more days than not. I'd rather sleep. When my kids ask me to play games, colour, read, or just hang out, I say "not right now" more often than not. I'd rather clean (or cook, or do the banking, or be on the phone, or be on the computer...). If someone is misbehaving and I should go conduct some discipline, yelling from where I'm currently seated/standing/working seems to the modus operanus. The list could go on, and on, and on.

I have no self-control, no discipline, no will. (Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a [woman] who lacks self-control.)

We live in a culture that tells us we can all have whatever we want whenever we want it, and without having to work for it...we deserve it...why wait, when we can have it now...we can have MILLIONS of dollars working only hours a week...we can have a Cindy Crawford body only exercising 10-minutes a day..."I'm worth it!"

God's world can be so counter-intuitive! He wants me to deny my desire to be lazy (and hit snooze, or yell)...He wants me to deny my desire to shop more and pay bills less...He wants me to deny my desire to stuff my face with all the yummy and unhealthy things I crave. Why?

Titus 2:3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God.

Ah-hah! I am supposed to learn self-control in my life so that other women can learn from me (from my mistakes and my successes). I am supposed to learn self-control in my life so that no one will think badly of God or His Word (and my selfish and greedy nature will not cause anyone to reject the Gospel of Christ). (LOL, not that I consider my almost-30 self an 'older woman,' but that I have more years of Spiritual growth under my belt, if you know what I mean.)

This year, I am committed to getting things back under control. Not through my own strength, not by my own will - but with the help of the Only One who can truly teach me to deny my flesh. I believe that if we are obedient in the small things, obedience in the bigger things just naturally occurs. So by practicing on my small issues (eating, spending) I believe it will be easier to work out my big issues (time in the Word, yelling).

Here are the steps I've taken so far: I'm on Weight Watchers and have a membership at the gym (maybe I'll start doing a "Makeover Monday" series so you can track my progress along with me, what do you think?). AND, my beautiful friend Christine spent HOURS with me figuring out a budget that works (and most importantly gets the bills paid and kept up-to-date)...

Here's what God has been doing to help me with the other issues: I have been virtually unable to sleep past 5am for 2 weeks (it's not the most pleasant wake-up call, as my back pain has been terrible, but the agony typically eases by about 9am) - what else does one do at 5am besides drink coffee and read the Bible?! AND, I have been really noticing how the children yell at one another and at us (Pat and I)...when I hear it I can hear my own tone of voice and words echoing back at me (yikes!).

My hope and prayer is this: may I submit myself to the will of God for my life (rather than the selfish desires of my human nature and what the world tells me I should focus on), and through this "denying of my flesh" may other women think good things about God, and may my children see and love the Jesus that lives in my heart...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ten Guidelines from God

Effective Immediately, please be aware that there are changes
YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be
completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to
grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life.

I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing,
this seems very little to ask of you.
Please, follow these 10 guidelines:

1. QUIT WORRYING: Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry.
Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens
and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over
every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST: Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list.
No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be
the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until
you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long,
I am after all... God. I can take care of anything you put
into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known,
I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME: Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take
them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your
problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them
on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list.
Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake,
put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE: Don't wake up one morning and say, 'Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here.' Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do my job.

5. TALK TO ME: I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. HAVE FAITH: I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me; you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7. SHARE: You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven'theard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten howto cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT: I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences.You grew from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to do list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the universe in only six days, everyone thinksI should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND: Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress
like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical.

10. LOVE YOURSELF: As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only: to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of love. Love me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart achewhen I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget it!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sorry, I'm bad at this

I really intend to blog daily, or at least every other day. And I start one almost every day. BUT, I get 2 sentences into it and get interrupted, "mom, I need, I want a snack...mooooom, the movie won't work...MOM, WIPE MY BUM!" and I totally lose my train of thought. I'll start sitting down in the evening once everyone's in bed - maybe I'll complete an entire post in one sitting. (Hey, when did my kids stop calling me Mommy?! That's the saddest little realization...)

So here's my little food for thought today (borrowed from Alicia Britt Chole):

The thunder sounded in the distance as my dad and I exchanged smiles. Hearing the summons, we both rose and took our places on the deck. Side by side we sat in silence relishing the first movements of nature's symphony.

The wind carried to us the sweet promise of rain. The lightening danced to a rhythm it alone could hear. The clouds rolled like an ocean over our heads.

While the storm proclaimed nature's untamed beauty, I sat in perfect peace in daddy's arms and tears of contentment collected in my eyes.

From the beginning, Dad was determined that his child would not inherit fear. "There is nothing to fear, " he would say as he scooped me up and carried me out to our chair. Over the decades, I grew to savor storms - they were an invitation to rest with my daddy.

Dad's arms can no longer hold me - I am reminded of that reality every time I hear a distant thunder. But Another still sits near me when the winds beat against my life.

Life's storms are rather impolite. They neither consider our calendars nor consult our hearts. Without requesting permission they simply come.

But each time they come, our Father God smiles and whispers, "There is nothing to fear."

As the earth shakes and our dreams crumble, God extends to us His strong arms. As the wind howls and our faith trembles, God offers to hide us in Himself.

Life's storms issue to us an invitation to rest with Father God. Nestled securely in His eternal embrace, even the most furious storm can not crush our fragile hearts.

Monday, January 7, 2008


"The person who's calls you answer every time, that's the one you're in a relationship with." This is roughly quoted from a movie Pat and I watched last night. It's a striking truth. The people we spend our time talking to and hanging out with, the activities we engage in most often, these are like a mirror, reflecting our life's priorities.

If asked (well, I'll tell you even if you don't ask, lol), my list of what's important to me goes something like this: God, marriage, family, friends, ministry, fun, money. But if I asked someone else, based solely on their observations of how I spend my time (let's say they can see everything), they might suggest my priorities are: driving around, talking on the phone, working on the computer, reading novels, running interference for the kids, ministry, shopping, cleaning, cooking, yelling (hard to know where to place that one on the list), budgeting, coffee with friends, prayer/Bible reading, husband, TV (this one has only been bumped down on the list recently, since we abolished TV from the main living room), health/fitness...


Friday, January 4, 2008

Stained Glass Masquerade

I heard this song a couple years ago, and it touched a deep and aching place in my soul....

(If anyone can tell me how I could have posted this video directly in my blog, instead of just a link, please share your techno-wisdom!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What a Day

I am so glad this day is over. Phew! I'm exhausted, I have a headache, my throat hurts, and I'm super cranky. The kids were wacked out today, and mom wasn't much better. The reason for the headache and sore throat - waaaaay too much yelling.

I have a confession to make...I am a yeller. It's a problem for me. In many cases I am practically incapable of preventing myself from bellering, especially with the kids. Partly, I'm sure, because the volume level is such that we all need to be loud to be heard. Mostly, though, because I lose control - I lose control of my children and I lose control of myself.

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that about 50% of my prayers involve my problem with yelling - confessing, asking forgiveness, repenting, and especially begging for God to change me. My 'theme' verse these days is Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. God has given me these 5 children to LOVE and to teach about His love...He wants me to embark on the journey of being a mommy with JOY...The Lord has given me the responsibility for setting the emotional tone of our home and maintaining PEACE...PATIENCE is one of the many virtues the Father wants me to develop...What I show my children about KINDNESS will be what they understand about the Lord's kindness...God has called me to be FAITHFUL in all things, little (like money) and large (like parenting) - faithful to His standard...Just as His voice and hands are GENTLE with me when I mess up, so should I be with my babies...God can't change me unless I choose to exercise some SELF-CONTROL.

I hate to make grandiose commitments to drastically change things, because when I screw up (which will inevitably happen) I feel so discouraged. But it really is the time for big changes! I am going to start tonight by posting the fruits of the Spirit throughout my home, to remind me of who I want to be - who I'm called to be. If my children learn about God through my actions, they are currently learning that God has no patience and a very loud, angry voice. That is simply not true! God is so loving and gentle, so patient and kind - trust me, I know this because of how many times I've messed up and how He just forgives me each time... Now is the time for change!