Sod Stories

Lately I have been thinking lot about sod.
dead sod

 

Fascinating, huh?

(okay maybe not.)

This spring I decided (pretty spur-of-the-moment, by the way) that it was time to sell my home.

Before putting it on the market, I did what any good little HGTV watcher would do:  I set out to increase my curb appeal!

My front yard needed…..*a bit* of TLC.

The 100+ yr old tree that I love dearly, had reeked havoc on my grass, causing it to be patchy at best.

There was also an unfortunate slope in my yard, causing a fair amount of weathered erosion to affect the little sidewalk leading up to the house.

Ugh.

{little tidbit….I disdain yard work.}

{as in….disdain!}.

But…motivation works wonders, and I soon found myself out in front, working hard to repair the damage that years and weather had caused (Thank you Aunt Becky and Uncle Leland for coming to my aid and helping me!!!).

The sod looked beautiful!

It was lush, and green, and altogether lovely.

I watered it regularly and thought I was caring for it exactly as ordered by the grass people.

It yielded wonderful results!!!

And then it didn’t.

Suddenly, almost overnight….the bulk of my beautiful new sod became….um….not beautiful.

It….(dare I say?)….Died.

Ugh.

I literally stare at it every. single. day.

I feel as though it smiles at me, mocking me as I come and go from my house…knowing that there is little I can do about it in this 90+ degree heat.

Ridiculous.

As if that weren’t enough, after much deliberating, the buyer of my beautiful little home ultimately backed out…forcing me to have to stare even longer at this now dead, lifeless sod.

{So sad!}

So much work for almost nothing.

Almost.

Lately, I have begun to stare at that sod and think about how much it reflects the state of our hearts and lives.

Jesus talked a lot about soil:

 

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13: 3-9)

 

Dirt.

He said we could be seeds that were either planted in shallow soil, rocky soil, thorny soil or lush soil.

Only time, weather, and the elements would determine which ones we were….just like my sod.

No matter how beautiful that sod was, no matter how hard or long I watered it…..

The soil beneath it was not conducive to life and it was only a matter of time before the surface went from green to brown.

God cannot be mocked.

We cannot fake Him out.

He cares very little about all that we may seem to be on the outside, and very much about all that we actually are on the inside.

Under it all.

Away from watchful eyes.

Beneath the layers that are easily watered and cared for.

Beneath the things that make us picture-worthy.

The question on my mind tonight?

What type of soil am I made up of??

Good soil takes work.

A quick, clean-up job of rocks and weeds cannot make up for a total soil overhaul.

How many times in life have I met someone with strong faith, been motivated and encouraged by them, challenged and even felt embarrassed at my own little faith…..only to later meet up with them….(sometimes years later), and find that they weren’t serving the Lord any longer at all??

Many times, friends.

Many.

I have watched it happen….followed it while it was happening….and marveled at how a mouth that once praised the Lord could now be cursing His name.

It baffles me every. single. time.

Terrifies me.

Makes my stomach hurt.

Leaves me awake at night wondering how such a change could come about.

Truth?

I do not want this to be the end result of my life.

I want to be soft, plant able, mold able, work able, rock-less soil.

Fertile soil….yielding fruit in its season.

I want His roots to go down deep, where weather and erosion and all of the elements of this decaying, external world will not lend to my downfall.

Conclusion?

Cling to Him and Him alone.

Him who alone is the Tiller of my soil.

Who alone knows the ins and outs of how I work, why I think like I do, and what work needs to be done.

Tonight I say, “Do the hard work, Lord!!!”

Revamp my soil.

Soften my hard heart.

Give me eyes to see….ears to hear….and a heart that beats for You and You alone.

Because storms??….He promised that they would come.

How we prepare for them, though, is the difference between life and death.

Literally.

I am consumed with this one question:

What will He say to me on the day that I meet Him face to face??

So many of us talk so much smack about all that WE will say to Him…….

{Him….the Maker of those tiny little F5 tornadoes…}

{Him….The Creator of Monsoons, Tsunamis, Hurricanes, and Earthquakes…}

 

We sometimes think soooo much about what we will say to Him…..but all that really matters is

{{{{What will He say to us.}}}}

One thing I believe for sure….nobody else but me will stand before Him on that day.

No friends will be there with me.

No crowds will be there influencing His opinion of me or cheering me along as I stand up to my Maker….nope.

That day?

That day will be about me and me alone.

How is my relationship with the Maker of this world?

Who is Jesus and what did His blood really do for ME.

{Questions that we all deserve to get to the bottom of before we breath our last breath this side of eternity}.

I could be wrong…..and of course many will disagree with me.

Of course.

Maybe, though….just maybe the cross is about more than being a piece of jewelry….

Maybe church is about more than just a first communion, a baby’s christening, or a place to wear a nice outfit to on Easter or Christmas.

Maybe we were actually created to worship….to actually know our Maker (Jeremiah 9:24).

Maybe…there was no hope for any of us….no chance of standing blameless before Him on our own at all….so He sent the perfect offering to die for us on our behalf.

Maybe Jesus really is what this is all about….

Maybe….if I get all that I want in this world….but fail to get this little tiny, humongous detail right….maybe it really will impact my entire eternity.

Maybe.

 

{Suddenly the dead soil doesn’t seem like it was such a waste of time after-all…..that is my Joyful Something that I am chewing on tonight.}

Celebration of All Things Slow

babyturtle

 

I’ve been waiting all day for the chance to write, but have been too busy to do so until now.

For starters, I weighed myself randomly today, and realized that I am now officially just over 80 pounds lost!!!

{{AAAHHH!!!!}}

Not gonna lie….just a wee bit excited about that.

I then proceeded to celebrate by enjoying two of my very favorite things in life:

1) Good coffee (paired with my very favorite Strawberry Cheesecake Quest Bar!).

2) A walk with my favorite little man, Henry.

And then?

My Gosh I thought you would never ask!!!

Well….I then ran for an hour, mowed my entire lawn, trimmed said lawn, and rounded out the rest of the day by spending five hours cleaning and power-washing my deck.

Which leads me to my recent life revelation:

I seem to have quite a bit of energy these days!

Honestly?

It completely snuck up on me.

I have heard many people say that exercise energizes you, but honestly?

Never really felt that way.

I have always felt very much that exercise exhausted me.

As in….completely.

As in…I could think of no better way to celebrate a finished workout than by settling in for a long winter’s nap.

Naps!!

{{Oh how I love thee!}}

However…..lately?

Lately I can b-a-r-e-l-y get myself to take one.

As in….almost never.

As in….it ticks me off, actually.

:)

The truth is, I honestly just have quite a bit of energy.

I’m not sure how it started, or when this change came about, but all I can say is that it did.

There’s something interesting about the concept of expending energy only to find that you then gain more energy.

For me it’s become a whole new take on the reap/sow mentality.

I sow my time and energy into activities like running (or my new biking thing that’s becoming an actual, real thing…but more on that later.)

In return I somehow become more energy-filled, more productive, and just overall more in control of my time.

Go figure.

I don’t want to embellish this or make it more than it is….After-all, I did watch a 5-hour Chopped Marathon on Food Network last weekend (I’m sorry but it was the All-Stars and I simply HAD to know who won–thank you Scott Conant for taking the whole thing, I would still be in mourning if it was the other guy).

I mean, I can dooo lazy.

And “chilling” is still one of my favorite states of being.

But these days?

These days sweating is–dare I say?–actually fun.

Really.

Random stuff too….like….

For whatever reason, I rather enjoyed the challenge of strapping on my bike helmet and making my first pilgrimage out on an actual, real-life highway last week.

{Still can’t get over that one.}

Also, I am really enjoying my new-found freedom and desire to run outside.

{Yes you read that right….talk about a change, huh??!!}

My biggest revelation lately?

Health….breeds more health.

Plain and simple.

Looking back, I started to tackle my personal m-o-u-n-t-a-i-n of weight last March (the 11th, but hey who’s keep’n’ track?! ;))

I didn’t even think it would really work.

I could’t bare the thought of adding in exercise as well.

So you know what?

I didn’t.

I basically, really and truly, did absolutely no exercise for almost the first 10 months of adapting to the THM way of eating.

And you know what?

I wouldn’t change a thing about that.

As in…not one thing.

Looking back, I can honestly say that this has all been unfolding in the most calm and peaceful way that I could have ever imagined.

I am so beyond thankful.

I remember when I had tried to go to a trainer, previously.

It was all just too much.

Seriously.

You go from eating whatever, drinking whatever, and doing basically nothing in terms of activity….to trying to change everything all at once, and you just get too overwhelmed.

Tonight I am pausing to say that there is much to be celebrated in s-l-o-w change.

Looking back, this is how things have gone:

I am losing weight slowly.

My taste-buds are changing slowly.

I am dropping clothing sizes slowly.

And then, after months of  all of this slowness, one day for whatever reason it seemed like it was time to add a little exercise….slowly.

Nothing crazy.

Just a tiny little commitment to do at least 10 minutes on my days off from work (3days/week).

Seriously?  Yes.

10 minutes.

It turns out….10 minutes really can be a game-changer…..slowly.

{See where I am going??}

I ran….slowly.

Inside, by the way!!

{{My gosh…only inside.}}

NEVER outside!

Don’t you dare mention the daunting thing that is outside running to this girl!

Huh-Uh, No way!

And so hide I did….for four months.

I did nothing but enjoy the beauty of retreating away for a little workout in my hidden little world….where I was allowed to change slowly.

Away from watchful eyes.

No one for me to have to pull at my shirt for to make sure that I was always covered.

No one for me  to have to watch walk at a faster pace than I was running…

Nobody around but me, myself, and I.

Until one day, I woke up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning (don’t get me started…bugs me to no end when I can’t sleep in!!!), and it looked so beautiful outside that the only thing I could think about doing at that very moment was hopping out of bed and going for a run to enjoy it.

{{Where in the WORLD did that come from??!}}

*****Que “A Whole New World” from Aladdin…”*****

Suddenly I got to enjoy things like birds chirping, the smell of fresh cut grass, and some plant or flower that smells like fresh watermelon (my favorite, btw!  Two different spots on my path present me with the sweet aroma of watermelon!  Makes me think of summer…).

Then came the desire to get a bike…..{say whaa??}

I know, right?

{Definitely NOT a biker, mmkay?!}

Well, until now, I guess.

I mean, I don’t even really get it!  haha!!

Honestly!

I get such a kick out of how little I know about biking.  For instance, there seems to be an actual thought process behind attacking hills, switching smoothly between gears, gadgets to track your mileage…etc.  Some might even say it is wise to take a bit of water out on these strange things called bike rides (won’t forget that one again).

All of this is over my head, by the way…

I even encountered a real life, full-blown, “dress-the-part” biker on the highway and all I could do was start laughing to myself.

What must he have thought to come upon little ‘ol me out there in the middle of nowhere??

{{I imagined our conversation going something like this:  “Oh Hey there!  Yes….yes, I know….I get a kick out of myself as well…maybe next week I will find a pair of those awesome shorts with pillows stuffed into the seat of them in order to help me really look the part….but no need to get crazy just yet, right?”}}

Right.

Sorry….I divert.

Hear me though when I say this:

None…

And I mean NONE of this would be happening in my life if I had started out being anything other than S-L-O-W.

We are delicate human beings.

Fearfully, wonderfully, and intricately made.

Change is more than possible but it takes time.

Detox takes time.

Overcoming self-consciousness and stage-fright and (fill-in-the-blank because there are many to choose from!)?….those take time.

And then one day you wake up and you get to celebrate an 80 pound weight-loss.

Suddenly it seems that all of this slowness is really happening quite quickly.

Truly.  There is joy in the journey of slow.

Happy Monday :)

Friend or Foe?

kisses

 

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of  a certain situation and been forced to look at someone whom you had previously enjoyed hours of conversation with, only to–in the snap of a finger–find yourself asking: “Who is this person because all-of-the-sudden they are acting completely different than they have before?

Me too…

Have you ever had someone chat with you about something, share a thought or two about said something…and then go into a gathering of other people and say exactly the opposite as they had previously said to you in private about that very same thing?

Me too…

I recently experienced just such an event that left me shaken to my core.

Honestly?

Not a day has gone by that hasn’t found me chewing this over in some way, shape, or form.

I simply cannot stop thinking about it.

To the point that I’ve been wondering if I should seek out some counseling in order to help myself move on…

And then an interesting thought occurred to me just tonight.

{Hot off the press, friends! haha!}

:)

The day that this event occurred, I found myself mulling it over and over (and over some more–my forte!).

That night at home I muttered a very brief, almost-not-there type of prayer about it to the Lord.

I remember just saying, “What in the WORLD was that, Lord?!”

At that moment, very vividly and oh-so-easily, a verse popped into my insides and I haven’t stopped chewing over it since:

Better are wounds from a friend than kisses from an enemy.

(Proverbs 27:6)

It sank down deep within.

Now, I have read that verse who knows how many times before.

{Have I mentioned my love for Solomon?!}

But, somehow, on that night those words held a heavier meaning than any of the previous times I had heard them.

Better are wounds from a friend than kisses from an enemy.

It’s really true, huh?!

I have been pondering the life out of this verse (literally-ha!) because I keep asking this one question of that experience:

Soo……which is it?

Are they a friend that is wounding me now, or were they an enemy that was kissing me then?

Hard question.

And so my mind has been churning and churning this over…

What does this mean for me?

How should I react?

What should I do?

How do I respond?

{you get my point.}

Tonight, as I was mowing my grass for the very first time this season (btw, my home could have been on an episode of Swamp People, it was that bad!), I realized:

It honestly doesn’t matter.

The truth?

Any way I look at it, whether or not that person is stabbing me in the back, or simply caught in a moment of odd behavior….my response to them should really be the same.

Bottom line?

If there were no such thing as enemies, God wouldn’t have wasted any space in the Bible speaking about them.

That is just reality!!

What He does, though, is make it explicitly clear as to how we are to respond to them in return.

Enemy or friend?

We are to humble ourselves unto them either way.

Serve them.

Bless them.

Be kind to them.

Pray for them.

Truth?

I think we can all agree that this is easier said than done!!

But that’s life in the Lord, friend!!

He loves us…

He gave Grace beyond anything that would have remotely resembled reasonable

for ME!!

{And you :)}

….and the name of the game is that I am expected to turn around and do it for others….again, and again, and again some more.

I mean, Jesus “did life” with Judas right up until the very moment he betrayed him, right?

Sometimes?

Sometimes, honestly things may go the same way for us.

The key?

The test may not have anything to do with the circumstances as much as how it finds us responding and carrying ourselves in the midst of them happening.

Tonight’s Joyful Something?

“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

Testing is real.

Trials are hard.

Endurance produces very real fruit.

May we hold ourselves the same, regardless of the answer to the friend or foe questions of life.

Happy Monday :)

Run of Thoughts…

You know you are becoming a bit obsessive about your running pastime when you find yourself unconsciously categorizing your running socks.  These few pairs?  These are reserved for the *very special*, long runs….while those?  Hmmm…those will do for 30 minutes or less, but not a STEP more!…

Those pants?

Okay.

Those are absolutely reserved for my Saturday morning, long-awaited, much-adored, highly anticipated, run-like-the-wind type of runs….they are just too awesome to be worn for anything less.

{Saturday runs deserve the best.}

And so it goes for shoes, running bras, special running playlists….etc.

{I am l-o-v-i-n-g all of this, by the way.}

I have really begun to crave running.

No, seriously.

I knew I had turned a corner about a month ago when, after a particularly awful day at work, I found myself driving home tired, hungry, and emotional….and the moment I turned the corner for my street all I could think about was how badly I just wanted to jump on my treadmill and go.

And go I did.

The past two weekends I have found myself traveling out of town.

Both times my running attire hit the “must have” section of my suitcase.

I may forget toothpaste, but gosh darn-it…I WILL remember to pack my newest favorite pair of Brooks!

{Calm down, I found some toothpaste…eventually. :}}

Speaking of Brooks, there comes a time when one must be willing to ask themselves the daring question:

Just how many pairs of running shoes does one need??

{Short Answer? Many!!}

I am rotating through four, and find myself holding back from buying more.

In short?

A Whole. New. World, my friends!!

Suddenly I don’t mind going without makeup to wherever it is that I am rushing to go, if it means that I was first able to fit my workout in just prior to leaving.

This morning, for example, I chose a good sweat first thing instead of a shower, hair, and makeup.

{Wouldn’t change a thing, by the way.}

I love waking up early, hopping on the treadmill, sweating through however far I wanted to run….only to then run back upstairs, clean up as quickly as possible, sneak my way back into my pajamas, and resume my morning routine of  more coffee and a delicious breakfast….(somehow pretending that the grueling events of the previous moments didn’t even happen).

It’s awesome, freeing, empowering, and I absolutely LOVE it.

I love watching as my body improves its fitness.

I love watching as my running capri’s seem to get loser {sometimes every week!}.

I love how mentally steady I feel after running, how clear my thinking is while doing it, and how much I look forward to waking up the next day to do it all over again.

Truth?

Running is the only exercise I have found that makes me feel that I am suffering while doing it, but leaves me literally salivating for more and daydreaming about it for the rest of the day.

Oddest thing.

It’s amazing how quickly life can change, and every time I run I am reminded that–literally!!—anything is possible.

I was recently buying a book (yes, on running!), at Barnes and Noble, and the girl that was checking me out stopped what she was doing, put her hands on the book, looked up at me and said, “Can I ask you a question?”

“Do you honestly enjoy running and, if so….how?”

I cannot explain how awesome it was to look her in the eye, and respond with a resounding, “YES!  Yes!!….wonder against all wonders…shock of all shocks….I really enjoy running.”

Without even thinking, I blurted out what I have come to believe to be the biggest nugget of wisdom for any one of us just beginning this road to fitness:

I told her to start slow….and then s-l-o-w it down even more.

To me that really is the key.

No need for speed….slow and steady.

So often we are embarrassed of our lack of fitness.

Embarrassed to go at a level that really is appropriate for us to be starting out at.

If you find yourself growing anxious before a run, I have a theory it is because you are not going slow enough for your body to settle into it and enjoy the ride.

I used to struggle with this several years ago in my previous running life.

I would begin to have this build-up of anticipation before every run.  Random things that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Like, I would begin to yawn a lot.  It took me quite awhile to figure out that it was actually a form of anxiety I was dealing with.

I was actually nervous and anxious about what was about to take place.

{I respond the same way to group exercise classes of any kind, by the way!!}

Not fun.

Trust me.

Go slower than you think you need to and before long you will go to sleep with butterflies just craving the next time you can lace up your shoes and go…

Truly, the sky is the limit.

At the end of the day?

justrun

 

…My Joyful Something for this dreary Monday.

:)

Civilian Affairs.

Lately, I have been pondering all of the moments that life is made up of.

Sooo much to wade through and sort out.

 

Timothy told us, “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer”  (2 Timothy 2:4).

 

Recently, I have come to realize how important this verse really is.

There’s a lot of wisdom in that mindset.

When it comes to everyday life….so. many. things. honestly seem to fall into the category of “civilian affairs”.

Simply put?

In light of all of eternity, much of what I tend to preoccupy myself with just does not seem to matter very much.

I’ve started to see this as a cycle and realize that this is something that I will face again and again, no matter where life takes me.

To get caught up in, or to walk away?

That is the question.

The truth is….so much of life is played out in an arena that often leaves us to decide whether or not we will take the bait and participate in various games that simply do not deserve our time or our energy.

Games that distract us from what God is really doing…

Games that distract us from what God created us to be doing…

That’s one of my favorite things, by the way, about being a child of God….the realization that He formed me for a specific purpose and reason.

Honestly? It never gets old.

Sometimes I question and am tempted to not believe it, but at the end of the day this knowledge forms the very core of who I am:

I was actually designed, and He calls me His “Masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10).

He delights in me, and rejoices over me with singing (Zeph 3:17).

He is a husband for me when others have said “no thanks” (Isaiah 54:5).

A dinner companion that is always ready and available (Rev 3:20).

The Ultimate Protector who does not sleep or slumber (Psalm 121).

He has plans for me that far extend what I could think, dream, or imagine (1 Cor 2:9).

In Him, and only Him, am I complete and wholly satisfied.

Sometimes…I think He allows events to happen to us to remind us just how much the above is true.

I understand why David, when given the choice of falling into the hands of man or the hands of God….why he unreservedly, wholeheartedly, and overwhelmingly chose…GOD!

Man?

Man will fail us every. single. time.

God?

God sees us, knows our story, or reasoning, our background, our thought processes, and our invaluable potential.

It’s hard to not get caught up in civilian affairs.

Really hard.

So many, many times…the true test of my faith has almost nothing to do with the bigger, mountain-like “sin categories” that we love to point too.

So often, my true faith…my true self…are found in and exposed through the smallest and most minute experiences.

How I react in random moments to seemingly meaningless situations.

But when you compare it to all of the things that God is doing, whispers that He will do, and shows us that He wants to do?

My friends….The rest truly is just details.

Nothing more than Civilian Affairs.

And my goal is to pay as little attention to them as possible….

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:2)

{{{Sounds like the whole point of Easter to me…}}}

Trim Healthy Beth–Year ONE!

 

 

trimmaversary1

Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.

I have taken a lovely stroll down memory lane this week, and have been enjoying a texting frenzy of old picture sharing with close friends and family.

What a difference a year can make!!

Wow.

I have been pondering the first few weeks and months of THM

There are so, soosooo many things to say.

Suddenly, however, I am truly, honestly, and oh-so-completely….

speechless!!

Seriously?  Total loss for words.

As of today I am just shy of:

Seventy-Six Pounds Lost!!!!

76lbs!! 

Or roughly three-hundred-and-four sticks of butta!!

304!!

OR…..*pausing to remember the olden days of Bethonadiet when I would compare everything to kale*…..38,000 cups o’ Kale!!  (hahaha!)

That?

That is a lot of kale :)

I would like to lose about another 60 pounds, so I am looking forward with great anticipation to this upcoming year.

The most amazing thing, however, has been the contentment that I have found from eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

Truly liberating.

I simply love it and, for the first time in my life, I can say that I have found something that is darn-near second nature for me.

When I first started reading the THM book, I read one phrase that stuck out to me:

“We are here to offer you food sanity.”

I remember reading that line so vividly.

I underlined, starred, and highlighted it.

It just sounded so…..wonderful.

Peaceful.

I was sooo tired of the rat race of dieting.

Tired of having to stir up excitement within myself for counting points, calories, endless training sessions, (and weird juice fasts….which reminds me):

juicfast

This is a picture of the “new lifestyle” that I embraced shortly after watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead a few months before starting THM.

Ugh.

{ask my coworkers how they enjoyed having me spill an ENTIRE jar of green, slimy goodness all over my desk, phone, and wall at work!}

It was expensive.

And exhausting.

{Don’t get me wrong.  I am not bashing Joe Cross the Juicing man.  I’m a fan.  (For goodness sake, my home stomping grounds were profiled in the movie–what was there not to like about that?!)}

But…..for life?

Doing endless juice cycles for life?

Nice thought but no.

{I made it four days and had already reached my quota of juice for the next several years of living}.

The point is…we have to find something that we are okay with doing f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

As in….forever, forever.

What it is for you, I honestly do not know….

But I count myself blessed that THM literally fell into my lap.

It has changed my life….(and I never even read the book the whole way through—sshhh!  don’t tell!)

Honestly.

Life is good.

The deserts are great, and the dinners are satisfying.

{What more could you want?}

I have managed to go on vacations, out to eat oodles of times, over to dinner parties, and through the lines of fast-food restaurants….all the while staying “on plan”.

Simply put: I have a very hard time justifying not eating this way.

I just can’t seem to think of a good enough reason to not…..

Oh wait I lied.

Puppy chow.

I had some puppy chow at Christmastime…..(somebody please invent a THM puppy chow will you?!!?!?)

:)

Anyhow, you get my point.

76 pounds is a lot of weight.

I have relished the moments of buying smaller clothes (the jeans in the after pic above are FOUR sizes smaller than the pic to the left—woohoo!!!).

Allow me to divert for one second to share a few things that I now cherish in life:

  • The ability to wrap my bath towel all the way around my body.
  • My newly emerged dimples that I had almost forgotten God had given me
  • Shrinking feet
  • Smaller boobs (oops did I just write that out loud?!!)
  • Running (perhaps my biggest treat of all!).

I don’t take any of these things for granted.

I love fitting comfortably in our auditorium seats at work, and easily rolling up my pant-legs for a fun pedicure.

I love belts.  Again.

I enjoy feeling alive and full of energy.

I love crossing my legs like a normal person.

Mostly: I love the feeling of NOT feeling out-of-control with my weight and eating.

Words cannot articulate it, because it simply strikes thee nerve of my life.

All of these things I will never take for granted in life again.

I have thought….and thought…and thought some more about “when it was that my weight got out of control”.

My conclusion?

There is no one single answer.

No single event.

It was the broken heart that devastated me when I was 16, the endless bottles of cherry coke that got me through nursing school, and the hundreds of nights spent eating out when I was lonely after living alone for the first time in my life.

It was extreme disappointment in the field of healthcare, and all that I had given up in my life in order to get there.

It was night-shifts, and deserts, and just plain depression.

It was broken dreams, unfulfilled desires.

Mostly?  It was a LOT of sugar.

What I am saying is this: It was so many, many things.

With all of that said, tonight’s joyful something is exactly what I said it was 6 months ago:

God does not leave us alone in our misery.

Breakthrough can come at the oddest times and from the most random places…for this I am grateful!

MAJOR turning points in life can stem from seemingly random things like an injured hand with a slow recovery.

A year really CAN change everything.

trimmaversary2

{Everything.}

When I started this blog, I had one single phrase that would run through my mind:

In order to change….I must actually be willing to change.

The {completely!!} unexpected bonus has been to actually enjoy it while it is happening.

And I certainly AM!!!

Life is….very good.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters” (Psalm 18:16).

For years and years and years I understood the “deep waters” in terms of my weight struggle….and now I understand the feeling that God is literally pulling me out of it.

Truly…He has and is doing just that.

{And if He is doing it for me…He will do it for you as well.}

Cheers to Hope!!

:)

The Victory Ten

tenminutes

 

Ten minutes has become a bit of a theme in my life.

The “you-have-to-workout-for-at-least-10-minutes” rule, has proven to be a complete success for me.

Remember this year’s motto?

Ten minutes active is better than ten minutes not.

{My little nugget of motivation.}

Recently, ten minutes has begun to mean a little something else in my world as well.

I’m not sure how it started.

Chalk it up to mind-games that I play while running down minutes of time on my treadmill, or mental trophy’s I hold up to keep myself moving when I may want to quit.

Whatever the case, ten minutes has come to mean so much more to me than I ever thought it would.

{Tiny bit of background: I start every run off with 30 minutes on my treadmill.  This Manual Mode default always seems to be a good place to start, so I figured why not.}

Early on, however, I began to take extreme delight in running this number down.

Allll the way down to 1-second….

And then I wind it back up again.

{And Again.}

{And again some more.}

I love everything about this.

I love running time down, and feel empowered every single time I nudge the clock back up, going back for round two.

The thing I have come to love most of all, however, are the very last 10-minutes that I put on the clock.

The Victory Ten.

There is something about my last ten minutes of any given run that I absolutely look forward too.

I love every single detail about them.

I may be so tired, with a sore right heel, right knee, right hip (do we see a trend?!).

But during my last 10 minutes, I don’t bother myself with any of those things.

Somehow I simply block it out.

Those last ten?

Those are just for me.

Those are to be savored.

Those are for giving it my all.

For celebrating the run.

For treasuring a job well-done.

For enjoying the quietness of my flushed face, steadied breathing, and a ponytail that has been reduced to a huge ball of tangled mess.

{All of this I love.}

It seems that no matter how much I may have drudged along, there is renewed strength during those last ten minutes.

{It’s fascinating to me.}

There’s just something about it.

All downhill.

All lightweight.

All victorious.

The secret?

**The Victory ten wouldn’t be nearly so sweet if it didn’t come at the end of a long, hard, treacherous run.**

I earned those ten.

I earned the freedom of the final minutes.

I earned the celebration of a job well-done.

Lately I have been pondering how often life seems to mimic my runs.

So often, there are moments of time that I am simply trying to just survive.

I’m just trying to wind the clock down.

To make it through to the end.

To finish upright and still standing.

I get tired, and begin to notice all of those life-nuances of sore heels, knees, and hips.

My gait is not steady, my posture is not straight, and my breathing is often labored.

And then it hits me:

Why on earth am I trying to do this on my own?

Reality?

When I am at my end…when I think I have nothing left in me…when I feel that all is lost….all that I really need is to go to the Lord for a re-set.  Somehow, He breaks through the drudgery, shakes all of my dirt off…and sets my feet on the path of The Victory Ten.

I am convinced that God uses the drudgery of the long, hard runs of life to bring about the sweetest seasons of living that we have ever known.

Our strongest gait can come out of our weakest moments.

It is then that our focus is narrowed.

Then that the prize is before us.

Then that we really begin to experience the Victory Ten of life.

The truth?

The truth is that, in light of eternity, we are all living lives that are really nothing more than ten *very brief* moments of time.

My prayer?

I want to run every one of those brief moments with abandonment.

Holding nothing back, and finishing strong.

I want to get it right.

And at that end of the day, I want to have sought my Maker

every.single.day.of.my.life.

I read this just this morning:

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40: 29-31) 

That?

That is a nugget for all of us.

{And it wouldn’t be nearly so sweet if it didn’t come at the end of a long, hard run.}

His strength would not be coveted if we were already filled up and full of energy.

Could it be that He allows the depleting, to show us just how sweet His strength really is?

Is it possible that depletion is a blessing?  Used to reveal how week we really are?

I think so.

God is in the business of redeeming time, renewing strength, and releasing us to run the Victory Ten of our lives.

Redeemed.

Renewed.

Released.

Sounds good to me.

:)

On Behalf of the Beheaded….

I keep staring at these men….

isis

So many, many thoughts running through my heart and mind tonight.

Mostly one:

Am I ready to be one of them?

Just the thought sends chills up my spine, tingling fluttering through my heart, and churning deep within my stomach.

Sobering, huh?

Mostly, however, I am absolutely consumed by one over-riding thought to all of this:

{{{I do not believe that they died alone.}}}

Mostly, I look at their faces and wonder what, exactly, they may have been “seeing” that none of their killers were pr ivied too in the moments leading up to their death.

I think of Stephen.

The account of the stoning of Stephen is absolutely one of my favorite of all favorite things in the New Testament.

{Beth you are starting to sound a little cra-cra!}

I know, I know….it sounds odd to say, but believe me…it’s the truth.

Stephen, a follower of Jesus, is eventually hauled into court, accused of Blasphemy and called to give thee account of his life.

I mean…this is the big moment.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

This is what it all comes down to.

He does an amazing job, by the way.

I read his statement and picture myself in his shoes…

What would I say?  Could I articulate myself?  Would I stand firm?

{all questions worth asking ourselves…}

When he starts talking, the Bible says that his face was as radiant as an angel–(acts 6:15)

(sounds a lot like Moses after he had that *tiny little, earth-shattering* encounter with His Creator on that mountain a long time ago…).

So….needless to say: something was “up”.

God showed up….filled him up…and helped him to give the speech of his life.

And then….do you know what happened?

He allowed them to execute him.

Stephen was martyred.

And God allowed it.

{By the way…I know I am not alone in my struggle with all of the things that God “allows”…but my struggle does not change the fact that He does allow!!  We serve (if we choose too) a God who often Allows.  I often think: How many times does God look down upon us, only to see us angry, bitter, and resentful towards Him….(cursing His name…giving Him the “bird” essentially)…and does He ever wonder: “Why are you blaming me for the world being exactly what I said it was?? ” NEWSFLASH: We live in fallen, disgusting, vile, filthy world.  Desperately hopeless.  Desperately in need of redemption and forgiveness.  That is the point, my dear friend!!  Suffering does not disprove God….suffering shows that we are all that He said we were before we even began.  The question that is begging to be asked: What are we going to say to our Maker on the day that we meet Him?  The one who formed Mars, created Galaxies, invented fetal circulation, and designed the iris of my eye…..I will actually meet Him someday.  The sad truth is: Many of us spend more time preparing for our retirement, than we do our death….and only one of them is going to happen for certain.  Talk about chilling.}

So, to the naked eye it would seem that Stephen lost.

He died.

He said his schpeel…and then he was killed.

No miracles happened to stop his death.

No intervention from the Lord.

The Sun did not stand still…the sounds of horses were not heard as the army of God came to rescue him.

He died.

On the outskirts of town…alone.

{Gosh it sounds a bit like Jesus…}

But…..

If you stopped there you would despair.

You would think: There goes another sad soul…he stood for something so silly…why did he die for an idea?  For Theology?   What a sad death.

There was no world war he was engaging in…

No human he was rescuing on his way to his own demise.

He stood up for a (then) Invisible Jesus, and died a very visible death because of it.

But….

Something very interesting…

As he was being murdered…..as he was losing…as he was a mere moment away from slipping into eternity:

God opened his eyes to see all that was REALLY going on…

Heaven was closer than he thought.

Jesus was actually s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g to greet him.

Think about that one for a second.

For a mere man.

A mortal.

A fallen human being.

Jesus was literally standing to usher him into eternity and the heavens literally opened right before Stephens eyes.

Wow.

{One of the best sermons I have ever heard was on this topic: May we all live lives worthy of a standing ovation from Jesus Himself when we are finally ushered into eternity.}

The interesting thing?

Nothing tells us that his killers saw any of this as it was going on.

I know, I know….gosh that poor Stephen was probably hallucinating, right?

I’ve heard that about Noah too, in light of the movie that just came out: Poor Noah…he was just a crazy Schizophrenic.

Yeah.

Let’s tell ourselves that.

Stephen was just nuts.

{{Or was he?}}

The truth is:

We just won’t know for sure, will we?

That’s the deal about this tiny little thing called faith.

We won’t know…until it is us.

Until we are the ones in the hot seat…

Until we are called to give the account of our lives…

My money is on the sanity of Stephen…the history account that he gives leading up to his death proves that he was, in fact, lucid and in his right mind.

Looking at this picture again, something interesting dawned on me:

isisLook at those men.

Then look up….look at their killers.

Do you see the difference?

The difference is this:

veiled vs. unveiled.

The captives are unveiled.

The captors are veiled.

The difference lies in their ability to see.

The captors are limited in their field of vision.

{Left to our own…so are we.}

Jesus died…and He gave us the right to see.

The veil was torn.

Access to Him was granted.

Could it be possible that this “vision”, this “access” affects every fabric of our being…even while we are down here on this tired, old, fading-away earth?

I think so.

God…give me eyes to see what You are doing.

Seeking Him has benefits far beyond anything we can think or imagine.

 

That is the “Joyful Something” that I am pondering tonight.

 

Happy Day ‘O Love!

Have I mentioned my love for Saturday mornings?

L-o-v-e them.

Lately, I have been celebrating a new “favorite” way to ring in this favorite morning of mine.

Running.

First let me just say: Casually waking up is one of my favorite-of-all-favorite things.

All week long my alarm starts harassing me at 0430 (if I want to run before work it’s an hour earlier than that–need I say more?!).

So….Saturday is my morning to oblige to no one and nothing.

First rule?  No alarms.

Second rule?  Great coffee.

But now…I have begun to add a new one to the line-up: Great run!

This morning I woke up pretty much the same as every other weekend day (lovely), and then proceeded to lay in bed, thinking of all of the reasons that I shouldn’t start my day off by running.

Then I got up, and pulled on a favorite pair of running capri’s.

(P.s….good workout clothes?  *worth their weight in gold!*)

 

So….with that I was off to jump on my treadmill to fulfill my “you-have-to-go-at-least-10-minutes” rule of running.

Ninety minutes later….I slowed to a walk.

{still proud over here if you can’t tell!}

90 minutes of running.

90 minutes of pondering, mulling, and weighing things out.

90 minutes of competing in a marathon, finishing the Western States, and then moving on to Badwater.

:)

90 minutes of new clothes, fun outfits, and long-awaited trips.

Bottom line?

90 minutes can change everything.

Running can change everything.

Right-left…right-left…plodding along one step at a time…

Clearing my mind and quieting my heart.

I swear I think my best thoughts while running.

Today’s epiphany?

 

I am grateful that I am still single.

No really.

I am.

I have had this growing thought for sometime now.

For all of my lonely aching, and my “why-did-God-give-me-ovaries-if-He-knew-they-would-never-be-used” kinda thoughts, this one has been increasingly overriding to all of them.

I am grateful.

I mean…I say this….delicately.  

I would be lying if I said I didn’t waiver, or struggle with this revelation.

It actually pains me to admit it.

It’s as if I don’t want the Lord to forget how badly I am longing for a new season to come into my life (oh the games we play, huh?!).

However.

{and it’s a big however!}

I have begun to be grateful for something that God saw that I needed long ago.

Time.

I love that, in this season of my life, I have nobody else to think about.

Nobody to cook for, clean for, pick-up after, or aim to please.

Except for little-man Henry….and I am fairly certain he has the best life a dog could ever ask for, so he doesn’t count!

{I told him so while he was enjoying his taste of bacon this morning, and I am fairly certain he agreed with me.}

Anyhow, as much as it pains me to admit it:

I NEED this time.

{and I know it.}

So….my Joyful Something for today?

I am still single.

I do not have a special someone.

Noone cares to cook me a romantic dinner, or take me to my favorite restaurant.

{And that??….That is exactly what is needed for me in this moment of my life.}

As it turns out…God really is a genius.

He really does think y-e-a-r-s ahead of us…

Planning jobs…

Organizing careers…

Orchestrating love.

And this girl is pausing to say….that I am happy for the wait.

{It will be worth it in the end–I’m certain!}

Happy Valentines Day :)

heartsocks

{admit it…they are cute :)}

{sorry for the poor picture quality!}

A Wrinkle in Time…

I’ve been pondering whether or not I could do this post since I took these pictures last weekend.

Scared yet?!

{I know I am!! haha!}

I feel the need to pause here and say:

the word flattering is not one that I would use to describe these…

Adding to this the reality of our present day tendencies…you know….the “I-will-just-take-a-thousand-selfies-and-then-post-the-most-flattering-one-on-FB-and-pretend-that-I-look-like-that-all-the-time” tendency?—well, this one leaves….**a bit** to be desired.

However, it’s who I am…and where I am coming from.

It’s my life.

{Okay, enough!}

 

So, a few years ago…this happened.

 

picupdatesfebruary152

June 14th, 2012, to be exact (thank you, new iPhone for tracking the dates of every pic I take!).

{sorry about the glare!}

Yes.

I took it on purpose.

I know…I was shocked too :)

 

I was sitting in my favorite little reading chair, and just-so-happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror….

Oh. My. Word!!

{{{It took my breath away.}}}

I remember it so, so, sooo well.

I sat there, momentarily frozen in place, just…..s-t-a-r-i-n-g at myself.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of my reflection.

I kept saying:

“Just look at you…..look at who you’ve become”.

{Not a fun moment.}

In that second, I made myself take out my phone, and proceeded to snap a candid, untouched, unfiltered pic of myself.

I had too.

I promised myself that nobody else had to see it (ha!).

It was only for me.

A much-needed reality check, to keep me from lying to myself about just how unhealthy I really was.

I was left devastated, having no idea where to start, what to do, or how to change.

***fast foward 2 1/2 years….almost a year into somehow enjoying life in a low-glycemic way….***

Just last weekend, I sat down in that favorite chair once again, thinking nothing of the pic I had taken a few years back.

And, as happened a few years before, for whatever reason my eye caught my reflection in that darn mirror once again.

picupdatesfebruary154

It stopped me in my tracks.

picupdatesfebruary15

I just sat there for some time.

Staring at myself.

I couldn’t stop.

Somehow, instantly my memory was jarred, and I took out my phone, scrambling thru the volumes of pics—hoping to find that one I had taken a few years prior.

The moment I found that photo I just sat there quietly while my eyes scanned back and forth from pic to present day.

And, just like two years before, I said nearly the same words,

“just look at you…look who you’ve become”…

Only this time, they meant something entirely different.

Hopeful.

Delightful.

Peace-filled…

NOT full of self-loathing, depression, or disgust with myself (if you look closely…it would almost appear that I have a pleasant expression on my face!).

Yes.  I still have a good chunk of weight left to lose.

{But, honestly, I couldn’t be more happy or content with how far I have come.}

Tonight?  Tonight I am looking at this post as a “take a second to remember how far you have come” kinda thing.

It’s important.

At the end of the day, I know I am not alone.

Many, many, many of us want to see change and progress in this area of our lives.

My simple piece of encouragement?

Keep going.

Change is proving to be completely, totally, and utterly worth every single little bit of effort that it requires.

picupdatesfebruary153

That is my Joyful Something for tonight.

:)

  • Meet Beth

    Originally from Northern Iowa, I now work and reside in the Greater Kansas City area. Having struggled with my weight for over 16 years, I am finally “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. (read more)
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