Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It has begun.

After what seemed like forever after ordering (it was only about a week and a half), we received our package from Plexus yesterday. We ordered the Plexus Slim package (two of them), Bio cleanse (2), Pro Bio (2), and we got an XFactor (1), with the deal. The total was $255.23... ouch! (As an ambassador). This is a sacrifice for our family to spend this much on something "extra," but Kyle and I both need to sacrifice to help alleviate the health issues we are having. And we hope to share our results with others and help others find answers to their health issues as well.

Last night I drank my first Plexus Slim. I didn't add enough water, so it was really sweet and gross. I added some more water and it was more drinkable. I am not very fond of the slightly metallic aftertaste (kind of tastes like meat). I am not a fan, but it's not so bad it's worth not taking.

Before lunch today my husband commented that the flavor tastes like a cherry tootsie pop, and it's so true! I added a small lemon wedge to the drink today, and that really helped balance the super sweet flavor. I haven't had any issues taking the pills, I just set a reminder in my phone. I have started this journey at 224 pounds, doing Zumba on Monday nights for an hour, lifting arms on Mondays for an hour, and legs on Thursday's. I carry about 20% more muscle mass than the average woman, so I will never be "petite" and I don't want to be. When I felt my healthiest I was around 145-160 pounds, and I would love to get to that range for a goal. I will always be a curvy girl and I am totally okay with that! I really just want to be healthy and happy, and I want my body to move and do the things I want it to do. So here we go... I pray this will be a useful tool in that journey.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Plexus and Seeking Help

I'm writing this after struggling with my weight for the last six years or so. I'm tired of feeling heavy, having no energy, and living a sedentary life. But I am also just tired. I have four kids, a full time job, and my husband has some pretty bad health issues that we can't find answers for. So this is why we're trying Plexus.

To be honest, I don't really believe all the hype from friends about it. That is nice, I know. I love my friends, and I know they have had good experiences with Plexus, but that doesn't mean it will work for me or Kyle. Kyle's health issues have been gone over by multiple doctors, in multiple states, by multiple specialists. We're both tired of getting our hopes up, just to have them come crashing around the ground. We are skeptics, to say the least. We will see if it works.

Our shipment is supposed to get here on Monday. I am looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I need to start working on giving up the sugar again, although every time I go through it, it seems to get harder the next time. I  am not sure how people live their whole lives eating clean. I CRAVE THINGS. Ice cream. Cookies. Bread. These are things I enjoy. I don't eat a whole lot of chips, oreo's, or store bought junk. Not what I like, when I am going to choose to eat something "bad." I choose the three first mentioned things before this paragraph. I just have a problem limiting those things to normal amounts, and I forget about the amount I ate. Or I get too busy to care. And it all goes down the drain. I'm just being honest.

My metabolic specialist says I am a very healthy person, but I haven't been eating right for about four months now. I can feel the difference it makes in my energy levels and my thinking, but we have been so busy, and the task of getting back on track seems so monumental, I just shrug my shoulders and keep going. So Plexus is our "something we hope we don't have to think about as much" plan. If we can go from meal planning three meals a day to only having to plan one or two, I believe it will help Kyle and I both stay on track with a more manageable plan.

Well, I have to go now. Say a prayer for us as we begin this journey on Monday. Hopefully. It is the post office after all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

To share the Good News

When Christians speak of evangelism, I often hear this word defined as the confrontational, argumentative evangelism that became popular in the Bible belt after the Civil War during the American Revivals and resurgence of the Holiness movement. Along with tent meetings, we adopted a type of evangelism which thrives on apologetics and “reasoning” people into believing in Christ. It offers little room for questions, doubt, or argument. And Christians here in America don’t question it. It has been so entrenched in our culture for so long, we assume it must be the “right way” to evangelize.

As a Christian and as someone who believes that sharing the Good News is more than a single confrontation, or a single conversation, this style of evangelism makes me inwardly cringe every time I hear about it.

Sharing the Good News is not only about getting people to heaven.
Or saving them from hell.

That may seem over the top for some of you, but it truly is not only about that.  
The Good News is about loving people. It is about sharing the love of God with people He created. It is about getting relationally involved in the lives of those Jesus came to save, serving them, and seeking God’s love ourselves amidst such service.

Pastor Dominic Carlow preached a sermon about the “messiness” of getting involved in other people’s lives a few months ago at Silverton Church of the Nazarene. He used a very effective illustration during the service, one that will stick with me for a long time. He had a giant tub in front of the sanctuary and went around gathering dirty laundry from everyone that he asked to bring dirty laundry for that morning from the congregation. He then took all that dirty laundry and began washing it. He added everyone’s dirty laundry, and went about agitating and cleaning the laundry.

All those items of clothing are metaphor’s for us as human beings. We come together with all our sin, all our “dirt,” and we have to jump in the tub together to get clean. The tub is Jesus, the agitator is the Holy Spirit, and God is the one who created it all. Together, we love one another and help each other stay in the tub.

The Good News is only good when it contains the stories of Salvation, justification, regeneration, and sanctification. Dallas Willard puts it very bluntly in saying there is absolutely nothing about the Gospel that suggests we can take Jesus’ blood to get what we want (salvation), and have nothing more to do with Him. Relationship has to come into the equation, or we will just be part of creating a bunch of spiritually immature Christians whose faith never moves past the point of salvation alone.

We can redefine what it means to evangelize… Christians can begin living what it means to serve others; give to the poor not because they deserve it, but because they are God’s created people. We can serve because we love the Lord first, not because we believe these good works can save us. We must learn to love others as He loves us.

What can I do to change this? I can pray. I can love God and love others. I can live out what it means to serve others in the church and outside the church. They are little things that add up to big things; it means noticing the woman behind you at the grocery story struggling to get her groceries onto the belt and helping her. It means offering fresh, cold water to the homeless man asking for money on the street corner. It also means putting ourselves in situations that we may be a little uncomfortable in, all in an effort to serve those Christ came to save. If we do it together, the fullness of what it means to live out the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth will come to reality in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

Your kingdom come, your will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Choose life.

My heart is so sad for all the hurt and pain in the world today. As the news continues to post story after story of hurt, pain, infliction on those who many deem unworthy, and death for those deemed useless, my heart bleeds. My pain flows.

It continues to hurt when I see Christians posting things about standing with the side of the oppressor. Giving into the pressure of the world and our culture to choose between life and death, and choosing to give out justice when it is not our place. How often did God say justice would be His and His alone? In Romans, chapter 12 Paul pleads for Christians to heap love onto our enemies, to give them love instead of hate. Many Christians say they agree to this, yet we continue to live as though we can choose the side of the oppressor.

We are called to kneel with the scapegoat. To live a life that bends, kneels, and lowers ourselves to the position of nothing until we lift up others around us by the grace of God alone. Jesus did this in life, and most importantly in death, until He rose from the dead and brought about a new Kingdom that we can now be a part of. We do not have to live as though the powers at work in the world are what we live by. We live by the Spirit of God. In the Spirit. In the fruit of the Spirit; love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Christians, we are called to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord. This is our true and proper worship. Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12: 1-2) This transformation does not look like the world, and cannot be from the world, for if it is, it cannot be from the Lord.

Seek peace. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Memorial Day Reflection

This Memorial Day one question is haunting me… giving me pause, and making it difficult for me to laud and applaud the soldiers who have given their lives to this thing called war. Is it worth it? Is it worth the cost of giving your life for this country? Whether or not you have died in war, soldiers come back from war emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted and broken.

Is it worth it?

I have encountered a handful of soldiers in my life who have returned from war with broken, bleeding, and wounded hearts. They suffer from severe cases of PTSD and have difficulty getting the care they need. One stated to me, “My PTSD counseling consists of sitting in a room with a TV recorded counselor.”

Did you hear what I just said? The country that demands these people give their entire lives over to, gives them nothing in return. They do not offer the care and support these people need to return to their regular lives outside the military. Instead, they are left with the empty praise and pats on the back from people who have no idea what they went through.

Again I must ask, is it worth it?

I cannot help but believe that something worth giving our lives for will bring us peace. It will bring us joy. It will bring us patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  It will break us, but sustain us as well. It not only tears down, but builds up in the same breath.
How many soldiers come back from war and wonder if it was worth giving everything they are to hurt another person? The other side believes in their cause just as much as we do. At what point do we recognize the emptiness that war brings, and how it separates a human being from other human beings? It isolates and cuts them off from their families, friends, and loved ones.

This is what I grieve today. I grieve for those who think and feel as though no one understands or comprehends the significance of the sacrifice they made. I grieve for their families, because they are victims just as much as these people who have gone to war.

Lord Jesus, today I pray for all who have served in war. I pray that you would fill them with your peace. With your love; with your goodness. I pray that you will come in and heal the broken places in their hearts and minds, and give them strength to believe that there is more than war in the world. Help them know there is love, peace, patience, goodness, and kindness to give the world. I pray these spiritual gifts fill them and give them completeness and wholeness in the midst of their suffering. Most of all, I pray they know you. That they know you are present in their suffering, and that you will comfort them no matter what they have done. Holy Spirit you are welcome here… Jesus you have paid the price so that we do not have to… Father you have created space for us in your heart so that we may be complete. Thank you. Show us all the way. Amen. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting to know the heart of God

It has been a while since my last blog post… life has changed a bit since then. I wanted to share with you everything that has happened in our lives over the last two years, but I could not find the words. I sat down to type them just as I am doing now, and nothing would happen. I would stare blankly at the screen, my heart and mind incapable of typing the words needed.
I am not going to rehash it all… friends of mine know the story. I began reading A.W. Tozer’s “In Pursuit of God” last night. It has been sitting on my Kindle for a long time now. The title and author kept pulling me in, but I kept ignoring that voice. I kept telling myself I would find time later to read it, but I did not. Until yesterday.
All I have completed thus far is the first chapter, but there are a lot of Christians today with all of the answers, without knowing any of the questions. This hits home with me since my graduation from NNU last weekend. As a Christian Ministry student, I had many professors and fellow students asking me what I was going to do; asking me if I am in a church, leading a ministry, or working in ministry in some way. I have not been in active ministry over the last year. The closer I got to graduation, the less interested people had in me actually being a part of ministry. I am not sure why this is the case, but it is the truth for me.
It seems as though everyone expects me to have all the answers, when in truth the more I learned during my college experience, the more questions I had. I became acutely aware of how little I personally know God, rather than knowing all the “right things” about Him. Tozer states it this way, “How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him.”
When did I start to think I knew all the answers? When did I begin believing that once I “accepted Jesus” the search ended, the mystery left, and the journey was done? How many Christian’s spiritual lives wither and die at this “acceptance,” because their seeds have been planted, yet no one continues to water?
How many Christians think (myself included) that because we have the Bible, there is no more to learn from God?
When did I lose my desire to know and be known by God?

Over the last year I begged God to step in and fix all the problems, help me move on to a new life, and get my family back to where we began. But we cannot turn back. We can only move forward. I need to stop asking God to move in my life, and begin asking Him to let me know Him more. Instead of seeking more from Him, I need to begin seeking His heart, His mind, and His love to fulfill the places that have been hollowed out in my heart. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Emotional... overwhelming post. If you aren't prepared to read a real response, please don't read this.

I have avoided the blogosphere in the last six months first because I was super busy, and second because my entire life fell apart in a few short months. There are times I have thought about sharing how I feel, but it is pretty ugly in this head and heart right now. I have a hard time being positive about the things that have happened and how we are to get back on track in the future. I cannot seem to see the reasons as to why this has happened, but it has.

We were torn apart. By a church. We were left on the side of the road with nothing but harsh words and no answers. It is really difficult to see a “plan” in all of this, although I keep being assured that is the case. I know this in my head, but my heart tells me it’s lying. Some days I can be really faithful and know that God is present with us in our suffering, then other days I cannot help but be angry that after years of giving ourselves over to the Lord’s will, everything went crazy anyway.

It seems as though one day I am just expected to wake up and everything will be okay again.

When people ask me how things are going, I think to myself, “Can I give the real answer? Or do I tell them what they want to hear?” I feel painfully alone no matter how many times people tell me they are praying for me. The truth is, prayers don’t pay the mortgage. Prayers do not keep the electricity going, the water bill paid, and my kids fed. The harder we work at finding jobs, the more we are penalized for having them through the government programs we must enroll in to support our family. 

We apply for childcare assistance, and our food stamps balance goes down by $300. And we have to pay a $157 co-pay. That is $450 a month that we do not have, all because I am working a job that pays me around $1000 a month. Seriously? I work full time, not spending any time with my kids on a daily basis, just to spend half my paycheck on other people watching my kids.
Even with a Bachelor’s degree, I am “unqualified” to be a medical receptionist or work as a food preparer at the local hospital (two of the highest paying jobs in our area). I am constantly looking for other work, yet it is nearly impossible to be paid anything more than minimum wage. This is the struggle for most of the working poor in our country today. It is not only my burden.

The problems are so big and the solutions so few, that I have little time to even comprehend what is happening in my life. The bruises are so deep, and the pain so real, that I have difficulty breathing some days.

I hope that one day I will be able to look back and see how silly all of my worry is. I hope that there will be a day that I can see how we got through this situation and moved into something incredible, but some days I really doubt that will happen.