Training Tuesday: Working the garden

“What are you doing?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this lately.  When you lose 50+ pounds, people notice and want to know how you did it.  When I talk about running and Jillian Michaels and MyFitnessPal and counting calories, I get mixed reactions.  Some people respond with, “Good for you!” and ask me more questions.  Some have even since joined MyFitnessPal or started running.  But then there are others who respond with, “Good for you.” But I can sense the disappointment that I didn’t offer some magic genie response.

I traditionally fell into the latter category.  I really didn’t want to hear from someone that they lost weight because they worked hard and sacrificed.  I wanted to hear about how the pounds magically melted away and their body naturally took on a nice toned quality.  I wanted to know the secret to the magic.  I wanted the results without the work and didn’t want it suggested to me that I needed to work for it.

I’ve talked before about how God really changed my heart last spring.  I came to a point of surrender saying, “Alright God, if I still have to count calories when I’m 83, I’ll do it.  I’m willing to do the work, to make the sacrifice, to have the discipline to take care of this body you created.”  Before I hit that point of surrender, I read something in Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst that really hit me over the head with what I needed to hear:

Last spring I took a shortcut through a neighborhood and caught a glimpse of a man planting a flower garden.  It was just a quick glance, but long enough to produce a lingering thought: I wish I had a pretty garden.

For years I’ve looked at other people’s flowers and secretly wished for my own lush display.  However, the glimpse of this man with his hands digging deep into the earth brought a new revelation.  He has a garden because he invests time and energy to make it.  He didn’t wish it into being.  He didn’t hope it into being.  He didn’t just wake up one day and find that a garden of glorious blooms had miraculously popped up from the dirt.


He worked at it.  He sacrificed for it.

Day after day.  Row by row.  Seed by seed.  Plant by plant.  It took effort, intentionality, sweat equity, and determination.  Then it took time and commitment before he ever saw any fruit from his labor.

But eventually, there was a bloom … and then another … and then another.  I saw this man’s flowers and wished for my own – without a clue about all the work that had gone into producing them.  I want the flowers but not the work.  Isn’t that the way it is with many things in life – we want the results but have no desire to put in the work required?

Besides a garden, I also wished for a thinner body for years but was lax about actually changing what I ate.  When it came to eating, I excused away the necessary discipline.  Then I’d catch myself wishing I were thinner and making excuses about my age and metabolism, lamenting the unfairness of my genetic disposition and blah, blah, blah.

The reality is, I can’t eat like an athletic teenager and then complain about my extra layers of fluff.

Or my pants size.

Or my tummy pooch.

Or my arms that are starting to wave back at me when I raise them.

I can’t wish blooms into place any more than I can wish fat away.  It’s just the cold, hard reality.

(Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst, pages 35-36)

I can so relate!!!!  I hate yard work!!!  And it shows …

What I would love my landscaping to look like…
What it actually looks like…

So dear friend, if you, like I did, desire to be healthy and fit and trim but don’t want to work for it, I am sorry to tell you that it just won’t happen.  There is no magic skinny genie.  Sure for some people it seems to come more naturally and easily.  But for most people it requires sacrifice and discipline.

Are you willing to do it?

If you answered yes, then I am excited for you.  Whether you are just starting out on your journey or you are already at your healthy weight and can run marathons around me, I congratulate you on your willingness to work.  I am cheering for you and praying for you. Thank you, God for these women (and men too, if any men read this) that have a desire to take care of their bodies.  Help them to stay disciplined when they feel like not caring.  Help them to get up out of bed and go to the gym when they’d rather stay under the covers.  Help them to not go back for that second brownie.  And most importantly, help them to know they are loved by you whether they are on track or not!

If you answered no, then my heart aches for you in a non-judgmental, I’ve been there too, kind of way.  Because for most of my life, no was my answer too.  I know that place of frustration, of stubbornness, of denial.  Yes, denial, I know it may sound harsh, but that’s where I was, so I know some of you may be there too.   God, I pray for these women (and men too, if any read this) who know that they need to be healthier, but don’t want to work for it.  Thank you, God, that you love them exactly where they are.  Thank you, God that you call them the “Apple of your eye.”  Thank you, God that you “take great delight in (them)”.  Thank you God, that nothing could make you love them more or less than you do right now.  I pray, God, that you will speak to their hearts and encourage them to be disciplined in taking care of their bodies.  Transform their minds, the way you are doing to mine, to help them surrender to the need to work.

Pressing on Together,



Mothering Monday: Picture day tears

The tears were rolling down his face, “I don’t want to go to school.”  His little body shook as he cried.  And my heart broke looking at him.

What happened to my little boy who said just 2 weeks ago, “First grade is awesome!”???  He came home from school happy every day last week.  What was going on here?

I sat down on the couch and pulled him onto my lap.  I held him as he cried, “Why, sweetie?”  I asked, “Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Between sobs he replied, “I don’t know what to do with my picture stuff.  Who am I supposed to give it to?  What if they won’t take it?”

Today is picture day.


(These are last year’s pics!)


Yesterday we went for haircuts.  Last night I went online to order the pictures.  I printed out the “Picture Day Pass” and showed it to the boys.  I wanted them to see it because it wasn’t the envelope they sent home that you can fill out and put a check in.  We put it in their folders in their backpacks.  We picked out clothes for the pictures and they went to bed.

This morning came, and C forgot about the clothes we picked out and came out dressed in something different.  If I was a little less of a control freak about certain things, I’m sure I could have let him keep the outfit on that he picked out.  But instead, I reminded him that it was picture day and sent him back to change.  He came out, sat on the couch, and that’s when the tears began.

When he told me why he was crying, I had to resist the urge to laugh off his concerns.  They really seemed so silly to me.  Seriously?  Crying, not just a few tears, but whole body-shaking sobs because you’re not sure what to do for picture day?  Come on!  But thankfully, God reminded me that this is a 6-year-old, who’s learning to navigate the world without his Mama by his side.  His fears may seem silly to me, but to him, they are huge.

I tried to explain what he would need to do, but that didn’t help.  His experienced, big, 3rd grade brother tried to explain what to do.  But that didn’t help.  Finally I said, “I know it must be a little scary to not know what to do.  Would it help if I emailed your teacher and let her know that you’re scared?  That way, she’ll know to help you.”  He agreed to that idea.

I wrote the email; he read it and said it looked good.  We sent it.  The tears disappeared.  We turned on some music and sang as the boys ate their cereal.  They went off to school as if it were any other morning.

As I’ve replayed this morning in my mind, I thought about how originally in my mind his fears weren’t valid.  Because of that, I could have responded with, “Oh, don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.  Stop crying.  Let’s get going.”  But later in life, when his fears are about “bigger” things, fears that are valid in my eyes, will he still trust me to tell me about them?  Or will he think I don’t care and that I’ll just say, “Oh, don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.”

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.
~Catherine M. Wallace~


I don’t know who Catherine M. Wallace is or anything she stands for, but recently I read this on Pinterest, and it really spoke to my heart.  This morning I was tested on it, and I can thankfully say, “I think I passed.”  That is not always the case!

So, thank you, God, for opening my eyes to the moment and helping me to see my child’s heart.  Thank you, God, for giving me the wisdom to take his fears seriously and to help calm his heart.  Help me to do that in the future as well.  Forgive me for the times when I’ve been flippant about my children’s thoughts, cares, and fears.  And help C to have a good day today, and to not be scared!  Oh, and is it too much to ask for the pictures to turn out really cute too????

Pressing on together,



Training Tuesday: Every day

“If every day were like today…   You’d weigh 158.4 lbs in 5 weeks.”  That is my favorite part of My Fitness Pal.  After you’ve logged all your food and exercise for the day, a statement like this appears.  For me, on most days (like yesterday), the weight it says is 4-10 pounds less than the weight I currently am.  I get excited and am ready to eat well the next day too.  Since we can’t really see change from one day to the next, seeing it in terms of a month is really helpful.  (By the way, did you notice that mine said I’d weigh in the 150’s????  Do you remember when I was excited to hit the 170’s?  Well, now I’m 165.5!  It truly is amazing!!!)

However, there have been 2 days since I started logging on the site (99 days ago) that the weight listed was higher than my current weight.   My eating on those days went over my calorie allotment.  765 calories of zucchini bread… yep I did that.  Now before, my frustration from a day like that would turn into a week like that, then a month like that, and possibly a year or two like that and my weight would indeed go up all the way to 220 pounds!  But I’ve learned that one day does not destroy all your work and make you gain weight.  Rather it’s an accumulation of many days.  So when I’ve had a bad day, I log it, I read that if everyday were like that day I would weigh more in 5 weeks than my current weight, I tell myself that not everyday will be like that day, and then I move on and get back on track.

In the scheme of things, one day doesn’t really matter.  But when you add one day to another day to another day and create a lifestyle, then each of those days do matter.  I recently completed Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.  It kicked my butt, but I did it.  And, I actually have some muscle definition on my arms… granted they still have the flabby underneath that my 11-year-old loves to play with, but they are getting toned!  I usually don’t finish things that I start, so I am so proud of myself for finishing.  My friend told me, “You’re a finisher now, not a quitter.”  Love her for saying that, because as I’m transforming my body, I know I also need to transform my mind.  Anyway, I now started Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30.  During the first week’s cool down, she says something that really stuck out to me, and I’m repeating to myself often:

Transformation is not a future event.  It is a present activity.  That is why you must bring everything that you have to bring in every moment.  And it doesn’t have to be perfect.  It’s not about perfect.  It’s about effort.  And if you bring that effort every single day, that’s when transformation happens, that’s when change occurs.


Sounds a lot like what Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14:

Not that I’ve already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  I do not consider myself yet to have take hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  

Anyway, being in the middle of that transformation, that change, I can tell you she’s absolutely correct.  In the scheme of things, one bad day or one good day may not matter, but bring that effort every day and then every day adds up.  And now, I have lost over 50 pounds, I can run 5 miles, I can do push-ups!  We need to show up each and every day of our life.  We need to bring that effort, we need to press on every single day in our health, in our parenting, in our relationships, in our finances, in our (you fill this in) and transformation will happen, change will occur.

And the best part is, what I’m afraid that Jillian Michaels doesn’t offer us, is that we don’t have to show up on our own strength.  Sure we can, but usually our will power only lasts so long.  But, as we lean in on Christ, reading His word, pouring our heart out to him, sitting quiet before him, worshiping him, he strengthens us.  And Philippians 4:13 says:

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

I personally include eating healthy and exercising in “all things”.

Pressing on together,




Can you see the difference?  I certainly can!  I’m down another 10 pounds from the one on the right, but I didn’t have a full body photo to use.



Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Dark side

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a pretty lousy singer.  It’s not so much that the tone of my voice is bad, rather, I can’t carry a tune, seriously, cannot.  But I love to sing, and sing loudly.  So be glad that you are reading this wherever you are instead of sitting here with me.  Because right now I’m singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side”, and you’re better off not hearing me!  (I can picture Simon Cowel’s criticism of me now…)  She sings it much better than I do, click here to hear her.

Have you heard the song yet?  Have you really listened to the words?  I love them because they are so honest, so real, and so true for probably all of us.

There’s a place that I know
It’s not pretty there 
And few have ever gone
If I show it to you now
Will it make you run away?
Or will you stay even if it hurts
Even if I try to push you out
Will you return?
And remind me who I really am
Please remind me who I really am
Everybody’s got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody’s a picture perfect
But we’re worth it
You know that we’re worth it.
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?

I was with a friend today and we were talking about how messed up we all are.  We think everyone else has it all together, but no, we are all messes.  We all have some type of dark side: flaws, imperfections, and garbage that we’d rather not let other’s see.  Because like Kelly asks in the song, will they still love us if they see the dark side?

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.”  So the answer should be that yes, they will still love us if they see the dark side.  Whether that dark side is depression, anger, bitterness, shame, hurt, pride.  Whether it’s a failing marriage, addiction, finances in ruins, lies, porn…  No matter what we’ve said or done, a friend should love us.  They don’t have to like the junk, but they should love us.

But that doesn’t always happen.  We’ve been hurt.  We’ve been rejected.  We’ve been ridiculed.  We’ve been judged.  We’ve been gossiped about.  And if we haven’t, then we’ve seen it happen to others.  And so we hide our dark side, and pretend that everything is hunky dory.  Or we try super hard to overcome that dark side.  To become the person we want everyone to think we are.  Sometimes we succeed.  But, I think we always worry that one day everyone will find out the truth, that we are a fraud.

My prayer for you dear reader, is that you do have someone that you can show your dark side to: your spouse, your parent, your pastor, a mentor, a friend, me.  Someone who knows your fears, your failures, your insecurities and still loves you, and still embraces you, and walks besides you and says, “You’re worth it, I’m not leaving even if it hurts. I love you, even with your dark side.”  And I pray that you and I will be that for others as well.

But if you don’t right now, or if you’ve been hurt so much that you are scared to trust someone, take heart!  Psalm 27:10 says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me,     the Lord will hold me close.”  The same King David that sang that, also sang in Psalm 139, “O Lord, you have examined my heart, and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I’m far away… You know everything I do.   You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord… How precious are your thoughts about me O God.  They cannot be numbered.”  This is the same King David who had an affair, got the woman pregnant, and had her husband murdered.  King David knew God saw all that, and still loved him and would hold him close.

As I’ve been openly examining my imperfections through this blog, and pressing on to improve myself… to make my dark side a little brighter, I’m constantly being reminded of one thing.  God loves me now, today, just as I am.  He will not love me more tomorrow when I weigh less, and am a better wife, and have a cleaner house, and yell at my kids less, and read my Bible more.  God loves me with my dark side.  He doesn’t love me less than Billy Graham or more than a “crackhead” on the street.  I cannot earn God’s love, it’s already completely there.

Though I can’t earn his love, I can choose how to respond to it.  Do I press in to it so close that I can hear God’s heartbeat, or do I let the world drown it out?  Do I allow his forgiveness through Christ to wash over me and my dark side, or do I keep scrubbing away on my own trying to make myself good enough?

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)  I have that verse taped to my computer.  When I read it, I ask myself, “Do you believe it?”  Just now I read it and edited it as I read:

The Lord my God is with me, even with my dark side.
He is mighty to save me from my dark side.
He will take great delight in me, even with my dark side.
He will quiet me with his love amidst my dark side.
He will rejoice over me with singing which is much better than my singing!

Do I believe that?  Do you?  Lord, help us to believe that you are with us even with our dark sides.  Help us to trust you, not ourselves, to save us from our dark sides.  Thank you God that you delight in us even with our dark sides.  Help us to believe that.  Thank you for quieting us with your love amidst our dark sides.  Help us to rest in it.  Thank you for rejoicing over us with singing.  I’ll be honest, I can’t even get a picture in my head of what that looks like or sounds like, but I’ll bet it’s awesome!

Pressing on with you, in God’s love, not to earn God’s love, even with our dark sides,





Training Tuesday: Boardwalk Running Girl Adventures

Have you ever sweated so bad that the sweat was dripping into your eyes?  I have, and it is not pleasant!

Occasionally it happens to me while running.  While at Ocean City, NJ, I went for a five mile run on the boardwalk, and this one of those times.  Up to that point, I had only run 5 miles twice before at the hilly Valley Forge loop.  Since I had survived the killer hills there, I figured the flat boardwalk would be much easier.  But I didn’t factor in the sun and the lack of shade, and I thought I was going to die!

To be honest, I probably would have quit and not run the whole thing if I didn’t have my oldest son with me.  He was riding his bike.  We got on the boardwalk at 13th street, and turned right.  Our plan was that he’d stop at the end (I think it’s 23rd street) and wait for me.  Going this direction, I had to run about 1 ¼ miles.  The run was pleasant enough, and when I got to the end of the boardwalk, he was there waiting.  He smiled, hopped on his bike and said, “I’ll see you at the other end.”  And off he went.

And off I went too.  This time the angle of the sun and the direction I was running, meant the sun was beating down on my face.  The length of the boardwalk is 2.5 miles but it felt like 25.  My pace was slow.  I was passed by other runners, bikers, and the occasional speedy surrey.  I don’t think I actually passed any runners slower than me, just walkers, little kids on bikes with training wheels and some surreys.  Since the sweat was dripping into my eyes, I had to stop at the bathroom at 12th street to get some paper towels.  At that point, I’d run about a total of 2 ½ miles, and both mentally and physically I was done!

But like I said, I had my son with me.  I knew he’d be sitting at the end of the boardwalk (1 ¼ miles away) waiting for me.  So I kept going.  I looked ahead at the ferris wheel at Wonderland Pier and thought, “It looks so far away… and I’ve got to run past it!”  Every step was labored.  I made it to the music pier.  Then the boards seemed to be shaking a bit and I heard a loud rumbling behind me that seemed to be getting closer.  The next thing I knew, I was being swallowed up by a swarm of 20 or so runners.  It must have been the boys high school track team all out running together.  And of course they were faster than me, and of course they were going to pass me.  But as they did it, they seemed to run on either side of me.  (The running lane is the center lane of the boardwalk.)  And so for about 10 seconds, I was surrounded by them.  And then they were gone.

Wiping the sweat off my brow every couple of minutes, I managed to keep going.  I finally made it to the ferris wheel at Wonderland.  And then, like an oasis in the desert, I saw Brown’s.  I saw all the people standing in line for Brown’s most delicious donuts ever… mmm, donuts!  And then I saw my son sitting on a bench waiting for me.

“Wow, Mom.  You already ran the whole boardwalk!  You’re doing great.”  How did he know that I needed encouragement?  I sure didn’t feel like I was doing great.  But you know what, besides feeling like I was going to die, I was doing great!  I was actually running the boardwalk instead of standing in line for donuts.  (Did I mention that Browns makes delicious, fresh, hot, melt in your mouth donuts????  Yum!  I think I could eat a whole dozen myself.  I love the cinnamon, ooh but the powdered are good too.  Mmm, donuts.)  “See you at 13th!”  And off he went.

So I turned around, and off I went too.  This time the sun wasn’t beating down on my face, so it was much more pleasant.  I remember thinking to myself, “Only 1 more mile left.”  And then I remembered.  I remembered the day that I first ran ¾ mile without walking.  It was week 5 of the couch to 5k program.  I remember it feeling so hard.  Heck, I remember week 1 of the couch to 5k program staring at the stop watch willing the seconds to pass and thinking that jogging for 60 seconds was the hardest thing I had ever done and that the 90 seconds of walking went way too fast as I was alternating jogging and walking.  But look at me now, running 5 miles and actually saying, “ONLY 1 more mile left.”

I looked at the Double Shot up at Castaway Cove and knew that I had to just get a little further than that.  My pace actually quickened a little and I may have actually smiled and enjoyed the scenery as I ran that last mile.  I knew I was going to finish.  I still felt like I might die, but I was a runner.  Not a fast runner, but a runner all the same.  Heck, I was still burning the same amount of calories as all those runners passing me, they just got to finish before me.  Euphorically, I made it to 13th street and there was a crazy amount of people.  I mean all of a sudden there were hundreds of people at that very spot.  Even though they didn’t notice me, I imagined they were all there to cheer for me as I crossed the finish line.  (Turns out they were walking from the local catholic church to the ocean to bless the sea.  But, I like to think that God timed that perfectly to give me a fun finish line!)

I did it!  I ran 5 miles.  I checked my phone to see what my time was.  I ran it in 59:47.  So it was basically a 12 minute mile.  Not my fastest pace, but not as slow as I felt!  My son smiled, “See you at the house.”  Off he went, and I followed, limping along… now that I was walking my knee didn’t feel like bending anymore.  But I didn’t care.  It felt like a badge of honor for what I’d accomplished.  And you know what, we can usually accomplish far more than what we ever thought ourselves capable of.  For me it all started by running for 60 seconds…

Pressing on together,



I have to say, it is much more enjoyable to walk the boardwalk at night, than to run it in the morning!





Relaxing on the beach…                       Well deserved after the run!


Mothering Monday: First day of school, a mother’s prayer

The house is so quiet.  How I’ve often longed for quiet instead of the noise of rowdy boys. So why do I want to cry?  It’s a strange feeling having all of them gone.  Am I happy?  Not really.  Am I sad?  No, I don’t think so.  Well, maybe.  But I think it’s more of an unsettled feeling.

Have I done enough to prepare them for the world without me?  Will they feel sad, lonely, inadequate, scared?  Will their teachers build them up or unknowingly tear them down?  Will they pick friends that I would pick for them?  Will they have friends?  Will anyone tell them to wipe the jelly off their face after they eat lunch?  Will the work be too hard for them and leave them frustrated.  Will the work be too easy for them and not teach them to work their hardest?  Should I have done more?

Oh God, thank you for my boys.  Thank you for entrusting them to me.  Forgive me for not being a perfect mother.  Forgive me for how often I’ve yelled at them, when you’ve asked me to have patience and gentleness.  Forgive me for allowing them to watch too much TV and play too many video games when you’ve asked me to have discipline.  Forgive me for saying belittling things to them when you’ve asked me to have kindness and self-control.  Forgive me for wishing days away when you’ve asked me to have joy.  Forgive me for not reading the Bible with them when you’ve asked me to have faithfulness.  Forgive me for worrying about them when you’ve asked me to have peace.

Thank you God, that You have told me in 1 John 1:9, that You are faithful and just to forgive my sins and purify me from all unrighteousness including all my failures and shortcomings as a mom.  Thank you God, that you love my boys like crazy and will never leave them or forsake them.

God, I’m begging you, pleading to you for my boys.  Please, please, please, keep them safe.  Please, please, please give them joy if they feel sad.  Give them confidence when they feel inadequate.   Give them peace if they feel scared.  Allow them to feel your presence when they are lonely.  Please, please, please surround them with friends that will encourage them and walk with them on a path of righteousness.  Please, please, please help them to make good choices.  God, I know that problems and trials help us develop endurance and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  (Romans 5:3-4)  But they are so young.  Everything in me wants to cry out asking for them to not have any problems and trials, but I know that is not best for them.  So, please, please, please be gentle and merciful with any problems and trials that you may allow in their lives.


Please help my 6th grader to not be swallowed up by the middle school, to find joy in his days, and to have at least one friend at school.



Please help my 3rd grader to not be too hard on himself when he’s not perfect and to make new friends (I can’t believe he doesn’t have any friends in his class!!!).



Please help my 1st grader to adjust easily to the long days of school and to not get overwhelmed in the cafeteria at lunch time.


And, please help me to trust them to your care.  Thank you God for hearing me and loving me and having compassion for me as a mom.

Pressing on together,


Oh, and God, if it’s not too much to ask, could my boys never complain when doing homework, and could they wake up each morning in a good mood and get ready for school without me rushing us all around, and could we never miss the bus… 🙂

P.S. Thank you for the first day of school printables used in my boys’ first day photos!

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Staying quiet…

For those of you who read my posts, you may have noticed that I’ve been relatively quiet this summer.  My posts have been few and far between.  Some have asked me about it, so I thought I’d tell you what’s up.

Every time I turn on the news or the Internet, I’m bombarded with topics that mean a lot to me: Penn State and Child Abuse, Chick-fil-A and homosexual marriage, presidential elections and the general state of our union.  I sit down to write my blog and these are all that I’m thinking about, and I want to join in the arguments and let my voice be heard.  So I start typing, some times finish a post, and have Jeff read it to ask if it’s OK to publish.  Usually he’ll say something like, “It’s good and well written, but why don’t you wait until tomorrow and see if you still want to publish it.”

Then tomorrow comes, and I don’t really want to.  Other times, I’ll sit down to write something not related to any of those topics but nothing really comes because they are what I’ve been thinking about.  So then I think, “Well, that’s what I should write about.”  But I usually end up walking away from the computer frustrated.

I think about why I started the blog in the first place: to encourage others as I’m pressing on, despite my imperfections, to be a better mother, wife, friend, Christian, housekeeper, and to be more healthy.  Ultimately, in doing so, I hope to point you, my readers, to Christ.

So this summer, I’ve been learning about being quiet.  I’m learning that my voice is not always needed.  I’m learning that if the things I have to say don’t ultimately point others to Christ, then they are not worth saying.  And let me tell you, that is a hard lesson to learn, because I have a lot I want to say!

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.  Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?  My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:3-12)

Oh, God, help me to know when to speak and when to be quiet.  When I am to speak, help my words be filled with your grace, love, and truth.  Forgive me for times when my words were unnecessary, hurtful, and arrogant.

Pressing on together,



Training Tuesday: Obese, no more!

It’s official… well as official as you’ll consider something that comes from Nintendo’s Wii Fit… So I guess it’s virtually official… I am no longer obese.  Unfortunately I’m still very overweight… but I’m working hard to change that!

With losing weight and getting stronger, I’ve noticed lots of cool things.  Here’s some of them:

  1. I enjoy playing outside with my boys more.  I run with them, I’ll join in on the backyard kickball, baseball, and soccer games.
  2. My youngest is learning to ride his bike, and I can run next to him as he rides.
  3. Being outside in 90 degree weather is more bearable without all the extra weight.
  4. I can shop in regular stores for clothes and be confident that there will be clothes that will fit me.
  5. I’m usually not the fattest person in the room, at the store, at the park… not that I delight in other people’s obesity… but when you’ve been overweight for so long, when you walk into a room, you tend to look around to see if you’re the fattest person there.  (Well at least I did.)  And I often was.  But not so much now.
  6. I enjoy going for hikes and doing active things with my family.
  7. I’m not depressed.
  8. I feel more confident.
  9. I feel pretty.  (I can’t quite say that without singing it, remember that song?  I only know it from the scene in Dirty Dancing where the sister was doing it in the talent show… I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty, and witty, and kind… or something like that.)
  10. I feel proud of myself.

One thing that losing weight and getting stronger has not done is improve my relationship with God.  His love for me has not grown.  He’s loved me all along.  His grace was enough to cover my sinful eating and my laziness in taking care of my body that He created.  However, I’m sure he’s pleased to see me now making healthier choices.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

But, I need to be careful to honor God and not myself.  All of this focus on my eating, my exercise, and my body makes it very easy to focus on myself and not on God.  I’ll admit I’ve spent more time lately on than I have in my Bible.   More time looking in the mirror than looking to God.

Oh Lord, please forgive me for focusing more on myself than on you.  Help me, God, to find that balance of taking care of myself all for your Glory and not mine.  Help me, God, to delight in your word and spending time with you.  Help me to think less of myself and more of you.  Thank you God that you loved me just as much when I weighed 200 pounds, but thank you God that I am no longer obese.  Thank you God that I can run outside with my children.  Thank you God that you are with me, that you are Mighty to Save, that you take great delight in me, that you quite me with your love, and that you rejoice over me with singing.  (see Zephaniah 3:17)

Pressing on with you,



Mothering Monday: Mom of the year…

I had another “Mother of the Year” moment last night…

To understand the tone of that last statement, you need to read it dripping with sarcasm. So if you read it thinking that I was getting ready to brag about my awesomeness, go back and reread it with the tone intended… go ahead…

I had another “Mother of the Year” moment last night…

OK, now that we’re on the same page, let me set up the image of my stellar mothering.  Last night, we were at the local park from 5:30-10:30.  We arrived to watch my husband play softball for our church team.  Knowing that we would be there all night, I very diligently packed dinner, snacks, and water.  I set the boys up to eat their dinner and watch their dad, while I went for a run.  So far, so good.

I finished up my run, and returned to my boys.  We watched the game, chatted with our friends, the boys played.  It was nice.  I was still all sweaty and gross from running, so I grabbed my change of clothes and headed for the bathroom to change.  Still, so far, so good.

The bathroom was like a sauna.  I washed off in the sink, and then I decided to use the handicapped stall for more room.  On a side note, I have never in the entire 39 years of my life seen a person in a wheel chair in a bathroom, so I didn’t feel bad using that stall despite the fact that there were 4 regular stalls open.  Of course when I came out, freshly changed, there waiting for me to finish was a women in a wheel chair.  Of course!  I apologized for using that stall, and they didn’t seem bothered… so still, so far, so good.

The game finished up and we simply hung out and relaxed waiting for it to get dark.  Our church was sponsoring a movie in the park night.  We set up our beach chairs and our sleeping bag.  I got the stuffed Pikachus and bear out of the van for snuggling with.  I got the bag of popcorn out.  We were all set to watch a movie under the stars.  It was a beautiful night.  The movie screen is this inflatable thing that is absolutely huge, bigger than some movie theater screens.  The sound system is loud enough that the crying babies didn’t bother you.  We laughed as Po on Kung Fu Panda 2 kicked some peacock butt.  It was a great time, and still, so far, so good.

The movie ended.  We packed up our stuff.  Jeff grabbed the 4 chairs and the cooler bag and headed back to the van.  I rolled up the sleeping bag and walked back to the van with my youngest son.  I had assumed my older 2 had walked back with Jeff.  At this point, it’s 10:30, so it’s pretty dark out.  Can you guess where I’m going with this?

I get to the van and we are loading everything into the back.  And then, I notice my 8-year-old walking over to us.  He’s crying.  I go to him, hug him and ask him what’s wrong.  I can feel his little heart beating like crazy.  And he can’t seem to stop crying.  Our pastor’s wife walks over and sweetly says, “Does this little boy belong to you?”

And then I understood… he wasn’t with us.  He couldn’t find us.  He was “lost” in the dark, surrounded by a ton of people but not seeing his family anywhere.  He was terrified.  And we were at the van, loading up, not realizing he wasn’t with us.  I assumed he had walked with Jeff.  Jeff assumed he had walked with me.  He was lost, and we didn’t know it.

Thankfully our pastor’s wife noticed him, and thankfully she knew who he was.  Thankfully everything worked out fine.  But despite the outcome, it was still terrifying for my little boy.

On the way home, we talked about our strategies for what to do if we get lost.  I asked what he would have done if Mrs. Johnson didn’t notice him.

“Go to the van.”
“What if you didn’t remember where the van was?”
“Ask someone for help.”
“Who would you ask?”
“A mother with children.”

As it turns out, he remembered everything we’ve taught him, but in his panic, all he could do was look around in the dark and cry.

Oh how my heart aches just typing this and thinking about how scared he was.  Thank you, God, for protecting my son and watching out for him, when I wasn’t.  Thank you, God, for being the perfect parent, when I’m not.

One of the things I usually do when we go to an amusement park, the boardwalk or some other crowded place where it would be easy to get separated, is to write my cell phone number on a piece of paper and make sure each of the boys has it in their pocket.  “Please call my mom, Becki at 555.555.5555”  That way if they are panicked, they don’t need to remember my phone number, or even need to say anything.  They are supposed to find a mom, with children and give her the paper.

Last year, I upgraded to bracelets.  I used a sharpie and wrote on those bracelets that they use for fairs and such, but you could also use any of those rubber bracelets that are so popular.

Hopefully last night was just a fluke, and they’ll never need to use those bracelets.  But, last night reminded me that even though they are getting older, I definitely still need to be vigilant about making sure I know where they are.

Pressing on with you,

♥Becki, imperfect mother, covered by God’s grace



Training Tuesday: Potato salad, chips, and brownies, oh my!

On Saturday, we spent a beautiful, non-humid, unbuggy, 75 degree day at a lake with the Kerchner Clan.  One of my husband’s cousins had organized a family reunion, and he couldn’t have picked a better day or spot.  It was perfect!  Of course though, as with all get-togethers, there was food.  Lots of yummy food.  And I did what I tend to do when there’s lots of food:  I ate… a lot!

Knowing that we were going to be hanging out for several hours with lots of food, I had made the decision that I was more or less giving myself a free day.  So I didn’t count how many barbecue chips I ate, and I allowed myself servings of potato and pasta salad, and I didn’t stop at just one brownie.  In preparation for the picnic, I didn’t eat any breakfast, and even though we left at 5, I didn’t eat anything after we left.

Later that night, curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to go to where I’ve been tracking my food and exercise.  I then tried to enter what I ate that day.  It was a lot of guessing,  because I wasn’t counting or paying attention to servings as I ate.   I know I didn’t enter it all, because I kept remembering other things, like a half a can of soda, but I got the main gist of the day.  And the damage was….


There really should be some type of drum roll…





2345 calories 

And that was only between the hours of 12 and 4!!!!  And I’m sure that number is actually on the low side, because I gave up trying to remember everything.  In order to lose 1-2 pounds a week, I’m supposed to only net 12oo calories, after exercise – which I didn’t do any that day!  That’s 1,145 calories more than I was supposed to have.  (I basically ate 2 days worth of food within a 4 hour time frame!)

I didn’t stress too much about it, because like I said, I was giving myself a free day.  But it’s crazy how quickly those calories can add up when you aren’t paying attention.  Here’s how I’m able to have a day like that, record it, and then get right back on track…

After you enter all of your food for the day, My Fitness Pal tells you what you’d weigh in 5 weeks if everyday was like that.  Since I’ve started recording on the site, the pronouncement at the end has always been a weight lower than what I was.  But not on Saturday.  Instead, it said, “If every day were like today…   You’d weigh 181.6 lbs in 5 weeks” which is 4.6 pounds higher than what my weight was on Saturday.

Definitely enough motivation, to not let a “free” day turn into guilt and then turn into another day and another day and then a week and then a month of not paying attention.  Resulting in gaining back weight that I’ve worked so hard to get rid of.  That’s what I used to do.

But that’s not what I did this time!  Thank you God, that you’ve been working on my heart.  Thank you God, that you are enabling me to accept my imperfections, to confess my overeating, but then to move on and not get immobilized by it.  Thank you God, for tools like and for my friends who use it too, because they help hold me accountable.  But most importantly, thank you God, that you love me no matter what I weigh and no matter what I eat.  (But I’ll admit, that I love myself more, when I’m not eating out of control…)

Pressing on together,