Holiday recovery…

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So, this week has been my week to try to get back on track. I still have a goal to lose 25 more pounds, but beyond that, I need balance back in my life.

From October (birthday month) through New Year’s Day, my life was ordered around celebrating ( 4 family birthdays, a wedding, a college homecoming, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year). Plus, I was seriously sick for about 4 weeks and juggling 3 part-time jobs and a few speaking opportunities. It’s no wonder I’m now finding it challenging to ease back into a normal routine.

My goal is to eat low carb, yet there’s always that crazy pull towards comfort foods that takes me over in the cold months. All I can do is take one step at a time, so I am counting this week successful in spite of the carbs Ive had. I did manage to stay away from pop all week, to eat more fruits and veggies and to eat less, overall, than I was during Christmastime.

Therefore, I’ll keep moving forward. This week, I’m stepping back away from chocolate, including the hot liquid kind. I’m also going to get more physical activity back into my life this week.

That’s it for the physical area of my life, but when I’m seeking balance, I look at five more areas: social, emotional, mental, spiritual, and vocational. When these five areas are unbalanced, then that’s when my physical area is completely neglected and out of control. So, my other goal for the week ahead is to make the adjustments needed in the other five areas to get back the stability, to bring order to the chaos brought about from 3 months of “special ” events.

What about you? How are you doing with your recovery from the holidays?

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The tender allure of the season…

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This Christmas season has been filled with emotions for me. I’ve been filled with sentimentality more than usual. Little moments have captured my attention, tears have come readily to my eyes as memories have been close to the surface.

Yet, above all the romanticism brought on by these reminders, more than any other recent Christmastime I can recall, I’ve been keenly aware of God’s presence very near. The reality of His love that brought Him to dwell among us has been so close to the forefront of my thinking at most every point in time this last few weeks. I’ve been re-captured by the Sacred Romance of the Greatest Story Ever Told ❤️🎄⭐️💚

A time to mourn

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I don’t wake up early very often. Anyone who knows me much knows I am a night owl not a morning person. Yet, there are some aspects of early rising that I love.

For one, I love sunrises! Aw, to be on the beach when the sun is rising ! I also love the beauty and quiet of this time of year, turning on the Christmas tree and sitting in the silence of my sleeping home, aware of the muffled sounds of outside caused by the blanket of snow.

I have a lot in my schedule today, with my work, bills to pay , chores to do and grading for the online course I teach. My week has been challenging because a deep sadness hit me on Sunday. When it hits , life just gets harder.

I’m not sure of all the why’s for my sadness. I do battle seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the time change this year, the early darkness, hit me sooner than usual. Responsibilities have seemed never ending of late and I can’t seem to cut my carbs to save my life. However, on top of all the usual stuff of life, I’ve had a profound sense of loss this week as our country has been mourning the loss of our former President, George H W Bush.

I can’t get over how this has hit me. I’ve cried with every newscast, social media post and yesterday’s national funeral. I’ve been trying to understand my emotions in all this.

I think some of my grief is coming from the facts that the 41 st President was the first for which I voted. I remember how deeply saddened I was when he lost the election in 1992. I lost some hope when that occurred. I also feel this grief has come on because of the fact that this great man was from my father’s generation, just two years younger than my dad would’ve been. His passing seems to represent the passing of so much more, of an era, the passing of a “kinder and gentler” nation. Then, there are a couple personal aspects that have made me feel somehow connected with this President, having a couple letters from him from back when I was more involved and felt my voice mattered, as well as having a niece who had spent time with the Bush family. Somehow, it sort of felt like he was a distant friend, a part of the family I never got to meet…

Yet, watching the funeral yesterday spawned some renewed sense of hope in the cynical part of me. I watched and heard as each speaker called out the goodness, the grace, and the greatness of this man and his family. I observed the other former Presidents and leaders as they honored and reflected on the contributions of “our brother George” (as the bishop kindly referred to him), and all this being done, being celebrated and lifted up in front of the world, in front of generations who don’t know what it used to be like to live in our country with leaders who led as he did under the circumstances in which we lived ( the Cold War, nuclear disasters, evil dictators, energy crises, the war on drugs, the AIDS epidemic … and so much more).

My point is that the Truth was spoken yesterday to billions worldwide and an example of how to live and how to lead was laid out in glory before the world. It gave me a renewed sense of hope and sense of calling to pray for our leaders in this world , that they would be convicted and inspired to lead us differently, to live better lives and represent more than their own selfish interests. It also inspired me to continue to persevere and to live life more fully, more full of passion that is fueled by the Light and Truth that lives in me, for the greater good of all, and especially for those impacted directly by my life…even in those seasons when I’m sad and overwhelmed with the demands of living.

Yes, I’m mourning but the sunrise came again today and reminded me there is gladness after mourning, weeping only lasts for the night, and one glad day, sadness will be no more.

Blessings

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So many reasons to be thankful…I decided to straight-up make a list:

1. Heat in winter and a/c in summer

2. Running water

3. Electricity

3. A gas fireplace and hot water heater

4. Cars to drive and gas to put in them

5. Food to eat

6. Jobs

7. Clothes

8. Books to read

9. Education

10. A home

11. Family, friends, relationships

12. A heritage

13. Freedom

14. Opportunities

15. Creation

16. Animals

17. Beauty

18. Joy

19. Jesus

20. God’s love

I could keep going, pick apart every detail of every reason above, but my prayer is that this list helps bring to your mind all you personally have to be thankful for in your life. Spend Thanksgiving Day in humble awareness and allow gratitude to permeate every moment and lead into a greater sense of being purposefully thankful in all the day-to-daybeds of life.

Beholden

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I realize I’m a few days behind on writing about my thankfulness. I haven’t neglected to recognize all my blessings, but we’ve had guests and some busy days….

That being said I want to say how thankful I am for friendships that span the years. I am beholden to some dear, dear people who have stuck with me as friends who are closer than I can describe. I am blessed by their presence in my life, even though we don’t get to be with one another all the time. I am grateful for their acceptance of me, their love and sacrifices of time and listening ears and help.

How good and precious is a friend who sticks closer than a brother! I know God is the Giver of these good and perfect gifts! I could not find my way down all the roads of this life if I didn’t have these friends. I owe them my thanks many times over…

Delight

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I’m struck by the the beauty in nature almost anytime I’m outside. God’s creation draws my attention and I’m captivated by it in all the big and small ways.

Our delight with God’s created world is a way we show our thankfulness to Him. It’s similar to the delight of a child opening gifts on Christmas morning. Just as a parent is thrilled to experience the joy of their child as they open gifts, God thrills to hear us exclaim over the gifts He gives us daily in the amazing world.

Today, this beauty was found in the ice covering literally everything outside…