Monday, December 10, 2012

Time Awareness For Time Management

Today I've been focused on restructuring my family's time. Time management is important, but time AWARENESS is paramount!

You may think you're a "family man," but how much quality time are you actually spending with your family?

You may think you sleep enough, but how many hours are you sleeping?

You may have been "meaning to" take up a certain hobby, or initiate a certain habit but you think you don't have time to fit it in. Really? Are you SURE you don't have time? Or are you wasting a ton of time?

The attached pic is a graph of how our American government claims we average citizens spend our twenty-four hours. I've added a blank graph that you can print and color in how you spend your own day. I did so with mine and my kids, and wow... We've got some time budgeting to do! It's a good thing our time wasn't money, or we'd be homeless right now!

Here are some websites to help you determine if you're spending your time in the best ways possible. These tend to have something to do with "media" in one way or another because I started my research today wondering what the rest of the population has to say about how teens and children spend their time. (I have two teens. I feel like we spend too much time facing one screen or another rather than facing each other. Yeah. Yeah. I know, typical mom-jargon.)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My “Get Fit/Feel Pretty” Journey, 5

Follow up to the original series published on my blog, Soul Java, February, 2010. Links to that blog are at the end of this.

Wow! I have been sending people by the scores to my original blog about my weight loss when they would ask about how I lost weight. I just read pieces of it and realized that I am SHAMEFULLY overdue for an update!

As of today, November 12, 2012, I weigh 138 pounds. I have not taken any medication to assist in weight loss for over two years. I do take some meds to help me get to sleep as well as some vitamin supplements, which are chronicled in another blog.

I do fifteen minutes of cardio two to three times a week, that's usually a jog. I do *yoga daily. I usually include my yoga during my Happy Exercise,(Check back for a blog about my Happy Exercise.) which means I am doing a series of poses every hour. It only takes about 5-8 minutes, and it is a great break from my desk and also amazing for toning, and stretching.

I drink liquid almost ALL day. I drink water, coffee, juice, smoothies, etc. I go to the bathroom almost every hour, and I sweat a lot. Both are very healthy signs.

I eat an early dinner, usually around 5 p.m. Sometimes it can be as early as 3 p.m. and sometimes as late as 6 p.m. But I do everything I can to not eat within a couple hours of bedtime. I honestly just do not like myself when I eat too near bedtime. If I am suffering with PMS cravings, I'll have a spoonful of honey, and sometimes I'll throw in a few nuts like pecans, almonds, or walnuts stirred in with the honey. I may have some hot cocoa with some honey stirred in if I am needing a chocolate fix.

I have gotten to a place where I truly do not like a full stomach. I get sick, sad, and moody if I'm too full. So I have become more attuned to my stomach than my tongue. I used to eat based on how much my tongue enjoyed the food. Now I eat based on how much my midsection feels full.

I eat whatever sounds yummy. That could be a salad, or it could be rice. It could be a hamburger from McDonalds, or it could be a cup of broth. I'm not strict about what will not go into my mouth. When I exercise, if it hurts, I take a break! Period. I do not follow the pattern of "no pain, no gain." I do not subscribe to any philosophy that is inconvenient. This carries over to food for me. If I'm craving something, I eat it. So, clearly the health and nutrition experts will not be asking me to join their governing boards. But, I have succeeded for ME, I govern ME, and if I want to eat something considered "unhealthy," I do.

But I do so in moderation. If I go to McDonald's, I usually get a plain hamburger, a small fry, and a small diet coke without ice. If I want one of the "value meals" I'll get it. But it is rare for me to eat 3/4 of it. Since it is such a huge waste of money, I just get what I will actually eat. When I eat in a sit-down restaurant I usually ask for a to go box AS SOON as the food is brought to the table & I box half of it.

Sleep is very important to weight loss, health, and mood. By nature I would hardly EVER sleep. It's NOTHING for me to be awake for 36-48 consecutive hours. I can work, work, work! But guess what I am doing while I'm awake? Eating. And guess who suffers when my mood crashes? My kids. So I take meds to sleep. I rotate between melatonin, 5-HTP, Benadryl, etc. Honey is also helpful to calm you so you can sleep. As is chamomile, and no lights on. There are a million and one tricks to help induce sleep, I say try them all!

I started with Weight Watchers, and I still employee their basic ideas. But now that the weight is off, I have learned to focus more on "needs" than "wants," and it is AMAZING how little our body actually "needs."

It's been a long journey for me, but I've enjoyed every step. I've learned what works for me. I've learned which details to stand unmoving on, and which to give in a little for.

Don't give up on your journey to health and wellness! If you have questions, feel free to ask me. I am not a trained professional. But I can tell you what I did in my situation. I can speak of my experiences. I strongly encourage you to seek out a professional. But, don't let their rules make you feel like it is impossible. Either filter what they say, or go find a different professional with a viewpoint closer to what you can actually live out. Don't give up! Losing .2 pounds in a week may not sound as awesome as losing 10 pounds in a week, but it's better than GAINING .2!

You can do this!!!

Denée Richardson, Le Muser

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

*Yoga: Not the "spiritual" yoga. I'm sorry if the word is offensive, but it's the only word I know to describe the toning and stretching workouts that I do. But I'm an absolute, Holy Ghost filled, tongue-talking, Pentecostal lifestyle living, chick. Scouts honor. Yoga is no more "spiritual" to me than it would be for an atheist to jump up and down, wave his hands, sing, run an aisle and those actions make him "Pentecostal" because he did a few "exercises" that are similar to our church services. Those actions DO NOT make that person Pentecostal. It merely gives them a great cardio workout! Just because a person balances on one leg while holding the opposite leg straight out behind them, with both arms outstretched, sweating bullets as they try not to fall over does NOT make them an actual Yogi. It does not fill them with an ancient evil spirit. It merely makes them look hilarious while building muscles and exceptional balancing skills. That's it. I will not permit nor reply to arguments on the topic. Get your own blog and write against it if you need to.

Part 4

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Handling the Hurting

We have to use wisdom in handling the hurting because until you've experienced something for yourself, you do not have the ability to truly understand someone else's experience. You may try to do so by using your imagination, but that's based on your solid opinions, which was formed via your upbringing, which was shaped by your parent’s culture.

I had both of my kids by Caesarian section, so I relate more to people who have had surgery than to women who have gone through the natural childbirth experience. I am AWARE that the pain the mother experiences, the length of time enduring labor, and the concern of the dad, all adds up to an amazing dramatic moment when the child is delivered. But it is strictly my imagination that conjures up what that is like. For me, I was groggy from anesthesia, then within a very short time a slimy, tiny human was displayed from behind a sheet/curtain for about five seconds, then I went to sleep. No tears. No drama. Just baby. Therefore, I never have that "Yeah! Right!" moment other moms have when they connect over their birth stories.

I've discovered this is the case in traumatic life events as well. You may have experienced the pain of divorce, but it is NOT the pain of death, and the two can only relate as closely perhaps, as someone who’s experienced natural childbirth vs. Caesarian, or adoption. All cases resulted in parentage, but they are NOT the same. Divorce, death, losing a home, having a child run away; they all produce confusion and pain, but they are not the same experiences with slight differences, they are very different experiences with slight similarities.

So, when you are trying to help someone who has been wounded by a tragedy of life, the most important posture you can take is one of very little opinion. People trying to offer advice and instruction mean well. But it doesn't feel like love or kindness to the one hurting. It feels judgmental. It does not feel like support to the one hurting. It feels like what little strength one has is being stripped away.

It is hard to trust people. That is why we should be cautious in sharing our opinions about how people should be handling THEIR crisis. We love these hurting people. We can see how vulnerable they are. So we do the only thing we know to do; describe to them what we see they've done wrong that got them in their present dilemma. We also tend to be driven to tell them what they should be doing now. It is not out of malice. It is not some devious, twisted plot to make their life even worse than it is. It is actually because you love them very much! However, diving into their storm armed only with concern and emotion is the equivalent of watching a loved one wrestle a bear. EVERYBODY is freaked out by the event. But if we are not careful, in our attempts to shoot the bear, we shoot the loved one.

When you have been thrust into the awkward position of handling the hurting, you should know that the most painful things well-meaning people do is to say what you think the hurting person is thinking and doing based on your own imagination. Do you really KNOW what they're thinking, or WHY they're behaving or deciding what they are? Have you bothered to ASK?

What generally happens is, we assume, then form our own opinions based on our own assumptions. The one we're trying to help has not participated in any part of the process; except maybe at the end where what is meant to bring them clarity ends up confusing and simply adding to the weight of their pain.

So, if you have a friend or family member scaring you because of behavior being acted out due to life-upheaval, the most helpful thing you can do is not to offer guidance, but rather ask gentle questions AND LISTEN.

"Are you afraid? What are you afraid of?"
"Do you need me to do anything differently?"

If they trust you enough to answer your questions, likely they will start spilling out more of what is causing their pain and behavior. When they tell you more, you'll be better able to "diagnose" them and properly "treat" them. But even at this point you should not necessarily start advising. What you want to do is sit there quietly, listening with a heart of compassion, and you're going to keep doing that until something AMAZING happens, which is that they ask YOU a question, "What would you do?" Or "What do you think?"

It might take them a while to come around to the point where they are comfortable answering your questions. Especially if they are gun-shy by previous conversations, with you or someone else. But if you will patiently and compassionately play this role right, they will come around.

If they are not talking freely to you about their pain, and not asking you for advice, then they are scared of you. I know if you have always considered them your best friend, or you are the family member, or the counselor, that is hard to accept. But be encouraged, because if you create a healing, loving, environment, they WILL come check it out. If it is legit you will be allowed to be a part of their healing. Feeling frustrated you can't seem to do anything right is understandable. But being angry at them will accomplish nothing in your relationship. If they're the "patient" and you're the "doctor," you have to explore the "medicines" until you find the cure. And pray, pray, pray for them.

The other way to help someone going through a pain you have not experienced is to support them. This can be tricky if you do not approve of what they are doing. But it is possible. It is possible to hear someone sob and you not say anything except, "I'm sorry you're hurting. I love you." It may not be easy because your instinct wants to point out the stupid thing they did to bring on this pain. But it is POSSIBLE to use self control and simply support.

The most comforting people I have talked to in the midst of the pain and trauma of divorce, were other people who have gone through divorce. Not because we sat around approving of divorce. But because there were so many "Yeah! I know!" moments about the pain experienced behind closed doors. I've opened up to less than five people about my pain in this matter, and for three years the most helpful one was a very quiet, unassuming, tiny lady. I think it is important for you to know that description of her because I am generally thought of as loud, bossy, opinionated, and stubborn. Do you want to know what eloquent advice and direction she gave? She simply said, "I know. I know. It's awful." Sometimes she would add, "It will get better." But that's it! It turned out that in my larger-than-life personality I did not require a Mack truck kind of approach to calm me in the midst of a raging storm. She never said, "You need to..." Or, "Stop doing...." Do you know WHY and HOW she ministered so effectively? It was not because she graduated from a school of theology or psychology. It was because she went through the school of hard knocks. Very particularly, she was thrust into the same classes I was in. Oh, my goodness! She can lift my spirits like no one else! And all she does is listen and say she loves me!

It's also important to accept that you alone do not have ALL that your hurting friend needs. In the beginning, when all Adam had was God Almighty himself, the Creator. God labeled Adam as "alone" and created another source to fulfill Adam's needs. If God accepts that his offspring needs more than only himself, we must each acknowledge that our hurting loved-ones need more than just ourself to meet all their needs.

I will write soon to the hurting people and give my two-cents about how to cowboy up and move forward. But this particular blog is to the strong, healthy one wanting to know how best to be a part of their loved-one's healing.

It really doesn't matter what our title in their life may be; parent, friend, sibling, pastor, mentor, etc. If their boo-boo hurts, and EVERY TIME they see you you're trying to apply healing salt water, you may find yourself with an abundant supply of healing balm, but NO ONE to apply it to. Create an ambiance and atmosphere of gentleness and you'll find more willing patients than you know what to do with.

If you've faced the same pain as your friend you will naturally know how to help. But if you haven't been in the SAME situation, I suggest you try asking questions and listening, not offering guidance unless you are asked for it, and just create a judgment-free, peace zone. And perhaps you'll find yourself becoming a part of helping that person you love be nursed back to spiritual and emotional health.

Denée Richardson, Le Muser

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

When I Drank Bug Juice

When I was sixteen years old, my parents took me to several countries in Europe. The most memorable ones were Russia and Yugoslavia because we had church there. And our point in going was most definitely more than to have inspiring worship services with our spiritual family in another language and culture. We went to share the gospel with those who had not had a chance to hear it. So one afternoon we were having a meal at the home of some people who were clearly hungry for the gospel of salvation. We were also on our best behavior knowing that you win souls one impression at a time.

I do not remember everything we were served to eat and drink, but I do strongly remember not liking the drink that was offered. It was part juice and part soda, and this spoiled, American, junk-food loving kid did not have a pallet for such an "oddity." But clearly, it would have been rude and unappreciative to not consume whatever they put in front of us. I also need to mention that this was a poor family which was obvious from their clothing to their furniture. We had been in many homes while in Yugoslavia, and this was not up to the standards of the other places we had visited.

So I had managed to eat all of the disgusting fruits and vegetables set before me. "Disgusting" not because they actually were disgusting. But I HATED eating anything that grew from dirt back then. If it did not moo, cluck, or snort, or wasn't bleached and filled with God-knows-what chemicals, I did not eat it. But, THIS WAS SOUL WINNING! And in my deep sincerity to be Christ's hands to the lost, I ate things I absolutely could not stand. Then the worst of the WORST occurred...

I had managed to swallow the last of that awful drink (again, it probably wasn't awful, but just my immature taste buds being bratty.) Then the hostess raised the bottle and offered to refill my glass. We did not speak a common language, so I gestured that I was full and "no thanks!" To my horror, she still refilled my glass, even emptying the bottle! I shot a glance at my parents, but they were no help! Their gestures were saying, "Wonderful! How nice! She LOVES it!"

I smiled weakly, took the glass and sipped. I sat the glass down just before a bug nosedived straight into my juice! Now, in my home that's an automatic reason to pour it down the drain while everyone at the table is resisting the impulse to hurl. But I KNEW that was not how this family dealt with a piddly insect in a valuable drink! Not allowing myself to dwell on it, I fished out the little beast and guzzled that drink as fast as my esophagus would let me. I honestly have no recollection of what anybody said or did from the moment I brought the glass to my mouth till we got to church. It's hilarious to me, but I absolutely blocked the whole experience out of my memory!

Their daughter received the Holy Ghost that night as a result of them following us to church. Obviously, it was definitely worth guzzling some bug juice!

Denée Richardson, Le Muser

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Emotional You

I am a very emotional being. Actually, we all as humans are, because we were created in the image of an emotional God. Some of us have learned how not to express some emotions, while others of us have gotten addicted to specific emotions. But we all rely strongly on emotions in one way or another.

One way we rely on emotions is by how they make us feel. Internal feelings are very important to us. We like to FEEL in love. We like to FEEL happy. We like to FEEL like we are having fun. Those positive feelings cause us to repeat whatever caused that amazing internal buzz in the first place. It is also possible for us to start enjoying negative emotions. We can actually start liking to feel sad. We can get addicted to anger. We can start liking the feeling of jealousy. They same way we seek to repeat a behavior that triggered the buzz feelings, we will repeat destructive behaviors in order to experience the dark feelings. If the behaviors are destructive, you DO NOT have the "right" to conjure those feelings by repeating that behavior. You are not an island. You are connected to more people than you even physically know. You must be responsible in your emotions.

Another way we rely on emotional expression is to tell us if someone likes or dislikes something we've done or given. The funniest one is when tears are the response to a gesture of love, and the giver thinks they have done something wrong to hurt them! They expected big smiles as a reaction to the gift, or perhaps some girly hops up and down, but instead this person is shedding TEARS. We tend to imagine others’ behavior at something would be exactly like our own behavior, and we get thrown when their expression of the SAME emotion is very different from what ours would be.

But feeling emotions and expressing emotions is healthy. Being in control is what makes the difference in your emotions being constructing or destructive. The scripture describes controlling your emotional expression as controlling your "spirit." (Proverbs 25:28) It is rude to burst out laughing at a funeral. It is destructive to cry all day. It is hurtful to unleash a torrent of anger.

But it is also destructive to stop yourself from laughing or smiling, or to never cry, or to not let people know when you are angry or jealous. Building up a resistance to expressing emotions is hurtful to your own self, firstly. But once you have established all these lock-downs to expression, you end up hurting the people around you; your spouse, your children, your friends, and your family. As I described above, we communicate with each other by means more than words. We use emotional expressions to gauge how we should behave toward each other. If you are not demonstrating you are happy when someone says or does something you like and enjoy, how are they supposed to know to do that thing again? If you are not expressing pain or jealousy, how are they suppose to know how hurtful their behavior or words are to you? The scripture is, as always, absolutely correct in telling us how to handle our emotions; to "rule over our own spirit."

Is it okay to express anger? Yes!
Is it okay to express jealousy? Yes!
Is it okay to laugh? Yes!
Is it okay to cry? Yes!

All these expressions of emotions, be they considered negative or positive ones, are okay because God, your creator, expresses them. The scriptures describe him as so much in love he sings! (I LOVE that one.) We see God as angry, jealous, laughing, and even crying. The key to emotional well-being is neither to build walls, nor to let it all hang out. God showed us by example. Emotions were not in control of him, he was in control of them.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Proverbs 25:28 KJV

Le Muser; Denée Richardson

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Homeschool Mistakes

I loved, loved, loved, homeschooling! In fact, I homeschooled my two children for eight years. I loved everything about it. From the time I got to spend with my children, to setting my own schedule, to laying a foundation for the love of learning, to the personal choice of curriculum... I cannot say enough good about homeschooling! But in THIS blog I am not going to tell you about the cool parts of homeschooling, because you likely already know about those parts. I am going to tell you some mistakes I made that I hope you can avoid. (Be on the lookout for my "What I Love About Homeschooling.")

Get Dressed
I have a VERY laid back, chill, personality. I do NOT like molds (as in "Jello" or "ice" or "cookie cutters.") Whereas I value rules, I also look at rules as "pick your battles wisely." And I don't think strict rules about a dress code is a battle I want to fight. I think we SHOULD get presentable for the public, like if we are going shopping or to church. But I do not see a need to prioritize how we dress at home. We were happy in our PJ's all day, thank you very much! And if we did put on clothes, we did not care what they looked like.

This proved to be dumb. Just because you can, does not mean you should. This approach seemed to make the school day "heavier" because our clothes made us feel like we were on some type of vacation, and so the school work went slow.

Getting dressed in "public ready" attire makes everybody take their job more seriously. Not to mention, it also keeps mom more aware of her body image; a needed focus in the romance arena with dad. It does not matter how bald, or fat, or old he is. His eyes still trigger his sweetness.

Full Day
It truly does NOT take six hours a day to teach or learn. We would be finished with school work in less than four hours. When the work was done, I was done. That left M&M bored. Boredom resulted in too much sitting, too much movies, too much snacking, and too much bickering.

I should have planned more experiences. So many ideas that pop in my head on the spur of the moment cost money, which we did not have too much of to just throw out on a whim. If I would have planned better, we could have accessed many freebies, which would have kept us from being bored, had us moving our bodies, and kept us away from continual snacking.

My kids have never met a stranger. Also, because of our role in church leadership, our family was among the first to arrive and the last to leave. This meant they played with lots of kids. They have never been anti-social or shy. But having rarely experienced peer pressure or competition, they were a little off kilter when they started going back to school.

It's not that I think a child should give in to peer pressure, but I think they need to experience it so they can learn to resist it. And while I do not have a competitive bone in my body, both of my kids are very competitive. They dealt with some rude awakenings when both teachers and students were affronted by my kids' inability to chill over things that were no big deal to kids who had been in school all their lives.

It is possible that if I would have been part of a weekly home school group my children would have learned this naturally along with their peers.

Homeschooling is great if you recognize it is a live, morphing organism. What worked last semester may not work in this one. What did not work last year might be perfect now. So, my advice is that you not give up, that you not be afraid to try, and that you not be afraid to change some things.

Don't forget to check back soon for some of the “out of the box” things we did, and other valuable experiences we had while homeschooling.

15 Minute Home Challenge

What can YOU get done around your home in a measly 15 minutes? A LOT!

Here's the rules:
1. Decide which task or tasks your going to tackle.
2. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
3. Work without distraction for those 15 minutes. No calls. No texts. No social sites.
4. STOP when the timer goes off and report on your social network what you were able to get done. Add a pic if u want! Be sure to hashtag #15mintask. & tell people to get the info here on my blog!

If you have the time and energy to keep working, then by all means, do so! But the goal is to not avoid tasks because you feel overcome by the enormity of it. It's ok to STOP & resume later. A messy, stinky, cluttered house doesn't feel like a home. We show respect for ourselves, our children, our spouses and our friends when we create a clean environment.

It's ONLY 15 minutes! YOU CAN DO THIS!!! :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heart to Heart

Like most little girls, I grew up amidst the magical delights of princesses, princes, glass coaches, and dreams of happily ever after! Plus, I had the additional joy of having parents who encouraged me to believe ANYTHING was possible! Plus, PLUS, it is strongly written in my genetic code to imagine HUGE, dream BIG, and not to settle for anything less than the biggest bam EVER!

I was an adult before I realized that I could want something that actually could be a really stupid thing to want. I lived by the seat of my pants! I had always let the wind take me where it would. If I felt it, I went for it! And that phrase, "follow your heart"? Wow. Turns out that is not the smartest advice.

Here's why.

The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

What?! I thought we were SUPPOSED to follow our heart! The oldest and wisest women in all movies and books say to follow your heart. They mean, if your insides are telling you to go for it, then you should!

But Jeremiah wasn't the only prophet to say otherwise...

Heeeere's Solomon!
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

And heeeere's Moses!
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
Genesis 6:5

And (drum roll please) straight from the Master himself, Jesus Christ!
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Matthew 15:19

This realization changed EVERYTHING for me! To the extreme! Surprise, surprise, that I would do anything "extreme," right? Lol! I had such a powerful "overtaking" of my own heart's deceit, I actually stopped praying some very specific prayers in case I was "praying amiss!" I have absolute faith that when I present needs, requests, or desires to God that he WILL answer me! I have prayed for multiple people to be healed of cancer, and BAM! They were instantly cured! I have prayed for money and have gotten it! I have prayed for homes to be made available to people and within hours it has happened. It is not that I am anything special. I simply, LITERALLY, believe that God set prayer up FOR THE PURPOSE OF HIM DOING IT! He said, "You have not because you ask not." So I believe that when I ask, I get it!

How can you pray for God to heal someone when you might be praying that way out of selfishness? How can you pray that so-and-so gets a specific job when you may be asking for something that could ultimately hurt a lot of people? How can you pray that God would give you a specific house, or car, or ANYTHING when it could be your deceitful heart telling you only the good of it?!

I did not know how to pray about people who had hurt me, turned their back on me, or spoken ill of me. Part of me wanted to ask God to bring them back to me while part of me wanted to tell God to strike them dead where they stood!

There is example after example of God doing what people asked of him even though it was not best for them. There are examples of God honoring prayers of destruction and prayers of exaltation. And I do mean that when people prayed, God would destroy someone by striking them down, or exalt them by elevating their status; He did just that!

When a person believes in the power of prayer as I do, AND you realize your heart can deceive you... Whew! I was in a jam!

I spent weeks and weeks in frustration. Literally crying without uttering a word because I didn't know what was the right thing to pray for.

Then, as my wonderful savior ALWAYS does, he started speaking HIS thoughts into my spirit. And, also as he always does, he was using his eternal, written word to do so.

Jesus reminded me that even though it’s true that my heart or "feelings" can deceive me, he is stronger, mightier, and more powerful than my deceptive heart! (1 John 3:20) As sure as a person could have a deceptive heart, they can also have an UPRIGHT heart! (Psalms 7:10) It's a simple matter of ASKING FOR an acceptable heart! (Psalms 19:14) It is as simple as praying that God would CREATE a clean heart! (Psalms 51:10) God is no stranger to creation! He is not caught off guard when we show up saying, "Jesus, take this stony heart out of me and give me a tender heart." It is his good pleasure to write HIS desires on your heart so that we will not have to struggle with our deceitful desires. (Ezekiel 36:26)

The heart truly IS deceitful. And the question Jeremiah asked in 17:9, "Who can know it?" was answered that day as I sat in God's presence. I could feel his smile, as a father smiles on his child. He said to my spirit, "I'm the one who knows it. I'm the one who KNOWS your heart." (Psalms 44:21)

As God calmed my fears, and comforted my troubled soul, I began to pray, "Lord, I'm going to ask for some specific things, but I'm not positive I'm asking for the exact RIGHT things. So you know my heart. You know that what I REALLY want, more than anything, is for YOUR PERFECT WILL TO BE DONE."

I'm sure there are very few wack-jobs in this world as crazy and literal as I am. Which means that you will likely not go through this same hoopla over something so simple. But you should be aware and remember that your heart (feelings, emotions, cravings) actually CAN be deceitful and draw you into wanting things that in reality you do not want. It's a deception.

But also be aware that a continual surrender to God's plan and his written word will shine a light on your heart and dispel all the shadows of deception.

Perhaps I'll blog about how to pray effectively later. But for now I will at least say that I think it is a very good habit to pray prayers of surrender and repentance BEFORE you lay out your list of requests.

What a great God to love us so much.

Denée Richardson, Le Muser

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Psalms 7:10 (KJV)
My defence [is] of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

Psalms 10:17 (KJV)
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Psalms 19:14 (KJV)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalms 37:4 (KJV)
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalms 37:31 (KJV)
The law of his God [is] in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

Psalms 44:21 (KJV)
Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Psalms 51:10 (KJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV)
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
1 John 3:20

The Glory of Enduring

I used to have to think of really sad things in order to shed a tear. I grew up in a very demonstrative, emotional, Pentecostal church. In the altar all the people around me would be weeping, and regardless of the sermon topic, my eyes would be as dry as an old mailbox post! My best tear-jerker as an eight or nine year old was to remember my beloved dog, Suzy, who'd been hit by a car. A simple conjuring up of the day my parents told me she'd been killed and I could squeeze out a few water-works.

But then LIFE happened. An uppercut to the breadbasket, multiple slaps to other cheeks! Add to that a couple stabs in the back region, and good gracious! Now I've had to come up with some clever means to get the flow to cease!

Until this point in my life I did not understand the concept of "endure." I'm not sure I can describe my initial idea of what it meant to endure. Perhaps I thought it was for losers. As if the only people who had enduring to do were ones that had made some really dumb decisions repetitively and now were a public scourge. I honestly am not sure what I thought it meant to endure.

But, honey, I can SURE ENOUGH tell you what it is like now! And CLEARLY it's not limited to losers, because, uh, I am not a loser!

[In my best "preacher voice"]
I shall take my text from, because nobody can say it better than a legit, acclaimed, accredited dictionary.

It's A Verb
The first thing to comprehend is that "endure" is not a sissy, whipped-pup, loser status. Endure is a verb. A verb means ACTION. If you are in a state of endurance you are working your head off!! You are not still or finished! If you are enduring you are engaged in high action!

To Continue To Exist
The next thing to know about enduring is that it means YOU EXIST, and everybody, be they friend, family, spirit, or foe, knows it! Sometimes when you are enduring, you feel alone. You may feel forgotten about. But I can promise you, the fact that you are enduring means you exist! And there may be enemies who wish you would give in, but you will NOT give in because you EXIST, and you exist because you are enduring!

Suffer Without Yielding
Another thing I have learned about enduring is that you do indeed suffer. But you suffer WITHOUT YIELDING! The most adverse and darkest forces can come against you. You may cry, you may hurt, but you will NOT YIELD! A fetal position may be your prayer posture, but you will not yield! You are enduring!

Make Lasting
The reason endurance is so important is because it kills two birds with one stone. It ensures that the right outcome is fulfilled, and it MAKES YOU LASTING! It hardens you. Not in the sense that you become a jerk to the world because you don't care what anybody thinks about you. But it makes you TOUGH! It makes you STRONGER!

Lasting, Recognized Worth
In the midst of the "enduring" process there is absolutely NOTHING that seems worth the blood, sweat, and tears of endurance. But you endure anyway! And the natural result, without you seeking for it, without you demanding it, is that you will have a higher valued life. People who may not even know the story of all you endured will be able to recognize that you made it. The ground that you conquer in the midst of your endurance will ALWAYS be yours! Anything, everything, and anyone of high value endured.

Truth endures. Truth has been rejected and persecuted time and time again, but it endures and its endurance has given it so much power it can set the hardest heart free!

A soldier endures. Soldiers endure separation from family, harsh living conditions, even the risk of death. But they endure and millions of people are free because they carried out the verb!

Oysters endure the irritation of a grain of sand, forcing it into a constant effort of endurance, and a pearl is the result.

And finally, Christ endured. He ENDURED the cross. There is NOTHING to indicate that he enjoyed a single second from the pre-crucifixion beating to hanging nude on a cross. He carried out the action of the word; he endured the cross and despised the shame. And because he endured we have access to freedom from the slavery of sin and death!

So, you may FEEL like a loser when you are forced to endure some things, or when you look around you and nobody seems to understand. When you are in the midst of endurance even the most well-meaning people can seem to add the heaviest weight to our endurance. But the greatest prophets, the holiest men and women in scripture, the most brave, incredible, people ENDURED. And if they would have given up when their friends or families deserted them we wouldn't have the treasures of their testimonies with us today.

YOU can do this! Do not give up!! Hold to God's unchanging hand!! Say like Job, "Though he slay me I will trust him." God has NEVER left anyone unrewarded for enduring all the way through to victory. Because you are still enduring does not mean you are in sin, or a loser, or unloved by God. It means one thing; you are enduring. I don't mean to be cruel here, but, so what?! Lots of us have and are! Cowboy up and finish this out! You are a treasure in the making!

Having done all to stand... STAND!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sit, Eat, & Talk [Part 2]

Sit, Eat, and Talk [Part 2]
This is part 2 of a 2 part series.

I am not going to belabor this point simply because this is the ONE point that most everyone agrees on. We need to eat more healthful foods to be healthier. HOW healthy you need to eat is where opinions get loud. Also, we get loud about WHAT is healthy. It is a heavily touted topic in the media. It is literally obsessed over, and stands are made that can make us feel like losers or idiots regardless of how disciplined we may have become in our eating habits.

My personal soapbox is "moderation." I eat mostly fresh, whole, raw foods. But I also eat bread, butter, pizza, burgers, etc. It is my personal habit that if I eat at, say McDonald's, I order a plain hamburger, small kids-sized fry, and a small diet coke, no ice. I throw one of the slices of the bun out and find myself more than satisfied. I do not do this daily. But I will eat this way a couple times in a month without fear or guilt.

I think a good place to start learning about better nutritional choices is with a program called Eat This Not That. (@eatthisnotthat on Twitter) I also value Weight Watchers as an excellent education program. For me, I did a lot of growing and morphing in my foodie education as I lost over 60 pounds in the course of 3 years. Some people might need to lose 60 pounds in a few months. It is not the healthiest way, but set your goals and go for it. Whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP!!

Okay. In part one I said we would bring up the couch again, so here it is. Meals eaten on a couch with or without the family present is not how food is supposed to be eaten. It fosters laziness and depression simultaneously, and does not allow your brain or digestive tract to do their jobs. I grew up with eating a meal involving family conversation. At breakfast it may have only been me eating while my mom bustled around the kitchen, but we were talking. Lunch, of course, was at school, and I LOVED that time of day with my friends! Dinner included every member of our family around the table. No exceptions. BOTH parents and all three children. Through our teens this remained mandatory. As autonomous adults we are STILL called to my mother's table once a week, and the wrath is great enough that if we MUST miss, we sit through our business meetings with that familiar knot in our stomach that we acquired as sixteen year olds, knowing the present pleasure will NOT be worth the soon to ensue wrath.

Sitting down to eat together was moved to the top of my priorities list as this past summer ended in my own household. My children and I did not sit together for a meal nearly as often as was needed. I don't always enjoy every meal since we have been living out my dreams of familial meals, but nothing is easy at first. My kids were not used to deferring to the other sibling in conversations. If they are tense, I'm tense. But after nearly three months we are getting better at it, and we are all enjoying it a little more each time. It is my earnest hope that by the time they are in college I will have mastered whatever that "look" is that my mother gives if we so much as insinuate we might not make a meal. I can already tell I am going to need that "look."

Again, as with sitting versus lying or slouching, your brain gets bossy to all your bodily functions when you eat your meal in an upright position, WITH other people, as you talk to each other.

Additionally, our moods are affected by brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Among the more important ones are serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, melatonin, insulin, and prostaglandins. The first one that should pop out at you is insulin. Over 25,000,000 Americans have diabetes. That is 8.3% of our population! Our moods are GREATLY affected by insulin. Besides what you put in your mouth, you can help balance insulin levels by involving yourself in healthy communication! Serotonin is another one that you should be aware of your ability to contribute to its production. It helps give you a sense of control. It is also related to memory, sexual function, social behaviors, and the ability to learn. And GUESS where this important neurotransmitter MUST have ease of freedom to do its job in your body... IN YOUR DIGESTIVE TRACT!! Ninety percent of it is synthesized there, and this feel-good chemical's release is connected to healthy communication.

The command station of your brain works best in a social environment. These amazing chemicals mentioned help ward off depression. These neurotransmitters are triggered by being with people and talking, sharing, listening, and loving. People who are married live longer than single people. People who are members of churches, synagogues and clubs also live longer, healthier lives. People who beat cancer tend to have strong social ties. Talking with people while you eat a meal makes your brain a very happy manager indeed!

Sit, Eat, and Talk
When you sit at a table for a healthful meal with people and talk during the meal, your brain sends out an ARMY of workers! It is amazing!
Your eyes say, "Look at that food!"
Your nose says, "Smells delish!"
Your brain says, "CLEARLY our human is about to eat because they are sitting upright." And then he bellows down to your midsection, "Open up the chemical supply! We've got to break this food down into fuel for all of us!"
Then you start talking and listening, and your brain exclaims, "Good gracious! Dopamine! Get yourself and all those touchy-feely buddies of yours out here!"

It does not take very long for you to go through these motions and create these habits. Sitting to eat healthful, portioned foods, while talking with people, will start helping your body feel better for you!

When your body feels better, your dreams feel attainable! When your body feels better, your spouse looks more attractive! When your body feels better, you have more self confidence!

What an amazing body God created for us to inhabit!

Le Muser; Denée Richardson

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sit, Eat, & Talk [Part 1]

I have loved every portion and stage of parenting. My two M&M's (Morgan & Madison) are teens now, and I STILL love it! Being engaged is the key. And though I have a strong urge to blog about how to enjoy parenting, I'll stay on task. [Muttered repetitively: I WILL stay on task. I WILL stay on task.]

When M&M were 3 years old, and four, and five, and six... Okay. Every month of their existence as children, it seemed, they would be asked, "What do we do in a restaurant?" And they would reply with the answer I had taught them which was, "Sit, eat, and talk." At the park they would take a bite or two of food, dash off to a slide and come back for another bite, before running to explore more of the park's wonders. At home we were accustomed to eating for a few minutes, and then the kids would end up on the floor coloring, come back up to the table for a bite or two, then run to bring a toy back to the table. While this description brings me back to wanting to talk about parenting, "I WILL stay on task!"

Of course when we would go to a restaurant the kids assumed we had the same routine of taking a bite, playing on the floor, and racing around the table, but this behavior brought angry stares from fellow diners who had come out to enjoy a peaceful, adult environment. So, we started reminding them of the proper behavior at the table, most particularly at a restaurant, and eventually at all tables. All you are supposed to do at meal time is sit, eat, and talk. Even now, you and I as adults need to make sure this is our meal time habit.

Sitting should most definitely be our posture for eating most, if not all, of our meals. We should not eat lying down in a bed, or shove food in our mouths while behind the wheel of a car. A light stroll is easier on your digestion system, but it still limits its full potential. And the couch cannot be considered the proper "sitting" position for a meal either. We'll bring that up again later.

Our body is a learning machine and the brain of the entire operation is... well, the brain! Research has shown that people who are blind and cannot see their food are less likely to be obese. People who do not possess a sense of smell also tend to have leaner bodies. And just as our sense of smell and sight tells our brain whether or not our tongue is going to enjoy the taste of a food, so our brain tells our digestive system how much acids and enzymes to produce based on the position of your body. If your body is lying down, your brain gets all bossy with your hydrochloric acid and pepcide. They start trying to do their job and Brain asks, "What are you doing?" When Hydro and Pep try to explain that Saliva said food was forthcoming, your brain gets on the PA system and sends out the announcement, "This human is trying to sleep! Am I the only brain around here?! Can't you see he's lying down?! DUH! All you acids and gastric juices need to go to bed as well!" (The brain is quite sarcastic.)

With that, your food goes undigested, and your body gets "heartburn" because your entire digestive system is confused by your behavior. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a huge problem that is directly related to not only not consuming good fuels for your body to break down, but also to not relaxing in a seated position while eating.

Please continue to Part 2 of this 2 part series.

Le Muser; Denée Richardson

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lift Up Your Eyes

Lisa's Edit

Psalms 121:1 (KJV)
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I am emotionally driven. I am not sure if this is a prominently "feminine" trait, or perhaps it could be an "artistic" trait. As I happen to be a female artist, I have BOTH reasons coursing into my "excuse" pipeline. I get in a situation, and it's like a canvas has been wrapped around my head and fastened tightly by twine about my neck, as if I'm a scarecrow! All I can see, smell, hear, and taste is THAT moment, THAT emotion. It is quite an overwhelming and consuming feeling! However, I have been alive long enough to experience the power of peace and common sense that comes to loosen the twine of flesh binding that canvas to my senses. And as knowledge lifts that canvas off my head, low and behold, there is an amazing, breathtaking, masterpiece on that canvas! And my blood, snot, sweat, and tears have contributed to the beauty of that art! But there is no way for me to see it unless I invite peace and knowledge to free me.

Whether we are male or female, artsy or logical, we ALL have been guilty of not being able to see the big picture. And God GREATLY dislikes when we do this. God depends on our trusting him. He will forgive us when we don't. (Thank goodness! Because I would be a hopeless case without his mercy in this area!) But when humanity absolutely and stubbornly refuses to relax and chill in the middle of a crisis, God can't fulfill his will. When we decide to function as if everything is proper and normal., and all the while we cannot see, hear or do anything right because we are consumed by "the moment" we can greatly damage ourselves. We have each been guilty of this behavior. People who live life consumed by "the moment" boldly plow destructively through life, ticked at "all of them" for not seeing things how we see it! All along our head is enveloped by emotions of "the moment," like a hostage held captive by a terrorist!

It is an act of the will to bring your life to a screeching halt, to apologize to everyone you may have hurt in your sincere, yet carnal efforts to remedy a crisis, and just start over. It is a PAINFUL act! It is an action of humility and crucifixion! But it is the best way to get yourself free from the terror holding you hostage.

You have to answer this question: Do I believe God is in control?

If you do not believe this then the darkness and confusion plaguing your life will sadly continue dogging you to your grave. If, however, you DO believe God is in control, then there is hope of a bright, present future! (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Because, if you believe God is in control then you have taken all human power out of the equation. Your boss no longer has power in your life, your ex no longer has power, your abuser no longer has power. Suddenly there is no reason to be angry at people. There is no reason to need so-and-so to do anything in particular for you to be happy. It is all about God working all things out for your good! And he WILL, because he loves you! (Romans 8:28)

One of the results of believing God is in control is that you will begin to seek HIS favor. Seeking his favor will put you in a position to be used as a tool by him. And there is NOTHING more fulfilling than being used of God to fulfill his purpose in the earth! (2 Peter 1:9)

God can and will move any and all people in or out of your life as he sees fit. The canvas makes us hope for people to be or to do something particular in our lives based on the suffocation of the canvas. What we should be doing is resting in the confidence that God loves us and is looking out for our good. Whether ANY of the people in your situation are right or wrong MUST be irrelevant. Only in this action and choice is the canvas released.

God can work out an AMAZING plan that you are guaranteed to love, but only if you will stop obsessing over the people and circumstances in this moment, and focus instead on God's ability to unfold something amazing. (Ephesians 3:20)

Think, if you will, about the story of the children of Israel in the wilderness, coming to the Promise Land. Do you think Moses, Joshua, or Caleb had life any better than the rest of them? Absolutely not! They had the same food, same heat, same sand, same EVERYTHING! The difference in these men and the rest of the people was their behavior which was BASED ON THEIR FOCUS. They were ALL lacking their favorite fruits and vegetables. They were ALL chased by Pharaoh's army. But Moses, Joshua, and Caleb chose to focus on the prize at the end of the journey rather than to focus on the journey. Moses was not able to enjoy the victory of the Promise Land because in a moment of "canvas suffocation" he lashed out. He took his eyes off the prize and acted in a moment of passion. God takes "canvas decisions" seriously. In his incomprehensible grace he will forgive us and help us move forward, but he will allow us to pay the price for them. (Numbers 20:7-12)

It does not matter how much I dislike "this wilderness." I can choose to focus on the wildness, and murmur and complain, or I can focus on God's big picture plan, WHICH IS THE PROMISED LAND!

God does not ask anything of me that he did not do himself. It is a God-nature to focus on the prize, NOT the journey to the prize. That is why he was shocked at the people's complaining in the desert. These humans were created in HIS image. They could have lifted up their eyes from the desert sands and focused on the prize. But they didn't. These people spent their emotions and energies on the lack if quail, lack of fruit, the harshness of the desert, the size of the people, etc. God did not know what to do with people who focused more on the difficulties than the prize.

God demonstrated the possibilities of releasing ourselves of the canvas when he himself, God robed in flesh, endured the cross "...for the prize set before him." It is his nature to live by trusting the big picture rather than the emotion of the moment. It is why he preserved Joshua and Caleb and let the others die. They lived out HIS nature. They did not say they loved the desert. We do not find scripture depicting Joshua and Caleb acting as if the wilderness was not a hard place to function in. But they stayed focused on the promised prize.

Do you know that Jesus did not embrace the cross? Jesus did not one time express joy in the crucifixion. Before he was arrested he begged in intense prayer that "the cup would pass." And once the arrest and crucifixion process began, Jesus DESPISED the shame. He endured what he had to and he despised every ticking minute of it. Faith does not say, "I love being on the cross!" Faith says, "this cross isn't the end of the story!" (Matthew 26:39, Hebrew 12:2, Romans 6:4)

So, yes. I despise the cross... I loathe the desert. I hate this emotional canvas that can sometimes be frightening and suffocating. It is during these times, if I am not careful, that I will foolishly think the world should function at my needs and commands. All along not a single decision I make is based on the freeing power of knowledge! I'm trying to build my life and the lives of my children (and all of us have other lives that we are also somehow contributing to the building of) and trying to do so literally blindfolded! (1 John 2:11)


I say stop to myself and to you, and to this world around me! Husbands and wives, men and women of all races and ages, "STOP!!!"

When we feel the noose tighten we have got to recognize what is happening and just... stop.

"Do I believe God is in control?"

Yes, I do. And that in itself lifts the canvas from my thinking, and at that point I CHOOSE to lift my eyes from the desert sands, and look up. When we look up we will see the big picture. We will see him working all these things out for our good. We will see that it does not matter if the people in our lives are right or wrong. We will see that God WILL fulfill our lives with power and glory when we focus on HIM.

How do we "just choose" to lift our eyes? How is it possible to see the big picture when the canvas is too close? The closer we get to God, the easier this becomes. We are changed into his likeness from glory to glory. We are able to do as Christ did on the cross and focus on the prize, but we cannot do this with our own carnal strength. The power of God's spirit working in us helps us to accomplish this. (Jude 1:24, Ephesians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 3:18)

God has and will give who and what is needed. You may cry, you will likely get angry, and you will feel a lot of emotions. But faith in God says, I wouldn't change one thing. I want NOTHING but HIS almighty hand unfolding HIS perfect plan.

...because HIS ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:9)

So instead of allowing the tightly bound emotional canvas engulfing your mind to dictate your behavior, find a place of solitude & prayer. Get out your Bible and study the behaviors of men and women of faith. Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and do not allow yourself to lean on your own understanding. In all of your decisions acknowledge Him. Then you will start to see the prize. He will give you the desires of your heart. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Le Muser; Denée Richardson

~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How I've Lost Over 50 Pounds

[Composed on my phone... So ur bout to read my texting lingo.]
Bc I'm paranoid of being blamed for smone's heart attack, or wooziness, or even just them being outta breath after a mild run, I hafta start by saying I'm not a healthcare provider in any way, form, or fashion. This is STRICTLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Each person's body is unique & u shld not assume u can do ANY of wat I've done w/the same results. Get professionals involved so u can sue them if smthing goes wrong. :-)

Im long-winded. So heres the nutshell info...
Professional assistance
Eating program

It's been a five yr journey for me to lose 50 pounds. It's taken constant revamping & readjustment. So in theory u can say it took a yr to lose 10 pounds... In reality, sm years, between the gains & losses I didn't even lose 10. So it TRULY is a lifestyle change if the goal is to keep it off. If the weight loss is a quick fix for a reunion or anniversary or smthing, then one of those fat flush magazine diets will do the trick & get u thru the weekend. But it'll b back within 2 wks. And when ppl continually do this type of dieting it's very bad on their body, from metabolism, to bone mass loss, to digestive system damage, skin, etc. it's really not healthy.

So... Here's wat my journey has been like....

I weighed over 200 pounds, went to the doc & got a script for Phenteramin. (It's the "good" part of phen-phen. Has been on the market since the 1950's.) For me it was PERFECT. Curbed my appetite & gave me energy. I loved it! I hv had sm friends try it and they hated it. Made their heart race, made them moody. So it's clearly not for everybody. But it was Awsm for me.

However, even while taking Phnteramin I RARELY wld lose 1 pound in a wk. I wld lose .2, .6... But I had determined at the start that ANY loss was perfect. Losing .3 is better than gaining .3!

After about 2-3 wks on phentermine I started going to weight watchers. THIS WAS VITAL for my weight loss. I actually only went for a couple months, & I still didn't lose more than a pound or two in a wk. (& that was a RARE week. It was still usually less than a pound a wk.) But, this is where I learned the diff in foods. That has proven very important long term. Counting points is a healthy way to sum up a food. I highly recommend the program b looked into.

I knew exercise was important to my weight loss, but I was so heavy at first I was 1. Too embarrassed to work out w/any1. 2. I was too heavy to workout for hardly any time at all. So wat I started doing was turning on crazy songs & dancing my head off at home. I just jumped & wiggled & boogied w/no one arnd! I loved it!

I went on a vacay, & while I was gone I cldnt dance in the hotel rm cuz it was too small. So I was forced to a treadmill. This was PERFECT! I was still alone (turns out hardly anybody uses hotel workout rms! Ha!) and I cld go as slow or fast as I wanted. I walked the rest of that vacay.

Came home & kept walking. But I didn't hv a treadmill so I was outside walking. By this point I was not attending weight watcher meetings anymore (group sessions r not my best growing environment. I'm a very private person.) but I was still counting points. I had been dealing w/some personal health & emotional issues stemming from various family upheaval so the walking was helping me on so many levels; endorphins were being released, I was away from the mess. But I was walking 5 miles a day & that was TOO long away from my kids. A friend told me to try jogging. That a mile of jogging wld do more for me in fat burning than 5 miles of walking.

I can't tell u how NOT athletic I am!!! And I loathe the phrase "go for the burn." & the concept of "no pain, no gain" is NOT part of my motivation. Plus, running seemed like such a "professional" thing to do!! I was truly, utterly intimidated by it. But I tried it... & HATED IT! Lol But did it again anyway... & again... I'm absolutely IN LUV with running now. I don't run socially. I don't do marathons. I despise competing. I just do it for ME. I hv nothing to prove. That means I can stop every time I want. I can run slow or fast. I can run, walk, then run. I can run for 5 miles or a 1/4 mile. I've worn out 5 pairs of sneakers in the last 3 years. It's one of my fav accomplishments in my life.

By this time i wasnt taking the Phentermine anymore. Running is wat pushed me into that zone where I was losing more than a pound a wk. I was losing 3 pounds, 2 pounds, Smtimes 5 pounds! I was also doing ab work, biceps, triceps, etc. toning up my muscle to fix the loose skin due to weight loss.

It's a simple matter of b aware of the nutritional content u put in ur mouth, & exercise to burn off wat uve eaten.

At this point I hv a few "tricks"...
Move, move, move!
I do not sit for more than an hr at a time. I hv a "happy exercise" that goes off on my phone every hr. included in that is "move ur body." So I'll close my ofc door & do sm pushups, or sit ups, or I'll go for a walk, or do jumping jacks. My co-workers laugh at me when I run the stairs.

Portion control
It's rare that I eat the entire plate of food at a restaurant. Our culture serves/eats WAY too much. I usually ask for a to go box when they bring my food & I immediately box at least half of my meal before I eat the first bite.

When we go thru drive thru's I always get the kids meal.

Home foods
I'm not a cook so recipes r not a weakness for me. I gv each if my teens a $20 & tell em to buy wat they want for that wk at the grocery store. I don't hv tons of food in my house.

Usually if I'm craving "home food" it's gonna b fruits & veggies in various forms. I'm not a major carnivore. This def has helped in my journey.

Junk food
1. My kids don't need it. They deal w/weight struggles like we all do. They eat enuf junk foods w/their friends & at their dads. They don't need it here.
2. I WILL EAT IT! I hv wimpy will-power. If I'm PMSing & liable to bite smbody's head off if I don't get chocolate, then I'll buy the fun size plain m&m's. Opening bag after bag makes me aware of how much I'm eating, so that tends to aid in portion control. I don't buy chips, I don't buy baking mixes. I just don't keep junk foods in my house. I'll eat a sundae, or fries, etc. But I eat it OUT & not at home.

I drink protein shakes. Bc I'm not a cook & my kids don't like bfast, I hv protein shakes that we like to grab on our way out the door. I tried smoothies but for watever reason my kids didn't like them. (I'm really NOT a cook! Lol)
Check out this list for the vitamins I take.

When it's hot...
I hv a treadmill now that all 3 of us use. But I don't run much after May. I "stretch" & tone. It makes me sweat, builds muscle, & it gets my heart rate up. I'll run again near the end of Sept. :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vitamins I Take

[Composed on my phone... So ur bout to read my texting lingo.]
Bc I'm paranoid of being blamed for smone's heart attack, or wooziness, or even just them being outta breath after a mild run, I hafta start by saying I'm not a healthcare provider in any way, form, or fashion. If u were to put me up against cooking mom's (which r at least "nutrition providers") I'd cm in dead last. But ppl hv asked wat supplements I take, so this is a bare bones list of wat I tk and why I tk them. I'm not gonna tell u how much I tk, just which ones & their benefits. U REALLY need to do at least a smidgen of research for urself so u don't tk too much, etc. Also, taking certain supplements w/certain medications can b VERY dangerous, so if ur on prescriptions talk to ur doc. (I've heard sm supplements cancel birth control, for instance. I'M NOT GONNA PAY U CHILD SUPPORT IF THAT HAPPENS!! Lol) Of course, anything I've ever read or watched that has to do w/health, nutrition, exercise, etc. is VERY clear that u shld talk to ur doc, whether ur taking prescriptions or not.

Oh! BTW... I'm aware whole foods is a better option than supplements. So I'd like the health gurus not to gv me grief. Just write ur own blog for Pete's sake! Lol :-)

First thing in the morning... (and I do mean "FIRST" bc all of these r major energy boosters.)

These r all great for hair, skin, nails, metabolism & ENERGY...
Green Tea
Super B complex
Chromium Picolinate
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Acrtyl L-Carnitine
Niacin (Flush free)

These all aid in mood, heart, immunity, joint, eyes, nervous system, & a load of other things! Again, DO THE RESEARCH!
Glucosamine Chondroitin
Fish Oil
5-HTP (The "just 5-HTP" I tk at bedtime cuz it can help u sleep. But if u get the complex version, tk it in the morning bc they tend to add a B vitamin.)

And one last thot... Watch the documentary "Forks Over Knives." It's very inspiring!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Are Women Weak?

(KJV) 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Yesterday I was rearranging the furniture in my office, and while I pushed a credenza full of files, which seemed to weigh a ton... And while I moved a miniature fridge... And moved a desk and couch... This "weaker vessel" verse came to me.

How can a woman who can birth babies be a weaker vessel? How can women who'll stand in front of a bullet to protect her child be a weaker vessel? I know women who can bench press huge amounts of weights! How can women be considered the "weaker vessel?" I've heard non-Christian women and Christian women alike feel slighted by this verse.

But.... Wait a minute... Ah-ha! Let's look a bit closer to the wording of that scripture, shall we?

"giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel..."

It doesn't say a woman IS weak! It's merely a mental image to show a man how he is to honor his wife! Now I'm liking this verse a whole lot better! Lol

In our culture we can get a "vessel" to drink out of from the dollar store. If we break it we're more frustrated by the mess than the destroyed glass. But "vessels" of ANY sort in the ancient times this verse was written in were valuable. First of all they had to make their own vessels... If they didn't have the means to do so, then they'd have to go buy their vessels from a potter. The potter didn't sell his handmade wares cheap. Men, women, and children were very responsible and careful in their handling of any vessel in their house.

Peter was not saying women were weak. Rather he was using their understanding of how valuable the vessels were in their home to demonstrate the care men were to show to their wives. They didn't go knocking about clay bowls or vases. They didn't carelessly toss any type of vessel across a room. They understood their value and they treated their vessels with respect.

THIS is how women are suppose to be treated, with honor. Handled with care.

God created women, therefore he knows how they best function; in a loving, caring environment. If men want their "vessels" to reach their full potential they will give honor to her. She will in turn cherish that level of care and will give the "holder" the respect and service he needs.

Neither God nor Peter were saying women are weak... But rather that women are valuable and should be held with honor.

What a lovely bit of advice God and Peter gave to men!