Food For Thought

The other night Robert and I were having a conversation before bed.  We found ourselves in a deep conversation about our relationship.  Don’t fret it wasn’t about our relationship with each other but our relationship with God.   We talked about where we felt we were and where we wanted to be. Then, Robert made a comment which has been thought provoking for me and has been an avenue for God to really speak and work with me.

As many of you know Robert and I promote Thrive by Le-Vel.  We love the product and want others around us to find the benefits from it that we have .  The past few months we have really been pushing Thrive with all of it’s benefits.   I am actually surprised  no one has de-friended me on Facebook over how much we promote Thrive. Yes, it has seriously been that bad but we have been able to get family and friends to try Thrive.  We feel like we are helping change their lives.

All of this being said, back to what Robert said during our conversation earlier this week.  Robert and I had talked about our desire to be closer to God in 2017 than what we were in 2016.  We talked about what we could do to grow closer:  read our Bible more, pray more, attend church, and even get involved in small groups.  These are all things we do anyway but we knew to grow closer and to draw others to God we needed to increase these activities.

Then Robert blurted out, “What if we promote God as much as we promote Thrive.  Think about how many people we could win for the Kingdom!”  This quote got me thinking.  Had I gotten so caught up in changing people’s lives I forgot to make sure they had God in their lives?  Don’t get me wrong I love Thrive and we will continue to promote it BUT at the same time we have to spend just as much energy on promoting God and growing our relationship with him.

Many people make resolutions for each New Years, my resolution for 2016 was to lose weight to which I have lost about 30 pounds!   It is now time to think about my resolution for 2017.  While  I will keep losing weight, taking and promoting Thrive  – these will not be my resolution.  My resolution, and I am sure my husband will join me with this one, is to promote God and grow closer to Him!

By the way I took my first step in this today by reconnecting with a close friend and starting a Facebook group where we will be able to connect with others who are Saved by Grace.   I will be sharing more about this group over the next few weeks and months.  I am looking forward to the roll Robert and I will play in this group with discussions, Bible studies and various other outreaches!

 

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Robert’s Struggle

( This is Robert, Chana’s husband, covering something really personal that I’m going through today. I guess you’d call it my weight loss journey, but it feels like the journey hasn’t officially begun…. )

There they were laid out before me, my pictures with my shirt off, where they could no longer be ignored. We’d taken a short vacation this week with my mama and my siblings for her 80th birthday. Chana wanted me to thumb through the photos to relive some of the good memories. Unfortunately, the pictures taken just before the vacation pictures were the shirtless photos of me that Chana had taken on June 3rd, 2016.

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I hadn’t planned on looking at those pictures until teachers report back for duty on August 3rd, 2016. I’d be able to see the progress that I’d made during this final touch-up before the 2016-2017 school year.

This realization has gone beyond disbelief and entered the arena of totally disheartening to me. This surely couldn’t be me….not after I’d walked for a month, began a walk sprint a month later, used make shift limbs in the yard as barbells, did pushups (albeit what the guys used to call “girl pushups”), cut grass for 45 minutes, cut grass for an hour and a half, joined the gym and leg pressed 350 lbs after a 10 year absence from the gym

These pictures surely couldn’t be me after I’d cut down from 4 to 6 servings of soft drinks a day down to 1 or 2 servings. These pictures couldn’t be me after cutting down to 1 portion apiece at supper with no seconds…. eating baked or broiled instead of fried…. cutting down ‘white carbs’ drastically… rice — 1 time in 3 months…. virtually no french fries compared to normal…. cutting down on bread….with so much money spent on fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, frozen fruits, and frozen vegetables….

I’ve been taking supplements that are supposed to build testosterone…. supplements that are supposed to build dht….. other supplements that are supposed to cut fat….. supplements that are supposed to cure stomach ailments……a supplement that is supposed to be a cure all and costs $80 per month, but is very difficult to cancel and hasn’t done jack squat over the past 6 months.

The bottom line is that –> nutrition and supplementation, or so I read, are SUPPOSED to account for 80% of weight loss

Now granted that, at this point in time , I’d not worked out in 15 days and my diet hadn’t been quite as clean during that time, but where was the muscle tone in my chest? Where were the burgeoning biceps that I thought I was building up? Where were the big calves that I saw in field day photos at school? While my legs looked like bird legs , at least I could see some muscle tone. That’s not the case at all with my upper body.

Except for my weak and spindly looking arms, everything above the waist is pretty much covered with fat. My chest area was covered by a small amount of it. However, it was the area between my chest and waist that’s very disheartening to me. My belly was enormous!

The most confusing part is that I’ve dropped from size 40 pants to size 36 jeans and shorts in 4 months, but I still look this bad. How is that possible? Even if I hadn’t worked sooooooo hard and cut out so many favorite foods from my diet, this would still be hard. It just wouldn’t evoke the emotionally wiped out feeling that I’ve felt for the last few hours.

Before typing this out, I was so hurt by the emotional part of what seems like failure that I hadn’t accounted for what had happened physiologically to my body. My changes in body composition have mostly been muscle loss and not the desired fat loss.

Balance can’t possibly be starving myself to death. Balance cant possibly be spending 3 or 4 hours a day in the gym. Balance can’t possibly be drinking nasty protein shakes that have only been available over the past 20 years. Balance can’t possibly consist of the aforementioned expensive supplements that haven’t worked for us.

I want a real food + real exercise no nonsense answer that increases energy, lowers blood sugar levels, trims fat, and builds muscle.

It’s too late for it to happen by next school year, but I just want it to happen at some point during my 40’s.

Chana and I will somehow do this together though. Neither of us will quit! We’re continually learning things that work and things that don’t work for us.

 

Belong

Have you ever wanted to simply belong?  Belong in a group? Belong to a specific family? Have you had that longing to simply feel like you were a part of something special?  Is there that longing or a nagging that won’t go away?

I see it everyday in my classroom.  I have little girls and boys that want to be friends with other girls and boys, they want to “belong” to a special group of kids BUT they feel as though they are left out.   These little ones will do everything possible to belong but I always find myself having to talk with them about the type of friend they want and do they want a friend that treats them good only when they feel like it or do they want a friend who wants to be around them all the time and like them for who they are.

Well, it not only happens to little ones but it happens to adults too.  We want to feel as though we belong.  Tonight, as I write and open up to you, I find myself wanting to belong.  I want to feel as I belong in a place where I have always felt I belonged, I have a longing and desire which is hard to put into words but I know that many of my readers will understand.

My entire life, or from the time I was about 5 years old, I had a certain routine every Sunday morning.  There was a certain path I took once a week and many times up to three times a week.   I am sure by the time I was grown I could take this path blindfolded.  Not only did I have a path but I had a special schedule I followed each of these Sunday’s for over 30 years of my life!  I had a specific place to sit, stand and even a job(s) I did for the most part.  I belonged!   I am sure you probably know where I belonged, don’t you???  I belonged to a church family.  I knew without a doubt when I woke up on Sunday mornings I would be attending a specific church where I would see specific brothers and sisters in Christ.  I, also knew when I missed church there was a piece of the church missing.  I was part of a family bigger than me.

Two years ago I lost this feeling of belonging.  When we left Cedar Creek Church, I for the first time in my life did not have a church home.  I  embraced the opportunity to seek God, listen to where He wanted me and actually take a back seat and enjoy simply being a “seat warmer” for a while. I took this as my season to be fed and not to help feed others.  Well, here I am two years later and on my second church since Cedar Creek, finding myself wanting to belong!  Since leaving the place I called home for so many years, I have not found another place to call home and here I am now desiring that place to belong.

Tonight when Robert and I were running an errand around town, we had a conversation about things we needed to do tomorrow.  I had for the past month felt like I didn’t belong where we are currently attending but did not know how to address it to my husband…. Well tonight, I couldn’t hold it in any longer… I blurted it out, “I am ready to find a church where I feel like I belong!” I think I totally surprised him by my words.  My own husband didn’t expect to hear me say, “I want to belong”.  So if he was surprised I wonder how surprised God is by me longing to belong?

Here I am at almost 40 years old, taking the advise I give my students on a daily basis. I am asking the same questions I ask those third graders but instead of the word “friend” I am using the word “church” because I am ready to feel like I BELONG!

 

Moving Forward

The past few weeks I have slowly began walking again and working out 2 to 3 days a week.  I didn’t realize how far off the wagon I had fallen.  Who would have thought an injury would take this much out of someone — I know I didn’t!

I have decided to fully move forward I have to do what I have been dreading for the past year or so — getting on the scale and weighing.  Where would I be?  How much had I truly gained?  How much damage did I truly do to my body?  While walking with Robert the other day a lot of these questions came up and the reality of the unknown and needing to get my self moving in the right direction became real.  Robert kept threatening to interview me so I could post it here but I somehow got out of it; I think he felt bad for me.

After making the decision on Monday to weigh and see how far I had made it backwards I had one more melt down about my weight and my clothes to which my husband, Robert Sharpe, told me, ” I love you but I cannot feel sorry for you anymore.  It is time for you to take action and make a change.  If you are not willing to get out and do what you need to do (which I know what he is talking about) then don’t expect me to feel bad for you.  I love you and hate to see you like this but the decision to change is up to you.” Hearing those words fired something up in me and I took my first step!

Today was my second step, I weighed in!   This second step was painful, stressful and blood pressure raising (seriously) BUT in the end the good news was I had only gained 10 pounds in the past year but the bad news was I HAD GAINED 10 POUNDS IN THE LAST YEAR!  I also, took my third step today which was to set a goal for where I want to be.   My very first goal was to be able to go down these 10 pounds by camp out which happens to be 3 weeks away.   My larger goal deals with me losing over 120 pounds and I know that will take time, patience and a lot of work.

Tonight I am ending with a very special side note and request.  There is a young lady I taught a few years back who happens to be in the hospital tonight.  She has been in the hospital for the past 9 days or so.   She has lost her vision, has high white blood counts and several other struggles.  She had a procedure today to relieve pressure on her brain and prayerfully help restore her vision.   This precious girl, Summer, has always been full of life and her smile will brighten anyone’s day. Please pray the doctors are able to get to the bottom of what is causing Summer all of these problems.  Also, say a prayer for her parents- I know this has to be stressful seeing your sweet child hurt and not being able to do anything for her.

 

 

Persistence

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On my last post I commented I started exercising again, or at least attempted to exercise.  Well since I had my pout session about how hard it was and how far I had digressed from my original goal,  I decided not to give up! As heart breaking as it was to me to see how far backwards I had gone, I knew that I could only move forward and get better than where I was on  my first attempt at exercising again.

I am proud to say I didn’t give up; I went back to the drawing board.  I searched for YouTube videos which would work for me and start at the beginning.  I found a beginner’s video and decided to give it a try.  Well, I went from my first day being able to exercise for just a few minutes to completing a workout on Sunday!

To top this exercise off today Robert and I set out on something I haven’t been able to do in such a long time.  We set out on a walk!  We walked close to a 1/2 mile today — which we actually power walked for about 5 minutes of the walk!  Can you tell how excited I am about this gigantic step?!?

It feels so good to be returning to myself again, now that my foot is healing!   Stay tuned to more of our journey — I can’t wait until I am able to join my friends for Zumba and increase my walking to the 2+ miles a day.

**My Feature Image is a  picture my of starting point — it is what made me realize how far I had strayed! It is my point of motivation, I look forward to retaking this picture before too long.**

 

Who Knows My Name?

A few weeks back Robert and I were honored to attend the baptism of our niece, Cecilia.  That Sunday, the church my brother and his family attends had a quest speaker.  The speaker made a comment which has stuck with me and has really made me think.  He said, “People like to know that others know their name.” He then proceeded to give an example where a group of little children got all excited because he knew their names.

At the time this statement didn’t stick out to me.  I knew the minister was ultimately talking about God knowing our name — which I know without a doubt He knows my name, so I didn’t put much weight into that statement until a little while later.   Having someone know my name is important, I know many of my followers know who I am, my friends and my co-workers know who I am but is that all?

I have spent much of my life being shy, introverted and at times very recluse.  Heck for the first  _____ year of my life, help me here Stasi with the exact number, I didn’t speak for myself. I would have someone else talk for me.  I wonder how much being this way has hurt and hindered me in my life and in my faith.  How many people out there don’t know who I am because I stayed in the shadows and very rarely stepped out in the spotlight?  Who really knows my name after all these years?  Am I still known just as Bobby and Geraldine’s grand-daughter? Willie and Ella Mae’s grand-daughter? Wayne and Margaret Ann’s daughter? Roberts’ wife? Who out there really knows my name?

*Sorry if my post are deep here lately — I have been doing a lot of reflecting the past little bit to help me in my weight-loss journey.*

Up next:  All About Me

 

 

The Struggle Is Real!

I have to be honest my journey to the new me has been a real struggle!  For the first time in my life I feel as though I am a failure.  It seems no matter how hard I work, how little I eat or how healthy I eat, there isn’t any signs of weight loss for me.  I struggle to put into words how I am feeling through this journey, which is definitely not like me.   I know where I want to be and I see where I am.  The place I am at is not any closer to my goal than I was in January.

So what is my hang up?  Why can’t I lose weight?  Why do I feel like a failure?  These are questions I MUST find the answers to!!

To my readers, friends and family please be patient with me as I go on this journey.   Sorry I haven’t written in a while – I know I have hidden myself from my readers the past month and I apologize.  I realized today how much I have been hiding and not getting out and about anymore which is totally due to the way I feel about myself these days!  Please hang with me and help me on my journey!

Up next: Who knows my name?

 

Share Time

Goodness, where has time gone?  It seems just like yesterday Robert and I began to seek  God about our housing situation.  Here we are two years later living in our dream house, made possible only by the grace of GOD!  The past few months I have been working on putting together a video to share with you.  The video documents, through pictures, our house from the very beginning to where we are today!  I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  I have to admit, I was brought to tears as I put together our video!

Also, one confession about our weight loss journey!   Robert is down several pounds where me on the other hand —- I am scared to get on the scales, scared what the scales will show.  I know from the shopping I did today, the scales will show me something I don’t want to see and don’t know if I am ready to see!

I was asked the other day a few questions and a few  of these questions happened to be, “What habits do you need to say goodbye to the most? Make a list. What do you need to do more?”  It was followed up by “When you know what your temptations/weaknesses are, then we will work towards how to make the choices to avoid or say no to them.”

Since being asked those questions I have thought really hard about it.   Over the next few days I will be documenting a list of habits I need to say goodbye to.  I hope you will following along as I pour my heart out to my readers and document my struggles and successes over the next little, let’s be real here — the next long, while!