Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: In Retrospect

As I look back, I can honestly say that 2011 was a good year for me. We had our ups and downs like anybody else, but overall, I'd say that we had more ups than downs. No one was deathly ill or seriously injured. We took some fun day trips; had a blast in Yosemite; and this Christmas was as close to normal as any we've ever had. Sure, both of our cars died, but we replaced them with new-to-us old VW Bugs. And sure, my husband changed jobs midyear which was a little stressful, but it's working now. Oh, and I lost over 50lbs.

I started off the year being mad and discouraged with just enough hope to say, "OK, I'll try it. What have I got to lose?" I had over 50lbs to lose and I lost it. I'm still not at my goal weight, but I am thrilled that I am not where I was last December 31st! Praise the Lord and pass the carrots!

I know that 2011 was not a good year for everyone, so I won't go on and on about how good it was for me. I learned many things this year, but the one important thing I learned is this: if your situation seems hopeless and bleak then turn to God first. Don't wait 20 years like I did concerning my weight loss. Wishing you many blessings in 2012.

Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Update WLJ

I updated the Weight Loss Journal with the latest photo. I've added some holiday pounds and the scale reflected that: 157lbs. Am I worried? No. I did relax and enjoy the holiday goodies. Truth be told, on Christmas Day the scale read 161.5lbs. I'm sure that most of what I gained and subsequently lost was water weight. It's amazing what excess sodium can do to a body.

So how did I get rid of it? On December 26th, I stuck to my guns and got back on plan. Because we had leftovers (i.e. turducken) that I didn't want to waste, I decided to weigh and measure food and count calories. I came in at just under 1500. Yesterday, I resumed the Eat to Live plan. I'm convinced that my body absolutely does not need processed food, bread, pasta, and dairy. Well, OK, I do need 1 Tablespoon of half and half in my morning coffee, and an occasional bread/pastry product is fine. Pasta? I love pasta, but I've come to realize that it just doesn't fill me up and I'm always left wanting more. I've come to think of pasta as a topping for a spinach salad.

All in all, a wonderful holiday season. Just one more holiday to get through, oh, and my birthday, too. Onward and downward.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May the peace and love of Christ be with you now and always! Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Of Blow Torches and Bonfires

Without naming names or pointing fingers, let's just say that sometimes teens and preteens get the idea in their head that rules don't apply to them. Or that, yes the rules do apply, but there are always exceptions...exceptions that happen daily. In my opinion, if an exception happens daily then it's an excuse. You might remember a couple of posts ago when I said that it's an unfortunate truth that sometimes the best lessons learned are those which are a natural consequence to our actions. It's a truth that someone in our household is still learning.

You see, sometimes some teens and preteens need the proverbial blow torch under their ass in order to motivate them to fulfill their responsibilities. Someone, who shall remain nameless, needs a bonfire not a blow torch. A bonfire in the form of mom (a.k.a. me who is no longer Minivan Mom) going to school and sitting in the back of the classroom to observe said preteen in order to scare and/or embarrass the living crap out of him. Either one works for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I Don't Get Offended Over "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings"

Warning: A Little Bit of Sarcasm Ahead

It seems that the latest fad among American Christians who want to feel victimized and have nothing better to do is to get their undies in a bundle over the phrase, "Happy Holidays". (For the record, I am an Evangelical Christian.) I, for one, don't get offended when someone wishes me "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" and here's why.

1. Because I'm a Christian, my Christian friends wish me "Merry Christmas." Most people who wish me "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" usually do so because they don't know me - people like store clerks or waiters and waitresses. Many years ago while I was in college I worked in retail. I usually had no idea if a customer practiced a particular faith or celebrated a particular holiday. This was in Berkeley and there were Jews, Christians, Muslims, pagans, name it we had it. Unless a customer specifically wished me a "Merry Christmas" I usually said something like "Thanks for shopping with us. Enjoy your holidays!" Why? Please reread the sentence "I usually had no idea if..." and see #2.

2. Did anyone ever notice that the phrase "Happy Holidays" is in the plural? The holiday season in the United States begins with Thanksgiving in November and ends with New Year's Day on January 1st. During this time, pagans celebrate the winter solstice, Christians celebrate Christmas, Jews celebrate Hanukkah, and I think that Muslims also have a holiday, but I'm not sure. My point is that there are many holidays celebrated during this time of year. By all means, Christians should wish each other a Merry Christmas. But don't expect non-Christians to do so. How about this: if someone wishes you "Happy Holidays" just say, "Thank you." If you respond with a snide "I only say Merry Christmas so 'Merry Christmas' ", then I hate to tell you, but you sound like a bitch and you're not spreading the Gospel. And I guarantee you that the store clerk or waiter will be thinking, "You know where you can shove your Merry Christmas."

3. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: if you believe that Jesus is the Messiah then no one can take that away from you. Furthermore, why do you expect a secular world to acknowledge that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of the Savior? If you really want to get offended, then get offended over the obnoxious display of greedy consumerism during the Christmas season. Get offended over the apathy and lack of compassion while children around the world are sold into slavery, while people go hungry and starve, while people are cold and homeless. But, don't just get offended: put the Christ back in Christmas by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you and put your faith into action:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

May the love and peace of Christ be with you this holiday season and every season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Junk Food Hangover

It's an unfortunate truth that sometimes the best lessons we learn are a result of experiencing the natural consequences of our actions. Sad, but true. It's a lesson that my 12yo is learning today. You see, last night we went to our church's Christmas party for special needs families. There were cookie decorating stations, a craft station, and plenty of goodies. Of course, he did not overindulge in the grapes, or the mandarins, or the cucumber or bell pepper slices...oh no. He had plenty of cookies and a large slice of cheesecake. He ate like he was never going to see this stuff again. Yeah.

This morning he experienced what I would only describe as a junk food hangover. I told him to remember this feeling because if he ever drank too much alcohol, he would feel even worse than he did at that moment. I felt sorry for him, I really did. I remember plenty of parties where I overindulged and felt the effects the next morning. But you know what? I still had to go to work. Today on this fine Monday, he still had to go to school. I sent an email to the teacher letting her know the situation. I hope he makes it through the day; but even if he comes home early I'm still proud of him for making the effort to fulfill his obligation in spite of feeling lousy.

As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning I said to myself, "It's better to smell bleach than barf." If you say that enough times, you actually start to believe it. Happy Monday!!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In Moderation

A year ago I posted a somewhat sarcastic entry railing against those joyless people who complain about the calories in holiday goodies. I still stand by that sarcasm. If you don't want the calories, then don't eat the goodies; but shut up about it already. Sheesh.

So far this holiday season, I have been enjoying coffee cake, pumpkin spice lattes, peppermint mochas, hot buttered rums, candy cane cookies, a piece of See's Candies here and there...all in moderation of course. Actually, on some days, I haven't been eating in moderation. The difference between this year and last year, though, is that I get right back on plan starting with the next meal. Even a year ago, this would not have occurred to me. I would have chalked up my overindulgence to the holiday season and would have given up even trying to moderate my food intake.

This year, however, I am more conscious of my food intake and that moderation means I don't have to eat everything that comes my way. For example, on a day like today I am refraining from all Christmas goodies (except maybe a hot buttered rum later on) because I know that tomorrow I will be indulging in yummy goodies at our church's Christmas party for special needs families.

Another motivating factor is the fact that I can look back at my Weight Loss Journal and actually see my progress. Do I want to blow all of my hard work and go back to how I was last Christmas? No. No I don't. I enjoy going to stores knowing that I can find the style of clothing that I want in my size. On Thursday, I went to Kohl's because I had one of their coupons and I bought myself a new T-shirt and a size Small! Do I want to go back to how I was last year? No. No I don't. Moderation does not equal deprivation, but it does require some self-control. It's not easy and some days I blow it. But I remember that getting back on track right away is the key to long-term success.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

So, in yesterday's post, I probably gave the impression that I don't like to have any fun at Christmas. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do, however, believe that a religious holiday should have some religious expression and that its meaning should be impressed upon the a fun way, of course!

This year we're doing a countdown to Christmas. I've never had an Advent calendar, but I made one of my own sort of. Technically, Advent started on Sunday, November 27th, so I can't exactly call my calendar an Advent calendar. I got the idea from one of those crafty magazines that I can't remember the name of. (As an aside, the hubs and I often have a cheap date night at Barnes & Noble where he reads his comics and I read my magazines. No comments, please.) In the picture you can see or at least imagine 24 little red and green bags each of which have a number on it. When each number is unrolled, there is a Bible verse for the day. Inside each bag are two treats - one for each of my boys. I can't pass up an opportunity for sweets. See, I know how to have fun. (cough)

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  Luke 1:30-32

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Putting the Christ Back in Christmas and Why I Drink Egg Nog From a Shot Glass

Last year, the commercialism surrounding Christmas really bothered me. It still bothers me. This feeling is nothing new. Charlie Brown lamented about the holiday commercialism over 45 years ago. I wonder if Jews feel the same about Hanukkah, or maybe Hanukkah isn't so commercial like Christmas. I don't know.

Anyway, this year I've been thinking about Christmas traditions and how they (should) fit in with the overall religious/spiritual significance of the holiday. I'm going to start a new tradition: instead of an Advent calendar (which I never do), I'm going to do a Scripture verse a day leading up to Christmas. Today's verse is John 3:16. Speaking of Scripture verses, I was in Kmart a few days ago and I found Scripture Candy. You can see the tin in the picture. I rolled my eyes and thought it was kind of cheese ball, but then I thought, "What the heck!" and I bought some. Just because a holiday is religious doesn't mean it can't be fun. Reflection.

My other latest Christmas tradition - which is not spiritual in nature -  is to drink egg nog from a shot glass. Yes, a shot glass. If the shot glass is dirty, then I use a liqueur glass. Each holds 1oz of liquid. You see, when it comes to egg nog, moderation is even more important than it is for alcohol, in my opinion. The particular brand that I buy is 190 calories per 4oz. I can easily drink an 8oz glass of egg nog sans brandy and think,  "Holy Toledo, I just inhaled 380 calories! Can I have some fudge with that?" Moderation.

May the peace and love of Christ be with you this holiday season and always.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James1:27


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