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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mixed Emotions

"You're one of the few success stories I've seen."  That was a comment from my PCP at my annual physical earlier this month. And while it made me happy...I was also sad. Not for me, necessarily, but for the others who my PCP was referencing. She went on to tell me that most people she has seen at her office either 1) do not get to a healthy weight to begin with or 2) have significant weight gain within three years. 

And that three year mark is just around the corner for me. So I had to take captive a lie satan whispered to me: "You're going to hit three years and then you'll gain all that weight back again." When I say "take captive" I mean that I recognize it, call it the lie that it is and refuse to let it bounce around in my head very long. The sooner I can get rid of it the less fear it will bring me. Fear is a captor and thankfully I've been set free!!

And yet...I'm still saddened for the others. I truly wish people could experience the freedom of being healthy!  The freedom of not letting negative thoughts about their appearance keep them from enjoying life. The freedom of actually feeling good!!!

This surgery has been the best thing I've done for my physical health (which in turn has significantly helped my emotional health!) and I can't imagine NOT being successful. I had enough self-doubt and condemnation that if I "failed" at this, I can only imagine the dark place I'd be in right now.  I thank God that He has given me the strength and perseverance for "success" here! It truly is by His power that I have overcome the chains of obesity and self-condemnation. As I continue to seek to know Him better, I can confidently say that He will free me from other lies and baggage I've carried for years. He is faithful!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Time Doesn't Stop


It’s past mid-January and I’ve not even been out to my own blog!  “Milford”, as I call one of my WLS buddies, sometimes reminds me that I’ve not been keeping the world up to date on my progress.  Although I have plenty of things to say - just ask CME or my children! - I just haven’t made the time to put it my thoughts down on paper.  So this is one of those long get it all out posts...

I can start by reporting that my focus for CHRISTmas was Christ.  Yes, I enjoy the traditions of decorating (well, the decorations at least) and the Christmas music, gift giving, etc.  But it’s gotten so out of control in a lot of cases and I feel like The GIFT of CHRISTmas is an afterthought for many.  There are things I’d redo this year if I could, but in general I stayed in the word and in the reason we even celebrate.  My church had an 11pm candlelight service for the first time – and it was packed!  We’ve always had afternoon/early evening services, but the 11pm was new.  Can I just say that it was probably the highlight of my Christmas Eve?  I truly felt as if I was preparing my heart for the coming of the King!  Oh…and food?  Yeah, it was good.  I didn’t over indulge and I didn’t ‘focus’ on it.  I did make cookies with my sons and my precious g-baby!  I had forgotten what it was like to make decorated sugar cookies with a two year old! We did great until I ‘firmly’ said, “That’s enough cookies!  You’re going to get sick…” A small meltdown and a big hug session later and we were all good again. 

An interesting thing happened on CHRISTmas Day.  And I use the word interesting lightly...very lightly!  Long story short is that we had a major plumbing issue that required us to completely replace the pipe from the outside of our home to the septic tank.  It's winter.  It's cold.  Ground is frozen.  Pipes are filled with tree roots (and the obvious other 'matter').  Did I mention it's cold and the ground is frozen?  Regardless... after MANY days of lots of family hard work.  We did it.  There were two days that I had to make frequent trips to one of two different gas stations because the bathroom pipes led to the ditch we were digging.  But two days is nothing, right?  On the upside, even though NONE of us wanted to be doing such a nasty job, it did occur to me more than once that I physically was able to be out there helping - digging, swinging a pick axe, chopping thick tree roots with a hatchet.  Yes, I was sore, but I was doing it.  Not sure I would have (or could have) done those same tasks just a few short years ago.  So I say, Thank you God for making it possible for me to do this crappy job!  

Fixing What's Broken 
Before I ever started this journey, I made a promise to my friend L.  She told me that she would only support my WLS decision if I promised to take care of the emotional and spiritual side of me as well.  And though I've done that through the classes and support groups that bariatric center provided, I'd not really dug deep into matters of the heart, mind and spirit.  Not until recently. A precious, God-filled, Spirit-led friend of mine is helping me look back at my life and identify key events that shaped my thoughts, my life, my weight.  Sometimes it's easy to key-in on a specific detail while other times I feel like I'm totally clueless as to where God is taking me.  Subconsciously even, I think I resist going to places I don't want to address.  I've made strides in forgiveness during this process.  Forgiving people from my past, forgiving people in my life now, and forgiving myself.  I've had to be totally repentant of believing the lies I've been told...rather than believing what God has to say about me.  This process has been both humbling and freeing.  I'm so thankful for my friend C and her desire to help others find restoration for their lives!  God bless her calling!!! 

First Impressions
Without going into too much detail because this blog is open to the world, I had a moment recently when I was reminded that people are judged by first impressions - by the way we look. It's so unfair and those impressions can be overcome (as this one was) but to see it play out makes me sad. I found myself wondering what this same person thought about me in past. And then I found myself wondering...almost projecting my own past emotions on others I see. "Are they sad? Have they endured the ridicule I did? Have they ever considered WLS?"  Equally not fair of me to have those "first thoughts" but it is reality. I pray God continues to grow me to the point where I'm not judging strangers - even though I've thought mine was coming from empathy. Lord give me your eyes!!

In my time with C, part of the process is allowing God to speak into my life. Recently He gave me the word "enough" which is interesting to me. 
I've struggled for years thinking I wasn't "enough"...not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not (adjective) enough... Truth of the matter is, I AM enough because of who I am in Christ!  I am made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) therefore I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He loves me unconditionally to the point that while I am far from perfect and still a sinner Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). And I am enough because He chose me! (John 15:16) Trying to absorb this truth as I continue my life as His child! Trying to listen to Him and hold tight to knowing that Christ is enough for me!! When my focus stays on Him, I can face each day from a place of victory...no matter what life tries to put in my way!

My Journey
As my friend recently said,"my journey...is my journey." And he is so right. The farther out from surgery, the easier it is to let old habits creep back in.  It's not like I'm not aware of them; for me it's that I'm just not as disciplined as immediately post-surgery. I even told CME last week that I noticed I had let my portion sizes get out of control. Not that I was binging or way overeating, but I knew I was consuming more than I needed to. Stating that out loud to him, freed me from what felt like a "secret". That may sound silly, but satan uses those "secrets" to try to lure me back to a dark place. Exposing them is part of my accountability.  Weight wise I still could shed 10-15 pounds and be at a good spot. I'm not "working" to do that but I am definitely needing to weigh daily and not put any weight back on!  I may ask for new scales for my birthday! Ha!

So there's a snapshot of what's happened and what's going on. God continues to groom me in all areas of my life and this journey has brought me so much closer to Him!  May I continue to let Him work in and through me...even when it takes me to uncomfortable places!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Some days I focus on the wrong things. Today, I saw a video of me dancing with my gbaby on Thanksgiving and immediately focused on the way I looked. I saw things I didn't like at all. Bending over causes the extra skin and still some remaining excess weight to bulge over my jeans waistband. I am not happy about that at all. 

What's worse? I lost the focus of the moment. At that moment, my gbaby, my sister and I were being super silly all excited about the little bit of snow that was falling. We were laughing and just enjoying the moment. It was good. 

And yet, I let the visual I saw change my focus!  Ugh!!  Now to do my best and not totally dwell on the visual, but instead focus on the memory of the giggles and our happy little snow dance. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

So Thankful

I try to have a thankful heart all the time, but I’d be lying if there weren’t days when I’m so consumed with all that’s happening in life and in the world that I forget to just stop and say thanks to those who have been such an important part of my life.  Though yesterday was Thanksgiving, I want this blog entry to be a thank you and a reflection of what I’m most thankful for on any given day. 

First, I am so incredibly thankful for CME.  He has been my biggest supporter – not just through this weight loss surgery, but in every day life.   He works so incredibly hard to provide for our family – taking on two jobs, working long hours (sometimes up 24+ hours with no sleep) and holidays when the rest of us are enjoying time off with family and friends.  I probably don’t tell him often enough, “Thank you.”  I probably don’t tell him often enough, “I am so proud of you.”  I probably don’t tell him often enough, “You are a great husband and father.”  I probably don’t tell him often enough how thankful I am to be his wife.  I truly am incredibly thankful to be Mrs. CME! 

I am thankful for my daughters and sons.  When I had my firstborn back in 1984, I had no idea how to be a parent.  I was just a kid myself.  I made many mistakes in how I raised my daughters, yet they have turned out to be amazing and successful young women.  They bless me with affirmation that even though I could have done things differently, I raised them to be respectful and loving adults.  I am thankful for their love and the relationships we have as mom/daughters. I'm thankful for sons-in-law that truly care about and love my daughters. I'm thankful for my g-baby and all the joy and laughter she brings to our family!  For my boys?  I’m still making mistakes, but hopefully not the same ones.  I’m thankful that I have the kind of relationship with each of them that I can have very frank conversations and know that they love me, even if they’re not too happy with me.  But as with my girls, they are kind and generous and loving.  As I guide them through this last stretch of their teen years, I pray that I can be a parent that gives them the shepherding they need while at the same time let them flourish and become their own person.  For all my children, I pray they continue to seek God’s best for their lives and that they fully understand and accept the love that Jesus has for each of them. 

I am thankful for my parents and my sister and her family along with my extended family (in-laws).  Too often I can take it too lightly that I have another day with both my parents.  As we all age, I look and see that each and every day with them is a blessing to not take lightly.  Yesterday as I was praying for our meal and time together, God spoke very clearly to me about His blessing of family.  My brother-in-law survived a massive heart attack.  My mom’s thyroid nodules were benign.  My father-in-law’s seizures weren’t caused by a cancerous brain tumor!  No major issues with my Dad or sister; though general health could be better for both.  I have a GREAT relationship with my mother-in-law, which is truly a gift from God! CME’s Grampa and Gramma are still relatively healthy and it’s great to see pictures of them even if we can’t get up to visit often.  We don’t see much of our Michigan family, but I am thankful for ALL of them (aunts/uncles/sisters/nieces/cousins included.)  We also spent the afternoon with a family friend who just buried her husband on Tuesday.  Her Thanksgiving was hard.  Her grief, though hidden most of the time, was real.  I was reminded that Jesus understands grief.  He wept when He saw the pain and sadness of Lazarus’ family and friends – even though He knew that He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead.  He understood what the family was feeling.  He understood that the family unit is to be a blessing and a reason to give thanks.  I am thankful for family.

I am thankful for the friends (sisters and brothers in Christ) who have poured into my life and spiritual growth over the years…too many of them to name, but you know who you are!  THANK YOU!  I praise God every time I think of you! (MB – this includes you!!!) 

I am thankful for the International Students I get the honor and privilege of being around on a semi-regular basis!  They bring a new understanding to me about people and culture and family.  I feel like God has blessed me with the opportunity to see the world through their eyes!  I love them all and am thankful that I get to be a small part of their lives. 

I am thankful for the staff at bariatric center who guided me through the process - to help me not only lose weight, but to learn about taking care of my body and health.  Yesterday my oldest daughter, oldest son and I spent our morning at the Turkey Day 5K.  I like this new tradition that started last year because it is a way to keep me thankful that I can participate in these.  Three years ago, I’m not sure if I could have even finished.  But because of God giving me the courage and strength and help from bariatric center, I can…and I do.  And I am thankful for this blessing…no matter how sore my legs are the next day!

Most of all, I am thankful for what Jesus did on the cross for me.  I am not worthy of His sacrifice.  I could never do enough to earn the grace He so freely gives me.  May I NEVER forget to be thankful for that! 

So yes, I have a lot to be thankful for.  A lot to reflect on.  I will continue to have a thankful heart and I hope everyone who is a part of my life knows that you are important to me.  YOU are the blessings I am most thankful for on this earth! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What's Your Sign?

No, I don't mean zodiac...I mean, what is a telltale sign that your body is full? I have an "indicator" and a full out "yep! I'm done!"

My indicator is that the more food I eat the more my nose runs. Gross? Yes. True though. And my telltale sign? A hiccup. Even if I have eaten too fast and don't feel full yet, my body will hiccup when it's had enough.  Sometimes I don't feel full, but realize that proportionally I should be done...so I wait. I wait for the inevitable hiccup. It comes!  It always does!

It's funny how God wires us, isn't it?  And then when we re-wire our bodies through RNY, He still uses His design to speak to us. I still struggle with listening some days, but I am thankful I've been able to figure out this signal. 

So, what's your sign?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can I Claim it as a Sabbatical?

Yes, I know. It has been a long time since I've been here. I've actually had a couple of people even mentioned to me that I need to blog again…(Hi Milford!)

As with everyone, life has been extremely busy and I haven't made the time to declutter my brain.  But here's a snippet of these past three months:

- School started for our sophomore and eighth grade sons
- Went to GenCon with CME and the boys 
- Unexpected trip to Grand Rapids for a family emergency - father-in-law had major seizures due to a benign (Praise God!) brain tumor
- Side trip to Traverse City with CME
- Girls weekend in Bloomington IN/Brown County with my daughters and g-baby
- Had out of town visitors over (people we met via Instagram!)
- Got to spend time with some of my international children 
- Helped friends prepare for a moving sale
- Taught a new section of a class at church 
- Traveled to Denver for a conference
- Attended a wedding my g-baby was in
- Had family photos taken
- Moved my friends 8 hours away. (So glad CME can drive a box truck!)

Add in every day work/life events with active kids and my self-named sabbatical doesn't seem like one at all!  Just from blogging, I suppose. 

Other than all that, life is good.  I need to buy a good scale to keep my weight in perspective and under control. I am responsible for maintaining the healthy life I've been given!  Gauging my weight by how I think I look in clothes or if they seem loose/tight won't cut it. I need to see a number. End of story. 

Anyway, here's a re-start...and I'll try to do better going forward. 

Til next time...May God bless you and guide you in your journey!  He will if you let Him!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Already?

I can't believe it's already August. My sons start back to school in just a few days.  I suppose when the summer is packed with activities and travel, it really does fly by, but my goodness!!!

One thing I do look forward to though is getting back into more of a routine. Routines work well for me. Including the routine of eating. Seems like such a simple concept, but truly if I don't plan I don't do well. That being said, since my last post, I do have some victories to claim:

  • I visited "31derful flavors" with my hubby and son and didn't even have the no sugar added ice cream. Best part of this victory...I didn't want it. 
  • I've not randomly grabbed a handful of anything to snack on.
  • On three separate occasions at work, I've passed on my normal 10:30 a.m. snack. Why? Because I wasn't hungry. Why eat if you're not hungry?
  • I've cooked healthier foods again for the whole family.
  • I've stopped at Sonic for a diet green tea...and only got the tea.
  • I successfully avoided having one of the No Bake cookies that were brought in to work. (my fav cookie, by the way)
  • I've got cash in my purse and I've not used it. (I'll explain below why this is a victory.)
  • One of my very best friends moved away and I didn't console myself with food.
  • I've dropped a couple of those added pounds.
  • I've sat out by our backyard fire pit and didn't have a marshmallow.
  • I shared our new hammock with CME. I've never enjoyed a hammock before...I was always too scared that I'd fall out and look like a fool. Snuggling on a hammock with the hubby is awesome!  :)

I did have to say a couple of time, "Get behind me Satan! You will NOT win this battle!"  I'm sure if someone had overheard me they would have given me a strange look.  But seriously...it is a battle that Satan wants me to lose.  He isn't happy that God is getting glory in my journey.  But God is bigger and better and victorious and therefore so am I!  YES!!!

Now to explain the victory I claimed about cash. In past, if I had cash on hand I could buy something to eat and no one would know it. I mean, if I stopped by Donut Bank (or DQ or McD's or wherever) and used my debit card then there was evidence. Paying by cash makes it so I'm not accountable, I could lie (yes...I did this) about how I spent it. This, friends, is a tale-tale sign of an addict. So for me, this is a HUGE victory! THANK YOU GOD!!!

So though I say, "Where has the time gone this summer?" I am actually looking forward to some normalcy.  Some routine.  

Next step: more intentional exercise.  (Still my nemesis!)

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14