Can You Stay for Dinner?

Friends, I finished reading my book finally, and, guess what, Andie Mitchell has an actual website where you can read more about her story and find some wholesome recipes, also.

I’m in the middle of fixing dinner (Chuck and Chelsea have had a long day in Columbia for her surgery followup), so I’m just leaving you with this link. Have fun navigating around her site! Enjoy! http://www.andiemitchell.com/

Trim Healthy Man

I’m proud of my hubby in lots of ways, but firstly I’m proud that he has gotten down to his lowest weight in years. He told me a few nights ago that he had gotten down as low as 203 in the past few weeks.

What is the change? What has made the difference? Okay, for one thing, neither of us usually have bread, and, when we do, it is Ezekiel bread. We eat our hamburgers and hotdogs without buns. Chuck has not, however, completely given up potatoes, and under no circumstances would he consider eating any of my no-tato salad. Basically it’s the same as potato salad, but it’s made with cooked cauliflower instead of potatoes.

I took no-tato salad to our end-of-school picnic and also to our church Memorial Day cookout. I don’t know if it was wildly received, but lots of people tried it. I will say that my own son will eat half of a plateful without blinking an eye. Obviously he can’t tell it has cauliflower in it.

Chuck still has fried chicken on a regular basis, either when we’re eating out or from the deli at Moose’s Market. It doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on his blood sugar. Actually, these days, his blood sugar is always in the normal range. That could be due to the fact that bread, potatoes and pop are almost entirely absent from his diet.

Instead of pop he now drinks apple cider vinegar with the mother, mixed with club soda and Strawberry Crush water enhancer. While the Crush water enhancers probably have unapproved sweeteners in them (as far as Trim Healthy Mama is concerned), it still has zero calories and zero carbs, and it’s better than drinking pop.

Our preference is strawberry, but we haven’t been able to find that one in Super Centers, anymore, and I don’t know why. A couple of days ago I found it on Amazon and bought twelve of them. It was only a little higher than what we had paid for them at Super Center, but it’s better than not having them at all. Chuck had started using the single powder tubes, but they foam up badly when you add the club soda. I also prefer the flavor of the liquid. You would think there wouldn’t be a difference, but I think there is.

Chuck has also been taking Triple Zero yogurt to work with a packet of Truvia to eat at break. Instead of eating any kind of chips he now takes Smartfood popcorn. It’s probably not the wisest choice, but just changing a few major things in our diets yields happy and healthful results.

I’ve been able to string together several good days in a row, but I feel that without getting back on the treadmill I’m not making any real headway. I did fall off the wagon yesterday evening at Aldi’s, but, if I had gone in by myself, it wouldn’t have been quite the calamity. When we walked in the door, the chocolate was right there, just a few steps away. Chuck got the dark chocolate hazelnut and I gave in to the white chocolate coconut crunch. Up until that point, my day had been victorious for the most part.

Chuck thought a difference that has led to my weight gain is that I had stopped fixing oatmeal for breakfast. I used to eat it almost every day, but I gave it up for either THM E pancakes or mocha frappes with Ezekiel toast, Happy Farms cheese and Polaner all-fruit. For the last two mornings I had strawberry yogurt oatmeal. It was delicious, of course, and it wasn’t any harder than mixing up a batch of THM pancakes, so I thought I would go back to having baked oatmeal every day. Still, that hasn’t been what the difference has been.

Chuck tells me I still eat healthful foods most of the time, so the main difference has to be the lack of treadmill, and I agree. It doesn’t really matter what kind of diet a person is on, if their level of activity falls short of the calories they’re taking in, the weight-loss program will be an epic fail.

When participants of the My 600-lb. Life go in to see Dr. Nowzaradan after their surgeries, one of the first things he asks them, if they haven’t lost as much weight as they should have, is “What is your level of activity?”

If those people on My 600-lb. Life can get out of their beds and move, so can I. I just have to want it. It’s not any harder for me than it is for them. In fact, even on my worst day, my knees don’t scream at me any more loudly than their whole body screams at them when they walk through their house. Some of them can’t even be on their feet for five minutes.

Chuck played tennis this morning with our pastor and Cameron and one of his friends. He just ate lunch, and soon he will go out to mow our lawn with a push mower. He will have done more before noon than I will probably do all day long.

On the way home from Warrensburg last night, he was talking about how the people are where he works and how they play the “point system” instead of shooting for perfect attendance, as he does, and collecting the free days the company gives them every six months.

“They treat points like vacation days, and they’re not vacation days. I’d rather stay home and get paid for it than stay home and not get paid.”

Chuck is 57 years old now and has shoulder problems. Sometimes if he reaches for something or if he turns the wrong way in bed he’ll cry out in pain. He refuses to get it checked out because, if it required surgery, he would have to miss work. So he puts up with it.

A couple of times a year the place where he works has a bag house change. I can’t explain it because I don’t know what that is, but I do know that it’s a grueling process and you’re spending eight hours reaching and pulling and squatting and bending. Chuck says for a couple of days afterward it feels like he’s run a marathon. His legs are just shot, and, of course, it’s torture for his shoulders, too.

Because Chuck has been there for twenty-five plus years, sometimes he doesn’t have to do it. The company tries to do it during shutdown, which happens for a week the first week in July and a week or two at Christmas. Chuck gets almost five weeks of vacation a year, including his four perfect attendance days, and he tries to save as many vacation days as he can for the weeks the building shuts down.

He said a couple of guys were grumbling about how they didn’t think bag house changes should come down to who has seniority and who doesn’t, but Chuck told me, “I’m not going to feel guilty about it because I know if they were in my shoes they would use their seniority for everything they could use it for.”

I have a hardworking guy. He comes home just shaking his head about his coworker who spends most of the day on his phone. He said he’s the laziest person he has ever known. He does as little as possible, and, from what Chuck has told me, I’m surprised he still has his job. Chuck is one who likes to keep busy. Even on days when he’s not the one running the mill he occupies his time cleaning and doing other things.

I feel horrible knowing that Chuck sometimes has to do a bag house change. Yet, I can picture in my mind his doing it as quickly and as adequately as possible, giving it 100% until it’s done and not complaining at all. That’s just who Chuck is. He likes to get things done, and he doesn’t like complaining about it. Complaining is a deterrent. Complaining doesn’t help you work faster.

I could take a page out of Chuck’s book. I’m not a self-starter. I drag my feet, and sometimes I complain. And sometimes I procrastinate. Sometimes if I can’t figure something out, I get frustrated and I get angry. To my shame, my son takes after me in that department.

Once I was looking for something. I couldn’t find it and got frustrated. I blamed Chuck for putting it in the wrong place, and I was angrily opening and closing cabinet doors. I wasn’t closing them gently, either. “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I was doing my best that day to live that one out. Again, to my shame. I slammed one of the cabinet doors and the latch sprung. After that day, try as I might, I could not get the cabinet door to close all the way because I had broken the latch. I would push it closed and it would spring back open.

It was a daily reminder of my ill temper. A daily reminder of my nasty sin nature. Every time I made a pot of coffee, I was reminded of my wretched state, of an area of my life that desperately needs forgiveness and correction.

One day, a few weeks ago, I closed the cabinet door and it latched! And why, how? It hadn’t been repaired. The latch hadn’t been replaced. There was no explanation. Now it is a daily reminder of God’s grace, and how he can fix all our ugly problems. He can heal our frustrations and our anger problems. Much of the stuff that frustrates us is trivial stuff. If I think not being able to figure out how to print off a file is a big problem, then I don’t have a clue what a big problem is.

Thanks for listening to my rambling. I’m just proud of my Chuck, and I’m thankful he’s gone along on this “Trim Healthy Mama” ride and doesn’t complain if I fix burgers without buns or potato salad without potatoes. He does insist that the word “tato” doesn’t belong in the title at all. I declare that it does since it’s “no-tato” salad. Without the word “no,” I can see how it would be openly deceptive. Granted, if you say it fast enough, it may sound like potato salad, but I’m not telling my son. He is eating it and it’s good for him and I’m not telling him. I’m just happy that Chuck is doing the small things, and he’s better for it. He has lost weight and his lab numbers are good. I am thankful, thankful.

Summertime and the Livin’s Easy

I have just a few days left until I start driving for summer school. It has been a good break, and I wouldn’t mind having another week, even though it will be nice to get a paycheck again.

Summertime is a time to reflect and revamp. I have been devoting more time to my jewelry business and have decided to mix things up a little. Instead of doing random Facebook Lives, I have decided to set a schedule of doing them just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most people tend to gravitate toward ordered events, and we’ll see if this builds me more of an audience.

I also decided to set my privacy settings to public so that my regular customers can share with their friends.

I am happy to report that I haven’t had a sugar cookie for about three weeks. At least. The longer I go, the less I miss them, and, for that, I am thankful. Maybe I can do this after all and get back on track–where I was last year.

Still not much to report on the exercise front. I am lazy, lazy, lazy, and am my own worst enemy. I was thinking the Nike slogan of “Just Do It” should be tattooed in a prominent place on my body to spur me into action, but probably I would become blind to it, just as I have become deaf to the still, small voice that tries to coax me off my behind and onto the treadmill. Even the vibrations of my Fitbit, telling me “Take me for a stroll?” or “Go for 89 more!” or “It’s step-o-clock!” go unheeded 99% of the time.

I signed up to be an Amazon affiliate. Before, I was not able to do this because I live in Missouri, but something must have changed–and it wasn’t my address. On a whim, I decided to try again and this time I did not get the standard apology that my state did not participate in the program. My laziness, though, has nearly cost me my chance to do this. I need to drive a sale in the first 180 days in order to be eligible.

If I don’t write, I can’t share links, and, if I don’t share links, I can’t drive sales, and, if I don’t drive sales I can’t participate in the affiliate program. When you see links in this post or in any post, probably they will be Amazon links. If you click on them and buy from them, you are benefiting me by providing a small compensation for my participating in their program. Of course, your purchases will not cost you any more than if you weren’t using my links, so if it’s something that would help you or that you would enjoy I encourage you to click away.

My initial intention was to recommend nifty kitchen appliances that I have bought and loved, but I’m not a kitchen guru. I basically despise cooking and usually opt for the easiest route. That’s more laziness coming into play, I’m sure.

I struggle with depression sometimes, but even that probably plays off my laziness. I would hate to see the straits in which I found myself if my life really were falling apart. As of now I still have my husband and both my kids. I still have gainful employment, as does my husband. We are able to meet our bills and put food on the table. We have a roof, a new roof, over our heads, thanks to last year’s hailstorm and our homeowners insurance. Thanks be to God and His provision, we are well taken care of.

Sometimes my husband laments that we are too young to have both lost both our parents. He says he looks around and sees many of his peers that still have both their parents. I don’t look at it in quite the same way, however. He and I lost our dads in the same year, 2012–has it been that long ago?–but they were both in their 70s. My mom wasn’t young young when she passed away at the age of 63, but she had a disease, pulmonary fibrosis, so that’s understandable, too. Still, when you’re 57, 63 sounds younger and younger all the time.

I find myself in the horrible position of wanting to be here to care for my daughter for all the years she needs me and not wanting to be here if anything happens to her first. She is in a wheelchair and exercise comes harder for her. She doesn’t eat a lot, but she does succumb to unhealthy choices. That concerns me, but I feel like my hands are almost tied because she is so picky. For example, last night I fixed an omelet skillet for dinner, with green and red peppers, onions, mushrooms, ham and cheddar cheese. She doesn’t like peppers or onions, so she had me go to McDonald’s for her to get her a McDouble.

I watch those episodes of My 600-lb. Life all the time and cannot understand all the enablers on the program. The people who are over 600 pounds can’t even leave their beds in many cases, so the only way they are getting all the unhealthful food is that their family members are bringing it to them. I shake my head in disbelief and practically scream at them–as if they can hear me through the television–that it’s their fault their loved ones are on the verge of death.

Dr. Nowzaradan tells them the same thing, “You’re shortening her life and that is not love.”

It’s a hard trap to escape, though. When you think of how your loved one’s eyes will light up when you bring them their favorite tasty treat, it feels like love. When I was growing up, seven or eight pies and cakes on the dessert table at Thanksgiving and Christmas felt like love.

I’m ordering a few books this summer, hoping they will help me weed through my predicament of food addiction. This is the first one. After I read it, I’ll tell you what I thought and maybe you can read it, too–or, if you want, maybe you can order it now and we can read it together.

Summertime is a good time to do a little reading–and a good time to regroup in time for the fall.  There are so many books in the food addiction category, and I would love to hit them all. If we can glean useful things from other people’s stories, maybe we can take the necessary steps to avoid living out those same stories ourselves.

Prejudice

A friend stumbled upon this on the Trim Healthy Mama Beginners page and asked if I would mind its being shared on Facebook. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I told her I would share it on my blog. Actually I’m more than happy to do so since I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately.

I wrote this back on March 11, 2015. My apologies if you’ve read it before.

It’s time for a little dose of truth. How many of us have looked down our noses or clicked our tongues at junkies who are addicted to crack cocaine or winos stumbling out of bars? Let me try to type now with just my left hand, since my other hand is raised high in the air with some of yours! If being totally honest, I have to answer that I have!

How many of us have, at the very least, pitied those who are caught in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction? Truth be told, there are probably some drug addicts who would look down their noses at people carrying around excess flab, too. “Really?” you may ask. You betcha!

If a drug addict looks in the mirror she may see a body image pretty close to what she sees on the covers of magazines, and society tells her (and everyone else!) that obese people are disgusting. We don’t get that generalization as much as we used to, though, before there were fast food places, donut shops, and Starbucks on every corner in our fast-paced lives. America, by and large (yes, we have become very large!), has become a country inundated with overweight people.

I know for a fact that people have looked in disgust at me before. I’ve seen it, and I have heard it. I once saw a member of my husband’s family look at my protruding, sagging tummy with absolute revulsion in her eyes; she was about eight months pregnant at the time.

When I saw her staring at my stomach, I had mixed feelings. First off—I won’t lie—it hurt my feelings a little. All at once I felt like a big, fat sow, but, at the same time I was experiencing another feeling that involved my receiving payback and the horror of realizing my own actions and reactions of a much younger me.

Growing up, I had an aunt who was overweight. I remember looking at her stomach and wondering how she could stand it and why she didn’t do anything about it.

Under this pregnant lady’s scrutinizing gaze, suddenly I thought, “What if my aunt had seen on my face what had been in my mind!??” If so, I was receiving due compensation when the young, pregnant lady looked at my stomach!

Sometimes it’s not easy to feel something or think something and not let it show on our faces!

Let me be perfectly clear. Addiction is addiction.

I think it was at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting that I once heard that sugar and flour, when combined in the blood stream, create the same addictive effect that alcohol does. I’m no scientist, and I certainly haven’t researched this out, but, if true, it would definitely explain why I have been drawn to Twizzlers throughout most of my life—almost to the extent of a crackhead being fixed on his next high.

Whatever harmful stuff I am introducing to my body, which the Bible tells me is the very temple of the Holy Spirit–whether it be cocaine, nicotine, vodka or Twizzlers–the crux of the matter is that sin is sin. No matter how I do it, destroying my body is still destroying my body, whether I cut it with a knife or spoon in quart after quart after quart of sugar-laden ice cream.

Cirrhosis of the liver, drug overdose, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack or diabetes: the cause doesn’t matter. Dead is still dead.

My dad used to say that dieting was harder than quitting drinking or smoking because we HAVE to eat. We can give up alcohol or smoking and never take another sip or puff, but we can’t just stop eating. After all, we have to eat to live, right? If we give up eating, we die!

Probably what Dad didn’t think about—or at least he didn’t mention—was that we can completely give up sugar, flour, rice, pasta, and milk. We certainly will not die if we don’t have those things. In fact, we could be taking a giant step toward regaining our health and living longer! Let’s finish up this week on plan and take care of our temples! It’s Wednesday, ladies! We’re halfway there!

Changing My Mantra

If you’ve followed me for very long, you’ve probably heard me say that “I don’t do hard.” As a child, I would get frustrated and pop the buttons off the back of my dresses because I couldn’t unbutton them behind my neck. Even now I’m trying to understand why a parent would buy a little girl a dress that buttoned in the back–at least if that little girl was expected to dress and undress herself.

That frustration followed me into my teen and adult years (and I find it completely logical that those same manifestations of anger and frustration have surfaced in my own son’s behavior throughout his life). For instance, I never learned to put on my bra properly. I didn’t have the time or patience to line up the hooks and eyelets behind my back. Who did those bra manufacturers think I was, Houdini?

What I would do is fasten the hooks in the front of my body and twist the bra around to where it was supposed to be and then put my arms in the straps and pull them up over my shoulders. This was contrary to how my mother put on her brassiere, but, then, I am lazy. I have always been lazy and, as a toddler, I was also not very bright.

When Mom and Dad would have us pick up our toys, my brother, who was two years younger than I, would load up his arms and haul all he could carry in one trip to the toy box. I would pick up one toy, carry to the toy box and then return for another. Well, you know, back then I didn’t have a treadmill and I had to get my walking in somehow! Of course, I’m being facetious. The furthest thing from my mind was getting exercise, and, if I had weighed the thing out in my small brain, I may have concluded that carrying more was better than making seven or eight trips to the toy box.

Don’t most of us do the same thing now with our groceries? We load ourselves up with eight or nine heavy bags and try to open our front doors with our pinkies or elbows. Heaven forbid that we have to make two trips to our car!

I guess you know that Flylady recommends taking only your frozen goods in first, putting them away and then returning for more. This makes perfect sense, certainly more sense than balancing all those bags (and boxes maybe!) and trying to free an appendage to open the front door!

With Trim Healthy Mama I have always said it must be easy because “I don’t do hard.” The fact is, it isn’t always easy. The concept is easy, but following it perfectly 100% of the time is not.

There are times when life’s stress creeps in, and sometimes we may even be plagued with bouts of depression. When that happens we slip into old patterns and destructive food choices.

What I have noticed is that, as I slacked on the treadmill, I slacked on saying no to sugar. We went on vacation and I returned to finally weigh myself after many promptings by my husband and son. I was horrified to learn that I had gained weight, not just a little weight, either. It was a substantial amount of weight.

I was afraid to weigh because, just as losing weight is a motivation to keep losing more, gaining weight has a tendency to do the exact opposite–and I didn’t want that to happen. What if I completely gave up?

It took me a week, but I lost six of the pounds I had gained back. I haven’t completely given up. I’m still having oatmeal for breakfast most days or Ezekiel toast and chocolate peanut butter shakes with okra, and I’m still having salads or burgers without buns or pizza on low-carb wraps for lunch. The fact is that I’m still not eating buns or potatoes or rice or pasta, but . . . And there’s the big, fat but. The sugar! Oh, the sugar. Please, God, free me from this addiction.

For lunch today Chelsea and I went to the Mexican restaurant. Now, they have excellent cheesecake there that is only $2.25 per slice. Did I mention that it’s very good cheesecake? I can have an awesome on-plan meal (no rice or tortillas) and then totally destroy it with a piece of cheesecake.

Today I had a grilled chicken salad with extra veggies and a dollop of sour cream on top. I did not partake of the cheesecake. I told Chelsea beforehand that I would come home and make myself either a chocolate muffin in a mug or a peanut butter cheesecake shake for dessert. That gave me something to look forward to, to keep my mind off the cheesecake. Then I got home and decided I didn’t really even want dessert, so I just drank some water. Victory.

It was a small victory, but one small victory piled on top of another amounts to one great big victory.

I continue to watch Extreme Weight-Loss Makeover and I halfway identify with the people on that show. I say “halfway” because I’m still convinced that I couldn’t do what they have resolved to do. “I don’t do hard.” I can’t seem to help it. I hear myself speaking those destructive words to my heart. That, my friends, is negative self-talk.

I’m changing my mantra. My new mantra will be “I can do hard and not die.” I love that mantra because it is an ambiguous statement. It can mean “the treadmill won’t kill me” or it can mean “if I do the treadmill I can live longer.”

To cement my new mantra into my brain, for the last two weeks, I have put on my bra the correct way. A couple of times I wanted to cuss (and I don’t cuss!) and a couple of times I wanted to give up and a couple of times I wanted to rip and tear my bra into a million pieces and throw it against the wall. I could feel angry tears ready to come spilling out, but I held them back, just as I held back any cuss words lurking there in the darkness of my mad and frustrated heart. (It could very well be that I need therapy!)

I know you probably don’t care, but putting on my bra is getting easier now. I can do hard and not die.

I don’t like sweating or getting dirt under my fingernails or a whole host of other things, but I can do hard and not die.

With God as my helper, I can be free of a sugar addiction. On Extreme Weight Loss Makeover, the nutritionist said that the cravings should wane after a week of no sugar. I’ve done it before and I can do it, again. And I can do hard and not die. Lord, help me, please–if not on my own, then by Your strength.

I’m Strong to the Finish ‘Cause I Eats Me Spinach

After reading the huge section in the Plan about okra, I decided to give it a go. I couldn’t find it at Costco or Sam’s Club, but I did score a bag at Piggly Wiggly. The problem that I perceived was that it was WHOLE okra, not sliced, as I thought it would be.

Since it was frozen solid, I didn’t see a way of trimming the stems without cutting off my hand, so I put the whole okra in the Nutribullet (two and a half of them), along with my peach, cottage cheese, almond milk–well, you get the picture. I blended it all up, and, I must say, I can hardly tell it’s in there. I am detecting a flavor other than peach, but that flavor may be STEMS. Still, it’s not horribly unpleasant.

To mask even further the taste of okra, perhaps I shall try it with my peanut butter chocolate shakes. I may be able to slip a few past my dear Chuckers as well. We shall see.

In other news, I’ve been deferred twice in the past couple of weeks from giving plasma due to low iron. One of my blog readers said she had been told it may be because of tea consumption. Apparently tea blocks the absorption of iron! Who knew? I looked it up on the Internet, and it specifically mentioned black tea and green tea as being culpable for iron deficiency.

I told my daughter that oolong tea shrinks fat cells. She responded, “I guess you’re going to have to decide whether you want fat cells or money.” That’s a horrible decision to have to make! I do not want my oolong tea to cost me $280 a month!

The other night before a scheduled donation, I fixed big Kansas City strips for dinner, and I single-handedly ate a pound bag of broccoli. Today I picked up two cans of spinach and seriously considered picking up a couple of apricots.

Spinach is one of those foods famous for being high in iron. My gynecologist had told me nothing does the trick like red meat, but there are other foods that certainly help, too: nuts, for instance, raisins, and the aforementioned apricots, just to name a few. Broccoli is my very favorite. I love it, love it, love it, and eating a whole pound bag all by myself is not a hard feat to accomplish.

My hope is that I can amp up my iron and still be able to drink my oolong. Thoughts? Oh, and Matt (at work) said that Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, too, and I’m already taking that. Should I increase my dose to two tablets a day, one at morning and one at night maybe?

 

DSCF3338

Can You See God?

Can you see God?
 
That may sound like something you’ve heard one of your children ask at one time—or maybe a grandchild. There are many opinions about where to “find” God. Some people say that God is in nature, or they think that God is somewhere deep within themselves. But what does the Bible say about finding God?
 
According to the Bible, God has been revealed to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. For instance, in John, chapter one, we learn that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse fourteen tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. In other words, God became a man and lived right here on earth. The Bible declares that Man to be Jesus Christ. It was to Jesus that the Father said, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8). This truth is also borne out in Isaiah 9:6-7, which prophesies of the birth of Jesus and repeats the promise of His eternal kingdom.
 
In Genesis we read that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then we read in the New Testament in John 1, Hebrews 1, and Colossians 1, that it was actually Jesus who created all things. How can this be? The answer is a very simple one. As John 1 says, “The Word (Jesus) WAS God.”
 
Jesus Himself told His disciples, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). And again in John 10:30 He says, “I and my father are one.”
 
We read in Acts 20:28 that God has purchased His church with His own blood. When did God shed His blood?
 
In Isaiah we learn that “the First and the Last” is one of God’s titles (Isaiah 41:4; Is. 44:6; Is. 48:12). In Revelation 1:17 we read these words from “the First and the Last”: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” When did God die?
 
The answers to these questions are that God shed His blood on the cross and He died on Calvary to pay for the sins of His people. His very name “Emanuel” means “God with us.”
 
Matthew 1:21 says, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name “Jesus” means literally “Jehovah saves.”
 
Only God could pay such a price. The blood of any other would not have the power to cleanse us of our sin. God is the only one who could live such a life, perfect and pure. Jesus had no sin of His own for which to pay. That is why He was able to pay for ours.
 
The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but Jesus had no sin—so death could not hold Him. He rose victoriously from the dead on the third day, as the Scripture says. We read in Hebrews that Jesus “tasted death for every man,” yet death has no dominion over the God-man.
 
Because He rose from the dead, we can be confident that His sacrifice was sufficient to pay for our sins. If we place our salvation squarely in His nail-pierced hands, no one can separate us from the love and forgiveness of God.
 
It is not by good works that we are saved. It is not by baptism that we are saved. It is by God’s grace alone through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Jesus cried, “It is finished!” Believe in HIS work on the cross. Revelation tells us that He washed us from our sins in His own blood. Salvation is not found in anything but the blood of Jesus.
 
This Easter season, my prayer is that you find God in the Person of Jesus Christ. In Him, you will see God. In His resurrection, you will find victory over sin and death. Turn from your sin and seek after Jesus.
 
2 Corinthians 4:6: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Saturday Ramblings

Right inside the automatic doors at Wal-Mart today was a table full of cookies. Oreo cookies, one of my favorite cookies of all time.

“Would you like to sample our new varieties of Oreos?” asked the man with the New York accent, as I strolled inside the store. I noticed they were red velvet and some kind of a yellowish kind. (I didn’t look closely, but, if it was the toasted coconut, I’m glad I didn’t know; otherwise, I may have been in trouble!)

“Oh, I would love to,” I said, “but I better not.” My reply was nearly automatic!

Did those words really come out of my mouth?

While I was returning something at the service desk, I kept hearing his cheery voice, asking newcomers if they would like to try the new Oreos. “Hmm,” I thought, “you know, maybe I could double back and change my mind.”

I turned to look at the table of cookies, again, and then I turned my attention toward the new people coming into the store and how many of them were politely shaking their heads and declining the New Yorker’s offer.

“Okay, see? Refusing free cookies is a normal thing. I’m normal. Declining Oreo cookies is my new normal.” Then I put it out of my head and thought of it no more.

I made it out of the store without tasting a cookie or buying any manner of  cookie or candy. I’m feeling strong today. If only a single day could make up for the years and years of food weakness. Well, the good news is that it can. My choices today are what matter. My choices today are what will carry me through this day and ultimately through the rest of my life.

I had dental procedures yesterday, so it has been difficult to eat today. For breakfast I had Ezekiel toast, which I broke off into little pieces and chewed on the right side of my mouth. I also had a chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

For lunch I had sour cream apple pie baked yogurt with a few Always Save unsweetened raisins sprinkled in.

My afternoon snack was a handful of cashews and another chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

Dinner will be an E, Chicken Fiesta Ranch in a crock pot: chicken breast with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes and 1/3 less fat Neufchâtel cheese over brown rice with possibly some steamed broccoli. Chuck and Chelsea don’t care much for it, but Cameron and I love it.

Valentine’s Day will be here next weekend, and I was thinking about making some Skinny Chocolate from the new cookbook. I’ve read some encouraging reviews, so I even ordered a coffee grinder off of Amazon, which arrived yesterday. I am out of Sweet Blend, and I’ve never tried the Gentle Sweet. I do have some THM xylitol, though, and I wonder how that would be. Maybe it will be great. I haven’t even looked at the recipe, yet, so I don’t know what sweetener is called for.

I bought some great Missouri Tiger molds a couple of years ago with Skinny Chocolate in mind, but haven’t put them to use, yet. I would love to wrap a bundle up in cellophane with black and gold ribbon for my sweet hubby. I’m wondering, though, whether I should spray the molds with cooking spray to keep the chocolate from sticking or if the cooking spray would disintegrate the chocolate.

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and Chuck is taking four hours of vacation so he can make it home in time for the game. His plans are to make some chicken wings. I need to look up a recipe on allrecipes.com to see if I should soak the wings in buttermilk before coating them in batter–and what kind of batter should we use? Paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and what else? Would baking blend work as well as flour, do you think? If you have a chicken wing recipe that is simply the bomb, please share. By the way, I will not be eating these wings, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be THM-friendly.

It doesn’t take much to excite me, but I found these great scarf hangers and bought one for Chelsea and one for me. I think I found them on Wish on Facebook. Now I can keep all my scarves in one place and hang them neatly in the closet. Never again will I have to wrongly accuse my husband of throwing away one of my scarves just because it got put into a place it doesn’t belong.

This is Chelsea’s. I’m showing a photo of hers because mine is already loaded up and hung in the closet. She had fewer scarves to take out for the “before” photo.

DSCF3218DSCF3219

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I need to order some THM sweeteners to make my Valentine’s Skinny Chocolate! If you’re running low on sweeteners (or THM anything else), please consider using my affiliate link! Thank you for your patronage!  Finish the weekend THM strong and on plan! Blessings to you!

Play Time Everyday, Let the Fun Begin

The day my baby brother came home from the hospital, my parents brought me a toy iron and ironing board. They brought my other brother something, too, but I don’t remember what. Mom said she had heard that siblings feel less jealous of the new baby if it’s not all about the new baby, and gifts would make us feel special, too.

When I was in kindergarten, Mom picked up toy clothes lines and toy clothespins to give to the little girl whose name I drew.

Were we being programmed even back when we were three or four to become good homemakers? Nowadays I don’t think any of us would be thrilled if our husbands gave us a package of clothespins or an iron for Christmas, and, in fact, most of them know better than to pull a stunt like that.

When I could barely toddle around on my second Christmas Santa brought me a toy dining table with a faux marble top and chairs and a pink play kitchen set. Later on there was a miniature working sewing machine and perhaps an Easy Bake Oven, too; at least I remember a cousin having one of those.

What occurred to me a couple of days ago is all the hours we piddled away, pretending to work! Work was play in those days. What happened?

When we come home in the afternoon to a sink full of dirty dishes, a full-size working refrigerator full of real food and cabinets filled with real canned goods, and a working stove and dishwasher right there at our fingertips to be “played with” whenever we want (we don’t even have to share with our brothers and sisters!), why aren’t we having fun?

Other ladies do have fun in their kitchens. Me, not so much. The dishwasher makes things easier for me, but loading and unloading is still a chore–not a huge chore, but still an inconvenience when I would much rather be doing other things.

And cooking. Where do I begin? I’d much rather load everyone up in the car and go out to dinner. It’s not that I can’t cook: I just don’t like it. It isn’t fun for me.

We always had Christmas and Thanksgiving at my parents’ house until they passed away, so until then I was never responsible for the entire Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. Helping my sister or sitting at the kitchen table with Dad while he taught me to make rolls was one thing, but to be almost entirely responsible for pulling the whole meal together was foreign to me and a little stressful the first year or two.

Now, of course, I’m almost a pro at it. My daughter helps me by doing the cole slaw and the deviled eggs, but everything else I put together myself. I’m still a little amazed.

“Isn’t anyone else as shocked as I am that I can put this whole meal together by myself now?” I asked at Christmas.

They’re all nonchalant like “You’re Mom and you can do anything.” After all, this is what moms do. Meanwhile, I’m feeling like a five-year-old with an Easy Bake Oven, extremely proud that my concoctions are edible, let alone worthy of having seconds.

Boy, I’d like to get that joy and wonder back. In the eyes of a child, how fun it would be to wipe off a counter with a real dishcloth and real soapy water and mop the floor with a real mop and have the buttons on my dishwasher actually work!

Real clothes baskets and a real washer and dryer with buttons that really work and a dryer that really dries clothes! Shopping in a real store with a real full-size shopping cart and paying at a real cash register with real money!

When I was in fourth grade, at recess a teacher taught a bunch of us girls how to use a mini loom to knit. She showed us how to use a wooden spool, with four finishing nails driven in a circle around the hole at the top, and a bobby pin to pull the yarn over the yarn of the previous round. My dad was more than happy to make one for me, and I went to town with a variegated skein of purple yarn. Every long car trip, I had my yarn, spool and bobby pin with me. The variegated yarn helped me keep track of how much “knitting” I was able to accomplish during any given road trip. What I ended up with was a long knitted rope, and I have no idea whatever became of it. I had dreams of having it coiled together to make a rug or something, but that never came to pass.

To this day, yarn work is still one thing I rather enjoy. It feels like play still–once I get into it. When I was taking orders for my crochet business, I had so much business I was able to fund an entire church ministry for a whole year just by my crochet orders. I kept the money in a glass jar, and every time we went out to buy picture frames, ink for the printer, paper, ink pens or Gospel tracts we had funds available, thanks to the gift God had given me to crochet.

I don’t crochet for hire anymore. In 2013 I kind of lost my mojo. I’ve picked up my hook again, but I’ve laid aside the business aspect of it.

I think maybe if I could look at cooking as being creative it would be another story. To me, cooking is something that is a never-ending responsibility. If I make dinner now, even if it’s a masterpiece, the family will be hungry again in three or four hours. The same goes with cleaning and laundry.

When I make a hat, the hat is finished. It’s complete. Done. And I don’t have to keep working on it. Housework is never totally complete, or, if it is, it doesn’t stay that way.

The good news is, everyday we get to get out of bed and play some more! We can cook another breakfast using our real cookware and our real ovens! I just wish I could keep that mindset.

Stats for 1/26/2016:
Exercise: a mile on the treadmill with hills
Pre-breakfast snack (E) 5:30: one orange and 1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese
Breakfast (E) 9:15: chocolate peanut butter shake and two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and peach Polaner all-fruit
Lunch (S) 12:30: tuna salad (tuna, mayo, eggs, celery and onion) wrap with lettuce and a handful of cashews with sea salt
Afternoon snack (S) 4:00: blueberry muffin in a mug
Dinner (crossover) 7:30: chili

From Frumpy to Fashionable

There was a time in my life when fashion just wasn’t an option. Even the best clothes in my closet made me look frumpy, and, honestly, I didn’t have many “best” clothes. My clothes were not fashionable. They just don’t make very many fashionable clothes in gargantuan sizes–so I didn’t have a lot of choices. If it was my size, I grabbed it, no matter what it looked like on me: I was just happy to find something in my size.

Enter Trim Healthy Mama. Now, I am having the time of my life shopping for new clothes! I can actually be picky now! I don’t have to buy the first thing I find just because it’s in my size.

Granted, I’m still having a hard time understanding that I don’t need to look at the larger sizes first! I gravitate toward those larger sizes automatically! LOL I’ve spent so much of my life being grotesquely overweight that it’s unbelievable I can now fit into a 2X or even an extra-large instead of a 32W.

Recently my husband had me go through my closet and weed out all the clothes that were now too big for me so that we could donate them. Those clothes had been a part of who I was for so long that it was difficult to let them go. I did it, though, and it was very freeing. I’m ready to keep evolving into a trimmer, healthier me.

I have a ways to go, and the journey has slowed. That’s fine with me. However long it takes is however long it takes. I’m still a lot further than I was when I started, amen? I’m not discouraged. I’m EXCITED to be where I am, especially when I remember where I USED to be. ‪#‎findjoyinthejourney‬

THM Before and After (Frumpy to Fashionable)