? ??????????????????? ????Easy Install Instructions:???1. Copy the Code??2. Log in to your Blogger account
and go to "Manage Layout" from the Blogger Dashboard??3. Click on the "Edit HTML" tab.??4. Delete the code already in the "Edit Template" box and paste the new code in.??5. Click "S BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS ?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Elder D. Todd Christofferson explained what he learned from a personal trial: “Though I suffered then, as I look back now, I am grateful that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer to achieve. … I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day.”  --October 2012, General Conference, "Trial of Your Faith", D. Todd Christofferson as quoted by Neil L. Anderson

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--So Very Grateful

Wow.  The last few weeks have been so very hard.  Three weeks ago, Katie mentioned that she had a sore throat and when I took her temperature, it was a little high, so I tried to get into her doctor.  His office was so busy that day that they didn't answer my call or even return my message, so I called into an after hours clinic to see another doctor.  Upon examination, he said that Katie had one of the worst cases of strep throat he had ever seen.  Knowing that she is allergic to penicillin, he prescribed her Cefalexin/Keflex.  She started her dose and after a few days of rest she began to improve.  After completing the seven-day course, we figured all was well.  All was not well.  On Friday, the 16th, the school called and asked us to come pick Katie up because she had an itchy rash.  We picked her up, but honestly thought they were overreacting.  I told them that it was probably just an allergic reaction to the antibiotics.  We ran some errands in Logan and Katie and Macey played at the park while we waited for Tyler to get out of class.

By the time we got home, Katie's rash was a little more noticeable and we were positive that it was an allergy to the medication.  I gave her some Benadryl.  By 8:30 that evening, she was covered with hot pink spots.  By 10:30, they were raised, swollen, blistered and very bright.  Tyler and I talked on the phone (he was at work) and tried to decide whether to take her to the ER or whether to wait until morning to see the doctor.  Tyler got home from work at 11:15.  By 11:30, Katie's lips were swollen and starting to turn blue.  I grabbed that kid and rushed to the ER.

By the time we got to the ER, she was in anaphylactic shock.  By 11:40 they had given her a shot of epinepherine.  It was terrifying to see this shot administered.  Katie's body, which is so tiny and frail for her age, trembled and shock and jolted around and her heart beat out of her chest with a rapid and irregular beat.  Her breathing was so labored, raspy, and shallow.  It was almost like she was having a seizure.  It was the scariest moment I have had as a mother.

After the epinephrine had been administered and she stabilized somewhat, the nurse gave her an IV of a cortisone steroid to start bringing down the inflammation.  We were in the ER for a few hours, then sent home with a prescription for prednisone and instructions to continue administering Benadryl every six hours and to follow up with Katie's doctor on Monday.

Over the next few days, Katie's spots only lightened slightly.  On Saturday night, I prayed for specific guidance.  The prednisone's side effects were driving me crazy and I was one exhausted mama.  It made her angry, hateful, violent, mean, and hyper.  The other kids, following her lead were also behaving very badly.  Tyler was working that night and I was at the end of my rope.  I had a specific prompting to give Katie a cool bath with apple cider vinegar.  It was amazing how well and quickly that heavenly prescription worked!  The spots literally faded right before my eyes and Katie was instantly calmed.  The spots still lasted for several days, but we relied heavily on the apple cider vinegar baths in the interim.

On Sunday, of course, we stayed home from church.  Good, kind, wonderful neighbors brought in meals for a few days.  One good friend came to see me a brought some essential oils to help the children sleep better.  The lavender oil was a gift from above and helped calm down my itchy, hyper daughter enough at night for all of us to finally get some sleep!

On Monday, we went to see Katie's regular doctor, Dr. Lloyd.  He examined her and told me that he was very concerned that we were dealing with a potentially dangerous situation.  Her hives weren't going away, he said, because they weren't actually hives.  The rash is called erythema multiforme and was developing into a Stevens Johnsons rash in her mouth.  If the SJ rash is allowed to spread into her throat and esophagus, it can be life-threatening at worst, or disfiguring at best.  It basically kills cells everywhere it is allowed to roam.  (When I got home, I made the mistake of looking up Stevens Johnsons photos on webmd.com...not what I needed to see!)  He doubled the dose of prednisone and added a few days to the course.  He also put Katie on Zyrtec once a day in addition to keeping her on Benadryl ever six hours.  Her difficult little personality got worse, but slowly, the spots began to fade and turn into brownish/purpleish bruise looking things.  It's now been a week and a half and they are nearly gone, but when she gets cold or active, they creep back out a little.

On the 23rd (Friday), Katie began complaining about pain in her "private parts", then had several accidents.  She also began passing blood in her urine.  Again (of course), it was after-hours, so I had Dr. Lloyd paged.  He called me back and told me to take her to the ER to rule out an inflamed kidney, which could have been another symptom from the anaphylactic reaction, or post-strep urinary stress.  His hope was that it would be a simple UTI.  So off we went to the ER again and had some lab work done.  They sent us home to await the results.  Dr. Lloyd called back with good news and bad news:  Katie had a simple UTI, but this meant she needed another antibiotic...NOW.  He sent us back to the hospital to get a sulfa pill that would last us until we could fill a prescription in the morning.  Now she's on day four of a new antibiotic and we're praying HARD that she won't be allergic to it as well!

On Tuesday, I got an email from a family member who informed me that we were going to receive a special service project.  They asked me to fill out a survey and make note of anything that I felt needed to be done around the house.  It was so hard for me to accept this kind of help!  I was so humbled by the offer and truly felt that there were many, many others who needed assistance more than my family.  But truthfully, we did need the help.  Matthew's room downstairs has been unusable for several weeks because of some mold we found in that room, so he has been sleeping on the floor upstairs.  My house hasn't had a good, deep cleaning in forever.  And Tyler and I have been so exhausted with medical bills (did I mention that he was assaulted at work several weeks ago?), school, work, etc.  The offer to help with our home and yard was manna from heaven for our family.  On Friday, the 23rd, we cleaned, hauled, raked, painted, etc. all day.  And by we, I mean WE!  My brother, his wife, their kids, my parents, my SIL's dad and brothers, my other brother, his wife, my nephews and nieces, my own kids.  There were like a million people at our house, working hard.  I'll never forget the humility and gratitude I felt, looking out the kitchen window and seeing men everywhere, loading a trailer to take to the dump, hauling away branches from the tree that fell in our backyard, stacking wood, fixing the broken fence, raking.  That night, my sweet brother tucked the kids in for me while I took Katie to the ER for her UTI.

On Saturday, my brother and his wife, kicked me out of the house.  I took my kids and their kids to my mom's house for the day.  They worked from sun-up until way after sun-down on the house.  When we came home that night, the living room, hallway, and kitchen had been repainted.  The house was spotless!  Macey had a new bed and new curtains.  The bathroom had new, fluffy rugs and a new toilet seat and towel bar.  The carpets were shampooed.  I learned that new carpet has been ordered for our living room and hallway and will be installed later this week!  Downstairs, Matthew's ceiling had been repaired, textured and his room had also received a fresh coat of paint.  My mom bought new sheets for Macey's bed as well.  During the renovation, I felt every feeling known to man:  joy, gratitude, appreciation, humility, awe, embarrassment, bitterness, etc.  I am so amazed at the goodness of my family.  My brother asked for help and received it in the form of donations for our family:  time, money, energy, supplies, and expertise.  I am so amazed at that!  I hate to admit it, but truly I did feel bitterness at times during the process:  I am a good person!  I want to be the one giving and helping others!  I am tired of always being on the receiving end!  My pride tells me that it's embarrassing to need help.  It's embarrassing to have to have someone come haul away loads and loads of laundry, to scrub my toilets, to clean the grout in my tiles.  It's mortifying to have someone else walk right into my mess and ask if I need help.

But, as I watched my sweet sister-in-law, on her knees, scrubbing the floors in my home, I was reminded of Christ, gently washing the dusty, tired feet of his disciples.  He didn't do it because they needed to be cleaned because they were disgusting.  He didn't do it because they weren't capable of doing it for themselves.  He did it because He could.  He did it to demonstrate pure, selfless love and compassion for them.  I felt that love in a powerful, humbling, life-changing way this past weekend.  It was a lesson on service that I will always remember.  I know that by passing through trials, I am allowed to come closer to God, in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.  I also know that when I allow others to help me, even in intimate, embarrassing ways, I am allowing them to lay claim on blessings that come from keeping their covenants with God.  And maybe, after having passed through the hard times and having been served in such a way, I will be able to succor someone else someday, just as the Lord's suffering for my sake has made it possible for Him to offer compassion to me during the hard times.  I am so grateful.  So very, very grateful.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"The Lord doesn't care nearly as much about where you've been as He does where you are now and where you are willing to go."  --Jeffrey R. Holland

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Becoming

I am feeling so much better this week.  I lost half a pound at last night's weigh-in and 1.6 the week before.  Those numbers are still a little smaller than I would like, but I'm trying to be optimistic.  At least I'm headed in the right direction again.  I have been walking several times this week and I can now do about five miles again, which is a great improvement.  I'm feeling more in control and more confident that I can get this thing back on track very soon.

I had a long email chat with Katie's teacher and as Anne Shirley said in Anne of Green Gables, "I think we may be kindred spirits after all."  She is more aware of my feelings and concerns, more informed about Katie and what is normal for her and what is not, and we have come up with a game plan that will help Katie succeed in class without singling her out in a negative way.  I feel so much better.  Now I see why we are counseled in the Bible to go directly to the source to solve conflicts.  Once I talked with her teacher, all of my frustrations were on the table and she was able to share some of her concerns.  I pray now that Katie will begin to love school again and that her little self-esteem will flourish.

General Conference was like water on the dry, cracked desert soil for me.  It was so refreshing.  I cried like a baby through all the talks, especially Jeffrey R. Holland's.  I loved when he, speaking of Peter and the apostles on the ship the second time trying to fish, asked:  "Why are we here again, having this same discussion?"  I'm sure that I'm often needlessly repeating lessons that I've already had, reviewing scenarios that I really don't need to review.  I need to learn to learn, then learn to leave it behind and MOVE on!

I also loved Marcus Nash's talk.  I loved it for a very specific reason, which I am not ready to share with blogland.  I loved how he talked about an airplane having two wings:  one is logic and one is faith.  It cannot fly with logic alone.  Nor can it fly with faith alone.  But, for most of us, logic is the predominant wing.  He taught that we need to balance things out when we're making decisions in life, using logic as the valuable and God-given tool that it is, but also allowing faith to take over where logic fails.  I'm dealing with such a decision in my life at this time, though I cannot share what it is yet.  I also loved this quote:  "Testimony is the point of departure, not the final destination."  I love that!  I think that in the church we focus so much on testimony, but honestly, the gospel is much more about conversion.  Dallin H. Oaks was quoted a few times in conference as well for saying:  "Testimony is knowing and feeling.  Conversion is doing and becoming."

I am trying to raise the bar.  To lengthen my stride.  To stand a little taller.  To try a little harder.  These cliches are anything but cliche to me.  I am here to become.  I realize that I'm not expected to be perfect.  Not yet.  I can't be without the Savior.  I know that He can make much more out of my life than I could ever do on my own.

Monday, October 1, 2012

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--My Dilemma

I have a dilemma when it comes to my days off from work.  Do I relax, work my tail end off, spend time enjoying family and helping with homework, or a little of all three.  I WISH that I could spend the day sleeping, reading, cooking, eating, and indexing.  Yeah.  That would be great.  The problem is that my list of things needing attention is at least as long as a novel.  The kitchen is a mess.  My bedroom is a disaster.  The kids' rooms are atrocious.  But, I am so tired and lonely, because Tyler is at school all day, then straight off to work.  And I feel guilty because sometimes when I'm tired, I turn into a beast to my sweet little babies.  And all the stress, loneliness, frustration, and contention lead up to a great big, sugary, fattening, horrible binge!  I am not well on days like this.  It is so very frustrating and overwhelming to have this eating disorder.  I am crying right now, because I am so aware of my potential.  I know that my eating problems and my unhealthy relationship with food is holding me back from achieving my dreams.  Or recognizing that this wonderful, crazy life IS my dream.  I truly have everything I've ever hoped for (minus a few bucks), but I am having a hard time enjoying life because of my dependence on food as a drug.

Yesterday I gave a lesson in Gospel Doctrine about Helaman Chapters 13-15.  Samuel the Lamanite was telling the Nephites that when we repent, we HAVE to involve the Lord in the process if we want our hearts changed.  President Benson was quoted in the lesson too and he basically said that there are many out there who have enough discipline and will-power to change habits.  We hear about their success stories every day.  But to truly repent and return, we need the Savior because it is He who heals the wounds, changes hearts and dispositions, and sanctifies us through His marvelous and all-encompassing Atonement.  I'm still not sure whether my compulsive eating is considered a sin or not, but I know that the Atonement allowed the Savior to suffer ALL things:  pain, fear, doubt, frustration, physical maladies, death, disease, weaknesses, discouragement, etc. so that He would know how he can succor us in our times of need.

I live a wonderful life.  I have the most wonderful husband.  He is a treasure to me, and I hope to never take our relationship for granted.  I told you about my friend Holly, who recently lost her sweetheart to cancer.  Since Trent's death, the realization that this life is so fragile has been etched into my heart and I truly am trying to savor each moment I have with my loved ones.  My children are so sweet.  We learn in the Bible that children are a blessing to the righteous.  They are a reward.  Sometimes, as a mommy, I forget that.  They are my reward.  That reward:  to be with my family forever, remains my goal.  I feel that my reclaiming my health is an important stepping stone because I can serve my family and neighbors so much more effectively as healthy and happy me than I can as sick, unhappy me.  I want to lose weight for Him.  And for my children.

I know my posts lately may have sounded frustrated, overwhelmed.  And truthfully, they are.  But I always have hope that someday I'll have this all figured out and I'll be able to level up.  I have decided that the safest place for me right now is in the center of God's will.  I will remain close to the Savior.  I will turn to Him.  He will be my Personal Trainer.  He will be my Nutritionist.  He will be my Counselor.  But most of all, I hope to have Him as a friend.

A family member recently asked me why I have chosen to make my personal battle with weight so public on my blog and also on Facebook, where I post my weigh-in results on a weekly basis.  I explained to him that I WANT people to see my struggle.  I believe that the more strenuous the struggle, the more glorious the victory.  I hope that they will see that I am still able to turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ for comfort.  I also want anyone else with an eating disorder to know that they are not alone.

I praise my Heavenly Father.  I am grateful for the tender mercies He bestows upon me each day.  He is good.  He is kind.  He is there for me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Back on Track

I felt like me again today.  This morning, I dropped the chickies off at school, then dragged Tyler out of bed and told him that he was going for a walk with me before school.  Not asked, told.  He grumbled at first, but once we got out of the house and started walking down the dirt lane near our house, he reached for my hand and we started to talk.  Really talk.  About all the stress in our lives, about the kids, about money, about how we met and about when we fell in love.  It was really great to get away for a while and just be together with no obligations.  Maybe until times get a little easier, we'll just have to fit in some more walks together since we have no time or money for date nights!  I go walking by myself all the time, but it is always funner to take him along.

In the afternoon, Tyler called me and invited me over to the high school where he was working. We walked around the track, then raced against the kids.  It turns out that our little Katie is quite the distance runner!  She ran two miles without stopping!  And Kelsey is a great sprinter.  I couldn't even beat her.  It was a wonderful, active day.

It feels so good to be back at my WW meetings.  I felt very hopeful tonight.  I know that I can at least keep trying.  Tonight we were challenged to set a specific goal to try to achieve in the eight weeks leading up to  Thanksgiving.  Then we were told to write our goal down, along with what we planned to do to make it happen, then tell someone else out loud what we planned on accomplishing.  So here is my goal and what steps I will take to make it become a reality by Thanksgiving:

  • Goal:  I will be back into the teens before Thanksgiving
  • I will track each day from now until Thanksgiving
  • I will exercise six days a week (like I used to!) from now until Thanksgiving
  • I will not eat after 9:00 pm
  • To celebrate, I will run the Turky Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning
I can do hard things.  With God, I can do anything.  I feel empowered and very proud of myself for getting back up and giving myself permission to try again.  I feel that that was a kind thing to do for myself.  It feels nice to be compassionate and caring to myself.  I've got this.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT-Rain and Real Estate

This morning I was reading in 3 Nephi Chapter 14 and a few key points struck me. The super-awesome-neato thing about the scriptures is that I'd never really thought about these particular verses before. Last time I read this chapter, it was a completely different group of verses that hit me just right. But today I was touched by verses 9-11:

9. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?

10. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts until your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

I LOVE that! To me, these verses offer a remarkable promise ... our Father loves us perfectly and WANTS to bless us. We need to ask for these blessings. I think of my own children when reading these verses. So many times, I want to help them, but I can't understand what it is they need, because they're too busy crying or whining. But as soon as I can get them calmed down, and get them to "use their words," I'm able to hear, "Mommy, I'm thirsty. I need a drink." And of course I get a drink for my sweet child. Whatever it is that we need of our Father in Heaven: understanding, desire, ability, faith ... have we asked Him, using "our words?" Or are we too busy whining about life and complaining about it, to ever really, really kneel down and begin that conversation with our literal Father in Heaven? And as much as I love my own kiddos, Heavenly Father's love is even more pure and perfect. He is the supreme example of a loving, caring parent.

I also love the story of the wise man and foolish man found at the end of this same chapter in verses 24-27. We've all heard this story: ... the wise man builds his house upon the rock (upon the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ's gospel) and the foolish man builds his house upon the sand (upon the world's or his own understandings). And we all know the rest of the story too. The wise man's house stood still and the foolish man's house washed away.

Here's the part that hit me today though: it rained on both of them. Neither of them was without trials. No one is above adversity. The wise man's choice of real estate never meant that he would not be tested. It simply meant that he would be able to withstand a catastrophic finish. The foolish man, would not be able to stand the winds and rains of adversity. As in real-life real estate, we learn that it's all about: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!

Pretty good stuff, right? What did you read today? I'd love to hear!!!

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT- ADJUSTING TO LIFE

I am feeling a little better than I was when writing my last post.  Life is a whirlwind, but our schedules are working out a little better.  The biggest issue for me now is getting Katie used to her new class.  She is at the "bottom of her class" according to her teacher.  I am not sure if that is true, or if the new curriculum is just so foreign to her that she has not been able to fly her flag yet.  I was disappointed to find that her teacher is keeping her from going to music class so she can finish her assignments.  She LOVES music.  Singing is the thing she loves above everthing else and she is so talented.  I hate to picture her sitting at her desk alone, while everyone else is singing!  It just breaks my heart!  The assignments she has at night are grueling; the stuff she's learning, I never learned until just a few semesters ago when Tyler had Geology.  I bought her a little plaque to hang in her room that says, "I Can Do Hard Things" and we keep it with us at the kitchen table each time we do homework together.  I don't want to give up, because as painful and frustrating as the process is, I can see her growing.  I just want to make sure that I am involved in the process so I can be her advocate.  Her teacher has not made the best impression on me to this point.  She's a little defensive quite frankly, and it seems a little out of touch with what is realistic for these kids.  (Most of them are struggling as well).  She's also a little impatient and pretty snappy with the kids.  Each time I walk into the school, I get a yucky feeling because I know that I am walking in a world that causes my daughter stress.  But I prayed about whether to send her to this new school and I think I felt good about it.  I guess time will tell.  I have told Katie that she has a team:  Mommy, Daddy, her siblings, grandparents, Mr. Passey (the principal), and Mrs. D.  She giggled and told me that Purdy (our black lab) is also on her team.  Thank goodness for Purdy!

Weightloss.  Hmmm.  Why is this so hard for me?  I know how to lose weight!  After losing 76 pounds, I am pretty sure that I CAN lose weight!  (It absolutely kills me to think that I have gained 22 of those pounds back).  I think I've just run out of steam.  At the end of the day, I'm simply exhausted.  The crazy part is that when I was doing really well on my plan, it never was really hard.  I tracked each day and worked out each day.  It was a no-brainer situation.  But now, I'm not doing any of it.  I'm just trying to hold everything together.  I'm either working, cleaning, cooking or helping with homework.  I really haven't found a new groove.  I firmly believe that I can fit it in and that my not exercising is just based on excuses.  I know I can do better, but I also know that there is a need for self-compassion here.  I am dealing with so much right now.  As much as I want to do it all and do it all well, I need to not be so hard on myself.  I STILL have accomplished a lot.  I can do this when I'm ready.  I want to be able to do it with joy like I did at the beginning.  I want it to be exciting and fun again.  I want to do it with my family.  I used to talk long walks/runs with the kids.  I loved involving them in my journey.  We danced together, played in the yard, went swimming, whatever.  I WANTED it so badly before!  I am praying that God will again somehow bless me with the fire of desire, which really is a gift.  It's not something I can buy at the store.  It's not something I can force myself to adopt.  Desire is a gift from God.  I will be on my knees this week, praying for the desire to be healthy, to treat my body with more respect, to live more joyfully, to deal with stress in a healthier way, and to be more compassionate with myself.  I can do this.  This is a good cause.  This is worth fighting for.  I love my kids, and I want to be kind to their mommy!  Forward ho!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"When He comes, I want to be caught living the gospel.  I want to be surprised, right in the act of spreading the faith and doing something good.  I want the Savior to say to me: 'Jeffrey, I know you, not because of your title, but because of your life--the way you're trying to live and the standards you're trying to live by.  I see the integrity of your heart.  I know you've tried to make things better, first and foremost, by being better yourself, and then by delcaring my word and defending my gospel to others in the most compassionate way you could.  I know you weren't always successful, but I believe you honestly tried.  I believe, in your heart, you honestly love me.'  I so want to have something like that encounter someday as I want nothing else in this mortal life.  And I want it for you.  I want it for each of us."  Jeffrey R. Holland (CES, September, 2012)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Herculean Tasks

Help!  I am so frustrated with myself!  After working so hard to build good health habits, for so long, I can feel myself slipping.  I'm not sure what's going on, but I have found it increasingly difficult to keep my focus on tracking and exercising.  I'm sure the root of the problem is the tremendous amount of stress that our family is under:  schedules, school, finances, church callings, grief, etc.  I mentioned in this list, grief.  In the last eight weeks, Tyler and I have lost eight good friends.  Included in this list are our next-door neighbor, one of my good friends from my childhood (died from Lupus), a former co-worker with three young children (A L Leukemia), a sweet older neighbor from my childhood, and as I mentioned a few posts ago, our good friend who died of cancer a few weeks ago.  This cumulative grief, especially the heartache I am feeling for the younger families, has been very stressful and difficult for me to deal with.  My Katie Bug is not adjusting well to her new school, a charter school with a more difficult curriculum than she is accustomed to, so I have also been spending a lot of time helping her and caring for her emotional needs as she deals with the changes that come with switching schools.  She has been extremely moody, clingy, and sensitive.  Luckily, Matthew is really doing well with the transition.  Macey is now in preschool, which she is loving.  The new need for babysitting twice a week, due to mine and Tyler's crazy schedules, has been hard on all of the kids, but especially Macey, who has reverted in her potty-training.  So we have to add potty-training to the mix...again!  And Tyler's workload with school and his job has been INSANE!  I hope I can just keep things as normal as possible for our little family, but it's been hard because there is just so little consistency for our poor children.  Each day is different, with a different routine.  I am grateful for my awesome family.  Without them, these challenges would be so much more intense.  Tyler's Mom has been watching the kids on Tuesdays, and my parents take them on Thursdays.  My Mom has also been watching them on Wednesday nights so I can attend my WW meetings.

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but all the stress is getting to me.  And I have turned to food.  It's always worked for me before when times got hard, and I'm afraid that I still haven't learned completely that doing this to myself is self-destructive behavior.  Actually, I know it is self-destructive, I just can't stop doing it.  I really need to work through this.  I need to turn again to the Lord in prayer, fasting, and study His word.  I really believe that my addiction to food is bigger than I am right now.  I need His help.  I know that I am entitled to it as long as I am doing my part.

Another issue that I constantly struggle with is the state of our home.  I am not naturally an organized person.  Keeping our home clean and clutter-free, for whatever reason, is a Herculean task for me.  I know that this is something difficult for many moms, but I think that my home is worse than most.  On the spectrum from Martha Stewart being a one and an episode of Hoarders being a ten, our home is usually at about a six.  I know that I need to work on this.  I know it will help my family to feel more relaxed and peaceful in the midst of all the turbulence we are sailing through these days.  The way I see it, I have to improve in several areas right now, and all of them at once.  They are all urgent!  I need to improve my health, my financial situation, my home maintenence skills and organization, and as always, work on my relationships with my family.

I think that all the stress is the main reason that I have turned to overeating, but I also miss my husband.  I really only see him a few hours during the week.  He is at school all day, then hurries off to work.  On his days off, he is taken away for Young Men's activities.  When neither of us has obligations, we spend the time frantically studying, writing papers, and preparing presentations for school.  It has been ages since we have gone to the temple together or just to a movie or something.  Still, our relationship is still very strong.  We try to cherish each possible moment together.  When we're not together, we text or talk on the phone as often as we can.

This is turning out to be world's longest blog post ever, so I'll try to wrap it up on a positive note.  The Brigham City temple is going to be dedicated this Sunday, so we have decided to use that opportunity to rededicate our home as well.  I am cleaning and purging all the junk I possibly can to prepare.  It has been exhausting to do, but our home is looking better than it has for a long, long time.  I am hoping that rededicating the home will remind us all that it should be a sacred place, away from the world; a haven.  I pray that we will be able to work together to keep it nice and neat (er) so the Spirit can always dwell there.  I am NOT giving up on getting healthier.  I know that I can do this and that I am NOT expected to do it on my own.  My Savior understands pain, addiction, stress, loneliness, and all the other factors that are holding me back.  I know that His love and guidance are the key to getting back on track and I am counting on my faith to bring me back into focus with my weightloss goals.  Dear Readers, will you please pray for me as I try to do better?  Thank you for letting me vent today.  I love you all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Prayers for the Rassmussens

This week has been a doozy!  Last weekend, we had the fantastic opportunity to spend three days camping with Tyler's mom and siblings at the annual Walton family reunion.  We spent some much-needed time away from our hectic lives and reacquainted ourselves with the idea of relaxation.  It was wonderful.  On Friday we went swimming at the city pool, where the kids enjoyed going down the big slide again and again and again!  Right as we were leaving, Matthew ran, nose first, into a metal railing and managed to produce the bloodiest bloody nose I've ever seen!  When we got back to camp, he fell asleep in a camping chair, completely exhausted from his unfortunate experience.  Poor guy!  On Saturday, we broke up camp, came home and got showered and primped, then headed off to the open house for the Brigham City Temple!  I have been waiting for this moment for over two years and I have to tell you...it did not disappoint!  I was so moved, that I basically cried my way through the tour.  I was also so grateful to have my own four children with me so they could see how beautiful the temple is on the inside. I may sound biased, but I am positive that the interior of the temple is the finest, most breathtaking interior I have seen in any of the temples I have visited.  It was a blessed, blessed experience and I am counting the days until the dedication of the building.  I can't wait to go do a session, or a million!  We also had the opportunity to direct traffic in one of the shuttle parking lots for the open house for a whopping five hours in the blazing sun!  Would you be surprised if I told you that even that was a spiritual experience.  It just felt so good to be a part of the experience and to help out.  Our tiny community has been swarmed with visitors from all over the nation, and even from several different countries.  It is such an exciting time and I am so grateful to witness it!  I

Yesterday was a hard day for our family.  In the last two years, we have become dear friends with the Rasmussen family.  Our friend, Trent, has been battling cancer with all his might, and yesterday his fight ended and he returned (with honor) to his Heavenly Father's presence.  It has a been a rough day and a half.  I have such mixed emotions.  I am heartbroken for his sweet family.  He is survived by his wife, Holly, and their five children, ranging from ages three to 15.  I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Atonement and of the eternal nature of the family.  I am also so happy for Trent.  I know that now he is free of pain and sorrow and that he is serving as a missionary on the other side.  He was such a good person and he and Holly have changed me and many others forever.  I have learned much about myself and my own priorities in life.  Tyler and I have a better marriage because of the example they have set.  Theirs is a beautiful love story...the real deal. I have been so honored to know them and have them in my life.  If you would like to read Holly's story, her blog address is www.lookingupandkneelingdown.blogspot.com..  Get a box of tissues.  I know you'll be changed forever too. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“Ask yourself, 'How did God bless me today?' If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes, you will have gifts brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life.” –Henry B. Eyring


FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--This is Nuts!

Whew!  You know, life is CRAZY!  Work, clean house, cook dinner, exercise, sleep, repeat.  I can't believe how quickly this Summer is going by.  I really, really can't believe that I am going to be sending all FOUR of my chickies off to school this year!  Kelsey is going to be a mighty fifth-grader...her last year in elementary school (!).  Katie will be a third grader, Matthew will be in first grade and my little Macey will be in preschool.  And don't forget about Tyler, who will be a college senior...AGAIN!  5/6 of my family members are students.  This is nuts, folks!  But life really is good.  So, so good.  Through the comfort of the gospel, I really am feeling much better about things.  We'll just keep taking things one day at a time.  The Lord will bless us each day as we are anxiously engaged in this business of becoming self-reliant again and getting Tyler through school.  I pray that he will also bless my efforts with the children.  Being as overextended as I am, sometimes the energy I am able to offer my poor kidlets feels a little like the "mommy's mite".  I hope that He will magnify my efforts and that they will somehow turn out all right!  (I'm being too hard on myself.  I am a good mom.  Just a very tired good mom!)

Anyway, I am doing better with tracking my food and being on plan.  I have decided to stop avoiding meetings and start facing the music.  Last week I saw what I knew was going to be a significant gain, but this week has been much, much better and I feel like I have my drive back.  I am looking forward to a good loss tomorrow night.  I am so grateful for the program and for God's help with each choice I make.  I am learning more and more to just take things one choice at a time and to not get overwhelmed or distracted.  And it seems to be working.  My energy is coming back and I'm feeling better already.  I can totally do this!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

FOOD FOR THE BODY


CORN SALSA WITH LIME  (from http://www.skinnytaste.com/)

Serves:  12
Points+:  1

  • 4 cups (20 oz) cooked sweet yellow corn, cut
  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 1-2 jalapeƱos, diced (remove seeds unless you like it really spicy)
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 limes, juice of
  • chipotle chili powder, to taste
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for an hour.  Makes about 6 cups.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/mormon-messages?lang=eng&id=2011-11-020-mens-hearts-shall-fail-them#2011-11-020-mens-hearts-shall-fail-them

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Weepy Woman

Boy, am I weepy today.  I know it's been a while since I've written, and honestly I'm doing ok.  It's just that I'm still adjusting to our "new life."  It's been almost three years since Tyler lost his job and I have been grieving this week, remembering how life used to be.  It really is silly, since there are so many others who are worse off than we are.  We have jobs, but they do not pay well, and with three jobs and full time school between the two of us, sometimes the schedules really get me down.  It is so hard to be dependent on others for help with childcare as often as we are.  Each time I go to work, my heart physically aches to be home with my babies.  Sometimes, I just want to bag the whole working mom thing, come home, decorate my house, cook and clean all day, and live the life I feel I was MEANT to have.  The life I used to have.  Don't get me wrong, I love my jobs.  I really have been so very blessed to find the jobs I have and they bless me in many ways.  It is honestly nice to have some peace and quiet at work and on my commute, and most days, being a working mom is fine and dandy.  But there are days when I realize that I'm drowning in dirty laundry, we haven't had a home cooked meal for days, and that my kids are growing up way too quickly!  And Fall semester is coming.  Oh, how I dread Fall Semester!!!  Tyler is now forced to take his classes in Logan, which will require a ridiculous amount of driving, and a TON of gas money.  He will be in class from 7:30-12:30 every weekday, then will have to go to work at 3:00 most days of the week.  Add my full work day on Tuesdays and Thursdays and my on-call job for the counseling office, the kids' school schedules, singing lessons, and sports, and I fear we have quite a mess.  I am seriously stressed about how this is all going to work.  In addition to that, Tyler is now into upper division classes, some of which are off the charts in their level of difficulty.  My biggest fear is that my family, who is SO very kind and supportive and so willing to help us out, will become burned out.  My Macey will be in preschool and will require drop off and pick up on the days that I work, the girls will still be at Lakeview, and Matthew will be attending the new Charter school in Perry.  It scares me that he will be there all alone and that he won't have his sisters to look out for him.  I feel that the charter school is a good opportunity for him, but I still wish the girls had won the lottery too.  It feels so mean that I am splitting them up!  I know that the Lord has carried us this far, and He has always helped us so that schedules were able to be worked out, and that family was able to step in when needed, but I still manage to worry about it profusely.  Maybe it's simply a lack of faith.

On the weight loss front, it's been a little bit of a discouraging month.  In June, I had a family vacation and I ended up taking a few weeks off from tracking and I kind of ate whatever I wanted for a little while.  Sigh.  Because I knew I had gained, I talked myself out of going to one weigh in, then couldn't go the next week because it was the 4th of July.  So when I finally went back, I was so disappointed to find that I had gained a whopping 11 pounds.  In one month.  The temptation has been to get frustrated with myself, to beat myself up, but I'm really trying to stay positive.  I'm back on track, and have recommitted myself to living the program faithfully.  I am trying to focus on enjoying it.  I want it to be fun again!  I did lose one pound last night, but my total WW loss is back down in the 50's.  I was at 66 last month, so that truthfully has been disappointing.  I tried to go back to the "old me" way of living and I got a lesson.  A hard one.  But, I am feeling more optimistic and I am definitely ready to give this thingy another try.

I can do this.  I can do hard things.  I know I can.  But, sometimes, I can't do it by myself.  I know that with the Savior's help and the love and guidance of my Heavenly Father, we can get through these difficulties.  I really do have much to be grateful for.  We have a temple in Brigham City!  I can see it from my front room window and I can walk there from my house in less than ten minutes.  I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in hosting at the Open House.  I am also so excited to walk through the temple with my little ones.  We will always treasure that opportunity.  I have my health.  I have a wonderful family.  My husband and I are so in love, you'd think we were newlyweds.  (Wink, wink)  Life has its ups and downs, but our downs are so much better than so many heartaches that others are called to endure.  I cannot and will not complain because I know that all the adversity I pass through will be for my own good and that I will only be left alone if I turn and walk away from the Savior.  And I will not do that.  I love Him far too much to let earthly matters disable me spiritually.  It will all work out.

Monday, July 9, 2012

UPDATED FAMILY PHOTO and BRIGHAM CITY TEMPLE!

 Here are a few shots I took of the Brigham City Temple last night.  The Open House will begin next month (August 18) and the dedication is scheduled for September 23-my late father-in-law's birthday!  We are so excited!  There is such a peaceful feeling there and we lingered on the newly opened temple grounds for nearly two hours!




As promised, here is an updated family picture!  I have now lost 66 pounds since joining Weight Watchers, and 76 pounds overall.  My hubby has lost fifteen!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FOOD FOR THE BODY

WW ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD
(from WW Cookbook, "Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes", ISBN 978-0-8487-3498-5)

Serves:  4
Points+:  6

1/2 c. light sesame-ginger dressing (I used Kens Steakhouse Light Asian Sesame Dressing)
2 navel oranges
4 C. chopped romaine lettuce
3 c. shredded, cooked chicken
2 C. chopped napa cabbage
1 c. thinly sliced snow peas (optional)
1/2 c. matchstick-cut carrots (optional)
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Place dressing in a large bowl.  Zest the rind from one orange to measure 1 tsp.; stir into the dressing.  Peel oranges, and place segments in the bowl along with the lettuce, and next four ingredients; toss well.  Sprinkle with almonds right before serving.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."  --Jeffery R. Holland

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Tips for Losing Weight

Wow!  My life is crazy!  I must apologize for my recent absence from blogland, but I assure you...I've not been lying around eating bon bons all day!  Tyler is knee deep in school and writing papers for his ESL classes has become our hobby.  He is still working full-time at Triumph Youth Services on the graveyard shift.  I am also still working as a producer for Allstate insurance and as a fill-in receptionist for a local counseling office.  As if this schedule wasn't crazy enough, let's just add four kids and a big dog to the mix!  Somehow, though, we are making it!  Life is crazy, but usually, it's crazy good.  I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's.  Period.

On the weight-loss front, I have seen my results really slow down, but I'm still maintaining my newfound healthy lifestyle and I'm down nearly 65 pounds since joining Weight Watchers and nearly 75 since beginning to lose weight last year.  I am so happy with my results.  I feel more confident, poised, grateful, humble, energetic, hopeful, etc. than I have for a long, long time.

As people are starting to notice that "holy cow...you've lost a lot of weight!", I am often asked what I'm doing to shed the pounds.  As I mentioned, I am a member of Weight Watchers, but I can translate some of what I'm learning there and elsewhere into some more generic, unbranded advice:

1.  Write down everything you eat.
This is paramount.  If you don't know what you're eating and how much of it, you can't possibly hope to see results on the scale.  Research has proven in many studies that those who keep food journals are much more likely to lose weight.

2.  Move more.
I work out six days a week.  I have found that if I stick with six days a week, it's very hard to talk myself out of working out.  Before, when I was only working out four or five days a week, it was too easy to say to myself, "I don't feel like it.  I'll exercise tomorrow."  With the six-days-a-week plan, the excuse-making is virtually gone.  If it's not Sunday, I work out.  Period.  What do I do?  Anything and everything.  It's really important to me that I don't get bored with my workouts.  Here are some of the many, many activities I enojoy:  walking, jogging, sprinting, elliptical machine, DVD workouts, yoga, Zumba, pilates, kickboxing, circuit training, aerobics, tennis, basketball, soccer, bike-riding, dancing, cleaning (yes, cleaning counts!), hiking, snowshoeing, etc.  As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  Truthfully, getting my work out every day is sometimes really hard.  On the days when I just do NOT want to exercise, I set my kitchen time for 10 minutes and just go up and down the stairs until it goes off.  It's a great workout, and in ten minutes, I'm done, I've stayed in the habit, and I can live with myself.

3.  Be compassionate with yourself.
Losing weight is hard.  It is time-consuming.  It is tricky.  It is an art.  It is a skill.  It will take time for you (and me!) to change bad habits.  That's ok.  Find something each day that you did right.  Don't focus on your failures.  The only real failure is to give up on yourself or to lose hope that God can and will help you become healthier.  He loves you.  You should also love yourself and be patient with yourself.  And when you stumble, just try again.  And again. And again.  Give yourself permission now to make mistakes along the way.  You will.  And it's ok.  It's all part of the transformation...the reinvention of you!

4.  Explore the psychology behind your unhealthy habits.
There's a reason for your overeating, bingeing, skipping meals, emotional eating, or unhealthy eating.  It's important to look at whether or not you're "medicating" yourself with food.  Are you hurting?  Are you struggling with depression?  Loneliness?  Stress?  Boredom?  Are you feeling unloved?  I have recently started recording my binges.  I record the time of day, what I ate (and how much), what I was feeling at the time, who I was with, what was said, what was felt, etc.  This has helped me to recognize when my eating was emotional, and recognize certain situations, feelings, and relationships that are triggers for me.  Now, going into these situations, I can feel a little more prepared.

5.  Don't eat less, eat smart!
Losing weight should never be about eating less.  It's about quality, not quantity.  On the days when I am living my eating plan perfectly, I eat a TON of food.  What do I eat?  Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and treats!  I make it a point to have a sugary, ooey gooey chocolaty goodie here and there.  If I start feeling deprived, I'll stop trying, so it's important for me to have a little fun here and there.  The thing I love about WW, is that I can really eat whatever I want, as long as I write everything down and stay within my points.  This flexibility has been awesome on the days when being a saint simply isn't in my cards.

6.  Pray for help.
What would I do without prayer?  Prayer has gotten me here and will carry me to the finish line.  I try to pray specifically.  I ask God to maximize my desire and my results.  I ask Him to magnify my ability.  I ask Him for guidance as to what aspect of my lifestyle to focus on next.  The Savior is my Personal Trainer.  For anyone who has tried to lose weight before unsuccessfully, I would recommend allowing Heavenly Father and His Son to share your journey with you next time.  Their love makes all the difference.

7.  Give thanks.  Always.  No matter what happens.
Sometimes I don't get what I pray for.  Sometimes I pray for a loss on the scale and I get a lesson instead.  I have learned that it's ok, either way.  I have learned to thank God for whatever He gives me.  I know that all I have, all I am, and all that I have the potential to become are gifts from Him.

Hopefully this little list will help someone.  As you begin or continue on your own journey, I know your list will probably be a little different, but these are just some of the many, many lessons that I am learning.  The key is to find joy in the journey.  Always choose joy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can."
--President Ezra Taft Benson

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Pride, the Universal Sin

I have been thinking about pride this week. I revisted a favorite talk of mine, a classic, "Beware of Pride" by Ezra Taft Benson, which reminds us that pride is the universal sin. All of us have the ability to be humble, but as a part of the natural man, pride and enmity are real temptations for each of us. I know that I need to be more humble, not in a "I-know-I'm-better-than-you-or-you way", but in being more teachable, more senstive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in not being quick to judge others or to be easily offended. Also, as a faithful, active member of the church, sometimes I feel the adversary trying to flatter me: "Oh, Kristen, that was such an amazing lesson that you taught. You are such a fantastic member of the church! You are an awesome visiting teacher. You must be pretty important to have THAT calling. I'm sure others are just so impressed with how well your talk went. You are so great..." I am struggling lately with these part-truths, because I HAVE seen so much spritual growth and improvement in the last few years, that I partly feel entitled to revel in the natural-man feelings of self-satisfaction. And I'm not going to lie...hearing from a ward member that I did a good job on a lesson does feel good. It might sound shallow, but I really need to remind myself, and often, that all the things I am able to do are because of a loving Heavenly Father. Without him I am nothing. Today I read Ammon's own testimony of this same principle:

11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

As the weight continues to come off (albeit more slowly now), I am constantly receiving compliments. I am a compliment-loving girl, a people-pleaser, a sponge! I love the quote by Mark Twain, "I can live for two months on a compliment."

I can totally relate. I'm sure it's human nature to love hearing good things about yourself, but for me, it's as essential as air, food, and water. My love language is irrefutably Words of Affirmation. Perhaps this is rooted in a low self-esteem I have had for much of my life, and a need for validation. Perhaps it's just a woman thing.

Anyway, the tendancy is to hold on to those compliments without always remembering to redirect them UPWARD in the forms of praising and expressing gratitude. I feel that this should be a focus of mine and I'm going to consciously work on remembering to do this as I receive compliments of any nature.

With that being said, I'd like to publicly give my God all of the credit for any successes I've had, as well as for my future successes. I make the choices that lead to these choices, but even my agency is a gift from him. Without Him, I wouldn't even have a body from which to lose weight! He has granted me every ounce of energy, function, and most importantly DESIRE that I have needed to lose more than 70 pounds! And for this, I must praise Him! Thank you, thank you, Dear Father! I am so grateful for the hope that has been granted to me. I am thankful for the gift of prayer that carries me through the hard days: when I don't want to exercise, when Rebellious Kristen comes out to play, or when I begin to lose patience. I am thankful for a Father who has lovingly revealed to me the importance of self-compassion. I am thankful for a church that teaches the value and worth of a woman of God. Thank you, Lord for all that I am, and all that I have the potential to become!

Monday, March 12, 2012

FOOD FOR THE BODY


ROASTED CABBAGE WEDGES
from (kalynskitchen.com)

Serves: 3
Points+: 1

1 medium-sized head of green cabbage
2 T olive oil
2-3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used 2 T for the cabbage in these photos, but next time I'd use even more lemon)
generous amount of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
lemon slices, for serving cabbage (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F/232C. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Cut the head of cabbage into 8 same-size wedges, cutting through the core and stem end. Then carefully trim the core strip and stem from each wedge and arrange wedges in a single layer on the roasting pan (leave some space around them as much as you can.)

Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice (use the larger amount of lemon juice if you like a lot of lemon like I do.) Then use a pastry brush to brush the top sides of each cabbage wedge with the mixture and season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Turn cabbage wedges carefully, then brush the second side with the olive oil/lemon juice mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Roast cabbage for about 15 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is nicely browned. Then turn each wedge carefully and roast 10-15 minutes more, until the cabbage is nicely browned and cooked through with a bit of chewiness remaining. Serve hot, with additional lemon slices to squeeze lemon juice on at the table if desired.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Specific Prayers Answered Specifically

Today I reread one of my FAVORITE conference talks of all time: "The Privilege of Prayer" by J. Devn Cornish. You can read it by following this link: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/the-privilege-of-prayer?lang=eng&media=video

I love, love, love Elder Cornish's story of finding the quarter on the side of the road after he prayed a very specific prayer that he would find the money and be able to buy himself a drumstick at the chicken place on his way from work. (He was very tired and hungry and wanted to be able to have the energy to be a good father when he got home). I love this story so much, because it reiterates a personal testimony that I have gained over the years that not only are prayers answered, but that SPECIFIC prayers are answered SPECIFICALLY.

I have a few examples from my own life. A few months ago, I was pondering what on earth to do for the kids for Christmas gifts. Each of them had given me their simple lists of three things they would like from Santa. The task then came to make it happen on a teeny, tiny, under-employed, daddy's-a-full-time-college-student, mommy-only-works-twice-a-week budget. Oh boy. One of the things my son, Matthew wanted the very most, was a stuffed Rottweiler puppy. I know, it's kind of random, but he has a little collection of Rottweiler puppies in all different sizes. He was very specific that it just HAD to look like his other doggies. It HAD to be a Rottweiler. A few days later, I thought of Elder Cornish's prayer, and prayed that I would be led to an affordable little Rottweiler for my little guy. Several minutes later, I had a prompting to go to Deseret Industries (our local thrift store), NOW. So I did. I went to the toy department, looked around and didn't see any appropriate doggies, then turned to leave the store. A small voice came again: "Look again." I turned back to the shelf and there right on top, was a sweet little Rottweiler puppy, new with the tags! WHAT?! I couldn't believe it!

Another example is kind of an ongoing thing...my weigh-ins. Each week, before my Weight Watchers weigh-in, I have a little meeting with my Heavenly Father. I sort of tell him how I think I did, and express the desire of my heart (usually a number of pounds I would like to lose that week), given my effort during the week. I pray that he will maximize my results and magnify the efforts that I have made. I try to remain as candid and honest in these prayers as possible, and to never ask amiss for a blessing of weight loss. For example, on a good week, I will pray for a loss of two pounds, expressing that I feel my effort was sufficient to qualify for this amount, and that that would truly be the desire of my heart. I always leave it in the Lord's hands though, and include the phrase "according to THY will." I really think that is KEY! Almost without exception, I am granted the numbers I desire. In fact, it's been pretty cool to record these. When I ask for a certain number, there has been a trend which I've noticed that is pretty amazing to me: when I ask for a two pound loss, I lose 2.2, when I request a 1 pound loss, it's 1.2, etc. This phenomenon has happened over and over and over since I have started expressing my SPECIFIC desires.

It might sound funny, but I always feel that the ".2" is sacred. The ".2", to me, is an evidence of love. It's that extra few ounces lost that exhibits his mercy and compassion towards a woman who has given it her best effort. It's like the bow on top of the gift. The final little loving touch.

My weight loss journey continues. I am not close to my goal weight. I still have at least fifty to sixty more pounds to lose. But, I know that I am being helped along by my Savior, who understands all of my difficulties and struggles, and by a loving and compassionate Father who stands ready and so willing to bless me with the SPECIFIC desires of my heart. I know I'll get there for all things are possible with God.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"One of the secrets to a joyful life is to recognize that doing things the Lord’s way will make me happier than doing things my way." --J. Devn Cornish

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

FOOD FOR THE BODY


BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

Serves: 9
Points+: 6

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8-x 8-inch baking pan; set aside.

Process the black beans in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and process again until smooth. Mix in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and pulse a few times just until the chips are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and it passes the toothpick test. Cool completely in the pan, then slice into squares.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“I can’t stress too strongly that decisions determine destiny. You can’t make eternal decisions without eternal consequences.” --Thomas S. Monson

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--The Scholarship (A Parable from My Life)

Today I was thinking back...way, way back to an experience I had in college. It's funny that I had never seen the spiritual parallel in this experience until today while I was reading an address by Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy, entitled "Choosing Eternal Life." (You can read this AWESOME talk here: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/choose-eternal-life?lang=eng&media=video)

Anyway, I was contemplating how my everyday choices, like it or not, lead me towards either eternal life or eternal damnation. As I was thinking about whether or not it was really fair for God to NOT grant someone like me, who has done many righteous things in my life, eternal life and all its blessings, because I am still somewhat imperfect, with just a few sins here and there, I recalled an experience from my Freshman year of college.

I attended Weber State University on a leadership scholarship. Along with the academic requirements for this scholarship, I was required to attend leadership meetings with fellow scholarship recipients. We got together on a regular basis for planning meetings, leadership training, and to socialize with one another. Now, as a side note, for whatever reason, my freshman year of college was a very awkward and uncomfortable time for me. In high school, I had been popular, outgoing, enthusiastic, and bubbly. In college, I had no friends, I had just sent my boyfriend on a mission, and I was experiencing the uncomfortable "new kid on the block" feeling. As I attended my leadership meetings and training sessions, this feeling of discomfort and even shyness became more pronounced. These other students were all past student body officers, head cheerleaders, and all of them were beautiful, well-dressed, outgoing, confident people! I felt that I didn't belong in this group at ALL and I allowed these feelings of misplacement and inadequacy perpetuate. With each gathering, I found myself withdrawing more and more from the group, pulling further away from my responsibilities, and eventually, I stopped going to the meetings all together. At this point, the discomfort was too much; I simply couldn't face another uncomfortable, lonely minute at the meetings. It wasn't that the students were unkind to me; I simply felt that I had nothing in common with them. I didn't belong. After several weeks of skipping meetings and training sessions, I received a call from my leadership council advisor, Nancy. She wanted to meet with me. As I walked to her office, I thought about the conversation that we would have there: she would remind me of the importance of the meetings and ask me to start coming back to them. I would then muster up the courage to agree with her, start attending the meetings once more, then move forward with my responsibilities. Nancy, however, surprised me by quickly taking away my scholarship. She explained to me that with the school year already more than a quarter of the year complete, I would not have time to make up the missed meetings. She continued by telling me that it simply wasn't fair for me to enjoy the benefits of my scholarship since I had not been doing the same amount of work that my fellow students had been doing. I probably could have argued my case and begged for another chance, for more time, or for some compassion from the administration. I could have explained to Nancy why I felt uncomfortable in the meetings, but deep down, I knew that she was right. I chose to accept her decision and I left the office that day, stripped of my much-needed scholarship. To say the least, it was an extremely humbling experience.

I find that there is a parallel here between my desire for an inheritance in the celestial kingdom and my desire for a prestigious scholarship at a university. On my way to exaltation, I will encounter discomfort, and at times, I'm sure I will make mistakes in judgement, or feel that I simply don't belong or that I'm not good enough. But with each decision I make, I am choosing whether or not I will wind up in good standing with the administration (Heavenly Father), or whether I will forfeit my scholarship (inheritance) by shirking my responsibilities and divine duties here on earth. Nancy wasn't a mean, cold-hearted person. She was kind, approachable, and fair. I really could have gone to her at any time and expressed my concerns. I am confident that she would've worked with me, talked me through my difficulties, and helped me to succeed in any way that she could have. But I never approached her. I never explained the struggles I was having. Likewise, our Heavenly Father LONGS to be involved in our lives, to help alleviate our pain, guide us during our hard times, but he cannot do it until we ask for help. It's still such a shame to me that I lost this scholarship. It was such a needless thing to have happened, and a mistake that ultimately ended up costing me thousands of dollars. But how much greater would be my regret if I forfeited my eternal salvation by turning away from my responsibilities, neglecting to ask for help along the way, and by allowing the discomfort of repentance and growth to halt my progress? I hope that I can have the spiritual maturity and wisdom to ASK for help, to COMMUNICATE with my Advisor, the Savior, and that I will be able to find great joy in spending eternity with my Father in Heaven and my family. I pray that I will be able to seek valiance over convenience, humility over pride, and hope over discouragement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

UPDATE

Well, I guess there comes a point in each person's life when it's time to LIVE! I started this blog with the hope of using my faith to fuel my desire to lose some serious weight. As you may have noticed, I am now horrible at keeping up with the blog. I just wanted to let you know that it's NOT because I've given up on my dreams for a healthier body...quite the opposite! I am now down 73 pounds from my January 1, 2011 weight. That's three pants sizes, folks! I am SOOOO grateful for my faith, and I feel my testimony of the goodness of God grow each day. HE is the reason for my success. HE is my personal trainer. HE has taught me how to care for myself spiritually and physically. And I will return thanks to Him by testifying of Him in all I do. I'm not there yet. . . I still have a long, long way to go, but I know that all things are possible for those who love the Lord. And I love the Lord. It's been hard to keep up my blog because I am now spending more time planning meals, counting points (Weight Watchers), working out, and studying the scriptures and conference talks. I miss all my blog readers, but I feel like a little bird who has just learned to fly! I will update you periodically, and I want to thank you for your prayers and support over the years. You are awesome and I love you!!