Thursday, December 18, 2008

Annual Alcorn Christmas Letter

Dearest Family & Friends, December 2008

Greetings one and all this frigid (in Winnipeg anyway) but fabulous Christmas season! What a year it has been, full of learning, laughing, loving and every day getting closer to really living life the way it’s meant to be. Can’t really ask for much more, can we? We hope the year has brought you many blessings as well, and we hope to hear about them soon : )

We’ll start with Sean this year, who has entered his 6th year with Archway (recently changed it’s name to Skybridge) and is finding himself much happier at work this year since his promotion. He has loved facing the challenges his new position has brought him, even on the frustrating days he has been thankful for the opportunities he has been given. He has always earned the respect of the managers he’s worked with but he is now garnering even more attention in this position and several different managers have expressed interest in wooing him to their department. Some upper managers at the Christmas party couldn’t stop telling me how much they really appreciated working with Sean, it was very nice for us to both hear, and it has more than made up for the years we weren’t sure why God was keeping him there.

This December has marked 18 months at Golder Associates for me and I am still enjoying it just as much. In spring we realized things were actually getting much busier, which is good for the growth of our small branch yet made life quite hectic for me. Being busy made the days fly, and even with the little bit of stress it caused I still have been very happy, and blessed to have my job. I love our Golder ‘family’, still small but yet growing, and thankfully this fall it grew to include another admin position to help me with the workload. We hoped it would also free me up to take on additional accounting duties that are still being taken care of by our sister branch in Saskatoon (we’re still so small we are technically a division in their branch), but so far it’s just been so busy it’s taken the two of us to keep up with what we already have. As soon as she was hired we considered looking into hiring another admin person! Oh, and did I mention, my new admin assistant is my good friend Crystal? I recommended her to my boss, and recommended Golder to her, and it all worked out : ) It’s been really great and I look forward to all that 2009 holds for our office, including moving into a newer, bigger office in February.

As for other happenings in our life this year, it has been an eventful one. As you may remember I mentioned last year how much Sean and I learned about God’s perfect timing, our jobs have really taught us God is looking after us. Of course, we are human, and being subject to and victim of the baggage this world sometimes gives us, we sometimes just don’t learn the lesson completely that we can and need to trust God. Last November (2007) I finally felt the need to talk to my doctor about the possibility of infertility. We have shared with some of you during this year that we have been trying for a baby nearly 3 years as of the end of this year, and so 2008 has been a journey of discovering if parenting is part of God’s plan for us. There is too many details to stuff into this holiday letter, so feel free to ask us about it if you haven’t heard our story yet, but the short version is there are no concrete answers, from the doctors or from God as to when and if we might have children biologically. It’s been a struggle having to face the possibility the only future I imagined, might not be. And it’s been hard to trust that God could have something planned for us much better for me than giving birth to my children. Even though He’s proved himself time and again. He’s been working on us though, and as usual, by year’s end I think we’ve finally got it. Actually it was just this morning at Southland, when I heard the Bible verse Matthew 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to you?”

Other big news for us this year was the selling of our house and purchase of a new house. We’d been tossing around the idea for almost a year and in Spring when we heard the prices of houses were still climbing to crazy prices we figured we wouldn’t be able to afford a bigger house if we waited much longer. We finished up some renovations we wanted done and put the house up for sale mid June, got an offer before our open house, fell in love with a house, had our offer accepted, all by June 25th. We were very blessed having sold and bought so fast, getting more than our asking price and paying less than we budgeted. We love our home tremendously, it really feels like it was meant to be our home and it’s opened up so many doors for our future.
Family, as always has been a priority this year, making time to connect as much as possible. My sisters and I started the year planning a surprise 40th Anniversary celebration for my parents that would take place in August. It was a lot of work but it paid off, they were surprised and it was a great time together. Just a few short weeks before the celebration happened on the August long weekend, Jodi gave birth to the first boy in our family. Landon Kade was born 4 weeks early on July 24th, but he was a really healthy little boy with very few complications, and he’s already trying to make up for starting small. It’s really great to have a baby around again, and my dad is over the moon there is finally a boy to watch sports with and buy jersey’s for.

In some ways it seems like a lot has changed this year, yet so much has stayed the same. For those of you who see me in person you may have noticed I’ve taken my health seriously this year by deciding to eat better and start seriously exercising, and so far I have lots 25 lbs (I do have to share credit with my sister Tami and God : ). Sean and I hit our 5th year of marriage this year, and every challenge thrown at us continues to bring us closer together. It is such a blessing to have each other, to have someone to share life with who shares your perspective, and who can personify God’s love. There are always friends to connect/reconnect with, which we’ve done a lot of this year, I think Facebook is a wonderful invention : ) Of course, so are blogs, if you want to find out what’s going on with us before December 2009, feel free to visit me at

As always, we wish you all a meaningful holiday season, full of warm memories, a reflective look at the year past, and a hopeful look towards 2009.

Lori & Sean

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December ought to come with a pause button

I can't believe it's almost Christmas! Wasn't it just Dec. 1st, heck, wasn't it just mid-November?!? I know, the busyness makes time fly, and I'm very much looking forward to the gatherings, and I just keep trying to remind myself to enjoy the moments and ignore the chaos that can occur. Not needing to be in malls has really helped that. As usual, in our families, the only actual gifts we have to buy are for kids and the 3 people in Sean's family, plus a few good friends here and there. Only 4 more gifts to buy, and one has asked for a gift card, so we're in pretty good shape. I love focusing on being together rather than gifts, not just because it means avoiding malls, but that plays a part as well, because we're not wasting time on chaos that really doesn't have much to do with Christ's birthday at all.
As much as I'm trying to soak up the season, it seems I have absolutely no time to just savor the moments as they are flying by these days. I forgot to take photos of my big baking day in Steinbach, the munchkins were around and so there were many moments I didn't get to capture. Then I forgot to bring it to Celebrations for our friend Ernie's birthday celebration (that his lovely wife Kristie planned), Corner Gassed was hilarious, and he was up there participating a couple of times, many kodak moments. Then I went to Calgary for a day of Golder training, didn't take photos of their new, beautiful office (has an amazing view of downtown with the mountains in the background) and I didn't take photos of my reunion with my babysitter Lori Klassen there either. It's been almost 22 years since we saw each other in Edmonton, and even though we've chatted on Facebook it was really great to meet her in person again. Yet no photos to remember it by!
I did take my annual photo of my sister Jodi's family though, so lots of great photos from that session. Those kidlings are such characters : ) That makes me feel slightly better.
But yeah, I know I've been mentioning lots of things (ornaments, craftrooms, family) that I should be posting photos of, and I won't make any promises, but here's hoping I can get them up by January : )

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Delayed Living Well - Ain't that the truth

Here I am, not on a Wednesday, trying to fit in some 'living well', which is just too fitting because I took a vacation from dieting as well last week (but not exercise) and now I'm trying to get back on task and focus because I want to fit into a cute dress for Christmas. Just that added bit of motivation to get me going again.
I wasn't that horrendous on my diet, only 3 times did I eat 'fast' food, but I did indulge in a lot of chips and sugar. So, I'm thinking of doing a bit of a detox for a week, no meat and no gluten products, cleanse myself of the foods that clog the arteries, get rid of some toxins, adding in some anti-oxidents and such (yum, blueberries!), so I'm looking for some vegetarian recipes that are so good you don't care there isn't any meat in them. I have already created a wonderful vegi lasagna (I know, that's an easy one, everything tastes good smothered in tomato sauce and cheese) with all vegis, tested it out, and even my hubby loved it. If anyone knows of some tried and true recipes they'd recommend, feel free to share, I'm very gung ho about this detox idea, and the recipes I've collected so far make it tempting to do a week of this once a month. We'll see how it goes.

As for weight, I did have to face the music, I had gained 3 lbs from my diet vacation, on top of the stress 4 lbs I gained the few weeks before, I'm now only at 20 lbs lost in total. I was SOOOO close to that 30 lb mark, but I will get there, and soon! I can do it! : )

Oh, and since it's no longer at Live Well Wednesdays, I changed the link at the top.

Monday, November 17, 2008


For the last 9 days we've been on our vacation, or stay-cation because we just stayed at home and did as little of anything resembling work as possible. The goal was to rest up and get relaxed. I took a vacation from the computer, cooking, and cleaning (for the most part) as well, and it has been very nice! I'm surprised I managed to stay away from Facebook and blogging as much as I did, but it was a much needed break because I'm already at a computer all day at work, my back and neck really needed this.

I got mostly caught up on setting up my craft room, I just now have to put everything in it's place. Same with the guest room. I'll have pics once it's all done. We got our first Christmas tree too! Yes, this is our 5th Christmas living together and we still have never had a tree, so I'm very excited to have my tree in all it's splendor. I attempted to start a tradition the first year we were married, to make an ornament every Christmas of our marriage, but having no tree kinda put that on the back burner, but this year I am back at it, I'll post the pictures once I'm done, I have 3 more to make.

It was nice not to have to cook, but Sean and I did a bit of non-work cooking. I don't know if I've ever mentioned Sean's cooking here before, but he's a bit of a lazy cooker, he'd fry up meat, cook rice or noodles, then mix them all together with a cream of something soup. So I just told him he doesn't have to bother cooking anymore. Well just recently he gave some input into a dish, together we improvised and created a really nice casserole. Then, while having soup on our date this week, he again decided to start verbally creating a stew, and again, after some collaborating, we created a very yummy stew. This kind of cooking I love, creating something delicious, and together, that made it even better. I posted our recipes in a cookbook on recipezaar, and I hope we will continue to keep adding more.

It's been a great week and a half, and I'm very glad we decided to do a stay-cation this time, it's been the best one yet.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm not a can of soup, so labels are bad

I don't really use labels to describe my faith or the way I think about God. I have faith in God and when I seek Him, He shows me where He wants me to be in life, who He wants me to be, and how He wants me to be. I think that's the way it should be with everyone. I don't have to label myself in such a way that I would fit in at my Church because God has shown me that's the community I belong in. I don't need to label myself as evangelical, or that I have an apologetic theology, because I just try and be the person God has designed me to be, He will use me as He sees fit and I'm not the deciding factor in someone's decision to become a Christian.

I actually do find apologetics interesting, mostly the science interests me, so when I found books about history, science, archeaology, etc. that backs up what I already believe, I find it fascinating, but I didn't look into it to evangelize, although I know of people (mostly athiests) who have become Christians because of it. I think God knows the ways to reach out to people, He knows what they need to hear, see, understand, in order to finally feel His presence, and if He uses what I've read about science to reach someone then He will do that, it's not something I intend to use on purpose. He may also use my experience with Richard, or use my strong family ties, or whatever. I think Christians are just called to live their life the way God asks us to live and He will use our lives to reach those who don't believe in Him.

I've never really felt denominational ties in any direction, but as I've grown older and more experienced with different Churches, different beliefs, I've become more aware of how denominations like to seperate themselves and ostricize other denominations (which is one big reason I like being in a non-denominational Church, the core of people there are not like that), and it really burns me up that someone can be made to feel ostricized for not doing something God doesn't call everyone to. For example, in my small town, the majority of people seem to be evangelical and so people who live there who aren't evangelical can be made to feel they aren't 'real Christians'. Yet, I think that's more of a calling than a denomination. I think God rarely calls people to intentionally go out in the world and try and convert people. He calls people to live in Cameroon to translate a Bible so they can actually read His word, He calls people to Guinea to help build medical buildings and orphanages, and live among people who don't know Him and be an example for Him, He calls people to China to make His teachings available, despite laws against it, He calls people to inner city Winnipeg to love the homeless, and make chapel services available for them, He calls people to open a Christian book store in Northern Saskatchewan, near reserves, but He doesn't call people only to convert people, just to be a vessel for Him to work through.

God never intended for us to try and use our intellect to dicipher every thing in the Bible, just for us to get the big picture of who He is and what He wants from us, and that is a relationship. He will then use that relationship to reach out to us in the scripture, and He may not have each verse mean the exact same thing for everyone (i.e. body is a temple for me addresses my addiction to food, for some it's lust, for some it's cigarettes), in fact one of our pastors said this very thing at the end of his message last week (Oct.26th). Yet we humans then try and create cliques of people who all found the same meaning. God wanted the Word to bring us together because the important thing we have in common is that we believe He saved us through Jesus. We have way more beliefs in common than we disagree on. It really irks me that people start putting God in a box, 'this is the God I want to believe in, and if He's not that God I don't believe in Him'. People who want spirituality without the Bible say the Bible's God is not the loving God they believe in, the loving God they believe in wouldn't ever punish. How many loving parents do you know who have never punished their child?

Sometimes it all makes me wish I could call myself something other than a Christian so as not to be identified with the kind of people who would do that....but that's just another label, another division, and that's not what's important. So, I try to think 'outside the label', and not care how people may stereotype me, and I try not to stereotype others.


Last weekend was a celebration of birthdays. We tend to lump all birthday celebrations together because there are so many in groups. There is the summer group, Tami, Kellin, myself and now Landon. There is the fall group, Sean, Brooklynn and Avery. Then there is the winter/spring group, Dad, Jodi and Mom. So last weekend was the fall birthdays celebration.
October 8th - Sean's 28th Birthday!
October 18th - Brooklynn's THIRD Birthday!
October 24th - Landon's Three Month Birthday!
November 24th - Avery's SECOND Birthday!

Here are some photos from the festivities.

Sean's Birthday at Flea Whiskey's

Jodi threw the girls a double party. Landon only stole a little attention, even the attention of the birthday girls couldn't stray away from him for long.

It's interesting with Landon because he was 3 weeks early, so he doesn't seem like he should be 3 months old already, but I think because he was born early he thinks he is older than he really is - holds up his head, stands when held up, rolls over....he's in a hurry to catch up to those sisters of his!
What a great celebration of life these past few weeks have been!

I'm back....kinda of

The wonderful thing about blogging is the ability to save posts, and edit them, working on them bits at a time before they actually get published, so I've been working on a few posts over the last few weeks and finally have time to finish them up today and post them, yeah!

Quick update before I do though. I think as the last Wednesday I did Living Well Wednesday, I had gained 2 lbs, but this week I lost 4 lbs, so now I've lost 27 lbs in total, yeah! Almost at that 30 lb mark, which is getting me hugely motivated again....and there is extra halloween candy in my house that I need motivation to avoid!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Absentee Blogger

Lately I've felt like an absentee blogger, mostly only blogging on Wednesdays for some wellness encouragement and accountability, but I've just been too busy/exhausted/stressed/busy trying to be healthy/taking photos I don't even have time to download/etc. to spend much time here. I barely have time for catching up on my reading, never mind writing (glad to see I'm not the only one who is MIA though, lol). I hope things are settling down soon on all fronts, so I'll be back. Absence makes the heart grow fonder : )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

So, I was super busy over the weekend, I couldn't blog a Thanksgiving/gratitude post like I wanted until now.

I hosted my immediate family's Thanksgiving celebration for the first time ever, now that we are in a home big enough, with enough furniture and dishes to handle my family size. It was exciting, fun, scary, chaotic, and I'd love to do it again so I'm doing Christmas for Sean's family at our house this year as well. My first turkey was given the thumbs up, of course I did have mom on the phone for a bit and then hovering to help the last hour of cooking : ) My mom and sisters all brought dishes to help out, which they ended up partially preparing at my place and my new, large kitchen all of a sudden seemed small. It was a little like bumper cars because no one knew where all the dishes and utensils were, which we all have memorized in mom's kitchen, but it worked and dinner was great! The kids were also a handful, being in a new place they hadn't been yet, with a kitty that they are both fascinated with yet terrified of, but I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with them, as I always do.

We also celebrated Sean's birthday on Friday at Flea Whiskey's, playing some pool, as well as at both our Thanksgiving gatherings, as per usual. Thank goodness, because otherwise we would have 2 desserts for his birthday and then 2 again for Thanksgiving!

There was only one damper on the weekend. We got a call early Sunday morning about Sean's brother Scott, who has an evening/weekend part time job delivering pizzas, and the night before, Saturday around 9 pm, he was jumped - robbed of the pizza money (none of his possessions were stolen) and beaten very badly. His cheek bone is broken in 4 places and they almost thought he may need facial reconstruction. This is just another in a string of bad luck he's had over the last few years and it's amazing he's still such a survivor, we almost wish he wouldn't be/act so tough some times.

So on that note, here is my list of things I am so very grateful for this year (in no particular order):
Scott's health and safety - that his wounds did not require surgery, they just require time to heal, and that he didn't lose his life or his car/possessions in the robbery
Our Family - it is great to be surrounded by family that gets along so well, we enjoy each other's company and time we get to spend with each other, and who we can rely on and draw support from during the hard times
My Hubby Sean - my husband rocks, I have been given so many reminders of how much he means to me and does for me, and I am learning every day what marriage is supposed to look like, and how deep love can grow, when the decision is made to let God work on it with us. I look forward to every morning I get to wake up and face the world with Sean, especially knowing no matter what happens we will be falling asleep in each other's arms every night.
Our Home - I am constantly reminded of how God has blessed us with this perfect home, the timing was impecable from the sale of our home, to the offer on this one, to the changing market and mortgage rates, everything worked out in our benefit and we are so blessed. We now have the home we've always wanted, where we can feel comfortable having lots of friends and family over, hosting events/meals, having room to expand our family if that's what God blesses us with. And it's a home we could immediately settle in to without a lot of work, all the work is purely cosmetic for our own tastes/comfort. Not only did we end up with our perfect house but God took care of us financially, between the sale and purchase of our homes, the only debt we have is our mortgage and our lease, we were able to put a big chunk down on our new home and have savings to spare. We are honored God has heaped all these blessings on us.
My Job - I love what I do, I love that I get to be the administrative wizard who gets to help people every day doing the things I'm good at, and they appreciate me!
My Admin Assistant - who was finally offered the job on Tuesday and is signing the offer letter as we speak....and she just so happens to be a friend! It will be so great working with her, not only because she's a great friend but because I know we will be an awesome team, she will be someone I can really rely on
Our Friends - people who have always been there to share life with, even after times of busyness and being incommunicado, we can always pick up right where we left off. Some move away and others move back, but the encouragement, support, caring, laughter and love are never far away. We are especially glad our friend Ben will be leaving the army in a matter of months and will never have to go to war again.
My Country - the election this year may have been deemed a 'complete waste of time' by some but this election really spoke to me this time, about why I should be grateful to live in Canada. First of all, I am grateful I have the right to chose who is going to govern most of the things that will affect my life; the economy, the laws/justice, freedoms, finances, our environments, education, health care, etc. Second of all, I am grateful for some of the silly squabbles between our parties, because our main concerns are not genocide, famine, extreme poverty, huge populations ravaged by easily treated diseases, a war torn country, dictatorship, violations of human rights, etc.
My God - who never gives up pursuing a perfect relationship with me, no matter how imperfect I am, He never lets me feel guilty or unworthy, He always reminds me He loves me the way I am and just encourages me to draw nearer to Him. He has changed me so much over the last year, both inside and out, changes I've tried to make on my own for ages, changes I didn't think I had needed to make, and He has made my life so much more healthy, fulfilling and enjoyable, despite being in limbo about motherhood. There would be nothing to be grateful for without Him.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and an opportunity to reflect on all the blessings in your own life!

Living Well Wednesdays - Seeing things in a new light....again

So last week, knowing Thanksgiving and a birthday celebrations were happening Friday, Saturday and Monday I restrained my calories and did all my exercise through the week, I had a great 'star' week in preparation, and so I did indulge myself but didn't gorge myself over the weekend. I missed out on exercise yesterday because my neck and back started getting very painful yesterday afternoon and so I ended up one pound this morning, but it's not getting me down. It's just one pound.

What is getting me down is a revelation from my doctor's appointment on Friday, a revelation that has been a few years in the making but nobody told me....I'm shrinking!! Last time anyone told me my height was years ago, I can't even remember that's how long it's been, but at that time I was just over 5'8 1/2", now I've been told I am 5'6 1/2"!! TWO INCHES!! That's a lot to learn about all at once but it's been on going for a little while because I checked out my driver's license photo taken last November and it was just under 5'7 1/2". So I've lost an inch in a year, and who knows how long it took me to lose that first inch. But I mean, people, hello! You can see the before and after measurement, why aren't you telling me I'm shrinking!!!! I've always identified myself as a tall person and so it's taking some getting used to but the worst realization was yet to come.

At the end of my doctor's appointment, when we were discussing my height and weight, he asked me if I was aware of what BMI (Body Mass Index) is, which I do, and so he told me with my 'new' height and current weight I was just under 30, which means it estimates the amount of body fat I have as making me obese!! In March when I thought I was 5'8 1/2", before I lost 25 lbs, my BMI was 30.5 and I would have agreed I was obese but not now! I'm confident enough in my body, now, that I know I am not obese, that is ridiculous, but that is what my BMI says I am! Just because I shrunk! I always thought the BMI was a little skewed since my old BMI said my weight should be 140-170, and last time I was 140 I was told I looked anorexic. Now the BMI says my weight should be 117-156....that is ridiculous as well! I am 186 right now, can you imagine what I would look like minus another 30 lbs? And that would be the MOST fat I should have on me! BMI is essentially saying I'm 30lbs over weight at my new height! I'm not going to go to that extreme.
The BMI does have a disclaimer for body builders, which I wouldn't classify myself as, but I am thinking I do about 60 minutes of weight lifting per week, at least, some of my 'extra' weight has got to be muscle. I'm actually pretty sure I've got some solid muscle on me, which makes me quite happy actually....that's a perspective I may not have realized had it not been for this enlightenment. Plus, I've always known I have a heavy bone mass because I've always looked less heavy than I really am, but they don't have any calculations for bone or muscle mass that I can use to get a more accurate BMI so it sucks my doctor is going to be preaching about BMI. I know I still need to lose about 17 lbs, I'm sticking to my original goal, and if I'm in a size 10-12 I will be very happy, but it's still a little disheartening to think my health is going to be judged on the fact I'll be 'overweight' if I'm over 156 lbs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Living Well Wednesdays - Better late than never

Ok, according to my chart I did about the same as I did last week, I did better on the weekend but not as well during the week, but I wasn't watching my chart for an overall view of how I was doing, which if I had I could have seen what was going on. I didn't notice until after that I had less stars in my calories column, and less in my exercise column, but I had more in all my other columns, so even though I had the same amount of stars I gained half a pound back. I hesistate to place value one healthy action over another but eating and exercising are the most directly related to weight and so I still need to place a stronger emphasis on those areas. It wouldn't matter that I was eating all fruit and vegetables if I'm still going to go over my calories AND not exercise as much. I can allow for not meeting calorie goals (not gorging) every day if I'm exercising right, or vice versa, but not slack on both at the same time, that's not balanced. So, better late then never, I learned I need to see how I'm doing as a whole, not just daily, not just total stars, but where those stars are placed.
One thing I also want to focus on for the future is getting out of the habit of snacking in the evening. I have been snacking just about EVERY evening that I have not hit my max calories and now it's just a habit to snack, even if I am not really enjoying the snack past the first few bites, which is ridiculous to continue eating it then, but I still do. I need to listen to that voice that says I don't need a snack, or the feeling that makes me want to put my snack away because I'm not enjoying it anyway. My 'need' for boredom munching is making me ignore that help from the Spirit and I need to start remembering at those times that "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." I need to be in the frame of mind that temptation is something to stand up against, not justifying so I can give in to it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Living Well Wednesdays -

So this last week was ok, one of those I didn't do my best but I still behaved, and lost 0.5 lb for that, which is a loss, so I'm happy. I'm really loving having my chart, I can check my progress in the morning and after work, see how I'm doing, what choices I should make to meet my goals. One thing I've noticed right off the bat is I give myself too much leeway on weekends....and weekends often start on Thursday, lol. But now that I know that is my pattern I'm going to make sure not to continue that.

This week is super busy so that's all I really have time to write today, but I'll leave you with a word that I picked up from recent work promotions, sustainability. It reminds me to live life in a way that I can sustain.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

101 Things to do update

My list has been updated again, quite a few because of my new house, but unfortunately I can't strike some plans revolving around vacation off until next year now. Oh well, that leaves some days free to try and accomplish other things on my list : )

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living Well Wednesday - whatever works, do that

This is why I joined LWW online, because I always read something that I need to hear. I love it that God uses other people to speak to me when I have trouble tuning in to what He's trying to tell me. Here's what He told me last week.
~I am not a number, a number of pounds or a number of inches, or a size. I have MANY attractive traits that make up who I am...some of them even physical
~I need to be free in Christ. If I have to obsessively be confined to a dietary plan, work out exactly a certain amount per week to achieve a certain "magical" number, then I am not free. At the same time, if I can't get through a bad time without turning to food, then I am not free either. My beat myself up over 'failure'.

Thank you to the women at LWW who continue to touch me with what they share each week.

Other reminders I need to give myself;
~ treating isn't bad once a week, just don't snow ball it
~ if I know I'm going to have a high calorie and/or low exercise week, be prepared by eating less/working out more the days leading up to (don't say, 'I'll make up for it after'...yeah right!)
~ a snack doesn't have to be a whole bowl of ice cream or pretzels, a small amount will satisfy my desire for food because it's not hunger I'm fillin
~ try to remember to ask why do I snack? and how can I let God 'drive' my health?

Had a pretty ok week, and I lost the 3 lbs again, yay!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Living Well Wednesday - I need a break, not a break from my health

So, overall, this week was good again, drank a little less water but also a lot less pop, 75 more minutes of exercise, but also a few more calories on average, read almost all of Daniel, but I didn't turn to God when it counted the most, last night. Grrr.

Last night I got some sucky news from Sean's work that our vacation will most likely be postponed. This year we've had no real vacation, all of it has been tied up in appointments for the house, moving, unpacking, etc. so we've been a little stressed, not to mention sick lately, and in dire need of some relaxing time off (haven't had r&r days off since Christmas), and finally both our schedules opened up around Thanksgiving and so we booked vacation.

Now Sean's boss has decided she instead wants him to do training, that before they were going to get other people to do, and he's not allowed to go on vacation until the training is done. He thinks if he pushed himself harder, burning himself out in the process, we MIGHT still be able to go as planned (which meant the weather might be ok enough to go to Banff like we planned) but I don't want him to get even more stressed, so the earliest we can probably go now is November, which also gives us less time off because we can't combine it with a holiday. And it's going to be too friggin cold so we might as well skip Alberta because I want to go when we can also spend time at Banff. We tried going in September but couldn't do that either because a consultant was coming to check out this new product on which Sean is training people, and the consultant needed Sean to give feedback about the program.

So instead of a much needed vacation in just 4 weeks time, going away to beautiful Banff and West Edmonton Mall, seeing cousins I never get to see, I get to have vacation in November at home, 45 days away! And that is provided nothing comes up with my job in November and it works for me to take time off then. *deep breath*

There has been so much Sean has been helping this boss with, taking things off her plate, on top of his normal busy day, and he's already very stressed, then she adds this unncessary thing to his plate, that she had already told him was going to be done a different way. Not to mention, taking away his vacation for it. Not only am I dissapointed about our plans but I am royally pissed off she is treating him this way. Oh, and guess who DOES get to go on vacation in October....she does! I just feel so bad for him I can't complain about my spoiled plans, he already feels extremely crappy about that (this has been a vacation I've tried to plan for 3 years already, going to Alberta). so not only does he feel crappy about work, he feels crappy about upsetting me.

So, anyway, last night, before I found this out, I had bought fried chicken and fries from our favorite place Candy's, to celebrate that we finally got the cheque from the proceeds of our house. Then I found out the bad news and decided I wanted to make myself feel better with fried chicken. I KNOW I should have instead prayed about it, and KNOWN emotional eating would have it's revenge, but last night that didn't matter. Today I'm 3 lbs heavier. Talk about eater's remorse. Lesson learned...I hope.

Anyway, one other thing I thought of this week I wanted to mention, I do have an idea of making the checklist from my last LWW post into a daily checklist on my fridge, and getting a 'gold star' for each goal I meet on a daily basis. This will hopefully remind me of each goal at the beginning of the day, and hopefully I'll be focusing on a lot of gold rather than the empty spots.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I feel pretty, oh so pretty!

Well, I can't remember the last Monday I was in THIS good of a mood! Why, you ask, would I be happy to be back in a work week, having to wake up early, and be at work instead of home? Because I got to wear one of my pretty, semi-new outfits! The song, "I feel pretty" keeps playing in my head and I feel like I'm a brand new person!
I've been going through my closet lately, packing away clothes that are hanging off me, and pulling out old favorite clothes I couldn't bear to give away even though I feared I may never fit in them again. I found that I now fit into a few treasures again, like my favorite pink, velvet jeans : ) The red dress I wore to the Christmas party Sean and I first danced at (boy he liked seeing me in that ; ), some cute pjs, a tankini, some skirts, etc. My wedding dress is actually TOO BIG ON ME! How many women can say that!?!
With a Winnipeg winter coming though, I was caught severely short on pants and sweaters, and Sean and I had agreed for birthdays we'd go clothing shopping, so this weekend we hit the mall and I was loving it! I went down two sizes, I am now a 12 on top and between a 12 and 14 on the bottom! I can now shop at 'normal' stores and avoid 'plus' sections : ) I was SOOOOO giddy! I actually decided not to buy too many pants because about 10 more pounds lost and a 14 will be too big, and I have a few 14 left in my closet, so I only bought one nice pair of brown dress pants (my 3 pairs of brown pants were packed in the 'too big box'). Then I bought 4 sweaters, a cute dress shirt, and because there was such a good sale, I bought a t-shirt and sleeveless dress shirt. Not to mention all the new underwear I needed, yikes! But what a difference it makes with everything sitting on my body properly, and all my body parts being supported properly.
So, today, I feel pretty, oh so pretty! I just want to put on a little fashion show!!! Maybe if I can get hubby to agree, I'll get him to take photos of me in my new outfits so I can.

"I feel pretty, oh so prettyI feel pretty,
and witty and bright
And I pity any girl
who isn't me tonight

I feel charming, oh so charming
It's alarming how charming I feel
And so pretty that I
hardly can believe I'm real"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Living Well Wednesday - Successes

While evaluating recent set backs (I won't call them failures, especially since I didn't gain weight ; ) I have been going back to my initial thoughts when first starting this, that it has to be about balance. I have to make this work for the long run because I will not be able to 'diet' and workout like crazy forever. There will be weeks when I have a food related gatherings almost every day. There will be weeks when I'm sick and can't exert myself as much exercising. There will always be something I can let trip me up. So it's about giving myself healthy options, making better choices, and creating healthy habits. Then take it one day at a time, do the best I can while still enjoying life. Which means, I may not hit 100% of my goals every day, every week, which is a little hard for a perfectionist to handle, but this isn't about getting the grade, it's about life, a balanced, healthy and enjoyable life.
So, with that being said, I feel like this was a really successful week!
1. 115 minutes of exercise/activity - about 75% of goal
2. Stayed in daily range of 1200-1400 calories (thanks to discovering 'skinny' latte's at Starbucks)
3. Increase fruit and veggies - about 75% of goal, 3 out of 4 snacks were or included veggies and fruit. Prepared some easy to add veggies for supper options. Still need to find a good banana smoothie recipe for breakfast, but practice will make perfect...yummy practice.
4. Drink 2-3 litres daily - around the 2 litre mark lately
5. Start reading the Bible again and praying more about struggles - I read Philippians during the week, and now I'm working on Ezekiel. Been much better at praying as the thought pops in my head, rather than say 'I'll pray about that tonight during my prayer time', which usually doesn't happen.
6. And all that resulted in 3 lbs lost!!! Whoooohooo! I'm a very happy girl this week : ) That brings me to 25 lbs lost in total. And boy do I see a difference lately. I am in need of buying new clothes pronto!
Thanks to everyone who cheers me on, and most of all, praise God, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength".

Sunday, September 7, 2008

two become one

"Two become one" is pronounced at weddings, and many people act as if that's all it takes to unite two individual lives. Sure, it does immediately unite them under one roof, with united finances, united expenses, united possessions, united families, united bodies. But does it immediately unite our minds and hearts? Do we automatically always think and feel and act in the best interests of both equally? I think the answer of course would be no.

At the beginning we may, but as time goes on we don't want to continue to compromise on every issue we don't see eye to eye on, we each want to be free to be ourselves with our loved one, because after all we committed to them because they love us for who we really are. There will be times when the homebody is tired of socializing, even at a compromised level, or the social butterfly is tired of being cooped up at home, even at a compromised level. And that is just one of probably hundreds of personality quirks people have, a couple will never be 100% in sync with all of them.

And so when our individual needs are not gettting met we get frustrated, and we think, 'if they love me why don't they _________(fill in the blank)?' We think, 'if we are one, why does my spouse still think in a way that doesn't always consider us/me?' We begin thinking in terms of 'one' but usually we are that 'one'. Where does this delusion come from that love means the other person will always want to meet you half way, or more? I think part of it is how we view our 'oneness'.

The pronouncement 'two become one' isn't a magic spell the minister casts on us, eliminating us as individuals and creating a new being. We aren't just blended into one compromised, murky being. The phrase is meant to explain that we are no longer two individuals trying to make it in this world alone, this oneness explains we are two individuals who have joined as a team that will face life together. We are still individuals, we were created as individuals, we fell in love with each other as individuals, and it's our individuality that makes a team succeed, because we each bring different strengths to the marriage. We are individuals that have joined with someone who has agreed to share in the burdens and joy that life will bring. Becoming a team, building a life together as a team, trying to do what's best for the team, requires teamwork.

We have to work at understanding each other as individuals, we have to work at a life that makes us both happy, we have to work at making sure each has a turn at give and take, we have to work at choosing to love each other despite disagreements and pain, we have to work at growing as individuals and as a couple, we have to work at keeping our vows of commitment, we have to work at creating an environment in which our love will grow stronger.

Before I was married I would probably have agreed with marriage being a team effort, rather than an amalgamation, yet I still found myself wondering why I couldn't get more compromise, why I couldn't make Sean see my way was better for us. Somewhere along the way I forgot he is still his own person, has his own needs seperate from mine, has a different perception from mine. And that is dangerous ground, because then it's not a far leap to make assumptions that he doesn't love me as much or doesn't want what's best for our marriage. This is something I've recently begun to realize, the power of my thoughts, that they can become real feelings, and soon feelings become actions. And so with this realization, I see that path becomes much too easy to follow if we don't understand the real meaning of 'two become one'.

I know marriage isn't easy, we have had our days when we've looked at each other and wondered, 'do you even love me?' But there is a choice in every hurt, to work at it and forgive for the sake of our marriage, or to begrudge for the sake of ourselves. I received a piece of advice shortly into our marriage that I have kept with me. Think of your marriage as a scale, one side is a pile of the good things that happen and the other is the bad. Of course, you are married for a reason, so you start of with a heavy good side, and so when one bad thing happens it doesn't tip the scale. If you deal with that one bad thing when it happens, weighing it against all the good, it is easy to forgive and heal, but if you let bad things pile up and don't deal with them, eventually they may outweigh the good by the time you finally want/need to deal with it. It will be much harder to choose to stay in a marriage where the bad outweighs the good, but if you choose your marriage during each bad situation, there will still be work involved but it will always be easier.

And don't just wait until work needs to be done in your marriage, do some preventitive work. Your spouse will never be perfect, so don't wait until they are to show them how much you love and appreciate them. I found this cool site through Pam, which is about putting your love on display, literally. And I have, I am letting my hubby, and the whole world, know how much I love him.....via this t-shirt. The makers of this t-shirt have an awesome message, I encourage you to read about it.

Self Portrait Saturday

Yes, I realize this post is actually on Sunday but it wouldn't let me select 'New Post' yesterday. Just wanted to share some of my interesting creations with, stick your face on a celebrity fun. Interesting results.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Living Well Wednesdays - Nothing Lost, Nothing Gained

Nothing lost, nothing gained this week. Exercised more, ate more this week. I’m tired of my own excuses. I think I need to put of all the realizations I’ve made in writing, on a huge poster, and put it in my kitchen. I’ve had some really good insights while blogging but for some reason it’s hard to put them into practice. Like ‘rely on God, not food’, or ‘don’t undermine my determination’. I thought I’d awakened myself to the pitfalls of my negotiating and doing this on my own steam, yet I’m still doing it.
Just something as simple as soda pop, I know that it’s a waste of calories, I would satisfy my thirst much better with water, water does a body good, soda does not, yet I’ve been craving it so I fit it into my allotted calories. And I’ve been slacking on veggies way too much. Fruit I’m much better with, I always have fruit for lunch, I intend to add some to breakfast everyday, and they are a great snack, but veggies, well, I have soy beans at lunch and maybe a few times a week I'll toss mushrooms into whatever I'm already making, or open a can of baby corn. I’m just so not interested in cooking after I come home from work, even with making it easier with the OAMC cooking I’ve picked up from Pam, it’s still takes to much energy to do a meat and pasta/rice/potato, never mind cook a vegetable yet. But I have a feeling if I added a veggie I wouldn’t be prone to snacking later in the evening. Anyone got any ideas of an easy way to add them?
And I really need to stop procrastinating on getting back to reading my Bible, I know drawing closer to God will make it easier to draw on his strength when I am weak. And lately at Church I have had heard passages read that I see in a new light and it makes me want to read, but when I'm at home I'm oblivious to those desires. First thing would be to unpack my Bible, plunk it down right where I spend most of my time and then it will be easier to be intentional about it.
So maybe I have gained something, the more I revisit these lessons the better I should get at it, right? Sometimes it's really hard being an imperfect perfectionist.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I think I can, I think I can

Finally, I feel like I’m getting somewhere with my list, hopefully the momentum will keep a fire under my butt
 : ) 89 out of 110 are stroked off or are in the works, whoohoo! And I still have 597 days left! Check out my updated entry.

There but for the grace of God go I

It has occurred to me today that I haven't had anything too profound to say lately....gone are the days of my rants? I still get quite angered by people, manipulative people, selfish people, lately it's been these people in particular, but I just can't seem to summon the same kind of steam in order to verbally tear them apart anymore.

I have our associate Pastors, and of course God : ) to thank for that. The last few weeks of messages have really stuck with me and sunk deep in my heart, specifically the idea that sin is a symptom of the absence of God. Not a complete absence always, sometimes just a slight lapse in His presence, but choosing to sin gets easier the more disconnected from God we are. So I see people who think, act and speak things that are awful and easy to hate, but God is quick to remind me it is only because they are disconnected from Him (even though some may falsely believe they are doing God's will), and that I too have the potential to be just as bad or worse if I allow a disconnection from God in my own life. That truth has truly changed me.

I'm still just as disturbed by the evil people are capable of and I am still just as opinionated about it, but I realize now I have no right to place blame on or judge any other person other than myself. I will leave it to God to judge people's hearts, but I will place blame somewhere, like on Satan. When we blame and judge other people we are diminishing the role Satan plays in their choices, as well as our own. That may not seem important, and may even seem ridiculous to some, blaming Satan for people’s actions, but it’s when we deny he has any power over us that he can be most effective. And sometimes his goal isn’t to get us to be terrible sinners, it’s to get us to be ineffective Christians. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think judging people’s sins makes me a very effective Christian.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Living Well Wednesdays - Must be doing something right!

So, busyness got the best of me again and I wasn't very intentional about my health last week.

I started off not too bad with food, but then we had date night on Friday which always means my calories are usually a little higher that day (on the max side of my allowance), which isn't too bad when it's the only night of the week like that. Sounds like there is a 'but' in there, doesn't it? That's because there is. The rest of the week I managed to keep my calories within my range, but I was filling up on garbage.
Saturday, well Saturday was very bad. I went to a Habitat for Humanity build with my co-workers and I didn't have breakfast at home because they were serving one, but my bus didn't show up at the stop and so I had to wait for the next one, got there late, had to eat whatever was left and eat it fast. So breakfast was an apple and cookies. Then we had a family reunion on Sean's side at Assinaboine park at noon, and we didn't know it was a bring your own food event. We were invited to partake in someone else's food, because I was starving (for various reasons we were pretty late, only got there around 1:15), but I didn't want to pig out on their food and only ate a little. Considering my real lack of calories so far that day I DID splurge and eat a small piece of birthday cake. Well, by the time we left there and got some errands done, it was late and I was even hungrier. We stopped at Starbucks like usual and part of our 'date night' ritual, no matter the date, is to end it with dessert at Starbucks (which we didn't do Friday), so I had a SECOND piece of cake on Saturday! I know, very bad, but I was starving, and it was our date...excuses, excuses, I know.
You'd think after that I would have behaved, but that just got the ball rolling, I've been drinking the left over pop in our fridge and eating left over cookies I baked for our movers every day! But like I said, I didn't go over my calories, I just used up my calories on crap.
However, I must have been doing something right, because this morning (I've made Live Well Wednesdays my new weigh in day) I had lost 2 lbs since I last weighed the Monday before we moved!!! I know I've been very active in the last few weeks, first moving and then spending a lot of time unpacking, moving stuff around, going up and down our stairs a lot because I haven't really got the hang of what's upstairs and what's downstairs yet. Then there was the HH build, and using our exercise equipment at home, in ADDITION to my normal gym days. But I was dreading the weigh in this morning and so I was ecstatic!
I wonder why it is I can feel like I'm doing everything right and gain weight, and then feel like I've been severely slacking and lose weight. God's mercy, that's how!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Living Well Wednesdays

Ok, so since last Wednesday 6 out of 7 of my days have been spent packing, moving, cleaning, moving some more, unpacking, moving furniture around, and walking around stores looking for things we need. Unfortunately, no dishes and not much food also meant eating out a lot. Pizza is the typical moving food, for us and our wonderful movers, and with lots of leftover pizza it was a cost effective way to eat, but boy does pizza have a LOT of calories. And we have too much pop leftover too. I tried to still stay moderate in my proportions and still drink lots of water, and considering how much I've been moving everyday I think it might have balanced out. I have not been brave enough to step on a scale yet but my clothes all still seem to fit the same as they did last week.
The two things I wanted to impliment in my Living Well was drinking more water, which I have been doing fairly well at. It slowed down a little over the weekend, but for the most part I am drinking about 2.5-3 litres per day. Pretty good I think. The other thing was spend more time with God and rely on Him to provide what I need when I think I'm hungry, or think I don't have the energy to exercise. That is one thing that I haven't made the time for in the last week, but I hope to make that a priority now that we are pretty much settled in our new house.
One other thing that is new in my life, that will definately improve my activeness, is two pieces of exercise equipment we inherited with buying the house. One is a weight system, which offers about 1/3 of the types of weight lifting I normally do at the gym, and the other is a bike machine, so I can increase my cardio workout at home (the elliptical hasn't helped much since I've upped my 'game' at the gym). So now my two hours at the gym can be less weights and more running, which I have to do on a treadmill, so I can't do that anywhere else but the gym. My time working out each week will increase a lot I think, it's so easy to just get in a few reps on the weights whenever I have some free time, and any time I want to read I can just sit on the bike (which has a book holder, whoohoo!). And once we put a t.v. downstairs, well just try and keep me off the equipment. Sean and I may end up fighting over time on them : )

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I didn't go crazy

So I got my hair cut and colored on the weekend and I didn't go wild after all. First I wanted to find something that suits me and would be easy to maintain, that would be a style I would want to keep. I might try throwing in some pink streaks in the near future but for now, this is what I went with.

I really like it (although my curls deflated a little by the time I took this pic). It's really easy to do curly or straight. It's a good length, not too long that's it tangles or gets in my way, and not too short I HAVE to do something with it, and can still wear it in a pony tail. And I love the color! I picked something close to my natural color but a little more golden/reddish. I think it suits my skin tone really well. I'm very happy, as usual, with my hair dresser, it's no wonder I've been going back for four years.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Some Friday Fill-in Fun

1. You know you're old when your hip is having the same issues as your mom's.
2.My heart is divided between a hair style that suits me and a hair style that's a little more wild!
3. Something filling but low calories is what I need RIGHT NOW!
4. I have felt the shackles of shame, I have known the depths of freedom in love.
5. Gah, won't these people stop and take an honest look inward and upward.
6. Get to the heart of what makes you you, as soon as you can!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to my walk with Pam, tomorrow my plans include a new hairstyle and Sunday, I want to get a lot packed!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Living Well Wednesdays

I meant to post this last night but got carried away with other stuff, but better late then never : )Last week my birthday wish didn't come true, I didn't lose more weight, even though I pushed myself even harder to lower my calorie intake, choose better food, and I exercised at least 130 minutes longer than I normally do each week. I even behaved at my birthday dinner, which was actually easy because we ate at Inferno's Bistro. Their portions are not huge like most restaurants, they were just enough, and there was more vegetable on my plate than carbs and meat, which is how it's supposed to be (not usually when I cook though, lol). Not to mention we walked to and from the restaurant, which was about 25 minutes of walking. So I'm perplexed at why I actually ended up gaining back 2 lbs! I am trying to remind myself it's not all about the weight, I'm doing this for my insides but I really hoped my new resolve would give me some visual results. I was really looking for some encouragment from the LWW blogs this week but you can't always get what you want. But you just might find you get what you need, and that is what I got instead.
After reading the other LWW blogs and their many mentions/reminders to drink water, I realized I've been really slacking in my water drinking recently. It's been down to maybe 1-2 cups of water per day lately, and I have actually been getting headaches due to the lack of water, which I finally caught on to a few days ago. But I didn't tie that to my weight until yesterday while reading the blogs. I forget drinking water helps in so many other ways, other than just helping me feel full during the day. It helps remove toxins and waste from the body, helps digestion, improves energy, improves metabolism....all of which have an impact on your weight. Duh!
And another one of my challenges was a hot topic in the blogs this week. That is relying on God in my moments of weakness. I had new resolve and so I was making this about my success and not about God's success in my life. I was putting too much faith in myself and gaining weight this week was a good reminder that even when I think I'm at my best I will fail. Everything good comes from God. Therefore, I will not achieve anything good apart from God (unless God decides to grace me with success for His own reasons). Another duh! moment.
This is head knowledge, so why is it not heart knowledge? Why do I insist on pushing this huge boulder, uphill, on my own, knowing the ultimate strength is just waiting for me to ask Him to do it for me? Because I fool myself into thinking I HAVE been relying on Him, just because I give Him credit for the lessons I've learned. But it's because of His grace that I've even been given that wisdom, I haven't exactly been doing a good job of pursuing His intervention in my health. He's been pursuing me, trying to reach out to me, showing me how much I need Him, yet I still can't seem to turn my health over to Him completely. Even after I've seen results in other areas of my life where I have surrendered to Him.
I feel a little dense, having to learn this same lesson over and over again. I need to do this with God, not for God. I too often think they are one in the same, concentrating too much on the end results that God desires (in this case, living respectfully of His creation - my body), rather than how He wants those results achieved. Which of course is allowing Him to work in my life, not trying to make it on my own effort (with or without His 'assistance'). It's like an analogy our pastor used last weekend; Christians often view life like we're in a car, travelling the roads of life, and even though we are inexperienced, don't know the terrain or the destination, don't know all the mechanics of our vehicle, we insist on being the driver and God (you know, the creator of the car, and the road, and the destination, etc.) gets to be the passenger. We think being a good Christian is asking Him for the occasional direction, or even constantly asking for directions. Sometimes we don't even ask, and it's only once He's practically shouting that we get a clue, which is what I've been doing with my health. What I need to remember is that it is so much easier, and less trecherous, to just let Him drive. I don't know how many reminders I need before it finally sinks in, but I'm grateful He keeps trying to get through to me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Big oops!

I keep forgetting, not everyone is on facebook, so some of you have may have missed out on the news that I am an Aunty again as of July 24th. My sister Jodi and BIL John had an adorable little boy, Landon Kade, who was born just about 4 weeks early. At first he was in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) at St. Boniface hospital, and he was on oxygen, IV's and monitors. After one day he was off the oxygen and any breathing assistance. A few days later he was off the IV. A few days ago he was off the monitors and today he got to come home, much to the joy of his aunts and uncles, since only Jodi & John and the grandparents were able to hold him in the hospital. I think we all got our turn to hold him today. Here are some pictures of the first boy in our immediate Braun family!

This is Landon the day after he was born. Jodi had to take my camera in because I couldn't even see him through glass.

This is Jodi with Landon his third day in the world shortly after the IV was removed.

This is my first time holding Landon, 9 days after he was born, the day he got to go home! I also got to feed and burp him! The noise his sisters made didn't even phase him for the most part.

And Sean, getting in some practice : ) He wanted to find a lion for Landon, just like he had for the girls (lions are his favorite animal) and he eventually found one, that is just as big as Landon! (not pictured, unfortunately, my camera died after this)

We are very happy and thankful Landon is healthy and home! Jodi actually screamed in the nurses ear when she got the news : ) I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must be to give birth to your baby and then have to leave him at the hospital. We are just very grateful of how God has taken care of him though. We look forward to much debating over who gets to hold him every gathering now!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Great encouragement

One of my Starbucks buddies, who is also on this weight loss journey (she's lost 40lbs and she started about the same time as me!), had a great idea for getting encouraged by lost weight, especially when it doesn't feel like a lot. She suggested I go down to Starbucks and ask to see 4 - 5lb bags of coffee, and that's how much weight I am no longer carrying around. Sure seems like a lot when it's put that way! Yay me! Here are some images of what 20lbs looks like - very cool!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Live Well Wednesdays

So I've been mulling over the reason I get complacent and let myself slide, besides the fact I love food just a teensy bit too much. It used to be discouragement, because I wasn't seeing any results, but I have been doing much better this effort than I ever have, normally I get to 10-15lbs and then nothing. So, I'm pretty sure it's not that. I think a lot of it is wanting this to be about health and balance and not about sacrifice, so I tend to choose slack vs. sacrifice when my schedule isn't co-operating with a healthy lifestyle. I have to realize that I can sacrifice in a way that isn't so sacrificial, if that makes any sense. Like today, for my birthday, my co-workers were kind enough to avoid a cake (which is the tradition) and they brought me a tremendous fruit salad with some lower calorie icecream on the side. That tasted just as good as cake, was less filling, and much less calories (= guilt). I need to work a little harder at finding healthy foods that I can opt to have when I need that balance between slack and sacrifice. Fruit is a great place to start. I'd really love to start savoring more natural food (well food period, for someone who loves it so much I scarf it down way too fast). God gave us such good fruits and vegetables but because they don't keep very well I tend to avoid them. I love the fruit and nut picnic, and the spagetti squash mentioned, that is something I may just have to try. In my new house, where I will have room for a blender, I'm going to have to try the fake mashed potato recipe I love again.
I think the other thing I may be lacking from focusing on healthy vs. losing weight is my lack of motivators. I used to have an event I was losing weight for, or I'd start because otherwise I'd have to buy new, bigger, clothes, etc. It would push me to be disciplined, albeit for a short period of time. This time I want it to be about living healthy, taking care of my body, and the dropped weight will be an added bonus. Therefore, this time I haven't given myself any motivators. This week I'm back at having lost 19 lbs (after a 3 lb gain after my Saskatoon trip), so I'm happy, but to help along my new resolve (thanks to last week's posts) I'm trying to find new motivators and getting over that 20 lb hump is definitely one of them! I do also have a wedding in 2.5 weeks, and I'd love to once again fit into a dress I already have, or if heaven forbid that's too big, I'd have an excuse to buy something new : ) That's another one that can light a fire under my butt, for the time being. I know focusing on my health is the right way to go, but it doesn't hurt to have a few additional reasons why I want it! I'm thinking of making a list and posting it on the fridge, of all the health related reasons I want this, and then add sticky notes for the temporary motivators so I can change them as they revolve.

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I keep trying, and learning

I have mentioned briefly in this blog about the situation between myself and my ex, but just to summarize, last July I finally summoned the courage to confront him about the abuse he put me through, mostly when we dated and shortly after we broke up, but also the manipulation he continued to carry out even until then. 12 years of manipulation I was about to make him face. Since we were somewhat friends (not a true friendship, more of a close aquaintence type relationship) I actually gave him the choice to establish a real friendship by allowing us to air out our past, or he could move on and forget me and forget our past. He chose to not have a friendship. I had a little hope though that he may eventually have a change of heart, because even though he admitted he was too selfish to hear me out and go through the pain of being reminded of what he did, at least he said it pained him to know what he did to me. It wasn’t enough of an admission for me to base a friendship on but it gave me hope.

8 months later, to the day, he added me to Facebook, so I added him, expecting he had something to say, but he didn’t so I declined the ‘friend’ request and reminded him the only way I would consider us friends was if we had that talk. 2 months later he sent me a message that was essentially an attempt to guilt trip me, saying ‘I understand if you don’t want to talk to me’. That got me a little riled so I responded by saying he better not blame me for the end of our friendship, that I was more than willing to talk, he just didn’t want to hear what I had to say. 2 months later he finally responded with what sounded like a change of heart. He told me he had just about lost his mom and dad to different health issues, and that a health issue he himself had was getting worse, he had two more episodes and his lungs were now essentially a time bomb that no one can tell him when it may go off. (I know this to be true, and knew it wasn’t just an exaggerated statement to get me to change my mind). He said all this made him want to make peace and he knew he owed me an explanation.

Finally, I thought he was willing to own up to what he had done. A few people were leery, thinking I should just let him live with his original choice to stay out of my life, but I know God gives us chance after chance after chance to reconcile with Him, so as long as he was willing to do what it took to reconcile, I was willing to give him another chance. So I told him, if he was willing to hear what I had to say, and say what I needed to hear, in person and with Sean there, then he could call me to set something up. It took a few days to get a response but I was somewhat expecting that. I knew from his last response to me that he was still a little reluctant to go through with this, it seemed like a ‘if this is what I have to do to restore our friendship, I guess it’s what I have to do.’ What I didn’t, but should have, expected was the response I got. It was typical of every conversation I’ve ever had before where I have tried to make him face the hurt he’s caused me. He acted like such a martyr, ‘I’ll do this because I have nothing to lose...(unspoken ‘but’) I believe I’ve heard this before and already apologized for it.’ ‘I feel like you just want to break me further….you just want to tear a strip off me….but I just want to clear the air if this is bothering you that much.’

I don’t know why it surprised me, I guess I just have a little too much faith in his ability to redeem himself. I know it’s God who truly transforms us, that he wouldn’t be able to really change until he was right with God again, but I did have hope he could at least creep out a little from the garbage he filled his life with. But no, he could not even budge an inch, he still had to try and turn the tables on me and make me feel bad for putting him through this exercise of honesty and trust building. He is so wrapped up in his own version of what’s happened he doesn’t even know what the truth is anymore. That or he still thinks he can push my buttons and trigger the weak girl with low-self esteem who’s determination will just collapse and give in to him.

So, I finally responded without holding back anything! I poked a hole in every thing he said, proving he hasn’t done anything to earn back my trust, so how dare he act like a martyr. I reminded him that I have every right to ‘tear a strip off him’ even though that’s not what I intend to do, instead I have been nothing but loving and gracious with him, to a fault. I have done everything I can to restore a friendship, forgiveness has already been given, I am not out to make him pay, so how dare he try and make me look like the bad guy in this situation. I am making him earn a friendship. I have a right to expect trust from my friends, and since he’s the one pursuing a restored friendship at this point, then he has to agree to my terms or get lost. I told him that regardless of if he really believes his own lies, (which is that he’s done what can be reasonably expected of him and I’m just a out for vengeance), or if he’s trying to push my buttons again to get me to give in, I’m not going to stand for either of those. I am not going to apologize for what I've asked of him, I know I'm in the right. And I'm not going to let him push my buttons anymore either. Whether he admits it or not, sub-consciously or not, he manipulates people. He is always working to get the response he wants from people and I see through it now. That weak girl he used to be able to trigger, she doesn't exist anymore.I really thought he might have changed, so I put myself out there again, gave him another chance, and I feel like I just got a big slap in the face instead. I told him maybe this time he will let the truth of what I've said sink in instead of figuring out ways to use my words against me. Believe me, if he attempts to repair this friendship again, next time I'm going to need a lot more than empty words, just telling me what I want to hear. Yes I told him that, so yes I’ve implied I might be willing to give him a chance in the future. Just because he’s proved he currently hasn’t changed doesn’t mean God won’t work something in him eventually. I just hope for his sake it’s sooner rather than later at the rate his health is declining.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

30 day challenge update

Ok, I feel like I may have been a bit too ambitious with this challenge, trying to do something every day has been hard! I've resorted to things like letting him pick the new car airfreshner (he kept taking mine down when he drove because it was too girly), cutting up his dinner (because he always teases that I cut my own up but not his when it's served), and several failed favorite meal attempts (they all flopped, from being too dry to too greasy, ugh!). But I do think the important thing is that I've been conscious every day about my challenge, and trying to make him feel loved and appreciated.

However, the consciousness hasn't sunk deep enough because while packing I mentioned I wanted to replace our dishes (big no no, wasn't supposed to mention any purchases until after we moved), but he had kinda brought it up because I was packing things I wanted to get rid (I had mentioned a few months back I was considering changing dishes/kitchen decor). I mentioned that, because they were such a small item, I was considering getting rid of current dishes and buying new ones before we moved. All of a sudden he got really frustrated and exclaimed loudly, 'why do we need new dishes at all!!' Now I don't think getting new dishes is unreasonable, I've had these cheap old ones for almost 10 years, the dishes I want are less than $100 to replace what we have, and he's been talking about buying tools that aren't necessary but costly. I don't think what I want is unreasonable enough to warrant the reaction I got, but I'm pretty sure the reaction had everything to do with reminding me why this was on my list for the challenge in the first place.

On the plus side, I have been more complimentary, taking opportunities to tell him what I love about him, and 'brag' about those aspects to other people, when he's around so he knows I really appreciate him.

I have also been doing fairly well at speaking lovingly. I've been pausing before I say things that may not be recepted positively and then really think/pray about if it needs to be said and if so, how can I say it in a loving way.

I need to work on the anticipation of needs a little more, I was doing really well at first but then I went to Saskatoon and then had a difficult personal situation that we've been wrestling with, so my concentation on his needs hasn't been 100% like I wanted to be, but I'm getting back there.

One big thing I think I've done for Sean is start following God's purpose for me as his wife. The message at Church lately is the Abundant Life, which is only possible by allowing God to change us, surrendering to Him and letting Him do the work. It has changed how I view myself and how I view others, including my husband. It has allowed me to release negative feelings and hurts I have and realize those only exist because there are areas God still needs to work in, in me and in others. Not only have I stopped trying to change myself, I've stopped wishing others would change, and now I focus on allowing God to give me the abundant life, and I pray that others will receive it too.

This is a little bunny trail off topic, but I've had a little epiphany. All my life I've felt as a Christian I was called to bring God glory through my obedience, by being 'good'. In actuality, the best way I can bring God glory is by letting him live my life, and that's what people will notice. That's what people will respond to. And that's the best thing I can do for my husband, and for all my relationships.

So, yeah, that's my update. One week left, I hope to make the most of it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Live Well Wednesdays

So, my Facebook group "Biggest Loser - Winnipeg Edition" didn't quite take off like I wanted to, although it really kept me in line, so that's all I could have really asked for. But now it's fizzled out completely, after all I was the only real link between it's members, and my determination has been fizzling a little as well. But thanks to the six degrees of blogging I have come across a new blogging friend and therefore a great blog about healthy living (thanks to Tammi). It's a fairly big group of Christian women trying to balance life with health and I look forward to reading other people's struggles and successes. It's really great to feed off the observations, epiphanies, and resolutions of other people going through what I'm going through.

So today is my first "Living Well Wednesday". Part of living well to me is having an enjoyable life, enjoying the delicious food God has blessed us with, and not worrying about calories and weight all the time. I don't think fretting about each thing I put in my mouth, and how many minutes I spent exercising is how God wants me to live. BUT, on the flip side of that it is a struggle to not let myself go down the very slippery slope of treating myself just because I can. If it's still within my calorie 'allowance' I've given myself, I too often have that snack in the evening. Or if I had an exceptionally high amount of exercise one week I tend to slack a little more in the eating department.

Tammi's blog today, about not hiding from our failures but learning from them, made me realize I've been here before. Every time I lose weight I slowly let myself go down that slope and I never recover, instead I give up. So I needed that reminder, to renew my resolve, to try and restore the passion I had for my promise to myself, like when I first made it. I see now that it actually undermines my determination to lose more weight when I negotiate like that. Health is compromising between enjoyment and self-control, there needs to be balance, but as soon as I start negotiating with myself (to one extreme or the other) I know it is not what is best for my health.

That being said, how do I go about making sure I don't take unhealthy advantage of my healthy leeway? Well, the last few weeks at Church they have been speaking about how we can't do life the way it's supposed to be done without God. We can have all the good intentions we want but if we're trying on our own power it's not going to happen the way it's supposed to. It's not my responsibility to change who I am, it's my responsibility to allow God to change who I am. I'm trying to live well on my own power, it's about time I listen to the Spirit within me. You know, the one whispering "you don't need those cookies, even though you have 200 calories left in your 'allowance' ". I've been shushing that voice with self-righteousness, "I'm not breaking my rules!", instead of realizing I feel defensive because the Spirit is showing me the truth. And the truth is, my weight is the product of my attitude even more so than my eating/exercising habits.

See, I've already learned so much and it's only my first Wednesday!
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