Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday Musings (applying my. muzzle)


Sometimes I write a daily email on weekdays or my coworkers that contains a devotional and I share it on the blog as well.

But on Saturday there is no daily email and so I am in front of a blank blog screen with the freedom to blog about almost anything I want to.

Except that....

I have adult children who like their lives to remain fairly private who may read the blog. That means that I can't be as open about frustrations with them as I'd like to be.

I have a diverse set of Facebook friends (as I have mentioned in other posts) that I don't want to offend should they click on my blog.

I represent an organization that I care very much about and I don't want to damage any of those relationships.  

I am married to the pastor of a church whose members I would never want to offend.

and the last thing I want to do is start a comment war.

So often my thoughts get stifled on their way out.

I've thought of an anonymous blog, but nobody would read it ... in fact, hardly anyone reads this one.

All that being said, it's Saturday.   My routine is to write to my mother and to Bart's extended family and do the Powerpoint for church.  Then most of my Saturdays are dedicated to CarePortal needs.   Today I am going to take a new friend to look at some of the furniture we picked up from the hotel that was closing.   She aged out of foster care a year ago.  Her father has passed away -- her mom has a master's in counseling but started using and is now an addict.  She very much cares about younger siblings and as an adult is trying to take care of them and her grandma and her mom while living on her own, receiving some assistance from the "Fostering Futures" program for kids 18-21.   She's smart, stubborn and resilient, but the number of healthy stable people in her life is slim.

She was in a serious car accident right before Christmas, and is still recovering from that.  I haven't seen her since September or October, but she says today she'll go to lunch with me and check out the furniture.

If you haven't checked out CarePortal yet -- it is my number one passion right now.  Nothing I've seen over the years does a better job of introducing church members to families and children in crisis and allowing them to make a tangible difference.   

No matter where you live, you can partner with me to make a difference in people's lives.  You can check out our church page and join our response team (I think) or donate from afar to help....

I really had no plans to end with asking you something, but you know how I get.  My passion overtakes me. :-).  




Friday, January 15, 2021

What Goes Around Comes Around

Have you ever been treated unfairly or wronged and after thinking it through realized that you had done something similar in your history?

I wonder if that is what Jacob thought about when Laban tricked him.   For those of you who are already confused, let me share with you a bit of biblical history.

Jacob was known as the “Deceiver” because he stole his twin brother’s inheritance by pretending to be him and tricking his father into blessing him instead.

Fast forward a few years and he falls in love.   In Genesis 29 we read how he worked seven long years because he had been promised Rachel and when it is time for him to finally marry her, her father slips his his older daughter into the tent instead and Jacob has to work another seven years for Rachel.
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Do you think God brought the “stealing the birthright” situation to Jacob’s mind when he realized how he had been deceived so that he would remember and learn that “what goes around comes around” or that “you reap what you sow.”  

I have certainly had situations in my life where, while very frustrated at someone or at a situation, I realize and am humbled by the fact that I have done something similar in my past.  Each of those times it was a really good lesson for me and has kept me from repeating the same mistakes.  And it has caused me to be more gracious to the offender as I recognize how much I wanted to be extended grace from ones I had offended in the past. 

So don’t resist that whisper in your ear next time you feel wronged…. Take a look at yourself and realize that we all make mistakes.  Give grace to the person who has wronged you, learn, and move on.

One of the most frightening verses in Scripture comes from the beginning of Matthew 7:

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Ouch.   Extending humility, grace, forgiveness and mercy to others seems like a really good plan.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Angry?

 



OK, so I gotta tell you that I started my day a tad bit angry.

It’s a long story and I am tempted to tell you ALL  the details, but I won’t.  It involves an adult son needing a ride and then making we wait way too long because he overslept after he didn't do what he promised to yesterday.  

I have to confess that living with so many adult children has made me quick to anger at times.  I’m a bit embarrassed when I think about God and how he is so very gracious and merciful with me.  He is slow to anger with me….. I need to take a deep breath and remember that next time something happens and I am tempted to respond less than patiently.  

Ok, maybe this is all about me today and all about me needing to hear this.. and maybe you didn’t need to read it, but check out what Psalm 103 says:

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

God is slow to anger.  Since I have been a recipient of that mercy and grace, time for me to pass it on.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Change Your Conduct or Change Your Name

 Anyone remember PACE 86?  Hard to believe it was 35 years ago.   I am old.  But I digress.  

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, PACE was a national youth conference where thousands of teenagers from the Wesleyan Church gathered together.   The most memorable part of that whole week for me was a powerful sermon by a great orator named John Ott (who I met at his church last year — pretty cool).  But again I digress.

I can still hear his booming voice across the auditorium and the illustrations he told.  This was one of my favorites:

Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military generals who ever lived, conquered almost the entire known world with his vast army. One night during a campaign, he couldn't sleep and left his tent to walk around the campgrounds.


As he was walking he came across a soldier asleep on guard duty - a serious offense. The penalty for falling asleep on guard duty was, in some cases, instant death; the commanding officer sometimes poured kerosene on the sleeping soldier and lit it.


The soldier began to wake up as Alexander the Great approached him.


Recognizing who was standing in front of him, the young man feared for his life. "Do you know what the penalty is for falling asleep on guard duty?” Alexander the Great asked the soldier.


"Yes, sir," the soldier responded in a quivering voice.


"Soldier, what's your name?" demanded Alexander the Great.


"Alexander, sir.”


Alexander the Great repeated the question: "What is your name?”


"My name is Alexander, sir," the soldier repeated.


A third time and more loudly Alexander the Great asked, "What is your name?”


A third time the soldier meekly said, "My name is Alexander, sir.”


Alexander the Great then looked the young soldier straight in the eye. "Soldier," he said with intensity, "either change your conduct or change your name”


While scholars question whether this really happened, it is a powerful illustration.  Why, you may ask?
Because the word Christ is in the name “Christian” and we have a serious obligation in taking on that new name.   Ou conduct should match that of Christ’s.


I have had many occasions over my lifetime to want to scream these words to people who I see doing and saying things under the name “Christian.”   

“Change your conduct, or change your name.”


Because their conduct is nothing like the way Jesus lived his life.


Sure, you can go back and find a couple examples of where Jesus was angry (but he was usually angry at religious people, not at others).   But his overall approach to life was very different than a lot of people who carry his name today.


He loved people. 
He hung out with folks that were rejected by society.
He forgave.
He did everything to include as oppose to exclude.
He was all about extending compassion to everyone no matter what.


The sad thing is that there are people who want to debate this or to say, “yes, but….”  And that breaks my heart.


We carry a precious name with us when refer to ourselves as Christians and we need to live up to that …. 

We need to change our conduct, or change our name.


“Lay down, lay down your old chains, come now and take up your new name.”




Tuesday, January 12, 2021

What are you going to do about it?

It's a mess.  Have you noticed?  Everything seems like chaos.  It feels out of control.  Externally it seems as though the world has gone mad.

So my question for you -- and my question for myself is -- "What are you going to do about it?"

Right now I'm not sure exactly what the answer is on a large scale.  There are so many opinions out there about our current state of affairs as a country that I'm not sure I'm going to bother the universe by writing more.  Still thinking about that.

I'm going to love people.  One person at a time, one day at a time, no matter who they are or what they believe or what they think, all the time.

I'm going to speak truth as I see it when appropriate and as kindly as I can.

And I'm going to do everything that is "required of me" according to Micah 6:8.

Do justly
Love mercy
Walk humbly.

What are you going to do?



Monday, January 11, 2021

Nothing is Impossible

 Do you have a situation that you think I absolutely impossible?  


A friend and mentor of mine always says “If God wants to do something great, he starts with a problem.  If he wants to do something spectacular, he starts with an impossibility.”

In Genesis 18 we read about Sarah’s response to the news that at the age of ninety plus she was going to have a baby.  She laughed.  Of course she did!  But the Lord said, 

“Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

So next time you hear something absolutely crazy that may be coming from God, remember… nothing is too hard for Him — even if it seems absolutely impossible.

One of my mom's favorite songs...



Sunday, January 10, 2021

For the First Time in My Life I Don't Feel I Can Speak My Mind

I have always been a very open person.  I share my opinions whenever I'm asked -- and often when I'm not.

So it's been a really weird world for me the last few years.   Our country is getting increasingly more dichotomized and it is making it more difficult for me to express my opinions about things that matter a lot to me.

Why?  Because for the first time ever I cannot see both sides and because I love you.

I love you whether or not you agree with me, but I am afraid that if you know how much I disagree with you, you might not want to love me back.

How did we get here?

I have an amazingly diverse group of people who are my Facebook friends.  I have friends who are drag queens, atheists, agnostics, people of other world religions, transgendered, and friends of all races.  I have friends who are the most conservative and the most liberal on the spectrum between the two.  And I love them all.

The ironic thing is that if I post all over my Facebook about the things that are very much "Christian" my atheist, agnostic, and other-world religion proponents are ok with that.  They accept me for who I am and don't want to end their relationship with me because I disagree with them.

But I am very cautious to put anything out there that might offend my Christian friends.  I am afraid that I might lose their respect or their friendship if even hint at not agreeing with them 100%.

How did we get here?

When I look at what happened this past week at the Capitol, I ask myself how in the world we are going to be able to convince the world that Christianity stands for mercy, forgiveness, peace, and most of all, love.  Somehow Christian has begun to equal a particular political party and the ideals of the most extreme members of that party.   We are losing ground as a church.

How did we get here?

I don't know how it happened, but suddenly I am occasionally ashamed to be a "Christian."  This doesn't mean that I am ashamed of the gospel -- because the gospel and the way that Christianity is being proclaimed right now don't even match up.

I feel compelled to write stuff, but I guess I don't trust the people I love so much to respond in a way that would be affirming or helpful based on what I have seen them post on Facebook, and so I feel like I shouldn't say anything.

I'm actually hoping nobody reads this.

But I think it is time that we who are able to be Christians without tying it to politics need to stand up and say "this is not OK" without fearing that there will be repercussions from people that we love.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

My Favorite Kind of Days


Yesterday was my favorite kind of day.  I have to admit, I was exhausted when it was over -- I'm old, you know, but it was awesome.    Why?  Because I got to talk about what I'm passionate about FOUR times.

I drove an hour and then trained a new county in CarePortal.  I love meeting and talking with DSS workers sharing with them that there is help coming. 

Then I got to have lunch with an amazing person who is living the life I was living 20 years go.  She has adopted some pretty tough kids (ok, understatement) and yet she is resilient, convinced God has this plan for her, and in awe of how much she has learned about Him during this journey.  She also is part of one of the best CarePortal teams we have in her area.   SO FUN!

Then I had coffee (ok, water) with another CarePortal point person and got to know her as well.  That was a great conversation too.

I ended my day with another cup of water with a person I found on LinkedIn who I had reached out to to get to know her.  You know I managed to fit in some conversation about Vision 30 and CarePortal as well.

I returned home to find out that Jimmy and John had made a wonderful chicken enchilada dinner, complete with one pan made with one carb tortillas.   And after dinner Camilla spent some time on Grandpa's lap and I snapped some really great pictures, including the one above.

If you are having trouble finding energy -- find some people to talk to about what you're passionate, and the energy will return.  That formula has never failed me!



Friday, January 08, 2021

Are you Noble?

What do you think of when you hear the word “Noble”?

Your mind might head to the first definition:

Belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status; aristocratic.

But I don’t think that is what Paul was talking about in Philippians when he encouraged us think about things that are noble: — I mean he’s not saying “spend your time thinking about aristocrats of our society.  He’s actually wanting us to focus on this definition

Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.

Do you know someone who is noble?  Someone who not only has great qualities that you admire but who lives by high moral principles?  We are privileged to work with many people who are noble.  I also have many friends in that category.  

Ever wonder why Paul included that in his list of things to think about when we are anxious?  Here’s my theory.

When we think of things, or people, that are noble it makes us want to be noble as well doesn’t it?  Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “I wish I could be more like _____”?

There’s no real test for nobility — but you know what that looks like for you.   It seems as though Paul is saying that if we shift our anxiety and worry into thoughts about the nobility of others and how we can become more like them it shifts our focus from what is happening to us to what we can make happen to become more of who he wants me to be.

This may not be making sense to you, but it is making sense to me, which you might conclude makes me weird, but there you have it. :-)

And now, for a real twist, how about turning to Micheal Jackson for some spiritual wisdom.  The lyrics to this song are amazing.  I had heard it before but never read the lyrics or seen the video.   Check it out.  (and I have no idea why blogger isn't recognizing this as a link so sorry you have to cut and paste.  It will be worth it, I promise.

https://youtu.be/PivWY9wn5ps

Thursday, January 07, 2021

I Tell You The Truth


Never before in our nation have we had more disagreements about what the truth is.   It used to be that division was between different world religions and their versions of the truth, but now Christians can't even agree on truth.


I refuse to post political opinions online simply because I love you -- even if you don't agree with me.  But the very foundations of Christian faith are now being debated among us and its troubling.


So as we look at Philippians 4:8 trying to figure out what we should think about in order to curb anxiety, it's easy to get stuck on the statement, "Whatever is true."   Right there we start asking what is true?  Can we trust anyone to tell us the truth?  And how can people experience the same thing and arrive at separate truths?


It's time to go back to what we know is true.   There were 78 times where Jesus said, "I tell you the truth" or in the King James Version, "Verily I say unto thee."  Maybe it's time for us to go back and search Scripture for those words.


Grant it, we may interpret them differently based on our doctrinal views, but hopefully we will find some examples of things we can all agree on.


Verses like this:  And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.”


Or "He told them, "It was because of your little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.”


And "Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.”

When Jesus talked about truth he did not talk about doctrine.  He did not talk about politics.  He talked about things like the rewards of faith and doing things for others.


Let's focus on these kinds of truths.  For after all, when Pilate was questioning Jesus, Jesus responded, “ You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 


Obviously this blog entry is written to people who share my faith… and we need to listen to Jesus if truth is what we are after -- and then think about  those things we know are true.  

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Got Anxiety?


We are bombarded on every side with things that are vying for our thought space.  Whether it be the media, politics, science and the virus, or people with agenda’s of their own, everyone wants our thought time.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the more I think about this stuff the more anxious I become.   I feel like I have a train on a track in my head that keeps going around in circles and never stops.

For the first time in reading some of my favorite verses from Philippians  4, I discovered something pretty cool today.  I’m sure I’m not the first to see it or even to talk about it, but check this out:

It’s a formula for what to do with anxious thoughts.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  

So, first you stop the anxiety through prayer and presenting requests to God — that brings about peace that guards our hearts and minds.  But there is a next step that stops the anxiety from returning — and that is what we focus on.    For the next several days, we will be looking at the final verse above and focusing on each of the things we are supposed to be thinking about.

So there’s the formula.   Anxious?  Pray.   Accept and receive God’s gift of peace.  Allow God to guard your heart and mind.  And then discipline yourself to think only on the things in the verse above.   That’s my plan next time I’m awake at 3:30 with those thoughts running around in my head!

This is one of my mom’s favorite songs.  She is turning 92 this year — survived COVID last year  and lives at a facility that has lost over 150 of their 267 residents to COVID.  I still get emails every few days stating the number of new cases for residents and staff (a mandate in Minnesota).  But my mom is definitely the strongest person I know.  But like me, she awakens in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts.   Often when this happens she will start to sing and this is one of the songs she sings.

When they rearranged nursing home bedrooms after the many deaths, they moved my mom as close to the nurses station as possible… not because she needed them but they needed her positivity and strength.  

It brings tears to my eyes when I imagine those nurses in the middle of the night, exhausted, short staffed, and stressed, walking by my mom’s room and hearing these words in my mom’s strong voice:

I will cast all my cares upon you…. Will lay all of my burdens down at your feet, and any time I don’t know, what to do, I will cast all my cares upon you.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

One Thing You Have to Do if You Want Things to Change


You may remember the days when I travelled around the country and spoke at conferences.  I presented a session about 12 Survival Tips for Parents ... and it always ended the same way:  With the revised serenity prayer:

God grant me the courage to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the person I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.

Apparently that wasn't a life-changing concept (or at least one that people wanted to hear).  When people at their wits end paid to go to a conference they wanted the secret to changing everyone else.   

But the one thing you have to do if you want to change things -- is to change yourself.   If I've learned anything over the arduous, blessed, hard, wonderful, awful, crazy, amazing,  journey of adopting twelve kids from hard places, it's that I can't control a dang thing.  Not a thing.  What I can control is how I respond to what happens around me.

So, how do I change  myself, you ask?

And the answer is forming habits, over time, that have an impact.   So I'm in the middle of leading a Facebook Challenge based on this idea.

The principles are this:  You determine a goal and then think about what it will take on a daily basis to achieve the goal.   Then you do that daily thing every day until it becomes a habit.   I listened to this podcast which I found incredibly helpful (in fact, I came up with my plan before listening to it and it was as though he had been talking to me and stole some of my ideas) :-)    It's based on principles from the book "The One Thing" which I also recommend.  The podcast says it takes 66 days to form a habit (this is based on research and is an average)  My mom used to tell me it takes 21 days to do it.   So I'm giving myself a month to form a habit.

Let me break it down for you using something simple.   Let's say that the show "Hoarders" is starting to convict you a bit and you want to get rid of stuff to have a less cluttered home.   If you want that to happen you just have to set up a daily habit -- give or throw away 5 things that don't give you joy (thank you Marie Como).  If 5 is too many, make it 2.   It may not seem as though you are doing much but think about it.   In 30 days 150 things could be out of the door and if it is a habit -- that's a lot of stuff gone in a year.

I decided to develop 8 habits over the next 4 months.  I'm trying to do all of them as much as I can, but each month two are my focus.  I'm sharing these to give you ideas more than to make you think I'm cool.  But you can think I'm cool if you want. 

1.  Exercise daily.  (It's my intention to increase what I do each month).

2.  Read the Bible through in a year (actually listen to it) for the 4th year in a row.  YouVersion makes that quite easy to do as it breaks it down for you.  I typically can listen to it during my commute.

3.  Read 20 minutes a day -- either self improvement stuff or fiction.

4.  Declutter or do housework 10 minutes a day (Ok, don't laugh, but this is not my role in the family so typically I don't do anything.  There's a lot of reasons for this, but 10 minutes will be more than I've been doing so don't judge)  :-)

5.  No cheats on my Keto food plan.   

6.  Reach out to someone with an encouraging text, note, email, or phone call.

7.  Blog something.

8.  Listen to a podcast.  (I've been spending way too much time watching Netflix and want to broaden my mind).

So you get the idea.  This month's foci are listening to the Bible and reading.  Next month I will focus on a couple more while maintaining the first two.

I'm using the Phone App called Done.... and it's pretty empowering.  See?  This was from yesterday.

So, you want things to change?  Then change you.   Sorry I don't have anything to offer that guarantees to change everyone else -- this is all I've got :-)




Monday, January 04, 2021

This is a Day of New Beginnings


Before becoming a United Methodist I never had heard this song, and now it is one of my favorites.  We always sing it our first Sunday in a new church and today, at my work, we have a new beginning.   For several reasons we have had to slightly change the name of our organization and so we were all technically fired on December 31st and rehired under the new organization.   And thus today, our first day back to work, is work day one of the new organization.  I also just completed my fifth year here, which is hard to believe.   

Here are the lyrics to the song if you were wondering how they went.

This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember, and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that's gone.


For by the life and death of Jesus,
love's mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference
as faith and hope are born again.


Then let us, with the Spirit's daring,
step from the past, and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.


Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.

The truth is that God is always making things new.  One of my favorite verses of Scripture is in Isaiah 43:19 and it says:

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

As you ponder your year, what is the new thing you are hoping God will do?


Sunday, January 03, 2021

There are Some People It's Hard to Say No To

Yesterday my son John and I joined a mission for CarePortal.   There was a hotel up in Charlottesville that was closing and everything in it would be demolished so they had been offering non-profit organizations the opportunity to come and get the stuff.  Our CarePortal Community Coordinator in Roanoke had organized 6 trips to get stuff -- and this was the final trip.

I'm talking a LOT of stuff.  I think there were 183 rooms full of everything you would find in a hotel. Bed frames, mattresses, bedding, towels, dressers, end tables, desks, desk chairs, mirrors, vacuums, fridges, microwaves, rollaway beds, lamps, and assorted pictures and other things.   Most of the beds had already been brought down and stored at some of our churches, but it was really hard to say no to all that stuff that would be destroyed if we didn't get it.   So I took John up with plans to do nothing but transport him.  My back issues are still there and I'm old and tired.   At least that was my excuse for not helping much.

When Ray arrived (he is the community coordinator in Roanoke) he asked me if I'd like to take pictures.  He asked me if I would like to interview people.  I didn't want to and I wouldn't like to.  I wanted to just sit there.   I have lots of reasons why I didn't feel like it.

But it felt awfully wrong to say no to Ray.   Let me tell you a little about he and his wife.  Fortunately this blog doesn't have much traffic cuz the don't want to recognition, but this all has a point (as does everything I write even though it often takes way too long to get to the point).

Ray is older than me.   Probably by at least 5-10 years though I don't know for sure.  There are rumors, but he acts younger than me.   His children range in age from 6-40 something.  He has adopted from Guatemala and hosts missions trips to visit an orphanage there.   He and his wife are some of the most passionate orphan advocates I know of.  They started a ministry in their church that became a regional ministry.   They have spearheaded Safe Families and CarePortal in their region.  Ray taught high school for years so he knows a ton of people ... and they all know him.

He is also a cancer survivor so the fact that he is way more physically active than I am with some body parts probably missing is a bit convicting.

And then there's this year.   For four and a half years Ray and Kelli have been working on adopting a girl from Krygyzstan with Cerebral Palsy.  She was 12 when they started the journey and now she is 16 and finally came home on Christmas Eve.  The article is here if you want to read it.

From October until Christmas Eve Ray was a single dad -- while championing CarePortal, making 4 trips to the hotel to pack furniture -- and handling the day to day stuff in the region.  

So guess what?  I took a few pictures.   I couldn't sit there knowing that he was going to load, drive, unload for the 6th time and I couldn't get off my butt to walk around and snap pictures.    Then things got messy and my car wouldn't start and I had to have it jumped and then sit in it and keep it running so I didn't do interviews (I'm sure that really isn't a great excuse, it it is one).

I finally felt like others have felt in the past when I have tried to convince them to adopt a child.  I had adopted 12?  How could they say no to me?

And yet I had a reason, I had an excuse.   We all do.  It's just harder to say no to some people than others.

I want to continue to live a life that makes it hard for others to say no even when I don't always say yes.  Not because I want the glory (I know that Ray an Kelli certainly don't want any) -- but because I want others to experience the amazingly cool things God does when we walk out into the deep water.

Not many people go above and beyond the way Ray and Kelli do.  So this is the shout out.  And proof that I didn't say a complete no, because there are pictures.... even though the ones Ray took, while loading furniture, are better than mine.  :-). 










Friday, January 01, 2021

I Lost 50 pounds during a pandemic in 2020 and here's how...

 (I'm not selling anything and I didn't buy anything to do it. No MLMs, no powders, shakes or paying for apps)





And also... this obviously isn't a picture of me. I didn't start that skinny and I certainly will NEVER end up looking like that. Good grief, I'm 57. You don't want to see pictures. 


So, how did I make it happen? Here's the formula that worked for me.


Motivation


#Motivation. I started the year knowing that I had a wedding to attend in June. I wanted to weigh less at the wedding of my 2nd oldest son, Rand, than I did at my own. That meant I needed to lose about 40 pounds to make it happen. 


I also had the motivation of a fund raiser for work. I am very passionate about what I do, as you probably already know, and I needed to raise $5000. I had raised more in the past, and it was always tied to me doing something with diet and exercise, so I did the same thing. '


I also created and joined several challenges online. The most effective was a 75 day Mental Toughness Challenge which involved only drinking water, two workouts a day, no cheating, and devotions. This really kicked my weight loss in gear.


I also had #motivators as part of my weight loss journey. My husband walked with me daily for months. A neighbor who spent most of her life traveling around the world and when the virus hit, she was at home. She walked with me many times. A young friend walked with me sometimes -- and she quickly learned she could shower and put on make up before walking with me because she never broke a sweat, but she still joined me for walks and conversation. Even our dog was a motivator because he loves to go on walks. He lost weight too! And a coworker is quite a competitor and we had a no-cheat challenge that was very effective for me.


My diabetes had gotten so bad that I was on 5 different meds -- two oral and 3 injectables. Their side effects made me feel like crap. I finally decided that I was paying a lot of money and feeling awful just for the privilege of eating carbs, so I decided not to eat them.


I also have a really weird personality so once the pandemic started I told myself, "I want to lose while everyone else is gaining." This was super motivating to me.


Measuring


I like to track things.  #Measuring stuff keeps me going. My Fitbit and its step counts was a great motivator. I also participated in the challenges mentioned above which required me to track and report stuff. The diet plan I chose was Keto which works for me. It took me from 5 meds to half a dose of one med for my diabetes. Counting those carbs made a huge difference.


Momentum


Since I was reporting stuff, I could see a #streak. Nothing provides #Momentum like a streak that you don't want to break. I had historically not been able to walk at all without back pain so I started the year with seated exercise videos and lifting weights. By March I was able to walk and I increased how far I walked until I was at a mile a day. Then I started having record breaking Sunday mornings -- I got to 2.2 miles (sitting only 3 times) by August when I got a stress fracture in my foot. By this point I was ready to hit a week where I was getting 10,000 steps a day which I thought would never happen. Of course, this killed my momentum as I had to be off the foot and in a boot for over 8 weeks. I'm counting on the new year to get back in gear and build momentum again. It was really hard losing it.


Mentoring


I always do better when I can #mentor others. The challenges I set up and the people that I coached -- all for free -- were so helpful to me. I am starting another one today -- so hopefully this will carry me through.


I would love to help you in whatever way I can to a healthier you in 2021 so feel free to reach out! It's part of my success and I can guarantee that you'll have success


Massive Commitment


There's one more key thing that happened this year that has been missing in the past. It was a massive commitment (OK, OK, so I cheated cuz I wanted to be like a good Baptist preacher and alliterate my mail points) to not go back to where I was. I watched My 600 pound life and noticed a pattern. I had gotten to a weight that was usually where these folks gave up and decided not to try. Once I took off fifty I was determined not to get back to where I was. Historically I would do real well, lose 20-30, and then something would derail me and I would go back to where I was before rapidly. This time I made sure that didn't happen. I took off weight, knowing I might put it back on, but I was determined to always get back to fifty below where I was.


You can see how this worked by looking at this chart. I am still down 50 pounds, but it wasn't exactly how it was supposed to work. And in case you were wondering -- the ups and downs started after I hurt my foot. :-). 


I'm ready to do it again in 2021. Another 50 down. You In?