Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Losing and Gaining

(Here's a new picture of Cameron and Kayla.)

After turning fifty, going on a cruise and eating my way through the Christmas season, I noticed that I'd outgrown my clothes. I love buying new outfits but not if they are a bigger size. Going to the gym wasn't helping (yes, I actually worked out--some).
So I decided to join Weight Watchers on-line.
I felt real hunger pains and pity pains for the first five days. Then I weighed myself (two days early) and realized all my suffering and self-denial hadn’t resulted in any weight loss, not even half a pound!

I felt indignant; cheated! I expected my good deeds and self-sacrifice to pay off, quickly. I hadn’t eaten my chocolate cookies or snacked on the Mint Crispies Craig had given me for Valentine’s Day. I felt entitled to some results and encouragement in the form of losing some weight. When I didn’t get what I was expecting I just about gave up, more out of indignation than anything else. I’m used to congratulating myself on effort, even a little bit of effort. When I exercise, I don’t push myself, I rationalize, “At least I’m not sitting at home.” And with this diet I figured, “I’ve gone without chocolate for five days, some one ought to notice (someone besides me)!

My reaction was quite severe and I whined to several people about my lack of progress. I got very little pity, but I did get a lot of advice. Basically others told me, “Stick with it. It’s too early to expect results!” I felt like shouting, Too early? I don’t ever deny myself and it’s been five whole days. But I didn’t yell, instead I thought about their suggestions and realized I am a wimp. Really. Now you may have already reached this conclusion, but to me it was a revelation of sorts. I don’t know how to persevere, to work hard for a long time, to be patient and faithful and steady in the process of moving toward a goal. I think it’s time to grow up in this area.

We watched the movie Amazing Grace, this weekend. William Wilburforce is a great example of a person who did not give up and in the end his perseverance paid off for millions. But he was tempted to quit. God gave him strength to keep struggling in the battle to end slavery.

So, I didn’t stop limiting my caloric intake and I’m pleased to say that by day 7 I had actually seen the number on my scale drop. I intend to stay faithful at least until the wedding in an attempt to reach my goal.

I’m starting to think that this process really isn’t about losing weight but about gaining maturity.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Feeling Special

Ethne turned two. It is her last birthday as an only child. The last one as the only grandchild in town. We gave her a pair of magnetic earrings and a music box princess doll that plays ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Her other grandparents gave her purple butterfly wings with a matching skirt and hair ribbing. Ethne felt pretty, she felt special, she felt pretty special!

Having a sibling will be quite an adjustment. There were eleven adults present for her pancake dinner. Each one totally focused on her, singing to her, celebrating her. In one sense this is how the Lord loves us, totally, individually, with undivided attention. He is my Father--but He is also yours. His love is not diminished in the giving and I don’t think a parent’s love lessens as more babies come. I think love grows when we give it. Each time we reach out to express love more springs up in our hearts. Maybe that’s why it’s more blessed to give than to receive because when we give, God’s is shoveling twice as much into our storehouse.

Ethne understands many things, some she can’t express verbally. She’s been whacking her baby doll lately. Hits, kicks, punches, that dolls has even been thrown through the air. Each time she picks her up hugs and pats her saying, “Poor baby, poor baby.” I’m glad she’s getting these uneasy feelings about the upcoming intrusion out of her system and pretty soon here we’ll start the training. “It’s okay to hit you doll, but we never kick or hurt the new baby.” “You’re the big sister and it’s your job to help mommy and daddy take good care of the new baby.”

I hope you enjoy these pictures of our pretty special granddaughter. She’s not our only grandchild, but she is the topic of the most blogs since she right here, involved in our lives. Another, “that’s like Jesus” thought—the closer we are to Jesus, the more time we spend enjoying Him and being with Him the more often He comes up in our thoughts, in our speech and in our blogs! Love and blessings, GrammySue

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reflections on returning HOME


Of all the memories, I think that taste is perhaps one of the strongest. When I think of San Diego my mouth waters for the Coconut Cream pie from the College Restaurant, but it’s no longer in business. Also, when the kids were little and Craig and I managed a date night we’d pick up burritos at El Indio’s and go up to Mission Park to eat them. The view from there is fabulous and I remember exactly the wonderful taste of those yummy burritos. Recently, on a trip to San Diego, we stopped by El Indio’s, which instead of going out of business has expanded and even added a parking lot across the street. When we went inside, the smells seemed familiar, but still I had my doubts, after all it’s been nearly 30 years. But all doubts vanished when I took that first bite. It tasted exactly as I remembered. With each bite I remarked about this fact, because although I had hoped and longed and wished, I wasn’t sure it could ever be as good as I remembered it to be.

Will the smell of heaven be familiar? When we see the light and hear God’s voice will we suddenly remember what is was like before time began or do our memories only start at our birth in this world? Somehow I think we have a slight knowing of something before and beyond—it’s like a whisper in our soul. When I ‘came to Jesus,’ it was like turning around and understanding that He’d always been there right behind me with His arms wrapped around me, just waiting for the moment when I’d turn and return His embrace. He’s never let me go. It is a safe place. It is home. It is where I belong. And when I leave this temporary world I will be returning to a place I know, where my Father lives. So, I think that maybe the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feelings will not seem strange or even surprising, but cozy and welcoming and just like returning home again.

Friday, February 02, 2007

( Today I watched Ethne. She loves Edamame (frozen soybeans you cook and then pop out of the pod). She spread a tablecloth out on the carpet so she could eat her beans in the same room where I was working on the computer.

Today I went to the gym early, so early that I didn’t really wake up until half way through my workout. I’m very laid back and don’t see much need to push myself, so on the elliptical trainer I usually set the resistance level at 2 or 3. Today I choose a pre-set cross-country program and quickly realized it was not my normal routine. The resistance level varied from a low of about 6 to a high of 16. I did the same distance as usual but I worked a lot harder.

I thought about how faith is like that, at times walking by faith doesn’t seem to take much effort. But life isn’t constant, it changes and each new challenge requires us to exercise our faith a bit more. Climbing those hills seems impossible but somehow we manage it even if we go slow and sweat a lot in the process. Faith is actually strengthen when times demand a lot of us, and we often learn we are stronger than we realized, or at least, able to endure more. By the end of my workout the resistance level of 6 seemed easy to me. Funny I had never even tried to go past 3 before, never even been tempted, but now I know that 3 is really too easy for me and 6 has got to be my new easy level.

I really do want to grow in faith and mature as a Christian, but I don’t often plan a course of action that will force me to gain strength, don’t often put myself into demanding situations. I’m at the point of considering one now. Tomorrow I am going to training to be a ‘Marriage Educator’ a person trained to teach The Six Building Blocks of A Healthy Marriage to couples in our community. It’s a big stretch for me, a harder climb. It’s reaching beyond my comfort zone. I’m just praying that the Lord will enable me to be stronger than I think I am and that marriages will be enriched through this program.