Thursday, March 26, 2015

The 21 Day Challenge

I have decided to try the 21 Day Challenge effective today.  Like, this morning.  No chocolate in my coffee for starters.

When I started on my weight loss journey, I did something very similar to this.  It's time for a reboot!

You all are welcome to join me.  If you want to modify it, by all means go for it.

Please pray my family survives!! :)

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Do We Really Need To Be Rich To Be Happy?

Tonight I was looking at our local news station's website, and saw an article about SEK (Southeast Kansas) women and poverty.  This is part of an ongoing series about poverty in the SEK area that has been coordinated, it seems anyway, between the news station and our local newspaper.

Maybe I'm not seeing things through the same lens as the news teams.  I don't care much if I have a lot of money or barely enough to cover necessities.  

Our area has a university, which attracts money, and then the outlaying population that is low income.  It's a stark contrast between the two.  Unfortunately more than money seems to separate the two worlds that exist here.

I've had opportunity through various events to meet some people who work in the university setting.  While most are nice, there are a few who are a little farther up the chain and put on an air of high society, and then the hangers on who follow the high society crowd.  I've not been too impressed.  

I've also had opportunity to meet folks in the opposite end of the spectrum, who have been homeless, or had to rely on food banks and meager Social Security payments to support themselves (retired), or who work long hours at low wage jobs and just can't make the bills after paying over half of the paycheck to rent and another quarter to daycare.  

Throughout my life, I've been closer to the lower end of the spectrum.  Despite the sad outlook the news here puts on not having money flowing out the ears and a purse overstuffed in cash, I am fine with not having much in the bank.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to shop for whatever we wanted, not have to worry about the cost, plunk down a few hundred dollars on a new dress or a suit or furniture, but in reality, those aren't necessities.  Those don't bring joy.  Those don't matter on the other side of heaven.  Sure, new things would bring a little happiness for a short time, but eventually the newness wears off.  I'd be fine with being able to go to the grocery store and buying beef without having to go to the cheapest cut and making it stretch a long long way.  I'd love to buy a $10 a pound steak and make my husband a special meal with as much as he could eat and be satisfied.  Once in a great while I kinda look longingly at the smart phones and start dreaming.  

But those aren't what God put here for me or my family.  

The news here pushes poverty and discontentment.  I wouldn't even think much on it if it didn't hit the headlines.  In our little world, we don't feel like we fit into the government's little box of who is under the poverty line.  In our little world, we are fed, clothed, we have a roof over our heads, we toil with our hands either at home, a job, or serving others voluntarily.  Our children are fed and safe, they do not know what it's like to go without necessities in life.  God has taken care of our needs, from the clothing on our backs to the food in our bellies and roof above our heads.  He uses what means He deems necessary to meet our needs.  He even provides extra surprises as He sees fit, and gives us chances to pass along what we are given as well to be a blessing to others.  

Proverbs 30:8-9 says:  8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

 I've learned to trust the Lord for everything, and He takes care of all of our needs.  What HE thinks are needs and what WE think are needs may be different, but HIS view of our needs far outweighs OUR thoughts of what needs are.  I don't NEED a fancy expensive outfit.  I don't NEED a new car or smart phone or new kitchen gadget or whatever.  We don't NEED a lot of things.  What we NEED is the Lord, first and foremost.  We need His guidance, His peace, His calming hand.  We need Him.  He takes care of the rest.  

Of course, that's not what the news articles will say is needed.  No, they site more government programs, more liberal church programs, and so on.  What our area needs more than those things is the Lord in hearts.  Without Him, no program, no plan will come to fruit and flourish to bring peace and prosperity to anyone.  

The hymn is true--"Little is much when God is in it, Labor not for wealth or fame."  With the Lord, all I have is all and more than I can ever need.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Invisible Woman

Have you ever had people look at you but not "see" you?  Have you ever had people talk around you or about you, but not "to" you?

Holly at 300 Pounds Down reminded me in her writing about those feelings of having to be happy for others to like me, or having people completely ignore you despite you standing right there.

I've been heavy most of my life.  Not just a little overweight, but morbidly obese.  There was the short while when I worked as a correctional officer when I got in shape and worked hard at it, but that was short lived, and it all came back and then some.  During most of my life, I'd gotten used to being treated a certain way.  Holly reminded me of this, that it is more common than most think.

As early as school years, people overlooked me, looked past me, or simply ignored my presence.  The group I kinda hung on the outter fringes of at school was kind of like that too--most of the time it was if I wasn't there, despite being right there.  Never never never was I actually a part of anything, I wasn't an acceptable size, so it was ok to forget I existed when it came to activities, conversations, and so on.  In a class of 18 people I somehow became invisible.

Only in the past few months have I started noticing a difference in how people treat me.  My body size has nearly gotten totally into the "normal" range for clothing, and it seems to have made a huge difference in social settings.  For what it's worth, I do not go out seeking attention.  Quite the opposite--I am a wall flower, and I tend to stay to myself in public, even in church where I know everyone and am comfortable.  Social situations are not easy to me, and never have been.  In the past couple of months, I've found that people speak to me in public, striking up conversations and rather surprising me.  Rather than ignoring my presence or diverting eyes, I've had total strangers talk and talk and talk, where this very seldom happened before.  Old men talk to me about the weather, whatever it is outside at the time.  When did I become approachable?  Was there a sign that popped up saying "safe to talk to"?

It can't be the clothes.  I wear mostly dresses, skirts and tops, but in the winter it has been sweats and yoga pants and layer--lots of layers.  I don't dress to impress.  Comfort is my number one goal in choosing clothes, if it shows too much or feels funny it doesn't come home let alone go out in public.  I don't try to stand out or call attention to myself, more the opposite.

Eye contact has greatly increased as well.  Instead of shying away, I look people in the eye.  I also notice a lot more eye contact and people not looking away.  I'd grown so used to having this happen, people shying away from looking at me, that it to me seems odd that people would look me in the face, in the eyes, instead of off to the side.

Is there an acceptable size that is ok to talk to, to look at, to associate with, and a size that isn't?

Being the invisible woman for many years has been lonely.  When no one sees you, no one acknowledges your presence, what do you do?

I buried myself in books, writing little stories, and learned crafty things to do with my hands.

Holly mentioned in her post about always having to be the happy one.  This must be a universal fat lady thing.  It seems that since we weigh more, that we must be cheerful and happy, that we must be the joyful joker and so on.  How can you be happy when your body aches under the stress of its own weight?  How can you feel happy when your body is sick, feeling run down, in pain from arthritic joints and hardly able to breathe under the crushing fat around your lungs?  How is fat equated with a happy person?  It's not true--fat does not equal happy!  I have done the same, I've played the happy role to make others feel comfortable, I've made fun of myself to make others laugh and be at ease.  In the end, I wasn't happy, I was embarrassed and hurting.  That's not the face that people want to see in a fat person.  It's like the world expects joking around and light conversation and such, like the characters in a tv show with no substance, no feelings, no needs or wants, no real life issues.  It's like someone who has extra weight isn't supposed to be a real person.

Something I've noticed as well, and something Holly mentioned, is the staring.  At my largest, which was well over 400 pounds, a 79 inch hip, and so on, people stared.  Oh, they wouldn't do it when I saw them, but you could see from peripheral vision they'd look and stare.  How many people with nearly 80 inch hips do you normally see?  I dreaded having to go to the schools, or even shopping, as kids would stare and point and sometimes snicker.  Parents wouldn't correct either if it was while out shopping, they simply ignored and went on.  Some younger kids would come up and say "you're fat", and run off, as if telling me something I had no clue about and should know.  Now, as I've gotten smaller (not thin by any means but smaller than I was), I don't see that as much.  I blend in with others who are in the normal/plus size border.  I don't stand out to kids or adults as I used to evidently.  Evidently at my largest sizes, I was a freak show to people, based on how they stared and talked to me.  Even worse is that kids would go to our kids and tell them about their mom being fat.  Considering each of our 3 kids have special needs, do they really need peers telling them all about their mom/stepmom's weight problem?

I've been told when I was at my largest that I should just go apply for disability and sit around.  I was too fat to work, too fat to do anything constructive with my time but eat and sleep.  Yep, that was really inspiring to get moving, and I moved all the way to the fridge.  What good would it do to try to get disability because I had too much fat on me?  It's not a disability to be fat.  While obesity can cause health problems, it can be turned around, you can lose the weight, you can get healthy.  I didn't listen to that advice of applying.  I couldn't bring myself to do it.  It'd be a lie--I wasn't disabled, just fat.

In the past months, I've slowly become visible.  The things mentioned, they don't seem to happen anymore.  But, why is it acceptable to be cruel to someone who is obese, simply because they are obese?  People say to simply lose weight and it won't happen.  Losing weight is great, but it doesn't happen overnight, and it's not a license for people to treat others as a freak show, as if they don't exist, as if they're worthless, as if they don't have feelings.  Underneath the fat is a person who feels, who has a beating heart that feels joy and pain, who cares about others, and more often than not understands loneliness and condemnation from those around them.  Fat can go away with work, but the hurt left behind from cruelty doesn't go away.  Scars develop, a hardened heart sometimes accompanies.

God is the only one who can heal the wounds, and in His timing, He will.  He uses the hurts for His own glory, somehow piecing together torn and tattered hearts to make them whole again and useful for His work.  In the past months He's been using His needle and thread and patching up old hurts and aches inside as He has worked on the outside.  He's also let me see things I either chose not to see, or had simply been used to, in order to show how much I've changed, hopefully for better.

The Lord doesn't put your worth in your size.  He doesn't care if you're a size 0 or a size 40.  He wants your heart, your worship, your faith.  He doesn't save you based on your pants size, but on your faith in Jesus.  God loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for you on the cross, He didn't tell Jesus "You're only dying for the skinny folks, not the fat ones".  While He wants us to have a good temple for the Holy Spirit, He doesn't reject you based on size or weight.  He isn't like the world, that rejects you if you don't fit into a certain size/weight category.  He is the Creator of the universe, He created you, and He loves you as you are.

If you are a plus sized person, know that you're loved.  You may be the invisible woman too, but you are still loved.  Jesus loves you.  I love you in Christ.

Shared at: Darling Downs Diaries, Soul Survival, What Joy Is Mine, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

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Spring Is In The Air! (And Weight Loss Challenge Week 29

It is absolutely beautiful outside now!  Spring came in like a lamb, and it's a nice fuzzy one.  The sun has been out, the air has been just right, and it's been great to pop up the windows and let that fresh breeze in the house and air out the winter blahs.

This week has been Spring Break from school.  One would think that'd be a relaxing vacation time.


I took the time and cleaned. Cleaning is an awesome exercise and calorie burner!!  One day I cleaned on my Father in Law's house.  The next day I worked on mountains of laundry that had built up from the days off from having the sewer line replaced and no laundry allowed, and also cleaned the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and so on and replace the vacuum after almost 6 years.  That day was free as my work client cancelled me for the day.  The next day it was more cleaning and errands, starting with deep cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing literally from the ceiling down.  Then church in the evening, which was nice. :)

Then Thursday, I started deep cleaning the upstairs and had kids help with their rooms.  We're talking using a microfiber window washer to wash walls, had kids work on base boards and each spindle on the stairs, dust rooms, vacuum all floors, and so on, then take my stepchildren to visit their mom about an hour away to stay there a few days.  Then I came home and finished scrubbing the hallway, more laundry, litter box, you name it.  Friday I cleaned at church, then came home and ran errands hubby needed done, and then dug up some lilies and irises that hubby's dad wanted to find homes for, and then transplanted them all into our flower bed and then created a new one.  I still have to go back and dig more out per Papa's orders.

Today is cookie baking for both church and the library's Ag Day, so the dough is made and chilling.  I still have a downstairs bedroom to clean, kitchen to clean up, and got laundry going.

In between those, I also planted lettuce, dill, basil, and chives.  I also kept up with doing at least 2 to 3 miles a day, and still need to get in today's.

I still have some more rooms to get through, more planting to do, a plot to dig up, and then regular upkeep.  Plus the work hours will be back in the coming week as well as regular appointments with the kids' various doctors and such.

This time last year, I couldn't have physically done as much cleaning as I have this week.  My body was too heavy, to cumbersome, and I had no energy to do it.  I'm still heavy, don't get me wrong, but with lots of fat taken off, the tasks are much easier to do, and the exercise from it helps even more.  It's amazing how much taking off weight helps!

Eating wise, some days have been great, others have been hurried and grabbing something quick from the fridge instead of thinking through and planning ahead.  I've lately been keeping bowls of apples and oranges out, as well as cutting up apples and oranges to grab in a hurry and snack on.  I've also been trying hard to put more protein in the diet, as our budget allows--it's amazing how much protein makes a difference in appetite!

How have you been this week?

Shared at:  Darling Downs Diaries, Soul Survival, What Joy Is Mine, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

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Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Been Too Long!

Here we are, on Spring Break!  Yay!!

I slept in until 7:30am.  That for me is at least 2 hours later than normal.  It felt so so good!

The Weight Loss Challenge has been going ok.  In fact, there's even a new picture. :)

In this one, I am wearing a size 16 top and 18/20 skirt.  I found that top on clearance for $3!  The skirt hubby purchased for me in January when I first hit the 20.

As compared to this one at 34/36.

A week or so ago I tried on a 16/18 maxi skirt, and it fit.  I didn't buy it as it was rather light weight and you could see through it, but it boosted my day to see it fitting.  Then tried on some jeans I have at home in a size 20.  They were unforgiving, but they fit.

It's been pretty busy here, with seems like appointments and demands on time picking up.  My work hours went down to one day a week, which I'm ok with, and so my personal housekeeping hours went up, and now it's time to start working outside with gardening and planting and such. Since this is Spring Break week, I plan on working inside the house, dusting and washing and doing a decent scrub down while kids are off visiting non-custodial parents.  I need to paint one wall of the oldest  child's room as well to touch up the white and cover the black shoe marks he puts on there.

 The weather has warmed up nicely and it's hard to stay inside to do anything!  The windows have been popped open (and dust accumulating) and fresh air has made it so much nicer inside.  Granted the air doesn't smell so lovely, with the back yard having a sewer problem for a while--we had our own lagoon and the city folks were not thrilled with it showing up from nowhere, but it has been tended to this weekend and mostly finished (finishes up today from what we're told).  During this time we had to air out the house from a gas line rupture during the digging process, but in that airing out process one of the windows I wasn't able to get open last year for it being painted shut was opened, so now a breeze out of the west can come in.  My south facing windows already open, so in the warm months we get a beautiful southerly breeze.  I'm looking forward to the smell of floral cleaners inside the house, and washing down walls and shelves and chasing down dust bunnies and sending them to dust bunny heaven.  I'm hoping to have hubby shimmy up the ladder and pull down curtains so I can wash them as well.

When that's done, I have a lettuce plot to dig up and get planted, as well as pots to get going with herbs and flowers.  I'm looking forward to getting a fresh cut bowl of lettuce from the yard and serving it up for meal time!  Then we need to get to tilling on the garden spot at hubby's dad's house to prepare for planting.  It's been tilled since January, but you can't have it too ready can you?  :)  I have bulbs to transplant, and with the workers digging up the back yard, they did some of the work for me.  I'm going to transplant into some of the areas they dug up, and start a whole new flower plot and let the perennials take over.  There's irises here, and I believe we'll have some tiger lilies to put in as well, so it'll be a colorful plot.

It's so much nicer out now, the grass is turning green, the highs are above freezing-today it is to be 75 to 80, and it has been 80 this past week for a day or two.  The moisture has been rain instead of ice or snow.  Granted tornado season starts soon, I can live with that.

Life has gotten rather busy with the changing of seasons and kid's needs and hubby's parents' needs.  But a busy life is good, no boredom to speak of!  Between exercise, working inside the house and housekeeping for others, chasing the family, and so on, sleep comes very easy and the alarm too soon.

You all have a great week!  I've missed you all!

Shared at:  Darling Downs Diaries, Soul Survival, What Joy Is Mine, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weight Loss Challenge Week 26--6 Month Anniversary!

It is here, the 6 month anniversary of the weight loss challenge!

The week has been busy, with appointments for the children and hubby's parents, work hours for both of us, regular issues with the kids, household needs, and phone calls--lots and lots of phone calls.  I need to hire a secretary.

After work Friday, I went to the next town where we do our shopping and where middle child goes to the special ed program in the middle school.  I weighed in, and lost 4 more pounds.  Despite all the horrible eating, stress, not exercising as much as I should, I still lost 4 pounds this month.  It could have been much more if I'd have behaved--but I'll take 4.


67 Pounds down in 6 months!

As a reward, I purchased an inexpensive bangle type watch with the words "Love, Hope, Faith, Courage, Dream, Inspire" engraved on the cuff going toward and away, so that I and others can read it.  I need a watch for work, so it fits the bill.  I also had my hair trimmed as it'd grown out a bit.  The shampooing and styling felt good, as I seldom allow the extra cost for pampering.  I wasn't paying much attention, so when I told the length I forgot to mention to keep the layers when trimming, so the layers are gone and I have a blunt bob that curls above the shoulders.  I'm not thrilled.  But, hair grows out and it'll be better soon.  I am going to stay away from the quick places to get hair done and try to get a regular appointment next time with someone I know.  The upside--for the firs time I fit into the chairs without feeling like a sardine.  And it did feel good to have my hair shampooed and styled.

Eating has been better this week.  I've been working more at it at being more mindful of what I put in my mouth.  I'm responsible for what goes in, right?

Exercise wise, I did up to 5 miles a day, with 3 days off this week.  I came in at goal, which is good.  I also did housekeeping duties (my job) so got a good workout there too.

I had to take a sick day Thursday, I'd gotten so exhausted and feverish and just felt like I'd picked up what the kids had been sharing.  I slept and slept and hibernated under a blanket as often as the phone would let me.  The 18 year old cat was my "nurse" who nuzzled up beside me and kept me company.  It wasn't work hours that did the exhaustion, but all the stresses that had built up in the days before, tons of appointments, extra needs that the kids had been displaying that happen with various weather/barometric changes, stresses middle child's biological dad and his relationships cause, and the getting up very early and having to stay up until everyone is in bed to make sure space heaters and lights are off and water is dripping.  I felt a lot better and had a ton more energy on Friday so made it to work and had a good day.

Today is Saturday, the last day of February, and it's a relax day.  The kids are out visiting their non-custodial parents, and it's snowing lightly outside.  I stayed up late after returning home from dropping off middle child and then getting groceries last night--the weather stations had said up to 5 inches of snow plus some ice, so you know how that means a grocery store run--no bread or milk but instead fruits, veggies, and flour to make things.  After I got settled in for the night and hubby was enjoying some videos on YouTube, I sat down with my hexagon quilt and the Anne of Green Gables dvd series and pieced on the quilt top.  Those dvds are 3 hours each.  I finished up the 2nd dvd in the series and relaxed.  It was nice and peaceful. :)  Today there of course little things to do, but there's also a lot of snoozing to do too!  There's a dvd and a blanket with my name on it very soon.  :)

God has been good to me.  He has given me peace when I've so needed it this week.  It seems that the devil has been working at us to cause chaos and calamity, but God can and will overcome them if we run to Him.  As the hymn says, "I am weak but Thou art strong".  This week I've had to pray for peace in the midst of chaos, and He has answered those prayers faithfully.

There has been a glimmer of hope that the bitter cold will come soon to an end.  We're in southern Kansas, but even so, it has been bitterly cold.  Yesterday when I went to work it was -3 with wind.  What is that glimmer?  Little specks of green are shooting up--the first bulbs of spring are popping up--daffodils and crocus and grape hyacinths are sending up greenery.  I look forward each winter to seeing those little green sprouts, it shows the promise of spring to soon come.  I'm so ready for the cold to end and the mild to warm to begin, to have fresh air in the house and the windows open,

How have you been this week?  Are you looking forward to the warmer weather too??

Shared at:  Darling Downs Diary, What Joy Is Mine, A Proverbs 31 Wife, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom

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