Friday, January 30, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Never-Ending Battle

(I am aware that most people post "before and after" photos, but I'll be posting, before, before, after, and back to the start photos, since I am a human yo-yo when it comes to my weight)

Man, for as long as I can remember I've struggled with my weight. I remember being called "Baby Shamu" on the bus everyday when I was in 4th grade. I was always the biggest (or one of the biggest) girls on my cheerleading team, my softball team, and of all my friends.

Anyhow, my senior year I reached an all-time high. I weighed more than I ever had and could not fit in any of my clothes. I was fed up. (You may have read the essay I wrote about this story.)

Then, I won a gym membership to P.T. Gym and met a trainer who gave me a bet. This bet helped me start losing weight. I guess the motivation of being held accountable by someone I admired was the key. Anyways, that trainer quit the gym and accepted a job out of state. Since I was a "success story", so to speak, and since I was a young girl, I got offered a job at P.T. Being around people working out all of the time, and having to uphold an image, I lost even more weight. I did it all the "healthy way", though. I cut back my calories and exercised nearly everyday. I was also dating someone who made me want to lose weight, but we won't go into that. I did take Adipex off and on, which my doctor prescribed to me, since i had so much trouble losing weight, even with doing all the right things. Overall, I went from weighing 177 to 135 in the course of a year. It wasn't enough though. I worked at a gym, I was surrounded by people trying to perfect their bodies, and I was obsessed. I remember gaining 4 pounds and losing it! Since I worked at the gym, I had a key, and I went there at 1am one night and worked out for an hour, crying the whole time because I felt fat. Needless to say, though I was doing the "healthy" thing physically, there was no emotional or mental health about it.

After working at the gym 2 years, I quit (mainly because I couldn't take working for my boss anymore) and got a job at a restaurant. After going from being around people working out all the time to watching people eat, I started gaining. When I got married I weighed 147, and before I moved to California I weighed 150. I've been in California for 3 months, and with the stresses of moving, finding a job, not to mention living with a man who can eat whatever he wants, and every other excuse I can think of, I now weigh around 155. I never stop "trying" to lose weight, but you have no clue how quickly my body puts weight on. I got down to 153, had a cheat day, and the next day I was at 158. It just happens. I'm not one of those people who can eat even 1800 calories a day without gaining weight. Just about no girl my age works out as hard as I do, but it gets me nowhere. I only maintain, if anything. Can you imagine how quickly I would balloon up if I were to eat what I want and not work out? Now, I know to many of you 155 does not sound like a lot, but I'm short and I have a round face, so it shows on me. Plus, going from having an unhealthy obsession with my weight to gaining 20 pounds... well, that just doesn't sit well with me.

I keep trying to get really motivated, but I lose it so quickly. I was looking through pictures of me in 2007 today, and I couldn't believe I thought I was fat. It really made me depressed. I would give so much to be at that weight again. I know it's ridiculous, but I also know that every woman struggles with this in one way or another.

I bought a book called "Eat this, not that", and I've heard a lot of good stuff about it. I am also thinking of seeing a doctor when I move back to Albany to help me get on the right track. Maybe start back on Adipex once I wean off of Zoloft. I don't know. All I know is, I am on the same track I was when I gained all that weight, and I refuse to get that way again.

I'm just especially down about this today, so if you have any encouragement, I could sure use it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our new friend, Earl.

Last night Chase and I forced ourselves out of the apartment to go to the gym. Actually, Chase forced me out of the apartment, but that's besides the point. We went and stayed a good hour and a half. Chase actually worked out for that period of time. I, on the other hand, did about 40 minutes of cardio and 50 minutes on the recumbant bike, while watching American Idol. We don't have cable at the apartment, so it was like Heaven. Well, Chase had duty the night before and brought the toothpaste with him and forgot to bring it home. Since he took it with him the morning before, I had already gone a day without brushing my teeth and was not about to subject my coworkers to 2 days' worth of nastiness, so we went to Albertsons, the grocery store next door to the gym, to get toothpaste. It was about 9:30 at night, and there was a guy outside of Albertsons, face down on the ground. As we got closer we realized that he was praying. He stood back up and grabbed his guitar and began playing and singing. We walked by him into the grocery store. Neither one of us hardly ever carry cash on us, so we had nothing to tip him with. We did as about 85% of people do and walked by with our heads down, trying to ignore the homeless guy with the beard, the dirty clothes, and the guitar with stickers of all of the branches of the military covering it. Of course, we felt sorry for the guy. We should be used to it by now, living in California where it seems like there are more homeless people than not, but we always feel a burning conviction when we pass homeless people asking for money - whether they're really homeless or not - because Jesus called His children to show love to everyone.

While we were looking at toothpaste, Chase asked if I wanted to by the guy something like gatorade. Why didn't I think of that? We decided to by him some dinner as well. We figured everyone likes a free meal. We found 2 pre-made, ready to eat sandwiches in the deli section, and got him a big bottle of blue gatorade, because everyone likes the blue kind. You can't really go wrong with that one.

I'm not going to lie, my stomach was in knots as we checked out at the register and was about to walk outside to offer this guy something to eat and drink. I'm not very good at knowing what to say to homeless people. I mean, what if he was drunk and embarrassed himself or us? What if he was angry at us for offering something other than money? What if he was just plain crazy? At least I had Chase with me. We walked outside and the guy was talking to another homeless guy. I sensed some animosity, as the new homeless guy stomped off. I guess they didn't know each other. Chase was the first to say something. He offered the guy what we had bought, and he was very grateful. He introduced himself as Earl J. Cox, named after the 7th division of something. He was a veteran from Nam and used to belong to the Navy. He was very nice to us, although we could tell his mind wasn't what it probably used to be - maybe because of being messed up emotionally and mentally in Vietnam, maybe because he was addicted to herione for a good number of years, maybe because he's a recovering alcoholic. He was completely sober at the time, though. We could smell no alcohol or detect any other sign of being messed up on something. He had greying hair, a full beard, and worn clothes. His eyes were kind, but there was a lot of pain behind them. He had a Star of David on his arm, which we later found out was because he was part Jewish. I'm glad he cleared that up for us, because he also had a cross around his neck, which seemed like a contradiction to me. He kept telling Chase to be brave while he was overseas. He told us stories of his younger years, growing up in the military and being a wild child. I took a seat on the curb and listened intently. Then, I was shocked to hear him start talking about the Holy Spirit and how He kept him safe. He said that in battle, the sound of bullets whizzing by your head is completely different when you're praying. I thought that was a profound statement coming from Earl. He also looked at us both and told Chase to cherish me while he's gone and for me to pray for him while he's gone. I think another reason it surprised me to hear Earl talk so religiously is because every other word out of his mouth was a cuss word, but he didn't seem to think a thing of it. I liked Earl. As I was looking up at Earl from the sidewalk, I realized that I'm going to be with this man in Heaven one day. This man is a child of God, just as I am. Jesus loves Earl just as much as He loves me. Wow. As the conversation came to an end, we shook hands and told each other we would be praying for the other, and Chase and I walked back to our warm car to go back to our warm home and eat our warm meal. I thought about how I was getting cold out there and couldn't wait to be in the comfort of our bed, and I thought about that fact that Earl may very well spend the rest of the night outside. He doesn't have a warm bed to come home to. It's funny how you set out thinking that you are going to bless someone else, and in turn they end up blessing you. God is funny like that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Behold, I Am Coming Quickly.

I usually intentionally steer clear of anything related to the rapture. When I was about 6, I watched a movie at my friend's house that was kind of an earlier, very intense and graphic version of "Left Behind". This was in like '94, and I believe that was way before Left Behind came out. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure. Anyways, I still remember parts of the movie very vividly. It freaked me out, being that I was only 6. How is a 6-year-old supposed to comprehend something as immence as the rapture? The movie actually began right as the rapture took place, and then showed all of the horrors to take place after Jesus comes. I saw people losing loved ones, people dying due to others being taken up, the Mark of the Beast, and -probably the most traumatizing - the people who chose to follow Christ and not get the Mark being put to death. I actually saw people being beheaded when I was 6 (not really, but when you're 6 you think everything is real).

The family that showed me this meant well, and the movie is accurate as far as the Bible goes, but I think I was too young to try to handle that kind of information. Needless to say, I couldn't sleep after that. When I did sleep, I had nightmares of my parents being taken up into Heaven, and me being left behind to be beheaded. This was 15 years ago, and I still struggle with those images.

I said all of that to say why the thought of the rapture - and any materials relating to it - nothing short of terrorizes me. I always felt like I needn't be afraid of the Second Coming. After all, I am a follower of Christ. Still, the enemy whispered in my ear that I would be Left Behind. That though I accepted Christ and tried to live for Him, that it wasn't good enough and Christ would forget me or that I didn't believe or follow Him "right". There's nothing scarier than the thought of living a certain way (or striving to live a certain way) all of your life, only to find out when your life is over that you were wrong. That your belief and your effort to follow Christ wasn't "good enough" to get into Heaven. This is a lie from the pit. Satan wants you to believe this because it takes your mind off of God's purpose and causes you to worry needlessly.

Anyways, the point in all of this is to show you a video - the type of video I have stayed away from all of my life. It's only 2 minutes long, and it's not that profound or anything, but for some reason it made me realize that I have nothing to fear about the rapture. Our world is a broken place, and the only thing that is going to save us from this world is Jesus. A couple of years ago, this same video would have stopped me in my tracks (in a bad way), and made me have nightmares for weeks. Now it just leaves me with excitement and anticipation. I am waiting expectantly for our Lord to come back to bring us to Him. Hold on to your seat, though. This video is short, but it still made me jump!

Are you ready?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An Afternoon on the Beach

Well, my wonderful hubby was gracious enough to be my model today at Oceanside, CA and let me take some pictures of him. I work at Glamour Shots, and - as you can probably guess by the name - we don't get many men in the store. I begged Chase, and he was a really good sport in letting me practice some male poses on him. Here is the fruit of our labor, as well as just some random shots of the beach & the sunset. Enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Big neon sign outside my window.

All I can say is God is so good! After my huge post about being overwhelmed and blah blah blah, I tried to go to bed. As I was saying my prayers, I said to God, "Lord, I apologize for being so stupid. I truly suck at listening to what You have to say to me. I just need some answers to all of my questions. I feel so overwhelmed, and I'm too dumb to hear Your whisper, so, if You don't mind, would You please slap me in the face with an answer?"

Well, I got that slap alright! This morning, when I woke up, this was the devotional that was in my inbox:

No Strain
Be calm, no matter what may befall you. Rest in Me. Be patient, and let patience have her perfect work.
Never think things overwhelming. How can you be overwhelmed when I am with you? Do not feel the strain of life.
There is no strain for My children. Do you not see I am a Master Instrument-maker? Have I not fashioned each part? Do I not know just what it can bear without a strain? Would I, the maker of so delicate an instrument, ask of it anything that could destroy or strain?
No! The Strain is only when
you are serving another master, the world, fame, the
good opinion of men - or carrying two days' burden on the one day. Remember that it must not be.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7

Praise the Lord! It's so awesome to serve a God that is so good!

I got my neon sign, and I couldn't be more at peace. :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Man, what a day. Nothing bad has happened, and I am in a very good mood, but I am so overwhelmed with life in general right now. I suppose it's because after moving out here to Cali, I have literally been doing nothing. My schedule looked like this: wake up, (maybe) work out, work (or hunt for a job, when I first got here), sit around, play on the computer, sleep. Now it seems like - in the matter of a week - I have something coming at me from every angle. I am not exactly stressed, though. God is being so good in giving me a peace and understanding that only He can give me. I know He will see me through, but I still have so much on my mind. Until today, I did not know it was possible to be overwhelmed, but not stressed.

Where do I start? First, school started back yesterday. I'm taking strictly online classes at Darton, since it'd be slightly inconvenient to take them on campus. My financial aid has not hit, and that has to take place for me to get a check. I was worried about books - I mean, how do they expect us to buy books without that money? - since I have a part time job & Chase is in the military. We're not exactly rich. But God provided, like He promised He would. I have the Hope scholarship, so that's covering tuition, but we need to send in some of Chase's tax forms that we can't even find. It's not something we HAVE to do, necessarily, but it would basically give us a good chunk of money that we could definitely use. Secondly, Chase is being deployed March 9th. There are 2 pre-deployment leaves he can take: Feb. 6-19 or Feb 20-Mar 5. We're trying to decide which one is best for us to take. During those 2 weeks, we'll be moving me and my belongings back to GA, and Chase will be saying his goodbyes to family, friends, and me. So I've got the move and the deployment on my mind. Also, I have to tell my boss I'm leaving, and she's having another photographer leave in a week, so I'm sure it'll stress her. I feel bad, but what can I do? Then I went to the gym and the group fitness manager there asked me if I would like to start teaching a class on Thursdays. I had to tell him that I'm moving back home, and that SUCKED. I love teaching Body Combat, and it kills me to just take the class and not teach it. Then when I finally have the opportunity to have a class of my own, I'm moving. Lastly, I've just been feeling convicted lately. I can tell that God is trying to mold me and form me into who He wants me to be, but it feels so chaotic on the inside, ya know? I've been feeling kind of lost. It's like right when I'm settling in here and starting to get used to it, I'm moving back home. But it's just for 7 months, so when I get settled in there, I'll be moving back here. I've been reading a lot and I can't quit thinking about all these things having to do with God and Christianity. I'm just trying so hard to get closer to Him - to understand Him just a little bit better and understand what He wants from me just a little bit better, but I still have no clue. I'm still just as far as I was months ago. Or at least that's how I feel. I am finishing up my Associates degree this semester, but still have no clue what I wanna do, what college to go to next, if I want to try to go to college while I'm in GA or just wait til I'm back here, or even what to major in. I can't, for the life of me, figure out my spiritual gifts and what God wants from me. I guess I'm just looking for my purpose, and I'm frustrated.

So, all of this word vomit that I just spilled out in this post is a little bit of what is going on in my mind. It's very jumbled and probably incomprehensible, but that's pretty much what my brain feels like right now. I know God will provide - He always does - and I know it's all in His hands, but can't there just be a huge neon sign out my window that plainly states what I'm here for and what I'm supposed to do?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The First of Many

Well, it's late, but I thought I'd hop on the bandwagon and join yet another site that will keep me connected to the world outside of southern California. I always read others' blogs, but (for fear of another "obligation", I suppose) I've never taken the time to create my own. I'll keep this one short and sweet. I'm reading an EXTREMELY thought-provoking book called "Blue Like Jazz" Nonreligious Views on Christian Spirituality" by Donald Miller, and, though the theology of it is a bit shaky, it is still a very good read. I'm not done with it yet, but so far, it is such a down to earth and relevant view of modern day Christianity and how we can apply it to our lives. I guess you can say it's "real". I'll keep you updated on my thoughts, but as for now I'll just leave you with a couple of excerpts from the 2nd chapter. It is Don talking about his revelation as he was talking with his friend. They were discussing the horrible things that were going on in the Congo - genocide, rape, the whole 9 - and his friend asked Don if he thought himself capable of such things... What made Don different from the murderers and rapists in the Congo? His answer? Nothing. He pondered:

"It is hard for us to admit we have a sin nature
because we live in this system of checks and balances. If we get caught, we will
be punished. But that doesn't make us good people; it only makes us subdued.
Just think about the Congress and Senate and even the president. The genius of
the American system is not freedom; the genius of the American system is checks
and balances. Nobody gets all the power. Everybody is watching everybody else.
It is as if the founding fathers knew, intrinsically, that the soul of man,
unwatched, is perverse."

He continues:

"I don't have to watch the evening news
to see that the
world is bad. I only have to look at myself. I am not
browbeating myself here; I
am only saying that true change, true
life-giving, God-honoring change would
have to start with the
individual. I
was the very problem I had been protesting.
I wanted to
make a sign that
read "I AM THE PROBLEM!".... I think Jesus feels strongly
about communicating the idea of our brokenness, and I think it is worth
reflection. Nothing is going to change in the Congo until you and I figure out
what is wrong with the person in the mirror."

Kinda makes you go "Hmmm", am I right?