Monday, March 19, 2012

Do Over

Have you ever been on a diet? Have you ever struggled with losing weight? This has been the story of my life since finishing college. Why? Well, that's a very loaded question. Why. I could blame married life, I could blame having children, I could blame a lot of things, but that would just be placing blame, rather than taking ownership.
Two years ago, my husband and I jumped on the Biggest Loser band wagon and began their 30-Day Jump Start. It was amazing! The pounds just melted off. And we didn't even do the exercise program that came with it. We just did the strict diet and lost the weight. We looked and felt better. I lost over 35 pounds. I went from a size 20 to size 14. I was so happy. I gave all my fat clothes away and was able to go shopping for skinny clothes. It was a dream come true!
But then we went on vacation and several splurges later, I was right back to eating fattening foods and overindulging. I am ashamed to say that I have almost gained every pound back. I am already toying with size 18! What a disaster! What happened?
At the time I was so distressed, I was invited to join a book study at Central Christian Church. The book is called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. The study was about how to crave God, not food. I don't think it was a coincidence that this happened to be offered at the same time I was distressing over my weight regain. God's timing is perfect! It was a great study!
It is distressing to me to realize how I have used food to "fix" or "fill" things in my life instead of God. It is very hard for me to tell everyone that, but it's true. So, here I am. I'm going to "do over" my quest to get healthy. This time exercise will be coupled with my eating plan and I will stay committed because I understand that my crutch doesn't have to be food, because I have the Lord. Amen! I'm not saying I won't falter, but I know that I can have ultimate success when God is on my side. Praise the Lord!

So armed with  my new inspiration from the class and working through my food issues, I created a eating plan for 40 days. (That's the calendar in the picture.) It was a lot of work but I am so happy it's done. It is like a weight has been lifted. Being a stay at home mom, you may think it is easy to eat healthy, but actually, if I don't have a healthy eating plan mapped out, that's when I will run through the drive-thru in between errands, school and doctor visits. So, I took what I learned from Biggest Loser and tweaked it to match our tastes. Then I took a popular menu board idea I found on a blog called RobbyGurl's Creations ( and made it my own. Instead of using the menu board for only planning dinner, I made a menu board that plans my day menus as well as dinner. And with 40 days planned out, I can cycle the days and not have a lot of repetition throughout the year. My husband and I are so excited and we began the healthy eating on March 1st. Last week we didn't even look at the calendar, because we had company. But that's okay. We're back to it now and with the planning, comes relief and peace for the day's food choices.
The next thing I am going to do is make an exercise plan. I'm setting a goal to be able to run a marathon. It's going to be a great journey. I know I'll have the Lord with me and He can be my strength, when I feel like I can't continue. Now you may think, "What does eating healthy have to do with living a life for the Lord?" I think it is very important to take care of the bodies the Lord has given us. There are a lot of scriptures where the Lord talks about how important food and discipline is, but one in particular stands out to me.

"They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved." Psalm 78:18
Now we all know the story. The Israelites are saved in the Exodus and as they settle in the wilderness with the Lord to protect them and provide for them, He is giving them Manna to eat, food from heaven! Yet they are unsatisfied. I had seen the obvious life lesson, but I had never before seen this applicable to my issues with food until I read Made to Crave. Lysa does a great job in presenting how God's Word can help us in this every day struggle and how it is completely applicable. God's Word came alive for me with this stumbling block, and I am confident that this time, taking Yeshua with me each step of the way, I will make a permanent change.
If you are looking for a chance to "do over" your quest for a healthy lifestyle I suggest the following:
  1. Central Christian Church will have another class of the Made to Crave Book study in June. Watch for it at
  2. If you don't live in the area, get the book at the author's website or on Amazon.
  3. The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start is an excellent way to lose weight and learn how to eat and what to plan. You can find the book at Amazon.
To those women who were in the book study with me, thank you so much for your stories and commitment. Each one of you are an inspiration and a joy to know! I pray God showers His Shalom on you all!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Purim: Party On!

Purim is such a fun festival, and I am so glad I have children to share in the crafts, baking, costume making, game playing, storytelling and just plain fun! Purim is the biblical feast that celebrates the Lord's salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation using Queen Esther. It is also known as the Feast of Lots, since Haman casted lots to determine what date he would destroy the Jewish people. The story is recited in synagogues and Messianic congregations from the Book of Esther. It is a great story. And of course, it has many traditions! Hamantachen are the traditional cookie that is made to mimic the hat, or some say the ears, of the villain, Haman. Children and adults dress in biblical costume with special focus on dressing like the good guys, Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus and Mordechai. While the story, or Megillah, as the scroll of the Book of Esther is called, is being read, the audience yells "Yay!" for the heros Esther and Mordechai and "Boo!" for the nemesis, Haman. Traditional noisemakers for the event are used, called graggers. There are expensive and elaborate graggers,  or inexpensive mass-produced graggers you can buy, but I think the best ones are those made by the children themselves.
So the boys and I ventured to make our own graggers! Below are the instructions. If you have never celebrated Purim, I encourage you to make this easy craft with your children. Even small toddlers can accomplish this craft. Then, have them dress in costume (any sheet can make a biblical costume and couple that with a self-made crown and you have Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus already!) and read the Purim story out loud to them. Don't be afraid to read the whole story from your own bible, rather than a children's bible. The fun is getting to boo and yell during the story, so wait patiently after each main character's name to give them a chance to join in the fun. Have a blessed Purim filled with lots of Simcha (Joy)! Party on!
These graggers turned out so great and are really loud! The boys can't wait to take them to the Purim Spiel on Friday!

Paper Plate Gragger Instructions

Items Needed:
paper plate (sturdy dinner plate with lip on edge is best)
buttons, beads or dry beans
water colors
sponge craft brush
2-3 pipe cleaners
gift wrap ribbon assortment
single hole punch

1. Let the children paint their own original designs on the bottom of the plate.

2. After the plate is dry, fold it in half, and punch holes around the edges. Be sure to hold the sponge craft brush in place on one end and make sure the first two hole punches are close enough that the beads won't fall through but far apart enough to fit the handle of the brush through. Then punch the rest of the holes about 1/2 inch apart.

3. Let the children choose which buttons or beads they want to use and set them aside. It doesn't take much to make the noises. My children picked out about 3 times more than we needed, but that's okay. They didn't  notice that I didn't use them all.

4. Cut 8 inch strips of the ribbons. You'll need enough for half of the amount of holes that you made around the edge of the plate.

5. Cut 4 feet of one ribbon color. I let each of the boys choose their favorite color. This also helps in identifying their own gragger later! Use this longer ribbon to tie and wrap around the sponge craft brush. I folded it in half first, then tied it to the brush, then looped it around and through the first two punches I designated for it earlier.

6. Carefully place the beads and buttons in the paper plate. Then tie the remaining 8 inch strips of ribbon on every other hole punched from the handle. If the children are too small to tie, let them choose which color comes next.

7. Let the children use the pipe cleaners to weave through all the holes along the edge. Any way they choose as long as they get it nice and tight so no beads fall out. Weave ends in. This is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to practice those motor skills!