Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Thankful!!

This year has had it's share of ups and downs...I've had some good days and not so good days.  I must admit that the good days carried me through the not so good days. 

I learned that with age comes wisdom.  I learned that I can make a difference in the lives of others.  I learned to make choices for my life and worry a little less about what others thought of my choices.

I laughed more.  I loved more.  I listened more.  I accepted more.

I shared my thoughts.  I shared information. 

I prayed everyday!  I prayed for others and I also prayed for myself.

I am filled with peace in knowing that my Lord is with me and I with Him.  I am filled with joy in knowing He died so that I may live.

As I journey through this life, I'll take 2012 with me!  Thankful!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gone too soon!

I have memories of my childhood, the memories of sheer freedom....

1.  I remember feeling like I could fly, as long as I was being held in my Daddy's arms, touching the ceiling of our home

2.  I remember feeling like I had the best Mama in the world.  She made delicious homemade biscuits, pork chops, and soup

3.  I enjoyed those lazy days of play - on my bike, in the dirt, kickball, hide and seek, cartwheels across the yard, pretending to be a mother...

4.  I loved spending time with my grandparents - my Granddaddy's smile, my Madea's flapjacks, and my Grandmama's pork and beans

5.  I spent days playing with my siblings, cousins, friends, or just on my own

6.  I said my prayers every night and we prayed in school

7.  I loved picking blackberries and pecans from trees

8.  I stayed outside until the street lights came on during the summer

9.  I indulged in tropical punch Kool-Aid

10.  We had the best shows on TV

As I grow and journey through this life, I realize how precious those times were.  Although my life wasn't perfect, as I've grown over the years, I realize no one's life is perfect.  But I lived a life freely with happiness and very few fears.  As a child, you are innocent, you are full of life, and you are loved.  I pray that we all experience love.

God's greatest gift to us all is love.  He gave us his son, Jesus who died for our sins.  We are allowed freedom beyond our dreams and still wake up living in fear and suffering because of a life gone too soon; but not just lives taken.  There are minds, souls lost.  If we could only let go of darkness and look for light.  Because when it's all said and done, we should never give up or never give in..


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Been Missing The Blog

It's been a while since I last posted a message.  Actually, it's been three months.  I haven't taken the time to even consider what to write or how.  So to cut through the blah and get to the point - I haven't been eating right or working out at all!!!  That pretty  much sums up the last three months and my well being.

I have the classic story to explain why I haven't been focused on taking care of me - I am busy these days with my family.  It's not that I wasn't busy before, but school started in August, practices started in August and a few other activities have started since then and my whole life has been me focused on my family life and no focus on myself.  I figured out too late this wasn't the best thing for me or my family. 

I forgot about my own life and my own goals for me. 

****My goals *****

- Eat healthy the majority of the time
- Be an example of how you can start fresh no matter where you are in life
- Share my journey with others
- Have healthy meals at least weekly (leftovers)

***Promises to myself***

- Be me in all situations
- Don't sacrifice myself to be someone else in order to please others
- Be God's Girl
- Love everyone and see the good in everyone but not so much that I hurt myself in the process

What have I been doing?  How am I making a contribution?

I am missing this blog...Going to catch up on my life and find a fresh new start.  I'll keep you posted.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12:1 NIV).

I am not exactly feeling my best and need some discipline in my life.  It would be unfortunate if I didn't take the time to correct my mistakes and acknowledge that I've made them..Oh and will continue as long as I am living.


Thursday, August 9, 2012


I am journeying through this life, sure that each and every day He reveals Himself to me.  I am learning about His word and how my life lessons are found there.. A friend said that I am learning and recognizing that I am learning because it's a living Bible and it applies to life today.  I never thought of the Bible in that way and must admit that it's an eye opening thought something that stays with me these days.

I cannot count the number of times that I've read and  not understood something important  - Old Testament.  A few weeks ago in Sunday School our teacher said that Jesus is revealed in the OT.  Now I am sure I've heard this many times before and this time it actually stuck.  I am currently reading the New Testament, involved in an online Bible Study.  It's been great!  Once we finish up, I'll definitely be starting the OT again.  I may even start this January since I have one of the chronological one year Bibles. 

I think it's important to recognize how great this life really is and how much God truly loves us and to just be thankful.  I am thankful for who I am, where I am, where I've been and where I am going!

**JourneywithJennifer** Thankful!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

God Has a Plan and Purpose for us ALL! Jer 29:11

God has a plan and purpose for our lives.  If we could just hang on to that TRUTH!  Hang on!  That plan involves your TRUTH and the beauty of your being here.  We are truly here for a reason and we must listen to Him so that we may understand and go forward with joy and peace.  More importantly than all of this is to go forward in LOVE!

I know that we all have our struggles, everyone of us.  The season of the journey can be painful and very, very long.  It's like no one understands.  No one else can see us, they cannot hear us.  God hears!  God sees!  He really does..He gave us His only Son. 

Sometimes it feels like others have more to carry, and we feel like we're complaining.  The truth of the matter is that we cannot truly walk in someone else's shoes.  Only our own shoes can we walk in and only imagine what someone else must be feeling.  Even though someone else's burden my seem small, it's still a burden to them.  Yes, your life and your struggle.  It's okay to be sad and to feel your pain...Just always remember - You have the love of your Savior!  You don't have to drown in the pain of it all.  You have been redeemed!

We must live our lives for Jesus! He died for our sins so that we may be saved. I know it is difficult to go outside our feelings sometimes. We're human and we don't know how we're going to deal with life's journey. One thing we can do is pray. Pray always for ourselves and others. We can read God's Word and when it all hits the fan - We can use those words. The words in our hearts and minds is what's going to pull us through.


Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27 NKJV)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

He's always there!

He's always there!  Thanks to my Lord for always being with me.

I must say that the latest Biggest Loser Contest isn't as sweet as the previous.  I am not sure why, but for some reason, it's not the same.  I am not sure if I am pressuring myself about my weight gain.  Yes, gain.  I gained three pounds.  I am a little down about this, but not feeling like it's the end of the world.  I have learned that the body does really adjust to different foods.  I ate salads - I saw less fat, bloating, inches, and weight.  I drank more water, I saw more junk leave my system.  I am just a little burned out on the salads and eat more fruits, veggies, and proteins.  The basics have been enough.  At least now I feel like I actually have food in my stomach and don't feel weak and fatigued.  I am not sooo hungry.
Oh, yes, back to the weight gain.  SPLURGE ANYONE??  Yes, I decided to enjoy my favorite hot dogs, ice cream, peanut butter cookies, and chips during the holiday.  Unfortunately, I loved it a little too much.  In my defense it's difficult to tell your family that you cannot cook, bake or even eat favorite foods because you're trying to lose weight.  You really cannot use this excuse on special occasions.  You have to go ahead and make a choice and eat and cook and eat some more.  I guess this isn't funny though..maybe a little sad.

I still feel like I need to be in control and that by eating and then eating more, I am not in control.  Hello, I should know by now that I am not in charge of anything..One thing the weight loss has done is take some of the pressure off.  Once you let yourself know that hey this isn't working and definitely isn't correct, improvements can be made.  And, you should give yourself a break.

I am excited to say that God's been with me through all of this yes indeed.  Typically I get down on myself and my goals if I gain a pound.  Well, I gained three and don't feel like it's the end of the diet as I know it and on to eating more food.  NO, I realize that doesn't help me and that I should consider how my actions will affect me in the long run if I never stop and just take a chance on losing these 20 extra pounds I am carrying.  Yes, the kid has lost 15 pounds and has a few more to go..

I am never giving up and never giving in.  I am in this all the way and my Lord, He's not even a step away.  He's always right here...


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Being Available to use My Abilities...For Him

Wow! Today's message at church was awesome! Our pastor encouraged us all to be available to God and to use our abilities to glorify God's Kingdom! I don't know if we ever truly think about what we can do right now, today, right where we are for God! I know we all talk about being in a better place and being in the right frame of mind.

We're all taught at such a young age that when you come to God, you must be all the way in, no playing or pretending. It sounded like you had to be perfect or He would strike you dead. Like, BOOM DEAD. No questions. He sounded so harsh, like that one person who you couldn't embarrass or shame because you had to follow whatever He said. I didn't hear about the grace or the mercy...

I remember being in college and buying a key ring that had the name Jesus on it and being told by a friend that I needed to be careful.  She said that I shouldn't be playing. Well, unfortunately for me, that was one of many experiences for me after being saved where someone made me feel doubts about who I was and where I was going. It's true, I was young and unsure and not really certain of how to act or how to be or who to be...

I remember being saved at 19 singing songs and talking to my parents about Jesus. They were so proud of me. My Aunt Linda, BF's Mom, had said that I needed to be there all the time and not away at college. I didn't understand then that I needed a good church home. While away at school, I was left to fend for myself, so I thought and didn't really know what I was doing...I needed a mentor or a good Pastor, or even just a nice church member to help me along. MORE IMPORTANT than that, I needed to call on Jesus Himself to keep me home. Instead, I turned away thinking that I wasn't ready or that I didn't know enough about Him or know enough about His word - He who became flesh...

Cannot really say I got this at home, because I didn't. I am not sure I even asked. I knew that my life should be different. I know that Mama said to know the Lord's Prayer - a model from Jesus. She said I should know the 23rd Psalm. My Mudear said I should read the 27th Psalm if I was ever afraid. My Dad, the Sunday school teacher said to read the books found in the Bible written by the Apostle Paul. Romans 10:9-10 gave me the words and the understanding of all required to be His forever.  I had the words to spend all eternity in God's House - That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

The more I read, listened, learned, and heard about Jesus, something in me told me there’s more.  I knew that He had a destiny for me and it wasn't about that indescribable feeling of joy I felt knowing I was saved. You see, I knew that Jesus loved me. I was HAPPY and had JOY beyond what I could ever imagine. Unfortunately for me, I didn't know how to go to HIM and ask to be led by Him. I believed, but I didn't know how to live in my belief.

I must admit that I did know how to pray and to ask for what I needed. I wore out a few bible pages over the years with all my stuff....Today my soul tells me that I am connected to Him and that I am His. I know He has a purpose for me and that He wants me to find my way in Him. I would love to tell my parents what I do know because of what they taught me, what I didn't realize so long ago..His plans

... It was about me knowing my true purpose in life, to know Him.

Monday, June 25, 2012


My friend Shannon and I are in a Bible Study - Do You Think I am Beautiful by Angela Thomas.  I wasn't sure of what to expect when we first started.  I wasn't sure if it would be about external beauty or if it would be about what's inside of you, me.  As I read each day, I find that it's more about the real me, inside.  It's about the me who's loved by Him and only in the way that He can love me.

I am convinced that there is beauty in this life, even when there is darkness.  I realize that the Lord has given us the ultimate light - Jesus.  So when I think of sad times, dark times, I remember the light.  When I feel like I am not beautiful, which is when I am tired and a tiny, tiny bit mean, I think of the light.  When the world hands me my share of troubles, I remember the light. 

Life has taught me that it all gets better with time... He loves me!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thinking of Chocolate

The Lord is my shephard, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

I am thinking of something chocolate.. NOT SURE WHY!  I was thinking I didn't have any chocolate, but I did have a chocolate chip cookie with lunch yesterday.  Every time I think I have moved past a challenge, it comes around again.  I can only think to ask the Lord to give me strength to let this go...

I am trying a new thing... Praying when I want something that I don't need.  I don't want what I don't need.  Food is for nourishment and not pleasure.  I know - enjoying food is not wrong - I agree.. When it becomes more important to live to eat than eat to live, then it's a problem.  I may just be a little dramatic right now!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

starting again!

This week we started another Biggest Loser Contest at work!  I am anticipating the endless possiblities of weight loss and I am also anticipating the burden!

I feel like being a part of a contest is setting me up for a loss. Not in the form of weight loss, but in the form of pressure to compete with others.  I didn't gain or lose this week, but it doesn't mean that next week won't bring those pounds back to me because I decided to take a week off.  I am not sure of much about my weight loss goal, but I do like..........

1. Shopping for clothes in my closet.  I didn't get back to 140 pounds, but I did get back into my size 8 pants.  I am loving wearing something different... I wore the same four pairs of pants for several months because I refused to buy another size.  My clothes were a little tight, but it feels good not having clothes that don't fit me anymore because they're too big!

2. Eating less! Eating more fruits, veggies, and protein.  I am not all about fried food anymore.  I am loving my salads and the variety offered.  A nice green salad with sandwich meat, trail mix (raisins, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seed kernels, and pineapples) makes up a mean salad.  I only need a teaspoon of salad dressing, which is not even a full serving.

3. Being able to bend over to tie my shoe laces and not feeling that awful pain in my gut!

4. Feeling like I've met a goal and am half way through my journey!  I haven't felt like I've accomplished much in years in terms of physical fitness.  I've had a long two years of surgeries and feel like my time is now!

5.  Getting back to the FIRM workout videos!  The wait is over.  I start my cardio overdrive next week!

I listed five things that really have me going... I am now going to take that 1 burden to the Lord.  He says I can cast all my cares on Him. He will take care of me and answer my prayers...I will not let the contest become a burden.  This will be my time to practice what I preach and do something valuable with what I've learned about me and my healthy lifestyle journey.  Not because of me, but because of Him and all that He gives me!

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12 NIV).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Dear Daddy!

I am thinking of you today like most days.  It's hard living without you....

You are in my heart and my love for you is still strong.  If ever there was a time when I wanted most to talk, it's these days.  I miss my mentor who taught me so much about Christ.  We're studying the Book of Acts, written by Luke at church this season.  I know how much you loved reading books by the Apostle Paul.  A great story found in the Book of Acts is of Saul becoming Paul!  Something so great about the Bible is learning something new all over again.

It's tough and it's been so amazing living here knowing you've gone on.  It's like the world is a different place because I don't see your face.  It's like the world stopped turning and started again.  It's like the breeze that you never want to stop because it's sooo hot outside.  Can I stop the tears, can I end the fears?  The fear of longing, to talk to you and get a hug from you.  If I could have just one more day, even an hour just to sit with you....

I want to say that I am happy.  I want to say that my family goes to church every Sunday.  I want to say that we love the Lord.  I want to say that we love Bible Study.  I want to say that we pray together everyday.  I want to say that we have our plan, our mission from God.  It's simple - Just know Him.  We learned that from you.  Reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Discovering God's Purpose for Your Life by Beth Moore helped us in that we're able to focus on our purpose in life and move through life knowing our purpose lies in Him.

I think of you when I am outside in the rain.  Everytime my baby wants to be picked up, I think of you.  I remember wanting to touch the sky and you picking me up to get there.  I drive on the right side of the road on the Interstate.  I try not to worry as much because you always said not to...

One day, we'll be together again.  We'll laugh, play, sing, dance, and talk about what I know....

Love You,


He will wipe every team from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4 NIV)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A number on the scale

Wow!  Our Biggest Loser Contest ended this past week and I cannot believe three months have gone by already.  I am excited to say that it was a great acomplishment for me and the start of an awesome journey.  This contest gave me the courage to write, to blog.  It also gave me the opportunity to look at my life and really see me.  What am I doing is the question I ask every time I start to write.  Sometimes it feels like I am on top of the world and at others, it feels like there's so much more I can be doing each day.  I must say that I started out not really sure of what to do or how to approach losing weight.  I had gone down this road a few times and each time a different approach was taken, always reaching the goal..  I must say that I realized that it's a journey and not something to be taken lightly or accomplished easily.  Because even though I made it to where I wanted to be, I never stayed there.  That leads to a truth - I haven't accomplished my true goal  - to really be true to me. 

My life isn't about the number on the scale, it's about who I am on the inside.  It's about God's purpose and plan for my life.  I know that plan includes being a vessel through which he can use me as a member of His Family to accomplish His plan for us.  His plan, which is greater than I could ever imagine, is what I seek.  So as much as I want to say this is about me, I have to say it's even bigger.  My God has given me so much in life and he wants me to give even more.  To do so, I must be at my very best.  Me + Healthy Foods + Exercise+ Active participation in my Faith = Better You and Better Me. 

Oh yeah, the contest. ...I think we all learned to live healthier lives.  We exercised, ate healthy foods, and we lost well over a hundred pounds.  One day, one bite, one pound, one size and one step at a time.

Praise God!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Me and My Foods!

I am trying to figure out what happened to me and why I am so limited with food.  My kid hates veggies and will tell you - often!  I would love to say that it's not my fault becaue my parents were never limited in what they ate, just me.  And sometimes it's true that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  I just never liked anything!  I would eat hot dogs for dinner at Thanksgiving because I was such a baby! (Thanks, Ma)

I have tried the majority of vegetables and fruits, I just don't like a whole lot.  I feel like it has hurt me in my weight loss journey and life in general.  I've gained weight over the years due to my not eating consistently from the major food groups.  I can honestly say the number of frutis and vegetables I've had over the last twenty years is less than the recommended servings per day.   I think at this point, I just have to accept who I am when it comes to food and not worry about why I don't want to eat brussel sprouts.  It's just not me and I have to get beyond the woe is me phase.  I know I am lacking in variety and at the end of the day, I need to just eat and stop worrying so much.  I can still make great choices, even with my limits!

I have found that I like squash and zuchinni thanks to Kabuki - Japanese Steak House.  I love the vegetables from the Hibachi grill.  I really love the fried rice...hmm sounds like a plan for lunch.  I have two friends who gave me great recipes for spicing up my home menu.  Several times I've tried to saute veggies with olive oil.  YUCK!  I never seemed to get things right so I gave up.  A few months ago a friend told me that his wife bakes their veggies.  It sounded simple and it worked!  I really enjoyed my squash and zuchinni.  I have since been able to make a casserole dish thanks to my friend Amanda.  My kid still won't budge, hates it, but that's okay.  One day...

I always thought that I would be okay eating whatever, whenever I like.  I don't know why I didn't think it would catch up with me.  I remember eating pizza, burgers, fries, candy, chips...etc.  I remember thinking that I don't really care how much I am eating this food or how much I weigh.  I have found that I do care.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be here.  I want to be able to play with my kid and not be too tired.  And of course, I want to be able to let of the meds for good.

As much as I would like to think that my diet doesn't matter, I know that it does.  Over the years, I've been able to loose weight wihout always having to modify my food choices.  I would change my portions but not necessarily the foods I was eating.  This time around I found that I do need to change up my food.  I need to eat less and also eat more of the right foods.  I eat more fruits and vegetables and so does my family.  It feels good knowing that we are making changes for the better..

In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. (Psalm 120:1)

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. (Psalm 130: 5-6)

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalm 150:6)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keeping it all together!

Wow!  This last month has been super busy.  We've had something going on every week and I am doing my best to manage.  Between graduations, recitals, spring concerts, a beautiful wedding, school programs, training classes at work, potluck, and conferences - I am tapped out!  Just a little stressed trying to get it all in..  I want to eat healthy but it's hard when you don't have enough time or in some cases you just don't take the time to accomplish everything required.  I am not giving up, just thinking.  I don't know how to keep this up some days.  I feel like eating something that's good - M&Ms, Pizza, anything milk chocolate...Yum!

About three years ago I decided to eat chocolate often.  Not because I didn't have any other options, but because it's what I wanted.  As time went by, I continued to eat chocolate.  Anytime a life altering event occurred, I wanted chocolate even more.  It had gotten to the point where I reached for my comfort foods - cheese and chocolate every single day.  The year 2011 became the "I'll just eat chocolate no matter what" year replacing one chocolate brand for another.  I am not sure why I was doing this to myself, but figured out the hard way that it wasn't good for me. 

Although my thoughts have changed, I have to ask myself why good food for me is chocolate or cheese.  I just love it!  I can smell it and taste it!  A coworker brought in 5 Guys french fries and a burger last week.  I could smell that thing from across the room!  I mean my nose literally searched every cubicle until I found that cheeseburger!  It's like my sense of smell for foods that I've been avoiding has gone crazy over the last few months!  We made treat sacs filled with chocolate for my kid's teachers and the smell of milk chocolate took me back to the good old days.  Amazing what smell can do for ya!

Chocolate is great in moderation, but for a 5"2 woman, it's NOT an everyday choice!  Because of my weight gain, cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, and not to mention genetics; I realized I wasn't doing a great job taking care of myself at all.  I felt like if I could eat those foods all day long, I would be so -----.  I don't even know what word to use because it really wasn't doing a whole lot for me.  It's like yelling at someone and feeling bad afterwards.  There's no satisfaction as much as you thought there would be when you started...  I will say that was the old me.  Although the thought is there; it's not my style anymore.  As much as I want to indulge I really don't want to indulge.  It is true that once you go through 21 days with or without something you feel strongly about accomplishing or changing, you will make a difference in your life!  I refuse to let food be my reason for living...I will always choose to eat to live!

I need my Lord, my Savior's help!  I've slacked off on my prayers for myself over the last few weeks because through the help of my sisters and brothers in Christ, so much of what I needed had been answered.  I do know I cannot do this alone.  The fact that I am sitting here writing about my experience, holding my self accountable isn't enough.  It's through Him that I am able to succeed in life.  If I could just remember that every second of every day, I could accomplish so much more.  I will lift my eyes to Him and ask for grace and mercy as I go forward.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 KJV)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mama, I love you!

Dear Mama,

You loved me as you carried me in the womb.  I always knew it was you - my head turned when you entered a room.  Your voice was the first I was able to hear so I always knew when you were near.  Your touch so gentle and kind.  Your eyes smile and look just like mine.  As you held me close always there, your heart beat quietly in my ear.  Today and everyday I am happy to call you Mother.  You're the best and like none other...

Just remembering the days gone by, everyday I would ask you why.  A curious child I was, always questions just because.  You held me closely when I felt bad.  Always getting rid of anything sad.  You're truly the heart of a family.  Even when there is no Daddy.  You kept us fed.  You read to us when it was time for bed.  You're grandkids know there's nothing that you can't do, they say "Just call my Nan Nan, she knows what to do".  Today and everyday I am happy to call you Mother.  You're the best and like none other...

You took the time to check my skinned knee.  You understand that I like to sit and just be.  Through the years as I cried,  you stood by my side.  You knew there would be better days to come.  You knew I would get through that one.  There were so many times when I didn't want to try and you said kiss those times good bye.  Focus on what's good and true.   You can only be the best you.  Today and everyday I am happy to call you Mother.  You're the best and like none other...

Although He's given me life and that's everything, you taught me that it's still okay to dream.  As I walked across the stage on that special day, you looked at me with a smile in your own special way.  So proud of my accomplishments looking back wondering where the time went.  Watching the grandkids that you hold seeing that new love feed our souls.  Your kind words are all I ever need.  Gently whispering Jesus is the King of Kings.  Who knew what I could be.  Mama, you always knew I would succeed.  You're the one who knows me and loves me for me.  You know my Father has a journey paved so I should just wait and see.  God has truly blessed me indeed.  God has the best plans for me and a part of those plans is a Mother as true as can be.

Today and everyday I am happy to call you Mother. You're the best and like none other. ~JourneywithJennifer~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finally - Progress!

Me Today!

Me, March 17!

It's been 8 weeks now and I feel better after seeing some results!  So far I've lost a little over 10 pounds!  I am excited and plan to continue on even after the contest at work is over.  I've also learned a few things about myself over the last few weeks and feel like that will help me through life in general as long as I recognize the signs.

1.  I am  and will continue doing a better job with my eating.  I have been pretty successful in keeping healthier foods around versus my go to foods when I am on the run-  fast food restaurants anyone.  I am not saying there aren't any healthy menu options.  I can eat a nice salad at McDonalds.  My issue is when I don't take out the time to stop and I am on the go that I don't make great choices!

2.  I cut back on the amount of food that I eat.  I have had my fav - chick fil a, but not too much.  If I am in a pinch, I eat half the amount of food and save calories and fat!  I fill up quicker and that's something I have to remember when eating any meal.  I have to listen to my body when it says "I've had enough".

3.  On the other hand, I still need to watch my calorie intake.  Some days I don't feel hungry and skip meals because I have a snack that "fills me up".  I need to ensure I eat at least 1200 calories a day to keep this healthy lifestyle going...

4.  Then again, on days when I am on my game, I eat more often.  I snack on dry roasted peanuts most days.  I also have yogurt and fruit.  If I wait until I am really hungry, it's easier to just say oh well and blow it for the day.  As long as I can remember to plan ahead, I can be successful. 

-- My niece got married this weekend.  We had to arrive prior to the ceremony for pictures.  I took my Special K Cereal and Yogurt for snacks.  I also had water.  I didn't feel any urge to eat a cheeseburger or fried chicken!

5. I have great support!  My family, friends, and coworkers are all there when I need them.  I love that we can suppport each other, be happy for each other and be competitive at the same time. 

--Sometimes I forget to ask for help.  I try to do it all myself when I should really just let someone know that I am in need of their help.

6.  I am not drinking enough water.  I don't get enough sleep at night; therefore all I want is to have caffiene throughout the day to keep me going.  I can break this habit!  I started this journey drinking more water than diet sodas.  I have to find my way back to the routine of wanting and drinking more water throughout the day.  I can do this - I've done it before.  Not sure I'm convinced!

7. I am realizing that I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  I definitely saw after my last post that I was starting to get down on myself.  I was up and down on the weight and I also had to stop my exercising!  My knee has been sore for a few weeks and after taking a break, it's much better.  This has been bothering me, but you know I have to claim the victory.  I know there are people praying for me because once I asked for those prayers, I started feeling better immediately. 

God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I am appreciating my friends and family who offer me encouragement everyday!

Everytime I see one of you reach a new milestone, I am encouraged.  Whenever I see you reach out to others, I know that I am blessed.  Each day that you get through a minute or second of grief, my heart melts.  Anytime you walk away from a toxic relationship, I am stronger.  When you show illness who's child you really are, my soul sings.  My spirit absolutely tingles from head to toe!  Whenever you smile - I see Jesus.  I know that I am truly blessed to know you and to be called your family, your friend.  You are fabulous and I try my best to tell you or show you every chance I get because You are all AWESOME and I love you!

New Thoughts versus Old Habits – Part II

I am using myfitnesspal to monitor my food intake during the week, but not on weekends.  I am starting to think journaling on weekends would be helpful too.  I don't know that I am eating enough because for a few days I ate fewer calories than the 1200 allotted to meet my fitness goals.  Oh yes, I guess I forgot that I was only allotted 1200 calories a day!  What a suprise for me because I never thought I would make it on 1200 calories.  I thought I would just melt away....

I didn't melt away...... and I realize now that I was planning things out when I started off.  I would make sure I had enough fruit, yogurt, granola, salad, etc.  I would also plan out days to exercise and stick to my plan.  Now that I am not planning as much, I am eating less.  I am finding that the less I eat, the hungrier I am.  I then end up eating BE&C biscuits because they are cheap and convenient.  Everything is about convenience.

Speaking of convenience, for parents with school age children, the year is starting to wind down.  We now have school programs, church concerts, spring shows, playoffs, tournaments, recitals, etc.  Our schedules are even more hectic than a month ago.  If we're not careful, we can quickly find ourselves in our old patterns of putting our families ahead of ourselves.  This would be in the form of skipping exercise dates, forgetting to eat meals, conveniently going through a fast food restaurant's drive-thru.  That's what I am doing.  I am so concerned with my family's schedule, that I am no longer concerned with myself.  I should be concerned about our diets, not just my own.

Speaking of my own - My Family and Friends are great!  Thanks to everyone for the support you've given over the last 6 weeks.  It has been a journey, one that I am finding is even greater than I expected.  I am learning and that's a gift!  I am looking forward to the next 6 weeks, no matter the challenge or reward.
Love - It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Thoughts versus Old Habits – Part I

 When I started my healthy lifestyle journey, I decided that I would find healthier foods that I really like and eat those foods.  I thought that would be easier than having shakes, frozen dinners, any type of bar - cereal, granola, special k - WHATEVER.  I have successfully lost weight over the years eating shakes, bars, and frozen dinners.  The problem, and there is a problem, is I would gain it back because I wasn't happy eating those foods.  I would return to my comfort foods and over indulge on a weekly basis.  To jump start my journey, I entered a weight loss competition at work.... We weigh in every Tuesday morning and this week was a kicker.....  Drum roll please - I ended up GAINING 2 1/2 lbs.  To say I was disappointed, is like saying taking a band aid off quickly really doesn't hurt..... It does!  It seemed like I had gotten away with having a small bite of this or that, which turned into several bites over several days, when in reality, I didn't get away with anything at all.   I was on my way, and a few small slips cost more than I want to admit.  It's so true - old habits are hard to break.   I started with the two-bite brownies, and then moved on to the chocolate chip cookies.  Cyndee had to talk me down from a chocolate chip dip she brought in to work on Thursday, but no one could talk me down when it came to chocolate chip pound cake.  It was the best cake!  I cannot stop talking about how much I enjoyed that slice of cake.  I don't know if it's because I am truly obsessed with chocolate or that it's been a while since I really and truly enjoyed chocolate!  I would say it's both if I had to choose.  I can see the pattern returning...It's slow, but it's there.  
On Friday, I had salad for lunch.  One of my new favs - Baby Spinach in a Spring Mix, Hillshire Farms Cracked Black Pepper Turkey Breast, and a touch of Naturally Fresh's Classic Ranch salad dressing.  It was delicious and filling, but after finishing my lunch, I felt like I had to have something sweet.  Someone can relate to that feeling of sweet after salt or even sweet with the salt.  Chocolate chip cookies, Doritos, with a coke anyone, anyone???  I was craving Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies!  I was hurt and frustrated.  I had gotten past this point or I thought I had.  I would eat fruit or yogurt with my lunch or dinner and wouldn't have cravings.  Once I recognized the craving and the possible result of my giving in to my craving, and more importantly, returning to my old patterns, I ended up with peanuts.  
I recognize the pattern and I truly want to change!  Today I am reminded of Romans 12:2 - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gotta face reality...can't bury the truth

I weighed in at work on Tuesday and I had lost a 1/2 1b.  I was disappointed and felt like, "Hey, I can do better".  But I realized there was no point in complaining or even feeling less than blessed because I'd made progress despite my weekend of eating sweets.  I actually fell victim to red velvet cake, chocolate chip cookies, and the two bite brownies from last Friday!  I don't know that victims the correct word here, but I feel like one today and I am going to go with that...

It all started Friday night.  We decided to have Family Nite - which means pizza, two bite brownies, soda, chip and dip and at least three movies.  Well, I decided that pizza was not going to happen and we ended up eating sandwiches and chips topped off with the two bite brownies.  Well I only had a few and ended up with a few more Saturday night.  I then baked cookies on Sunday and decided, what could it hurt.  I mean, I really thought that I had made it through without having to acutally accept the reality of my eating foods that I had sworn off.  And yes, 4 weeks ago I decided that I wouldn't eat the cookies, cakes, brownies, etc.  I had been doing great up until this point, so why not take a chance now.  Take a bite, get some chocolate, endulge............WRONG!

I was so happy spending time with family and friends and celebrating Easter that I let go and went all out.  To some people, this may not sound like much, but for me, it's a lot.  I had spent the last three weeks eating salads, baked chicken, yogurt with granola, fruit, drinking water, etc.  I wasn't letting up and finally, I gave an inch and took a mile.  That's mighty cliche of me to say and well, it cost me - I weighed myself Wednesday morning and again today and I had gained 1 1/2 lbs.  All I could do is deny the great weekend I'd had enjoying my favorite foods.  I am praying that it was great because of Jesus and not because of the foods I ate.  Lord, help me.

Even though I've decided to call myself a victim, I am really glad that I learned this lesson early on in this contest and more importantly this journey.  I need to stick to my regime.  If this were 10 or even 5 years ago, the sweets wouldn't have hurt so much. I would have been able to squeak by with the 1/2 lb loss and no gains.  But this is what 38 looks like and I need to face the reality of the situation I am in today.  I need to eat healthy every day.  I need to add additional days to my exercise routine and I need to add time.  I need to go to bed at a decent hour.  I need to accept the fact that if I am going to eat foods that aren't healthy or a better way to put this would be to say foods that don't really help my current sitution, I can expect results that don't make me happy.  

Today a coworker I turn to when I have any question about anything asked if it was that time of the month for me when I said that I had gained weight.  I said no, but as I write this post, I realize that last week was.  I should say thanks because apparaently it took a few days to catch up with me.  On the other hand, I am thinking - Am I really going to use this as a copout?  I think what this really means is that during that time, you may retain a little bit more and that would be a reason for the weight gain.  I want to whine and say it was that time of the month for me and that's what made me do what I did.  I can say that it's not true.  At least not this time.  I typically eat the sweets the week prior to the time of the month for me.  I also eat chocolate or something close to it every day.  I will be sure to pay closer attention next month and maybe just maybe, I'll find that if I stick to my goals it will be okay. 

I cannot bury the truth of the habits I've developed over the years, but I can face reality.  I can definitely turn to my Lord and Savior and just pray.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Wow!  So far my day has been absolutely wonderful.  Our Pastor wrapped up a series - Set Free.  It was a great sermon reminding us all of the wonderful gift God gave us in His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  As I reflect on this great life we live, I am reminded of God's love for us.

My Dear, Heavenly Father, I Thank You.  Today and everyday, I am set free by the one who taught me to believe.  He is the One who knows me and encourages me to just be.  I am in awe of knowing that I am loved for me and only me by my Father, the King of Kings.  Lord, you defeated the grave so that I might be saved.  I want to know everything about You; serve and honor You; tell the world about You.  Jesus, the one who paid the price and made the sacrifice giving me a new life.  Comforter, Healer, All Mighty Powerful God, Thank You for my soul has been redeemed!
Your Daughter,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Treading Waters

This has been an incredible week.  I have lost a total of about 6 lbs.  I am proud of myself.  I worked out a total of 4 times this week – combination of aerobics, walking, and ZUMBA.  Go Me!  I guess it’s safe to say that I am struggling and that’s where I know I need God’s help.  I am at a point where I am starting to see results.  And because I see results, I am getting a little nervous.  I always seem to find a way out!  I don’t understand why, but I feel like I sabotage myself, like I really don’t want what I say I want.  I know that this is the right thing to do, to do my very best, giving my all to better myself.  I just don’t know that I am ready for all that comes along with this lifestyle.  When you’re in great shape, people notice and you can end up with lots of attention.  At times, it’s uncomfortable.  I like some attention, just not attention regarding my body and how much I weigh.  Whether you’re big or small, bigger or smaller, people have something to say and it can be interpreted in different ways.  When you gain weight people say “you look good with some weight on you” or “I cannot believe you’ve gotten so big” or “what happened” or “slow down” or “back away from the buffet table”.  If you’re smaller it’s always “you’re starting to look too small” or “you look good with some weight on you” or “you’re beautiful”.  It would be nice to know that your looks aren’t tied to a number on a scale.  One thing life has taught me is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there’s beauty in everyone. 

I must admit that a big reason for my struggle is that I have a hard time turning down those chocolate candies, cookies, brownies and even ice cream.  I have an even harder time turning down cake from Publix.  This was definitely my week to step outside of my newfound comfort of healthier foods and return to some of my old foods.  No, not the peanut M&Ms or the Famous Amos cookies, I returned to chocolate in general.  I had two small cups of chocolate Blue Bell ice cream this week and four of those lovely two-bite brownies from Publix.  No, I didn’t buy them for me, but I did buy them for my family.  You see it’s hard to deprive your family when family hasn’t done anything wrong.  The problem comes in when I end up eating the food to avoid waste because the family only wants and needs a little bit of that comfort food.  I need a lot…… So I must admit that I didn’t pray like I feel I needed to in this situation.  I think that God is calling me because he knows that I am definitely treading lightly and could easily end up back on the same track as before – no boundaries or concerns for my health.  I’d end up in a place of mindless eating with no true value at all.  I want and need to value myself and my family to not only live longer, but live a healthy and happy life while I am here.  You see being on meds is just not a fun thing.  Don’t get me wrong; when it’s required, it’s required.  It’s just in this case, if I can do something to get myself one step further away from requiring meds, then that’s what I need to do.  I want to put down the Crestor for good this time.  This week I am more determined than ever to read and study my bible.  This helps me not only focus on what’s important – all of eternity versus the here and now love affair I have with food – but to know who is and always will be my first true love – Jesus.  God loves us!  I hope Easter Sunday finds us all at Church, whether at home with families, at a worship service, or on the web.  Happy Easter!  God Bless Us All!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Me prior to starting my healthy lifestyle journey


This has been a tough week!  It's spring break and all I wanted to do was relax and have fun.  This meant eat my FAV Foods everyday all day!  I need to get a life.  I talked to some coworkers this week and we discussed food and how we view good food.  We pretty much agreed that we have our comfort foods, foods that we don't won't to give up.  We also talked about the foods that we need during that time of the month.  Chocolate, cheese, salty/sweet anything, any junk food are all foods needed to get through that monthly cycle.  I cannot say that I am not one of those who eats that way because unfortunately I am.  I can eat a medium sausage pizza and cheese sticks from Papa Johns all weekend.  I must say that would have been ideal two months ago.  I guess I am finding that I don't have to necessarily indulge and totally loose control eating anything regardless of the effects on my body, but more importantly my health.  I am concerned about not only the number on the scale but the blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  That's what scares me the most.  So I have to really consider if that feeling of contentment after eating that special meal is enough to sustain me for more than a few hours.  It's not worth it nor will it ever be worth my healthy life.  Yesterday we went out for lunch and I had mild wings with a side salad.  It was pretty good.  I enjoyed every bite and must say it was enough.  I don't have the desire to go back for more as I would if I were eating peanut M&Ms.  That's a story for another day.  I have really found that I love the taste of granola, strawberries, and yogurt thanks to my good coworker Devan.  That is the best snack!  It is totally yum!  Although it's taking time, I am finding that there is another life out there that doesn't revolve around food, but my love and renewed thirst to know and grow closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  That's totally the best life.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A New Beginning

Week One of My Healhty Lifestyle Journey

My name is Jennifer and I am on my way to a healthier life.  Here is my story.  As a young girl, I was small and didn’t eat much, at least not foods that I didn’t like.  As a teenager, I was even smaller weighing only 102lbs.  I was active, energetic, and ate very little on most days.  It was inevitable that I would be small.  That was very tough for me because unfortunately everyone else was bigger.  I was teased constantly by family and friends.  I will say that my parents and siblings didn’t tease me about my weight.  They teased me about other things. LOL!  Here I am years later on the other end of the spectrum.  I am seriously overweight, actually obese.  Today I officially weighed in at 170.5lbs.  That’s heavy for a 5”2 person. I want to change the scales, change my life and become healthier.  I am concerned that I’ll end up with health issues that I know I could  have controlled if I had taken better care of Me.  I have elevated cholesterol levels.  I need to stabilize those numbers, reduce them if possible and never return there again.  If only it were a simple as speaking and boom, I am there.  I have decided to take charge of my life and put in the extra work required to be a healthy person.  NO, I don’t want to be 102lbs.  It’s not for me, but I do want to be healthy.   I just want to make healthy food choices but enjoy the food that I eat.  I am learning to cook, bake, fix a mean salad, and EXERCISE!  So today, and everyday, I will make better choices.  I will choose a better life.  I will succeed.  I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13 NLT)