Tuesday, May 31, 2011

going for my goals

i'm in my 21st week of doing weight watchers and i'm still constantly amazed at the progress i'm making and the positive changes happening in my life. as of yesterday i am down 35.5lbs. that's an average of 1.7lbs a week which is right on track for healthy weight loss. i've been at this process for almost half a year! that's just crazy to me.

does it sound like i'm tooting my own horn? oh wait... i am! because i am proud of sticking with this. i'm proud of my discipline and my self control. although i couldn't have done this without God giving me strength daily... let's be honest. or my amazing sister who i get to walk this journey with. i think healthy positive reinforcement is a good thing and man- i just feel good!

i found a picture from christmas and put it side-by-side with a photo my sister took of me on sunday. i see the difference... do you?

for any of you on this weight loss journey- don't give up! this isn't about quick results. you are changing your life one day at a time. we all have bad days. trust me- i've been there. in the midst of all of this i lost one of the most special relationships i had. if anyone had a reason to give up, it was me. and i'm so glad i didn't. in fact, i think sticking with this during my difficult season has given me something positive to focus on and allowed me to do this for myself and no one else. i'm learning how strong God actually created me to be and i love it. i feel so empowered!

it's not over yet though! and you wanna know the truth? oh gosh... i can't believe i'm gonna write this...

i'm only halfway there.

oh man.


my goal? the one i've been so afraid to voice? is to lose 70lbs... by the end of the year if at all possible.


i hate setting goals. i've never been a goal setter. because? i have an intense fear of failure. what if i set a goal and i don't meet it? i don't wanna put all that pressure on myself! but you know what? this is a new season for me. a season of growing and stretching and becoming all God wants me to be and that includes letting go of my fears!!! so there you go. i set a goal. and my worth and value are not based upon whether i reach it or not. i'm loved regardless. so boo to you failure. i don't care about you anymore. you aren't gonna have power over me anymore.

wow. i feel even more empowered now. haha. that was awesome.

thanks for your support as i travel this crazy adventure.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

embrace the fireball

you know those seasons in life where it feels like you're under immense pressure? where every day a new challenge seems to surface that has you clinging to your next breath? when it seems like God is trying to deal with every issue of your heart all at once?

in my community of believers we like to refer to that as the "fireball."

and we talk often about embracing the fireball... clinging to it and allowing God to do the difficult work in our hearts. but it's hot. oh so very hot. and it's uncomfortable. and can i please just drop this thing now and move on?

that's often our typical response... at least it's mine. i wanna rebel against this fireball that feels like it's burning up every part of me. although, i suppose that's the point. less of me. more of HIM.

but it's still hard. and it hurts. and did i mention it's hard? this whole refining process... dealing with the skeletons in the closet... examining the inner workings of your heart... reconciling relationships instead of cutting off... this isn't easy stuff.

i was reading james this morning and decided to read from the message translation. here's verses 2-4 from chapter 1.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
yup, i can identify with that. but consider it a gift? what??? you mean i should embrace this fireball as a gift? as in receive it with open arms? such a far stretch from my natural human inclination. it's that age old question really... fight or flight? am i going to fight my way through this, knowing that i'll be drawn closer to my savior, or run away and delay the process even more? because if i don't deal with these things now, i'll just have to deal with them later.

a few verses down james says this (verse 12):
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
oh be still my heart! loyally in love with God? yes! that is what i want to be! because you better believe i want life and more life. and if that is my reward for being loyally in love with God then yes!

so i will do my best to choose to embrace the fireball. to trust the process that will ultimately lead me into the most fulfilling, inspiring, exciting life with my Creator, my Father, my Savior, my Friend.

grace and peace to you today...


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

at the foot of the cross

my daily girlfriends in God devotional this morning was really convicting. it was talking about pride, which is something we can all probably relate to on some level, although who wants to admit that? at the end of the devotional was a simple prayer. i'll admit, most days i just kinda skim the prayer. but today? i read it out loud and really tried to focus on what i was praying. one of the lines was this,
"Today, I ask You to search my heart and destroy the strongholds of pride and ego. Help me to recognize prideful thoughts and actions in my life."
so i prayed, finished my coffee and got ready for my day, not giving it much more thought. i had to get gas this morning so i went to a different place than usual because i also had to return a movie to a blockbuster express kiosk. i don't usually rent from those because there's a redbox literally 1 block from my house (at the gas station that i normally go to); however, yesterday i saw that there was a promo code for a free rental from blockbuster express so i decided to try it out. to make a long story short, i ended up being faced with a situation where i had a choice to make. to help someone out or walk right by them. today i chose the former.

as i pulled out of the gas station i felt it... that little puff of pride trying to creep its way in... whispering in my ear how great i was for what i did... pondering how many people i would tell about this act of kindness... should i tweet it? facebook it? text someone? after all- people need to know how wonderful i am!


then it all came flooding back to me. i had just read a devotional this morning about pride. that the source of it is insecurity and a preoccupation with self. and that it puts a wedge between me and God. i had even prayed a prayer asking God to show me my own prideful actions and he had answered.

why do i still want to look to others for approval and validation? isn't it enough that my heavenly Father sees my heart and rejoices when i am able to bless others? this is one of the daily struggles of being a follower of jesus. it's that constant having to "die" to yourself and your selfish behaviors. it's that knowledge that in your very weakness, God's strength can be revealed. it's that recognition that we are all saved by grace and have done nothing to earn the love that God so freely gives.

i'm so thankful for a savior who loves me enough to point out my areas of weakness in a way that ultimately leads me back where i belong... at the foot of cross... it's the place i need to be... the place i want to be.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

the art of letting go

you know, sometimes you just have those days... those days where you wanna crawl in a hole and not come out. when you wanna shut out the world and turn off the constant barrage of thoughts fighting to invade your mind. lots of days i shove it all down so i can function but that only lasts so long until the tears can no longer be contained. i find that a lot of my meltdowns occur in the shower. tmi? i hope not. i think it's one of the few times in my day where i'm literally just standing still... then i take a deep breath and whoooooooosh a flood of emotions hits me. this was yesterday for me.

i got out of the shower and i'm staring at my pathetic, crying self trying to hold back all the anguish and anger and failing miserably. is this really my life now? in that moment a fleeting thought passes of showing up on his doorstep so he can see me in my full-blown pain. so i can scream at him and point my finger and say 'you did this.' get a grip susan. no... that's not really what i want to do... because the truth is i love him and the last thing i want to be is another voice that puts him down. he doesn't need any more of that. i know his character and his heart and i still believe and hope for the best for him... despite everything that has happened.

oh this process of letting go is so hard. this process of trusting that God has your best interest in mind is tough to hold onto sometimes. i was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned indiana jones and the last crusade and how he had to step off that cliff trusting that there was this invisible bridge he would land on. that's really what faith is, isn't it? taking a step forward, hoping that you'll land on something and not plummet thousands of feet to your death? i know sometimes i like to act like faith is an easy thing, but now that it's really being tested i find myself not so self-assured. and maybe that's the point. this situation is forcing me to move beyond myself. it's out of my control. i can't manipulate it to get the result i want. i've lost all self-assurance and the only thing, the only one i have to rely on is God. maybe he's using this situation to move me out of the way to make more room for him. i don't know. i suppose i'll know for sure once more time passes and i have a clearer picture of all this.

for now i take it day by day... hour by hour... moment by moment... doing my best to trust and let go and trust and let go and so on and so on.

thank you for your continued prayers and support as i work my way through this.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

happy birthday emeline!

yup, it's another birthday post. yesterday was my mom, today it's emeline!

it's hard to believe that this little munchkin is a year old already! i know i'm only her aunt but my lord, this child has stolen my heart. i hoped her and i would have a special bond because of how close her mommy and i are but you never really know. i might be biased but i think we're pretty tight. ;)

i was so privileged to witness her incredible entrance into this world and i hope i always get to be there for her special moments. seriously, this child is a pure joy to be around. she is one of the happiest, silliest and lovable kids you'll ever meet. she has this ability to make people feel so special and loved. she can connect with strangers in an instant. it's a gift and one that i pray she always holds onto!

since kate and i spend a lot of time together i get to see emeline a lot, too and it's awesome. watching her little personality come to life over the last year has been such a joy. she's a treasure to be around and truly a blessing from the lord. and watching my sister be a mom? wow. one of the most amazing things ever. seriously. if you know kate, you know she loves hard and emeline is no exception. that little girl is so blessed. and her daddy is pretty cool, too.  :)

oh eme kay! you are so loved! i'm so happy that i get to be your aunt susie! i hope you have a very happy birthday today and that God will continue to grant health and peace to you in this next year. love love love you dear one!


ps- fun fact: emeline is the official link that makes me and my bestie, lyryn related. haha... ok maybe not officially but we like to think so. we're both her aunties which is awesome since kate is my sister and declan is her brother. pretty sweet huh? :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

happy birthday mom!

it has been a whirlwind week... most of my free time from work was spent helping kate get all the final details together for eme's 1st birthday party on saturday. it was an awesome day and she posted a fun photo recap on her blog. if you haven't seen it yet- be sure to check it out. she's amazing.

today is a very special day! it's my mom's birthday today. i feel like every year her birthday gets lost and/or combined with mothers day. she's always so gracious about it of course but i still wanted to give her a little blog shoutout.

my mom is one amazing lady. if you know her, you'd understand. she's one of the strongest women i know and so compassionate and giving. if you're sad or upset she'll be the first person to come hug you or cry right alongside you. she's so incredibly selfless and would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. my mom has definitely taught me how to love others... especially those who the rest of the world rejects.

she's a spiritual mom to so many. most people call her "mama ruthie" and there's a reason for that. they feel the love of a mother from her. i'm one of only 4 people who actually get to say that she really is their mom. a pretty special privilege if i do say so myself. you always know you've got a great mom when people tell you how jealous they are and that they wish they had a mom like yours! the older she gets the more adventurous she becomes. she's gone to africa with me twice and that's a tough trip!

so happy birthday mom! i hope you get to rest a bit today and soak in this beautiful day. thanks for all the love you to continue to pour out to me and the rest of our family. we're so blessed to have you! i love you so much and i'm so honored to be your daugher! 


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

milestone week

i'm gonna celebrate for a minute and toot my own horn so bear with me...

i hit my 30lbs weight loss monday!!!! hooray!!!

i'm not great at celebrating these victories because i'll admit, i'm always looking towards the next milestone. as soon as i hit 30 i was trying to figure out if i can hit 40 by my family vacation. where was the stopping to be present in the current accomplishment? my sister lovingly reminded me of this monday as i was already looking ahead... quickly moving on from the joy of that moment.

so i thought i would post on my blog as a way of reminding myself to stop and celebrate and be thankful for how far i've come! i still feel like i have so far to go, but that's alright. one day at a time. this isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. this is a lifestyle change. a retraining of the brain. self-discipline. focus. determination.

i've realized over the last couple of months, as i've had to let some dreams go, that it can be hard coming up with new dreams... or realizing ones that have been pushed down for so long... and yesterday it hit me. this is one of my dreams. to be healthy. to not be overweight. to be happy in my own skin. and i'm going for it! sure it might not change the world, but it will change me and how i interact with it which makes it positive and something i should be proud to be working towards.

happy wednesday!