Friday, August 31, 2012

Losing Weight... as a stay at home mom.

As a parent, things never really go according to plan.

Of course, if you don't have kids you could roll your eyes at me and say, "Yes, Jody, this is part of the human experience. We live in a fallen world, plans are made to be broken." Okay, I'll get off of my drama train. But, I just have to say that babies/children make this reality even... well, more real.

(please excuse my grammar today, I didn't sleep much last night.)

My last post was about getting up numerous times with babies. I want to just say that I don't think this whole no-sleeping thing is normal in our lives... in general. I'm praying this post doesn't get interrupted by a child waking up too early from their nap. The afternoon nap is the oasis of a mother's day. It's quiet, you can think, but as soon as you start to take it for granted a baby suddenly starts crying. If you have ever read a post that felt like it ended abruptly, that was why.

For some reason, the lack of sleep is affecting me much harder today than it did on Tuesday. I kind of zombied my way through my walk (in the rain) then home, then through breakfast and a shower. I made a to do list. I had grandiose ideas of vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing toilets, putting away laundry, but every time I would go to do something I would just end up staring into space, forgetting what I was doing. (Seriously, even on menial stuff). So Levi and I fixed some eggs. He wanted milk but I told him since he was up coughing last night (I sat in his bed with him and a cough drop and a glass of water for about 30 mins) he needed to drink some apple cider vinegar and honey instead. He fell on the floor screaming and so we had to have some discipline. Can I make the excuse that I don't get anything done because by the time we are done disciplining for whatever it was I forget what I was doing too? I wander back into the kitchen.

What does all this have to do with weight loss? I realized today that I spend most of my time in my kitchen and I see food ALL THE TIME. It's right there. I open up my freezer to get some ice and I can see the ice cream staring at me. I open my pantry and are some yogurt covered raisins or some cheez its (keep in mind, we also have healthy things like fruits and vegetables and whole grains, but those things don't call to me like the other stuff does.) For some reason this stuff was YELLING at me today.

I think in my mental state I just wanted to eat. Maybe it would help with my fatigue, maybe it would just help me to feel better in general. Because let's be honest, food feels GOOD. It feels good for a few seconds and then it's all over and I need some more because it's not the short-term satisfaction that I need, so I just have to keep going and going.

Okay, I'm going to go to a really honest place right now. That's what I do, this is who I am.

I am really struggling with my body image right now.

Ouch, I don't like to say that.

The way I am starting to see my body is the way I used to see it a long time ago. I was just stuck at this undesirable weight and there was no way I was going to change it. I am much lighter now, but not quite at that place I was before I became pregnant with Aria. Maybe this is the struggle of women who think, "If only I could go back to the size I was before... I got married... I had a baby... I went off to college... I went on that crash diet... " just fill in the blank. I don't think this is a healthy mindset because we can never really go back. You cannot reverse time, you can only go forward and start anew.

I have been comparing myself with other women and falling up short.

I have been secretly satisfied to see other women who never struggled with their weight suddenly struggling (this is so wrong and I hate this about my sinful nature, it's one thing I hate about social media, in that you can almost ... I don't know, I feel like I'm spying on people to see if they are succeeding or failing sometimes. I don't know. I probably just lost like 20 readers...)

I had to stand in front of the mirror the other day and just out loud thank God for my body. Out loud just thank Him that I have the ability to walk, to exercise, to bear children (I have many friends who are struggling with fertility right now). I had to thank Him for the clothes that He has provided for me. I haven't bought clothes in more than a year because people have just given them to me, it's amazing.

Lord, I just want to lay all of this at Your feet.

I want to confess my desire to take my frustrations out on a bowl of ice cream and not take them to You. Please keep an eye on my heart in this area. You are the giver of true freedom. Thank You that all food is clean and I don't need to demonize it. Help me to choose the good things You have given.

Help me to love my kids. Even after a rough night of interrupted sleep and tired, cranky little ones, help me to just love on them. Help me to love my husband and not complain to him. I feel like I have a spirit about me that sometimes says "You have NO IDEA what I go through all day and it is HARD!" But it's not about how hard my work is or how hard his is, it's that I'm called to carry my load in You and he is called to carry his.

Thank You for my body. Thank You for forming my inward parts. Thank You for making me fearfully and wonderfully. Thank You for the privilege of bearing children, they are a gift. I remember looking at Aria yesterday and thinking, she came out of my body. Oh how I remember that day and the struggle and anguish that led up to it. Thank You for her. Thank you for Levi and how having him changed my life, changed my body in ways for the BETTER, that I was lighter and healthier after him than I had been in a long time. Thank You for the miracle of breastfeeding and the humility and difficulty that it is.

I could go on. But I won't.

I'm just going to leave it at that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What To Blog About? {and a bit about walking}

I'm finding that keeping up a blog is not as easy as it sounds. I think the idea of having a blog and being heard and just posting a few times a week sounds really great but then when it comes to actually getting around to posting, it can be difficult. Procrastination leads to not posting and then not posting leads you to the question: "Why do I even have this stupid blog?" I think that's why a lot of people start blogs but maybe only post a few times. That's just my take on things. (shrugs shoulders)

I think of things I want to post usually about twelve times a day. This might be letting you in too much on my crazy mind, but a lot of my thoughts sound like Facebook statuses. Like, if I actually posted everything I thought about posting on Facebook I would post at least 20-30 times a day. I am officially crazy. The good thing is that I have shown some restraint and I usually try to keep it to one or two posts a day. Maybe three or four if you are counting Instagram.

So what have I been thinking about posting about?
- I've been thinking about what I am learning from the "unfriending" process on Facebook (I never know if I should capitalize that or not).
- I always need to be posting more funny stories about Aria and Levi and what I am learning from them.
- I want to post about walking and why I try to go for walks every morning.
- I want to post about where we are with birth control and why we are at the point and my thoughts on getting pregnant with another baby.
- I need to post about my Bible Study ... I have this huge tendency to start things like that which I cannot finnish.
- I am also re-figuring out my home management schedule and would love to share about what I am learning.

I think I will just write a bit about why I take walks every day. This will be quick.

I used to be a hard core exerciser. I'm not particularly fast but I can have some serious endurance. I thought if I was going to work out I needed to sweat buckets and it should take me at least an hour or two. I am learning moderation in all things.

Last night I woke up many times with my sweet, precious daughter (I think she is sick or maybe going through a growth spurt ... or maybe just can't live without me for more than a few hours). Waking up means hearing her cry, going in to get her, nurse her in the chair, maybe dozing a bit while nursing (I have an awesomely huge lay-z-boy that is soooo comfy, I often doze while nursing her in the night.) wake up, carefully put her back in her crib while trying not to wake her but also trying to hold her upright for a minute or two in case a burp needs to come out, it's a fine art, especially when you are half asleep. The next time I woke up was 4, she was kind of crying (looking back I should have just let her cry and see if she would go back to sleep, but who is thinking with their right mind at 4 am anyways?!). So I decided the smart thing would be to just bring her into the bed with me and maybe I would sleep while she nursed. The downside to this plan is that I never sleep as well when she is in the bed. I'm not a good co-sleeper and as she has gotten bigger she likes to take up more of the bed. Seriously, she will stretch her chubby little arms and legs out as far as she can and squirm (she's basically telling me to move over and give her some room cause she is in this nice, big, soft, warm bed and I'm crowding her).  Anyways, I woke up again at 5 to move her. My ninja-baby-moving skills were not in play because she woke up as I was getting her in the crib and refused to suck her thumb. 5:30 I crawled into bed with twenty minutes of sleep left.

Humanly speaking I should not have gone for a walk this morning. She got up again at 6:30 so I plopped her in the stroller.

The sunrise was beautiful.

It was so quiet and cool.

It was healing.

I realized as I looked down at her and up at the sky that I don't walk for exercise as much as I walk for peace of mind. I don't have to hurry, I don't have to try to get my heart rate up. I just get to breathe and walk and be.

That is why I go for walks every day.

What about you? Do you do certain things for peace of mind? What keeps your sane?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Being a Mom of Two

If I had a subtitle it would be: Naptime Manipulation. But there's no little box for that and since I'm lame at this stuff I'll just say that's my subtitle.

Confession: I just lost it with my two and a half year old over going to the potty.

I seriously thought I was going to scream at him (I have been trying my hardest not to yell at my kids because I don't think it's biblical. I spank, but I don't yell.)

Here's the story, and you can see if you would have lost it in this situation too.

It's Sunday, we've had church, I'm tired, I played, sang and painted at church. I didn't sleep much last night. Five plus about an hour after Aria woke up at three am... so I'm kind of tired. (This is part of my excuse). It's beautiful outside, absolutely gorgeous, the Lord has recently blessed us with rain and the temperatures have been incredible outside. So I took some trucks out to the front yard and had Levi play with them in the shade of our pear trees. Ben is working hard on painting the living room and my job is to basically corral the kids. I got Aria down by two (naps are normally at one, but we have all been sleeping a little later these days and everything else gets pushed back with it). I was watching Levi play in the front yard and thinking, "Do I really have to put him down for a nap? He is playing so well and it's beautiful outside!" But on my other shoulder my mom voice is saying, "We have been fighting sickness and he needs a nap." Plus, he's going to be a beast later on if he doesn't get some form of sleep... okay, nap wins.

In order to get him to go down without a major breakdown I decide we are going to read a couple of books before bed. I tell him we are going to read and then go night night. Time: 2:30. I pick out two books that won't take long, maybe a few minutes each. Perfect. But he wants to read a Bill Peet book called Bruce the Bear that takes an average of 15 mins to accomplish. I read it as quickly and quietly as possible hoping he doesn't ask for the other books.

Of course he asks for the other books. No, just one book. Pick one.

He just looks at me with those big brown eyes.

We are edging up against three o clock. I'm starting to get anxious.

We take another three minutes to decide which book to read. We could have read the other book by then and I'm starting to get a little more impatient.

Goodnight Moon is read the fastest it's ever been read. (Although I'm sure it's been read quite quickly by parents in my same situation.) We barely stop to find the mouse in the corner of the room or to notice that the moon that the cow is jumping over is "broken" (I haven't explained to him what a half moon is yet, I don't think he would get it...)

Finally, it's over. We have our doggies and our blanket. I am closing the blinds and the curtains starting out on Jesus Loves Me and he tells me he has to go poo poo.

This is the point when I start freaking out.

This is when I go from nice, going-along-with-things, being-strung-along, okay-one-more-book mommy to crazy mommy.

In my mind this all made sense. Inside I had been annoyed and anxious from close to the beginning of this bedtime process. I had been like a volcano of a pot about to boil over if you left me there long enough.

But what I realized later is that this explosion might have seemed out of nowhere for my two year old son. It was no longer mommy might be going along with my little plan, it was mommy is handing out spankings at any little thing I do.

I tried my hardest not to lose it, but I was for sure having a different attitude with him. My patience was GONE and we did have to go to mommy and daddy's bathroom to have a tearful spanking. He was tired, I was tired and frustrated. Things had gone on long enough and it was now around 3:30, this was not going well.

I brought him into his room, apologized to him for not being kind in the way that I disciplined him. We hugged and I tucked him into bed. I left the room and he started crying.

It's not usually until I step out of his room that I realize how badly I have been manipulated.


Levi ended up with no nap today. He was crying it was my fault that I didn't put him down earlier. Ben and I discussed it and agreed he would just go down for an early bedtime.

Some things in parenting are never perfect. Every stage has it's own set of difficulties. We are dealing with sinful little beings who are never going to get it right. I am never fully going to get it right because I am still in the flesh. Lord, help me to walk humbly. Thank You for a two year old who humbles me on a daily basis. Thank You for the joy of all the smiles and laughs, thank You for the blessing that children are. They are an inheritance from the Lord, they are arrows in our quiver, let us send them out strong and true. Help us as we mold them and teach them about You and about the world around them. I am weak. You are strong.

I am amazed at how desperately I love these two little ones. Help me to have patience with them. Help me to discipline them in love as You discipline and correct me. Please Father, in your mercy, please save them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Craving Dessert ... maybe in a bit of an unhealthy way...

I've decided to get back on the blog bandwagon. Maybe it's that renewed sense of purpose or something...

Mostly I just want to share what I'm learning/struggling with.

I have a tendency to post a lot about weight loss. I don't mean to be obsessive (I've struggled a lot with this in the past, I think I have kind of an obsessive personality) I just want to share the new baby steps to freedom and looking at food and dieting in a healthy view.

If this were a twelve-step meeting I could introduce myself: "I am Jody and I'm a perpetual dieter." Thank you. I have learned the best way to fight this problem in my life is to just stay away from dieting all together. Today I was remembering this stuff called Super Dieter's Tea. I saw it in the store the other day and thought, do people still buy that stuff? If you haven't tried it I'm just going to warn you about what it does. The first time I had no idea what it would do to me, so let's just say I was naive. The second and third times I knew exactly what it would do to me, so we will call that stupid. Or desperate.

You basically fix yourself a nice cup of it (with Splenda of course) and wait about three hours. Then your bowels will seize (at least that's what happened to me) and you won't be able to get off the toilet for about an hour. Every time you do get up you will immediately have to go back. It's not fun but I can see how it works. Yeah.

Okay, that's not what this post is about, just thought I would share that lovely experience with you... as a warning.

So I swore off dieting. You can read about it in my series The Redemption Of My Physical Body and how God redeemed years of crash dieting in a way I didn't think imaginable. I'm just standing in awe of what God has done and how He has changed my view of food, exercise and just my body in general.

I am now trying to work off the 50 pounds I gained with my second pregnancy. Aria is now seven months and I still have about 10-15 pounds that seem to be hanging on. Honestly, when I used to hear women complain about needing to lose this small amount of weight I would be like, "Come on! You have no idea what it's like to try to lose 60-70 pounds!" So, if you are in that boat, I can understand why you would be thinking, "Yeah, yeah, stop complaining about those few pounds." So here's where I'm at: I'm totally grateful that I've lost a whole bunch of weight. Life is easier and I have a tendency to like my body more now that I'm significantly skinnier. I could totally stay at this weight and be perfectly content for the rest of my life. I'm not going to complain about weighing this much. So, I'm not complaining about my size. How do I say this? I would just be able to fit better into some of my clothes, I might have a bit more energy, I would probably be healthier in general if I could lose this last little bit.

OKAY, way too much time spent on that one.

So I've decided to cut out sugar for a bit. Not every bit of sugar in my life (I don't know if I could survive without it in my morning coffee) but maybe it's more like, no more desserts... (for now). No more handfuls of chocolate chips in the afternoon, no I don't need that cookie or pastry or bowl of ice cream. Crap, now I'm going to be so tempted...

I have realized that this is something that takes all of my self-control. Last night there was nothing more I wanted than to sit with Ben, watch a TV show and eat a bowl of ice cream. Nothing more. It's like every cell of my body was screaming for it. (I'm not lying).  I asked Ben if he felt the same way. I had been planning it all afternoon, hoping for it as I was dealing with kids... this, this is when you know you are addicted. Doesn't it sound like an addiction? Now that I write it out, it sure does.

So I think I just need to take a step back. I'm not swearing off of carbs or anything like that. I just need to take a step back and ask myself what I am hoping in. What am I looking forward to in the evening? If I don't have a dessert is it still a good night? Often what happens is that I go ahead and eat the dessert (still wanting more, why am I being so transparent?!) but then when it comes time to lay my head on the pillow I wish I hadn't eaten it. I don't want to live with regrets right now.

Lord, in You is life and life to the full. You are the fullness of joy. Help me to depend on You and not on what I can eat that will be yummy. You have given us good things to enjoy, but I don't want to make those things an idol. Thank You for this struggle with my weight. Thank You that I have to do heart check ups like this. I can't do this without You Holy Spirit. Please help me to live by the Spirit so that I will not gratify the cravings of the sinful nature.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


So, today I am struggling with anger.

What better way to get it all out than blog about it?

I was sitting in my nursing chair with Aria and thinking, "Lord, I am so angry and I can't seem to do anything about it. Please take this anger and crush it. Crush it beneath the weight of Your glory."

Why in the world am I angry today? I guess I have several reasons. All of them are selfish. I don't want this blog to be a big moan and complain blog, I want it to be: Here is my problem, here is my solution, now help me Lord. So, I'm going to try not to sound like I'm just whining.

Ben is sick today. He was gone all last week, I even had to survive Saturday by myself for the most part. Seven days with two little kids... non-stop for the most part... I meant not to complain didn't I? Nursing, changing diapers, putting kids down for naps, putting them to bed, disciplining, it makes me tired just thinking about it. I was really excited to see Ben come home. And then he came home. And things weren't as great as I imagined they would be.

I had just a smidgen of a taste of what it must be like to be a military wife I suppose. (I want to emphasize smidgen.) You think it's gonna be so great when they get back and you will have your love with you and it will be wonderful with the kids and blah blah blah... really, it's all just kind of hard. We had gotten into a rhythm without him and now he is re-entering our household.

Now to top it all off, he is sick. Not that I didn't have enough on my plate with taking care of two kids. Now I have to take care of a sick husband. I also FAILED at the grocery store yesterday by forgetting bread (who forgets to buy bread?!) and tomatoes. I also forgot sugar and probably some other things. When Ben came home from lunch yesterday I wasn't ready (totally my fault). Anyways, long story short, yesterday I felt like a complete failure. Have you ever had those days where nothing you did was quite right? Everything felt hard. Levi is continuing to challenge me on every turn. Aria and I have gotten into some bad habits, the main one that I have to nurse her to sleep. (I don't HAVE to, it's just that I haven't had the strength to just let her cry until she falls asleep and she gets pretty angry while we are trying to let her cry it out.)

Ephesians 4:25-27
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Lord, today has been a hard day. It's not over yet but help me not to sin in my anger. Help me to love my husband (love is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered) and to love my children. Help me to be thankful for the things I have, even though my house is messy help me to be thankful for it. Help me to be a good steward of it and keep it tidy. Please reveal the changes I need to make if I need to simplify things so that it will be easier to keep clean. Help me Jesus, I am in such desperate need of you. I can't get over this anger problem on my own. I need You.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why Blog?

I've been asking myself why I have been blogging lately. What's the purpose of this? Who am I blogging for? Why am I blogging?

I've been reading some other blogs lately. I feel weird because it seems like people have been doing this stuff forever and they are awesome at it with all the pictures and themes and their blogs are so pretty... their lives look really pretty too. Some of them even make money off of their blogs... hmmm, that sounds nice. Right?! To get paid to stay at home and write and it would be so easy and you just upload beautiful pictures of your beautiful life to the internet? Okay, maybe it's not that easy...

So really, why am I blogging? Why am I writing?

Honestly, I think it's because every once in a while I get a woman (never had a guy come up to me and share this) come up to me and say that they read my blog and I was speaking what they were feeling. For once, they didn't feel so alone in this struggle. So, really, that's why I blog. I write to let others know that they are not alone. I write to know that I am not alone in this.

Maybe it's a gift that God has given me, but more than anything I think it's a freedom. I like to think of it in these terms: I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20 So basically, I am dead. My reputation, my self-esteem, my self-consciousness is dead. Can a dead man be afraid of men? Is a dead person afraid of what others will think? Can a dead person compare themselves to others? No! None of that even matters! So it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who gave himself up for me.

The other day I read about a martyr who was roasted to death in a kettle for the gospel. What?!?! I read that stuff and for about three seconds I try to go there in my mind (right, Jody, you are crazy) and I think, "Would I do that?" I mean, that must be some intense pain and it's probably a pretty slow way to die, to feel yourself physically DYING. Seriously. I'm not even joking. And I thought, Lord, let me not deny your name. Let me not be afraid of anything. If this guy can be roasted to death and not deny Your name then surely I can withstand social pressures for You as well.

I've decided I need to read more about the martyrs. I need that in my life.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Losing Weight part 6

Sometimes I really hate the title of my blog post. Isn't everyone trying to lose weight? Aren't there all kind of fitness magazines and websites and television shows dedicated to this whole weight loss thing?

I mourn the years that I've spent obsessing over the next big diet fad, switching from one to another and feeling hopeless. Gaining back any weight I would try to lose plus some more.

Lord, there is hope in this isn't there?

I just spent about 20 minutes looking at a picture of a girl, wishing I had her body. Men might look at this stuff and think sex, but I think women look at other women with perfect bodies and think jealousy. Both are sin. I feel like they are like graven images before our eyes. We set up idols and we think that they will be our answers. Truthfully, even if I had that body and I was happy in it, it would still age and still die. Bodies will never make us happy. Only Jesus can make us happy.

That's what I've been realizing.

The other day I ate three handfuls of chocolate chips (maybe more). It was the afternoon and I was tired and the kids wore me out, plus, they were organic, so that's better right? And isn't chocolate good for you with the antioxidants and everything? Also, I just had to get through the afternoon. It's Ben's fault, he is the one who is always asking me to have more sweets in the house, I'll just eat them all and I'll show him! (Can you hear the excuses? I'm full of 'em.)

What I needed was to go to the source.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

You are my portion, O Lord;
I have promised to obey Your words.
Psalm 119:57

Taste and see the the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:8

I don't need physical food, I need food for my spirit. Lord, I pray that I would listen to my physical body and the hunger and full signs it gives me. You are good and You give good gifts. It doesn't matter what I look like, it only matters that I steward this body well. Teach me to worship You with all that I am.