January 30, 2013

My New Normal Week 3

Two weeks ago I posted about my New Normal. I am in the third week of learning to think, act and believe in my New Normal. I am amazed at how when we set our minds to doing something it can become a reality. I feel as if I am having to hit a reset button deep inside of me. This is harder than I imagined. As many have posted we have to discover the deep root of why we crave what we crave. Then we have to retrain ourselves to crave what is right and better for us. Exercise has never been a problem for me to crave, however in my New Normal it is what can derail me the fastest. I am discovering so much of who I have identified myself with is what I am able to do physically.

So as I mentioned in my last post my goal is really not to gain any weight and to get strong and healthy. I have learned from my surgeon that I do not have any new nerves being compressed in my lower back, PTL! However, the physical therapist told me to think of it this way, "You have had a grand piano sitting on a plush carpet for many years. The piano has just been removed, however the imprint is still left on the carpet." So my New Normal is learning to stretch my nerves and undo all the tightness which has developed in my right leg and foot. As I mentioned earlier this has been the hardest part for me. I just want to go and walk 3 miles with Sadie and not hurt. However, I can only walk 3.3 pace on treadmill and at most 1 mile.

So I am learning to retrain my physical craving with new healthy foods, finding the joy around me each day, being thankful I am on a journey to being strong and not giving up. I so appreciate Weigh In Wednesday because I get new ideas and challenges I can modify to keep me motivated. If you need to lose a few pounds or are like me and want to get strong this is the right place to start.

I loved that this week I drank more water than I ever have and craved some of my unhealthy choices less because I was so full from the water. I love how Kathryn timed me doing planks this week and encouraged me. Here are a few of the moments that keep me going in my New Normal and the foods...
 After a particularly long day of taking Kathryn to Orthopedic and preparing to teach bible study
Mark surprised me with these flowers to say, "Thank you for all you do,"

I love RIBBON! I love how it cheers everything up, even
a hard study on Fear of Man. These are the verse holders
I made all the ladies in our bible study.

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me,
and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from
me you can do nothing." John 15:5

These are the flowers I carried on my wedding day. Emma took this beautiful picture.
 They smell so good and bring such JOY!

Do you think she knows how cute she is and how much JOY she brings me?
 I love that I found this pictures on my camera today.

This is one my new favorite lunches. I love smoked salmon and this is a healthy way to eat it!

I also love POLKA DOTS! Yummy lunch!

I would love to hear about your journey to being a healthier you. Thank you for stopping by to see how we are Spreading Joy,

January 28, 2013

Where Joy Abounds...

It is Monday Moments with Kim.
First, thank you Kim for having your Link Up moments because they get me blogging and hold me accountable. I missed last weeks due to the revolving sick kid door here at our house.
Second, I love how through years I find God brings a theme to my quiet time. I could just say that I noticed a theme, or I could realize it is God speaking to me through His word. I am learning to hear Him, apply His teaching and rest with Him in this theme. The past week I have been studying fear. I am a co-leader at one of my church's bible studies. This semester we are going through the book the fear factor by Wayne and Joshua Mack. Studying fear can make you do one of two things, deny you have any (which could mean I have a bigger PRIDE issue) or acknowledge God is trying to show me what type of fear he does and does not desire in my life.
From this study by Wayne and Joshua Mack I have been learning we all have natural fear, for instance if a lion begins to run after you, God has made us so we will react with a natural fear and run. God makes us aware throughout scripture that we are inclined to Sinful Fear. This is the fear that causes us to not do what God commands. This type of fear springs from an intense focus on self. We have probably all heard of Fear of Man. This is one type of Sinful Fear when we worship what others think of us or want from us more than God. The place God has shown me a theme is in the fear he commands which is Holy Fear. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:161:
 My heart stands in awe of Your words.
This study said it so beautifully..."Holy fear is to be a spring of joy". God asks me to be inclined toward Him not myself. He asks me to dwell on His word. I can only do this if I am in His word and if I know what verses to dwell on. He continues to show me how connected Trust and Joy are to following His commands. So here is the theme....I desperately need to be dwelling on His thoughts (word of God), on what He thinks I should be thinking about, I am to trust Him with my circumstances whether in or out of trial, I need to be encouraging others with His word, I am to comfort others with the comfort He gives me and I am to look "Where Joy Abounds". One of my favorite verses I have dwelled on for years is Philippians 4:8-9. This verse tells us exactly how we are to be thinking, on what we are to dwell:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 NLT
Since I am a simple gal, I love when God gives me a verse to rest in and He just keeps bringing me to this place again and again. So how I dwell on this is to literally ask myself:
"Is this thought true according to God?", "Is this thought or action honoring God?", or "Is this choice Pure?". I have just learned how to apply this verse to fear, "(Sinful) Fear often comes from doing just that--thinking on things that are not true." When I take the time to place my fears of health (insert your own) against the truth found in Philippians 4:8-9 I can find peace. Knowing how inclined I am to not be an encouraging spirit I have challenged myself to take this one step further and look Where Joy Abounds in my life. This past week I also rested the following truth:
You will show me the path of lie; in Your presence is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore
Psalm 16:11
Below are pictures of where I found joy abounding in my life over the past two weeks. Learning to not believe the sinful fears about my health future and put on His truth is bringing my eyes to notice the Joy around me.
I made these for all my small group friends and love the reminder to
Choose Jesus, Others and then You.

Kathryn's Viper swim meet swimming her favorite stroke, breaststroke. Love to she her swim.

Kathryn's Secret Garden diorama for Reading class. Notice the grass is coconut...yes we ate some.
Emma's first time at Wyldlife Christian Club. She had fun and was a good sport with the pie.

Kids at Newport Aquarium in Kentucky on MLK day.

Girls and I having Sushi on our girls day.
Sadie sits here almost all day longing to catch the rabbit. Love her!

Aaron has played Fall and Winter lacrosse and I find joy
watching him love this sport!

Mark getting to be at the awesome Butler game with good friends.

Thanks for stopping by to see how we are Spreading Joy,

January 16, 2013

Weigh in Wednesday- A New Normal

I have been inspired by Kim, who has invited me into her FB group called Weigh In Wednesday to make different health choices in 2013.

I have only been truly seeking what my New Normal is for one week. If you were to see me you would probably say as many, "You do not need to lose weight."

Me with my girls this summer at Lake Michigan.
While this might be true, my quest in 2013 is not necessarily to lose a lot of weight, but to get strong and healthy. As I mentioned in a post last week I had back surgery in November that has brought me to the word of 2013.......
Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
 for I have put my trust in you.
 Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
The way to go for me is so different than before my surgery and at times I can lack confidence that I will ever be strong enough to enjoy the activities I love. I know this is why God gave me the word Trust for 2013. So as I trust him to show me the way I should go, I am discovering my New Normal.
It means choosing to have healthier snacks and meals so I do not gain weight while I am unable to burn calories the way I use to before the surgery.

These are some of my favorite snacks. I also make sure I eat them veggies and lots of Water.

For me this New Normal knits my faith tightly with my health. There are four people who are my biggest fan to get strong again and be able to sled with them, run the beach with them, jump on the trampoline, and just be healthy for what God my choose to bring our way. 

 This is one of my favorite new meals. Mini Turkey meatloaf and roasted veggies.
My New Normal forces me to Trust the Lord when I am only able to burn 100 calories after walking for 30 minutes and try not to long too much for being able to do more intense workouts. Trust begins with being content where God has me. I am Trusting Him to continue to show me my New Normal and am thankful for all the accountability of Weigh in Wednesday.
I am so grateful for how God weaves our triumphs and trials together for His good. Last year my word was JOY and I sought him on how to live with Joy and Spread Joy. I truly believe my verse from last year is so tied to this years word and health struggles. Before I can have complete JOY I have to trust Him.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope..."
Romans 15:13
So my hope is to embrace this New Normal, continue making healthy eating choices, continue being accountable on FB, continue moving on the treadmill slower than I prefer, but thankful I can move.

What are your 2013 health goals or your New Normal.? Tell me in the comments and if you want to join us over at Kim's FB group let me know as well. To my FB friends...good luck and I am cheering you on.
Spreading Joy for Him,


January 14, 2013

Monday Moments

I am a blogger because of the friend who I am linking up today. At Home with Kim is the friend who inspired me to start sharing my heart with others and create a blog. Here goes my first link up....
My moments with God have spanned across almost twenty years since I did not come to know Him until my mid-twenties. OK that gives away my age (ha, ha). Seriously, my time with God is something I crave. I know that I am a better wife and mother if I have spent time before others rise with the one who made me, knows me, loves me unconditionally, and forgives me. My favorite place to meet with Him is my chair in the family room. I long each day to meet Him here and allow Him to uncover what He has for me for the day.
My favorite type of quiet time is just going through a book of the bible unpacking it verse, by verse. I will use the verses to journal and pray to the Lord from the same verses. For instance, I am currently going through Hebrews with our couples small group. So we are on Chapter 8. So I commit to reading a few verses each day. Then I take those verses and answer, "What does this say about God?", "What does this say about me?", "What do I not understand?", "How can I apply this today?", "Who can I share a verse today?".
 I am amazed at how He speaks to me, how I have learned His character by studying His word. I also am currently helping lead a women's bible study so on alternate days I am reading the material and answering the questions for each week. I love how they weave together and give my heart variety in learning about God. I personally love journaling and have for years. I am not able to do it daily, but make it part of my week. I also love pretty journals that my girls and I make such as the one below.  
We all have busy lives and can walk away from our quiet time and not live as if we ever had it. So I have learned how to help myself remember what He has shown me throughout the day. One way is to write a verse from my time on the plate you see in the picture above. This plate sits on my island, the center of our home, and all who sit to partake see it. I love to talk about these verses with my kids before they go off to school or as they return from school over their snacks. I also always have my favorite devotional beside it for a quick intake of His truth during the day. My favorite is Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby. I have seen the following verse lived out in my life when I commit to reading His word:
"For the word of God is living and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword...
and is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12
On my own my thoughts make me overwhelmed, my heart leads me astray, but Jesus says,
"Don't let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God and trust also in me (Jesus)."
John 14:1 NLT
I have learned through the years the only way to Trust in God or Jesus is to know their character, their promises, and the truth. The only way to know these aspects of God is to know the Word of God, to regularly meet with Him. I hope this encourages you to make the time for Him the one who can calm the storm, bring pure joy and heal our wounds. Also I have learned if I do not take the time today, His mercies are new tomorrow.
Spreading Joy for Him,

January 09, 2013

Where have I been....? A New Year...2013.

First, please forgive me for ending my posts almost as soon as they started.  Since my last post in September I have had some life changes. For many years I have suffered with chronic back/hip/leg pain. After a number of years of trying to discover why a year and a half ago it was recommended I have surgery to release the compressed nerves near my L5 which is caused by a bulging disc. Needless to say in great Shari form I took up my own torch and tried every possible solution to cure this without surgery. The list is too numerous to share. However, after finally participating in 3 months of intense Physical Therapy recommended by the surgeon as a list effort before surgery, it was determined that I needed to have surgery. I realized it had been time for a long time I had just not given my will over to God for him to show me His path.

November 12, 2012 I trusted God for His protection and the precision of the Surgeon who shaved the bone down on my L5 to release the 5+ years of compressed nerves. So I have been on a journey of HEALING since then. It has both humbled me and encouraged me.
  • Humbled - to rely on my mother, family and friends to do everything I do all day long. Laundry, grocery shop, clean the house, walk the dog, drive the carpools...
  • Encouraged - a care calendar created by a dear friend filled fast and meals came as well. I was so encouraged by the neighbors I have just begun to know, the women I pray with in Moms in Prayer, the women I lead with/and lead in bible study, long life friends, and new friends in all!
  • My daughters vacuuming. My mom doing ALL the laundry and driving. My mom just loving me in only the way she can by giving up a month of her life to come serve my family and I.
  • Mark's compassion, understanding, and slowing down for this season.
  • God's grace and mercy during a time I had to hand it all over.
I just wanted to start this new year off saying, "Thank you for all your love, texts, letters, flowers, food, and prayers!"

Below are two pictures that have brought me great JOY during my recovery. I look forward to being able to walk, maybe run the beach with NO pain, to jump for JOY like my kids and not pay for it, to just being WARM in His light as we are in these beach pictures.

Kids jumping at Lake Michigan, August 2012
Our Christmas Picture for 2012. Fitting since we spent so much
time at Lake Michigan during 2012 Summer.

I also wanted to share that our family has each chosen a Word for 2013. A word we desire for the Lord to mold into our character. Mine is:

TRUST - i am trusting God to Heal me, to graciously show me my New Normal, to teach me how to be thankful for ALL He provides, and to continue Spreading Joy!
In His Grace,
Shari Walpole