Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weight Loss Journey #11

  Total Weight Loss 23 lbs.

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I last wrote about this journey. No I haven’t given up. Although sometimes, I feel like I’m going nowhere.  

It is a slow process to be sure. But I have gone down another dress size. So celebration in that. Plus I’m doing a solid half hour- to 45 minutes workout on the Just Sweat (Wii) every morning. It’s equivalent to a forty-minute jog. My plan is to start jogging for real soon. I also want to get a bicycle. WW recommends mixing up the exercise. Guess the body gets bored with the same old, same old, too, and just doesn't want to shed the weight. 

Besides, I wake up with those songs rattling in my head!

I throw in the walking around the store, housework and doing the Wii Golf or Wii Bowling. Sometimes I go for a walk. 

I’ve discovered I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency which was the reason I felt so fatigued and “foggy,” I have to have shots once a week for nine weeks and then probably once a month if my levels come back up. Otherwise, I’m really in good health. Don’t know what caused the problem…but doc says it’s probably auto-immune related.

At the end of the month we talked about what keeps us going. For some in was the positive results: feeling better, looking better, more energy. We also talked about how much easier it was to remain active in warmer weather. One reason I’m glad I moved to Florida.

Gurus also suggest that with increased activity don’t simply add on a lot of extra food…rather go for more protein in your weekly counts. I can do that. I crave protein a lot. Also with increased activity one should drink more fluids. It seems that the more good you do for yourself, for your health and well-being, the more you need to continue and do even more.

On April 9th meeting we talked about how to determine if an indulgence is worth cashing in our extra points.  Asking ourselves, “Is it worth it?” I am learning to apply a ten minute rule when I feel a craving. I try to distract myself with something else. If I still think I want it after ten minutes, perhaps I should.

The wonder of Weight Watchers is that all things are permissible but not all things are expedient. It’s okay to enjoy good and tasty things. So what techniques to we need to develop to have our cake and eat it too?

Take smaller portions of desired items. For some, though, this might prove dangerous. Like a Lay Potato Chip…can’t eat just one. Since I began this journey, though, I am amazed at how much smaller my portions are on everything. How I can get by with so much less and feel satisfied.

Through the last several months God has given me scriptures to remind me that this is more than a physical journey. My being overweight, for me, is a realization that I have not trusted God completely. My prayer is that I will seek less comfort from indulgences and more comfort from the Lord who loves me, and wants all things to work together for my good. 

Philippians 3:14

 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 14:28

New King James Version (NKJV)
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it

Hebrews 12:1

New King James Version (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
My writing article on Southern Writers blog may be of interest to some so posting link here.

What can writers learn from ‪#‎Downtonabbey‬? My article in Southern Writers Blog. Would love to hear your comments. Part 1 yesterday...Part II on Monday.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Guest Author Kathlryn J. Bain

Hairy Situation

            I’ve noticed this past month that my hair seems to have grown drastically. I usually get it cut around the first of February. However, with the cold lasting longer than necessary (hint, hint, God), I’ve put off getting it cut.
            I’m also not sure this year what color I should go with. In my lifetime, I’ve been a blonde, redhead, dark brown, dark blonde, and now just a mixture of brown and gray. It seems as we age, our styles change each decade.
            For instance, the following is how men seem to wear their hair as they get older:
Age 30: Brown, almost black
Age 40: Slight graying at the temples, looks distinguished
Age 50: Going more gray, but starting to lose some
Age 60: Outgrowing your hair, the crown of your head showing
Age 70: Combing it over to try to hide the fact you’re bald on top
Age 80: What’s the use? You now have more hair in your ears than on your head
Then there are the women:
Age 30: Blonde
Age 40: Light brown
Age 50: Dark brown to hide the gray
Age 60: Gray mixed with brown
Age 70: Let the gray show, and is it getting thin up there?
Age 80: Blue tinted white hair that needs to be styled each week at J.C. Penney’s.

            I don’t think I’ll ever go blue, though in my twenties I did consider coloring a pink stripe on the side of my head. I never fulfilled that fantasy. Maybe when I’m old and eccentric. It might be around the same time I start to draw on my eyebrows so I look constantly surprised.
I’m in my fifties now and do seem to be following the crowd by going darker to hide the gray.
            But if it worked for all those other generations, who am I to argue. Excuse me while I place a call in to my stylist.

 Kathryn J. Bain began writing more than twelve years ago. Her fifth book, Beautiful Imperfection, will be available September 29, 2013. She is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime and is currently the Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors. To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law. She has two daughters and a dog named Gretchen. Her first grandchild, Hope was born in May, 2013. Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since.  Find out more about her work at

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Where You Are

By Darlene Dana Drew

I want to be where you are.
Because I know wherever that is
There is music, stories and laughter.
And there is wisdom.
Oh, not from books and universities
But gained through hard times and
Acceptance of one’s frailties.

For how foolish is the one who looks
In the mirror daily and says “I am perfect.”
How far he has missed the mark.

Where you are, there is generosity.
Of both opinion and pocketbook.
You gave of both and held no animosity
If you got nothing in return.

And where you are, there is integrity.
A word fast disappearing with a certain generation.

And there is deep love of family, pride in friendships
And humility.

So I will wait, ‘til I can be where you are.  

Not knowing, when or where we will meet again.
Only certain that it will be a warmer, brighter place
For your passing.

And most of all, I am certain that wherever
It is… it will be my paradise…

For I will be where you are.

Last week I posted Darlene's article, an honest look at her grieving. Here is a poem she wrote during her healing process. 
How have you used your writing to heal? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Hand Glows


Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3: 5 – 6 NIV).

 “Oh, I never go see a movie,” Jane said. “They are way too expensive. I just let my friends tell me what happened. That’s just as good, isn’t it?”

That makes about as much sense as losing weight by listening to how much exercise our friends do. We only truly understand and appreciate an event by first hand experience.

          We want to glean information the same way. Through the work and research of others.

            With so much information at our fingertips, we want to be in control of our decisions. That is good consumerism. However, assimilation of knowledge will not make us doctors or lawyers anymore than staying in one of those smart hotels.

When Mindy had a pain in her abdomen, she visited a medical website, entered her symptoms and discovered she could have anything from a stomach flu to terminal cancer. When she finally consulted an expert, her doctor put her on a high fiber diet for chronic constipation and the symptoms cleared.

Unfortunately, we approach our spiritual life in much the same way as our search for knowledge. Through second hand resources.

Sheila Walsh says in Women of Faith Devotional Bible, “I think we Christians have become lazy. We would rather read a book about him or how someone else became closer to God than spend time alone with him ourselves. We would rather listen to someone else’s interpretation of the Word of God than read it for ourselves. And yet we alone are accountable for what we believe.”

We rob ourselves of intimacy with God because we stop short with our knowledge about God.

 He has given us his Word, the power of prayer, and His very presence to lead us into a relationship with Him. 

Why then do we persist in secondhand Christianity?  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Am Grieving

By Darlene Dana Drew

           I thought I was just fine. Oh, I knew “they” said there were stages of grief. But I was stronger than that. I mean, after my husband died January 30th, I was fine. I never realized that what I mistook for strength was just plain numbness. I was in the first stage of grief and didn’t even know it.

          So now, I am angry. Yea, another stage. Half of the time I don’t believe he’s even gone and the other half I’m a puddle of tears. I talk to him, reminding him he told me he wouldn’t leave me…and then I cry. And maybe in the next few moments I am planning physical changes to the house and yard and even myself….and telling myself “Neil will love this”. And so it goes.

          One of the hardest things for me to accept is my own humanness. I wasn’t going to be one of those grieving widows. Hell no! I was strong and had faith and had been so self-reliant all my life! Hey, this grieving thing wasn’t all that people had warned me about.

         No, it was more. Much more. It was deeper, broader, more pervasive. It haunted the sunniest days in the garden and cropped up in what at first seemed liked the most benign dreams at night. It twisted those dreams into terrible arguments with the living and the long dead, leaving me exhausted every morning. Yea. I was stronger than grief. And you’re probably thinking the exact same thing. And when you finally step onto the grief escalator, you will be shocked at the parts of yourself that will be revealed.

         I was surprised at my own frailty. Didn’t I believe in God? Didn’t I pray and thank Him regularly for every aspect of my life? So why am I hurting ? Why this heavy cloak weighing down my every footstep? What is wrong with me?

         Nothing is wrong. I am grieving. God made me. And when He did, He also created the healing process. He left the wound to heal in the only way deep wounds heal best. From the inside out. No bandaid to just cover up the unsightly injury. No cosmetic application to mask the fissure underneath. No temporary stitches to close off the gaping hole in the heart. He knew that to be truly healed, it would take time, and patience and might even mean I would have to lean heavily upon Him. In fact He hoped I would.

         So now I pray for other things. I no longer ask that the pain just go away. I don’t ask for fewer tears and more restful sleep and lots of distractions. I ask for one thing only. Patience. Patience with myself. Let me accept that I am only flesh. Let me always know that although I may have a lot of inner strength. I am not God. But rather that I need God. And let my prayer be only three words every time I am overwhelmed, or on the brink of feeling lost, “Lord, help me”.

Darlene writes poetry and plays. Her recent loss has swept over her and she has used her writing talents to help heal. 

Have you written just to write? Just to use your words to praise, to reflect to rejoice? 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Weight Loss Entry #10

February 28, 2014  Total weight loss #18.0

Yeah, I did the math and I’m down about four lbs overall this month. Most of that was in the last two weeks. I gained, then lost, then gained. A yo-yo existence. Even though I was on task, at least for the most part.

Then I figured out that I was not giving myself appropriate credit for the exercising I did faithfully each morning. I was not eating enough to compensate. My body hung on to the fat because it couldn’t figure out what I was doing to it. Once I started adding a little extra food (good stuff not junk food) by body felt comfortable to attack the fat.

I suppose our spiritual life is much like that. We try to get by on last week’s sermon rather than adding to our spiritual plate with daily goodness from His Word.

On one meeting this month we discussed the scourge of the weekend. For many, the weekends tend to discombobulate. The workweek lends itself to much structure. The weekends are filled with sport events, children’s activities, church, and visiting relatives. We tend to eat our more on the weekends. In our culture, all these activities come with food…lots…and good tasting. We fool ourselves into thinking we do not need to stay accountable to the routine because we’ve been “good all week.”

How easy it is to undo the good we’ve accomplished by a few days of thoughtless indulgence.  I realized I need to adopt the same mindset to weekends as I do to my spiritual exercise. There are seven days to be mindful not merely five.

The next week we talked about Portion Control.  Guesstimating weights,portions and point values can be at dangerous practice. We think we’ve got it--after all we’ve been at it a long time.

Immediately, the spirit checked me. Isn’t this what we tend to do with their Bible reading? We’ve read The Prodigal Son story so many times we could recite it, so, why bother reading it again? We develop an arrogance that God has no more to teach us so why bother reading the Bible?

This month God has given me several good verses and inspiration to keep up the good fight, not just for weight loss but for the whole of life. I am finding that the more I feast on God’s love for me, remember that He has fought the battles for me, the less I crave food to fruitlessly fill my feelings of emptiness or dissatisfaction.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body he kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:23 – 24 NIV).

God himself stands ready to fully satisfy us. If there is a void, He has already planned to fill it. Sometimes I only need to wait. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014




By Patti Smith

I was watching a History Channel documentary on the aging material infrastructure in the United States.  Infrastructure is crucial for our survival and has great potential for disaster if not maintained or improved.
Here it got me thinking (again).....

Don't we also have a spiritual infrastructure?  Isn't it just as crucial?  If the foundations of buildings, bridges, dams, etc. are weak, there is substantial risk of catastrophic collapse. If our faith foundation is weak, it too would collapse destroying our moral compass.

If roads, railroad tracks and airport runways are not maintained, the cracks and potholes would continue to grow - impeding fluid movement from one point to the other. Just as with faith … failing to maintain a strong relationship with God, our joyful path would be impeded by detours of hopelessness and despair.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock."
Matthew 7:24-25


I am a married, grandmother of two. I recently retired after working as a federal auditor, elementary school secretary and background investigator. I'm a caregiver to my parents and uncle and now have time to pursue my passion of writing. I have written poetry since childhood; however, heard the calling to write devotionals. Through my work I hope to spread the message of God's endless love, mercy and compassion.
My ministries include co-leading Rachel's Hope Post-Abortion retreats in San Diego County and serving as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
In my spare time I enjoy reading, travel and spending time with family and friends. I'm also a football fanatic (NFL and Fantasy) and a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan.
Please follow me at:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weight Loss Entry #9

February 7, 2014
Total weight loss #14

If you did the math from last entry…yep…gained another pound. Up and down like a yo-yo. I know in my head that it’s fat turning into muscle because of the aerobics I’m doing five times a week. I feel my abdomen shrinking. My clothes are looser. So I will continue to celebrate that I am still doing the right things. As I’m told, eventually, those leaner muscles will become fat-fighting machines. “Don’t give up.”

I guess when circumstances don’t go the way we want, it’s easy to think we’ve failed. We need to look at the leaner picture.

Wednesday at meeting the leader encouraged us to celebrate our actions. We also talked about the power of routines.  Some of the negative routines, or destructive routines include bad food choices that we consume without thinking. 

Sometimes a routine can be a negative thought process, “I’ve already blown it so I might as well eat more of the stuff I know I shouldn’t. I should give up and give in.”

Positive routines are those that encourage healthy exercise, eating better foods, drinking more fluids, and getting enough rest. I am seeing how small and steady changes are becoming routine in my life. Hopefully, they will be heart changes and lasting.

“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” Shaquille O’Neal

It’s been disappointing week in many aspects and God has used the truth of the above in my spiritual journey as well. I’ve been reading My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers) and am challenged to rethink a lot I thought I knew about Faith.

Do we pray in demand or pray for depth.
We become so busy with demanding certain results through our prayer life, that we often fail hear God’s answer, not in the tempest or the flood, but in a gentle breeze.

What Does it Mean to Be an Offering?
We expect that God has “great things” planned for us. We quote Jeremiah 29: 11
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.

We mistakenly believe that this is a guarantee of earthly prosperity. Perhaps it means something else, that God’s plan for us, our future and our hope, is in the relationship itself, not what we expect God to do for us.

Phil 2:17 – 18 NIV “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering …I am glad and rejoice”I am learning that my confidence toward God grows out of His love and forgienss nor my performance in life.

Am I willing to be invisible for God? Do I find purpose and fulfillment in the insignificant?

So I bind discouragement, place it on the altar. Surrendering all is not mean giving our will over, but our chains of self-importance. I ask the Lord to bring this to remembrance when disappointment rears again.

So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels (Exodus 40:38 NIV).

Just as God gives us all of Him, He wants all of us, including those extra pounds. He who surrounds has promised never to leave or forsake us. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Son's Story

I was going through some boxes and found an Anthology of Student Writing from my son's elementary school.  I went directly to a dog-eared page and this is what I found:

(A True Story)
Bobby Cleghorn
Grade 6

Up until I was 7 I remember that I lived in a truck and under a roller coaster and in motel rooms. When I was 7 my Mom left my sister Bonnie and I in a motel room to go bail my dad out of jail and she never came back. The principal of my school found out that we were left alone and called the police. We were taken to a shelter home. We lived there for a year. Then we went to a foster home with Debi as a foster mom. We stayed there for a year  then Debi and my sister moved to Connecticut. I moved to a group home. I was there for a year till Debi moved back and I went to live with her and my sister again. When I moved back in we both went to a new school. It was a small school. My teacher was really great and the school secretary started taking me to her house on weekends. I also spent Spring Break with her and Don. It was a “test-drive” to see if I would like living in Aguanga with them but I didn't know it.

One day, Debi took Bonnie and me out for ice cream. She wanted to tell us that there were people who wanted to adopt us. Bonnie's teacher in Connecticut wanted her and I guessed many names until Debi said Patti and Don wanted to adopt me. I was really happy about that!

We had to go to court and the judge said that Bonnie could move to Connecticut and I could move in with Patti and Don. I  lived with them a year and we went to court again. The judge said the adoption was final and I was Patti and Don's son forever. After court that day my new mom and dad had a surprise adoption party for me at Stadium Pizza. All the people from my school were there and so were my grandparents and my social worker. I was really surprised! I got really nice gifts and had a fun time.

I talk to my sister on the phone almost every week and we see each other in the summers. We share stories of our new families.

I am now in the sixth grade and still go to the same school. My new teacher is great!


What a blessing to have found that gem! Robert (I still call him Bobby, much to his dismay) is now 33 and the father of two beautiful daughters.  Even though he's a grown man, I still see that little boy that walked into my office and into my heart so many years ago.

I am a married, grandmother of two. I recently retired after working as a federal auditor, elementary school secretary and background investigator. I'm a caregiver to my parents and uncle and now have time to pursue my passion of writing. I have written poetry since childhood; however, heard the calling to write devotionals. Through my work I hope to spread the message of God's endless love, mercy and compassion.
My ministries include co-leading Rachel's Hope Post-Abortion retreats in San Diego County and serving as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
In my spare time I enjoy reading, travel and spending time with family and friends. I'm also a football fanatic (NFL and Fantasy) and a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weight Loss Entry #8

January 29, 2014

Total weight loss 15.4 pounds after 15 weeks 

Last week and this we discussed the why discouragement seeps in and ways to "fight back" to success. 

Research shows that weight watchers approach, using meetings and are cell phone apps, people lose eight times more than those who tried to lose weight on their own. And I am reminded of the importance of the meeting in reaching my weight loss goals.
Some of the group shared the various temptations that keep them from attending meetings such as:, weight gain, weather, feeling sleepy, life issues, other obligations, a false sense of self-confidence, or an unwillingness to step on the scale—to  see the truth. 

Others shared why they continue to come to meetings: the reality that they need help, the availability of accountability, the desire to succeed, and knowing that there will be encouragement from the meeting.

For people with food addiction there is never a cure. The need for management is life-long. But we can find new ways of thinking and acting differently. 

Some shared that since joining Weight Watchers, food is not as important. That it is important to keep their own health in order to serve others. Some have learned not to approach life haphazardly, but rather plan their meals and their shopping and other life activities to help meet their goals.

To be successful at anything requires taking one step at a time. 

Most journeys are not completed after the first mile. That's a sprint, not a journey. A journey indicates starting from one place and ending up in a distant place. 

Change is a process. 

Our leader reminded us that if we pick one thing, one adjustment, and stick with it, we will experience some level of success. Each success adds to the others. As on any other journey, we can tire of constant vigilance. Our leader asked a few members to share how they have kept their weight off after many years. Karen said that for her exercise is the key. She loves to walk and walks daily sometimes several times a day. Any movement is better than no movement.  Donna said that she needs accountability and finds continued success with tracking what she eats and her daily activity. 

Finally “change is not an event, it’s a process.” Dan and Chip Heath.

Earlier in the week I found encouragement from the book, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald chambers. 

“We often take pride in our sacrifice — not asked from God.” It seems that we become more focused on the task than the Task Giver. Loyalty is not uncalled for sacrifice — that kind of sacrifice leads to a loyalty to performance and pride in our religiosity. “We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used for by God in his That battlings.”

Today at meeting we discussed ways to examine other evidence of success rather than solely dependent upon the scale. Members offered examples such as: clothes feel looser, diminished food cravings, improved health, or compliments from others. 

We can do everything right and still experience weight gain or minimal weight loss. Everyone’s metabolism is different. We should not look at others’ successes as a blueprint for our goals.

When our journey seems stalled or even going backwards, we’re tempted to quit or look for a quick fix. Forget the many advertisements that bombard the media. There is no miracle pill. It is a myth. Sustained and healthy weight loss takes effort, but eventually effort that is long-lasting and rewarding. Stay in the plan continue to attend meetings and allowed time for change to happen from the inside out. Then we will have a firmer foundation on which to build a healthy lifestyle. “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Peters.

Spiritually the same truths apply. Once we enter into a relationship with our Lord, He changes us from the inside out.
We are not now what we will be. Paul said that our current vision is limited. 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV).”

God accepts us unconditionally. Yet, the closer we draw to Him, change is a byproduct of a renewed heart and a renewed mind (Romans 12:1 – 2).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weight Loss Entry #7

January 17, 2014

Total weight loss #14

Yeah…I gained a pound from last weigh-in. I know it’s the nature of things and that weight varies from day to day. I’ve also been doing aerobics. I can tell I’m burning fat and replacing it with muscle which weighs more.

I guess in weight loss, as in life, looking at one fact by itself is discouraging or even damaging. We need to look at the bigger picture.

When discouraged, I asked myself why I began this journey in the first place. 

To feel better, to prolong my life, to enjoy life more. More importantly, I began this journey to draw closer to the Lord. I am finding that as I achieve the latter the former is an end result.

When January hit, I was coming off an intense writing spell. I met my obligations and then I crashed, physically. I’m still in the throes of exhaustion. It is a deep pit, but I shudder I shudder to think how deep it would have been if I had not begun my journey in advance of this “let down.”

I am happy to report that God has been shoveling in gravel, stones, boards, and letters, to help me climb out of the pit that I call “funk.”

Writing is once again enjoyable, and I have a full professional calendar planned for 2014.

I also need to plan my personal calendar so that I don’t fall into the “all work makes Jack a bore” routine. Life, as our diet, must be balanced to keep sane.

As I have done for the past three years, I am reading the Bible through in one year. I lost my large print senior Bible and so am using my older, smaller print study Bible I’ve had for 26 years (my husband bought it for me on my 40th birthday.) I am enjoying the expositions as God continues to make His Word come alive in my life.  

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet Your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than day?
(Matthew 625 and net – 27 NIV)

Interestingly enough, my short blog, Kernels of Conviction, has dealt extensively with this topic of worry.

For this month Weight Watchers has emphasized the Simple Start approach, choosing more power foods that are more filling and nutritious. It also provides allowances for those “must have” foods.

In truth, I have not fully adapted to eating only those power foods. One of the reasons is that my specific diet needs to be low in fiber and high in protein. But I am adapting. I am choosing better foods. When I reach for something that is permissible, however not necessarily beneficial, I asked myself, “Is there a better choice?”

The same principle is true in our daily lives. We learn to take that moment, breathe in a prayer, and ask, “Is there a better way?”

All things may be permissible but not all things are beneficial. God grant me wisdom to choose those things that will enhance my Walk with You.