Sunday, September 4, 2011

What if we were Real?

One of my favorite music artists is Mandisa, not only do I love her music, but she is just an amazing light of Christ. I have many of her songs on my "running" play-list. Her new album is titled "What if we were real" and has a lot of great songs, one of which is the same as the album title. This is the inspiration for my post today. I'd like to pretend that no one has ever noticed that I'm pudgy. I've always been self conscious about my "size" and get my feelings hurt very easily with any comments concerning my "size". It's because of this that I basically avoid all talk on social networks about my weight-loss or need thereof. When posting pictures on fb I am very careful and break out into a sweat when I see that I've been "tagged" in a photo. But, today I am going to be real with all of you and show you a very incriminating photo.

This is a picture from my Duathlon.  It shows all the loose skin on my arm.  Not very attractive, but it is the reality of 32 pounds of weight-loss.  In fact, I have to use a product called "glide" on the soft loose skin under my arms so that I don't get chaffing on long runs.  I decided to post this embarrassing picture because I know that 1). I'm not only one with "bat wings" and 2) we all have things that we are self conscious about.  A couple of the lines from Mandisa's song that really speak to me are "But what if I share my brokenness
What if you share how you feel.  We'd think a little less of ourselves, We'd care about someone else, 'Cause we'd know just how they feel.  Maybe we could let someone love us, Maybe we'd be a little more like Jesus.  Why can't we learn to real?"

So here I am being real.  I have a long way to go, there is going to be a lot of loose skin and I'll never have a perfect body.  My legs will always be too big and my boobs too small.  But, God looks on the inside.  I am trying to honor Christ through my weight loss and exercise.  I am trying to give it to him as an offering of love (I get in the way of that a lot of the times).  I am learning to turn to Him rather than food.  One last Mandisa link.  This is an interview that was done.  If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, then watch the last 2 minutes.

I hope this helps you feel like you can be a little more real too.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Journey to Health

I was over-weight from about 4th grade through my early twenties. At 25 I joined Weight Watchers and lost 55 pounds. I was able to keep that off until my first pregnancy when after Jessica's birth, I had more than a beautiful baby girl. I also had almost 50 pounds back on. I kept that weight until my second child was about one. This time I joined L.A. Weight-loss and was able to loose 45 pounds. I have been the off-on dieter ever since. Loose 20 pounds, gain it, loose it, gain it. I was on an "up 20" when I found out we were expecting Annalia. Even though I exercised throughout my pregnancy, I was again over weight at the end of it. In fact, I weighed more than ever before. I felt very defeated! In 2009 I lost 20 pounds only to gain back 12# of it. Ugh! Then I spend two years with a "why bother" attitude. I'm not real sure when my "moment of enlightenment" happened, sometime January/February 2011. But I finally decided that I was not okay with my health. Not only was I not eating well, I had not seen the doctor since Annalia was born and had not seen the dentist in 6 years. I decided that it was time to take care of myself.

So here it is, 5+ months and I'm on my way. I've seen my doctor, had my teeth checked and cleaned (no cavities) and I've lost 25 pounds so far. I'm trying to really focus on changing my eating habits so that I don't find myself in this position again. I've also been putting goals in front of me to help me keep going. My next goal, a Duathlon.

My next post will probably be mostly about this journey along with the frustration that come with it. I hope that you may find it inspiring on some level...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Doubt & Decisions

Do you ever have a hard time making decisions? I wouldn't say that I normally fall into that category, but there are times when the "stakes" seems higher and I just can decide. What makes it so hard to decided? Sometimes we just don't know what we truly want, sometimes we know what we want but we are trying to make someone else happy. Sometimes it's doubt and fear.

I have been given an amazing opportunity! A gift really, to be able to sell a line of children's clothes on Sew Happy Baby's web-site. Jen (the owner) gave me the option to name my "business" and start "branding" myself. To me this was both scary and exciting. I've been making and selling (or giving as gifts) things for a very long time. I always go through the same emotions: Excitement * Disbelief * Fear * Doubt. Sometimes the doubt gets me, and I don't' move forward. It's not that I haven't been successful in the past. I had a line of handmade greeting cards that were being sold in 6 boutiques throughout West Michigan. I had an Art rep too. Then the economy crashed and so did my business.

When Jen wanted to add to her web-site, I asked if I could give it a try. If it wasn't for the constant encouragement from Jen Suits and my husband, this adventure would have been banked into the doubt tote. This tote is full of many things that I didn't think anyone would buy. I have an "emotional-figurative-tote" and an actual-literal-tote. I'm not sure which one weighs more. When the doubts sets in, I begin to put things off, as if I'm already separating myself from the venture. I did this with the whole "branding" and naming of my clothing. I had a lot of different names, my family didn't like any of them. Then it just started feeling like it was all too much, and "what I'm I thinking, I don't sew well enough anyway."

Mike (DH) kept pushing me forward. So I asked Jen if she would post a picture of the pants on her blog (while we are waiting for the web-site to get completed). Of course she was happy to do so, because she is awesome like that. The amazing thing is, After only something like 48 hours, someone bought a pair of pants. So I have my first order! Now I'm scrabbling! Because I had already began moving toward doubt, I don't have tags, or sizing tags. It also pushed me to pick a name.

I know that it's mine and no one else has to like the name, but for me, it's more fun when those you love are excited too. I really wanted to use the word "magpie" because that is what my little Annalia is, and it really just reminds me of little girls. After going around and around with different variations. We have settled on "lil' Magpie" There are a lot of steps ahead and I'm sure doubt will rear it's ugly head...but, I'm pushing through it with the love and support of friends and family. I will keep you all posted as things come into place. Happy to have you on this crazy exciting adventure!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Running

Well, I finally broke my 40min. 5k. It was just on my own run and not at a official race...but I feel good about achieving that BEFORE my next birthday. I ran 5k in 38:44 so it wasn't even a squeak by. Next race is in 16 days, the Lamont 5k. It's just a little local race and will not be chipped. Which just means the official time might not be real accurate. My new goal now is to get down to a 12min mile pace, which is a whooping 5mph. Since I've been using my Nike + GPS (one month) I have tracked over 36 miles. That's kind of cool. I'm actually getting to the place where I enjoy the run (well, at least most of the way). But sharing this experience with my husband and with friends (especially Jen) has been the biggest blessing of all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today was our last session for Morning bible study. We have been studying the life of Jonah, with a study written by Priscilla Shirer. This has been a fabulous study. But that's not what is on my heart right now...

We have mostly young mothers of small children and infants that attend this morning study. For the most part, they are home all day with their little ones. This study is vitally important to their emotional well-being! Some moms come in dressed like they are going out on a date. The reason being, it's the first time all week that they are out of the house. Some moms come in looking bedraggled, tired and barely put together. We've all been there. But the one thing they all have in common? They drop those beautiful-loves-of-their-lives into the nursery, collapse into the chair in the bible study room and breathe. For two entire hours no one is asking for anything, they sit soaking it all in. They laugh and cry with their girlfriends around them. They learn more about Jesus Christ and more about their relationship with Him. What makes this time even possible?

Nursery Caregivers.

Finding people to help in the Nursery has been the biggest burden of anything that God has put in front of me. When it's time to begin the planning of each Bible Study, I cry out to God. Is this really what you want? I can't do this again. I can't get the nursery filled. I don't know what else to do.

Today, one of the young moms said to me, "this is the first 2 hours that I've had without my kids all week.". I could see how exhausted she was. At that moment I felt God confirm in me all over again. "Yes Karen, I want you to do this again, and again, and again."

I have to believe that God will make a way. I also have to realize, that way may not be easy. I will probably always have a hard time finding childcare, that doesn't mean that God is not in the middle of it all. It just means that I have to completely depend on Him and "roll with the punches". We can be quick to nix something God wants us to do. We think, if this is God ordained, it will be smooth and easy. I think that is rarely the case. I am a lot like Jonah, I throw my little temper tantrum. I want people to just line up to serve in nursery, I want them to enthusiastically call me on the phone and say "YES, I would LOVE to serve in this way." When it's tough and no one can help, I get angry, I whine, I say "forget it, this is my last one." Thanks be to God, he doesn't leave me alone! Sometimes he gives me a fish to rescue me, sometimes he gives me shade to take a rest. When I seek Him, I find Him - giving me everything I need to do it one more time, and one more time, and one more time...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monkey on My Back

I was thinking that I wanted to change the name of this blog...but...I guess it still fits me well. Maybe I will put the effort into making this blog look fancy too.

So, I ran my second 5K as a 41 yr old (my first 5k I was 26). Since I turn 42 in less than a month, I guess that will be my record haha. BUT I still cannot complete the distance in less than 40min. I ran today it took 40:56. I may not have an opportunity to race before I turn 42, but I WILL run a 5k under 40 minutes before April 6th.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One of the many things I love about following Christ is how He speaks to me. I love that he speaks to me the way that's just right for me. I'm a processor. I need to think on things for a while. Because God knows me so intimately, he gives me insights a little at a time until they all merge together in terrific understanding.

I've had a few thoughts bouncing around inside my head over the last week. Today during the service they all snapped into place. What if you gave everything to God? What if... Growing up a Pastor's daughter, this idea isn't new to me. I've heard it a thousand times. Today however, it was like a strong magnet drawing all the scattered thoughts together. I looked at that phrase in a new way. What if...I gave Him my fear? The fear of failure, the fear of looking stupid, the fear of rejection, the fear of embarrassment, the fear of needing to be liked. What would my ministry look like if I let go? Let go of control, let go of doing everything perfect, let go of needing praise. What if I TRULY gave everything to God?

Place Your Life Before God

God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Romans 12:1a

I want to give it all to God! I want His passion daily! I want to live my life on fire. I don't want to look to the world. I don't want to look at my ministry as being defined by a title, I want my everyday, ordinary life to be a ministry.