Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Gospel According to Chubby - Jeremy Rochford (review)

Obesity. It has become an epidemic in our nation. Schools are altering their menus to help children avoid it. Law makers are trying to pass legislation to deter it. Fad diets are created every day to help control it. Its effects are discussed on television and radio, in homes and schools and workplaces. But nobody's talking about the underlying cause behind it. Until now...

In The Gospel According to Chubby, Jeremy Rochford shares his amazing story of losing over 200 pounds without surgery, pills, shots, or anything besides determination-- and Jesus. Unlike so many other publications out there, Jeremy doesn't just focus on his success. He doesn't scurry over the pivotal point with a couple of sentences and then blow smoke about a "sure fire way you can have success too!" (Can you hear the used-car-salesman voice in that? I hope so!).

Rochford starts at the beginning. In kindergarten, a school physical spells out what is already obvious: Jeremy is considerably overweight. His issue wasn't merely a slow metabolism or bum thyroid; he had an addiction. Jeremy explains throughout the book how snack cakes were his heroin. Where some addicts get track marks, food addicts get stretchmarks. With a refreshing amount of openness and honesty, Rochford shares how he lied and even resorted to stealing money to satiate his addiction. As he grew older, his weight problem affected his social life (by keeping it at bay), which perpetuated the cycle of emotional eating. Food was the only place he could find comfort and solace. It was the means by which he tried (and tried and tried) to fill the emptiness within him.

Thankfully, his story doesn't end there; but I don't want to give it all away! ;) What I love so much about this book is that it is raw in its honesty, putting words to what the rest of us are afraid to say: That there is a deeper issue underlying the need that some of us feel to eat beyond what is healthy.

Furthermore, in spite of the heavy topic (sorry-- no pun intended), Jeremy is able to keep you laughing with his stream-of-consciousness and sense of humor. It doesn't take long to realize that the man writes just like he talks, allowing you to settle into a comfortable conversation about a very uncomfortable topic.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Consider the Lilies... And the Petunias... And Begonias... And-- Well, you get the point.

While I was pulling a TON of flowers to go to markdown because they weren't in prime condition (few to no blooms, wilted, too leggy, etc), I was contemplating some issues that have come up in my life. There are some more changes that need to be made; there's more growing to be done. I've decided there is always more growing to be done-- but that's not the point... The point is that I was frustrated with the fact that even though I'd finally pinpointed and put names to these issues, acknowledged what was amiss-- those changes, that growing, still hadn't taken place. I could see the problem, but it was as if it was behind glass; I couldn't reach it to do anything about it. Of course, I understand that the "doing" is God's job; He's the One that makes things new. But I had reached the point of being ready for the growth, no matter how uncomfortable. All that to say, I was struggling with the holdup. What was taking so long? What was I doing or not doing to stand in the way of these changes?

And then He answered me...

"Look at what you're doing, with these flowers here. No one wants to pay the full price or endure the wait for what I do. You demand perfection before you give up anything, and then you expect it to stay perfect or even get better until you decide you've gotten your money's worth, or you give it back.

Take commercialized plants. Mass produced. So crammed together that they die before they get a chance to live. Forced to bloom before they're ready. ...Now there's a concept. I made seasons for a reason. Everything, everyone experiences them- and I'm not just talking about the four that immediately come to mind. So maybe there's not a holdup. Maybe you're not standing in My way. Maybe it's just not quite your season to blossom yet. Maybe you need a little more rain, a little more tending to... It's such a process- an intricate design. So many things take place before the bloom. And they have to happen at just the right time, in just the right order, to achieve maximum success. Too many nutrients in the wrong place and the plant is leggy- lots of leaves and stem, not much flower. So there is an urgency for some things, at certain points, to happen just so. But that doesn't mean the immediate result will be the flower. It means the end result will be the best possible flower.

Trust Me to know what I'm doing. I am the Master Gardener after all. Rest in the process- and I assure you, it is taking place! The plant doesn't do anything but soak up the rain (that I provide), consume the nutrients (that I provide), and grow from the process that I set in motion. It doesn't choose to. It doesn't help Me, or hinder Me. It just is. When it's time for something in you to change, it will. It always has. Rest in that."

And He's right (go figure): I have countless examples of times when things have changed in me, in my life. And a lot of times, it seemed like a switch just flipped. But when I think about it, there was always time involved; and seldom did things happen when I thought they should. There's been turmoil and agony and waiting and waiting and waiting-- And then something just clicks, often times without any regard to what I have or have not done. Because He's planted me, and He's got this process going, and things are going to happen when and how they should for maximum impact. And my job is to just rest and abide and trust that when it's time to change, change happens.

Whew! Talk about a load off!

"Look at the lilies and how they grow.
They don't work or make their clothing,
yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed
 as beautifully as they are."
Luke 12:27

Diary of a Mad Fat Woman; Entry #1

Yes, I said fat. Go ahead and get your cringing out of the way now.

Yes, I am referring to myself. Save your arguments; it's a fact.

I got on the scale about a week and a half ago for the first time in a long time. It was devastating...




I've been overweight for as long as I can recall. I've dealt with my fair share of last picks (if picked at all) for sports, dateless dances, and being the easiest target for insults hurled like dodgeballs. ...Aaaaannnnddd for those dodgeballs, now that I mention it... O_o

I don't like it. Never have.

I've shed many tears over it.

But I have taken it. I have let it go on. I have made half-hearted attempts in the past to change things, sure; but it has never been enough...

Until now.

One thing I've discovered about myself, and about women in general I think, is that we can tolerate a lot. I mean, a LOT-- That's why WE have the husbands and the kids, right? ;) We can let a less than perfect situation go on for quite some time. We may dislike it, but we can let it continue. It may sadden us, but still it goes on...

But once we are mad, that's it. Tolerance is over and turn-around begins.

When I stepped on that scale and saw the bare truth of what I had let happen, I snapped. Overweight is one thing, but I had let it reach the level of absolute absurdity! The medical term for where I am is "morbidly obese". And not just morbid in the sense of scary to see... Morbid in the sense of-- I'm gonna die.

I. Am. FURIOUS! How DARE I continue to turn a blind eye to the stealing away of my life!!! How DARE something like food-- something I should surely be master over to simply use as a tool to keep me alive-- become my oppressor and be the very thing that sends me to an early grave!!!! Not to mention the lack of quality of life I am experiencing on my WAY to that grave!!

What kind of thanks is it to the One Who gave me life-- and for a PURPOSE-- to squander that life and end it prematurely for love of a damned cheeseburger?!?!?!?! "Here I am, Lord! Use me! ...But lemme choke down this umpteenth donut first; I can feel my arteries unclogging."?!?!?! Really?!


So I've joined the gym. And I'm changing my eating habits. By dropping the "habit" as a matter of fact. And I've been doing a Daniel fast. Because not only do I know that without God's working in this I am utterly hopeless, but also because I'm doing this for Him and for His glory. He gave me life in the beginning, and gave it back to me when I found myself in so much (other) bondage. And so now I do want to live this life He's given me FOR Him! Not for food.

And I am sharing this because I refuse to continue to "struggle silently" so that I may continue to fail. It's no longer about vanity; it's about life and death. And I'm choosing life!

So welcome to this new journey, feel free to come along. I'm gonna be real, and it's gonna get raw. I said before that things are changing, and I'm pretty sure that I still haven't even scratched the surface!

If you are or have been on your own weight loss journey, I welcome any resources, tips, advice, and encouragement you have to offer!

"This means that anyone
who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
2 Corinthians 5:17

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Big Bottom Blessing - Teasi Cannon (review)

Wow. From the moment I read the title of this book, I was hooked! Cannon's wit and humor are evident from the first line of the introduction: "Does this book make my rear end look big?" (Cannon, xvii). Instantly, you're not reading a book; you're talking to a friend, one who not only has been where you probably are since you picked up the book but also who isn't afraid to bare all in order to glorify Daddy God and help bring about breakthrough in your own life! Her candidness keeps the reader totally engaged, laughing with her one minute and crying the next (at times tears of joy; at others, great sorrow). Much of her story like having a poor body image and low self-esteem from early childhood, dealing with both external and internal bullies, and making bad decisions in order to find even fleeting happiness and fulfillment reflects my own life in an uncanny way. I relived my own childhood while reading about hers: simultaneously hating what I saw in the mirror and being obsessed with looking. Hearing the taunts and jeers of other kids at school-- And let me tell you, I agree with Cannon 100% on that "sticks and stones" hogwash! "Words can never hurt me"?! PSH! Words can last forever.

But, as Cannon discovers and shares, there is hope! Because God has something to say about us, too; and His words bring life where others' do not! When we can get our minds and hearts around what GOD has to say about us-- Listen to HIS voice over the bullies'-- it is truly life-changing! It doesn't happen overnight, and it can really be a struggle at times. Nonetheless, Cannon's book not only helps you realize that you're not alone in this, it also aids in getting to the root of the issue by causing you to confront whatever it is: your past, your demons, your fears... It also inspires real dialogue with God-- Not just rattling off your list of pleases and thank yous, but really talking to Him, even if it's not always "polite and proper" on your end. Because that's the thing, God is REAL, and REALLY wants to have relationship with you, and wants you to know what HE says about you-- AND, He doesn't mind when you're "real" (confused, sad, angry). Not only does My Big Bottom Blessing help you realize who you are to God, it helps you realize who God wants to be to you!

Even if you've never struggled with weight, I would recommend this book to anyone. You'd be surprised what issues (and FREEDOM) may come up as you take this journey with Teasi and with God! Follow this link to find out more about the book, the author, and how you can purchase a copy! I truly hope it touches you as much as it has me!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I do my best work at odd hours and in a time crunch...

...At least, I like to think so.

I mean, look it! *points to blog title* I finally inserted a catchy title! Da dum, chah!

Ok, maybe it's not overwhelmingly catchy or creative, but I think it sums it up pretty well... People kept asking what I wrote about, and the only "running theme" in my posts is that they are all based on occurrences from my day-to-day. Sure, "big and noisy" get our attention at the moment; but it's what gets etched forever on our hearts that really matters. And those things usually sneak up on us, quiet and unassuming, easily miss-able, as we go about our daily lives.

So there you have it-- TA DA-- Another Day in the Life...

So where've I been? Well, right now I'm sitting in a hotel room in Cincinnati, Ohio, waiting on the iron to heat up. Confession: That's code for "Putting off ironing as long as possible because I hate it with a passion." In retrospect, I think hanging the shirt and vest I want to wear today on a rack rather than folding them and putting them in a suitcase for the 9 hour trip would have probably spared me the absolute dire need of ironing. Ah well, you live, you learn.

This is my first post of 2011. That's crazy! It's not that I haven't wanted to write. Or that I don't have an entire page full of ideas of things to write about. I could blame it on lack of time, but that's only marginally an issue. But something-- well, some things have changed. Unfortunately, it's the impalpable, the intangible, and therefore the not-easily-written-aboutable... Subtle changes. No, not really subtle; not to me anyway. But internal changes. Changes in passions and perceptions, dreams and desires...

URGH! I really don't mean to sound so cryptic! I wish I could just tear open my soul and dump it out on this keyboard, download through osmosis what's inside my spirit that is stirring and leaping and demanding release! But I can't; so let's just suffice it to say that I've changed, and am still in the process of it. And I'm pretty sure that change is going to show through in my writing, once I start writing regularly again.

Maybe that's part of it. Change is never easy, especially when you're in the middle of it. Even good change, and welcomed. And to blurt it all out, to divulge and rant about this new season as it unfolds when it only unfolds so little at a time, without giving it time to sink in and to temper and to really make sense, would probably just make me sound crazy(er). It has been a tendency of mine in times past to go off half-cocked, which is terribly ineffective at best and negatively effective more often than not. God has been dealing with me the last several months on stopping that. I have been learning, over and over and over, to wait and to do so quietly...

All that to say, bear with me. I'm still here. I will write more often again. Probably soon. In the meantime, I have to go turn the iron back on (stupid auto-off) and finish getting ready for the Love Won Out conference, my reason for being in Ohio.

Oh! One last thing! I would be terribly amiss to write a post on this particular day without giving a shout out to my dear friend and fellow blogger... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGIE!!!

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him."
Psalm 62:5

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Letting Go

I love this song! It's such a good explanation of what it feels like to trust in God, to give up our own ideas for what our life should be like and embrace instead His plan. Because it's true: His ways ARE higher than our ways.

Over the Summer, I went with my family to Pigeon Forge, TN for a much-needed vacation. On our last day there, I did something I'd been wanting to do for a long time: I rode the Superman! That's not what this particular place called it, but still... You strap into the harness so that you're on your belly and they take you up about 80 feet in the air to drop you, then you swing REALLY high for a long time. This is how the conversation with my attendant went, once I was in the harness:

Him: "OK, go ahead and start leaning forward, your feet are going to come out from under you in just a second."

Me: "HUMPH!" (as my feet shot out behind me and I found myself studying the gum-strewn concrete from 3 feet up. It was then that it dawned on me, there's no cushioning should the mechanism fail... *gulp*)

Him: (as I'm eye-level with him and steadily climbing.) "When you get all the way to the top, I'm gonna count you off-- 1-2-3-- Then you're gonna pull that cord on your right hip."

Me: "OK-- WHOA!HANGON! WHO'S gonna pull the cord?!?!?!?!?!"

Him: "You are. Wait til I count. Have a nice flight!"

NO KIDDING, wait til you count!!! I had to be responsible for pulling the cord?!?! For letting go and trusting the rope I was dangling from to do its job? At 30 feet, I seriously began questioning my sanity. At 50, I was gulping down air, telling myself repeatedly how unhappy the onlookers below would be if I didn't hang on to my breakfast. At 80, the machine stopped. And so did my heart.

ONE! (Oh holy Jesus, what am I DOING?!?!?!?!)

TWO! (I can do this! --I can't do this! --I CAN do this!!! --I can't--)

THREE!!! (Ooohhhh Gooooddddd!!!!!)

My hand clumsily found the cord. My eyes rolled around, not actually focusing on anything, just taking in a blurry sea of hard, hard ground. The go kart race below became muffled and distant. I inhaled deeply, held it, and tugged on the cord. For a moment (that felt like eternity) nothing happened. I just hung there. Then I began my rapid descent towards the ground. I didn't breathe again until I felt the cord pull tight and I began the arc upwards (after coming terrifyingly close to the pavement). From there, it was AWESOME!!!

Letting go is both exhilarating and nauseating. You want to shout with joy and expectation while at the same time weep in fear and mourning for what you're letting go. It is terribly wonderful, and wonderfully terrible! It's scary. There's comfort in having something to hold onto: our routines, certain people, different things that have been a part of our lives so long that we don't remember life without them.

We find our security in these things that we cling to. But God's promise is that HE is our security. He will never leave, never forsake; He does not change. There is much more strength in HIS grasp than in our own. And sometimes we need to let go of our "stuff" so that we can cling more tightly to Him. THAT'S where true comfort is.

So what is it that you're hanging on to? Let me encourage you to let go. Pull the cord; feel the wind on your face!

Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Don't just DO something! STAND THERE!!!"

I love these words from White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland! But I never thought they'd be fitting in any situation but sarcasm... Until I just couldn't take it anymore...

I told you in this post all about the Salvation Army bells and how they ALWAYS make me cry. Last week, as I got out of my truck and heard the bells and started crying and wishing there was something I could do, I heard a voice say those words to me: Don't just "do something" (wish that you could, but can't and so nothing gets done at all)! STAND THERE!!

I asked the guy how to get involved, got the number, and rang a bell for the first time last night. Yes, I choked up a couple times. Can it. ;) Well, that's all well and good, I thought, but what if we could make it more interesting? I like to make things interesting...

So I challenged my Millbrook-area friends to come see me and make a donation. In return, I would sing a Christmas song for them. It was a nasty night, so I don't really blame anyone for not turning out (except for the Smiths-- THANK YOU GUYS!!!)!

Well that challenge is still on! I'll be letting you know my bell ringing schedule so you can come donate and have a song sung in your honor... But while I was on the Salvation Army website today I found-- wait for it... an online kettle!!! Oh this is just TOO good to pass up!

That's right! I'm now ringing the bell ONLINE! Check out the widget on the right that keeps up with the progress of online donations!

And furthermore-- I'm extending the challenge to the online kettle! For every online donation, I'll sing while I'm at the real kettle in Millbrook!

So to ALL my friends, local and only close-at-heart, I wanna sing for you! But there's only ONE way to make that happen (well, two, technically)... Please help me make a difference in the lives of so many who just need a little hope this year!!!