Monday, December 24, 2012

What A Year

What a whirlwind year it has been.

This time last year we had just moved from Georgia to Kansas and had spent three months without a job. We moved into our house ten days before Christmas, but due to an Army mix up, we had no furniture or any of our stuff. All we had was one bag of clothes, a few pots and some food - the few things we had brought with us to carry us over the couple of weeks we expected to be without a home and job. We didn't have any ornaments or lights, and we had no paper to wrap gifts. It was strange.

We ended up going about 8 weeks without furniture (while I was 20+ weeks pregnant) and six months without a job/income. As much as I tried to rejoice in the true reason for the season, it wasn't easy. Maybe it was that I've become accustomed to certain things as I celebrate Christ's birth - lights, ornaments, beautiful gifts. In their absence, I had a really hard time feeling festive. Something was missing.

Throughout this past year, I've had many many times where physically, emotionally, and even financially I've felt empty, like something is missing. So many new experiences, fitting in to a new place, losing loved ones...none of that is easy. But what I have learned (or re-learned) is this: God is so very, very faithful. While He may not always do things the way I'd expect or even like, He will be sufficient to fill my cup, day after day. When I feel empty, if I run to Him, He'll give me all I need to keep going.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thirty Four Pounds

I think "ecstatic" could pretty much describe me right now. I started packing our closet and decided to try on some clothes I haven't worn in at least 3 years....and they FIT!! Only one dress was too tight to actually wear, and I haven't worn it in probably 5 years anyway. One of these days I'll wear it again.

My goal during my pregnancy was to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight by 3 months post-delivery, and if not by then, I definitely wanted to achieve that weight by 6 months after bub arrived. I was trying to eat healthy, and I had heard stories of people back into their pre-pregnancy clothes within a couple of weeks after delivery, so I was hopeful that the weight would just melt right off. I was also motivated to exercise regularly. After all, I hadn't gained that much during pregnancy - only 35lbs, which my doctor said was fine. But, what I hadn't realized is that breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, limits weight loss, especially initially. It was actually only in conversation with a friend that I learned that your body "holds on to" extra fat while breastfeeding in order to ensure a quality milk supply. Interesting stuff - but I was still disappointed that I wasn't instantly back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Well, the three month mark post-baby came and went, and I still wasn't where I wanted to be.  I pretty much lost 28ish pounds within the first 2 weeks after Selah's delivery, but that last 5-7lbs was stubbornly hanging on. The exercise I'd hoped to do regularly just never seemed to happen, for one reason or another. I kinda just pushed losing weight to the backburner and figured I would worry about it when Selah was older and I had more time.

As the last few months have gone by, I've started to notice that I have lost weight. In the last month or so, I have been down to the last 3-4 lbs. Today I weighed myself and discovered I am only 1lb away from my pre-pregnancy weight!!! What an amazing feeling! The best part is that I haven't actually had to do anything to lose it, haha. I still eat the same, hardly ever get to exercise, and I'm still breastfeeding. I don't say that because it's a good thing...though it is kinda nice to be shedding pounds.

I am still about 15lbs from where I want to be - roughly where I was in the early days of college, and I know I will have to work hard to get there. But progress is progress, and today I'm just gonna celebrate the 34lbs lost, the clothes I can now wear, and the beautiful daughter I was blessed with in the midst of it all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What I wish I could tell my pre-2007 self...

(This is a somewhat random post, kind of a mish-mash of thoughts I've been having today over the growth I've experienced as a person since I moved to the US.)

What I wish I could tell my pre-2007 self...

* There is grace. When you fall, ask for forgiveness. It's ok - you don't have to berate yourself over and over again because you made a mistake.

* You don't have to be someone you're not, just to make other people happy. God doesn't need your pretenses, or your hair to be perfect, or you to look like the perfect little Christian. He needs you - flaws and all. If he'd wanted perfection, He would never have chosen you.

* You don't know everything. And that's okay.

* Accept who you are. You spend far too much time trying to be like other people.

* There will always be people who will hurt you. And while that's hard to take, remember that you hurt people sometimes too. Forgive, and those hurts will fade and heal, and you'll be left with a friend instead of a bitter memory.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Joy Amidst Chaos

Some days it feels like my life is complete and utter chaos. At this very moment, on my couch there is a to-do list for the day, one coupon for something I'm not even going to buy, two remotes, my Bible, a devotional that is only half read for the day, more coupons I'm not going to use, a list for Thanksgiving, coupons I might use for Thanksgiving stuff, my glasses, a water bottle, and a discarded pacifier. (It sounds like a whole pile of stuff, but really, it's way better than it was before, I promise.) And then there's the things that are not physically on the couch, but are running through my mind - that calendar I need to contact Shutterfly account, moving truck to organize, things to pack, Bible study to read...and so the list could go on. It feels like there's one endless to do list that keeps spitting out of my printer and I can't keep up.

But...there's beauty in the chaos. The coupons mean I will get to celebrate Thanksgiving this year...which some may not get to do this year because they are too poor or don't have a home. My Bible shows me how blessed I am to be a child of the King, something I ought never to take for granted. My devotional book makes me sigh a huge sigh of relief that I am not alone, that many mothers have gone before me and have endured the very same struggles I am facing. The to-do list means I am alive and have a day in which I can serve my King and my family. The pacifier means my long-time dream has come true, and I am mama to one incredible little girl.

So, in spite of the chaos, I am blessed.

One of the things God has been reminding me lately is that joy is a choice. Some days the chaos doesn't make me feel joyful. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, or stressed, or both...and the very last thing I feel like doing is raising my hands in worship to my King as I make my way through the day. Yet, I am called to rejoice always. Always doesn't simply mean when my day is going well, Selah takes super long naps, and my to-do list is all complete by the time my hubby comes home. Always means even on the days when Selah wants to be held all day, or my kitchen is a disaster, or my hair just will not cooperate. How do you find joy in the midst of disastrous days? By resting in God.

I was recently in a Christian bookstore while Caleb was away, and for whatever reason the upcoming *season* was weighing heavily on my mind. I was filled with fear and dread at a year without my husband - fear of whether he would be ok, fear for how I would cope, dread at how to fill those 365ish days all alone. As I browsed the store, I saw two things:

One: A picture of a soldier kneeling. It was hung way up high so I couldn't see everything it said, only these words: "I WILL PROTECT HIM". What an amazing comfort - exactly what I needed to hear.

Two: A super cute tea cup with the word "Joy" printed on the front. Upon picking it up, I found a little card (that came with it) tucked inside. It said "This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) All I could think as I stared at the cup was how appropriate the words were for our upcoming season apart - a reminder that each day is not a day to grieve, but a day to serve. Not saying that it'll be easy, but if I choose to find my joy in the LORD, I will be strong enough to make it through.

My new tea cup
So, today, I am trying to choose joy. :)

*As a side note, welcome to my new blog! I am hoping that I can be consistent with maintaining it, but no promises.