Tuesday, March 13, 2018


With yesterday's weigh in I was back down a pinch again. :)  

Last week I exercised with vigor, logged my food and exercise more regularly and overall ate better.  

That being said, I struggle a bit to write this blog this morning at a time when I would normally be sweating it out like a champ on a bike in Spin class.  Yet, last night as I was watching some TV, I crossed my legs and something in my hip started to ache.  It was tough falling asleep as I could not get my left leg comfortable.  When I woke up, it felt a little stiff, but when I got out of bed it wasn't sharp pain, but an ache enough that my body said, "Rest."  After an extra hour of sleep, my leg is still a bit off, but not spinning was the smart choice.  I know I would not have been able to go easy in that class and I was worried about making this injury worse.  
I told a friend last week that rest is key in healing...I needed to repeat that to myself over and over in bed this morning.  I know (in the long run) a rest day today will be beneficial.  It's tough, however, to begin my day out of the regular routine of checking in with gym buddies and beginning my day with exercise.   

Depending on how the leg feels at the end of the day, yoga is an option to stretch it out.  We'll just have to see how it feels later.  

In the meantime, I can say that in general I've been feeling much better, health wise.  I feel like the weight loss over the past few months is now showing and clothes have been fitting better and I have more energy.  :)  These are all wonderful positives even when the numbers on the scale are not going down.  

In other realms of my life, my word for the year is wholehearted.  This month I've been focusing on cultivating a resilient spirit - letting go of numbing and powerlessness.  Thanks to Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection, my guidepost for this month addresses how we numb things in our lives.  We find additions and use them to numb feelings and emotions.  The thing that she has come to realize or discover is that you can't numb just the things you don't like.  When you practice numbing, you numb the bad AND the good.  I've realized that my phone screen takes up much of my time.  When I'm in the room with others, I'm drawn to check the screen.  When the tv is on, I'll scroll facebook or my instagram feed and truthfully not fully be engaged in either screen.  So, I've been actively limiting my time on social media and silly cat games.  I've been more aware of my surroundings at home and will check facebook from time to time on my desktop and try not to be sucked into my phone.  

I've already found much more time to read, which is a bonus.  
I'm also aware that when I'm home with down time, it's much more of a challenge to curb myself from my phone.  Last week's snow day was a tough one. 
Oh, my one other self-inflicted rule is that I don't check social media in bed.  For one, it means I'm not staring at a screen for many minutes or more before falling asleep, but also I'm not waking up and staring at a screen before I begin my day.  This simple change has made the biggest difference in a good way for my sleep habits.  

I've taken to journal everyday, as well.  
I end with a simple entry: the Vowel Check.  (Found in The Gifts of Imperfection by BrenĂ© Brown
A- Have I been abstinent today? How have I refrained (or not) from the items that numb me? - for me social media/phone screen time
E- Have I exercised today? 
I- What have I done for me today?
O- what have I don't for others today?
U- Am I holding on to unexpressed emotions?  
Y- Yeah! What's something good that happened today?

Needless to say, some letters have longer daily entries than others, but as take the time to write more and more each day, I've also found my mind actively processing emotions and experiences more than I have in the past.  Here's to more self-reflection, insight and discovery.  

Blessings to you all this day.  


Monday, March 12, 2018

Invitation into the light

March 11, 2018
Fourth Sunday in Lent

Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Ephesians 2:1-10
John 3:14-21

Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable and suitable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

We are in the gospel of John, in a very familiar passage from John.  To hear both a message that brings hope and promise but also a message that makes us wonder. 

A colleague of mine, when referring to the gospel of John, sometimes describes it as a play set on stage.  Picture this: Jesus is standing center stage, in the spotlight, and the rest of the stage is dark.  Throughout this gospel, people – either individuals or groups come to Jesus in the light…they talk, they ask or answer questions and then they depart back into the darkness.  – oh that’s telling, isn’t it? 

After interacting with Jesus in the light, they depart, back into darkness. 

They come into Jesus presence, hear his words, hear the message of love and grace and forgiveness and are transformed or confused or sometimes both…and then they go on their way. 

Some leave, telling the great news of God through Jesus Christ, like the woman at the well, who proclaims, “Come and see!”

Others, like Nicodemus, the one to whom Jesus is speaking in today’s passage, comes to Jesus at night asks him questions, but does not seem to understand Jesus’ answers. 

So as we hear today’s familiar passage, it’s important to remember to whom Jesus was speaking, but also to hear it as words being spoken to us, today. 

We hear the familiar words in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” 

Ah…familiar words, the mini gospel in one verse…the verse seen on bumper stickers, as tattoos and on signs at sporting events. 

A podcast I listen to said, “It’s funny, you don’t see people carrying posters of John 3:18 or 3:19.” 
Those verses read…“Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed that the light has come into the world.  And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light.” 

And people loved darkness rather than light…

Why is that the case? 

What is it about the darkness that makes us comfortable?  Or causes us to feel safe?  Or is just a place we want to be? 

Maybe the better question is, what is it about the light that makes us uncomfortable? 

In John’s gospel, light is truth.  The light of the world, Jesus teaches God’s love.  Jesus reminds us of how God sees us.  Just as we are.  Warts and all. 

Jesus reminds us that created in God’s image, God knows our innermost thoughts, dreams, hopes, worries and anxieties.  God knows our heart and our mind and all that happens within both. 

Maybe the darkness is a place we retreat to because having God see us for who we truly are is a very vulnerable spot to find ourselves in.  Or maybe, just maybe, there are things about ourselves, that we want to keep hidden from our own eyes.  Things – attitudes, actions, personality traits, words we’ve said that we would rather not be reminded of…that we’ve pushed into the dark recesses of our minds and hearts as to not claim them as parts of ourselves. 

We – on some level- may fear the exposure of our own mediocrity….so we control what we share and with whom, so no one knows the secrets we hold. 

Yet, in the light…the light of Christ, the light of an empty tomb….we cannot hide.  God sees into our hearts…and sheds light on our worries, faults, weaknesses, sinful actions, anxieties and says…this is why I came into the world, not to condemn you for this, but that you may be saved through the life, death and resurrection of my Son, Jesus. 

Now that is one powerful light. 

A light of truth…
A light of grace…
A light of peace and love…

We don’t shine the light on others to say….Ah ha!  This is what you’ve been hiding!!  Gotcha! 
Nope.  Not us. 
Oh, except when we do. 
When we do find ourselves doing that, we’ve fallen into the trap of sin yet again. 

But God is shining this light…on us to say, hey…this stuff about you…the stuff you don’t like…the stuff you feel you need to hide...there are ways to heal this brokenness.  Shining a light on your brokenness lets you know that I know it is there and I love you just the same. 

God says, I don’t want you to feel shame…
God says, I want you to feel whole and complete and loved. 
God says, You are worthy and you are mine. 

I’ve just finished reading Rising Strong: How the ability to reset transforms the waywe live, love, parent and lead.   It’s written by BrenĂ© Brown who has done extensive research in the areas of vulnerability and shame. 

On Wednesday, I read this passage:
“Our identities are always changing and growing, they’re not meant to be pinned down.  Our histories are never all good or all bad, and running from the past is the surest way to be defined by it.  That’s when it owns us.  The key is bringing light to the darkness – developing awareness and understanding.” 

“The key is bringing light into darkness – developing awareness and understanding.”

That’s what God did and continues to do through Jesus by bringing light into darkness.  Showing the world a new awareness and understanding of God’s love. 

So maybe that’s the call for our lives…and our world.
Continue to bring the light into darkness. 

Personally, it will give us each space and time to reflect on our own needs, worries, faults, foibles, imperfections, you know, those things that we hide from the world… Bringing light into darkness will allow us space to let God see us for who we are…and to love us because we are worthy of that love.  Nothing you do or do not do can take God’s love away from you. 

And after we have the opportunity to let the light of God into our own hearts and minds, we are invited to let it shine through us. 

That light will transform us. It will change our view of others and the world around us.  It will open up small spaces of vulnerability between us and others, to listen more closely, to understand more clearly and to come into relationships more deeply. 

We’ve all been called to step into the spotlight with Jesus…it’s a space where we may not be ready to stay for too long, but the invitation is always there.  In that light, we are seen as amazing, beautiful, broken and hurting children of God…for that is who we are. 
In that light we are seen as imperfect and enough. 
In that light we are seen fully as imperfect and at the same time we are enough. 

In that light, we are loved and forgiven and given another opportunity to live lives full of grace, truth and love. 

May the light of Christ shine on you this day and all days. 

And may the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and let all God’s people say amen. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Snow day adventures.

The day started off with a Ta Da! List...as opposed to a To Do List. I think it was a happiness hack on the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft.  

The list was crafted last night on the back of a page from my page-a-day happiness calendar.  

Let me just tell you the day has gone rather well.  

The french press coffee was the perfect beginning to the day, especially paired with two books.  

While I read, this was in the oven.  

With snow falling, but not clinging to sidewalks or the road, I went with a 4 mile run instead of cross country skiing.  

When I got back, I refueled at Dunkin with my snow day donut crew.  

As you can see, that's when the snow really started coming down.  It was like an instant snow day!  

After a hot shower and some more reading time, I made some lunch. 
Grilled cheese, tomato soup & tater tots.  

Grilled cheese on freshly baked bread is a game changer, folks.  It was amazing.  With homemade tomato soup, it was hard to figure out which bite would be last.   I'm the person who likes to save the best bite for last.  Truth: It was the grilled cheese cleaning up the last of the soup in the bowl!  Boom!

I have done a few loads of laundry...and have worked on the youth led worship script.  So, yeah, today has become a Ta Da! kind of day.  

Oh, and the second batch of soup is on the stove simmering for dinner.  That's the refrigerator soup.  Sausage, kale, cannelleni beans, sweet potatoes, carrots and diced tomatoes.  That'll feed the guy who needed to be at work all day.   

I hope your day was filled with  more Ta Das! than To Dos.  

Until the next post, be well.  

Monday, March 5, 2018


Up from last week...but just .2 lbs.  

So while it's a slight increase, I'm not losing sleep over it.  
I will keep an eye on it however.  

The good news is that this past week I enjoyed a few celebrations with friends as well as a midday impromptu date with Billy.  I'm steady with the cardio workouts during the week and balanced some yoga in there, too, last week.  

I shy away from sugary snacks too often....and am working on fewer carbs in the morning, since I never know what the day will bring.  Although, truth be told, I think I prefer the carbs in the morning...at least on solid cardio days.  But I have been doing that, so it's time to mix it up again.  

And in the bigger picture, when I hit 154, I had lost 10 pounds.  And I've been steadily under 154 for a while now.  Little ups and downs are bound to happen.  

I want to keep an eye on my weight because little ups and downs are normal, but several weeks of little ups will make a big difference.  

I'll continue to log my food, exercise regularly and build some strength training into my workouts.  We'll see what the future holds.  

Thanks for reading, supporting, and maybe going up and down just like me.  

I will say that my weight loss or healthy weight posts or as I like to call them my number posts are a super helpful way to keep me accountable.  Not just for weekly weigh ins, but also as I think about what I eat and when I eat.  So when I say thanks, I do mean it, because you help me more than you know.  

Thanks, friends.  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart.

Thankful for the opportunity to worship with the people of God at Zion Lutheran Church in Jonestown last night.  Rejoicing Spirits was a joyful, spirit-filled worship service where we learned about the 10 Commandments.  Singing Holden Evening Prayer in a new setting felt welcoming and comfortable.  

I'm deeply thankful to all the lay leaders - worship leaders, cooks and clean up crew, musicians, lay readers, and the people of Zion who made the evening run smoothly.  I was present to share some words of love and grace in the midst of Holden.  Here is what I shared. 

Midweek Homily
February 28, 2018
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. 

As our Lenten journey continues, so does the theme of covenant. 

Last week you heard about God’s covenant with Noah…and in essence, all of God’s people. 

Tonight, we hear about the covenant God made with Abraham and Sarah…and in essence, again, all of God’s people. 

It starts off with God appearing to just Abram saying I will make my covenant between me and you.  A little while later, God says, I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you. 
And even later in our passage God says to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations…

The covenant, begun between God and Abraham gets bigger and bigger, to include Sarah and all of their offspring, in essence, all of God’s people.   Are you picking up on a theme here? 
Yes, that these covenants, that God makes with specific individuals, are covenants that God makes with us as well. 

God reaches out, time and time again in hope and unconditional love to save God’s people. 
It’s a theme that continues throughout the Old Testament.  My seminary roommate, Steph, taught her confirmation classes about the sweeping saga of salvation. 

God creates God’s people, calls them to live lives in response to a God of love and inevitably, God’s people mess up.  And so, God sweeps back in love to save God’s people…the story continues like this all the way to us. 

Just like Abraham and Sarah, we are not perfect.  The story with Abraham and Sarah includes incest, horrible treatment of slaves, mistrusting God, and even laughing when hearing about God’s promises for them and their future. 

They were far from perfect, yet God chose Abraham and Sarah to be part of God’s mission to love and bless and save the world. 

We, too, are far from perfect. 

We fall into sin each and every day, yet God chooses us, through the waters of baptism to be part of God’s mission to love and save and bless the world.  

And isn’t that just one of the amazing things our God does out of great love for us.  Isn’t that crazy on some levels?  Even unbelievable?  That we could be loved and called to be part of God’s family…to be children of God? 
But that is who we are…

Over the past week, I have had a song stuck in my head called On Children.  The version I have is by the musical group Sweet Honey and the Rock.  A few years ago, I learned that the lyrics for this song come from a poem by Kahlil Gibran (from the book The Prophet) simply called, Children. 
Kahlil writes,

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

God made a promise to Abraham and Sarah….to bless their offspring, their children…children of God. 

God made a promise to us….to bless our offspring…our children, the children of God. 

Even as the children in our lives are ours, they, too are children of God.
We will love them and care for them. 
We will hold them and teach them. 
We will protect and heal them. 
We will lead them through our words and actions…we will care for our children
the children of the world
the children of God. 

We will do this out of our response to God’s light and love in our own hearts. 
We love, because God first loved us. 

In spite of our humanity and our sinfulness, God continues to love and bless and save us.

God made a promise, made a covenant with us, and God will not break that covenant. 

Try as we might, we will attempt to live up to our end of the covenant through compassion to our neighbors, service to those in need, feeding the hungry, being the voice for the voiceless and protecting and caring for the vulnerable in our community and world. 

We will do our best…but we will fall short. 
We hurt others, we are silent when we should speak, or we speak when we should be silent, we think of ourselves first…we are captive to sin. 

But thanks be to God who continues to forgive us, love us, save us and bless us for service in God’s kingdom today and all days. 
We love, because God first loved us. 

As our Lenten journey continues, may we prayerfully respond to God’s love out of the depths of our hearts.  May that love transform a broken world with forgiveness, hope, grace and love. 
May our hearts reflect God’s unconditional love in our homes, community and world. 

And may the peace, which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Better late than never...

I did weigh in on Monday, but did not blog.  Instead, I ran.  The 5 miler outside was totally worth it.  
I'm down just a pinch since last week, but I'll take it.  

It was a wonderful week last week that included a new chicken recipe, two different birthday cakes, trampoline jumping and lots of time in the car.  

Food wise, the week went well.  
Exercise wise, the week went well.  

While I'm still involved in logging my minutes to conquer the Iditarod Challenge at the gym, I'm also listening to what is good for my whole body.  I will conquer the challenge by April 21.  I've been upping my cardio game at the gym and my body is feeling it.  But, with some nicer weather over the past two weeks, I'm also not confining my cardio to the gym alone.  
If I can run outside, I will.  It's totally worth it.  

It seems like I cannot get myself over this current hump of breaking into 152 and below.  And I know, it's not all about the numbers, but there is this goal in my mind to get to 150.  
I will map out a menu for next week that will curb sugars and include whole grains and many veggies.  We'll see if that gets the work done.  If not, it's time to chat with a nutritionalist.  

In the meantime, friends are sharing stories of working towards a healthy to them weight and a more active lifestyle.  I love hearing your stories and hearing how I can be part of your journey and support.  

Be well.  

Monday, February 19, 2018


Another week, another weigh in.  

As the alarm went off this morning, I knew I was short on sleep.  Thankful for a full weekend, but not quite recovered from the lock-in Saturday night, I opted out of the gym this morning.  I went back and forth for a while...to gym or not to gym?  I want to rack up minutes for the Iditarod Challenge, but I also know how sleep impacts not just my body but my heart and mind as well.  So after an extra hit on the snooze button I had a great 4 mile run outside.  

It was a little chilly, but with the sun coming up I was able to navigate the random icy spots on the road from this weekend's snow.  It's one of those days that you wonder if you should run outside.  I know the temps are going up as the week goes on, but I really felt as if a run was what I needed today.  It's one of those days because the route I run has random homes that do not always have their walkways cleared of snow or ice.  Sometimes I double up on back roads because I know it's clearer than the sidewalk.  But I extended my loop today and ended up at the short bridge that is closed to vehicular traffic.  As I approached I remembered that there would be snow there.  Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found this...

You can see my joy as I found a path not only shoveled, but salted as well. It was worth the stop for the photo and the moment of thanks I took.  Sometimes it's the small things.  

I had music on my run today, but I found myself lost in thought and prayer for most of the run.  Reflected on the state of the nation, the range of emotions felt in worship this weekend and the opportunity to lead a lock-in with a small group of amazing 8th & 9th grade girls.  Their ideas and dreams are and will change the world as well know it.  I'm thankful to be in a place to hear their voices and stories and be part of all that they go through, both bad and good.  

Clearly my emotions fueled my run as the second half of the run was much faster than the first.  I could feel the increase in speed and it felt great.  The cross training with spin classes twice a week is definitely helping my running days.  I was super happy to not run on a treadmill today, to breathe fresh air and get a honk and wave from a woman in the congregation, too!  

So, this morning I with the weight back up, albeit just over 1/2 a pound, I can easily become frustrated.   Last week I was a cardio queen at the gym...elliptical, spin, treadmill and a side of strength training.  Boom!  I guess my intake wasn't the best.  Who knows, maybe I've hit a plateau.  
The frustrating part comes in that I'm feeling great, running faster and looking more slender.  Funny how the numbers don't match up with the feelings, huh?  And which do we give more power or more weight?  (HA!)

I had a great chat with a friend at church today who said, "You look great!" Because she's been part of this journey with me I was able to be honest about my weight and my personal frustration today.  We talked through it and I was able to say, maybe it's time for me to ask for help.  Maybe I need the help of a trained nutritionalist.  Or maybe this is a good weight for my body.  If this is where I seem to be hovering, maybe this is my body telling me, stay here, friend, this is good.  
Who knows?  

I will shift my workouts this week and take a yoga class.  I will not focus so much on logging minutes for a challenge and more time exercising in a way that will bring me joy.  I'll continue to log my food.  

And then, this afternoon, out of the blue, another friend texts and says, will you be in the office?  I have snack!  

Well, after no dessert at lunch I totally caved. Hello, caramel.  

Truth be told, it is still not yet consumed.  I'll share it with Billy when he gets home.  That way we can enjoy a treat together.  

I may need to start thinking about different numbers, like sizes of pants, timing of runs and other gains in strength and self-confidence.  I'll keep you posted on those numbers, too.  

Thanks for reading and the continued words and prayers of encouragement.  

Until the next post...