Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Early to bed, Early to rise

Why do I do this to myself??? WHY do I not go to bed, especially when I'm having to put forth a strong physical effort just to hold my eyelids open!! My eyebrow bone literally aches from the strain of staying awake. My body is telling me to sleep. And to do it NOW! But I'm a rebel and do nothing until I absolutely have to do it. Oh-So-Not-Good!

I've been the night-owl, stay awake until morning kind of girl for a double digit number of years. Way before marriage, children, or an endless to-do list I keep hanging on my refridgerator.
Why do I have such a hard time getting awake in the morning?? Seriously!?! The morning is when I start the good snooze. Waking up is torture after just a few hours of dream land.

Change. Change. Change. Change.

Once upon a time I set a goal to be in bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. I was succesfull for a week..... AN ENTIRE WEEK! Tommorow, I will start at day one. And maybe form a habit of being old... um... I mean.... being on time to sleepy town.

Double Standards

As a follow up to my previous blog - Necessary Evils - I wanted to add on to the process of weight loss, food addiction recovery, and general wellness.

For exactly one year, I pondered, prayed about, and researched the weight loss drug Phentermine. It is currently used by most doctors and weight loss clinics as an appetite suppresent. A year ago I talked to my doctor about weight loss, and his first instinct was to perscribe this medication. I declined. My fear was based on the "amphetamine" label that this drug carried, and I did not want to trade a food addiction for a drug addiction.

After a full year of effort to lose weight by diet and excercise, I decided to revisit Phentermine as an option. Here are my reasons.

A. Staying away from food proved to be the ultimate hardship. I wanted to eat healthy and control my portions, but never seemed to stay consistent. I felt defeated in my efforts. I knew how to eat and what to eat to make my body healthy, but I didn't control myself

B. 3 kids (one who is being homeschooled) and a sporatic schedule disabled me from keeping a work out routine at my gym, and I never seemed to get the motivation to work out at home consistently.

C. My energy levels have decreased significantly in the past few months, and working out proved to put me in an even deeper exhaustion, which should not be the case. Working out has been proven to actually increase energy and mood!

D. I entered a pattern of binging and couldn't seem to get out of that pattern, putting on (and keeping on) over 5 pounds in a 3 week period.

After speaking to a doctor at a local weight loss clinic, and having blood work that proved that I was in perfect health, I decided to go ahead and try losing weight via an appetite suppresent. This is where my double standard comes into play. It's like the "diet arsenic"... I know it's not a good choice, and I know it's absolutely bad to put these chemicals in my body, but I feel like it's the best option for now.

My plan is to stay on this program for a full 30 days, using my decreased appetite to train myself to eat healthy. No. Not healthy as in "low fat, diet foods". The healthy manner in which I spoke of in my previous blog. No red meat, no dairy, no caffeine. Whole foods that nourish me and help me to stay recovered from food addiction.

This means that it won't be an option for me to have "just one" cookie, or piece of cake. I won't be able to "cheat' here and there socially when pizza is on the menu, and I certainly will not be able to give into the carbonated cravings I have. It will have to be a lifestyle that I make permanent. Just like the alcoholic that can no longer drink.... it will have to be forever.

The best way to make it a forever change, is to form these habits now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Necessary Evils

Hello. My name is Amber (aka Mommy).....and I'm an addict.

An alcoholic would be encouraged to never EVER take another drink of alcohol. They would be instructed to stay away from bars, and to avoid functions that might serve alcohol. And this is feasable, and completely understandable as a rule. It certainly does only take one drink to create a binge that will lead to a drunken mess for those in recovery from alcohol addiction.

Likewise for the drug addict. Discard friends that might tempt you with the (fill-in-the-blank) drug of choice. Eliminate triggers that typically may bring on a relapse, and throw away all paraphanelia associated with (whichever-type-of) drug use. Be sure to let your "dealer" know that you are finished taking those drugs, and get rid of that dealers contact information. Find a friend or mentor that you can call when you find yourself tempted to "use" again, and stay focused on your recovery through group meetings or therapy.

That being said, I have one question for the 12 Step program creators.... What, pray tell, should a FOOD ADDICT do to "stay on the wagon" in recovery from their addiction? We certainly cannot avoid grocery stores, restraunts, or the dinner table! There is a drive-thru at every corner, and atleat 10 convenient stores with in a 5 mile radius that will be more than willing to sell "us addicts" a box of donuts, or a bag of cookies. Our bodies absolutely positively must eat in order to function. We need nourishment in order to survive!

Most of us that struggle with being overweight have (in my google-educated-theory) one of two ailments.

A.) a health related situation that causes weight gain or the inability to properly lose weight. (such as an under active thryoid; treatable with medication.... hence eliminating the weight problem)


B.) an addiction to food

So, let's say that the "Food Addict" must eat only whole foods; nothing fried, dyed, preserved or altered. Only fresh fruits, fresh or lightly cooked veggies, whole grains, raw nuts, no sugar or dairy, or even (GASP) red meat! Let's say that THIS is the recovery process. Let's say that eating with this lifestyle will assure us that our weight will drop and our energy levels will soar. Let's say that this whole foods (vegan-ish) approach to eating will leave us (not only) properly nourished, but extraordinarily flourished.

(as a side note: I completely agree to this approach and through studying healthy eating and food related health issues, I have to say that most definitely a person will be able to live a fully nourished, protein and calcium enriched life, even though dairy and red meat have been eliminated from their diet.) However!!!!

We're back to the same question. How do we avoid the temptation of the processed, greasy, sugary yummy msg filled junk foods that call out to us at every grocery shopping venture, gas fill-up, and social function?

As much as I've educated myself through various (respectable) books, and personal research using the internet and individual wellness speakers, I still do not know how to maintain a self control that will enable me to "stay on the wagon" where my food addiction is concerned.

I know, for example, that phenylalanine ( is absolutely equal to poison. So, why!!! do I still order Diet Coke if I crave carbonation? Why!?!? I may as well say "Um, and I'd also like to get a medium Diet Aresenic, please, oh, and extra ice, too." I do it anyway. I was "off" the Diet Coke wagon for years, but through an availability at weekly social functions, I slowly began introducing it back into my diet, and here I am again.... craving the bubbly aspartame over ice with each grease filled meal.

So, it is a matter of self control and will! And since I am lacking in that department, I am "not" lacking on the scale. As a matter of fact... I'm well over my limit; to be quite honest and exact, I am to the digit 50 pounds OVER weight. I am concidered... (NOOOOO!!!!!!!) Obese.

This moves me to the blog I will post at a later date: "Double Standards"

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The idea of sticking my hands in dirt (the red dusty dry dirt) pretty much disturbs me. I don't mind soil (the black moist soft soil), but dirt is just, well..... it's just dirty!

This year we are planting a vegetable garden. Joshua tilled out an area and has already put a few plants in the ground, but when I try to prepare myself to get down to the garden and put in a few more plants, I just get the heeby-jee-bees. Yuck! Ewww! DIRT! The garden is not an inviting area for me. It's red. It's dry. It's ugly. My idea of an inviting garden area is not this.

So, I have a plan! I'm going to Home Depot and buying lots of bags of organic (soft, black, moist) soil. I'm going to have my own area to tend to with the girls; and my area is absolutely positively NOT going to have DIRT in it. It will have soil. It will be pretty. It will be inviting. And it will give us lots and lots of tomatoes, strawberry's and sweet potatos. (Because that's all the room I'll have in my little garden space.)

Several months ago I decided to begin composting. It first consisted of a nice little 4x2 "cage" with an open top and it was far enough away from the house that the gnats and smell didn't bother me. Pretty much all I knew to do was toss old fruits and veggies, coffee grounds, and those type of things in it, and then just let it sort of sit there and rot. Um. I forgot about the worms. So, (ugh) slowly I've added the "left over" worms from Joshua's fishing trips, and I'm hoping they reproduce often. I honestly can't say that I have a clue as to what to do next, though. Do I just wait 10 years for all that rubbish to turn into soil? Google will have to be my Composting Mentor.

I'll be excited to update this blog and maybe even post pictures of our perfectly producing pretty garden. Oh. And of Joshua's dirty garden, too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thankful for........

n. of strange or extraordinary character

1. Jesus. Because he was the best weirdo that ever walked on our Earth. The world hated Him because he was weird. He died for being weird. And the weirdest thing of all.... He lead a life with out sin, and rose from the dead just like He promised he would!

2. R & K, the two most amazing friends and mentors... the weirdest people I've ever met.

3. Joshua. I fell in love with him because he was over the top weird. There is no other man in the world that could complete me. God created Joshua specifically for me. A weird marriage, and a weird friendship.

4. My girls. I pray that they stay weird forever. Because if they are "normal" by the world's standards, it will mean that they've abandoned the Truth that they are growing up to know.

5. I'm thankful that Jesus Loves Weirdos. I'm thankful that He called us all to be weird.....
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world....." Romans 12:2 (Be a Weirdo)

Living the Life

Zoe. She's living in Zoe World most of the time. It's her little curly headed bouncy place that only she visits; because we haven't figured out how to get there, yet. She bounces from one activity to the other, and conversates in spurts of random thoughts that she has in her cute little head. She makes everyone that she has ever met laugh; just by being HERSELF! And she innocently ask us, "Hey. Why are you laughing? What's funny?"

Because her thoughts fly around, she is often in trouble for disobeying. We have to be careful, though, because we're pretty sure that most of the time, she has just forgotten to obey. But she is so forgiving, and quick to recover from any discipline she receives. She can literally tumble down the stairs and announce "I'm ok! I'm ok!" as she's bouncing back to her feet and running off to who-knows-where.

And she's establishing a sweet compassion that I adore. I love my little bouncy ball of LIFE. She amazes me.

The Sermon in a Song

Casting Crowns: Slow Fade
Casting Crowns: The Voice of Truth

It's a slow fade.... when black and white have turned to gray.

Thoughts invade... choices made... a price will be paid when you give yourself away.
People never crumble in a day..... it's a slow fade.

I almost faded completely.

The Black and White had turned gray.

What I knew to be wrong turned into "okay with in reason".

I became ashamed of the Holy Spirit.

Ashamed of the Holy Spirit!

The same Holy Spirit that spoke to me clearly so many times, prompting me to pray for people I didn't even know.

The Holy Spirit that literally put me on my face weeping for Africa; weeping for the Congo.... and I couldn't understand WHY!!!!! And then blowing me away the very next morning at church when a man from South Africa spoke briefly, and asked our congregation to pray for him as he prepares to leave for The Congo.

The Holy Spirit that grabbed my heart, and broke it because He gave me a glimpse of the dying spirit in my friend.... The Holy Spirit that said "Pray for him, Amber. Weep for him, and intercede on his behalf, because his spirit is too weak to do it." And no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, my chest would literally hurt and my body sobbed uncontrollably, because God was breaking my heart for this person. This was the Holy Spirit I became ashamed of......

And there was no reason to be ashamed. It was a matter of fading so far away from The Word, and becoming wrapped up in "what the world" was doing, and what people thought of me, that I just kept quiet about the Truth I had already been exposed to.

A long time ago I invited God to come in and take over my life. And in 1999 I pleaded that He would NEVER let me leave. I surrendered my will, and I meant it. "My life is YOURS God. I give it to you, and I never want to be apart from You. I never want to live a stale Christian life. I want ALL of You." And though I've wandered so far, and got caught up in The Slow Fade, Jesus snatched me up into His arms and said "Daughter. You are mine!"
I was lukewarm and God was making it clear to me that He hated it. I kept hearing in my head, over and over.... "are you going to be Hot or Cold? Hot or Cold, Amber. Hot or Cold. Lukewarm is not an option."
But going from lukewarm to hot isn't easy.

Oh what I would do to have, the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in, onto the crashing waves.

To step out of my comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is, and He's holding out His hand.

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me, reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed... The waves they keep on telling me... time and time again BOY, you'll never win. you'll never win.

The Voice of Truth tells me a different story. The Voice of Truth says "Do not be afraid". The Voice of Truth says "This" is for my glory.

Out of all the voices calling out to me; I will choose to listen and believe The Voice of Truth.

I am choosing to listen to The Voice of Truth. Because everything else is pointless.... a chasing of the wind.... Jesus is the only voice that matters!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Homophones.... homophones

Yes. I have been a blog snob.
Basically, since I've discovered the beauty of Microsoft Office, I've been keeping all of my blogs to myself. Some are just personal, and I don't like the idea of some random stranger reading all about me (unless I'm getting paid for it!). But mostly, I keep forgetting to log on and blog.

On one of the Veggietales Dvd's (um? You know Veggitales, right?) there is a "Silly Song". It starts out like this: Whether, weather, whether, weather, whether you like it or not.... whether weather whether weather, Weather is Cold Warm and Hot.... and it goes on to sing a song about Homophones. It's cute in one of those "John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmit" sort of ways. I get the song in my head every time the "weather" here in Georgia gets random and unpredictable. The song is in my head OFTEN!

It goes on to sing about pronouns, adjectives, etc. Kyla absorbs information through the T.V. She sees a show about Mahi Mahi's, and then she is "teaching" me all about the Mahi Mahi. (I just knew it was a menu item) She watches veggietales, and she knows what a homophone is, she watches a movie about Owls, and she explains to her Daddy that owls don't actually make their own nest- they take over the nest of other birds. Her brain is amazing!

During the last 2 months of homeschooling, I realized that I'm going to need a whole lot of "sing-songy-fun-silly, watch it on TV" resources for teaching my precious Kyla. She is super smart, but easily distracted. School-time is "not fun". It is "boring". I am the "evil step-mother".

This "evil step-mother" is ready for next year's curriculum. We'll just call kindergarten our practice round.