September 29, 2013

Getting Work Done

I have a lot of work to do this week. On my TO-DO list are my paper assignments for Regent as well as some grading for GCU. I also have my regular studies (reading and DQs) along with some miscellaneous items. My list seems to get longer by the day, and the closer I get to the due day, the more I start to panic.

I am a good planner by nature, so in theory, I shouldn't panic. If I have planned the task well, factored in enough time to complete it, then I should be able to perform the task well and check it off as completed. I think I panic because I do not focus on the task at hand, but rather I look to the complete list and then begin to see the next item due, and the one after that, and then WHAM! I am overwhelmed.

I read a good book a couple years ago, while I was in the midst of my marriage struggle. A friend gave me Stormie Omartian's book called, "Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On." The message of this book is encouragement during the hard times in life. The truth shared is that God illuminates our path one step at a time. We don't have to see the entire road ahead of us because that would wear us down and make us want to give up. Instead, God sheds His light for today and tomorrow only. We see where we are today, and where He is leading us tomorrow. Each day His light illumines the next two steps. In this way, we are able to focus on today, and not worry about future tomorrows. This idea aligns with God's Word, where He says, "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matt. 6:34)

When I focus on the far away tomorrow, then I become overwhelmed with the work load. Instead, if I would only focus on what needs to be done today, then I can be confident that I can do the work assigned.

I found this picture online and it made me think of how well God handles His Work. He plans out the work carefully, then He prepares us to do that work. Lastly, when the planning and preparedness is complete -- then He asks us to perform the work. He never rushes the process. He doesn't plan and then make us perform. No, He gives us time to be prepared. By doing so, we become accustomed to the work load, to the tasks, build the necessary skills, and so on. We learn how to do the work He is asking us to do, and then we perform well because we are ready and able to do it.

I think planning is the key step in doing a job well. We sometimes skip the planning stage and "just wing it." Usually, our success is limited because "winging it" means flying without any particular direction in mind. We are flying out on the breeze, going in whatever direction the wind chooses to take us.

With planning, however, we create a predetermined path, with clearly defined steps to mark our way. If we follow the steps, the plan should take us to our intended destination. If we make a mistake, we can stop, reevaluate, and then move forward (usually by adding in additional steps to clear the confusion).

Therefore, we need a plan of action followed by adequate time to prepare for work. These two items must be completed to ensure we can perform as desired or expected.

Today, I am writing an annotated bibliography for one of my courses. I have one-fourth of the way done (it is due on Wednesday). I panicked this morning because I started thinking about the paragraphs I need to grade for GCU and the Historical paper I need to write next weekend. I forgot to follow the plan that the Lord laid out for me, and I jumped ahead to next week. Note to self - do not do this anymore. Remember you are to follow the plan, prepare for the work, and then when the time comes, perform (do it).

Simple stuff, really. Now if I could only remember how simply planning, preparing, and performing are, then I should be good.

September 27, 2013

Moving Forward, Trusting the Lord


It's Friday! Hooray! It is a good day and I am so blessed to be able to sit here and blog about the potential of this day. I am not sure what is going to happen today, I just know that God is able to do anything and everything necessary to make it a good day. He is GOOD all the time, and His GOODNESS is all around us. We just have to look for it, recognize it, and then celebrate it. He is Good, so very very good!

I woke up this morning thinking about my life, and the fact that so much change has occurred in it. I am not a person who likes change. I accept this fact. I struggle with change, and normally, whenever change comes my way, I hunker down and take shelter. I am afraid of change. Change has brought pain in my life, it has caused me sorrow, and it has not been pleasant. My past experience tells me that all change is bad change.

Of course, this is not true. I have had plenty of good change in my life. When my son was born, I went through a difficult time, but his life brought such pleasure to me. I changed because of my son's life, and it was a good and pleasant experience. However, we tend to remember the negative experiences more than the positive ones and that is why in my mind -- I see change as a bad thing.

Today I reconciled myself to this fact, the fact that I have a preconceived notion of change, and that this notion is in error. God has brought plenty of good change into my life, and I thank Him for it daily. Yet, I still see new change through this lens, and that is something that I must stop doing. God is the CHANGE AGENT and if we do not accept His change our lives as a GOOD thing, and then we will miss many blessings and many good things.

God as Prime Mover

Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and others have argued that God is the creator of the world because He is the First Cause of all things. In this philosophical argument, God starts everything because all things begin with Him. He is the First Cause, and through a causal argument, all things result from His movement or action.

I believe that God is Prime Mover or the FIRST CAUSE (Rev 1:8). He is the beginning and the end of all things.

I am the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come--the Almighty One.

As such, all change that occurs in our lives is caused by some action. The reaction is the change we experience. Now, I admit that not all change comes from God. We have free will and we make decisions that cause things to happen in our lives. Some of our decisions are good, some bad. The resultant experience is derived from the first cause movement in our decision.

In my life, I have made a number of decisions that have caused change to occur. Some of these decisions were made before I sought the Lord's counsel, and they ended up resulting in negative experiences and pain. However, since I have been seeking the Lord for all decisions, I have noticed that the change that has occurred has had a positive result. God has honored my desire to seek Him first, and He has helped me make decisions that bring positive change to my life.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~Matt. 6:33 NLT


When I take the time to seek the Lord, and I place Him first in all things -- the change that comes into my life produces good things. I experience the blessing and favor of the Lord, and I learn that His provision is sufficient for my needs. I learn to trust and rely upon Him, and I come to expect that the change He brings will be good change for my life. Change that will better my life and change that will help me live comfortably and experience Him more fully and completely. God is GOOD that way.

Today, as I look at the possible change that is coming my way, I marvel and the Goodness of God. I am in a place right now where I can experience something wonderful, and while it is not here yet (has not arrived yet), it is "there" on the horizon. I can see it, I can almost touch it, and I can know that it is coming my way. It is exciting and I wait with eager anticipation for the Lord to bring this good change to my life.

Change can be a good thing. It can move us closer to God, and it can open up avenues where we never believed we could travel. It can show us new ways to go, new paths to traverse, and we can begin to think about all the possibilities that exist with God because of the fact that we know Him.

God is a God of all possibility. We can experience good things because He is Good.


September 26, 2013

Looking Forward to a New Day

I renamed my blog "A New Day" over a year ago to symbolize the new direction of my life. I had previously blogged under two names (same blog, different names). The first was "Field of Weeds," hence the URL name, and the second was "The Country Cottage" (more appropriate to home education and SAHM stuff).

My life has changed so much since I started blogging back in 2004. Back then, the Internet was still relatively new, and blogging was something that I was encouraged to do. A couple of my home school friends created blogs for their home school programs, and they posted curriculum, lesson plans, as well as photos of their school rooms online so that other home schoolers could find inspiration. My blog focused on initially all things home school oriented. I included some reflective posts about God, and some family photos from vacations, etc. It was a mish-mash of information, some inspirational, some practical. Overtime, my blog took on a different tone. I began to strengthen my relationship with the Lord, and He became the focus of my writing. I still included snippets of home school/home life, but more and more, I found myself writing about my relationship with God, and the lessons I was learning through my time in the Word.

In January 2013, I changed the name of my blog to signify that I was no longer looking backward to the past (my history, my mistakes) and that I was refocused on the present and the future. God desires us to be forward-thinking people, and by that, He means looking toward the day of His return, looking forward to His kept promises. Revisiting the past can be a good thing, especially if there are issues that need resolved, tensions to unloose, or relationships to rebuild. However, staying in the past can make you miserable, and leave you feeling depressed and defeated. It is not where God wants us to remain. He wants us moving forward with Him, enjoying everyday life, and being able to appreciate all the Good He brings into our lives.

As I consider my life today (not from a past glance), I see endless possibilities for Good in my future. I see happy days ahead, and a sure footed path to follow. I can see God's hand upon my life, and I can see Him guiding me toward different opportunities that will bless me and Honor Him. I am all about giving Him Honor, so where he wants me to go, I will go there so that He is Honored by my obedience and my faithful following.

Today, I am making the choice to follow Him where He is leading me. I am choosing to stay on the path He has shown me, and I am trusting in Him to lead me onward and upward. I know He has Good plans in mind for me, and He wants my best - always my best. I give Him my all today, and I rest in His Sufficiency to provide for my every need.

I pray all of this in Jesus' Name. To God be the Glory, forever and ever, Amen.

September 25, 2013

New Direction

I have blogged about my work situation for several years now. In a never-ending search to find "the right job," I have come to learn a few important lessons.
  1. There is no RIGHT job
  2. There is no PERFECT FIT
  3. There is no DESIGNED job (as in divinely appointed unless you were an APOSTLE)
There are jobs, a lot of jobs. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. There is no ONE SIZE FITS ALL job. Some jobs are aligned toward a specific skill set while others are very flexible and require little to no skill. There are jobs that seem to be pressurized and others that are very low-key and low-stress. There are high and low paying jobs, and many in the middle. Finding a job is difficult right now, and finding a good job or the perfect job is downright impossible. Jobs are available. I see hundreds listed for my area, but not all jobs align with my skill set. Finding a job, therefore, has been a difficult process for me.

As I consider the positions I have had over the past three years, I have come to learn a little bit more about my personality and my interests. I have also come to trust my own judgment on what kind of work suits me. By suits me, I mean the type of work the I enjoy, and that type of work that brings me success (achievement and reward). I have held three positions, each different, and each requiring a different set of skills.

  • Enrollment Advisor at UOPX - this position was sales oriented and required 4-5 hours of phone work each day. It was grueling to be on the phone for so much time, and I realized quickly that it was at cross-purpose to my personality type (introverted). It was draining to be on the phone. I am not a social outgoing person so being "on" for the majority of the day wore me out. I enjoyed the database management aspect of the job, but that was considered less important than the phone conversation.
  • Communications Analyst at CVS Caremark - this position was the most closely aligned with my skills, and it worked best with my personality type. I enjoyed the challenge of the work, and I liked being able to solve problems. What I didn't like was the personal drama that took place in the office, and the fact that one person was able to cause half of my team to resign or relocate. In some ways, the drama caused more stress than the work at UOPX.
  • Instructional Assistant at GCU - this position has been difficult for me. First off, I struggled through the disorganization of the institution, and then the work load that was assigned to me without pay, seemed as disingenuous. The low pay plus the lack of authority and control bothered me from the start. I took the position knowing that I would be paid very little, but the amount of work seemed doable in the exchange. I learned this was not the case. The amount of work assigned didn't equal the low pay. Moreover, I learned that while I thought I would enjoy teaching, I ended up knowing that this kind of work was not a good fit for my personality. I cannot give grades that are not earned. I have an integrity issue and the whole "we appreciate you for taking on this extra work WITHOUT PAY" bugs  me.
Therefore, after reviewing my past work history, I have come to realize that there are certain jobs that suit me, and certain jobs that do not. Although I may be able to do the work, many different kinds of work, some work doesn't agree with me or is of no interest to me.

With that said, I have applied for another position at a company not too far for me. I took a chance on the job posting, and have already interviewed. I think this position is a very good fit for me, and it aligns with both my personality and my skill set. I am praying for the Lord's favor and that I will be offered the position quickly so that I can give a short notice to GCU and be on my way into a position that interests me more.

The position I applied for is a Product Development Analyst. It is a combination of responsibilities, so there is a lot of variety of work. My previous experience at UOPX and CVS align with this job, and I understand what the job entails. I don't know everything, but I am able to learn how to do the work. I liked the woman who is hiring, and I see great opportunity for growth. I need a long-term position where I can settled down and be content. I am hopeful that they saw in me what they needed to see, and that we can join forces and work together.

Dear Lord,

I pray now for this position. I think I would enjoy this work, and it would provide a good place to develop my skills and abilities. I ask for your favor with Human Resources, the hiring manager, and the background screening company. I ask that you go before me to open this door and provide to the company everything they need to feel that I am the best candidate for the position. I ask Lord that I be given this position because I think aligns with your will for my life. I know that this is a job, just a good job. It is a career position, but it is also good prosperous work. I could be successful here, and I could achieve rank and status through my efforts and hard work. I ask for this now because Lord, I know that you have called me to be head of my household, and to do that, I need significant income. This position will pay me well, and provide excellent benefits. I ask for your hand to cover me through this process, and for your will to be done in my life. I know you, Lord. You know me, and you know what I can and cannot do. I trust your judgment, and I receive your provision for good work. I ask you to provide the job of your choosing, and I accept this job (or any other) based on your decision as to what is good for me. Thank you, Jesus! I ask this in your Name now, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and calmly think about it).

September 22, 2013

Learning to Trust in the Lord


Good Sunday Morning! Today is a good day for me. I am at a crossroads between waiting patiently for the Lord to provide an answer and staying on course right where I am. I am ready to move forward and to begin doing the work the Lord has in mind for me, but I am struggling with letting go of the past, and with trusting Him to provide for my future. Let me explain...

Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day grading student draft essays. It took me three hours to read and grade 13 essays. Even though I was familiar with the topic, I wanted to make sure that I commented on each paper so that the students could improve their content before the final paper was due (next week). I want to know that I am being helpful, and that the work that I am doing is valuable. Unfortunately, I feel as though I am not doing anything valuable at all. I am sinking down and feeling as though the work I do is meaningless (in the grand scheme of things). It is frustrating for me because I find myself thinking about all the other things I could be doing, like making more money, and then I compare the present work to potential work, and I feel I am in the wrong place.

Today I have a memorial service to attend, and I am upset because I have to go and grieve at the loss of my cousin's husband (he passed last week after a 7-month battle with liver cancer). This service is right in the middle of my day, and I have major work to do on my doctoral studies. I am feeling the pinch of too much work, too little time.

Next week my life gets crazier in that I have to finish grading 30 essays for a Psychology class, and I have a research project due (Wednesday). I also have to finish two doctoral essays and keep on top of my reading and my participation work. In all, it seems like there is too much work, and not enough time to complete it all.

Hence the title of this post: Learning to trust the Lord

Trust is my ISSUE. Just when I think I learn to trust the Lord, another opportunity arises and I find myself crying out to Him, and hearing those same words repeated in my ear: Trust Me.

When will I learn to trust the Lord? When will I finally give in, let go, and let God be the center and source of everything I do? 

Today is a good day. Tobias Smollett (1771) wrote, "There is no time like the present" (said by Mr. Bramble, Humphry Clinker) and I agree. What point is there in delaying the inevitable? God is God, and He is not going to change His Mind or His Way anytime soon, so I had better get a move on and agree with Him. The sooner I agree, the sooner I will see that open door and the way out of my present situation.

I am ready to be released. I am ready to be let out of this prison of fear and failure. I am ready to be set free. The WORD tells us that through Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, we are set free.

John 8:36 says, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." I am free. Jesus' has set me free.

This doesn't mean that I will never encounter trouble, it just means that I am not kept in bondage to anything. I can open the jail door and walk out of whatever prison cell I find myself in. I just have to remember that Jesus holds the key that has unlocked every cell door. There is no cell that holds us. We willingly put ourselves into these holding cells when we doubt His provision, and we do not use our faith to confirm our freedom and victory over sin and death. Jesus paid it all, and our debt has been erased. Therefore, we are free to move and to work according to His will and purposes. We are not held back or kept from victory. We are fellow heirs in the victory that Christ achieved for us. We share in His death, his burial, AND his resurrection. Therefore, we are to come up out of that grave (or that cell) and walk in the freedom He has provided for us.

Trust. It all comes down to trusting Him for every need. Do we believe that He is God? Do we believe that He exists to make intercession for us? Do we believe that He cares for us? If we answered yes, then we are halfway there, halfway to walking in freedom and grace. We must say, "Yes, I believe and yes, I am walking in this belief." I believe your WORD to me, and I believe in your FINISHED WORK. I am free. I am able to do all things through Christ who has given me strength. I may feel weak today, I may feel overwhelmed and unable to walk, but I can be strong, and I can walk in His strength and ability. He does that with which I cannot. He walks, he talks, he completes the work, he provides, he guides, he strengthens, and so on. I am not able to do what is asked of me but He can!

As I consider these words, I am reminded of how much I struggle with trusting the Lord. I believe, don't get me wrong, and I state my belief in the power and presence of the Lord emphatically. I believe God is - that He is everything and nothing is without Him. However, I sit in a jail cell of my own accord. I sit down and I close the cell door and then I cry out to the Lord for His help. He is standing next to me, waiting for me to get up and get going -- to open the door and walk out. He could open the door, but He waits for me to do it. He knows that I have to get up and open the door so that I will learn that this is something I do to myself, and not something that He has done to me.

Thus, I am jailed by my own hand. I am stuck by my own unwillingness to remember who He is and my lack of trusting in my own knowledge of the WORD of God. I know the words, I know what to say, but I fail to say it and I think I am lost when I am not. This is my fault, all my fault. Now I am ready to go. I am ready to move out of this cell and start walking again. The Lord is waiting for me to get up and to walk on. I have chosen to sit and stew instead of taking action and moving on into the plan and path of His choosing.

 Dear Lord, 

Thank you for helping me understand that I am free, and that no jail cell can hold me. It is up to me to get up and to get moving, and I have sat down and cried because I believed I was locked up. This was a lie of the devil, and now that I see the truth, I realize just how long I have been sitting here wailing and not doing what you asked me to do. I confess to you that I believe your WORD to me, and that I TRUST you for your provision - of everything needed today, tomorrow, and in the future. I am made whole because you complete me. I am made confident because You bring your CONFIDENCE to me. What I lack, you sufficiently provide. I am ready, I am standing up, and I am walking out of that cell. I walk now in faith, believing and leaning upon you for every need this day. I pray this now in Jesus' Name. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah! (pause and calmly think about that!)

September 19, 2013

Calling it a day


I have overcome obstacles and fear this week. I have triumphed and I feel relieved. Let me explain...

This week I had this crushing feeling like I was out of step and place at GCU. I admit that I wasn't feeling very good about my decision to go there and teach, and I was frustrated with the way the organization runs. By the time class was over yesterday, I was ready to throw in the towel. I even applied for a data analyst position -- just to see if I could find another opportunity for work. I had decided that I was done with teaching, that I didn't like it, and that it was a waste of my time. I wanted nothing to do with it, and I wanted out of my contract to teach at GCU.

After coming to terms with where I am, I made the good decision to "look up." I had been looking down, down at my feet, at my hands, at all that I could do -- and I kept coming up short. I kept seeing all the negative empty hopes, and I felt that I was out of my depth, and I was in the wrong place.

Then just as I was at my lowest point, I looked up right into Jesus face, and I found HOPE. Of course, He is our source of HOPE. His hope is always available to us, but only if we look up to see it. HOPE is within Jesus, and it is found in no other place. Therefore, when you need hope you just have to look up to the Lord so that you can be renewed and refreshed by it.

I looked up and suddenly everything seemed OK. Nothing has changed, but my outlook went from "this is impossible and I cannot take this" to "this is doable, and I can see how to do it now." God is GOOD that way. He shows us how we can do things right when we think we cannot. I am blessed, and I am so grateful to the Lord for His guidance and provision. He is GOOD, so very GOOD all the time.

New Outlook Springs Opportunity

As I considered this new outlook, I started to have a better attitude about the work I am doing. It is not perfect by any means, and there is a HUGE downside (no pay), but overall it is OK work. I can do it, and I am not stressed by it (PTL!)

Then just when I thought this was enough, I had a brief encounter with someone who encouraged me. I met with a nice man who needs my help grading papers. His approach and attitude was so laid back. He was calm and accepting of my limitations. He was genuinely nice. And as we chatted, he gave me positive encouragement that there are multiple teaching opportunities out there (from the CC to our state university). I immediately felt this sense of "I can see that - I can do that." I left for the day thinking that truly all things are possible with God. 

Now I sit here thinking about other options for my life and career. I am thinking that my life is not GCU. GCU is a stepping stone for other work that will be far more fulfilling. For now, it is good. For now, it suits the need. But it is not the end of the road for me, it is just the beginning. I am blessed, I am good, and I am loved. He loves me so much, and He is faithful and GOOD all the time!

September 16, 2013

Sitting Quietly and Waiting

I found this great image online, and I am reposting it here because it really sums up what I have been thinking about lately.

I have always had struggles with patience. I can remember when I first became a Christian, and a good friend of mine said "Don't ask for patience because the Lord will bring circumstances into your life that will teach you how to be patient." Those words stuck to me like glue. I thought, "Oh my! So I should never ask for patience, grace, strength, love, etc. because God will test me." I realize now that this was backwards theology, the kind of theology that presumes that God is a God who tests his children so that they will learn. A God who teaches by the "learn by trial" method.

Now this theology is not unbiblical, per se, because there are many examples in the Bible of times when God does discipline disobedient children by testing them (think Job and Jonah, for example). However, God is ALWAYS the Loving Father, and he doesn't ALWAYS test us so that we learn. Often, He guides us, and if we are attentive to His Voice, and we listen and obey, we can avoid those trials.

Job 5:17-18 (NIV) "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal."

1 Cor 11:32 (Phi) But when God does judge us, he disciplines us as his own sons, that we may not be involved in the general condemnation of the world.

Rev 3:19 (NIV) [Jesus] "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent."

Gal 6:7 (Jer) Don't delude yourself into thinking God can be cheated: where a man sows, there he reaps.

The pattern in these verses above, except for Job, is that God does discipline (or test) those children who are behaving waywardly (think active SIN). If we have come to Christ, and are walking in the Way, we should not be actively engaging in sinful behaviors. Yes, we still commit sin, but it is sin of ignorance (meaning sins I commit without thinking about them - the harsh word, the judgmental heart, failure to help the poor, etc.) We are not purposely being harsh or judgmental or overlooking the poor. We may have done this because of neglect or habit. There is a big difference between actively engaging in sin and passively engaging in sin.

Sin is sin, right? Yes and no. I know that I sin -- I do it every day. I am flawed human flesh, and I do things I know I shouldn't do. Yet, I do not seek a sinful life. I am not living in sin, thinking about committing sin. Christ died for all my sins -- the sins of commission and the sins of omission. I confess and I repent when the Holy Spirit brings to my remembrance something that I have done that is displeasing to Him. I am forgiven (past, present and future), yet I still confess to make sure that I understand what I have done and to make a mental note not to do it again (and with God's help and grace, I will not repeat it).

I was raised in such a way though to see God has this imposing task master who disciplined us for "our good." Spare the rod and spoil the child, as Proverbs teaches. Yes, that was my view of God. He was Loving, but He was a harsh disciplinarian. I never understood about Grace and about His Love -- I just remembered that if I messed up, I would get swatted (just like my own parents disciplined me as a child).

When it came to testing and trials, I took the same approach. If I didn't want hardship, then I better not ask God for any good thing (like patience).

My attitude changed the day I experienced His Grace. Yes, I received that Grace the moment I repented and claimed Jesus as my Savior. However, many years later, I received a fresh new filling of Grace that said, "You are set free. You are now free to live my Way."

Learning to walk in His Way has been difficult. It has been difficult for me to let go of the old way of thinking, the old legalistic and harsh view of God; and to embrace the new way that says "Jesus paid it all. You are free because I have set you free."

I have stumbled many times, yet God is there -- ALWAYS there -- to pick me up. He holds my hand, and He tells me that He will never leave me. He will never let go of me.

As I sit here thinking about being patient, I consider what it really means "to be patient."

Patient (ADJ): able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

If you study this word in Hebrew, you will find that it has a different meaning. Erekh apayim, according to Talmud, means that "God distances His fury (or anger)". The idea being that God's wrath has been "distanced" from His Justice or Righteousness until such a time as He has claimed all that is His. For the Christian, this means that God's anger towards sin has been pushed out -- reserved for a time in the future when He will serve judgment on the wicked. Jesus Christ, our intermediary, stands in the middle of that "distance" and for Christians who call upon His Name, this means we are able to permanently be set free from the judgment that is to come. For the wicked, however, they too have a temporary "distance" set, but unfortunately when the time comes, and after God has collected all that belong to Him, the will receive the judgment for their sin.

Interestingly, this aligns perfectly with Scripture, where we are told of the end of time when God will execute His judgment on the wicked and the righteous.

So what does it mean for Christians to be patient?

I believe that it means that we are to have the same attitude and mindset that God has toward us. We are to be "long suffering" (KJV), and distance our anger from those that hurt us or cause us harm. We are to push out retribution, vengeance, and to not "collect" our debts (not as in monetary, but as in personal relationship debts) until the Lord has finished His work.

Could this mean that we are to wait and not pass judgment on anyone because the Lord God will take care of that in His TIME?

I think this is exactly what it means. Whether we are patiently waiting for a person to turn and repent or we are waiting for a situation or circumstance to change -- we are to withhold our anger, to not act upon our emotions, and to wait for the Lord to provide resolution to us.

Oh my! If I think about my situation today, there are many things I am waiting on God to clean up. I have been "enduring," you know, gritting my teeth and hunkering down until the "thing" passed away. Now I see that this is the wrong attitude. I should push those feelings out, trusting them to God, and continue on in my work, believing that He will resolve whatever needs to be resolved.

I like it. It is a good thing.

Dear Lord,

I am waiting on you to perform in many ways. I know you will provide, and I know that your timing is perfect. I have not been patient in the way you prefer. I have chosen to hold within me anger and injustice and allow those emotions to control me. Instead, I need to push those feelings outside of me, and to let them go so I can wait WHILE you work to resolve the tension, the need, the provision. I am sorry for not understanding your WORDS, and for allowing my flesh to act this way. I ask now that I learn your WAY completely, so that I can live a less stressed life, and I can do your Work as you desire me to do it. I ask this in Jesus' Name - Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah (pause and calmly think about it).

September 11, 2013

September 11

The Lord is Good. The Lord is Good. The Lord is Good.

I was watching the morning news and remembering what happened 12 years ago today. Even though time has passed by it is hard to forget the events that happened on that day. I was at home when the planes hit the WTC towers. My son was getting ready to head off to first grade and because of the threat of more terror attacks I kept him home. I remember him watching the news and crying over what had happened. He was seven at the time and he still tells me that he remembers that day.

I pray our nation never forgets what happened. Not only did 3000 people lose their lives, but our nation was changed on that day. We woke up and realized that the world was not a nice place, and that there were people out there who wanted to harm us. I believe we lived in isolation, in safety, thinking that while there were terrorists out "there" somewhere, we were safely free from their reach. We learned a valuable lesson that day, and we need to be vigilant to ensure that we keep our nation safe today.

I am not for war. I hate war, and with a young adult son, I particularly hate the thought of war now. I hate to see our young men and women come home from afar with damage -- damage to their bodies, their minds, and their souls. It is horrific to see what war does to people, and we need to work for peace whenever possible. 

Psalm 102, verse 7 says this, "I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!" God is not a God of War. He is a God of Peace, yet often we go to war in His name. We should strive for peace, to be at peace with all men, if it is possible to do so. 

Romans 12, verse 18 encourages us to "Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone." We must proactively seek peaceful relations whenever possible.

Unfortunately, many of our enemies seek war with us. They do not want peace, and they actively promote war. How do we help our children understand the world and the chaos we live in?

God is a God over all things, and He sees the righteous and the wicked. Psalm 34:18, 21:

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. 

and

Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

God will not forget His promise. He will repay those who seek harm toward His Righteous ones!

We must continue to pray for peace, especially peace in Jerusalem. Psalm 122:16:

Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.

Dear Lord,

I pray for peace today, peace throughout our world, but especially peace in Jerusalem, your beloved city. There are many people who hate your Righteous Ones, and I pray for your strong defense, and your Mighty protection against the wicked who seek to destroy your world. Guard and keep those you Love, and show us your Mercy today. May we not forget that we live in a fallen world, and that the enemy prowls around seeking to destroy those who call upon your Name. Give us your Grace today so that we can be your witnesses, and shine your Light and illuminate the darkness. I pray all this in the Matchless and Merciful Name of Jesus - Lord of All, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and think calmly on it)

September 10, 2013

Week 2 Check-in

I have been on the Atkins Induction program for a week now (well 9 days). I have lost a lot of weight, but I feel miserable. I am suffering with allergies, which hasn't helped any, and I have been very tired. I know that this is normal, and that during the Induction phase you can typically feel like you have the flu. I know this is because I have lost so much weight.

Last year, when I started this program, I lost 6 lbs. I never felt this way. I didn't stay on the program that long, and I didn't restrict my carbohydrates as much. I am not eating enough carbohydrates, I know this. I am supposed to eat between 20-25g per day for the first two weeks. I have been around 18g, and that is really pushing it. I am not a protein eater, and I can tolerate only so much salad. Still the weight has dropped off, and it seems to still be dropping. I am losing about 1/2 lb each day, which works out to 3.5lbs per week.

Since starting the program last Sunday, I have lost a total of 10 lbs, most of which was water/fluid retention. Atkins says you can lose up to 15 lbs in two weeks depending on if you follow the Induction Phase 1 program to a tee. I have strayed a little bit, but mostly, have followed the guidelines. I have a lot more weight to lose, and my goal is 20 lbs (out of a total of 40 lbs). I am shooting for half of total loss by October, with the remaining loss by New Year's or around the first of 2014.

Last week, I didn't allow any of the Atkins products because they do contain sugar, and my plan is to get off of all sugar unless it is a natural component in the food (like in fruit). I have not had any Diet Soda (PTL!) and I haven't suffered from headaches like I did before when I went 0 diet drinks. I am drinking more water, but not enough. I still feel very dehydrated. I hope to boost my water consumption today and then really stick to it through the coming weeks.

My food choices have been very basic - eggs/bacon for breakfast, salad with chicken for lunch, and meat/veggie for dinner (depending on what Mom makes). I added in the Atkins bars and shakes because I have had issues getting lunch at school. Last night, I had a Mocha Latte (Atkins) because I was hungry around 8. We had a very early dinner yesterday, so the shake was a good choice. I am trying to have these occasionally since they do have sugar in them.

Overall, I am really pleased with the results, even though I feel crappy. I am starting to lose inches, which is the real test of weight loss. I have been measuring my self and I am down about 1" on all major parts. I need to lose 2" more inches to be at my target weight. This is a good start, and yesterday, I was able to fit into my size 8 slacks for the first time in over a year. I am still a size 10-12 on bottom and a L on top.  My natural size is a 4-6, so for me, being a 12 is very uncomfortable.

I think the worst thing is being out of breath during normal activity. This has been my issue for the past couple years. Yesterday, I had to walk up 4 flights of stairs and it about killed me. I have never been super athletic. I was average-fit -- able to do most things I wanted to do without being winded. My fitness goal is to get back to that point. I don't want to be tired anymore, and I don't want to have this winded feeling. I want to be able to carry packages, lift boxes, and go hiking -- just normal activity -- without feeling like I am going to pass out.

Lord willing, I will start adding some more activity to my routine in the coming weeks. Right now, I am focusing on the THREE W'S -- weight loss, walking and water. Once I get a little of this weight off, I will start to add in some weight training to boost my strength. I am already walking, and with more consistent water use, I think I will start to feel better very soon. God be praised!

September 7, 2013

Praising God for His Provision

The day started off sort of slow. It was raining this morning, and I wasn't in the most chipper of moods. However, the day brightened and I drove my son and Mom down to Chandler (about 40 miles away) to look at a used car. My son has needed a car for a while, and I didn't have enough money to buy one for him. He also needed a part-time job to pay for insurance (he will be contributing toward the car as well as paying for his gas and insurance). He finally got a part-time job at our church in August, so I knew that we would definitely need to get that car soon.

I started looking a couple weeks ago, but wasn't ready to purchase anything. I had my eye on a nice looking small SUV, but last weekend, I checked on it, and it was sold. I had to start over this week, and thankfully, the Lord found us a nice little Honda Civic to look at today.

The car is old -- a 2001 -- and it has 136K in miles, but the price was right, and the inside/outside is very clean. It has some paint fading on the roof, hood and trunk, but other than this, it is in good condition. The experience at the Honda dealer was sweet -- nice and no pressure. We took the car for a drive and ended up buying it. It was in my price range, and with tax/license, still came in under budget. I am blessed. My son is blessed, and I am praising God today for being such a GREAT God. He is good, so very good all the time.

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for your provision of a safe and solid little car for DJ to drive to/from school. You are the BEST! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Ok, I am having trust issues again. I am worried, and I am feeling completely overwhelmed right now. I know God has me covered, but I am feeling so out of sorts today. I cannot really put my finger on the root cause, other than to say that I am struggling to rest and to let go of things.

This week has been a good one for me. I was sick most of the time, but generally had good days at my teaching assistant position at GCU. I am a little down about the classes, and the way they are being conducted and that sent me into a slight depression yesterday. I met with two students who were confused, and then during class realized that there were at least half dozen more who didn't come see me during office hours, but were still confused.

It bothers met to see students struggle needlessly. It is OK to struggle when you are learning new material because that is a sign that your brain is processing new information and you are crunching on it. However, students who cannot follow the instructions or when the instructions are not clear -- well -- those are the ones that get my heart. I see things that I would do differently, and I know that I would approach the subject differently. Oh well...thoughts for another day.

Today is Saturday and I am really glad to be home. I am still getting over my sickness (allergies/cold), so my head is a little stuffy. My son and I are planning to go car shopping today. We are looking for a good used car for him to drive back/forth to school. I want something clean, with good miles, so he can drive it a while. My budget is low, so I cannot afford anything fancy. I am worried that I will not be able to find a good car in my price range.

I found one at a dealer down in Chandler - about 25 miles from me. It looked good on the photo, but the dealer has told me the paint is faded and said "not the prettiest" which scares me. It runs well, and is priced fairly. I am waffling on buying a car - I have the money set aside - but I don't want to buy a lemon and be stuck with something that needs work!

My family says to buy off Craigs List. I have looked and all the cars near me are really beaten to death or have a restored title (here in AZ, you can restore a title, but I don't want to get into salvaged cars).

I also am not sure I want to pay full out for a car. I can put some on a credit card, and then make a couple payments. It would ease my fears about spending so much on a car.


Back to trust issues. Clearly, I am struggling to trust the Lord on this matter. Well, both matters (school and car). I have stop trusting Him since I took the position at GCU. I have been doubting Him, His provision, His plans, and His will since the day I said "OK." Even though at that time I felt certainty that this was a God-thing. How else could it be? I mean, I went for an interview to teach, and was hired as a TA - all within 15 minutes. I know GCU is desperate, but still, they hired me and signed me up for classes within 15 minutes of my interview. It was a weird experience, and something I had never seen before (and I have done A LOT of interviews). I took the job knowing the pay was low, knowing that there would be no benefits, knowing that this was contract work with NO GUARANTEES.

I wanted out of CVS Caremark because that ship (MCO) was sinking fast. I took the life preserve floating close to me, and it was marked "GCU." At the same time, I was asked to interview for a position at NCU to be an academic counselor. I was on this path, I had even applied to get a second MA degree in Human Services Counseling so that I could work in this field. How did I end up at GCU and not follow through on NCU? I mean that was a salaried position with benefits - a good company - good location - good job?

I wanted to be an Academic Counselor for so long, and I just let that one go. I let it go. I took the GCU position because it was "TEACHING" and I have been told "Carol, you would be a fantastic teacher." I wanted a career position that aligned with my education. Not that a Counselor doesn't have advanced education, because they usually do (a MA at the least). But look at it this way:

Academic Counselor - BA, MA, PhD (Communication)

or

Professor - BA, MA, PhD (Communication)

Most people would question why I would have a PhD and be a Counselor at a University. This position requires a BA only. I am over qualified for the work, but I would do it because I like helping students.

Becoming a teacher aligns with my schooling. It fits. It looks right. You get your PhD to teach or to do research. You don't get your PhD unless you need it for promotion.  If you want to move into higher education administration roles, and then you get an ED and not a PhD. A PhD goes hand-in-hand with teaching or research. Everyone in education knows this so when they interview a candidate with a PhD or one who is working towards it, they think twice. Will she stay in this job? Will she leave once she finds a teaching position?

So here I am second-guessing what the Lord has done for me. Here I am thinking I chose the wrong path. I feel OK where I am, I mean, I don't sense a lack of peace about it. I am just struggling with fear and the thoughts about what I have given up to pursue this teaching role. 


Now, I am sitting here planning on buying my son a car. I am doubting His provision again. I am thinking that He doesn't know what He is doing, and I am doing all this without His will. Maybe I am - that is the issue really. I don't know if I am in the middle of the river of His will or not. Have I been sidelined? Have I been pushed to some little side pool and I am no longer flowing down that mighty river? Oh may it never be!

I am concerned that my doubt has gotten the best of me. My faith has been shaken, and I cannot recover. I pray for help, for His empowering to overcome, but I cannot shake these thoughts, these feelings of doubt. I look up, to Him, and I confess (oh, I confess) His Name and I seek the Power of His Great Name. But all I get in return is nothing. I am so low, so down, and I constantly battle these feelings that I have made a bad choice, that I have made this way, and it has and will continue to affect my family (my parents and my son).
  • I am not a good provider
  • I am being selfish for choosing this role over one that was "safe"
  • I am not qualified to teach (nor good at it)
  • I don't want to teach and I am just wasting time
  • I am not hearing God's voice correctly
  • I am leaning on my own understanding
  • I am not trusting Him
  • I am not leaning on Him
  • I am not resting in Him
I am beaten down with these thoughts, and while most are true, some are not. I know I am not being faithful and leaning upon Him with full confidence and faith. I am cowering in the corner, praying for Faith, but not exercising it. I am letting the enemy have his way with me, and taunting me to the point where I am a big blob of jello.

The Word of God says this (1 Cor. 16:13 NLT):

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

And again in chapter 15, verse 58:

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Lastly, in Psalm 18:32-35 (NIV), we read:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.


Dear Lord,

Thank you for your Word today. Thank you for your constant help in times of trouble. Thank you for your gracious provision of truth so that I can remember to look to You and not to my self. I am flawed human flesh, and I struggle whenever I look to my own hands or my own understanding. I see all the mistakes, all the errors, and all that is "not good enough." Yet, you never ask me to look to my own way, but instead you tell me to Look Up, and to TRUST you. I am sorry for looking down and letting the enemy best me again. I am tired of being beat up, and I want to overcome these doubts. I know that the only way to do that is to stand up, and lift up my SHIELD OF FAITH, which is YOU. The enemy cannot stand, and he will flee. I am fully clothed in your ARMOR and I am victorious, not because of anything I can or will do, but because of who you ARE. You are God, and I am not. You know best, and I know nothing. Therefore, I let this go -- all of it -- and I rest in your sufficiency and great NAME. Thank you, Lord, for loving me and standing beside me. You are my God and my King, and I love you and I give you praise this day. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

September 6, 2013

Friday! It is Friday!!

What a good day to be alive and living for the Lord! I am so blessed to be where I am today, and to know that the plans the Lord has for my life are GOOD, so very good.

As I sit here and type, I am thankful that I can sleep in (until 7) and then leisurely enjoy my morning before getting ready for school. No more 5:00 am alarm going off. No more dragging myself out of bed to rush to the office. No more stress at the office. And, no more stress after I come home from the office.

My new routine suits me just fine. I get up at 7-7:30 every day. I have my coffee, watch the news (with my parents), make breakfast, check my email, blog a bit, and then get ready for school. My school day runs from 11-4 on MWF and from 11-2 on TR. When I meet with students, my schedules changes slightly, but generally, these are my hours. Granted, I am getting paid for what I do - which is not much. The pay is commensurate with the work, in my opinion. However, I am getting a lot of training and learning what to do/not to do as a college instructor. I love my classes, and my instructors (whom I help) are all very nice. I feel confident that I can teach as soon as the Lord chooses for me to step into that role.

Today is also Jeans day, so it is casual (flip flops are OK). I need to wear purple, but other than that, I can go pretty laid-back to school. I love the fact that I can go to my classes and that I don't have to do much in them. It is a little boring, but generally speaking, it is OK. I would rather have less to do than more right now.

My courses at Regent are starting to ramp up, and I will have two major papers due the first of October. I need to factor in that time along with all the grading I have to do for GCU. I am anticipating having to review anywhere from 120-150 papers this month. I am a little bit concerned about the workload, but I know God will help me through it. The good news is that when I start teaching these classes, I will have 1-2 IAs to help me. So really, this semester and maybe next, will be the only time I am grading papers at GCU. If I work at other schools, I may have to grade papers, so the exercise is a good one for me. I will learn what to do, how to do it, and how to manage my time so that the papers are returned to the students within 7 days. I can do this - I can do this.

I am still feeling yuck-o. Not sure if this is allergies or that Adkins flu I was warned about. I think it is just seasonal crud. I am better than I was on Tuesday (which was flat out in the fog). I am still tired, really tired. I am struggling with some bowel issues, but I think that is the result of my diet change. Overall, I am pleased with my weight-loss so far - I think I am down about 7 lbs since I started this program on Sunday. I know I have lost about 1/2 inch around my waist, hips and thighs. I have a lot of weight to lose, but this is a good start, and I am getting used to very low carbohydrates. I am off the Diet Soda (hooray!), but still have caffeine in the morning. I am almost off the coffee at night (another hooray!). I am drinking from 6-9 cups of water each day, and tolerating the increase in fluids (I am not a water drinker). I am also less consumed by the thought of cookies, candies and bread (the first couple days were so hard). My goal is to stick to whole foods, natural and non-processed choices. I will add in fruits and whole grains soon, but for now, I am eating some lean meat and a lot of vegetables.

Some things I have noticed so far with this lifestyle plan:

  • I feel lighter internally when I eat this way (not heavy, sluggish like before)
  • My pants are looser (a little)
  • My complexion looks better
Once I get over the fatigue and the allergies, I think I will really notice the perks of going natural/organic. I have tried this before, but I was so stressed that I couldn't let go of the comfort foods (especially chocolate). Now, it is easier for me to choose better foods. Some of it is my new schedule. I have more time to choose what to eat, and I am moving all day long. Before I sat in a cube, and free food was available to me. I would sit at my desk and have a several cups of coffee along with cookies and candy. Now, I eat five meals a day (three main meals and two snacks). I am not in a place where I can graze, and I cannot eat in class (I am busy). So really, I am only eating during my free time when I am home or in the cafeteria.

Plus, I am walking every day - more than before. I am walking about 1/2 mile to a mile each day, climbing stairs, etc. I am actually enjoying being outside, even though it is so hot and humid. The campus at GCU is really lovely, and the brick walkways are nicely laid out so you can stroll around the campus. I love the leisure time I have to stroll (I have about 15 minutes to get from one side of campus to the next). I am walking purposefully, yet still paced so I am not out of breath. I can tell already that my body is happy to be moving and not sitting all day long.

Overall, as I come to the close of my second week on campus, I am happy. Happy is a feeling - fleeting most of the time. I try not to associate feelings with my thoughts because my feelings are usually not accurate. I do feel blessed, and I am certainly content. The only issue I still fret over is the money, but knowing myself well, I know that I will never be satisfied because of the way I have lived the past 30 some years. It is hard to break the habit of hording money, of constantly thinking about it. I am resting in the Lord's provision, and I know I have my needs met. I am good. He is GOOD. I can trust Him.

Dear Lord -

I thank you for your gracious provision of this job and the fact that I am getting to rest. I have been so focused on the money, or lack thereof, that I have forgotten the goal of this new job. You provided a job to me that didn't conflict with my studies at Regent. Moreover, I asked for a job that would be low-stress. Lastly, the job needed to provide income for me so that I could live comfortably. You have provided all three of these requests in this one job. And, adding to that list, you also provided a job that would enable me the opportunity to become an Instructor (first step in professorship). I know that the money aspect is worrisome to me, so I place my fear of not having enough money in your hands. You are more than able to care for my finances (and have done so brilliantly for the past couple years), and I trust you with the management of your provision. After all, you provide therefore you can manage. I trust you, Lord. I rest in your abilities to take care of me this day. Thank you, Jesus, for all you are doing in my life this day. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. (Selah - pause and calmly think about it).

September 5, 2013

Check-in

It is Thursday, and I have been following a low-carb eating plan for the past few days (since 9/1). I have lost water weight, about 7 lbs of it, and I am in Ketosis (my brain is buring fat instead of sugar for energy). Hopefully, I will start losing those pounds of stored fat very soon.

In addition to losing water, I am feeling depleted. I have a massive attack of seasonal allergies, and I feel weak and lethargic. I am also sweating like if I had a fever. I read online that there is a Ketosis flu that comes on about 48 hours after your body enters in Ketosis, and it has similar symptoms to a seasonal flu virus. I have had a stuffy head/ears, scratchy throat, and dry cough. I have also had muscle weakness and excessive fatigue. I am treating these symptoms with OTC meds, drinking extra water, and rest. My hope is that whatever is causing this sicky feeling will go away soon. It is hard to focus on my job as an IA and keep up with my school work at Regent.

It is a New Day

I had a somewhat restful nights sleep. However, I woke up from very bad dream that left me feeling restless and unsure. It was one of those terrifying dreams where your life is in danger, and you survive, but have to struggle through the aftermath. In some ways, this is how I feel now. I have made such a massive change to my life -- leaving a good job, good paycheck, good insurance -- for the opportunity to teach at a University (low pay, no insurance). It has been a struggle to comprehend this change, and while I see the potential outcome -- a full time teaching position -- right now I am in the midst of stress that is requiring me to place my faith in God, and rest in His sufficiency.

I think what started this downward spiral was some browsing on the Internet last night. I need to buy a used car for my son -- something in good condition, with miles left, and good on gas -- but not too expensive for my budget. I found a car at a used car dealer, emailed them about it, but haven't heard back yet. I then asked for a quote on insurance for my son. To carry basic insurance (state mandated), he will need to pay $116 per month. If I wanted him to have comprehensive insurance, then his rate goes up to $187. I may get a discount as a family, but just thinking about the cost of car insurance for him, sent me into a depressive anxiety attack. I cried out to the Lord -- "Lord, I don't have enough money to do this now. I cannot buy him a car."

I know my son needs a car. I have promised him a car. I have the money set aside for a car, but the insurance costs are sky-high. He is working part-time at church, and will be making enough money to pay his insurance. I had hoped he would not have to spend as much so that he could save more money for college-related expenses. Sigh.

Now I am wondering what else is going to happen to me. I mean is there more fall out from my decision to take this job to learn how to teach?

As I sit here today, I am thankful for God's provision of this job opportunity. It is not perfect by any means. It is a good opportunity, and I am blessed to have it. I am worried about the future, about my parents health and welfare, about my health (when I have to get insurance in January because of Obamacare). I know that God has a good plan for my life, and I am resting in His will and His provision. He is able to provide for me; I know this is true. I believe that this is true.

Thinking about today and what God has planned for me makes me start to question whether I am doing all that I can to work toward His will. Am I off the mark in any area? Am I walking on the right path?

God has given me direction -- what I believe is direction -- and I will trust what I know to be true. I believe He IS, and that He is more than able to take care of my needs this day.

It is a new day, another day, a good day. God has made a way, and until He tells me otherwise, I will stay the course, and finish this race. God is good to me. He is so very good to me.

September 1, 2013

Day 1 Menu Plan

OK, so today I started my new lifestyle plan. I am using a combination of menus and approaches, but ultimately, my goal is to develop a way of eating that will be nutritious and good for me. I want to get off processed foods, and only eat natural foods, the kind of food that is grown or farmed. I do not want to eat packaged products that come in a box or can (with the exception of frozen fresh food).

Day 1 - Actual Weight

Yes, I stood on my computerized scale this morning (sans clothing) to get an accurate reading. I plan on weighing myself once per week (no sense in getting discouraged). This is a lifestyle overhaul and not a diet, so I am letting go of the daily weigh-ins and simply choosing to be thankful for the wellness that I achieve each week. My target goal for weight loss (I am overweight for my height and size) is 22 lbs. This is roughly 15% of my actual body weight. I am giving myself a target date of December 31, 2013 -- simply because it is always good to have a goal end date in mind.

Menu Plan - First two weeks

I have read through Adkins, the Primal Blueprint, Paleo, South Beach Diet, Maker's Diet, and the Daniel Plan. In all of these approaches, the emphasis is on eating whole foods. The no-nos are:


  1. Stick Margarine - using Butter instead
  2. Diet Soda - going with water
  3. Dairy (especially Milk) - I am slightly lactose intolerant, so only using it sparingly (for coffee)
  4. Breads, Pasta, and Rice - for now, no grains (later whole grains, but sparingly)
  5. Sugar - no sugar at all
I will be eating lean meat, eggs, vegetables for the next two weeks. After that, I will start adding in fruit in limited quantity. I will also think about adding back in whole grains.

My goal foods to eliminate for good include:
  1. Diet soda - I have been addicted to diet pepsi and coke since 2001 when I switched out the real thing for the diet version. No more chemicals, no more brain fog, and no more yo-yo weight gain.
  2. Candy, cookies, cakes, and other desserts - I have a sweet tooth, especially for pastry, so for the time being, I am saying no to these kinds of foods. Once I get through my two week metabolism boosting period, I will make whole food goodies (healthy snacks) that will substitute for my chocolate cravings.
  3. Processed and packaged foods - easy for me to grab and go, but packed with chemicals and other ingredients that are bad for you.
  4. Coffee - in limits now, but eventually saying good-bye to it
Breakfast Today

I made myself two scrambled eggs with about a TBSP of half-half (left over so I am using it up). I cooked 1 piece of bacon, and I added half a slice of Muenster cheese. Sauted in real butter with a little salt and pepper. Very good, and I was full all morning at church.

Lunch Today

I made myself a big bowl of salad. I used pre-packaged salad because I had it in the fridge, and I added four slices of deli meat (Turkey and Ham). Again, I used what I had in the fridge. I am not going to throw food out, but I will make sure to purchase organic when it is time to replace it. I topped it with 2 TBSP of Italian Dressing. I am out of good balsamic vinegar, so I used what was there, but measured it out.

My total carbs so far today are 10.8 and my goal is to stay between 20-25 each day. In two weeks, my carb count can go up to 50, but for now, I am forcing my body to burn what I have stored for fat, and I am restricting my carbohydrates to keep new fat from being stored.

Snacks

I haven't had snacks today, but I will probably need to factor that in this week. I will eat nuts or celery sticks with some cheese or something like that each afternoon. I plan to eat every 3 hours (7, 10, 1, 4, 7) and then no food after 8 p.m. 

Water

I am also drinking 3 liters of water each day (oh, if I can do it) to flush my system out.
This works out to about 12-13 cups of water per day (1 water bottle = 2 cups, 1 big cup w/straw = 2 cups). I will drink 6 glasses (my big cup w/straw) every day


Dinner Later

Dinner is going to be one meat plus one veggie (or big salad). Pretty simple, and I will eat whatever my Mom cooks for dinner, so long as it is not laden with sauce or a pasta dish.

Walking

I am walking about 1 mile per day at work. This works out to 5 miles per week (focused walking). I am going to start riding my bike in the early AM or PM once the weather cools down. I planned out a route that will enable me to bike anywhere from 2-4-8 miles (round trip). I plan to start small and just leisurely bike up to the next stop light. Once I build up endurance, I will bike 2-3 times per week the full route which will be 4 miles up and 4 miles back.

Weight Training

I have small hand weights some where, but I think I will purchase another set of dumb bells so I can start lifting weights to build up the muscles in my arms.