July 23, 2016

Tempermental

Well, it is Saturday, and I am officially worn out. Yes, my desire to turn in early last night, to get my 9 hours of solid shut-eye, didn't work out as planned. I did turn in relatively early, but my night was interrupted by my cat, Winston, banging on my parents door -- twice! The first time was around 12:30 a.m., and the second, and final time, was at 4:00 a.m. In between, he spent the hours crying and carrying around his stuffed toys. It seemed like just as soon as I would fall asleep, I'd be awaken by his incessant crying, that long "meeeeooooow" that says, "Hey, where is everyone!" (Just as an aside, I swear I heard him saying, "Hello!" last night). Sigh!

Needless to say, I am a bit cranky this morning. My first cup of coffee does taste good, and hopefully, once the caffeine kicks in, I will start to feel like my normal self again.

Let's hope so. I sure do hope so...

Weight-Loss and Fitness Update

I am also feeling a bit depressed at my weight-loss so far. I mean, I know I need to "chillax," as my friend says, but frankly, I had hoped to see a better report by day 12. I started out so strong, and by Wednesday, I was down 2.8 pounds overall. Not bad. I was impressed. Weight Watchers scores again! But, then I had a weight-gain on Thursday and Friday, even after sticking to my points range, today appears to be on track again. If my weigh-in from early this morning is correct, then I would have gained back 1.4 pounds in three days. I realize that the first flush is water weight, but even still, I have to say that I am disappointed that my weight loss is running at 1 pound a week. I know, this is normal, expected, average. Still, I was so hoping to see that big 2 pound drop as a steady "hurrah" each week. I guess I need to accept that my loss will be slow, but steady. And, 1 pound of fat down is 1 pound of fat loss that shows my hard work is paying off.

I read a website yesterday that had an article called, "Why Your Scale Lies." I've read these articles before, and for the most part, what the writers say is absolutely true. Your bathroom scale doesn't accurately measure your weight because it factors in EVERYTHING including fat, bones, muscle, water, etc. Furthermore, your fat cells, once stripped of their excess fat, simply choose to plump themselves up with water so they keep their nice fatty shape. Yes, all the authors said the same thing. You won't see your fat cells shrink until a good 5-6 weeks have passed. And, to really get them to stop hoarding water, you have to flush your system with a lot of water -- like a gallon a day. The more water you drink, the more your body will not go into self-preservation mode. I know, I read that this is a fallacy too. That self-preservation mode doesn't kick in until you have been starving yourself for long periods of time. Still, I think most of what these articles are saying is true, like I said before. Your scale is not your best friend. It lies. It tells you a number, and that number makes you feel better or worse depending on what it is.

The truth is that our bodies are complex engines, and as such, to really grasp how well you are doing with your lifestyle change (diet and fitness), the rule of thumb is to check the way your clothes fit. Are you finding that your clothes feel looser? If so, then you are shrinking in size. Are you liking the way your body looks in the mirror? Then you are getting smaller, losing inches rather than pounds. I guess for me the big problem is the number on the scale. I don't like weighing what I do. The number is way too high for my height and size. On all charts, I am overweight. My BMI puts me in the "overweight" category, and my weight is outside the "normal parameters" for a person my age and my size. Thus, seeing the shape change is a good thing, a very good thing. But, not seeing the number go down, well that just bothers me to no end. UGH!

I've been really good on writing everything down that I eat. It has been 12 days, and I have stuck to my guns regarding my food choices. I am not eating perfectly healthy choices, but I am limiting my choices, and choosing easy to prepare foods that fill me up, yet keep me in my target range. I have gone over a couple days, and I have been under on some other days. My goal this week, priority #1 is not to give up, no matter what the scale tells me. My priority #2 is to eat my target points, and not go under at all. More so, I am going to drink more water, cut out the diet soda (which I was off for months, then gave in a couple months ago, and now am going off again) to see if this helps. I am taking my measurements, and so far, I have lost about an inch off my hips. My waist is the same, and my thighs are the same. I am simply looking at how my clothes fit me, and I will be content (yes, choosing to be content) to lose 1 pound of fat each week. This just means I will have to be consistent for 20 weeks instead of 10, but hey, this is a LIFESTYLE change and not temporary weight loss. My goal is to slim down, get strong, and stay that way my entire life. It is not about hitting that number for a big event and then letting it all hang out again. I don't ever want to be this number again. I mean it. I really, really mean it.

Jobs Update

So I received my background check information yesterday. I completed the online registration, and hopefully, I will have my paperwork finalized next week. It will be good to be able to post online and on my resume that I am adjunct at Regent University. I am so excited to be teaching at MY school. I have wanted this job, this particular job for years now, and to think I am "this close," to receiving it, well, it just gives me goosebumps. Yes, I am so over the moon excited to teach online at my alma mater.

I was talking with my good friend last evening, and I shared how I am looking forward to teaching this class come fall. Of all my courses, this one in particular is so attractive to me. I love the course itself, and I cannot wait to see what the class will be like once it gets going. I am loving teaching online! I cannot wait until I can do this full-time (all the time). I am happy to be on campus, but in truth, I am loving teaching from home. I am loving the freedom it brings to me, the good pay, and the experience -- yes, the experience. God is so good to provide for me in this way. I cannot think of any other job I want to do right now. I am blessed, so very blessed. He is good, He is good, He is good.

Moving, Fits and Starts

In other areas, I am content as well. Yesterday, I had to replace my tires. I was so not happy about spending the $500 to replace them, but I had known this was a need for several months now, and frankly, it was going to happen at some point in time. I went out yesterday to run to the store, and thankfully, on my way out of the shops, I noticed my tire looked flat. I was right next to a tire store, so I headed on over, and they put four new tires on the car. Now, at least, I don't have to worry about my tires blowing out on the freeway. More so, since my son is sharing my car for a while, this means I don't have to worry about him having a serious blow out. Now, all that is left to do on this car is get the brakes checked or replaced, and then keep the car in good running condition. I am still not sure if the Lord intends for me to trade this car in or pay it off. I owe about $7K on it still, and I would love to not have a car payment for a while. But then I think that perhaps it is time. It has 60K miles on it, and it is in really good shape. I could trade it in and I know I would get a really good deal.

With the new tires, of course, came worries of my debt burden looming ahead of me. Still, I had to swallow those thoughts, place my trust in the Lord, and just add this cost to my already climbing credit card debt. I hate the fact that I owe so much money, yet I cannot help it. I have been tapped low this year, and until I can get back to zero, I will be stuck paying these payments. Perhaps the Lord will bring me some other opportunity, some other way for me to crush the swell and pay my cards off. That would be sweet, so very sweet. Until He provides enough for me to do that, I will have to be patient and rest in His provision. I say "It is enough," and I believe that it is so. He is good to me. He is so very good to me.

My prayer today is to spend the majority of this morning replying to student posts, grading and housekeeping in my class at OCU. My hope is that I can finish this class strong so I get paid on time.

Debt-Free Living

My prayer, of course, is to honor the Lord in all the work He provides for me to do. I am at this place now, this place of utter and complete dependency. He has opened a door for me to teach at Regent, and if this is it (as in the only job I will be hired for this year), then I must accept that He has determined I have enough to live on, enough to get by, enough to be settled. You see, I have been thinking more and more about this whole "lack" business. I have been thinking about what it means to be tapped out. You know, when I first became single, my prayer was to never go without again. I never wanted to live "hand to mouth." I made it my goal, my priority, and I worked very hard to get myself to a place where I could live comfortably on what I earned in salary. Then, I started at Regent, and well, graduate school took me down another path. I started to work part-time, and with part-time work, my debts increased. I had to borrow money to make ends meet, but I did so with the knowledge that there was no other way to do well in school AND work full-time. In the end, I realized that I could have worked full-time, yes, I could have done so. But, I am thankful that the Lord permitted me to work part-time for this long. He was gracious to me, and He provided for me throughout these past years. Now, I am on the backside, and I am ready to finish up. I would like to have the freedom again to be financially settled. I want to have all my debts discharged. I want to live honorably before all men, and that means to be debt-free. I want to own my car, my house, and pay for my living expenses out of my earnings. I don't want to borrow from anyone. I don't want to pay interest or to even consider paying someone back. Yes, my hope is to be financially free again.

However, as I have prayed for financial freedom, the Lord has provided to me; not freedom, but rather dependency. Yes, I have not been set free. I have, instead, become indebted to the Lord for His provision, for His daily "bread." My hand has not produced freedom for me. My hand has only turned the soil and reaped what I have sown, which has been "enough," but not plenty. Many preachers today say that this is my fault. Some will say that because I took on school loans and debt, I deserve what I have received. In short, you sow what you reap. It is a biblical perspective for certain, but at times, it is hard to swallow. I have followed the Lord in obedience, and my student loans were part of the requirement for me to complete this level of school. Thus, they are a consequence of obeying the Lord, and this means that there will be a way to resolve them, to reconcile them, in time. Others who teach that lack is the result of sin or not commanding wealth (speaking to it), will say that I don't have what I need because I haven't believed the Lord, I haven't trusted Him for the provision. I cannot really say this is true because I have believed the Lord, and I have trusted Him for each need, for everything I have needed. So what is true? Is this constraint His will, His way, His provision for me? Or is it the result of my own faulty choices or some buried sin in my life?

I believe that I am where I am today because He has chosen for it to be so. I do not believe I have sinned in this matter. No, not at all. I am not buying to just "buy," rather I am living as I am able until He provides a different way for me, a different way. Right now, I am dependent on His provision, His sufficiency. In time, He will provide more for me and I will be debt-free. I believe it. I know it. My heart is confirmed in this matter. I believe His word to me is true. Until He opens that next door, I have to learn how to be content with what I have, to wait for His provision, and to look to His hand of blessing. I cannot step outside His will for me. I cannot do other work, not sanctioned by Him. I must rest in His provision. I must trust in Him, and His will, and I must exercise my faith to know that He will keep His word to me. He will be faithful. He will do what He has said He will do on my behalf.

As I wait, I must rest. Resting means to trust Him completely with the outcome. It is a measure of saying, "I believe you can do this for me. I believe you are able, and I believe you will do it because you have said it is so." It is saying to the Lord that you are taking Him at His word. You are not discounting His word as trivial or as not sufficient. You are saying, "I believe you are God, and as God, you can do whatever you think is best, necessary, good, in my life." Yes, this is what I am saying today. I am resting in Him, 100% resting. I can do nothing else but let Him deal with my situation, to make it work out according to His plan and to fulfill His purpose. I am resting in Him now, and in that way, I am letting this finally go. I am accepting the provision He has said would come to me, and I am waiting patiently for His timing. He will do it. He will perform it. He will make it happen. He is good to me, so very good to me.

In Closing

Today, as I rest, I marvel at His goodness toward me. I mean, He could just let me linger, flounder, stew, but instead, He makes me feel good about myself, my predicament, and in doing so, He gives me hope. I feel hopeful rather than afraid. I may not understand what will be or how my life will turn around, change, or become what He has promised me it would become, but I can know that He has this well-in hand. I mean, who better to control outcomes than the Lord of the Universe? Who is able to make something out of nothing, that the Lord of all creation? Yes, my faith rests in the creative God who spoke creation into being, who breathed life into mankind, and who patiently waits for us, to return to Him, to consider Him, to come back to Him so we can be reconciled and restored. He is good, so very good to me. He is good, He keeps His promises, and He is able to do all things in and through my life because it is His good will, His good work, and His good pleasure to do so. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

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