June 4, 2017

Thanking the Lord Today

Blessed Sunday! May your day be blessed as you worship the Lord and give Him thanks!

It is a good day to be home. I am home today, still undecided on whether I will drive over to church or watch the service online. I can do either, but I am not feeling 100% today, and part of me just thinks staying home is a good choice. However, I do have my car, and I have to take my car over to church later anyway — so why not go now? Sigh!

The reason I am not feeling well today is because of my diet change. I think I am experiencing what is called “keto flu.” I have the headache, fatigue, cough, and general malaise. I sort of feel like I am coming down with some bug, but I think it is more that my body is detoxing from its reliance on sugar and carbs. I have really been good with my diet, and I have stayed under 100g carbs each day (full and not net). I think I am about 50 net carbs per day, which is a little high for Atkins, but well within the spectrum for ketosis. Besides, every person reacts differently to a reduction in carbs, and for me, I think I can tolerate higher carbs without interfering with my weight loss plan. In fact, I think I have lost about 2 pounds so far this week. I mostly have noticed a reduction in my “flabbiness” rather than an actual drop, though the scale seems to show a slight dip in numbers. I measured myself and I am the same dimensions, but I just look more slender, more tight around the middle. Whatever is true, I feel lousy right now, but I am so thankful for the progress toward my goal.

I am also really sore from doing the “Walk Slim” DVD. Hard to believe walking 2-miles and doing arm movements would cause some soreness, but it has. I took yesterday and today off, but I will get back on the walking program beginning Monday. I plan to walk 6-days next week, simply to get me revved up for my vacation, which begins on the following Monday.

My plan today, now that I have had my coffee, is to rest. I think I will simply remain here at home. I have to take my car over to church later today, but it just dawned on me that I need to park right near the high school building. There would be no way for me to do that early, so it is best to wait until everyone leaves the parking lot. Sigh!

In all things today, I am giving the Lord thanks. I am believing in faith that the plan He has for my life is good, and that His plan is irrevocable. I am walking in my faith, walking in my spiritual gifts, and walking in my blessing. I am doing exactly what the Lord wants me to do, and as such, I don’t have to worry, to fear or even to doubt Him when He says that I am well-covered, well-provided, and ready to receive His well-prepared plan for my life. I am ready, Lord. I am so ready!
More Thoughts On Stay Put

It is a good day here in sunny and, yes, hot Phoenix. The air temperature today is expected to reach about 107. It is June, after all, and in June, the weather is gastly. Yes, it is darn-tooting hot, especially if you do not have a swimming pool to help beat the heat. I so miss my parents pool. I spent almost every single day in their pool when my son was younger, and every Sunday, we would come to their house for dinner and to play cards. Now, we are together, and well, praise God, it is a good thing. But the home we live in has no pool (my Dad’s choice), which simply means that we spend all our summer days inside in order to “beat the heat.”

My good friend lives in Alabama, and he is always telling me how hot and humid it is there. I don’t think I could handle the heat and humidity. I’ve thought about this a lot, and frankly, the humidity just sucks the life out of you. My other good friend, also from Alabama, said something similar to me. In fact, her daughter said, “You cannot move to Alabama. You have to be born there.” She was referring to the humidity, and she said that it is really hard for people who come from the North or west to tolerate the extreme humidity. I’ve been to the South many times. I have family in Florida, and formerly in Georgia. I struggled to deal with the summer temps, and even when I have travelled to VA for residency, the humidity was noticeably high. Not southern-high like my good friend’s experience, but still much higher than Arizona humidity levels, even during our monsoon season (July-August).

All of this is to say that I think moving to a place with heat and humidity would be a killer combination for me. I think I could tolerate some humidity. I grew up in Illinois, and I am from Maryland and New York (as a child). Mostly, I have lived in moderate climates in CA, and now in Phoenix (moderate part of the year). I think that I am most suited to moderate climates or northern climates rather than southern climates.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking a places to live that included the South, southeast, Mid-Atlantic, northeast, and midwest. Of all these places, I am most comfortable living in the Midwest. I would probably second living in VA, but only because I spent 3 summers, and 3 mid-winter visits there. I like VA a lot, but I also like Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and yes, even Wisconsin. I really do like moderate 4-season climates. There is something about summer temperatures that rarely hit above 80 that draws me in. I mean, our normal summer temperature here in Phoenix is 105-107, but we can see extremes of 110-118. Honestly, I am ready to move some place else, but I also feel tied to Phoenix, and I feel committed to remain here.

Lately, I have focused my energy and thoughts toward VA, mostly with the hope that I might be called to work full-time at Regent. I love my part-time contracts, and I am very content to teach as I am — online — part-time. However, I did apply for a teaching position on campus/online back in the spring. I haven’t heard a peep about it, and the Chair seems content to just assign me part-time work. I also believe that Regent will not hire me because I have a PhD from their own school. This is common practice at universities. They want to mix the pool, so to speak, and that means they want to hire grads from other schools. I get it, I really do. It is just a bummer to think that I can work part-time and not full-time at this wonderful school — simply — because I graduated from there this year. Sigh!

My second choice or fall-back choice is to remain here in Phoenix. I can see myself staying here, surviving the unrelenting heat through the end of my days. It is a good place to live, for sure, and there are many perks to remaining right here in the Valley of the Sun. First, I know this place well. I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I am comfortable getting to and from. Second, my son is here for the next couple of years as he completes his undergrad and graduate education. Third, my parents are here with me, and until they need specialized care or their days end, I cannot up and leave them. Last, I am employed at two schools in the Phoenix area. Both are part-time, and both do not offer hope of full-time employment. Still, I am well-provided for in our rental house, but it is not a perfect fit for us. Should my parents need to move into assisted living, I simply would struggle to live here on my own. Such as it is, I am considering moving to a place where it is more moderately priced so that I can afford a lovely home at a more reasonable mortgage payment.

This means that as of now, I am opening the door to moving any place the Lord sees fit to move me. I am letting Regent go (full-time, that is), and I am embracing the possibility of a job in another state. This is not a new move for me, I mean. I have considered moving for the past 10 years, and I have looked deeply at places all around the USA. I don’t have any leads on jobs, so for now, I am just thinking of places to settle that might be better suited to my future. For now, I am considering all options for relocation, even cold and snowy ones, should the Lord provide for me in such a place. The Lord knows His mind on this matter. He knows what will work and will not work, and He knows just how far He can bend me. I am flexible in this matter, and I am choosing to relocate to a state where there is a good job, that pays a good wage, and where I can live comfortably, modestly and without much fuss.

Letting Go and Leaving Things Behind

The hardest part of moving is letting go and leaving the past and all the things of the past behind. I need to move on, and with that, I also need to close the door on options here so that I can only look forward in life. I need to leave some things behind, and for me, that is so difficult. I lived in lack for so long that the thought of letting go what I have at present is terrifying for me. However, I have also learned that there is no lack with the Lord, so if I let go of what I have now, I will be free to accept whatever the Lord has in store for me later on.

Leaving my son behind is the hardest part in thinking of moving. I don’t want to let him go, yet I know that I must. He is a young man, after all, and he needs to learn how to live on his own. I don’t want to let go simply because I will then be all alone. That thought scares me somewhat, but at the same time, I also understand that this is life, and in life, there are times of aloneness and times of companionship. I need to forge new relationships, new friendships, and I need to be open to trying life out in a new way. I mean, you cannot keep on wearing the same pair of shoes, no matter how comfortable they are. At some point, they will wear out, and you will need to purchase new shoes.

This “baby” is ready for new shoes. I am ready to cast off the old worn out shoes for brand new ones. I will choose comfortable shoes, mind you, but they will be new. I need to try on several pair before I settle, but I am getting close to figuring out the style I want in those new shoes as well as they location of them. Metaphor induced, need I say more.

For location, I am open to wherever the Lord has a job for me. For style, I think I have come back to my first choice of eclectic. I have gone back around through modern, farmhouse, new country, and transitional, but time and time again, I fall back on eclectic (sort of modern, industrial, and rustic). I know what I like and don’t like, and what is more, I really see the value in mixing things up. I want a home that says, “Come on in! Sit a while. Have some tea or coffee! Relax!” I don’t want a place where my cats claw marks will deter visitors. I don’t want a place that is so pristine, it looks like a museum. No, I want comfortable, and I want to do life easy. I want to put my feet up, read a good book, watch Netflix, and chill — alone or with friends. I simply want to chill.

Thus, I am letting my old desires for style fall away from me. Gone is country and farmhouse (french) kitsch. I am embracing my modern artistic roots, and my slightly rustic bohemian/Scandinavian love of white, blue, red, and black/brown. Yes, I am choosing to embrace something new and different for my life. I am ready to let the old be passed down, and I am ready to change my life in order to experience something new. I am ready, Lord.
In Closing

As I ponder my thoughts today, I realize that I am ready for a new life. The Lord has prepared me and trained me. He has made me ready, but I must let go of everything I hold onto in order to have free hands to accept what He has in mind for me. I cannot hold it all, somethings have to slip loose, so I am opening my hands today to receive the fullness of His blessing and prosperity. I am choosing to receive whatever gifts He has for me, whatever prizes and possessions He offers, and mostly, to accept His best in all areas of my life. I accept YOU, LORD, now, and I accept everything you desire in my life. May your life be magnified through this poor, corrupted, and frail vessel. May you have your way this good day, and may your name be praised forevermore!

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