Friday, January 31, 2014

Reading through Acts

I love that our Kingdom Community reads through Acts TWICE when it convenes every other year. I also read through it last year because of Bible Book Club. I think a yearly reading through Acts is a must. It puts it all in perspective for what believers are here for. :)

With that said, I am back to reading, hearing, and applying it to my life! :)  


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

5. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

We are taking a group of 12 people through this book, and it is excellent. My husband and I are both trained mediators through Peacemaker Ministries, and this augments the peacemaking process so beautifully. It helps one learn to see when a conversation becomes crucial (opinions vary, stakes are high, and emotions run strong), creating an environment of safety so that those involved can contribute to the "Pool of Shared Meaning."  I am excited to apply its principles. I am committed to improving the way I communicate with people!

It is a lovely book, and I highly recommend it. 

Here are a few quotes:


Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. —AMBROSE BIERCE (p.33) 

The best at dialogue do something completely different. They aren’t held hostage by their emotions, nor do they try to hide or suppress them. Instead, they act on their emotions . That is, when they have strong feelings, they influence (and often change) their emotions by thinking them out. As a result, they choose their emotions, and by so doing, make it possible to choose behaviors that create better results. (p.106-107)
 With experience and maturity we learn to worry less about others’ intent and more about the effect others’ actions are having on us. No longer are we in the game of rooting out unhealthy motives. And here’s the good news. When we reflect on alternative motives, not only do we soften our emotions, but equally important, we relax our absolute certainty long enough to allow for dialogue— the only reliable way of discovering others’ genuine motives. (p.124-125)
As our emotions kick in, our ideas no longer flow smoothly and gently into the pool. Instead, our thoughts shoot out of our mouths like water out of a raging fire hydrant. And guess what ? Others become defensive. When this happens, when our emotions turn our ideas into a harsh and painful stream of thoughts, our honest passion kills the argument rather than supports it. (pp. 152-153). 

Monday, January 27, 2014

SUPER BOWL TO EASTER PRAYER CHALLENGE

You know that Core Value Prayer Study I mentioned in my last post? Well, the references are exactly the number of days between the Super Bowl and Easter this year. So, I am issuing a challenge for people to do that with me by applying the verses in this study on a daily basis. The passages are short every day and great for a devotional time in the morning. The applying and accountability will be the tough part. Find a group to journey with for accountability to apply God's Word for 76 days! 

Here is the handout I created with the calendar on the last page:

SUPER BOWL TO EASTER PRAYER CHALLENGE

(It is authored by David Watson, and I have a message into him to ask him about the first reference. It does not seem to fit. So if you want to skip it go ahead, I think it is supposed to be 2 Corinthians and not 1 Corinthians and is already later on in the study.) 

DO NOT MISS THIS: "Seek God for the City 2014" app is a great way to apply all you are learning about prayer. (You can also order it in different formats, but I like the app for walking and praying.) That starts on March 5th! I did it last year and had SO MUCH FUN praying for my city!!!! If you live in town, I will walk and pray with you!!! :) Please contact me. I love to prayer walk with people. 


Monday Freewrite

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. I will write my praise to You. You have done great things, and I will give You all the glory for this month and the focus on prayer. I love it!!! You have answered the prayers of Your servant, Carol. I love that Steve's sermons have gone right along with what You have been teaching me. 

I love the balance I have between Your Word and prayer after so many years of learning so many amazing things from Your Word while writing for the Bible Book Club. It was so worth it, but I like a slowing down of the mechanics involved with that so that I have more time, especially in the morning, for more focused prayer time. 

Steve's sermons have gone right along with it, and yesterday he said that the average person spends 30 hours a week watching television, and I am not surprised. While I have not spent that kind of time, I realized that, while I had much time with You in the morning, my evenings were more spent in entertaining myself to unwind (not always TV but other forms of entertainment too). So, I devoted myself to an evening prayer time with You that has made such a difference. Steve cemented that decision by his simple sermon yesterday.

Then I found this simple "Core Value" Prayer study that is in the form of a DBS that I really want to "test run" with others. :)

I am also so grateful for what is going on with our Kingdom Community. We are truly developing community in the group, and I am so grateful! 

Two big things helped to develop our community: 1) the exit of one person who was not like-minded with a very strong personality and 2) moving our corporate prayer time to the hour prior to our curriculum time rather than having it on a separate day. That difference has been huge as our hearts meet at the throne, prepared, before discussing what we learned and applied from Your Word that week, how we shared with others, and going over our homework. 

It has been powerful. I also think it has been amazing to see one of the guys who had thought about dropping out come out of his shell. I think the dropping out of the person I mentioned in 1) above really helped as that person had a very extroverted and aggressive personality that overwhelmed this guy (and some others).  I also think the remaining strong personalities in the group are feeling much safer with 1) not being there to "spar" with (making those of us who love harmony very uncomfortable) and the love and acceptance they are sensing from my wonderful husband. Consequently, they do not come across as domineering because they are more comfortable. 

Safety in a group is so important, but it is hard to achieve. I do not know how we arrived at that safety though, but we recently arrived. I do think reading The Practice of the Presence of God and The Game with Minutes also helped us be more aware of God's presence in our group. 

I also thinks it helps to have a new couple come who is very like-hearted and very much committed to the group process, loving the accountability involved. I love them! :) Well, I love everyone in this group. David said it best because this is his second time through the process, “I love the community, accountability, and lifestyle of living in the Kingdom that this group provides.” Thus the beauty of Kingdom living that our national leader has created. I so appreciate him, and it was so lovely to sit with him in Phoenix for a day (even though he was suffering from Malaria. :().

God, You are good. All the time You are good. Now, I am off to learn more about Jacob who wrestled with You. Silly boy, but there was hope for him! I feel like those strong, independent personalities in our group, like Jacob, have been tamed at the River Jabbok by the gentle touch of Your Spirit! Thank You for making it easy as we could never wrestle with them! Letting go and letting You do Your work has been nothing short of miraculous. 

I can do nothing more than give You praise and glory and honor for what You are doing. Protect us from the enemy of our souls who would, indeed, try to destroy what You have wrought by Your Spirit. We humbly rely on You to "strengthen and protect us from the evil one" by "Your great power and Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You."


The ringer is beeping, and I am sending.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

4. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

I remember all my thinking friends discussing Gladwell's book, Blink, and thinking it probably would not be something I would be interested in reading. I never would have read him had my book club not picked to read Outliers: The Story of Success.  I started it reluctantly and quickly became a Gladwell fan. That book altered the way I looked at life. So, when this book came out and was recommended by my bookish sister, Adriana, I had to read it. Gladwell has done it again! I especially loved how he analyzed the long term success rate of going to an elite university if you are not at the top of your class versus going to an average school and being at the top of your class because the pool isn't as competitive. Fascinating! I highly recommend this book, and I loved listening to the author read his own book. I think I am convinced I need to go back and read Blink!

Also, here is an interview he did at Google explaining the book and his motive behind his provocative books. I loved this quote regarding what he wants his books to do:


“You’re not looking for converts. 
You want people to start conversations.”  
Malcolm Gladwell




If you do not have time to watch this, you can watch this 12 minute interview on 60 Minutes: 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Movies 1. Not Today

Saw this previewed yesterday. Powerful.

 https://nottodaycoalition.org/themovie

3. Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds


"Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still."

This is a classic, but I am not sure I had ever read through the whole book. WOW! 

He is specifically targeting preachers and how prayer needs to be a priority when preparing sermons, but it applies to all believers. I ate it up.  Perfect to go with my emphasis in prayer this year. :)

Favorite Quote: 
The true ministry is God-touched, God-enabled, and God-made. The Spirit of God is on the preacher in anointing power, the fruit of the Spirit is in his heart, the Spirit of God has vitalized the man and the word; his preaching gives life, gives life as the spring gives life; gives life as the resurrection gives life; gives ardent life as the summer gives ardent life; gives fruitful life as the autumn gives fruitful life. The life-giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever athirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God's Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life-giving river. 
More quotes: 

"Men are God's method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. 

"What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- mean of prayer, men mighty in prayer." 

"The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer." 

"The man, the whole man, lies behind the sermon. Preaching is not the performance of an hour. It is the outflow of a life." 

"The preaching man is to be the praying man. Prayer is the preacher's mightiest weapon. An almighty force in itself, it gives life and force to all."

"The real sermon is made in the closet. The man--God's man--is made in the closet. His life and his profoundest convictions were born in secret communion with God."

"Prayer makes the man; prayer makes the preacher; prayer makes the pastor."

"The pride of learning is against the dependent humility of prayer."

"Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God's work and is powerless to project God's cause in this world."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Trappist Retreat

My prayer time at the Trappist Retreat in Carlton, OR was lovely. 

I had just spent my annual New Year's Eve Day of Prayer at Teala's sorority (I think we have done it every year Teala has been a house mom other than when we were in Malaysia for two New Year's Eves - so that would 16 of the last 18 years!), but I was on my way to Phoenix for a business trip when Terri (my like-hearted prayer buddy) texted me and asked if I wanted to go here for a three day silent retreat.

SURE!

I loved it. I had only been to Mount Angel Abbey Retreat Center and the Shalom Prayer Center among the Benedictine monks and sisters. So, I was up for a  Trappist adventure (since I love Thomas Merton and all). This is 1300 acres of beautiful forest to hike and pray. I hiked for three hours and 6.5 miles, and half of that was UP hill with a 700+ elevation gain.

Here are some pictures from the time:


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God led me into much needed intercession for people and a "theme" for the year! 

"Abiding in Emmanuel" 

I meditated on John 15 and feel called to many days of prayer like this in 2014 and reading many devotional books on prayer and practicing God's presence. 

2. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

I have read this multiple times, but this is the first time I have ever listened to it in audiobook form. Delightful!

Brother Lawrence "prayed to God among the pots and pans" as he worked in the kitchen of a Carmelite monastery in Paris (1611-1691). This is simple and profound. You will love it, and it goes along very nicely with "The Game with Minutes" that I just posted about. 

Here is a link to the Librivox recording and a zip file of the book. It only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to listen to, and I listened to it on one of my long walks. Made my whole day a lot brighter!

https://librivox.org/the-practice-of-the-presence-of-god-by-brother-lawrence/

(If the link does not work, cut and paste it in your browser.) 

1. The Game with Minutes by Frank C. Laubach

This is really more a short essay, but it is profound and important. It is one of the best things I have ever read and applying it will change your life

This is a reread for me as I have paired it with my reading of Letters by a Modern Mystic by Laubach in the past, but it is good all on its own, and we have our Kingdom training groups read it every time we do this curriculum, and people usually really like it! We pair it with reading The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence which I have read on a regular basis over the last 35 years. Laubach was like a modern day Brother Lawrence, but practicing God's presence in the midst of real life rather than in a monastery. 

Here is a PDF download: "The Game with Minutes"
(the link I had before was not the whole thing)

Here is a PDF download of Letters by a Modern Mystic

Here is a helpful summary of it by Dallas Willard if you are not convinced of its importance: 

http://dwillard.org/articles/individual/frank-laubachs-letters-by-a-modern-mystic

For years, I had read quotes by Frank Laubach everywhere. Willard and Ortberg both quote him. I finally thought it would be good to read him directly a few years ago. OH MY! 

Here is a blurb about him and this essay from Amazon: 
Frank Charles Laubach was an Evangelical Christian missionary and mystic known as "The Apostle to the Illiterates." One of his most widely influential devotional works was a pamphlet entitled "The Game with Minutes." In it, Laubach urged Christians to attempt keeping God in mind for at least one second of every minutes of the day. In this way Christians can attempt the attitude of constant prayer spoken of in the Epistle to the Colossians. The pamphlet extolled the virtues of a life lived with unceasing focus on God. Laubach's insight came from his experiments in prayer detailed in a collection of his letters published under the title, "Letters by a Modern Mystic." 
Since God has for my focus to be "Ceaseless Abiding in Emmanuel" this year. I will be reading another book by Laubach, Prayer, the Mightiest Force in the World, soon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Trappist Time

Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Monastery, Carlton, Oregon
January 14-16, 2014

Weight Maintenance

Here are my calorie goals. The consumed calories of 1455 average were only tracked through January 8th at which time I started traveling, and I have only been home 36 hours out of the last 7 days. 

I am just trying to hit my burn goal everyday, and I did not wear my BodyBugg for much of yesterday and a few other times when I was pretty active (one walk I forgot to wear it). So I think I did meet the goal. 


Saturday, January 04, 2014

FACED Accountability

I wanted to go a bit deeper about what I do for accountability.  Many years ago, I started a group called FACEyourday. 

Here is the group description:

Get ready to FACE your day with accountability and support from friends!

FACED is an accountability group that focuses on balance in the following areas:


F: Food - What are your goals for eating right?
A: Academic or Attitude - What are you feeding your mind?
C: Communion - How are you communing with God and others?
E: Exercise - What are you doing to tune your temple?
D: Daily Care - What are your goals for taking care of your loved ones and yourself?

Here is an example of my FACED for yesterday that I just sent to my two accountability partners.


Jan 3 - 1156 Deficit 
.2 pounds away from chai tea! Thank you so much. Accountability works!!  
F: 1333 – Finally into a groove of recording again. 19Pro/52Cho/29Fat/11Sat. Calcium 1082 because less milk yesterday (1200 at 50+ years old) 
A: Glanced at Chronicles of Downton Abbey. Watched The Dark Knight with George. 
C: Genesis 3 and the baptism of Jesus in John and Matthew. Yummy! I went on a walk with George instead of a private praise walk.

E: 2489 – Walk, Pilates, Weights, and Elliptical! My first full workout day since October 10! I have NO BACK PAIN this morning! YAY! I have worked back into it slowly with only going 4.4 pounds over my maximum. Pretty good considering my low calorie burn due to my back and Christmas goodies.

D: Dentist appointments made for all. Started taking down Christmas extras (George took the tree down for trash recycling on Monday). Opted out of a family date to watch The Hobbit so I could work out and have some time alone at home (daily care of myself). Glorious!
When I started it with others we had up to twelve members, and that was too big. I like 3-4 people in each group. Easier to respond with encouragement to others!

Tomorrow I will talk about the BodyBugg!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013 Movies, Series, Documentaries

JANUARY
1. Gilmore Girls Season 3
2. Miracle on 34th Street (so sweet)
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
4. Gilmore Girls Season 4
5. Little Women
6. Doctor Who Series 1
7. Gilmore Girls Season 5
FEBRUARY
8. Gilmore Girls Season 6
9. Gilmore Girls Season 7
10. W (clearplayed)
11. The Conspirator
12. The Real Jane Austen
13. Doctor Who Series 2
14. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (warning: racy part and unexpected for an old movie!)
15. California Suite
MARCH
16. The Hunger Games
17. Funny Face (S'Marvelous, S'Wonderful)
18. Atlas Shrugged (wow)
19. Doctor Who Series 3
20. Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
APRIL
21. Quartet
22. Doctor Who Series 4
23. The Other Doctor (Doctor Who Christmas)
24. The Duchess of Duke Street Series I
25. Hope Springs (NOT a comedy and pretty yucky)
26. Planet of the Dead (Doctor Who)
27. The Waters of Mars (Doctor Who)
MAY
28. Evening (Clearplayed)
29. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Clearplayed)
30. Evan Almighty (surprisingly funny and clean!)
31. The Duchess of Duke Street Series 2
32. The End of Time: Part 1 & 2 (Doctor Who)
33. Mad Men Season 5 (Need to Clearplay!)
34. William Faulkner: Famous Author Series
35. Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike
36. Call the Midwife Series 2 (Beautiful in every way)
37. Beasts of the Southern Wild
38. Margin Call (Clearplay it for language)
JUNE
39. Hamlet (brilliant and best David Tennant version)
40: Horatio Hornblower: The Duel
41: Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ships
42. Mad Men Season 6
JULY
43. Doctor Who Series 5
44. Perfect Pitch (Clearplay it)
45: Horatio Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil
46. Sister Wendy's Story of Painting (rewatch delight)
47. Doctor Who: Christmas Carol
48. What to Expect When You're Expecting
49. Watership Down
50. The Way (watched again with Geo in Nov)
AUGUST
51. Doctor Who Series 6
52. The Forsyte Saga (Damian Lewis is amazing)
53. The Truth about Food (Six BBC documentaries)
54. Doctor Who Series 7, Part I
55. The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe
56. Pollock
57. Rushmore (Clearplayed)
58. Raising Arizona (Clearplayed)
59. House of Cards
60. Michael Mosely's Eat, Fast, and Live Longer
61. To Play the King (House of Card Trilogy 2)
62. Downton Abbey Series 3 (rewatch)
SEPTEMBER
63. The Final Cut (House of Cards Trilogy 3 WAY racier! So disappointed in the BBC - I covered the TV and listened to the dialogue for parts because no ClearPlay filter!)
64. Failure to Launch
65. $ellebrity (Documentary on Paparazzi)
66. The Buccaneers (rewatch, excellent)
67. Austenland
68. Sicko
69. The Grand Series I & II
70. Blue Jasmine (Cate B. is incredible)
OCTOBER
71. Duck Dynasty Season 1
72. Beverly Hills 90210 (just a few to understand cultural reference in Old Navy commercial!)
NOVEMBER
73. Sister Wives Seasons 1-3
74. Dance Moms Seasons 1-2 (in bed with back injury)
DECEMBER
75. Silver Linings Playbook
76. Beautiful People
77. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
78. The Dark Knight Rises (Because PJ was in it!)
79. Philomena
80. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

2013 Book List

JANUARY
1. Les Miserables - Radio Family Theatre (ER)
2. Dandelion Wine (SBC)
3. Pensees by Pascal (ITC)
4. Pocket Your Dollars (ER)
5. A Year of Biblical Womanhood (SBC)
6. The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico (ER)
7. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book I (ITC)
8. Keeping Christ in Ministry (ER)
9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
FEBRUARY
10. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
11. The Catcher in the Rye (BD)
12. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book II (ITC)
13. Practicing God's Presence 24/7
14. Getting Out of Bed in the Morning (ER)
15. Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict (ER)
16. Warrior: Fighting for Your Faith, Family, etc (ER)
MARCH
17. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book III (ITC)
18. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book IV (ITC)
19: Booked:Literature in the Soul of Me
APRIL
20. Apologia Pro Vita Sua (ITC)
21. The Second Shepherds' Play (ITC)
22. The Federalist (ITC)
24. I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced
25. Four Quartets (ITC)
MAY
26. Waiting for God (ITC)
27. Life of Johnson (ITC)
28. The Twilight of the Idols (ITC)
29. My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper
30. Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (ITC)
32. The Temple (ITC)
34. Fear and Trembling (ITC)
35. Go Down, Moses (ITC)
JUNE
36. Selected Essays of Samuel Johnson (ITC)
37. Watership Down (BD)
38. Call the Midwife
39. Happier at Home
40. The Reading Promise
JULY
41. Swann's Way (abridged audio)
42. Swann in Love (abridged audio)
43. Forty Days with the Messiah
44. Handel's Messiah: Comfort for God's People
45. Out of the Silent Planet
46. Call the Midwife: Shadow of the Workhouse
AUGUST
47. Till We All Have Faces
48. Perelandra
49. The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-law's Memoir of Caregiving (ER)
50. Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End
51. That Hideous Strength
52. Be Myself (Warren Wiersbe Autobio)
53. Forgotten God
54. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral and Valet Parking
SEPTEMBER
55. The Great Gatsby
56. Heidi
OCTOBER
57. Walden on Wheels
58. Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity
59. Three Men in a Boat
60. Persuasion
NOVEMBER
61. The King Jesus Gospel
62. The Daughter's Walk
63. The Christ of the Indian Road
DECEMBER
64. Divine Conspiracy
65. Searching for God Knows What
66. Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

How I Lost the Weight

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I had someone ask me how I lost the weight, and I had written this email to a couple of friends a few months back. So I am going to just paste it here!

WHY I LOST IT:

I lost it because weight loss was not my goal, maintenance was. Between December 20, 2012 and April 8, 2013, I lost until I was down to a medium frame weight for my height (I was usually within five pounds of the large frame weight, but I think that was too much all those years). I remembered my favorite weight, and that was when I was 19 and playing basketball. My love handles were totally gone then. So, I lost until the love handles went away, and that is the medium frame weight. I also had a rousing email exchange with a radiologist who said that all people’s bone mass are medium frame, and there is no such thing as a “large frame” weight. This is his website for recommendation for your ideal weight. Scroll down to the last box and do the ROBINSON FORMULA. That should be the ideal weight for regular sized women according to this guy (I use the Devine because I am tall): http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm

I had the extra motivation of a very tight budget due to George’s job being cut to a barebones salary. So, I didn’t have any extra money for little "treats" here and there, and walking saved me gas money! My LDL, cholesterol, and blood sugar were also a bit high (not in any danger), and my dietician friend says that she recommends a 7% weight loss to get them within normal. Extra motivation really helped me lose too!

(Update: all my blood work came back great Nov 2013!)

HOW I LOST IT: 

I recorded everything for 16 weeks and reported total calories consumed to two other friends by email EVERY DAY. They were free to report when they wanted, but that is what I committed for myself, and I was faithful to do it EVERY DAY no matter how busy I was (and I was very busy).

I also burned at least 2500 calories every day by walking, walking, walking, even in the rain (quitting running was the biggest way I have lost weight because I used to run and take two days to recover due to my back problems – now I just walk three days in a row and burn more calories overall). I committed myself to “Walk for Weight Loss and the World” so I prayer walked and prayed for unreached peoples and for my community!  I did it rain or shine and in the dark even. I made sure I got that 2500 calories in EVERYDAY too.

If I have a busy work day, I make sure I stand a lot and walk, walk, walk. I even walk and do listening prayer, discipleship, and counseling with the women I meet with because one of the things I am also teaching them is that exercise helps with depression, and it really does. I do not go to the gym as much, but I just move a lot more every day. I stand more while doing tasks. If I watch a movie, I move around. I dance around my living room a lot. I am moving, moving, moving all the time!

I do not sit at my computer like I used to (A smart phone has really helped me not sit at my computer as much too.). I quit taking as many photos because I sat too much processing them (also bad for my back).

(Note: the only difference between overweight people and thin people are that they stand more. The article is no longer on the internet, but here is an article about the characteristics of thin people that alludes to this fact: http://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/weight-loss/secrets-thin-people.)

Also, I only allowed myself one post for the Bible Book Club for every pound I lost. I wanted to FINISH the Bible Book Club. So, I lost the weight so I could FINISH. Now, I do not let myself have my favorite Chai tea in the morning unless I am under my ideal weight.  (I have modified this since Chai tea is such a wonderful part of my quiet morning ritual. So, I allow myself a single serving of chai without WHIPPED CREAM. If I am at my ideal weight of 173, I allow myself the luxury of whipped cream. That has worked well!) That keeps maintenance because I love my Chai tea (with whip) in the morning!!! LOL!

I also dropped out of one of my book clubs so I wasn’t reading as much; and if I do read, I try to find the audiobook so that I can listen to it while I am walking, working out on an elliptical (I do that sometimes for variety), cleaning, or cooking. I combine working out with pleasure reading that way and am not sitting on my bottom reading a book. Moving while reading is a great thing!

I also got physical therapy for my back so it doesn’t go out as much because I do exercises for it every day. I also get a monthly massage so that my back stays better (my doctor wants it once a week, but that is TOO expensive). So, I burn so many more calories because I am not in bed nursing a hurting back anymore!  (Note: since I wrote this letter, after many months of no pain, it wigged out. So, I could not walk and burn more calories for a couple of months, but I only ended up gaining 4.4 pounds over my ideal weight so I am learning to eat less when I am inactive. Also, I have learned the beauty of self-myofascial release (SMR) with a roller and then static stretching. That and Pilates has kept me pain-free for over two years now. )

Also, I walk or ride my bike everywhere I can (on errands, to discipleship meetings on campus, etc.). Once I reached the goal, I was determined to keep it off and not let it come back on, and I have kept it off for six months (now it is eight months), and I just keep on reporting to those two women! It has been a great year!

I also practice the eight things that help you with your serotonin and dopamine levels (see the VLOG for all about that: http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/search/label/VLOG). I try to do those eight things every day. Sleep is a big one, and I am getting really good sleep and really efficient sleep.

Also, the BodyBugg helped me keep my calorie burn accurate. Sadly, it was bought out by Jawbone, and then Jawbone discontinued it. It was the ONLY accurate calorie tracker out there. The Fitbit and other fitness trackers are WILDLY INACCURATE for calorie burn so please do not go by their estimates that are based on an algorithm and not on accurate body measurements. I went on a hike with a woman who was a foot shorter than me, and her Fitbit said she burned 1400 calories while my BodyBugg said, accurately, that I had burned about 500. I tracked the data with this device for eight years, and my calorie burn - my calorie intake always = the pounds I ended up losing. I think it was 94% accurate because you wore it on your arm (see slideshow), and it measured four things on your body. Beware of the Fitbit because it makes some people fat! http://www.fitnesstipsforlife.com/can-a-fitbit-make-you-fat.html/comment-page-1#comment-359822

You can watch all my VLOG posts for other tips on weight loss! They are all around a minute long. So, not a big time consuming thing to do but helpful tips:


There you go! Now I have SAT ON MY BUM so long writing this that I must MOVE!!

HOW I HAVE MAINTAINED IT

I already mentioned that I do not allow myself to have my favorite beverage if I am above a certain weight: "No chai tea above 173" is my new motto! (As I mentioned above, I changed that in 2016 to allowing myself a single serving [used to make a double] and allowing WHIPPED CREAM on top only when I am at 173 - like I was this morning! What a treat to have a little WHIP on my chai!)

I examined my pattern weight gain after a period of losing since 2008. I had the data from my Body Media BodyBugg. So that gave me valuable information about what I do. Here is the post with all my analysis of that data: 

"The Good News on My Overeating

I had two times since the weight loss where it climbed back up about five pounds. This last time was due to a relapse in my back on October 10th, and I wasn't able to burn a lot of calories because I needed to rest a LOT and could not even stand for long periods of time. All that said, I overate about 233 calories per day during that time period (When in pain, I eat. I also need to eat to keep myself from being nauseated from pain meds.) gaining five pounds. But it is so much easier to "course" correct at five pounds rather than thirty, taking two and a half weeks to lose it rather than fifteen!  So, I am committed to "course correcting" on a regular basis. So, I weigh myself at least every two weeks, but I admit I did not weigh myself between November 25 - December 30 because of the holidays. I was afraid to do it!  But fear is our biggest enemy of weight loss, and I was pleasantly surprised that I had only gained three during the holidays and two from my back injury! YAY!

(2017 update: I lost to goal before England, but I gained again. So, I am committed to maintainance once again this year. It is not good to fluctuate more than 10 pounds for post-menopausal women! See this article: http://www.realsimple.com/health/yo-yo-diet-heart-disease-sudden-cardiac-death)

Maintaining is also easier with the two women who hold me accountable and encourage me. I always have them to email with my "FACEing my day" (see the link to my VLOG videos about FACE.)

(2017 Update: The women quit logging so I felt at a loss. But I am giving my reports everyday to them regardless of whether they report or not. One has reported a few times a week, and the other has not even responded to any of our emails. I am on LoseIt! which has a very nice and encouraging community. Most are losing a large amount of weight, but that is OK. They do have a maintaining group that I hope to be in soon. 2017 Update - As of February, I am in the maintaining group. They are a small group but many have become my friends so we encourage each other. I am still sending my reports to the two I have reported to since 2004!)

As I said at the beginning, maintenance was my goal, not weight loss. I had that mindset from the beginning, and that has really helped. 

(And maintenance still remains my goal even though I lost sight of it when I switched to Pilates over calorie burning exercise. I have loved having no PAIN anywhere, but I have not loved the extra POUNDS that came as a result of the switch in my daily calorie burn. I am dropping one of my Pilates classes so that I can have more time for calorie burn. 2017 update: because of the switch, I was able to get off those last stubborn five pounds. I think four hours of teaching was just right for me. I also have more time for aerobic weight training that strengthens and burns calories while Pilates strengthens and stretches. So, I like this balance much better and will make it easier to maintain.)

I am tired of not maintaining, and this is my commitment for 2017! (And I am doing great so far!)

Carol


Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...