She Likes Smiling; Smiling’s Her Favorite

As I’ve mentioned previously, Ava is not the greatest of sleepers. For example, I think today she took 3 naps of about 30 minutes each, which is definitely better than nothing, but it does make it hard to accomplish any sort of prolonged task. However, what Ava lacks in the sleep department, she more than makes up for it in the smile department. I may be biased, but her smile is radiant and completely infectious. Just look:

Even if I am exhausted and undone by the events of the day, seeing her smile makes me smile. There is nothing better than seeing that open-mouthed grin first thing in the morning and last thing at night. So while she may not be overly fond of sleeping, I’m forever thankful that smiling is her favorite.

 

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Winner of Never Unfriended

It’s time to announce the winner of my Never Unfriended giveaway. Thanks to all of you who entered! I had 8 people enter, and I used the random number generator to select a winning number.

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winner

That means that CAPPYLOVE3 is the winner! Congratulations! Check your email for details about how to get your book.

For those of you who didn’t win, I highly recommend ordering a copy of the book for yourself.

Hello, 2016

Happy New Year to all my readers! I haven’t made goals for the year in a while, but I decided it was time to work on being more disciplined and more focused on things I hope to achieve, so I’m making goals this year. I went back and looked at blog posts from past Januarys to see what kind of goals I made and how many I made each year. The year with the most goals was definitely 2009 with 18 (what was I thinking??). Most of my goals were either related to spiritual or physical pursuits, and I guess this year will be no different. Here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2016:

  1. Write for a minimum of 5 minutes every day. I want to establish a daily writing habit, and while 5 minutes doesn’t seem like much, chances are that once I sit down and do it, I will end up writing longer than that. I love writing and yet haven’t really created anything I’m proud of in a long time, so I hope to change that this year.
  2. Read through the Bible. The last time I did this was in 2012, so it’s time for another attempt. I found it really rewarding and love that following a reading plan will add much-needed structure to my Bible study time.
  3. Finish a 5k. Obviously this won’t happen until after both of my hips are fixed (please Lord, let that become a reality), but I want to take up running again as soon as the doctor clears me to do so. I can’t even tell you how much I miss it. I think running 3.1 miles by the end of the year is doable, even if I have to run that 3.1 on December 31!
  4. Read 25 books. This is still a really modest goal, but I have to be realistic. If my log for 2014 is accurate, I only read 16 books the whole year, so 25 will still be a stretch for me. If I read more than that, wonderful! I’m going to track all of my reads on GoodReads.
  5. Stop drinking soda. If there’s a goal I’m not sure I’ll achieve, it’s this one. I drink soda on an almost-daily basis, and even though it’s mostly Coke Zero, it’s still junk I don’t need in my body (and some would say diet sodas are worse than regular soda). I don’t need soda, and quitting it will be good for my body and my wallet, too. 🙂
  6. Memorize at least 3 Psalms. I fell deeply in love with the Psalms last year, and I want to hide more of them in my heart. I’m planning to start with Psalm 145, my favorite, and then I think I will do Psalms 42 and 103, but I reserve the right to change this at a later date.

I’m looking forward to working on these goals and maybe–hopefully–achieving them. I’d love to hear about your goals as well, so leave me a comment and tell me about them.

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Naturally my first picture of 2016 is of this cutie. 

Same Song, Different Verse

On June 2, Stephen and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I spent some time that week looking at pictures from our wedding and honeymoon and was reminded anew of how different I looked back then. One picture in particular stood out to me.

On our honeymoon in 2008

On our honeymoon in 2008

I filled up so much of the frame, looked so bloated. Happy, yes, but so very overweight. And while I told myself 2 weeks ago that at least I wasn’t 261 pounds anymore, that thought didn’t console me much because I have seen my weight creep up and know that as much as I tell myself I will never be 261 pounds again, it could happen if I’m not careful.

Gluttony has been my besetting sin, the sin I cannot seem to escape, for all of my life. Food is my drug, the way I self-medicate. Before I’ve finished one meal I’m thinking about what I’ll eat for the next. If I have a bad day, I want to eat. If I’m happy and feel like celebrating something, I want to eat. If I’m stressed, I want to eat. Eating is my response to virtually every emotion I feel. I hardly even know how to separate food from my feelings.

Thus, it’s no surprise that I find myself in the 200s again, wondering how I got here. And it’s not like this is new; I’ve hovered around 200 pounds since last year. I saw the 190s on the scale here and there, especially earlier this year when I was dealing with a mild UC flare (thanks, UC!), but for the most part my weight has consistently been between 200-203. I haven’t liked it there, but I’ve been struggling with so many other aspects of my health (like the aforementioned UC and hip pain that has become chronic in nature) that thinking about weight loss completely overwhelmed me. And to be honest, I didn’t want to give up anything else. I’ve been through a lot these past 2.5 years; don’t I deserve dessert? I had to stop running; can’t I enjoy a nice, fatty dinner? I know that kind of thinking is absurd, but welcome to my world!

Last Wednesday, I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and started tracking my calories again. There are a lot of different paths I could take to lose weight, probably one for every pound currently on my body. I chose this one because it’s worked for me in the past and because it’s structured but also gives me a measure of freedom in that I can eat what I want as long as I stay within my calorie range. I’m tracking everything I eat, measuring, and eating appropriate portion sizes. If there’s room in my calorie “budget” at the end of the day, I can choose to have a sweet treat or I can eat something healthier, like an apple or protein shake. It’s not a perfect arrangement, but it’s better than what I was doing, which was eating with little thought given to my choices as long as it tasted good.

In just a few short hours, I’m going to wake up and get on the scale. I don’t know if I’ll see a loss or not. Last Wednesday I saw a number that truly saddened me: 206.4. I hadn’t seen a number that high since early 2009, so I hope that at least the number will be lower than that. But even if it’s not, I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to track my food, try to make good choices, and plead with the Lord to give me self-control at each meal, each day.