Carpe Septem Dies

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 52: A Week to Say Good Bye

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Wow. Since I wrote the last post, I’ve traveled about 1,000 miles back to Chicago, started a new job, moved into a new apartment and started another chapter of my life. Craziness. I feel like the last couple of years, really since I’ve graduated college, have been a whirlwind. I’ve worked at 4 different places since graduating, lived in 5 different apartments, and 3 different states. That’s a lot of change! So you’d think I’d be used to it by now. Nope.

This transition back to Chicago was pretty difficult actually. I was just so excited to get back to Chicago, back to my friends and family, and I didn’t think it would be hard. I was going back home, so how hard could it be? I drove 18 hours with my dad on Sunday/Monday. I got back to Chicago that Monday, February 13 at about 2PM, moved everything into my apartment, unpacked everything, and started decorating. Next day, I started work. A huge blessing is that I live right behind where I work (The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Chicago), so there’s no commute. Praise the Lord! So started work right away and literally had everyday planned with something- getting dinner with a friend, going to Indiana to see family, play practice for a play I was in for a night. All wonderful things, but quite the change from life in Quincy.

I basically went from two extremes. Quincy: the focus was pretty much on me. Not in a selfish way, but I was focused on letting the Lord change me and transform me. Working out and eating right was top priority (under God of course). I didn’t have a ton of friends there, so I’d hang out with Alberta, Heather, or the college students sometimes, but I have a lot of down time. A lot of alone time. And I really actually learned how to be alone and enjoy it toward the end. I saw movies by myself, went on walks by myself, worked out by myself. It might sound cheesy or corny or whatever, but God was my best friend. Looking back, that’s the closest I’ve ever felt to the Lord. I felt Him, I knew He was there, He was guiding me out of my addiction to food and into freedom. Even writing this now, I miss Quincy. I miss what that place was for me: a place to grow and change.

Then I came back and lost sight of all of that. Friends and family become automatically more important. I put myself dead last in my priorities, so exercise went down the drain, I ate whatever I wanted pretty much, and went back to the busyness that used to be my life before Quincy. Sin that I thought I was done with, crept back in because I let it. This was all pretty much the case until about two weeks ago when I sent out a mass facebook message to some people, spilling my guts, telling them my struggles, and asking for support and accountability. I went back to Weight Watchers, set up a work out schedule, and am slowly getting back on track.

What I’ve learned from this whole transition: priorities are huge. God needs to be top priority. In this season of my life, I need to be a high priority. If I ignore my issues, don’t take care of myself, don’t allow time for my to be filled, I won’t be able to effectively pour myself out for other people. Basically, my relationship with God is the one relationship I need to spend the most time investing in. Out of a solid relationship with him, fruit will develop, things will come to together and priorities will be right and God honoring. Things won’t be prefect by any means, but I will be able to face anything knowing that the Lord is on my side.

This week is a week to say “good bye” to many things- to this blog for starters. It’s hard to believe it’s all done. I want to create a book from this blog, so if any of you know how to do that, please let me know. I will look over this whole thing and see how much I’ve changed. I already know I’ve changed a lot. God has used this blog to grow me for sure, but I also know He’s used it challenge those of you who read this blog.

Good bye to bad habits, to addictions, to doubt that things will ever change, to believing lies that tell me I’m not worth it, to feeling guilty, to excuses, to anything else that would keep me from being the person God created me to be.

Friends, as I end this last post of this blog, I want to tell you that I’m starting another blog. I’m starting from scratch, and this blog will primarily be a place for me to express my thoughts during my journey toward a healthier me. I will write my experiences as I continue to recover from my issues with food, I’ll post things that I’ve found encouraging, and basically whatever else the Lord leads me to write about. I know there will still be goals I’ll set for myself, and I would love for all of you to continue to walk on this journey with me. Head to and follow my new blog. You won't be disappointed!

Thanks to all of you for following this blog, for supporting me, for giving me feedback. It has meant so much to me. I pray that God continues to challenge you to maybe change your perspective on life, to pursue things that are life-giving, to break out of the norm and move to radical love for yourself and others, or simply that you come to know God if you don’t already. Love to you all!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 51: A Week to Train for a 10K

Hello, friends!! Can you believe that it's already February! In one week, I will be in my new apartment. My goodness, how times flies...

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind. I've been trying to knock everything off of my Boston Bucket List! I have really enjoyed spending time with friends in these last moments in Quincy. Some of my adventures have included skiing for the first time, snow tubing, a spontaneous trip to NYC to see Times Square and some friends from high school, eating fish and chips for the first time, taking Melanie through Boston's Freedom Trail, walking all of Harvard's campus, finding cute coffee shops and restaurants in the area...I've done a lot in a short amount of time! This week I'm planning on going to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (my friend got us free tickets), eating at Top of the Hub (the restaurant on top of the Prudential Center), and ice skating on the Frog Pond in Boston this week.

I was taking a walk the other day and got to thinking about my time here in Quincy. I won't go too far into it because that's the plan for next week (my last week of this blog!) but let's just say leaving and preparing to leave Quincy has been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I've only spent about a year here, but it was the most difficult/wonderful/life changing year of my life. A friend of mine commented on one of my Facebook statuses about coming back to Chicago and said: "So happy you're comin back and changed, just the way you've been praying for." That's exactly what I had prayed for. I remember being in the car with my friend Roxanne on the way to Quincy and talking about how I wanted this time to be a time of change. I wanted to come back home different, improved, transformed. This place has been a wonderful home for me and to think that I'll be leaving in 6 days makes me sad, but I know that God has plans for me in Chicago.

I can already see that God has plans for me there. I'm excited about my job. I'll be the Administrative Coordinator at the Divisional Headquarters of The Salvation Army in Chicago for the Women's Department. Also, God has brought me and a friend from college together again, and I'm so looking forward to seeing what God does through that. I'm excited to head back to the Blue Island Salvation Army to be a part of what God is doing there. Many good things ahead, I am sure.

One of the biggest changes that's occurred since coming to Quincy has been my now healthy lifestyle. It's been quite the battle and continues to be just that. But 40+ pounds lost, a 5K conquered, and a more healthy outlook on food and exercise, I'm still moving forward. I've started training for a 10K which I hope to run with some friends in April. A 10K!!! Who would have thought that would be possible? I remember thinking that exact thing about the 5K, and I totally did that. So I know that a 10K is possible. I've been following a training program that I downloaded on the phone. It was super cute...the other day I was at the gym on the treadmill working on my training, when an older man (maybe 70 years or older) stepped onto the treadmill next to me. I was running and he was walking, and I noticed that he would look over at me every so often and smile. After about 30 minutes, he turns to be and says, "Well young lady, it looks to me like you're ready for a marathon!" I smiled and laughed and told him that I was training for a 10K. It was quite encouraging, and I told him that he gave me a self esteem boost and would make a great trainer : )

Any way, I was talking with a friend last week, and she described how sometimes she'll have really great days and then after those great ones, she'll have some pretty terrible ones. Spiritual Warfare 101, my friends. Some days of moving forward in obedience toward God, ready and willing to do and be whatever God wants, surrendered, making huge strides...then the enemy throws some wrenches in, tries to knock you off track, tempts you with what you used to try and find fulfillment in. That's the battle I've found myself in. Trying to stay on track toward a healthy lifestyle while distractions and obstacles get thrown into my path. But I'm fighting with God's strength. I will run this 10K! I will lose all the weight that I need to! So this week, I'm continuing my training. Prayers are appreciated not only for that, but for the exciting transition that is ahead of me!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Week 50: A Week to Begin 2012

I cannot believe that it's almost 2012. 2012! Gosh, what a year it has been. I've heard a lot of mixed feelings about 2011. Some people absolutely hated 2011, and actually now that I think of it, I haven't really heard many people say that they loved it. My opinion is that 2011 was a year of growth- not just for me but I think for many of you reading this. I think about how in January of 2011, I was working in Blue Island, was let go from there, moved back home just in time for the passing of my grandma, and took a job in Quincy, MA. That all happened in the first couple months of the year! I made the trek to Quincy with Roxanne, started to get to know the people there, come back home to stand up in multiple weddings, turns out my bosses leave just about a month into me being there, I get a new boss, run a 5K, lose 40 pounds, grow apart from friends, make new ones, change, change, and more! 2011 was a year of growth, and even though there were many hard things about this year, I have accomplished a lot. I mean, a 5K AND losing 40 pounds? I'm pretty happy with that!

By this point in the game, those of you who have been following this blog for the past year know the attitude I have when looking at life. There are hard times, but I believe that with the right attitude, growth always comes from that. I've also learned this past year the importance of being real, open, honest, and genuine. I continue to be surprised at the comments I get from the posts I put up on this blog that are really honest- the ones where I really lay it all out there. It's like people are drawn to that, to the honesty. It's almost as if it's something people actually crave, but are too fearful to lay it all out there because they don't want to be judged. But then the first sight of someone actually doing that allows them to step out into the light, to bring out into the open those things hidden for so long. Boy, there is so much freedom in doing that.

It's crazy to think that I have only two more weeks of this blog. It's actually kind of sad, but gosh I have grown so much from Week 1. I know that 2012 is going to be a great year. I've had a season of growing, being stretched and challenged for a while now. 2012 is going to be a year of enjoying the benefits of this past season. It will be a year of continued freedom, crazy joy, and new beginnings. I can just feel it with every ounce of my being. I definitely not saying this year will be perfect, but I am saying that this year is going to be the best year of my life yet.

This week I am going to be looking forward to what God has for me this year. Will I make any resolutions this year? I don't think so. The funny thing is that I feel like I've made resolutions almost every week for the past year. I'm always creating goals for myself and moving forward in reaching them. I will continue to lose weight. I want to lose about 60ish more. I want to be done losing weight by the time I go into seminary in the fall. I want to continue having healthy relationships, I'd like to read more, seriously open an Etsy shop with J
en, run another 5K and move on to a 10K, learn guitar, buy a nice camera so I can take on photography as a serious hobby, and start a new blog. I've been thinking and thinking about what type of blog to do next. I've toyed around with the idea of doing a blog on my road to recovery from overeating, weight loss journey, and now active lifestyle.
Any ideas or suggestions?

Well, my friends, I pray that tonight instead of cursing this past year and completely tossing it aside, you tr
y and find the good things, the moments that grew you and made you a little bit stronger-a little bit more like the person you want to be. When you wake up tomorrow, it's a new beginning. Anything is possible. Re-invent yourself (let God re-invent you), take a risk
even if it seems silly or weird, do something that you've always wanted to do but fear has stopped you up until now, make amends with someone you've hurt or has hurt you, let yourself fall in love, embrace a season of being single, share your secrets with someone... I plan on doing these things, and I started by... piercing my nose. May seem silly, but it's something I've wanted to do but was a little afraid to do it. What would people think? Would I look funny? Would I be judged by people? Then I went out with friends, said I wanted to do it, and an hour or so later I was sitting in the chair getting another hole in my head : ) The picture is me right after I got it pierced. I did it. And it felt great. For me it was life giving, and I know that there are more decisions like that which I'll make in 2012. Amazing things await all of us in 2012, I just know it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 49: A Week to Wait for My Husband

As I decided what I was going to do this week, I almost didn't do this one because I thought that some of you may think that I was crazy. Then I stopped and realized that you may already think that I'm crazy, but crazy in a good way (I hope). So I'm doing this. Warning: it's an honest and open post about something Christians like to tip toe around. You've been warned!

I will start by telling you how life changing last week was. I wish that I could tell you everything single thing that happened, what led up to it, and so on but I won't. I will say though, that I had fasted a little over two weeks ago in prayer for a friend, and I have never seen God move so quickly. This fast led to change in a big way for me. Funny how God works, right? I fast and pray for a friend and end up being insanely challenged and blessed myself. Last week, I needed a break from the chaos- a week of quiet, waiting, listening, and stillness. God showed up in a big way, speaking to me, bringing peace, trust, and hope.

I think the most awesome thing that happened last week is that I made new friends. As you know, I'm co-running kettles this year. We have been working with a labor force agency, and this past Thursday or Friday (can't remember exactly) a young woman came to work for us. Immediately upon meeting her, I knew she must be a Christian-such love and joy exuding from her- not to mention a wonderful southern accent. I brought her to work and at the end of the day, I picked her up. We were in the van talking, and I asked where she was from and what led her here. Turns out her and her husband owned a business, lost it, and they've been living in their car, traveling the U.S. to find work. They have a little car with the two of them and a big dog. I wouldn't exactly be thrilled with that situation, but this woman's positive attitude and outlook was amazing. I invited her and her husband to church and told them that they were welcome to use my apartment to take showers. It was seriously the least that I could do.

Then the Lord tells me that I need to do something. I wanted to let them stay in my apartment. If I had lived in Blue Island with Rebecca and Amber, we would have let them stay in a second, after praying about it of course. The problem is that my apartment is in The Salvation Army and with that comes a bunch of man made rules and regulations which hinder being able to help people in a way like this. It's sad that man made rules tend to trump God so often. I won't get into this much more because I'm still a little upset by it, but needless to say, I wasn't allowed to let them stay in my apartment. The weekend end went on, they were able to hang out at my place for a while, take showers, rest. I was glad for that. She came to church Sunday and was blessed by it. They both hung around the rest of the day, helping make Christmas cookies and cupcakes with some church kids. Then a friend of mine here was gracious enough to allow them to stay at her place until this Friday. God worked it out. He was able to bless them and continues to bless them. This couple is not much older than me, and what a change in perspective this type of occurrence calls for. God showed up this last week, blessed everyone involved, challenged me in pursuing what the Lord tells me to do despite obstacles, and made me every more grateful for what I have, all of which I really don't deserve. What awesome people they are and what a blessing it has been to get to know them.

So that was last week. Today, I am writing this blog on my first day off in a while. This morning I woke up, did some packing for home, listened to a sermon podcast from the Evanston Vineyard on Christian sexuality, did some journaling, listened to some worship music, and I'm now writing this. What an awesome day off! This morning as I was listening to the podcast, I couldn't help but to think of my future husband, the man that I will be with for the rest of my life. Now, I'm sure I'm not alone in this. As a single woman who is 25 years old, there aren't many days that pass where I don't think about this. "Lord, do you really have someone for me? Did you forget about me up there? Ok, God. This is my 205th friend who just got engaged and 125th friend who had a baby....this isn't funny anymore! Will it ever be my turn, Lord?" Some of you may have or had at one point similar things running through your head, so I'm sure I'm not alone. I choose to think that God has a husband for me. I have such a deep desire to be married and to have a family. I have hope that one day, this will happen.

Now, this podcast was really good. It was a sermon that you don't usually hear in churches today. It was bold and honest. If you are interested in listening to it, click
here. Man, we've messed up so much when it comes to relationships. We've taken sex and intimacy and perverted it. In a sex-driven world, you don't find a lot of people waiting for their future spouse, remaining abstinent, refraining from pornography and "solitary sex" as the pastor calls it from that podcast. We want instant gratification, a way to run from our problems, a way to find satisfaction yet not get hurt from a real relationship (pornography). It's messed up. This sermon podcast was really good, and I was shocked to see it on I-Tunes because I've never heard a sermon preached on this topic before and definitely not this openly. It was refreshing. Please listen to it.

Any way, all of this led me to thinking about this future marriage that I am trusting will happen. I started a new journal a month or so back, with the intention of giving it to the man that will be my husband. It contains some written out prayers, notes on a few sermons that I wanted him to read, and today I actually wrote a letter to him, whoever he is. I have seen marriages end horribly. I have seen unhealthy relationships turn into marriage and then end 6 months later. I've actually seen a lot more marriages go badly than I have seen healthy ones.

I want to have a healthy relationship founded on God. For that to happen, God needs to be working on me and the man He has for me during this waiting time. This week I've been praying for and will continue to pray for my husband- whoever he is wherever he is. I don't want either of us to get caught up in this sex-driven world, but instead, I'm praying that God will make us completely dependent on Him, that He will be our center and that He will be the one that we go to with all of our needs- that we won't go to sex, money, food, or whatever else to get temporary fixes. I believe that the only way for me to have a healthy marriage is for me and my husband to love God first with everything that we are, and then each other.

So I may be crazy, but I'm ok with that. This week I plan on praying, maybe doing some fasting if I feel led, journaling and just pressing into God. Then there will be the day when I meet this guy, and boy it will be worth all the waiting....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Week 48: A Week (or more) of Silence

This past Sunday I went to the Vineyard Church of Boston. If you've been following my blog, you would know that I attended the Vineyard Church of Evanston when I was living near Chicago. God used Vineyard to do a lot of amazing things in my life, and I will always be grateful for the time I spent there with really awesome people. Any way, I went Sunday to check out the one in Boston. It was wonderful. People were friendly, the Spirit was moving, the sermon was great, and I have NEVER felt more at peace in a church before. It felt like home. Amazing. Before the service started, the pastor got up and talked a little bit about the prayer team there. He said they had been praying before the service and felt like they needed to pray for people with pain in the right side of their body and also had a vision. The pastor shared the vision: it was a picture of a garbage disposal full of, well, a lot of garbage. Then clean, pure water was being flushed through it. Simple picture. As soon as the vision was said, I thought of the friend who was with me but also felt a connection with it. I was just unsure of the reason why.

Now I know.

The rest of that night was great. Since we were already out we decided to head to UNO's Pizzeria in Harvard Square. I got a Shirley Temple and an eggplant, spinach, onion half pizza on whole wheat crust (7 points on Weight Watchers)=two of my favorite things. There was a guy sitting next to us who was about my age who was by himself with a big pile of books. My friend Alberta turned to him and asked if he went to Harvard. He said yes and that he was in the graduate program at the school of Divinity. He had a huge paper to write and decided to come out for a break. Turns out, he is a Christian. We talk with him for the rest of the night and at the end, I ask if I can pray with him. How awesome. God is so good.
I wanted to share that moment with you for two reasons: 1. Perfect example of how God works. He led us to Vineyard that night, led us to that restaurant, and set up a perfect situation where everyone involved would be blessed and uplifted that night. 2. It is the one good thing that has happened in a week of chaos and struggle.

Going back to the garbage disposal picture. The last week has been a rough one for many reasons. Mostly I feel as if people have sort of dumped their garbage on me in different ways. I'm sure we've all had this experience. It isn't very fun. It's been quite painful, and as probably been made worse by the fact that I am here in Quincy during the Christmas season, apart from the people that I love back home. There's been times of confusion, doubt, saddness, and many other emotions this past week.

Having said all of that, even though it's been a rough week, I have never felt the presence of God so strong in my life. I know that God is with me. Emmanuel=God is with us. I have felt that clean, pure water being poured in with all that garbage, and I know that pretty soon, that water will flush away everything. I know that everything that is happening right now is needed. God is teaching me what it means to trust Him, that He really is all I need, and that I sometimes need to just sit back and wait things out.

This week (or more) I am going to take time to be silent. Once I post the link to my blog, this means getting off Facebook for a while, getting off Twitter, turning off the movies, Gilmore Girls, The New Girl, music, closing my mouth unless I NEED to speak....silence. If I don't answer the phone or your text, don't be offended. Just pray for me, and I'll get back to you when I can. I think this week (or more) of silence will be cleansing. It will help me to better hear the Lord, so that when He speaks like he did that night in UNO's, I will hear and be obedient. In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, I am stepping back and being still. Waiting. Listening.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Week 47: A Week for a Jumpstart

Well, hello! I am actually alive...I know that it's been forever since my last update. What can I say other than life gets busy and unfortunately the first things that tend to go are the things you most enjoy. Life during November and December in The Salvation Army is pure chaos because of the Kettle Season. For those of you who don't know, kettles are the red bucket things that are outside very store during the Christmas season. People stand out there and ring bells...I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I don't think it would actually feel like Christmas without hearing those bells!

Well, life since I've updated: I've continued my Mission 20. It's been a lot hard than I expected but I'm proud to say that I've lost about 10 more pounds and am hoping to lose as much as I can before Christmas (in a healthy way of course). Literally my work days start at about 8:30AM and go until about 10:30PM which means that there isn't a lot of free time to do much of anything, BUT I continue to head to the gym at least 3 days a week plus do Hip Hops Abs or walking the other days of the week. Yes, be proud of me. That's a big accomplishment in the midst of chaos!

October came and went. The highlight of October was the Harvest Party I planned for the college students here (that's the picture above). We all dressed up, bobbed for apples, had a pumpkin carving contest, donut eating contest, baked pumpking seeds, and watched some Halloween movies. It was wonderful. I just LOVE the fall and everything that comes with it. It was sad to not be home with family and friends during this time, but I was happy to bring some traditions to my friends over here.

Also in October, I was able to spend some time with my friend Kyle. Kyle was a guest blogger awhile back, and he's a friend of mine here in Boston. We've been friends since high school, and it's been a HUGE blessing to have him here. He's the one piece of home I have here in Boston. We haven't seen a ton of each other, but every time we hang out, it's such a great time. My life is filled with The Salvation Army- I work here and live here- that it's so nice to be able to go outside of that to spend time with a very intelligent and chill friend. Basically, we made homemade pizza (Kaitlyn-used your dough recipe!), talked, and then watched a movie. Such a simple night, yet it was the nicest night I have had in a while. Very thankful to have Kyle around.

November FLEW by. Kettles started Nov. 16, and then Thanksgiving came. I wasn't a
ble to be home for Thanksgiving which was really hard since it was my first holiday away from home, but I was able to skype with my family and say the prayer before their meal. The picture is of me skyping in with my family! Even though I couldn't be home, I was able to spend the day with friends here. We had a lovely home cooked meal, put up the Christmas tree, watched Elf, and enjoyed relaxing.

Now we're already in December! I'm counting down days until I am able to go home for vacation. I'm heading back to Chicago on Christmas day and will be able to spend over a week at home with family and visiting with friends.

I have a lot to say about Kettles, but I won't get into it. I will say that if you let it, this season can
fill your life with chaos and distract you from the true importance of this season. Advent is a time of waiting, a time of ancipation for what's to come, a time to be like a child filled with wonder...and I've lost that along the way. Yesterday I actually had a day off- the first one since Thanksgiving. I worked all day on my Christmas gifts, made my annual scrapbook for my sister and brother-in-law, and then spent some time with God. It was lovely, and I was reminded that if I don't stop and remember what this season is about, it will pass me by. Not only will it pass me by, but I'll be grumpy, tired, negative, and ready to punch someone in the face! I don't to be like that.

During my time with God, I listened to some podcasts from the church I was going to in Evanston called the Vineyard Church of Evanston. I really do miss the people there, and I always loved the sermons. I listened to the first two sermons from Advent called "Risky Curiosity" and "Happy Terror." God spoke through both of them. I would strongly encourage ALL of you to check them out, even if you're not entirely sold on the whole "God" thing. Head
here to listen, and then let me know what you think! I'd love to discuss : )

"A Week for a Jumpstart" is a week to get this blog up and running again (I will see it through til the end!) and to let my heart be "jumpstarted" so that I will join in the joy and excitement of this season of Advent. Will you guys join me?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 46: A Week to Begin "Mission 20"

Ahhhh it's been way too long! I can't believe how much time as passed since last updating. I will say that I haven't just been sitting here on my butt doing nothing! Since I last updating, I ran my first 5K!! Yes, please clap for me : ) That picture is of me about to cross the finish line!

My week to fundraise ended up going super well. My sister, brother-in-law, and I ended up raising a little over $1000 for our 5K! AMAZING! And many of you who are reading this donated, so thank you so very much. And a general thanks to everyone for praying and supporting me in this whole 5K process. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it felt to run it- to cross that finish line. Well, physically it didn't feel so great but mentally, I was on top of the world. To think that in February I couldn't even run 0.1 miles, and that this past Saturday I ran 3.2 miles is crazy!

Also, since I last updated I took a trip home for a short time. I was home about 5 days, but like every time I go home, it was jam packed with stuff. A wedding, our annual Keene bonfire/hayride, testing and interview for seminary, hanging out with friends/family and visitng my home church...a lot in a short time. It was so great to spend time with loved ones, but honestly, it's hard as well. I hate that my time is so jam packed while home. I feel that I am not able to spend quality time with really anyone, and that hurts a lot. Leaving home was the hardest it's been, and I think a lot played into that. The next time I will be home will be for Christmas and that seems like a long way off, but I know that I am here in Quincy for a reason. God has more for me here.

I did a lot of thinking about seminary and how my whole life will be like this- moving to different places and being away from home. I am looking forward to the two years that I will spend in Chicago for seminary because that means I'll be close to home, but then after that, who knows where I could end up. BUT God has made it clear that this is what He wants of me, so I'm being obedient. He knows what I'm giving up, but He also knows what He'll be giving me- amazing things await me, and I look forward to seeing what's in store.

With things being so busy, I haven't put as much dedication and commitment into losing weight as I would have liked. So this week is about getting back on track. I'm calling it "Mission 20." My goal is to lose 20 pounds by Christmas. Yes, that's a lot, but I can do it if I work hard enough. If I sucessfully lose that weight, then by Christmas I'll have lost a total of about 50 pounds! Praise the Lord! And that means that I fit into a size 16 jean!! Yes, I realize that all of you now know my pants size, but I don't care. I'm just so excited! I can't remember the last time I fit in that size! As you can see, that's what this picture is showing. I tried these on at Kohl's just for kicks. Didn't think they'd fit, but they so did! I was just bummed I couldn't buy them...jeans for $52??? Heck no!

Gosh, looking back over the last 46 weeks, I can see such a transformation. God has changed me, and I'm loving it. It certainly has been a painful process at times, but God has been with me the whole way.

This week is pretty simple. Well, simple to say but hard to do. I'll be working out 6 days a week from now on and really sticking with Weight Watchers. And part of this is really leaning into God, staying consistent with my devotions and spending time with Him, because He is the one who gives me strength to move forward in my weight loss goals. I ultimately want to keep a healthy realtionship with food, meaning recognizing it for what it is: something I need for my physcial body to live, not something that provides love, comfort, or anything else. The verse from the bible that I always go back to is 1 Corinthians 9:24 which says "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." I want to get the prize, and I will do whatever I need to in order to get it.

So this week I continue fighting the good fight, working to say no to temptations involving food, and living a healthy, full life! Let Mission 20 begin!