Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Year of Loss. With Every Loss, There is a Gain....

As I've been thinking on the past year for the last few days, I realize 2016 has been a year of loss. However, that sounds dramatic and kind of sad, to be honest. The Year of Loss. Yikes. But, at the same time it is true. However, God is faithful and reminded me that with loss comes gain. The gains might not look how we want or be what we want them to be, but His Word says "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. " ~ Philippians 1:21 So, here, the author is saying dying is gain. We might consider dying a loss, verses a gain. Again, loss comes with gain....I'll explain.

It would be easy to focus on the loss of my dad this year, since that was a significant event for me in 2016, however, as I looked back over the year, there were other losses as well. And, of course, gains.

* We lost our preschooler this year, and gained a kindergartner.

* We lost our second grader this year, and gained a third grader.

Those are natural losses, that come with gains that are a sign of progression. Those are positive losses because you know what is next, it is expected. It might hurt some to think of your babies growing up, but on the other side, that's the goal of parents, to raise their children so they grow up and become thriving independent adults. So, the grades are a natural progression. For us, they are happy milestones of accomplishment for our kiddos.

An unexpected loss for us this year was God's call for us to change churches. Nothing happened with our old church, and we still love that body very much. God was calling us to worship in our community. That was a loss that came with a gain as well. We lost one body and gained another. While it is clear that God called us to a new body of believers, it also involved some tears and some grieving, as we love those people in that church and the people we had built relationships with.

Another surprising loss I've just become aware of is kind of personal, but with me doing Core de Force in November, I lost my desire for programs that don't push me!  See, I've thrived on programs that allow me to go through the motions and not really challenge me, however, doing Core de Force changed that for me.  I've gone back to doing a program that isn't as challenging and I miss my challenge!  So I've gained endurance, strength and momentum with my fitness and have lost some desire for not challenging myself.  Never thought I would say that, friends.

The final loss that happened this year was the loss of my dad in September. That's been an interesting journey to navigate. While we know he is in a better place and he is whole and healed, it still hurts. Our loss was heaven's gain, however, my mom and I are developing a new relationship now. Relationships are changing, those could be considered gains as well, I suppose.  

I think those are the big losses that have occurred this year.  But at the same time, if I only focused on the loss, I would miss the gain.  And that feels and seems hopeless.  I don't serve a God who is hopeless though, I serve a God of hope.

If this has been a year of hurts, losses and pains as well, friend, my encouragement to you is to ask God what He has for you in that. He is a good Father and has our best interests at heart.  So many times instead of asking God what He wants for us, we get mad at Him, ignore Him, block Him or turn away entirely. See what He has for you.  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  ~ Romans 8:28
Here's to a great 2017 ahead!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It's All About Food!

Yesterday, our family was home-bound due to icy roads.  So, we stayed home all day and had a great time together!  There was lots of family time :)  We did puzzles, watched basketball {nice win, Boilers over the Irish!}, did some crafts, and cooked.  As I was reflecting on the day, it hit me.  The day was a lot about food.  At first, I had mixed feelings about that.  See, most of my life, my relationship with food has been unhealthy. So, when the realization hit that a lot of our inside family time was consumed with food, I had mixed feelings.  But, I realize that stems from my own personal past unhealthy relationship and mindset towards food.

I've been on both sides of the ditch with food...under-eating and overeating.  Neither are good.  Obviously, both stem from deeper issues that the Lord has brought much healing to.  For that, I am super grateful. Since starting my own health journey almost 3 years ago, my passion, knowledge and desire to learn more has only grown.  Why is that?  Well, I'd love to tell you.

I have seen how small changes to and with food has changed our lives.  With our daughter having sensory processing disorder and both kids and myself having food allergies, we have learned that food affects EVERYTHING.  Not only for them, but for my husband and I as well.  We have learned this by being on our own journey.  We eat a mainly clean diet, meaning no processed foods.  We are gluten free, dairy free and dye free.  We try to eat as natural as possible and it's changed our lives for the better.  Sleep is better, digestion/gi/bowel issues are better, mind is more clear, energy level is higher, behavior is better; it has truly been life changing for us.

Was there some mourning/grieving involved with making the changes we have?  Sure. We were sad to think about our kids not having ice cream, or birthday cake or other treats that were a part of our childhoods.  However, there are a lot of alternatives now, for which we are thankful.  It's also made me think about the relationship I have with food.  Is it something I should mourn or grieve about? Yes, it's a loss, but what does it mean to me that I'm mourning the loss of food?  See, it's deeper than just the surface appears to be, at least for me. 

There are some frustrations that come along with this, though too.  I think a lot of people think eating clean is "boring," "bland," or that all we eat are salads and veggies.  That's so far from the truth!  Look at the above picture from yesterday....we ate pancakes for breakfast, chili for dinner and had ice cream for dessert!  The kicker is it's just like we ate before we ate clean, but we made some small tweaks.  Just like the books "The Slight Edge," or "The Compound Effect" will tell you, those small changes over time = big results.  So it's been with us, our small tweaks to our foods have led to big results over time. 

Have I felt deprived?  Not at all!  In fact, I'm eating more now than I think I ever have before.  But the quality of the food is better, and I know how much of what type of food to eat. When people think they have to not eat or restrict their calories to a ridiculously low number to lose weight drives me nuts!  That's simply not true, but that's what we are taught. The reality is it lies in the quality of what you eat not the quantity.  

It's frustrating that not only are there all of these misconceptions out there, but that people continue to believe them.  No pill, patch, coffee {yup, I tried fat burning coffee before too!}, wrap, etc. is going to give you what good nutrition does.  That comes from food.  What you eat, what you drink.  The quality of what you put into your body.

I've done quite a bit of research on this and have learned so much!  Some books I recommend are: "The Virgin Diet," by JJ Virgin, "The Adrenal Reset Diet," by Dr. Alan Christianson, "Brain Maker," by Dr. David Perlmutter, and "The Autoimmune Solution," by Dr. Amy Myers.  Read them, learn about the connection between food and our brains, and our bodies.  You will be surprised!  If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.  Maybe being in a 21 Day Fix Virtual Accountability Group like I was almost 3 years ago would be a good start?  If so, please contact me.

So, at the end of the day my conclusion about food is this:  It really is all about food.  We live in a society that revolves around food, it's a fact.  We are constantly celebrating with food, or mourning with food, food is 99% of the time involved, right?

But instead of not getting enough, or too much of the bad stuff, it's about getting the right amounts of the right kinds of foods. From someone who has had a very flawed and broken relationship with food, I'm thankful for what I've been through, what I've learned and for where I'm at.  Instead of fearing my children having all of these memories involving food, I'm ok with that. Hopefully, we are teaching them that food is nourishment, fuel to sustain them, to heal them and it is good, rather than to view it as something for comfort, or boredom or some of the unhealthy views I had on it {even being the enemy at one point, was something I thought.}  It's my chance to give them a healthy view and relationship with food, and for that I'm thankful.