"Nothing's impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up, Dust myself off,
Start all over again."
(From 1936 movie, Swing Time)

That little chorus from Swing Time pretty much sums up what I need to do this week, since last week's goals turned out to be a bit of a bust.

I started out with a great deal of enthusiasm, but on day two I woke up with a painfully swollen knee, and that was the end of my exercise resolution. And then I wasn't as careful as I had intended to be about not overeating because I tried to rationalize that if I had messed up in one area, I might as well just wait until my knee got better and then get back to the plan. Am I the only one who comes up with such lame excuses?

The one good thing that did come out of the week is that I did follow my goal of tracking how I spend my time, and it became very clear that if my most important priority is going to be time spent in the Word, then there are several other things that need to go. No use trying to figure out how to get around that. Twenty-four hours is written in stone. There's no way to stretch it, no how.

That made me consider my ongoing battle of the bulge. Seems like I'm always trying to figure out how I can continue eating everything I want and still lose weight. When will it finally dawn on me that I have to make a choice?

P.S. Hope nobody from our group read this post yet because I forgot to answer our assignment question about what tempts us and how we deal with it.

I am most tempted by things like potatoes soup, mashed potatoes, home fries, almost everything that has potato in it; artisan breads with butter and cheese; frozen yogurt. Nothing too healthy, as you can see. I try not to keep icecream or frozen yogurt in the house, and to buy regular bread instead of the artisan kind. Sometimes when I feel hungry, which seems to be almost all the time, I try getting a drink of water in case I'm really feeling thirsty instead of hungry. Other times I try to distract myself by taking a walk with the promise that if I'm still hungry when I get back I can eat, and most of the time the hunger passes before I get home.

I'm also tempted by just about anything that will give me an excuse for not exercising. And I really don't understand why that is, because once I get up and start doing it, it's not bad at all.



First it snowed. Then the sun came out and it started to melt. Last night the temperature dropped and what had melted turned to ice. Today I walked cautiously so I wouldn't take a flop, but the kids were having great fun on their sleds. Definitely a sign that winter is here. And yet when I looked out my window, this is what I saw. Other than the fact that the trees are bare, it reminded me of fall.



This is sort of a P.S. to the Fitness Friday post I just posted. It is an old Ron Hutchcraft devotional I came across while sorting through some papers today, and that I thought might be a good message to share since it really does tie in with what I have been struggling with and trying to express.

Follow That Voice! - #5218
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The thought of a fire on an airplane is really pretty unsettling. That's exactly what happened on an Air Canada flight a few years ago. The fire started in the lavatory and smoke quickly spread throughout the plane. The pilot couldn’t see and he didn't know how he was going to land. But suddenly this calm, measured voice came into the cockpit, "Just do what I say. I'll bring you in." It was the flight controller. And that calm voice literally talked the pilot in for a miraculously safe landing!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Follow That Voice!"

If your life is like mine, there are lots of choices you have to make - it's a turbulent flight. There are lots of voices pulling at you; even smoke that makes it difficult to know how to proceed sometimes. What will bring you in safely is what brought that pilot in safely - that one calm voice from the Tower.

Our word for today from the Word of God takes us to one of those moments in Jesus' life when the pressure was really on. The day before He has been in Capernaum healing sick people who were brought to Him, even casting demons out of people. Then in Luke 4:42-44 it says, "At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them. But He said, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.' And He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea."

Here is Jesus, surrounded by voices that are vying for His time and for His attention, and everyone had a legitimate need. Does that sound familiar? But Jesus has a clear "I must" and it helps Him stay on course as He makes His daily choices. Now, your life is the sum of hundreds of little choices you make each day. Tomorrow you'll reap today's choices. And if you're like me, you have a lot of needs and a lot of possibilities tugging at you every day. Most of them are good, but God has you on earth for some special missions and you must be true to those, no matter how noble the detours that are pulling on you.

Often we end up running around all stressed out, trying to satisfy everybody, and often satisfying nobody. We lead these fragmented, frustrated lives because we forget our "musts." And those non-negotiables have to come from God. And if you ask Him, God will lay on your heart your personal mission or missions. And some will be needs that only you can meet - like being there for your family or like reaching your lost friends and family for Christ. You need the kind of clear "I must" priorities that Jesus had.

But how do you keep your course when the flight seems to be out of control? Look at how your Lord did it. "At daybreak He went out to a solitary place." You know what He was doing. It's what He always did: going to hear from His Father. Jesus stayed on course by staying in touch with the Tower - with His Flight Controller in heaven. That's how you're going to stay on course. And, like Jesus, you have to get in touch with the Tower daily, and early, and by yourself.

Listen to your Father's calm voice before you let any other voices get to you. Let Him affirm the musts in your day. You will always land where you're supposed to if you begin with the voice from the Control Tower. Let God set your course. Forget the confusion, forget the smoke, forget the danger, and focus on your Father's instructions. Then follow that voice!



"All the impossibility is with us when we
measure God by the limitations of our
unbelief." - (Smith Wigglesworth)

This week's assignment was to expand on our goals, which is what I started out doing.

Food: Drink at least 4 large glasses of water a day; eat slowly, taking small bites and chewing well before swallowing; stop eating when I feel full.

Exercise: Do one of my Leslie Sansone in-home walking workouts at least three times a week.

But at this point I digress. I'm thinking of what I said in my first Fitness Friday post about commitment and discipline. This is my biggest battle, and my most important goal is to gain mastery over my flesh, because I know everything else will follow. So this week I'm going to go back to seriously using my planner instead of just making up lists. The lists are great in that I feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment each time I cross an item off, but my days seem to escape me before I get to the end of the list. There never seems to be enough time.

The truth is, we are all given the same 24 hours to work with every day, and there is no way to squeeze in even an extra minute. So the secret is in prioritizing. What are the things that are most important. In order to say yes to those things, we may need to say no to some others. And right now the most important thing to me is being able to spend more time in the Word. So this week I will keep a record of how I am spending my time so that I can see what it is that is keeping me from doing it. There are some things I may need to eliminate going forward. I need to learn to make wise choices. And here I digress again.

Unlike most of you in this group, I am in the winter of my life, and have spent much time bewailing the poor choices of my past. I condemned myself for a wasted life and time squandered so that I have nothing to show for all the gifts I started out with. But the past cannot be undone, and regrets serve no useful purpose. All I can do with the past is acknowledge my mistakes and learn something from them.

What I have learned is that I serve a loving God whose mercies are new every morning, and so every day can be a new beginning. I will never know if I truly missed out on God's best for me, and what that best might have been, but I do know that He is in control. So if He allowed my life to unfold the way it did, He must have a special purpose in mind. He can turn all things around for good, and do it when we least expect it.

Looking back, I see how ignorance and instant gratification played major roles in the decisions I made. Self discipline was definitely not my forte. What I wanted were instant results. So now it's time to work on that self discipline and to gain mastery over my flesh by renewing my mind with the Word of God, something I knew nothing about in those earlier years. It's also time for new goals. I used to think it was too late for me, but that is a lie from the pit of hell. It's never too late. And so I have turned this blog over to the Lord and pray that He would use me as His instrument to provide hope and encouragement to anyone traveling along the path I once trod.



"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world
to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak
things of the world to confound the things which are
mighty . . . That no flesh should glory in his presence."
(1 Corinthians 1:27, 29)

Have you ever heard of Nic Vujicic? I had never heard of him before seeing this amazing video on Marie's blog. It so reminds me of one of my most favorite Scripture verses (see quote above), and it also puts me to shame when I think of all the insignificant things (by comparison) that I have, in my past, found to complain about.


Here is a young man whose life, by the world's standards, does not seem to be worth much, and who would have every legitimate reason to complain and feel bitter, and yet he is filled with an undescribable joy, and a passion to lead others to Jesus. The Lord has enabled him to surmount seemingly impossible odds, and has opened the door to a worldwide ministry.

Nic travels the globe, carrying the message of God's love to hurting people through the sharing of his testimony and assurance of God's love for them and special purpose for their lives.

Look who is being used to encourage who. Is that awesome or what!



What wardrobe? It's already been tweaked so many times for one reason or another there's not much left to work with for this assignment. Notwithstanding, I did manage to find a few items that were easy to part with. Like the dull olive sweater, frayed, stretched out, and not the least becoming; a couple of frumpy looking tee shirts; and that hand me down lavender hoodie declaring me a member of the Varsity Ski Team when, in fact, I have never even tried on a pair of skis, let alone made my way down a slope.

Now the "dress differently than you usually do," was a different matter. This is something I had been contemplating even before I saw the week's assignment. (Brenda must have been reading my mind when she thought it up, LOL.) How to do it, though, was a bit of a challenge given the current state of my wardrobe and the temporary austerity budget I am limited to. So some creative thinking was in order, and this is what I came up with.

I can change my look, at no extra expense, just by adding some of my forgotten accessories gathering dust in the closet somewhere. It's amazing what a strategically placed pin, a scarf, a string of pearls, a bling, can make. Normally I never think to add jewelry. I just put on some earrings and skip the rest. So this past Sunday I made an effort to plan ahead and dig out something nice to add to the outfit I was going to wear to church. When I looked in the mirror, a new person looked back at me. It was a great self-esteem booster.

Another change, which sadly I didn't get around to, would have been to give my hands a new look by doing my nails and polishing them. I always feel better when my hands look cared for, and yet it's something I never seem to get around to, no matter how good my intentions.

Longer term, I can tweak my attire by losing the pounds and inches I need to lose and being able to fit into my dress pants, skirts, and tuck in blouses once again. Even my jeans and tuck in shirts would feel good. It's been so long that when that day finally arrives, I think it will be the next best thing to going out and splurging on a whole new wardrobe.



This week whizzed by so fast, I can't believe it's Fitness Friday time again. Can you? Our assignment was to think about the habits and things in our lives that make us feel our best.

I feel good when I look good, I'm having a good hair day, and I have found time to do my nails and polish them. I also feel good when I can wear clothes that look nice on me rather than the frumpy looking ones that are all that fit right now.

I feel even better when I finish something I set out to do instead of procrastinating and having to add it to my to do list, yet again. And I feel best when I get up early enough so I don't have to rush through my devotions, which then messes up the whole rest of my day.

Yesterday I had an early morning doctor's appointment and had to leave my apartment when it was still dark. As I drove into the dawn, I thought about how much I love the stillness of twilight, those moments just before the sun rises and a sleeping world gets ready to face a new day. It is the time set apart for my appointment with the Lord, and yet too many times I miss it because I allow my flesh to gain the upper hand and talk me into going back to sleep for another hour or two.

My biggest battle is not the battle of the bulge, although I do want to lose the extra inches and pounds I've gained and keep them off for good this time. My biggest battle is the battle to gain mastery over my flesh. I'm thinking everything else will fall into place once that battle is won.

I decided to start the New Year by going back on Weight Watchers for a couple of weeks so as to rekindle my perspective of what a normal amount of food for a person my size. would be. This is something I seem to have totally lost sight of, and what a shocking eye opener it was to discover how much more I had been mindlessly packing away over the last several gluttonous months. No wonder I gained all that weight.

I was so hungry (because of poor meal planning choices) that by the end of day four, I had used up all my bonus points for the week--plus the extra points you can earn by exercising. Not only that, but the next day was a pizza and dessert party that I had been really looking forward to. What to do. Maybe just forget about the three days left and start over again next week? But that would just be repeating the same old cycle I've been repeating for over half a century now, which is why I didn't make any resolutions this year. So what then?

Well I'm happy to report that the Lord came to my rescue in an unexpected way. The pizza and dessert party got canceled and with it went my excuse for starting over next week. So I kept on keeping on, one day at a time, and by the grace of God, and by His grace alone, I made it through those last three days. And I have to say, the feeling of that victory was truly one of the very best feelings I've had in a long, long while.



It rained hard all night last night, but Jack Frost was busy painting trees, and this is the view I woke up to this morning.



"No temptation has seized you except what
is common to man. And God is faithful; he
will not let you be tempted beyond what
you can bear. But when you are tempted,
he will also provide a way out so that you
can stand up under it."
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

Okay, I know today is Saturday and I'm a day late with my post, but I only just discovered this group and needed some processing time before starting to write anything.

It was while out blog hopping on New Year's day that I popped over to Fitness Friday from Melody's blog, and thought it might be something fun to try since fitness has always been a bit of a challenge for me. I figured, given my past history, some accountability surely couldn't be a bad thing.

So now, the big question according to this week's assignment, is: What do I want to add to my life, and what do I want to subtract.

Well, the subtract part is easy. All those extra pounds I have gained back the last few months. Twenty of them, to be exact. I would also like to subtract slothfullness and procrastination and gluttony, and allowing myself to be ruled by my senses.

As for the adding, I would like to add regular exercise, a real challenge, because I'm not an exercise person at all. I would also like to add commitment, discipline, and becoming master of my flesh--rather than the other way around. I would like to add renewal of my mind with the Word, which means spending more time in it. I would like to add standing firm when Satan comes to call, and being able to truly believe it with all my heart (not just my head) when I confront him and say, "It is written."

I would like to be able to stand strong in the knowledge that what my physical eyes, ears, and intellect have to say may be fact, but truth supercedes fact. Facts are subject to change. Truth is what the Word has to say about them, and the Word never changes. Fact is, my flesh is weak, weak, weak. But the truth says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and that the Lord will never allow me to be subjected to more than what He equips me to handle.



Just wanted to share this cute e-mail I got this morning--even though the monkey's bat has the wrong year on it. Guess it must have been a recycled forward, but it made me smile. Hope it gives you a chuckle too.
My Wish for You in 2009

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words . . .

May 2009 be the best year of your life!!!



This morning I went blog hopping with no plans to post anything myself. Just thought I'd spend some quiet moments perusing what others had to say about the New Year. The more I read though, the more inspired I felt to put down some thoughts of my own.

I awaited the start of this new year with great anticipation, eager to start writing the story of my life on a brand new page of a brand new chapter. Kind of the same feeling I get when I buy a new notebook and open it up and see all those crisp blank pages just waiting for me to fill them up. I love the feel of new beginnings and fresh starts.

That said, I did not come into this year with a set list of resolutions. I do want to lose some weight, and be a little more disciplined and less prone to procrastination, but not in any rigid way that would invite failure. So Marie's post on A Year at Oak Cottage, spoke right to my heart, especially her comment about this not being a time for resolutions that only get broken one by one, but rather a time for aspirations and hope.

Yes, I am starting out with lots of hope and eager anticipation of what the Lord is about to do next in my life. But also with a measure of flexibility and open-mindedness, knowing that only He sees the entire picture and knows what is really in my best interests. This has been confirmed to me over and over as I look back on my life and see the places where His way was not my way but always turned out to be the best way.

Life being so full of the unexpected, I can truly appreciate Karen's preface to her 2009 To Do List on For Such a Time as Now: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." (Proverbs 27:1). That is a wise exhortation, and I now add "Lord willing" to anything I take for granted, even if I don't always speak the words aloud.

Finally, I would like to direct you over to Shasta's blog, Eccentric Ramblingz, where she has posted a most beautiful prayer. Though I was not the one who wrote it, it is my New Year's wish for you all too.