Where Was God?

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a reflection of 2011? My physical transformation as well as my better health  were evident to all. I wrote about things that everyone could see, like speaking in public, getting a job and getting my book out there. Oh, and losing weight as well.

But then I received an interesting message from my pastor. He said he’d be interested in how all this transformation had connected with my spirituality. And he asked me where God was present throughout. Well that got me to thinking…

You see, the Transformation process is very much a spiritual one. I guess I was so excited to share the outward changes, that I forgot to mention the inner ones.

So here we go…

I learned to forgive in Step 8 and I got rid of bitterness and resentments from past hurts.

Colossians 3:13:  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I learned to be grateful, and to express that gratefulness daily, for everything from my relationships and physical comfort to just being thankful for a sunny day or flowers blooming. I expressed this daily.

1 Thessalonians 5:18:  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I learned to have focus and intention in my life, rather than just ‘going with the flow’.

Habakkuk 2:2 Write the vision; make it plain, so he may run who reads it.

I learned to praise others for their accomplishments and their handling of adversity. At the same time I learned to be transparent about my life issues, my failings and vulnerabilities.

1Tim 1:5  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience…

I learned to accept responsibility for my own life and to let the people I love be responsible for their lives, rather than nagging and trying to change them.

Galatians 6:5  For every man shall bear his own burden.

I learned to treat my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is, and to take better care of it by eating healthy food and exercising.

1Cor 6:19  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

As a serious person, I learned to see the lighter side of things, to not take myself so seriously and to laugh out loud.

Proverbs 15:15  …but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

And as I received love and acceptance from my group, I learned to love and accept others, warts and all.

These are just a few of the spiritual benefits of transforming. Others include meditation, organization and giving back to your community. I have to say that as my outward self changed, my spiritual self transformed as well.

God was with me all the way, and He still is.

Thanks Tim, for the reminder!

Suit Yourself!

 

Last December 3rd my husband and I were in Halifax for a gala dinner and evening at the Delta Halifax. I had brought my best dress for the occasion, a brown sleeveless shift that would be appropriate. With brown pumps to match and a shawl that sort of went with it all, I wouldn’t be the belle of the ball, but it would do.

At 5:50 PM we were ready to go to the Bluenose Room on the 8th floor for cocktails. Cocktails were from 6 to 7, and then, THE MEAL. Just before leaving our room, I happened to glance in the mirror. Big mistake.

“Oh no! My roots are showing.”

“Yes they are”, my husband replied.

“Shut up!”

“And my purple bra doesn’t really go with this brown dress. You can see it!”

“Hmmm…you’ll have to make sure you keep your arms down”

“Shut up!”

“And really, this dress is too big. I’ve lost weight since I last wore it.”

“Yeah, it really is loose on you.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“And my feet hurt already in these shoes.”

“Well put on your black ones, even if they don’t go with your dress.”

“You’re really not helping.”

And that’s when I started lamenting the fact that I didn’t buy the beautiful dress I had tried on that afternoon at an upscale dress shop down by the waterfront. I had stopped in to see the specials while power walking. It fit perfectly, had sleeves, it went with my black shoes, and it was on sale. My husband asked me if I wanted to go get it.

Now?

Yes.

So we raced through Halifax’s suppertime rush hour traffic, dodging buses, taxis and other peons that were in our way. I think I left my stomach somewhere back on Bishop Street. Dave was a man with a mission. He told me that the store might not still be open, but we would do our utmost best to get there on time.

At 6:01 PM we arrived. Dave let me out in the middle of the street and went to park the car. With dismay, I looked in the window of the shop, and it was all darkness.

Darn.

But wait – I could see through the window the girls just locking up and taking a big bag of garbage. I furiously knocked on the window and as Dave came up behind me, we ran around to the door where the girls were. Out of breath, I asked them if I could ‘just get something’, as I noticed that they had closed at 5:30. Well, they said, if you just want to get it, ok. That’s when I told them I had to try it on for my hubby. So two of them volunteered to stay behind and oblige me.

They turned on the lights and ushered me into the dressing room. Seconds later out came I, arms outstretched, looking for approval. Great! Sexy! Beautiful! So while one lady took payment for the dress, the other cut the tags off.

At 6:20 Dave and I walked demurely into the Bluenose Room for cocktails, he in a suit and moi wearing my newest acquisition. Honestly I got more compliments that evening than I ever did on any other outfit. More than on my wedding day, if you can imagine.

Only in Halifax!

Thank you SO much to those two lovely ladies at Suit Yourself who, seeing my desperation and disappointment on December 3rd, took the time to cater to me when they were already way past closing time.

 

 

 

Oprah’s Extremely Aggravating and Annoying Adjectives

They say that apt adjectives create an image of something ‘more’. In advertising it is the adjectives that will sell something or make it stay on the shelf. Think about a dress, and what comes to mind? Now think about a dowdy dress or a sophisticated dress or a sizzling dress. Three different images, right? Or, think of last night’s supper. Was it ‘stir fry’, or ‘spicy stir fry’, or was it ‘the best spicy Thai stir fry’? I think I’d rather eat the last one. How about you?

In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, one day in December I found myself in a long line at the grocery store, cart laden with goodies and necessities for celebrating the season. I picked up a copy of O Magazine and saw that it was full of articles for perfect presents, handpicked gifts and favorite things. Hmm…I wanted to give the perfect, handpicked gift, didn’t I? Continuing on, there were reports on the best books, the dreamiest desserts and hidden power. Oh boy, this issue could be life changing. I wondered what a dreamy dessert was. As visions of eating whipped cream and ambrosia while reading the most riveting read went through my mind, I started to think that the gifts I’d already bought were maybe not good enough, or just not enough. My wallet was almost empty and so was my energy reservoir. Oprah, you did it again. You made me feel inadequate when I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

I made my way through to the cashier and paid for the groceries. I chatted with her about her kids and what her Christmas plans were. She said that all she wanted was to put her feet up for a couple of days and relax with her family. She wouldn’t be having an Oprah Christmas either.

I left the store and went home to my little Christmas tree with the ordinary gifts underneath and put away my groceries.

That evening Dave and I enjoyed a glass of homemade wine and good conversation in front of a crackling fire.

Life’s good.

And no, I didn’t buy the magazine.

Listening to the Silence

The past month has been hectic, high speed, hopeful, heartfelt, and sometimes hilarious. I went to work, marketed my book and tried to deal with Christmas. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas, but this was the first one that I worked right up to December 24th since I was 16 and working in my father’s jewelery store in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Somewhere in between the madness, I got it all done; Christmas came and went and I didn’t die, although I felt quite guilty for not contacting the people I love. I had but three days off and decided to spend it quietly with my family; the phone calls would have to wait.

Now it is January 3rd and I think I got it all done.

This morning I kissed my hubby good bye as he left for work after an 18 day vacation. Then I made breakfast for Aaron and bid him goodbye as he went back to school after an 18 day vacation. I headed for the treadmill and did my morning’s workout.

And then I sat in the living room drinking a glass of water.

It was quiet.

I could hear the fridge running in the silence. That’s all. There was no other sound.

It was my first day with nothing serious on the program in a couple of months and I sat there listening to the sound of the fridge running.

I loved it.

Reflecting on 2011

Reflecting back on 2011

I became active on transformation.com on April 27th, just after outdoing myself on the eats on Easter weekend. I felt pretty much like a failure, and an overweight one at that. I was uncomfortable in my own skin (if you can say that) and I wore pretty much the same clothes all the time because nothing else fit. My cholesterol was high enough for meds and my doctor gave me one last chance to clean up my act before insisting I start taking them. Confidence was in the gutter and I just wanted to fade into the background.
Through gentle encouragement and by example, my accountability group taught me that I am worthy of being loved, that I count, what a portion was, how to bare my soul, how to accept and give help, how to actually run (!), and to celebrate my successes. I learned that being a perfectionist is what had hindered me in the past, and that moving in the right direction while keeping my eyes on the goal is how success is achieved.
I became 17 lbs lighter in my body, but 75 lbs lighter in my spirit and in my step. I got my book printed, and almost met my goal of selling them all. Because of the influence of the group I gained enough self-confidence to speak in public without dying and I actually got a job. Oh, and after four months on this healthy plan, my cholesterol got into a normal level. I ran for 20 minutes without stopping, a feat I could never have dreamed of accomplishing before. All this is directly because of the influence and encouragement of my accountability group.

As I grew myself, I watched my teamies grow. I watched as some revealed more and more of themselves, becoming transparent with the group and sharing issues from their personal lives and accepting the compassion or rejoicing that was offered. I watched us all shrink in physical size as our hearts grew larger and larger. We laughed, we cried, we supported and we cheered each other on. And as we grew we came to realize that there was more blessing in supporting others than in whining about our own mosquito bites.
My original ‘why’ was all about getting healthy and losing enough weight to fit into the clothes in my closet. As I make goals for 2012 my ‘why’ will deal with losing a few more pounds, maintaining my weight, and being the change I want to see in my world.

Some personal benefits I have gained through my experience on transformation.com this year are that I have gained much more confidence than I had ever thought possible; I feel presentable both inside and out; and I have learned to love myself, accept my limitations, and to not beat up on myself when I make a mistake. I am more able to just pick up and move on.
My new healthy lifestyle has given me more to smile about, it’s made me a much nicer person, and I am thrilled to have ‘met’ so many wonderful people on the same path. Here in my hometown I have developed deeper relationships with everyone around me, family as well as friends.
I think that my biggest obstacle in becoming who I am today was that I never really believed I could lose weight. My false assumptions about getting older, menopause, and my energy levels were pretty hard to lay aside. However, once I did start to see results, and once my weight started to come off, my energy levels soared (well, sort of). I discovered that I could help other women my age overcome their misconceptions about menopause and aging, and to realize that there is a vitality waiting for them if they want it. I became proud of my age and looks instead of trying to deny them.

So in wishing you all a Happy New Year with many successes and blessings in your life, I invite you to give Transformation a try… it’s at http://www.transformation.com