I Blog For Books

16 December 2010

Life is More than Food

Watching old home movies is sometimes more than I can bear. The memories in and of themselves are happy ones, seeing the joy on my children's faces ... just seeing them at those young ages makes me smile. What I cannot stand to see are the images of myself on those tapes. After seeing those pictures, I look in a mirror and ask myself "What happened?"

As a nurse, I see the evidence of self-destructive behavior every day. What hurts even more is to look in the mirror and see the evidence of my own such behavior. How do you stop the vicious cycle? Only one who has never been through such a thing can even remotely begin to understand. My own personal problem? Food. I love it. Even when I see the evidence of how much I love it, I eat anyway. Do I really enjoy it? How can I when I've gained nearly 80 pounds in the last ten years? I'm effectively carrying around an elementary school child every day!

I've weighed all the alternatives, considered the surgical route, tried nearly every diet known to man. What it all boils down to is the simple fact that I eat what I shouldn't eat and often, when I shouldn't. How do I change that? I have been successful on various diets, but as the old joke says "ever notice that most of the word diet is the word die?" Funny in a not so funny way. I am not sure that you can be successful over the long term if you always consider yourself on a diet. I'm not sure who started using the phrase "lifestyle change," but in reality that it what it will take for weight loss to be successful for me. I have no desire to spend the rest of my life counting calories or feeling guilty for eating a piece of cake. What I do have a desire to do is be able to move without becoming short of breath, be able to sit down on the ground without requiring a crane to pick me up, and shop for clothes that do not have an X on the tag.

At my last doctor's visit, I brought up the subject of bariatric surgery, and my physician didn't even blink before he said no. Why? "Eat less, move more. Surgery isn't a cure, it's a crutch." While realistically I can understand his point of view, the little fat girl sitting in the chair thought scornfully "easy for a skinny person to say." I wish I could just unzip the fat and let the smaller me out. Inside this fat chick is a smaller woman screaming. Usually, I shut her up with potato chips.

I have to find the strength within myself to stick with a healthier lifestyle when it comes to food. Denying myself certain foods won't work for longer than a short while, and will probably end up backfiring. Two words that need to be remembered? In moderation!

Tomorrow is another day. Maybe I can take the first step on a road to better health. I am certainly going to try. I can't do it on my own, but at least I have a huge support system behind me!

Jesus, I ask once more for your help. Sometimes I wonder if you get tired of me asking. Thank you for blessing me with abundant food, the skill and knowledge to prepare that food, and the ability to know when enough is enough. With you, I can do anything.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."~Luke 12:22-23 NIV

07 December 2010

Carry On {My} Wayward Son

Who knew what Kerry Livgren was trying to say when he penned these words in 1975? Listed on VH1's Top 100 Hard Rock Songs, this guitar slamming anthem reverberates through your brain as the angst filled vocals of Steve Walsh entwine with the plaintive notes of the keyboard.

You may wonder how I can interpret the lyrics of a rock song as relating to Jesus. I guess there is enough of the child left in me to see God in everything. If I choose to take the words to a classic rock song and find Jesus in them, who's to say I'm wrong? After all, we are not the writer, so we don't know what he meant for us to find in his words. What Kerry Livgren and Kansas found in these words was a hit single for their Leftoverture album, and that was more than they'd gotten from their first two releases. But I digress. Let's look at what are probably the most recognizable words in the song.
Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

If I lay my weary head to rest on Jesus, I have no more reason to cry. I can carry on, even though I have transgressed, for He has forgiven me, and at the end of my journey, I will find peace in Heaven. Makes sense to me. Still not convinced? Well, let's dig a little deeper.

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I can hear them say

What do I hear Jesus say? I hear him say "relax Denise, I've got it from here." Before Jesus, I saw without seeing and I thought without knowing. Until I listened to the quiet voice of God, I heard nothing. Once I opened my ears, the meaning was crystal clear. If I follow with trust, He will lead me home.

Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

Heaven does wait for me, because I believe in the power of Jesus. Heaven waits for me, because I trust in Him. Heaven waits for me because I chose to give my life to He whose power is the greatest of all. Without Him, I can do nothing ... but that's another song ...

Lord, I thank you for the gift of trust. I thank you for the gift of faith, and for your neverending, all encompassing love. Thank you for deeming me worthy. Please help me show your amazing, wonderful grace.

"I will heal their waywardness, and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them." ~Hosea 14:4 NIV

01 December 2010

The Sound of Silence

"First God created two part harmony. And then there was Simon and Garfunkel." I don't know who wrote those words, but I certainly believe that they are true. The shatteringly wistful voices of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel give life to the lyrics that Simon penned more than forty years ago.

As I was scrolling through Facebook catching up with friends and family,the words to an old Simon and Garfunkel tune started running through my head. While I can't imagine the song being unfamiliar, I'll break down why it appeals to me so. To start, look at the first verse:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

If you've never been in the country at night, you may not be able to imagine a silence so absolute. There's a funny thing about that night silence, however. The longer you listen, the more you hear. Depending on where you are, you may hear the croaking of frogs, or the call of an owl, the cry of a wild cat, or the bark of a restless dog. Have you ever thought about what it is that you're hearing? I hear, and see, God. His voice and His presence resonate within me.

Let's look at another verse. In the fourth verse, Simon writes of listening:

Fools, said I, You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach to you
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

Could not that be God's voice beseeching us? Asking us to hear His words, to heed His call? And, just like Paul Simon so eloquently wrote, His voice falls on sometimes deaf ears. We ignore Him until we are in need. Why do we wait? Why do we choose to live in silence?

God's symphony is all around us. Let us listen with open ears ... and an open heart. Even in the silence, God is present.

God, I pray daily for your strength to aid me. I love hearing your presence in the silence, for it tells me that I am not alone. Thank you for blessing me with the ability to hear you.

"For your name's sake, LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant."~Psalm 143:11-12 NIV