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Saturday, February 28

Presents

As I look around my house, I see friendship and kindness. The walls and cabinets are filled with love. This mug is thoughtfulness. Those books are sharing. That furniture is paying it forward. When I see such items scattered about my house I thank the Lord and praise Him for all the wonderful people he has sent into my journey.

Tuesday, July 9

Spiced Orange Iced Coffee

Try it. Seriously. If you like spicy (robust, flavourful, not capsaicin) and oranges, you will like this. (Also assuming that you enjoy a cup 'o joe as much as I.)

That was simply a bonus side note.

Recently I have decided that I want to be fit and healthy. The battle has been just that, a battle. I love cake. I love chocolate. By love I mean, greatly enjoy consuming. Basically, I like to eat. I like to experience new food and flavours. On this journey I started June 03, 2012, I have dropped to about 210 lbs. For the previous decade I weighed about 240 lbs. The heaviest was 253 lbs in 2006 according to my primary physician. In 2007, I lost some weigh using Weight Watchers for three months getting to 224 lbs. Over a couple years it crept back up to 240 lbs.

Losing weight for my body size and shape was rather discouraging in the first go around. I lost 20 lbs and worn the exact same size as when I started. My friend who was doing it with me also lost 20 lbs. She went from a size 11/12 to a 5/6. I hardly thought that was fair.

LIFE IS NOT FAIR. -dad

On June 03, 2012, I was indulging in a piece of cheesecake left over from a friend's birthday party. I was chatting with my dear friend, Lorena. She lost 50 lbs over about a year and half. She didn't start for any reason other than to support her hubby in his weight loss. As the pounds came off, she liked how she felt. At 46 years old she was in the best shape of her life. Talk about inspiration.

Not many women have been giant their whole lives, like me. Example. Sixth grade - I was wearing an adult 12 in pants. I was about 5'6" or so. I weighed nearly 180 lbs. I wore a size 11 shoe. See giant.

Today I am 211 lbs, wear a 12 or 14, and a size 13 shoe. I am 5'11".

My goal - to be able to the Tough Mudder event in North Carolina the first weekend in November.

So I bought a scale to keep better track of my weight loss progress. I spent way too much on it. After another conversation with my dear friend, Lorena, I was convicted. I am not being a good steward of my finances. I should have gone to Ross and bought a similar scale for half the cost. Why do we have people do this? We set ourselves up for failure.

I want to be healthy. I know that gluten is not good for my overall well being. Yet I regularly eat chocolate chip cookies. I would like to blame that on Chuck for becoming the Otis Spunkmeyer distributor in OK. But really it is a lack of discipline. We know there will be temptations. But we make it worse for ourselves. I knew scales at Ross would be cheaper than Target, yet where did I go to look for one?

I Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man ; and God is faithfulwho will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." I Corinthians 10:13

If you are tempted by indulging in delicious baked goods, you do go to Panera or La Bagette to use the WIFI. Come on, now. Don't give the devil a foothold in your recovery.

Tuesday, July 2

An Introduction to Practical Discipleship

Kari Jobe has a simple song. It carries me gently into a place of serenity.  There is nothing deeply profound in the lyrics. It is is no more than an honest reflection of a relationship to Christ. In Christ's relationship to us, He is unchanging. He love for you remains despite what you do, say, or think. The changing aspect of this street is us. The human. We change. We live by emotions and desires, selfishness. Christ is always there wanting us to run to Him. 

The more I seek You,
the more I find You.

The more I find You, 
the more I love You.

I wanna sit at Your feet
drink from the cup in Your hand.
Lay back against You and breath, 
hear Your heart beat.

This love is so deep, 
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in Your peace, 
it's overwhelming.

For those who have experienced the intimacy with Christ, this resonates.  You know the peace Christ brings. This morning at the funeral of Wanda Spiva my friend, Pastor Kenny, spoke of words she said to him nearly 45 years ago. Wanda said, "I love Jesus and I know he loves me." There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus loves you (me). However, for many, too many, this is not a confidence. 

I venture to say the lack of confidence in the One True God, YHWH, is a lack of discipleship. We often tell new Christians to read their Bible and pray. Talk about a daunting task. "Here take these 66 books and read them, start towards the end. Then talk to the Creator of the universe, like an old  friend, about any thing. Everyday." We (older followers of Christ) leave the "working out of one's salvation" to the little ones. There are times when a child needs to figure out things on their own. But you don't leave a child alone to figure out how to survive. We teach children. We raise them. This is lacking amongst the followers of Christ. 


A friend of mine recognized this area of concern (along with numerous mentors). Through this concern and his experience of going through an organized discipleship with a professor at MACU, birthed the desire to share how this structure deepened his walk with Christ. This is not a workbook Bible Study. This is not stringent process. It is a guided path with encouraged accountability to discipline, to know Christ more. Remember the song. "The more I seek You, the more I find You. The more I find You, the more I love You." On this journey, you will find confidence to "know that Jesus loves you."

Pastors, leaders, teachers, mentors, parents, humans - need this. We need discipleship. We need to seek God more. We need to guide others on this journey.  

Here's where I am at: I have been a follower of Christ for 20+ years yet I have times when I think, "Where in the world to dive in this time?" I remember being thwarted by the "read your Bible every day" rule.  As I work through this process in order to guide others, I am reading Nahum. I am going to work my way through the minor prophets. It is time that I familiarize myself with these writing. 

Tuesday, November 27

Defining Moments

Recently, I did something stupid. Stupid may not be the right word, childish might be a better description. The details of the situation are not important. Nor do I want to share my shame with anymore people than those who shared the experience with me. For those who were there, I am sorry. Despite the lingering embarrassment, I learned something. (A lot of somethings, in fact.)

In life, we all defining moments. Moments that change us. Moments that change the perspective in which we see the world. After my embarrassing situation, I became to reflect on my life, my "adolescence", my childhood. There was particular comment that was said during the embarrassing situation that prompted a memory from when I was 5 or 6 years old.

Kindergarten, Carruthers Elementary School, Murphysboro, IL, 1991(ish). Two moments that have shaken my security of being trusted.

Situation A - At our school we had this giant slide. It was at least 100 feet high, from my memory. Over one weekend some neighborhood kids waxed the slide to go faster. When Monday rolled around, the teachers forbade the kindergartners to do down the slide. It was simply too much for the little ones. It was not that big of deal, I was terrified to go up the stairs and the line was always long. So that day, Ebony, Chandra and I played else where. One thing we enjoyed was the little jungle gym near the slide. Chandra and I spent nearly all recess on it, chatting about the problems of the world. After recess we file back into the classroom, right on to reading carpet. The teacher tells us that some kindergartners went down the slide. I knew they were talking about Ebony. Her older sister had talked her into going down the slide. She was a 1st grader. The next thing I know Mrs. Teacher was asking the class, "Who saw Nevan go down the slide?" Everyone raised their hand, except Ebony. What?!? I did not. But the guilty always deny it. I said, "We played near the slide, but I didn't go down it." My objections availed me none. She didn't believe me. 

Situation B - All the students where called on to the reading carpet. We commonly went to the reading carpet before doing something as a group. I joined my fellow students. The teacher, then, posed this question, "Who colored on the floor?" Someone said, "I saw Tiffany and Nevan do it." Then I was asked if I did it. "No," I responded. I couldn't even tell you where it was or what color it was. Mrs. Teacher asked the class, "Who saw Nevan color on the floor?" The rest of the class raised their hands and labeled me as the child who colored on the floor. (The same was repeated with Tiffany.) So during recess, Tiffany and I got to clean up the crayon makings off the linoleum and carpet, despite my whimpering objects to being the responsible party. I still have no clue who colored on the floor that day. It may have been just Tiffany. I don't know. I was not believed.

I was not a perfect child. I lied to my dad once without being caught. The guilt haunts me to this day. Each of my brothers received a spanking (as did I) as a result of my lie. I did things I was not supposed to do. I am not a perfect adult. For example, the embarrassing situation.

Those moments in kindergarten when I was wrongfully accused has altered my trust in other to trust me. I regularly feel the need to defend my "innocence". I often have dreams of being wrongfully accused, having to take responsibility for others' actions. I am not sure at what point gave up trying to defend myself.

So this coupled with my erroneous view on what selfishness is, set the base for that embarrassing situation. From here, I take the lessons I learned and begin to change my thinking. I will choose to believe my friend who said to me, despite the embarrassing situation, "You are where you are at because I trust you. You don't have to prove anything to me. I trust you." (slightly paraphrased) 

Tuesday, October 30

Plight of the Aging

I recently turned 27 years old. 27! I sometimes still feel like I am 22. I hear this is common, to not feel older. Don't get me wrong, I don't honestly think 27 is by any means old. I did, however, think I would be in a very different place by the time I was 27. Not stuck in this wanderlust state, waiting for something to happen, discovering the depth of patience I am being asked to display. I often find myself wondering if I am a "failure to launch" story. When I was 22, I thought the Peace Corps of was the end all, be all of my purpose in life. I thought going would change my life, sending me on a journey that would take me places I had not even imagined. On one note, the Peace Corps did change me, even though I am not a RPCV. I have been back from Guatemala for over 27 months, and I am still waiting to understand all the reason I was not supposed to stay. The past two(ish) years have been exciting, tragic, wonderful, and heartbreaking. For a few moments, I thought I knew what I would be doing for the next five to ten years. Sadly and not so sadly, that collapsed or imploded or exploded. I don't even know. I know that I miss greatly some of the most beautiful children I have ever had the honor of serving. I know my heart hurts when I think about the relationships that ended. I think, though, this is partly do to my pride. I do not like the idea of people thinking I am rebellious. Yep, that's prideful. Even in my pain, I am sinful. Like how God reveals to us parts that need to be changed. Ouch. Anyway, bunny trail.

27. Yes. I am 27. In 6 months, I will officially round up to 30, no more down to 25. I guess it is not a big deal. 30 can't be the end of life. I have so much I want to do. Like rock climbing. And raising children. And being a pastor. And living in Spain. And traveling to every continent. And learning how to draw a circle. When I think about how much I want to do, I think "what have I done with my life". I am not trying to be pessimistic, just contemplative. I have experienced and seen a great number of things. I recognize that I am blessed beyond measure. I look forward to how God is going to bless my life and use me to make a difference. As I strive to move forward, opposition is in full force. And he knows exactly where to attack. **Bunny trail** In December I made a list of things I want to do in 2012. I have not accomplished all of them. One thing on the list was to lose 25 lbs. I wanted to weight 220, by the end of 2012. It is October 30 and I weight 205. That's 40 lbs!!!** Yet, I still struggle with feeling fat and unattractive.

Another interesting note on being 27 is the perspective of others. In the last 30 days, I have been guessed at being between the ages of 17 and 20. I would like to thank that on all the years I chose to not go to clubs and bars, all the drinking I didn't do, and all the cigarettes I did not smoke. (Not that I want to look like I am in high school.) I wonder, sometimes, if people think I am that kind of girl. Don't get me wrong, I like to dance. But I would rather do it in a room that I can breathe in. Know what I mean? I'll be honest, I have been a club here and there. One in Chi-town in 2006 and one in OKC in July. (This excludes the dance barn I went to in high school a few times.) Someone once told me, while sitting in the back of little red car crammed with 6 adults, that I need to be more honest, on the softer side. I think if people really saw my heart they would know . . . that thought just scared me. *change the subject*

This is the first blog I have written since my GrandDad died. I am not going to get an email from him with his thoughts this time. I miss him greatly.

BTW, I had the most incredible birthday celebrations this year. There was only one thing I would change. I would greatly enjoyed being able to spend time with more people in small groups, of course. Let's not get too carried away. Large groups still intimidate me. :)

Tuesday, August 21

O- / CB- Donor

It has been a great deal of time since my last post. I am sorry. I know you are dying to know what I have to say next. I know you are thinking "Will it change my life?" or "When will I laugh again?". But no worries, dear ones, I am blogging today from Beatnix. My one of favorite coffee shops in OKC.

Some know that the past 5 months of my life have a whirlwind experience. But enough about that.

Recently, I visited a beloved friend in the great State of Florida. She happened to have this little book called, "Eat Right 4 Your Type". I had heard of this book from another friend about 5 years ago. But was not willing to invest the money to buy the book myself. So I ignored that gems inside. I limited myself to the information I could find online. Bah!

Anyway. I picked it up read some of it. Listened to my friend's stories of how eating properly for her unique chemistry has changed her life. My interest in this book for the purpose of losing weight suddenly changed into a medical need. See, I have had weird stomach pains for years that were greatly aggravated by my Peace Corps experience. I decided while I was in Florida that I want a new normal. I don't want groggy, dull achy Nevan to be the normal. I want the fun, energized Nevan to be the norm.

This doctor, Dr. D'Adamo, hypothesized that eating foods that compliment your bodies chemistry, your blood type, that your health will improve and your body will find its normal. (Basically)

Subject: Nevan
Type: O
Diet: Meat and Vegetables for optimal health

Check it.
I have been following the recommended diet for about two weeks. I ran the other night. I ran. I ran without death.
I have been diagnosed with asthma for about 20 years. 20 years! And I ran. It was good and wonderful and my new addiction.
I am not going to be all ridiculous and run a marathon in 6 weeks. I am starting slow, despite that fact that I want to just run. I am not sure my poor knees can handle that.

In this book, Dr. D'Adamo says that eating right for your chemistry can help you lose weight and fix medical issues like asthma and arthritis. Why? Because the different lectin in diffferent food react to your blood type differently. For instance, Type O does not respond well to gluten and legumes. The lectins kind glue themselves to the muscles and such cause one to feel groggy. It slows the metabolism, cause weight gain, asthma and other health issues.

One day, I may stop drinking coffee to rid myself completely of the stomach pain. But for now, nope. It is not too bad if I use soy instead of cream. 

Tuesday, May 29

Slumming (continued)

Venturing into a new culture/environment is scary and intimidating. (And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.)  Think about the last time you went someone new for the first time albeit a new store or country. Like jumping a pool (or hot tub), it takes a moment to accumulate to the stimulus. You have to process.

The problem is "slumming" as Wiki denotes is an activity that eradicates humanness. The "slummer" has stepped on to a magic carpet to hover about the slums and look at "those people" with mere sympathy. This perpetuates socioeconomic segregation. Pause for a moment and think how you would if someone walked through your neighborhood with a look of pity and/or disgusted. You may feel shame or anger. 

For me the question becomes, "how can we help a short-term mission trip or visiting a lower income part of your town not become a 'slum tour'?" How can we (the Church) promote empathy for fellow sojourners in this world?

Thoughts? 
I will share mine after I find my dog Luke Danes.