Monday, August 5, 2013

Cinco de Agosto

We leave in one semana, (week) for Espana.  In addition to all the divertido (excitement) of planning this trip, I have shed some serious tears.  I'll get to that in a minute...

Jason and I enjoy traveling.  Mucho.  I'm pretty sure our experiences as a young married couple working with Teen Mania Ministries in the summers, taking hundreds of teenagers overseas on trips, equipped us with a sense of confidence and ease we would not have otherwise known when it comes to travel.  The President of TMM is Ron Luce.  He started TMM when he was a young guy with a passion for youth ministry and equipping young people to share God's love around the world through short term mission trips.  It's still going strong and has blossomed into so much more than only summer trips.  The thing is, it's always been run by youthful people, and for this particular ministry, at least in my own life, it was a very good thing because it helped me learn Trust at an early age.

You see, I hadn't ever been out of the country other than to a Mexican vacation town with my family where I would eat shrimp, play in the tide pools, drink a lot of Coke on ice, and buy cheap trinkets to "decorate" my adolescent room.  As the middle daughter of three girls, my dad was quite protective of us, even though I had wanted to go on mission trips here and there.

Then, 19 years ago, that is, one year after Jason and I were married, we celebrated our 1st of many anniversaries overseas...with lots of teenagers.  We were Team Leaders in Venezuela, and next to a week of intensive prayer and late hours of leadership training in the classroom, with further training on a ropes course, where I incidentally spent one hour, una hora, 60 minutes, on top of a "Pamper Pole", crying like a baby while everyone else went to lunch, it was this experience that was supposed to make me, a 22-year old newly married "grown-up" responsible enough to take 13-18 year old kids away from the comfy American lifestyle for one month.  I'm forever grateful for the real life, on the road, real-time, hands on training I received right in the thick of it.

It was there Jason and I found our traveling mojo.  With a new found affinity for world adventure, our love of ministry and sharing these experiences with others, Jason and I saw how once we leave the comfort and ease and familiarity of our day to day lives, even with a bit of apprehension, Big World warnings, and the fear of the unknown, there is this flow of trust which occurs with God, the Creator of this World, and between the two of us, to just take one step at a time, not get freaked out, get to know locals and ask questions, for directions and recommendations, and to just. have. fun.

And so, even though we've been married 20 years and have been parents for 11 years now, even leaving Em for Mexico several times, Japan, and weekends here and there, we've never written a Will.

*I'll pause while you gasp...

And we're back.

The process hasn't been difficult as far as "stuff" goes because having loved Noah and lost him, we're not big "stuff" people, but let's just say, my sinuses were stuffed for several nights, crying myself to sleep thinking of who we'd leave our KIDS with and pleading with God to follow through and bless me with this promise He gave me a few years ago, trusting Him with the number of ALL OF OUR DAYS, and just NOT LIVING IN FEAR since anything could happen anywhere, any day of the week.

What does this have to do with "Operation Get Sexy for Spain?", you might ask.

Well, it helps me keep the fact I've even been married for 20 years to my very best friend, in perspective.  It reminds me God is BIG and He loves me and loves everyone else and has a plan and sees a bigger picture, one we aren't able to see, but it's good and I can trust Him.  I can trust Him with my heart, my fears, my STRESS and how I manage it, and allow my heart to be filled by Him in ALL things rather than quick fixes which will never satisfy, like salty or sugary carbs that don't actually FUEL my body.

Does God care how I look in a sundress in Spain?  No.  I highly doubt it.  However, He cares about me, and you, because He hand-crafted us and knows us by heart, and He promises...He promises.

And you thought the two weren't related ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Short Challenge Info

Here's the deal...this isn't about weight loss.  It's not a diet.  I don't even advocate you hop on a scale or take measurements.

I'm not intending to lose any weight, actually, just so that is clear.

I feel good and want to remain feeling good.  

It's just when I get stressed, historically I will eat...and preparing for trips, even though they are fun and exciting and once in a lifetime opportunities, stress me out.  I don't love packing...

I don't know about you, but I will eat in an attempt to stop the stress but the stress only heightens because the focus of the stressful situation then shifts to wishing I hadn't eaten such and such and so goes the cycle.

Just to clarify, the challenge from last night is how I usually live and eat, when things are smooth and life is coasting along...although life doesn't just coast along and things get wonky and the flow hits a dam or cascading waterfall or tons of rocks that slow or heighten the flow and then I have to decide what I'm going to do...which is what I'm working out in the day to day and through counseling. I going to turn to food or to God?  What or Who will I let FILL me?

My plea is to have a group who will rally so I can stay strong and not freak out and say, "Screw it all, oh well, just pass the carbs and chocolate!" over the next week and a half.  Because this is a #firstworldproblem and God is the Only One Who can deeply, truly, ultimately satisfy us at the core.

And so you know, I am going to enjoy myself in Spain, but for me that doesn't mean I'm going to go hog wild, because I don't want to feel miserable there, either...

Someone I love dearly, when I posted this on Facebook, said this, "You will look AMAZING in a bikini in Spain.  Don't do it!!!!  Who you are is beautiful, that is what makes the biggest impression!"  I want to be clear, because here was my response, "I feel beautiful and already look good in my bathing suit, I just want to stay strong and not stress eat or slack on my day to day normal health routine while preparing, if that makes sense?  Not doing something "new" or even a diet!  I promise!  It's just staying on track.  Thanks for the loving!"

In a new favorite book I am reading by Bob Goff called, "Love Does," he says, "God is the master artist and made an original version of us, a priceless (piece) that cost everything to create.  A version that can't and won't be created again."

My heart for this challenge is to continue to stay strong, to love myself, in the day to day, not with food rewards but in time with The One Who loves me and made me, treating this gift, this original version of me, a body He intricately designed, with grace, taking care of it, filling it with good, life-giving things He made, along with ample rest, and strength.

For some, this may be a radical change, for me, it's remaining faithful, keeping my eyes on Him, not even focusing on what I can and can't eat, but allowing my eyes to be on Him as I balance in the here and now.