And Life is Worth the Living

The best thing my mother taught me was to read the Book of Proverbs regularly. We read those Scriptures every morning before school. When I had no faith of my own, the words rang in the back of my mind, beckoning me to know my Creator.
In the days my faith did begin, the Proverbs told me about His ways. Many days were lonely; those Proverbs still encouraged me. They told me that being alone with integrity was better than falling in with bad company and false friends. When I found myself in trouble, I could see that acting like the fool of Proverbs got me there. The words instructed and warned me. They taught me the profits of virtue, and the cost of immorality.
Chasing after wisdom and understanding, learning to fear the LORD, and seeking His ways have made life worth living, despite the pain. Plans fall through. Loved ones disappoint. Movements lose sight of their purpose. Opinions prove faulty. Friends betray. Dreams die. The Word remains. His love endures forever. He does not leave or forsake. His ways bring life abundant. He created life. He made it good. Only His purpose for life is worth pursuing.
When I peered into the black of Sheol, hoping I could find peace there, the words of Proverbs in my mother’s voice resonated with a Truth I could feel in my gut. The Truth brought me back from the edge. He decided when I would take my first breath. He will decide upon my last.
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I had escaped death, but the enemy still worked to control me. Since YHVH’s Truth was now my life, I could be provoked to rage against any who disrespected His Truth. The most likely target of my indignation would be those who knew His ways inside and out before chucking them in the trash to pursue something more “exciting.” However, I am not my God’s defender. YHWH was patient and showed me that truth lacking in love is useless.
As Dr. Emerson says, you can be right but wrong at the top of your voice. Also, to paraphrase Apostle Paul, you can speak in tongues and command mountains, but if you do not have love, it’s all meaningless. Y’shua Himself declared that all the Torah and Prophets hung on loving YHWH and loving our neighbor.
My rage has no place in the Truth, my Savior. This season, especially, I have been reading and hearing His call to love our neighbor. I am eagerly waiting for Him to show me how to love His way. How am I to show His love to the crooked while respecting His boundaries and responsibilities for me?
On this journey of learning to follow Y’shua in spirit as well as truth, I remember and am grateful for my mother, a true blessing. She raised me in the way I should go, and the Way saved my life. I thank YHVH for blessing us with the right people with the right words for the right times.

Body Clutter: a Review

…Body Clutter is a marvelous book full of honesty, encouragement, understanding, knowledge, and love for all “flybabies” who need to learn how to care for themselves.

Start by marking “Body Clutter: Love Your Body, Love Yourself” as ...

Authors Marla Cilly and Leanne Fly discuss their health and weight in their book, Body Clutter. Both ladies have struggled with weight-gain, health issues, emotional bruises, and cluttered “stink’n think’n.”  The core message of their literature is that if you de-clutter the space between your ears, you can de-clutter the weight off your thighs.

Chapter by chapter, Marla and Leanne cover numerous aspects of healthy living, primarily eating, moving, and attitude.  First, the ladies discuss what causes the “body clutter.”  Each reveals their painful history and how they learned to turn to food for their comfort.  Soon, the reader can clearly identify overeating/comfort eating/gluttony for what it is – self abuse and continuing the pain others have inflicted on us.  Food is not God.  We don’t have to turn to food to solve our pain.

They lead the reader to de-clutter the negative, downtrodden attitudes that hold us back from healthy habits.  Then, the ladies cover the eating habits that have worked for them, such as what to eat, how much to eat, and how often to eat.  They next uncover how simple it is to imcorporate exercise, or “loving movement” into their daily lives, once the excuses in their minds have been diminished.  Finally, Marla and Leanne discuss how to read labels, shop for groceries, gauge portions, and obtain useful nutrition to fuel our metabolism.

At the end of each chapter, the reader is challenged to answer questions, such as:  What is your go-to comfort food?  How do you handle it? What was going on in your life when you began this habit? What are some small, doable baby-steps you can accomplish today? Have you hidden from others while you eat? What excuses have you used against exercising? How can you plan your meals so that you can avoid the last-minute visit to the drive-thru?

The numerous pros of this book are quite useful, but I must disclose one con.  The final chapters devolve into redundancy.  Some readers could find this useful to solidly drive the ideas into their minds, but I found this unnecessary and difficult to focus upon.

Redundancy aside, Body Clutter is a marvelous book full of honesty, encouragement, understanding, knowledge, and love for all “flybabies” who need to learn how to care for themselves.  I have personally incorporated baby-steps, inspired by this book, for the past week.  In future posts, I will report on the effectiveness.  So far, I have already found myself more mindful of what I eat, and more capable of managing my blood sugar and cravings.  Accomplishing my health goals seems ages away, but as sure as my poor habits got me into this body clutter, my new good habits will eventually get me out.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the process of cooking tasty meals at home and dancing my burdens away.

The book is available at Amazon or at the FlyShop, and I encourage you to study, answer the questions, and engage in the de-cluttering process for yourself!

L’Chaim (to life),

Drywitlass

Summer Walks

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Anything on wheels looks like a feed cart to these gals, even a stroller.

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This handsome fella kept a close eye on us. With many breeds, one would not wish to be in sight of a bull without some sort of protection. This Beefmaster bull, though, is quite docile and harmless. Only if frightened or embattled with another bull would he threaten our safety. He moved off a little as we passed, and resumed with his business.

FLYing Once More

FlyLady has had an impeccable effect on my organization, my attitude, and especially our home atmosphere.

I had read her book, Sink Reflections, before I attended college.  My sister had been raving about this “perfect” organizing method and loaned us the book.  The ideas sounded good, but I did not implement them in my parents’ house.  My mother didn’t like being told what to do by a stranger with a website, either.  Good ideas filtered into the back of my mind, nevertheless.

At college, my microwave counter in the dorm became my version of FlyLady’s “shiny sink.”  As long as that counter was in good order, I knew everything else could fall into place.  Especially useful on campus, was her “launch pad” method of laying out everything I would need for a day, the night before.  Utensils for Algebra, reports for English, personal notes for Chamber Singers, and work pages for Economics were packed up and ready in my bag.  I could wake up fifteen minutes before class, jump into the clothes I had laid out, run through my beauty routine, grab that bag, and show up for class feeling prepared for the entire day.  Some mornings, I could get up earlier to savor a cup of coffee.

Once married, I had my own sink to shine…most of the time.  I wrote up routines, which didn’t stick.  Then came the morning sickness that lasted all day, days on end. My sink was sorely neglected.  “FLYing” was not on my mind for months.  However, the FlyLady habit of dressing to shoes each morning would soon be a desperate necessity.  My firstborn was stillborn, and I wanted to die with him.  Previous near-suicide experiences taught me to fight before I was pushed into the pit, where I could be too overwhelmed to get out.  So I let my God bear my grief, I got out of bed and dressed down to my boots each morning, and I did not let myself be alone for more than a couple of hours.  After two months, the tears began to slow and I limped back to the land of the living.

Then again came the morning sickness.  Learning to mother an infant soon followed.  I was very grateful for my beautiful baby, but feeding was difficult and I couldn’t manage much else. Four months after giving birth, my house was a depressive wreck, and so was I.

I sat and looked around at the house full of one, big, disheartening mess.  Anger grew.  “Why couldn’t my husband pick up after himself?”  Blame increased.  “Doesn’t he see the trouble I’m in?”  I picked apart the room about me.  “This thing was his responsibility, and that, and that…”  My pity party was rolling well until I looked at my bedside table.  The items in that pile of clutter were mine, and I had placed each one on that table myself.  I couldn’t blame any of it on my husband, so why was it just was messy as the rest of the house?  Something within me clicked.  Some responsibility was mine to take.  I couldn’t fix my husband’s habits.  I could only fix myself.  I had to.  My man deserved better.  The baby deserved better.  That day, I found FlyLady’s day-by-day baby steps.  I began taking baby steps the next morning.

Gradually, but permanently, my habits changed.  I learned to take care of myself consistently.  Thirty days were listed in the Babysteps, but I only completed perhaps twenty.  The results still turned my house around.  I could recognize the “negative voices” (or lies of the enemy, as I call them) and put a stop to them.  My husband rarely ran out of clean clothes to wear, anymore.  I didn’t have to pinch my nose while washing dishes; the abhorrent mystery water simply didn’t come to my sink.  There was time to snuggle and nurse my baby while she cut her first teeth.  The living room looked nice and retained its gleam, thanks to the Weekly Home Blessing Hour.  I looked forward to having people visit my cozy home, and my husband wasn’t embarrassed when guests entered our domain.  Domain.  That’s what it was.  This house that had owned me, had now become my domain.  I could rule without struggle, attending to our affairs without worry.

After eight months of progress, I began to skip decluttering every day.  Then, I missed my hotspots.  One habit after another, I began to backslide.  Another illness and death in the family, and participating in a wedding five hours away, kept me from home and my habits were lost.  However, this is only a demonstration of how effective the FlyLady’s methods are, because it was easy to get back on track!  I went back to the day-by-day Babysteps.  Day one, I thoroughly cleaned and shined my sink and picked out my clothes for the next day.  Just that much made me feel good again.  After a week of following those two habits, most of my morning routine has now fallen back into place.  My before-bed routine is stronger than ever.  I’m inviting relatives to a meal and game night each week.  Turning a wreck into my home took months, before.  This time, it only took a couple of days!

In years to come, I look forward to keeping a calm and comfortable haven for my family and friends, and teaching my children to manage the same for themselves. Each day I find myself grateful for learning stewardship over the home we have been blessed with.  I am thankful for the self-control, discipline, and love I have been taught this year, even if it’s still a work in progress. Particularly, I am glad to have new tools with which I can bless our marriage.

So if you are hopeless, overwhelmed, immersed in chaos, or depressed with yourself or your home,  I encourage you to use these Beginner Babysteps.  They are a tool that will work for anyone willing to try.  May you claim for yourself the peace I have found.