Reflections on the passing of Rev. Billy Graham

This beautiful spring-like morning in this little corner of North Carolina the sunshine is playing peek-a-boo through the clouds. A family of cardinals is enjoying the cover of the sentry cedar outside the bedroom window. and the air is filled with joyful sounds of squirrel chatter and songbirds.
Here, in this scene I have learned of the passing of Rev. Billy Graham. And, while I’ve never met him face to face, I have been one of the many in the crowd at a “Crusade” in Greensboro when I was much, much younger, and I have had the benefit of reading, watching, listening and reflecting on his sermons throughout my life. And for that, for that example of being a conduit or merely a thread for others to see Christ, I am truly grateful. This world is a much better place for your 99 years here, and while you will be so missed, today it seems this corner of North Carolina is celebrating your life in a beautiful, natural, peaceful manner.
November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018, What an abundant life was shared in the span of that dash.  Rest in peace and may the angels lead you into paradise, Reverend Billy Graham.
“Well done, good and faithful servant….” Matthew 25:23
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Later…..

Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.

But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.

Hello, Tuesday! It’s good to be here.

Hello, Saturday.

Strong coffee in a sturdy mug, blue jeans with a crease in the left leg from being laundered on a trip in 2014, an old blue shirt so frayed around the edges it could almost be mistaken for white trimmed, still deciding between sneakers, hiking boots, flip-flops, socks or nothing on my feet at all, and sunlight playing peek a boo through a gathering blanket of clouds.  The day is wide open,

Hello Saturday, it’s good to be here.

Out of Obesity, Chapter 3

We are snowed in here in this little corner of the world. This part of North Carolina is closed due to winter. I can’t get out of my driveway because of the snow, and I love it.  I have friends and loved ones who must travel regardless of, and even because of the weather, so I am helping keep them safe by staying off the roads.

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Snowfall in January 2018 ~ Looking East and loving it!

This beautiful scene will be short-lived, the melting began yesterday and should continue  for the next few days as well, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying this wonderful southern snowfall, and reflecting on this journey of mine.

There is this thing called patience,  I looked it up.  Merriam Webster simply defines it as “the act of being patient”.  Then I looked up “patient” and found the fourth definition:  steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity”.   Well, there it is. For me, this journey out of obesity is getting difficult and is being met with opposition from nobody other than myself.  My last post on this journey was 22 days ago; at that time I had lost 9 pounds, and was officially out of the obese BMI range into Overweight.

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I’m using the “Big Day Lite” app to keep track of the time on this, now in progress, journey. 

Oh yeah, I was happy with myself.  I was on the downhill slide and feeling quite smug.  Right about then I imagine this is what happened:

My body:  “Hey, wait a second, what is she up to?  She can’t take the fat away…the fat is so cushy, comfy, snuggly.  The fat is gooooood!!  Fat!! Don’t Go!!”   (Or something along those lines.)

And so, the fat decided it had a pretty good gig here in this body, so it decided to stick around.  For 21 days my weight stayed within the 9-10 pounds lost range.

Frustrating?  Yep.  Aggravating? Yep.  Enough to toss in the towel and settle with being overweight?  Nope.

This change, this journey, was never about quick weight loss, although I was quite happy with those initial results. Habits take time to change. Bodies take time to adjust to those changes.  And, frankly, not becoming discouraged and gaining any back during those 3 weeks that seemed like a stall, is quite a success in itself.

Here one month into this journey, the refined or added sugar aspect is fading from the central focus. It has been dealt with and given the proper attention, and no longer drives my appetite.  Now the focus shifts into other aspects of healthier foods, hopefully more physical movement throughout the days, and patience.  And I have renewed hope, because here, one month into this journey, there is finally another change.  Here, on day 31 I have a weight loss of 11 pounds total, and even as much as my body loves that security blanket of fat, my internal organs and my spine are, quite literally, relieved.

I also have this reminder that even though I may not always use it, and others may not always see it (I should work on that too) I do have that wonderful virtue, that gift of the Holy Spirit  that is patience.  It may be difficult, but I can do this, and it will be worth it.

It already is.

This entry is simply to mark my thoughts and progress, and to note that I’m pleasantly surprised I made progress over the recent days.   Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it continues……

Out of Obesity, Chapter 2

24 November, 2017, one month before Christmas Eve I came to terms with my weight. And I have a lot of weight for my short frame. You can read about it in the first blog of this Out of Obesity series, but that’s really all I did at that time.  I looked up how much weight I need to shed to reach a healthy weight, and wrote that number down, and then I went on my merry little way nibbling through Thanksgiving.  I mean, who begins a diet right before Thanksgiving? Not me.

Thanksgiving came and went, and you know what?  I didn’t gain any weight!  But, I didn’t lose any either.  It wasn’t because I didn’t over eat,  I did over eat, I’m ashamed to say. But prior to the big feasts, I was extremely active with the middle school youth ministry November project.  Those amazing kids, and their wonderful families, collected enough canned goods to fill 17 file boxes full of food, and enough funds to put a grocery store gift card with each one of them for fresh or frozen foods to complete their meals, and then we delivered it to our local Catholic Charities for families already waiting in line.  It’s the favorite service project for many of the youth, and it’s a veryactive time for me.  So, I’m betting all that moving, sorting & lifting had a lot to do with the stable weight in November.

Most of December I was coasting too, not really thinking about my weight or eating habits much, I mean, who starts a diet right before Christmas?  Not me.  Or so I thought.

But then came our last Junior High Youth Ministry meeting of 2017, and that called for a party!  Games, singing, apple cider, cupcakes, and of course cookies!  It was a phenomenal night.

So much laughter, so much joy, so much sugar.  For some reason this particular night, I ended up with the leftover sweets.  So, I sat down Sunday night with a plate piled high with beautiful and delicious Christmas cookies. While looking over the notes and photographs from the evening, I mindlessly ate probably half of them.

That following Monday morning, 18th of December, found me like most of my days off, staying close to the coffee pot and answering necessary emails.  Unlike most of my Monday’s off, I had a huge stack of cookies with me.  I’m sure I ate 20 before I even realized it.  Yes, they were small, but still, that’s a lot of cookies!   That’s when I asked my husband to throw the rest of them away for me.  That was the turning point.   I’ve known for a long time I’m a sugar addict, but even I was shocked at how I was reacting to that plate of cookies.

I’m using the “Big Day Lite” app to keep track of the time on this, now in progress, journey. 
So, I withdrew from the office cookie exchange and immediately began to not eat sugar.  No sugar.  None.  For 4 days I was able to stay completely away from it, in all forms, no sugar at all, added or natural, and I was amazed.

I mean, who gives up sugar the week before Christmas?  Apparently, that would be me.

Day 5 happened to be on the day of our office Christmas luncheon with some really delicious winter squash ravioli.  Day 6 was Christmas Eve with a traditional fruit cake made by one of my sisters, using our grandmother’s recipe.  Day 7 was Christmas day with my sister-in-law’s famous coconut cake.  Day 8 was dinner with a wonderful friend and my fantastic God-daughter, who made baked brie with apricot jam in puffed pastry just for me.  And it was delicious.

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My sister Bobbie has the recipe, given to her by our grandmother Ava.  This, my friends, is what fruitcake should be.  So much more than cake, and served on our mother’s china, worth stepping away from any diet.  Christmas Eve Breakfast at my house this morning 
You can tell from this I didn’t starve myself, but I did have very real conversations with myself over the cake.  Was the fruitcake worth it?  Absolutely!  Did I eat as much as I would have just the week before?  Absolutely not.  Instead I had a small slice and savored it as long as possible.

The coconut cake went much the same way with a very important exception:  I only had a part of one layer, not even a slice, with just a little of the icing, and I made it last as long as possible.  I was not as controlled with the baked brie, but again, not nearly as careless as I would have been even a week ago.

Today, Thursday the 28th of December finds me on the other side of the biggest temptations of the season.  I remain committed to this  journey towards better health, and as of this morning my BMI is 29.9. That’s a loss of 9 pounds, and that means  I am officially not obese any longer!  Who would have thought being categorized as overweight would be a reason to celebrate?  Me.

On this journey out of obesity, so far I’ve discovered a few things:  Sugar hides in the most unexpected places.  Sometimes the sugar is worth it.  When the sugar is worth it, I have to be completely aware of the form and quantity I’m consuming.  And now, I know I can do that.

This entry is simply to mark my thoughts and progress, and to note that I’m pleasantly surprised I made progress over the recent days.   Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it continues……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Obesity

It has been an amazing few weeks in my corner of this world.  In the coming days Kelly’s Keyboard will be filled with stories of gratitude, some wonderful adventures in junior high youth ministry, family gatherings, and beautiful travels.

But today, there is something else on my mind.  Today I’m realizing how short I actually am.  There were times in my life I could stretch and be recorded at 5′ 1 3/4″, but now it’s closer to 5′ 1 1/2″…..on my tiptoes.  To be fair, I’m fine with being short, I call it fun-sized.  Today, however, I have decided to come to terms with what this short frame is carrying around.

There’s a formula to calculate one’s healthy weight using one’s height and weight to discover one’s current body mass index, the indicator of excess body fat.  There are also countless online calculators to do that automatically, so I found a few of them, and settled on using one I trust from the Mayo Clinic website.

So,with my first-thing-in-the-morning weight, I entered my information.  I didn’t even have time to take a sip of coffee before the results were up on the screen:

 

My BMI is 31.9.  I am obese. What?  No.  I just have a little more sand in this hourglass figure of mine.  Obese?  That can’t be right.

But it is.

Notice that nifty little guide in the shaded grey and orange?

Initially I looked at this and thought, ok, I’m only 1.9 over the limit into the obese category.  I can fix this in a matter of days.

I like to tell myself things like that.

 

Then I started checking the calculator to find out at what weight I would actually be considered not obese, and not overweight.

Here’s how that went:

  • Losing 10 pounds:  BMI is 29.9, overweight.
  • Losing 20 pounds:  BMI is 28, still overweight.
  • Losing 30 pounds:  BMI is 26.1, still overweight.
  • Losing 40 pounds:  BMI is 24.2  Finally!  A weight within the “Normal BMI” range.

A few more calculations and I discovered I would need to either gain 9 inches in height, or lose 36 pounds in excess weight to travel out of obesity, through overweight territory, back into normal body weight range.

I’m not getting any taller, so my course is pretty clear.  Throw on a coat, an extra scarf, wrap up in a blanket and go.  And I’m one of those folks that can wrap up in a blanket and go for a stroll without even spilling my coffee,  I have mad skills when it comes to camouflaging the fluff……..

In all seriousness, though, today,  I have no choice but to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t fluff.  It’s nearly 40 extra pounds that I’m forcing my frame to carry around.  I’m doing this to my joints, my spine, my feet, my kidneys, my heart.

This is not a “vanity” post.  This is an “I know my genetics and I’ve seen first hand how obesity can wreak havoc on one’s health and I can’t believe I’ve allowed myself to get to this point” post. And so, I take a deep breath in acknowledging there is much work to be done. It cannot wait for a new year’s resolution.

This entry is simply this first step. I don’t have a plan yet except to post my thoughts, setbacks and progress on this journey here.  Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it begins……

 

 

 

So much more than coffee

Coffee, a chance to pause, reflect, plan; a time for conversations, hugs, laughter, tears, warmth, strength.  Comfort in a cup for moments of solitude, and a reason in itself to get-together with friends and loved ones.  Liquid energy to stir the creative thoughts and complete those important tasks, and a means by which the beauty of the present moment can be savored, sometimes in an antique china cup. ~  Coffee, the perfect excuse to take snapshots along morning walks and send them to my sisters throughout the year so we can all have a coffee break together, wherever we all may be.   ~ Coffee, it’s so much more than just coffee.

Enjoy a few cups with me….

Coffee ~ So Good

~ Peace ~