what my love does

I missed week 4 of my series, Weight Loss Wednesday. The week was hectic and exhausting and overwhelming and full of lessons. I promised myself over and and over that I would write the next day, concocting what I would say, but I never found or made time to press my fingertips to the keyboard and type out any of my thought words.

This weight loss journey is a process. I've said it a hundred times. And I will think it - possibly say it - a million more times. There's no real pats on the back along the way. There's only me looking into the mirror and down at the scale and wondering why other's words of affirmation don't quite stick.

I'm a positive person. At least I try to be. But it's so much easier to concentrate that positivity on someone else rather than turning it onto the person in the mirror. I'd much rather focus on those put in my circle than focus on myself. Sometimes, though, I turn inward and do my best to forget about what it is like to care about others. That never lasts long. I was born to care and born to help and born to worry.

Ever since I earned my bachelor's degree in 2008, I've worked in the realm of social services. First as a social worker. Then recruiting foster families. Now I'm part social worker and part health advocate and fully serving an underserved population. It is one of the most thankless jobs there is.

Firemen are recognized for saving lives. Teachers are recognized for saving minds. Military personnel are recognized for saving the country. And social workers are forgotten - just like so many of the children they serve are forgotten.
There are over 8,000 children living in foster care in Oklahoma. Over 8,000 children who have suffered abuse and neglect and loss after loss after loss. Over 8,000 children who do not know how to handle all the conflicting emotions or the things they hear from social workers. Over 8,000 children who do not know where they belong. Over 8,000 stories most don't want to hear because the abuse hurts.

I don't know why this is my field. Or why God continues to place me back into the lives of children. I only know that I can no longer attempt to run from it. I must stand where God has placed me and trust that He is big enough to overcome the obstacles I face daily. Because I'm good at what I do but I am not perfect. I fail daily. I let people down and sometimes say the wrong thing. I struggle with how to be enough for everyone and how to ensure that the children I see throughout the week know that they are fiercely loved. And I can do it all well enough, I suppose. But I can't spark any changes without The One who first changed me.

I started reading the book Love Does a few weeks ago, and I'm a little over halfway through it. With every page I turn, I see the faces of the kids and I am reminded that love does. It does things for those who receive the love. It causes those who give love to do things. I want to be someone who does.

We've talked about fostering for years - my husband and I. We know the need. For much of the time I spent working as a social worker, he spent years working one-on-one with children trapped inside aspergers and autism. He cared for children placed in the hospital due to the intense drama they suffered. He saw all the depravity and hurt that children face and feel when they are not loved well.

And even though we've talked about it, we have not yet taken the steps required to foster. Because we want to be able to give EVERYTHING to any child who comes through our doors, and giving everything, when you know it's likely the child will leave, is absolutely terrifying.

But each and every time I come in contact with a child who benefits even the smallest bit from love and attention, I remember that that fear will be the best fear we have ever experienced. Because it will be a fear we experienced for walking where God has asked us to.

Before we can walk this path, I know there are things I need to work through. Like losing weight and losing all the struggles that have accompanied needing to lose weight. Like learning how to actually let go of control and simply trust in Him. Like asking Him to help me love and then depending on His strength to be the main source of my love and wisdom.
Courageous people feel the same fear everyone else does, they just decide not to live like they’re afraid anymore. --Bob Goff
I don't want to live in any of my fears. I want to break those chains and run freely into the life He has invited us into. I want to show any child who is in foster care that I meet that they are immensely loved. And when, and if, the time is right, I want to also show that love to that child's parents and allow God to use me to fix what was once destroyed.

I can't take in all the children in Oklahoma's foster care system. If I'm approved for the maximum number of children, I could take up to six. If we're in a place where we can, that's what I want to do. Until that time, though, I want to love others and allow God to love me so that I am filled with all that He is so that I can pour out all of His love.

I don't know why God has placed me in this field. Or why I am stirred so deeply by the issue of child abuse. I couldn't tell you why it is I get so angry at people who brush the issue aside or people who talk about the issue but don't really know. All I know is that I love the children I am responsible for just as much as any mother or father could love their child but not as much as my Father in Heaven loves them or me.

All I know that this field right now is thankless but that doesn't really matter. I don't need a pat on the back or a day dedicated to my field. I simply need to see one smile and know I did something good at least once and remember God is working through me.


weight loss wednesday (week 3)

Today’s Weight: 225

Total Loss: 40 pounds (I gained 0.5 pounds over the last week.)

celebrating 4 years of marriage friday night
What I craved this week: Nothing. And that wasn't a good thing - obviously. I craved nothing because I ate whatever I wanted and called it a "celebration" because we did lots of celebrating this weekend.

There was pizza on Thursday night, fancy dinner on Friday night & ice cream, Mediterranean food on Saturday night, Steak N Shake and homemade cupcakes on Sunday... And then I went to the State Fair on Monday with a group of teens and elementary school age kids.

What I noticed was different about my body: My butt. It's (finally!) getting smaller and firmer. Now I just need to make sure that most of the rest of me starts doing the same thing.

Workouts planned for this week: I'm scheduled to work out with my trainer tonight (Wednesday) and also Saturday morning. I need to figure out when else to fit in work outs. The more I work out the better I eat. The better I eat the more energy I have. And the more energy I have the more weight I lose. Everything is tied together, and it is really time for me to start getting it together once again.

Personal Goal(s) for this week: Make good decisions with what I choose to put in my body. I can enjoy things in moderation but moderation is key (and what I struggle with the most). I mean who really only wants a half-cup of ice cream? I personally want several cups - which is why I am stuck at 40 pounds lost.

Favorite Quote(s) for this week:

inspecting the backyard and surveying the back porch.
What I'm looking forward to: The next chapter. We finally closed on our old house this past Monday. It's so surreal to be done with that chapter and moving onto a new house. Our new house is now fully framed (the picture to the right is just of the bottom floor framing - I don't have one of both floors framed [bad blogger]), and it's scheduled to be done in under 60 days. Once the house is built and we close, the real fun (and frustration I'm sure) begins. There will be lots of weekend projects, lots of estate sales, lots of planning and changing.

I'm so looking forward to the next chapter. To making things for the house. To strengthening friendships and inviting people over for dinner and games, to hosting watch parties, to building a home and a family in our brand new, blank slate house. To starting over and fresh while staying right where I am.


weight loss wednesday (week 1)

I'm starting over - again.
I feel that's all I ever do. It's been well over a year since I began this journey, and I've still only lost about 40 pounds. I'm so ready to be able to say I am halfway to my goal and down a whole 50 pounds. But I know I have to do the work to win the prize of 50 pounds lost.

Earlier today, I logged back into My Fitness Pal for the first time in months and logged my breakfast, AM snack, and lunch. There's a going away party tonight at the group home, so I know there won't be as many healthy option as I would like. But it is time to stop making excuses about why I can't eat healthy (re: free food) and stop saying no to the ice cream.

So much of my lack of self-control has had to do with the uncertainty and change that currently define my life. We're living with my in-laws, building a brand new house, and still waiting for our old house to close. I'm working two jobs and trying to fit in exercise when I can. Add the fact that I feel a little (okay a LOT) a bit uncertain about my future and feel very out of place in a world where all my friends from high school on are starting families and also out of place because I have no desire to be pregnant ever but instead want to foster/adopt and it all turns into a disaster of eating.

And do I mean eating, Mazzio's pizza buffet has been a constant over the past two weeks. I feel awful after I eat there but turn to it as soon as I feel like my day is too much to handle.

On the other side, I want to eat out every single meal when I'm with my husband. Because it's fun and a great date night. And really who wants a salad when you could have something else?
I can't do these things anymore. I can't turn to food for comfort or fun. I need to see it as fuel. I watch what kind of gas I put in my car, so I need to definitely watch what kind of food I put into my body.
One of the girls I knew in college is also in the midst of a weight loss journey. She’s down 50 pounds, ran 8 miles earlier in the week, and looks incredible. I want to be where she is, but I know I have to do the work she does.

So I’m stealing a post from her and using it for my own benefit. She calls it Healthy Train Tuesday; I’m going to call it Weight Loss Wednesday.

Today’s Weight: 225 (it’s finally time for me to look at that number on the scale and admit it to the world so I no longer let it define me.)

Total Loss: 40 pounds.

What I craved this week: So far I’ve craved pizza (and haven’t eaten it!), popcorn (which I ate a lot of Monday night), diet coke, a hamburger (which I haven’t and WON’T eat), and frozen yogurt (which I ate on Tuesday).

What I noticed was different about my body: I feel better. My liver enzymes are finally back to normal and will STAY that way. No more elevated enzymes or englarged liver for this girl!

Workouts planned for this week: I’m working out with the trainer tonight. And then I’m going to force myself to go to the gym tomorrow morning and Friday morning. Saturday morning I am doing a 3 mile walk around the zoo to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

Personal Goal(s) for this week: Track everything I eat. Limit the amount of carbohydrates I eat. Sweat a whole lot while working out. Drink more water that diet coke. Pray a LOT about EVERYTHING. Stick to it. I have given up so much in my life (weight loss, relationships) when things get tough and I need to prove to myself that I can (and WILL) follow through.

Favorite Quote for this week: You have entered a season of change where old things are ending before new doors will open. These changes will take place on a variety of levels and will produce a sense of discomfort. You might even experience some level of anxiety. But, at the very least you will have that out-of-pocket feeling. Do not overreact to your feelings. This is a period of temporary adjustments along the way, for I am positioning you for greater liberty of body, soul and spirit, says the Lord. Don't be afraid. --Marsha Burns

What I'm looking forward to: No longer being afraid. Believing in myself and rebuilding my confidence. Not giving up with any aspects of my life - no matter how hard it is to stick with it and hang in there.


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