Fear and Anxiety

Last week was rough to say the least. I got some bad news on Friday , which added to the stress that I’ve already been feeling. In spite of some difficult circumstances I’ve been pretty grounded in the fact that God is in control of everything until Friday morning.

My emotions rushed over me for a few minutes, and I broke down and cried. I thought about the obstacles that I’m facing and the obstacles that my mom is facing, and almost immediately I felt silly for being anxious about it.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

In my heart I know that God will carry me through the things that are happening now. He’s been so faithful to me in everything else, yet I still felt a few moments of fear in which I let myself crumble.

After crying for a few minutes I remembered a story that I had read in the book of Mark about a man named Legion. The part of the story that hit me was that even the demons in the story had to recognize Jesus’ authority. When we worship God fear and confusion melts away because it doesn’t exist in the presence of God.

I turned on my favorite worship playlist and spent the next several minutes just praising God for never leaving me. I thanked Him for everything He’s done to make my life worth living. I just basked in who He is, and I immediately began to feel better.

I still need God to move in some specific situations for my mom and me, but I have peace. I have a renewed understanding that He’s going to provide for us, protect us, and love us regardless of the circumstances we face.

Most of my life I think I’ve confused having peace with the absence of problems. When everything is going smoothly it’s easy to feel peace, but things happen. Life isn’t always perfect. In 2 Corinthians Paul “boasted in his weakness” because God is so strong.

Recognizing that He will be strong when I’m weak definitely gives me the freedom to let go of worry and fear.

*****

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Jesus Makes All Things New

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you may know that I think Jesus is awesome. You may also know that I spent a lot of time ignoring Him, but over the last couple of years that has changed significantly. I still have struggles like everyone else, but I love Jesus. I also love the peace that comes with the realization that He loves me.

I blogged at All The Weigh for nearly six years, but I’m making the change to All He Says I Am because it represents who I am now. I’ll still continue to talk about my weight, friends, travels, family, Jesus, and day to day things, but God is a huge part of my life now.

My biggest priority is understanding God’s character and who I am in Him, and I spend a lot of time reading His Word to understand it.

Bible

So, I’m here, and if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll embrace the changes with me. Either way, I’ll be here, and I’m thankful for my new little space on the interwebs.

*****

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Let’s Talk About How Much I Weigh Today

I weight 343 pounds. At my lowest I weighed 284 pounds. I realize that the second number is still obese, but I felt much better about myself at that weight than I do now. I’ve managed to stave off gaining for several months now. I’ve even lost a little, but I’m keenly aware of how much I need to make a change.

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How many times can I say that I know I need to do something about it? How many times can I admit that I find it hard to ask God to help me in this area of my life? Am I the only one who wishes that I could shed the extra weight without sacrifice? Am I the only person my size who can’t seem to grasp the importance of making my body healthy?

I continue to say ‘NO’ to doughnuts even when they’re staring me in the face, but that’s not enough. I need to break my addiction to instant gratification. I need to look at the big picture instead of the immediate one.

It would be easier to give up my blog and forget that I started something that needs to be finished here. It would be easier to write the new one without any thought to the old one, but that’s not what’s best for me. It’s not making me healthier, and I’m not going to allow myself to feel ashamed of the changes that I need to make.

My goal was to have two blogs so I could focus on the other one, but I’m going to rename this one when I figure out exactly how to do it. It just sums up who I am in a better way now.

I miss the friends that I’ve made here, and I like knowing that there are people who understand what I’m going through.

 

So…I’m back.

 

Mardi Gras, Weekly Weigh-In, and An Update On My Goals

I suck at living in New Orleans at this time of year. I’d rather eat my calories than drink them (especially in open containers on Bourbon Street,) and I live in the Central Business District (two blocks from the French Quarter on the clean side.) I didn’t grow up here, and while I have grown to love New Orleans, I cannot stand Mardi Gras. (My favorite Mardi Gras hashtag is one that I created, #GetOffMyLawn, which is funny because I don’t have a lawn.)

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This is what the traffic looks like from my rooftop. It’s typically slow moving until after midnight when the parades clear out.

The traffic flowing through downtown makes it impossible to enter my parking garage without driving the wrong way down a side street, and people come here from around the world to act like drunken lunatics. I’m all for having a good time, but I draw the line before naked people enact sex scenes on my sidewalk. (Yes, that actually happens…every year.)

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On a brighter note, it is easy to buy big hats, plastic swords, and over-sized beads while waiting to get home!

The revelry ends at midnight, at which time many of the locals begin observing Lent. (Did you know that the purpose of Mardi Gras is to get all of the partying out before the 40 days?) I’m not Catholic, but I have looked forward to the end of Mardi Gras every year since I moving here in 2012.

Many of my friends make goals and dedications during this time, and I think I can use this time frame to do something good for myself. My goal for the next 40 days is to exercise at least four times a week. For a long time that was something that I accomplished without much effort, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been consistent in my workouts.

I’ve seen positive results from taking control of what I consume. I have not had a doughnut since late September, and at this point I am no longer craving them. I quit drinking sodas almost six years ago, and throughout the last several years I have gone from no longer craving soft drinks to thinking they’re disgusting. It feels like doughnuts could become equally disgusting to me. I suppose time will tell. I also saw good results on the scale when I refrained from eating desserts for 21 days in January.

Now I’m expanding my focus to include breaking out of this cycle of lethargy that I’ve been in. I used to live for a good endorphin rush, but it took effort to get to that point. I’m ready to feel that way again.

I’m down another 2.2 pounds this week, which means that I’ve lost over 12 pounds since the beginning of the year. The losses aren’t huge, but if they stay consistent, I’ll be pleased with that.

Does anyone here dedicate anything for Lent? If so, what’s your plan?

Fifty Shades of Grey

I read all three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and I have been looking forward to watching the movie since before it was in production. Sure, I was underwhelmed by the lack of a tangible story line and the poor writing, especially when author tried to convince us that Ana and her roommate sat around their Seattle apartment drinking tea instead of coffee, but I enjoyed the first book enough to read the others.

I didn’t come to any harsh conclusions after reading the books when they came out, nor did I think that the sex was particularly steamy. The main female character was clearly inexperienced and naive, while Christian was successful, arrogant, and broken.

There’s something appealing about a sexy billionaire whose heart needs to be mended. We suspend reality to get to the happy endings, so why should Fifty Shades be any different? It’s not real; I’m not actually participating in abuse to watch this movie, and when it’s over I’m going to go back to the apartment that I live in alone. What’s the big deal? (I’ve been trying to honestly answer this question all week.)

The issue for me is that this kind of relationship leads to a path of devastation that I never want to experience. It is not sexy to me to think of a young, inexperienced woman who is manipulated and abused by a controlling man. It’s not romantic, and it’s definitely not GOD-approved.

When I read the books I was in a different head space. I wasn’t thinking about what GOD thought of my actions; I didn’t care about moving into a closer relationship with Him. I also neglected to see the implications of unhealthy relationships like these. I definitely should have known better.

I won’t be seeing this movie today or any other day. It’s not because I think I’m too holy for it; it’s because I think I’m too good for it. It’s because I only make room for people and things in my life that breed love, respect, and growth. I face real challenges, and watching watered down, R-rated pornography, while undoubtedly eating too much buttery popcorn, won’t help me conquer any of them.

I have friends who will see the movie, but I’m choosing not to. I won’t judge them for it, but I also won’t ask them about it. The truth is that my initial desire to watch this movie has caused me to look at other things that I watch, and I recognize that it’s time to make some changes in other areas as well.

Until then…

28 Days

I had a great visit with Dad last week. He met several of my friends, and He went home on Friday, then some friends from Fitbloggin’ made their way to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras weekend. I didn’t eat well at all, and I gained 1.4 pounds as a result. My plan is to take it off this week, and I’m doing that by making healthier food choices and time for exercise.

If I am what I eat, then today I’m leafy greens. Last week I was king cake, kobe beef sliders, and pork roast. Ha! My point is that I’m taking the reigns back today because I am happier with myself when I’m in control. I’m tracking everything that I eat, which makes it easier to stay accountable.

One of my goals for the month of February is to match the loss that I had in January. I want to lose 10 pounds again this month, but I have another goal too that isn’t related limited to my weight.

I’ve talked about my church a zillion times here, and this month they posted a challenge social media. NOLA Church’s 28 Days of Love gives us a small challenge each morning, and I’ve following along on Instagram and completing them each day for the last ten days. (You can see each day’s challenge at: instagram.com/nola_church if you want to.)

NOLA Church 28 Days of Love

I plan to complete each day because these little steps add so much joy and satisfaction to my life, but Day 10 impacted me in a major way. “Learn how to love yourself.” It sounds so simple doesn’t it?

I tried figuring out how to love myself for years, and so many of you told me that I couldn’t love someone else until I learned to love myself, blah, blah, blah…I searched for love through relationships, some of which were completely wrong for me. I looked for love/acceptance/joy by lying to myself and others about who I was. I was so steeped in shame that I couldn’t feel love, then that changed.

I began to love myself when I realized who GOD is and what He did for me. I started to understand that I could and should love myself when I realized that GOD sent Jesus (who was perfect and sinless, by the way) to feel every bit of shame, hate, anger, hurt, sin, and every other thought or emotion that we as humans would feel to die for us…to die for me.

Sunday, my pastor, Monte, said, “Jesus loved us so much that it killed Him.” The amazing news is that it didn’t stop there. He conquered death, hell, and the grave for us…for me.

It gets a lot easier to love myself when I think of GOD’s never-failing love for me. GOD loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For GOD did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17)

GOD is love, and He loves me. That led me to repentance, which ultimately led me into a relationship with Him. I love Him, and when I started placing my focus on others instead of myself, I began to see His goodness up close. That realization showed me that if GOD loves me, who am I not to love myself?

God loves you, and He’s never going to stop. if you don’t believe me, come spend a week or two with me.

Later friends…

 

 

 

 

 

An Update On My January Goals and More…

I can’t believe it’s already February, but I’m happy to report that I accomplished the goals I set for January. One goal was to refrain from all desserts/sweets for 21 days, and I did it. Sugar is like air to me, at least it feels that way sometimes, but I didn’t cave. I used the times in which I craved desserts to pray and to read my Bible. It may sound silly to some, but I drew closer to God during that time. It was awesome. I felt so empowered by my actions that I’ll make a similar goal for February.

I accomplished another goal as well; I lost 10 pounds in the month of January. I may have lost a little more than that because I reached the goal last week. I won’t step on the scale again until next Monday. I can’t express how awesome it feels to be moving in the right direction, and it feels good to have several weeks of control under my belt. My doughnut-free streak continues as well, and I need to buy new jeans as a result. I love that.

Dad arrived in New Orleans today, and I’m so happy that he will be spending the week with me. I had planned to go and see him during Mardi Gras, but I’m so happy that he’s here instead!

He met me at Starbucks because I was there most of the afternoon. The weather was nice enough to sit through a conference call outside, but it quickly turned cool. I tutored at City Greens, a farm-to-table restaurant next door, ate fruit, drank too much coffee and lots of water, and waited for him to arrive.

Eating fruit and drinking sparkling water always feels indulgent. I love that it's satisfying and positive for my health.

Eating fruit and drinking sparkling water always feels indulgent. I love that it’s satisfying and positive for my health.

I haven’t seen him since April. (I seriously refuse to go that long without seeing him again.) We went to Ulta, where we found some makeup deals. (“We” being me, but thanks for being a good sport, Dad! Ha)  I got two Laura Geller sets that included two bottles of primer, two foundation powders, two brushes, mascara, blush and brightener, and concealer. The bottle of concealer typically costs more than the entire package, which made it feel like a no-brainer.

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After that we went to dinner at one of my favorite spots, then dropped my car off for an oil change at the dealership. (That worked out well because he won’t have to pay $49 a night to park, which is what they raise the prices to when events like Mardi Gras are about to happen.)

Dad was exhausted after his day of travel, so I finished up my work for the day while he went to sleep. I typically do not allow myself to bring my laptop to bed, but I made an exception tonight.

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It was a productive day, and I got a lot accomplished tonight as well. Now it’s time to get some sleep because I plan to enjoy as much time with Dad as I can. Most other things will be secondary this week.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to make buttermilk biscuits, eggs, and bacon for Dad and friends, and I’m so happy that he will be seeing and meeting people who mean so much to me.

If you live far from your family, you know how it feels. I’m just so glad he’s here…

Until later….

 

 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Where I Live

Welcome to week three of my new blog link up. I remember when I hosted a different weekly link up and how excited I was when we were averaging over fifty link submissions per week. It was such a cool way to make new friends, and I’d love to see the same thing happen with this blog party over time.

Thoughtful Thursdays on All the Weigh

Please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your Thoughtful Thursdays questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own Thoughtful Thursdays post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 

Where I Live

 

1. Where do you currently live? I live in downtown New Orleans, LA.

2. Have you lived in your current state throughout your entire life? Nope. I’ve lived in many different states.

3. If you answered no to Question 1, then where else have you lived? Texas, Oklahoma, New York, and some other states as well.

4. What is the coolest thing about your city/town? The people are pretty awesome overall. I’ve made friends here like I’ve never had anywhere else.

5. Are there any holidays that your state goes all out to celebrate? If so, tell us about it. People go nuts over Mardi Gras. Tourists come in from all over the world to celebrate it. I live in the heart of downtown…just a couple of blocks from the French Quarter, but I cannot stand Mardi Gras. I’ll probably get out of town for most of it.

6. Describe your neighborhood (climate, scenery, etc.) I live in the Central Business District. It’s an urban area in a relatively tall building that is surrounded by other relatively tall buildings. I like it because even though New Orleans is small, my neighborhood feels like a city, and the Mississippi River is only a few blocks away.

7. What do you wish you could change most about the place you live? I wish we had seasons. I miss seeing the leaves change, watching snow fall, etc.

8. Describe your home. What’s your favorite thing about it?  I live in a historic building that was completed in the 1920’s. It’s gorgeous. It was converted from commercial offices to homes a few years ago, and I’m the first person to live in my unit. My favorite thing is probably the rooftop. We have a pool, grills, tables, and a beautiful view up there. I like being up there when it’s warm.

9. Where do you shop for groceries? Hmmm, I go to Target and Sam’s Club most, but there’s a Rouse’s just a few blocks away from my apartment. Sometimes I walk there when I’m at home and just need a few things.

10.. What is your favorite regular activity in your city/town? I spend a lot of time with friends, and we love game nights. We don’t always get around to actually playing games, but most of the time we do. We also just enjoy each other’s company too.

 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Thursday!

 

 

 

My January Goal

Today was a long and productive day, but I’m not feeling well right now. My head has been aching since late this afternoon, and I feel nauseated as well. I did’t eat much for lunch, and i skipped dinner completely because I can’t even think about food without feeling sick.

In spite of how awful I feel right now, I’m happy because I reached my goal of losing ten pounds in January. I even did it with a few days left to spare. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but numbers like that are life changing over the course of a year. I’m trying not to think about it like that though. Instead I’m just focusing on losing another 10 pounds over the next 30 days.

I’ve been losing weight consistently for the last several weeks, and I can honestly say that I forgot how good it feels. I forgot how empowering it feels to drive by Krispy Kreme without feeling tempted to eat a thousand extra calories of crap.

It feels good to remember. I wish I could remember how awesome the rush of endorphins feel after a heart-pumping workout. Exercise used to be a regular thing in my life, but I spent a lot of time not prioritizing it last year. I want 2015 to be different, which means that I have to make choices that aren’t always comfortable if I really want to accomplish that.

I’ve done some key things differently lately:

– I have chosen salads and healthy wraps over burgers and oversized burritos.

– I’ve continued to avoid sugary drinks at Starbucks even though I’m still there almost daily.

– I skipped dessert again today, after indulging in it over the weekend after 21 days of avoiding them completely.

– I’ve continued to say no to doughnuts. I haven’t had one since September, and right now I don’t miss them. It feels great to say no to them.

– I have asked God to give me strength to make healthier choices.

– I’ve taken time to buy fresh produce and prepare it at home along with other healthy foods.

There’s still so much more that I need to do! Exercise needs to become a regular thing again. I’m not sure why I currently dread something that brings me so much satisfaction, but it’s time to change that. It took some time before, and I realize that if I start making it a habit whether I like it or not, I’ll probably love it again soon.

January has been a successful month for my health, and I hope to do better in February.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Getting To Know You

I’m kind of enjoying this new Thursday thing, and I hope that it grows into a fun, weekly activity for many of us. My readership has changed, and I don’t really know who’s here. That leads me to this week’s topic. Let’s spend a few minutes getting to know each other!

Thoughtful Thursdays on All the Weigh

Please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your Thoughtful Thursdays questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own Thoughtful Thursdays post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Getting To Know You

1. List three things that you don’t need, but that you wouldn’t want to live without. Hmmmm…My iPhone, Macbook, and dessert

2. What is your favorite/least favorite household chore? I don’t mind doing the dishes/cleaning the kitchen, etc. I like to keep things tidy, but I wish my floors would clean themselves.

3. Tell us about your hobbies (things that you do to relax, to have fun, etc.) I love to bake, though I haven’t done that in nearly three weeks. I also enjoy reading, knitting, playing board games, attending small groups with my NOLA Church folks, and shopping. (This list could be much longer.)

4. What’s your favorite holiday, and why? Christmas. I love Thanksgiving too and all of the time in between. People are nicer, the weather is usually cool and crisp too (at least it was until I moved to New Orleans!)

5. It’s Wednesday night. What will you do to enjoy yourself? Well, tonight I hosted a game night at my favorite coffee shop. I thought that I’d have a friend or two there, but we ended up having a group of 10 people. It was awesome.

Game Night

6. Share at least three things that you like about yourself. I like my ability to connect with people in a genuine and altruistic way, I like my smile and ability to laugh at myself, and I like my musical talent. I’m thankful for all of these things.

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7. What are you looking forward to doing most over the coming weekend? Gosh..there’s so much…Mom is coming into town, but before that we’re finishing up our 21 Days of Prayer with breakfast at church. These periods always change my life, and this one has been incredible. Maybe I’ll talk about that more at some point.

8. Did you make any goals for January? If so, how are they coming along? My goal for January is to lose 10 pounds, and I had lost 7 at my last weigh-in. I ate chips and queso that I didn’t need last night, so I’m going to have to work a little smarter in the coming days if I want to accomplish that goal.

9. Are you in a relationship? A romantic one? Nope. I have awesome relationships with family and friends though. Does that count? (I wrote the question, so no. Ha…)

10. What is your favorite TV channel? It depends on the time of year. If it’s during the holidays, it’s definitely the Hallmark Channel. The rest of the year I leave the TV on mute with CNN or QVC playing in the background. I like CNN because I can keep up with what’s happening around the world, and I like QVC because they’re always so darn happy about everything on that channel. Ha

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!