Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Done. Just begun.

Completed. Accomplished. Finished. DONE.

I landed! From January 3, 2012 to December 18, 2012 - 50 weeks. A filled chalkboard.

118.2 pounds lost in 2012
This photo was taken last December 11, 2011. Size 3X
Today, December 18, 2012, same scarf just on size medium. (A bit fuzzy but you get the idea.) 

"It always seems impossible until it is done." I love that quote.
I'm grateful to God for helping this oh-so-ordinary sparrow. "Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:7-8
I'm grateful to my family who have had a front row seat in this journey of mine from food addiction to freedom. Your love has always been unconditional. Your support means the world to me.
I'm grateful to you, my friends. Your affirming words have cheered me on. Your patient following of my journey has been a gift to me. Many of you have prayed for me. THANK YOU!
So, what do I eat today? Same thing I ate yesterday.
There is time ahead to make adjustments. Today I am taking a mental break to enjoy this year's success before I pick up the challenges of what lies ahead.
Perhaps someone reading this could use a dose of Hope before this 2012 year closes out. Hope for a new relationship, maybe even the most important hope found in Jesus Christ? Hope for gaining victory over a bad habit, hope in establishing a good habit, hope in fresh starts?   
I will leave you and 2012 with this photo. If I can do it, you can too. Whatever it is, there is HOPE. (2 legs in 1. The one item left in my closet for this very day.)
Same heart, different sized-Sparrow.
Love & sweetest blessings from baggy-pants.
monkjo@live.com  Always happy to encourage, answer and share.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

come on in

Knock. Knock.

Since you are good friends, come 'round the back entrance.

Pick up a blanket and come sit-a-spell!

Morris & Boris are the official welcome committee.

Settle into a chair fireside.

Uh, sweetie, could you drill me some holes? I trekked to mom's woodpile and picked my project. In all its rustic glory it is beautiful when lit. Uh, thank you honey for being on board with every single project I dream of.

Look up! Enchanted Forest. This year's felt tree craft.

Woodland Creatures parade.

Mr. Grumpy made it to the mantel. I bought this book at an antique store this summer while visiting relatives in NY. On my 2013 reading list. Wondering about the plot?

Mr. Snowman patiently waiting... for snow.

And last year's craft tree sits atop silver.

Can I offer you tea? Coffee?

Always remembering Whom this season is all about. Jesus - the One and Only.

Chuck would like to share one of his popcorn balls with you.

Project #2. Hence Chuck's favorite sweet treat! Uh, honey, could you build me a box measuring this by this out of old barn siding?

Perfecto! Isn't he the greatest guy?

My Christmas centerpiece, titled Rustic Glam.

Turn to the right and find some big soft pluffy white mittens. What fun I had stuffing them to hang!

As you peek through these doors you will find Rudolph and Randolph prancing. They have been prancing with us since Year #1 of marriage when Chuck made them for me. Part of the family.

Time always goes by so fast when you visit with a friend. But I assume your calendar is loaded with baking, list-making, shopping, hostessing, caroling, attending, cleaning. In your busy day, thank you for stopping by. I'm honored you came.

But before you go, one most important utmost priority priceless treasure reason of all this season we call Christmas. Jesus' birth to Jesus' death to Jesus lives. God's plan of redemption to save me from my sin, and yours. If you don't understand what God has done for you, my email is happy to explain, and to pray for you.

One last greeting from 37460.

(I will share one very short post next week because I am down to my final little corner to fill in on my weight loss chalkboard. chirp chirp. This last number is where I land. Optimistically speaking. I smile.)

Much love to you. How I love your company!

monkjo@live.com  Always happy to answer, to share, to pray, to encourage.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the sweet spot

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm fluffing up my nest. My eyes landed on a tray hubster made me a couple of years ago, now side-lined in storage.
I dusted off the cobwebs and found it a new home in a new room.

How can I make this tray inviting?
How 'bout a stack of garage sale plates on top of soft white linen?
Hmm. Needs some height. Shop the house. Found pizza sauce jar recycled and cinnamon sticks I've had since newly married.
Ripped a piece of gauze curtain around. Never, ever throw out gauzy material.

Tied off at the handle with an invitation to you. There is room on the tray to join me for a cup of tea. Or coffee. For sweet conversation. I'd love to have you join me!
a photo speaks
Dad has been enjoying Heaven now for nine years. On November 8th I took this picture. A sweet spot sharing the same space with this wonderful man I had the privilege to call my father. The picture is worth 1,000 emotions.
Blessed beyond measure. "The Lord has done great things for me, and I am filled with joy." Psalm 126:3
chalkboard update
109.2 pounds lost since 1/3/2012. There are 4 slots left and that is where my end-goal lands, whatever number appears.
4 weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings and goodies, dodging pumpkins :-)
Trying hard to remember this piece of advice, obviously given from someone who doesn't have a thing for pumpkin: Love the foods that love you back.
a hasty blessing
May your stuffing be tasty and your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump...
Bless you,
monkjo@live.com  For questions or comments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

eight legs

Arachnids. Congregating in our master bedroom. Sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles are having a Spider Reunion at my house. My apologies, Charlotte, of the Web, for hurting your sensibilities but I do not like your friends. Especially the ones the size of a quarter, with fur.

I have been totally mystified, losing track after flushing down #13.

Past time to seek demand mister's help to solve the eight legged mystery. 

Wednesday's careful tiptoe to my bathroom . . .

Eight legs of blue plastic planted by Mister, totally missing the urgency of the mission.

That was Wednesday. On Thursday, Chuck turned on the Yankee baseball game. I, resigned to living on tiptoes hunting spiders, opened up Kindle and settled in for a read.

(I kid you not. Read on.)

I opened one of the books I'm reading by Warren Wiersbe, 10 People Every Christian Should Know (Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith).

Enter Jonathan Edwards, 1703-1758. A quiet scholar who preached one of the most famous sermons ever preached in America. He had one purpose in mind: to shake people out of their religious complacency. He made a list of resolutions that he read weekly, as a compass to guide him.

As a young student, he learned Latin, Greek and Hebrew. One of his passionate interests was WATCHING SPIDERS! (page 143) He wrote an amazing essay about them.

I see God smiling as I read.


Dear Jonathan, I may not share your passion for spiders but I would do well to share your passion for Resolution #28:

"Resolved to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, so that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same." 

You were a man who loved God and longed more than anything to glorify Him. Mr. Edwards, I am pleased to meet you.


Note to our B & B guests: We have two young couples coming in from out of state this weekend to go to Cedar Point. For Sweetest Day, armed with his caulk gun, mister went on offense to destroy Spiders. I am happy to report no sightings since Saturday.

Best Sweetest present yet, honey. Oh, along with these.

What a thoughtful and brave man I had the good sense to marry :)

So done with 8 legs,

monkjo@live.com  Always happy to respond to comments/questions.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

triple digits

Not the end goal but a BIG one on my journey to health!

100.6 pounds lost since my journey began on January 3, 2012.
Success = The sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. (281 days, to be exact)
(Hair is minus the touch of a curling iron and on the end of a windy day.)
2 questions I am asked repeatedly:
1) What are you doing to lose the weight?
2) How much farther before you reach your end goal?
Answers for #1: 
Support. Structure. Scripture. (I created my plan around these 3 S's)
My public chalkboard with weekly weight loss/gain recordings has helped my family, friends and blog world buddies support my efforts. I have leaned hard many weeks on your cheers and applause and encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Eat lean meats, fruits, veggies, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds. Basically eliminating sugar and flour (I do allow myself a very limited serving of whole wheat rounds). I drink water and coffee. (For taste testing as chef in my own kitchen, I have a fork allowance.)
Exercise 6 days/week. I have a circle path in my house - takes 27 steps for one lap through kitchen-family room-sitting room-laundry room. It is amazingly simple! Every morning I lace up my tennies and walk my laps indoors - a full 30 minutes. I do six times up/down my stairway and 30 push-ups against my kitchen counter. Anything extra like biking or walking at the school or shopping (a new aerobic) is a bonus!
Could I increase my exercise minimum? Yep, but I probably won't. I wanted to begin something that I could sustain for the next twenty years. I love the indoor house track - safe, weatherproof, cheap, and it is so mindlessly boring that the creative juices come alive in my heart. Not kidding. I also devote some laps to my "prayer walking."
Last, but not least. If you have been following my blog at all, you know how important the Bible is to me. It is the passion of my life to know God and inspire others to know Him too.
I am reading a book about being on mission with Christ. Here is a quote from this book entitled "Godspeed" by Britt Merrick.

"Effective ministry often comes through the most broken people, for their poverty makes them acutely aware of the limitless riches of Jesus' grace."
I find myself broken, yet experiencing the wondrous and limitless and all sufficient blessing from God along this journey.
Answer for #2 - if you haven't fallen asleep yet
I don't have a magic weight on the scale that I am aiming for. I know I'm not there yet. I have put two people responsible for telling me when I hit End Goal. My husband Chuck and daughter Danae. No pressure, you two beloved family.
Do you have time for one more quote?
"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second."   ~William James 
In this case, Sparrow finds her flight going into the second wind - flying in a size 12 blue jean. (And if I knew how to crop these photos, you wouldn't see my curling iron still plugged in!)
Maybe you have an area of life that needs some "flight encouragement." If I can put in small efforts day upon day, YOU can too.  Really. And truly. Together.
Grateful, amazed, and humbled by #100,
monkjo@live.com  Always happy to respond to your comments/questions.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

call to action

last summer ride

As I write this morning, it is a drippity day outside my window. On Sunday afternoon it was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day making it a perfect day to hop on the bikes. I snapped the photo to hold on to the last bit of summer fun. We are fortunate to live a half mile from our school campus. Chuck and I enjoy leisure walks and rides.

movin' indoors

We had friends over for pie and coffee this past week. Chuck's request? Banana Cream and Lemon Meringue. Proof that I can still roll out a crust:)


And because I declined a piece of pie (or two or hundred)...


I had some mini-mountains of clothes to sort through. I packed my dining room table with my past five sizes... Funny how many memories are associated with clothing articles. Enough said. I finished the task and found my table! Contented sigh.

I added the same .99 flower to my kitchen and laundry room this September. 

The milkjug I bought this summer at an antique store for $12. It is from Lawsons, our village milk market when I grew up. My favorite purchases included Mallow Cups, M&Ms, Fritos and pop.

What can you do with all the beautiful homemade cards you receive? I cut out the front of the card and popped it on a dollar store frame. (Thanks Diana for the two cards that grace my windowsill. Sweet memories!)
chalkboard update
Here is what has been locked in on my ipad for the past couple of weeks.
Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. (Romans 12:11-13 The Message Bible)
I am in need of Divine call to action in my life. I know no one more needy of refueling and aflaming than Yours Truly Sparrow. It is why I love to begin my mornings with God's Word.

Called into action. Together. Cheerfully and prayerfully.


monkjo@live.com  I respond to questions or comments you may have. Blessings!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

melting away

Flying in from our record-breaking hottest month of July...

Summer is waning... see the once tall and straight new white candle tipping?

I zoomed in. First time ever in all my summers to droop. (The candle, that is.)

Goodbye July. Hello August, end of.

We are headed straight toward the "back-to-school" routine, a routine that has guided me for the majority of my 54 years. School kid, college kid, return-to-college kid, married a teacher, 3 more school kids:)

This week history is being made. 

Drum roll . . .

This week is the last time I complain think about school encroaching upon our summer fun in the sun. This is Chuck's 35th and last year of school! (He retires next June from teaching at age 56.)

I don't know if I will miss the school days. Just in case I've taken this school routine for granted all these years, I plan to make the most of every changing month and season in this last year of our school career. It's the best I can do.

Meanwhile, I am still snatching bits of time to enjoy my outdoors porch and flowers. The hummingbirds don't seem to care that school is right around the corner.

Less of Me 

(Now there's a good prayer. "Lord, less me and more Thee.")

84.2 at 32 weeks

I broke the plateau (don't know how or the physiology behind it but I'll take it). To all of you who have cheered me on, THANK YOU! Journeys are difficult to travel alone. I'm thankful I have traveling companions! If you are one who is secretly, or not so secretly, pulling for me, can I just say it means sooooo much!!

I'm not where I am - if it wasn't for help. And my greatest source? His story is found tucked in the pages of Scripture.

 Philippians 4:13  Even lose a truckload of pounds.

It's been a great summer! My healthy lifestyle continues into the next season. Think simmering soups. But for now, I'm on the prowl for a frozen banana!

 Then off for a hike. Thanks for flyin' with me! Enjoy the final days of summer.


monkjo@live.com  Open to comments or questions. I try to answer each one.