Changing My Life

The following post contains a rare and unprecedented bout of honesty and vulnerability. I ask that you tread lightly with my heart, and that you only offer up to me the kindest of words during my recently begun journey to change my life.

I have had a problem for a while now.
I haven’t wanted to admit it, take responsibility for it, and look it in the eye – but it’s been there all along.

I have a serious food addiction.
I have become the epitome of  everything I never wanted to become.
I have cravings so strong they move me to tears and anger if I can’t satisfy them.
I don’t drink enough water.
I have a caffeine addiction.
I have a sugar addiction.
I usually think twice before eating fast food, and then I do it anyway.

I have become significantly overweight.
More than I ever imagined I would allow.

People tell me all the time that I am pretty… that they love me just the way I am. I appreciate ALL of you. I can’t say enough how rare it is to find friends and family who will love you just the way you are. But the hard truth of it is this: I don’t love myself the way I am. I really stopped loving myself altogether about 50 pounds ago. I can barely look in the mirror most times. Trying on clothes sends me spiraling into a depression. Exercise injures me because I am so overweight it hurts my body to exercise. I see all the things I want to do and cry because I can’t. I see all the fashion styles that are SO ME, but I am too fat to dress like that. I have had people not want to be my friend because of my size. I noticed. It’s obvious and it hurts.

This is extremely hard for me to admit.
This is painful to share, but I need to be honest with you and with myself.
If I don’t come out and say this, then I can continue to hide behind the plastic smile that masquerades my pain.
If I don’t expose my faults, then I have no outside motivation to fix them.

SO –

I decided to change my life.

Call it New Years.
Call it being finally fed up.
Call it whatever you want, but I am DOING THIS.

I recently joined a program that I had a TON of success with several years ago.
I originally thought they were only in Tyler, TX – but it turns out they have 3 offices here in Kansas City (and more around the country!).

I joined the Metabolic Research Center.
If you want to know about them, you should check out their website.
(If you want a free consultation, let me give you my free coupon for one!)

The basics are that all their products are holistic, plant based ingredients (safe to use even when breastfeeding for those wanting to lose baby weight).
They have me on a VERY strict diet with the goal of CHANGING my metabolism. Not helping it or boosting it – changing it.
It is not an easy program and it is not cheap.
But I never thought it would be.
It took a long time for me to allow my body to get this bad, so I knew it would cost me a lot to fix it.

Feel free to ask me how it’s going, though if you live near me you might start SEEING for yourself.
Feel free to pray for me, encourage me, and offer yourself as a walking/hiking buddy.

But most importantly, please do not try and feed me anything you feel I am being deprived of. 🙂
I want to be deprived from the foods that have been killing me.
I am going to be working hard at this.
I am going to have to be more disciplined and organized.
I am going to get healthy.
I am going to lose weight.
I am going to feel like myself again.
With God’s help, I am going to love myself again.

– – –

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The Shadow of Love

I wrote this poem for my Creative Writing class.
It is technically a sonnet, comprised entirely of couplets.

The assignment was to mimic a poem in class.
The poem/sonnet I chose to mimic in form, sound, and content was “Daybreak” by Stephen Spender.
My teacher really liked my poem/sonnet!

I am still looking for a better title. Thoughts?

Enjoy. 🙂

– – –

The Shadow of Love ©
By: Tasha Cardwell

 The shallow rise and fall of his bare chest summons
A stirring in mine of emotional emulsions
His soft, yet fuzzy game-like hair
Runs through my fingers; I whisper a prayer
Somewhere in times largely unknown
Providence granted that I wouldn’t be alone
And off in the distance a heavenly choir
Echoes the design that combats the fire
An imitation of things in heavenly realms
Two becoming one: greater than ourselves
The tremulous waiting of this fleeting orb
For culmination of the symphonic chord
His hand beckons for mine, a love-sick pursuer
No greater Love will we ever know truer

– – –

…and the waters receded…

Chad and I have been trying to keep up with a daily Bible reading plan this year. The goal is to read through the entire Bible in 2012.
This is challenging for both of us: Chad is not naturally a “reader” and school tends to drown me in other readings during the semester that I tend to lose time and motivation to really read anything else.
So far, we have been doing pretty well… so cross your fingers that we can actually keep this resolution! 🙂

The plan I chose is the Chronological reading plan.
I have been wanting to read the Bible chronologically for quite some time now.
It does its best with historical accounts to sequence the books and their chapters in the order by which they occurred.
So Genesis is obviously first, but only the first few chapters through the story of Noah, and then it jumps to Job.
It is fascinating.

Today I was reading about the end of the flood when the waters receded off the earth and Noah and his family and all the animals could come out onto dry land again.
I am well aware that the calendar dates of these events are speculative based on Hebrew being translated into English, and factoring in the fact that the calendar we use is different than what they would have used back then…

BUT it still caught my eye that in Genesis 8:13 it says that Noah was able to see the face of the dry ground for the first time on the first day of the first month of a new year.

New beginnings.

Noah and his family were the only people faithful to walk in communion with God. Their reward was salvation from the flood that allowed them to live to see this new year.
No matter what happened the year before or how long they had to remain in that boat, the new year brought change and the chance to start over and make everything new.

I don’t normally feel this way about a new beginnings.
I honestly am always a erring on the side of skeptical and pessimistic when it comes to a new year.

Yet, for some reason, this year I feel this overwhelming hope.
I feel a lot like Noah… I have been waiting and waiting for His promises for me…
I have been doing my best to be faithful and coming back to His feet when I have failed.
I have been longing to see the dry ground that signals the start of a new chapter.
This is the year I want to finally overcome strongholds.
This is the year I want to say goodbye to the old me and find myself again in Him.
This year I feel God whispering to me about the fulfillment of dreams…

* *

31 Things: Days 12 through 31. (I know!)

So I underestimated how busy the holidays would be. I had it all planned out perfectly in my head how I could easily write a blog every day in December about what I am thankful for.

I was not prepared for road trips and friend’s houses with no Wi-fi…. a ridiculously busy schedule as we tried to make time to see soooo many people on our travels…. the amount of time I would lose by having a 4-year-old to take care of…. etc.

Long story short, life is busy.
I was still thankful for many things.
I did not have time to blog about them every day.

Here are a few highlights of things I was thankful for during the last few weeks of my 2011. 🙂

Of course, I am always thankful for Chad.
But when we travel on long distance road trips, see friends and family, and in general find ourselves outside of our routine, I become abundantly thankful for his friendship, his presence, his familiarity…. I love having him around. 🙂

I am thankful for road trips.
I  like to get away from the normal routine.
I like to hold the wheel in my hands with my favorite music playing loudly in my car radio and just sing along for hours.
I like to fly too, but there is something about an open road, with sunsets and coffee and music and privacy that makes it all so memorable. 😉

I am thankful for advancements in technology.
As strange and bizarre as being thankful for that seems, let me be specific.
I am thankful for technology that makes my life infinitely more convenient and luxurious. 😉

Specifically,  I am thankful for our new Cat Genie.

It is 100% self-sufficient.
It has allowed us to leave the house for extended periods of time, without having to pay anyone to come to our house and scoop a litter box.
It has allowed us to own 3 amazing loving kitties, without ever having to even think about their excrement again.
It has lowered the amount of germs in the house, and the levels of stress because we do not have to touch a litter box at all anymore.
In essence: heaven-sent. 🙂

I am also thankful for our newest Christmas gift: A Kindle Fire!
I never wanted an e-Reader, and essentially I still don’t.
I like real paper… real books… you know, the kind with tangible pages…

BUT, this Kindle Fire can do so much more than read books… and it made our massive amounts of road trips over the holidays much more entertaining than they would have been otherwise. 😉

I am thankful for fireworks. We shoot them off nearly every year we are at Chad’s Mom’s house for New Years Eve.
They are just so pretty. 😉

I am thankful for times to just sit and relax.
They usually involve a warm cup of coffee, or – in this case – a mason jar of homemade sweet tea in Texas.
There is something wholesome about drinking sweet tea in Texas. 🙂
Vacations can be stressful, but – if you seek it out – they can also include time to just sit and relax and just breathe.
I sat on Chad’s Dad’s back porch and just watched the kids play football.
It’s not easy to find time for stuff like that in the hustle of every day life.
I want more times like this in 2012. 🙂

I am thankful for friends who know me.
Being able physically and financially to drive to see a great friend is just about the best thing I can think of besides them living right next door.
Friends who get me.
Friends I share history with.
Friends I share memories with.
Friends who I can be myself with.
One of God’s best gifts to me by far. 🙂

I am thankful that Chad is so good with kids.
He may not have a wealth of experience in babysitting or younger family members, but Chad’s heart is loving, gentle, generous, and fun with kids.
It makes my heart so happy. 😉

I am thankful for coffee and for those that bought me a year’s supply!

I am thankful for a great book.
I got many for Christmas.
I don’t think I will have time to read all of them before school starts up in 2 weeks.
I am certainly going to give it my best shot! 🙂

Lastly, I have found that I am thankful for God’s hand in my life even when I might forget he is leading me.
A few months ago we decided to ask my brother Shaun if we could take his youngest (our nephew Nathan) for the Holidays.
At the time, I thought it would just be something fun and nice to do – to get to know him and love him, etc.
Little did I know, God planted that idea in my head and orchestrated the whole thing.
Another blog posted is needed to explain in detail, but I never thought I would learn so much about myself by taking Nathan into our lives for 3.5 weeks.
There were things that God wanted to show me and he chose to do so through the eyes, hands, and mouth of a sweet 4-year-old.
(More to come on this experience soon.)

I LOVE my nephew Nathan.

He is the most sweet, cuddly, warm-hearted boy! He is eager to learn, and humble in correction. He strives to have a good heart and to listen and obey – even if it’s tough.
He is full of life and excitement and passion.
He is a joy to have around!