Apr 15, 2017

When God is Dead - Holy Saturday


Abigail and Dolley readers I don't know if I've ever heard preaching on this subject and perhaps this is a word the Lord would have me give as it was birthed from the lowest point in my life.  The moment when God seems to be gone, Holy Saturday.  Launched that agonizing moment on the Cross when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"  Saturday, minus the physical horror of the cross is in some ways the darkest day of all.  This is the day that Jesus' body lay in the tomb.

To the followers of Christ, this must have been the worst day of their lives.  Think about it for a minute, forget your knowledge of the Resurrection, forget that you know the end of the story, simply go to the upper room with me and imagine.

Holy Saturday
The Apostles are hiding, certain they will be killed if found.  The fear of gruesome death and humiliation torments them.  They have lived with Roman oppression, they know what happened to Jesus.  He was the most powerful man on Earth and they killed him, how vulnerable they must have felt! Peter did not deny knowing Christ without a reason. How terrified would you be waiting for the knock at the door that signaled they had come for you?

Their friend Judas had betrayed the Lord and was gone.  He had fallen prey to the lies of the Devil himself.  With Jesus out of the way, the poor disciples who had cast out demons in Jesus name must surely know that the hoards of Hell were coming after them.  With Jesus dead, they would be fresh meat for the demons.  

Judas was the caretaker of the money for the group and it stands to reason he would have taken all of their funds with him when he left.  So they are broke, with a price on their heads, and they are trapped.  They have no way to pay off anyone to help them escape, how are they going to get food?  The followers of Jesus had scattered and the people of Jerusalem had called for the Lord's Crucifixion, without funds there is no one to help them.

Grief
Then there is the disillusionment.  These men had given up everything to follow Jesus - homes, families, business, position in the community.  I am sure there were those in their families that thought they were crazy, that condemned them for not doing the "responsible" thing and leading a normal life.  I am sure there were a few Mother-in-laws who had condemned them for leaving home and hearth to follow this rabbi.  As they sat in the upper room that day, they had to face the crushing possibility that they had been wrong and everyone else had been right.  Had they wasted the last three years?

Jesus had predicted his own death about a dozen times, but from all accounts, His words seem to have been hidden from the Apostles.  It was like Jesus had spoken in code and they had not heard or understood what He was saying.  There had been no Pentecost, there was no Holy Spirit speaking to them, they were totally in the dark.  This is demonstrated by their disbelief on Easter morning and Thomas' rejection of the testimony of the ten.  So I do not believe that they took comfort and hope that Jesus would rise again, this Saturday did not serve that purpose.

Curled Up in Grief
Holy Saturday was designed to buffet the Apostles.  It was designed for them to reflect.  It was designed to bring them to the lowest points in their lives and to prepare them for the work to come.  Holy Saturday is what Christianity would be without the Resurrection - dead.

I believe we all have Holy Saturdays in our lives.  Our dreams, hopes, aspirations and loved ones are taken away on Friday.  We curl up in hiding, mourning, and fear on Saturday.  Saturday is lonely and scary but take heart Sunday is on the way.  On Sunday there is victory, new life, and resurrection!  Praise God.  (Originally Published on 04/23/2011)
Blogger Widgets

Mar 27, 2017

Dear iPhone Camera - An Open Letter

Dear Camera,

I'd like to say thank you for capturing those images of my loved ones that have gone on to be with the Lord.  Thank you for documenting the growing years of my son and the passage of time and fun memories our family has shared.  I'd like to say, though, that since you stopped being a real camera and became an iPhone, I don't like you as much.  Yes, you are convenient but I find you aren't quite the truth teller or the beauty recorder that you used to be.

At first, I thought it was just me.  My photogenic face was older and heavier and perhaps it was just the passage of time but then I began to see that almost everyone looked worse on that small screen.  Images were distorted, corrections that the eye easily makes are beyond your limited facsimile abilities.  

Your camera does not capture nuances, for example, the light and shade in hair.  When I was a young girl, my hair was indeed monochromatic, brown with a reddish cast, your grandmother, the 35mm captured it beautifully.  You are incapable of such subtlety and relegate the very interesting shades of dark brown, gold, umber, white, gray, and cinnamon to dull brown with gray at the temples.  Nor can you see the texture, curl, wave, and style - nope, just a brown football helmet.

The eyes... the eyes of the young girl held dreams and visions of the future, the eyes that look back at me from the mirror hold the fulfillment and the abandonment of those dreams and life well lived.  The eyes in the pictures you produce just look tired.  They don't capture the sparkle, nor the promise of fun things still to come.

That picture of us laughing, it does not capture the joy in our hearts or the love we feel for each other, it only shows an old filling and a double chin.  You can not hear the laughter nor the snort that followed the hilarity.  Your picture does not tell the truth.  

How many times will I let you change my memory of how I looked on a special occasion?  How many times will I believe the false message you record rather than the image in the mirror?  Worse yet, why would I trust you over the people that love me?  For, in the end, it is they who really matter.

You remember the Back to the Future movies with all the video phones?  The reason that no one uses is them is that we all look like crap on them, nobody likes you iPhone camera.  

Sincerely,
All of Us

Mar 20, 2017

The Hard Truth - Obesity is a Chronic Disease


All my life, I have wanted to get the place and the weight where I could just be a normal weight and eat a normal diet.  I am not an overeater or a binger or a snacker - I eat moderate portions of healthy homemade food!   I knew if I could take off the extra pounds in a healthy, slow, deliberate way and exercise while doing it, once I reached my goal weight that I could continue my healthy lifestyle and keep the weight off.  It never worked.  Not once, not for a minute.  Apparently, I am not alone.



As the video describes, the moment I stopped losing, my body started gaining.  It took fewer and fewer and fewer calories to maintain the smaller size.  In 2009, I estimated it took 800 calories a day for me to retain my weight loss.  A slow half a pound at a time it started creeping back.  Resolve gives way, life interrupts, jobs change, people die, and the last thing you can do is get in the gym and eat another salad....

Several concentrated and serious efforts were made along the way to halt the progress but like a creeping flow of lava, the weight would not be staunched.

The depressing and hard fact of life is that once an individual is overweight, they will struggle for a lifetime.  Instead of viewing this journey as a destination, I have chosen to look at this as a concerted effort to get the symptoms of a chronic condition under control.

When I have lost the weight (again), I will look at it as if I were a malaria patient who was not exhibiting symptoms at the moment.  A chronic disease is one that reoccurs and has to be managed, usually under a doctor's care, and one for which there is no known cure.

It's indeed sobering; at first glance very discouraging - but upon deeper reflection, like any truth, once looked in the eye is liberating.  For the love of God, we should understand what we are up against!  Know the truth and the truth will set you free.

As such, I have placed myself under a physician's care.  I am taking appropriate medicine to help control my chronic disease.  There is no shame in seeking help, I have tried to do this on my own.  I have tried willpower, I have tried organic, I have tried homeopathic, I have hired personal trainers, I have read books, I have done every diet on the planet.  I have tried everything on my own to get this disease under control and I can not.   So Viva la Pharmaceuticals and a new way of looking at a lifelong struggle.

The one hope - the one glimmer, did you notice I put in the above sentence that there is no "known" cure?  That means that we do not give up hope, we keep pushing, we keep striving, we keep trying.

Mar 19, 2017

Being Emotionally Ready for a Weight Loss Journey


This series has been all over the place!  Getting real with the image in the mirror, coming to terms with the different sides of yourself, discussing rock bottom and the freedom that comes from that place, as well as what you need to do to get ready for a Weight Loss Journey.

Personally, it is the paradox of being the healthiest, happiest, and fattest of Your Life!

Life is good right now.  I have a great job, marriage, family, house and garden.  I've been under the loving care of a holistic doctor for three years and we've solved a myriad of imbalances and health issues.  I have learned how to cook, I mean really cook.  Not just make recipes but technique and skill and nuance and I love it.  I have friends, I like to host parties - life is good, except I am doing all of this wonderful stuff in stretchy pants with elastic waist bands and giant shirts that cover my butt.

In this frantic desire to take off the weight, I need to hang on to the things that I love about myself and my life.  I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to remember the negative.

You have to do the same.  Before you undertake any sort of journey - get right with yourself.  Take stock of where you are and where you want to be.  Get your head together.  Get your marriage together.  Are you sick?  If you are, don't attempt a weight loss program!

Is your world falling apart around you?  Go for a walk, eat good food, take care of yourself but don't try to lose weight.

This endeavor is only for the times when everything else is in place.  When life can be put a little on the back burner so you can spend the extra time and energy to fully engage.  If you ARE taking this journey then rejoice that you are in the place where you are free to do so and love the ones around you who aren't quiet there yet.

Mar 18, 2017

The Genetics and the Psychology of The Skinny You vs. The Fat You


When I was in college I sought the help of a counselor to help me overcome some baggage I was carrying around.  One of the very first issues that came up was my weight - yes, sadly it has been a life-long struggle.  Through some probing, we discovered that I thought of myself as having two very distinctive personalities depending on my weight.  The counselor asked me to bring in pictures and the difference was very very clear.  There was a skinny Dolley and a fat Dolley - no two ways about it.

I'd like to tell you that those issues were worked out in the college campus counseling room but I don't think we even began to scratch the surface.  Prior to considering the epigenetics of weight loss, I thought the phenomenon was entirely psychological but perhaps it is more complex than that.  Perhaps it is the expression of genes that is different - not only physical genes but personality genes as well.  

Get out your pictures and look closely.  Do you have a thin you and a heavy you?

I'd like you to consider if this holds true for you.  What do you like about each of them?  How are they different?  How are they alike?  Do they like each other?  Do you look like one side of the family vs. the other side depending on your weight?  Is the Skinny side of you safe?  Who makes better choices?  Who is in charge?

Are the eyes different?  How about the carriage?  The clothing and the colors - do they look like the same person picked them out?  Are they both worthy of love?  Can they live together in a new Healthy You?

From my personal experience, there is a heavy biology on one side of my family.  When I am heavy and expressing the "fat gene", I look like that side of the family.  Strangely and rapidly, within a week of me beginning to loose weight, my face begins to change.  I start to look like the thin biology side of my family.  I used to think it was because I lost weight in my face first but I have begun to consider if it is more than a mere reduction of puffiness.

Fascinating to consider, isn't it?  Does this hold true for you, too?

This is a complex subject on many fronts

These are all things that each of us has to delve into - I promised at the beginning that this wasn't going to be a diary or a "look at me" sort of thing.  Simply a journey we could take together.  This just happened to be around the corner.