Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stand Up! Eat Purple! Learning How to Raise My HDL

How long do you sit in a day? Stop and think about it. My cardiac rehab therapist recommends no more than three hours. THREE HOURS, for meals, reading, Bible study, T.V. or movie watching, driving, visiting with friends, and church. That is not much when you think about it. I know I had been sitting more than that. So now I’m starting to do my morning quiet time on my feet. The first few times I became distracted. My mind would wander with my feet but as I practice it’s becoming easier to keep my focus standing. I also had a standing station for my laptop installed in my new bookshelf unit. So now I can write on my feet. I had been typing sitting or standing at the kitchen counter but my kitchen counter is lower and has stools. Ooops sitting again!

Changing my diet seems to be called for as well, now that I officially have heart disease. I need to wean my sweet tooth, no more than six teaspoons of added sweetener a day. I can assure you I am not there yet. Some women are naturally sweet. I’m not one of them. I need to add sugar. I just need to start adding less. Dark chocolate is good! Added sugars suppress the body’s ability to make HDL (Healthy cholesterol). My HDL is 40, unusually low for a woman. My heart team wants it up around a hundred.  I also need to eat lots more veggies which is a challenge with my digestive issues. Then I read “think purple”; dark purple fruits and veggies help increase HDL. So I will eat some living purple thing every day. Today I ate red cabbage, blackberries, and black grapes.

The last change I need to make may prove the hardest. Yes, even worse than more vegetables: regular exercise. Not three days or four days a week but minimum five. That’s right five days a week for 30 minutes a day until Jesus comes or I die. Death may come sooner than Jesus because more veggies, less sweets, and regular exercise is sure to kill me. Self discipline in these areas is tough but I know if I make myself do these things long enough I will form good habits and I won’t have to think about them. I’ll just stand up, eat purple, orange and green (no not the Skittles. I ran from that isle), and exercise almost every day. I have gone back to prayer walking. Since I tend to pray or 40-60 minutes a day it helps. The challenge will be when the weather gets cold.

It’s humbling to have to make these changes. Compared to most people my age I had a fairly active lifestyle and healthy diet before my heart attack. Yet God never calls us to compare ourselves to others. We are unique. I am called to be a wise steward of the unique way He made me: prone to heart attacks. Fortunately , He also made us the same in at least one way; we are made for community. I don’t have to do this alone! He gave me you! Please, help me. If you see me ask how my new habit forming attempts are going. If you remember me, please pray the Holy Spirit increases my self control in these areas. Better yet join me. Stand more, exercise daily, and eat purple, by the way cocoa counts as purple. So join me for a daily dark chocolate break. We’ll need it after all that standing and regular exercise.

Lord, please help us each to be good stewards of the bodies You made for us. Help us develop self control. Increase our energy and stamina that we may use it to serve effectively in Your Kingdom. To You be the glory, and honor and power forever! Amen

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Relearning an Old Lesson

Have you ever been so tired you could fall asleep standing? That's how tired I felt the first (and every) time I was pregnant. The first time was the worst because I didn't expect it. I could sleep ten hours at night, take a two hour nap, and still have barely enough energy to drag myself through the day like a zombie. I could not keep up with work, home, and ministry commitments. I cried out to God for help and wisdom.

His response took me to what an older  woman should have been telling me: Titus 2:3-5. I needed to love my husband, my unborn child, and keep up my home. That's what He told me to do. Then the Holy Spirit added this clear impression: "If you can't do those three things, nothing else you're doing is My will for you." That made my life manageable. I dropped everything that didn't contribute to the well being of my household. No more seminary wive's choir or church choir. No more teaching Sunday School. I needed to set an example for those junior high girls that my husband and home came first.

This past year, in the pursuit of a new career as a writer, I forgot that lesson. I failed to settle into my house, the one I moved into two and a half years ago. Granted I didn't know I was staying in this house until twelve months ago. TWELVE months and still not settled! No shelves in my library for my books to rest on. It's tough when your references for writing are still in boxes. A craft room that should double as a guest room stands in use as a large closet, and a messy one at that! Empty boxes and bubble wrap that I thought I may need again have exploded all over my basement along with several half unpacked boxes of items I need to use, store or toss. A bathroom sink and vanity complete the basement disaster, remains of a remodel done last spring.

My loving, wise husband assured me he did not mind. He also didn't mind the unvacuumed floors, dusty furniture, and dirty bathrooms that plagued us all summer as I tried to write my book and meet self imposed deadlines. Then WHAMMM, my heart attack! The counsel from Titus 2:3-5 haunts me. I need to take seriously the instruction to love my husband, children (now all grown and gone from my house), and be a keeper of my home. So until I get my house in order I can't commit to a weekly blog. I hope you understand.

There is a season for everything and in this season I need to settle in for the long haul. Once settled I will begin in earnest to write again. Until then I hope the lesson I'm learning over again will help you prioritize too. For those of us who are married women God's will is simple; Love our husband, love our children, keep our homes. If you're doing that and have extra time praise God and use it for His glory!