Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Decision to Lose Weight

Make a decision to let God be God.

God wants to guide our steps. He wants to comfort us and give us peace. He longs to hold us in His arms and take the load off our shoulders.


But sometimes, we won’t allow Him to.


O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Lucy Park in Wichita Falls, TX.

     "Success can be as simple as making a decision. Ask God to take over your eating, decide on purchasing and planning healthy choices, then leave your food in His hands. Many things we do for God we do out of habit.

     With any addiction or compulsion, there is an element of habit involved. We turn to the same foods, the same friends, the same haunts that have tripped us before and made us fall.
                                                                 from Divine Dining, April 21 devotion

God gave human beings free will, and He will not cross that barrier. Everything that God does for us including salvation comes first with a decision. On down in the devotion from Divine Dining above, I tell about realizing that I needed quiet time but wasn't able to work it into my busy schedule. At that time, I went to work early and worked long days. When I got home, I was hungry and tired but needed to get dinner on the table. When the day's chores were done, and I sat in my chair, I soon fell asleep.

One day, I made a decision to use my alarm clock and have quiet time before breakfast. At first, I had a hard time forcing myself to get out of bed, but I had made a decision. I stuck to it until it became habit.
Even an elephant-sized problem is solved with a decision.

Fort Worth, TX. zoo

The rough part is our strong will power.

Our desire for our own will makes it hard for us to submit to God's will.

A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
                                                                         Proverbs 16:9 Amplified

1.     We make decision

2.     God shows us the strategy to fulfill the decision

3.     When we flounder, we reinforce our decision to God.

4.     God provides the strength to make it.

Do you need to make a decision to trust God for weight loss?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Traveling Texas

I live in Texas, a big state with various terrains. Experts break it into seven distinct regions. Each builds on advantages. Each gives challenges. Each has beauty. I got this map from a site online which points out the boundaries.
How many of you have traveled all 7 areas?

I have, and I've lived in two.

I was born and raised in and around Dallas. Dallas and Fort Worth are both located in the Prairies and Lakes region. Down through the center of Texas cuts  a swath of rolling green land with sparkling lakes, and pastoral scenes.

Along with my husband and three daughters, I moved years ago northwest to Wichita Falls. We loved the kind people and business friendly community, so we stayed. As you can tell on the map, I live in the eastern and northern edge of the Panhandle Plains. We're lower in elevation than cities Lubbock and Amarillo on the high plains, but our land is flat, dry, with gorgeous sunsets.

A popular vacation spot is the Texas' hill country including Austin and points west until you drop to the desert.

This month, my husband and I took our travel trailer to between Johnson City (home of LBJ) and Blanco in the hill country. Miller's Creek makes a delightful camping spot. Five miles away the Blanco River winds through the country and gives lovely waterfalls. The Guadalupe River invites summer-time water rafting less than an hour away..

This region gives us magnificent hills, drop-off cliffs, huge oaks, peaches, wine country, and the ever favorite spring wildflowers. I couldn't resist stopping several times for shots of bluebonnets (the Texas flower) and Indian paintbrushes.

My middle daughter's favorite vacation spot is the Gulf Coast shown on the map above in blue all along the curve of the state and also including a long Padre Island. Who doesn't like the beach in the summer? Cities include Houston, Galveston, and Beaumont-Port Arthur.

A trip to Jefferson, Texas gives a history lesson, a ghost tour, and gorgeous homes deep in the Piney Woods of east Texas. Named for its many huge pine trees, the traveler also finds cypress trees, dogwood, and azaleas with lakes and streams plentiful. Texarkana tops off this area, but most towns are picturesque, smaller, and nestled in woods.

Texas begins with our Panhandle plains where I live and ends with the southern plains west of the gulf coast. The biggest city in the area is San Antonio. Wide-open land gives rise to big ranches and areas that stays warm even in the winter. Snowbirds (campers who travel south to escape the snow) love the South Texas plain climate and openness. Their favorite stop is McAllen, Texas near the Mexican border.

One last region remains; the Big Bend Country, Texas' version of desert with colorful rocks, unusual plants, summits or rugged drop-off grandeur. The biggest city is El Paso with the second largest being Midland. In the bottom half called Big Bend, population is sparse, cities few, but the beauty spectacular.

Since our recent trip across Texas, my pride swells once again, and I desire to share on my blog.

Sunday is Easter. My gratitude to God expands with travel. The sacrifice of God's son, Jesus, for my sin gives me freedom to love, to enjoy earth's beauty, and to look forward to eternal life in a place a hundred times more beautiful than my home state.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Connie Almony and Her Character Interview

Today, I've invited Connie Almony and her new friend, Carly Rose, to visit with us here on the Writing with God's Hope blog.  First let me introduce Carly.

Who is Carly Rose?

I'm glad you asked.

Carly Rose stars in her own novella, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Janet: How exciting for you. Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Carly Rose. I develop prosthetics to help people who’ve lost limbs. I work mostly with veterans. Though I grew up in the business, helping my father who started Rose Prosthetics, I wanted to learn all aspects of the field so received training as a physical therapist as well. Right now, my dad and I are trying to start a new company, since my brothers ruined the one he’d originally created.

Janet: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t know if you’d call it quirky or downright crazy, but I moved in with a very bitter disabled Iraq-war vet, Cole Harrison, to help him rehab with my prototype prosthetics. I was hoping to get him to invest in a new company and redeem the Rose family name. Only I didn’t realize the guy would be such a … oh well … Let’s just say he’s not all together pleasant (cough) a-beast. Ahem. Excuse me, I had something in my throat.

 What are three things we might not guess about you?

1)      My favorite part of my work is wielding a blow-torch. Yes, a blow-torch! We use them to heat molds for prosthetic sockets during the fitting process. I don’t know why I love that part so much. I guess it just makes me feel a little dangerous.

2)      I’m not real good filtering what I say, especially if I’ve been insulted. I tend to lash out. Dad says I got my temper from my mom. She’d been a little fiery when she was alive. Dad always smiles and winks when he tells me that.

3)      I’m not afraid of much, but I’m deathly afraid of horses, especially Cole’s horse, Lightning. No reason. No childhood trauma involving the big brutish creatures. I think it’s just because they are big, and I am not. Oh yeah, and they don’t talk so you can’t reason with them about not stepping on you, kicking you, or galloping off with you at top speed. And they’re big. Did I mention that yet?

Oh, I so understand that part. Victoria Peterson who starred in her own YA novel, "Victoria and the Ghost" was afraid of those big animals, too  How was it that your life got complicated?

Things had been going slowly down hill since my brothers took over my dad’s prosthetics company, but it really hit the fan when a disabled vet fell down some stairs while using a prosthetic leg created by the Rose company that had a seriously defective screw. Between the lawsuits against the company and the recalls that followed, my father’s mood had become very dark. It was his dream to help amputees since his brother killed himself years ago, but his own sons have destroyed that dream.

Still, my life changed dramatically when I moved into Cole’s manor. Our arrangement gave my father hope, so I didn’t have to worry about him so much. But now I traded that concern for the man I live with—a man who wrestles many demons, though I’ve been increasingly aware, has a softer, generous side. If only he didn’t feel such a great need to shield it from vulnerability.

I'll bet you despise that Cole, or at least your brothers.

Oh, I can’t say I actually despise anyone, though I’m really angry at those wretched, selfish, beasts of brothers I have—Ahem—I mean, I’m not too happy with my siblings. Sometimes I’d like to wring their scrawny necks and throw mud on their former-model wives’ sequined gowns … but I couldn’t say I really despise them. I know, since God has forgiven me my sins, I need to forgive them theirs … someday … I hope.

I'd like to see you throwing mud at sequined gowns, but forgiveness is a must when God forgave us, isn't it? What stands in the way of your current life goal?

I guess that would be my family’s reputation for creating inferior products that can injure rather than help. That’s why I started developing prosthetics on my own. However, I need to find a way to distinguish my work from theirs, but no one will invest in my new designs. Except, maybe Cole. I don’t know why, because he’s made it painfully clear he wanted nothing to do with prosthetics again. But for some reason, he’s trying mine.

In three words, describe yourself.

Tenacious, hard-working and plain.


Yeah, well, next to my brothers’ former-model wives, I think most people would call me plain.

Does Cole find you plain?

Yes, I believe he does. He often mocks me by calling me Beauty. Only sometimes I wonder … well … never mind. Yes, he thinks I’m plain.

Do you trust yourself in your work or do you rely on the wisdom of others, feeling they may know more than you do?

I know the business of prosthetics inside and out. I’ve been trained in all aspects of the job from fitting patients to the right product, to rehabbing them. My father taught me to do everything as if for God, so I take my work seriously.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t remain open to suggestion. I’ve been very fortunate to have Cole’s horse trainer, Joe Sakamoto, give me advice about how to deal with the ornery owner of the manor. And Sam, the horse trainer’s son, has taught me the benefits of therapy with horses (hippotherapy)—even if they do scare the daylights out of me. We now use this therapy to help Cole heal both physically and from the psychological trauma of PTSD.

That sounds interesting.

Yes, it really is. But don’t tell Sam or Joe I said that. I’d get a tag-team attack of I-told-you-so from the two of them.

Thank you, Carly, for joining us today. I hope Cole decides to invest in your new company.
Now, I turn to Connie Almony. I want to learn more about her since she is the creator of Carly Rose.

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.

You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: and

You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:

Back Cover

Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.

Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become.

At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.
I love the sound of that last sentence. Congratulations, Connie on the release of At the Edge of a Dark Forest. I look forward to reading it.  The way you've intertwined your career and Carly's problems must make for an interesting read. Thanks for visiting with us today so we can get acquainted.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


How long has it been since you cleared out a closet or reorganized your kitchen? Yesterday, I plunged into cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen. That grimy oven is still calling my name, but I haven't got the energy to start it yet. Now, is when I long for a self-cleaning one.

One step at a time.

At the first pantry shelf, I pull everything out and place it on the counter. I peruse and inventory each item. 

Basil leaves - date 2008 - throw out
Corn starch, haven't used that in a while. It smells okay. - keep
Extra box of tea bags. Ooh, I didn't know I had that. - need to put in front and use soon
Two sacks of sugar How did that happen? - pour one into almost empty canister, and put the other in front where I'll remember it.
Result of this hard work is a kitchen that looks nice, serves me better, and saves me time and money.
A weight loss journey requires an inventory from time to time. Clutter builds up. We lose focus.
1. Review the food on hand and maybe your utensils.
A friend suggested this as a method to cook without much oil.
Snicker bars - no one but me is eating them - throw out
Light soup - I forgot about that - pull to front and eat today
Refrigerator holds only milk, leftover McDonalds, and pickles. -
       Make a list and go on grocery-buying trip for fresh produce,  yogurt, or lean protein.
2. Think over your exercise habits.
Sit all day at work - must start walking on lunch hour
Favorite pastime is TV - purchase a mini-trampoline to do while you watch or do exercises to the tempo of music at the beginning of Hawaii-Five-O or CSI
3. Make sure you're balancing your food intake for healthy living.
    Most important is water. Your body is 90% water. I like that water is cooling and filling.
    Next in importance for good health is lean protein. Protein provides the building blocks for muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs. I like that protein keeps my blood sugar more stable, so I don't feel weak and fainty.
    Healthy fats They give energy and help digest fat-soluble vitamins. What I like best is it keeps me less hungry.
    Vegetables and Fruits - Fiber-filling, energy, needed vitamins and minerals. For me, fruits make the foundation for super desserts or snacks. I'm not much of a veggie eater, but I like them because they keep down the hunger and cravings.
    Dairy also provides vitamins and minerals. It's best known for building bones. I like it because I lose weight better when I dine on dairy 2-3 times a day.
I like a book, Nutrition Almanac that lists everything about nutrition and digestion you ever wanted to know.
4. Consider a support group.
         Inventory options in your area or online.
Don't forget new spices to add flavor to your food

I read in Food for the Hungry Heart by Cynthia Rowland McClure this quote. One definition of support is to provide a person with the means of sustaining life. I love that. When we falter, a friend lifts us up. When they fail, we encourage them. That way we both sustain a healthy life physically, mentally, and spiritually.  
5. And most important:
       How's your relationship with the Lord?
Quiet time - neglected or routine?
Who rules? You, your husband, your friends, or God?
My husband used to manage retail stores. Once or twice a year, he took an inventory. Without it, the store would dwindle into chaos overrun by unsalable merchandise, or empty with nothing to sell.
When we inventory our lives, our weight loss journey, our walk with God, we unclutter the trip. The scales respond. Our energy returns. Our mind clears.
Does your weight loss journey need an inventory?