You’re so sweet for asking…


I’ve had a few requests for an update, since I wrote my blogpost about giving up sugar, almost 5 months ago. So, here you go…

I went off radar when my sugar withdrawal started. Mainly because, as well as dealing with the eating issues, I also had to do something about my sedentary lifestyle. My health and well-being were suffering. I decided that apart from having to sit at a desk to work, anything that kept me in the chair too long HAD TO GO! That included sitting looking at a blank page – not getting any writing done.

amo-in-running-gearSo I ignored the blog for a while and joined a running club. I don’t do real running. I call it ‘enthusiastic walking’. The dark evenings don’t stop me, I’m kitted out with illuminous arm bands and a headlamp, (these do stop me, but only from running into a tree). Most of the time I want to die (of embarrassment and lack of oxygen, alternatively), but I am glad to be doing it and I feel the better for it.

I’ve been asked for ‘before and after’ photos too. I’m always nervous about them. Cos usually they sound the death knell of any efforts to lose weight. I do think I’m in the best frame of mind I’ve ever been though. In a blog post about dieting, which I wrote eons ago, I said the fatal words, ‘I think I have a handle on the eating thing now.’ That signalled a major falling off the wagon. I wonder if a sugar addict like me ever gets a real handle on it. Probably not, but I’m certainly winning at the moment.

amo-1

auntyamo – 1

I wasn’t confident enough to take a ‘progress’ photo until after the first stone had gone.  Already my favourite comfortable top was starting to hang (a little) and I could see my face changing. I can’t even bring myself to post photos from before that. I don’t think I even ‘saw’ them at the time. I see them now and I can’t believe it. I’m not ashamed of them, just very sad that I waited so long to sort myself out.

I know lots of people don’t like to let the scales rule their progress, but I have to have that weekly accountability. The photos are great and the fact that now I’ve had to buy smaller clothes is fantastic, however the numbers still mean something to me. I try not to get hung up on them, but they do help.

amo-3-and-a-half-2So, if I lose 1lb this week, I’ll have lost 3 and a half stone. I’ve been using myfitnesspal since 2012 but never got anywhere near this number until I vamoosed processed food and sugar from my life. I can’t begin to tell you how different I feel, in every way. I have been praying for years about my weight. Asking God to help me and show me what I need to do. I really believe that this is the answer to those many years of prayer. I’m not saying I won’t ever make a blunder, or lose the plot. I just know that this is the way I can conquer my addiction.

And now it feels like time to get my bum back into the chair – but not for too long. I’m looking forward to writing again, and finding a balance between my writing life and my active life.

Thank you so much to those who’ve been with me on this journey. And thank you blog followers for sticking with me. Hopefully… normal service is resumed.

Whatever that is!🙂 x

 

My Sweet Lord!


I wish I could find that photo of myself.

I’m about 12/13 and am sitting on a sand dune on Ballinaclash beach in Co. Wexford. I’ve got my legs crossed and my hands on my knee with a ‘strike a pose’ look on my face. I’m wearing a red bathing suit and there are at least three places to ‘pinch an inch’; but I don’t seem to care. In fact, I don’t remember being aware of the ‘rolls’ as I posed for the photo.

I doubt there’s a photo of me after that time where I’m not self-conscious about how I look. (Discount any where I’m not sober.)

If you’re familiar with this blog then you’ll know that every so often, the subject of eating and weight rears its rotten head. My blogging journey started with a series of posts about weight loss (or not) it’s been coming around like Christmas (only not as often…) You’ll find some examples here and here.

For the last few months I’ve been reading blogs and Facebook pages about the subject; most posts giving actual pain because they talk about a land that I’ve not been to for a long time. A land where I’ve got my food:activity ratio as it should be. A land where I’m looking after myself properly. And more importantly, a land where I’m happy with myself; and my swimsuit, with its rolls.

25482907745_d195113ddd_qIt might sound like I’m jumping on the band wagon, but I’ve known for a long time that sugar is my nemesis. I’ve said before that I’ve an issue with food, but I’ve really believed that I am an addict. I do now though. I love, want, need and crave sugar – in any and all of its forms. Have you read those articles that tell you sugar lights up the same parts of the brain that a cocaine hit does? I’m not a bit surprised. I can think of nothing better than a bucket load of chocolate and a key. To lock the door behind me so I can eat it in secret.

So… about a month ago I quit. None in coffee, none on cereal – in fact no cereal except porridge. No processed food, just fresh meat and vegetables, salads and fruit; you know… all the good stuff. I’m allowing myself a minimal amount of bread and potatoes. (Come on, I’m Irish. I’d have to hand in my passport if I stopped eating the spuds altogether).

I worry about writing a post like this. Saying it out loud is usually the beginning of the end of a diet for me. I’m praying that this is a life change, a turning of my heart towards full dependence on God, and not a sugar buzz, to give me joy.

I’ll be honest, I’m grieving a bit. I’m sad that (please God) I’ll never eat a whole bag of Haribo in one sitting again. That I won’t be enjoying sugary chocolate with sugary coffee on a regular basis. And I’m scared – cos sugar makes me feel better, and what if my whole food bars and a cup of green tea don’t do the same?

I pray these words from Psalm 119: 103 will be true for me and I will get the sweet rush I need from Him.

“How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

If you’re interested, the FB pages I’ve been following are Teresa Sheilds Parker, Sundi Jo and Just Eat Real Food  and if you’re a prayer, please pray for me. I need it!

Thanks, A x

photo credit: Sugar via photopin (license)

The A to Z of the Pastor’s Wife – Z is for Zig Zag


ZZ is for Zig Zag

So, here we are at the end of the challenge. I’m so glad I made it. I didn’t quite do it last year.

I feel that I’ve Zig-Zagged and wandered a lot in my thoughts over this A to Z Challenge. Thanks again for your comments and likes and for sticking with me.

This PW thing is still very new to me, and I’ve used the A to Z to think out loud about the questions and concerns that I have. For all my bravado and chuckles, I don’t want to make a pig’s breakfast of the whole thing. These posts have been helpful to me and the responses from readers has encouraged me to see the merits of some worries and meaningless of others. So thanks for that.

I do most things in a Zig Zag style. I’m a bit of a here, there and everywhere person, but that’s not always a bad thing. Let’s call it flexible.🙂 Being someone who can zig zag will hopefully help when some unexpected stuff comes. I’ll be able to adapt and change. I just hope that over time, I will learn to balance that flexibility with consistency. I’ve a lot to learn, but lots of time to learn it.

In the mean time, by God’s grace and with himself beside me, I’ll do my best to be a good PW.

Farewell AtoZ friends. See you for the tour🙂

The A to Z of the Pastor’s Wife – Y is for Yahtzee


YY is for Yahtzee

Himself introduced me to Yahtzee when we met. We love to play it, it’s a great game when there’s just the two of you – not many of them about.

He had the same 5 dice and little plastic tub to shake them in, for years. So one Christmas I decided to buy him a new set, complete with bright new shiny dice, colour score cards, a funky collapsible small dice shaker, all fitting in to a larger tub also used to throw the dice in (reducing risk of having to chase them around the floor). The wonderful thing is that he bought me the exact same present that year. One of them went back and was exchanged for another game which I’m not sure we’ve ever played.

Playing Yahtzee represents ‘our time.’ There’s no TV, usually some music in the background, we chat, we get a little bit competitive and we laugh. I suspect life will get busier and more stressful, and he won’t always be able to share things with me.

Part of my job as PW will be to make sure we always have time for Yahtzee (and that I win😀 ).

The A to Z of the Pastor’s Wife – X is for Xenial


XX is for Xenial

Xenial is to be hospitable, especially to strangers or foreigners. (It is also defined as having something to do with pollinating flowers, but we’ll leave that for now🙂 )

Himself and meself have been made so welcome by our church family. Already we feel like we know each other; since the very beginning we’ve felt at home. Back when it was new and a bit unnerving, waiting for the final decision to be made, we were always welcomed with open arms and hearts.

I grew up hearing a particular phrase regularly. “You’re in your Granny’s.” It means, you can relax, sit where you want to, help yourself to whatever you’d like. I remember a few years ago a missionary couple were doing some church visits near us and the accommodation they’d arranged had fallen through. We were asked to put them up. We had plenty  of space, so we said yes. I was worried though. They were going to be with us for a week; going out to different meetings; sometimes here for dinner, other days for lunch. I wanted them to feel like they were ‘in their granny’s’ and desperately hoping that wouldn’t mean them driving me mad.

They arrived late the after a meeting, and then they’d unpacked their car and coats were off, I asked if they would like anything before they went to bed. The answer came, “Do you mind if I have some toast please?” That night over tea and toast we became firm friends. I love that they felt comfortable to ask, and they loved the toast. To this day they are dear to us and we’ve visited them a few times for toast and chats.

Living on site means that we could have more visitors than we expect, at unexpected times. We want to keep the balance of having time to ourselves, but also sharing our time and our home with others. I hope we will always be ‘xenial’ as others were to us when we came here first. The only reason I cannot call them ‘xenial’ anymore is that we are no longer strangers, we’re family. x

The A to Z of the Pastor’s W…


WW is for Writer, Worker, Wife, Worshipper

I am a massive fan of Les Miserables. One of my fave songs, and moments of the show is when Jean Valjean sings. “Who am I?” He cannot deny who he really is and at risk to himself and his soon to be adopted daughter, he reveals his true identity.

The above list doesn’t sum me up totally, I can make a mean banana bread and am also a high-ranking expert in The After Eight Game.🙂 I have always liked to have a mix of interests. I prefer to work, my least productive seasons are always the ones when I have lots of time on my hands. I work better when I’m busy.

I’ve had to rethink and rejig my time a bit over the last while. My writing has never really taken off again since I came back to the UK at the end of 2014. It’s a great source of frustration for me, but I have to let it come back in God’s time and at his pace. I know I’ll get into my stride again.

My job is not ‘difficult’ as such. It’s wonderful to be just around the corner and just part-time. Having been 15 years in donor support for charities, this is a different type of customer service. I can’t always give the customer the answer they are looking for, and I don’t like that. I’m much happier always being the bearer of good news…

I love being married. Himself is an absolute star and reminds me that he is my husband first and my pastor second; so i give myself permission to be his wife first, the pastor’s wife second.🙂 We’ve been through the mill over the years. He’s been a steady rock in many stormy seas. I am blessed.

More than anything though, I want to be a worshipper. If I put my energies into that, my hope is that the other parts of my life will fall into place, in the right way at the right time. The only way I’ll do this thing right, is to stay close to God. Worship Him. Keep my eyes fixed and my heart open.

Who am I?

His!

The A to Z of the Pastor’s Wife – V is for Variety


VV is for Variety

Don’t worry, I’m not going to do songs from the shows with some comedy and a bit of juggling thrown in. Although I wouldn’t rule it out in the future🙂

I thought it might be good to hear from another pastor’s wife, and her thoughts on this life. Harriet is one of the ladies I meet, mentioned in the F is for Fellowship post.

The following link will take you to a blog post she recently wrote about ‘Being a Pastor’s wife‘.

Enjoy!