He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9



Good Things – Part 1 - My Story

I've wanted to talk about my weight loss journey, but I haven't yet....

I think it’s time to talk about it.   I think I’m brave and ready.  I called David this morning and told him...I'm starting to tell my story.  Pray for me!

I admit, as I consider it I hear some of your critical voices in my head..

"She eats m&m’s when she gets stressed?  She doesn’t always perfectly keep up with her house?  She had 67 pounds to lose?  No wonder – she must be a lazy hog.”  

(I guess I should have warned you that this might get a little raw.)  But I’ve decided that the ones who think that about me aren’t why I’m talking about it.  It’s for the others of you who have room to grow – who share in my imperfectness.  Who desire as much as I do to grow in holiness and live daily by the Spirit and become all that He can make you.  For those of you who understand what chocolate chips (or skittles) have to do with hard, busy days and have maybe even experienced  - at least once in your life – the agony of chub rub.  Or maybe you're just a skinny-minny who has a love affair with sugar. This is for you, my friends.  (The rest of you can just sit in your perfect bodies in your perfect houses in your perfectly starched clothes and pray for the rest of us….we know we need it!)
So…now that I’ve sufficiently strengthened my resolve to get it out there:

It started one late night last summer.   June 2010.  I sat in front of my computer and made a deep, quiet decision to change.  I won’t tell you all of the details of what motivated me, but ironically, it involved facebook a little. (Who knew it could be an agent for change?)  I made the decision to join Weight Watchers.  And I signed up for my first 5K race.  I knew that weight watchers is the way for me, and I knew that paying the race money and writing it on my calendar would motivate me to get moving.

I read a book that summer called “The One Day Way.” By Chantel Hobbs.   I didn't do her "plan", but It helped me to get some thinking straight about my thought patterns.  And it motivated me. I was getting serious about permanent change.

I started going to weight watchers faithfully, journaling and re-stocking my kitchen and getting group support from the meetings.  

So far, at the last weigh-in I had lost 45.6 pounds, with 21.8 to go to reach my goal weight! 

(Incidentally, It seems to  me they expect  a 4’10” 33-year-old to weigh about as much as most 10-year-olds. This body has grown and birthed and fed four babies!! What are they THINKING?!)
Anyway, I digress…

David and I did our first 5K together in June, then did one 5K (3.1 miles) race per month together until our first 10K (6.2 miles) on Thanksgiving Day.  Our time was just over 3 minutes from qualifying us for the National Marathon in DC! Now we're training together for a half (13.1 miles) and full marathon (26.2 miles).  I’ll blog more about the exercise side later….
Circle the City for the Symphony Indy 5K - Our third race together.  August 2010

One of my key points for getting healthy is this verse:

He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9)

Here is the principle behind that verse’s meaning for me.

I knew that there were some bad things that I needed to change in my life – habits, foods, etc.  But I also knew that there are a lot of really good things that I love that I should take advantage of.  I firmly believe that bad things must be replaced with good.  (Think of the Bible story of the demons leaving, then bringing a host of friends back into the EMPTY person…..or when we take away bad things from our children’s lifestyle, we must replace them with lots of really good, fun, wonderful options.)  

I love fruits.  I love vegetables.  I love whole grains and (mildly) crunchy living.  I love to exercise.  I love the outdoors.  So I realized that I need to focus on the good things, and making sure I’m staying FULL with the good, so the bad can be replaced! And good habits are just as addicting as bad ones.

The beginning, to be honest, was a lot easier than I expected.  I got in a groove and kept trucking as the pounds melted away slowly and steadily.  I got rid of loads of clothes and pulled out my skinny clothes from college.  I was encouraged to keep working with every single compliment I received that people could tell a difference.

I changed inside.  Forever.

I’m having a little trouble retelling the whole story of the last 9 months…the words want to jumble out in a heap.  And it’s all very mixed in with the running story, but I think I need to keep it somewhat separate for my own writing sanity.

I got stronger inside and outside.  I got more energy for being and living with my kids.   It has been fun to watch our kids focus more on health and they are asking a lot of questions, and starting to monitor themselves more.   It has challenged our marriage (and brought its benefits, too.)  

I am learning where to go for strength and where to not go.  I am learning that the second part of this journey is much, much harder than the first.  I am learning that I haven’t mastered food.  I still can’t be fully trusted.  I still need accountability and motivation and group therapy. 

And I have been touched and overwhelmed by the personal response from so many women who understand this struggle of health (on their own levels) and feel its importance so deeply...
Through the years, I have tried Weight watchers before, many times (and after each baby).  But I always got sidetracked before I reached my goal by the money or the plateau I always hit or the schedule or another baby.   

But this time, we decided it’s for good.  For a lifetime, if need be.  We rearranged our budget majorly to fit it in.  We’ve actually postponed our next baby and done without some things to make it work.  I remember that it was an epiphany for me to realize that I’m never going to be “over” this weight loss battle.  I’m 4’10” with a die-hard metabolism.  And I tend to be a stress eater.  And I happened to really, really love chocolate.  And we would love to have two more babies.  This battle will never be over.  I see that every week when most of the women in my meetings are senior citizens!  And they’re still fighting the good fight.

So why weight watchers?  It’s good, solid nutrition.  I can control what I eat.  Totally.  It teaches good habits, not part-time starvation.  It's a lifetime plan for monitoring my nutrition, not a diet.  I can eat what my family eats (for the  most part).  It takes out almost all of the guesswork. And it includes the aforementioned group therapy.  It just works for me.  I CANNOT do this alone.  I’m a weeny.  A strong, determined, motivated, disciplined pathetic chicken of a weeny. (How can we women be all that at once?  A mystery.)

This is such a simple but complicated matter, and for me it involves sleep and exercise and schedule and vitamins and communication and stress management.  It’s not an easy thing, which your heart knows full-well if you have stuck with this post this long.  We lost the perfect girls a long time ago.

I am crying even now.  I am so grateful and overwhelmed by my Abba’s mercy in my life.  For His caring enough to change me.  For bringing good thing after good thing in my pathway to keep me going.  Books, tools, words of encouragement, opportunities, health, my sleek but supportive husband….it all comes from Him. 

Sometimes I think it’s a bit confusing, the connection between our spiritual lives and our physical health habits.  Like, if we were REALLY spiritual we wouldn’t struggle with healthy eating or regular exercise.  Bologna.  Whooey.   

 BUT…!  At the same time, every single step.  Every good thing.  Every ounce of strength comes from Him.  Every donut or pizza slice I have said no to – because of His grace in my life.  Every good thing comes from Him. 

He has overwhelmed me with good things.  He has opened my eyes.  He is filling me up.  

I’ve been in a really tough place in this journey for a couple of months.  I have played with about 3 pounds, up and down.  I finally "broke" the self-imposed plateau I've been on and got the numbers going down again.  But sometimes it's just really tough!  I run over 20 miles a week – with one of those runs usually being 10 miles or more at one time.  And I STILL only lost .2 pounds last week! Two-tenths of a stinking pound!  Doesn’t a sock weigh that much?  (I almost said another article of clothing, but David probably wouldn't want me to say that on my blog.) This body of mine has no mercy, and like I said, it would have adapted well to pioneer days, I suppose.  

But I’m not giving up.  I didn’t do too well this week.  I am motivated by positive reinforcement, and I did a terrible job of framing that .2-pound loss as a good thing when I worked so cottin-pickin’ HARD!  But I’m going to that meeting tomorrow morning and I’m trucking on.

The benefits outweigh the effort by far.  This is for me.  For my husband.  For my children.  For our future. And for my Abba.  And now, it's for you too.

He fills my life with good things, yes He does.  I can do all things through Him.

He can't change us until we look bravely and honestly at ourselves and face our weaknesses.  And He has the strength to help us grow into Him.  Whether you are trying to change your attitude toward your husband or curb your social addiction to facebook, or break your gossip habit or turn off the constant negative chatter in your brain....We can do all things.  Because He strengthens us.

And now that I've put it out there, all raw and real,  I might pop in now and then with the new nitty-gritty things I'm learning.

But for now, I've gotta go eat lunch and do dishes....

Presidents Day @ the Childrens Museum

Presidents Day - February 21, 2011

We have been itching for a long time to get back to the world's largest Children's Museum.  About a year ago we decided to get a zoo pass, so our museum membership has lapsed.  But the kids got money for Christmas from my parents to buy a new membership.

Our school was dismissed for Presidents Day, so we jumped at the chance to make the trip to Indy to one of our very favorite places.  It happened to be a free day, which didn't matter a whole lot to us.  We just decided to buy our membership next time we go to extend the expiration date.

Well...free day is definitely a whole different museum experience than what we're used to.  The crowd was ENORMOUS.  It was a very cold, very rainy day.  I was chagrined to see that the garage was completely full and we passed up street lot after street lot until we finally were directed into the lot farthest away from the museum.   After shivering and shaking through the rain and puddles, we made our way into the unbelievable crowds in the museum.

But we still had a fantastic time.  I absolutely love how the museum grows with us.  It just doesn't get old, because there is always a new level of discovery to find.  We all loved seeing Corin experience it at the toddler instead of crawler stage.

We are crazy about the Dinosphere - we're getting to know the individual dinosaurs better and better.  There's Bucky (the teenager) and Stan (T. Rex) and Gorgosaur, who has really had a rough life, what with her brain tumor and injuries and all....

(Caiden - 4 years old) He really was having fun in the Carousel Wishes & Dreams room....

Corin (19 months old)  climbed and climbed.  He got a little freaked out at some little puppets in the tree house, but he got beyond it and plowed on!

He especially loved knocking the blocks down and climbing on them in ScienceWorks. (A little study in balance & action and reaction.)

He was enthralled with the ball maze
On a developmental note, I am happy with his attention span  - his ability to stay with an activity for quite some time kept me from having to run around behind him like a crazy lady.  I think I was actually usually the one to suggest a new activity.  And this time, more than ever before, I was able to let the older 3 kids explore on their own within a room without constantly freaking out over their location.  I trust them all now to stay in the room where we are, even if they think they've lost me.  So I could concentrate on being with Corin while they each played at their own pace.

He looked high....

He looked low...

He played boats

One of our favorite rooms (I think they're all our favorite...) is the Biotechnology Learning Center.  Kayla-girl is so totally in her element in there.  It makes my mommy-heart so happy to see her engrossed in science discovery.  We usually do their scheduled learning activities, but because of the free-day crowds, they had a free discovery day.  There were specimens on the tables of various objects and there were journals for recording observations, etc.  She spent probably 45min to an hour in there alone, observing specimens and studying the human body and making observation journals.  It was awesome.

If you do go to the museum, there is an awesome program we didn't know about at first.  It's called the Science Club.  You pick up a club card for each kid at the Dinosphere or other science location.  Go up to a museum worker and ask what you need to to do get your card signed.  You just have to ask a question or participate in an activity to get your card stamped.  When you get 4 stamps, you get a prize.  Twice, they all got free meals at the Weber Grill Restaurant!

Karissa and Caiden served me a delicious tea at an Egyptian cafe in the Take Me There Egypt exhibit.

For some crazy reason, we always wait to take the group picture until the end, when we're all tuckered out.  This museum is just awesome.  God's world is so amazing, so full of wonder and fun and reasons for worship. This museum gives us a chance to learn and discover and have a blast. It is a huge blessing in our lives.

Never a normal picture.  Never.
We missed Daddy being with us, but he is chugging along with his dissertation and had to make a trip to Chicago....

Wow.  Aren't they somethin'

(Calling all bargain hunters!! They also have free nights - select Thursdays from 4-8!)

NCCAA - Track and Field Championships

February 19, 2011

My cousin Alexis is a freshman cross-country runner at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. She's fun. She's beautiful.  And she's FAST!  We got to run together when she was in Cincy for Christmas break, and she kicked my fanny on the hills around my brother's house, but it was a fun treat.

Well, she qualified for the NCCAA Nationals - which was held at IWU in Marion!  So we got to go watch her race.

My mom and Rachelle spent the night with us on Friday night, and we loved the treat of spending time with them.   Then Saturday we drove to IWU together and had a wonderful day being with Allie and my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Steve (who drove in from OP, Kansas).

The kids love to have Aunt Chelle read to them and tell her wild made-up stories!

We knew Grandma Parsons would have been there with bells on, cheering and smiling.  We miss her.

Rachelle, Grandma P, and Allie

Allie did an awesome job running, then she got back on her bus with her team and they headed back to Bartlesville, OK.   It was a great experience to see all of the top Christian university teams competing under one roof.  These are kids who are disciplined and dedicated Christian athletes.  It was intense and awesome.

It was a great day.  We are privileged to be part of one of the closest extended families I know.  I love and miss them so much!

....I discipline my body
and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, 
I myself should become disqualified.
 I Corinthians 9:27

Run in such a way that you may
obtain it!
I Corinthians 9:24b

Four Weddings and a Funeral (and Sledgehammers and things)

What does a sledge hammer have to do with four weddings and a funeral?!

Well....I have been trying to finish up various tasks for photographs from four weddings and a funeral.  Making disks, uploading photos to our host website, editing, sending out contracts, etc. ]

But my trusty emachine got all nasty on me.  The nice man at ProByte discovered over 70 viruses!! (Yeah, I have an extremely strong dislike for anti-virus software and it kicked me in the breeches). Over a hundred dollars later, I got back my naked and empty computer - sans viruses and with the addition of an obnoxious virus blocker-thingy.

Then began the grueling, agonizing, tear-inducing work of restoring all of my settings and installing programs and downloads and color bits and screen resolutions and upload tools and incompatible drivers ad nauseum.  Not to mention the hours and hours on the phone with the nice trouble-shooting-team people at Pictage.  It's a wonder I still have a shred of sanity left.  That's where the sledge hammer comes in.  It's a good thing I didn't have one handy, cuz I might REALLY be starting over from scratch in a computer aisle somewhere.  But, that wouldn't have really solved anything, now would it?

Due to the blessed wonder of babysitting-trading, I am in a quiet house, working like a madwoman on finishing up the last of my photography to-do list.  Just for the record, at present I sorta wish I'd never laid eyes on a DSLR or PSE or Pictage or a PUT or Filezilla or FTP-anything!!  I just want my old trusty Easyshare point-and-shoot back and a good book to read.  Or I'd even settle for staring blankly at a wall.  Okay.  Now I'm complaining and I have to say three happy things.

1.  I love our cameras
2.  I love this quiet house
3.  I love chocolate.  In need chocolate.

I'm so sick of this old computer chair I WELCOME the soon-coming day when I can begin my next big project....The BaSeMenT!!!!   MWA-ha-ha-ha. 

I just organized our February photos and can't wait to catch up on blogging.  Which reminds me, I had two particularly horrendously traumatic panics during this whole computer-reformatting ordeal.

PANIC NUMBER 1:  I thought I had lost my ENTIRE blog book before I ordered it.  All 150 pages that I'd spent hours formatting and rearranging.  A whole year of pictures and words.  But oh, happy day.  I downloaded the software again today and tickle-me-elmo, there it was!!  Happy girl.

PANIC NUMBER 2:  (I'm warning you, this one's a doozy.  You may want to occupy young children in the other room.)   I went to the backup files folder Mr. Probyte created for me and BAM!  All my pictures were gone.  Every. Single. One.  Like, maybe 50,000 pictures.  Literally, Seriously.  I totally panicked.  Cold chills and tears and everything.  My kids were scared, I think.  I was like, "I don't even have any pictures of CORIN!  No pictures of my baby!  Everything I've ever taken since I moved here is GONE!"  Yeah.  It was a sad moment in the Fry house.  Let's just say...David was not completely in tune with my angst.  But anyway, long story short, I found the pictures.  Life is once again bearable.  And every last one of those priceless pictures will soon be on its way to the safety of our 1-Terabyte external hard drive (that's one TRILLION bytes, by the way).  Whew.  I feel like my heart is racing just reliving the horror.

So ends the tale of my most drastic woe
I must get to work very quickly, and so...
I'll leave you with thoughts for your thinking and such
Two thoughts that will help you, they'll help you so much
One is installing a dumb virus-guard
And two is your pictures - the ones on your card
Don't leave them there! Get them as fast as can be
To safety or backup or discs - or all three!
You'll thank me for warning, or maybe you'll not....
I'm off now to go and accomplish a lot.



Just a little distraction from the wedding pictures I'm working on.....

A barn we saw on a happy day driving somewhere together on an Indiana road.  This barn grabbed us, so we stopped and turned around to capture it.

I love it.  It still grabs me.

"As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration.  I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children. "                                                     
                                                                                                                                ~John Adams


Apology 101

I sometimes feel like extended periods of time with all of us home together sort of brings bad behavior to the surface so it can be dealt with.   In short, they HAVE to learn to live together in love-ish-ness.  Or at least with as little bodily injury as possible.  Last night,  one kid offended another kid and (at my firm urging) gave one of those lovely "I'm SORRY but I'm not sorry!" apologies.  

So we took some time and talked about apologies at familytime.  What should you do if mommy or daddy tells you to apologize and you don't really feel sorry?....What is the correct way to make an apology?.....How should we respond to an apology?   And we practiced.   We made up pretend offences and took turns making and accepting apologies.  They actually had fun and giggled a lot.  

"Mommy, I'm sorry for dropping your ipod in the toilet. Would you please forgive me?"
(secretly groaning & hoping it never comes true but knowing it's a definite possibility in this house....could I forgive for real?)  "Yes, I forgive you"

So....in our family, there are 3 parts to a good apology.  
1.  say I'm sorry with a good attitude (face & voice)
2.  say what I'm sorry for
3.  ask for forgiveness

And of course, the other party should accept the apology and take a peek at their own heart and actions to see their own selves in the matter....

(It's actually a good idea for marriage too!)

By this time - I wasn't even pointing the camera in the right direction.
I was probably saying..."Sit up and SMILE at me or I'm gonna pop your bottoms! Makes me feel stressed just thinking about it."

Photos:  Valentine Kids last year - 2010 (THIS is why I never take "official" pictures of my kids!)

Snowed In...

Last week was such a cozy-snowy week!  The kids were home all week but Monday.  I love having them home (accept, of course, those moments when I don't love it).  We have homeschool-ish hearts, and it suits us to be together and make our own schedule. (Well, except when they're - you know - KILLING each other.)

We worked on homework

Practiced violin, cello & piano (the girls even talked me into teaching them to fiddle a liddle. David heard our wild violin/cello fiddling from the other room and hollered, What was all THAT about?  Apparently the good Dr. doesn't know a hoe-down when he hears one.)

Ate soup and played games with friends
Mexican Train Dominoes at the Johnson's

Kayla and I are quite a team.  Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The kids Built trains, created a puppet show, designed a routine where they each took turns dancing to a song from my running playlist while Corin boogied along (it was a hoot):

Read good books and Caiden built a book-road (Do you have any idea how much I LOVE to hear my 4-year-old son beg to read books together?):

Drank lots of hot tea and cocoa with cream

The favorites?
  • Mommy's signature "Indiana" cocoa (Karissa & Daddy & the whole family)  It's super-yummy.  And just for the record, "Indiana" hot chocolate is the favorite around here as opposed to Mexican hot chocolate (a more cinnamony blend which the kids are not fond of.)  So they want cocoa from Indiana, not Mexico.  Caiden coined the term "Indiana" Hot Chocolate.
  • Blueberry Tea (Kayla)
  • Black Cherry Tea (Caiden)
  • Chocolate-Hazelnut Tea (Mommy)

This time last year - having tea with my sis in Ireland

 The kids take their tea with sugar and cream. I like whatever weight watchers will let me have.

Missing my sis...
And I even broke out the tin of tea "biscuits" I'd been saving for a special occasion.  In Ireland, after eating we always have tea. And "biscuits" are small, yummy assorted tea cookies that you have with your tea.  Tea biscuits are a favorite around here.

The layers and layers of ice were nice,  but I was a bit sad that the 12-19 inches of snow didn't really seem to happen.  BUT....the giant fluffy snowfall came days later.  It was my favorite!  I cannot tell you how giddy snow makes me.  I just super-love it.

I sat in my favorite chair and looked out my favorite window and loved on my favorite kids and favorite husband.  What's not to love?  

I did real work too.  I promise.  Plenty of it.  And the end of the week was a busy and sad one for our church.....But  God is good.  All the time.  More on that later.


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