Food For Thought

God also said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every seed-bearing tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food.

Genesis 1:29

I’m closing in on two anniversaries today. It has been five years since a bout with the flu assaulted my appetite for a few days. This turn of events made a dent in ten pounds I knew that I should lose. When I returned to eating solid food, I considered my eating habits and eliminated the things that were better left on my plate. Within a few weeks, I actually lost those ten pounds. By summer, I’d lost a total of forty-two pounds which brought me to my teenage weight. Wow!

This amazing transformation remained intact for two years. It was October when I discovered I needed shoulder surgery. The recovery regimen would be tough and confining and I wouldn’t be able to exercise for some time. I secretly worried that this loss of control would negatively impact my diet as well. As it happened, my mobility was more limited than expected, my exercise regimen lay dormant for longer than expected and ten of those lost pounds made their way back to me.

My husband and I recently returned from an east coast cruise. This adventure included exhilarating walks uphill and down. When we returned home, I found myself with a treasure trove of memories and three less pounds to lose. Once again, I assessed my diet and adjusted as needed. Next October, I plan to celebrate three anniversaries: that bout with the flu, shoulder surgery and my return to using God’s gift of food wisely!

Dear God, be with me in this effort. When I feel my best, I do my best for you!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Give Them A Break

“Should you not have had pity
on your fellow servant
as I had pity on you?”

Matthew 18:33

A few years ago, I shared that I accidentally lost a few pounds due to a bout with the flu. The truth is that I gave thanks for this illness because I had struggled to lose just ten pounds for what seemed like forever. When I recovered, half of that ten pounds was gone. I immediately adjusted my diet to take care of the rest. In the end, I lost four times my original goal and I felt wonderful. Our three granddaughters had arrived by then and I was thrilled to be able to play on the floor with them and to run after them without effort.

This small miracle prompted me to finish the job by toning up a bit. When the weather cooperated, I walked outdoors. Otherwise, I made good use of the mall. During one early morning mall walk, two totally “in shape” women stopped at a nearby water fountain for a drink. When I did the same, they struck up a conversation. They seemed surprised by my status as a grandma as we chatted. Suddenly, one interrupted me to point out two other early morning walkers. “Get a load of them. Have you ever seen anyone so fat?” I quickly responded, “Yes. That’s what I saw every time I looked in the mirror until I started to do what they’re doing today. Give them a break!” With that, I walked away.

Loving God, I responded harshly to those women because their remarks opened up old wounds. Help me not to judge others by the packages they come in or by the words they unthinkingly utter. Bless me and those fellow walkers with a greater ability to love as you do.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Keep At It

We know that the law is spiritual,
whereas I am weak flesh…

Romans 7:14

Four years ago, a bout with the flu kept me from eating anything of substance for almost a week. Because I don’t often get sick, I was perturbed by this turn of events. The good news is that my limited intake caused me to lose ten pounds. Suddenly, the flu didn’t seem so bad after all. In fact, this unintentional diversion from my normal diet prompted me to tweak my choices. I returned to my daily walks with renewed vigor. In the end, I lost forty pounds.

My healthier lifestyle left me feeling very good within and without. I conquered the inner demons who had insisted for so long that I would never enjoy a healthy weight again. I am happy to report that I have maintained most of that loss. Here and there, I notice a few extra pounds which I attend to ASAP.

It seems to me that there is a lesson to be learned here. My journey on this earth will not be over until it is over. At any moment, yesterday’s victories can morph into today’s or tomorrow’s troubles. The opposite is also true. So it is that I must simply keep at “it” as best I can on all counts. Whether taking care of my physical or my spiritual well-being, I am in it for the long haul. All God asks is that I do My best on both counts.

Loving God, help us all to attend to our physical and spiritual health as best we can until we find ourselves at home with you.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Weak, but Strong

We know that the law is spiritual,
whereas I am weak flesh…

Romans 7:14

While perusing my closet the other day, I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. The clothes I purchased five years ago continue to fit. Months before I’d made these purchases, a bout with influenza forced me to make my health a priority. My inability to eat for a few days made a dent in the ten pounds which I had told myself often I had to lose. When I returned to eating solid food, I decided to take action. I eliminated high-calorie choices which had delayed my weight loss. Within a few weeks, I actually lost those ten pounds. Within two months, I lost ten more. I felt so invigorated that I actually developed a bounce in my step. I jump-started my walking regimen as well. By February, I had lost a total of thirty pounds and by Easter I reached my wedding day weight. It was mid-June when I weighed what I did in high school.

That this transformation has remained more or less intact for five years is a pleasant surprise. I write “surprise” because I never know what my circumstances will do to my eating habits. In the midst of this occasional self-doubt, I turn to the good apostle Paul. He had far more to deal with than I, yet his enthusiasm regarding his relationship with God never faltered. He simply admitted his weakness and then began anew again and again and again. God invites you and me to do the same.

Compassionate God, you know me better than I know myself. So it is that I place my insecurities in your hands, for there they fade in the radiance of your love.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Embrace Tomorrow

I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members other principles
at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of my members.

From Romans 7:18-25a

It has been three years since a bout with influenza demanded that I attend to my health more vigorously. My inability to eat for a few days made a dent in the ten pounds I kept telling myself that I had to lose. When I returned to eating solid food, I eliminated the high-calorie choices which had kept far more on me than that unwanted ten pounds. Within a few weeks, I actually lost those ten pounds. Within two months, I lost ten more. I felt so invigorated that I actually developed a bounce in my step. I jump-started my walking regimen as well. By February, I had lost a total of thirty pounds and by Easter I reached my wedding day weight. It was mid-June when I weighed what I did in high school.

This amazing transformation has remained intact for more than two years. I have written “remained” -the past tense- intentionally. One never knows what the circumstances of this life might do to my eating habits. It is in the midst of this occasional self-doubt that the words of the good apostle Paul come to mind. Poor Paul had so much more to deal with than I, yet his enthusiasm regarding his relationship with God never faltered. Indeed, he has been well rewarded! It occurs to me that I need to tap into that enthusiasm for the strength I need to hold on. After all, God promises me the same happy end!

Compassionate God, you know me better than I know myself. So it is that I place my insecurities in your hands, for there they fade in the radiance of your love. Be with me and all of your worrying children as we embrace what lies ahead.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Do Unto Others…

“Should you not have had pity
on your fellow servant
as I had pity on you?”

From Matthew 18:21-35

I wanted to lose weight before those extra pounds became a health issue. To get started, I consulted with a friend who had managed her weight all of her life. She shared a few secrets which helped me to manage my eating. I lost twenty pounds as a result. I maintained new eating habits simply because I felt so good. I eventually lost forty pounds and returned to my high school weight.

This small miracle prompted me to finish the job by toning up a bit. When the weather cooperated, I walked outdoors. Rain or snow prompted me to make good use of a nearby mall. During one early morning mall walk, two very attractive and totally “in shape” young women stopped at a nearby water fountain for a drink. When I lined up to do the same, they struck up a conversation, asking what I did for a living, if I was married and if I had children. They seemed surprised by my age and my status as a grandma. They went on to ask what my “secret” was. When I started to reply, they interrupted me to point out two other early morning walkers. “Get a load of the cattle company over there. Have you ever seen anyone so fat?” I took a quick sip of water. As I walked away, I remarked, “I’m a card-carrying member of that cattle company. That’s exactly what I saw when I looked into the mirror until someone shared their secret with me, just like I was going to do for you a minute ago.”

Forgive me, Lord. I responded harshly to those young women at the mall because their remarks opened up old wounds. Help me not to judge others’ souls by the packages they come in or by the words they unthinkingly utter. Bless me and those fellow walkers with a greater ability to love as you do.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved