Tag Archives: People You Need to Know About

Goodbye, Martha

Spokane at night: courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Spokane at night: courtesy Wikimedia Commons

My dietitian is moving back home to Spokane, WA. This is a very big deal. I didn’t think it was at first. I was happy to hear that God was speaking into Martha’s life, as to what the next steps in the Plan were for her and that she was listening. She never wanted to move back to her hometown.

Here’s the first lesson: never say “never” with God because he’s likely to stick you smack in the middle of where you declare you’ll never go.

I once told God I would never ask for healing for my anorexia because the disease kept me close to Him. (Conveniently it also kept me skinny.) Nine months later I found myself in anorexia rehab, specifically sitting in Martha’s office.

You guys, I am not being dramatic when I say Martha is half the team that saved my life. When I sat in Martha’s office on November 3, 2014, I was dying. I had no idea how close to death I was, of course, but Martha did. She was so tender and understanding with me, simply listening to my story. Despite all the tragic details in my thoughts, behaviors and attitudes about food and my body, I didn’t want to be there in that office with Martha. I didn’t trust her. I believed she was there to make me fat.

Martha wasn’t offended. She didn’t turn her back on me or chastise me. Instead, she listened and asked me sensitive questions and offered grace. Never once did she judge me, tell me that my thoughts and behaviors were wrong or “bad,” or warn me that I was dying. Instead she developed a meal plan for me. Because I was starving and her first priority was to feed me.

The re-feeding process was arduous and painful, not because of Martha, but because my body didn’t know what to do with the food I was feeding it. My metabolism was severely damaged. It would take almost eight more weeks of eating on my plan before my metabolism even “turned on” again, and several more months before it was healed and working properly. The whole time, Martha was by my side listening to my laments, my confusion, and my bewailing in response to the physical side effects and emotional turmoil that came with eating again. She answered my questions, explained what my body was doing, and helped me understand that even though I had completely disconnected from my body and tried to kill it (my words, not hers), my body was trying to protect me to keep me alive. My body was working really hard to get better.

It's not a program. Or a lifestyle change. Its tapping back into your innate ability to feed yourself well.

It’s not a program. Or a lifestyle change. Its tapping back into your innate ability to feed yourself well.

In the midst of this process, Martha introduced me to the idea of intuitive eating. I’ll never forget the day she told me I could “trust my body.” I had bought in so deeply, even went into debt, on the notion that my body was bad and all the food I had been eating or wanted to eat was bad. Our culture teaches that food can’t be trusted and our bodies are not okay unless we strictly control them. We’re taught that we have to restrict what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat, how we eat, and how often we eat. This is why we have 14,000 different diets to choose from. On top of that, culture says we should concentrate on exercise to burn the calories and the fat and the carbs. Not only do we need to burn off the food, but we should also be sculpting and toning and chiseling our bodies into “that” perfect shape.

So when Martha said, “Your body knows what it’s doing. It knows what you need and what to do with. But it requires that you first listen to what your body is telling you and then to trust your body to do what it does once you give it what it needs and wants,”– this was revolutionary thinking for me. And refreshing. And terrifying. (Read more about intuitive eating here) Oh and exercise? Yes, of course. But do so for the joy of the movement, not for the burn.

In March of this year I had fully transitioned out of my re-feeding meal plan and into intuitive Healthyandwelleating. It’s a long process learning how to trust my body, but my body and mind have never been healthier than it is today. Is my brain completely healed yet? No. It’s getting there. Is my body healed and healthy? Yes! (It isn’t fat either. And I eat carbs… and sugar. And fat. So there.)

I have Martha to thank and a good God who deserves the glory!

Martha was a God-send for me. Literally. I was dying; God sent Martha to bring me back to life. So it is a big deal that she is leaving now. I am sad she that she has to go; I am scared to not have her by my side as I continue navigating my recovery. But Martha has set me up for continued and life-long health (not mention advocacy for intuitive eating). There are people in Spokane who need her now; I respectfully and prayerfully say goodbye knowing she’s in the hands of  mighty God who has special plans for her life and the lives of the people she’ll encounter.  I trust God to stay by my side through the rest of my recovery (I still have my therapist, Tamara, who is the other half of the team that saved my life!).

Martha and I and my children did a radio interview with Rose City Forum about intuitive eating.

Martha and I and my children did a radio interview with Rose City Forum about intuitive eating.

Listen to the interview here: http://recordings.talkshoe.com/rss134258.xml

Heading into the Desert

Mountain on sunsetThere is a story about a woman named Much Afraid who follows her best friend, the Chief Shepherd, to the High Places. The High Places, which is a real place here on earth known as the Kingdom of Love or the Heavenly realm, are represented by glorious mountains glimmering with the beauty of a new day’s rose-golden sunrise kissing the pure-white snow covered peaks.

As Much Afraid traverses the journey to these mountains, she runs into all sorts of hardships and trials, often causing her doubt of whether she should have followed the Chief Shepherd in the first place and if he could really be trusted to get her to the High Places as he promised.

There’s a scene where her path comes to an end, and the only other path available actually leads into the opposite direction–away from the mountains. Confused, she cries out for the Chief Shepherd’s help.

“Where shall I go? The only direction available leads away from the mountains. Surely you don’t mean for me to go down that path.”

Indeed. He did.

Not only did that path lead in the opposite direction, but it lead right into the desert. As you can imagine, Much Afraid is horrified and dismayed. After traveling all that way and through the trouble she’d experienced so far, to now journey away from the mountains was more than a little disheartening… and her trust in her friend was obviously put to the test.

“Do you trust me, Much Afraid? Do you trust that I will lead you to the High Places as I promised?”

Hinds Feet

Even if you aren’t into God, if you are a writer and/or lover of stories, this is one of the best allegories ever written.

At the risk of spoiling the whole book, Much Afraid does indeed make it to the High Places, with many more detours. And when she arrives… well, I’ll let you read what happens.

I was so inspired by this story last summer that I prayed the Lord would take me on the very same journey to the High Places–to make me a citizen of the Kingdom of Love and to give me a new name. My name is not Much Afraid, but rather Much Anxiety. 🙂

As I have been recovering from anorexia, my therapy team has recently deemed me well enough to begin participating in a support group. Actually two: one is a meal-therapy group where we eat as a group and therapize through the experience; the other is a simply a support group. While evaluating the days and times of these groups, I realized that my therapy would actually be increasing as I would still be seeing my dietitian and therapist as I am now, plus the groups. Not only that but the intensity is amping up… meal-therapy? I cannot imagine anything more uncomfortable! I’d rather eat a plate of Lima beans. I hate Lima beans.

Color me confused, because I am healing. Isn’t therapy supposed to become less and easier as one recovers? Not only that, but the addition of these two groups (for the next eight weeks) will strain my daily schedule as I consider them in conjunction with normal family life and kidlet-activities.

Surely, God did not mean for me to go down this path.

I took the situation back to God and was like, “What do you want me to do? Do you really want me to engage in more therapy… engage in a schedule that will/could potentially cause me more stress and potentially trigger me in my disorder? Maybe I should just do one group. Which session do you want me to go to?”

Desert

“… in all the world only one thing matters: to do the will of the One she followed and loved, no matter what it involved or cost.”

All of a sudden, startling as popping balloons inside a hushed library and clear as the sun after a brutal storm, came the words and vision of Much Afraid’s plight the day the Chief Shepherd confirmed she was to go in the opposite direction.

My heart fell into my stomach and my legs got weak underneath me: “Oh no. You are sending me in the opposite direction. Though I am recovering, you are sending me into more and more-intense therapy. There is so much work to be done.”

Now,  I must also tell you that just last week I had asked God where in my journey I was… to give me a sign or clue that showed me what part of my journey resembled Much Afraid’s. Usually I can tell, but lately I haven’t been able to. Call me crazy, if you haven’t yet already, but I believe I got my answer.

While my initial response was similar to Much Afraid’s–horrified and dismayed–I actually take comfort and find joy in four things:

1) There are really cool things that happened for Much Afraid in the desert.

2) I can hear God’s voice so clearly.

3) God is answering my prayers/whining–constantly, even though I don’t always like the answer.

4) Much Afraid makes it to the High Places, and it is as awesome as the Chief  Shepherd promises.

I find myself today on my knees, humbly laying down, yet again, my will (and understanding) to follow my Chief Shepherd in what feels like the opposite direction–into the desert of more waiting and learning and refining. As Much Afraid says at her altar in the desert, “I am thy little handmaiden, Acceptance-with-Joy.”

I will close with this: The Chief Shepherd says to Much Afraid so tenderly “Always go forward along the path of obedience as far as you know it until I intervene, even if it seems to be leading you where you fear I could never mean you to go.

So here I go, into more therapy… straining through my days for the next eight-weeks and willing to honor what comes for the glory of my Chief Shepherd.

And the Lord says, “You shall see what I will do…” (Exodus 6:1)

New Year's Edition: Best of Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

Happy new year text on typewriter

We’re counting down the final hours of 2014 to a Happy New Year, 2015! To round out the year here at the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, we’re shining a light on a few of the bravest writers we know, who gave the blog hop a try for the first time this year!

May all of the following authors and their flash-fiction stories inspire you to challenge your creative side and give Writer Wednesday Blog Hop a whirl in 2015!

We kick off the new year with fresh prompts on January 7th–so check back next week. 🙂

Shiny new participants 

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning by Josh Bertetta

Dream Come True by Karen Knapp

Moongrape by Luccia Gray

M is For Magical Wedding by Aurora Hylton

Knit, Purl, Purl by Morgan Kellum

Cross Wires by Janni Styles

With Time to Spare by C.R. Fowler

Honorable Mentions (our regular participants whom we love and from whom we eagerly anticipate creative creations this year!)

Button’s Box by Scott Taylor (Top blog hopper with 30 entries in 2014)

Wine and Cheese by Sally Stackhouse (Second top blog hopper with 26 entries)

Gerald’s Promise by Debb Stanton (Tied with Tena with 24 entries in 2014)

Something in His Eyes by Tena Carr

Bigger than the Ocean by Carrie Sorenson

You Just Have to Be Patient by Lyn C.

She Waited by Leanne Sype

Will You by HJ Musk

Tastes Like Chicken by Tony Roberts

 

Papa's Perspective: Thoughts from a 97-year old

*Update: Our beloved Papa Sype passed away last night (Thursday, May 22 2014). His final days were anything but restful, so today while we grieve the man we adore so much we also feel great relief that he’s at peace.

I pray today Papa is celebrating in reunion with his beautiful bride,  Ruth “twinkle toes” Sype who has been waiting for him in heaven the last two and a half years.  “Gigi and Grandpapa” (as they are known to my children), have a great story which I wrote about in a post called “Going out in a Blaze of Glory” back in 2011.  I hope you will take the time to learn about them because they were pretty awesome and special people! 

Today I am reflecting on all the things Papa has taught me over over the last 13 years I have known him; I thought I would re-share with you the wisdom he passed on to us when I last saw in November. 

Peace to you and yours, dear friends. 

Leanne

***

Papa<—- This is John, a.k.a. Papa. He is my husband’s grandfather and my children’s great-grandfather.  Papa is the most generous, honest, kind, wise, loving man I know. I adore him and love him as my own grandfather. We just got back from a special, no-reason-in-particular visit with him in Rockford, IL, where he’s lived the majority of his life.

At 97 years old, Papa has experienced a lot of life; he’s got much to share if you just ask. He’s from the era of “the olden days,” but his perspective on life, marriage, parenting, and friendship is timeless.  I peppered him with questions all weekend, trying to savor every bit of seasoned wisdom he had to offer…

Q: What do you think the key is to living a long, happy life?

Papa: Find something useful that you love to do. If you’re doing something you don’t like… don’t do it. Find something else; I don’t understand why people think they have to keep doing something they don’t like doing.  This is why school is so important.

And also, always be honest and thoughtful with others.

Q: What’s one piece of advice as a father and/or parent?

Papa: That’s a tough one because no one thing is deserving!

Q: What was/is your favorite part of parenting?

Papa: I was Boy Scout dad. We would take groups of 10 or 15 boys on camping excursions up to Canada. Not many parents wanted to volunteer for these trips, so there were only a couple of us chaperones, which meant the boys would have to carry more weight. We had to get all those boys passports, you know. That was hard! But, we taught them life and survival skills on these trips… many of the boys had never even been away from home, away from their parents, so it was a big deal.  All the boys had to earn merit badges for their uniform; they worked hard to earn those badges.

You know, a lot of the other troops were real strict about proper uniform attire, but for our group, we didn’t pressure the boys about making sure they had the proper socks and a starched shirt. For us it was more about the skills and camaraderie than it was about the uniform. I loved those trips, and my boys would come with me.

These were 10-day trips, and that would give Ruth {his wife} a break! *grin*

Q: Out of all the places you have ever traveled, what was your favorite place to visit?

Papa:  Whales because it’s a country with kind and simple people who live a simple life; nothing fancy. Also, France and Italy, particularly the countryside. We think we have preserved things over here for hundreds of years; these countries have preserved things for thousands of years.

Q: What is your favorite invention from your lifetime?

Papa:  Probably the telephone and radio.

Q: Is there something you miss from the old way of life that our KidsandPapakids will never experience?

Papa: Why yes. And it is quite simple: sitting on the front porch. Life used to be simpler and entertainment was always outdoors in your own neighborhood.

Some other wise thoughts I captured:

On friendship: Learn your points of disagreement with friends or fellows you work with and stay away from those topics. If the other guy brings it up, then go ahead and chat about it. Otherwise, there’s no reason to bring up things that cause unnecessary friction.

DSCN3287On marriage (note: Papa and his bride, Ruth,  were married for 70 years before she passed away in January 2012. Out of respect for privacy, I will remain vague on the details of the following story):

“We went through a pretty rough time later in our marriage. Ruth confessed she had a problem; I wasn’t aware of it and she had to convince me there was indeed a problem. Of course we considered divorce because that was what most people in our same situation had done. We decided not to go that route… it isn’t worth it and it’s hardest on the kids, even when they are grown.

So, we drove up to Minnesota for treatment. I decided to go with her because it was recommended that spouses go through the program too. On some level I must have blamed myself for our situation because at the end of the program I felt so much better knowing it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t necessarily Ruthie’s fault either. We had been aware of some past stuff in her family, but no one ever talked about it.

If we both hadn’t acknowledged the problem and if we both wouldn’t have invested in solving it, we never would have made it.

On modern technology:

~ “I was foolish not to get onto the internet. Now when everyone talks it sounds like blah blah blah. It sounds like a bunch of baloney to me.”

~ “Boy, cell phones really make a difference, don’t they!?”

We love your wisdom, Papa!

Papa: Wisdom is a funny thing. It’s based partly on your experiences and partly on your attitude.

FamilyPhotowithPapa

Left to right: my son, Sean; my husband, Andrew; Papa; my daughter, Haley; Me!

Blog Hop Photo Reveal!

Welcome back to another Wednesday! I hope you are all having a great week thus far. It’s time for the next round of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop; this week Tena from Jottings and Writings is our lovely hostess. Enjoy!

***

The WWBH continues…  (For those that don’t know, WWBH stands for Writer Wednesday Blog Hop).

20140324-094933.jpg

There are 2 ways this can be played, depending on what the week’s host decides to do (This week that’s me 😉 ):

1) 1 picture/5 words

2) 2 pictures

Before I go any further, I want to welcome newcomer Heather (Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between) into the host circle. Heather will have the reigns next week.

Stories From Last Week

A Table For 1, A Flight For 3 by LeAnne Sype

Not So Bad After All by Scott Taylor

Wine and Cheese by Sally

Big News by Tena Carr

Heaven on Earth by Debb Stanton

A Welcome Revenge by H J Musk

Those Blasted Rules
But don’t stress too much – they’re really not all that bad

1) Try to keep your word count down to around 500 – no worries, we’re not counting. Just try to keep from getting too lengthy.

2) You must use the 2 pictures OR the 1 picture/5 words in your story (depending on what the host decides to use – I’ll be revealing mine in just a bit, I promise).

3) Link your story up using linky tool below. Stories submited will be announced in next week’s blog hop kick-off

4) This is most important… Have fun with this and let those creative juices flow

This week I thought I’d continue with the “retro” idea that LeAnne did last week (a little blast from the past so to speak)

20140324-101651.jpg
This picture comes from the “Back The Blue” Bash, put on by Arlington Police Foundation to support Arlington Police Officers and I want to thank Arlington PD for permission to use.

And Your 5 Words

Body

Person

Silky

Crack

Pleasure

Again, have fun with this… Can’t wait to read those wonderful creative stories!!;

Sent from my iPhone