The One About Fickled Fingers Part II

My intention today was to delete this blog, as I have done in the past.

Yet, when I went to go export this blog into a PDF, I could only do it one year a time (with the free plan), and then that’s when I realized I’ve had this blog since 2014. Long time, but it’s not even the time that caught my attention, it was my first post that made me pause. The post The One About Fickle Fingers is all about deleting the previous iteration of my blog and starting up a new one.

So, I decided to take a pause. Why am I deleting this blog? Why do I delete things? Because I don’t even do this with just blogs, I’ve done this with my podcasts, YouTube videos, etc. (And you may be reading this thinking, she had a podcast? She had a YouTube series? Yes, Yes I’ve had them but you WILL NEVER SEE IT because it’s been deleted.)

So, what’s the purpose of this blog?

This blog is for me. It’s for me to process and to share what God is doing in my life, although I haven’t done much of that this year. Why? I have become more private with age. I’ve seen how people vomit on the Internet and I think it’s quite ugly. And this blog is public, though few read it, and so I question will my future self thank me for what I post?

And yet, here I post. 

So, I think I will continue to post on here. And maybe I will delete it. Or maybe I won’t. I am fickle after all.

Weight Watchers: My One-Year Anniversary

Weight Watchers: My One-Year Anniversary

It’s been one year (give a take or a month since I am behind on my blog) since I began my Weight Watchers Journey. I’ve experienced weight loss and some weight gains, but overall this journey has been moving me toward a healthier me. And for that, I am thankful.

One year ago I did a “before” photo shoot (read post). I wanted to celebrate the “me then” because no matter the weight, I am still a beloved child of God.

Here’s me a year ago.

And here I am now.

So, what have I learned?

God is with me. I honestly would not have been able to lose the weight without the Lord. I am so weak when it comes to food. I am so addicted to sweets. I have learned I can say no and I can say yes to some things.

It is and has always been more than just about food or about being hungrier than others, it’s been about where I find my comfort. It’s a humble realization and one that I am working on with God as I desire to find my comfort in Him and not in food.

Having a community is so important. I love my weekly Weight Watchers meeting, my leader Lesley, and just the men and women who fill the chairs every week who share their struggles and triumphs. I also love my friends, some of who have joined WW this year too. It’s nice to be able to discuss openly about WW points, learn about recipes that they are using, and to also share clothes!

And also you, the reader. Thank you for supporting me through this journey by reading my posts and leaving lovely comments.

So, what are the stats?

To date, I have lost 28 pounds. At one point I had an overall weight loss of 34. I started at a slacks size of 16/18 (more 18) and I am now in a 12. I was pushing some XXL shirts and now I am in an L.

X no longer marks me.

My goal is to lose another 21 pounds and then decide on my WW Goal.

So, let’s see what the next year will bring! Until then, I will continue to try and do the Weight Watchers Wednesday series (though some might be on a Tuesday or Thursday).

Photos are by Heather Allison Love! My favorite photographer!

And just because she is so talented and I rarely ever get to say “I love this photo of me,” I leave you with some more from our photo shoot.

 

Weight Watchers Wednesday: I Don’t Recognize You Anymore

Tawny It’s been a year since I took this photo and much has changed.

The other day I was leaving a meeting and my friend said, “I don’t recognize you anymore. You’ve changed so much.”

Taken out of context, this may sound like a dramatic accusation, but it was meant to be an encouragement. I have changed. I am not the same person I was a year ago and I am ever-so grateful for that.

And it’s not just the weight loss.

So much of it has to do with doing exactly what God created me to do and being obedient in actually doing it.

A friend from church came up to me on Sunday and asked, “Now that you’ve taught twice on Sunday, how’s it going? How are you feeling?”

And I could honestly respond, “It’s hard but the feeling of doing something God said to do is the best. It’s scary, sure, but I know He is with me. And I know this is not always going to last and I won’t always have the opportunity to preach at a church, so I am just going to embrace it. Be grateful. And just do the thing.”

And a year ago, this woman in this picture, didn’t know this. She didn’t know she would be preaching. She didn’t know what plans God had for her. She was a bit lost and in the process of deciding on something very big (more to come on this).

As it stands, the physical transformation is just a reflection of the spiritual transformation that’s happened this year.

And I thank Jesus for this.

Weight Watchers Wednesday: A Month of Maintaining

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

I can’t believe it’s already mid-July! The past month has been about maintaining and surviving. Beginning in June, I was swept up in preparing for my job’s annual conference, then hosting the conference, and then recovering from the conference (along with holidays and other social events).

My goal hasn’t been to lose but just to maintain and survive. And I can say, for the most part, I have maintained. I’ve gained a 1.8 pounds since the end of May, and knowing what I actually ate, I am okay with that damage.

So what’s next?

I have two goals this week: track and stay within my points. I have found the most success when I track because it keeps me accountable for what I put into my mouth.

Also, I want to try a new recipe.

So, that’s like three goals. That’s it.

These are SMART goals

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

As I’ve said before, it’s a journey and maybe I am taking the longer way but I am still going to end up in the same place. And as each day passes, these healthy habits I’ve been learning and adapting are becoming more ingrained into my every day routine where it’s not just a Weight Watcher thing but a thing I just do – a Tawny thing.

Also, if you’re interested in joining Weight Watchers consider using my reference link so that you and I both get a free month of membership! Click here: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/checkout/iaf/?iaftoken=84A4707800

Weight Watchers Wednesday: G to DD

Processed with VSCO with 10 preset

“I didn’t recognize you from the back or from the side, Tawny. You carry yourself differently now. I remember when you came in August to now, you really do carry yourself differently,” explained my Weight Watchers leader, Leslie.

She ain’t lyin.

I’ve noticed the change in how I carry myself too. I see it in photos that others take of me. I am not saying I have perfect posture or have been completely cured of my body insecurity, but I’ve made progress. And progress is all anyone can ask for, really. I don’t expect perfection this side of heaven… just progress.

There’s many reasons why I am carrying myself differently.

  1. I literally have less weight to carry
  2. My core strength has improved so I can literally carry myself better
  3. I am not afraid of showing off my body
  4. My bra size is down

Let’s expand on number four.

I started growing a chest around age eight. By age ten, I was made fun of for having breasts by boys who would later want to see them (get out of here!). By high school I was a size F (I remember because my friend made fun of me for getting my first F in high school). And then I settled into a G in college.

And then this year happened. This year, for the first time in my weight loss journey of over ten years, my cup size decreased! I am now proud to say I am wearing a DD — something I never thought possible. And even now I could probably go down to a D (here’s hoping!).

Instead of the young girl who hunched over because she hated drawing attention to her self,  I am now a woman who is just excited that my breasts have decreased and I can stand up straight not fearing that I am going to side-swipe a child (again).

Until next week… (or the week after as I am heading to a conference, so most likely the following week).

So, I Preached This Weekend

Growing up as an atheist, the last thought on mind was preaching the Gospel in a church in my 30s. It just wasn’t something that I ever thought I’d see myself doing. Even when I was in my mid-20s, now a Christian, attending seminary, it was still a thought that didn’t come to my mind. People would ask, “Oh, so you’re going to be a pastor now?” or “So, you’re like going to teach people about Jesus in a church, right?” And every time I would shy away and say, “God told me to go to seminary, but I don’t think it’s for that reason.” Why did I say that? Because public speaking is not something I like to do and I had also been trained to think that woman couldn’t teach from the pulpit.

Yet, I absolutely adore teaching. I love sharing with people what God has taught me. I love the collaboration between the Holy Spirit, myself, and the people in the room. Each time something gets revealed or understood for the first time or someone recalls a truth they used to know, it’s like everything in me wants to explode with joy. Each time someone’s life is transformed whether it’s at the end of our talk or I hear about it later, it’s prayers answered! And as a teacher, I get to experience these things first: I learn new things, I am reminded of truth, and I am transformed. It starts with me and sometimes it’s painful, but its always good.

So, how did I get here? How did a former atheist preach the Gospel to a church?

It Started with Chicago

So, when God called me to Chicago I had no idea what He was going to do. He said go to Chicago to help plant a church in Logan Square with Real Church. Okay! Whatever you say God because I follow you. My heart’s desire is to just be with Him, doing ministry with Him, wherever He says to go. And these past six years have been a growing, transforming, sanctifying process. And maybe one day I’ll write a book, but for now this personal blog will suffice. And really, the story isn’t over; in fact, God has started me on a new chapter.

I Blame Scotland

This next chapter is learning what it means to preach and answering the call to preach. It’s doing a thing I would have never dreamt of, well not until six months ago. Not until Scotland.

When I was in Scotland on retreat, God revealed to me many things. One of which is teaching. And as the months have progressed, He has been revealing more and more to me that I am called to teach — not just classes (though they are my favorite, so I hope I can still do them) — but really, to preach the Word.

I Can’t Preach, I’m A Woman

Some background. I started out as a Christian at a Southern Baptist church and then went to a conservative evangelical seminary, so the idea of a female preaching was nonexistent. Women taught over women and children and that’s it.

So, it’s no surprise that there’s been conflict in my heart. Let me try to unpack this conflict because I think it’s important to explain. First off, if you follow the enneagram, I am a 9w1, so I am all about peace, maintaining the status quo, and I really want truth to reign in my life and I value rules and traditions. So take that foundation and sit with me in this tension.

I’m in a culture that tells me I can’t preach because of tradition or interpretations of Scripture, and yet I also value doctrine and Scripture above most things in this world and I want to follow what God says to do. And then, I have God who is telling me that He has made me to do the very thing that others say is wrong or at least makes them feel uncomfortable. I have a church leadership team that is being obedient to God and offering me a chance to do the very thing God created me to do. I am dealing with my own insecurities because it’s much easier to sit in a crowd and listen than to be on stage and bare my heart to the masses.

There was tension. And I kept going back to God, “Is this really what you want for me? Am I hearing you correctly? Can you show me in Scripture where it says I can do this? Can you confirm it through others? Help me to follow you, Lord. I don’t want to make this about me. I don’t want to dishonor you. Lord, are you really saying this?”

It was a mixture of needing confirmation but also maybe trying to find a loophole to get out of it because as I said, it’s uncomfortable.

In the end, I had to focus on God’s Will. Not others. Not what others would think about me. What I feared. No, I simply needed to pay attention to what God was inviting me to do.

Which Road Will You Take?

This road I have been going (if we want to do another analogy) has taken me to this spot. I really do believe Scotland was one of those crossroads. God was asking me, “Will you follow me down this road? You can go on the other path and I will be there with you too… but you can walk this path. It will not be easy. At times, you will be afraid. It’s going to cause a lot of tension. You won’t be able to follow the status quo [and as someone who is a 9 on the enneagram that is terrifying], but you will be more alive than you ever thought possible. You will have more joy than you ever thought possible. You will know ME more than you ever thought possible.”

Obviously, I chose Him. I chose a deeper intimacy with God. I chose this crazy path of obedience because I honestly could not have chosen the other path, it’s not me. It’s not what I was made for. Why live this life not fully being the woman God created me to be?

As God said, this road is not going to be an easy one. I know I will receive pushback. I know as I continue to grow in these gifts, I am going to have to die more to myself. There’s going to be a lot more pruning. A lot more faith. There’s going to be a lot more external forces that will either push or pull me to take the other road.

And yet, and yet, I can’t go back to the woman I used to be. I am not that atheist, I am not even that seminary student anymore… I have been changed by Chicago. I have been changed by Scotland. I have been changed by God.

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can listen to it on iTunes or on Google PlayIt’s not perfect but it’s obedience recorded, folks.

Weight Watchers Wednesday: a New Decade of Weight

Well, it happened. I have moved into a new “decade” of weight. Hello 170s!

I have finally hit a number that I don’t recall every being in. I remember the 160s when my appendix exploded and I was at 164 for a while until I gained all 40 pounds back (and then some) within a year. I remember 180s because that was the number I finally hit senior year of college — 189 to be exact — when I thought I could just exercise a lot to lose and maintain weight (it lasted a week).

So, when I stood on the scale and saw 179 I had no thoughts. Just surprise! No connection or memory associated with it. I only know it as the number I currently weigh at age 32.

Hello, 170s. Nice to meet you. I hope to not spend so much of my life in this decade, but I will be kind to you as I pass on through.

So where am I at?

  • I’ve lost 36 pounds since August 2017
  • I’ve lost 5.8 inches since February 2018
  • My current goal is to get to 164

That means I have 15 pounds to go. By the way my body has been losing, I will be able to lose it by the end of the year! It’s really exciting. It’s hard to explain the gratitude and excitement that I’ve experienced these last 10 months. To have lived the majority of my life feeling at odds with my body to now feeling like I understand this body God has given me is such a gift.

What else? I am thankful that I am no longer afraid of food or trying on clothes. I am thankful I am able to trust the compliments from others, and more importantly, the good things I say about myself. All of these things are a blessing from God.

I knew when beginning this journey that God was going to do a lot of work in me, but I didn’t realize what all it would encompass. This journey has been filled with pain, dedication, and sacrifice, but it’s also been filled with joy, sweetness, excitement, and love. It’s all of it…the full journey.

And here’s a semi-before and after photo

August 2017

Tawnybefore-11

May 2018