Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peace From Broken Pieces

I finished the book, Peace From Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant this past weekend. Even now, I struggle to put words together to describe the experience of reading it. It is a visceral, gut-wrenching, brutally honest glimpse into a life, analyzed to the DNA level of conscious and subconscious. And if you have suffered any brokenness in your life you will see yourself in some places. Reading the book was so hard for me that some nights I had to just put it down like hot coal, knowing that if I kept reading I might see some things in myself that I was not ready to see.

Some of my church going friends felt hesitant about reading the book because of Ms. Vanzant's spiritual beliefs as a Yoruba priestess (like it might be contagious once exposed). I assure you that my belief system is intact, mainly because it is tried and tested. But the wisdom and authority from which she writes about brokenness and the road back from it has changed me and helped me on my own journey to wholeness.

The most positive thing I believe I have gained from it is that I look at myself through a more honest lens. I hate lies and if you are a liar you cannot be a close friend of mine because I think liars are dangerous. But I now recognize that there are truths about me that still remain hidden to me and personal lies that I tell myself and the Holy Spirit loves me enough that he will not allow them to be revealed until I am ready to deal with the knowledge. Some knowledge and revelation arrived at too soon can crush you before it heals you.

I think of myself as a mentally healthy, happy, whole, saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit woman but I also know that in a family where few are obese or even overweight you do not get to be over 300 lbs (without even recognizing the weight being gained) without some kind of dysfunction or brokenness at the core. I had the blood tests to check the thyroid or insulin resistance or any number of things that could cause weight gain and all levels were normal. Trust me, I hate writing those words. But really, even if I didn't write them down, was there anyone in my circle of family and friends who DIDN'T notice I was fat? I'm pretty sure they did. I know I did. And I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and tho I didn't admit it to myself, I hated myself. So I punished myself and those who dared to talk to me about the issue by eating even more of my pain. Alone, late at night. Where no one could see.

I can write that now, knowing that I'm not in that position anymore. I am not completely healed but I am in the process of healing. Some of that healing shows on the outside (I've lost a lot of weight and maintained most of it for almost 6 years now.) Relationships that were destroyed by my low self-image are coming back. I appreciate and love my family so much more now because I see them as people who love me. Some in ways that I do not like. Some in a manner that needs adjustment from time to time. But people will only treat me at the level that I tolerate and allow. I need to change so that those around me can also change.

There are some battles that I refuse to fight anymore. Weight is one of them and I will continue to write about my journey because I'm not going to visit these places again. I'm going to learn the lesson and move on. I used to think my worth was tied to my gifts. That when the Bible said in Proverbs 18:16 (New King James Version)
"A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men."
, that people wanted to be with me and work with me only because of my gifts and talents. I felt that if I no longer had those gifts then the people around me would disappear too. Some of that is true. I do have friends that have left the building because the hook up isn't there or the cash isn't flowing as readily and I can't do that free job because I have to pay to upgrade my equipment. And I've had church folk stop calling because after years of volunteering to use my gift "for the Lord", I've said "Could you maybe give a sista' a love offering from time to time?" No more. I choose to walk away from abuse, even if it comes from a church or a ministry. Those who love me, value me and recognize my self-worth includes my gifting but is not defined by it, well, they are still here. And so am I. Every day I'm walking toward my own peace from broken pieces. I'm choosing to walk toward wholeness and away from dysfunction. What about you?

Peace and blessings,


Monday, February 21, 2011

Learn Not To Give Up

"We must learn not to give up when requirements are not met or when commitments are broken. To do so is a refusal to allow mistakes to be corrected and a demonstration of an unwillingness to forgive yourself or anyone else who needs forgiveness"
Iyanla Vanzant, Peace From Broken Pieces

I read those words on Sunday afternoon and had another light bulb moment of revelation about myself. I really punish myself when I fail to meet goals that I have set for myself and many times I have told myself, "Well, I guess this is just not my time" or "this is not for me", after a public and embarrassing setback. What is worse is that I retreat from my goal because I don't want others to see and comment on my failure. So fear of laughter and ridicule would be enough to get me to back down from a dream in the past.

Last Sunday I took a day off from my daily walks and I am happy to report that I did not let that day off signal the end of my dream about daily exercise. It did not feel good mentally this week. First the weather forecasters were saying all week it was going to rain and I had to push to just go out and walk anyway. I only got caught in the rain one time and most days the sun stayed out until long after I had finished my walk. So I did not listen to the weather forecast and I got out and walked anyway. Last week I walked a total of 17 miles during the week and my husband and I walked 3 miles on Saturday and another 3 miles on Sunday. I proved to myself that you can feel like crap and still be good to yourself. Next week I will measure inches again to see of things are looking better. But I feel better, not when I'm walking, that still feels like work but I feel good when I finish and the recovery time for my muscles is so quick, now that I am taking the ASEA every day.

You would think, man, Dede must be so proud of herself, what a big change she has made since January 4! Yet all I can feel is, man, I've been doing this for almost a month and a half and I should look and feel better by now - right?

I can't make this journey based on feelings. My attitude about myself needs some real growth and change. I been angry and disappointed with myself for a long time and I punished myself by not taking care of my mind, body, and spirit. And as long as I was reaching out and working to benefit others, I convinced myself that I was okay.

If there is anyone else out there who is like me I have a word for you. Your family and friends would feel better if you took care of yourself instead of others for a change. Your body is a temple that is set up to house a divine spirit within. When you make your body into a temple where the divine can live and flourish, the Holy Spirit inside you will be free and able to speak to you about really helping and blessing others. But you will be able to do it in wholeness and not from a position of need. And the first thing that the Holy Spirit will talk to you about is you.

The world needs people who are healthy; mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A problem would never show up in the life of a believer without the ability for the believer to activate the solution. But you will never be able to meditate and see the solution if your feet hurt, your back aches and you haven't slept in days.

I am glad to say that six out of seven days last week I met all of my goals. I did not chart all of my meals but I kept a daily running total in my head. I will strive to meet all my goals every day but I am going to enjoy the lessons along the way. On a practical note, The Body Media Fit armband and Digital Wrist Display have been a big part of keeping me on track. Having a machine on your wrist that beeps when you meet your daily targets is a great way to learn to be accountable.

My prayer for my family and friends is that they be in health, with a clarity of purpose and focus. If you are happy with the way you look and feel today, I am very happy for you and pray for your continued blessings. But if there is anything that you feel dissatisfied with and feel like a change is needed - then start today. That feeling is the size of a mustard seed today but inside that feeling that 'change is needed' is the power to make it happen. Two months ago I had a feeling that it was time for a change because my body felt like it was dying. It started with listening to that voice but the process now works independent from feelings or thoughts in my head. Mistakes are being corrected and I am forgiving myself for new hurts every day. I'm learning not to give up,

Peace and blessings,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Bad Do You Want It?

That is a question that I ask myself often because I know that there can be a disconnect between what I say and what I do. So far in 2011, my money and my mouth have been in alignment for the most part. I've been thinking as I put food into my body and I've been exercising. I can even say that I'm liking it more too. It does not hurt as much now, (especially since I've gone back to my daily dose of ASEA. Also, my body is once again firing on all cylinders and since I've gone back to the daily ASEA regiment my weight is starting to come off again for the first time this month. I continue to wear my BodyMedia Armband and meet my calorie intake, burn and sleep targets.

Now, it's not to say that there is a big change in what I look like, though I can say I feel different. But I'm starting to get these crazy cravings out of the blue, like on Tuesday there was a good gourmet food truck on my street and I wanted to order a large order of Parmesan Truffle French Fries. Now don't get me wrong, the fries are really good and I could have split the order with my husband to mitigate the damage but it would not have been a good food choice for someone who wanted to regain her health, strength and her life. And I had to fight the desire for more than a minute which is just crazy.

Deep down in the depth of my belly, I knew what the real problem was. I was afraid of actually succeeding in this lifestyle goal. Because when the weight and the physical challenges go, many excuses that I have had about being stalled at this point in my journey will go too. No longer will I be able to say, "They don't see me, they just see my weight", or "I can't do this task because I don't have the stamina to complete it".

There are many questions I will have to come to terms with on this journey. The fact is that all my excuses are simply words that I use to take the pressure off myself to produce what God has put inside me. There are no real reasons here, simply escape valves that give me the release I crave to justify my non-productivity.

So as I deal with that fact that there will be days where my integrity will be challenged, I also have to recognize that I am not the first person to go through this type of challenge. I remember a story in the Bible where Jesus was talking to Simon Peter just before the last supper. He was explaining to him that even though he could not believe it, Peter would in fact deny ever knowing Jesus very soon.
In Luke 22:31-32 (The Message Bible):

Jesus said, "Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start."

When we think of Peter, we think of the character that was the rock that the modern day church was built on, but notice at this time, Jesus did not call him Peter, he called him Simon. I believe that Peter was still dealing with his own personal lies and his double minded nature where he could love Jesus one minute and deny him the next. To a normal rational person, those two behaviors would not go together. How can you love someone one minute and deny them the next? Or how can you exercise and feed your body good food one minute and eat garbage and stop exercising the next?

Even great people can deal with double minded behavior and make mistakes and I will make many more before I die. But I am encouraged by the fact that Jesus told Simon Peter, "When you have come through the time of testing... and not, If you come through. The act of breathing every day means we will be tested. Victory comes when we recognize negative behaviors and squash them and kill them every time they rear their ugly head. Just because I have a thought does not mean I have to act on it. So I promise you, as I come through this season I will tell you about every challenge and every victory.

How bad do I want it? Really bad. I'm tired of living a life of excuses I really want to live my best life. When I die, I want to die empty. How about you? What is keeping you from your best life? Let's squash it and kill it now...

Peace and Blessings,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Defying Gravity

According to the Gravity Definition Page , Gravity is one of the universal forces of nature. It is an attractive force between all matter, and is very weak as compared to the other forces of nature. Isaac Newton was the first scientist to define gravity mathematically when he formulated his law of universal gravitation. One of the applications of this law is the concept of ‘escape velocity’, which is the velocity an object needs to achieve to escape the gravitational pull of another object (like the Earth).

I was thinking about this in the morning as I reflected on the week that was. I walked a total of 15 miles for the week and I felt good about that accomplishment. I was tired on Sunday so I did not do any exercise that day but took a day off. On Monday I started again doing what I said I was going to do.

It was interesting to me that there was a dialogue in my mind that said that because I did not walk on Sunday that the daily exercise experiment was over and I was a failure. Daily means every day right? And because of that, on the next day I had to pull against my flesh to go to the park and do the walk that I was growing accustomed to doing. There was an attractive force trying to propel me to stay put and not exercise, like I had done the day before.

I suppose that if I want to achieve success and walk toward purpose in my life then I must live a lifestyle of defying gravity. I am naturally pulled toward the easy and pleasurable things in life and I like to run from hard, difficult or painful things. It is so easy to say, "It's not my problem", and to check out when a task places a demand on my talent, time or integrity. It is funny what we will do for a paycheck every two weeks and what we will not do for family and friends. Or what we will not do to save our own lives.

So I will declare again that exercise is a part of my lifestyle, speaking to my subconscious mind and spirit. Get used to it body, this is just something that we do. And taking a day off is just that - a day off. What I love the most about this journey is that now that I have settled into daily life, there are no dramatic highs or lows. I have not lost any additional weight nor have I gained any. The scale fluctuates and regulates. There is no obvious reward or cookie that is given out because of my lifestyle changes. I do believe that this will happen over time, but this is not a daily or even a weekly fight. This is just what change looks like. And by doing this every day I am ramping up to my own escape velocity where my body can break free from the pull and the force of remaining the same and I will move on to my next level.
I am going on some erands and then I will go for my walk. Defying gravity...

Peace and Blessings,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Doing Right When It Feels Wrong

I wish I could say I've got it all cranked up and operating on all four cylinders when it comes to life. One would like to imagine that by now, we've learned a few things about how the world operates. But I make mistakes all the time and I find that the good things I do, I do them because I know they are good, not because it feels good when I do them.

I've learned to do things that cause me to feel afraid and to stay away from things that make me feel confused. Sometimes the things I am most afraid of are the things that will get me to a better place. God has not given me a spirit of fear so when I see fear arrive, I'm sure it is coming from a negative place. It doesn't feel good to do things when you are afraid but experience has shown me that it is the best thing for me.

When others tell me something is good for me and it doesn't "sound right" to my internal spirit and I feel confused, I know to take a step back and to challenge the idea being presented. God is not the author of confusion, so when it comes into my life, I know it comes from a negative place. Some call it women's intuition or a sixth sense but we usually get a sense that something is not right before we dive in. I now just trust that inner voice and keep moving on.

So nine days into the month of February, I've been keeping my promise to myself and going on walks in the park every day. When I start my walk now I feel good that I am keeping a promise to myself. It is an act of love to take care of myself and I am used to performing acts of love for others and not for myself. I've come to realize that this is another of those double-minded issues or a personal lie that I've told myself. I'd tell people, 'you have to love yourself before you can love others' fully believing that I was living my life this way but then I'd treat my own body carelessly and avoid doctor's appointments until things were obviously out of control.

Self-sabotage is a symptom of a double-minded person and in order to heal it and move on you need to first recognize that it is operating in your life. Changing the lies we tell ourselves is the hardest thing to do and unless you are able to call out that behavior in yourself you can't do it alone. Until my sister Alex called my attention to the behavior, I denied that I was living this life.

Things I now know two months into 2011:

1. Remember that Product called ASEA that I started taking in January? Well after 30 days I saw a real improvement in my cardio-respiratory functions. Going up hills was still challenging but I did not get short of breath and my heart rate recovered quickly. Also my muscle soreness after exercise was much less. I stopped taking it after 30 days and within 1 week I felt more labored and stressed as I exercised. My husband noticed that I had less energy and my joints also started "giving out" on me for the first time. I called the company yesterday and asked them to send me a new order right away. I'm going to have to find things to cut back on so I can pay for adding this product to my daily supplements. So I can't speak about what it does for athletes but for a non-athlete like me? It means the difference between exercising without hurting the body and exercising to the point of injury and distress. Just one woman's personal anecdote, he or she who has an ear, let him/her hear... I don't sell the stuff and I can't even say it tastes great, it tastes okay. But my body definitely responds to it. I'll report back again after month two...

2. The scale is not my friend. Sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down. If I'm going to get into a tailspin every time I give my all working out and I get no love from the scale, then I'm going to quit this thing by March 1. The truth is the pair of pants I am wearing today I could not fit into two months ago. Change is going on whether my scale reflects it or not. So I'll just keep holding on and keep on moving.

That is it for now. It is time for my walk in the park. I've been listening to Marvin Sapp's song "Don't Count Me Out". I love to listen to it when doing right feels wrong. Take a listen and I hope it blesses you too. (If you don't see the embeded video then go to The Blunt Instrument and listen there.)

Peace and Blessings,



Left alone but never forgotten
Misunderstood but my future is just starting
God is molding me and making me
He's building me and shaping me
A king is being formed right in front of your eyes
So don't count me out


When you don't see what He sees
You can't tell but His glory is resting on me
I'm His choice
I'm after his heart
The unveiling is starting now
So don't count me out
[Repeat in Unison]

I'm no longer the same no more (So don't count me out)
There has been a change in me (So dona't count me out)
For there are enemies that I must defeat
It's my time
It's my time
Don't count me out
Don't count me out

There's a king in me (don't count me out)
Goliaths' to defeat (don't count me out)
Visions to decree (don't count me out)
It's my destiny (don't count me out)

There's a king in me
Goliaths' to defeat
Visions to decree
It's my destiny

Don't count me out

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Money and My Mouth

Life will constantly provide you with opportunities to test your integrity and belief systems. I've learned to guard my words and to think before speaking because if I say it, nine times out of ten I will get an opportunity to prove that I meant it.

This morning, after writing about integrity and truth vs. facts, I went on my bathroom scale and it recorded that I weighed 2 1/2 lbs. more than I did the day before. This was the day after having a particularly trying workout in the park, meeting all my exercise, calorie burn goals for the week and denying myself extra goodies when others were indulging.

My immediate response was anger and resentment. Why does this journey have to be such a battle? Can't I just have a period of getting the reward for the work done? Can't there be some measure of consistency with the weight loss? I took a deep breath. I realized that I was looking at the facts and not the truth. The fact was that the scale recorded my weight on that morning and at that time. The truth was that my body is in a continual process of healing and building muscle back and decreasing the size of fat cells and as long as I do not quit, the scale will also reflect that truth.

The spirit of self sabotage would like me to get depressed and to stop so that I would reinforce the lie that "This is how my body is, I can only lose so much weight and then I can go no further." Another of my lies of self sabotage is "If I do take the weight off, I will just gain it back within the next five years because my body is just comfortable as a big girl".

The hard thing about the lies you tell yourself is that they live hardwired in your subconscious and you think you are ready for change and next level thinking but you find yourself acting out the lie, even while you tell yourself you are committed to truth. You say all the right things during the day but you crave all the wrong things when you are alone with your thoughts. You become double minded and in a battle between the conscious and the subconscious, the subconscious will always win if you are not even aware that you are in a fight.

So today, I have to take a deep breath, remind myself that this is a long journey and keep on moving. and I will keep away from the scale for at least a week. In order to clean out the lies in my subconscious I have to fill it with new information and do it consistently until the new thoughts replace the old lies that I used to live by.

Today I confronted just one of my personal lies but I have many more to confront as the days go by. I am not going to live a life that is less than the best that God has for me. Not any more. When I discover the truth I am going to shout it out and hope that it helps someone else. What lies do you tell yourself? Do you self sabotage?

James 1:7-8 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

A person who has doubts shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Truth vs. Facts

I like to remind myself about the difference between the truth and the facts so I don't get it twisted in my own life. The truth is I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are God's creative works; and that my soul knoweth right well. The fact is that some days I feel so clumsy and fat - I am not where I need to be to fulfill God's purpose in me but I am on my way.

The truth is that I have family and friends who love me and care about me. Anytime I need help it is just a phone call away. The fact is that some days I feel so alone that I question why I am still breathing. Both realities can live inside the same body.

The truth is that people can witness the same events (or grow up in the same house) and still come away from the experience with different interpretations of what actually occurred. The fact is that your personal interpretation of those events will ultimately shape your life and determine your success or failure.

The truth is that people who love you can hurt you and cut you deeply. The fact is that the pain comes from the wound with no regard as to the motive of the individual inflicting the pain. So whether they tried to help you or hurt you, the pain is still the same.

The truth is that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. The fact is that whenever people or events come into my life and all I can feel is confused about why they are there, I know that the people and/or the event did not come from God.

Life can be very challenging when we do not know the difference between the truth and the facts. Facts are subject to change but truth is consistent and unchanging. Always hang on to the truth and don't be swayed by facts.

Do you have a truth that you know and live by? Let's discuss it in the comments...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I love the word integrity. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness. The state of being "all one". Having integrity means that you do what you say you are going to do and what you say and do lines up with what you believe. It means that you do not compromise yourself when it gets tight and uncomfortable.

I want my life to represent integrity. I want my belief system to be reflected in all areas of my life, including my physical being. So I will no longer say that I dislike exercise. Exercise is something I do because I am unwilling to compromise my integrity. So if I believe that my body should be a reflection of my Creator, (and I do believe that), then it should be apparent when you see me, talk to me and watch my actions. In 2011 I am seeking a body, soul and spirit that embrace good health. A being that is ALL ONE. Sometimes change hurts, but change is good.

So I will test my consistency during the month of February. I would like to walk at least 2 miles every day. Why don't you join me in doing one thing to change your patterns and change your life? Another thing I am doing is adding vegan choices into my menu for the family. One item I am trying this week is gardein. What is it?
gardein™ is a wholesome range of tasty plant-based foods with a meaty texture. it’s made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut®). gardein™ is easy to digest and free of cholesterol, trans and saturated fats. the majority of gardein™ foods are a good source of fiber and low fat too. gardein™ is also animal and dairy free.

Go to the website and see all of the tasty choices and try one for just one night of the week, like a meatless Monday. You might even fool the die hard meat-eaters in your family into loving new vegan choices in their diet.

Peace and Blessings,