Friday, April 3, 2015

Cures for my First World Heart

This is part of a series of posts that I'm writing on replacing the consumerism in my heart with contentment and gratitude.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12 (NIV)

We Americans often battle with consumerism. The desire for a larger home, a better car, a more extravagant vacation, or a more luxurious lifestyle are well known to us. I realized years ago that I needed to learn to be content in whatever situation I was in. It's a hard thing to learn here in the land of plenty. Things really began to change for me when I went to Haiti in 2010. I saw poverty that took my breath away.  Along the way, I've found a few things that have helped break my desire to have more. The first thing that I want to share with you is a company called Noonday Collection. A quote from their website to explain what they do:
"Noonday Collection is a business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world."
Noonday partners with artisans in developing countries to develop fair trade businesses that offer fair wages and good working conditions free of child labor. Here is a short video about one of their artisans:

Please go check out their website and watch some more of their videos - so moving.

The Noonday necklace in this photo is made from ethically harvested animal horn.

I own several pieces from Noonday. I love them because they are beautiful, unique, affordable and durable. But I also love them for much deeper reasons. One of my favorite pieces is the necklace in the photo below, and it was made in Ethiopia from re-purposed artillery. 

Something that man created to do harm has given someone a job making lovely necklaces. While Noonday feds my consumerism on some level, it frees me from it at the same time. I love to buy it and give it away.  I always feel good knowing that my money went to a company that is breathing life into countries where people struggle to get buy. I love getting to wear jewelry that has given another woman a dignified life.  If you'd like to purchase some Noonday pieces, I'm hosting a trunk show! Have fun  shopping at Noonday Collection & enter my name as the trunk show host.  You have plenty of time to order for Mother's Day deliveries!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Weight Maintenance Update

It's been a little over a year since I hit my goal weight, so I thought it was time for an update. Hitting the one year mark, and still being at the weight I want to be at is a big deal for me. When I started trying to improve my health over two years ago, I was truly unsure of how successful I would be both in the short term and long term. Could I actually loose the weight? Could I maintain healthy eating habits for the rest of my life?

 I've hit a new low weight of my adult adult life. The photo above was taken this morning, and it's the first time I've seen my weight below 150 lbs as an adult. It's a welcome change from this before photo:

 I have to admit part of this recent dip in weight is due to a stomach virus that my whole family has been fighting, but that's not all of it. We got back from vacation about a week ago, and vacation time usually means a several pound weight gain for me. Not this time though. I did three things differently - no desserts at restaurants, I made a solid effort to track most of the food that I ate, and I tried to stay away from wheat. I did have a little wedding cake on the trip, but I came home weighing what I weighed when we left for the trip! I've noticed that avoiding wheat has resolved my issues with water retention.
I still have these size 20 jeans in my closet, just as a measure of restraint. They are there to remind me of what I used to have to wear. I still struggle with self control, and I still eat and drink things that I shouldn't at times, but one day off the wagon is just that. One day.

I've been reading Made to Crave, which a a great book that addresses the emotional and spiritual component of over eating.  I'll write a more detailed review of the book when I'm finished with it, but I want to share a quote from the book.
"Food can fill our stomachs but never our souls,
Possessions can fill our houses but never our hearts,
Sex can fill our nights but never our hunger for love.
Children can fill our days but never our identities."

The main point of the book is that we find true joy and satisfaction in God alone.  I finally got some time to listen an excellent sermon on gluttony that was recently preached at my church.  Hear is the link, if you'd like to watch it: Where do you find your satisfaction?  One point that our pastor made that really stuck a cord with me was this:

Does my over indulgence mean that someone else starves?

Oh that pinged my heart. I've seen severe poverty, I've lost a child in Ethiopia, partially due to malnourishment. How much money each week do we spend on food that we don't really need? How much of that money be given to buy food for someone else who doesn't know where their next meal is coming from?