Category Archives: Faith

Let It Go!

Hey all! Long time, no type, I know. It is probably going to be that way for a while though as life here in the Payne Family is busy, busy, busy.

I wanted to pop in and share a bit about what God has been whispering into my ear over the last week or so. No, contrary to the title, it doesn’t have to do with Disney’s Frozen. Sorry!

 

Before I start with my newest life lesson, I should update you a bit. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for almost 9 years now. During that time, I have both homeschooled and sent my children to public school. I have also taken online classes through Grand Canyon University to work on my Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Now, in just a few short days (9, but who’s counting?) I am going to be a part-time stay-at-home-mom and a full time student at Texas State University to work on my Bachelor of Arts in Family and Child Development and also my teaching certificate. This is really exciting for me and also a challenge. So here comes my very important lesson.

Certainly, you’re seen one of the memes that say, “LET GO AND LET GOD.” Well, that’s not exactly what God is saying to me. Yes, He is ultimately in control. And of course I should have my ultimate faith in Him, which it is most of the time. (Hey, I’m human, if I said all the time I’d be lying.) When my husband and I had been married just over 2 years, we went through a season of about 8 months where we were about 1000 miles apart except for a few weekends and short weeks at a time. During that time, God revealed to me that I had been relying on my husband for security rather than on Him. It was very humbling and such a relief to understand that I didn’t have to place all my faith in a human man who could not fulfill me 100%, no matter how awesome he happened to be. And trust me, my husband is pretty flipping awesome!

let-go-and-let-god

This time however, God is teaching me a different lesson. You see, I tend to be a bit of a control freak. That has worked out quite well for me as a stay-at-home-mom. It isn’t going to work out so well as a mom venturing back into the college world, however. As a full-time stay-at-home-mom, regardless of how my children were schooled or whether or not I was taking online classes, most of my days were spent either at home, running errands, or our with my family. Now, I will be spending a few days a week away from my home. My husband has recently taken a position in San Antonio where although he has more responsibility, he also has a bit more flexibility and will be able to pick up where I may have to leave off because of my academic responsibilities. I am going to have to let go of some of my control over the needs of my children and household and let my husband take care of those needs. Oh, man! I can’t even tell you the anxiety I have over it.

let-go-and-let-172

Let me reassure you that I know my husband is 100% capable of taking care of these responsibilities. I also whole-heartedly believe that husbands should take care of their share of child and household responsibilities when their wives are working in or out of the house (school counts as working for me as it will be taking up almost the same amount of time as a job). I just don’t want to give up that control. It is hard! God keeps reminding me though that “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) As much as I would like to be able to do everything on my own, that is not God’s intention for me. He wants us to need each other’s help so that He can be glorified and we will be blessed when we receive that help. He wants me to LET GO AND LET MY HUSBAND.

Next Monday, I will get that chance. I start classes that day, but my 3 children do not start school until the following day. That means my husband has to take a personal day and spend the day at home. On top of that, the only day that was available for my kindergartener to get his required immunizations and my daughter to have her (much overdue) well child check up was that Monday. Of course! So on my first day of school, not only do I need to ask my husband to take a personal day from work, I also have to miss a doctor’s appointment for the first time as a mom. My Type A personality can’t handle this! Thankfully, the clinic had the new patient forms available on their website to download and print out so all he even needs to do is sign them in and ask the questions I have written out for him in the folder.

I will say it again, my husband is 100% capable of taking care of things while I am away. It’s not that I don’t trust him or even that he doesn’t want to do it. And it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. When our youngest was just a baby, he stayed home alone with all three kiddos while I was on a girls’ weekend getaway and they all did just fine. He even did our daughter’s hair and got to church early that Sunday. Seriously, if the guy is responsible enough to hang crazy-heavy things from the ceiling right above where hundreds of people sit, stand, and walk; he can handle 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 house cleaning schedule.

I guess part of my anxiety is that I really haven’t asked my husband to help with some of these things. I liked being in charge of them. I didn’t ask for help because I didn’t want the help. Now I have to ask for the help because I really need it. I loathe being needy! But I’m going to let go anyway and let my husband help.

There’s a quote that goes something like, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” (I tried googling who said it, but it came up unknown.) I think the same can be said about a woman. As I strive for success and greatness in school and later in my career, I need the support of those closest to me. The greatest of those people is my husband. I know that just as I have supported him in his career goals and ambitions by staying home with our children so that he wouldn’t have to worry about it, he is willing to do the same for me now. I know that we really are equal partners and by not allowing him to do his part, I am actually harming both of us. So, I will trust God and LET GO AND LET MY HUSBAND. 🙂

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My Big “Fat” Secret

I haven’t posted in a LONG time, I know! Life this summer has been super busy.

The kiddos have been randomly participating in the Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament that is put on each summer by the Austin Public Library. ‘A’ has made it 3 rounds in once and the other 2 have both lost in the first round each time so far. They are troupers though, and keep going back for more.

We are also planning a move in the next couple weeks. Currently, my husband is driving from Austin to San Antonio every day. Depending on how light or heavy traffic is he has anywhere from a 90 minute drive to a 3 hour drive, one way. That’s a LOT of driving. In the fall, I will be attending Texas State University to work on a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development. So, we will be moving to a small town in between his workplace and my school. The house we have chosen is amazing! The details are still being worked out, so I will post more on that when it is a done deal.

Oh, and we just got back from vacation! We spent the first (and largest) part of in in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for my in-laws’ 35th Anniversary. (We also spent a day and a half in our beloved city, New Orleans.) It was the first time in 5 years that the whole family was able to get together. We had a blast! I’m pretty sure my favorite (and the scariest) part was crab hunting on the beach at night. So fun!

Photo Credit: Paula Payne at http://inpayne-paula.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit: Paula Payne at http://inpayne-paula.blogspot.com/

 

The pictures taken that day are part of my reason for posting this blog today. And I’m sorry to say, it’s not exactly a fun one. You see, another picture that was taken that day, and has recently been added to Facebook was one of my husband and I.

E&J 2014

Photo Credit: Paula Payne

I seriously wanted to cry when I saw this picture. At the time when I first looked at it, all I thought was “look at how FAT I have become!” Now, you may be saying “Are you crazy? You’re beautiful! You’re in a beautiful place with a man who loves you.” And you’d be right. Those things are true. But to me, in that moment, that wasn’t MY truth. My truth was that over the past couple years I have gained about 20 pounds and have “let myself go” so to speak.

The problem was, I did a mental flashback and compared this picture to one from 5 years ago. Then, I actually placed a real picture from 5 years ago next to this recent one. This was the result:

July 2009 vs July 2014

July 2009 vs July 2014

The thing is though, I had to remind myself that in that picture from 5 years ago, there is a LOT that is not seen. What you can’t see here is that I was silently suffering from an undiagnosed eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. I had starved and overworked my body to the point that I had to supplement my baby with formula because my body didn’t have enough fuel to make enough breastmilk to feed him. What you can’t see here is that in the picture on the left, I thought I was so FAT and GROSS when I looked at myself naked in front of the mirror before stepping into the shower. The woman on the right sees her image as curvy and feminine and beautiful. That girl on the left gave into those demons that whispered lies about her body and her worth. The woman on the right knows she is worth so much more; she believes that she is full of strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25) no matter what the camera might reflect.

A little over a year ago, I came across a blogger named Amber. She had posted a blog called Cellulite: It’s Time We All Just Get the Hell Over It. Everything she wrote really resonated with me. I read some more on her site, Go Kaleo (Kaleo being a joke about Kale and Paleo diets) and joined a Facebook group that she started called Eating The Food (ETF) that was kind of like a support group for people who were dealing with eating disorders and body image issues or were just trying to quit the diet-cycle and needed encouragement. I have learned so much over the last 16 months of trying, succeeding, failing, and trying again at ETF.

One big thing I learned was that I was not eating enough. I went here and calculated my BMR (basal metabolic rate) and my TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) based on my age, height, weight, and daily activities. BMR is basically the number of calories that your body would need daily if you were in a coma. TDEE takes into account all of the activities you do each day (exercise, housework, walking from place to place, etc.) and the amount of calories needed to fuel that amount of activity. My BMR is currently 1,367 calories. Honestly, 5 years ago my goal was to be UNDER 1,200 calories a day AND I was working out for at LEAST an hour each day, usually more like 2 hours. No wonder I was in such a mess psychologically!

I probably do a lot more that this daily, but this gives a pretty good idea.

I probably do a lot more that this daily, but this gives a pretty good idea.

Another thing I have gained from ETF is a heck of a lot of body positivity. That group is amazing! I don’t post a lot (cause I’ve got 3 kids who keep me super busy and away from Facebook), but when I do they are always so encouraging. For example, this morning I posted about my body-image dilemma about how my body has changed over the last 2 years, and especially compared with pictures from 5 years ago. Here’s some of what they wrote to me:

 

I’m going to be totally honest, you are smoking. Your figure is HOT. I know it’s hard for you to see, I’m the same way with my old pictures, but you look amazing now. You’ll get to that happy place, it just takes time.

 

Jen, I know I’m looking through different eyes, but you look great in that photo. You are also standing with a man that you love in a beautiful area. 

 

When I get into these moments, getting active somehow is the best way for me to break out of the negative ED headspace. Your body does amazing things! Taking a walk, doing a little yoga, etc., reminds me of that, somehow reconnects mind and body to work together 🙂

 

I don’t particularly like my picture taken, but something another member of this group said on someone else’s similar post has really stuck with me: when you try to take a picture of the moon with a camera, do you notice how different it looks than in real life with your own eyes? The moon never looks as beautiful in the digital representation so I’m taking the same view. I will never look as good in photos as I do in real life where my awesomeness aura can be measured on the Richter scale!

 

Try not to look at it as heavier = worse. Heavier can also be just a different version of yourself. Not better or worse, just different. You know how sometimes we enjoy changing up our hair color or playing with different styles? You are right now enjoying the experience of being this size instead of that size. You are still you underneath and are, as always, beautiful!

 

Jen, a lot of us have been through what you’re experiencing right now. 

What I like to tell people is to take more pictures!!!! For a while, I was taking pictures of myself daily. Then study the pictures – post them here if you want – study them and find all the POSITIVE things in the pictures. Soon, you’ll see pictures of yourself the way we see pictures of you. You’ll see the beauty and health and happiness first.

 

Both bodies are good bodies and I think you are already making progress in recognizing the state of mind you were in for the left photo. 

 

Seriously, how great are these people! They also have a TON of experience in all kinds of fitness from running to yoga to crossfit to you name it.

 

So there it is. I’m posting it out there for everyone on the internet to see. My big “fat” secret. I’m posting it because I don’t want to be ashamed of how I used to treat my body. And I don’t want to feel ashamed for my now healthier, properly fueled body. I’m also posting this as encouragement for anyone out there who is currently dealing with an eating disorder and/or body image issues. It does get better, if you let it. Yep, there are times when those urges attack at full force, but my hunger for life (and delicious food) gives me the strength to just say “no” to ED and say “yes” to ETF.

Today I have learned to look at this picture this way:

'Smiling on the Outside, Dying on the Inside' vs 'Smiling on the Outside, Joyful on the Inside'

‘Smiling on the Outside, Dying on the Inside’ vs ‘Smiling on the Outside, Joyful on the Inside’

The woman on the right looks different, not only on the outside, but also on the inside. And that change on the inside is the most important change of all.

 

Be blessed, my friends.


Setting Goals

Goals are SUPER important!

At the begining of the year, my husband and I set a goal to have a larger vehicle by the end of March. He worked side jobs almost every weekend in January and February and a few in March. All of the money he made doing that work went into a savings account and on March 30, we bought a van. We paid for it outright and have no payment weighing down on us. There are a couple issues with the van, so now we have a new goal which is to save and pay for the repairs before we go on vacation.

Another goal I have in my life is to be able to run (without a walking break) for a full 10K (6.2 miles). I’ve gotten up to 2 miles non-stop a couple of times recently. The progress is slow, especially as the Texas temperatures rise, but I am working hard to achieve that 10K goal.

I just finished a group study of Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity. In the Group Experience companion book, she writes about Paul’s ultimate goal in Philippians 3:7-14:

The apostle Paul is both the ultimate idealist and the ultimate realist. He sees so clearly the fundamental goal of all who believe in Christ: to be found in Christ, to know Him, to become like Him. In other words, to be transformed! But Paul is honest enough to note that he’s not there yet. He doesn’t dwell on what is past, but he strains with all his energy to move forward. May we share his passion and his forward vision as we seek to leave a strong legacy for those behind us.

So now, like Paul, I’ll be honest: during the time of saving for a car, we were not always diligent.  There were times that we went out to eat when we should have put that extra money in the savings account. There were times when I bought a new lipstick or nail polish or shoes when I could have put that extra money in the savings account. There have been days that I didn’t get out to do my run first thing in the morning and I didn’t fuel my body properly so my run was not as successful as I’d have liked. But I can’t dwell on those things, I have to move forward toward the goals that I have set.

There are some goals, like Paul’s goal “to be found in Christ, to know Him, to become like Him” that are life-long,  ever changing, ever evolving goals. These are goals that, while alike in theory, they are very unique to each individual and situation as they are carried out in real life.  One such goal of mine, as a mother, is to see my children grow up knowing and loving and serving the Lord Jesus. It will not forever be my role to discipline and direct them, but I will forever be responsible for setting an example as a more mature believer and as their parent.

I’ve made so many mistakes already as a mother. I will make countless more as my children grow and mature. However, I won’t let those mistakes define my years as a mother. I will continue to grow in Christ, and therefore continue to grow as a mother. I will “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

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I’m Back: A Whole New Look for A Whole New Me

 Welcome to my new blog!

 

It has been way too long since I have blogged, I know. So much has happened in the past 10 months. I’ll try to sum it up as briefly as possible, and then I will get into why I have started a new blog with a new name.

 

Last I blogged, I had just moved to Austin from New Orleans. It was a stressful move and my husband’s new job was not exactly as wonderful as his employers had made it seem in the interview process. We had been told that Austin was very similar to New Orleans. Not quite. Sure there’s good food, but it’s BBQ, Tex-Mex, and Breakfast Tacos rather than Po-Boys, Seafood, and Beignets. Austin is the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World (or something like that), but New Orleans has way more (and better) live music. I had thought New Orleans drivers were bad, but Austinites are just ridiculous! Austin’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” (I have no idea if that is official or not). I came to the conclusion one night while out on a date with my husband that Austin is kind of like New Orleans’ nerdy little sister: it’s often just trying way too hard to be cool and it is very obvious.

But Austin is growing on me and there are some very good benefits to living here and there are a lot of things that I do like about living here. For one thing, I LOVE that our neighborhood is very multi-cultural. New Orleans is still very culturally segregated, and that really makes me so very sad. Austin also has a LOT of hills, which have been very beneficial to my running routine. I already mentioned the BBQ, Tex-Mex, and Breakfast Tacos. We have found an amazing church where my husband is now on staff as the Technical Director. It was a huge blessing for him to be able to take the job there. We have started making some amazing friends. The kids have awesome teachers at their new school and even have a few classmates/friends in the neighborhood that they play with on the weekends. And most importantly, this is where God has told us we are to be. Oh, and the Texas sky is just gorgeous at almost any point in time.

See what I mean?! Gorgeous!

See what I mean?! Gorgeous!

 

When we first moved here, I had just started on a low-dose birth control pill that the doctor had insisted was the only thing that would help my would help the hormonal problems I had been having. Against my better judgment, I started taking them because I let her degree cause me to second guess myself. It was a disaster! It fixed a couple of the physical problems (by masking them) but caused even more emotional problems. It kicked me into a major depression and I gained almost 20 pounds. I ended up quitting the BC and reading The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried. It took a while to get myself straightened out after the BC, and I’m still tweaking things a bit, but I have begun to lose some of the weight I put on as well as add back some of the muscle I lost while depressed and not working out. I have completed a Couch to 5K running plan and now I am onto a plan that will (hopefully) have me running  a 10K in under 60 minutes. I am well on my way there as I ran 4.06 (that 0.06 is important, yo!)  miles this morning with a pace of 9:48 minutes/mile. Most importantly, my emotional state is so much better! It is more steady and not so up and down like it was while on the BC and just after quitting.

 

Ok, so now onto WHY I have changed my blog name and focus:

 

Honestly, the reason I changed blogs is because God told me to. My old blog was mine, and only mine. This blog belongs to Him. You see, when I started up my old blog, I was focused primarily on the external aesthetics (mainly mine). But God wants my focus on the internal, because that’s where His focus is. He cares more about my spiritual state than my physical state. He cares more about my attitude than my performance.

This new blog is going to focus on all the areas in our lives that we need to nourish and work out. Yep, keeping our physical bodies healthy is important, but it is not more important than being spiritually healthy or having healthy relationships or being emotionally healthy or having a healthy control of our finances or… well, you get the idea. Food and fitness are just one part of a very big picture. They are just one part of my very full life, a life I would like to share with you.

My goal is to post at least twice a week. Some will be short while others will be more in-depth. I will still mainly be posting about my fitness routine and foods, but I have some other areas I’d like to blog about as well. My old blog felt very restrictive. I made it into a place where I didn’t feel I had the freedom to branch out into other areas. I’d pigeonholed myself.  Now, I will be blogging about faith, family, friends, fitness, food, and fun!