The journey...

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

~Jillian Michaels

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Monday, June 29, 2009

...all dolled up!

haha....DISCLOSURE...keep reading before "gasping" over my opening statement:

"Wow! I'm not used to seeing you with all your clothes on!"

...ah, calm down!

That was the HILARIOUS greeting this morning at our water aerobics luncheon that followed our morning class. It was so much fun and also nice to "see everyone with their clothes on." lol This is a group of ladies who wakes up at the crack of dawn 3-5 days a week to work our tails off (literally) in the water and enjoy one anothers company in our humble state of presentation. :) No makeup, pearls, satin blouses and skirts. No bedazzle (that's for Shauna), bling bling, crimps or curls. We walk in there with our heads held high and it's LOVE IT OUR LEAVE IT BABES! We don't have to "dress to impress," it's "Move it or lose it."

It was neat seeing everyone "all dolled up" and getting to know each other a little more than our limited 1 hour time slot of aerobics (which consists of Shauna yelling - "YOU SHOULD BE TOO OUT OF BREATHE TO STILL BE TALKING! MOVE IT, MOVE IT!!!")

I took a half-day off work and was so glad I was able to attend. We really had a great time!

This was our class picture following aerobics a few weeks ago. (Shauna's 10 year anniversary)Me, Shauna & Julie (Isn't our instructor so stinkin' cute!)

...and this is where it starts goin downhill folks! DESSERT TABLE!!! (keep in mind, we JUST finished working out) SHAUNA - meet dessert. DESSERT - meet Shauna. Key Lime Pie

I am SOOO using this next time I have a LARGE Cherry Coke...or two! :)

The ladies enjoying our salad & dessert party!

EVERYONE was just smiling and having a good time!

Haha - JUDY - now this is one spunky lady. Seriously, I'm 23 (ashamed to say) and this chick can do more than me - hopping in and out of that pool like it's nothing.

"Pose for me." :)

I mean seriously, if you're gonna eat it...might as well eat it with a smile onyour face!

Effie & I sipping Crystal Light Lemonade (mine was mixed w/ Ice Tea)
The wonderful salads & finger foods

Hey - we are more that bathing suits and water dumbells. Everyone looked GREAT!

Verse(s) of the Day:
Romans 13:8-10 (The Message)

Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don't sleep with another person's spouse, don't take someone's life, don't take what isn't yours, don't always be wanting what you don't have, and any other "don't" you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can't go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.

Friday, June 26, 2009

*slap slap*


So I had this post planned out since Wednesday titled "slap slap" because I feel like I need to snap out of it. Every since the weight loss competition ended on Monday, I had two bad days in a row followed by 3 missed workouts. The times I've been to the gym, I feel it's half-heartedly and I'm just exhausted as all get out.

Shauna had said to me during water aerobics this morning, "It's okay to have an off week, just don't give up." Then I get to work today and in my email inbox this message was included from Jillian Michael's tip of the day:

Suffered a Setback? Here's How to Get Back on the Wagon

It happens — you miss a few workouts and you feel like you've fallen off the weight-loss wagon. It's tempting to mentally slap yourself around, right? (Or head for the fridge.) Before you start, I want to remind you of something: Being hard on yourself is the Old You.

The New You knows how to deal with setbacks and get back on the wagon. And after all, there are no mistakes, just learning experiences. Weight loss is a process — it takes time. You will encounter small failures — everyone does — but every pound you gain can be lost.

And if you miss a workout, it's not the end of the world! Get to the gym the next day and continue to focus on your short-term goals. Just because you made bad choices today doesn't mean you can't start over tomorrow. New day? New beginning. And don't you forget it!

I thought what Jillian had to say was perfect timing for the mental battle I've been having this week. I sorta chuckled at my desk reading it because it's as if someone told her exactly what I'd been discouraged by.

Mentally "slapping myself around" is a mild description of my thought process. It's more of an envisioning of relapse that I've so strongly been rebuking since day one. The statistics really ARE NOT in favor of one who has lost an extreme amount of weight. I read on one Weight Watchers blog that only 5% keep the weight off after losing it on the program. That day I immediately said to myself, "I'm one of 5%.", no, no...WHEN...I hit my goal weight, I'm having a shirt made that says, "1 of 5%."

I'm claiming my promises...

Ya know what, I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13) - including weight loss. I'm more than a conquerer (Ro 8:37). The mind is the battlefield and God's given me the spiritual weapons that demolish strongholds (His word, prayer, fasting...) and refute the lies of the enemy (2 Cor 10:3-5). I'm not of those who shrink back and are destroyed (Heb 10:39). God is faithful to complete the God work he began in me (Phil 1:6). Whenever I am tempted, GOD WILL provide a way out to where I can stand. (1 Cor. 10:13)

No matter what the goal you are working to attain, don't be discouraged by a set back. Learn from it and let it make you stronger! ((hugs))

Verse(s) of the Day:

Hebrews 10:39 (NIV)
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died today of cardiac arrest in UCLA medical center at the age of 50. Pray for his children and family.

There has always been a wave of scrutiny and controversy around Michael Jackson's disturbed life. I am not going to say what I personally feel about all that, I do know that just like any one of us, he's got a family who knows "the real" him and loves him deeply. Please pray and keep his beautiful children and family in mind when you see the news reports that are flooding our media.

I've never lost an immediate family member other than my grandpa who I wasn't too close with. I remember the pain I felt then and I can't imagine the pain one goes through losing someone who is really close to you.

With that being said, imagine going through that pain and grieving with THE WHOLE WORLD watching from their living rooms? Do you even get the chance to be "normal" and cope with your loss with the respect that the everyday citizen gets?

I'm not one to really follow pop culture, hollywood gossip and the celebrity junk - but I know that the news of Michael's death aka "The King of Pop," will cause almost everyone to stop for a moment and pause.

The Bible says our life is but a vapor...time is so short guys! Live for eternity, not for this life. All this earthly junk doesn't matter - we are to live for an eternal King!


Verse of the Day:

James 4:14 (NKJV)
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009



"Yes, the "Biggest Loser" folks are coming to Kansas City to look for contestants for the shows ninth season. The eighth season is currently in production and set to air in September.

The casting will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Nebraska Furniture Mart on Saturday, July 18. "

They are looking for "couples" (married, siblings, extended family, friends, colleagues, etc) for the casting call auditions. I NEED A PARTNER!

Also, if you'd like to volunteer your precious time and come sit with me, that's cool too...I'm sure I'll get rather bored sitting in line all that time. haha. There are only so many Pixar movies you can watch on a portable DVD player before it gets old. I'm so thankful this is in July and not September when I camped outside Chick-fil-a (the first time).

Okay, so I seriously need to stay focused though - after the final weigh in on Monday, I've had two "free days" in a row and I'm back to only 62.8lbs lost rather than 65.2 and I've missed out on 3 of my regular workouts. YIKES!

Enough rambling, hope everyone is avoiding the extreme heat and offer some water to someone who may be out walking in it!

Verse of the Day:
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV)
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Audrey & I at final weigh in - she's lost 19lbs!!! Proud of her!

12 Week Weight Loss Competition

THE COMPETITION IS OFFICIALLY OVER (...well, at least one is!)

FINAL TOTAL: -46.2lbs

INCHES LOST: -23.5in

POSITION PLACED: 2nd (Yea, I know - total bummer that it wasn't first. *sigh* Saved Shauna, Trish & Richie some money though.)


WEIGHT WATCHERS TOTAL (since Feb): -65.2 lbs

Now for a fun fact - the competition was "technically" only 11 weeks - our coordinator didn't calculate the weeks accurately and there were 12 actual weigh in days (because she counted the initial weigh in), however, there were only 11 active weeks to compete. So I actually lost 46.2lbs in 11 weeks.

Now, just so everyone knows...when I do my work competition weigh in on Wed- chances are very likely that I will have gained. See below for details:

1st time ever eating at Oklahoma Joe's - I felt guilty the whole time though. I only ate half of my sandwich and gave the majority of my fries away. (Granted the serve you super size, so I probably ate more than I should have on the fries)

This however, I did not feel so guilty about! -That's the part that's really going to frustrate Shauna! I seriously got a refill 3 times. Forget the food, I'm a pop addict. I haven't had ANY pop in probably 2 months or longer. The burning sensation as it trickled down my throat was truly missed though. NOW, I'm going to have to live by the fruit of the spirit better known as SELF CONTROL...because this is a serious problem folks!

Audrey & her husband Matt chowing on some BBQ! Okay, they truly were posing for my blog - nothing candid about it. Thought it was funny though! :)

So this is the point where I am going to need all of your love and support the most. I cannot stress enough - I do not want to get lazy and "fall asleep" so to speak. I still have a loooooong way to go - and I don't want to be another statistic that loses weight and the relapses with an "extra side of fries" on the side. lol I WANT and NEED to continuously pursue my goal and not lose heart!

IF YOU ARE A PRAYING PERSON AND THINK OF ME - PLEASE PRAY! I'm going to need all the support in the world to stay focused now! This is SO MUCH more than just some weight loss goal to me - I truly feel God's transforming me from the inside out through this and its a process for His glory and honor, not my own.

I know I say it all the time - but I am sincerely thankful for each of you who continuously encourage me. I can't wait to meet some of you in person...

Verse of the Day:

Galatians 6:4 (NKJV)
But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

I couldn't resist it any longer!

Every since we went through our poetry course in Junior high, I've had a passion for writing, but in particular poetry. I feel like it's the one way I can fully express what's on my heart in an art form.

For some it's music, for others public speaking, maybe even writing books. I know some who are great artists, others who love to bedazzle decorate & design. Then there is this chick who is an amazing faux painter. Whatever it may be, FOR's creative writing. You may not understand my sense of expression, I completely respect that. When I write though, my heart is truly set free.

I feel like I can articulate in a way that otherwise makes no sense in everyday conversation.

SO...with that being said - I've started my blog that is STRICTLY dedicated to creative writing, and creative writing alone.

I'd like to invite you ALL to come along, follow my creative expression and experience the "transparent" me.

God Bless!

Verse of the Day:

Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Daddy's Day!!!

Intelligent. Family Oriented. Goal Oriented. Motivator. Encourager. Loving. Provider. Protector. Strong. Independent. Successful. Devoted...

"Dad, over the years I've watched you. I feel like you've defined what it means to be a father, husband, son & friend. I Love You!"

A Blessing...

Today as I count my blessings,
My thoughts are filled with you.
I was raised in a loving home,
Not just with a mom, but my Dad too.
I'm honored to have this testimony,
I've found few who can share.
Memories of a "complete" family,
Who had a Dad who was always there.

You've never caused me to doubt,
That you'd return to us at night.
In many ways you've proven,
That this family, it's what's "Wright."
Knowledge you didn't withhold from us,
And love has always been shared.
Another deposit you've placed in me,
Of greatest wealth - it's that you cared.

One thing I've never questioned,
Is how I could love you.
Over all the years of faithfulness,
It was never hard to do.

love, Mesha

Proverbs 22:6
“ Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Q: What happens when I stop by my folks house on a Saturday, I just got off work, it's rainy outside and NO ONE is home???

A: I make "candlelight" lunches for myself!!!

Seriously, if you don't know me yet, I can be a bit random sometimes when I get rather bored.

*whisper* Even though I'm 23, I'm "technically" banned from candles at their house too. Every since I accidentally fell asleep and burned a hole through the TV. They've never trusted me with matches since. HAHA

Yep, I pretty much made myself a salad for my lunch and in the midst of the quietness throughout the house, I decided it was pretty enough to be featured right here on my blog. *smile*

Grilled Salmon
Romaine Lettuce
Cut Broccoli
Sliced Carrots
Diced Tomatoes
Sea Salt

& water in a fancy glass! (don't worry, no alcohol for this chick)

I thought it turned out pretty folks! PRETTY AMAZING! haha...whew...WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS RIGHT NOW.

...and they still aren't home!

Verse of the Day:

Song of Solomon 2:4 (NKJV)
He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Define "normal"...

What defines a "normal" weight?

What defines a "normal" size?

What defines "normal" eating habits?

What defines a "normal" life?

What defines a "normal" you???

I just read a post on Becoming A Woman of Moderation's blog talking about a "normal" eating day that I thought was very well put and fitting for my page, being a weight-loss blog and all. If you have time, click on the link and totally go check out her post because it's a relative story that I think makes a good point for anyone trying to lose weight. If you don't have the time I'd just like to highlight the point I liked most:

"I had a pretend conversation with someone as I walked ~ someone who, a few months down the road, of course, was commenting on how great I looked and asking whatever had been my secret. As I conversed and explained how I got to looking so fabulous, I realized that I was sharing a testimony. My testimony. My path out of slavery, of taking up my cross, of dying to sin, of kicking the devil and his lies to the curb, and giving my angels an excuse to party every day. To the point where the party ran non-stop. I noticed, as I spoke, that my idea of "normal" eating in the future looks VERY different from the day I actually had yesterday. And I realized, that continuing to have days like I had yesterday will only delay ~ and most likely cancel ~ that future."

There are multiple things I loved about her post, but the two I like most are:

1. She glorifies GOD and claims it as her testimony to be able to overcome her weight loss struggle. God really is worthy of praise in this battle, because just like any other "fleshly" battle or bondage, we need God's strength to deliver us from our weaknesses. 2 Cor 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

2. She recognized that her "future" should look different than her past. If she continues on the path of her "past," the results will not be beneficial for her future. 2 Cor 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

As Christians we are not supposed to live by the desires of the flesh but rather we are called to live by the spirit. (Romans 8:5) Overeating and indulging in things which aren't beneficial to our bodies (which God calls a temple of the Holy Spirit), I absolutely believe is an act of the flesh. Our stomachs shouldn't rule our lives if we are walking in the spirit because one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control. We have to learn how to live a self-controlled life in EVERY AREA, including our diet. It's not wrong to enjoy a dessert or favorite dish, however we've got to embrace the concept of moderation and kick this "American indulgence" mentality to the curve. I strongly believe the reason our economy is in the state it's in right now is due to indulgence. We as American's have been raised in a society that teaches that we need and deserve everything our little hearts desire and in turn we've become poor stewards over what God's blessed us with. <--That's a WHOLE different post for a different time though, don't even get me started. *smile*

Before jumping into the powerful word of God with the verse of the day that was impressed upon my heart, I'd like to leave you with a quote that was featured within one of Jillian Michaels Tip of the Day emails:

"Nothing changes if nothing changes."

Verse(s) of the Day:

Galatians 5:22-26 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

8 Things...why 8???

**See below for this weeks Weight Loss Competition results.**

Eight things I am looking forward to:

1. 4th of July at Audrey's folks house
2. Reaching a healthy weight
3. Getting married one day (let me know if you've found my diamond in the rough)
4. Don't Waste Your Life tour July 9th in Oklahoma
5. Youth & Singles trip to Texas in October
6. Ashley's wedding in August
7. My birthday in July
8. End of weight loss competition on Monday

Eight things I did yesterday:

1. Work out @ gym
2. Work out @ Water Aerobics
3. Prayer meeting at church
4. Went to company meeting at Bannister branch
5. Ate a grapefruit
6. Worked
7. Blogged
8. Read Bible @

Eight things I wish (HOPE) I could do:

1. Pay off my car & credit card
2. Get married
3. Have children...(after I get married)
4. Memorize more scripture
5. Focus on the victories instead of defeats on my weight loss journey
6. Buy a house
7. Run a marathon
8. Do creative writing for a living

Eight shows I watch:

1. WipeOut
2. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
4. Wretched (Todd Friel)
5. ...I think TV is a waste of time and unproductive. Not to mention it's mostly junk!
6. ...
7. ...
8. ...

Eight people hi-fived:

1. Shauna ~ I LOVE YOU!!! she's my Jillian Michaels! I am so greatful to have her as a friend and instructor who is just a great supporter and shows so much love and concern for me. She's gotta be one of the only people who has texted me at 11pm to see if I'm up because she's been doing research as to why I'm not losing weight and is looking for an answer. It means a lot when you've got someone who loves and cares to see you succeed that much! She's got so many talents and an attractive personality. She once said, "I'm like a bad rash, you can't get rid of me..." My response to that: "I guess I'll take the rash then, because I don't wanna lose you..."

2. Jen (can I call you Jen?) ~ She was the first to follow me after Shauna's "shout out" and has been faithful following and encouraging me since then. When I write something the person I can most depend on for feedback is my faithful blogger buddy Jen! Dude - we are totally getting together one day to meet in person! OH...and she did jobs for Extreme Makeover with Ty Pennington I believe 3 cool is that. Girl seriously has a God-given talent. Yea, and we are sisters in case you all didn't's because we both say "Oh snap!" <---*grin* 3. Laretha ~ Can I just say I love this chick? I love how passionate she is for the unborn. I love how passionate she is for Jesus. I love how passionate she is for her family. (I also love how much she loves Chick-fil-a) OH...and RLF...that's my new fav "text speak" phrase now due to her. "Real Life Friends" One day Laretha, one day!

4. Kristen ~ I admire the joy of the Lord that comes out in her posts and her positive outlook on life. I especially admire that in the midst of tragedy, "still she will praise Him!" I've been totally encouraged by her!

5. Audrey ~ What can I say...or where do I begin is more like it!!! 8 years she's put up with me, and 8 years I've been ever so greatful. I might not have known Jesus today if it wasn't for the willingness to be used as God's mouthpiece by this girl at the age of 16. We've had a rocky road to say the least, but this girl is truthfully my best friend and I love her! I don't know that I can say I know anyone who loves as deeply and forgives as genuinely as she does. She's a woman after God's own heart - it's a beautiful privilege to watch God transform and renew her daily! Oh, and that I've tagged her, she really NEEDS to start blogging more. :)

6. Jacqui ~ She's my roommate. She's been my accountability partner. My shoulder to cry on. My "tough love" friend. My the sense that I can openly confess anything to her and trust she'll guard it and bathe me in prayer. I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!

7. Frosty ~ she doesn't follow my weight loss blog, but she follows my Justified blog. I love how she's out to raise children of character and also her heart for the unborn.

8. ValleyGirl ~ Over at her "Becoming a Woman of Moderation" blog she has posted some encouraging things for any Christian woman on a weight loss journey. Due to reading her blog, I have ordered my own 56-day study book. Every since I found her blog, she's been encouraging me through email and putting things in perspective.

12 Week Weight Loss Competition/9 Week Weight Loss Competition

Week Total (as of 06/15/09): -5.4
Competition Total (as of 06/10/09): -39.2

Hillcrest Bank Week 1 Total: -1

WEIGHT WATCHERS TOTAL (started Feb): -58.4 lbs

JUNE 22 is the final weigh in for our Weight Loss Competition (outside of work). We have to weigh in that evening and as of right now, I'm not on the right track for the number I was hoping to reach. In the past two weeks I've lost a total of 12 lbs and I'm not sure my body will allow me to hit the number I had in mind unfortunately. Such is life...

Also, I guess they changed the date for the Biggest Loser casting and it's now going to be on July 18th instead of July 11th. That's a problem because I took measures to be able to make the 11th casting, however, the 18th is one of my good friends wedding shower. Looks like I have some schedule confrontations.

I hope everyone is doing good today and enjoying the weather...I'm exhausted! Hopefully I can pep up some time soon though because I'm kinda in a "blah" mood right now. :-(


Verse(s) of the Day:

Psalm 121:1-3 (NKJV)
I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pics taken on 06/12/09 - MATH LESSON

3500 cal = 1 lb of fat

57 lbs x 3500 cal = 199,500 calories

...I HAVE LOST 199,500 CALORIES...HAHA...wierd way of looking at it, but sounds impressive huh?

Go ahead, admit it!

The scripture I chose today is one I've often prayed over myself and for others - that "God is FAITHFUL to complete the good work he began" in our lives. It's one of those verses I've always clung to and believed over the lives of loved ones. I want to see God's fullness of life come to completion - I want to see people yield to that good work he began rather than rejecting it years down the road. Although definately a different perspective, today I'm just believing the same thing to be true on my weight loss journey; that I'll see the good work completed in my life.

Later folks!

Verse of the Day:

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)
...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Monday, June 15, 2009

OH SNAP...this is for you Jen!


Argh! Okay, so my co-worker just emails me and informs me that the Biggest Loser will be casting in Kansas City @ Nebraska Furniture Mart on July 11 from 10a-6p. You cannot line up more than 3 hours in advance. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! I have sat in line for 14+ hours at Chick-fil-a 3 TIMES now to receive a years worth of free food. Every black friday I risk frost bite outside of Best Buy for 6+ hours in order to BUY material possessions - WOULD I BE CRAZY TO NOT WAIT 3 HOURS FOR THIS POSSIBLY ONCE IN A LIFE-TIME OPPORTUNITY???

Here's my bigger dilemma...about 3 weeks ago I wrote a heart-felt post about filling out the Biggest Loser application and how I truly felt like I don't need a show anymore to achieve my weight loss goals. It was one of the few times I felt like I'd given myself proper credit for the hard work I've been putting into reaching my goal. Now I feel like if I go, I'm recanting on my new perspective and giving in to the "easier route."

HELP...Jennifer, girl, you better be all over this post because you've been one of my great encourager's and were on the bandwagon for getting me on the show. Haha. You guys should come with my face on your'll read, "PLEASE SHRINK MY FRIEND!!!" haha.

Also, I've started this competition at my job and I'm helping another friend who is trying to lose weight at the same time - would I be bailing out if I was actually offered this opportunity??? I don't want to be someone who isn't committed to the people I'm working to help and encourage.


Verse of the Day:
But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekend adventures...

This is an outline of my weekend...

(Wed - technically not weekend) - I bought the Wii Fit riser for my step aerobics and it kicked my butt!
I did 1 hour and boy were my legs screaming @ me.

Friday - Mom (right) and I walked 1 1/2 hours at the Cancer Relay for Life and I "re"-injured myself in the same way as before. *sigh* Right hip and left knee...such is life! I'm sporting my Super(wo)man shirt though!

Me & Mom again...Relay for Life

Other points of the weekend that don't have beautiful photos to paint the greater

**Thursday - a small metal thing came flying up on the highway and smashed into my windshield. I still get chills every time I look at the crack because it freaks me out! Ay! BAD NEWS: Insurance won't cover it. *sigh*

**Saturday - I met up with my friends, Ashley and Amy, and we went to the Greek festival in Overland Park. I CHEATED! I had food that was definitely not on my plan and felt guilty the remainder of the day <--I think I have a problem. :(

**Saturday night - I met up with Audrey (who finally has a blog now) & her husband Matt to go bowling and grab some dinner. Can I just say that there is nothing PG rated about "cosmic bowling?" Oh my! When we initially walked in a bit before 10 everything was fine and dandy, casual joking and conversation with the bowlers next to us - but within 10 minutes it went from family-friendly environment to a straight up club & bar atmosphere. I mean, I've been to cosmic bowling before but this was just over the top. The lights went down and these huge projector screens were up over the lanes displaying mainly Rap & Hip-hop music videos and I don't know if I've ever seen so much skin apart from Water Aerobics. Seriously, if it's possible for porn to be words - we heard it! Everyone was half dressed in the videos (and that's really being generous) and you almost had to bowl with your eyes closed. Have you ever been somewhere and when you left you just felt dirty? That's how it was when we prematurely finished our game and left the alley. We followed that up by going to Applebees where I got the Weight Watcher Fiesta Lime tilapia...but it was WAY too late to be eating so I'm not delighted for my weigh in tomorrow. I'm sure I'll pay for it but it's too late to fix it now.

Sunday - WAA HOO! We took the gospel to the streets today for a not so "traditional" type of service. *smile* Charlie, our pastor, decided that instead of being "boxed in" by 4 walls, why don't we try meeting up at one of the local parks during normal service times to have an outreach. We gave out free brats, hot dogs, chips and drinks and just shared the love of God with people. It really was a beautiful picture and I wish I had taken real photos to share. My pastor asked Jamie and I to go pray with a girl (Liz) who was wanting prayer. After having some REALLY good conversation for about 30 minutes or so Audrey came and joined us (to give her a Bible) and it was just a beautiful picture of everyone working together to present the truth of the gospel, not just in words but in acts of love and service. Through conversation we learned that Liz and "her man" (as she kept calling him), are living in their car due to the economy and both have lost their jobs. He's an alcoholic and occasionally abusive. Just last night, their friend got stabbed 3 times in that very park and was hospitalized. She has been mad at God for awhile because a few years back she was in an accident and her friend died. She said, "Why didn't God take me? My friend was good, but I'm living through all this junk every day and I sometimes wish it was me gone." She believes in God and the devil but isn't sure about her life and eternity. She really had a lot to say about how she's seen so many hypocrites in the church who just live it out a couple days a week when they are "at church," but you wouldn't know it if you caught them outside of the building. I didn't find it odd at all that she brought up hypocrites because right when we arrived at the park I went and sat alone to read, and in Romans it was talking about that very thing. In fact it says that God's name is "blasphemed" because of these people who preach one thing yet live contrary.

Romans 2:21-25 (NKJV)
You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

About an hour after finishing our conversation, Liz walks up to me and says, "Hey, if you want you can come sit and talk to me some more over there by my man. I don't know what it is about you...I can't really come up with the word, but I really like talking to you and I can tell you guys are good people." I responded and said, "Let's call that word you are looking for LOVE. I genuinely love you and really care about you. Of course I'll come sit and talk to you and I would also love to take you out to dinner some time this week." Once I got ready to leave, she said, "Man, you guys DO really love us because you've already stayed longer than your flyer's advertised." I laughed at how she said it and said of course we do, that's why we are here.
It was a WONDERFUL Sunday needless to say!

Verse of the Day:

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. i willing?

back windshield of my car "JUST-IF-I'(e)D

Click here to read my most recent post about persecution and the church as a family body.

My other blog is called "Justified." It's kinda my theme word if it's possible to have one. haha It comes from Romans 5:1-2 that says:

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

In a sermon it was said like this, "In Christ we are justified, it's just if I'd never sinned!" I don't know how God does it, but the word says that "he remembers our transgressions no more." It's hard for our carnal minds to understand considering we can learn the attribute of forgiving, however, we don't ever really "forget." From that sermon on, God started delivering me from guilt, shame and condemnation from the things that had me seriously bound for years. That message pierced my heart and started the process of setting me free. I had the window decal "JUST-IF-I'(e)D" put on my car a couple weeks following that sermon.

**Weight loss journey updates to come next week including my cancer "Relay for Life" walk on Friday, my injuring myself once again at this relay for life, 12 week competition update, 9 week competition update and the joys of encouragement.

Love you all! ((hugs))

Thursday, June 11, 2009


It's totally a good thing that I'm not a psychologist because this would be my diagnosis for EVERYONE (lol):

JESUS....and blogging!

Seriously, I have such a passion for writing, especially creative writing, and I had kinda lost sight of it for awhile. I think "journaling" of any form is incredibly therapeutic and can reveal the deepest parts of a person's heart. For me at least, writing is the overflow of my heart. "When pen and paper meet, your heart is set free..." that's a line from a poem I once wrote because I believe it is so true. There are no limitations and there is no one to judge or critique you on paper. (Now blogging is open to comments...but I consider if positive feedback and/or rebuke - the people who follow you generally have your best interest at mind and their responses are received as encouragement and concern, not negative criticism.)

Luke 6:44-46 (NKJV)
...For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
I fully believe that starting this blog was one of the best things I could have done for my weight loss journey. It provides a positive release for emotions, thoughts, goals, dreams, etc. It initiates accountability, support, love and positive criticism. It tracks progress, success and documents your growth (physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially...). I think I have met some of the coolest people and even learned about others on a more personal level via my blog. (Ay! I'm getting emotional just typing this.)

So many people box their dreams, aspirations, emotions, failures and such inside and it just eats at their heart til there is no peace...First and foremost, JESUS is my peace! I want to make that clear because as strong as I stand behind's not the answer folks! My blog has become my "Open Box" though. This is coming from a person who NEVER spoke about weight issues and denied them as if they didn't exist. Now I'm freely blogging about them where anyone in the world could see. I'm logging my goals, accomplishments, milestones, progress pictures and such and making myself vulnerable to receive HELP! Just a quick note on that "vulnerable" word - those who know me know I don't open up to just anyone, I HATE crying in front of people because I feel weak and I typically try to laugh things off. I don't like my problem being someone elses problem...but the Bible encourages us to bear one anothers burdens (Gal. 6:2). friend Audrey would be the first to agree when I say "I'm stubborn" and have a hard time listening and receiving sometimes...but I even feel I'm improving in that area too. I'm daily learning more and more about "ME" and what makes me tick. God is revealing my heart and what has hindered me in the past. He's giving me revelations, illustrations and analogies that I strongly feel parallel between this weight journey and that of my life as a Christian. We press on and move forward, don't look back, don't shrink back or give up, learn obedience, resist temptation, deny our fleshly desires and in our weakness HE is strong in both arenas - and to be honest that's the case for "any" struggle or journey someone faces.

I'm using this "weight loss blog" to write down my vision so I've got record of my goals and by faith I will see them achieved. Amen? Amen! I've got GREAT friends to run with the vision and believe for it with me. I don't have to see the end result "right now" I just have to believe it's there. God-willing I will make it there...

When you write down a vision or a dream you've taken it to that next level of faith. You are saying, "HERE IT IS, I'VE MADE IT CLEAR! THIS IS MY ACT OF FAITH AND I'VE GOT A TESTIMONY ONCE IT'S BEEN RECEIVED!!! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!" What a wonderful verse below:

Verse of the Day:

Habakkuk 2:2-4 (NKJV)

Then the LORD answered me and said: “ Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry. “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

12 Week Weight Loss Competition/9 Week Weight Loss Competition

Week Total (as of 06/08/09): -6.8 (Goodbye's about time!!!)
Competition Total (as of 06/10/09): -33.8

Hillcrest Bank Week 1 Total: - 11

WEIGHT WATCHERS TOTAL (started Feb): -57.4 lbs

****this is a milestone!!! 50 lbs lost!!!

At my outside competition our chart leader, Amanda, is still in first place with 11.8% lost, and she still hasn't weighed in yet this week. It's not worth holding my breath the next couple days though. The runner up as of last week was at 10.1% and she hasn't weighed in either. We'll see...June 22nd is the final weigh in.

I'm totally proud of my friend Audrey though, she's 9 lbs from her goal weight and chances are very likely she'll hit it by the end of our competition. She tried on her "goal jeans" this morning and they fit...that's gotta be an awesome feeling. I can't wait to start seeing those type of results...there is a LOOOOONNNG road ahead of me though. God-willing I will get there though.

For our work competition I am in first place for Week 1. That's a position I surely haven't seen in my outside competition. We all know that week by week EVERYTHING can change though.

Now to all of you Biggest Loser fanatics, MAX, Mike's younger brother, is tracking his weight loss journey via facebook. He's lost 30lbs in 3 weeks...AMAZING! He's at some fitness club living his own "Biggest Loser Ranch" experience. I am so happy to have a great source like that to follow his journey because me along with I'm sure half of America just developed a heart of compassion for him. EVERYONE is routing for him to succeed and it's exciting to know it's already started. If any of you are on facebook, go check out his page, it's under Max Morelli. Most of the BL contestants are actually on facebook as well so it's neat all around.

Onto MY sister, she lost 11 lbs her first week of my Dad's challenge. I'm so proud of her and my whole family for the steps we are all taking towards a healthier lifestyle. Just by changing her horrible eating habits and walking 1 block a day, her body reacted to the dramatic change. She isn't starving herself, on any special diet plan or overly exerting herself...just by common sense changes she's off to a great weight loss start.

There is so much to be excited about right now...

Verse of the Day:

Psalm 16:11 (New King James Version)
11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"A Bittersweet Moment"


Tiller's family announced the permanent closing of his abortion clinic in Wichita, KS.

Tiller made the mid-west the late-term abortion capital of the United States. What a heart-breaking, painful, bloody title to hold as a Kansas resident. To those who may not know, George Tiller was shot and killed on Sunday, May 31st by someone wrongfully using the "PRO-Life" banner. As a proud pro-lifer, I respect life of ALL, not just of the unborn. As much as I disapproved of Tiller's practice, murdering him wasn't justifiable.

Genesis 50:20 (New International Version)
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

I am always quoting this and responding to seemingly horrible situations by reassuring that "What the devil meant for harm, God can use for His glory." I am REJOICING and PRAISING GOD today because out of a horrible situation - good is coming from it...for "the saving of many lives."

It still breaks my heart that people don't get that this isn't even a "religious" battle, it's a human rights issue. I have been torn by the comments from people who are clearly blinded and can't respect the sanctity of life. Needless to say my eyes have filled with tears and my heart has been extremely heavy if I give it much thought at all.

"Father God, I just praise your Holy name! God I am so thankful that your ways our higher than our ways and your plans far better than ours! As the war rages on for the protection of innocent babies, I pray a people would continue to raise up to stand for the unborn. I pray as the doors of Tiller's clinic close, another would NOT fling open! I just continue to pray for the lives of those who were scheduled for abortion these past weeks - that they would be spared and that Gen. 50:20 would be the banner over their lives, "what the enemy meant for harm, God intended for good..." and it saved MY LIFE!!! Lord Jesus, I pray that all the garbage surrounding this tragedy as a whole would not bring confusion but I pray for a clarity of mind and hearts for those who may not know where they stand on the issue of abortion. I pray that we'd all see that life is precious, ALL life. You knit us together in our mothers womb, you formed us, you knew us before we were born...and I pray man would stop interferring with the sanctity of life. Father God, I pray ministries would continue rising up to counsel and aid women facing unplanned pregnancies. That the hearts of compassionate people would continue reaching out to both mother and child. I pray this wouldn't be a fight ANY woman would have to face on her own - but the resources would be readily available throughout our country to offer the "choice" of LIFE! Lord, I love you and I am just so thankful for the closing of this slaughter house today. In Jesus' mighty and precious name I pray, AMEN!!!"

Monday, June 8, 2009


Okay, so only Shauna will truly love and appreciate the title of my post. That laugh is for her! :)


I don't know if you all remember my "59 minutes with little voice" post when I walked my 5k on the treadmill - well on Saturday "little voice" visited me again! Mom and I walked 5.6 consecutive miles. It was pretty liberating...when we got back to the house I was able to actually feel proud about what I had just accomplished, which I don't allow myself to feel often...

...3 hours later...I PAID FOR IT! haha.

You know that saying, "No pain, no gain..." (<-- well, in this instance no LOSS...because we all know I don't want a gain! lol) I was sitting at a family gathering and start having muscle spasms in my right leg and then my left knee started tightening up. INJURED YET AGAIN FOLKS! Stubborn me went walking around an additional 3 hours at World's of Fun later that evening I guess to truly test if I was hurt...haha...yep, I am! The thought of my 5.6 mile accomplishment is still exhilarating though.

As a child, I NEVER finished the mile in school because class would be over before I'd gone the distance. "MILE" was like a cuss word to me in gym class because of the anxiety and fear that would grip my heart knowing that once again I'd watch all my friends lap me on the track as I continued slowly making my way around...alone. I was great at acting like it didn't bother me. The whole class would be back inside the school when my gym teacher would finally say with disappointment, "Mesha, go change clothes, class is over." By the time I got to High School I just freely accepted my "F" for the day when it came to any vigorous exercise. I praise God that throughout my adolescent years I was never teased or rejected due to my weight - but on the flip-side I believe it proved to be my greatest crutch. NONE of my friends ever made my weight an issue, even out of a genuine concern. I steadily increased in weight over the years and although all my friends were within normal weight ranges, they never addressed the fact that I wasn't. I adopted this mentality of "People don't see my weight and I haven't lost anything because of it yet, so why worry about it if I'm happy?"

As compassionate people, we sometimes fear wounding those we love and care about so we simply stay silent. As a result we become more of an enabler than a true friend. A true friend knows how to confront someone in love and address an issue that needs to brought to light. One of the things I look back and regret about my early teenage years is not addressing my weight issue then which is no ones fault but my own. I do regret that not one of my friends loving talked to me about it though. Knowing full well the health risks that are accompanied with being overweight and obesity. I must say there wasn't much that was "true" about the friends I had in early adolescence anyways. Just like so many other rebellious, ungodly teenagers, we participated in all sorts of other harmful things yet no one spoke a word when we knew they weren't beneficial.

It wasn't until I was 16, came to know Jesus and actively became a part of my church that my "circle of friends" changed and a true friend first addressed the issue of my weight along with various other bondages out of genuine love and concern. Her parents were right along with her on that bandwagon with my health and they prompted me to have my thyroid levels re-checked (my previous tests had been negative). Up to that point, no one (other than immediate family) had ever addressed my weight and health conditions. Even my doctors rarely commented on my weight due to the clean bill of health that always reflected from my labs. Finally someone looked further than my immediate reaction and decided my health meant more to them than my temporary hurt feelings. That's what it takes takes that "faithful wound of a friend." I love that scripture because it's so true...oftentimes we have to point out an area of someones life that needs rebuke in hopes of true deliverance and healing even though it may hurt them for a period of time. We have to lovingly take them aside and say, "Hey, this is something you need to take a serious look at because there is something wrong here. I'm coming to you because I care and I'm willing to walk with you through this. I want to help if you'll let me..."

If this post can be of any encouragement to anyone today - I challenge you to go to a friend who may need a "faithful wound" and love them like Jesus! Instead of cowaring in fear of their reaction, lovingly let them know why the issue weighs so heavy on your heart. Whether it be weight, alcohol, drugs or most important of them a friend and not an enabler. You may be the FIRST and possibly even ONLY person to ever bring the issue to light for real acknowledgment and healing to begin taking place.

I LOVE you all!!!

Verse(s) of the Day:

Proverbs 27:5-6 (NKJV)
"Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

Sunday, June 7, 2009


It's been exactly a week since the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.

I've been kinda steering clear of the media coverage of this unfolding trial and the various reactions as it was affecting every aspect of my life. I spent the next few days at work randomly breaking out in tears as I heard various quotes that just broke my heart. I've heard those who proudly proclaim to be "Pro-LIFE" who found relief in the news of Tiller's death which is absolutely wrong. I've heard those on the Anti-Life (Pro-Choice) side who feel as the the nation should be grieved by the loss of a "courageous" man! That equally disheartens me because nothing about Tiller's butcher house was courageous.

ABORTION shouldn't even be a "religious" issue, it's a human rights issue! It's not about what walk of faith we may come from - IT'S MURDER!

The night it happened I went to bed and my stomach was physically sick because I was plagued with thoughts of Tiller standing before the judgement seat of Christ. I remember just clinching my eyes so tight and feeling shaken by the account of his life. God's word says that he would that ALL would be saved. As much as it's hard to grasp the thought of such a murderous man being changed - with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. He calls all men to repent! It wasn't a mans job to take Tiller out -

2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Revelation 21:8 (KJV)
8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Someone asked me, "Do you think he'll go to hell..." my response was simply, "Only God can answer that, he's the judge BUT i know he was a murderous man with the bloodshed of millions of innocent lives on his hands." He personally may not have taken the lives of millions but his political appearance and presence has encouraged others in the field and prompted the abortion of millions. *sigh* As it is, I'm not the judge so I'm not going to cast the judgement as strongly as I feel about it both personally and Biblically. Last night I cried as did I this morning just sickened over his standing before the throne AND over the vails that have covered the eyes of this nation. My heart aches for these babies and for the deceived. :(

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's a family affair...

(from top to bottom: Dad, Sherius (sister), Me, Mom) - July 2007

Aren't we cute! :)

This picture was before Dad, Mom or I lost significant amounts of weight. I actually convinced them to take a family photo for my 21st birthday as we were definately overdue. Well, as you've all read, my parents and I have been pursuing better health for months now which has proved VERY successful...however, my sister hasn't had that drive of motivation quite "hit home" for her yet. We'll be at home eating salads and grilled chicken while shes with friends eating Red Lobster or Golden Corral.

Well, last week she was begging Dad to go out to eat with her (since he's "techinically" not in a competition anymore) - and he decided to make a "deal" with her. The stipulations were that for one solid month following that meal she cannot eat out AT ALL or drink pops and sugary drinks. In addition to this regulation, she will eat the healthier option foods he cooks for her daily ( do I get in on that personal chef action) AND at least walk around one block every day with him.

It's funny the things we'll do for instant gratification...

As much as she hates the idea of diet and exercise, she took him up on the deal in order to go out to eat that night. I am just so excited that now my whole family is pushing towards weight loss and healthier living in one way or another and we can be all be an encouragement rather than a hinderance to each other. I must admit, it's hard going to my folks house if there's a box of pizza or left-over IHOP sitting in the fridge. I'm now coming over to find a great supply of fresh produce, protein shakes, bottled water and peanuts. (Of course my Dad buys it for them and comes to find I've been the bunny who's eating all the food on my lunch breaks - haha)

Seriously though, I'm excited to see what this month brings for my little sister because I keep thinking back to Mike's brother Max from the Biggest Loser and how everytime he was featured he was broken over the fact that he was the one "left behind" while the rest of his family was on the road to becoming healthy. Although my sister isn't even close to the extreme of Max, I don't want that to be her same heartache a year down the road when I'm significantly lighter and both of my parents look like they are 20 all over again!

I'll keep you all posted on that progress...

Verse of the Day:

1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

12 Week Weight Loss Competition

12 Week Weight Loss Competition

Week Total: -1.2
Competition Total: -27 lbs
Inches Lost: -13.5 in.

WEIGHT WATCHERS TOTAL (started Feb): -46.6 lbs

The competition ends Monday, June 22. I've switched my weigh-in days to Monday so that I will be in sync with our final weigh in schedule...I can't have any surprises! :)

So today was totally a FREE root beer float day @ Sonic from 8-midnight. I decided to "improvise" a wee bit and I made a "root beer float" Protein Shake.


8 oz skim milk
8 oz ice
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp Jello Fat Free/Sugar Free Vanilla pudding powder
3/4 capful Root Beer concentrate

Yep - there you have it folks! I was enjoying the event along with the rest of float lovers - (although I really am not a big fan of floats, but it was about the image...haha)

Today I got an email from a good friend of mine saying that my weight loss journey has inspired her and she has lost 5 lbs by making wiser eating choices. I was so happy to hear about her loss and it also meant a lot to know that what I'm doing in my life is inspiring and encouraging other people in theirs. One thing she said that I thought was "quote worthy" was:

"Every since you said you did the 3K on the treadmill that night I keep telling myself that I need to get my lazy bum off the couch because while you're busting your hump working out, I'm eating Cheezits and watching reality tv. My life is the reality...Game on!!"

That last sentence of what she said was the part that seemed profound to me at the time. SERIOUSLY...we are in this "Reality TV" era and instead of having exciting, adventerous lives ourselves - we've been living through the extraordinary opportunities of total strangers. You see where I'm going with this? Just like I said a few posts back: "Those contestants on Biggest Loser still have to go home and learn how to operate "off the ranch," without Bob or Jillian at their disposal. Without the show, I KNOW how to operate without that sort of training at my disposal. Granted they have A LOT to be proud of, yet somehow I'm more excited about what I'm doing for myself."

When the 1 hour time slot is over and that "reality" TV show has ended for the day, what do WE have to show for it...NOTHING! Possibly a little motivation - mad props to Biggest Loser (Kristin especially) - but what's it do for "my reality?" I have the opportunity, ability and obligation to possitively affect my reality.

Verse of the day:

James 2:14[ Faith Without Works Is Dead ] (NKJV)

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Face your fears...

So today I went to have my bloodwork done and talk to my doctor a bit about some things.

So let me explain this "fear" thing. I am deathly afraid of needles, I hate them, they scare me and I avoid them at ALL costs. I am what you call a "nervous laugher," and whenever I'm happy, sad, mad, angry, confused or scared I often laugh without control. It's quite embarrassing - for both parties involved. I've had a lab tech send me home and refuse to draw my blood once because of my resistance (I seriously can't help it - I constantly jerk my arm away and hold my breath). Another time I had 3 nurses and a friend there for support and my friend left me while saying, "I'm NEVER coming with you for this again!" It's kinda sad actually. One nurse held my arm steady, another held my hand while rubbing it and the 3rd was in charge of "completing the task at hand." <--poor nurse, I didn't mean a word of what I probably said to her. So yea, I was a big girl and faced my fears today without crazy laughter, jerking away and requiring a multiple staff assistance party! haha

I'm having my thyroid levels rechecked because I've been faithfully taking my medicine for 3 weeks now and for 3 weeks I've been on this plateau that leads no where fast. :( I also had some basic inquiries about weight loss, exercise and dieting. It was altogether good, however, she said I might have to tone down my workouts a bit just because of the strain I've been having on my left knee. *sigh*

My work competition starts tomorrow friends, stay tuned...I'll have to update on my competition week (including updated measurements) & I'll also be blogging about the Hillcrest Bank "Biggest Loser" Competition lasting from June 3-August 5th.

It should be fun some crazy, weird, painful way. haha.


Verse of the Day:

Psalm 52:9
I will PRAISE you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will PRAISE you in the presence of your saints.