Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Getting Started

Have you given up on weight loss? I had. Then I found the path. I hope to lead you in your search for it. Consider Matthew 19:26.

Mrs. Kinnon lived across the street, down at the end of the block when I was growing up. She firmly believed in cleaning out her whole house before leaving for any trip, down to the drawers, so nobody would come in and find anything out of order. She had whiskers that stabbed little girls when she hugged them, and she did and they did. And every single Monday she started a diet. She'd ended it by Monday evening, or maybe even Tuesday, but the next Monday, she started a diet. Again.

I started dieting when I was thirteen and Mother took me to Dr. Brooks to get a prescription for weight control pills. I didn't know I was fat until then, though after that I remembered Mother had been reminding me of that for a while. From that day until last December, something in the neighborhood of forty-six years, I was on a diet. Probably like Mrs. Kinnon, most of those days you couldn't tell it, but I was. Or I was feeling guilty, one or the other. Forty-six years, one day at a time, is 16,808 days, give or take a day because of leap years in between. If I was following the diet a seventh of the time, like Mrs. Kinnon, I felt righteous about twenty-four hundred days. I felt guilty and miserable something like fourteen thousand, four hundred days.

Since December 17th, 2006, I've felt guilty about my food darned close to zero days, though I haven't had perfect abstinence from overeating since then. But the guilt, the burden, the shame is gone. It's time you, too, lay aside your guilt, shame, and burden and rely on Jesus' words, "My burden is easy and my yoke is light." I believed them because Jesus said them those 46 years. I didn't live them until December 17. What's today? Write it down. You can find that kind of peace, that kind of freedom from guilt and shame. His burden really is easy, his yoke light. I know, because I got it from my head to my heart. With God's help, I'll walk you through leaning how to move it from your head to your heart as well, no matter where you start.

Write down the date. Relax. Make yourself a sign and put it on your mirror--or make it into you computer wall paper. Put it where you'll see it. Write, "Jesus promises a light burden and an easy yoke. I want to find them."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Verses for Meditations

Going back to yesterday's post, I need to find scriptures to use in formulating a book of devotionals on losing weight. Let's see what else I can come up with today--or what God suggests to me which is really what's got to happen. I'm tired enough my ego shouldn't get in the way this evening.

Hum. Joseph's interpretation of Pharoah's dream, seven skinny cows eating seven fat cows and staying skinny. Sometimes what happens with weight doesn't make sense. Eating practically nothing, a person can remain the same weight. Never being hungry, a person can suddenly weigh a hundred pounds less. Amen and amen.

There's an interesting passage in Deuteronomy that might work. "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee." I'll follow where that one leads me, but not tonight.

Psalms 119. Maybe just the 71st verse:
70Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
71It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Isaiah 6:10. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Isaiah 10:16. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.

God, lead me where you would have me go. Give me rest tonight, and let me walk with you tomorrow. Direct my thoughts, and show me how I can serve you and your people.

A Third of Me Has Left the Building

In the spring of 1998 I stepped on the doctor's scales and weighed 300. I never saw that number again, though I usually hovered within fifty pounds of it until recently. This morning I stepped on "official" scales and weighed 200. Wow. And I didn't do it. I didn't quit eating stupid stuff, at least with the inflicting of an iron will on my appetite. I just worked the steps, changed my lives, trusted in God, and watched the dresses get too big. Wow.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Invitation to a Book Proposal

I had an experience this weekend that leads me to believe I am to write a devotional book about losing weight through the power of the OA program. It will need to be daily thoughts connected to specific scriptures from the Christian Bible. I would welcome your input either by commenting me or by email to oastepper at My first responses that come to mind include:
  • Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
  • Luke 10:38-41 "But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
  • Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again."
  • 1 Kings 19:3-5a "But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him..."
  • and the rest of that passage: "And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God."
  • Genesis 2:16-17 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
  • Genesis 3:12 "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
  • The story of Jacob and Esau for amends.
I can do this. I will do this.

No, I won't. I will stand aside and let God do it through me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


When you're not playing computer games at will, it sure is harder to procrastinate. Sigh. I guess that means I have to do the work I promised to do within the next twenty minutes. Drat!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pondering Peacefully

I haven't posted for a while. I can't particularly put together a cohesive message I want to post tonight. I feel, instead, the need to share a few random thoughts that have affected me recently.
  • Having work done is restful, even when you're tired. (My response after my daughter-in-law said, "Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest, but for me they're sometimes the most productive!")
  • Modern descriptions of God's image:
    • God is ultimate friend, confidant in the dark, always whispering back.
    • God is known in the waiting for God
    (From Ray Waddle's Against the Grain: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes.)
  • "The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns." (Ecclesiastes 1:6. I didn't know the author of Ecclesiastes was from West Texas!)
  • "Sometimes people will ask: 'Do I have a right to be angry?' With assertiveness, however, the question becomes, 'Do I have the responsibility to be angry?'" (From Les Carter's Enough About You, Let's Talk About Me: How to Recognize and Manage the Narcissists in Your Life)
  • Thoughts on the topic "Loving Myself"
    • Feelings about ourselves or others are not facts. Actions or non actions are facts.
    • Healthy parents love their children regardless. Some are better parents than others but God is still in charge. Yet there is always hope!
    • I am always capable of receiving the strength to follow His lead. To receive serenity. To know what to do.
    • There is no perfect human being on earth.
    • Stuff happens.
    • The steps are steps in a life time journey not an end in themselves.
    (From an email group I'm on, ideas of another person who reflects how I feel.)
  • "I watch you grow forward one day at a time, and listen to the incredible self-insight you are recognizing, embracing and have the willingness to work through." (from an email to me that makes me glow gratefully.)
A long time ago, a woman stood before me in unenviable circumstances. She was incarcerated and likely would be for a while. When I casually asked, "How are you?" her answer blew me away: "I am blessed." I know she blessed me, and the people I'm walking through these steps with bless me as well, whether they're writing books or talking to me or making comments I just happen to hear. Thank God, I'm blessed!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Forward from Retreat!

Last weekend I had the delightful opportunity of going to the Tri-County OA retreat at Glen Lake Retreat center at Glenrose. How wonderful to be around so many recovering people...even on the top bunk. I figure that's service, getting there early and taking the top bunk, and I kind of enjoy it. Maybe I think I'm still young when I'm up there. I know I don't when I'm climbing either up or down, though!

Our speaker was delightful, telling eternal truths with a delightful Cajun accent. I learned so much, it's hard to say just what, but a few tidbits:
  • DENIAL - Don't Even Know I Am Lying.
  • When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten up emotionally and physically. In that order. Spiritual, emotional, physical.
  • "I regret a lot of those things, but my past is just the way it is."
  • We’re a people who want to change things, but the basis of our program, 12 steps and 12 traditions can’t be changed without a whole lot. That's good!
  • The OA nudge: "Oh, you can do that." This led Janice to leadership positions in OA when she had no idea what she was getting into, but she grew and her skills grew to do them.
  • It is not selfish to put others past god and me, it’s not selfish, it’s healthy. If we don’t put self first, we’re unhealthy in relationships with others.
  • Selfishness and self-centeredness are the root of my problems, the taproot which must be killed.
  • Once that taproot is killed, the tap root becomes the strength I have in the program.
  • She calls what others call trigger foods "craving creating foods."
  • The first step is the only step we have to do 100%; the others are just ideals we try all our lives to achieve.
  • The 12 steps are to be lived, not just discussed.
  • Difference in knowing the right words and living them out.
  • Faith doesn’t need to be large. It just needs to be alive.
  • Wholeness = Holiness
  • Sometimes this experience strands us on an arid plateau. We see someone else developing differently and we feel deprived. Go deeper with others and with God because you’re at a crossroads. Don’t decide to go back to the food.
  • Grief is not a character defect. You just have to feel it, and
  • Once COE’s grasp the 2nd step, they will have no more slips.
Find a retreat near you and go!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've told you want I didn't do at lunch yesterday. Now I'll talk about what I did. I said goodbye to a son and daughter-in-law as they finished up the details before their move from Texas to Michigan. I'm proud of them for doing what they need to be doing at this point in their lives. That doesn't mean I want them to go. But for them to stay as things were before this was set in motion--No. I want that even less. So I've released them, along with a big chunk of my heart. I wish them happiness, joy, fulfillment, and meaning. Go in peace.

Mea Culpa

Wednesday and Thursday I have commitments at lunch, from 12 to 1, not including eating. I eat before or after or both, but not during. Today I got back to my office about three since after the 12 to 1 I had commitments elsewhere at 1:30 and 2:00. My secretary asked if I was ready for my lunch. I'd already had a SlimFast bar, a protein supplement, and a little container of applesauce--the lunch I intended to eat. I asked what she meant, and she told me I'd put my lunch in the microwave then gone off and left it. I knew I hadn't brought a lunch this morning. She produced it, however. That's when I knew I'd lied yesterday to my food buddies and my sponsor. I told them I'd had skillet cabbage for lunch. I didn't. I had the grapefruit and protein supplement as I reported, but obviously I intended to have skillet cabbage, believed I had had skillet cabbage, but failed to eat the skillet cabbage yesterday. Mea Culpa. I have lied. And I didn't even miss it!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Guilty, Not Guilty? No Lo Contendere!

A conversation this morning led to an exciting discovery about myself. The subject arose because I'm an authority about guilt. I've long contended the church held people in check by the manipulation of guilt, and I certainly grew up with a healthy share of both grief and church. In answer to my friend's questions, though, I realized the guilt, like many aspects of my life, is behind me. I'm no longer living burdened with guilt for wrongs I've done and those I imagine I've done.

A defendant stands in court and is asked, "How do you plead? Are you guilty or not guilty?" Sometimes the defendant answers "Guilty," and other times "Not Guilty." Yet a third option exists, and the defendant may say instead of one or the other, "No contest." If haughty enough, they may say the Latin phrase, "No lo contendere." That means, "I'm not arguing about it, not claiming I didn't do it. I understand you may go ahead and find me guilty, but I'm not saying so. I'll live with the consequences and move on with my life." Many people use this to avoid civil liability, but others are really saying, "It's not worth it to argue about, go ahead but I'm comfortable with my role here."

I've realized my plead has been changed. I'm no longer guilty. I fixed that with the fifth step, the ninth, and the tenth. I plead "No contest" and I acknowledge to God, to myself, and if big enough to bug me to my sponsor, but I'm not planning to carry the guilt, just learn from the past to live today as well as I can, walking with God and asking, hoping, trusting he will control my thinking and therefore truly make me not guilty when it comes time to look back over the day and assess the walk. What a relief! Thank God.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Mine is a stressful profession, or so they tell me. All these years I've sluffed off the comments about how much stress I live with, laughed it off with a comment home's tougher than work. This week, though, the world's been standing upside down. Home has gone calmly, but the stress came from every other direction. Only two other weeks in almost two decades on the job stand out as perhaps equal in stress, and that each time was from a single cause. This one has been the perfect storm, arriving from all sorts of directions. I needed the weekend, and I'm glad it's here.

The good thing, though, is stress or no stress, I stayed with my food plan and didn't open a computer game. Wow! And as an added bonus though my weight has dropped only a pound in a month, my clothes fit better. Earlier this year I was excited when a dress I'd had since 2003 was too large. Now one I bought about the first of the summer, a 16, is larger than I would buy, and it was tight when I bought it. I remember when I was pleased to realize a 26 was too large. But a 16? Wow! It's been a good week. But God, thanks for making this a good Friday as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thanks Where Thanks are Due...

At my meeting today, somebody made an interesting comment. It wasn't original, but hey, it's the first time I'd heard it. You hear often, "Thank GOD for OA!" Yet, we could say with the same degree of earnestness, "Thank OA for God!"

Blasphemous? No. Really it's not. It's like thanking the person who introduced you to your spouse for the introduction. Not that I needed an introduction to God, exactly, but like an artist paints a picture so realistic it shows what you never saw on the original you knew well. Or... or what? It's where the knowledge is. My head is, was, and will continue to be full of the knowledge of God, of the scriptures, of history, theology, etc. The difference is movement from an acquaintance to a friendship. That's it. I thank OA for allowing me to discover God as my friend, mentor, caretaker, and constant presence. Thanks, OA!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Naming Game

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.--Genesis 2:19-20
Even if he was dissatisfied, felt the need for another being closer in nature to himself, do you reckon Adam felt more comfortable with the beasties, having a name for them? I do.

Last night I looked up a term because somebody else had told me her husband had NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I researched on that website of all wisdom and learning, Wikipedia. (Yes, I'm not serious.) I could have sworn the author had been cohabiting in my household. You don't think flies on the wall edit Wikipedia, do you? Hum. Interesting. Velly interesting.

So. So what? What's in a name? Moses knew. When God appeared before him in a burning bush, he asked for hidden information.
Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"

God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"--Exodus 3:13-14
Is that what you'd ask God, given the chance? It's not a surprising question, not for the time and culture. Names count. Names control the person whose name is called. To know the name of something means we have power over it.

It's still true. How do you increase your sales? Know the name of those you're selling to, and use it.

Why the hype about the naming process? It matters! Name the child Barbara, she'll grow up to be foreign, strange. Can you think of a Barbara who doesn't fit the picture the name paints? The child becomes the name.

NPD. A name. And a name begets power over the entity. A rose is a rose is a rose. So, what is an NPD?