Saturday, June 29, 2013

To the beach without expectations or so I thought!

by B Hicks

I have given a lot of thought about expectations this week.  I am not an expert on this topic but I do know how I feel when an expectation isn't met.  Is it wrong to have expectations?  When we go out to eat we expect to be served a good meal.  We expect our spouses to be faithful.  Sometimes meals aren't good and spouses fail us in the one major expectation we have for our marriage.  I don't think those expectations are wrong but sometimes our expectations are unrealistic or aren't verbalized.

On Wednesday morning my husband and I headed to our favorite beach spot.  It was his only day off for the week and the kids were busy with activities.  What started out as a beautiful morning enjoying each other turned into an ugly disagreement in the car ride home.  As we were headed out for our fun day, I mentioned that I was pondering the subject of expectations and how disappointed I get when I approach certain things with unrealistic expectations.  I ask him a couple of questions to get his view point.  It was a great time of meaningful discussion. We talked about how disappointing it would be if it rained while we were at the beach but that it wouldn't crush us because we were spending time together and besides this is Florida, it's summer, and showers are in the daily forecast.  I finished the conversation with, "I'm much better off if I live my day without those types of expectations."  I wish I had taken my own advice that day.  The day ended and I felt crushed, not because of the actual storm that blew in, but because of the storm of expectations I allowed to control my emotions and my ability to truly experience a fun day with my spouse.

I will spare you all the ugly details but before I knew what happened, I started this thought pattern in my head about how I wanted him to act.  Rather than verbalizing my desires, I allowed myself to stew in my emotions. I think you know what happened next.  I felt disappointed.  I masked my disappointment for as long as I could then an unpleasant scene unfolded on the ride home.  

This situation gave me a fresh reminder that I'm still on the road of recovery.  So, I give myself a little slack because I haven't mastered the art of authentic living.  I apologized to my husband and pray God will help me remember how to handle these emotions in the future.

The principal of relating authentically with your spouse and appropriately expressing feelings is taught in Principal Three of the LIFE Guide for Spouses.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Food for L.I.F.E.

Hi ya folks,

Food is everywhere and shows up in every area of life. I organize food into 4 main categories.
1) Food comfort/reward
2) Food celebration
3) Food for health
4) Food addiction/Food disorder

We will walk through each one of these together.  Tonight I wish to call out #3 food for health. We have a mandate from God to eat healthy, III John v2 beloved I desire above all else that you prosper and be in good health! That means its one of God's highest priorities that we are healthy! It needs to be our highest priority too! But its just so darn tough to do that right?!

How many sexy commercials have you seen that included some type of food product (what's the connection there I wonder?).  How many billboards do you drive by that tempt you to try some new food item?

If that is not enough, we are overwhelmed by confusing food marketing! Smart marketers label food in the stores as "fat free", "healthy", "all natural", "high fiber", "high protein", "can help lower cholesterol" and the list goes on. These labels also contain a whole host of ingredients that most of us have to use "Google" to look up.

There is a simple answer, run away from fast food, packaged foods, processed foods, and reduce the amount of eating out. Your food is hurting and potentially killing you. You are what you eat. Eat what your body was designed by God to eat'/process/use as fuel. Would you put diesel in your unleaded fuel gas tank, heavens know, why, because it would shut down and stop running, right? Right! So why is food any different!!!

I prefer to look at food as a lifestyle choice and the choice I have made is healthy eating. I have a plan for my food so that I have the best quality of life.  Healthy eating for me is a hybrid of 3 methodologies (in no particular order):

Clean eating -   
Eat clean, nutritionally packed meals 6x a day

Blood type  -‎   
understand the way your body processes and metabolizes food

Paleo -    
Eat the way hunter gatherers did, they ate from nature

Each one of these food plans are built on a foundation of eating from as close to the earth as possible and as naturally as possible. That's straight out of Genesis, chapters 2 and 3 eat from the fruit of the trees, plant gardens and eat from those.  I use a hybrid of all 3 because, I only sometimes eat meat (Paleo), I eat 6 nutritionally packed meals a day (clean eating), and there are just some foods my body either does not process well or absorb the nutrition from (blood type).

I hope this helps you to build a food plan that is right for you and your family.  I know it is a big up front cost but it has a great future payout putting your health back into your control and not the doctors or the pharmaceutical companies!  Make a plan each week on what you are going to eat each day.  These websites will help you and I will be giving you tips and recipes along the way as well.

1st step decide to eat healthy, step 2 look into these plans and start taking action today!

Blessings, Micki (aka Butterfly Wings)
L.I.F.E. Recovery International

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The journey...

by B Hicks

Naomi was left with nothing but two daughter-in-laws.  In the first chapter of Ruth, Naomi suffered massive loss.  In a foreign land, I’m sure she grieved.  Grieved for her homeland and the husband and two sons she lost to death.  Life was terrible and it seemed God had abandoned her.  Then word came that God had provided food for His people in Judah.  Naomi decided she wanted to go home.  The journey would not be easy.  There wasn’t a bus or train that she could hop on and be there in a flash.  It would be a long, tough, exhausting and dangerous journey with mountains and maybe even robbers. I wonder what feelings stirred in her as she made the journey back home.  Was she afraid, insecure, bitter, cautious, frustrated or confident, relaxed, and at peace with her decision?  God provided a beautiful story from Naomi and Ruth’s lives.  He cared for them.  He used others to help Naomi in her time of need.  I think about how miserable Naomi’s life would have been if she had stayed in her current situation, not willing to get up and go.

Today, I sit and wonder who might read this and need to make a decision.  Will you decide to get up and go or stay where you are.  Get up and go seek help for  _______________?  You name it.  What’s your struggle?   We can suffer in silence, in a foreign land (a place where God doesn’t intend for us to be) or we can say, “Lord, I’m willing to seek help, to journey to a place of freedom.”

After an eight month separation, the time came in my journey to make a decision about my marriage.  I had been involved with L.I.F.E from the beginning of discovery and God had worked miraculously in my heart and life.  My husband had embraced recovery and had been sober for five months and I’d seen real change in him.  I prayed continuously for God to give me wisdom and direct me...and He did.  Not in ways I would have expected but like Naomi he used others to help me in my time of need.  God made it very clear to me that he wanted to restore my marriage.The first step was to trust God. The second was to attend counseling with my husband.  I was afraid but God gently reminded me, “Do not be afraid”.  It was not easy and many times the journey seemed too long and tough for me to handle. As I remember the initial months of hatred I felt towards my husband, it is a complete miracle that I could love and care for someone who hurt me so deeply.  Only by God’s grace is this possible.  I, like Naomi, couldn’t see how God was going to work out a beautiful story for me but I knew he could.  

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Food for L.I.F.E


Are your emotions growling? Many of us are hungry and do not understand what our emotions are growling for. I have been insatiably hungry before; craving sugar and carbohydrates when what I really needed was water. Most of us are just like that, our bodies are desperately trying to tell us that it needs something, but we have spent so much time trying to suppress those needs that we mistake that hunger for something else. We are no longer in tune to what we are really hungry for.

While you might have not come to the place in your healing to identify it yet, you have tried tirelessly to feed your hunger with alcohol, pornography, drugs, serial relationships and/or sex and have come up hungry. You have found yourself using these substances to deal with feelings and emotions that overwhelm you, because they alter your mood, or shift your focus to something more pleasurable than what is presently going on in your life. The truth of the matter is that while these substances temporarily relive the feelings of hunger, they do not deal with the root of the problem. You will soon find yourself hungry again.

There is hope. You do not have to live a life that is always hungry and never feeling satisfied. L.I.F.E. Recovery for Women and for Men is that place of hope. We will help you identify what it is that you are hungry for and help you find healthy ways of feeding that hunger and come to a place of contentment in your life like you have never known.

In my own experience I have resisted food during hard times and I have also used food to cope and comfort myself during trying times.  In what ways are you using food to ease your pain or cope with difficulty and disappointment? What are you really hungry for?

Post your comments now. 

Hugs, Micki aka Butterfly Wings
L.I.F.E. Recovery International

Monday, June 17, 2013

Food for L.I.F.E.

For those of you still hanging on a cliff for the rest of my story, I am still going to share it.  I was having trouble connecting all the fragmented pieces of my story into a cohesive one so I prayed on it and God lead me to use food as a focus to help me share my story in a way that is relateable and easy to follow. Each one of us struggles with food whether you are on the anorexic side or the bulimic side or sometimes a combination of both depending on what "stressors" are triggering you at the time. Most of my attitudes towards food has been anorexic with a few binges of bulimic in between. And many times subconsciously on  a mission of self-destruction with the careless way I took care of my body using fast food or not enough food. Although, I have had considerable healing along the way, I still struggle, as I am sure many of you do as well.

So my awareness began in 2006 when I was in my 30's, because I never dealt with the issue in adolescence. I went to the dentist in 2006 and my dentist asked me what on earth was I doing because he had never seen someone so young with such horrible gums.  I was shocked.  He began to explain that your total body health is in your mouth.  I told him that food was a necessary evil and I ate once a day because really it was a nuisance that got in the way because I would have to stop what I was doing to take/make time to eat. I think he was shocked at this point by my response. He wanted to put me on a nutrition plan and a very intense vitamin supplement regiment at the cost of several thousand dollars.  I said no thanks I can do this myself. I had been studying personal training and nutrition for years; I just had never applied to myself.

See funny thing about abuse survivors (especially sexual) is that you lose the mind body connection that goes with self-care.  You lose the connection that you are what you eat, and that your body is a very critical part of you that you need to get reconnected to and really cannot afford to ignore.

Over the next.... however long ... I want to use my story and my journey to heal others because today in 2013 I have reached optimum health in as little as six years. I saw results after the first year (2007) of making a quality decision to be a conscious eater and walk out the lifestyle of a healthy person.

We will discuss through this blog:

  • origins of food issues
  • food myths and definitions
  • research on nutrition, fasting, meal plans, and connection between abuse and food
  • helpful links for a healthy eating lifestyle
  • what scripture says about food
  • how good nutrition is key to your moods and recovery
  • food preparation tips, plans and recipes
  • more of my story
  • virtually connect with a clean eating small group
  • dinning out strategies that work
  • recovery, additions and food

We are going to have a great time and get healed in the process.  I invite you to join me on the journey of healthy clean eating and for you to add to my knowledge base the things that you have learned through your own healing and recovery.

Hugs, Micki aka Butterfly Wings
L.I.F.E. Recovery International

stay close to Jesus

by B Hicks

It was a lady at the church where we were on staff who gave me that advice.  The advice came  just a few days after the discovery that my youth pastor husband had been sexually involved with one of the volunteers in our college group. I remember thinking of course I will stay close to Jesus but little did I know that I would really need to know what that meant as I faced the horrible months to follow.  When the flood of emotions came and bitterness would creep in, it was only living close to Jesus that I could see when my pain was turning into ugliness in my heart.  He was so gentle to remind me of His love and that He was fighting for me and to shine His light into the dark areas of my heart.  I wanted to hold on to the anger because it felt like protection to my heart.  I could validate it in my mind moment after moment but my heart would remind me otherwise.  

Staying close to Jesus meant spending time with Him.  More time than I was use to spending.  It meant remembering all the pain and agony He had experienced and believing that He would see me through all of my suffering.  It also meant trusting Him when he led me to make decisions that I didn’t understand or were difficult. I am so thankful for those individuals that were wise and offered great counsel.  So, my words of advice for you today, no matter what emotion you find yourself in, stay close to Jesus.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Things my father taught me...

by B Hicks

So, all of us grew up with an imperfect dad.  Some of our childhood’s were really terrible. Beyond belief I’m sure.  As I’ve walked this journey, I’ve come to realize we all have pain from one parent or both.  My dad was a functioning alcoholic.  I say functioning because he never missed a day of work and he provided financially for us.  However, I felt unloved and abandoned by him for most of my life.  Life was complicated and messy in my home.  However, it is our choice to forgive or stay stuck in the past reliving the hurt over and over. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve worked out most of those feelings in counseling and God has healed my hurt.

This Father’s Day, as my dad is getting older and I don’t know if I will have another Father’s Day with him, I decided to give him a list of all the things he has taught me.  I thought I would share these with you and pray that even out of the horrible childhood you might have experienced, you would find peace in knowing our heavenly father loves you and cares for you beyond your imagination.

Psalm 27:10
Though my father & mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.

Things you taught me dad:
how to drive a stick shift,
how to put a worm on a hook,
how to fish,
how to drive a boat,
how to ride a bike,
to love football,
how to have a strong work ethic,
how to be a dependable employee,
how to be compassionate when someone is sick,
how to mow the lawn,
how to play shortstop,
how to enjoy a ride in an old red truck,
how to whistle,
how to moo like a cow,
that wearing a pair of pantyhose over your head to scare your own kids at Halloween is funny.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If God cares for the birds...why not trust that He cares for us?

by B Hicks

Today, June 11, 2013, My husband and I watched as our 19 year old son boarded a flight in Orlando.  He completed Marine boot camp a few weeks earlier and is headed to school to complete his training.  He has had a rough morning.  He missed his connecting flight and has been trying to find his way all morning. 

God knows how much I enjoy cardinals.  I think they are beautiful and they really bring joy to my life.  He also knows how I reflect back to His word and the reminder of how much more He cares for us.  We have cardinals in our yard this year.  They have built a nest and I see the momma and the poppa almost every day.  Today, I am reminded of what I noticed a month or so ago.  I watched as a momma and daddy cardinal protected their baby cardinal in our backyard.  The baby bird could only fly a few feet at a time before it would land and rest.  It would start shaking and within a few seconds it was flying again.  I watched in amazement as the daddy would literally run the squirrels off that tried to harm the baby bird.  The scene was beautiful to me and I can’t help but think of the great love our Father in Heaven has for us and the people we love.  

In recovery, sometimes our flights are short, but each flight takes us closer to being whole and complete.  Sometimes those flights are painful.  Sometimes letting go of children is painful, but trusting that God cares for us, our recovery, and our children is a comfort.  

Matthew 6

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Monday, June 10, 2013

He Can Do Great Things

Submitted by Dave G.

When was the last time you asked God to do something impossible, something out of the ordinary? I believe that one reason we don’t see God do great things is because we only ask Him for small things. Most people pray over their food, pray for protection, or pray for wisdom. That’s all good, but don’t limit what God can do. There should be something you’re praying about, something that you’re asking for that is beyond you, something that you can’t accomplish in your own strength. Do you dare to ask?

Your dreams may look impossible. You don’t have the funding or the connections, but God is saying, “I dare you to ask Me to bring it to pass. I dare you to ask Me to show you a flood of My favor.”

All through the scripture, we see people doing this. Elisha prayed that it wouldn’t rain, and for three and a half years there was no rain. Joshua prayed for more daylight, and God stopped the sun. Follow their example and step out in faith. Dare to ask, dare to believe God, and see His mighty hand move on your behalf!