A “Special” Meal with Extra Gravy!

I know it sounds like we’re having an early Thanksgiving, but not to worry, the Woest family is still going strong as far as healthy eating habits are concerned. However, this weekend we did have a special meal alright! By the end of the weekend I was in a pretty lousy mood, in fact I felt bruised and beaten by laundry, chores, commitments and tantrums (the “don’t-know-what-I-want-but-I-don’t-want-that” tantrums that gets issued with every precious two year old 🙂 So at dinner time I dished up big plates of steaming hot guilt for every family member. I also added some thick gravy of manipulation and a side dish of harshness. Off course I didn’t starve either, my plate was packed with self-pity, discontentment and a dash of bitterness. Great dinner! It was the wise women from Proverbs that grabbed me by the apron and shook me up good. The Amplified Bible says it exactly like I needed to hear it: “She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.” (Prov 31:27) Ouch! So I repented and laid my burden down where it belongs. I am happy to say that this morning’s breakfast was on the lighter side. Love, humility and thankfulness was on the menu. I still have a long way to go before I can be called a Proverbs 31 woman, but maybe, as some of my friends believe, it speaks of all the seasons of our lives. For this season I feel blessed to just drop the “bread of idleness” because it ruins my “holiness diet” anyway. Love you lots Heleen

Happy 1st Birthday!

I bet you are wondering which child of mine is turning one that you didn’t even know existed. Well, sorry to disappoint you but this Birthday girl is not so much the flesh and blood kind as she is a pretty mess of code and color. I am talking about our website “Women struggling with Food“. I don’t think I ever told you the story of her “creation” or the three difficult months of “labor” I endured, so here goes: I was seriously just minding my own business, taking care of my then one year old baby girl, doing some counseling here and there and filling my days with juggling the activities of the four men in my life. I really missed the support groups I facilitated for about seven years though. I would be a hypocrite if I tell you that those groups were always fun and games. No actually the groups were exhausting and at times excruciating for both me and the ladies involved. We were all dealing with life changing stuff and digging up pain that we would much rather have left exactly where it was. There was a lot of crying, definitely some laughing, but also truck loads of emotions flying around. Yet, in the midst of it all, amazing friendships were forged. I missed it all, the whole nine yards! I suspect my husband was getting fed-up with my miserable state. This is when he suggested that I put together all of the information and research I gathered to create an online program. He figured I could just make one week and see what happens. I had of course no idea what I was getting into and casually agreed to give it a shot. One thing lead to another, I started writing, then recording, more weeks sprung up …

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Hold the advise, please!

If you have been dealing with food addiction for a while, the last thing you need to hear is another human being telling you to just get over it, have some self control and eat less already! Some individuals are just plain rude and like to give advise about everything (including things they don’t know anything about). But there are also people who honestly intend to help us, but don’t know that their well meant advise can make us feel worse and sink even deeper into the eating disorder. It doesn’t help to take away food, count our calories for us, go on a diet with us or bring us every new diet that comes out. All these things just add to our stress level and self condemnation. We have already tried all the diets and our answer does not lay in diets at all. The thing we need more than anything is acceptance, love, support and prayer. We have to figure the rest out with God and a professional who knows that we can’t just “get it together” already. Just recently a lady told me that food is just a temptation, and overweight people should simply say NO. God helped me not to say anything, because words would have been wasted on this particular lady, but on my way home I prayed that God would grant me grace to “hold the advise”. There were times when I gave people advise about things I knew nothing about and situations I have never been in. This advise giving can especially be going around when it comes to raising kids: As if any of us really know all the answers. I asked that God would help me to guard my mouth ( what goes in and comes out), but also search my heart for any …

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If I lived happily ever after…

Last night I read my little girl a bedtime story, the kind all girls (young and old) love. It starts with “Once upon a time” and ends with “and they lived happily ever after” Long after I kissed her rosy cheeks and tucked her in, I still sat on the rocking chair, thinking about “happily ever after…” Okay, I have to admit that I was in a rather melancholy mood yesterday, so it’s not really a surprise that I wasted my time pondering over sentimental things. I have a lot to be thankful for, make no mistake, in fact some might think that I have the perfect fairy tale life. However, I know better, I know that only by the grace of God can I claim joy in the midst of many trials and hardships. So I do love my life, but its’ far from “happily ever after” And then, this morning while doing a new Bible study (isn’t it so fun opening a new Bible study?) I was reminded of how God uses trials to keep us close to Him. I know that this is true for me personally. I am ashamed to admit it, and it seems so wrong, but I’m afraid that the times my life touched the outskirts of “happily ever after” I was out there doing my own thing, celebrating my own happiness, forgetting about the One who made it all possible. I don’t want to be like that, and I always promise myself that this time will be different. I even promise God that I will stay so close to Him, if He will only… I’m sure God made provision for this part of our fallen nature. I know for certain that His mercy and love reach way beyond our humanity and flakiness. What I’m getting at …

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Good News!

Is there anything like it? Yesterday, I got a little taste of it: Good news, actually great news! I was so happy. I was crying and laughing at the same time, and my 9 year old was looking at me with a strange expression of amazement and worry. I was so giddy, I just wanted to phone somebody and yell out my good news. My older kids came home with truckloads of problems for me to deal with and listen to, and I was so calm. None of the usual worry and problem solving going on inside my head. It was if I was standing in a field of beautiful flowers with the sun baking down on my face. I could see my kitchen with children talking and winter weather seeping through the windows only in the far distance. I was riding on the “Good News Cloud” and nothing could touch me. And then, of course, some bad news came. The bad news was actually about the good news so it was literally as if you took a pin and pricked my good news balloon. Did I take it well and stood in faith like a decent woman of God is supposed to do? Nope. I was flat! I’m sure there’s a more eloquent way to describe this feeling I had. But seriously, I wasn’t low, or down, or discouraged, no I was downright flat! Anybody? In my ongoing state of lowliness, last night, God reminded me of something my dearest Grandma said earlier that day. We call her “Ouma” which is Afrikaans for grandma. She is 88 year old, and just the sweetest little lady. I am always amazed at her positive attitude towards life even though she is very ill. Today she reminded me to take hold of the wonderful moments …

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It’s war baby!

How do I forget so easily? It amazes me that I always need to be reminded that we’re in a war. And by this I don’t mean physical war (although that’s a huge reality for certain families right now). The war that I’m referring to is in the Spiritual realm. We can’t see it but we are in it and we experience casualties, pain and confusion every day. Now, of course this is a controversial subject. People would rather deny the existence of a war and thus hope to avoid the repercussions of it. But we can’t, I can’t… It’s evident that we can not be Switzerland in all of this. If I take a step back and look at my own life I can see the battle clearly: Difficulty in my marriage, problems with the kids, relationships that vanish, jobs that don’t work out, financial crisis… to just name a few. I’m not naive, I know about the part that I play by making the wrong choices and being disobedient. However, I also know that in the midst of life on this earth, that tends to be hard, I can’t afford to be an open target. I can’t afford NOT to choose sides: And yes there is no middle ground. So I’m so glad when God reminds me to get in there and take part in the battle. I’m so glad every time He uses the Bible, a friend, a book or a circumstance to remind me that by not facing the enemy head on I am leaving my back open for him to shoot anyway. In this day I want to remind everyone I can to again pick up the sword, strap on the armour and stand. There is joy in the standing, there is victory over addiction, habits and temptation. …

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The tale of the Crazy Woman!

I can not believe how different two days can be. It makes me understand and love that verse about God’s mercies being new every morning so much more! Yesterday was one of that Murphy’s law days for me: You know, everything that could go wrong indeed did go wrong! By 10am I was ready to run into the mountains like a wild woman, screaming. Okay, fair enough, it was my first day of potty training my little girl and I also had some work to get done, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the day followed suit and by the evening I was ready to pull out my own hair. I did everything a good mother should never do, everything a good wife would not even think about, and everything a child of God is not suppose to do (well not everything, but you get the picture). My little tree was standing barren in the winter sun without one ounce of fruit on it. The words peace, joy and especially self-control was so far removed from me that I could not fathom their meaning. In the midst of this I received devastating phone calls and news to the extend of my knees buckling under the burden. And so I did what every respectable lady should do: I clenched my jaw, buckled my belt (okay no belt) and I decided that I will show this day a thing or two. Needles to say, by the evening, after a rally with a few rude salespeople at the store and the worst customer service ever, I was ready to admit defeat. This day got the better of me. Some days I have absolutely NO control over anything, and the more I try the worse it becomes. I am after all …

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