Category Archives: FOOD PLAN

Oh Running, How Do I Hate Thee?

What I look like runningI have never been a natural runner. When I was in 7th grade, and in a public school for the first time, I found out that gym class involved actual exercise, like running, gymnastics, rope climbing, and sit ups. I loved being in a larger school, with more options for friends and fewer options for crabby nuns, but if I could have gone back to parochial school for any reason, it would have been gym class.

By 8th grade, however, I had my eyes set on attaining the Presidential Award for fitness. I no longer remember my reasoning – I think it was peer pressure – positive for once. So, Mom and Dad – I didn’t just skip out of school or drink beer underage or smoke cigarettes at the corner with Donna (which you might not know about. Mom – sometimes I stole your Pall Malls. Coming clean here….) – I actually exercised under the influence of my friends. You probably don’t know that, seeing as you were too busy driving around town trying to find me when I was skipping out. (To my nieces and nephews and children: I only skipped out ONCE. ONE TIME. And that single time, guess who found me? GRANDPA CONARD. Yeah. You know he is hardly ever angry but man, you don’t want to meet him in his yellow Country Squire when your supposed to be in school.)

The sight of this coming towards me will remain forever etched in my brain.

The sight of this coming towards me will remain forever etched in my brain.


If you wanted to qualify for the “Presidential”, you had to be able to run a mile in under 15 minutes. I practiced all spring. I ate salads instead of macaroni and cheese (a huge sacrifice, I’ll have you know). I asked my dad to measure the distance to the end of the road, and then when he told me it was a tenth of a mile, and that I would have to run back and forth 5 times, I wanted to die. I would never make it. But dammit, I was going to try.

On the day of the test, I remember running on the crushed black gravel of the school track, the hot sun beating down, and my vigilant gym teacher with her mocking stop watch, calling out my time with each pass. I got a side stitch and I had to walk a few times, but I persevered and ended my final lap under the 15 minute mark. I have no idea how much time I had to spare, but I don’t think it was much. I just remember that I did it, and even though I was the last kid on the track, I was pretty darn full of myself. My gym teacher just rolled her eyes, because seriously – running a 15 minute mile when you are 13 years old was pretty lame. But from the perspective of old school Catholic gym class involving scooter boards, it was a pretty big accomplishment for me.




I decided to never endure that hell again (giving up macaroni and cheese), and didn’t willingly run again until I was 43, once again influenced by peer pressure. Incidentally, I also gave up macaroni and cheese AGAIN. WTH.

I started out in my crappy yellow Kohl’s Asics, my floppy cotton shorts and t-shirts and started running. I gradually built up to a mile, then two miles, then three. I distinctly remember the jubilation I felt when I got home after making 3 miles. Never in a million childhoods did I ever think I could run that far. This was the turning point for me. If I could do this, I could do anything. Runners High, here I come.

In truth, I hate running, and always have. It does not come easy for me – I’m like a plodding, ancient, plow horse, prone to hip bursitis, plantar fasciitis, Piriformis syndrome, sore boobs, hemorrhoids and if that wasn’t bad enough: stress induced incontinence (SUI).

Yes, that’s really a ‘thing’. Many women can attest to the occasional sneaky leak produced after sneezing or coughing, but it can also come with exercise, such as running and jumping. I discovered this ‘thing’ on my very first run (age 43, not 13 – just to be clear), midway thru my neighborhood. I slunk home, hiding behind bushes and pulling my t-shirt down as far as possible. Needless to say, I no longer run without my protection, and I don’t mean a Smith and Wesson, although shooting my bladder doesn’t always seem like such a bad idea.

What I loved was being DONE running. The feeling of accomplishment, the endorphins, the victory, the conquest of each mile added, the drive to beat my last distance or time, filled my veins like heroin. I was off and running (get it? AH-Hahahahahahaaaa! I kill me!).

With my friend Shari after completing the New Year's Day Polar Bear Run.  I took 3rd in my division - mainly because only three of us showed up.   But I'll take it!

With my friend Shari after completing the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Run. I took 3rd in my division – mainly because only three of us showed up. But I’ll take it!

About 4 years ago, my clean food plan took a dive – sugar and flour and, specifically, my beloved cake, began to show up sporadically, and then frequently, and it became harder to run because my weight was going up (ironically, I still don’t eat mac and cheese). I started biking about 2 years ago, and fell in love with a sport that took me all over the countryside without injury (except when I fell in my clips – ow). My running distance dwindled, until last winter, when I was running about, well, zero miles a week. I didn’t miss it. At least, I didn’t miss it based on all the reasons I hated running to begin with.

The past 6 months have been rough for me, emotionally, spiritually, and physically – moving, losing two family members, hormones, a long cold winter, and stress. Lots and lots of stress. My body is protesting the extra weight and sugar filled diet – it’s harder to move, I’m tired all the time, and I have frequent headaches and body aches. You know, I don’t really even care about the number on the scale, or about how I look – I haven’t quit exercising and I still bike, lift, and do some cross fit. But I do care that it’s getting harder to get up in the morning. Harder to motivate myself. Harder to get off the couch.

So, I’m running again. A sane person might ask me why – thank goodness I don’t know too many of them. But for those of you who are – it’s because of the mental discipline and accountability that running brings to the table. When I’m looking at food choices, I have to decide if I want to haul that around on my two-mile run. A successful run starts in my head. If I walk around thinking about how much I hate it, my run is going to suck. But if I concentrate instead on beating my last time or running a little farther, always throwing my mind forward to the finish – it’s motivating and euphoric.

These are both tools I need to cultivate again in my daily life. By concentrating on bringing it into my physical world thru running, it will spill over into my emotional and spiritual world as well, helping me to cope with life’s curve balls in a much healthier and positive way. That’s the plan anyway. I’ll keep you posted.

Currently, I am running about 2.2 miles at a crack. I started with a 50/10 sequence of running 50 seconds, walking 10. I’m up to running my first 14 minutes, and then finishing at 50/10. I have found the 50/10 pace is pretty easy for me to keep up now, but my pride wants me to run without stopping. That dang pride! Always nagging me! But there is something disciplined about running according to a beep in my ear – obeying a plan instead of endangering my health, so I think the 50/10 or some form of split is here to stay. Again, I’ll keep you posted! I


PS – What do you do to handle stress or stay motivated in a healthy lifestyle?  I would love to hear from you!!

Exploding Oatmeal and Other Hazards

quakerYesterday, my oatmeal exploded in the microwave at work.  I make oatmeal every day and I have to keep an eagle eye on it because Mr. Quaker Oats sometimes gets a bad attitude.  Well, there were other people in the lunch room hogging using the space in front of the microwaves to make their coffee, so I was trying to be courteous and give them some room.  Next thing I know, I see my oatmeal spilling over the top of my bowl.  I leapt forward and grabbed the door, almost bashing my co-worker Lois in the head as I yanked it open, and then stared sadly at the mess.

My first thought was not, “Ew- what a mess” or “Wow, I hope I didn’t kill Lois” but was, “Rats. Now I have less food to eat.”  My second thought was, “I wonder if I can salvage any of the stuff that spilled over” followed by my third thought of, “Gross, Sue.  You might eat a random M&M off the floor but you will not stoop to eating boiled over oatmeal off the bottom of the work microwave”.  For the record, I had to repeat this to myself twice, and thankfully Lois was still in the lunchroom or I may have succumbed to thought #2.  Haha!  Just kidding!  That would be so disgusting!  I would never do that!  (No, really, I might have.  Lois unknowingly saved me, even after I tried to kill her with the microwave door.)

I hate having my food routine disturbed.  It just leaves the door open for those irrational rationalizations, where my brain tries to justify eating 10 cookies to make up for the disruption.   “You poor dear!  You didn’t get a full 1/3 cup of oatmeal today.  Have a pan of brownies.”  I know what you are all thinking.  You are all thinking I should overcook my oatmeal everyday and replace it with cookies because oatmeal is like eating wall paste and good Lord if your going to eat something as bad for you as wall paste you might as well eat cookies.  And if I’m going to eat cookies, bring on the chocolate cake, because even Bill Cosby knows chocolate cake is full of nutrition!

Perhaps you are wondering if I grew up as a starving child in China (“There are starving children in China that go hungry every day!  Eat your wall paste!”) but no.  I grew up in a middle class home and never went to bed hungry – not even as a punishment.  My mom was a wizard in the kitchen and could make a pound of hamburger stretch for all 7 of us, including my Dad and my brother.  No, I’m just a food addict.  No meth or crack for this girl!  But whoa!  Is that a bakery?  I think I’ll stop in and mainline a chocolate donut.

Because I am a food addict, I need to have a strict food plan of no sugar or wheat, and I need to follow it.  I have fallen off the wagon these last three years, and really have no desire to get back on it, even though I know the sugar and flour just keep feeding the beast.  Before this, I went four years without it passing my lips.  I lost 80 pounds.  Gained confidence and moved up in my company.  Ran my first half marathon. Hit the upper 90’s in my health assessment at work.  Felt absolutely fantastic, physically and emotionally.  Except when I felt deprived – like at birthdays when others were celebrating with cake or at Christmas when I passed the cookie tray without taking one of my mom’s cut-outs (my favorite), or on vacation with the Daver or at Easter when I passed the rows and rows and ROWS of unbelievably delicious Robin Eggs and other confections (why do we celebrate religious holidays with so much chocolate?  A fattening mystery…).

So where am I now?  I am somewhere trying to find the balance.  I want to have my cake and eat it too (pun totally intended) but I don’t want to give up my health doing it.  I have gained back some weight, but not all.  I have held on to certain food habits – like lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins – and most certainly my exercise habits have stayed.  I don’t run as much – I would like to have fully functioning knees and hips when I am 80 – but I do bike, swim, inline skate, kayak, walk, hike, snowshoe, and hang out in the gym doing burpees and jump squats and dive bombers (oh my!).  Since regressing back to sugar, I have done another half marathon, ridden 2500 miles on my bike, taken another position in my company, and performed 10 billion burpees.  Yes, you heard me.  10. BILLION. BURPEES.


And you know what?  I think I’m okay with where I am.  Yes, I still struggle.  Yes, I still have food issues.  But at the end of the day, I would rather eat a celebratory piece of birthday cake on my dad’s 82nd birthday.  I would rather go out with the Daver and have pizza and a couple of beers while we talk and laugh about our week.  I would rather bike 100 miles with Kay, eating strawberry shortcake at the rest stops.  Or have dessert with the girls at the end of our night out.  Or eat a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry in Boston even if it means getting blisters because I am stupidly wearing brand new shoes.  Or eating Garrett’s cheesy popcorn while watching my niece run in the Chicago Marathon.  And you know why?  Because life is meant to be lived, and sometimes living involves eating delicious foods that have no nutritional value.


Some people are blessed with high metabolisms or the ability to eat a single brownie, but I am not one of them.  I am a big-boobed, 49-year-old woman, with stretch marks and jiggle, that loves a good laugh and cake with frosting and sprinkles.  But I just have to believe there is a balance and come hell or high water, I’m going to find it.  And when I do, I will share it with the world.  Meanwhile, I’ll be in the gym –  doing burpees.

What are your food downfalls?  How do you handle feeling food deprived?  Have you found balance in your own food plan and if so, what worked for you?  I love hearing from you and I love your feedback!  Please share in the comments below or on my FB page!

PS – I actually love oatmeal and seriously do eat it every day at work, with two – three hard-boiled eggs.  I like it best with almond milk and blueberries or apples and cinnamon.  Mmmmm!

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For additional reading on body image acceptance, check out these blogs:

August McLaughlin’s Blog

Katrina Anne Willis


Back In The Saddle

2013Hi Folks!

Haven any of you made New Years resolutions? I usually don’t, because I hardly ever keep them, but this year I had a bug up my butt and decided to make a few.


This is just a bug, and not a bug up my butt. Aren’t you glad?

The “bug” in question has been an increasing dissatisfaction with my weight and my BMI (body mass index). Okay, really it’s just my weight, because I am to chicken to do my BMI. I don’t need to hear that I am “obese”. Getting on the scale was hard enough, although the overall results not as bad as I thought.

bmi chart

I really, truly hate this chart. I have never made it to yellow! Ever!

I know that weight is just a “number” (or so I have been told) but it’s a number that can be used to gauge overall trends in a person’s health. So in my case, the number has gone continually up the last three years. And although I have worked out during those three years, my fuel intake has been more than my energy output, and that equals weight gain, my friends. I can’t really work out anymore than I already do, so it’s time to evaluate the intake.

About 7 years ago, I was very out of shape and overweight. Probably hit ‘morbidly obese’ on the BMI Richter scale. I was saved by my sister, who invited me to a group that helped me recognize my unhealthy relationship with food, and provided a food plan that actually worked for me. However, it involved cutting sugar, wheat and flour from my diet, and adding a lot of fresh veggies and fruits, true whole grains like brown rice and millet, and lean protein. It was really hard but once I got in a routine, it became easier. I lost a lot of weight, felt great almost all the time, and was hardly ever sick. I cruised along for about 4 years this way.

off the wagonSo what happened? I fell off the wagon, that’s what. At some point, I decided life was too short to be so restrictive. Plus I was participating in longer runs like half marathons where I had to refuel, and the easiest thing to carry was sugar. Gradually, I began to allow more sugars and flours in my diet, and now here I am 40 pounds heavier.

Starting January 2nd, I started the first step of my first goal of 2013, by cutting out sugar, flour, and most processed foods. I will be honest with you too – I don’t plan on being a freak about it. Last Saturday was date night, and I allowed myself to have something off-plan – a New Glarus Moon Man. That’s a fancy schmancy beer, if you were wondering. It was pretty tasty. Not as good as a Spotted Cow, mind you, but worth the experiment. You may wonder why I treated myself to a beer, and not a piece of cheesecake. Simple – I can stop after one beer. Not so much on the cheesecake.

It’s been going surprisingly well. I expected more bumps in the road, more nights of agonized wailing and foot stomping (I NEED A FREAKING COOKIE!!), more “a few chips won’t hurt me” moments. And it’s not that I have any super human willpower either. I think it’s more because I have a specific goal, and I know this is the first step to reaching it.



Now here is the funny part. I know I mentioned being unhappy with my weight in the beginning of this post, and you would think that weight loss would be the goal that is driving me, but it isn’t. I do hope it’s a by-product, but my real goal involves something else. My post is much to long already, so I will address it next time. I will leave you with this hint though: It’s the reason I started this blog.

Pray Hard. Dream Big.


It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…

It’s a Super Food!  Super food – a popular buzzword in the nutrition industry, designed to peak your interest in less popular but highly nutritive foods.  Like spinach, for example.  Personally, I’m not a fan of spinach unless it’s in a dip, but that sort of defeats the purpose.  And that’s the real push of the whole “super food” campaign –  to try to get people to try foods out of their comfort zone by promoting them as avenues to health.

I will admit to being pretty stodgy in my veggie and grain experimentation in my young adult years.  Exotic grains were more likely to be found in the liquid I drank on a Saturday night than on my plate, and I thought corn was the only ‘vegetable’ that mattered.  I was more likely to eat foods that came from a chemists lab than from a farmer’s field.

And now, here I am, so much older and wiser (well, for sure OLDER), touting the benefits of super foods and about to give you some recipes of my favorites.  Please note that many of my recipes will not have sugar or flour in them, but they may have gluten (some whole grains, like barley, have gluten in them), dairy or eggs.  My main goal isn’t to adhere to any specific plan, but to give you the opportunity to try healthy alternatives to processed foods.

Two of these are foods that I like, have made in the past, and will make again.  Most likely, you may have eaten them already too, especially the first one I list.  The last one is something I experimented with over the weekend, and I am not sure I will make again.

1.  Sweet Potato Fries – this is very popular in restaurants now, even ones that offer more mainstream entrées.  Feel the Force of the Super Food, Luke.

sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries…shut my mouth!

4 medium sweet potatoes / 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil / 1/4 teaspoon paprika / 1/2 teaspoon of salt / pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut potatoes in to wedges and place in large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Arrange in single layers on cookie sheets and bake 25 minutes.

2.  Pumpkin custard (an alternative to pumpkin pie – a favorite of mine at Thanksgiving).

pumpkin custard

For the record, my pumpkin custard does NOT look this pretty. Probably because I break the rules and don’t cook it in the pan with water. Do as I say, not as I do!

1 can evaporated skim milk / 12 oz can pumpkin / 4 eggs / 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (or to taste) / sweetener (optional – I use agave nectar as a drizzle over the top when I eat it)

Beat all ingredients together and place in two mini casserole dishes that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Put the casserole dishes in a larger pan with 1 inch of water (I actually never do this – I just pop the pans in the oven, but my OCD and anal retentiveness will not permit me to omit this step from the written recipe) and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the custard is set (inserted knife comes out clean).  Chill overnight (I don’t always do this either.  I’m such a rebel.)

3.  Kale chips

This is the new one I tried.  I have eaten kale before – I tried it when I heard how many nutrients it contained.  I wasn’t a huge fan – it has a pretty strong taste.  But when a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was making these, I decided to give kale another shot.

For those of you who are new to the nutrition game, kale is a leafy vegetable that looks rather like romaine lettuce on steroids.  It’s not super popular, so you may have to check your larger grocery stores to find it.

Remove the leafy sections of the kale from the stalk.  Rinse and pat dry.  Lay as many leaves as you can in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Coat with olive oil (I use olive oil cooking spray – worked pretty slick if I do say so myself) and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning – I used Mrs. Dash table blend, salt and a little garlic.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

You know what?  I mostly liked these, but I put way too much salt on them, and then I got lazy and didn’t make another batch.  Also, a few of the chips had a stronger taste to them than some of the others, and I wasn’t sure I liked that.  I think I will try them one more time and go easier on the salt!

Until next time!

What’s For Lunch?

A few years ago, when I first made major changes to my diet, my friend Debbie used to come over to my desk every lunch hour, just to see what I was eating.  And it wasn’t just her – I attracted the attention of most of the people in my department.  I guess when you go from eating a box of Chicken in the Biscuit crackers with a side of M&M’s for lunch to eating protein, veggies and whole grains, people immediately sense “freak show” and come running.  I became old news after a while, for everyone except Debbie.  She always had an intense interest and would ask me the names of what I was eating, how I cooked it, if I liked it, etc.


Learning to eat healthy is hard.  It takes time and energy to read labels and find recipes and plan your meals.  It’s expensive and experimenting with new foods can be tough on your pocketbook if it turns out you don’t like it.  While I am not a nutritionist by any means, I do have several years worth of food knowledge banging around inside my brain cavity.  I thought you, like my friend Debbie,  might be interested in hearing about some of the tidbits I have picked up.  I would like to share the ideas and foods that worked for me, and also will experiment with new ideas and give you my honest feedback on the results.  I would love it if you shared your insights with me too!


Tonight, I am going to talk about my Top 3 favorite health foods, and how I incorporate them in my diet.


English: Three chicken eggs of contrasting col...

English: Three chicken eggs of contrasting colours. From left to right WHITE (from a white leghorn hen), RED (speckled)(from a Marans hen), and TINTED (from a Rhode Island Red hen). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Number One on my list is: The incredible, edible egg.  I love eggs.  I really do.  Hard boiled, soft boiled, fried, scrambled, over easy, sunny side up, poached – did I miss any?  I seriously eat eggs at least 5 times a week, and have done so for at least the last 5 years (6 years, actually – I just counted) with no adverse affects to my cholesterol (new studies show that for most people, eating eggs do not significantly contribute to heart disease).  Eggs are high in protein, low in calories and chock full of vitamins and minerals.  Eggs are fairly inexpensive, unless you are like me and feel bad for the chickens stuck in cages – I think it reminds me too much of living in a cubicle all day.  So I buy eggs laid by free range or cage free chickens for about $3 a dozen, depending on the store.  Sometimes I can find a farmer to purchase from as well, for much less, but it takes more time out of my schedule to get them.  Find out more about eggs here.


Number Two:  Corn Thins by Real Foods.  Basically, Corn Thins are like corn thinssquashed rice cakes, only made out of corn, although they do have a rice variety as well.  I use them in place of bread – they still have a higher glycemic index, but are not as processed, are gluten and GMO free, and have more fiber than bread.  Basically, I will top them with little low fat cream cheese, tomato and chicken, turkey or ham.  Sometimes I add a little mayo or mustard, cheese or pickles.  It’s like an open faced sandwich.  I find them at Woodman’s and Festival Foods here in Wisconsin, but you can check on their website here for more info on where to find them in your area.


GrapesNumber Three:  Grapes.  Natures perfect finger food!  I like to put grapes in my fat free plain Fage Greek Yogurt (yum!) as an after workout recovery snack.  Sometimes I will freeze them and then take out about a cup and snack on them frozen as a bedtime snack.  Any more than that, and my mouth freezes a bit and it makes it hard to yell at my dogs when they bark at the phantom squirrels in the backyard at midnight.  I prefer red seedless because a really good green seedless is hard to come by, but will buy the green when they are large and firm.  I’m not afraid to taste test before I buy either – grapes are too expensive to end up with a bag full of bad ones.


Tomorrow, I will share a couple of my favorite recipes, and a review a new one I just tried over the weekend!


Sleep tight!


Forgiveness for a Foodie

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4

I want to talk about some of my favorite scriptures – you know the types I mean – the ones you cling to when the you-know-what hits the fan and your life feels like it’s spiraling out of control.  But I’m not going to today, actually.  Today, I am going to talk to you about scriptures that make your stomach clench when you read them.  The ones where you think “Is He talking to me?” with a feeling of dread because you know you have been doing your own thing and the hammer is about to fall.

And of course, God could pound me to a pulp, but He doesn’t.  Thankfully.  Or perhaps un-thankfully?  Because sometimes I feel like maybe I would rather be pounded than have to be a grown up and make my own decisions.  He allows us free will after all – freedom to turn to Him or freedom to keep wallowing in the muck of our own poor decisions.

Today’s scripture is one I read last night in the book of Matthew.  It was part of my 3×5 reading, a program I am participating in thru our church in order to read the entire bible in a year.  It’s Jesus’ response to the devil who was tempting Him to conjure up some food during his fast in the wilderness.  I can’t even make it thru a Dairy Queen commercial on a full stomach so I can’t imagine being in Jesus’ sandals.  Jesus responds with “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”.   Ugh!  Gut jab!  I quickly kept reading, but that nagging niggle of scripture kept me from being able to concentrate on the rest.

Now you see it….

I love food, you see.  Ice cream, cake, chips, fries, hamburgers, steak, tacos, peanuts, popcorn, grapes, chocolate, hot fudge, mashed potatoes and gravy, breakfast food, dinner food, snack food, wedding food.  I. Love. Food.  And sometimes, Lord knows (truly), I love food more than spending time with God.  More than spending time with my family.  I would rather curl up with my jar of peanuts and a good book and turn off the rest of the world.  I would choose this hands down over ANYTHING else, almost all of the time, if I thought I could get away with it.  God knows.  Oh, He knows.

It’s a form of idolatry, and it’s a type of addiction, and this know.  And yet, I find myself slipping into it time and time again.  Remember Paul, talking about the thorn in his side?  The one thing he had to fight all the time?  This is my thorn.  I have fought it my entire life.  Okay, possible exaggeration, but a good part of my life.  At least from the time I was pre-teen.

Now you don’t.

So every now and then, God gives me a “gut” check…pun intended.  When food begins to infiltrate my lifestyle and undermine my goals (not to mention HIS goals), it’s time to take a look and make some tough decisions…again.  He reminds me that if I spent as much time and energy focusing on Him that I spend focusing on food, our relationship would be bordering on the fantastic.  Which is, of course, a mutual goal between God and I – to have a closer relationship.  Kinda hard to do with an ice cream sundae the size of the Empire State Building between us.

Not by the pure force of my own will can this thorn be removed either.  I can’t do it alone, nor on my own, nor under my own strength.  I need God.  As Paul says, “…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”, in reference to God being glorified thru Paul’s weakness.  I only hope I can glorify God in mine as well.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Do you have a ‘thorn’ in your life, that pulls your focus off of God or your goals?  How do you handle it?