How Drawing a Line Down the Center of a Page Can Change Everything

Make a Change Using this Method


Ice cream has always been my downfall.

Not just any ice cream, mind you. It must include sweet morsels of cookie dough, thin mints, or chocolate chips⏤sprinkles, syrups, or anything fruity are simply not invited to the party.

Recently, while wiping minty green deliciousness from around my lips, the words Where is your self-control? rudely interrupted the moment. The words stunned me even more than the fact that I was returning a half-eaten pint of my favorite meal snack to the freezer.


We know when it’s time for a change. And this was that moment.


Scenes from the last two years darted past.

Let’s see. There was the stress of prepping our old house to sell, then the move, writing two books in one year, the heartbreak of returning a beloved puppy on Valentines Day, and struggling with a couple of ongoing medical issues that wiggled fingers from their ears, double-dog-daring me to just try and lose the weight.

Hmm…turns out, it wasn’t ice cream I tasted. It was my emotions. If only they were fat-free. *sigh*

Convinced I couldn’t gain control of my eating habits, or the expanding waistline, I gave up. I grew comfortable buying one larger size after the other, but way down deep, I knew my lack of self-control was costing a lot more than 4.99 a gallon.


So I whipped out my favorite sketchbook, turned it sideways, and drew a line down the center of the page. Each column claimed a title.


The left column: Results From Eating Poorly. Keeping it real here, folks:

  • Avoiding people I haven’t seen since the added weight.
  • I’m not reflecting the power of self-discipline.
  • Feeling dumpy.
  • Slave to sweets.
  • I run away from the camera and videos.


The right column: Benefits from Eating Healthier

  • Live unashamed!
  • Healthier body, mind, and spirit.
  • Attention and energy will shift more to others (instead of worrying about what people think about me.)
  • I won’t shy away from the camera, whether it’s snapping shots with my family, fun selfies with friends, or video opportunities.
  • This time next year, I will be healthier, stronger, and more energetic. (One of the reasons we moved closer to the mountains was for the convenience of kayaking and hiking.)


It wasn't until I took the time to draw a line down the center of a page that changes began to happen. Click To Tweet


There I sat, comparing the two columns and circling key words, like avoid, slave to sweets, not reflecting⏤followed by⏤live, unashamed, won’t shy away.

For the first time in two years, I saw my life choices for what they really were, as well as their cost. Two scripture verses quickly followed:


You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

[Truth is, I had given food way too much control over my life. It was my comforter, my be-happy-for-ten-minutes drug, my thoughtless activity. I want my life to reflect what I believe, not what brings me relief.]


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 6:22, 23 NIV

[I agreed with the voice that had rudely interrupted me only minutes prior, saying aloud, You’re right! I have no self-control. God said, “Wrong! I have given you everything you need to exercise self-control. My power lives in you. Depend on Him, not yourself.”]


Three Action Steps to Change


  1. I prayed for help, wisdom, and a desire to eat healthier.
  2. I came up with a simple plan to focus mainly on my eating habits. If I tried too much at one time, I would be overwhelmed. I re-started Weight Watchers, looked back at this post in 2015 for tips, and instead of finding ways it wouldn’t work for me, I found a way to make it work. Now I make a weekly menu and stock my fridge with all the right things (I use my extra points on the weekend for a cupcake — and I enjoy every bite!)
  3. I dedicated the plan to God with open and outstretched hands, confessing I can’t do it without Him.


So why am I sharing this journey with you at ten pounds down instead of waiting for a whopping victorious number?


Because it’s the small, strong, day-to-day choices we make that are to be celebrated.


It’s not about arriving at a certain number on a scale, or making “x” amount of money, or gaining “x” amount of social media followers.


It’s about arriving at the feet of Jesus.


Is there a situation in your life that might benefit by drawing a line down the center of a page?



When Self-Love is Wrapped in a Giving Shawl

The Giving Shawl

My husband gave me a soft nubby-textured shawl for my birthday. But it wasn’t just any shawl. It was a Giving Shawl.

I recently spotted it in a local gift shop but didn’t pay too much attention to its name. So when I released the soft ribbon surrounding the shawl to find a label with the words Giving Shawl sewn onto the pocket, I was torn.

I loved everything about it but felt an odd sort of guilt for wanting to keep it. After all, the shawl was created to be given away.

In the same pocket was a cloth bookmark with these words:

“We all need a little comfort now and then…A reminder to help us know that we are not alone in the world…That there is someone in our corner, ready with a hug, no matter what. Always know you are being thought of, cheered on, And loved for exactly who you are⏤Someone who is beautifully and wonderfully made.”


It was the last line that left a lump in my throat.


You see, this year I’ve gained more than two books on the Amazon shelf. I’ve also gained weight and a lot of it. I shun the camera and scold Brian for posting my picture (unless it’s pre-2016) on his Facebook page. The mirror is my foe, not my friend. I avoid seeing people who knew me before the shift in weight, imagining the words they must be thinking when they see me.


Maybe I was, in fact, the intended recipient after all.


The Giving Shawl lay bare my desire to offer grace to others but receive it at sloth-like speed for myself.


Love Yourself


Growing up, weight was a dirty word on my dad’s side of the family. The recordings to stay a particular size for everyone’s benefit have played in the background of my mind for most of my life. So while this post isn’t written from a place of victory (yet!) it is written from a place of desire. A desire not only for myself but also for my granddaughters because the way we view ourselves affects those in our sphere of influence whether we realize it or not. Just as I prayed the destructive cycle of divorce would end with my boys, I now see the need to pray with the same fervency that a Christ-centered cycle of healthy self-acceptance begins with me.


So, as I drape this Giving Shawl around my shoulders, I will remember:


  • The only weight that defines my worth is the weight of my sin Jesus bore on the cross.
  • My heavenly Father, husband, family, and friends love me unconditionally.
  • Just as I pray to see others as Christ sees them, I can embrace this desire for myself as well.
  • Acknowledging the need to take better care of myself physically is a gift from the Lord.
  • Even so, if the scale never budges, I will still be the apple of my Father’s eye. (Psalm 17:8)
The only weight that defines my worth is the weight of my sin Jesus bore on the cross. Click To Tweet

One last tag in the box calls the shawl a “Giftable Hug” and that’s exactly how it feels.

The Giving Shawl is available on Amazon but if you’re local to Upstate SC, it can be purchased for less at Expressions Unlimited in Greenville.



Why I Kicked the New Weight Watchers Program (SmartPoints) to the Curb

by Cathy Baker @cathysbaker

After an 8 week recoup time last November, I’d planned to hop back on the Weight Watchers wagon without missing a beat. And then Oprah and her bread-eating self entered the picture and everything changed. The plan (PointsPlus™) I credit for helping me lose 30 pounds last year switched over to SmartPoints™.


Flexibility is one of the main reasons I chose Weight Watchers last year, and now there is very little of that, especially for those of us with a sweet tooth. {Despite my sugar allowances, I passed every health requirement for insurance with flying colors⎯the first time in years.}

I love applesHaving choices on the PointsPlus™ plan also helped me to not feel deprived. I’m concerned many will end up feeling exactly that on the new plan, but we all have our choices to make, and with those choices, changes. My change included cancelling my membership. I’m sticking with the PointsPlus™ plan using my old calculator. Yes, I miss not being able to access online tools but it’s worth the sacrifice. I know what works for me, and even though it’s harder to stay on track without the support of the Weight Watchers leaders (whom I love by the way!), I’m determined to try.

So, while change is often a good thing, this one doesn’t feel like it. I’m disappointed, a little timid about going it alone, and a tad frustrated that the company had to go and change what was working for many people.

Churchhill Quote

Graphic courtesy of PictureGraphics

I hope the new program will be the right direction for many. I really do.

How about you? Has anything changed in your life lately as a result of choices made by others? Hopefully, it’s a good change! Please share in the comment section.


How I Lost 14 Pounds in 8 Weeks with Weight Watchers

by Cathy Baker

Three things you need to know about this post:

1. It’s not exactly a snippet.
2. It is, however, something I sense God wants me to share.
3. His promptings trump my plans.


Before I jump in, you need to know that in 2012 I was enrolled in Weight Watchers, as I am now, but the results were much different. It took me six months to lose ten pounds. Here’s the difference:

My motivation. After gall bladder surgery in March my awesome hubby waited on me hand and foot. While a blessing, his willingness to care for me awakened me to the fact that if I kept going in the same direction on the scale, he would one day be taking care of me on a whole other level due to poor health. Another reason? I don’t want to “burden” my children in the future simply because I refuse to take better care of myself today.

Some things we have no control over
but the choices we can make today will determine the choices made for us in the future.

With that, here are some simple strategies that have evolved — and continue to evolve — as a Weight Watchers member. Even if you’re not enrolled in WW, I hope something will spark your interest. Remember, these are choices I’ve made based on my preferences. You’ll have your own. 🙂 And by the way, I have a long way to go. I’ve not arrived. I will fail at times but I’m in it for the long haul and these tips would’ve helped me stay on track in 2012, so here goes.

1. Count every single point. This also holds true if you’re counting carbs or calories. In 2012, I didn’t count the strawberry jam on my toast because, well, jam naturally goes with toast! #Fail.

2. Using my bonus points, I choose one special thing to eat/drink on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I try to leave at least 15 bonus points available for the week. This way, I’m able to work in my favorite Panera breakfast sandwich (replacing the egg with egg whites), my fancy froo-froo frappucino (I ask them to hold the whip cream but to put on a dome lid so that when I get home, I can fill it with my fat free whip) and last but not least, pumpkin bread from Starbucks on Sunday. There’s no deprivation here, my friends.

3. I make sure everything I use to cook breakfast (egg whites, grits, coffee) are clean the night before. This way, I’m not tempted to eat anything else. You’d be surprised how a dirty spatula can leave you aching for a gravy biscuit.

4. Keep healthy ingredients on hand as well as specific ingredients needed for your meals. I bake all my chicken for the week at once, weigh out 1.5 oz, and put that amount in individual freezer bags to pull out as needed for salads.

5. I’m learning to replace one high point food with a low one. I love sweets! I’ve found a WW candy that I find very satisfying for only 1 point. Sure beats a bag of 7 point M and M’s.

6. When recently meeting friends at a Mexican restaurant I decided ahead of time that if I left the restaurant without having eaten chips and salsa I would feel very deprived. I wouldn’t, however, feel deprived by leaving tacos in my wake so I ate a 3 point meal just before leaving the house and polished off my meal at the restaurant with a dozen chips and salsa for 4 points. Major score!

7. Combine breakfast and lunch points for something special. Eating a banana or other fruit earlier in the morning can make this a reality.

8. Before I go out to eat, I check the WW site to determine my options.

9. I bought a Fitbit with a heart-rate monitor and love it! Talk about motivation.

10. Going through several tests for my gall bladder issues in March helped me to realize that it was perfectly okay to go to bed with a growling tummy. Really, it is.

11. When we go to the movies (normally on a weekend) I plan to have my special treat (see #2) AFTER the movie. It gives me something to look forward to and I don’t succumb to the 30+ points the movie popcorn has to offer. #applydirectlytothehips

12. Accountability. I can’t stress this one enough. In all honesty, there were only two reasons why I re-joined Weight Watchers meetings: My best friend of 20+ years kept inviting me (at Summit Church we refer to this as being lovingly intrusive) and Michelin had a great deal to offer. But now as I look back I’m convinced the accountability has made all the difference.

13. Find an exercise that feels more like fun than torture. For me, it’s Jazzercise. I especially appreciate the fact there’s not an expansive glass wall putting me on display. #andsimpsonvilleheavesacollectivesighofrelief

Again, I’m not saying I’ve got it all under control — far from it — but for the first time in my life, I see the tremendous impact a handful of simple strategies can make in a person’s life. I want to encourage you as I encourage myself.

If you like the ideas above I can continue sharing them as I put them into practice but above all, I’d love to learn from YOU!

Please share any strategies you’ve learned along the way. To God be the glory.



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