No More Fat Bible Thumper

A friend who recently lost weight and got a make-over asked me if I felt noticed when I had gone through a similar transformation. She also wanted to know if people’s complements made me feel uncomfortable. I was surprised at how long it took me to formulate an answer to those questions.

First, if you don’t know me or haven’t known me for long, then you are probably unaware that I struggled with weight issues for most of my youth and young adult life. When I was in middle school and high school, the popular kids called me the fat-Bible-thumper. A title I was happy to dispel by throwing out my Bible, any sign of my religion and going on a starvation diet to lose the weight and gain the approval of man over God.

But what I found was exactly what my friend described. I was uncomfortable with the attention I got. So when my friend asked me those questions, I had to ask myself why. I thought about why I ate (always a good place to start.) I came to the conclusion that I ate to comfort myself and find a place of security in the loneliness and the worthlessness that engulfed me.

When the comfort and security of food was gone, all that was left was the insecurity, the loneliness, and the worthlessness that I felt and believed about myself.  When people noticed me, it was very uncomfortable for me because I was afraid they would eventually realize that I was a fake. The outside of Angela had changed but the inside of Angela was still the same.

It wasn’t until I re-dedicated my life to Christ, and took the time to find out who He was, and who I was, that my identity changed and then the opinion of others didn’t matter anymore.

Now, I have a different view of what it means to be thin. I believe in being healthy. If you are a Christ follower, be healthy because the King has chosen you to take up residence in you.  The physical Temple in Jerusalem is gone, YOU are it! Think about it, there was no expense spared when building the original Temple that housed the holy of Holies and there was no expense spared when it came to God choosing you for a great purpose and a future! If you are a person of a different belief, I have to say the same applies. God created the word and all that is in it, so that you would know Him and how special you are (Acts 17:27-28). That is a BEAUTIFUL thing! Go for it! Get to know who God created you to be and start being healthy today. One step at a time you can shed the old you and start new. I am with you!

When Lightning Strikes

Sometimes, like lightning, life can hit you in an instance and at high voltage.

I thought of this as I sat in the dark watching the summer lightning streak across the cloud filled skies over the Straits of Juan De Fuca that divide the mainland of the Olympic Peninsula and the Island of Vancouver with my Dad who is battling a uphill fight against cancer, faces his sixty-third birthday this week, and possible his last.

The vision of the lightning storm came to me again this morning while I prayed for my friend who found out two weeks ago that her husband has stage four cancer, and for another friend and pastor’s wife who had her second mastectomy this week. It came to me as I prayed for broken marriages; my friend who found out her husband was having an affair, and another whose partner had drained their bank accounts dry.

The same vision came to me as I praised God in celebration of a friend who got a much needed job;  for smiling new-born babies with bright futures, and medical reports of cancer remission.

I believe that there is something precious to be gained in the moments when lightning strikes.  We do not have to stand in shock, whether broken or rejoicing, only existing in the wreckage or the glory of what has happened to us. We have the opportunity to change through awareness of what we believe and to be thankful for even the smallest glimmer of light or magnificent show of God’s blessings.

The question is this: Will we take the time to examine the deep places within us that need to change when lightning strikes?

*Photo of Lightning Over Water by William R. Curstinger

What’s under your dirt?

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV)

A few weeks ago I was preparing for a retreat message titled, Truth Revealed. After a few hours of grinding pencil to paper, I was having serious writer’s block. Feeling the serious need to produce and accomplish something after hours of non-productive activity, I decided to take a break and weed my driveway.

With gloves on, and a rake and shovel in my bucket, I tackled my overgrown driveway and the feelings of frustration I felt over not being able to come up with anything good to say to the ladies at the retreat about the subject of Truth Revealed. So I weeded and prayed; weeded and prayed; and weeded and prayed some more.

Pulling up an unusually tough weed, I yanked and pulled until the roots came loose unearthing not only a big clump of dirt at the bottom of the plant, but also a big walnut shell! I had pulled out the early stages of a walnut tree. Right away I was inspired. Dropping my shovel and leaving the bucket behind, I knew exactly what God wanted me to talk about at the retreat.

What is under your dirt?

In his book, “The Power of Belief”, Ray Dodd says, “What you are experiencing in this very moment is the culmination of everything you have agreed to believe.”

What we have agreed to believe is made up of our experiences, childhood memories, heartbreak, joy, challenge, triumph, what people have said about us, and what we have said about ourselves.

When I was weeding, I had no idea the walnut was under the dirt. I only saw what looked like a long weed (the beginning of a walnut tree). Many times, our deepest held beliefs are hidden to us. This is like the walnut under the dirt.  But our responses to life, our relationships, God, our jobs, our environment, are determined by what is hidden under the dirt, our beliefs. Thus, making our responses to life, our circumstance, to God and to people is the tree (or what I thought was a weed). But my question to you is this: Is what you believe, truth or is what you believe, opinion?

Honestly, consider that question. I believe it is the difference between a transformed life of freedom, peace, love and joy and a life plagued with questions, doubts, and fears.

So tell me, what is under your dirt?

* Picture taken by Makayla DeScala

A Father’s Day Note for my Husband

I think my husband deserves a do-over on his Father’s Day. Outside of some good wishes and a sweet and thoughtful gift from his two adoring sons (a New Mexico State license plate cover), my husband spent the day serving others. Father’s Day ended with a late night run to Whole Foods for his choice of dinner options from the pre-made section (sushi) then arriving home to find the gift I had ordered for him was backordered.

But, of course, he would never think it was a bust. Why? Because he has the ability to see the good in every situation and not dwell on the negative.  As I reflected on how much I admire and respect these characteristics in my husband and what a great example he is, not only to me but to our kids, I thought I would write down some other attributes about him that I love and have learned from.

My husband is…

Attentive to people details: If you come to our house, Mark will remember your favorite drink, food or something else significant that you like. We have a friend who likes caffeine-free diet Coke. We don’t drink soda, but Mark will make a special trip to the store to make sure we are stocked up on caffeine-free diet Coke when that friend comes to our house.  When Mark and I were dating, we made a list of things we wanted to achieve or have in the future. On my list, I wrote that I wanted to have fresh flowers in my house every week. To this day, 14 years later, Mark brings me roses every week! My husband’s goal: to see other’s happy.

Practice of active presence: Presence means different things to different people. My husband is not only present in a physical way but is active and invested in making a contribution to the relationship, team or organization. When he is at a baseball game, he is preparing the field, coaching, or keeping score. If he is in the kitchen, you will find us all in the kitchen cooking together (Thank goodness, because he is a better cook than me). If he is part of an organization, he doesn’t just take up a seat and comment on how other people could do it better. He actually volunteers his time to make a difference.

No worries:  We have an unspoken “no fretting allowed” rule in our house. This is relatively hard for me, since I like the idea of control and a plan (note, I said: idea of control and a plan). There are many times that I would like Mark to iron out all the “what ifs” of our schedule, goals, and struggles. He always has a better idea:  how about we focus on today and not worry about tomorrow’s “what ifs”. Hum…that sounds like someone else I know. Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 3:34 NIV).

Sacred and the secular:  Many Christians believe that there is a dividing line between what is sacred and what is secular. There is a belief that sacred (practice or activities of the church) is good and secular (worldly) things are bad. But God is in all things and created all people. That means that equal attention and care should be given to everything we do.  When my husband commits himself to a task, regardless of its nature (majestic or ordinary) Mark never gives less than 100 percent commitment, dedication, and energy. Giving our best at church and leaving the garbage for the world to see does not bring anyone closer to Christ. My husband has taught me that we are not on earth to impress our church friends with our actions but that we should be the same in church as we are outside the church.

Humility: Although I could go on with other characteristics that come to my mind, like accepting, a man of excellence, intelligent, courageous and confident, I will stop at humility since Mark is the last person to want his positive attributes plastered all over Facebook.

So honey, I love you and thank you for being an amazing husband and father. I appreciate who you are and all that I have learned from you, as the man of character and integrity that God created you to be! Happy Father’s day!



In his book, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, Henri Nouwen wrote, “One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are.”

As a leader and a teacher of women, I often find that “forgetting who we are” is the biggest obstacle I face when coaching women who are struggling to find their purpose or calling. At one time in our lives, somewhere deep inside us, was a yearning for more, a dream that is now forgotten, a burning desire to make a difference; but then came the bumps in the road, the disappointments, the naysayers, the mistakes, the choices, the sacrifices, the seasons of life…

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Anticipating the curve balls

It is baseball season in the Craig home. That comes with rain or shine cheering sections, grass and dirt stained white baseball paints that seem to require at least one-half bottle of Spray-n-Wash per game, a lot of carpooling, and many life lessons of team work and character building.

Recently, our youngest son, Bret had the worst batting game of the season when he faced a left handed pitcher. Bret struck out all three times he was up to bat. At home, after the game, feeling demoralized and ready to climb into his PJs before 12:00 pm even rounded the clock, Bret lamented about the curve balls that he couldn’t hit with his bat.

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Day 144 ~ Attention Deficit

Attentiveness takes time and intentionality. Attentiveness with intentional action is what brings healing to the earth, our bodies, our minds, our souls, and our relationships. In my attempts at building this character trait in my life,  I have discovered that attentiveness with intentionality can take a lot more effort than one might desire. Simply staying busy is easier.

Busyness is fast and fleeting. Running from work to event; scanning emails, Facebook, Twitter accounts, and blogs, while trying to sneak in housework and meals. All of this keeps us busy. But in our busyness, are we attentive to our world and the people in it? Are we being intentional about how we live?

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Day 95 ~ Nice is just another four letter word

I almost quit wearing the dress today, made an  appointment to get my hair cut and colored and stopped at Starbucks for double-Grande  mocha on my way to work.

“Words don’t change the world, actions do.” This is the quote that rolled through my head as I contemplated quitting the “Well” Dressed Challenge. I thought of all the “well” wishers I had encountered in person and on Facebook who had told me how nice it was that I had taken on the challenge to wear the same dress for six months, giving up shopping, haircuts and color, and then Starbucks (at my son’s urging) to raise money and awareness for Living Water International; a non-profit organization  who drills wells in developing countries. I wondered if people thought I joined this cause for self-recognition, compliments, and PR. If they did, they were sadly mistaken. The reason for join the challenge was specifically to spur others on to do this with me and make a difference in the world. But instead, I had a lot of people telling me that what I was doing was nice. Nice was getting  the world nowhere. Nice was nothing more than another four letter word.

God is always quick to correct bitterness in my life, especially when it begins to taste like a bag of rotten lemons. So as I prayed for help, God began to gentle remind me of the people who had joined the challenge. Maybe it felt at the moment like we were in the minority but as their names and stories came to mind, I knew we were making more of a difference than someone who quit! Like the mom and daughter team who raised over $1000 in a month wearing dresses and selling cupcakes after church each Sunday. Or the mother of five who has committed to wearing a dress for a year (no shopping), and selling one un-needed item from her house each day on Craigslist or EBay. As I pondered their creativeness, more awesome people came to my mind, like my son who raised over $200 by getting pledges for giving up chocolate milk. But then God gave me another thought. What about all the things that my “well” wishers do behind the scenes that they don’t advertise.

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Day 40 ~ 5 simple things I learned from wearing the same dress for six months

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

 Today is day 40 of the “Well” Dressed Challenge for me. When I began this challenge, my goal was to give up something I wanted (shopping, doing my hair, Starbucks) to donate the money to Living Water International so that they could drill water wells in Honduras. I am also wearing one dress for six months (180 days) to bring awareness to a problem that is solvable and a problem that if you and I decided to take action on, could change everything for people all across the world.

This week, God has been challenging me with this question: “Will you be like Me, instead of like you?” Or rather, will you act like me, instead of acting like you? The fact is that leading a busy and fulfilling life in ministry does not always mean you to mirror the image of Jesus in your day to day living. Walking the life of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is a day by day, moment by moment chose.

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“Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.”

~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 1750

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~Lao Tzu

“Give, but give until it hurts.” ~ Mother Teresa

Secrecy is out of style. Life is about being noticed. We want to be noticed for a job well done, noticed for how much weight we have lost, noticed for the social justice work we are doing. We want to be noticed for the pictures and quotes we post on FaceBook, our new car, our clean house, and the time we spend volunteering at church. The list is endless.

I have even heard it said that we are prostituting ourselves for the attention of others. That we have become whores to Facebook, blogs, and twitter and other forms of instant social networking when it comes to our desperate attempt for acceptance, acknowledgement and to be “liked”.1

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