Life Lessons

Changing Tastes

By Lois Hewitt

Many of my past posts have dealt with my previously unhealthy obsession with food. My days were filled with thoughts of where would my next meal come from. My preference was ALWAYS fast food. Where would I get the money for that next meal? How could I get it without anyone knowing?

It was truly unhealthy and not only physically but fiscally and emotionally also. Every time I binged on a greasy, salt and preservative laden meal, I would swear off it. But I always did it again.

My health was always bad. My skin pale and thin, my hair falling out, my emotions all over the place, my anger uncontrollable, my bank account empty and all I ever wanted to do was sleep. Yet, I was addicted to it all and could not even imagine stopping. My taste buds were so perverted that real food was putrid to me.

Fast forward to the lockdown where I forced myself to make a change. I was so weak at the time I had to use a cane to get around. I wasn’t even 60 years old yet.

Now the thought of eating like that makes my stomach turn. The process is ever evolving and now my sights are eliminating as much processed food as possible. My health has increased and my life is so much better.

So it is with the Christian life. The closer you get to God, the more the world is putrid to you.

Like with food, I have preferred a more worldly, unhealthy if you will, lifestyle. I was used to live in the darkness of my addictions and compulsions. I liked spending money that I did not have on things that I did not need. I loved my cigarettes and my beer. I loved the horrible food I was fueling my body with. I was comfortable in my discomfort. My depression was my friend.

You see, when you live in the shadows, the light scares you. Just like when you dust the house and the sun shines in and you see all the places you missed. The light shows the flaws Aka sins. You cannot hide from it when the light is shining.

As I started to eat better and live more intentionally, I found myself feeling like I was still missing something. I had a longing for a missing component. I would listen to music about drug addiction and depression. I would watch movies with excessive violence and foul language. I scrolled the internet with its disturbing images of random violence. All the time wondering why I wasn’t totally healing.

One day I started a Bible study, then I started having a regular prayer time, then I started to listen to Gospel music instead of grunge. I started reading the Word. My taste in movies, television and books changed. The ones I thought I loved, the ones that were depleting me became putrid. I had lost my taste for them.

I used to swear like a dock worker with a hangover. Suddenly the words tasted bad in my mouth. Suddenly I no longer wanted to see the violent images. Suddenly I wanted my soul nourished instead of depleted.

These are all changes I never thought I would or could make. I felt my ties to earthly things were strong. What I did not realize was that God’s ties are stronger, His truth sweeter and His love deeper.

My life has changed so much and in so many ways. I used to be fearful of being a Bible thumper. I used to think being a Christian was so uncool. I believed the world’s lies. But now I live in the light. Oh how glorious it is! Is everything finally perfect? No. But God loves me in a perfect way and that is a gift sweeter than sugar, more fulfilling than buying stuff and gets me higher than alcohol.

The old things die and are replaced with a glory beyond comprehension. Don’t be afraid of the light, like I was. It’s a little uncomfortable at first but God has a reward for you that is more precious than gold.


New Beginning

By Lois Hewitt

I cannot believe I am approaching my 61st year of living. Wow! What a journey it’s been. Full of twisty turnys and lots of switchbacks. The amount of wrong turns is staggering. False starts and premature stops have been my norm. Chaos has ensured filled with horrible decision making. But I’m almost to 61 years old.

One would think, a sane person at least, that by now one would know their life’s path. That assumption would probably be considered spot on. But not in my case. I am still on shaky ground and don’t have a real good plan for if that ground shakes too much and I fall. I’ll be down for a while, me thinks.

But the fog is beginning to clear. I am starting to see some substantial and grand changes. I’m not as depressed as I have been in the past. I feel real peace some of the time. I have learned to not engage in things that are not good for me such as eating bad things. I’m starting to think about exercising in a real sense. Haven’t exactly started but am very serious in my consideration of it. Overall I am trying to live with intent.

I have upped my time with God through study and prayer. I have avoided actually reading the Bible as a whole, preferring to read the parts that I understand. But as I read more and pray more, I am filled with the Holy Spirit and I am given understanding and discernment. It is starting to make sense and not seem like a bunch of words I don’t know thrown together just to confuse me.

I have made huge strides as of late in my Christian walk. Not through anything I have done but through Divine intervention. I hear the groans out there. Get real, I hear. Indwelling of the Spirit seems as logical as a virgin birth and a missing body from a tomb. Not very scientific.

But my life has changed so much from what it was. My body was a slave to addictions and to severe bouts of depression and compulsions. My mind worried about every possible, and many impossible, scenarios. I was paralyzed with fear almost all the time. I knew of Jesus but I certainly thought He had better things to than sort out my mess of a life.

Turns out I was wrong. He interceded even when I lost my faith and most of my hope. Slowly one by one a door opened and something small would change. Given my proclivity to hard-headedness, the process took a really long time. But I slowly started to get better. Then I even got a bit too cocky and had to come back down a bit.

But today, I understand this whole Christian thing better. Looking back, I was not alone as previously thought. Looking back I see my weaknesses morph into strengths. I see that my past has taught me but it does not define me. I lived for decades in a swampy place called my past. I was stuck in the murky waters much like quicksand from an old movie. The more I tried to squirm out the deeper I sank.

Now my feet are on solid ground with the past reminding me how not to act and giving me new insight as to who I am supposed to become…in my 60s for goodness sake.

It just proves that if you are still breathing, there is time to change. Now that I understand who I am in Jesus, the old me, who I would never want to be again, is dead. Born again as a new creature, still and always flawed, but changed profoundly because of a relationship with Jesus. Scientifically, doesn’t make sense but based on the faith I have, the scars from life, and the knowledge I now have, I know it to be truth.

Today everyone has their own “truth”. I used to have my own but now I stand on the firm ground of Jesus. Not caring if it makes logical sense. I know my life and how I lived it before, I can see where the skies started to open and the sun finally started to shine. The sun shines because of the Son.

I’m so glad I saw the light! It took a few decades but that’s ok!

The Sweet Taste by Lois Hewitt

Back in the day, my diet consisted of more sugar than anything else. I consumed copious amounts of sugar on a daily basis. The more sugar I ate, the more I wanted.

One study I read stated that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. I do not know if that is true, but it was for me. When you eat that much sugar, you actually pervert your taste buds. You wreck your immune system, you rot your teeth and you forget how it feels to be healthy.

A few years ago, after getting so sick I had to walk with a cane for about a month, I changed. I could no longer even hold my own weight. I needed help to do everything. So I quit eating as much added sugar as I could. I went to plant based diet. There is sugar in almost everything, it’s hard to go to zero but I now eat intentionally.

Over time, I regained my strength. My taste came back. The intense cravings muted. The transformation was dramatic. Now I am not saying that I eat no sugar, that would be a lie. I still bake and have an occasional little treat, the key word is that I am intentional.

The other day I decided to have a treat that I did not make. Which means I had no control over what went into this big, gooey candy bar. I ate it with as much gusto as I had in me. As soon as I was done, empty wrapper in my hand, I started to feel physically sick. My body had gotten used to much smaller doses of sugar. The candy bar I just ate was way more than I was used to. And I felt it.

I realized, like with any addiction, there is no such thing as “dipping your toe in the water.” You can no longer dabble. Same with me and alcohol and me and spending. My actions need intention.

So this piece is not about the evils of sugar. Although for me it was truly an evil. No, this is more about what I learned about my Christian walk. Before I used to love my sins. I loved to drink and smoke. I love destroying my temple. I loved living in self-induced chaos. I lived in a dark world full of hiding. I hid my eating, some of my drinking and all of my spending. I lived outside the light because I did not want to be exposed.

Not only now am I on a journey to wellness, I am also on a journey into my Christian faith. Like the day I ate that huge candy bar and got sick so it is with my sin. I used to be able to be able to overload on sugar and I always felt bad. Feeling bad was normal. Then when I changed my diet, I realized that awful feeling is actually not the norm.

Now sin, no matter the actual sin, makes me sick. The sickness I felt in my hidden sins had become normal to me. Now I see the true light and I no longer want to indulge. With that being said, I still sin. We all do and always will. The difference is how I feel about it. The difference is now I’m no longer sequestered away lost in my sin. I am aware and that makes me able to make the changes I need to make.

I used to wonder if I was walking in the light as God wanted. Now I can see that I was lying to myself. I thought I could drink and be a fool and still be a person of faith. Now, flaws and all, I feel I am on my way to being that person of faith. I see now the lies in my past. I see the brightness of the future.

Being true to yourself is a taste sweeter than sugar. Being intentional in thoughts and deeds is sweeter than sugar. Being aware may make you feel a bit ill at times but it is a healing feeling that propels you into becoming who you are supposed to be.

I always wanted to be different than I was. I never liked myself or how I behaved. At the time, I had no tools to change. But now, with each new day, I am learning to be the person I dreamed of being. I had to let go of a lot of things and that is never easy, but the reward is sweeter than I ever imagined.

My advice if you are seeking a change, don’t give up. The road is hard but it is completely AMAZING when the light starts to shine on your face. The warm and comforting glow of God’s love, forgiveness and favor is the best feeling we can experience on this Earth. Hang in there, pray a lot and put in the work. No more living in the dark.

Why Suffering by Lois Hewitt

Can you imagine a life without any difficulties?  A life where everything went your way all the time?  I know for myself a couple of things would happen.  I would get very complacent and I would also assume the goodness came from my own efforts. My pride would fill a room. 

I often wonder, especially in the depths of trying times, why life has to be hard. When my mind goes there I have two realizations. Number 1 is that no matter how hard it gets, it’s still not as bad. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a war zone or to have a famine or drought or many of the difficulties realized in other countries.  Even in my darkest time, I am blessed. 

Number 2 is if everything was absolute perfection I would not understand the power of God that brings the light from the dark days. If all was perfect, I would have no compulsion to have God in my life. It is because of the imperfections in life, that I need the perfection and love of God.  I would not have to cling to Him in the hard times and I would not praise Him in the good if all was perfect all the time. 

I hate the bad times just like everyone else but I have learned that wisdom comes from that place. Empathy comes from that place. My heart focuses on God when I’m in that place.  I think it might be nice if life was easier, but it cannot be.  Human pride would take the place of God.  That would be a tragedy, for seeking God’s face through prayer and study is what gives life it’s meaning and beauty. 

I fully understand that is a tough concept. Suffering never makes sense especially when you are in the midst of it. It seems cruel of God to allow these things to happen. But perfection is not for this temporary life, perfection is waiting for us in the eternal life. Another tough concept.

This life is the only one we know so our minds think this is it. But this time is but a blink of an eye when eternity is the subject. The days and nights night seem to drag on and on to us but it shall all pass so quickly when placed along side of eternity

Many have made fun of my beliefs. They laugh at the ideas of prayer and eternity. They can laugh all they want. I have lived my life, I have climbed the hills and wallowed in the valleys. I know how it feels to be desperate and alone and I have seen the hand of God lift me from that despair.

In my older years, I have learned to accept the hard times. I still hate them, but I know that as long as my eyes and heart are on God it will pass and bring me a step closer the perfection of eternity I completely believe in.

If you are struggling today, please seek God. He is not some cruel dictator that enjoys dispensing pain and agony. He is a God of love and compassion. He delights in your joy and cries in your pain. Please do not give up on Him. Hang on tighter and He promises to be faithful.

Manic Any Day

Hello, I’m back. I thought that maybe I would quit blogging. After all it is going by the way of newspapers and phone booths. I’m not interested in video so this blog will remain my voice. I truly appreciate everyone who has ever read a word I have written.

I have a topic on my heart. It’s not a pretty one but I think it needs a discussion. I have spent my life either in manic mode or depressed mode. I think today they call it bi-polar. I lived with this since I was young.

The problem with living with this is that it is assumed that you are lazy, that you can never finish anything and that you are just flaky. When in reality, I know now, you are so hopeless and scared and sick that you cannot do the basic things in life. Taking a shower was a major event. It was one of the hardest things to do.

Cleaning house was crazy in manic mode. The OCD would kick in and I would run around to the point of exhaustion. In depressed mode, I could even get out of bed. One day, someone I cared about came into my home during a depressed time, looked around and told me that I lived like a pig. And asked what was wrong with me. Those words stabbed me worse than any derogatory comment made about me.

I wondered too what was wrong with me. I saw other people dealing with life and yet I was unable to feel enough of anything to get moving.

The manic stages were actually worse for me. I would not be able to control my impulses. I would sign up for classes, start volunteering, buy hundreds of dollars of craft supplies, and generally fill every waking moment with a project. Then the crash would come. I always thought I was getting sick. But actually I just crashed into depressed mode. All the things I signed up for only got part way done before I quit.

I felt worthless because I could never finish anything. I could hardly do the bare minimum. It was a constant cycle all my life. With no words for what I was going through, I just felt worthless, lazy and insane.

Fast forward to now and I understand what was happening. My brain is not wired right. Today I know my triggers, I know what my mind is thinking and I can fairly successfully navigate through the darkness of my mental situation.

It’s funny I’ve been healing for several years now and I still have bad days but not as many. But I was just now doing dishes and I heard the voice in my head say “you live like a pig. What is wrong with you?”

I was devastated all over again. There are tears in my eyes from the pain of a wound that just will not heal. I have to heal that wound if I ever expect to keep getting better.

So why am I writing about this? No one, including me, knew I was in trouble. I had no words to verbilize what was happening. I silently suffered while I continually tried to do better and tried to be better. But it did not work until I learned what was happening.

If you are suffering silently, please talk to someone who can help. Don’t listen to the negative words that cut like a razor. Become an advocate for your own health and do not stop until you find the help you need.

It can get better, I promise. Please take care of yourself. Thank you for indulging me with this post. It felt important. You are important. Please please believe that!!

This May Be The End..

It’s been a while since I posted a blog post. I wonder constantly if I have anything of importance to say. I wonder if my writing is even literate enough (I did fail English after all). I just wonder if anyone cares. There are so very many voices out there. Do we really need another one? I’m not fishing for anything by the way.

I do get asked why I put all my flaws out there in my blog and on FB. It’s simple really. I want to help one person not feel alone.

Growing up I dealt with very low esteem, manic and depression as well as OCD. None of which was ever diagnosed until much later in my life. I was left to figure it out on my own. And I, quite honestly, did not figure it out well. I beat myself up constantly. You are a loser. You are lazy and pathetic. You are ugly and can’t even take care of yourself. Get it together you slacker. Self-hatred didn’t begin to cover it.

There weren’t books or the internet. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was thought to be quirky but not in a fun way. I lived with obsessive thoughts for years that prevented me from enjoying much of anything. I lived in a constant state of anxiety for decades. And the worst part was I thought it was just me. I was somehow the only person ever damaged. I was terribly alone.

When I stared this blog I had no idea what it should be. I was still lost. But it gave me a voice that I could use. I could barely write back in the beginning. I have changed directions many times. I do get feedback and people from all over the world who have read my words. I don’t have many followers but I have few and that’s more than enough.

I just want with my whole heart and soul to reach that person who is sitting alone, lonely and scared. I want them to know that they are NOT alone. The things they are going through are not because of laziness or having no value. I want to scream there is help and you can get better! One person needs to hear that and I want to be the one to let them know. It’s ok.

That’s why I write this. But so many people are doing the same thing in video format. That’s a lot easier to comprehend. I’m thinking my “mission” has come to an end in this antiquated format.

I have enjoyed my time writing. It has helped me in a million ways. I could not have gotten through the dark years without it. I thank each and every person who ever read a word I wrote. It means the world to me. I’ve been touched by such lovely words from friends and people I’ve never met.

As I leave, possibly for the last time, please know that if you are struggling there are people who can help. Mental issues are nothing to be ashamed of. There is help. If you do not find what works, keep looking. Please don’t give up. Your life is to precious. Stay strong even if you don’t want to. It can get better!

Thank you again all!! Have the most blessed 2023 ever!

When will it end…

Here’s my thought process on the way home from a typical day at work:

Did I say anything that upset anyone? Usually think of at least two possibilities.

Did I do everything right today? Then I start counting all the mistakes I knew I made. And think of a few more I hadn’t considered.

When I started to get overwhelmed (as I always do) did I show my frustration? I know I got pissy because I always do. Then I start thinking about who I need to apologize to.

Did I forget to do anything? I have my planner which has to do lists for my job so I don’t forget anything but I almost always end up forgetting something.

I rethink every single conversation of the day…were my words right, was my tone friendly, was I overly friendly, did I show how exhausted I am, and what could I have said better?

That’s just on the way home. By the time I actually get home, one or two things are really starting to fester. Now I’m obsessing and I can’t enjoy anything because I’m in replay mode and the repeat.

If I’m lucky the thoughts will finally subside. Then I fall into bed exhausted and fearful of what tomorrow will bring. Then about 1 am I wake up with a start, heart beating out of my chest and the thoughts of conversations or actions from upwards of 40 years ago start racing through my head.

Sleep is a distant memory by then.

I’m so tired of living like this. Worrying about every detail. Fretting over what I did wrong today? Scared that I upset someone and they won’t like me? Overwhelmed by all the obsessions.

That is truly how I live every day. I worry, then I worry some more, then I think of new things to worry about and end up worrying about what I forgot to worry about.

I am working at getting better. It actually was much worse. But it’s still bad and I need to stop before I get lasting sick over it all.

My mind asks the question….so you want to be a good person, how do you set boundaries and still be a good person?

I am proud to be a Christian, but does that mean I have to be a doormat for everyone’s feet? Can I still care for people and not be a people pleaser? How do I get control of my life and lose the obsessions?

This is my new journey. There are so many things to consider. It is not like I want to stop being a people pleaser so I can become a jerk….but my mind only sees the two options. I know there are more.

I’m miserable at times because I just cannot seem to lighten my unnecessarily heavy load. I put this one me and I need to fix it.

If you live like this, I’m sorry. It’s difficult as well as misunderstood. I’m going to try to figure a way to get better.

This is my quest…

60 Years of Age

This year I turned 60 years of age. I just cannot believe it to be so. I remember as a child, someone who was 60 years old was actually old. It did not seem possible that I could ever be that old and yet here I am.

It is amazing how quickly the decades passed. The days seemed to chug along and then in a blink of an eye a year had passed. During the dark days, time seemed stalled but the reality is it was just a blip on the screen of life.

I tried to distance myself from those I grew up with. My teenage years were a wasteland and I felt it best to separate from those years. I watched from afar some of those people who knew me as a youth. In my mind, they somehow managed to survive those years better than I did perhaps.

Time has a way of changing one’s outlook. In the past years I have connected with some of those friends of my youth. It has been a splendid gift. Many have travelled extensively. Many have lovely extended families with grandchildren. Our lives are not the same and that’s ok.

I have a self-imposed mental jail that still holds me back a bit. I’ve never been out of the United States. I have no children and now no grandchildren. I never finished high school and that carries a stigma that only I care about. I just feel damaged in comparison.

Here is the funny part of aging, it is an equalizer. No longer does it matter what happened in high school. No longer do the blazen mistakes have the same feel. When we see each other or talk it is as if no time has passed. Then as conversations progress I learned that my perception of how others lives played out was inaccurate.

Love, loss, joy, pain, confidence, insecurity, certainty and doubt has been a companion for all. I forget sometimes that no one gets out unscathed. We all have scars and we all have glorious memories. That realization is my gift from age. Equal we are albeit not the same. And that’s ok.

60 has brought more health concerns, more financial concerns and worries my 20 year old self never imagined. 60 has also brought peace from the past, a more realistic view of the nature of life itself. 60 has allowed the walls to crumble and has broken me free from the defeatism I wore as a badge for so long.

60 says… you have made it this far. You walked through some fires to get here. You learned lessons about what really matters. You have reconnected with the past in a positive way.

My faith is stronger than before. My purpose is more defined. My pains are my lessons learned. 60 and beyond, God willing, have some scary possibilities but the gift of peace 60 has given me is a gift worth living for.

You are the one that gives the number it’s significance. Yes, 60 is important but it looks nothing like I thought it would in the tender years of life. I’m thankful to be here even if I think it did come to fast.

I thank God everyday because one thing 60 has taught me is time does move extremely quick and today needs to be appreciated. Happy birthday to you all, another year goes by. May it leave an imprint on your heart that is full of love, joy and peace!

Two Types of Days

Every night at about 3 am I wake up. Until recently, I would wake up with a racing heart and cold sweats. My mind must have been reliving some memory from my past where I did or said the wrong thing. Sometimes I was not even aware of which event I was remembering yet I felt my body full of remorse and regret. I started to hate going to bed because these events were so difficult to overcome.

During the day, I am trying to live more intentionally by trying to leave the past there, in the past. I want to live a more positive life that is not full to my brim with regrets. Of course I have them and that is how life works but if I can focus on the lessons learned and try to be a better person then I can use those experiences for good.

Last night I woke up with an idea in my head. Unfortunately it’s not exactly an original idea but one that suddenly made sense to me.

As a Christian, I have basically two stories. The first story is dramatic and traumatic. It’s the story that details the things that sent me down wrong paths and allowed bad decisions. This story became the background for the next story.

Let me preface by saying that I became a Christian in my teens but could not, or more accurately, would not live like a Christian. I may have for short spurts but I liked the world and all that it offered. I loved excess and was greedy….self-centered and entitled and just didn’t want to change too much.

Years and years pass and I start to feel the heavy weight of regret. By this time, just recently I may add, I start missing and wanting more peace in my life. I start doing Bible studies, listening to trusted conveyors of the Word (that’s very important….just because someone mentions God does not mean they can automatically be trusted) and trying to apply lessons learned to a new me.

The way our world is today became the catalyst for much of this thinking. I do not want to be part of the world’s problems I want to do better. I started to change. More positive thoughts started to replace the negative I had grown so accustomed to. I felt joy deep in my soul. I was a little afraid of it as I waited for something bad to happen. That is just a remanant of my old thinking.

Then I realized that the second story was my Grace story. The story that gave me grace that I did not earn and washed away my sins. Not in a way that they didn’t happen but in a way that allows me to break from their oppression and use them to help others.

When I was coming up in my young adulthood, I really thought I was the only one who made the mistakes I made (self-centered much!) and I longed to learn how to be better. There just wasn’t anything that helped and my frustration was shown in anger and acting out.

Then comes the digital age and people started talking about things and I quickly learned that everyone has their dramas and traumas. That’s when I started writing this blog with the hopes that one person would not feel the aloneness that I felt.

Now I understand the Pre days and the Grace days. You learn in the Pre days and give back in the Grace days. You use the Pre day lessons to help others in the Grace days. There is zero waste because every experience can be used to create empathy for others. It can be used to help soothe a battered soul. Those experiences can help touch someone who has no one. That to me, when I finally realized it, rocked me off my feet.

I’m not sure anyone really cares about my extremely long-winded blog posts but if it brings even the smallest bit of comfort to one person it makes the Pre day worthy of my Grace days.

Grace is a gift from God that I did not nor could I ever earn on my own. His grace is given freely to those who accept it. I never felt that I could accept it fully because of my tainted past…but that’s the whole idea of it, you can’t earn it but you can spread it.

May you experience the joy and peace of your Grace days. Let nothing be wasted. This world is in need of some serious grace and light. Let’s be that!