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Posts tagged ‘Fasting’

Losing it!

Well it’s official, folks! I’ve lost it! But fret not, because not all of it is bad!

First things first, I think I’m losing it mentally in these last few weeks of the semester. I only have a few assignments left to finish, but they seem to be growing exponentially harder by the hour. Perhaps once my Hebrew Paper is finished I’ll be able to take a few cleansing breaths and start on the next assignment. Only two papers, a fieldwork report, two exams, one reading and a few translations left. I can do this!

The other part of losing it is absolutely fantastic! For those of you that don’t know, when I first felt the call to ministry in late December of ’09, I was 369lbs. Yes, you read that right. YOWZA! I’ve been working on eating healthier and exercising more and am happy to report that for the first time in my entire adult life, I am down into the 200s! I slipped under the 300 mark this morning and plan to keep going! When I looked at a picture of me from first semester at Wartburg, I could definitely see the difference! I’m hoping that by the time this seminary journey is done I’ll be a much healthier, much skinnier and hopefully much wiser person. As it is, I think I’m on the right track 🙂

I would ask for your thoughts and prayers in these next two weeks of classes and the next few months of holidays and food-induced comas. And for all you amazing people in the greater green bay area, watch out, because I’ll be home from the 21st of December to the 1st of January. I can’t wait to see you again!


Paul Johnson

From left to right: Mary, Deb, Me, Kelly
From left to right: Mary, Deb, Me, Kelly
Picture of me when my aunt and mom visited. I was making it rain!
Picture of me when my aunt and mom visited. I was making it rain!

Update on Goals!

Hello all! If you’re new to the blog, thanks for joining! If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that I posted 17 goals at the beginning of February and promised to post an update. Just a reminder, the goals were:

1. Lose Weight

2. Take a close look at finances and spending


4. Study my brains out

5. Build up my self-confidence

6. Sing. Loudly.

7. Sleep ;-)

8. Grow more plants

9. Write a hand-written letter and mail it

10. Honor the Sabbath

11. Get outside more!

12. Pray more often

13. Make a stranger a friend

14. take my bike out for a ride

15. Tell them I love them

16. Thank others

17. Get (and stay) organized!

I must definitely say it has been an amazing experience, and I’m proud to say I accomplished many of my goals.  I’m very proud to say with #1 that, since the start of the year I have lost over thirty pounds. Unfortunately the last week and a half haven’t been very productive, since I not only didn’t lose any more weight an even gained a pound or two back. Still, I’m hopeful that I’ll soon be going in the right direction again. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been this weight. I’m sure it was probably well before College,probably some time in high school. It was extremely embarassing for me when I had to buy a 4x shirt for a wedding, so it makes me so happy that I now fit into 2x shirts and have already lost 4 inches from my waist since coming to seminary. I’ll definitely need continued support, and thank all who have been doing so. It really means a lot to me. How exciting when people see you and go “Paul, are you losing weight? It really shows!”

#2 has been going well for me as well. I’m spending within my means and was even able to turn down a portion of government loans for this semester. Most of this is due to the amazing support of my congregation back home, and I can’t thank them (you) enough for all that you have done! I have definitely been wowed. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

#3 Exercise is still in the works. I can’t say I’ve figured out a routine yet, but I’m going on a lot more walks and even started asking others if they wanted to go on walks instead of the other way around. I am so confused and surprised by this weather lately and hope that it stays nice. I can’t believe I’ve been wearing shorts for the last week! It’s not even April yet! I am also proud to say that I’m able to do more crunches and pushups than before (which is still woefully inadequate) and hope to get even better at them. This is definitely going on the “continued goals” list.

#4 I am proud to say that this semester seems to be going really well. I am up to date on all the reading for all but one class (which is…interesting) and definitely feel like I’m gaining a lot of information and knowledge that will be great for the future.

#5 Whew, this on still needs a lot of work. It’s getting better with the whole weight loss bit, but I still have a ways to go. These days I seem to be in a constant struggle with wanting a significant other in my life and feeling like I’m not good enough for one. It’s also still hard for me to take a compliment in academics. Part of me wants to hear more, and part of me feels like they’re “just saying that”. Another one for the “continued goals” list.

#6 Wow. I may not have a very beautiful singing voice, but I’m definitely getting better at singing. I’ve even caught myself singing in my room and not even realize it. It’s definitely easier when the other people around me are singing, but even at church services where others aren’t singing, I’ve been doing my best to still sing. Is it perfect? No. But then again they never said you had to have a good singing voice to be a pastor.

#7 Hmm. Sleep has been…interesting. I’m getting better at going to bed at a more decent time (which I’m sure makes my neighbor Tammy happy) but I’m still feeling a bit sleepy during classes. I may have to start pouring the coffee on a more regular basis.

#8 I have been rocking this one! I have some spider plants in water that are about ready to be planted. I also have some tomato, lettuce, spinach, strawberry, mint and zucchini seeds started. I have two lettuce plants that are already getting big (mmm, homegrown lettuce) and plan on sharing a majority of the plants with the parents for their garden this year. I just feel better having things that are green and growing around me. I guess I have a bit of a green thumb. Who knew?

#9 I’ve written the letter, I’ve even put in an envelope, but I haven’t sent it yet. Gotta work on that. It’s just that I’m usually in such a rush that I forget. Hopefully I’ll remember after writing this update to go mail it. But hopefully it won’t be too long!

#10 Boom! If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that I started fasting for the Sabbath and am loving it. I feel that it definitely helps me feel closer to God than I have in the past. Last Saturday (a day and a week ago, not yesterday) I forgot and I think it threw my whole week off. It’s definitely a bit more interesting now with the longer days and the springing ahead in time, but I’d say it’s still going well. I’m sure there will be more to come.

#11 Bingo! I am rocking this one! I’m loving the weather outside, and can’t wait to get out there! I think I may have to take a stroll outside after this post (and mail the letter of course). I can’t wait until the thunderstorms start rolling again though, the snow storms was, though pretty, too peaceful and quiet. There needs to be Thunderbolts and Lightening (very very frightening) to light up the sky and drench the grounds. I love a good thunder storm, so I say bring them on! I’m definitely looking forward to running out in the rain(NOT when there’s lightning) and jumping in puddles! (Mom would be so proud!)

#12 This has been going along (as Dr. Persaud would say) quite smartly! Connecting with God over the last month and a half has been really important and helpful with all the questions and problems. For one, I’ve gotten a lot better at praying before meals. I’m hoping this is another thing that will continue to grow over time.

#13 and #14 definitely need work. While I’ve met some lovely people and had nice chats, I don’t know that I would call any of them a “friend” yet. As for the bike, I need to get out there with it again and feel the wind! Someday soon. Maybe Wednesday. I’m thinking that sounds good. Unless it’s thundering and lightning. I don’t really want to be riding a big piece of metal in that kind of weather.

#15 and #16 I think are going along well. In fact, after calling up my Grandmother and telling her I loved her, she made sure on Valentine’s Day to call me bright and early (6:39 in the morning, Early) an wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day and tell me that she loves me! It was so great to hear, and I’m told it made her day to tell me. I know it always makes me feel better to say it to others, or even just to thank them. Despite how good it feels to hear the words, I think it’s an even better feeling to say them!

Finally, #17 is halfway there! I did update and fill in my huge binder of cards and letters (It’s a monstrous 3″ binder) but I found a new problem. It’s Full! I love that the binder didn’t even make it a full year! I love looking through it and seeing all the thoughtful words and notes of encouragement. As far as the rest of being organized, I’m still in the process. I have my books organized (in a very OCD fashion from big to small, with books of the same size ranging from older to newer) but my desk in my room still needs a bit of attention. My room is clean (woo!) and my laundry is up to date, but my papers and desk drawers still need some TLC. Maybe after sending the letter and taking a stroll outside, I’ll be able to tackle that job. Then again, maybe not.

WOW! That was a LOT of writing. Thanks for sticking it out to the end. I am so thankful for all the people who are supporting me through this journey, and I want to make sure I do right by that. I really do appreciate each and every person who sends me letters, calls me, reads my blog posts, posts on my facebook, prays for me, encourages me, and everything else! Thanks for all that you do, and thanks for reading!

God Bless!

Saturday…what an experience!

Hello again!

Well I just had to tell you about what a fantastic Saturday I had yesterday! It was such an amazing day, and even when things might go sour, my amazing friends were there to make sure the night ended on a great note!

First off, I want to mention that this Saturday was the second in a row that I fasted from morning until sundown. Before anyone gets too concerned, I checked with a doctor before starting it (who was all for it) and I want to reassure you that I am doing this as a spiritual practice, not as a way to lose weight .The doc approved of the spiritual aspect as well, but told me that it may have the added benefit of resulting in more weight loss, as long as it’s not done too frequently. I’m happy to report that the last two Saturdays have been really spiritually rich for me. The hunger only helped to remind me to spend the day in prayers of thanksgiving for life, for food, and prayers for those who suffer without food far too often. I’m still considering expanding the time-frame, perhaps by getting up earlier on Saturdays, or waiting until later to break the fast. For the time being, I think I’ll just let the increasing daily sunlight slowly expand the experience for me.

Oh, and that possible side effect of losing weight? Yeah, it happened as well 😉

I think the biggest thing that has helped these last two weeks is making sure I don’t break the fast with a huge meal. As it was, I felt much fuller on less after not eating all day, so even a “normal” meal last week made me feel over full. This week was much better with an amazing bowl of homemade venison chili (thanks to Carina) and spicy kale chips (thanks to Deb and Mary) and finger snackies at…

wait for it…


wait… for… it…



That’s right, the day ended amazingly with Black Tie Jazz at the seminary! The band was absolutely phenomenal, and I could tell that the event took a lot of careful planning and preparation. It was WILD! Now I must admit that I am not a very avid dancer. Much the opposite. This resulted in much of the night sitting down, chatting and contemplating how much more fun it would be if I had a special someone to go to with. I even started to get very jealous of Heidi’s ability to just go with the flow and dance to her heart’s content.

Luckily for me I had promised Allison that I would dance with her, and despite my insistence of having two left feet, she coerced me out onto the dance floor. She taught me some moves and we practiced them while the band was on a break. I must say she is an extremely graceful twirler!

It was so amazing out there dancing with her. Had I believed all her praise for my “natural skill,” I would have to consider entering into a competition. Still, I started feeling more comfortable with the moves and started just going with it. My thanks to Allison for being such an amazing teacher and graceful dancer. It certainly turned the night around!

But wait, there’s more! After dancing a few dances with Allison the group started line dancing. According to Amber, a classmate’s significant other (Go Tanner!), I was too close to the dance floor not to be dancing. She quickly shot me down when I tried to tell her that I didn’t know how to line dance. She explained the moves to me, we watched a couple times, and then we jumped right in. It was GREAT! I still goofed from time to time, but I started getting the hang of it, and I certainly wasn’t the worst dance out there.

Afterwards I danced with Mary, and we observed our friend Deb out on the dance floor cutting a rug like crazy while we stayed with a more comfortable pace. I was glad to see Deb out there because I was afraid of Deb’s wrath for dancing with Mary before her. Still, I think it worked out well for all of us, because that girl can move! I’m sure I held Mary back a bit, but maybe next time (after some more lessons with Allison perhaps) we’ll be out there right next to her moving like stars.

I had to go to bed far too early, but it was still such an amazing day, and I’m so grateful to have my amazing friends who are always there for me. Some day I’d like to have that special someone to get all snazzy for and dance until the cows come home. But until he shows up in my life, I have such great friends to make memories with and celebrate each day together. I can’t wait until the next big event!

From left to right: Carina, Mary, Me, Deb, Heidi