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Here’s a strange and mysterious fact: when we lose weight, that extra mass leaves us through breath and urine. I don’t fully understand this, even though it makes complete sense once it’s pointed out. We are made primarily of carbon and water, and we breathe out carbon and water.

My Jeremiah lesson today is strange and mysterious as well, and in the same way. Yesterday’s lesson was No Excuses, which makes complete sense to me. We have to give up our excuses before we can make changes. But today’s message was Surrender. We are supposed to surrender ourselves to God: “Not my will, but thine.” That’s a normal part of the Christian doctrine, familiar to us all.

But how can we possibly determine God’s specific will for us? We can only see it through the filter of our own ideas. This is how humans manage to decide that it is God’s will that they blow themselves up in crowded places and kill lots of people. To me, this is clearly not God’s will — but isn’t that because of my own ideas and preferences?

If we accept that the Bible is God’s word for us, the possibilities are somewhat limited. We cannot decide that God’s will for us is that we put ourselves first, go with our gut, or do whatever feels good. But there are still plenty of choices. We should love justice and mercy and walk humbly with our God, we should do good and not evil to our husbands all our lives, we should love our neighbors as ourselves and love God with all our hearts and minds and souls, we should do whatever work we do as work for God.

But what does that tell us about how we should schedule our work or leisure time? What does it tell us about how we ought to present ourselves and our homes and our companies? It certainly is clear how we should behave toward other people, but does it tell us anything about how to conduct our individual relationships, beyond the honor and kindness we should show to everyone?

Just so, the news that we excrete extra mass through breath is logical and yet has no clear and immediate application to how we should lose weight. The researchers who got this news into the headlines say, “Eat less, move more.” However, the current research on how people gain and lose weight suggests that it has more to do with hormones than with actual quantity of food or movement. What we eat matters more than how much we eat, and exercise is good for us, but doesn’t use enough calories to affect weight loss. Our bodies are a chemistry set, not a bank account.

So perhaps understanding that we metabolize unneeded carbon and breathe it out as part of our mysterious, divinely designed system for keeping ourselves alive can give us greater motivation to eat the foods God designed for us rather than the tasty but unnatural things we designed for ourselves. And maybe keeping ourselves surrendered to God helps us follow the path He designed for us rather than the less-wise things we design for ourselves.

The picture at the top of this post shows my framed picture. The picture below is the “Before” and the picture above is the “After.”

exercise and music

The print is actually not the full painting, something I didn’t realize as long as it was in the mailing tube, and the framing took off a smidgen more, so the picture is now of two women in lilies, not of lilies with two women in them. Even so, I love it. See how the frame is carved with lillies?

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It’s impossible to get a photo at this hour without reflections, but I tried with this sidelong one:

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I think it shows how well the colors work in the room.

Another picture in my living room, as I was trying to decide what project to start next. I started three lace scarves, or started my lace scarf three times. I determined at last to knit the Interweave Knits Icarus shawl. I also cut out a flowered peasant blouse which is not at all part of my planned Spring SWAP.

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Today I have a few hours of work to do and then #1 daughter is coming over, with or without the Good Ol’ Boy, so I will also be grocery shopping and baking and probably doing some housework as well.

I’m going to try to fit in some reading and knitting and/or sewing as well. Maybe some gardening.