Misty Marshall: Strength for my journey

This holiday season has brought much change to the Marshall abode. While change can be good it is important to point out that change wouldnâ??t happen without necessity. That may seem like a loaded statement but it is not often that change is initiated without reason and whether the change is good or bad change can upset the apple cart!

2012 brought a significant change in my familyâ??s dynamics. It is year end and therefore I want to spend a few moments talking about how this change has impacted me as a person. The hardest change this year by far was burying my father. My dad, the first man that I ever loved died of a massive heart attack at the beginning of June. When I submitted my letter of interest to take part in this weight loss journey I spoke in detail about my dad but it has occurred to me that I have never talked about my dad in my blog writings. Please let me take a few minutes to introduce you to the man who is giving me strength for my journey.

Some people are not blessed enough to have a father in their lives to love and guide them. For me, I had thirty-four years of unconditional love from a man that by far raises the bar when it comes to the definition of a dad. My dad was an old school Pentecostal preacher. He loved to preach an inspirational sermon yet wasnâ??t afraid to be truthful with his congregation. He had a level of compassion like no man I have ever met! He loved his family and was compassionate about his grandchildren. They lit up his eyes and were wrapped right around his fingers! He never missed a moment to help out a stranger and when he died multiple people said he was their best friend.

My father instilled in me several of the qualities I have. I developed his love for people, and his gift of being able to relate to people where they are. My fondest memory of my dad was lying next to him in bed on a Saturday morning as a kid singing hymns from the hymn book preparing for song service in church. The fact he thought it important to spend that time with me is what I cherish about my dad. Once, I heard my dad praying for me and I still to this day carry those words with me in my heart. He was loved by many and to this day I tear up thinking about how much I miss him!

Perhaps the hardest part about this holiday season has been all of the firsts without my dad. On Christmas he always woke up early and made a huge Christmas breakfast. Sausage gravy, biscuits, eggs, pancakes, toast, and his famous fried potatoes were just a few things on the menu. We always opened our presents one at a time and he would always be last because he would say he didnâ??t need anything for Christmas.

Usually there would be a Christmas Eve Service in which he would preach and he would deliver presents to the community families who were in need. The last few years he would organize food baskets for people from the Rapid City Area Food Bank and there were always last minute people he would find out about who were in need thus finding him making a frustrating last minute trip to town.

This year Christmas morning there was no big breakfast. We opened presents in a disorderly fashion and our tree was topped with an angel that my daughter Jelena constantly reminded us was â??papaâ??s angelâ??. We visited my dadâ??s grave this Christmas and shed many tears missing a man that was well loved and admired! I didnâ??t think that Christmas was going to be hard after making it through Thanksgiving but it has turned out to be a time of great grief, not just for myself but for my family and countless others who have lost loved ones this year.

Back to changeâ?¦ Losing my dad is not a change I would wish on anyone. It is by far the hardest thing I have endured and has caused me to think about my current health. A month before my dad died I had a conversation with him that to this day I think is a gift from a merciful God that knew he was going to be calling my daddy home soon. My dad and I spent a lot of time in the car going to Indiana to pick up my sister and during that time I had just started a diet plan and was seeing some success. My dad told me â??you can do it baby girl, even though it will be the hardest fight of your lifeâ??. He told me of his struggles and how he has battled with his weight and that he understood how I was feeling. He told me that if he could take away my weight problem he would do it and that he wanted me to be successful at losing weight because of my kidsâ?¦he didnâ??t want to see them grow up without a mother. We have had several heart to heart conversations but this one has left the biggest impact on me.

This Christmas I have waivered from my diet plan, struggled to get my exercise in and have felt a bit sad. My kids and I celebrated Christmas without my dad because I know it is what he would have wanted but I didnâ??t feel festive at all. As a food addict I have always turned to food for comfort and although more conscious this year I found myself trying to fill the void with sneaking food. Honestly I gained a few pounds and experienced a set-back, something I am not proud of but willing to admit and forgive myself for.

This week, I am determined to get back on track. The holidays are over and the words of my dad still ring loud and clear in my head. He is the strength for my journey and I will overcome this addiction so I can be the momma I need to be. This is by far, just like my dad said the hardest fight of my life but I will manage because I have known the love of a father who continues to supply me with the resolve to not give up!

My dad used to say that the only thing constant in life is change, and when you stop changing you die. While my apple cart has been upset by the death of my dad this girl is determined to change her life and become healthy in honor of a fantastic example, Reverend Ron Gay, also known as my daddy!

This weekâ??s challengeâ?¦ RESOLVE! If you have struggled as I have staying on track during the holiday season letâ??s resolve in our minds to find the beaten path, take the narrow road, the one less traveled in an effort to get back on this journey to healthy living! I know my dad is routing us on to victory because thatâ??s just the kind of man he was!

Blessed 2013,