Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Turkey Reflections: A Gift

This past holiday season was a whirlwind of activity including get-togethers with family and friends, shopping, wrapping presents, household chores, picking up groceries, and, of course, exercising and cooking wholesome foods. I decided I would roast a turkey instead of having drive-through meals which had a minimum of protein and a maximum of fat in them. Does a McDonald’s hamburger really count as protein? Even the flame-broiled Wendy’s or Burger King burgers seem to be more like burger-food than protein to me. I wanted help our family eat a little bit better these past couple weeks. The thawing turkey was in the fridge, ready to be stuffed and cooked for our family. The problem: when can I cook it? The 15 pound bird required a good 4-5 hours of oven time which meant I needed to be home for 4-5 hours straight.

This time commitment reminded me again of the “Be still and know that I am God…” scripture reference that is so familiar yet so evasive. The stillness is the gift I received just because I had to cook a turkey. The stillness results in the calming peace I feel when I choose to take those quiet minutes, or hours, to reflect and meditate.

My protein dilemma was solved with a sudden snowstorm in our area a couple weeks ago which resulted in a roasting turkey while snowflakes covered everything outside in blinding whiteness. Have you ever stood outside in a pile of snow just after a snowstorm? The tangible stillness inspired me to take a breath and squint through the sparkling whiteness in search of the true meaning of Christmas…God’s love for me. What a gift.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Reflections

The day after Thanksgiving. Back to the healthy eating and exercise routine. While reflecting on the Thanksgiving meal, I decided not to gripe about what and how much I ate, but instead to think about the food as a metaphor for the relationships I crave, particularly at this time of year. Time for this foodie to see the turkey and trimmings in a new way.

The turkey. This is the meat of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. It’s a wonderful food, full of protein, providing me with the strength and nourishment to fuel my muscles for strength and good health. It’s the star of the show on this holiday, and I find it interesting that of all the foods we usually prepare, it’s the simplest. Rinse off, sprinkle a little oil, salt and pepper, and roast. The turkey reminds me of the strongest relationships in my life. My husband, close friends, family. Certain of the people in my life are the ones who are the true fuel for my strength and good health. I know that if I don’t spend the time I need with these protein sources, I get drained more easily and life’s circumstances affect me more than it should. These meaty relationships are simple, but require time.

The stuffing. It’s the flavorful, fun, fill-in stuff. With all its varieties, the stuffing can enhance the turkey with its spiciness. However, the stuffing can also absorb the juices from my primary protein source if I simply stuff too much. Like the big bowl of bread chunks that seems bottomless, I find it interesting that I can stuff way too much into a little space. Volunteerism, guilt, busy-ness, useless traditions. All these and more can provide way too much filling for my good health. It can be tasty and fun, and might fuel me for the short run, but it doesn’t give the long-lasting energy I need to sustain myself.

The cranberry sauce. This sweet enhancement to the Thanksgiving meal is exactly what makes everything else taste a little better. I love to have a bit of sauce with the turkey, with the stuffing, with whatever else ends up on my plate. It’s like my sweet relationships that lack the obligatory side effects of time and attention. They include old high school friends, new friends, temporary acquaintances—all of who add just what I need to enjoy the meat of my life a bit more.

Green. Bean. Casserole. This is an attempt at healthy living gone bad. I’m okay with the green, and even with the green bean, but when it becomes casserole, it becomes a dish I avoid. The healthiness has been masked in creaminess and crunchiness, like the healthy relationships in my life that seem simple but get masked in obligation and need redefining or skipping altogether. There have been seasons in my own life when I held onto a relationship just a bit too long that it became this unsavory side dish, and I have had to make this decision to either change it or skip it to maintain my own health.

The salad, asparagus, or brussel sprouts. There is usually one side dish that retains its simple, healthy state on the Thanksgiving table. The crunchiness and deep green colors of these foods can provide the vitamins and fiber that help us to enjoy the rest of the meal in moderation. I find it interesting that I usually skip eating these foods on Thanksgiving, even if they are on the table. There’s no room left for healthiness on a day devoted to indulgence. There’s a problem, however, when the sense of abundance makes me skip the simplicity of this day which is all about giving thanks. I want to remember not to skip giving thanks on this day, or any day, even if I skip the green stuff.

The pies. The pies epitomize indulgence and sweetness in all its forms: apple, pumpkin, lemon, cherry. The aspect of the pies I appreciate most is the sweetness of the family traditions tied to them. The passing on of the recipes and techniques for pie baking is in itself enough for dessert. I love the traditions and heritage passed on from generation to generation through these desserts. It’s a great finishing touch to a day devoted to thankfulness. This sweet gratitude is the treat for all of our days, not just the holiday season.

I’m full now, how about you? Be blessed this holiday season with the relationships you crave.

Monday, November 16, 2009

When 10 Equals 100

I came across a new realization on my weight loss journey last week: 10 equals 100! No, it’s not a new math method. It’s a new mindset.

As many of you know, I have lost over 100 pounds during the last five years, primarily as a result of my faith and prayer life. Praise God! Yet I still tackle the infamous ‘last ten pounds’ which I need to lose to reach my goal weight. It amazes me that it’s such a common theme; you know, you share with your girlfriend “I have these last ten pounds to lose!” What does she say? “I know what you mean…these last ten are the HARDEST!”

Why do these last pounds get such a bad rap? What’s the difference between them and the first ten? Hey, a pound is a pound, right? I’m not a nutritionist but I can acknowledge that there is some truth to the fact that losing these pounds is a different struggle. I think we’ve taken this concept too far, though. Why the last-pounds struggle? Here are a few reasons I can identify:
1. My body as a thinner person requires less calories than it did as a much heavier person; as a result, I am eating too much if I use some of my old eating habits; therefore I need to eat less.
2. I have more muscle mass than before, and so I can eat more if my metabolism is higher due to the muscle. Sometimes I might take that liberty too far and steep back into the old habits; as a result, I eat too much again.
3. My weight loss efforts are getting tiresome; after a long time of following this eating program, my body is too familiar with the routine and in its higher level of fitness, and requires that I change something either in my eating or exercise or both to wake up my metabolism.
4. I’m just tired of it all and so I simply eat out of boredom.
5. It’s possible I’m afraid of success and that I have identified myself as a person who needed to lose weight for so long that I’m not ready to give her up.
There’s no way to have long-time success in a healthy weight and lifestyle without some knowledge of the reasons behind the food science. That’s not my focus, though. I’m here to deal with the spiritual perspective.

I am thrilled to have finally become conscious of the fact that over the last ten months, I have been working from an attitude of “Hey, God. Thanks a lot for your help with those first hundred pounds. I’m down to the last ten…(gulp, here’s the problem)…I CAN TAKE IT FROM HERE!” The self-sufficiency fails to serve me once again. What am I thinking? Why do I assume that since these last pounds seem like a smaller goal, and therefore I can attain this one on my own? I persist with food tracking, exercising, reading new recipes and cooking…only to find myself in that state of permanent plateau once again. And boy am I excited to recognize my problem. Why? Because my God, the same God who held my hand through those hundred pounds, is still here. He’s with me, holding my hand, for these last ten pounds. I just forgot. I need to treat these last ten pounds the same way as those first hundred: a goal that can be accomplished only with God’s help.

There was an amazing new Scripture I discovered the next day after realizing this erroneous attitude on my part. It’s Galatians 3:3 in the NIV version: “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” Okay, so God needed to knock me upside the head with that familiar clunk of a V8 moment, but I think I get the message. Ten pounds, beware. You will be gone.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Serving Bread

As I walked to the back of the Open Door Ministry, the first thing I saw was the table with boxes and boxes of all types of bread and rolls, bagged in portions to be distributed. Of course I’d notice the bread. It’s one of my own personal drugs of addiction. The bread was next to the rows of grocery store bags containing the non-perishable food items. They were all lined up, soldiers ready to take on their mission. What really is the mission, I wonder?

I can see how easy it is to step into this type of serving situation with a bit of a superior attitude, although unintended and completely innocent. I’m one of several people who signed up in a time slot for this place which was a food pantry and clothing provider for those qualified to be in need. When I sign up to help people, I realize it sounds like it’s about me helping them. I’m one of those who has the resources, the health, the strength, the ability, and the desire to help others. What I have discovered, though, is that in the helping process, I am the one who’s receiving the work on my own heart. It’s not necessary to have the spiritual gift of mercy, or giving, or even compassion, to choose to sign up and be a part of a serving project. What is helpful on a personal level, however, is to tap into prayer for God to help me help others.

This time, I prayed about the serving project. I prayed I would help out in ways that were needed. I prayed I would see and hear what God would want me to see and hear. And so I did.

I saw the woman walk into the pantry for her first time. She was greeted by the staff with love and care. “Come on in!”, they’d say. “Sit down and let’s talk about what’s up.” So many of us simply need someone to sit down and listen to us. But many of us need a bit more; some tangible help. Not the smoothed-over “I’ll pray for you” comment, but a real listening ear and a chance for someone else to tap into our own life’s challenges to maybe take our hand and help us through the valley. In this place, there isn’t just the listening ear. There’s also the chance for hands-on help. It’s about finding the real need and meeting it. I could benefit from that focus when talking with my friends, my family, neighbors and acquaintances. Getting past the surface-level conversations and into real places of mission requires that I risk the next step that might require action on my part.

Then there was the couple who were browsing through the clothes racks, looking for something that would be useful and practical to put into their “free” bag of clothes. They had to guess at sizes since there wasn’t the opportunity to try things on, but they could take whatever they wanted. The larger-sized man stood next to me; I asked if I could help him find something in particular. “There’s not much in bigger sizes, is there?” I could have cried. My own food addiction had me in that familiar place so many times. I would be in a store and want to find something that fits and is helpful for my self-esteem, but larger sizes are elusive. It takes a lot more effort to find something that doesn’t look like a sack of potatoes when I’m overweight. His comment fueled me to take the time to take apart the slacks off the rack and look through several of them, one by one, to find the tiny size tag in the bottom right leg of the pants to read the numbers. We found one pair of slacks a little bit bigger, and it was like I found a treasure when I handed it to him.

Then there was the scary person. You know, the kind that make us say “Uh-oh, I don’t know if I could talk to her”. The miniskirt, fishnets and bleached hair seemed to offset the need to find sweaters and long-sleeved tops for her bag. I wondered what her story was. I asked if I could help her find something. She was looking for the blankets; they were usually in the back but must have been moved. She was obviously familiar with this place of handouts. How long does this go on, I wonder? How many times do these people come here. Is it possible to lack the motivation to move on?

Finally, the heart-wrenching interaction. It was unintended; I was finishing up the back rack of clothes to be sorted, not necessarily talking with anyone at the time, and next to me, on the chairs, were two small children. They were sitting quietly, one of them holding a bag of bread, waiting for the adults to finish their conversation and paperwork. The older child, a girl with bright eyes and dark hair to contrast her fair skin, looked up at me with a smile and simply stated “HI!” “Hi, there”, I replied. “This is my baby brother!”, she said, “and we got some bread to take home today.” I smiled, realizing the irony of the bread. “I bet you’re doing a great job helping to take care of him,” I responded. “Yes, I am!” A few seconds later, the adults finished. “Come on, it’s time to go!”, the girl said to her brother. “We can have some of this yummy bread when we get there!” She skipped out, taking my heart with her.

People are all the same, in some way, shape or form. She loved that bread as much as I do. She and her little brother could have older sisters and brothers that sit in the public school classroom next to my own children. We interact with people in need without realizing it. We don’t know other people’s stories, but we do know our own God, who makes us precious and unique. When we serve, let’s simply be our unique selves so that we can be like Jesus to people who need us. We end up receiving even more love and compassion ourselves. We simply can’t out-give God.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary Halloween Chocolate

I'm back, folks. Want to thank you for checking in from time to time and apologize for missing the chance to post blogs in the last couple months. Figured I'd get back in touch with a timely and favorite topic: CHOCOLATE!

I am definitely in a danger zone when it comes to chocolate candy. I truly enjoy it--all of it--and still look for ways to manage the crazy addiction. I'm in awe of people who can keep bowls of M&Ms on their desk and ignore them most of the day. I'm not one of them. Imagine popping handsful until it's empty; that's me. Halloween and its chocolate candy is always a challenge for me as a Mom. Fortunately, my kids are not addicted to the chocolate. They just like to collect as much as possible. I don't blame them.

Many tips have been given over the years to handle the abundance of candy on Halloween. The most popular suggestion is to make sure not to buy Halloween candy in the first place, so it's not in my house. Fine. I've purchased and distributed a variety of creative and interesting goodies that are not of the chocolate persuasion over the years. Pencils. Coins. Pretzels. Goody bags with stickers and crayons. All good stuff; all useful. The problem is not the stuff I give away. It's the stuff that comes back in. What is with these people who dole out handsful of Snickers fun-size bars, or worse yet, full-size Hershey bars, to every kid that passes by? They must not be chocolate addicts at all, or instead enjoy this time to buy an exhorbitant amount of chocolate for their own indulgence with the excuse that it was candy purchased for Halloween trick-or-treaters. I can relate. I did this type of purchasing for many years.

I don't want to take the Halloween fun away from my kids. I still remember the joy of gathering up lots of goodies, emptying out the pillowcase (okay, I'm showing my age here..does anyone use pillowcases anymore?), and going out to the next neighborhood and repeating the process several times. The living room floor would be loaded beyond my imagination. Now that's a definition of a kid having fun. My own chocolate addiction should not deprive my children of this type of fun. The problem: how to let them indulge in the fun of collecting abundant goodies without letting them--or me--indulge in abundant chocolate?

Several Moms I know actually store their kids' candy collections and dole them out over the next several months. If the candy is still in the pantry after too many months, they might even throw away the chocolate that has been sitting the cabinet 'for the kids'. Not possible in my house. That candy would call my name time and time again until it's gone, probably before Thanksgiving. By then I would have started the holiday season with those extra ten pounds, instead of trying to lose the season's ten pounds after the holidays. Get my drift?

My solution: money! I actually pay my kids ten cents for each goody their collect (or I might change the year's going rate to five cents if they get too much); then they each 'earn' about five or ten dollars. I get to enjoy throwing away their candy (or donating it, if appropriate), using the dish soap method (that's an earlier blog from 4/27/09--"Binge Management"--check it out!) and being rid of my problem for the year. The kids are allowed to use the money however they want; I even set up a special trip to the toy store, or the store of their choice, to purchase their bonus goody earned. They are allowed to keep a few pieces only of their favorite chocolate; few enough that it's gone with their lunch snacks within a week, but that's all. It's a treat for me to see how this method has allowed them to enjoy the concept of collecting goodies without the extra stress for me to handle the chocolate addiction. The cash bribe is worth every cent.

If Halloween candy is difficult for you to handle, too, I found the best solution is in the sharing of ideas--let me know yours! Halloween chocolate need never be scary again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Mist

A recent trip to Niagara Falls including the Maid of the Mist boat ride gave me and my family the opportunity to experience an ordinary touristy event. Waiting in line with hundreds of other people, I was amazed at the efficiency with which we were loaded onto the boat. 600 people per ride. Typical, I thought.. This will be fun, I'm sure, but not very eventful. That touristy boat ride was far from typical. It was all about the mist.

We started with a gentle float in front of the Falls on the American side. The sounds were everywhere: the roaring splash of the water, the seagulls' cawing, the hushed chatting of the people behind me. The sights were awe-inspiring: the never-ending dance of the water streaming down the rock formation, the off-white foam, and the smoky mist. I was amazed at the sheer amount of water around me. I smelled the wet air; I sensed the power. The rocks at the bottom of the American Falls made it difficult to get very close, however, and this portion of the ride was more like a wonderful sightseeing tour than an experience.

As we approached the Canadian Falls, which are also called the Horseshoe Falls, the thunderous water sounds were louder; stronger. The echo of the Falls was compounded with the fact that we finally started to get wet. The boat got bouncier. We got closer. The Falls were deafening now. Soaking. We got even closer. My mind argued: "I think we're close enough!" I relaxed for a moment and looked up. Way up. I squinted to glimpse the height of the water falling over the rocks, and looked as long and hard as I could.

Me. The Water. Total surrender. Being drenched and powerless was surprisingly wonderful--like the power of God. One of the definitions of the word "mist" is "something that dims or obscures." Only when I experienced the mist in its authentic form where the view was obscured could I recognize the power and wonder of those waterfalls. I stopped looking in awe and instead started to experience the true power of those Falls.

As we floated back to the dock, all I noticed were the smiles. Wet hair and wet smiles. There is something freeing about allowing for the surrender that I experienced in the Horseshoe Falls. It was different from experiencing God from afar, as with the American Falls. The mist was the most interesting part; I couldn't see through it, but knew there was power behind it. The mist might be something that dims or obscures the view, but it was exactly what allowed me to see the power of God most clearly in that moment. The surrendering; the soaking; the joy--all because of the mist.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Topsy Turvy Perspectives

I am NOT a gardener. In fact, I have been known to help more plants die than thrive. Which is why my family and friends found it amusing that I chose to be enticed by the infomercials and gave in to the allure of the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter. If you haven’t seen or heard of it, the planter is simply a vinyl bag which hangs on a hook or beam, into which I put a tomato plant, upside down. On top of the plant I then dumped in some soil and voila! An abundance of tomatoes!

To have some fun with my new “Topsy” perspective on gardening, I planted “Turvy” at the same time—another tomato plant in a pot, facing upwards, wearing the traditional posture of a tomato plant. The competitive streak in me smiled at the presumed race for the first great tomato—will Topsy or Turvy win? My circle of expert gardeners said it wouldn’t work.

It’s halfway through the summer, and I must share that Topsy has lived up to her name by going over the top in spite of the experts, and in spite of my lack of a green thumb. There are a number of tomatoes appearing on her with the accompanying abundance of yellow buds of promise. Turvy is quite sad; pathetic, actually. She’s typical of a plant I would normally produce—not quite dead but almost there. I may get one tomato out of her this year, just for kicks. Forget about an abundant harvest there.

The Topsy Turvy race reminds me of my own life’s perspectives, particularly in areas where I operate in a sometimes mindless routine. My meals, my workouts, my regular recipes. There are times I need to hang my ideas upside down so I can enjoy the abundant results I desire. There are times I need to listen to my own sense of adventure, instead of what the experts say. Maybe I’ll eat a salad for breakfast instead of for lunch; maybe I’ll work out in the evening instead of in the morning. How about if I try new recipes again, or taste another kind of vegetable I never heard of before. What if I see what it’s like to ride a bike outside again, like I did when I was a kid?

I’ve played a lot this summer—the Topsy way. I can appreciate, once again, the chance to look at things very differently. Even when I go back to some of those familiar routines, the familiar itself will now look fresh, new and fruitful to me. Like Topsy and her tomatoes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Starting Over...and Over...and Over

The sunrise. My early morning alarm. Birds chirping. Enticing coffee aroma. (gotta love those timer-started-coffee makers!) Time to start a new day. Again.

My prayer: “Dear God: Help! I’ve lost and gained the same three pounds for the last four months. What is that about? Is it mental or physical? I need to start over and lose these three pounds again, and then a few more to reach my final goal weight.”

It’s the beginning of another morning regimen and I’m blessed to be able to start a new day. The new day is my gift so that I can indulge in a new commitment towards healthy eating. I love the sense of a clean slate; the food tally marked with a zero; the restart that comes with the morning. This clean slate is a chance at hope. When I flounder on my eating program, it’s the restart that reminds me I am not perfect. The restarts are the only way to live within a life filled with imperfection.

It is my belief that these restarts are the most critical key for life-time success in weight loss. These restarts represent my prayer time. Going to the table again, coffee in hand, to have my morning chat with God, is what constitutes healthy living, regardless of my food choices. The healthy weight goals are going to be my daily battle for the rest of my life, and the only way I can survive the longevity of this battle is to break it down into these 24-hour chunks of time. Then and only then can I accept that there’s no need to throw in the towel—ever. I’m basking in the new sunrise—and I anticipate my restart—again.

Thankfully, God is available each morning along with that sunrise. I can count on that. “Amen.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shaping Up My Body Image

The circle.
Round, nondescript, fluid. When I was a kid, my obesity was clearly announced with a simple chant by the other kids: “Lisa Pizza, Lisa Pizza.” Wincing, I remember thinking how bizarre that a popular name like Lisa would have to rhyme with a popular food commonly associated with being overweight. I felt as round and nondescript as the shape of that pizza. I associate my childhood memories with specially-made clothes, thighs rubbing together, the talcum powder used as salve, and struggling to fit in all through my elementary school years.

The square.
Somewhat uninteresting, edgy, evenly distributed. I think of building blocks and parallel sides when I think of the square. I’m remembering my high school geometry teacher, Mrs. Weber, with a smile. She taught us all those rules of geometry and the related theorems and proofs. By high school, I had more of an edge, but felt I still could have easily switched back to the circle if I let my guard down. I learned the rules for taking care of myself to get that edge.

The horizontal rectangle.
Later in my adulthood, I matured a bit and came into my own level of self-awareness and shape. I still had the edges required to speak up for myself, but have also had to deal with serious weight issues by this point in time, eventually escalating to being more than 100 pounds overweight. I realized I needed to make some changes in my life and habits, which would soften those edges toward a preferred hourglass shape, defining myself as a healthy woman. The required first step, however, would be the extreme weight loss needed to change shapes. My next step would keep me in rectangular form, but to turn it upright. Then, at least, it might feel familiar but with a slightly different perspective.

The vertical rectangle.
Still edgy and still structured, giving a new perspective. My vertical rectangle finally puts me closer to the hourglass shape I desire. I am surprised at times, however, when I notice “bony” shoulders; or a when a stranger calls me “petite”, or when someone assumes I am a size “small”. This general sense of being smaller is unfamiliar. I remember noticing cheekbones for the first time instead of the former roundness in my face. I’m really just an average shape, but it’s new and small to me; it will take time for my mind to adjust to what my physical body feels like.

The hourglass.
This hourglass shape is generally like the rectangle but smoother; softer; more interesting and fluid. A sense of shape but not defined by the shape. I’m moving closer to this image of myself. It may take a while, like watching the sands drop through an hourglass, one grain at a time, but it will be worth it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Skydiving Sensations

Have you every jumped out of a flying airplane—for fun? Yup, I have. Almost 30 years ago, several friends and I decided to take the plunge. We went skydiving. Obviously, I survived the jump and although it was quite a long time ago, I recall clearly the sensations surrounding the life-changing event. Like my Christian faith, the experiences during the process varied in type and intensity before, during and after the big leap.

Excitement fueled our car as the five of us traveled to New Jersey for our all-day parachuting event. My girlfriends and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to float freely in the sky, even for just a few seconds. What would the training be like? Would we remember what we learned? Would we get hurt? Would we survive? Four of us planned to participate in the skydiving program and our fifth girlfriend was in charge of capturing the critical photos. We had to prove what happened, right?

This stage of anticipation on the drive to the skydiving center was like learning about my faith for the first time. Could I understand God’s Word in the freeing way it was being presented to me? Would I remember what I learned? What would I accept as proof?

Next I remember the process of learning the steps for a successful jump. There were skydiving practice platforms, about four feet high, from which we’d jump, land and immediately drop and roll to soften the blow. We were taught that the ground would come quickly, but our instructions were to look straight ahead and not down. Our practice leaps were to give us the confidence to react to the body-jarring thud in a safe way. We must have jumped off those platforms 50 times that afternoon. By the time we headed to the plane, we were ready for any solid ground that would come our way.

Learning about the Christian faith is similar in that it requires practice and baby jumps at times before a big leap can be made. Looking up to the examples in Jesus and not down at our current circumstances correlate to a stronger relationship with God. There are so many thuds in this world that the practice of rolling with the punches is a useful habit. Over time it gets easier and easier.

Then came the time for the plane ride and big jump. The process of equipping began. First the jumpsuits. Then the helmets. Then the radio. Tighten all the straps. Tie on the chute. Then the reserve chute. The feelings of fear and courage flip-flopped so often and frequently that I couldn’t know what I was feeling at any given moment.

My faith needs equipping too. The Bible. Praise and worship. Prayer. Christian fellowship. Getting involved. One fabulous difference, though, is that there’s no ‘reserve chute’ needed. Faith is all I need.

Sitting straddle-style and packed like sardines, we loaded ourselves in the cabin of that small plane and held our breath while the engine whirred to life. It was just us and that little plane now. It was time. There was nothing we could do to hear or think over the deafening motor. My stomach was doing its own jumping. My eyes were glued to the instructor’s cues. First girlfriend out. I saw the blur of her helmet through the small window. I looked some more. The cords of her chute pack detached and WHOOSH!—up she went into the long-awaited floating mode, the first step of her descent.

My turn. Gulp. Three! Two! One! JUMP! The instructor’s hand, hard on my shoulder with almost a shove, helped me out that open door. And out I went. Falling, flying, falling, flying; which was it? One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, four-one-thousand, five-one-thousand. WHOOSH! I looked up. My chute was open. Sighing, I settled into the harness and realized that I was, in fact, parachuting. I descended slowly. It was peaceful. Quiet. Beautiful. I thought a bird might fly right past my nose. Distantly, I noticed the occasional radio instructions. “Turn right! Turn left! Turn left some more!” Getting closer to the designated landing area. The ground was coming quicker. The tops of the trees were getting larger. Just a few more seconds of floating, please. Beautiful, peaceful seconds with just me and God in the world. This is true freedom.

THUD. Ugh. Drop, roll, roll some more. The ground comes up at me with a bone-jarring reminder of being on earth. Grounded. Maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

With faith, I can float in freedom mode while staying on the ground.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Fair Food

I have recently been reminded that my relationship with food still needs to change, after all these years of managing to lose and maintain a significant weight loss. Yikes! I thought I was finished dealing with this. The challenge of summer fair food is one more adventure where I’m not, and never will be, finished dealing with this.

I’ve been trained to handle large amounts of food. As a volume eater, I’ve practiced portion control and even learned how to indulge in larger portions by making those larger portions contain vegetables and some fruit. This works, most of the time. What I’m facing now, however, is the need to truly understand and practice portion control when dealing with the all-you-can-eat mentality found at buffets, summer fairs and amusement parks. Who invented this craziness anyway? The only situation that comes to mind is when Jesus fed the multitudes and he invited the people to “eat until they’ve had their fill”. Was this an all-you-can-eat-fest too? I imagine the indulgence that is implied represents the blessings above and beyond what we can imagine that God can bless us with, when we come to Him with only a little bit (like five loves and three fishes, or was it four loaves and two fishes?) and offer it in true faith. We know God can do anything, but did He mean for us to really eat until we’re truly full?

When I approach a buffet, I must admit it feels like a food fest. After all, it’s all the same price for me to eat more, isn’t it? We look at this as a good deal when it comes to money, but it’s not really a good deal with our stomachs, is it? When Jesus fed the crowd, it was about the money, too, since the food was free. I wonder if any of them had overeating issues back then. I’m certain someone must have had a bit more of a passion for food than needed, like I do. Why can’t I look over the buffet, decide what to eat, then get that, and STOP? What is it about the fact that the food is sitting there that makes it call my name?

I remember last summer when our family visited a local amusement park with the expected “summer fair food”. You know what I mean: funnel cakes, fresh-made French fries, delicious hamburgers, ice cream and even candy treats. It calls our name simply because it’s there. We smell the food and see the food; we see others eating it, and then all sense of structure and balanced meals go out the window. Maybe it’s the background noise that is so loud it deafens us to the sounds in our own heads to control our eating.

After two days of a food fest, I decided to approach our final day at the amusement park that summer differently. I prayed for help. I asked God to help me decide what to eat, what not to eat, how to think about it, and even how to stop thinking about it, for the ONE day. It seemed to be on my mind more than needed. What I sensed was the plan to choose one treat that day, which would be a treat that I wouldn’t have otherwise, or at least would be something I truly craved that day. What a blessing. I survived the day not only by having just one treat—which was orange and vanilla swirl ice cream---but the booth where I purchased it happened to carry a smaller size serving than the others! Praise God!

I am always in need of the reminder to take the one-day-at-a time approach to eating. As summer eases in with all its adventures, I can say: let the food fests begin! It’s been handled before, and will be handled again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My 2 Cents on Kirstie's 80 Pounds

Let’s see: what weights about 80 pounds? (1) 160 five-pound bags of flour (2) Two small children (3) A very large dog. Eighty pounds is a lot of weight.

I picked up the tabloid at the grocery store line while waiting to check out my fruit, veggies, fat-free products, whole-grain bread; well, you get the picture. I decided to read the first couple lines of Kirstie Alley’s latest saga. All I caught was the impression that she was “shocked” about gaining over 80 pounds and that she gained it by eating lots and lots of butter.

The butter comment irks me. It’s not the butter that’s a problem, it’s the amount of butter consumed and the frequency with which it’s eaten. The all-or-nothing approach to butter was the fastest ticket for Kirstie to take yet another trip on the weight loss roller coaster ride. It’s dizzying, and the only way to get grounded is to stop blaming the food itself and start looking at herself. What makes her eat? I wonder.

On the other hand, I can feel for Kirstie. It seems to me that she lost her accountability with the folks at Jenny Craig and needed the media pressure to maintain her slimmer self to satisfy everyone else. Obviously, it doesn’t work. There’s something deeper needed. Same thing happened with Oprah; same thing happened with at least a dozen other people I know who are not celebrities. Reaching a certain weight may happen under the pressure of something or someone else, but staying there requires the tenacity from within. Perhaps Kirstie was not “shocked” that she actually gained the weight, but surprised that it was possible for her to gain that amount of weight again.

But we are all the same, celebrity or not, when it comes to weight loss. That tenacity we need can only sustain us in a limited way. This daily weight loss battle is grueling and tiring, and, the icing on the cake is the realization that losing the weight isn’t as hard as keeping it off.

I’m thankful for this story as a reminder to myself that prayers are the ultimate food program and God is ALWAYS there for me to indulge. I’m thankful that I don’t need an unlimited amount of tenacity to keep the weight off; I only need to remember to ask for God’s help—again. And again. Amen.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Support Systems

Okay, ladies, it’s time to get personal. It’s time to talk about support systems—you know what I mean: BRAS. Yup, I’ve finally accepted the fact that there’s just nothing quite like a good-fitting bra.

I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and as a result, my size has changed. Not just one size, but many sizes. My ring size, shoe size, jeans size and yes, my bra size. It wasn’t something noticeable overnight but there was one day when I looked in the mirror and noticed something was wrong. The outfit was okay, the shoes acceptable, but I was a bit, ahem, saggy. No, it wasn’t the clothes, it was me. I thinned out so that means I also flattened out. If you can’t change nature, you can get a new bra.

A girlfriend and I had the opportunity for a mini getaway a couple years ago which included relaxing, chatting and, of course, shopping. A small lingerie boutique was on the list of nearby stores to visit. It was one of those classy boutiques—the ones that are intimidating and alluring at the same time. It’s time to put the bra challenge to the test.

My girlfriend and I walked into the store with the scantily-clad mannequins and greeted the salesclerk with a skeptical smile. “Hi!” she said, way too excitedly. We jumped right to the task at hand. “Do you have those bras that Oprah raves about,” I asked, “the ones that help with the, uh, support I need?” Little Miss Excitement escorted us to the back section of the quaint store and presented the display of the ever-so-famous bras. All sizes and colors of these magical wonders were on display. I checked one of the price tags. “I don’t intend to buy today, but want to know if it’s really true that these bras really make a difference.” I clarified. Not to be swayed, she continued her Pepsodent smile and said “No problem! Let’s figure out your size and let you try it on. For fun!” She unhooked the measuring tape she was wearing like a stethoscope, ready to cure my ills. She measured and re-measured until she got the correct numbers.

Well, almost 70 dollars later, I made myself into a new woman! So did my girlfriend. These bras are amazing. Support systems really do help us in ways we never imagined.

The most meaningful support system in my life is my prayer life. Yes, I have wonderful girlfriends. Yes, I have an amazing family. Yes, I have the perfect bra. But God is the only one who comes through for me every time. God is like the bra that is always the right size, lifting me up when I’m sagging , making me feel better, stronger, and ready to face the world. I’m made up of the same stuff underneath, but with God’s support, I feel like a new person. Time to accept the fact that there’s just nothing quite like a great support system—no matter what size I am.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Binge Management

Yes, you read the title correctly. Not Waste Management or Time Management, but Binge Management. An oxymoron. Binges are episodes of indulgence; if they were managed, they wouldn’t be called binges, would they?

Binge Management Step 1.
Get rid of the trigger food in my environment.

I am addicted to some foods, especially chocolate. Recently, I had the opportunity to try out a new low-fat dessert recipe which included a small amount of mini chocolate chips as one of the ingredients. I was excited to try something new, salivating at the thought of the chocolatey treat. Carefully measuring the chips, I knew I needed to discard the rest of the bag. Yes, it’s wasteful; however, my binge management system requires me to have my home environment be free of over-the-top addictive foods. Wasteful or not, I made the decision to do it—I tossed the rest of the chocolate chip bag into the depths of the trash can.

Binge Management Step 2.
Check that Binge Management Step 1 has been completed.

The rest of the bag of mini chocolate chips was safely disposed. Or was it? Moments after the gentle thud, the mini chips used their mini voices to call my name from the depths of the trash can. “Rescue me.” The whisper from the Waste Management system confirmed for me that the Binge Management mission was not yet complete. I needed to proceed to step 3.

Binge Management Step 3. Use only when necessary.
Remove the binge item from its current location and make sure it’s completely inedible.

I flipped up the trash can lid. Seeing the chocolate package, I went in. I found and removed the chocolate chip bag. This step was a dangerous one. I knew it could easily lead to the binge I’m avoiding. Time to make the chocolate inedible. Those chocolate chips were feisty; they required the Dirty Harry weapon of all time: Dish Soap. (music in background: dah dah dah duuuuuuhhh) A long time ago, I heard this suggestion which has forever been helpful in emergency situations like this one. Holding open the rescued bag of chocolate chips while attempting to avoid the decadent scent which already activated my salivary glands, I made my move. I poured the Dish Soap into the bag. This, I knew, was the only way I could quiet those cocoa morsels once and for all. This time, the bag was discarded with a thump.

At the dinner table later that evening, my children’s version of rationality changed the action adventure into more of a comedy. “Can you believe what Mom did? She poured dish soap into the bag of chocolate chips and then threw them away!”

I smiled and mentally blew across the muzzle of that smoking gun. Dish Soap is the 44 Magnum of my food addiction battle. I felt lucky.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Strawberries and Lard?

Strawberries. Ahhh—the scent. Fresh-picked strawberries from the farmers’ market, still warm from the sun and ready to ooze red juice and satisfaction in an instant. Paired with whipped cream, strawberries are a beautiful sight, indulging the tastebuds of young and old alike. Cut vertically, strawberries reveal their heart shape in the center, symbolizing how deeply we love them. They’re healthy, too, which only enhances my personal enjoyment of these fruity treats.

Lard. What IS it? Defined as “The rendered fat of hogs, esp. the internal fat of the abdomen.” Yuck. It’s white, pasty with little odor or interest. Perhaps I could spackle the wall with it, I thought. Cook with it? Who would’ve imagined…?

My grocery shopping cart on a recent trip contained both strawberries and lard. The strawberries were on sale, and are always enjoyed in our home. The lard? Part of an old family recipe to make a traditional Italian Easter bread containing eggs, butter, cheese and the finale of the cholesterol-enhancing recipe, lard. I could have substituted lower-fat alternatives, I thought, but this was the real deal. I was baking something that was an old family recipe from my in-laws. This does not allow for change, I thought. How could I change a tradition?

I struggled with the crazy dichotomy of food in my cart. For so long, I’ve practice and mastered the art of making good choices at the grocery store. Why didn’t the cashier even give a second glace when she scanned the lard? I felt like a hypocrite, purporting to be a healthy example of low-fat living with a wad of the white stuff being placed in my bag. Somehow, though, it makes sense. Something about balance. I cannot be perfect like those strawberries all of the time. Sometimes I simply make decisions that are like the lard: boring, bland, unhealthy and messy. Tradition or not, we’ll have lard in our lives from time to time. It’s what we do with the rest of the time that counts. For me, it's faith in the Lord that helps clean up the messes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Get Out Of Jail Free card

Several years ago, I started a new game. Losing weight.

Like Monopoly, it goes on and on. A long game. A game with some objectives, but most times I have no idea how it’ll turn out. It’s familiar, though, not only to me but to everyone I know. It’s sometimes mundane, sometimes fun.

I picked my favorite playing piece, the shoe.

I like the shoe, not because of the implied exercise and health associated with it, but because it’s easy to hold. I simply like it. Reminds me to move in my own way, one little step at a time. I gathered my stash of cash: two $500s, two $100s, two $50s, six $20s, five $10s, five $5s and five $1s. The play money, like the weight loss training, support systems, healthy food and exercise plan, will buy me long-term investment in this weight loss game. I put the shoe on GO. It’s a new beginning; a chance at a healthy life.

I rolled the dice quickly and headed for Reading Railroad.

Full steam ahead. Gotta love those railroads. Like new habits, the more railroads I own, the better the results. I learned new ways to eat, cooked food differently, and enjoyed fruits and vegetables again.

Rolled the dice again. Landed me in a spot where I’m “Just visiting” jail.

I’m somewhat safe. The prison that I call a binge is a mental barrier that sees no light. All that can be seen is food and more food. All that can be done is the consumption of it. Since I’m just visiting, I can see what it’s like to be stuck in old habits, but still have the energy to move on. I survived a few events where old habits of overeating could have taken over but instead I managed: weddings, family holiday gatherings, picnic buffets, restaurant outings.

Rolled again. Headed down the stretch to Free Parking.

I stayed and rested a bit. I re-evaluated my new eating habits. I enlisted the help of friends and family to support me on this weight loss ride. I researched food information: calories, fat, fiber, nutrients.

Rolled again. Down the last corner, heading towards ‘GO’ again. Passing GO, I collected my $200 of new motivation to go around again. Time for a CHANCE card this time.

Ugh. Go to Jail, Go Directly To Jail, Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200. JAIL. The binge begins. I start to eat some food, then some more, then more and more until I decide to eat whatever I can find that doesn’t walk away from me. Stuck in the prison of my mind, I chew until I can’t think anymore.

This is the time for Get Out of Jail Free card. This is the time to simply throw down that yellow card and move on. No waiting three turns until a possible double shows on the dice. No paying my way out. Simply place the card and move on. It is the same “free” card I get with the gift of salvation. By accepting it, I get the chance to live my life differently. I’m so thankful.

Here I am, several years after starting this game, and I still need the reminder of this card. It’s worthless unless I use it, so I motivate myself to remember it exists and simply allow the freedom it provides.

I like this card.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Water, Water everywhere...

Okay, it’s April, and we know what that implies: April showers, right? Since I’m not into gardening, I don’t think about the resulting May flowers. Instead, I wonder about water. Lately, the phrase: “Water, water, everywhere…” has come to mind. What’s the rest of the sentence?

“…and not a drop to drink.” Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. What does that mean? I envision a bobbing sailboat with dehydrated vacationers out for a longer journey than they ever expected, in the middle of the ocean gasping for their last breath of life. All they need is water for refueling and all they have is an ocean of water surrounding them, keeping them from life. There’s no way to boil the salt out of the salt water to make it drinkable in this scene. Water everywhere can mean I’m drowning in the essence of my own life without the refueling that comes from having a life with purpose. Water everywhere can mean I think I’m pursuing a healthy lifestyle but instead am being sucked dry by the very information I crave. Water everywhere can mean I’m volunteering my time and energy to seemingly good causes, like feeding the poor, but instead am poor in my own spirit.

Water is critical for health, and I am very aware of drinking it to obey the eight-glasses-a-day-for-better-health rule. I have trained my body to be in need of an abundance of water, and am used to drinking it all day long. When I am thirsty, I am reminded that I’ll immediately get a drink of water to take care of the thirst, but I might not take a minute to sit and pray to take care of a spiritual need I might have today.

That ocean symbolizes the abundance of God’s love and availability in prayer, more than I could imagine. It surrounds me, but is not available to me unless I make myself available too. I have found that forcing myself to be still for a few minutes allows my thoughts and emotions to focus back on God who is always there. I believe He knows what’s up every minute of the day whether I’m thinking of Him or not. How cool is that.

Water, water, everywhere… I plan to drink more and drown less.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Walk it Off Tone it Up!

I’m so excited! I participated in an online survey a while back for the chance to preview some exercise videos; last week I received some Leslie Sansone DVDs on my doorstep. The first video I’m sweatin’ to is called Walk It Off and Tone It Up. This workout is a blast; completely energizing and results-driven, just like Leslie Sansone herself! She guides me through the low-impact moves for 5 miles, but I can choose 1, 2, 3 or 4 miles for variation and flexibility. I love the use of the firm bands; they’re such a time-saver since I can get strength training while having fun with the cardio workout. There are two firm bands used singly or simultaneously to boost the workout.

I have had tremendous success using exclusively at-home workout videos. Leslie’s have been the best due to the low-impact moves that I was able to do when I was more than 100 pounds heavier, and are still extremely effective all these years later as they continue to tone and trim my healthier body! I am so thankful for these lifesavers: they save time and money. It’s incredible how simple an at-home workout can be to avoid stress related to getting the workout into my schedule; I don’t need to worry about the car, the weather, the gym hours. It’s great to just put on my workout gear first thing in the morning and have gotten the workout in before the rest of the house is awake! I believe these workouts make me a better person, a better wife and a better mom. What a gift!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Yesterday was a salt craving day.

Many years of dieting have taught me how to stay on my eating program and still enjoy the salty foods I need on a day like this. I indulged all day, the healthy-eating way: pickles, low-fat chips, fat-free cheese, diet soda, low-fat popcorn. There are times I need the salty stuff and have discovered that it’s better to simply go for it than to eat other foods instead, like I used to. I find it strange when the salt craving kicks in because it’s unusual for me. If I need to indulge, it’s usually the sweets calling my name. “Lisa…Lisa…Lisa” they chant. Those sweets know me well. The salt craving is different. “You—take care of me NOW” they say. My nursing friends could probably explain the medical reasons behind these occasional salt cravings, but the information doesn’t appease the need. And so I go for it.

Interestingly, our pastor spoke about salt yesterday, too. He clarified how we are to be “salty” to others—to enhance the flavor of our relationships with other people. The only way there’s any effectiveness from salt is when it’s in the proximity of the food it’s trying to flavor. Imagine eating a plain old white potato. The starchy, tasteless potato needs modification to be enjoyed. Imagine eating a teaspoonful of salt. Straight up. Salivating yet? Separately, these two foods, potatoes and salt, can be bland and unappealing.

Now imagine some hot crispy sticks of potatoes with salt mixed all around. Voila. Appealing, indulgent and delicious, the formerly plain potato has been kicked up a notch to a popular treat-French fries. Similarly, mixing it up with others can enhance any relationship. Together we can share a joke, and laugh until our bellies hurt. Together we can process our feelings and get reinforcement that we are on the straight path to self-discovery. Together we can smile, cry, hug and think. It’s in our connections we can become more than we are by ourselves. Proximity is key.

Today is a water-drinking day to offset the bloating from the marvelous sodium overload. But it was worth it. At times our bodies, and our hearts, have a craving and we simply need to respond. Now.

Do you crave salt today?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What is it about Mondays?

I like to look at the various days of the week as different ice cream flavors. Picture some of the interesting choices on the wall of your favorite ice cream shop: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Chip, Black Raspberry, Cherry Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Peanut Butter Cup, Moose Tracks. The weekends are commonly associated with a busy schedule; lots happening; like Mocha Chip Fudge or Double Chocolate Mint Cookie Dough. Tuesdays and Thursdays are a simple Vanilla, perhaps, or even Orange Sherbet. Wednesdays are perceived as a challenging day with their mid-week status combined with too much to do; Triple Chocolate Overload probably defines it best. Then there’s Mondays.

Mondays are just another day of the seven-day week, but their position at the beginning of most work weeks gives them an unfair reputation. What is it about Mondays that entitles us to wish them away to oblivion just because of their very existence? I’ve learned it’s about how we think.

What we think about creates a reality for ourselves whether or not it parallels the reality in which we live. We can choose the thoughts that enter our subconscious by weeding out the thoughts at the conscious level. We may think Mondays are dreary and burdensome, representing the start of more work, or catching up from the undone weekend activities. Another choice is to view our Mondays with an expectant hope for the start of another glorious week in our lives. Perhaps we can choose thankfulness for another day to be alive on this earth with new opportunities to fulfill our life’s purpose. We can decide to enjoy the start of the week for its indulgent gifts—start with a nut or two, add in some swirly confection and mix it all up in a delectable base.

What will be your flavor choice be next Monday? I think I’ll skip the Rocky Road and go straight for the Smooth Vanilla Nut Swirl.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snow Day Meltdown

Smooth new snow, like creamy white icing, covers the ground and presents itself to be indulged. “Yaaay! Can we go and play in the snow?” is heard before breakfast. The kids are up and dressed faster than on any school day. The knowledge that school is closed for the day fuels them more than the healthiest breakfast imaginable.

Time to pull out the gear: snowpants, hats, mittens, scarves and boots. Time to cover the floor by the door with a towel to catch wet leftovers. The tedious prep time does nothing to diffuse the anticipation brewing along with my coffee while the children find their sleds and put on their gear. It warms my heart.

But there’s another underlying emotion brewing. My own first reaction to snow sounds more like “Ugh!” I do appreciate the kids’ joy and even tap into my own childhood sledding experiences to conjure a fond memory or two. The reality, however, is that snow days are meltdown days for me. My workload increases exponentially on these days with more laundry and hot-cocoa-and-popcorn-production while keeping the house from becoming a slushy mess in the meantime. Out they go to sled and play; in they come with snowy boots, wet pants, crusty hats and mittens and those rosy red cheeks. There’s never enough room to shake off the hardened snow from the crevices of the coats and cold weather gear. Time to wipe up the kitchen floor again. Time to run the laundry again.

Okay, so you may tell me I’m whining. You may tell me to enjoy these times; appreciate my life and especially my children. Believe me, I do. What’s really bugging me on these days that that my plans are interrupted. I am reminded that I am not in control. Not fun. Not fun at all.

The joy returns, however, when I take a minute and remember that it’s okay to be out of control. Why? Because God is the one who is in control anyway. I can rest in that fact alone, and then and only then, can refocus and enjoy my many blessings – children, home, warmth, clothes, even hot cocoa – and hold onto the hope that warms my heart to melt the cold snow. This hope reminds me once again that God is always there and always in control.

Springlike weather is in the air again. The snow has melted and the days are getting longer. The meltdown of my emotions bring me back to the joy and hope from God to mimic the happy sounds of spring which are even sweeter than smooth white icing.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Exercise is Easy...?

It was “Health Day” at the local elementary school last Friday. “What’s that?” you ask. It’s an annual event where all regular lessons are suspended in exchange for a full day of teaching workshops by local volunteers including doctors, scientists and health instructors to teach the children on a variety of topics focusing on how to get and stay healthy. I was invited to speak and demonstrate on the topic “Exercise is Easy!” Well, let’s say I was more of a demonstrator than speaker. Teaching young children about any topic is more effective when it’s engaging and action-oriented, so we had fun spending most of our time walking, kicking, side-stepping and moving to the music as I taught walk-at-home low-impact exercises. Energy permeated through the hallways and classrooms, and the students wore their enthusiasm all over their healthy selves as they smiled, sweated and moved with me. The teachers got involved, too, with chorus-line kicking and marching amidst the giggling in the back of the room. One teacher was apparently familiar with the exercise routine and found herself in the front of the room leading the group herself for a few minutes. It was a blast. I had the chance to see eleven different groups of children in 20-minute intervals throughout the course of the entire day from 9 a.m. until past 3 p.m. “Exercise is easy!”, I’d shout, and the kids and teachers smiled in agreement, class after class after class.

Until the 3:00 hour. It was the end of six hours of a variety of activities for these children, and my last group, a first-grade class, entered the room with all the energy they could muster. But there was a look of defeat slipping in. Instead of rising up to the boot camp cry of “just five more minutes!” one little girl looked me straight in the eye and shook her head “NO!” I looked right back at her with a sweaty smile. “We’re almost done!”

And done she was. Down to the floor she sat, refusing to go any further. Several of her classmates followed suit. I smiled and switched gears – it was time to stretch and relax.

That little girl’s honest response to the prompting and motivation all around her was a sweet treat. There are so many times in my adult life I find I do things simply because I should. Eat healthy foods. Exercise. Manage family time. Nurture relationships. The discipline and motivation for all these areas grow out of a maturity earned through experiences, decisions and life choices. There are times, however, when I realize it’s just as important to be as genuine and honest as that little girl who said “NO!”

“Exercise is easy!” was the mantra I taught all day at the school. The lesson I learned, however, is that exercise can be easy, but staying true to ourselves as this little girl did is a wonderful balance to all the motivation in the world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time Management

Time management is practically an oxymoron--who manages time anyway? We like to think we manage time, but it's simply another commodity to spend. Once spent, it is gone, unless other currency with interest income or perhaps appreciation as added value. Instead, time is spent and as a result is gone.

Time, once spent, equals life. Our life experiences are simply the way we use this particular commodity. Our values are reflected in this way, too.

As a mom of young children, my clock revolves around theirs. I've learned each step matters, just like the weight loss journey, where it's not each pound, but each quarter of a pound that added up to the sum total of a hundred pounds lost. Wow.

Each precious block of time for writing will add up to the finished manuscript. Wow.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Communication. Online. Whatever happened to the face-to-face stuff? This world of blogging has invaded my space and so I give in. I'm a writer; creating a website; working on the manuscript; hence the blog. Hey, it's another place to write; to vent; to work through the thoughts and perhaps someone else shares those thoughts. I'm refreshed by more chances to actually write but wonder about the communication thing.
Face-to-face means more than the words; there's the body language, the eye movement, the hand gestures that say even more than the words. Now its time for the words to speak for themselves.