Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Temptations...including Chocolate Candy

Ahhh…a cool breeze fans my face, crunchy leaves dance with the wind, heat of the sun penetrates my bulky sweatshirt and warms my shoulders. Burning wood, the sweet aroma of a distant fireplace, permeates the air. Autumn’s weather refuels me with its crisp awakening of my senses. Autumn also brings those oh-so-familiar food temptations to mind…including chocolate candy.

Why is there Halloween candy on the store shelves before I’ve finished switching gears from summer to back-to-school mode? Why does a normal display of sweet treats seem more appealing when tiny pumpkins are printed on the packages next to little smiling white ghosts? Is candy corn a vegetable?

I am obsessed with chocolate, especially chocolate candy. All I need is a tiny reminder like the cooler weather, to remind me of this personal problem. I’m also reminded of my candy-management-system for Halloween and my kids, and am excited to implement it again this year. In case you’re not already enlightened, here it is:
Candy In the House: I have learned that it is not okay for me to buy my own favorite candy to supposedly give out to the neighborhood kids, but it simply becomes ‘candy in the house’; a definite no-no for me. I became one of those boring neighbors, who gives something OTHER than the gem of all gems, a full-sized Hershey bar. Instead, my creativity spanned the treat-giving from pencils, to bubble gum, to sugarless gum, to pretzels, to coins. I will, once again, choose to give out something other than chocolate candy.
Candy All Over the Stores: I have learned to shop in the stores differently, by avoiding the candy aisles altogether, or adding some cardio workout to my routine by zipping past them as quickly as possible. I’ll do whatever it takes to deal with this chocolate problem of mine.
Candy From Outside the House: My biggest challenge is dealing with all the candy my kids can collect from the neighbors, and it’s a bigger challenge on rainy Halloweens, like we had last year. That’s when people give out double their candy to be finished with the door-opening with the accompanying rain and wind. Several years ago, I implemented the buy-back system with my kids, where I let them choose a handful of Halloween goodies (to be consumed by them within a week) to keep; the rest of the goodies are then ‘bought back’ by me at a current-year’s rate, usually 10 cents or a quarter per piece. It is fun to see their entrepreneurial spirits kick in along with the usual competitiveness and have them challenge each other for the biggest payout of the year.

What do I do with all that candy? Get rid of it---whatever it takes. Trash, dentist offices (some have a buy-back plan), someone’s desk at an office…anywhere but in my home.

Whew, this battle will be won. Time to strategize for the Thanksgiving goodies and Christmas cookies.

Tip of the week:
If chocolate candy is your addiction, go ahead and try these strategies! We sometimes need to resort to desperate measures for desperate times, don’t we?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If Momma Ain't Happy...

I have enjoyed the privilege of being involved in women’s ministries for as long as I can remember. Why? I believe that we women need support to be the best we can be as wives, daughters, friends and nurturers. We are made to give and give and give some more, and without each other, we will shrivel up, crumble, and blow away like a fallen autumn leaf. Many years ago, I enjoyed ‘women’s ministries’ in the form of my Mary Kay business, and have enjoyed that role for more than ten years. Now, my women’s ministry role includes bible studies, connection events, and retreats, so that we can refuel.

Why do we women need so much support? Because we are emotional beings!

There’s no doubt about it: my emotional state of being on any given day has a huge impact on the emotional barometer in my home. I strongly believe in being responsible for my own self-care, not to be confused with being self-ish. Self-care means I am taking ownership of what makes me ‘tick’, I am in charge of my passion meter, and I am to harness my emotional needs in a way so I can nurture them. There are three primary self-care methods that keep me sane. First and foremost is my time with God. If I don’t get to sit my bottom down into a chair with that bible on one hand and a pen and paper in the other, my entire day seems scattered. Another favorite variation of self-therapy is a visit to a book store, particularly those which have coffee shops, too, and boy oh boy the fresh-brewed coffee aroma permeating the air, swirling through the smell of fresh, new paper…it’s absolutely heavenly. So if I can’t be with God directly, I’d rather be in a bookstore, or my favorite is the final source of self-therapy: the glittering gem of treasure in self-care: my precious girlfriends. This self-care frees me to meet the needs of others—my husband, children, friends, and family. “If Momma ain’t happy…,” well, you know the rest.

I have engaged in a change in perspective lately, though. Instead of looking at my self-care practices to make sure I have my emotional needs met, I decided to accept a recent challenge which stated that my husband and my children ARE my ministry. Yes, I am involved in a number of ministries, but if I lose sight of my most important ministry—my own husband and kids—nothing else matters. Now my mantra is “If they are all happy, then Momma is happy!” With a focus on them first, while simultaneously keeping a pulse on my own self-care meter, I can know that who I am and what I do are making a difference. Making a difference in my home is where it all starts; then I know I am making a difference in the world. I think it’s what we all might want: to make a difference. I thank God for this new perspective.

Tip of the week:
Don’t quit! I speak frequently about losing weight and persevering, but when the rubber meets the road, there is always a place where we all want to quit. It’s too hard. It takes too long. It’s not fun anymore. The only way to fail in weight loss, or any challenge in life, is to quit. That fact alone keeps me going. Even if I’m messing up, again, I am committed not to quit.