Monday, February 28, 2011

I Feel It Starting...

About a year ago, I started on this Healthier Me journey. Many of you have been cheering me along.

The thing about this kind of journey is that it has to be ongoing. This hasn't ever been about getting to a certain weight or size. While I have definitely enjoyed and appreciated watching my body change, it wasn't ever my goal.

My goal was to run a 5K. I've since done multiple 5K events and am now training to run a half marathon. I'm running a 10K this coming Saturday.

I did lose weight. And in losing weight, I dropped 2-3 clothing sizes. Luckily, I had 2 friends who had also been working on getting fit and they had clothes to pass on to me.

I've gained back a chunk of the weight I lost. Part of that is because I picked up more strength training. Part of that is because I slacked off, especially on my food choices. I've kept off 20 pounds since a year ago and am happy with that.

I have a feeling I'm about to start my next downward trend. And my hope is that I will drop some weight and that lightening will help improve my running.

There are a few reasons why I can feel this change creeping back into my life.

1. The seasons are changing. Spring is creeping in and I feel the itch to be outside, to be more active, and to consume a lot more fruits and veggies. I wonder if I snack more in the wintertime because of that sense of hibernation or protection against the elements? I don't know. I'm glad I kept up with working out over the winter and I think I did an average job of keeping up with good food choices.

2. The healthy living challenge at work is starting up next week. I'm not really competitive in that sort of environment but I do feel the pressure to succeed for the sake of my team. I'm also a great motivator and love to encourage people and I think living the example is a great way to encourage and support others. The challenge lasts for 10 weeks and it was a big part of my success last year.

3. There's a new healthy living group starting at church- and I'm co-leading it. A friend I've known for a couple of years now, thanks to church, and I have been talking for a little while now about starting up a fitness group at church. Our original idea was a Saturday morning meet up at church with Ginger- a certified personal trainer- leading an hour long workout. However, when we met to actually discuss details, we discovered that we each had very packed weekends for the next 2 months and that Saturday mornings weren't really going to work.

I very much believe that God brought us together and hatched this little idea in our heads. Because as we talked and hit obstacles and talked more and continued to seek out a way to make our idea a reality, we ended up creating a plan that is different than first intended but that I think will have the potential for a bigger impact.

We figured out that our best option would be to work with people at times they are already at church instead of trying to squeeze in a new time for people to commit to- after all, we couldn't make it work in our busy mom/school/work/spouse schedules so it might be tough for others to do the same. Our church currently has a Wednesday night event called Weds Connexion. Dinner made at church at 6:15, sharing of joys and concerns, then meet up in small groups that have various planned Bible studies going on (variety of topics happen in these groups- upcoming is a favorite of our Pastor that he leads on Andy Griffith). We are about to start a new session this coming Weds.

Makes sense to meet on Wednesday evenings. But what about the people who want to attend one of the other groups or who have committed to leading one of those groups? How about meeting after church on Sundays, too? That way, people can come to one group or both.

We're going about this organically- no purchased curriculum. Ginger has experience in leading groups in exercise programs. I know a lot about food and nutrition. We're going to have journals to write down long and short term goals, struggles and successes in terms of healthy living over the week, and the journal can be used to write down what is consumed each day. I've got some Bible study plans from when I led a briefly lived walking group back in the fall. Each meet up will be an hour- we will spend 20 minute or so sharing from journals, sharing the Bible focus for that week, a tip or goal or challenge for healthy living for the week ahead and then we'll do a light workout. Walk for 30-40 minutes, strength training, resistance training, yoga/stretching.

There's the potential for groups to meet up independently to workout together with or without us. We're planning an online component. We are confident in our ability to work with all levels of fitness.

What I love most of all is that there is something for me to get excited about in regards to fitness. I think part of why I fall off the proverbial wagon is that I get bored when it all becomes overly routine.

I like change, I like things being different, I like a new challenge. And I love motivating people. I love watching people start making changes. I love being a support and encouraging others. I'm a pretty great cheerleader, I must say.

One year later. I'm still running. I'm still maintaining a mostly healthy lifestyle. And now I'm going to end up in a leadership role where I get to do what I love most- sharing my passion with others and getting them excited about fitness and vegetables and fruit and non-processed foods.

I'm back, baby. And I'm ready to rock it!!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Burrito Night- Trader Joe's Style

Taco night is always a fun dinner. I have memories of taco night when I was a kid- hard shells crisping in the oven, ground beef and seasoning, shredding up the lettuce and grating a block of cheese. And that was about it for taco night.

All grown up... and I like some serious variety in my homemade tacos and burritos. Last night, we skipped the crispy shells completely. I went with whole wheat tortillas. We did brown up ground beef and taco seasoning.

Jeff's a pretty classic guy for his burrito- sour cream, cheese, meat, lettuce, taco sauce.

Teagan likes sour cream, meat, cheese.

Zach isn't a big taco eater so he tends to eat everything separate- meat, cheese, a side of applesauce.

I like my mouth to explode with flavor. Thankfully, Trader Joe's helps me out with that!

My burrito:

First, I spread some sour cream on my tortilla. Next, a generous portion of these refried black beans with jalapeno peppers. Insanely good. I'm not a huge fan of refried beans. But I love black beans and I love jalapenos so this can of beans is perfect for me!

Next, I spoon on a little bit of ground beef- but I could easily skip the meat altogether, really.

Then the part that makes my burrito completely irrisistable for me... this Trader Joe's Chimichurri Rice. It's a frozen side dish and it has tomato, onion, and peas in it for veggies. It's also insanely heavy on the cilantro and I looooooove cilantro. I mean, I seriously LOOOOVE cilantro!! So this is what makes my burrito taste fresh and gives it a special kick.

I top it all off with a few jalapenos- just because I like it spicy!
For my beverage last night, I took a little less than half a glass of Simply Limeade and then filled the cup with Trader Joe's sparkling lime water. It was delish!

While at Trader Joe's on Friday, I happened upon this wine. I'm not generally a white wine drinker so I didn't buy one. But if you know someone who enjoys white wine or if you know someone who collects blue glass, this is a perfect gift!

The wine I did pick up is a Spanish Tempranillo. While it would be great with my burrito... I prefer to save it for my post-bedtime couch time.

How do you do taco/burrito night at your house?


Saturday, February 26, 2011


It is 6:41 a.m., Saturday. I'm meeting a friend for breakfast at 9. It's about a 10 minute or so drive. Which means I should get my running clothes on and go for a run. I could get in a decent run. But my brain is trying to talk me out of it. I'm trying to dig deep and find my motivation but my brain and my body keep talking me out of it. There's no good reason not to go. There's a long list of great reasons to just go do it. Even my excuses to not go become great reasons to actually go. Motivation. Send some my way, please! Photobucket

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Click on the button to go visit our wonderful hostess, Mrs4444!

We had a nice little teaser of spring last weekend and then we got slammed with snow overnight. Inches of it with freezy stuff underneath. I usually love snow but something about having those mild days with sunshine and light jackets is leaving me wistful... but the snow is definitely pretty. Maybe this is the snow's big farewell to winter? No matter- I can totally spring up my blog post today! Update from yesterday's post: Teagan is fine. She's eating and behaving normally. The chest pain is gone. She is on an antibiotic as a preventative in case the throat swabs did irritate any bacteria which could have a negative impact on her heart if there is anything wrong with her heart. We see a cardiologist in a few weeks. There is a lot of turmoil going on in a lot of states these days- including my own. And it's big government driven changes to education and unions and state constitutions. There are protests and a lot of angry people and a lot of heated emotions boiling over. I know that change is needed and I support that. But I also thinking we need to quit the chest pounding to show who's boss and show who the new sheriff in town is... and actually evaluate what changes will be most effective and beneficial. When I went to that event at the Statehouse recently, something really cool came out of it. I've connected really well with some of the bloggers who attended. The best part of connecting with local bloggers is the opportunity to get together- which I hope will happen soon. I've got 2 blogs/sites that I'd like to recommend- The Lazy Christian and The Average Parent. I'm finishing up final details for Teagan's birthday party! We will be inviting 8 friends to join her at Cookies and Canvas and each child will leave with their own masterpiece, led by an artist. Teagan has to do her invite list and I need to get those invites out stat! It's birthday season- we have birthdays every Saturday starting tomorrow and ending with Teagan's birthday party on March 19. I can't believe she is turning 6. I'm on a campaign... you know those Wheat Thin ads where Wheat Thins finds a tweet about their product and then they "surprise" that Tweeter with a skid of Wheat Thins? I have to tell you- Wheat Thins is probably my favorite crackers. I'm on a mission to get them to notice my tweets but I want YOUR help, please. If you are on Twitter, could you tweet them for me? Here's what I'm doing (feel free to copy and paste): Hey @CrunchIsCalling! @eternallizdom wants Wheat Thins for her local food pantry! Hook them up!! I need to get my plan in place for Project 52 for this weekend- more clutter needs to go! My goal is to actually load up the stuff for donating and get it to Goodwill so it isn't just bags of stuff adding to the clutter. My other goal is to get the kitchen back in order (we've been crazy busy lately so we've hardly been using the kitchen so there's just a sink full of lightly used dishes and piles of mail all around). I'd love it if you'd leave comments that include your e-mail address when you login. I like to reply to comments directly sometimes. And I have a Blogger gripe- I really hate embedded comments. I will type up my comment, hit submit, hit submit, hit submit, it finally goes to the preview with the word verification but if I'm not ready for it, I'll think my comment posted because it bumps me to the top of the blog! I have to remember to scroll down and hit submit again!

That's it for today... let me know if you have anything interesting going on this weekend. And let me know how you're doing... how's life treating you? Photobucket

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stress and Anxiety and Calm

11:30 Wednesday, Christy is in my office at work and we are mapping out our run for the day with a goal of 3.25 miles. My cell phone rings- it's school.

My heart always sinks when that number comes up. Lori, the owner, is fantastic and will start the call with "everyone's fine."

This call didn't start that way.

Teagan said that her chest hurt. Inside, in the middle. She told her teacher and was sent up to see Lori. Lori immediately called me while starting to take Teagan's temperature- it was normal but Lori noticed a red rash on Teagan's chest and torso.

My mind went into action mode. I called Jeff to go pick her up. I called our doctor's office- do we bring her there or go to the ER? They suggested Immediate Care. I met them there.

Jeff said it was pretty scary. As soon as they got there and he told them that Teagan said her chest hurt, they rushed them back immediately, no check in, no information taking. Started immediately taking vitals and asking questions.

We are blessed to have a medical group that we trust and that has always treated us well.

I got to the Immediate Care place and went straight back to them. Teagan was fine and I was thankful for it. They did a throat swab to check for strep and the immediate test came back negative. Had to do a second swab- which Teagan was not happy about. But she did get her brave face on and made it through the second swab. Went and had a chest x-ray done.

The doctor came in and basically told us that she thought it was most likely that Teagan had just strained something or pulled something and that she really didn't think it was her heart. Her vitals were fine, no swelling in her nodes, her heart sounded good. If any concerning symptoms presented, call immediately and go to the pediatric ER. She left the room.

Jeff and I were relieved for the entire 3 minutes she was out of the room.

Then she came back with the report from radiology.

Very slight minimal enlargement of the heart. Coupled with the history of Teagan's minor heart murmur... the concern level grew. The doctor's tone changed. She suggested we contact our family doctor or a cardiologist to read the results. She gave us a prescription for an antibiotic- said that since they did the throat swabs, if there is bacteria, and if the heart enlargement is a concern, it could be a bad combination so we needed to do the antibiotics as a precaution.

Now, we were more scared than before.

We drove home. I called our family doctor's office to find out what pediatric cardiologist they had referred us to back when Teagan was 3. I called that cardiologist to see if we needed to take any immediate action. I wanted someone there to review the chest x-ray and the radiologist's report. Not possible but I could make an appointment for a few weeks from now. No thanks.

Called my family doctor's office- where I feel most comfortable. I offered to drive the copy of the report to them. They thought that was a good idea. Off we went. Dropped off the radiologist's report as well as the notes that Lori had made when it all popped up hours before.

Then the waiting began.

Off to Target to fill our prescription for the pink medicine that tastes like bubble gum. While waiting for the scrip, we indulged in some retail therapy. In our concern and worry, we might have spoiled Teagan just a smidge. She got new shoes, a dress, and 3 pairs of leggings. We got treats at Starbucks- a strawberry frappucino (coffee free) for Teagan, cafe mocha with a shot of hazelnut for me, hot chocolate for Jeff. Got our prescription and headed back to school to pick up Zach.

Her chest pain presented at 11:30. After doctor visits and phone calls and phone calls and phone calls and a trip to the pharmacy... it was 4:30.

Came home for a little rest. We let the kids curl up in our bed and watch Looney Tunes.

Then I refreshed my soul with my church family. Dinner at church followed by a chance to talk with several friends. A chance for things to be normal again and to receive prayers and offers of support.

On our way to church, we got a call from the family doctor's office. The doctor is not concerned about the size of Teagan's heart but they do want Teagan to be seen by a cardiologist. In other words- it isn't urgent but she needs to be seen by a specialist. Tomorrow, the doctor's nurse will contact the cardiologist and make an appointment for us.

I had hugs from my church family. Teagan spoke up during "joys and concerns" and shared that her heart had been hurting and she had to go to the doctor.

I had text messages offering help with anything we might need. I had tons of responses from friends and family on my Facebook page. In fact, when it all first started, I had checked Facebook quickly on my phone after posting my prayer request and I had to turn it off because the response was so overwhelmingly supportive that it almost brought down my composure and opened up the floodgates.

For now, we're fine. And my gut is finally calm enough to tell me that this whole thing will be fine. My faith is also providing me, personally, a lot of comfort. I'm prepared to face the road ahead- it might be a short trip with easy answers or it might be a long, hard road.

We're blessed with friends and family who will lift us up through this- no matter how big or how small.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happiness and Humility

We had a great sermon this past Sunday. Our pastor is a fun guy (if you watched our talent show videos, you can hear him laughing and calling out suggestions- he's the one who called out "flush the toilet" in my improv skit). He's doing a new sermon series and he kicked it off by dressing in tie dye, a long hair wig, and birkenstocks. And he's encouraging all of us to wear our tie dye every week. For the record, I don't own any tie dye anything so a trip to Goodwill might be in my future.

It was a good sermon to kick off the series. The main point was to live a life of humility (meaning to be dependent on God) and to choose happiness.

"The popular idea of happiness is having the right circumstances. That's called 'when and then' thinking. God's way to happiness is having the right attitude."

"Humility doesn't mean you think less of yourself but that you think of yourself less. Humility gives you more time to think of others."

Sometimes, I'm really struck by how life works. I've had experiences where I really connect to something in a sermon or through prayer and then I'm specifically challenged in that area within days.

This was one of those experiences.

A sermon on humility.

Monday morning, a co-worker comes into my office. It's a regular occurence for this person to stop by. They've made some major changes over the past few months and have lost a lot of weight. It's very impressive and we've had some lengthy and interesting conversations on the subject of health and weight.

This person has been sharing their plans with me- get to a certain weight and then start a fitness routine. Shares with me this new plan... they had gone out to run and ended up doing 3.1 miles (5K) and it was great so the new plan is to run 5K every day. I was surprised- given my experience with running, jumping right in to running 3 miles everyday isn't what any runner I know would ever advise. My face must have given away what I was thinking because the next comment- the exiting comment (and I wish I could capture this person's tone because how this was said is important)- was:

"What? It's just a 5K. That's nothing! That's easy! Who can't do that?"


I've been at this running thing for a year. I still can't run the entire distance in a 5K. At this point, I can't even run an entire mile without walk intervals.

It's one thing to say "I ran 5K and felt really great about it!" I'm all for those kinds of statements. I like to share in the joy of someone's accomplishment. I love to be a cheerleader. I'm great at supporting people, encouraging people.

That whole humility thing up there... being on the other end and hearing someone not only share what they've done but also degrade what others do... I didn't like it.

Humility doesn't mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less.

It's easy, sometimes, to confuse confidence and assurance with egoism. I'm sure there are people who think I'm full of myself.

There are even more people, though, who know me and know what I give to others and have experienced my kindness and my compassion and my enthusiasm.

If we all spent time thinking of ourselves less... loving ourselves, being proud of ourselves, being happy with ourselves but thinking of ourselves, our wants, our desires, our accomplishments, and even struggles less... what kind of world would this be? If we all put out an energy that gave more emphasis to the thoughts and feelings and struggles and accomplishments of others, I'm guessing that there would be a lot more compassion flowing freely all around.

Which was the point of the sermon. Happiness and humility go hand in hand. So maybe my challenge for the next time I'm faced with someone who is egotistical or who feels better about themselves by putting someone else down is not to get bristly about, not to get angry or hurt. But instead to realize that they, perhaps, are seeking happiness.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Project 52: 1

Here's the history. Here's the update! I blocked out time on Saturday to tackle specific parts of the house. Unfortunately, I hadn't slept well for 2 nights in a row. And I woke up feeling cruddy. My legs were a little sore from the previous day's run so my plan for a long run Saturday morning was immediately scrapped. Decided to get a head start on my cleaning plan and headed for the playroom. There were moments that it felt overwhelming- and this is one of the most "in control" rooms in the house. But then I just sat down and got down to basics. Pick something up, put it away. And within a few minutes, I was well on my way to getting the room put back together. I found a few toys that I identified as ready to go in the donation pile. Zach surprised me by offering up the Fisher Price barn- but he's right. It isn't a toy they play with regularly. So it's in the donation pile. Then the cruddy feeling I'd woken up with got worse and I went to lay down for a bit and ended up sleeping for a little while. Woke up, out to lunch, home after an errand. Wanted to get back to my list... but my energy was completely lacking. So I decided to take on a smaller project that hadn't made it to my list yet. The entryway. I got the steps mostly cleaned up. Picked up a lot of trash and junk mail and disposed of it. So it's a small step. Next week's goal: Get the donation stuff out of the house. I have at least 3 trash bags full of clothing, a bag of coats, and I'll have a bg/box of toys, too. ***** I'm going to use Project 52 to update my running goals, too. Goal: Run a half marathon in May. Mini-goal: Run a 10K on March 5. I had some arch and ankle issues. Got new shoes- going full on minimalist with Merrell Barefoot. Monday, I did 3 miles in them on the treadmill. And I felt like I could have gone more but I was using the run to test something important- my breathing. I think I might be facing exercise induced asthma. I made an appointment with my doctor for next week to look into it. But it was a huge milestone for me- a mental victory. Not having any true pain during the run was amazing. Feeling like I could go further, do more... I haven't felt that in a long time and it was a huge salve to the anxiety that's been building up about the upcoming 10K. ***** Here's to more positive updates next week! Photobucket

Monday, February 21, 2011

I've decided to become a Grown Up Blogger. I now have my own domain name. My intention is to continue to use the Blogger Blogspot platform- it's easy, I like, I've had no problems with it. I really just wanted an easier web address. So now you can go to if you want. Really, it's the web addy I'll be using going forward- time to go all crazy and get business card and everything, I suppose. Might end up at some blog conference someday. I made sure to export my blog to back it up prior to messing around with it. No need to update your blog roll or anything. Both addresses will come to the blog. One thing about using this domain the way we currently have it set up is that you can click around to my past posts or to my pages and the web addy up top will still just say "" and will not give you the direct link. So if I've posted something you want to share, you'll need to use the little buttons at the end of the post. And if you have any great links or experience in matching up your personal domain and Blogspot, let me know! This is all new territory for me! Photobucket

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Talent Show

Last night at church, we had a talent show. This is an event we have attended for fun before. This is a chance for the memers of the church to have some fun and laugh and clap and let loose. It isn't a full on production, there aren't any auditions or hard core requirements. You just have to be willing to get up and showcase something about yourself.

We had a little girl who sang "Tomorrow" from Annie in full costume (including the wig). She's one of my choir kids and she did fantastic. 2 sisters sang along to some pop number I'd never heard before- but their dad stole the show as their background dancer. We had some traditional visits- each year, our talent show is graced by "Sonny & Cher" and "Johnny Slick" and "The Three Legged Man." We had some actual talent- Brad Real. We had some teenage swing dancers with some fantastic stunts. A trombone and piano duet. Our pastors did a duet- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.

Edited to add: My friend, Victoria, left this comment on my Facebook page and I wanted to share it because it's so true. "Last night was one of many reasons why I so love my church... A place where little girls can hula hoop and sing for an adoring crowd..pastors can be goofy and hip hop is applauded.. .Love is an action.... I think we do it pretty well..."

Teagan has been planning her performance for a ocuple of weeks now. When she first caught on to the fact that there was going to be a talent show, she started planning out her hula hoop routine. I had absolutely nothing to do with any of it. She picked her music. She decided what tricks she was going to do and how she was going to enter.

And she totally rocked it. I had the most foolish grin on my face and tears in my eyes the entire time. I can't even find the words to tell you how proud Jeff and I are. She wasn't nervous in the slightest. She was eager and excited and had some serious fun.

And I might have had a little fun of my own...


Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Is It About Spring?

I think spring is hitting just in the nick of time. Even if we have a little more snow or some more cold temps, we've had a fantastic break in the weather this week and I can feel a huge shift happening for me. I was starting to really struggle with food and exercise. Something about the winter months were really pulling me down. I was fine going outside to run but wasn't as pumped about it as I have been before. My consumption of fresh fruits and veggies really slacked. It was like a downward spiral and I was clinging to the edge with all I had but my grip was slipping. Then the sun came out and the ice melted and the temps have been in the 40's and 50's and we've turned the heat off and even had some windows open. I had stopped my Green BEAN Delivery service over the winter months (money was my reasoning but I think it was more of an excuse). I've got it started back up this coming week. I'm looking forward to cooking beets, eating fresh salad, having apples, oranges, avocado, broccoli, carrots, and much more at my fingertips once again. When I get loads of fresh fruits and veggies in my diet, I feel better, have more energy, my skin is healthier... the benefits are enormous! House work comes easier. There is something about sunshine and open windows that just beckons you to clean up. I want that sunshine to have a pretty spot in my house to rest upon. I actually cleaned out my car today, just because the car was no longer surrounded by ice in the driveway. I've done some cleaning this weekend- and will update on Tuesday for Project 52. What things are easier for you once the winter blahs take a break? Photobucket

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fragments: Bits and Pieces

Mommy's Idea

Click on the button to go visit our wonderful hostess, Mrs4444!


A month ago, my daughter asked me who Martin Luther King, Jr was and it led to a great learning opportunity. Yesterday at school, the kids learned about MLK and Rosa Parks. I called the director, Lori, to hear how it went because I was so eager to know if all the learning we'd done a month ago and stayed with my daughter. It had- she was offering information and answering questions. In talking to Lori, I learned of another book that I want to add to our collection at home. She said the language is a little over their heads but the pictures tell their own story and allow for a great narrative. If A Bus Could Talk Click the link I gave to the previous blog entry for the books we found in our library, too!


Did you check out my addition to the Fit City Indy Mom Blog this week? If not, you should- I'd love your input!


Teagan and I went out to dinner together last night and talked a lot about what they'd covered in school that day. One of the things her teacher, Ms. Sally, shared with the class was her experience as a young girl in the times of the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Sally had a nanny who was black. The family had a home up north and also a home in Florida. Ms. Sally's nanny was very much part of the family but when they went to Florida, there were restrictions of what her nanny was allowed to do with the family. Ms. Sally shared with the class that she remembers sitting in a restaurant, crying because her nanny couldn't eat with them or be with them in that restaurant.

Knowing ahead of time that this story had been shared, I asked Teagan if Ms. Sally had shared anything about when she was a little girl. Teagan said, "Oh yes! She told us that she used to get very sad because her grandma couldn't eat with them in restaurants!"

(And yes, I did then explain to Teagan what a nanny is...)


Tomorrow is day one of Project 52. I've got some goals set and even blocked out time on my calendar. I'm giving 4 hours of my day to cleaning tomorrow. I'll give an hour to the playroom, an hour to the kids' bedroom, an hour to the kitchen, and an hour to the living room. Chances are excellent that the first two rooms can be done in an hour together. I'm hoping that Jeff and the kids will either help or Jeff will keep them occupied downstairs (and out of my way!).


Speaking of goals, I'm freaking out a little bit over the running thing. I've got 2 weeks until the 10K and I haven't run more than 4 miles ever and the most I've run in the past few months is 3 miles. 10K = 6.2 miles I've got some serious work to do. Today, I am determined to run 3 miles. Tomorrow, I am determined to run at least 4, possibly 5. Next Saturday, I'm going for 6.


After lots of talking about what she'd learned at school that day, I asked Teagan what her favorite thing was that she had learned about Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Jr. She thought for a moment and then lit up and declared, "When Rosa Parks got married!"

(I told Ms. Sally that story this morning and she told me that she focuses part of her lesson plan on Rosa Parks' husband because he was such a strong supporter of Rosa and was the backbone to her choices.)


I wrote yesterday about my visit to the Indiana Statehouse.

I parked at the nearby Eiteljorg Museum. The Eiteljorg has the world's most relaxing and calming parking garage stairwell I've ever been in!

(Do you have to pee now?)

I also took a few pictures inside the Statehouse- it is a beautiful building.Photobucket

And one of a little piece of art outside that I think needs more attention and remembering: Photobucket Photobucket

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Great Opportunity

Yesterday, I had a great opportunity. I was invited to be part of a group of "mom bloggers" to attend a Roundtable discussion with the Lt Governor of Indiana, Becky Skillman.

It was an eclectic group of women. Some blog about agriculture, whole foods, cooking, life, parenting, saving money, getting out of debt and much more.

Becky Skillman is a fascinating woman- rural roots, small town government, and worked her way up tot he position she is in now. All while being a mom and wife and involved citizen of her community. It was an informal atmosphere- we were free to ask questions and discuss.

The room was filled with the most passion when the subject of food in schools came up. It started with concern from parents who have children with food allergies and grew into discussion about food offered in school cafeterias. I was able to offer up what I had come prepared with and shared it with moms in the room who want to approach their school boards to make changes. President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act back in December. I had brought with me a print out of a summation of the legislation and also a sample before/after menu provided on the website.

But it was kind of hard to sit in the Statehouse. Legislature was in session so all the officials and elected people and lobbyists and what have you were around. Definitely an interesting energy when you walk through the place.

When we introduced ourselves, I had to stop myself from lying about who I was. I wanted to stand up and say, "My name is Liz and I keep a personal blog called Eternal Lizdom where I share the struggles I face as a lesbian mom who has been in a committed relationship for 15 years but cannot marry my partner or be afforded the same rights as straight couples."

But I didn't want to lie. And it wasn't the right forum for it.

There was a mom who spoke up in the midst of her question and was able to express her disappointment in our government's choices this week- to which I gave a loud AMEN!

This week, our state government has passed through the House a bill that will change our state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. I also learned (through my own online reading of the Bills currently in the House and Senate) that our government has a bill to define "covenant marriage."

You know what? I want the government out of my marriage.

There are legalities required because of next of kin and who makes decisions and what gets passed on if someone dies and all that. But that should be the extent of the government's involvement in marriage. Laws that protect the parties when it comes to property and money and material things. Laws that protect the rights of the spouse when it comes to decision making in the care of their spouse or children. And the only covenant I need to make in my marriage is between me, my spouse, and God- my government is not part of that. Government limiting and defining marriage when there are far greater fights to be fought, far more dangerous and harmful things happening in our state, is infuriating. My state government is choosing to write off the people of this state who are gay by excluding them from the state's constitution. No- not excluding them. Purposefully pointing out that they don't fit the definition.

You know what? That's bullying.

It's no better than the kids in the cafeteria or on the playground who lead the charge against Billy because he has red hair. Maybe that's what we ought to do, really. Start rallying against all the red heads in our state, in our country.

We all know that those born with red hair are trouble makers and of the devil. Shouldn't we be creating legislation that protects the sanctity of our brown and blond and black and gray haired citizens from the shameful and sinful red headed people??? How can those of us with Normal hair be taken seriously if we give the same rights and responsibilities to those who have red hair?

I was proud to go to the Statehouse yesterday. I was honored to meet the Lt. Governor. I was honored that she took time out of her busy schedule to sit back and talk with us and really hear about our concerns- everything from food for our kids to environmental concerns to the lack of technology coverage in some of our rural areas. It's exciting to visit the capitol, to take in the history and beauty of the place, to feel the spirit of what has been accomplished there.

But I was sad, too. Angry.

I wanted to find the people in that building and drag them with me to go and talk to the couples and families that they are choosing to exclude. I get that there are a lot of people who believe homosexuality is a sin and a choice. I don't agree, obviously, but I respect an individual's right to their opinion. I even respect an individual's right or a group's right to speak up about their opinions. But I really think those opinions are being held with clenched fists and stiff arms and tight fingers of ignorance- and worst of all, chosen ignorance.

I seriously wonder how many people who hold those beliefs have taken the time to explore the other side. Gone and actually attended worship services at a church like Jesus MCC. Gone and talked to a PFLAG group. Met with families of 2 mommies or 2 daddies, talked to the kids brought up in those homes. Sure, there are passionate videos posted on YouTube and there are eloquent and emotional speeches given to government officials. But I don't think they really hear these voices in these enclosed little spaces.

So my great opportunity yesterday- to be part of a group of women who blog who got to meet an important part of our state's government- has turned into a great opportunity today- for me to share, once again, more of my own feelings and opinions on what I see as a great wrong being committed against citizens of this state and of this country.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Something Has To Change

I'm going to make a plan. I'm going to make some changes. About once or twice a year, I get really fed up with the condition of my house. I'm at that point. I want to be able to invite friends over. I want to be able to have a playdate for my kids. I want to walk into my home and feel comfortable and not like the stuff is taking over. I don't know how I will fit it in. But it's time. I need to schedule a work day. Maybe 2. The kids will need to be out of the house. Jeff will have to work with me. I want my house to feel like home. Do you have areas of your life that need organization? Maybe it's your entire house. Maybe the play room. Maybe a bathroom. Maybe a household project you've been putting off. But it's time to take charge and get things done. I'm going to join in on Karen's Project 52. I need a weekly chance to update and show the improvements we are making.

I've had a couple of friends- friends that I wouldn't be embarassed to have in my house- offer to come over and help me gain back control. I'm considering taking them up on the offer. Maybe set a date for a month from now- which would give Jeff and I both time to make our best effort first. I posted about it over at MomsLikeMe and have already gotten some great feedback. I don't mind a cluttered house. But I do mind when the clutter is taking over. I feel out of control and like the house is pressing in on me. It isn't fair to my kids to have that kind of chaotic feeling environment. I need to grab the reigns and reel this puppy back in.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reading to 3 Year Olds

Last Friday, I got to spend time at school with my kids. I had signed up to chaperone Teagan's class field trip to see a musical stage production of Junie B. Jones. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to spend some time at school with, Zach, too. I offered my time and was given the opportunity to read to the class.

The pressure started when I had to start thinking about what books to read. The letter of the week was H and the topic of the week was Health. But I couldn't find any books that seemed to go with either of those. Finally, I just decided to pick a few books that I enjoy reading and that Zach likes to have read to him.

The Monster At The End of This Book

Skippyjon Jones

Where The Wild Things Are

Having previously been a theatre geek, I rarely just read a book. I like to do little voices and actions and stuff- it's what makes reading to kids really fun. And those 3 books have fantastic opportunities to be silly, make funny voices and accents, and be overly emotive.

We all sat down together on the rug. I sat in front of the group and held the book up so that the kids could see the pictures as I was reading. I told the kids that I had brought 3 of Zach's favorite books to read that day. In all honesty, I'm not sure those were Zach's favorite books at the time. But they certainly are now because they are the only books he wants to read!

I rarely just read a book- meaning just read the words as written on the page. I know kids are encouraged to sit and listen when someone is reading. For me, a book is an opportunity to talk and engage. So I would read and I would engage them by asking questions... "Do you think I should turn the page?" "What color beans do you see?" "What are the Wild Things doing in this picture?"

I was amazed that the kids stayed attentive for all 3 books. And they kept scooting closer and closer to me and I had to remind them to scoot back so they could all see the pictures. They listened, they engaged, they answered my questions, they giggled.

But the best part of all was Zach's face when I walked in holding those books. There are times when his joy overwhelms him and he doesn't want to just grin like a fool so he makes this face where he does like a big "O" with his mouth and all the smile is coming from his eyes. It cracks me up. And once I sat down to read to him and his friends, I could tell that he was just so excited and proud to have his mommy there in his classroom.

Those are the moments I have to remember and hold dear. We're starting to see signs of obstinence and defiance with our boy- at home and at school. Sometimes, it's endearing when he does what you want by asking or telling him to do the opposite. Sometimes, it's just annoying that he won't follow simple instructions. And all the things that would work with Teagan don't work with him. He doesn't really care too much about being in trouble. He doesn't get too upset when his toy gets taken away. We haven't really found his currency- and I know that's an issue at school as well. He just doesn't respond to rewards/punishments.

So when that frustration hits and we are struggling to find the thing that will work... I have to remember him holding my arm and the grin on his face as I read "and they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws..."


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Day of Love

One of the best things about holidays and blogging is that I can look back at past posts and see how much my kids have grown.

2 years ago, I posted pictures of my kids just being together. Pictures of my husband. Love.

Last year, we got to attend a special event at The Children's Museum.

This year, I don't yet have pictures to share. We didn't take the kids anywhere special. No big dinners out, no special trips or events.

But I get to look back at past years and appreciate how they've changed.

2.1.11 4
If you're looking some love inspiration, swing over to my friend Amy's blog- The Fourth Frog. I really liked her post today. Best of all, I clicked on the video she posted and while the song played, I scrolled down and read a beautiful post she wrote for the occasion of the birthdays of 2 of her kids.

Another blog to recommend is a new one started by a friend I've known online for a few years now. I highlighted her in my "Mother Who Move Me" series, too. She has started a new project that she is blogging about- 365 days of pampering. She believes that it is important to take even a few minutes for yourself each day and she's going to share easy ideas on ways to do just that. So check out The Pampered Mama. Also, "like" Pampered Mama on Facebook because Anne is doing a special giveaway- when she reaches 100 followers, she'll draw a name and the winner gets some Burt's Bees hand cream!

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. - Robert Heinlein

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart) e.e. cummings

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. - Friedrich Nietzsche

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. - Maya Angelou

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Happy Valentine's Day to you! I hope you are reminded of how you are loved today and that you go out and remind the people in your life that you love them!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

FitCity: Fat Can Be Fit!

Find me at FitCity today. As usual, I would really love your comments over there. I actually had someone tell me that you have to be skinny to be fit! You might be able to guess my thoughts on the subject...


I have a co-worker that I work pretty closely with.  A few months ago, he realized that a recent change in responsibilities (that took him from on his feet to sitting at a desk) had ended up adding to his waistline.  He’s been making major dietary changes and has dropped the pounds and is continuing on his quest to lose more.  He and I talk regularly about his progress and how he feels. 

One day, he shared something with me that has been festering away in my brain.  He wants to get skinny so he can get fit.  I pointed out that I’m not skinny and I’m fit.  In fact, I could dance circles around quite a few skinny people at the gym.  He agreed with me but wouldn’t concede his line of thinking.  Fit has to be skinny.

I can’t begin to find adequate words to express how much I disagree with this line of thinking.

I’m not skinny.  I weigh over 200 lb and am around 5’8″.  I know I’m overweight and I know my eating habits aren’t 100% healthy.  I try and make good choices as often as I can but we all have our weaknesses, our demons, our vices.  My relationship with food is one of them for me.

But I am fit.  I am healthy.  I’m due for an annual physical but when I started this journey to become a Healthier Me about a year ago, my first step was to visit my family doctor, tell him what I was doing, what changes I was making, and make sure I was healthy enough to work hard on getting healthier.  I also wanted a baseline so I could see improvements and also possibly identify any issues that might prohibit me from accomplishing my goals.

My numbers were good.  Needed to up my HDL (good cholesterol) a little.  Needed to up my Vitamin D, too.  Given the dietary changes I’ve made and that I get outside more often with my running, I’m certain those numbers are improved.

So how do I know I’m fit when I am overweight?

Because I can:

Complete a 5K

Go 2 miles on the stationary bike in 5 minutes

Hold a plank for 1 minute

Wall sit for longer than 1 minute

Run 1/4 mile in 3 minutes

Best of all, I can look back at where I was 1 year ago and see the improvements I’ve made in my abilities, my strength, my endurace.  I’m usually 2nd strongest in our boot camp class- the person who gets the highest weights is a man.  I’m great at strength training and making continuous improvements in endurance and cardio work. 

This morning, I ran the first of the training races in the OrthoIndy 500 Festival Mini Marathon Training Series.  Not everyone who participates is in top condition.  I’m not in top or prime condition.  But everyone who shows up and participates is working towards goals of being fit.  There were people of all levels of fitness- and of all body types and shapes and sizes.  There were trim, lean, muscular bodies.  There were large, cushy bodies.  There were bodies with tiny waists and bodies with larger waists.  There were tight booties and not tight at all booties.  Every person who shows up has a story to tell and their body has a story to tell, too.

When I first started running a year ago, I started to drop weight as a nice little bonus.  I dropped about 25 pounds.  Then I started getting more serious about strength training and I gained some of that back.  I’ve maintained at that weight for months- even as my body changes and my clothes get a little more loose.

The next time you see someone who is of a larger size, don’t assume they aren’t fit.  Don’t assume they don’t care about physical activity.  You never know what their story is… or what it is going to become.  If you are on a journey to live a healthier lifestyle, don’t focus on the scale.  The numbers don’t dictate your success.  Instead, go run a mile.  Maybe you can’t even finish that mile the first time.  Maybe you walk it in 20 minutes.  Maybe you run it in 12 minutes.  Then keep working at it.  In a month, maybe you’ll be running that mile instead of walking.  Maybe you’ll take minutes off your time.  Those are the keys to being fit. 

Skinny does not equal fit.  Body size does not define how you are doing on your journey.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

500 Festival Training Series 5K

It was sunny. I forgot my sunglasses.

It was chilly but not as cold as I was dressed for- except in the not sunny stretches. Those were definitely cold.

I think I ran it about the same time as I ran the Monumental back in October. My official time then was 42:22 and based on gun time (official time will be my chip time), I might be right around the same time.

I improved in terms of pace. It felt more steady and consistent.

Christy and I ran together the entire time. A couple of times I told her she could go ahead but she stayed with me. This is new for us- I think we mutually need each other (even though I'm pretty sure I need her more than she needs me).

My friends Ashli and Emily ran together and did well- finishing about 6-8 minutes before us. Best part of being a penguin is that you have people cheering for you at the end!

Since this is a training race for the big event in May, I think there were a good amount of first timers there. One of the main things I would want newbies to know about running an official event is that if you are walking or you know you are a slow runner, go to the BACK of the pack. There is no shame in starting there and you'll feel great passing people if you're faster than you think you are. Also, if you find yourself getting passed a lot, please move to the right so you stay out of the way of the people running. Finally, groups of runners shouldn't block paths, stop to tie shoes or adjust equipment, or otherwise impede the entire pack!

There was a race volunteer that I loved. I think she was a security guard for the campus we ran through and I think she was blocking traffic on the race route. She was the BEST cheerleader and was so full of energy and pep that she really gave me a much needed boost in that last mile!

All in all, a good event. This one was weird for me because I had no pre-race jitters. In fact, I kept forgetting I had a race today. But having done the event today, I'm feelin a little apprehensive about training for longer distances and am feeling unprepared for a 10K in just a month. By Monday, I'll be back in gear and ready to dig in and go after those longer runs.

13.1... Here I come!!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Fragments!

Mommy's Idea

I don't have a lot of time today- my schedule got a bit crunched. I never made it home last night after work. Directly from work to music team, then from music team to a hospital to visit a friend prior to her surgery this morning. Home around 9:30 and almost directly to bed. Up this morning and we are getting dressed and about to head out the door- I am volunteering at school this morning and then chaperoning Teagan's field trip this afternoon! ***** I've had to turn on comment moderation. There's a massive, evil plot- probably by the government- to try and take me down. But I will conquer and stuff! There is a troll who popped up last night and moderation is the best way to contain that kind of stuff. ***** My brother called me last night because he was concerned he'd given someone bad advice. He has a friend in a toxic (and long distance) relationship. He advised her to get out of the relationship. Then he read my thoughts on not burning bridges and was concerned he'd misguided his friend. I told him that he gave the right advice- his friend had a toxic person, a cancer, that needed to be cut out. That's different. My post was about several situations I've seen lately where people take years of positive relationship and throw it away without thinking about potential long term consequences. "Don't burn bridges" doesn't mean you don't quit or you don't move on or you stay in a situation that isn't right for you. It just means you don't take your exit too far, you don't make choices that hurt people in the process. Even in a break up with a bad boyfriend- all you have to do is end it. You don't end it and then flaunt a new boyfriend in their face. You don't end it and throw in a bunch of name calling while breaking up. ***** You know how Animal Planet does Shark Week? Guess what this week was for me? Scarf Week! I wish I'd taken pics... but I wore a fun scarf every day this week for work. ***** Alrighty- time to pack lunches, pick out books, and head to school and classrooms and field trips! Have a great weekend! Oh! I'm running a 5K tomorrow. The best part is that my running posse has grown. Instead of just me and Christy going down, Ashli is riding down with us and Emily is meeting up with us there and a friend I've made through DailyMile might meet up with us, too. Plus, some of my running buddies on a local moms' site should be down there, too! Christy and I think we need to start a running gang with gang signs and initiations and everything. Enjoy your day! Photobucket

Thursday, February 10, 2011


What does professionalism mean to you?

One definition I found was: the skill, good judgement, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.

Skill. Good Judgement. Polite Behavior.

My friend Garret shares rants about customer serice on his blog from time to time. We've all had experiences in restaurants or stores or a help desk that weren't positive.

Sometimes, I think I have a somewhat unique perspective on things because I do work in a job that requires a good sense of professionalism.

I work in Corporate America. I sit at a desk and communicate by e-mail and phone all day long. I put together spreadsheet and analyze data and place orders and track shipments and attend meetings and lead projects. I interact with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of functions every day.

I've seen the utmost in professionalism. I've seen people handle difficult situations and conflict with amazing Good Judgement and Polite Behavior. I've seen people behave very poorly, too. I've seen people make choices that hurt others, that damage their reputation, that cause angst within a team or department, that make working relationship tenuous at best.

I think I've made it fairly clear that I work hard to live my life authentically. That means everywhere, all the time. Certainly, we all have different hats we wear for different jobs and expectations. But I don't do masks- just hats (and maybe a fetching scarf).

The way I treat people at church, at home, at school, and at work is the same.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Don't burn bridges.

Those are big ones, don't you think? And they apply to life and not just work situations.

Don't burn bridges. There are so many ways that this adage holds true. You never know when you will interact with someone in your future so don't burn that bridge because it might bite you in the future. You never know what opportunities might come out of a hard situation or out of big changes so don't burn that bridge because you might be missing out on something bigger and better.

Those sure are selfish reasons to not burn bridges.

How about... don't burn bridges because fire hurts people and causes damage. Your choices, your actions, your words have an impact. Be careful with them because once you light the fire, it can be hard to put the bridge out before it's burnt to a crisp and the damage and hurt you've caused can't be fixed.

Live each day with professionalism. Because isn't professionalism just a big old business word for being nice and respectful and kind and helpful to others? And isn't that just a great way to treat people anyway?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Caregiver. What does that really mean?

From the CICOA website: Taking care of a family member or friend is often rewarding, but it also can be an overwhelming responsibility requiring a great deal of sacrifice and creativity. It may include hands-on care such as bathing, feeding or transportation to and from medical appointments. Caregivers may also be called upon for housecleaning, emotional support or advocacy with health care or insurance providers.

I don't personally have hands on experience in being a caregiver.

My mother in law was a hired caregiver when she lived in Florida- she had a schedule and would spend a day each week with a different client, cleaning house, taking care of them, and so on.

My best friend, Jim, was caregiver for his elderly Aunt for several years when he moved to New York.

My mom has become a caregiver of her parents. They live in a nice assisted living facility but she is very involved in their care and visits them daily and helps my grandma get showers and helps with housework and food and entertainment and day trips.

Sometimes, it's hard. But it's rewarding, too.

The CICOA (Central Indiana Council on Aging) is giving an award to recognize those who care for someone. This isn't for professionals. This is for everyday people who give to someone else, who care, who give, who take care of someone who can't completely take care of themselves.

My friend, Lisa, was a caregiver and has written a guest post to share her story. Please read it. And if you know someone who is a caregiver in Indiana, please nominate them for this award. Please consider caring for someone who dedicates their time and energy to taking care of someone else.


Hi Eternal Lizdom fans. I’ve known Liz for a couple of years now through this blog and through FitCity. When another of my clients, CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions, announced a new Caregiver of the Year Award – an award for the non-professional, family caregiver – I asked Liz’s advice on how to spread the word. She suggested I tell my own care giving story. Then she generously offered to let me share it here.

My caregiving experience has been on my mind more than usual lately. Most likely because of the movie I watched this past Sunday, Two Weeks. In the movie Sally Fields plays Anita Bergman, a woman in the final stages of cancer, but the movie is really about her four grown children who have come home to wait for her to die. No one can imagine watching their parents grow frail or sitting by their side as they die unless they’ve done it.

I’ve done it. My father was misdiagnosed 10 years ago this month with Parkinson’s Disease. My mother and I were in California visiting family when we received his call. It was a real blow to hear that my 56-year-old father had the disease that had ravaged his mother years before. For two months, we settled in to a new routine of medication and therapy. I spent most of my free time at my parents’ sides, asking questions they forgot to ask and gently suggesting ways for them both to cope.

Little did we know at the time that the doctors got it wrong. I had just gotten to work on a beautiful May day when my mother frantically called me. “Come now. Your father woke up this morning and couldn’t move. The ambulance just left.” I was paralyzed with my own fear. I remember crawling under my desk and curling up in a little ball. But the real blow came later that week. Tests concluded he didn’t have Parkinson’s at all. He had an inoperable brain tumor. He was given months to live at the same time I learned I was pregnant with his second granddaughter.

Watching the Sally Fields movie was like reliving my own experience. The movie did an amazing job showing what it is like to care for someone you love when he or she is dying. Normal life ceases. My mother was fortunate enough to be able to take months off from work. I was put on bed rest from the dual stress of birth and death so I was able to be at her side, but I wasn’t able to spend the time in bed. We spent every moment caring for my Dad. We learned how to give him his shots in the stomach. We held him up when the tumor made it difficult for him to walk. We picked him up when he no longer could. We learned how to change bedpans and IVs. We even talked to the monkeys on the dresser when he had morphine induced hallucinations.

When the time came, we hired a hospice nurse to walk us through the process of dying. We also made the difficult calls – to funeral homes and cemeteries, to family members and family friends. We welcomed a stream of people into the house who came to say goodbye. We hosted a party in his honor. We planned the funeral service.

As other caregivers will confirm, caring for someone who is ill, frail or dying, is stressful. Stress is expressed in strange ways and at strange times. In the last moments of my Dad’s life, my Mom and I were talking about one of my Dad’s stranger quirks. He hated calling for carry-out food. Wouldn’t do it. Even when I was 7- or 8-years-old, he would hand me the phone when it was time to order pizza. For some reason, the memory made us both crack up. Our laughter rang through the house and, a moment later, the hospice nurse came out of his room to tell us he had passed away. She said our laughter must have given him the permission he needed to let go.

Despite the stress of care giving, the pain it caused my pregnant body, and the anger I felt at having to deal with his sickness and death, I am so glad I was able to be there for my father. And my mother. It was my responsibility but also my privilege to care for a man that had cared for me my entire life. Providing this kind of care to a loved one is hard. It is time consuming and often caregivers neglect themselves in the process. They sacrifice in order to make sure their parents, children or family members are taken care of with love and compassion. Balancing care giving with life’s other demands – work, children, school…eating – can be overwhelming.

I’m not sharing this story for your sympathy or condolences. I’m sharing it to get you thinking of the caregivers in your own circle of life. I encourage you to recognize their sacrifice, courage and commitment by nominating them for the Caregiver of the Year Award. It will take no more than 30 minutes of your time, but it could be just the lift they need. By nominating them, you become a caregiver too.


Lisa, thank you for honoring us with your dad's story. I'm also sharing this in Shell's weekly Pour Your Heart Out. Honoring a caregiver goes beyond Central Indiana. If you can't nominate someone here for this recognition, maybe this post will inspire you to do something to take care of someone who takes care of others.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Change In Plans

Jeff had to work late last night so I knew I was on my own for dinner with the kids. I left work and drove across town to my suburb and then drove across the suburb to where the kids' school is located. We stay very involved in behavior at school. I want the kids to learn from early on that home and school cooperate and that expectations remain the same and that the home standard is possibly higher than that in the "real world." Usually, I get a report from the after care workers. If there's been a serious issue or if things are just a little off, they let me know.

Yesterday, it was different.

I asked Teagan how her day was. The have a system where they earn hole punches on a card. Great day, 2 punches. Mostly good day, 1 punch. Not so great day, no punches. Teagan tells me she got 1 punch. I ask what she could have done differently so that she could have earned 2 punches. Normally, the answer is a lot of evasion and suddenly loss of memory. This time, she straight up told me she tattled. It's one of the two behaviors she's working on this year. I was impressed that she confessed.

I asked Zach about his day and asked to see his "wow pockets." The kids can earn green wow cards when they get "caught" doing something good. They can also get red reminders when there is a problem and they need a little extra reinforcement. His regular classroom- all green. Aftercare pocket- red card. I asked him what happened that he got a red card. He totally fessed up to what he did. Normally, there is a shrug, a grin and an "I don't know" before he runs away.

My kids told the truth.

Normally, red cards and tattling would mean no out to dinner or treats. But I was so proud of them both for telling the truth. And I was proud of myself for being positive with them about it. The school handled the consequences when the issue happened- that wasn't my job.

We made a valient attempt at choosing a restaurant but there just wasn't going to be consensus. So we came home and I catered to each of them- I went into short order cook mode and made them what they wanted, what would make them happy. Zach had peanut butter and jelly, applesauce, and ovaltine. Teagan had some steamed shumai dumplings I'd picked up at Trader Joe's followed by a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Both kids ended the meal with an organic Trader Joe's toaster pastry for dessert.

I had to think on my feet and adjust plans on the fly several times. But it was worth it. My kids proved to me that there is trust in our relationship. It felt like a huge thing- like there was this sense of "we get it." Being honest with people isn't about confessing and taking a punishment all the time. Being honest is just about being genuine. I think I model that for my kids but I think I can do that more often, too.

Have you experienced that in important relationships? Being honest- maybe about something you are scared to share or fear the consequences of- and the outcome being a true teaching moment or something that brings you closer to that person?


Monday, February 7, 2011

I Challenge You

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night?

We did. Didn't cheer for one side or the other. I'm happy for the (insert team who won) and their fans. Better luck next year for (insert team who lost) and be proud of how far you made it this season.

We watched for the ads, the pre-show stuff, the halftime show. We even fast forwarded for part of the actual game.

Christina Ag-yoo-lair-ah screwed up. She missed words and then flubbed another line.

Dallas screwed up as a host city. 400 fans were denied their seat because the fire marshall hadn't approved the temporary seating. There was a flyover after the anthem- over a closed dome. There were entrances to the stadium that remained closed after ice fell from the roof. The closures caused the lines to get into the stadium to last 3 hours for some folks. The city's repsonse to the weather has been critized for impacting traveler trying to get into the city.

The sound for the half time show wasn't great. Lights were out on the "love" stage.

You get the picture.

Here's what I noticed on Facebook...

"Christina SUCKED."

"Black Eyed Peas SUCKED."

"These ads are funny. Except that one- it SUCKED."

Again, you get the picture.

For some reason, I was feeling more sensitive to it all, I guess.

Christina... You know, I've messed up the words when I have them written in front of my face. I've also psyched myself out so I don't sing as well I usually can. I've recognized that my brain has changed after having kids- it doesn't work nearly as well as it used to. Personally, I thouht she sounded great but made a mistake.

And it hit me- what would the day be like if I focused on the positive and worked on being generally understanding about things instead of jumping on the negatory bandwagon?

It's something I kind of already do... I've worked on learning to let things go. There are things that it would be easy to bitch and complain about... things that I could huddle in a corner in the office and whisper about. There are people at work who come to my office to "vent." And by vent, I just mean talk trash about someone else. I'm good at not going down that path but still being receptive to the frustration or anger that person is expressing.

But what if I took it a step further? What if I could not just not be negative... but purposefully Be Positive?

So that's my challenge- to you and to myself. Today, Monday, one of the hardest days of the work week, I'm going to focus on responding with positivity. I'm going to think more about the person on the other side of the situation. I'm going to not just avoid the negative but purposefully put positive into the mix.

Be genuine. Affirm a person's feelings. But avoid the negative. And go for the positive. What happens if we spread positivity and understanding and compassion all over the place today?

Can you do it?