Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Year In Review

One of my favorite annual traditions is looking back at the moments and thoughts and events of the year that I shared on my blog.




And now it's time for 2013 to come to an end.  Reviewing the posts, I wrote a lot less than in previous years.

I made the difficult but necessary decision to prune things in my life - even some of the good things.  I started to fight back against depression.  I issued an invitation for people to get all up in my business.  I did the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox.  Teagan had her first cheerleading performance.

I wrote about passion and joy.  Jeff and Teagan went to a Father-Daughter Dance and it was really important - to me (and them).  I vented about the Lent fad.

Teagan lost her first tooth!  I had a big experience with the Holy Spirit at church.  I reflected on singing - and also on silence.  I sahred my thoughts on being a Christian who supports equality.

I was doing better with my mental and physical health - and big changes at work helped with that.  We visited some local fun places to visit - like Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve and Conner Prairie.  We dealt with the sometimes hard truth that not everyone is compatible as a friend.  I shared about experiencing the Walk to Emmaus.  I started planning some time away to recuperate - with girlfriends and also with family.

We started "training" for our upcoming vacation to Disney World.  We had to refocus our parenting efforts.  I celebrated my A-Day.  The kids and I read Harry Potter.  We made another visit to Ritchey Woods to see how nature was changing.  I shared about my God designed family at church.  And we enjoyed opening day at our local Farmers Market.

June was a big month because it was the month of our big vacation to Disney!  While we were away, I had some awesome guest bloggers who shared a variety of experiences.  This is a month where you just have to go back and read all of it!

I think I was in vacation mourning mode because I didn't post much.  So here's July in review.

I started to worry a bit about my upcoming 20 year high school reunion.  We visited the Indiana State Fair.  The kids started school - Zach in Kindergarten, Teagan in 3rd grade. I turned 39. Years. Old.

Tragedy struck a family in my blogging community.  Teagan had a strange discipline request.  We had our first real Santa talk.  I had to face some neediness in myself.  I celebrated 5 years of blogging.

I went to my high school reunion.  We dealt with parenting.  But this time, I had a new perspective on bullying.  I asked moms to just STOP it already.  We had a weekend getaway for Fall Break where I faced disappointment but also had a reality check.  It takes a village and I am part of that village.

I made it clear that the turkey comes first in the holiday season.  I had a big realization about my eating habits and also about my relationship with God.  I came to realize that I healed a lot in the past 10 months - from facing depression to being able to feel that important holiday spirit.  We all shared important acts of kindness.

I found my holiday spirit.  The kids and I enjoyed a fun day at the Indiana State Museum.  I shared about one of my main values - doing all the good I can.  We were ready for Christmas - and our church Christmas program.  I gave Teagan an important Christmas present (my sanity).  And I had an experience where I wasn't sure I could invite someone to church.


Monday, December 30, 2013

I Couldn't Invite Him

It's no secret that I love God and I love equality and I believe strongly in the faith based ideal of perfect love for all people.

This past weekend, we had a playdate with a schoomate.  This little friend has 2 dads.

One of the dads and I hung out together for the 3 hours of playtime at a local bounce house play place.  And we talked and talked and talked.

And it occured to me that the topic of church could (and did) easily come up - my involvement in my church is pretty central to my life so it often comes up in conversation.

And in most any daily interaction, I could easily work in a little sidebar invite to come visit my church, if you happen to be looking.  

But if it came up... would I be willing to invite this gay couple to my church?

In most ways - absolutely yes.

But in a really big way... no.  Because my church is part of a denomination (United Methodist) that doesn't yet take an inclusive stance on homosexuality.  We've got a rule book for the denominiation (The Book of Discipline) that clearly states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

More specifically, the Book of Discipline makes it clear that anyone can be part of the church as a member.  You can take Communion, be baptized, become a member, attend service, be involved.

However, if you're gay, you can't become ordained, can't be a minister.  And if you are an ordained minister in the UMC, you cannot perform a marriage ceremony for gay couples.

I strongly disagree.  So why do I stay?  The main reason I remain a Methodist is that there are many others who also disagree.  And because I believe in the message of doing all the good I can.  And because I believe in the Greatest Commandment - to love others.

I am mostly confident that my church would be accepting of this family into our fold.  There may be some disapproval.  But I think, I hope, I pray that people would invite them in with open arms and open hearts.

But in my heart, I knew I couldn't look someone in the eye who might be new to this God thing, who might have been burned by a church before, who may have had someone use Christianity against them, to enter the doors of a a faith that sees them as incompatible with Christian teaching.


I think that is a terribly harmful word.  Incompatible.  Conflicting.  Opposed.  Irreconcilable.

Can you imagine being told that you are so different that you aren't compatible with your church?  With God?

I struggle in my faith in this aspect.  Why wouldn't I leave my church and go to a church that is inclusive?

Because I love these people.  I love the tenets the United Methodist church was founded on.  I love the lessons of John Wesley in partnership with the teachings of Jesus.  I love my church family.  I love the specific church that we attend and the people who are part of it.

But I very sadly feel like I can't invite anyone to my church.  Well, I can invite anyone to the church that I attend.  But I don't feel like I can invite anyone to become a United Methodist.

And that breaks my heart.  Because God is attainable by everyone.  God loves everyone.  As they are, as He created them.  And if God can love unconditionally... shouldn't I at least try?

Here is what I know absolutely.

No one, absolutely no one, is incompatible with God.

So as I sat with this young man... I knew that if it came up, I could and would talk to him about God.  And that he is loved, just as he is.  But I didn't think it would be fair to ask him to visit a denomination that considers him incompatible.  Especially after we had talked about the fears he and his partner had faced when starting the public school... would they be able to make friends with other parents?  Would parents not include their child because he has 2 dads?  Would the teacher or school treat them differently?  Knowing he already faces these fears in regular, everyday circumstances made me so sad... these are worries I don't have to face because my family fits every societal "norm" that there is, it seems.  White, suburban, straight, 2 kids.

Entering the doors of a church can be such a hugely intimate thing, a big and scary thing.  To already have a level of additional fears and concerns and worries about the judgement on the other side of the doors... judgement that feels insurmountable...

It's a struggle that I continue to pray about.  Because that's all that I really can do.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lost: My Mind

Teagan isn't able to do overnights.  Mostly.  She has successfully spent the night with a friend... twice.  The key seems to be Teagan's connection to the mom - if she knows the mom well and feels that the mom is her ally, she does better.  She also has to be able to stay connected to me (being able to call at any time, me leaving her a note in her suitcase).  She has tried, wanted to.  But it just can't happen most of the time.

Our home isn't in the best shape to host a sleepover.  Yet.  We're working on it.  I want our home to be a place where kids can hang out.

But I know that Teagan longs to have that closeness with her little besties.

For Christmas, Teagan's "favorite" gift was a moment of possible insanity on my part.

We have arranged for 3 of her friends to come have an overnight with us.  Me and Teagan.  And 3 other 3rd grade girls.  In a hotel room.  I'm the only adult.  Alone.  With 4 3rd grade girls.

I think I've lost my mind.

I've seen these 4 in action together.  The chatter is non-stop.  The volume can easily escalate.  The conversations are almost impossible to follow.

Teagan and I will pick up each friend.  Then off to dinner.  Then to the hotel for swimming.  Then to the room for... insanity.  I hope to get them into bed by 10.  The hotel includes breakfast.  Then off to see a movie on Tuesday.  Deliver each girl back home.

Then Mommy comes home and locks herself away in the bedroom for a few hours with a large glass of wine and a pair of earplugs.


We're asking the girls to bring their Barbies, favorite toys, craft projects, snacks, and drinks.

I'm bringing a book or 2, my laptop, and earbuds.

Teagan is most excited to see what pajamas everyone wears.  I think that's adorable.

I'm really hoping that this will be one of those truly awesome memories for Teagan.

I fear I've lost my mind... but I also have to admit that I might be a little bit excited, too.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The shopping is done.

The presents are (mostly) wrapped. 

There have been parties

and outings 

School Christmas programs

Fun in the snow

Church Christmas programs

It's Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Open Invitation!!

I want to hear from YOU!  Back in June, I scheduled a bunch of guest posts.  Some were from other bloggers, some were just people who had a story to share.  And the response was very positive.

The reason I blog is just to share.  It's a place to work through my questions and thoughts and to journal some of the highlights of our family.

So being able to take this platform and share it with others... I really like that.

I find I end up inspired by you guys, the readers, becoming the sharers.

So if you've got a story to share, an opinion to shout, a how-to to promote... I'd love to provide the stage!

You can email me using the form to the right or contact me by any of the methods you might be connected to me by.  I'm looking forward to hearing from YOU!


Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 Christmas Program

It's Christmas Program time at church!

I've been involved with our children's Christmas program for the past several years - it's a joint effort between me and our Worship Leader / Associate Pastor (and my good friend).  We have done the traditional nativity scene using only Scripture and Carols.  We have done shows where the kids only have to stand and sit and sing at the right moments.  We've done shows where there are lines to memorize and a story to tell.  

This year, we have a play with Scripture and song interspersed throughout.  

And I wrote it.

And Teagan is 1 of 5 of the lead angels in the play.  

But those aren't my favorite things about it.

There are lots of favorite things about it, actually. 

Like... kids being involved that haven't been involved in much with the church before.  Kids taking lead roles that are stepping them out of their comfort zone.  

But I have to confess that I have a favorite moment.  

At one point in the show, the following Scripture is read by one of our kids:

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests,so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Now, if you've ever attended any kind of Christmas program or kid program... you know that sometimes the kids don't quite get the full meaning of what they are reading?  Especially with Scripture.  I use kid-friendly translations to make it easier and I try to explain to them what they are reading and why it is important.  But when they are reading, it's kind of just a lot of words.

Unless you're the kid reading that bit from Philippians.  Now, some of his reading is just reading the words.  But some of his reading...  he's preachin'.

It kind of goes like this when he gets started -

Don't be anxious about things!!!  Instead -  PRAY! PRAY about EVERYTHING.

I went to a friend's wedding recently and a young woman led us in The Lord's Prayer.  And she got to the end and said...

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, AND the GLORY.

And it changed the prayer for me.

And when this little boy reads that first line... it changes the verse for me.  It makes it sink in differently.

Which is why it's my favorit thing in our Christmas program this year.  Because I think other people are going to hear it and that verse will be changed for them, too.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Do All the Good You Can

Part of why I chose to become a Methodist is because of this quote from the church's founder, John Wesley.

To me, it kind of epitomizes the Great Commandment - love God and love your neighbor.  You follow that commandment and everything else falls into place.  And when you choose to love others, you just might find that you come to a place where you want your love to be actionable.

But sometimes... the need for good in the world is just flat out exhausting.

Because the needs can never all be met.

I'm usually pretty good about being able to "brush off" things happening in far away places.  I accepted a long time ago that other people feel a call to help thos ein need around the globe.  I feel more of a pull to love and care for those in need all around me.

At Christmas, charitable giving and caring for others goes into overdrive.  The demand is higher, the needs are greater, and there is more outpouring.

But it isn't enough.

I don't pretend to think that I can save the world.  Or save a single person, really.

But I find myself a little overwhelmed this year... by the people sitting in the frigid cold with nowhere to go and nothing to eat.  Buying them soup doesn't seem like enough.  Or by the moms struggling to make ends meet and also provide a Christmas for their kids.  Buying them presents doesn't seem like enough.  Or all the kids in foster care who would love nothing more than to have a healthy and normal family.  Buying a kid a gameboy doesn't seem like enough.

Sometimes, I think that if I had the money of Bill Gates for 1 day... I think about renting out entire hotels to give the homeless a place to go and get clean and sleep, warm and safe, for a night.  I think about buying the ridiculous and large mansion that could house so many but sits empty and unused.  I think about the programs that need funding and the food that needs to be provided and the gifts that kids are wishing for and the fears of instability and the marriages that need repairing and the jobs that need to be created and the medical issues that need paid for and...

And it can all get to be overwhelming.  And sad.  And I feel so... helpless.  Like I can't possibly do enough good.  Even if I'm trying to do all the good I can.

And just when I feel like I'm starting to really get staretched thin by trying to do good...

I see something that reminds me of how blessed I am.

And how important it is to keep doing all the good I can.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Now It Feels Like Christmas! #ISMCelebration

We had a fantastic time at Celebration Crossing at the Indiana State Museum!

What I love is that there is a lot to do but it's not an overly chaotic mash up of trying to do a billion things in one day.  When we go to the Children's Museum, for example, I feel pressed to get EVERYTHING in and sometimes forget to let my kids just be kids and enjoy a section for an hour or 2.  But there is just so much to see and do!  At the State Museum, we easily could have stayed longer than the 4 hours we were there (I had an allergy attack and was miserable and had to leave).

But you don't feel like you have to rush.  And that's what made it an enjoyable day.

We arrived and met up with the group of bloggers that were there to enjoy the day.  Then the kids and I raced off for the last minute early lunch reservation we were able to get in the L.S. Ayres Tearoom.  I'd been craving their menu since reading it online... chicken velvet soup was high on my list!  We also love that the hot dog kid's meal comes in a bandana.  And of course, we love dessert!!  Clown ice cream for the kids and the pecan crusted ice cream with hot fudge for me!!

 The museum has a Foucalt Pendulum Clock that is really mesmerizing to watch.  I'm not so good at the science thing but the basic idea is that it keeps time by knocking down the little pegs - but it knocks them down because the pegs move due to the earth's rotation, not because of how the pendulum swings.  For the Christmas season, the museum puts up train tracks and a little village around the clock.  The village is made by knitters!!
Snow effect added by Google +.  Pretty cool!

 We stopped and watched some musicians from above.  Teagan has decided she wants to play handbells like this woman.  I've heard a rumor that we might get handbells at church someday so maybe she will get a chance!  It was really cool to watch this duo - I'm used to seeing a handbell choir with many people and each person only has a couple of bells.  To see one woman doing all the bells was very impressive!

Another favorite at Celebration Crossing is the old train that you can ride after you see Santa (bad mommy - I didn't bother to take a pic of the kids with Santa).  They rode the train multiple times and loved it each time!  The train goes around in a circle and is set in a winter wonderland setting with lots of fun things to see.

Another favorite thing about the train ride is the stop to see Raggedy Ann and get paper snowflakes from her.  We cam ehome with 10 snowflakes and have taped them on the window by the front door.

And it isn't all Christmas stuff.  My kids loved learning about remains found in Indiana and they really loved this dig pit.  They've played in this sort of thing before but never loved it like this one.  This one was really small but my kids played in there for a good 20 minutes or more.  Many other kids came and went but my kids kept going - trying to unearth all the bones.  The best part was when Teagan discovered a brown bone and the 2 started to feverishly dig to unearth it... only to discover that she had found the floor!

Again, we would have spent more time if I hadn't been hit with an allergy attack.  Teagan was fascinated by the natural history section since her class just finished a science section on fossils and rocks.  I guess we will have to make a point to go back and see what else the museum has to offer sometime soon!

If you are looking for a really fun way to ring in the New Year with your kids, the Indiana State Museum has a great opportunity!  They host a Family New Year's Eve on Dec 31 - it's a full on kid friendly party with face painting and stilt walkers and a band and a huge balloon drop at 8 p.m. to ring in the new year, kid friendly style.  Don't miss it!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Almost Ridiculous

A year ago, I was in a bad place.  And it was all because of my job.  I was ready to walk.  But I kept getting clear signals that I was supposed to stay.

And I'm glad I did.

Because things are so different now.

Last year, I had no energy for Christmas.  My spirit was dark.

This year, I am filled with so much love and joy and excitement for the holiday season!  No special reason why - no big gifts planned or expected.  I'm just so jazzed by decorations and music and snow and fun holiday events and special Christmas services and time with friends and family.

We put up the tree at home and I wore my favorite Christmas t-shirt.  And I loved on each ornament as we hung it up.

I even decorated my workspace.

It continues to strike me... how different it is this year.

I am happy.  Every day.  I look forward to coming to work.  I look forward to being around the people I work with.  I look forward to the work I'm doing.

It's almost ridiculous.  It's kind of weird.  Some people seem a little put off, for a moment, by my happiness.  I wear fun socks and sing carols and make jokes.

Because I am blessed.  I have love and joy to spare.

I'm looking forward to doing fun holiday things with my kids.  I'm excited to be doing charitable things as a family.  I'm eager for family and friend celebrations and meals.

It's Christmas time!  It's time for snow and cold and singing and decorations and fun! And I am fully prepared to enjoy it all!


Monday, December 2, 2013


It sure feels good to be my holiday loving self again this year!

We decorated yesterday - put up the tree and some decorations.  Got ready for some Christmas traditions.

Advent is part of our tradition.  But it hasn't been a big part.  I remember my mom and dad had an Advent wreath on our dinner table and we would do our own Advent devotional.  In our home, we have an Advent calendar that simply marks down the days until Christmas.

Each week of Advent focuses on an aspect of preparation for the coming of Christ.

Hope - the prophecy

Love - the manger

Joy - the shepherds (the pink candle)

Peace - the angels

And finally, in the center of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace is the Christ candle.

We haven't done much with Advent in our family.

Until this year.

I saw this fantastic idea on 100 Days of Real Food.  And I decided to change it up a little to go with the themes of each week of Advent.

Dec 1 - 6
Each day in the calendar will have an activity or act of kindness that focuses on Hope.

Dec 7 - 12
Each day in the calendar will have an activity or act of kindness that focuses on Love.

Dec 13 - 18
Each day in the calendar will have an activity or act of kindness that focuses on Joy.

Dec 19 - 24
Each day in the calendar will have an activity or act of kindness that focuses on Peace.

Dec 25
The activity will be focused on Christ.

I'm sure this isn't some new idea.  I'm sure there are resources out there that already have this sort of plan put together.

But I want this to be specific to my kids, to my family.

I'll be sharing each day's advent calendar entry on my Facebook page so feel free to join in!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Surprised by Kindness

I was in a conversation recently where the idea of paying for the car behind you in a drive thru came up - and it was a new idea to some people.  Which kind of shocked me!  That specific version of paying it forward or random acts of kindness has even made the news so I was shocked that someone found it to be a new idea.

So it got me thinking - maybe there are other kind gestures people do that others simply hadn't thought of and maybe making a list of some of those things would be a cool thing to blog about.

So I went to my social network and asked people for input.  Tell me your favorite acts of kindness, compassion, charitable care and giving.  I assumed I'd get a list of - pay for the car behind me, leave flowers with a cashier and ask that they give a flower to anyone who seems to need it, leave a dollar on the vending machine, and so on. 

Instead, I got a bigger lesson than that.

People shared stories of seeing a need or having a need and it being met by friends, family, and even strangers.  Stopping to help an emergency situation.  Paying for the car behind you - but from the perspective of a manager of a fast food restaurant and her sharing the joyful impact it has on her employees. A single mom who struggled and had people reach out to offer aid.  Paying for someone's train ride when they realized they didn't have their ticket.

But every message I read had the same theme.

I had a need and someone saw it and filled it.

I saw a need and found a way to fill it.

So I thought I was going to come up with a list of 20 ways to show kindness.

Instead, I got some valuable inspiration on awareness and compassion.

Keep your eyes and heart open.  When you become aware of a need... when you see a place where you can help... when you are aware of an opportunity to make life better for someone (even if it's just buying their lunch or giving them a big smile)...

Do it.  We each have such individual power.  We don't need permission to be compassionate.  And if you do need permission - I'm giving it to you.  Step out of your comfort zone this holiday season.  Challenge yourself.  Don't just toss some money at a problem.  Put your heart out there.

Open your heart.  Open your mind.  Open your eyes.

Need is all around you.

And even the smallest gesture of kindness can have a big impact.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu - Check! #RespectTheTurkey

I've been scouring the internet for recipes and inspiration for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm very excited to be able to have a more active role in the family meal this year.

Last year... well, w eknow I wasn't feeling any kind of holiday spirit.

This year... not only am I filled with joy and love and gratitude, I'm also so excited to spend time with our families!

We have Thanksgiving with Jeff's family this weekend.  The only thing we bring is a veggie tray and a fruit salad or fruit tray.  I've got a recipe for homemade ranch dip that I'll be using for my veggie tray.  Most years, we just buy the 2 trays from the grocery store but this year, I am putting together my own veggie tray and fruit!

Zach and I will be heading to my mom and dad's house on Wednesday evening.  I'll be heading up the cooking on Thursday morning.  Jeff, our friend Brian, and Teagan will head over on Thursday morning (Teagan has dance class on Weds evening).

The menu is planned to make sure that favorite items are included - for example, the grocery store cheese ball and ritz crackers is a must for Jeff.


Veggie tray with homemade ranch dip
Grocery store cheese ball and ritz crackers
Summer sausage, cheese, crackers
Shrimp cocktail
Baked brie with apple slices, bread
Deviled Eggs


Mashed potatoes
Cranberry sauce
Green bean casserole (no mushrooms)
Stove Top stuffing
Roasted potatoes/carrots/leeks/brussels sprouts


Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Turtle Cheesecake
Pumpkin Crunch

OMG. This is making me hungry.  Is it Thanksgiving yet?? I'm ready to cook and eat! I'm ready to hug my brothers and kiss my grandma!  I'm ready for football in the yard and Star Trek gaming in the living room and making Star Wars snowflakes!

I'm ready, Mr. Turkey!  Bring it on!!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Back To My Old Self

I took some time today and went back and read some of my blog posts from 1 year ago.

For those of you who have stuck around... thank you.

Dang, I was in a low place.  I was starting to bring myself down just reading about how I used to feel!

I am about 1 year out from the lowest point in my working career... when I had to face Depression for the first time.  It still boggles my mind that I've gone through some really intense stuff but it was the ongoing crappiness of my job situation that finally took me to a point where I needed to face that D word.

And then I reflect on how my life is right now.

And it's incredible... the difference.

New boss, new department, new office.

Back to the Old Me.

I'm excited for Thanksgiving.  I'm eagerly planning the menu and figuring out all the travel needs for the weekend.  A friend is getting married that weekend and I'm excited to be part of her day as a witness in the congregation.

I'm excited to get started on the Christmas season.  I'm still respecting the turkey... no decorations are up yet.  But I am thinking about decorations and holiday events around town and parties and get togethers and Christmas lists and church programs.

I'm actually looking forward to this entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.

Instead of stress, exhaustion, self doubt, irritaiton, frustration, guilt... that was soooo 2012...

I am filled with love and joy and peace and I want to share it.

Last year, I could barely crack my heart open for compassionate giving.  Did it. But my heart wasn't feeling it.

This year, I'm overflowing and hoping my finances can keep up.

My theme word for 2012 was Steady.  For 2013, it was Reach.  And reflecting back... both were appropriate.  I feel like 2013 is ending with a different focus word.  Celebration.

I'm back to my old self.  And that I'm also new and improved! And I've never felt better!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Momentary Wishes

The other day, I read a daily devotional that comes to my email each day - it's a daily reading of C. S. Lewis.  I often find something in it that sits with me.

Recently, there was a letter that he wrote to a woman who had expressed her concern about her own heart because she was pregnant and wished that she wasn't.

His response included the line above.

And it has not only stayed with me but has been coming up in various places time and time again.

We all have immediate responses to things, don't we?  That emotional reaction.

And there is no reason to feel guilty for those momentary, fleeting feelings or wishes or desires.

It's when we hold on to them that a problem arises.

Sometimes, I have a fleeting thought that perhaps... maybe... just for a moment...

I don't want to be a mom anymore.

Those are hard words to say.  Sometimes I can crack jokes about the stresses of parenthood.  But sometimes, I really have a momentary thought of just running away or somehow just not being a mom.

And then I feel guilty.

Because what kind of mom would ever think such a thing?

But this reminder... I don't embrace that wish.  I don't embrace that momentary wish at all.

Which means there is no room for guilt in my response.

Sometimes, I want to go buy and eat a Medium bag of Peanut M&M's.  And then I start to beat myself up for considerin git when I am working on eating better, being healthier.

But I don't go buy the candy.  And I don't pig out on a replacement.  And with a little prayer and focus, my momentary wish passes and there is no room for guilt.

"As to wishing it had not happened, one can’t help momentary wishes: guilt begins only when one embraces them. You can’t help their knocking at the door, but one mustn’t ask them in to lunch. And no doubt you have many feelings on the other side. I am sure you felt as I did when I heard my first bullet, ‘This is War: this is what Homer wrote about.’ For, all said and done, a woman who has never had a baby and a man who has never been either in a battle or a storm at sea, are, in a sense, rather outside—haven’t really ‘seen life’—haven’t served. We will indeed have you in our prayers."

"And no doubt you have many feelings on the other side."

That's another really important point, isn't it?

When I have that momentary wish of not being a mom anymore... the flip side is that I would never give up being a mom, that I would literally die to save my children, that my kids fill my heart with joy and love.

When I have that momentary wish of snarfing down a large bag of candy... the feelings on the other side are the pride I have in my accomplishments, the strength I have in knowing that I can choose something beneficial rather than unnecessary.

Momentary wishes.
No embracing, no guilt.
Focus on the other feelings.

That's some common sense I can definitely use in my life.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Reality Check

I've lost 5 pounds.

But I don't feel much like celebrating.

Because what I am first doing is working on losing the weight I've gained in the last 6 months.  I went nuts with food.  I was eating anything and everything and in any quantity I wanted.  I was completely ruled by food - and the greasier, sweeter, saltier, and more processed the better.

And when I lose the weight that I gained because I was being... lazy, self-indulgent, unaware... I don't feel like there is a whole lot there to celebrate.

I'm proud of myself.  I'm very glad a friend asked me to partner with her so we can support each other.  Because I needed a push, I needed something to get me out of that downward spiral that I was in.  And I am making better choices most of the time.

And once I get back into the weight zone that I was in 6 months ago... then I will feel like I am actually back on track.  And then I will start to really celebrate my losses, my successes.

Because I will have successes to celebrate!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Healthy. Hmmmmm.

I've been thinking about this word lately.


Even when you look it up in a dictionary, you don't get a good definition.

"enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit"

"in good health"

"freedom from disease or abnormality"

"a condition of optimal well being"

I am working on healthy living.  Eating better.  Moving more.

How do I know when I've become healthy?  When I've eaten nothing but whole foods for a month?  When I can run a 5K?  When my annual physical comes back with zero areas of concern?  When I feel strong and energetic?  When I reach a certain weight?

How do any of us know when we are healthy?  And if we all have different definitions of healthy, how are we ever supposed to know how to get there?

If you ask the question - "I want to lose weight" or "I want to get healthy" - you will get a different answer from every person you ask.

Some need to follow a diet.  Some need a strict plan. Some need accountability.  Some need medication or surgery or counseling.  Some need a goal.  Some need to cut out sugar.  Some need to go gluten free.

We each have to find what works for us.

For me...

I am focusing on natural foods, real foods.  If it grows, it's good.  Doesn't mean I stick with it 100% of the time.

I am focusing on letting God into my food.  I've kept Him pretty well locked out.

Next step is to get some daily, intentional activity.

I'm not looking to run a marathon.  I'm not looking to be a certain size or weight.

At the end of the day, I just want to be able to honestly say that I did my best.

I want to know that I took care of my body.   That I took care of my spirit.  That I took care of others.  That my choices reflected love, respect, and dignity.

That's what healthy is to me.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Wrong! #RespectTheTurkey

This past weekend, a local outdoor mall had their annual extravanganza to welcome Santa Claus.

Yup - you read that correctly.  Santa made a grand entrance at a big festival on November 9.  6 weeks and 4 days before Christmas.

Some radio stations have been sneaking in some Christmas songs here and there and I hear a local station will be kicking off the "all Christmas" format very soon.

I've heard reports of Christmas music being heard in stores.

I can understand the Christmas shopping and even the Christmas hobby and gift shows that start popping up.
But then the unimaginable happened.

The 12 Days of Christmas.

Being sung very loudly and joyfully.

From the backseat of my own vehicle.

My own children have turned against me!


Where did I go wrong?

Time to bring some Thanksgiving focus to my family.  I've been participating in the month of gratitude thing that pops up this time of year - sharing something each day that I am thankful for.  It's kind of nice - I generally take time at the end of the day to reflect on the events of the day and find a blessing in there that I am thankful for.

And I think it's something we can easily bring to our dinner table for the rest of the month.

Giving Thanks.  Thanksgiving.  A focus on gratitude.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Letting God In

My pastor has often preached about letting God in... maybe you haven't let him in to your finances, your broken marriage, your relationship with your estranged father, you job.  And as we discover where we are refusing to allow Him to guide us, we will grow closer on our walk with Christ, be more effective in living to our life purpose.

And every time he's said it... I nod my head and go through a checklist.  And I've felt like I have God pretty securely in most areas of my life.  I know I'm not perfect and I know I'm a work in progress so I never claimed to have Him completely but I couldn't identify an area where I immediately needed improvement.

And then things happened.  And my eyes were opened.  And it kinda stung.

A friend and I have become partners on a journey to healthy living.  Anyone who has been around this old blog for the past few years may recall that I've been on and then off and then kinda on and then off and then a little bit on and then off again.  And I've been struggling to ge tback on the wagon.  I've gained a good amount of weight and have known that I needed to take action.  But I had no motivation, no desire to plan for it.

And then my friend approached me about maybe working through a book with her - Made To Crave by Lysa Terkeurst.  I had tried reading through it about a year ago.  Got a couple of chapters in and put it down and didn't pick it back up.

I don't think I was ready for what it was going to hit me with.  Because at that time, I had other areas where I needed God.

But this time around... big, huge, smack me upside the head wake up call.

I've prayed for strength. I've prayed for perseverance.

But I've never let God into my food.

I pray that He would give this day my daily bread.  And then I would eat as though he'd given me this day my daily convenience store.

I have kept God pretty clearly away from my food, away from my eating.  I was willing to thank Him.  But I wasn't willing to let Him into this broken relationship I have with food.

For the past month, I've loved gummy bears more than God.

I've loved frosting more than God.

I've loved brownie mix more than God.

I've indulged in large meals, 3 meals per day.

I'm still pretty early on in the book.  But there are several things that are staying with me.

I've been loving food more than loving God.  I've been trying to keep my relationship with food separate from my relationship with Christ.

I need to focus more on what is beneficial for my health.  Everything is permissable, not everything is beneficial.  1 Corinthians 10:23

When it comes to the Fruits of the Spirit... I've been seriously lacking in self-control.

The author uses many Bible references and stories to illustrate her points.  Food is talked about in the Bible time and time again.  The downfall of mankind is represented by Eve's taking the apple.  Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew.  Before I can take up my cross and follow Him, I need to give up the current relationship with food.

All of this realization work doesn't mean it is suddenly easy to avoid temptation.  Doesn't mean I've magically got time for working out.  Doesn't mean I've suddenly begun to only crave foods that are nutrient dense.

It does mean that when temptation strikes, I've got something to ponder before I give in.

I found an area in my life where I hadn't let God in, where I hadn't given God control.  And I'm working on it, bit by bit.

Where is God knocking on your heart?  Where do you need to let Him in?


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Menu #RespectTheTurkey

Speaking of Thanksgiving...

I have volunteered for a task and am eager for it but also feeling like I need to make sure I don't go completely overboard.

Our family Thanksgiving will be a bit smaller this year.  Less family able to travel, less family in town.

So we will have my parents, my grandma, my brothers and my family (including a friend) - all at my parents' home.  8 adults and 2 kids.

My kids don't eat much at Thanksgiving.  So the menu doesn't concern them much.  They're too busy watching movies, playing in the toy closet, and convincing their uncles to take them outside or to the basement to play.

This year, I volunteered, and my mom has actually accepted, to make the family meal.  She is in charge of the turkey.  I get to do everything else.  The kids and I will come to town the evening before Thanksgiving and I can get started on any prep work that needs to be done for the next day.

I'm not looking to make a gourmet meal.  I'm not trying to create a brand new menu that will contain all kinds of frou-frou dishes.

I've polled several members of the family and gotten feedback on the classic dishes that are required for our meal.

Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Stove Top
Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Veggies & Potatoes

It's a good, basic meal.

But I want more.

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is the idea of a feast, a celebration of bounty.

I want to prepare some of the foods that I love and that my family has taught me to love but that we don't often eat.  Like brussels sprouts.  And beets.

I think we need sweet potato casserole.  Jeff wants corn.  I'd prefer a corn casserole.  But he's my plain jane so plain corn he shall have.

So I'm looking for ideas.  I'm looking for your family traditions and must haves at any family holiday gathering.  What goes on your table?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Let's start a movement.  A hashtag movement.  Or just a regular old movement.

It's not Christmas yet!

Yes, Halloween is over.

Novemeber has just begun.  And the deluge of ads and music and decorations is upon us.  Green and red have become the colors of the season.

And I'm simply not ready yet.

Thanksgiving comes first.  I take this stance each year.  I won't be listening to carols or turning on lights or putting up my tree.

I can understand shopping for presents or making crafts - I think those are things you can do year round.

But I think we tend to jump the gun when it comes to the Christmas season.

Here's what I like about Thanksgiving.  It's not some glamorous holiday.  There isn't much commercialism to it.  It's a simple holiday with a simple ideal - giving thanks.  Being thankful is key to being happy, being fulfilled.

Here's what I dislike about Christmas cropping up before Halloween.  You lose your momentum, it lacks specialness.  When Christmas is part of life for 1/6 of the year, it becomes part of the everyday.

I think we want to celebrate Christmas early because we like the warm fuzzy of it.  We like the memories, the magic, the food, the giving.  But there's no reason not to celebrate those things thorughout the year - we can give compassionately any time, we can feed the poor or make a family meal any time, we can recall fond memories or make new memories any time.  There's no reason to wait for Christmas to make all those things happen.

Maybe we seek Christmas early each year because we're seeking happiness.

And maybe we need to stop and let happiness find us first.

And maybe a solid focus on the month leading up to Thanksgiving as a time to prepare our hearts for being thankful, to truly recognize our blessings, to see the miracles around us each and every day... maybe that's how we actually #RespectTheTurkey.  Thanksgiving lays a wonderful groundwork for Christmas.  By being compassionate, blessed, thankful, our hearts are more prepared to see and meet the needs of others.  Maybe focusing on Thanksgiving will help us reduce the commercialism of Christmas and focus on the meaning of the season, the good that can come from the holiday.

Join me! #RespectTheTurkey!