Friday, July 31, 2015

What the Doctor Said

I got a phone call from the lab tech at the doctor's office yesterday. It terrified me. I could let you guess why, but you probably wouldn't guess the what he said.

Photo caption: Eva Blue

My cholesterol is too high.

A part of me says, "Yeah, whose isn't?" I mean this a common thing that people deal with, so why did it terrify me? I'm not too sure. There is a history of heart disease in my family, so it is always something on my radar. I know I need to watch myself. However, that wasn't the entire issue. The lab tech also said something about a low fat diet. Diet? I can't do a diet. The second someone says you can't eat this, it is the only thing I want to eat. I refuse to go through life hating what I have to eat. Food should be enjoyed and I want to enjoy food as it should be. I don't want artificially enhanced or in some other way changed, like low fat chocolate or something else ridiculous. And maybe there was a little bit of self reflection that I wasn't ready for. Maybe I'm the unusual one or maybe there are others out there like me, but my emotional state has a drastic effect on my eating even when I don't realize it.

So I did what any self respecting person who needs information does, I googled it. I read a few articles about food that is good for cholesterol and I was encouraged. There are some easy fixes, like oats. I can have oatmeal for breakfast. It would be filling, good for cholesterol and something I don't have to think much about. Avocados, albacore tuna, olive oil, spinach, garlic, and black beans. I like those things too. I was encouraged. I can incorporate a few new recipes and they could make a difference. My husband has been thinking on some new dinner recipes as well. So it isn't just me trying to do this, we can do it.

Those recipes could also help me lose the weight I've been wanting to use. Of course that is a difficult proposition having hypothyroidism. Mine has been relatively well controlled for the last 5 years or so. I would like to think my consistently taking the medicine as it should be taken is a part of that. Even through my pregnancy with my daughter, it was fairly well controlled. I took it before bed because I was throwing up in the morning and my dosage had to be upped, but my numbers still stayed good. However after she was born, it was a different story. Those bleary eyed mornings meant lots of times that I forgot to take my medicine first thing. Like I've forgotten to take it probably once a week for the last 16 months. That's not really great. So I've moved the medicine bottle to my bedside table. So far (2 days), so good. Hopefully taking my medicine regularly will make the changes in diet useful. There is a small part of me that is afraid of a certain number on the scale. I have hit that number twice and had two kids. So it's kind of like a magic baby number, but I'm pretty happy with two babies. There is a much larger part that dreams of a number on the scale that makes me smile instead of shrugging and saying not bad. And maybe just maybe that number on the scale could be paired with food I really love on a regular basis.

I'm sure it doesn't seem like such a hard prospect for several of you out there who have taken your health seriously. But for me, I'm just not sure where to fit this new food into my schedule. Being a teacher is not your regular 9 to 5 job. Not to mention being a mother and wife. Making sure the homework gets done, and making sure each kid gets some mommy time after work, getting the dishes and laundry done, and making sure we get time with the larger family. Those are time consuming. Then you throw in church service, choir, youth leadership,etc. Blogging and reading are just for fun, but also terribly important for my own well being. My time is spoken for in many areas. The thought of adding in prep time for this new 'healthy' diet is overwhelming. I know there will be busy weeks and on those weeks, I wonder if I can find the time to make this new food. I doubt my ability to follow through and then there will be guilt to follow. To follow? I'm already feeling guilty about failing this new diet and I've hardly started. This isn't something I can fail at.

Of course I feel that everything I do is something that I can't fail at. Which leads me to the emotional issues tied to my eating and that will be another post.

Yesterday, I made a quinoa and black bean salad. It took me much longer than I expected because I used dried beans. However, I did and I learned a few things. I know how I can do it better next time. At the very least, I know I can have oatmeal,some black bean recipes, and salad. I am confident that I can get two of those things accomplished on a daily basis. Next week I have another appointment with the doctor. I'm assuming he will talk to me more about the specifics. I hope I'm prepared for that meeting. I will let you know next week.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What Are Christians Supposed To Do? (Part 2)

Last week I talked about my response to all of these 'issues' 'attacking' the Christian faith. And I have a few more ideas.

Primarily, I have had a revelation about relationships with Jesus. We claim that we want people to have a personal relationship with Jesus. However I think that is a misnomer. We don't want people to have a personal relationship with Jesus. We want them to have our relationship with Jesus. We want their faith to look like ours. We don't want them to have a personal relationship because their personal relationship doesn't include us. That makes us uncomfortable. We are so terribly worried that someone else might make a mistake that we attempt to insert ourselves into their faith. But that doesn't work. It really is a personal relationship. It is how they relate to Jesus and how He relates to them. It is a life long faith process that they walk through with Jesus beside them. I can't tell then how to be out how not to be. That is what Jesus does. I can't expect my experiences, opinions, and life to bring me to the same places that they are and vice versa. I have to let them live out their relationship with Jesus.

A related idea is that I often look at the temporal. I look at what is here and now. I look at what is right in front of me. However the God I serve is not temporal. He doesn't just look at what is right in front of me. He is eternal.  He is outside of time. He was, he is, and he will be. So I need look at the eternal as well. I need to understand there is a big picture. It doesn't all have to be fixed right now. God has a plan and the plan is longer than my attention span.

Trust his plan and his timing and his relationship with those other people. And focus on my relationship with Him, my reaction to His timing, and my involvement in His plan. Less me, more Jesus.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Girl and Her Body

Photo Credit: RafalZych

With summer upon us, swim wear distress has begun. As Ben gets older, he has more friends, we are invited to more summer events, including swim events. This brings my old nemesis back to the forefront, swim wear. Can I get an amen?

Growing up, we went on vacation where swimming was available. So swim wear was a necessity. Every year I struggled to find something to fit me right. I had bikinis, tankinis, and one pieces over the years. I didn't like any of them. I picked the one that made me feel the least crappy about myself. Feeling good about myself in swim wear wasn't even going to happen. Bikinis showed my stomach which wasn't flat enough. One pieces showed my thighs which were too big. Tankinis could be paired with shorts and cover all the ugly flabby parts. However, the patterns weren't very pretty which left me feeling like a big geek who couldn't possibly fit in with any group. In all these struggles, I was so very blessed that no adult in my life put any pressure on me about the swim wear decisions I had to make.

I wish I could say that some piece of sage advice along the way eased every fear and negative thing I would tell myself. But I never even asked for advice because I didn't want confirmation of how wrongly shaped my body was. I didn't want to have to say my flaws out loud. I have said many of these things to my husband over the years as I have become frustrated with shorts, swim wear and any other number of clothing items.  He has assured me of my beauty and sympathized with me about the mean old clothing manufactures. And yet it was a comment only a couple weeks ago from a few parents at church that helped me more than anything else ever has. We were discussing the difficulties of finding swim wear for a tall daughter and another daughter that wanted shorts. Another woman even mentioned a place that was selling long torso swim suits. It is the swim suit that doesn't fit me. It isn't me that doesn't fit the suit! It isn't that my proportions are all wrong. It is the suit that isn't long enough and pulls down in the wrong places and up in wrong places.

No matter swim wear I choose it does not define the correctness of my body.

My body has been fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe. I no longer need to feel ashamed by the shape of this or the size of that. I don't need to fear if I look acceptable to others. I don't need to fear if they notice this flaw or that flaw. We all have flaws, but we also all have our beauty as well.

And more important than our physical attributes, we are all interesting and lovely people on the inside. And the more lovely we are on the inside, three more lovely we are on the outside.

I will no longer allow myself to be defined by the way I look in a swim suit or the size of that swim suit or the shape of that suit. I will no longer allow myself to be shamed by the media, stupid people (smart people don't shame anyone), or my own negative self talk. I will not only accept my body, but I will love it. I am going to celebrate who I am inside and out.

I don't think this post would be complete without discussing me as a mother. What will I do to help Lily not deal with this for 35 years? I am not going to talk to her about her body. I will talk to her about what her body can do. I will talk to her about how the clothes fit her or compliment her. The subject will be her ability or the clothes. The subject will not be her body. I will also do encourage her to ask questions and talk about her feelings. And I will pray a lot.

These human bodies that we have been stuck with are difficult and the world we live in is broken. Lord help us love more.

Monday, June 29, 2015

What Are Christians Supposed To Do? (Part 1)

Photo Credit: Damien du Toit

The events of the last week have brought much passionate discussion and intense debate. Both the rainbow flag and the Rebel flag have been critiqued. I have remained relatively quiet on both topics. I have explained what I understand about various sides of the issues to those who were asking and open to discussion. So relatively quiet. I have had no Facebook statuses or pictures to declare my opinion. However, I do not live under a rock. I have read what many have had to say. A few of those people have had thought provoking posts. One of those posts got me to thinking.

What if I have misunderstood my mission as a Christian for years?

I have felt as a Christian it is my mission to tell people the right way to live in an effort to proclaim the Gospel, lead people to Jesus, and bring glory to God. I try to do it with genuine love and gentleness, but none the less I felt that is what I was to do in my personal relationships with others. What if that isn't the way I should be proclaiming the Gospel, leading people to Jesus, and bringing glory to God? I know Micah 6:8, act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. I know John 15:12, love each other as God has loved me. I know Matthew 22:37-39, love God with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. and love my neighbor as I love myself. Those seem pretty clear about the mission of a Christian. Love.

What if I am supposed to love everyone and let Jesus deal with their sins? What if the way I bring glory to God and lead people to Jesus and proclaim the Gospel is to love people like Jesus loved?

I'm not saying to give people a pass on their sins. Jesus didn't do that. He told the woman at the well about her sins and proclaimed himself as the Messiah. He told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He didn't tell either of them that it was okay to keep doing what they had always done. He did confront them with their sin, but he did it in such a way that encouraged them to change. He only spoke the woman at the well about her sins AFTER they had begun talking about spiritual issues. In the case of the adulteress, he sent the condemning crowd away from her and spoke to her one on one about her issues. So maybe I've been doing it wrong. Maybe I'm supposed to love and let Jesus work on the heart. Then if someone comes to me and asks about living like Jesus, then I discuss in gentleness and love their sins and the way to be free of them. Maybe I need to stop thinking "Look what this world is coming to" and instead think like the early church "Look what has come into the world." Expect the world to sin and be messed up and love them anyway because Jesus has come to take care of the messy sinful heart issues. I'm just here to love and only after seeking more, then am I to tell people the right way to live.

As the pastor said this morning, lost people are going to act like lost people, so there is no reason to be angry or judgmental about it. Christ is sufficient to cover those issues with those people in His time. I must try to live like Jesus, not endorsing, supporting, or condoning the sin, but not being angry or judgmental about it either. Love them and let Jesus deal with the sin.

In answer to my question in the title, Christians are supposed to love first.

NOTE: If you feel the need to discuss my personal opinions on either of the two major issues mentioned at the outset of this post, feel free to message me privately and we can discuss it. My personal opinions do not need to be aired publicly. Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2015

To My Former Students

Last night was graduation. I haven't been a participant of graduation in several years. I had forgotten how emotional it can be, especially when some your favorites are graduating. (Yes teachers have favorites. The list is just longer than most expect.) As I drove home I started reflecting back on my 12 years teaching.

Photo Credit: Deapeajay

I realized that some of the first students I taught are approaching their 3rd decade. I can't believe it has been that long. Even though many years have passed I still think about my "kids". So for the graduates of 2003 and for the graduates of 2015 and all of those in between, I wanted to send you a message.


You are important. You aren't forgotten.

It may have only been 10 days since I've had you in class and it may have been 10 years. I still remember you. I still think about you sometimes. Once you have been one of my "kids", you will always be one of my "kids". I still worry about you. Not because I don't think you are capable, but because life is harsh. I worry that life will be harsh with you. I don't want you to have to suffer. But if you do, let it make you a stronger and better person.

You are successful!

I see the amazing people you are growing into and I am proud. So many of you have made amazing decisions. You have decided to love people even when it is hard. You have family that you are putting first and defending against the slings and arrows of life. I know some of you are stuck in jobs and wondering where your career is. I don't have any answers. Just know that I see your struggles and I believe in you to make a good decision. Some of you are stuck without a relationship and wondering where your other half is. Don't find another half. Be a whole you and wait for the right whole person to show up that makes your life better. Some of you are in college. Keep working hard and I know it is HARD. But the hard work pays off and the results are worth it. To all of you, don't be afraid to take risks, but count the cost before you take the risk. Make sure it is worth it.

I thank you for the joy have brought to my life. I also thank you for helping me grow into a better teacher and a better person.

Mostly, I still love you all. 

And I know some of my former students aren't here to read this. I still think about them too. I miss them. And I love them too.

Friday, June 5, 2015

What I want

A new phone
New flooring in my house
A pretty front porch
My preferred teaching schedule
Some new Jamberrys
A couple new Scentsy warmers
A new pair of flats
A new pair of boots
A new skirt
A new dress

I'm sure there is more. And of all those things on that list, I need exactly none of them. But I'm having a very serious case of the "I wannas".

My husband's phone bit the dust last night, so he is getting an upgrade. And I'm jealous!

There is a house near mine for sale. Of course I found it online and looked at pictures. It has great flooring and a super cute front porch. And I want it!

The end of the school year brings thoughts of the coming year. I have big plans for a paperless classroom with lots of Project Based Learning. And that seems within my reach. However the schedule it seems I will get is not the best for me in my mind. And I'm freaking out.

Jamberry, Scentsy, shoes, skirts, and dresses are just more things that I think will make my life better. And I want them.

Have you noticed a theme? What I want. What is best for me. Me, myself, and I.

Lord, help me keep my selfish heart in check. Remind me of all that you have given me. Help me look to the best of others before I look to what is best for me. Amen.

Photo Credit: Proverbs 31 ministries

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Finding the Source of Nourishment, Again.















Photo Credit: David Sanabria


In the last few weeks, I have had a bit of a revelation. I have been stuck in a negative rut lately. Carl had some thoughts on negativity too. He's noticing something I have noticed recently too. Some people work at being negative. They can't or won't see the positive. I have seen that multiple times this week. I then started to wonder how many times have I not seen it? How many times have I been so entrenched in my own negative thinking that I didn't notice the negativity of others?

Oooh. That was a scary thought.

The other thing I have noticed recently is a group of people that really blessed me in the last few weeks, the parents of my son's soccer team. This year was the first time that Ben played a team sport. It was a fabulous experience! He had an awesome coach that really worked the boys to improve their soccer skills and celebrated what they learned. One coach doing a great job may not have been something so incredible, but the parents all joined in. We cheered for the boys and girls on both teams who made plays. We cheered for the boys on our team that learned to get in there an challenge for the ball. We cheered for the boys that learned how to tackle and how to save a goal. We cheered. We laughed. We just enjoyed each other's company and each other's children. We fed off of each other's positivism.

That was a wonderful feeling.

These two experiences so close together have made an impression on me. I need to be careful who I surround myself with. In some cases, I don't necessarily have a choice. However, I do have a choice about the amount of time I spend with them and the amount of their words to which I am listening. I need to protect my half full cup!

There is negativity that lives in minds of us all, but we don't have to feed it. I need to be more careful about who I am allowing to feed my mind. I can't let excuses of being tired, being busy, being a mom, being a wife, being involved at church, etc. overwhelm the person God is calling me to be. I need to be focusing on God and letting him be my primary source of nourishment. I have been depending on others for far too long. It's time I start looking The Source instead.

And feel free to call our if I'm doing anything different!