Friday, June 28, 2013

And They Lived Joyfully Ever After

Today marks my 11 year anniversary.  It was a hot, muggy, rainy June day.  I woke up in the morning, sat straight up in bed, and said, "Holy crap!  I'm getting married today!"  The entire day was surreal.  I remember ironing my getaway dress in my mom's living room.  I remember getting my hair done and bouncing in my seat.  I remember putting on lipstick and wiping it off because it was too red.  I remember packing my suitcase for my honey moon.

I remember getting ready in the preschool room at the church and sweltering, standing in front of a fan that was rotating back and forth, much like the scene in Runaway Bride.  Then we were standing outside taking our wedding pictures and it was overcast and super humid.  But Hubby looked so darn handsome in his suit that I hardly even noticed.

I remember walking down the aisle on my father's arm, looking at the people in the church, noticing friends that I hadn't seen in a while, feeling blessed that they were there to witness me marry the man I had loved since I was sixteen.  And then I had eyes only for my Hubby, standing there at the front of the church, with a smile a mile wide.  I wanted the moment to last forever...and I wanted it to hurry up and be done already so we could get to the "married" part.

I can't tell you what my Father-in-law said as he preached during our ceremony.  I remember Hubby saying his vows, slipping his ring on my finger.  I remember saying my own vows and giving Hubby his ring.  Then lighting a unity candle to symbolize our two lives becoming one.  And then we were kissing and we were married and we were walking back up the aisle together.

We danced, we ate, we hugged everyone, we laughed, we fed each other cake, and then we were on our way to the hotel before making our way to Cancun.  And then we lived happily ever after.  Because that's what married people do.


I was reading a book the other day that put marriage into perspective in a way I'd never thought of before.

"God doesn't care if you're happy, but He does care, very much, if you have joy.  Now some of you will say that the two are one and the same--happiness and joy--but this is not so.  Happiness is a feeling.  Happiness is fleeting, dependent on the moment, the circumstances, even the weather.  Joy is transcendent, enduring, and, in the biblical context, is not an emotion.  Joy is an attitude of the heart, Joy brings us peace, a refuge in the midst of troubles.  God gives us joy through His Spirit.  But the enemy tries to steal your joy and give you temporary happiness instead.  Now, is there anything wrong with happiness?  No, but it cannot last.  So, you may wonder why I bring up the difference between these two--it is simple really.  I bring it up to advise you, because marriage--in its true, everyday, working, living, dying state--is not easy and not much fun.  No, marriage is sacred before the Lord, a decision for a lifetime, but too often I think young people look upon it as a source of happiness.  Do not look at marriage this way.  See it as a reservoir of joy, a deep, welling spring that endures the icy blast of temper, the bite of an angry word, the void of loneliness in a heart hungry for talk when there is no response.  Seek joy in each other, not happiness." (Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long)

When I got married, I had happiness in abundance.  My Hubby was the nicest, handsomest, most wonderful man on the planet.  And then real life set in.  Sometimes this man made me mad.  Sometimes he didn't want to talk about something that I wanted to discuss.  Sometimes he wanted to see a "guy" movie and I wanted to see a "chick flick."  Sometimes he forgot to take the trash out.  And then I started to feel unhappy.  And then I wondered, what the heck happened to my Happily Ever After??!

It took me a while to figure out the difference between happiness and joy.  In the beginning, I thought that if I wasn't happy, then Hubby wasn't doing something right.  (Poor Hubby)  But I've learned that like the quote above, happiness is fleeting and circumstantial.  It can't last.  And that is where I went wrong.  I thought happiness was the litmus test, the thing I was striving for.  I spent a lot of time chasing after "happy."  And I couldn't understand why I wasn't always happy.

But then God began to speak to my heart about Joy.  About finding Joy in all circumstances, rather than happiness.  Embracing Joy when things are going well.  About choosing Joy in the midst of illness, trials, difficulties.   Deciding to pursue Joy even when I didn't feel like it.  To discard the immature thought that happiness is the determining factor of a marriage done well and replace it with the truth that marriage is hard work and I won't always be happy.  But Joy will see me through every circumstance.  Happiness fades when the party's over.  Joy remains.

And so I set aside my childish dream to live Happily Ever After and replaced it with a dream that lasts--to live Joyfully Ever After.  I would say that Hubby and I do a pretty smashingly good job at that one.  (And yes, he still is the nicest, handsomest, most wonderful man on the planet, despite dragging me to see Star Trek)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Did My Girl Get To Be Eight???

Happy Birthday, Lizzy

Today my Lizzy turned eight.  I don't know what it is that's made me almost resent birthdays lately, but each one almost brings me to tears.  I tell my kids that I wish I could stop time and freeze them right where they are.  Each time they beg for me to measure them on our measuring wall, I see their heights creep up closer and closer to looking me in the eye.  With each new pair of shoes, they get that much closer to fitting into mine.  With each new grade, they get that much closer to flying the coop.

I am not ready for my babies to grow up.

Lizzy is currently running around the house with all her little friends--girls who have been her friends from birth and have attended almost every other party she's had.  Time affects her friends, too.  They all started out as giggly little shriekers.  Now they are giggly bigger shriekers who have set aside dress-up in favor of playing games and dancing to Lizzy's new keyboard music (songs like Jingle Bells and Ode To Joy).

Decorating cupcakes for her party

Today I watched Lizzy and two of her friends learn how to dive in swim class.  My little girl even tried diving off the diving board.  She totally failed, but she tried!  She can swim laps in the pool.  Just yesterday she couldn't even swim at all.

Her birthday list no longer contained princess dresses and fairy dolls.  No, this year she asked for legos, an ice cream maker, and a water gun.

And yet, I am thankful for some of the changes that I have seen in my girl over the past year.  She has always been a sweet, outgoing, friendly (oh so friendly), kind girl.  But today she offered her friends food before she took her own.  She gave up her seat for someone else.  She traded her party favor toy with another girl who liked Lizzy's color better.  She often will give up what she has for someone else because she wants to make them happy.  She loves, loves, loves her baby nephews and looks forward to when they come over.  Baby Paul and Leland are two of her favorite people.

She has turned into an orderly person.  She used to be a complete slob with toys and clothes oozing out of her room.  Now she keeps her stuff very tidy and started making her bed all on her own months ago.  She cleans up after her self.  She offers to help me and helps me (usually) without complaint.

She has gone from a girl who hated reading to reading a lot.  She especially loves to read books to her little sister.  Lizzy is a wonderful big sister to Joy.  She is very imaginative and is always coming up with games and ideas of things to play with her sister.  She orchestrates elaborate "Sister Days" and will make Joy breakfast, play games with her, and read to her.

Lizzy is Miss Hospitality.  Whenever we have guests over, you will find Lizzy writing name cards to assign seating at the table.  She loves to write cards to people and sends off mail regularly.

While I am sad that my baby is growing up, it is amazing to watch her grow into the woman that she is going to become.  To watch her heart grow in compassion and love.  To see her reach out beyond her circle of friends and befriend strangers and "the least of these" wherever she goes.  God has big plans for my girl and it is fun to see it happen.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spelling City--For The Spelling Challenged Kids In My House

A few weeks ago a friend of mine told me about Spelling City, an online educational resource for helping kids learn how to spell.  Her boys use it at their school and were given over-the-summer access so they could participate in the summer program which provides eight weeks of lessons to help prevent the summer "slump" of losing ground in their education.

I was intrigued.  I looked into it, liked what I saw, closed my browser, and forgot about it.  Until today when I had an email inviting me to review Spelling City in exchange for a premium membership.  Well, of course I jumped on the bandwagon because honestly, my kids are terrible spellers.  I just keep on working with them through spelling programs, explaining the spelling rules, helping them, trying new things, and for whatever reasons, it just doesn't stick.

One day I know the light bulb is going to go on and my kids are going to "get" spelling.  It did for me my senior year of high school.  I used to be a bad speller.  My kids were horrified when I told them that the only time I ever cheated on a test in school was in sixth grade--on a spelling test.

My senior year of high school I signed up to work on the school newspaper.  Which is funny, all things considered.  But, my friends were doing it and I thought it'd be better than having a study hall.  Amazingly, I learned how to spell.  How to write.  Grammar skills I'd missed along the way.  How to edit.  Oh boy did I learn how to edit.  These skills served me well in college.  I was known on my dorm floor as the go-to person if you needed your school paper edited. I learned through this experience that though my spelling skills left something to be desired back then, my writing skills were top notch comparatively.  Haha!  My school did an excellent job at teaching me to write well (Thank you, Mrs. McGlone).

So, spelling.  Even today, not my strength.  Spell check is my friend.  Hubby is my dictionary.  "Honey, how do you spell .....?"  Though he may roll his eyes at me, he does give me the answer.

Therefore, I am excited to set my kids up with an online spelling program to try out as part of their fun summer "school" choices.  They love the computer and ask to use it all the time.  They have really enjoyed other online educational websites, so I am pretty sure they will enjoy this one.  But, check back in a few weeks and I'll let you know how it's going.

*Disclosure: I've been given a Premium Membership to for a candid, personal, online review.  VocabularySpellingCity helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as Sentence UnscrambleHandwriting Practice,WordSearch, and FlashCards. Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of free teaching resources on topics such as Synonyms and Figurative Language. Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers. If you're interested, find out how you can review

Goodbye Spare Tire...20 Pounds Gone!

Today I stepped on the scale and let out a whoop!  I finally hit the 20 pound loss mark and couldn't be happier.  So I went online to find out what a 20 pound equivalent would be--I lost a car tire.  Which is ironic since my belly is smaller almost like I really lost that spare tire.

Upon this reaching this mini goal, I got to reflecting.  When I bought the Trim Healthy Mama book, I didn't have much hope of it actually working for me.  When I started the diet, I expected to lose a few pounds and then get bored, lose my motivation, and quit after losing maybe 10 pounds.

I've had "cheat" meals in the last 10 weeks.  More than a few.  But not once did I think, oh well.  I blew it.  I will just give up.  Nope.  Because I read that 600+ page book and internalized it.  I will never look at food in the same way again.  There are times when I will eat both fat and carbs in the same meal, and that's okay.  Because I know that with the next meal, I will get right back on track.  I rarely crave foods anymore because I can have both fat and carbs.

With the Atkins diet, all I could think about was carbs.  I wanted bread, pasta, crackers, anything with carbs in it.  Now, whenever I am craving carbs, I plan for an Energizing meal with healthy carbs--a lean sandwich on Ezekiel bread, brown rice or quinoa with lean meat, pancakes made from oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites.  These are just a few of the staple carbs that keep me content.

Or when I am craving a nice big burger, I slap one on the grill and eat it without a bun or on a low carb pita.  I top it with cheese, lettuce and mustard and I am a happy girl.  I use real butter, coconut oil, full fat sour cream.  Some times I scoop out a spoonful of coconut oil and eat it right off the spoon.  Yup. No more believing the myth that fat makes you fat.  Fat only makes you fat when you eat it with carbs.  A 20 pound weight loss in 10 weeks doesn't lie.  And I know I am eating more fat than recommended because I use My Fitness Pal and enter my food into it so I can keep track of my nutrition.  I almost always go over the recommended daily fat allowance.  It just makes me laugh and feel sorry for all those people who are following low fat diets.  It is so much easier and FUN to lose weight my way.

Did I just say that dieting is FUN?!  Because I am having fun.  I love eating this way.  I will never go back to my old way of eating.  For the first time in my life, I actually have hope of reaching my goal weight.  For the first time in my life I have found a way of eating that's healthy, helps me lose weight, and is something I can actually do for the rest of my life.

Next fit into the jeans I wore before I got pregnant with David.  I can pull them on and they almost button...if I suck it in.  I want them to fit for real.

Week 34 in the series of 52 Weeks of New

Week 18--Having too much Christmas fun to blog
Week 19--A Week of Firsts
Week 20--I Passed the Test
Week 21--???  How did I miss this?
Week 22--I Didn't Scream
Week 23--The Reluctant Servant
Week 24--Snow Day!
Week 25--I Hate Change..Even if it Does Present Me With New Opportunities
Week 26--Bribery and Cooking With Kids
Week 27--Best Laid Plans Interrupted
Week 28--Gluten Free Bread Baking

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Will My Child Ever Learn To.....????

Joy's first swim class

We started our annual round of swim lessons this week.  My children have been taking swim lessons every summer for the past four years.  As I sat there on the hard bleacher yet again, I got to thinking...will this ever end???  Will my children EVER learn how to swim enough to be done with lessons???

Sometimes I seriously wonder what I am doing here trying to educate my kids.  I work with a child for days, weeks, months.  Will Joy ever learn how to read on her own?  Will Lizzy ever be able to add and subtract without using her fingers as an aid?  Will David ever be able to spell?  Is all of this homeschooling just a big fat waste of my time?

And then something happens and I get a glimmer of hope.  Today Joy swam on her back all by herself.  I watched Joy jump off the side of the pool into her instructor's arms without hesitating or holding on to his hands.  You might think this is no small thing.  Shouldn't all almost six year olds be able to float on their backs and jump into the pool on their own after taking five sessions of swim lessons over the course of four years?

When Joy first started taking swim lessons, she was almost three.  She loved everything about being in the water.  She loved kicking her legs and splashing her teacher most of all.  But when it came time for her to actually try this swimming thing, she left claw marks on her teacher's arms.  He would try to get her to let go so he could hold her up to help her float, but Joy was having none of that.  She had to have a death grip on him at all times.  As all the other little kids jumped off the side of the pool without fear, Joy had to hold her teacher's hands the entire time she jumped.

Lined up, about to stand up, and jump in.
Joy is the one in the middle wearing pink

The next summer Joy graduated to only having a strong grip on her teacher rather than a death grip.  The third summer Joy was confident enough to let her teacher hold her up and no longer had to hold onto him.  She even swam around all by herself as long as she had a floaty waist belt clipped onto her.  And this, our fourth summer, she let her teacher let go.  And she floated on her back.  And kicked her legs.  And didn't panic and immediately try to stand up.

I still have a loooonnnngggggg road ahead of me of more bleacher sitting, but I have hope that one day, eventually, Joy will actually learn how to swim enough to save herself.  She might even end up being a good swimmer.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  A Mom can dream, right?!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sideline Mom

I am a Stay-At-Home-Mom.  Which means that I stay home with my kids.  I am a homeschooling mom.  Which means that I stay home with my kids all day.  It's me and the kids pretty much all day every day.  So I spend a I lot of time with my kids, talking to them, loving on them, teaching them, just being with them.

But that doesn't mean that I naturally play with my kids.  When they want to have a tea party, they have a tea party.  I do something else.  When they want to play a toy game, they play a toy game and I fold laundry.  When we go to the park, the kids play their games and I sit and watch with the occasional push on the swing or help on the monkey bars.

Last week Lizzy decided to work her way through a Learn to Draw book.  She was sitting at the dining room table drawing when I sat down next to her.  I got a piece of paper and a pencil and proceeded to draw the same fish that she was drawing.  "You're going to draw with me, Mommy?!"  And off she chatted for the next fifteen minutes as we both sat and drew a fish.

Saturday we were at the Lake House again and I took the kids to their favorite park.  I sat and watched my kids play for about two minutes when I decided I wanted to play, too.  "Mommy, you want to play with us?!  Hey guys!  Mommy is going to go down the slide!"

I went down the slide by myself.  Then Joy wanted to do a train with me so she sat behind me.  The third time down she sat in my lap.  I played follow the leader with Lizzy.  I gave Joy a push on a swing and then got on my own swing.

In the afternoon Hubby and I took the kids to the beach to go on a beach hike.  After about five minutes of walking, we encountered a stream that came off the sand dune and fed into Lake Michigan. We walked in the stream.  Then we played in the stream.  Hubby discovered a clump of clay and suddenly we were on a clay-hunting mission.  We ended up with a big bowl full of clay that we're going to play with this week.

As Hubby and I were watching the kids explore the stream and hunt for clay, I turned to him and said, "You know what I like about you?  That you aren't so focused on the goal that you miss the bunny trails along the way.  We came to the beach to get in a practice hike before our mountain trip.  But then we found this cool stream and you had us stop to explore it and here we are a half hour later, still at the stream, our hike long forgotten.  And you're okay with that."

I spend so much of my life raising, teaching and guiding my kids that I forget sometimes how important it is to actually play with my kids.  This is a lesson I am learning from Hubby.  To stop being so focused on my goals that I miss the fun of the bunny trails.  To hunt for clay in a stream.  To run on a jungle gym and race down slides.  To sit and draw a picture with my little artist.  To stop being a sideline mom.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Laundry Fairy Does Not Exist

She's sneaky.  She's crafty.  She's amazing.  She's all-powerful.  She's...The Laundry Fairy.  Just when you least expect it, she swoops in and your dirty clothes magically disappear and she makes clean clothes just appear in dresser drawers and closets everywhere.  Except, The Laundry Fairy who lives in my house is tired of doing laundry.  Oodles and oodles of laundry.  Load after exhausting load.  Just to turn around and see freshly laundered and folded clothes all over the floor in a mess.  Shirts worn for an hour and then shucked to the hamper.

And then there is my favorite:

"Mom/Honey, I'm out of ...."

Because that is totally my fault.  My problem.  Yes, it's annoying to discover you are fresh out of socks, underwear, or shorts.  And despite The Laundry Fairy's amazing abilities, she cannot make new laundry appear with five second's notice.  It takes her about two hours to turn dirty clothes into clean.

Her normal response to such comments is:

"Kids/Dear, I am not responsible for keeping track of your clothes.  When you are down to your last socks/shirt/pair of underwear, then you need to bring the hamper to the laundry room and ask me to wash your clothes."

But, probably like with most families, such statements are met by ears stopped up with cotton balls.  Because a few days go by and I hear the same thing again.  "Mom/Honey..."

I don't mind washing and drying clothes.  It's the folding that I dread.  Which is why, were you to drop by my house unannounced, you are likely to find 1-3 hampers full of clothes sitting in my living room waiting to be folded.  Which is why I spent the last few months teaching my children how to fold their own laundry.

No longer do I care how said clothes are folded.  No longer do I micromanage the neat putting away of clothes into drawers.  Because I don't care.  All my neat folding and putting away efforts will just be thwarted anyway the second a child goes to get dressed and decides they need to wear the shirt on the very bottom of the pile.  As long as I don't have to deal with it, as long as the clothes are transferred from the hamper to the dresser in some semblance of order, I'm good.

My children may not match, their clothes may be full of wrinkles, they may be wearing their sister's socks because they ran out of socks again due to failing to inform me of the need to do their laundry.  It's all fine with me.  Because my children are owning their laundry.  They're learning that The Laundry Fairy doesn't exist.  If they want clean clothes, they have to take responsibility to get it to the laundry room, and then from the laundry room to their dresser.  Mom is not sympathetic to a child who suddenly finds himself without any clean clothes when it's time to pack for vacation.  Mom told her little ducklings three times to get their clothes to the laundry room so they would have clothes to wear on vacation.  If one of her ducklings decides to ignore the request, then Mom is perfectly happy to let him wear dirty clothes for the weekend or to wash his clothes himself when they get to the Lake House.

My Dear Children,

The Laundry Fairy does not exist.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.  You will thank me when you're older.  Your spouse will thank me more.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Closing Doors In My Face

Image source

Have you ever found yourself praying, “Lord, I don't know what to do. So please open the doors that need to be opened and close the doors that need to be closed”??? Ya, I did that this week. Sometimes I am a slow learner. This is the story of how God closed a door in a big, fat way.

Hubby and I have been going back and forth for a few weeks about our plans for school for the fall. We were leaning toward trying out a virtual charter school where the kids would be public school students, but would do school from home. The best (or worst) of both worlds. Rather than make a firm decision, we decided to put out feelers and decide later.

I filled out the enrollment form for two virtual schools. I submitted the necessary paperwork, did my phone conferences, and had only one step left to go for one of the options before we would be accepted into the school. I needed to take an online orientation class. I was all set up to take the class Thursday morning.

Wednesday afternoon I got a call from the school saying there had been a mistake and my class was really that evening at 5:00 pm. Okay, fine. I can do that. Except when I got home I discovered our internet was kaputz.

And this is where my headache turned into God shutting a door.

Two weeks ago I got my third bill for our new internet/phone plan. The bill was $92 instead of the $40 it was supposed to be. For the third month in a row. I made my monthly phone call to AT&T and got it straightened out. But then I asked in exasperation if I could switch to an internet only plan because it was silly to pay $25/month for a phone line that we have yet to use even once (I added the phone line because at the time it was the cheapest deal available). She said, of course. And hooked me up with a DSL account for $24/month.

A week later I get our change order in the mail. Which says we are going to be paying $41/month. Say what???! So I called AT&T again. And the nicest man asked me why we were using DSL when Uverse was now available in our area. I was shocked. “It is?!?!?! Let me get my husband who knows about this stuff so he can decide what speed he wants.” The guy hooked us up with a great rate and waived the installation and new modem charges of $199. And scheduled our installation for Wednesday morning.

Installer shows up. Discovers our DSL is still on. He can't install Uverse until it's off. He says they won't shut off our DSL until the day of our new installation date so we won't have to go without internet. Perfect. I can do that. I leave the house, do my grocery shopping and come home to discover the red light of death on my modem. Yup, you guessed it. The DSL tech showed up and disconnected our internet without scheduling a new install appointment. Lovely.

I called AT&T because I really love talking to them. I talked to one guy who tried to turn our DSL back on but it wouldn't work (the whole "tech already manually pulled the plug" thing). He transferred me to the Uverse department to see if they could help. Click. Grrr... I called back and asked for the Uverse department. I talked to another guy who tried something, which didn't work. He tried something else, which didn't work. He put me on hold so he could schedule a time for the Uverse techs to come back. Click. Are you serious????!!!! I called back again. I got another guy. I had to go through the whole story for the third time. By this point I was beyond frustrated. The clock was inching toward 5:00 pm when I was supposed to start my orientation, but I had no internet.

The guy set up a new time for installation but then told me I would be charged $199 for it. Excuse me?! I was told I wasn't supposed to have to pay anything for that. He waffled, put me on hold, said they could knock off $99. I said no, the sales rep said I'd pay nothing. I refuse to pay $100. Blah, blah, blah he went and angrier and angrier I got. He finally said he'd transfer me to the sales department and maybe they could help me. He put me on Are you kidding me?????  

I called back. I asked for the sales department. And a very nice lady told me I wouldn't be charged for the installation or the new modem. But there was absolutely nothing she could do about the two days without internet. And just like that the door slammed shut like a vault on my making it online for the orientation.

I thought about trying to reschedule with the school. But then I started thinking—why? I prayed the Lord would shut doors that needed to be shut; I was even fasting and praying on Wednesday about the school decision. This door was slammed shut in my face by a very frustrating comedy of errors. And I decided this was God's way of saying “Do not walk in this way.”

He's since spoken some very strong words to me to not try out a virtual school.  Things like, "Do not go down to Egypt.  If you do, I will curse you."  Small things like that.  I decided to listen because cursing?  Not my favorite thing.  I'd much rather reap blessings.  The direction of our homeschool will be taking a turn, but that is the subject of a new post.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

THMing Family Style

The Standard American Diet (SAD) makes me sad

After two months of being a Trim Healthy Mama, learning the basics and seeing good changes in me, I think it's time to set my sights on my entire family.  When I make dinner, I personally eat a higher fat S meal or a higher carb E meal, but that doesn't mean that my family joins me in my endeavors.

An example:  Last week I made tacos.  I ate taco meat on a bed of lettuce with cheese, sour cream and salsa while my family eats theirs on white tortillas or nacho chips.  Or I serve beef stir fry and eat it over Konjac noodles (noodles that are calorie, fat and carb free) while my family eats theirs over white rice (because someone in my family doesn't like brown rice, and no, it's not the kids).

But I'm not really happy with the idea of my family eating yuck when I know how much better it would be for them to eat better.  I know it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it doesn't matter if the kids eat junk now because they have a high metabolism and will just burn it off.  Yet, then there is the reality.  What kids eat now sets them up for the future.  If they eat junk now, they will grow up conditioned to eat that way.  Once their body stops growing and their metabolism slows down, they will be fighting their weight.

Unless they learn to enjoy healthier food now.  Unless they learn a better way of eating now.  Unless they develop a taste for vegetables, whole grains, healthier meat choices, healthy fats.  Brown rice or quinoa over white rice.  Whole grain bread or Ezekiel bread over fluffy, white bread (as they call it in our house).  Cheese sticks and raw veggies over pretzels and crackers.

I grew up hating pretty much all vegetables.  Most fruits.  Anything that smacked of whole grains.  I craved sugar, and in large doses.  It took quite a few years for me to learn to adjust my diet to something a little closer to healthy.  It took years into my marriage for me to learn to eat a wide assortment of vegetables.  I still don't like a lot of fruit, but I'm okay with that.  I had to talk myself into ditching the fluff bread in favor of the brick bread.  Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.  I just kept eating those sweet potatoes until one day I liked them and now think white potatoes are flavorless yuck.

I want better for my kids.  I want them to reach adulthood with a healthy dietary foundation that sets them up for a lifetime of leanness.  Not skinniness, because the Lord knows that with their bone structures, that is never going to happen.  But they can have the tools they need to maintain a healthy weight.

Eating a THM diet makes me happy

Which is why I have made the decision that I need to start altering their diets to more closely match mine.  Not all at once, and not in everything.  But easier switches that they will hopefully not notice--corn tortillas or taco shells instead of white flour tortillas.  (Less calories, fat, and carbs)  Leaner cuts of meat (I learned to rinse my ground beef under hot water which transforms fattier ground beef into extra lean) like ground turkey and white meat cuts of chicken (fish allergies preclude becoming a fish-eating family).  Vegetables and more vegetables.  Less starchy fruits (ditch the bananas and push the berries and apples).  Better snack options (cutting way back on the pretzels and crackers in favor of cheese sticks, raw veggies, seeds and berries).

This is my summer project:  To transform my family's diet to one that more closely conforms to the THM way of eating.  To stop making "everyone else but me" side dishes with dinner.  To ignore the groans and whining when I make brown rice instead of white.  Eventually they will learn to enjoy the healthier forms of their favorite foods.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...Please Make Me Perfect RIGHT NOW!!!

I was standing there praying at church yesterday.  I was thinking about my life and all the changes I know I need to make.  All the areas where I am weak and need to grow.  And I found myself asking God, "God, why can't you just fix me all at once?  Becoming the person you want me to be takes so much work and time.  I just want it done."

Then I thought about my weight loss journey.  I've been at it for two months now and am down 18 pounds.  Which is awesome!  Except that I have a lot more to go.  I want to wave my magic wand and make the weight just disappear.  It is hard work losing weight.  It's an all day, every day, for a really long time thing.  And once I lose all the weight, it's a life time of making better choices so I don't gain it all back.  So basically, it's a forever sort of thing.  And I find myself overwhelmed and asking God, "God, why can't you just fix me all at once?  Becoming the person, the size, you want me to be takes so much work and time.  I just want it done."

I made a decision a few months back that I wanted to grow in the area of Spiritual Gifts.  I know that not every church agrees that the Spiritual Gifts are still alive and active, but I do.  And I decided that I wanted the Gift of Healing.  So I decided I was going to start praying with people that they would be healed.

Sometimes I'm sure that it's an instant thing--you ask God for a gift and you suddenly have it.  But I think mostly that God gives us the gift and it's our job to develop it and grow it over time.  Daily decisions that we will step out in faith and do it.  Over and over.  Even if it doesn't seem like anything is happening at first.

So I decided I was going to just started praying with people to be healed.  Even if nothing happens, I will just keep praying.  And eventually I will start to see people being healed.  Because I know God put the desire in my heart to pray with people, and He tells us that all we need do is ask and it will be given.  My job is to just keep praying and asking and God will do the rest.

And obviously I would love it if I was one of those people who went from "no gifting" to "performing miracles," but I think it is more of a "diet" thing.  It's an all day, every day, for the rest of my life decision that I will grow the gift by using it, trusting that God will work through me.  That over time I might pray for someone and see God work a true miracle right before my eyes.  And that would be amazing.  Until then, I will just keep praying and trusting that God is using me.