Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Please Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please. . .

I found a job. And I really really want it.

It is here.

I just found out about it today, and it could be a wonderful answer to many prayers and efforts at patience. They need an English teacher who knows about American and British Literature. Small classes, daycare on-site, full benefits, and more latitude to create and explore. Oh, this could be wonderful. I actually feel excited about teaching for the first time since I've had to consider going to work full-time as a teacher. This could be wonderful.

So, is it shallow to ask for prayers? Well, call me a kiddie pool then because I am going to do it. God's will be done, I trust Him implicitly. But I feel like stumbling upon this job opportunity today might have been a sweet tender little mercy from Him and He might be on board with letting it work out. So, I'm happy to let Him know that I'd be completely okay with that. I'd appreciate you letting Him know too.

And by the way, I had a really awesome workout today that was revelatory in its own special way as well. More later.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Dreamed a Dream. . .

So, like every fifteen year old girl (right?) I had a dream list for my life. I also wrote a letter to my future husband to be opened on our wedding day. . . did anyone else do that? Okay, and yes I also wrote a letter to New Kids on the Block--adding a separate note to Joey individually telling him that he was my favorite but swearing him to secrecy not to tell that to the other boys because I wouldn't want to be all Ono and break up the band with fights for my affection. Deep breath. I feel so much better now. Glad that is out there.

I digress.

My dream list:
-go to BYU (check--but changed to SVC. . which changed my life)
-be an EFY counselor (check)
-get married (check)
-be a published author (kind of? I did win a recipe contest and got my hummus veggie pizza posted in the Lowe's circular)
-be on Broadway (okay, I'm kind of letting that dream go. It is for the better, but I do sing broadway tunes every day to my children. . check)
-be really happy (well, that one wasn't on my list, but that is kind of the point isn't it?)
Let's talk about that last one. Be really happy. Of all the dreams we map and plan, isn't that one at the top, even if it isn't written there? Maybe I should have put it first, so that I would realize that day to day, year to year, dreams shift. Other people enter our lives with needs and hopes that we never factored in when we were fifteen years old. We have kids. We have heartbreak. We have moments of realization that completely blindside us. But, what it all shakes down to is that we want to be happy. I've kind of forgotten that.

One of my favorite novels ever is Middlemarch by George Eliot. I think the whole beast of a novel is about one thing: Ideals and Their Dangers. There are three main love stories in this novel and two of them get pretty twisted and painful because the characters won't release what they belive they should want, should love, should strive for. They are intent upon what they think they should be instead of just being. We do that. I do anyway. I used to be alot of things. And I used to have alot of dreams. But, the day to day has sort of swallowed them. And my ideas? They sometimes take the shape of a 2X4 with which to beat myself for falling short. What a waste. I think that I need to get back in touch with that fifteen year old girl who made a list, wrote notes to boy bands, and went barefoot at school. It is time for a new dream list. And it is time to relinquish the ideal person/mother/wife that I think I should be and realize that the greatest gift I can give my family is a person/mother/wife that is sublimely happy in that moment, pursuing her dreams, supporting them in theirs, and in all ways living one moment at a time, determined to enjoy it.

Maybe I should write Joey Joe again. He is probably wondering why he hasn't heard from me. I hope he isn't too mad at me for getting married.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back To School

I am a scholar again. Well, an online one anyway. I have decided to pursue getting my teaching license, and found that the college in town offers some online courses to that end. So, I am reading and posting and learning all about education technology and philosophy. It is exciting to be back in that groove. Though when I was originally in that groove, I was sitting in a cool classroom with a beefy novel in my hand discussing Jane Eyre, Flannery O'Connor, and Alexander Pope. Now, I'm cuddling my feverish daughter while still trying to reach a keyboard to post my thoughts on the class forum discussion. Things change. But, it feels nice to have a direction, and I think this is a good one. I was smart once, you know. I'll get there again. And the cuddling will help I'm sure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

There is No Fear in Love

Perfect love casteth out all fear. Love of what? Our love of God gives us the courage to believe in Him when it seems completely hopeless. Our love of one very special person drives away the fear of hurt, failure, and the unknown enough to let us give ourselves to them for eternity. Our love for children overpower our fear of sleepless nights, pain, sorrow, and sickness. Love trumps all. If we let it.

In all this love, do we love ourselves? Do I love myself enough to do what I fear? Do I believe in myself enough to accept and love myself unconditionally? Why should I?

Because if I do not feel love for the person I know better than any other, what hope do I have of truly loving anyone else? I know my flaws more intimately than anyone ever could. I am fully aware of shortcomings, failures, flaws, and downfalls. And still, only I can rise above them. And somehow, I've stopped doing that. I've allowed myself to stay trapped underneath them, only seeing the flaws when I look up and try to climb out.

Many years ago I sat in my oldest sister's high school graduation. She was the Salutatorian, and did a wonderful job with her speech. And then the Valedictorian stood. I cannot say I remember who it was, what they said, even if it was a boy or a girl. All I remember is looking at them and deciding then and there that I was going to do that when I graduated. I was in 6th or 7th grade at the time. I determined that I would finish at the top of 8th grade and be number one when I finished high school. I tucked that dream away and went to work. I prayed about it. I did my homework. I took the right classes. I studied for the tests. I never relinquished that vision. And I got a standing ovation when I gave my Valedictorian speech. I think it was the Forrest Gump impression. Always a winner.

The point is not that I am brilliant. The point is that there was a time when I saw something I wanted and I went after it, completely convinced that I would do it. That piece of me has dimmed of late. Being a mother is a wonderful, priceless gift. But, it can swallow you. Suddenly, every achievement becomes wrapped up in how these little people talk, behave, listen, and perform. And really, I have zero control over that when it all shakes out. But, when they don't listen, I feel like a failure. When they hit each other, I feel like a failure. When they stomp and slam doors and whine, I know that it is all my fault and I wonder if anything I do is any good at all. But, what they do isn't who I am. What they do is not who I am.

I can set goals. I can achieve. I can tackle life again with adventure and hope. And I can be a better mother by doing it. Really, the most important mothering I can offer is giving my children a calm, consistent, happy example. I can show them how much I love the scriptures--because I do. I can show them how to tackle fears and discouragement with courage--because I will. And I can show them love, pure wonderful love for themselves, God, each other, and everyone else--because I will feel it.

Fear cripples us. It has crippled me. But this morning in my scripture study, I learned some wonderful things. The Spirit reminded me that God keeps His promises. God sets us free. He frees us from bondage. The bondage of debt, the bondage of sadness, the bondage of loneliness, and the bondage of fear. He has provided "some better thing for us." Today I am determined to seek that better thing. But not because I hate where I am. But because I love who I am. Who I am is pretty good. And I'm only getting better. . . .

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How Thoreau Eats.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

I don't love everything about Henry David, but I do live this precept. Life gets far too busy, complicated, and messy. We have access to so much. We can watch anything, read anywhere, and keep in touch with every single person we've met since Kindergarten. It is all just a bit too much sometimes. We take thousands of pictures, record every event, and cram our lives with good stuff, mediocre stuff, hard stuff, fun stuff, and just . . . . stuff. But, what do we savor? What really feeds our souls? What really matters?

This is an intensely personal question and varies perhaps from day to day. I think there are a few things that every person would vote on to the "really matters" list: family, God, love, relationships. Of course. But, how does that break down into hourly living? How can I pace my life so that what really matters gets real time and honest attention? Because life isn't lived in sweeping gestures of prioritization. Life is lived one itty bitty minute at a time. And sometimes those minutes slip by very quickly while we are idling our engines figuring out what we want to do next. Well, I speak for myself anyway.

So, what does this have to do with eating? For me, plenty. Not only do we have immediate access to books, movies, and embarassing youtube videos, we also have unlimited access to foods of the world and hundreds, nay, thousands of opinions on how to cook/eat/prepare/buy said food. Thai. Indian. Japanese. Ethiopian. You got it. Kosher. Vegan. Raw. Grilled. Bring it on. But do we really have to eat it all? Do we have to taste every good thing in the world? I won't do every good thing there is to do in this lifetime, and I can still die happy. Do I have to eat every good thing to lead a fulfilling life? I certainly hope not.

In my loooong quest to figure out how to make food and eating and body image all work out, I've created several plans. I've even followed some of them. I know quite a bit about nutrition by now. I also know enough to know that you can find someone to support or condemn pretty much any plan you come up with. Eating involves decision making. Every bite is a decision with sometimes much too much emotional baggage informing that decision.

It is just food.

I'm fully aware that I need that sentence tatooed on my eating hand more than probably anyone reading this. But, I don't believe in tatoos, so I'll have to figure something else out. Still, I struggle with this. But, it is just food. It is fuel. And there is no reason that every day be a field trip through the gastronomical adventures this modern age has to offer. So, in the spirit of my transendental kindred spirits, I am experimenting with simplicity. I am going to cut way down on my decision making regarding food. Fewer meals, fewer decisions, fewer minutes wasted worrying and wondering. Lots of people all over the world eat basically the same food every day. There are countless other ways to fill my life with variety. Heavens my three children throw me curve balls hourly. I mean, do you know how many different ways there are to spill milk and/or break a glass? I've lost count. They keep me hopping.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

I'll keep you posted. I'll have a pocket of meal planning time wide open. Or maybe I'll use it to learn Russian.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In case you were wondering.

Giving up sugar is not easy.

And it isn't fast.

I had two great days and I've had some stumbles. But, I would like to share something very profound, important, and deep from one of the great philosophers of our time: Rocky Balboa.


"It ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward, how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."

Thank you Rocky. I really wish you were a real person.

Moving on. . .

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So. . . . .

I just ate about 10 mini chocolate chip cookies. But, they were totally all-natural, full of evaporated cane juice and whole wheat.

So, really, they were practically carrots.

Can I go to bed yet?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's not you, it's me.

Today I did something I've never done before.

Don't worry no laws or commandments were broken.

I walked out halfway through an aerobics class. It wasn't because I was injured, tired, or lazy. I just didn't like it. Let's make this clear: I like exercise. I like sweating and moving and pushing myself. I just don't like doing it in a room with a bunch of other people. And as I was grapevining around the room I suddenly realized that there was no reason for me to do this. So I left. I took my water bottle and went to the treadmill. And boy did I have a good run. Because that was exactly what I wanted to do.

When I was in high school, I "played" volleyball. By playing I mean I put on knee pads and served really well, and of course was an 5'11" intimidation force at the net. Until they got a look at my 2 inch vertical. Anyway, I hated it. I hated the coach. I didn't like the drills. Team sports and I don't do well because even if I am nowhere near the ball, I am almost certain that everything is my fault. I am too much of an internalizer to handle team competition. We were in a playoff game, and if we won we would head to the Regionals. Everyone was cheering, and hoping. Me? I was on the sidelines praying we would lose, because that would mean the season was over. Suddenly I thought, "Why am I doing this to myself?" We lost. And I turned in my kneepads. And yet still, I have led a fairly productive life.

I too often sign up, join in, and play along because I am certain that I should. I should like something. I should be good at something. But, what if I don't? Aren't there plenty of people who like volleyball? Can't some other section of the female population handle the quilting demands of the world? I certainly hope so. I am all for stretching, striving, and growing. But, if I don't want it, I'll hate myself for failing at it. If I want it, that is a whole different animal. If I want it, failure is a part of the process. If I want it, I'm in it for the long haul. If I want it, then I will make it happen.

So, I'm sorry Body Attack teacher. You are a very nice person who clearly loves group exercise. But, I'm a solo show when it comes to sweating. I have lots to learn and offer, but I'll learn and offer more if I do it my way, rather than the way I think I should. And the same goes for you I'm guessing. So, consider this our permission slip to let go of the "should" projects and embrace the "I've always wanted to. . . " ones. This will be much more fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gobble Gobble Gobble. . . .

This is me. Going Cold Turkey.
I don't expect anyone else to understand this or do this or care about this. But, I feel directed to both do it and write about it. Truth is, we all have hard things that we are doing, feel inspired to do, dread doing, and are waiting around summoning the courage to do. This is mine.

I have felt prompted often that my body, health, and happiness will go to a new level if I give up refined sugar and flour. Drastic? Perhaps. And I've talked myself out of it several times. But the fact remains that when I have done it, I feel fabulous. And then I snitch. And then I slide. And then I binge. And every time I read and pray and ask for guidance, I feel the same thing.

So, I am embarking on a new adventure. My first 100 days begins now. I am going to focus on what I WILL eat, what I WILL do, how I WILL live, not on the "no" list. I will eat superfoods. I will exercise. I will write what I feel. I will eat three meals a day. I will fill my time with joy, work, service, and fuel myself with food for my life, not live my life for food. And if you care to know, I'll write about it here. I have thought that this is perhaps the worst possible time to embark on such a challenge. I am surrounded by the food of my past, a tv in every room, and the stress of a family divided and an unknown financial future. But, perhaps if I can do it now, I can do it forever. And perhaps God is whispering this to my soul because He knows that I will grow in important ways when I conquer this fixation and sense my own strength. This process will invite and Christ into my life in fundamental ways. I will need him to heal me, help me, and give me a vision and hope. I know He will.

So, I will begin. I won't expect perfection, but every day I will try. I will remember what I am doing, how far I have come, and why I want to go farther. Every day in this body of mine is a precious gift. I am grateful that the Atonement gives me the capacity to change. And I intend to.

Friday, May 6, 2011


This is a crazy time in our lives right now, so sorry if you won't hear from me for awhile (All ten of you that peek in) I think I need to trim life down to the bare essentials, and stop blogging while I figure out what that means. I do enjoy writing, but I need it to be for me right now. Pressing forward in faith. . . . most of the time. God bless.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Throwing away goal pants.

It isn't that I'm giving up. Quite the opposite.

It is just that I've decided that I am bruised from beating myself up, and it is time to let those heal. I have some serious changes that I want to make, but I don't know where my body will go as I make some fundamental shifts. More than pounds to lose, I know that I need to reassess my relationship with food, my body, and myself. Perhaps this journey is too close, real, and intimate to launch into the blogsphere. But, I've read comments on several posts that have made me feel that something in this ride resonates with others. I think more than any diet regime, workout secret, or perfect meal plan, lots of people need peace. We need to be okay with ourselves. We need to seek growth without scorning where we are. That ain't easy. So, I'm going to run my race. Hebrews tells me to run with patience the race set before me, and that is the only race I can really run. Others run faster, farther, and go in their own direction. I can't compare, and I'm done competing. This is my race, you're welcome to join me as you run yours.

PS--I promise that I won't always be serious. Honestly, I can be funny. You should see me laugh at myself. I am a hoot.