Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Issue of Weight

Something has been weighing on my mind for some time. If I’m honest I would have to say mainly the last 20 years. After my youngest daughter was born and I knew that I was not having more children, I started focusing on my weight. I remember looking in the mirror and seeing these little bulging pouches on the back of my hips and thinking it reminded me of my Grandma.

Grandma loved her ice cream. She would sit watching television with a half gallon of ice cream in her lap. I think this was before calories were invented and ruined everyone’s lives. I grew up believing that ice cream was a healer. Any problem or circumstance good or bad could be solved with a bowl of ice cream, a sundae or even a float (Vernor’s Floats are the best!). Trouble was while the ice cream was healing it was also growing my back side.

Not long after my appalling discovery of the fat pouches, I went crazy with watching calories, eating low fat and no fat and counting out amounts of food. I was obsessed with “getting healthy” and losing weight. While I was losing this weight I was also losing a bit of my mind. I was getting mad at myself if I cheated or I would eat less than what would satisfy me. I was walking with a friend and exercising as much as I could. I knew I was in trouble when I went to bed one night and cried because I had wanted to eat something but didn’t because I was worried about my weight.

At that point I was essentially anorexic. I knew I did not have a weight problem but now I had a mind problem. I looked in the mirror and nothing was good enough. As I write this I am getting choked up because this image problem plagues me to this day. I blame my weight, but there is really no problem there. The problem is in my head. My friends who love me chastise me and tell me I am fine, but something deep inside me continues to tap me and remind me I’m not good enough.

I struggle with my reality of self versus my emotional vision of self. I know I’m not alone; many of us fight this issue of weight and vision of self. Watching what the media trots out for us to use as a bar for self esteem makes me sad. None of us “normal” people can obtain that “reality”. I mean seriously, Caitlyn Jenner (remember BruceSorry I know your probably tired of hearing about this) is a way better looking 65 year old woman than any of us will probably ever be, but how did that happen? It wasn’t nature!

Remember those old commercials that said “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”? That’s what I feel like I’m doing, wasting my mind worrying about the issue of weight and what I eat and I’m not focusing on my life and the good things that I have going for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very important to be healthy. Working 0ut and eating right is a great way to maintain your physical balance, but I know that mentally I will always have the challenge of what reality is and what my mind tells me. Maybe my telling you what my battle is will help you know that the reality is we all have something that we battle and you are not alone. Also, I am always available if you want to get ice cream.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Juggler

I have been going out of my mind. I am suppose to release my children and let them grow up, but standing on the outside looking in I can see things that are completely out of my control and I have to bite my tongue. A mother can only shake her head in silence so long before she starts to shake from frustration, wanting to speak and knowing that her words are unwanted.

Here is the problem. Mom’s have the answers…not all the time, but, many times. We have been through much more than our children give us credited for. We look like obsolete old fossils, but I promise you, at least this Mom has been around the block a couple times and the way of the world has not changed much. We actually know things…good things…important life information things, but if I dare speak out I get the out stretched hand with a loud “MOM STOP”. My favorite (not really) is the smirk that says “Oh yeah, isn’t she cute when she tries to parent?”

I’m very frustrated with how each one of my children takes a turn at dismissing my thoughts and feelings as if they are an intrusion. Seriously, mothering is like juggling, your hands are out trying to balance life, family and varying personalities in the hope that you won’t let anyone down or drop a ball. You think you’re going strong and then one of the balls turns into a curve ball and the juggling act is over and you are smack dab in the middle of a “situation” that you may or may not have mentioned  could become a “situation”. That’s when I say an audible AGH and silently continue with a scream in my head and clinch my teeth until they hurt. This might explain the beginnings of jowls I noticed this morning.

The fact that this stress is affecting my physical being is quite disturbing. I’m really too young for jowls and I am certainly not ready to lose my mind. Although thinking this all the way through, being out of my mind might actually relieve me of the stress. For now I have to step back and watch as things go uncomfortably wrong and hope that somewhere in those children of mine are the tools to make the needed repairs. While all that is happening I’ll be over here with a smirk on my face thinking “Aren’t they cute when they think they know so much more than me?”

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Wits End

Maybe you have heard of “The Wits End”? It is not common for anyone to get to their wits end anymore. We all use more flowery and profane references these days when describing our lack of patience or stress levels. But to be at your wits end was once a true sign that I had gotten my Grandma’s “Goat”, she had had it with me or possibly something or somebody else. Most often it was me, so I am very familiar with the term.

This could explain why with a deep sigh, I thought to myself this morning…I’m at my wits end! I feel like I am pedaling as fast as I can and going nowhere at all. I have no patience, I struggle to be calm and nice and the thought of spring has me overwhelmed with all the outside tasks I need or want to do. Earlier this week I racked out my front flower beds and pulled something in my back, it’s a spot that pops up whenever I start yard work and spoils all of the fun. Maybe that is what put me at my wits end.

Maybe I am at my wits end because I know my college girls are coming home in a week and it will change how we have done things here that last few months. I am excited to have them home and spend precious time with them. I do know though that suddenly I will be tossed into the lives of these two young ladies. Feeling the need to offer my two cents that is most often unwanted and mother adult women that have lived on their own and have forgotten what it is like to live in my home. Glasses left alongside plates and napkins in random places. Containers of various foods and beverages empty quicker than I am use to and the biggest conundrum of all, worrying about their safety when they go out and about even though they have done who knows what and when, when they were away at school.

Here is a thought, maybe I am at my wits end because I worry about things I cannot control. Maybe if I just handed my worries over to God and let him carry the load. Nothing I have in my mind is really worth feeling so overwhelmed. Piling it all in a priority bag and handing it over is probably going to serve me better than trying to control my thoughts and not lash out at the next person that jumps in line for a piece of my brain or time. One thing is for sure, it all works out the way it is suppose to. So no stressing about my yard or my house or my girls is going to change what will actually happen. My wits end is just going to have to hang on and dangle there until I swing it over to God. I have to say though I wish Grandma had handed her worries with me over to God rather than giving me a spanking! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Change of Focus

Yesterday was St Patrick’s Day. The annual day of green everything, celebrating a saint I know nothing about. This is the third occasion that I have been home alone this year. My husband Mark travels for work once a month and in the last two months he has been gone for my birthday, Super Bowl and now St Patrick’s Day. I realize to most super bowl might seem like a stretch, but I have always been a celebrator and any event qualifies in my book.

I spent the day doing my normal routine around my house and late in the afternoon I started making my dinner. I always make my grandmas boiled supper for St Patrick’s Day, boiling potatoes, carrots and cabbage along with corned beef if I’m in the right mood. Yesterday was just the vegetables since I’m not a huge corned beef eater and I had no one to share it with. I also always make a batch of corn muffins, mainly because I always have…no other reason.  As I went through the routine of preparing for my St Patrick’s dinner I was trying to focus on the process and not on the fact that I would be eating it alone. Honestly, why focus on the piece you cannot fix? What purpose would it serve for me to remind myself that I am alone?

Later in the evening I was texting back and forth with my youngest daughter and sharing how I had made my boiled supper and she shared that she had gone with friends to get a McDonalds Shamrock shake in celebration of St Patrick’s Day.  That’s when she texted me that “Holidays aren’t as fun away from home”. While I know firsthand how hard it is to be away from family during any holiday, I also know that there are worse things to get through and many times it just takes focusing on the positive. What can you do to make it better? I texted my daughter back and said, “You have to focus on the possible not the impossible”. Because I have been celebrating every little thing for so long my children have an expectation that the world does the same thing. The truth is some people just don’t care about holidays or celebrating. They were not raised by a woman who has plastic storage boxes full of every holiday decoration you can think of.

Too often we get caught up in what is wrong and push aside so much that is right. It’s like searching for a missing sock. You rummage through your drawer over and over again to no avail and then the next day you open the drawer and it is sitting right on top. You were focused on the fact that it was missing so intently your mind just stopped looking and focused on the hunt. All it takes is a change of focus. Stop searching for what you expect, want or need and focus on what is possible. Where you are right now is your starting point not where you were. It’s not easy but it is possible.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Plugged In

The world is an amazing place. There is not much that we don’t know almost immediately, whether we want to know it or not. Most of us are plugged into every possible form of communication device. We see video relays of everything, cute cuddly animals and horrible “caught on camera” moments that we wish we had not seen, as well as family and friend’s special moments. All you have to do is punch a request into Goggle and you have unlimited access to endless information.

This morning when I decided to write I grabbed my notebook computer. I stacked on top of the computer my IPad and then on top of that my IPhone…I don’t want to miss anything! The problem with this is that I have lost my ability to center myself. Rather than taking time for quiet reflection and calm in the mornings like I use to do, I grab my phone and my IPad and troll through everyone else’s business and lose touch with me. This amazing world of information at the ready is taking my focus from who I am and who I want to be and turning it towards other people, places and things. 

Being plugged in is great but somehow it feels a little like we are losing our humanity. We no longer call people we text them. It is quick, easy and involves less time. The downside is less true connection. We hide behind our technology. We also say things in our tweeting and texting and Facebook posts that people misunderstand or read wrong and we have no way of taking them back. The world is an amazing place but is it costing us our ability to be relational beings?

Somehow I hope to disconnect a little. It is not going to be easy, I have tried before. I start out pretty well and then slowly fall back into my past habits. There has to be a balance of enjoying the gift of technology and not falling down the rabbit whole of our WIFI world. You know what, maybe I’ll Goggle it!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Blessing in The Curse

It has been a while since I have sat down with my trusty computer to share my heart. It seems like every day starts early and is filled with much to do. Being this close to the holiday season we are merely two weeks away from nonstop activity. I keep stopping myself from panic and reminding myself that everything that is important will be done. I am just one person with 24 hours in my day. 

In the midst of busyness I am worrying about my children and all the things that affect them each day. One (adult) child just started a new job and I hope and pray every day that she is well and happy and successful. My middle daughter is in her transition phase of college and has started applying for internships. I have hopes that she will find a place that will inspire her and propel her into a lifelong work adventure. My youngest daughter just started her first year of college and she has been burdened with a mystery illness since we dropped her at school. There have been many rounds of doctor visits and blood tests and now we are going to try a specialist. Throughout this difficult time she has continued with school.  I am amazed everyday at how hard she works to maintain her high standards of study while struggling with an endless list of physical challenges. The answers do not seem to come fast enough when you need them the most.

On a recent trip to take my youngest daughter to another appointment I stayed with my sister who lives about a half hour from my girl’s school. It was a good time to catch up with her and also offered me some support as I worry and wonder endlessly about what could possibly be wrong. Staying with my sister always leads to long talks about life and family and this visit was no different. We talked about how recent family struggles had brought us closer together and how fortunate we were to have each other to lean on. It came to me as we talked that we had found the blessing in the curse. While we worked side by side to make our way through a tough time in our life, dealing with the deaths of our parents and handling their estate issues we had become good friends. We built a trust that still stands strong and a friendship the likes of which we had never had before.

I believe that finding that blessing was like adding a strong foundation and building upon it.  I look deep into every struggle mining for a blessing. While I fuss and worry about cleaning and preparing for a house full of family at Thanksgiving I can see how blessed I am to have a family to share thanks with. During this difficult time of wonder and worry over my daughters health I am able to talk with her when she needs me and go with her to the appointments she has to support her. I am blessed that I have the freedom to be there for her.  By looking past the perceived curse I am finding the hidden jewels of blessing.

While we cannot stop life from throwing us a curve ball here and there, we can be thankful for seeing the blessing as the ball whisks by. Many times it takes time to see the blessing. You may even be days, weeks, months or even years on the other side of the curse, but one day it hits you that there was a moment when the blessing peeked out and turned your heart.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bloom Where You are Planted!

The last few weeks’ random sunflowers have begun to bloom in my yard. I look out and see at least three sunny and bright Sunflowers with their shiny yellow heads tipped towards the sun. These sunflowers are no doubt forgotten seeds that were dropped as birds flew away from our bird feeder. This random unexpected beauty is a pleasant surprise every year and I always look forward to finding where the new crop will pop up. These dropped and forgotten seeds bloom right where they are planted sometimes in the most unlikely locations.

Each year as I see their stems reach towards the sky I become eager to see what they will become. Some years I have tall and graceful plants with large blooms and other times I come across the small but mighty bloom tucked deep in my garden with its bloom open and strong and its yellow petals begging for the sun. No matter where they pop up they bloom with strength and beauty.

You can learn a lot from nature when you think about it. Each year in spite of what winter has in store for us, plants and trees bloom again. In fall we watch as summers beauty is turned into colors of spun gold and red hot fires, trees that tower above us with warm and rich crowns that gently fall around us as winter comes closer. Once winter arrives we snuggle inside and watch cold winds blow frosty beauty all around us. Nothing stops nature it pushes forward.

I am reminded each year when I see these sunflowers that we must bloom where we are planted. We are the champions of our own happiness and we must raise our heads up and shine. We may not like where we are planted but it is up to each of us to make the best of the moment we are in and learn what we need to from each place life takes us. Today on this sunny day the sunflowers are opening wide and gathering up the sunshine to fuel them for another day. Why not spend a little time today doing the same and build up your sunny glow inside of you to carry you through.