Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Life On A Diet... Day 1 (again)

Yep.  I'm dieting again.  I love to diet.  (Note the thick, inlaid sarcasm in my tone).

I watched a show last week where one of the main characters is an alcoholic.  She has struggled with an addiction to alcohol off and on for a while.  In this latest episode, the character had been sober for 30 days and then in a moment of emotional weakness, she drank again.  The next morning she was in an AA meeting and said something that struck an emotional chord with me.  She said something to the effect of  "I'm humiliated.  I'm back to day 1.  I'm starting over from scratch and it's embarrassing, frustrating, humiliating, and scary.  But I'm sober."

Yeah...  I'm back to day 1 of my diet again.  I cannot tell you how many times I have started diets and failed. (And no, I don't want/need to hear about changing my lifestyle instead of dieting, and blah, blah, blah).  I cannot tell you how frustrated, angry, even scared I have been with my life- with the excess weight.  I have read so much that I could likely tell you everything you need to (or would want to) know about losing weight.  I have the head knowledge of how to lose the weight, but the application is quite lacking.

My issue  stems from a much deeper root issue.  I believe that I am addicted to food- or maybe that I use it as a crutch.  When I'm tired, I eat.  When I'm mad, I eat.  When I'm happy and celebrating, I eat.  And sometimes I just eat to eat.  I like food.  Scratch that.  I love food.  I wonder if that's the way an alcoholic feels.  "When I'm happy, I drink.  When I'm angry, I drink... and I drink just to drink.  I love alcohol."  

So maybe the alcoholic and I aren't so very different.  The effects of over eating or, at this point, of choosing not to lose the weight could be just as deadly as an alcoholic who chooses not to stop drinking.

No, this isn't me- but it could easily become me.  So why don't I just go for it?  I do.  I have.  I will.  But at some point, I either give in to temptation or I stumble... and then I find myself right back here again.  right back to Day 1.  I hate that I feel like I'm just going to fail. I mean, that's been my pattern, right?  The Hottie has seen it, my kids have seen it, anyone who knows me even remotely has seen it.  I always start out with such passion, such fervor and then I let them down, or I let me down- which is it?  Likely both.

So for now I won't say "I'm on a diet... again!" I'll just say- today is day 1.  And tomorrow, after not quitting, or giving up, I'll say "Today was day 2."

I know I won't spend my entire life on a diet.  I truly believe that at some point I will reach my goals and will be in the maintenance phase.  Until then- it's not easy being married to the Hottie (with his negative body fat) and having 4 little stick people who can eat all they want and not gain.  It's not easy having friends who can eat entire pizzas and not gain an ounce- when I look at the same pizza and gain ten pounds.  It's not easy, but I know this life isn't easy.  And up until now, I have lived to satisfy my own selfish desires.  But that's not why God put me here.  He put me here to honor Him- to bring him honor and glory, and to "be an example for the other believers in speech and in life."  (just so happens to be my children's memory verse right now).

I want that to be my motivation- to honor Him.  1 Corinthians 10:31 says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."  I heard once that knowledge applied is wisdom in action and knowledge not applied is equally foolishness.  I have the knowledge. I have the truth right in front of me.  I don't want to be a fool.  In my heart I want to honor God, so I commit- whatever I do- whether it be eating or drinking, one day at a time, I want to honor God.

I know the road is long.  I brought myself to this point- no one else did it.  I didn't gain all of this weight simply from having children (but seriously...  they DID contribute... that, and the french toast I HAD to eat while pregnant).  None-the-less, I am here to fulfill a purpose and I can either work toward fulfilling that purpose, or away from it.  I choose toward.

So if I mess up (and there's a strong possibility that I will), I'll get back up on the horse, and knowing that I'm moving closer to my goal, I won't be ashamed to say again "Today is Day 1."

*Sidenote- this was written yesterday.  Today is, successfully, Day 2.

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Legacy She Left

Funerals.  I'm not so great with the whole idea of a funeral.  I'd much prefer for my life to end with a bang- like a huge party in honor of the life I lived- not a group of people all wearing black, crying that I'm gone.  I want there to be a rule at my memorial service, that everyone has to wear a bright color.  I love to make people smile and somehow I just don't get the feeling that black encourages a great deal of smiling (unless I'm trying on clothes in the fitting room and it's between the white shirt that "fatters" or the black shirt that "flatters"- in which case, the black would definitely encourage a smile.  But I digress... yet again.

So yesterday was my grandmother's funeral.  I loved how we had several photos at the funeral. Some were of my grandmother by herself, but most of the pictures had my grandmother with my papa.  When I got the news a week ago that she had passed away, though it was no surprise, I wept uncontrollably for about 45 minutes.  At the end of that 45 minutes, I felt the prayers of my friends as a peace filled me- that peace that you cannot explain...  And in my mind, I saw a picture that made me smile.  I saw my grandmother reunited with my papa (who had passed away almost nine years ago).  And almost as if it were really happening, I saw them dancing, as I had seen so many times growing up.  

At the funeral, I shared the stories of my grandparents.  I loved their relationship- the way they played, the way they laughed.  I loved the way they danced together and always seemed to know what the other was thinking.  They truly were soul mates and best friends.  They had a love like you don't see a lot these days.  Their love was a love refined- a love that has likely been tested through the fire and had come out on the other side, purer and stronger than ever before.  When you were around them, you nearly could not help but smile. There was something super natural, something precious about their relationship.  

And as I sat listening to some of these stories during the funeral, I couldn't help but think- that kind of love- that's the legacy I want to leave for my children... and their children...  That's the kind of friendship and deep relationship I want to have with my husband.  That's the kind of love that is so much greater than anything we mere humans can produce on our own.  It's the love that comes from God.  

During the funeral, I remembered how every morning, my grandmother would wake up and spend time with The Lord.  She would read her Bible and spend time in prayer.  I didn't always see her doing this, but I always saw fruit- the kind that cannot be produced in your own strength.  The fruit that comes from knowing God intimately.  She loved my grandfather- not in her own strength- but with the love that overflowed out of her relationship with the Lord (which was so much greater than any love she could ever have given my papa on her own). She was wise and gracious and patient.  She was kind and gentle and so very good.  She was a woman after God's own heart and she was a blessing to so many.  

After the testimonies about my grandmother, her pastor read from Proverbs 31 and the scripture perfectly described my grandmother.  Tears came to my eyes as I listened to him speak truth after truth about this precious woman that we had all been so blessed to know. And so I left the funeral filled with joy as I thought about my grandmother's wonderful life, fruit, and love- God's love...  

I'll miss you here on Earth, Grandmother, but I look forward to dancing with you (and Papa) in Heaven.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me- and for loving me unconditionally.  But most of all, thank you for setting the standard in your 50+ years of marriage to Papa- showing us what it looks like to live a life fully surrendered to God.  I feel honored to have known you and blessed to have shared in the joy of your life.  You were truly THE quintessential Proverbs 31 woman and I hope to one day share in your legacy.  I love you... oh, so much.  Learning to live like you did...

No Longer I,

The real life mom... and grand daughter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Goodbyes are so very difficult.  I got some pretty hard news this afternoon.  This week will likely be my grandmother's last week here on Earth.  In some ways I'm excited for her to be able to leave this world and this body that had entrapped her.  I know she wants desperately to be with my grandfather- to whom she was happily married for 50+ years.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will join him in Heaven after she passes on, so that brings me peace..  But it's the selfish side of me that is hanging on to her here.

I LOVED my grandparents.  They set an amazing example of what marriage should look like.  They laughed together, they played together, they encouraged one another and they sought the Lord together..  They took a three mile walk together every morning and really had a good sense of what it meant to be in love and to really be one flesh.  My grandfather snored like a train so they slept in separate bedrooms, but even still, my grandmother served him, honored him, and loved him deeply.  He was an amazing man, and she was the perfect example of the wife I hope to become.

Not only did she know how to love my papa, but she also knew how to love my sister and I.  We were the only two grandchildren, so we may have been a little spoiled.  But I can remember when I would go to stay with her, she would hide a secret box of Oatmeal Cream Pies in her cabinet- just for me.  She would play with us and talk with us.  She encouraged me and taught me so much.  I knew when I was going through something difficult, that she would always (and did always) have a beautiful bit of wisdom to impart.

Sadly, as life often goes, my grandmother has been suffering with Alzheimer's and dementia for the past 5 years.  The past three years have been her rapid decline and she is to the point where she can no longer remember anyone- not even my father who visits her regularly.  I am so blessed as I was able to visit her a couple of weeks ago, on a whim.  She is in a home in Austin, and I stopped in to spend some time with her while I was in town.  While part of me thinks she did not know me, part of me thinks she remembered me- even if just for a brief moment- and I think she heard me when I told her goodbye.

When I walked in to her room, she was laying down in the bed.  She was about 2/3 of the size she had been at my last visit with her.  Her (normally perfect) hair was pulled back in a  pony tail and she was clearly not herself.  She didn't speak to me and gave me only a few blank stares, but I think somewhere in the back of hr mind, she was at peace with me being there.  I talked to her and told her all about our family.  I stroked her hair and held her hands.  Part of me wished I could stay there with her until she "woke up" out of this state, but I knew, deep down, that this visit would likely be the last time I ever got to see her.

As I kissed her forehead and hugged her tight, I prayed that she would hear my heart's cries while I bid her goodbye.  I prayed that she would know how very much she was loved and that she would be at peace to go home.  I see, now, that the Lord is good and has answered my prayers and I can only say thank you to Him for rescuing her from the chains which have bound her so tightly for so long.  I praise Him for bringing her peace and I will praise Him when he brings her home.  In the mean time, I might cry for a little while because deep down inside of me is that little girl who will always love her grandmother.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our Place

I sing.  Have I ever told you this?  I love to sing... anything.  I've been known to belt out the Oscar Mayer tune when cooking chili dogs, or songs from the Little Mermaid when I'm making fish....  (that was wrong, I know...)  Anyway, I can remember when I was growing up, my mom was always on piano and my dad, sister, and I would always sing around the piano in harmonies with her.  Those were some of my favorite memories.

As I continued to grow and transform into young adulthood and my relationship with God started to transform, I was introduced to worship- real worship.  I was raised to sing in the church.  From infancy, I'm certain there was never a time when I wasn't singing or in a choir somewhere.  But singing then was just singing.  As I grew up and  learned about the relationship my creator wanted to have with me, I started to realize just how much I loved Him and how much I had to be thankful for.  And then it was born in me- a worshipful heart.

Words are a big part of my life.  They always have been.  Words can make or break my day.  They have the power of life and death.  So words, put to music (one of my most favorite things in the entire world) just sends my soul soaring!  That's where worship comes in.  Worship is one of my passions.  It takes "just music" and turns it in to a vertical connection with our creator.  Worship is the time when I feel like I can just be me- no facades, no masks- just me and my heart, connecting with the heart of God.  When I sing words like "How great thou art" and "I need you more" and "I wanna sit at your feet" I am automatically taken to that place- our place- mine and God's place.

In "our place", there's no housework or bills to pay.  When I'm in "our place", my imperfections seem to fade away and suddenly I remember who I am... whose I am.   When I'm in our place, I am free to relax, to love and to be loved- completely and freely.  I find forgiveness there.  I find mercy there.  I find strength, peace, mercy, and unconditional love there.  No matter what I've been through that week, no matter how much I may have messed up- when I go to our place, my blemishes are washed clean and I'm made whole.

It's almost enough to make me wonder- why do I ever leave our place?