Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

I have various, unrelated things that have been on my mind to share, so here are the bullet points:

1. in regard to my weight loss - I hope you all know that I have maintained a pretty positive attitude about the weight loss thing. Most of you probably know that my weight loss posts are written with humor in mind, and should not be taken otherwise. In light of this, allow me to clarify a point or two:
    • I am not weighing myself every day. I DID weigh myself several times last week because I was wanting to see how different activities would affect my weight. I was befuddled when I saw absolutely no change in my weight at all. I have come to realize that my scale measures to the half pound... so while I was expecting to see a differece of 0.2 or 0.3 pounds, my scale was content to report the same weight as before. Now that I know that, I am fine... and I haven't weighed myself in quite some time
    • my husband does, generally, eat the fatty foods around here while I, generally, eat the lean ones. But I feel like I should tell you that I love vegetables and he doesn't. I am not a fan of fried foods, he is. I just wanted you to know that my comment about that was in no way meant to be a complaint about the foods he "gets" to eat and the foods that I "get" to eat.
    • I am not dieting, so there are no foods that are really off limits for me. I enjoyed my Oreo McFlurry from McDonald's very much last weekend. I am just trying not to eat a LOT, and I am trying to eat more vegetables, fiber, and drink more water.
2. In relation to the weight, I called my doctor last Friday and left a message that I wanted to speak to a nurse about the thyroid test they ran on me in October '05. I told them I realized it was a long time ago, but I just had a question. What I wanted to do was ask which "levels" were low and if that specific aspect of thyroid function would prevent me from losing weight. Well, the nurse called me back on Tuesday to tell me she had a note from my doctor specifically stating that I was to come in for an appointment since it had been so long since they'd seen me. (In fact, I have been to the doctor within the last six months.) But I was trying to determine whether the $20 copay was even worth paying, so I told her that I understood the test was old and that she could not diagnose anything, but I was hoping I could get some general information about that test from her. She mentioned the doctor's "specific instructions" to her and told me that I needed to make an appointment. Does that sound weird to anyone else?

So I went in today for that appointment and, when the doctor asked me why I was here, I told her, "I'm not really sure. I know you tested my thyroid over a year ago and one of my levels was at the low end of the normal range. I don't know if that specific thing will affect my weight, but I am trying to lose weight and I wanted to know more about that."

Her response was: "Well, that was a long time ago, so you need to come in if we are going to test you again."

My response: "Yes, I understand, but I was trying to decide if I should come in again when I called. I wanted some information about the test from the nurse and I don't understand why she could not tell me about it over the phone."

Ignoring me, she said "let me find your test here. Here it is. Your TSH level is on the low end of normal." (Sounds familiar.) "You can have it tested again if you want."

Then she asked me my plan for losing weight and I told her as much as I felt like telling her, adding that I am not a real fan of the "diet."

"Well," says she, "if you are looking for more of a lifestyle change, then you should try Weight Watchers. I joined six weeks ago and I've lost eighteen pounds."

Is that, for real? Did she just FOR REAL tell me that Weight Watchers is a "lifestyle change." I'm going to COUNT POINTS for the rest of my life? I mean no disrespect to those of you who are on weight watchers, but that just didn't cut it for me. As a doctor I thought she would have had some exercise recommendations, and a little advice about proper eating. But, Weight Watchers?

But this is coming from the same woman who, when I came off my depression medication and expressed a desire to start exercising to ward off the depression's return, suggested that I join a health club. Then she told me about her experience working out after a long day. She had no recommendations about how much exercise or how long or anything else. Just "join a health club."

I feel for the folks under her care who don't make what she does and can't afford memberships to health clubs and Weight Watchers.

Is it me, or does any of this sound odd to anyone else.

Anyway, I might be looking for a new doctor. But I did let them take my blood so we can get a good TSH read again.

Well, this turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it was going to so I will post the rest of my thoughts at another time.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tossing this out there

My kids have been singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" lately. I'd say it's cute, but honestly, it makes me cringe. These are the words:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

What I am about to say will be perceived by some as overreaction on my part. Or maybe you simply won't believe it. So be it. But I am saying it anyway.

Referring to people as "red" or "yellow" isn't always so well received by the recipients of those names. "Black" is falling into that category more often now too.

Please do not leave me comments about how it doesn't bother you to be called "white" because that's what you are, and so why is it such a big deal to refer to people's color if that's what they are. If that is what you are thinking, then I am probably not going to convince you any differently, and you will likely go on singing "Jesus Love the Little Children" as you always have (if you sing it at all.)

For those of you who believe me and don't feel defensive about it, may I offer a suggestion? These are the words that I heard a member of our travel group singing when we were in China.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Big and little, dark and light,
All are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

I wish I had remembered these words and taught them to my kids. But hearing them sing the old version prompted me to contact my friend and ask her for the words. Turns out she made them up because she wasn't so fond of the original version either.

So, the suggestion is this: have courage enough that, next time you hear this song, you take the opportunity to educate people and offer these alternative lyrics.

And just for taking me up on this offer, I will throw in the following bonus, free of charge:

Objects are "oriental" (like a rug, a lamp, or a type of cuisine.)
People are "Asian."

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First Things First

In the last two weeks, I have experienced a few firsts.
  • I flew a kite
  • I ate caviar
  • I went into a GAP for the first time in I don't even know how long. I was trying to think of a time I would have gone into one in the last seven or eight years, and I just couldn't think of any
  • I picked wild strawberries
  • I ate wild strawberries
  • I completed a year as a homeschool teacher
  • I misplaced hummus
  • I washed my hair with baking soda
  • I visited one of the three farm markets that are about a three minute drive from my house
  • I made my own laundry detergent
  • I killed a bird. It was an accident.
How 'bout you? Had any firsts lately?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Intelligent Confines

I don't talk much about homeschooling on my blog, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that I (veteran homeschooler that I am... COUGH!) take a more low key approach. By "low key" I don't mean that I don't take it seriously or that I try to make things easy for Ms. Boo. Neither is the case.

But I went to preview some material today with a local rep from a well-known homeschooling company. The rep was nice, but he was, of course, trying to sell me something, so he was talking up the program. The only problem was that what he said played to the part of schooling (home or otherwise) that I hate the most: intelligence worship.

Here's the thing. It is not my goal to have Ms. Boo reading better than anyone else. It is not my goal to have her reading before anyone else. It is not my goal for her to know more vocabulary than anyone else. It is not my goal to have her recite her addition facts faster than anyone else.

It is not my goal to compare her to anyone else at all.

I taught high school for five years. During my second year of teaching, I had a father come in with his daughter for a conference. He had another, younger daughter taking chemistry at the same time, but with another teacher. The younger daughter was bringing home As. The older daughter (the one in my class) wasn't. The father was not pleased.

There were some issues involved that we worked through. She got nervous during tests, etc, etc, so we all agreed to try a few changes and see how things went. I thought that was reasonable.

The girl was respectful and socially mature. She had friends and seemed to enjoy school. She was a gifted musician, and a hard-working student. She struggled in chemistry, but was not even close to failing, and was willing to work hard to get the grades she did. I really didn't have any other concerns.

But her dad did. He launched into a conversation with me which I believe stemmed from GENUINE concern about his daughter. He was very concerned that her grades in my chemistry class were not good enough. WHILE HIS DAUGHTER SAT LISTENING, he went on to say that, getting good grades in band isn't good enough. He couldn't understand how her grades weren't better, given that her sister was getting As. He mentioned something about college. "She needs better grades in math and science. Those are more important than her music."

I was just looking at him, sort of in disbelief over what he'd just said about his daughter, when he asked me, "Right? Don't you think that math and science are so much more important?"

I couldn't think fast enough to form any kind of eloquent answer so, as politely as I could, I just said, "No."

I think he was surprised to hear it. (And I think his daughter was GLAD to hear it.)

Why do parents push so hard? Why do we care so much that our third grader performs better at reading than 95% of all ninth graders? And why do we want to tell people about it? Why do we get angry when they can't read something, or if they don't want to? When they can't recall the capital of Oregon or the answer to 12 x 12?

Tedd Tripp, in his book Shepherding a Child's Heart, lists "Good Education" as an unbiblical goal of parenting. While I think that "Good Education" is important, I think he says it well:

I have met scores of parents whose goal for their chldren was a good education. These parents are driven. They will work with Suzie for hours each night. They coach and prod, they encourage and warn, they will stop at nothing to have their child succeed. Their goal is seeing their child achieve academic awards and scholarly recognition. They are persuaded that education brings success. Unfortunately, scores of disillusioned and broken people are throroughly educated. It is possible to be well-educated and still not understand life.

I think there is a lot to be said for the false connection we make between education and success. If we define "success" as a child who grows up to be good at something they love and were CREATED BY GOD TO DO, then I think that will alleviate a lot of the intelligence worship we tend to engage in. Instead of pushing to get Suzie smarter and better than everyone around her, we start to focus on developing the things that God has made her good at. Sometimes that can be done without an "A" in calculus. Sometimes that can be done without attending college. And it can almost certainly be done even if you don't learn to read until you are in the sixth grade.

Yet parents push. And many parents, unlike the one in my story, push for excellence in EVERYTHING. Their kids are not allowed to be mediocre in anything. I think one reason for this might be because of our own insecurities. We know our kids are a reflection of us and we are so afraid of what people will think of us if our kids are "dumb." What will people think of me if Bobby can't say his alphabet? Or, won't everyone be so impressed with my parenting when they find out how advanced my children are in piano, and Latin, and physics, and ... and... and...? The sad part of this is that children are raised with no concept of what it means to be normal... most people are great at a thing or two, and just okay at the rest (and if we're being totally honest, everyone is downright bad at a few things as well.) And that's FINE!

Worse, for homeschoolers, is the temptation to "prove them wrong;" to stick it to all the people who said that Jane wouldn't get a good education in your home, or who constantly spouted advice because they thought you were "doing it wrong."


My kids are who God made them to be. I truly and honestly want them to read. I want them to read well. I even want them to know what 12 x 12 is.


But it may not be any time soon... and that's okay with me.

I refuse to make "comparison" my educational philosophy.

And I refuse to worship intelligence.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Oh, For the Love of Pete (or Paul... or Jack)

I don't know who Pete is. And if I knew him, there's no guarantee that I'd love him. But you know what? I don't love the new scale.

Can we talk about this?

Remember last week. I was a little perturbed with myself for actually gaining weight. My husband, Paul, (whom I DO love, by the way, and even moreso after his comment) said, "I bet if you weigh yourself tomorrow morning you'll be down a little."

My husband would know. He is a runner. And by runner I mean, three Chicago Marathons, one New York, a few Bostons, two or three Columbus, and list of local (even international) road races that would be way too long to mention. Anyway, the man weighs himself. He knows how food and certain activities will affect the poundage. I won't mention my bitterness about the fact that we both pretty much weigh the same thing, even though I am a full five inches shorter than him... (it's never occured to me until now that the old "Jack Sprat" rhyme might well describe the appearance of the two of us... the analogy breaks down, however, when you consider the fact that he eats all the fat around here, and I eat all the lean. Am I digressing?)


None of this was going through my mind when Paul suggested that I weigh myself again on Tuesday morning. He said his weight was always up on Monday morning because we tend to eat out (read, MORE) on the weekends. So I was encouraged. And I weighed myself on Tuesday morning. Wouldn't you know, I was down to 147.5. I'd lost my first pound since the beginning of the challenge.

So I get all excited thinking, WOW, maybe I can lose another pound this week... how cool would that be? And I kept weighing myself too.


Every. Time.

When my eating/exercising were good - 147.5
When my eating/exercising were bad - 147.5


This morning, I weighed myself again, and guess what? 147.5

Paul was actually home today when I weighed myself and I said, "I think there is something wrong with this scale."


"Because it says 147.5 every time I step on it."

"Huh, it says 147.5 every time I step on it too."

So, I asked him, because I am CERTAIN he did not read the directions before using the scale, "Did you zero it?"
"How do you do that?"

So I show him, and he steps on. 150.

I get on right after him and GUESS WHAT?


"You didn't zero it," he says.

To myself: I don't NEED to. The DIRECTIONS said you only need to zero it after it has been MOVED, and the scale hasn't moved.

But I kept quiet. Rezeroed the scale. Stepped on.

Guess what?


My husband, ever the optimist, gets all excited. "See! You DID lose weight!"

Me, ever the pessimist, is thinking, how do we know which weight is RIGHT?

So, in the interest of getting some REPRODUCIBLE results, I weighed myself again.

Do I even need to tell you? You DO know what it said, right?

Now I'm just wondering. You think there's any chance that my thyroid's name is Pete?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Reined Myself In. I Swear I Did.

Warning: Attitude awaits you if you read any further.

I read a news story today about Harvey Pollack, a gas station owner in Wisconsin who closed down his station for a day. It seems that he is hoping other station owners will follow suit and the net effect will be that the gas companies will feel enough of a pinch that they decide to lower prices.

Disclaimer: I am not an economist, I just play one on my blog.

My very uneducated assessment: If Americans are willing to buy gas, it doesn't matter if you close down your station. Gas companies won't feel a pinch unless the DEMAND for gas is decreased.

And now for the lunacy: the following is a quote from the article.

Maria McClory, 38, drove 10 miles out of her way to buy a diet soda from Pollack's station after seeing local television coverage of the protest. "I just wanted to support them and thank them for making a statement," said McClory, who drives about 100 miles a day for work in her sport utility vehicle.

Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I think we should all follow Ms. McClory's example and start going out of our way (literally, if possible) to pat people on the back for the statements they are willing to make. This way we won't actually have to CHANGE THE WAY WE BEHAVE, but at least we'd all feel less guilty about our complete unwillingness to make a statement of our own. Don't you think?

A Question: How high do you think oil prices would have to get before large numbers of people started reducing their consumption?


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why I Won't be Doing Tae-Bo This Evening*

I spent about three hours today transforming this thing formerly known as a flower bed:

into something I like to call an ACTUAL flower bed. I have attempted to post a picture of it about four times now. However, as soon as I attempt to upload the picture, I seem to lose my Blogger connection. Anyhooo....

Clockwise from left (on the picture that won't load) are the "Stella de Oro" Daylilies, a hook for the bird feeder and a nonexistant hanging basket, Lilies, Painted Daisies, Blazing Star (Liatris), and more lilies. I planted some zinnia seeds in front of the rocks, though this spot may not be sunny enough for them. We'll see. I also put in my birthday request for Lamb's Ear and Plum Pudding Coral Bells. We'll see if I get either of those. There was creeping (red) sedum all over this bed, some of which I might put back in later. Maybe also some more flower seeds too. Which kind, I don't know, but I am pretty partial to nasturtium.

*Aside from the tall lady. Which is a good enough reason to, like, never do Tae-Bo again.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Laughing All the Way to the... Barn?

I love cheese.

I do. I love cheese. Good cheese, not the processed stuff in the wrapper. (I like that, but I don't LOVE it.)

I have made a certain sandwich several times for lunch these last few weeks. It is so very tasty. It has cheese on it. Here is how it goes.

I get a Thomas' Whole Wheat mini bagelbread and I put on about a teaspoon of light mayo. (I switched to light mayo a long time ago, because I couldn't tell the difference between it and the regular. It's not a new thing for the weight loss challenge.) I cut a nice, thick piece of tomato, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add some fresh spinach on top, and finish off with a slice of Muenster cheese.

Did I mention I love cheese? Well, I really love Muenster cheese. I have been known to make grilled cheese sandwiches with it.

Anyhoo, I found something this weekend. It was a coupon in the Sunday paper for these little soft cheese wedges from The Laughing Cow. I saw that they had a "lite" version that was only 35 calories. I decided to give it a try. Clever marketing - lure them in with the coupon and make a customer of them for life (to which I say "Uncle! UNCLE!")

You see, I tried one of them today. The garlic and herb flavor, to be exact. I spread one on some zuchinni squash.

Can I just tell you something?

It was DE. Lic. Ious. DELICIOUS!

I got to wondering how the cheese would taste on my sandwich. So, I made the sandwich sans mayo and Muenster cheese. I just spread some (not even a whole wedge) on the bagel bread in place of the mayo.


Can you please just try this sandwich? Because you cannot possibly know how much I enjoyed that unless you do too.

So, for lunch today, I had:
1 whole wheat mini bagel bread - 150 cal
not quite, but we'll call it 2 cheese wedges - 70 calories
zuchinni, tomatoes, spinach - I don't know how many calories are in those, but not much.

What I am trying to say is, I'M FULL AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO EAT 700 CALORIES TO DO IT! And, oh, did I mention, IT WAS GOOD!

When I do this lunch in the future, I likely won't eat two of the cheese wedges, just one. Which is, as you know, even better for the calorie total.

(No, I am not counting calories, per se, but I am trying to pay attention to how much food I eat.)

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Monday, May 21, 2007

What Goes up Must Come Down. (Right?)

The hard facts: this morning I weighed 149.0 pounds, which is 0.5 pounds more than last week.

The beginning of this week: not great with the exercising.

The end of this week: not great with the eating. Holy "Mother daugher tea at church on Saturday featuring chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, chocolate covered strawberries, PRE-SWEETENED tea, and plates full of cheescake and eclairs; Wedding on Saturday night for which the reception didn't even start until 8:45 pm and was basically the hugest spread you have ever seen; and hot dog, chips, candy bars, and pop fellowship after church on Sunday," Batman.

Also. That tall lady who stands to the right of Billy Blanks in the Tae-Bo Basic video: if I ever found myself next to her during an actual Tae-Bo workout, I would "accidentally" punch her when we got to doing the jabs. I just can't handle her. Or Mr. Blank's choice of workout apparel, for that matter. But don't get me started...

When I started this whole weight loss thing, which, if we are going to be truthful, is actually weight maintenance, but let's not get bogged down in semantics, okay? Anyway, when I started this whole thing, I somehow recalled the test my doctor ran on my thyroid just before putting me on depression meds. Now, I don't want to get too technical with you all, but I seem to recall that one of my LEVELS was LOW. And we all know that low levels are not good. Not at all. So I am thinking about having that rechecked. Everyone knows that you can't lose weight if your thyroid doesn't want you to. I have been talking real nice to it these last few weeks, but I would just like to determine once and for all how my thyroid feels about the extra twenty pounds I keep schlepping around. Because if my thyroid is, like, BEST BUDS with those twenty pounds, and has decided that it will be keeping my levels low indefinitely, then we can just dispense with all this watching of the tall lady in the Tae-Bo video, start eating more satisfying doses of chocolate, and lay blame where blame is due.

Don't MAKE me blame you, thyroid...

I have also started writing down what I am eating. I never knew that trying to lose weight could turn me into a writer, but THERE YOU HAVE IT!

Unrelatedly: Can olive oil go bad? I didn't think this could happen, but, mine did... unless there was foul play involved...

Click over to the May Day Weight Loss Challenge and maybe you can find someone who has ACTUALLY LOST WEIGHT!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Something Lighter for a Friday

Here is what I am reading:

The Hiding Place. Nothing really, really terrible had even happened yet, when I finished one chapter right before bed one night. Before closing the book, I glanced at the title of the next chapter: "Storm Clouds Gather." I could not go to sleep that night. I had a terrible pit in my stomach and thought at one point that I might actually get sick. I stopped reading this book before bed after that. I am finding great joy in the fact that I have not been walking around all this time with awful thoughts of tragic and unbearable events happening to me and my family. This, my friends, is a sign that my depression is still in a far away place...where it belongs... I still have about 100 pages left of this one. I am confident I will get it finished. (By the way, this is the 241-page book I referred to at the end of my Wild Swans post. The one I thought I'd finish in a few days. But you knew I wouldn't, right?)

Made to Stick. I don't know if I will finish this one, though this is not to say it is uninteresting. I picked it up because it caught my eye at the library. (And why wouldn't it? The cover is bright orange.) I was interested in reading the true accounts of how different people have been able to make their ideas "stick." The authors try to find the common denominators amongst these ideas, which isn't of great interest to me. Come to think of it, maybe it is. Surely this information will be useful to me when I begin the indoctrination component of my plan for world domination. Sweeeeet serendipity! Mwaaah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

The Divine Conspiracy. Been wanting to read this one for a long time. And I will be reading it for a long time as well, given that it is 436 pages long. I really think this whole "ridiculously long book" thing should be illegal. But I soooo want to know what this one is about. So far, and by that I mean: not even done with the forty page first chapter, it has been interesting but a bit dry and sometimes I don't know the meanings of the words he uses. This, however, is nothing new to me. I am pretty confident that this book will pick up in later chapters, though, and I will be back here when I am done telling you that every Christian on the planet should read it. Of course, you won't, because no one likes to read stuff I pick out, and you will be contributing to my already overdevelped feelings of isolation in this cold, cold blogosphere, but that's okay. I'm used to that too... (Hat tip to Leslie AKA, my only other bloggy friend who reads "my" kind of books, for bringing this book to my attention.)

Soon to arrive from Amazon, Hard to Believe, and What the Bible Says About Parenting, both by John(ny fresh) MacArthur.

I guess I'd better get reading.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

On Holiness

I'm living in the gap. It's the place that exists somewhere between what I want to do and what I actually do. The apostle Paul lived there too. It's a sometimes maddening, sometimes exhilerating place to be. The degree to which I narrow that gap is indicative of my willingness to submit my will to that of God's.

I can't make myself holy. God says that's his job (Lev 22:32.) But, oddly, God also tells us to be holy. (Lev 19:2) So which is it? Is God responsible for making me holy, or am I?

Jerry Bridges, in his book The Pursuit of Holiness, makes the case that both are true. He likens growth in holiness to a farmer who plants a field. He says, " A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates... [yet] he knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God."

Bridges goes on to make the case that the Christian's responsibility in cultivating holiness is obedience. Now that I have had some time to think about this for a while, I have reduced it to what I think is the core:

holiness is less about what I am doing than it is about how I am responding to God.

(Earth-shattering revelations here, people.)

Bible reading and prayer, evangelism and tithing; these things do not make me holy. My response to him does (or doesn't, as is often the case.) This is not to say that those things aren't important. The first two are indeed prerequisites for even knowing what God desires of me. But without a proper response from me, I have done nothing to "close the gap." And certainly the latter two would be considered holy responses to God. However, if I do them grudingly, not as unto the Lord, or to please men, then they do not cultivate holiness in me either, because these are not proper responses to Him. It would be like watering a seed that was never planted.

So, in response to all of this, I have started asking God to show me areas of my life which need to come under submission to him. For some reason, it has helped me to categorize my life into the things God has entrusted to me. It puts things in the proper perspective so that I can ask him "am I responding to you properly in this area?"

Here are some of the areas of stewardship where I think I have had an improper response to God:
  • my marriage - uh, I stink at the whole marriage thing!
  • my children - as I have focused on willfully submitting myself to God in this area, I can praise Him for small victories in just the last few weeks
  • my home/possessions - needing to be a better caretaker as well as become more generous with these things
  • my body - which is why I am beating it into submission! Trying to make more God-honoring choices regarding food and exercise
  • my mind - God gave me one, and I LOVE IT, but I have neglected using it for a long time. That is changing
  • the envirnoment - taking my responsibility to be a caretaker of God's creation more seriously
  • money - am I using it the way He wants me to? How often to I use it without thinking at all about what he desires? Working on changing this
Some of these things are more personal than others. But I think several of these things are probably struggles for others as well. I will be sharing over the next few weeks (months?) more about my attempts to bring these things into submission to God's will.

God is Holy. He deserves my submission in all these things.

And I want to narrow the gap.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I just wrote a post that has gone the way of most of my posts of late: unpublished.

I probably wrote ten paragraphs. And deleted six.

All of it to say: I am in a slump.

Weighty things are being processed in my head. I want to write about them, but I wonder if I have any "platform" for doing so. I wonder if it is wise for me to put those thoughts out here right now.

Nothing controversial, I don't think. Just.... well, weighty.

I'm not a "theme" blogger. No one who reads this knows what they are going to get when they click over here. But there are other blogs out there where "Advice and Wisdom" is dispensed regularly and deemed meaningful and applicable by all manner of readers. I don't necessarily want to have one of those blogs, but I am wondering how those bloggers get their voice, so to speak. How do they get an audience of readers who really value whatever it is they decide to say?

When God is teaching you things, how do you know when you have grasped them fully enough to speak with some degree of authority about those things? How do you know if the things God is teaching you are for you alone, or if they have application for other people?

This post not withstanding, I have this notion that I'd like my blog to be a little bit less about processing thoughts, and a little more about laying out some thoughts that have already been processed and promoted to convictions. How do you write about those things without sounding self-righteous? Do you write about them at all?


Monday, May 14, 2007

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

Irises. I love irises. We've got a bunch on the side of the house right now. It makes me happy whenever I see them.

Chocolate ice cream so hard it hurts your wrist to dip it. In a chilled glass, topped with milk. Do not mix.

Writing something that adequately expresses what is on my mind. Rare. But satisfying.

Hearing Ms. Bao say "oh, man!"

Watching Mr. Bug dance.

Thursday morning Bible study.

When someone thinks of me, out of the blue, and checks in to see how I am doing.

Talking Scripture with other believers.

Pony tails on my girls.

Being alone.

Searching for frogs at the park with the kids.

This Old House.

The smell of spring.

Cool nights under a warm blanket.

Ms. Boo's laugh.

Singing along when I know every word of a song. (Just this past week it was A Little Respect by Erasure.)

Weight For Meeeee!

Okay. So I haven't posted since my last weight update. What can I say? I just haven't been in the bloggy state of mind, lately.

But it's time to do my weight post, so at least you will get to hear all the exciting weight-loss details you can handle.

And then some.

So, without further ado: the weight loss update.

I have been walking a lot. A little over 2.5 miles for six days this last week. For me that works out to about 45 minutes of walking each night. Briskly. Paul got me a pedometer for mothers day. When I walked last night I was very encouraged to find that my route was over 5300 steps. WOW.

Part of why I have been so willing to walk is because it has been some sweet time alone with God. I posted previously about how God is revealing to me that I need to pursue holiness in several areas of my life. My eating habits is one of those. The walking has been some great time to, among other things, ask God to help me make choices that please him as well as plan out how I will handle situations in the following week.

Primarily, this planning has to do with desserts. Sad, but true. Last night, I looked to the week ahead and I realized that I will have two dessert opportunities. I have already decided which one I think will be more appealing, and exactly how much I will be eating when that time comes. The only thing I don't like about this particular opportunity is that coffee will not be available. So, if it really doesn't interest me when the time comes, I will forego dessert altoghether and hold off for something better.

Dessert-eating went pretty well this past week. I actually started passing them up before my last post. I think I went a whole week without one! I even went to a big, overdone, gala event (not kidding) in which the desserts were on the table from the moment we sat down and all through dinner. They were all fancy and whatnot. But you know what? I took ever the tiniest taste of mine and decided it wasn't even close to good enough for my one dessert this week. (Maybe God was looking out for me - the fact that they didn't contain any chocolate made them so much easier to pass up.)

I messed up on Friday, however, and ate two roasted marshmallows with the family after dinner... I HATE marshmallows, but Paul got them toasted to this perfect shade of light brown and I was tempted. Stupid. The whole time I was eating them I thought You hate marshmallows, stop eating them. But I did eat two. Then we went out for ice cream. (We are real healthy folk around here.) I got a single scoop. I ate it slowly and even ordered the coffee to go with it. It really does make dessert so much more enjoyable for me.

And I had three small pieces of dessert at the Chinese buffet on mothers day. So, I ate too much dessert this week, but not nearly as much as I would have in the past. I think I can do better this coming week and keep it to only one.

As for the other stuff, I am doing well with eating only when I am hungry, and keeping portions small enough that I am not eating past full. When I am hungry, and it isn't meal time, I have put small portions into a bowl rather than eating from the package. I make sure I take several bites out of my fruit chips when I eat them, instead of putting the whole chip in my mouth. What I DO need to start doing is drinking water when I feel hungry for a snack. I can eat later if I still feel hungry, but the extra water may help curb the hunger until the next meal.

And now, for the fun part. My weight.

First, I messed up. I should have weighed in on Tuesday morning. That was my plan but I forgot. I was probably holding a grudge against our brand new scale. The old scale kept telling me I was right at 150 pounds. Granted, it was a hard to read dial type of scale, but it sure looked like 150 pounds to me.

(At this point, if you are thinking, WOW Lori weighs 150 pounds, then in the interest of full disclosure, I should also tell you that I am also 5' 1".)

That was a joke. (I'm not that tall.)

Anyway, on Monday night, I stepped on the scale. It was completely out of curiosity - just wanted to see how the new scale worked. I waited for the little digital numbers to finish their flashing, then looked at the scale and promptly told it to "shut up."

152.5 lbs

Thank you. Thank you very much.

So that's where I was on Tuesday when I conveniently forgot to weigh myself in. When Wednesday morning rolled around, I had already eaten breakfast when I realized I needed to weigh myself. So I step on the scale. 149.0

Now, I know people say that you need to weigh yourself in the morning, but for real? That much difference?

All this to say (and yes, there was a reason I was telling you this) that I DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT MY STARTING WEIGHT IS. That makes the calculation of pounds lost a little difficult. I could take the average of my two "weigh ins" and say that my starting weight is 150.5, but somehow that just doesn't feel right.

So, I weighed myself this morning. (I've decided to do weigh-ins on Monday mornings.) I did it before breakfast. 148.5

I don't know if I have actually lost weight this week, but there you have it. I am going to use 148.5 as my "starting weight."

And now you can all breathe a big sigh of relief because this post is finally over. I promise not to be so verbose next time.

Click here for the link to the current post for the "May Day Weight Loss Challenge."

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Mini Me

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Well, here it is, folks. I have joined the May Day Weight Loss Challenge. From now through September you will get to hear weekly updates about my attempts to lose weight. This may not be such fun for my readers, but I am really hoping that it will be a motivator for me. It may seem strange, but I really want a little button for my sidebar that says I lost 5 pounds. Or ten.

Or more.

Cuz you know what? I am tired of jiggling when I walk. And I am tired of my pants feeling too tight. Also, my family has a history of diabetes, and that's one part of my heritage in which I would prefer not to participate.

However, I am not a fan of the "diet" per se. So, here's the plan, Stan:

  • Exercise at least four times each week for at least 40 minutes. (Preferably 5 times each week.)
  • Eat only when I feel hungry.
  • Increase water intake.
  • Try to eat 7-8 servings of fruits/vegetables every day.
  • No eating past 9:30 in the evening.
  • I am going to have a really, REALLY hard time with this, but I am going to cut out desserts on all but one night a week. Since this is probably my biggest challenge, I have a sub-set of plans for dessert eating:
    • limit myself to one serving
    • make sure there is coffee to go with dessert because this ALWAYS makes it so much more enjoyable, and I am going to milk my once a week indulgence for all it is worth
    • eat when I am not distracted so I don't end up snarfing it down and then want more because I "missed it" the first time
    • eat slowly
    • to avoid temptation during other times of the week, I am not going to keep desserts around the house
    • when I do get the urge for sweets during the week, I will eat some fruit (but only if I am actually hungry.)
  • Revise as necessary.
My goal:
  • "It'll do" - lose 10 pounds
  • "I'm happy" - lose 15 pounds
  • "YAHOO!" (the exclamation, not the website) - lose 20 pounds
If anyone would like to offer encouragement, please do. If you want to join, or see the list of others who have, click on over to Tales from the Scales.

Peace out y'all.

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OOoooh! I Think I Got it!

Thank you all for your kind and encouraging words in my last post. It soothed a weary soul, so thank you.

I am back now and not nearly as hysterical as I was when you last heard from me. I'll give you all a moment to offer up a prayer of praise for that.

[waiting, waiting, waiting....]

Now that you are back, I thought I'd share something random that has me oddly excited: I heard someone say that "everyone has a thorn in the flesh." I don't know what I think about that but if I did have one, I think I know what mine might be. Unlike Paul, I do not believe that I have any surpassingly great revelations. But, like Paul, I think maybe I have something that is meant to keep me humbly reliant upon the grace of God. The thought of it sorta just came to me, and the more I think about it, the more I think it might qualify as my thorn.

I'm excited, not because I HAVE this thing, but because seeing it for what it is (or for what it might be, at least) gives me a little perspective. It gives me an idea of how to deal with it, and it makes me thankful that I get to have God use it for my good.

By the way, there's no way I am going to tell you what it is. I just thought I'd let you know.


Friday, May 04, 2007


This week started out fine and then took a downturn on Wednesday.

I feel completely deflated, dejected, demoralized, and any other "de" word you can think of. Except for maybe delicious. I don't feel delicious.

Mostly, I just wanted to scream, "I'm TRYING, but does anyone care about ME?"

In all honesty, PMS may have been a major player. (And getting major-er as the years go by, I might add. What is with that?)

I wonder, though, because it is just my nature to get into a funk. This is the funk where you feel like everything you have ever learned needs to be unlearned, and you have to learn something new in its place. Everything.

And every improvement you try to make is met with R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N. Take, for example, my attempts to get up early this week. I know that I need my time in the Word. And I am at the point where I can't stand all my stupid excuses any more. And I know that getting up before the kids to get my day started with God ALWAYS makes things go more smoothly.

So, I set my alarm for 7 am. Not that early, but earlier than Bethany, who is my earliest riser. I figured 7 was a good time because she never gets up before 7:30. On the first day that I got up, I didn't hear Bethany cry until I was on the very last verse of my reading. But it was still "too early." When I went to get her, she had a pretty bad nose bleed, and I was off and running.

That was the last time I was able to read before the kids got up. Bethany woke up at 6:40 the next morning. She sorta went back to sleep... in my bed... but it was the kind of sleep that was more like "I am ready to get up so if you move, I'm coming with you."

And the next day she was in bed with me because she would not go back to sleep in the middle of the night and I was too tired to deal with it. So, when the alarm went off, she stirred and was back in the "awake enough" mode of the day before. I tried getting out of the bed by moving my body one centimeter at a time, but the kid isn't stupid, and she was not going to let me walk out without her.

This is just one example. I feel like I try. Then I feel like, why do I try?

I'm tired of my lame attempts at living the Christian life. I am tired of my short temper. I am tired of my selfish attitude. I am tired of my poor housekeeping. I am tired of my impatient parenting.

I know all those things need to change. And I want them too. But I just can't seem to make any headway. And I think I am tired of that most of all.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


It seems like the times that I have the most things to say are the times that I am least likely to post. Partly, I think this is due to the fact that it takes me so long to wade through all of my thoughts and make sense of them. Partly it is because I am literally spending my time addressing the things I am thinking about instead of writing about them.

But holiness has been on my mind of late. I don't think I realized it until my pastor's sermon this past Sunday. He addressed holiness, and I thought, "yup, that's exactly what I've been pondering."

What does it mean to be holy and to live every part of my life as to the Lord? There have been several things that God has called to mind over the last few weeks and months. They have been fresh on my mind for quite some time, but I am only slowly beginning to see how to live some of these things out. After the sermon on Sunday, I pulled a book off the shelf in the family room that I read about ten years ago. I wasn't very impressed with it when I read it, so I don't know why I kept it - until Sunday rolled around. It is called The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. I thought I'd give it a read. (It's short too! YEEHAA!)

After reading the first eight or nine chapters, I spent some time journalling and trying to get some perspective. While disjointed journal type posts don't make for the most enjoyable reading, I thought I would share a few exerpts from my journal. This might be the best I can do to formulate a post right now.

  • Need a God-centered perspective: stop viewing sin as "defeat." Holiness has nothing to do with me feeling victorious, rather it is about doing God's will. Not sinning because I want some sort of victory is totally self-centered. I should keep myself from sinning simply because it displeases God.
  • "Accepting with contentment whatever circumstances God allows for me is very much a part of a holy walk." (Bridges, p. 69.)
  • God shows his standard of holiness through the Scriptures: "The natural result of seeing God's standard and our sinfulness is the awakening within us of a desire to be holy." (Bridges, p 73.)
  • Depending on God for holiness means:
    • consistently taking in the Word with a humble heart
    • praying for holiness
  • God will reveal the sin to me. My own responsibility in pursuing holiness is obedience.
  • Areas of unholiness in my life:
    • desire for self-glorification: wanting importance, recognition
    • selfishness that fuels anger towards my family, most often in the form of the "what about me" attitude
    • laziness or complaining regarding housework: all that I do can be done in worship to Him if I am doing my work as unto the Lord.
    • complaining in general: there is just never a good reason for it.
    • not getting up before the kids to spend time with God: I know how much better this has worked for me in the past, so the fact that I don't do it sheer self-indulgence.
    • overeating
So there you have it. Me. What's in my head. What I am working on. And what God is working in me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
See if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

-Psalm 139:23-24