Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't cry over a broken egg

"If I buy a dozen eggs and I break one, I clean the broken egg up and get on with my day. I don't break the 11 other eggs!"

This quote was in my weekly e-mail from Weight Watchers. To say things have gotten out-of-control in my life is an understatement. Especially when it comes to what I put into my mouth.

Most days, I start out with a healthy breakfast and some days will even make it to lunch. Even on the days I make it through dinner, by the time I head for bed, I have completely blown any healthy eating for the day. In my mind, if I eat something unhealthy, it's a free-for-all the rest of the day (sometimes week).

This phrase is a good mental image for when those thoughts enter my mind. I wouldn't even think about breaking the other 11 eggs just because one broke. Time to keep that in mind when I feel like throwing out the rest of my day or week because of one unhealthy food choice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My thoughts for Jaycie's 4th Birthday


Our Jaycie turned 4-years-old this past weekend. It’s really quite crazy how much can change in 4 short years. To be honest, I was in shock when God gave us Jaycie. Jaycie is just a little too much like me. Rod was traveling. My grandpa died. My dad got cancer. Rod’s dad had cancer. Our dads died. I had another baby.

Breathe.

Our little girl has always known what she does and does not want. And she expresses it. Her fears and insecurities come out in a way that leave me frustrated. She whines and screams for no apparent reason which leave me wanting to do nothing but get away. Until recently...

My mom accompanied myself and the two little girls on a visit to the zoo where we met my cousin and her family for the day. Jaycie started in pretty early with her whining and yelling. I was determined to enjoy the day. Thank God for mom. I just handed Jaycie to my mom as I pretended I couldn’t hear and showed the animals to the baby. This is when I overheard my mom talking to Jaycie. “The bears cannot come out by us, Jaycie. Look at their home. See how they put that big hole between us and the bears? They cannot get out.” I later asked my mom if Jaycie told her she was scared that the bears would get out. She hadn't. My mom just decided that there had to be a reason behind Jaycie’s irrational screams and identified Jaycie‘s fear.

I do not have any patience or understanding for my yelling child. And it is fairly common knowledge that I am of the mindset that people need to communicate with one another. My daughter was simply not doing that. I shake my head as I think about it now. Who really expects a baby or toddler to sit down and say, “Mom, we need to talk. I don’t enjoy going to the zoo because I am afraid that the animals will come out and attack us. Do you think there is some way we could find something else to do for entertainment?” I mean, seriously?

I have been nothing short of irritated with my daughter because she will not talk to people. For that matter, she won’t even give them eye contact! And it’s not just "don't knows". It’s family and friends that she sees fairly often. Recently, a friend enlightened me with some outside perspective. “She physically cannot bring herself to talk to people in public, Tristi. She just can’t do it.” Although I still have a hard time accepting this, what I did hear was that my expectations are way too lofty.

What God is teaching me through my family and friends is that my problems with Jaycie are not because of Jaycie. My problems with Jaycie are all right here. I am the problem. Thankfully, it's not too late to change.

There have always been things I have thoroughly enjoyed about Jaycie. I have always and will always love her. Her smile has always been able to light up my life. I am continually thanking God for her. And yet, I realize that there is so much more to her to love and enjoy. If I will simply invest the time in her!

With a little investment of time and a bit of patience on my part, Jaycie is beginning to come out of her shell. I cannot help but wonder if she wouldn’t have blossomed sooner if I had simply had a little patience. If I would have taken the time to stop and attempt to place myself in her shoes for just a moment. It would have been very helpful if I had just worked a little harder to understand the bigger picture rather than get caught up on everything that overwhelmed me. I cannot change the past. I can, however, change the future. And I have already started.

Jaycie is full of life. When I take the time to notice, I see her being kind to her baby sister. I see the way she looks up to her big sister and wants to imitate so much of what she does. When I take the time, I see how she lights up because I take 5 minutes to read a book to her or complete a puzzle. When I stop for the moment, I can see how she fills up with joy from spending one-on-one time with her daddy. In the quiet moments, I can cherish memories in my heart and I see how a little encouragement takes her such a long way.

To Jaycie on your 4th Birthday...

I will let you down. Daddy will let you down. Every person here on earth will let you down. Don't find your identity in your family or friends. Although I love you thoroughly, don't search for your acceptance in Daddy and I. There is only One who does not change. One who is consistently loving you unconditionally. I pray that you come to know how very much God loves you. I pray that I can love you in the way He commands me to. And when I let you down, Jay, please forgive me. I screw up all the time. And I'm sorry. I love you imperfectly. I'm thankful that God's perfect love is there for you. And I will continue to pray that He teaches me to love you better. Because Jaycie, I do love you more than words could ever express.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wishing and Hoping and Thinking and Praying

I will honestly pray the morning of a weigh-in that I will have lost weight. Or at least stay the same. Even just remaining in the weight range where I don't have to pay would thrill me these days. I will seriously eat whatever I very well please for weeks on end only to get on the scale praying for some kind of results I'll be happy with.

Thinking about this particular prayer that I throw up makes the lyrics to the song at the beginning of My Best Friend's Wedding play through my mind - "wishing and hoping and thinking and praying". Maybe dreaming is more like it. I cannot even squeeze into the size pants I was fitting into just a couple months ago. And the damage I've created on the scale is not going to be turned around without some serious work.

This has me thinking about life in general. For example, I want my marriage to be bliss. I want the romance Hollywood portrays (in the movies, not real life) - that passionate love. I want the happily ever after offered to me in the fairy tales. But we live in the real world. Reality is that there are many days my husband and I may not even like each other. Irritations build up. Responsibilities take over. The calendar overwhelms. Life takes all our energy. Still, that doesn't change the fact that I want true love. So why have I done absolutely nothing to help me in pursuit of this goal? Months on end without spending any quality alone time together. Choosing my children, friends, family and other commitments before my time with him. Just pretending like all the problems will magically go away. And then I wonder. Why don't we "feel" love towards each other?

This applies to other relationships as well. Time spent together is scarce. And God forbid we should actually talk about something of value! After all, aren't there always at least three topics we are supposed to avoid in conversations? I want quality friendships and relationships with my family members. I want people to rally around me in times of trouble and share my moments of joy. And yet there is no investment made in that direction. If we won't be real with each other, how is there going to be any depth to my relationships?

And we can't leave God out of the equation. He waits patiently for us to become aware of all the love He offers us. The fact that He created us should be our first hint as to the amount of love He has for us. He pours blessing upon blessing on us and we just want to complain about every problem we can find. Not to mention how quick we forget about the tremendous sacrifice that was made for us when Jesus came from Heaven to earth to die for us. Think about it: We damage our relationship with God through sin and He offers us forgiveness, a second chance and even builds the bridge! How many relationships out there that we vie for offer us that?

It's amazing really. How we wish and hope. How we long for better and yet are unwilling to do anything about it. I am never going to lose this last 10-15 pounds until I actually start taking some action towards achieving my goal. I can't possibly experience true love with my husband when we never take the time to put one another as the priority. Meaningful relationships don't happen without being a bit vulnerable and investing the time. And it is impossible to know God when we refuse to acknowledge the numerous ways He pours out His love on us or take the opportunity to seize the pathways He extends for us to come to Him.

Maybe it's time for a little less wishing and hoping. And time for a lot more thinking and praying - along with a lot of action.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chameleon

Chameleon
You blend with your surroundings
Chameleon
No one knows where you come from
Chameleon
You change with every situation
Compromising dedication


These lyrics by Petra have been on my mind recently because I am tired of the chameleon game. Oh, we all do it to some extent. When we're at home, we may feel uninhibited. At church, we think we are expected to put on an act. With one group of friends our words are loose. With our family, we feel the need to bite our tongues so as not to offend. It's never-ending the way we change who we are for the people we are with.

Honestly, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the expectations people put on me and the fact that I actually strive to live up to them. I'm done playing games with people in my life who pretend to be one way when they're around me and then they go off with someone else acting a completely different way. What is it exactly that makes us think we need to be someone other than ourselves ALL the time?

Realistically, I'm certain it has something to do with acceptance. We all want to belong. We all long to be loved. We want people to love us for who we are. And yet, how can we expect this when we are unwilling to be authentic? Could it be that we just don't know who we are? We're so busy trying to please everyone that we have no idea where to begin when it comes to being real? I mean, really, what would that even look like?

I am so incredibly grateful that I my identity is established in God. That is so freeing! I can be God's child at home, with friends, at church, running errands, in the business world, with extended family and at my daughters' schools. I can be myself because I am a child of God and that does not change!

As a Child of God, I have a filter to examine my life through. I don't need for everyone to accept and love me. I don't need the approval of my parents, siblings, friends, or anyone else. All I need is God's acceptance. And I am so grateful that I have that unconditionally. He knew me before I was born. He loved me enough to send Jesus to die for me before I even heard about His love for me.

As I struggle through this life, I can live securely in my identity: a Child of God. I'm tired of not really knowing people. I'm tired of feeling their lack of desire to know me. I am going to start investing more time in the one relationship I don't have to beg for. And maybe, just maybe, all my relationships will be stronger because of this one at the center.

And what does the Lord require of [me]? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God. - Micah 6:8

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sorting it out

I wish I could sort out my thoughts. I feel a bit like Mel Gibson’s character in a scene on “What Women Want”. The gist of the storyline is that Mel Gibson is able to hear women’s thoughts. It is overwhelming to him. At one point, he is walking around the city attempting to figure out what is going on. He can hear the thoughts of the bell women in front of the hotel. He can hear the thoughts of a little female dog as well. Then he is in a park when an entire group of women are running in the opposite direction he is walking on the path. He holds his ears as this entire pack of women’s thoughts attempt to invade his mind.

I don’t know what other’s are thinking (even though I like to think I do), but I feel a lot this character in that moment. I want to hold my ears tighter hoping to block out all the thoughts attempting to invade my mind. There are just too many and it’s exhausting me. My schedule. My friends. My family. My desires. My faults. It goes on and on. I simply cannot stop the voices in my head. (I know. I know. Entirely different issue.)

I think it’s why I can talk myself into getting on the treadmill. Those 30 minutes allow me time to talk to God and work through the multitude of thoughts disrupting my life. I can give many of my problems to God and take a few minutes to focus in on my day. No noise from kids. No T.V. Only the noises from the treadmill (and if I’m on top of things, the washer and dryer as well).

At church, we’ve been doing a series on “Crazy Busy”. I can identify with the latest way to combat this crazy busy lifestyle. That is to Shut if Off. I used to think I was one that needed background noise. Now, what I am realizing more than ever, is that all that noise drives me insane. That’s why I thrive early in the morning when everything is quiet. I can think straight. As soon as one of my little ones are up, that moment is over. I can no longer think straight because someone is always making demands of me.

I’m going to attempt to continue to take time each day in quiet. It is so beneficial. I might get used to it.