The Amateur Theologian: Identity – Who Am I?

Here’s my latest “fun” revelation:

I judge myself and others by the media’s values.
Therefore, people are either good or bad,
all suffering should end in “happily ever after,”
and I let it define
success, family, ethics, and physical beauty.


I swallowed a subconscious belief:
Conform to the media’s ideals;
Be “good enough.”

So, I serve these ideals to be OK.

That’s called idolatry…
and I’m sick of it.

Idolatry Definition

Film, TV, and Chick Lit teach:

We’re supposed to look a certain way


This video made me realize that, by obsessing over loosing weight so my body looks “right,” I’ve labored to turn  fiction into real life – and have become a shallow, self-absorbed, ungrateful ass in the process.

Were’ told:

We’re supposed to be the perfect parents
with the perfect kids.


Confession: I worked as hard as I knew how at being a perfect parent, and my mistakes are as long as my arm (listed in 11pt. font).

And the kids?

Well, in spite of my best efforts, they aren’t media-perfect; they’re human and flawed –  just like me.

Instead of taking heed of my life lessons, they insist on learning a lot the hard way – just like me.


We’re pushed to meet the world’s definition of success.


However, serving the superwoman image this society expects has just about killed me. Literally.

And I’m so tired of being tired…of not noticing people in the grocery line because I’m overcome with irritation that there is a line…of perceiving the ringing of the phone or doorbell as an irritation…and can someone please silence the “you’re not enough” demons who constantly push me into busyness?

Finally, a lot of sad things in my life didn’t end happily.The End

The older I get the more these truths comes home to roost:

  1. In this lifetime, there are few happy-ever-afters and closure is a scarce luxury.
  2. The reason something bad happened may never reveal itself on earth. Heck, there may not always be a reason. We’re only promised that God will bring good out of it.

Here’s the rub: realizing the problem doesn’t solve it.

Breaking free takes a stubborn commitment to
have one’s identity fully planted in Christ –
and nothing else.

What does this mean?

Here’s the definition God whispered right before life imploded and I lost almost every worldly thing I thought defined me: (Isn’t he just the best?)

I am so important to the Creator of everything, that he voluntarily came down as a man to die a gruesome death so I wouldn’t have to.


Yes, He thinks I’m so amazing, warts and all, that He would do anything just to be in intimate relationship with me forever!

But that’s not all. He made me an ambassadorship here on earth. He could have called me home ages ago, but keeps me here because I still have important work to do on His behalf. And someday, my service will be rewarded!

Once my work is finished, He will bring me home to the ultimate “happy ending”  where He has gone ahead to prepare a special place just for me! Death and pain and disease and evil will be gone!

DigHazuse Photography 2011

Best of all, my faith in Him will be sight!

When I ponder these truths acquiring stuff, chasing the perfect body and the world’s praise feel really hollow and even stupid.

Do I have the courage to live out my identity in Christ?  How would this affect day to day living?

What do you think?



Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Child-rearing, Diversity, Eternal Life, Expectations, Faith, healthy living, Identity, Identity in Christ, Idolatry, Letting Go, Looks, parenting, parenting goals, Resurrection of the dead, Weight | Leave a comment

The Amateur Theologian: Wrestling with Death and Grief

For some reason, I woke up just after midnight yesterday, as Resurrection Sunday began. Checking my phone, I saw that someone had texted me an hour before with news of our mutual friend, Steve, who had been battling ALS for almost a year.

“If you wake up sometime in the night – I just want you and your family to know that Steve is really struggling tonight. (He) had a very strong sense that he may go to Heaven soon.

“Steve had thought and spoken a lot about
The Resurrection recently –
and he even made a short video (for Easter morning).
This was Steve’s wish, to be able to speak to the church.

“I just wanted you to know what was possibly playing out for them tonight.”

I was up most of the rest of the night doing just that. “Please, Lord, wait to take your servant. The timing is cruel. His family will associate every Easter with his death if you take him now! Please, please, just keep him here a little longer.”

Morning came and there was no news –
which was good news!
Steve had survived the night!

Late that afternoon while our family was chatting around the table, full from the Easter feast, I shared what a close call Steve had that early morning and how kind it was that God didn’t take him.

While I was still speaking,
a text came from his wife,
one of my most cherished friends.
It said simply, “He is in Heaven.”

My heart stopped.

Why?!? Just hours earlier I praised You that he was out of imminent danger, but all the while his family was witnessing him struggle for every breath, all day. That was their Resurrection Sunday – a death watch.

Why would God be so cruel?

With the heart break still heavy this morning, I stumbled upon this quote by one of my all-time favorite theologians, Phillips Brooks:

Phillips Brooks Resurrection

Then it hit me:
Perhaps the timing of Steve’s death wasn’t cruel,
but beautiful.

He had been able to attend his son’s wedding just five days before – a wedding his family wasn’t sure he would make.

Four days prior, he recorded that video played yesterday at Easter Sunday Service. How marvelous! How wonderful! His last public words were his testimony!

Therefore, my prayer for his grieving family, friends, and even myself, is that when Easter comes next year, we won’t be only filled with the sadness for the loss of him, but also prompted to praise God for the tangible reminder that the day we celebrate Christ’s defeat of death will always be interwoven with Steve’s entrance into eternal life, because:

“…regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried,
we don’t want you in the dark any longer…
you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to,
as if the grave were the last word.
Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave,
God will most certainly bring back to life
those who died in Jesus.”
– 1Thessalonians 4:13-14

Christ-followers grieve for our loved ones who have left this earth before us, but only because we will miss them while we journey on, not because we despair of seeing them again. Yes, we grieve. Of course, we grieve. But not as those who have no hope.

Lives again our glorious King!
Where, O Death, is now your sting?
Once He died our souls to save,
Where thy victory, O grave?



Posted in Death, Eternal Life, Grief, Grieving, Jesus' resurrection, Resurrection of the dead, Suffering, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Amateur Theologian: Swearing


I have a like/hate relationship with swearing.

Sometimes it just feels so d@mned appropriate. On the other hand, really hate hearing my kids cuss because it’s an in-your-face reminder of just how f#ck!n8 offensive it its.

Oh, and good little Jesus-Disciples aren’t supposed to swear.

Although, I know many who do.


  • Back in the day, I ran with a Christian crowd who declared a “spiritual gift of swearing” an essential part of authenticity.
  • There’s a host of Christian bloggers who regularly swear in their posts for the same reason.
  • A youth pastor friend says he thinks swearing is fine as long as the context is correct.

Are they right?


What about substitute swear words?
Are they OK?

  • Why is a$$ho!e a swearword but jackass is OK? The nuns back in Catholic school had no issue using this moniker for unruly students.
  • Saying, “Well, $h!t” is offensive, but “Well, poo-pee-doo” is fine and even sort of cute?
  • In Ant Man (fun flick!) the main character calls someone an “a$$-hat.” When his ex-wife chastises him, he defends, “I said ‘hat!’” The audience predictably chuckles at the situation, agreeing that “hat” makes the term harmless.


All this to say, I couldn’t decide how I felt about swearing,
so it was time to turn to the Bible.


Ephesians 4.29 meme

OK, we should only use language that is helpful for others. Can swear words be helpful?

Let’s say a friend is sharing the guilt they carry over being molested by a family member as a child, because they never fought. My response is to say they have nothing to feel guilty about, because their perpetrator was a rat b@st@rd who deserves to rot in H3ll for what they did. Isn’t this helpful for building the victim up and the use of expletives appropriate emphasis of my point?


Colossians 3.8 meme


No “dirty” talk. Gotcha. Do swear words qualify as this, or is Paul talking about crude jokes, foolish talk, gossip, etc.? Because later in the chapter he specifically references the latter:

Ephesians 5.4 Meme

If I only went off of these verses (and others with “swear” synonyms), I could argue that my youth pastor friend is right: expletives are fine, even appropriate, in the proper context. Except for one thing:

When filled with The Holy Spirit
you find yourself giving up things that
may be technically OK
in lieu of something more important: love.

In Christ, it’s no longer important that I fight for my rights or defend a way I want to talk; I now live to serve others.

1 Corinthains 10.23.24 meme

Paul then says we shouldn’t do anything that hurts another person’s conscious. He’s addressing meat offered to idols, but the concept applies as we see later in the chapter:

1 Corinthains 10.31.33 meem

Because my primary objective is to actively love others, I want to make sure nothing I do or say is offending* anyone inside or outside of the churchand swearing is often offensive.

The second reason I want to clean up my vocabulary
is found earlier in 1Corinthians.


Paul is talking about sexual immorality but, again, the concept applies. I don’t want swearing to master me, and when I swear out of emotion, it does. I don’t want to be a slave to anything but Christ!

Not only this, but I think swearing
is an etymological cop out.

The English language has so many wonderful, rich words in its vocabulary; why would I debase myself by using expletives?

Going back to the example of the friend who was abused by a relative: which is more profound and builds them up?

  • Calling the perpetrator foul names
  • Saying, “It was their brokenness and the fact that they chose violence to address it that is responsible for what happened. They made a horrible, ignorant choice and carry all the blame. Maybe there are reasons for what they did (past abuse of their own, etc.) but there are no excuses. You are in no way responsible for what they did to you.”

In my experience, when I have needed comfort or support after being hurt by another person, thoughtful words, not swearing, did the trick.

So, I can swear, and it sure feels good sometimes,
but I’ve decided – after lots of contemplation –
to abstain.

No Swearing

To try, anyhow. I want to be sensitive to others feelings, have control when I’m emotional, and not be a hindrance to real, intelligent communication (which means the synonyms are bye-bye, too as this is the very definition of hair splitting. My mom believes that any word said in anger is swearing because the real issue was that you lost your temper).

And by the way, I know plenty of people who aren’t Christians who feel the same way about it!

But, hey, that’s me. What do you think about swearing?

*This is in reference to my behavior, not my opinions or beliefs. After all, when Jesus shared truth he offended loads of people!

Posted in Anger, Christian Life, Faith, Letting Go, Love, Priorities, Prioritizing relationships, Sanctification, Swearing, The Amateur Theologian, Uncategorized, Wisdom | 4 Comments

My Darling, Senile Veterans

Though it is barely March, Spring is sprouting in Colorado which means allergy season has descended upon my immune system.

This is way more interesting than it used to be.

I will be on immune suppressants for the life of the transplanted kidney, 15 – 30 years. This means, while I do have an immune system, it’s…well…a mess. The doctors explained it in military terms.

immune system cartoon

Remember how we learned our white blood cells are like little soldiers who attack threatening foreign bodies such as bad bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, etc.?

Well, if yours are Navy Seals…


… mine are WWII veterans.

American paratrooper, among the first to make successful landings on the continent, holds a Nazi flag captured in a village assault. Utah Beach, St. Marcouf, France. 8 June 1944

American paratrooper, among the first to make successful landings on the continent, holds a Nazi flag captured in a village assault. Utah Beach, St. Marcouf, France. 8 June 1944

They’ve seen a lot of action, are decorated and highly, highly respected,
but since The Big War they have very little get-up-and-go and can get…confused.

For example, when you get a cold your body will do aggressive things to get rid of it like produce loads of mucus to trap the virus and flood it out. Thus, you get a cough, stuffy/runny nose and body aches as your Navy Seals draw on your reserves.

immune system battle cartoon

My cold symptoms come in and out like loose speaker wire. I’ll be going along fine, suddenly have a brutally runny nose for three minutes, then nothing. I’m fine.

My little Vets geared up, bugled the charge,
fired a few shots with their Winchesters,
then called time out and took a nap
hoping the enemy would comply.

A couple of hours later I can have a rough coughing fit with some body aches, then back to normal. Guess they woke up for a bit, then Jeopardy! came on!

Jeopardy!Therefore, colds mean I feel vaguely crappy, punctuated by fleeting moments of real symptoms, at various times throughout the day.

Instead of 3 – 7 days of misery where The Navy Seals are in full out war, gunning down the enemy until none remain, The Vets yell at the virus/bacteria to get off their lawn for 3 – 6 weeks until “the bad guys” get sick of their griping and leave out of boredom. Or I wind up in the hospital. Whichever.


Conversely, the senile old darlings go totally battle crazy
over something as innocuous as…
oh, I don’t know, barley.

It took two years to uncover that The Vets put in a standing order to hit the self-destruct button if barley enters my system, because they only decided to get out of their rockers and depress it thrice over that period of time. Now I have to carry an Epinephrine Pen in case I accidentally consume barley on a day the boys are in a fightin’ mood. Barley.


Before transplant they had a cute little issue with seasonal hay-fever.

Now the allergist says I’m allergic to “outside”
with a peak season between the months of
February and November.

A blood test revealed The Vets made antibodies to tomatoes, walnuts, strawberries, and corn (so far). They gave me an oral allergy to most raw fruits and vegetables (my sinus cavity and throat go itchy and swell) that could turn anaphylactic if I keep trying it out.

Finally, The Vets throw out symptoms from fatigue to IBS in response to dairy, nuts, grains and legumes. True to their era, meat and potatoes are A-Ok!

Viruses and Bacteria, come on in! We welcome all cultures (pardon a pun of the immune-suppressed). Go for a stroll in the park or sample a peach at the farmer’s market?

“Code Red! Code Red!
This is not a drill!
Bring out the hives!
Inflate throat and nasal membranes!
Set mucus production to full
and shut down the power grid, boys!
This could be the big one!”

I have so much affection for them, poor dears. They are only trying to kill me because of being kept in a perpetual state of madness by pharmaceuticals that keep me alive – the very definition of irony!

So, I stir-fry clementines and talk myself into nasal washes, carry an Epi Pen and am that person in the grocery store who wipes down her cart with the proffered sanitizer wipes, writing blogs about it hoping to make both of us laugh.

Because this life – all life – is both miraculous and funny.

Posted in Acceptance, Allergies, Chronic Illness, food, Food Allergies, Food Intolerance, healthy living, humor, Kidney, Kidney Transplant, Letting Go, Living on Immune Suppresents, Seasonal Allergies, Transplant Living | Leave a comment

The 2016 Academy Awards

Among our four offspring we have a Film Editor, Film minor, Media minor, and English major, so when it comes an event about any medium that involves story, we’re going to get into it!

After two full Saturdays of the six of us getting together (plus Tommy’s Danae – a theater major/writing minor  – she fits right in!) to watch all eight of the Best Picture Oscar Nominations at the AMC’s Oscar Showcase, Sunday we settled in at The Parents’ for a day of celebrating the Academy Awards.

We Woodward-Durbin’s are a corny group, so we watched the pre-shows and the main event while noshing to on foods that represented each best picture nom.

Lunch was “Poor Man’s Mac n’ Cheese” (The Big Short) with buffalo and elk sliders (Revenant), Roasted potato wedges (The Martian) washed down with Moscow Mules (Bridge of Spies), and birthday cake with no candles (Room) covered in crushed vanilla Oreo cookie “sand” (Mad Max: Fury Road).

Oscar's Lunch

For dinner we enjoyed lasagna and garlic bread with Irish soda bread (Brooklyn) and Boston cream pie for dessert (Spotlight – thanks, Danae for coming through!).


We had a wonderful time critiquing what everyone wore (Heidi Klum, what on earth were you thinking?), filling out our voting ballots (Tommy, our film minor, guessed the most right, as he does every year, being the only one who has an ear to the ground in the film world.), and chalking it all up to politics.

Family Academy Award Sunday

The group took full advantage of the ability to pause live TV to have a spirited and probing discussion about the race controversy. Among us it was wondered, is it really pure racism, or does the film industry simply want to put out a product that will make the most money? And while it would be great to see the black community given more “opportunity,” what about the Asian community, or Hispanic, or Indian (dots and feathers), etc?

While we didn’t come to any conclusions, we all agreed that Chris Rock was the perfect host for the evening. I don’t know of anyone who could have handled the situation with such a perfect combination of frank confrontation and charm to keep us listening. Yes, he had a “miss” or two, but was otherwise so solid that I barely remember them. His Opening Monologue was flawless and we’re still laughing over the Compton interviews and Girl Scout Cookie sales!

chris rock Compton II

Chris Rock interviews people leaving a Compton movie theater. Great bit!

chris rock oscars girl scout cookies ap

Chris Rock selling Girl Scout Cookies to A-listers at the Academy Awards. We saw money exchange hands!

All in all, while I think the Best Picture showings were rather thin this year (Mad Max and The Martian were nice, but really?) it was one of the best Academy Award shows I’ve seen in a long, long time. You go, Lady Gaga!


A big highlight of the evening: Lady Gaga, singing Till It Happens to You. My eyes are still red over that performance!


If you missed it, you missed out!


Posted in Academy Awards Party, Academy Awards Review, AMC Oscar Showcase, Celebrating the Oscars, Oscars Recap, The Academy Awards | Leave a comment

Oy! My Aching Walking Dead!

The past two days I’ve used a lot of spoons.

After months and months of pinning, I was finally able to cross a bunch of recipes off my Pinterest to-try list. I made a *turmeric face mask, *detoxifying deodorant, *Egyptian depilation recipe (unwanted hair removal sugar paste thing), *peppermint lip balm, took another crack at *homemade dish soap, and came up with my own recipe for a moisturizing hand sanitizer (it’s my the first recipe for something that you don’t eat, so I’m pretty excited).

Pinning aside, also made a yummy *Asian veggie medley and one of my family’s long time favorites, One-Pot Pizza Pasta Toss.

But wait, that’s not all! Since the Oscars are coming up on Sunday and just about the whole family and their significant others are not only attending the second day AMC Oscar Showcase 2016 Best Picture Nomination Marathon tomorrow (it’s an all-day thing spread out over two Saturdays), but a Oscar party at The Parents’ place on Sunday, this also meant meal planning and shopping (shopping – my greatest spoon drain, as I loathe shopping!).

So, of course, I got a migraine.


But that’s OK! Sometimes it’s worth it to do what you love doing. Besides, it was just a regular pain migraine. Plus, it meant a full-stop evening with my hubby (Who was coming off a rough few days of work, so could use a full-stop evening as well!), and I got to indulge in my migraine-buster menu of tea, French fries and ice cream while we caught up on the first two episodes of The Walking Dead, which were, of course, tense, heart-breaking, and just the guilty pleasure we needed to unwind!


Alrighty, enough about me. On to the recipes!

The hand sanitizer was inspired by a few wonderful ladies in the pinning world. Acadianas Thrifty Mom taught me about the sanitizing properties of certain essential oils and that Aloe Vera gel is a nice, non-drying carrier as oppose to, say, rubbing alcohol like so many brand named hand sanitizer companies use.

However, living here in dry Colorado, I really wanted to make this hand sanitizer ultra-moisturizing. It was also important that it absorb quickly because, I find myself applying it at odd times like when I’m driving. In addition, my hands are starting to show signs of my age, so if I could add something that could potentially slow that process, aces!

I have been using grapeseed oil for a while now, because I have a sensitivity to the popular coconut oil (it makes my skin itchy). However, grapeseed oil is also more quickly absorbed into the skin (Thanks, Marie over at Humblebee and Me for this info!), and is apparently a natural astringent and could improve skin’s elasticity.

I also added Carrot Seed Oil (not to be confused with carrot seed essential oil) which is touted as another anti-aging yum-yum. You can read more about it here.

OK…blah, blah, blah, Jamison. Get to the recipe, already!

Hand SanitizerHealing Healthy Hand Sanitizer
(By Laughing At Spilled Milk – Jamison Woodward Durbin)
(*self-indulgent giggle*)
1 Cup Aloe Vera Gel, like this
2 Tbs. Grapeseed oil, like this
1 Tbs Witch Hazel, like this
1 ½ dropper Carrot Seed Oil – Not  Essential Oil –  like this
15 drops Cinnamon Cassia, like this
15 drops Clove Bud, like this
15 drops Eucalyptus, like this
15 drops Peppermint, like this
15 drops Tea Tree Oil, like this
(If you’re a migraine sufferer, only use 15 drops each of Peppermint and Lavender and 8 drops Eucalyptus. )
Whisk all ingredients until smooth, pudding-like consistency. Transfer to a quart freezer baggie and snip off a very small tip at the lower corner. Fill old hand sanitizer containers or squeeze travel containers like these, or just spoon into small containers with lids. Enjoy!

One Pot Pizza Pasta Toss

One-Pot Pizza Pasta Toss
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ large white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1lb. hot or mild Italian sausage or **90% lean ground beef
1 6oz. package pepperoni or **turkey pepperoni
4, 14.5oz. cans diced tomatoes, no salt, DRAINED
2, 14.5oz. cans tomato sauce
½ 6oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 16oz. package rotini pasta
7oz. shredded mozzarella

In hot stock pot, on medium high heat, with extra virgin olive oil, sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook one minute (careful not to burn the garlic!)

Add sausage or ground beef and cook until browned (no more pink).

Once the meat is browned, add all the other ingredients except the pasta and mozzarella.

Stir to combine. Once it starts to bubble, reduce heat to simmer (medium low) and cook for 20 minutes.

In the last 10 minutes of cooking, prepare the rotini pasta according to package directions. Make sure you don’t overcook your pasta or this recipe will not make for nice left overs!
Drain pasta well, then add the pasta to your meat sauce. Stir well to combine.

Add mozzarella cheese and stir well to combine. Serve warm.

*Recipes to come in later posts.
**Healthier option

Posted in Aging, AMC Oscar Showcase, Body Image, Chronic Illness, Clean Eating, Cooking, Energy, family, family celebrations, food, Hand Sanitizer Recipe, healthy living, home making, Husbands, I Hate Shopping, Laughing At Spilled Milk, Letting Go, Limited Energy, Living with Spoons, Low Energy, Marriage, Migraine, migraine living, Pinterest, Pinterest reviews, Prioritizing relationships, Recipes, Relationships, Spoon Theory Living, Spoonie, The Walking Dead, Transplant Living | Leave a comment

Why I’ve Gone All Granola: Living in Spoons

My kidney transplant came on rather quickly. Between the times I learned I would need one “someday” and “now!” was six days, so it wasn’t until my pre-op appointment that someone made serious eye contact and stated in a sign-here-that-we-said-this-so-we’re-not-liable sort of way, “Just so you know, transplant is a treatment, not a cure.”

Weak, sick, and overwhelmed, I replied with the probing, “Oh…OK.” Because, really, what were my options with my donor standing there and a kidney function of eight percent?

What the doctor was not-so-clearly saying was, “Your health may never be the same because the anti-rejection meds can kick your tail.”

That was five years ago. Sadly, because my body doesn’t play well with these meds, the above has proven to be the case, and I am now counted among the growing number of people who refer to themselves as “Spoonies.”




You can learn the specifics of Spoon Theory Living by following the link, but what it basically means is that your body is being constantly taxed by something (ex. a chronic illness), so you never know just how many “energy units” (spoons) you have for everyday activities. This translates into a life of thinking through just how many “spoons” it takes to do things like shower or laundry, weighing those things against the priorities in your life (let’s say, relationships), and then choosing.


Another way to think of it is like a menu. You only have so much room in your belly. What do you really want to eat? Healthy people have stretch in their bellies so can over eat. Sure, they may feel bloated and a little miserable, but they can do it and even take an antacid to feel a little better.

Spoonies have no flex in their bellies. When we’re full, that’s it; one more bite and we vomit embarrassingly all over the table in front of everyone and can eat no more.


Therefore, we have to choose both what is healthiest for us to eat and what we really want to taste from the day’s menu.

This is why I’ve “gone granola” as my friends so lovingly put it. I want to give my body as many spoons (energy units) as possible for each day. Because I am obligated to put medications in my body that it perceives as harmful, I’m going to do my best to protect it from anything that could make my health worse.

So, bye-bye store bought hummus loaded with sugar and preservatives and chemical-laden shampoo! Hello from-scratch recipes and poo-free living! So long, food allergies and intolerances that put me into a fog and bring on achy muscles and almost instant headaches. Hello clean eating!


In this new thread, each food, beauty and household cleaning recipe I’m going to share must meet the following criteria:

1. It has to be good for you – or, at the very least, not bad for you.
2. It has to be quick and easy to throw together. (i.e. Spoon friendly)
3. It has to be inexpensive since I no longer work outside the home and am wed to a thrifty Scotsman (without the cool accent).
4. It has to work. Duh.

Now you know why I’m simplifying my life, but if you’re not a Spoonie, why should you come along with me?

Because while chemicals in beauty products, household cleaners and the junk in our food are really bad for me, they’re not good for you either.

Because you don’t have to be saddled with a chronic illness to take care of yourself. As a matter of fact, don’t be like me and wait until it comes to that. My health problems have been just as wicked-sucky for my family as they’ve been for me. I’d do anything to be able to spare them what they’ve gone through these past years! Take care of yourself now, not only for you, but for the ones you love.

Oh, and speaking of the ones you love, you should think about living a life that is healthier and less busy because, OK, when my “spoons” run out I’m stuck in bed and can’t hang out with my family, but when yours run out, your relationships suffer just as much. Sure, you may physically be in the room, but are you really with them when you’ve given your best at the office, or on the house, or wherever you volunteer (fill in the blank), and the important people in our life just get whatever fumes you’re running on at the end of the day?

What I’m saying is, if you’ve read any of my Marthaholic posts, then you know I used to be the go-getter, push ‘til you drop American woman who thought she could do it all, and my relationships with God, family and friends really suffered. My marriage and kiddos pretty much got the “burned cookies” of me while the guests in my life got the best batches, because I was trying to have it all. It literally took working myself sick to realize what was important.

This is why I’m inviting you into this thread whether you are a Spoonie or a mom – working outside or inside the home or single or whoever! Because, all of us should prioritize our lives to give the best of ourselves to our priorities, take stock of what is unnecessarily draining, and be kind to our bodies.

When you think of life that way, really, we all should live as Spoonies!


Posted in Acceptance, Chronic Illness, Clean Eating, Energy, Expectations, Faith, family, food, Food Allergies, Food Intolerance, healthy living, Kidney, Kidney Transplant, Letting Go, Living with Spoons, Low Energy, Medical, Migraine, migraine living, Pinterest, Pinterest reviews, Poo Free, Priorities, Prioritizing relationships, Relationships, Spoon Theory, Spoon Theory Living, Spoonie, Suffering, Transplant Living | 2 Comments

Hummus High and the Coconut Slide

Not so long ago I had a pretty textbook “Laughing at Spilled Milk” day. All I wanted was to live a healthier lifestyle; Pinterest made it look so easy.

Phase One: After I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraines and was somewhat back on my feet, Troy and I decided to stop eating out in lieu of cooking together. Our goals were to up marital bonding, save money and be kinder to our aging bodies.

Therefore, one Friday afternoon I pulled up a Pinterest recipe for hummus. After soaking garbanzo beans overnight per the instructions, I put them on the stove to simmer and went upstairs for a shower before an afternoon lunch date.

Enter Phase Two: Several Pinterest sites suggested chucking commercial shampoo for a healthier you. They called it “poo-free” living, which gives you an idea of their stance.

Going “poo-free” involves washing your mane with a baking soda concoction and conditioning with diluted apple cider vinegar. It sounded like a cheap, healthy alternative. Troy was on board as long as he could still run his fingers through my hair. *Foreshadowing*

The shampoo and conditioner replacements worked really well, so on this day I decided to use coconut oil as a heat protector. The Pin said it left your hair both soft and protected, as well as free from those “fly away” hairs. *More foreshadowing* After running a quarter-sized glop through my tresses I hit it with the blow drier.

As I rounded the 25 minute mark with limited results, it suddenly occurred to me that my hair might already be dry.

It was.

Turns out, when you put a certain amount of oil on your hair it becomes…well…oily!

…as in you can see reflections of nearby objects in your tresses, oily.
…as in, between that and the vinegar rinse,  I could rub romaine on my head and get salad dressing, oily.
…as in, with what was left on his hands after slipping his fingers through it, Troy fixed all the squeaky hinges in the house, oily.

Without time for another shower, I put the curling iron to it expecting the sound that French fries make when plunged into a hot fryer. Instead it silently molded around the instrument, holding its shape with a literal obedience; my hair’s swish and movement resembled that of a Polly Pocket doll…and I reeked of coconut.


Noting the quickly passing minutes, I finished getting ready and flung open the bedroom door only to be hit by a smell that triggered old memories of the hallway in my college freshman dorm. Turns out the long forgotten garbanzo beans spit out all of the H2O and filled our home with a thick, white fog .


After opening every window in the house I raced to lunch smelling like I’d been stuck downwind at a Jamaican bonfire while working on a San Trope tan. At least there was a loose theme.

Once back, visibility had improved but the smell had settled in. Fearing it had become an insurance issue, I lit the swag candles from every baby/wedding shower/women’s church event I could find and began scrubbing out the charred pot with desperate optimism. Soon I was sweating to the scent of  a variety of berries, vanilla, pumpkin spice, evergreen, sugar cookie, pine, cannabis and cheap tobacco.

Despite the problems, we had an amazing date night. Troy would run his fingers over my head and massage my bod with the remnant. Maybe it was the lingering chickpea smoke, but everything made us laugh uncontrollably – from the events of the day to how odd the word “door” sounds when you say it over and over, and for the first time in our married life we ate all the leftovers in the fridge!

By the way, I did wind up finding a delicious hummus recipe at Inspired Taste (using canned chickpeas – also quite healthful and inexpensive). It’s our favorite and so easy to  make with an easy-to-follow instructional video.

I’ve also continued to pursue the homemade beauty products thing and started reviewing Pinterest ideas to make life easier and maybe even more healthful. True to form, very few recipes came easy.  Be on the lookout for more stories about those adventures!


Posted in Acceptance, Coconut Oil recipe, Cooking, Expectations, food, goals, healthy living, Hummus Recipe, humor, Husbands, Laughing At Spilled Milk, Migraine, migraine living, Pinterest, Pinterest reviews, Poo Free, Recipes, Spoon Theory, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dear Me: And We’re Back!

“If you did nothing… would God still love you?”

A friend asked you this back in your most intense Marthaholic days. You were so upset at the very thought of not producing for God’s Kingdom, you told her you didn’t want to entertain the question.

I have your answer, and it didn’t come easily.

We haven’t corresponded in almost two years. Most of that time I was seeing doctors or bedridden in a dark room watching Netflix on a poorly lit phone or listening to sermons on the lowest volume setting (enter pastors Timothy Keller, Billy Waters and Peter Henderson).

You learn a lot about the medical profession during this time:

  • Some docs exist for their patients and some for their egos. When the latter can’t      diagnose, you’re labeled psychosomatic (the modern term for hypochondriac).
  • Getting this diagnosis reversed is almost impossible.
  • The best way to get an answer when there is no answer is to have a friend/neighbor/family member in the profession. Yes, even in medicine, it’s who you know.

Therefore, eighteen months, five trips to the ER, and a dozen specialists didn’t lead to your diagnosis. Instead, one day Troy drives you to the gynecologist (a friend of the family. Don’t trust just anyone down there) for your annual exam. During the appointment you review the symptoms that have halted your life:

  • Brutal headache, sometimes with dilation of pupils and swollen eye(s)
  • Painfully sensitive scalp (Buzzed your hair because of it. Not pretty.)
  • Random nerve pain and misinformation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pins and needles in extremities and face
  • Intermittent muscle weakness
  • Episodes of full body paralysis (as in, so bad that your eyelids don’t work)
  • Loss of speech
  • Inability to comprehend others
  • Confusion/short-term memory loss (why am I in the kitchen holding a jar of mayo? I must be making something. What is it? I should look around to find out).
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound/light
  • Pain from light touch
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Episodes of numb/blue lips
  • Biting tongue/lips/cheeks in sleep
  • Phantom smells (feces, cigarette smoke)

Basically, every day I lived in constant pain, couldn’t count on my brain to either interpret or send information correctly and had varying degrees of stroke symptoms – on both sides. Gyno friend says, “That sounds like migraine.” He sends you to a Neurologist friend of his (your fifth) who announces, “Oh, yeah, you totally have Chronic Migraine,” and puts you on a preventative that dials back the symptoms enough to get you on your feet.

Six months later you bring this info to the transplant team (for the umpteenth time) and their pharmacist says, all nonchalant like, as in, this was totally obvious if only someone had just thought to ask him, that the migraines are a side effect of your main anti-rejection med. Two days after switching to something else, the migraines disappear. Poof! GONE! There’s a 50% chance they will return over time on this new medicine, but that was in July and so far so good.

Bitter? Resentful? Nope, because you finally got an answer to that scary question your friend asked in your peak Marthaholic days: “If you did nothing… would God still love you?” Because of these migraines, all you could do for almost eighteen months was lie in bed. You couldn’t work, share, preach, teach, rescue, fix, express, lift, carry, push, perform, fake it, or even read – you did nothing and He still loved you. Actually, He lavished love upon you every moment of every day in countless expressions both great and small. It was a precious, romantic time.

I certainly pray that this new medication holds, but still wouldn’t ask for one day back to work, share, preach, rescue, fix, express, teach, lift, carry, push, perform, fake it, read or anything else I could dream up to feel like I was producing,

because it was all worth it to now know that He loves us…

…not for what we do for Him

…but simply because we’re His!

Older, Wiser, You


Posted in Acceptance, Dear Me, Expectations, Faith, God's provision, Kidney, Kidney Transplant, Letting Go, Medical, Migraine, Spoon Theory, Suffering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dear Me: Hold on to the Snuggle Days

Dear Me:

For the past ten or so years I (older, wiser you) have longed to have some magic experience where I go back in time to when the children were small and get to mother them for just one day. Because, while I really, really like the adults they are all turning out to be, I miss my babies/toddlers.

I miss the snuggling and tickle fights and doing their hair and picking out their clothes and the little chirps of “Mama!” that were the soundtrack of those days.


Ah, the good old days!

Currently I am permitted to hug or kiss half of the children without getting written consent.  By 3rd grade Johnathan declared (half-joking) that it burned when I kissed his cheek.   He did, however, frequently boop my nose, which I was slow to realize was his way of making contact. When I dropped Jenny Girl off for her first day at kindergarten she very firmly laid down the new ground rules, “No hugging or kissing. You can only smell my hair.”

Something changes when the children become ill.

Suddenly I’m Mommy and they really need me again (as a personal presence – not the maid, chauffeur, loan officer kind of need). I have to admit that I enjoy it way more than I should – not the part where they’re not feeling all that great – but I sure do like being Mommy again.

This week I’ve had a real treat: Jenny Girl got all of her wisdom teeth out. I know, this sounds like I’m sadistic, but, please know (I realize I’m repeating myself, but moms are naturally defensive) that I do not enjoy seeing my kids in misery. When she had to change her surgical gauze for the first time the pain of it brought her to brave tears which just about broke my heart for her, but she let me stroke her puffy face. When she threw up, she let me hold her hair.

She let me kiss her forehead and even seemed comforted by it.

It was like I got my wish and was back with little Jenny Girl again, way before I had to ask permission to get a hug. OK, yes, it was her boyfriend that she really wanted comfort from, so I was sort of the second string to my own child and sure, she was so looped up on pain meds that she doesn’t remember any of it, but I could have cared less about the reasons why. For a week I was given that gift of going back in time and got to snuggle one of my babies again.

Therefore I beg you, give hugs and kisses, snuggle those toddlers and breathe in deep their Johnson’s Baby Shampoo scented heads because the day will come when they will have to undergo outpatient surgery for you to get that chance to snuggle them again.


Older, Wiser You

Posted in Acceptance, Child-rearing, Dear Me, family, Kids, Letting Go, Love, Mommy Grief, parenting, parenting goals, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Laughing At Spilled Milk: GPS Failures and Prime Numbered Booklets

Today, so far, has been the very definition of a Laughing At Spilled Milk day.

I actually thought it was going to be great because when I woke up, it was from one of those weird dreams in which you do something really, really stupid that leaves you full of regret and humiliation, but then realize with relief that it was just a dream. Sadly, in this case, it turned out to be foreshadowing.

In my defense, it was a crazy busy morning after several crazy busy days with twists and turns that made navigation a challenge. It started when Troy rolled over in bed to tell me he received an email from the school the previous night saying Jenny didn’t have to be in until noon. This means I have to drive her to school in the middle of my crazy busy day. While I’m reeling from this news he hops out of bed to the bathroom (Literally.  He’s still one-footing it from the snapped Achilles) and proceeds to snag the shower first, which I had planned to beat him to.  Now am officially running late.

While in the shower I come up with a solution for the noon drop-off (because, besides the toilet, the shower is the best place to think) when Jenny Girl yells through the door that she actually needs to be at school at 9:45.  As I have to be 45 minutes away at a speaking engagement at 9:15, this is not welcome news.  After serious negations and a great deal of sighs from both parties, she agrees to being dropped off over an hour early, and I finish my morning routine.

On the way to the high school, I realize the gas tank is empty and that I forgot a piece of my talk at home.  Feeling super late now, I quickly punch in the directions to the speaking engagement into my GPS while filling up the gas tank, then rush home to get what was left.  From there things went well.  While the GPS tells me I’m about to reach my location I look at my car clock and see that I’m right on time.  Hurrah! It’s all turning around! And then around, and around…

You see, the GPS didn’t take me to the church I needed to go to, but a lovely residential home.

Sure enough, on closer inspection, the GPS displays, in this tiny banner at the top, something that translates into, “I have no clue where it is you’re wanting to go, but I will take you somewhere with part of the same street name in it. Good luck to you, chick who can’t find east on a sunny morning.” So, I look up the directions that the Coordinator sent to me yesterday which are, now that I take the time to read them, laughably simple.  After enough u-turns to make me sea sick in a minivan and a screaming fit that did my speaking voice no favors, I finally get there.

The coordinator is just as frazzled as I am, so we enjoy a good laugh throwing grace at each other.  Then I meet the co-coordinator who proceeds to be totally adorable going on about how she follows my blog and even found YouTube videos of performances I sang with Swing Shift. I refrain from kissing her for infusing joy into a rough morning, instead opting for the more socially acceptable verbal thanks while she takes the activity packet the ladies will do throughout my talk to make copies. There was even time to grab a cup of coffee with peppermint mocha creamer – my favorite – before the talk started.

At first it went great; the women were tracking and laughing at my jokes. Setting it up beautifully, I instructed them to turn to page two of their packets to fill it out. Several voices from the audience piped up at once.

There was no page two.

No worries, we just improvised our way through, then move on to the next section of the talk, which goes smoothly to the point that many heads nod in agreement when my favorite points are made. Time to fill out pages 3 – 5.  A chorus of voices chime up again.

No page four or five.

It soon becomes evident that, in a nine page packet, I had only given the co-coordinator pages 1, 3, and 9 (yes, I realize that, keeping the title of this blog in mind, 9 is not a prime number, but it has always felt like a prime number and I’m having a bad day, so back off, left brain readers.  Sorry, that was uncalled for. You know I love you, right?).

I set the women to working on the pages they had, then made countless trips running back and forth from Fellowship Hall to the copier room with bundles of pages as fast as the co-coordinator could print them. I don’t remember much except the co-coordinator affirming me as a speaker during the process (which is when I knew I was really in trouble. Nothing like a kind person trying to convince you that you’re not tanking to help you realize just how brutally you’re doing just that – although she was really sweet for trying) and at some point I lost my shoes. No joke.  I got up to give the next session sweaty, flushed, and shoe-less. My guess is I took them off to run faster.  A kind Mentor Mom with pity reflecting clearly in her eyes tried to help me find them.  I vaguely recall her asking me what color they were, which I had the presence of mind to find funny.  Were there so many pair of woman-less shoes around the church that mine needed description?  Too cute.

The women were very gracious and talked among themselves while all was sorted, but I never really got control of the room again and the rest of the booklet pages were not really filled out.  Instead the time sort of morphed into a speaker/group discussion time that actually seemed to kind of work in the end. At least that is what I am choosing to believe.

Soon it was all over and I walked to my car too mentally tired to wonder where it all went wrong, instead directing my curiosity toward why there weren’t drive through liquor stores. At that moment I received a text from our oldest son who had spent his morning at the dentist. “The verdict is that I need to schedule two fillings and a crown.”  The full impact of this text can only be realized by knowing that not two days ago the dentist told us that Jenny Girl needs $2,300 worth of crowns and all of her wisdom teeth pulled.  It was the cherry on top of the tension sundae I had been gagging down all morning.

Wanting to dissolve into tears, I chose laughter instead.  Granted, it was the kind of borderline hysterical laughter that would make New Yorkers abandon the subway car you’re sitting in, but whatever.  It was laughter.

Because sometimes life is like that.  You’re hanging on to get through a rough day without cracking, and then the milk spills on your newly washed floors.  And while you want to rage at the universe, laughing is the one thing that keeps you sane, and you can’t afford insanity right now because someone has to clean up the *%#$ING milk.

So, how about you?  Any “milk spilled” that you need to laugh over?  Let’s yuck it up together!






Posted in Acceptance, Anger, Expectations, humor, Kids, kids and school, Laughing At Spilled Milk, Letting Go, Self Control, temper, Wisdom | Tagged | 1 Comment

Battle of the Bulge: What I’m Learning and Unanswered Questions

It has been a over month since I started on this new eating adventure: sitting down at a table to eat with no entertainment to distract me.  I confess that I have been far from perfect with it (this week finally managed to sit down to eat breakfast – twice). Still, there is a lot of knowledge I am gaining – and questions that have popped up to ponder.

1. When eating at the table, it takes three times as long to chew each bite. Before, I  averaged 24 chews.  Now It’s in the upper 60s. Not sure why, but this organically seemed to happen.

2. Found that many things I would eat at my desk weren’t worth the time to consume in the break room; munching at my desk is simply to relieve stress or boredom.  Chewing gum or indulging in a cup of tea are just as effective.

3. I really really, really love tea. Black, green, herbal, I’ll take any and all of it.

4. Eating without distraction has also revealed that many “unhealthy” foods (processed, sweets, fatty stuff) isn’t really all that tasty when compared to healthy foods I prepare at home.  This makes me wonder why I crave them.  What about them attracts me when I’m stressed, tired, depressed, bored and so on? One thing is irrefutable: I never feel better afterward.

5.  I seem to need a mindless snack after work to unwind. It helps me transition from work to home life?  Why not a walk around the block or a few Yoga stretches?  Is it just habit?  Laziness? Thoughtlessness?

6. Eating in silence is getting much easier. It is slowly (to say there is not struggle would be a lie) becoming a time of relaxation, reflection and even prayer, so is actually feeding more than just my stomach. Is this what meals are intended to be?

7. Taking this time has helped me realize that my life is enveloped in stress. Yes, extraordinary things keep happening such as Troy snapping his Achilles tendon and Tommy dropping with his first Grand Mal seizure in seven years, but even the normal day to day stuff.  There’s just so much noise, interruption, and constant stimulation that it feels like my body and mind have made a sort of nerve Novocaine to keep me from getting overwhelmed. This is how I’ve been living for as long as I can remember: running from one activity to another multitasking the whole way, unable to say what I did at the end of the day because I didn’t connect with much of it.   Tasting food, really tasting it, has awakened me to this.  Is there a way to slow down enough to taste my life without getting overstimulated?

8. Eating is just one of the many things that don’t get my full attention.  I drive and catch up on the news; cook and answer email; clean and listen to a book on tape.   As a matter of fact, most of my best conversations with my kids and hubby happen while shopping, cooking, or in the car – eyes forward, never face to face.  Why is that?  Should this be a concern or does it really matter as long as we’re talking? I only worry because this is not the case with my friends.  Girlfriend chats are very focused, unbroken eye contact affairs.  What’s that about?  Does it mean something that I can engage with friends like this but not family members (well, except for my dad, who should get  a Lifetime Achievement Award or honorary doctorate in conversation)?

As stated in previous posts, this experiment has been very revealing, but so far is bringing up more questions than providing answers.  It also takes loads of self control – more self control than it has ever taken me to cut whatever food the fad diet of the moment has declared a toxic no-no, which still makes me scratch my head in wonder: in such a noisy world that we all complain about, why do I fight quiet?






Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Clutter, Cooking, Expectations, Faith, food, goals, Laughing At Spilled Milk, Letting Go, Looks, Self Control, Weight, Wisdom | 3 Comments

Battle of the Buldge: Unforseen Challenges

Wonderfully, I lost three pounds the first two weeks of incorporating my new “eating strategy.” Sadly, I gained them all back this week.  There were some unforeseen challenges.

1. As stated in my previous post, sitting and eating at a table with no entertainment to distract me is really, really boring. So much so, that I have skipped meals to avoid it. Then I get grouchy, really, really hungry, shrug my shoulders and mindlessly devour Triscuits at my desk. (Pretty sure they’re putting fewer crackers in each box. No way could I finish a full box in one sitting.)

2. Eating is a very social activity.  We often meet friends, hold business meetings and spend time with family over meals.  This is an entertaining distraction that leaves me looking at my empty plate wondering where the food went.

3. Another social activity? Watching a movie at home with the family. Troy made snacks. Abstaining would invalidate his effort.

4. One must taste what one is cooking several times throughout the process. Every Top Chef and self respecting Italian knows this (Honestly, I am neither but want to cook like both).

5. Troy ruptured his Achilles tendon playing soccer recently and had surgery to sew the two pieces back together.  Since then, he has to do everything from bed: work, socializing, and yes, eat. What kind of cold, selfish woman would abandon her injured husband to take his meals alone so she can stick to a new eating strategy?  The scale would testify, not this chick.

6. Stress and fatigue from activities such as catering to an injured man (who doesn’t know what he wants, just that he wants to feel better), while still working, housekeeping, and chauffeuring kids, makes me not care so much about this new eating strategy. This latest episode of stress and fatigue has revealed a long standing pattern: I do great on a diet until life gets all…life-ish, and then everything falls apart.

7. I eat breakfast at work.  As an hourly employee, it is irresponsible to eat it in the break room.  Besides, I really want to start my work day!

For the seven reasons above it is really tempting to give up on this new plan, but I refuse, so let’s take some time to problem solve together.

1. Maybe it’s time to set  regular eating times whether I feel like taking a break or not, to only be abandoned if stomach flu is involved.

2. When eating with others, take a bite, put the fork down until completely done chewing, take a pull on the water bottle, then go for the next bite.  I noticed the other day when eating with friends that we all keep our forks at the ready, and shovel more in when we really haven’t finished what’s already in there. This could be a good strategy as it will give me time to feel full. Could also help with hydration.

3. For snacks during movies or the *Superbowl this past weekend, my thought is to make up a small plate (only modestly domed, no Jenga of food stuffs creatively piled to great heights) of whatever snacks are available and when the plate is empty, you’re done.

4. Yes, tasting food that is being cooked is a must.  However, there is a lot of difference between a taste and a bite. I’m allowing three tastes per meal.

5. Joining Troy for meals is non-negotiable, so the only thing I can think of  is to make up a plate of food that is half of what I think I need.  Once I’m comfortable in my bed, will I really want to go back down for seconds?  This is pitting food cravings against laziness.  It will be fascinating to see who wins!

6. A friend suggested going for a walk or doing push-ups or something of the like to deal with stress.  Sounds great until you add the tired piece. Really, I’m at a loss (obviously or I would have conquered this by now). When stressed and tired eating is very comforting. Totally open to suggestions.

7. This one is tough.  I think it’s time to buckle down and give myself time to eat breakfast at home before work.  It means getting up earlier, but not by much and means fewer dishes to do at work. I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

Honestly, the unforeseen challenges are a little discouraging.  The whole point of this eating strategy was to keep things simple, and now I have to come up with more strategies to uphold the overarching one.  Maybe I should just think of this as starting new habits?

What sabotages your diet/exercise resolutions?  How do you overcome these unforeseen challenges?

*This year’s Superbowl bored me to pieces. I’m just not a football person (This was the first season I could finally admit this to myself, and to the men in my family). Plus I had no emotional investment in either team, which is a  must if there is any hope of keeping my interest.  The closest I came was rooting for San Francisco whose name commemorates the 1849 gold rush when scores of hopefuls came out to mine it. My people were coal miners. Miners are miners, so there you go. Still, I half watched Netflix on my phone only pausing to watch the commercials – which is totally backwards, but made total sense at the time.




Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Cooking, entertaining, Expectations, family, family celebrations, food, goals, humor, Laughing At Spilled Milk, Looks, Weight, Wisdom | 4 Comments

Battle of the Bulge: Weeks 1 & 2

For two weeks now I’ve been trying a new diet: eat whatever you want, but always at a table without any form of entertainment.(And since this started I added that everything – including snacks – must be on a plate).  The theory is that this will cut down on mindless munching, and thus my pant size.  Of all the crazy diets of deprivation I’ve tried over the years, this sounded both reasonable and easy.

Turns out it’s stupid hard.

Day One I sat down at the break room table with two slices of buttered toast on good grainy bread and a cup of tea. Curious about the length of one meal, I decided to time myself.

It went something like this:

Bite, chew…”Man this toast is good. I would never note just how yummy this is if I was eating it at my desk.  This is going to be great!”

Bite, chew…”I should have brought my phone with me so I could do some reading or catch up on emails.  Wait, not supposed to do that.”

Bite, chew…”My bites are too big. Must take smaller ones so I can enjoy the food more.”

Bite, chew… “Wow, this is boring.”

Bite, chew… “And there’s another big bite. Suspect it’s my subconscious trying to hurry this thing up. Must stop my foot jiggling with impatience.  Relax!  What was that soothing Lamaze breathing thing you had to do in child birth? Try that.”

Bite, chew…”This is taking forever! I’m only half way through my toast and there’s an entire untouched piece to go!  I should have brought a book.  Right, still not supposed to do that.”

Bite, chew…”This may be psychosomatic, but I swear my jaw is getting sore from all this chewing.”

Through sheer will, I finished the other slice of toast, all the while dying to get back to my desk.  The last bite brought a rush of relief that the long, tedious meal was finally over. Wondering how I was ever going to get approval from my boss to take so much time away from work every day to eat,  I looked up at the clock.

The whole thing took five minutes.

I’m beginning to wonder if there is more to all this than just eating. Perhaps it will reveal deeper unhealthy patterns in the pacing of my life and distraction addiction. I’m a little afraid of that closet door at the moment, so we’ll look at that later on in the process.

Besides, it’s time to eat my next meal.  That’s trauma enough.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Laughing At Spilled Milk:Battle of the Bulge

The holidays are over which can only mean one thing: the battle to drop those extra holiday pounds has begun.

This year carried the usual challenging parade of sweet and fatty foods which coerce a body to eat everything offered. My rationale is that if I don’t indulge and get hit by a truck and die sometime in the coming year, I’ve blown my last chance to gorge on English toffee and hollandaise sauce in some stupid diet-martyr ideal. Now dead, I quickly lose body fat from cremation or ground rot anyway. Was the sacrifice really worth it?

Plus, it’s just rude to decline a home made cookie. Consuming it is a Ministry of Edification to the baker.

To make matters worse, I was sick on and off from pre-Halloween to the present, and as all passionate women know, illness is a trigger for mindless eating. That and stress, exhaustion, sadness, boredom and Day 28 of our cycle (I’m sure I’m forgetting others. Feel free to let me know which ones).

So now I have to do the suck-in-hop maneuver to get my pants buttoned. This sends me to a dark place.

Growing up I always struggled with my weight. When born, my parents nicknamed me “Marshmallow.” All through school I was the chubby, bubbly friend of the pretty girl. Having four babies in 4.8 years didn’t help any, as my fetuses consistently craved Dove ice cream bars and deep fried tater tots which I categorized as two vegetables, dairy and protein. I still hold that chocolate should be a vegetable.  Come on, it grows out of the ground on a stem with leaves on it. Work with me.

No surprise, by the age of 26 I was 5’3″ and just over 200 pounds. My babies suckled on breast butter you could fry an egg in.

One year later, God basically told me that, while he thought I was beautiful “as is,” he also wanted the best for me, and that meant being healthy.  I joined Weight Watchers, went on brisk prayer walks almost every morning (noticed I was a much more fun and patient mom when I got exercise in), and dropped seventy pounds. Aside from an occasional 5 pound fluctuation, the weight has stayed off for 17 years.

Then I had a kidney transplant, which means I will be on Prednisone for the rest of my life.  Yes, it keeps me alive and stuff, but also kills your weight. That sensor in your brain that tells you you’re full? Gone. Instead your mind constantly screams, “you’re hungry!” so all I can think about is food. Plus, this little harmless looking pill makes you retain fluids, so salt is deadly.  Restaurants turn me into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Mom.

Ten…ish…pounds were packed on (no, the kidney doesn’t weigh anywhere near that much.  Sigh!) and I’ve been fighting hard to shed them ever since.

Now it’s a new year; a time for resolutions. For 17 years I’ve enjoyed a break from my weight being the top of my “change my life” list, but now it’s back, and I’m trying not to be bitter about it.

So what should I do? It would be great to “accept the new me” as my supportive husband, friends, and doctors keep encouraging, but there are too many advertisements around with rail thin models for any hope of that. Still, I’m not panicked enough to go on some crazy crash diet, and  I’ve already given up restaurants and  anything white, sweet, or slaughtered; the best I can do is maintain.

I do have one thought, however.  It has come to my attention that very, very rarely do I eat a meal without doing something else at the same time: work at the computer, read, watch TV, drive and so on.  When you love something, you give it your full attention, right? Therefore, if I claim to love food (and I so do) then maybe I should try giving it my full attention?  OK then, for three months I commit to eating everything sitting at an actual table, without any form of entertainment (Except for music.  Let’s be reasonable).

Will it make any difference?  Only time will tell but I will keep you informed.

How about you?  Any goals for the New Year? Do you resent your goals?

Oh, and what’s your best (reasonable) weight loss tip that has actually worked for you – and lasted more than a few months?

Posted in Acceptance, Aging, Body Image, food, goals, Holidays, humor, Kidney, Kidney Transplant, Laughing At Spilled Milk | Leave a comment