Monday, June 27, 2011

What He Wrote

This afternoon I was sorting through some remaining piles of school papers for the boys & was choosing a few pieces to save.  As I was reading through Wyatt's writing journal for this year I came across a few little gems I thought I'd share here.

(In response to the question 'What do you think about doing chores?')
"I get about 20 chores a day.  And my brothers get about 5.  My parents talk to me but it still doesn't make sense."

(For Martin Luther King Day)
"I have a dream.... that people will land on a new planet."

(In response to what he did over the weekend)
"All I did was clean.  It was boring.  But I made money."

(In response to the question "Which was your favorite birthday?")
"My favorite birthday was my 1st.  Because I got to poke the cake.  And stick my face in the cake.  And smash the cake."

And, on that note, Happy 8th Birthday Wyatt!  (Sunday was the big day.)

Great picture, huh?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hard Questions

In this post I encouraged you to read a piece by Rachel Held Evans.  Her writing, her style, her outlook intrigued me.  And, as I perused her site I discovered that she had written a book entitled Evolving in Monkey Town:  How A Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned To Ask the Questions.

Evidently Rachel grew up in the town that was the location for the Scopes "Monkey Trials" that took place in the 1920's (thus the title of the book).  The reviews of the book that I read explained that she grew up as a good evangelical Christian girl who indeed knew all the 'right' answers.  Until she started to doubt & question & search and experience a 'faith crisis'. 

I have been experiencing my own faith crisis of sorts.  There have been so many questions that have been circulating through my brain and, like Rachel, I know the 'right' Christian answers.  Still, they have been ringing hollow lately.  And, the more I try to push back the doubt, the more it seems to push in.

Her book seemed as though it might speak to some of my own unsettledness.  I ordered the book off of  Amazon within 5 minutes of first reading about it.  

We went camping over the weekend & the book had already arrived by the time we came home.  I was tentative.  I had ordered it in 'the heat of the moment' so to speak.  And, now that I had it in my hands I wasn't sure if I was ready to tackle whatever emotions, thoughts, new doubts it might conjure up.

Still, I've been so hungry for someone to bounce my own questions off of, that the idea of reading about someone who had asked the same questions seemed too tantalizing to ignore.

The beginning of the book startled me, worried me, scared me a bit.  What direction was she taking?  I thought this book was going to help me answer some of my questions, not raise more.

I kept reading.  I'm still reading.  Currently I'm about halfway through.  And, I have to say that as hard as portions of the book have been for me, at about the seventh chapter entitled 'When Believers Ask' I started to see where she was going.  Here she really broke the questions down to a human level.  This wasn't so much about Christian apologetics, but about people and how God wants to relate to us.  And, it broke my heart.  

I cried through chapter 7 and cried even harder through chapter 8.  It was at that point that I needed to stop and come here to start to put my thoughts down.  I'm still not sure where she is going to take me in the pages of her book.  But, I've been challenged.  I've been challenged to rethink.

To rethink is scary.  The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  I believe this!  I do.  Sometimes it's so much easier to state that in any question that may arise (either from ourselves or others) than it is to face that question head on.

And, Rachel definitely faces the questions head on in this book.  It's uncomfortable.  I'll say that.   But, I've decided that it's time to face this doubt head-on.  I'm tired of running and hiding from it.  

(I will follow-up once I've finished reading the book)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Uncool Church

If you've got 5 minutes let me strongly recommend that you use them to read this....."Blessed Are The Un-cool" written by Rachel Held Evans.
 I think you'll find it well worth your time.


I feel really bad for my chicken!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Really Beautiful Letter

This is a really beautiful letter Edison's kindergarten teacher sent to us parents.  She didn't write it (the author is unknown) but it brought tears to my eyes.  And, for some reason it reminded me of all the great teachers I had....some who I DO still run into from time to time.

Dear Parents,
I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall.  I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature then he was then.
Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.
I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.
Ten years from now if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.
We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year.  I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must.  Take care of him, for he is precious.
Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes.  His joys and sorrows I’ll be happy to share.
I shall always be his friend.
~Author Unknown

Last Day of School...Finally!

Today is the last day of school for my boys.  Wow!  It feels like we're halfway through the summer already!  And, a busy day it's going to be....

 - I've got a multitude of errands to run this morning - a run to the store, drop some things off with a friend, etc.  

 - 10:00 a.m is Awards Ceremony time at school.  Both my boys will be receiving character awards.  (Wyatt has received one each year he's been in school so far & this is Eddie's first year of school).  I'm so proud of the boys.  The teachers choose about 7-8 students from each class to receive this award.  Even though it's not always smooth sailing at home at least I know that they are being kind, respectful, and considerate at school.  It blesses a mother's heart!

 - I will need to come home and pack a bag for Edison who is going to go to our weekend kid's camp for church.  Wyatt (my more reserved son) has opted not to go.

 - It's only a half day of school, so they will be home by 1:30 & we'll pretty much have to load up in the van and head off to camp to have Edison checked in by 2:00.

 - Back home to clean the house & prepare food for a cookout we're having tonight with friends.  

Woo!  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  I wanted to share pics of my boys getting on the bus for the last time this morning, but my camera's batteries are dead.  Oh!  That's one more thing to add to my list!  Well, I better be off.  Have a fantastic weekend!  Talk to you all next week!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What A Man!

I only talk about my husband occassionally on my blog.  Mainly because he's a private kind of guy & most things he'd rather just keep between us.  But, every now and then I've got to brag on him because he is a great man!

Earlier this week my husband had finished cutting up a tree that someone offered to him from their property.  Then he brought the large chunks home to split.  He recently bought a used wood splitter and fixed it up to use here at home.  So, he started out using the splitter, but about halfway through the load it blew a hose.

Now most people (myself included) would say 'Well.  Let's just call it a day then.'  Now understand that he had just finished working about 10 hours at his job in the heat (he works for a family business that builds industrial engines & generators).  Then he cut the tree & hauled it home.  Then he split half the wood.  Seems like a full day, right?

Nope.  My husband is of the mentality, 'If there's work to be done & there's still sunlight to do it, let's get it done'.   He told Wyatt, our oldest boy, to run to the basement and get the splitting maul.  He was going to finish the job by hand.

I will admit sometimes his work ethic makes me a little nutty.  I can't keep up with him!  He is so motivated & driven...two character traits I can't say I have.  But, when it comes down to it I really am proud of him.  What a man!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weight Loss Fail & An Eating Disorder Past

I've reluctantly updated my weight loss...ahem...gain... on my sidebar.  Once again I've seriously considered removing this part of my sidebar since I'm sadly coming no where near the goals I had set for myself.  I thought that 5 pounds a month would be a reasonable, achievable goal.  But, here's the still requires work on my part!

And, there you have it.  I haven't put the effort into losing weight that I need to.  I don't exercise.  I eat whatever I want.  And, I've resumed snacking at night.  So, what can I expect really?

I wrote yesterday that I've been tracking my moods & am noticing a pattern that seems to tie in with my hormonal cycle.  Some of this I attribute to my age.  But, if I'm honest, my weight and my eating habits are also probably huge contributing factors.

Here's the thing.  I want to be healthy.  Would I feel prettier/more attractive if I lost weight? Sure.  But, I'd gain other benefits as well - more energy, better moods, feeling comfortable in my clothes (there's a biggie!  I refuse to buy the next size up, so a  lot of my pants are too tight & are really uncomfortable), diminished varicose veins (part of that is definitely genetic, but if I weighed less they wouldn't be as pronounced), better overall health.

I can't do calorie counting, food points, or anything that feels restrictive.  I want this to be a lifestyle change and I can't and won't spend my life counting calories.  Not to mention,  I am a recovering perfectionist (You wouldn't know it by looking at my house.  I know.) But, I was absolutely the typical oldest child, type A, perfectionist when I was younger.  

In school anything less than an 'A' I considered a failure.  If I got an 'A-' I wondered why it wasn't an 'A' or an 'A+'.  Then my quest for perfection & control combined with a low self-esteem led me into a battle with anorexia.

I was in junior high at the time.  I believe I was between the ages of 13 & 14.  I was my adult height (about 5'6) and I was 'chunky'....about 145/150 lbs.  I wasn't fat.  But, I felt like I was because it seemed that all the girls around me were so skinny.  And, other kids my age told me I was fat.  I felt unacceptable.

I went on a crash diet where I drastically reduced my calories. And, I watched every single calorie that went in my mouth.  I remember I tried to eat less than 1000 calories a day (usually around 800).  And, on one 'good' day I only consumed 350 calories.  I wouldn't chew gum because of the calories.  And, I even limited my water intake because I thought that would contribute to my weight.

I lost about 50 pounds in just a few months.  I was also pretty fanatical about exercise.  I was obsessed with 'diet' articles in magazines.  And, I was obsessed with food.  Even though I wouldn't allow myself to eat much, I'd fantasize constantly about food and I loved to watch others eat.  The one saving grace for me is that I could never bring myself to purge.  

So, here I was a 13 year old girl who lost a huge amount of weight  by basically starving myself during one of my most critical times of development...adolescence.  My monthly cycle stopped (it didn't return for almost a year).  I was skin & bones.  I had no energy.  I was always cold.  

My parents were horrified.  They didn't know what to do.  They pleaded with me to eat.  They yelled.  They cried.  Nothing could convince me to eat like a normal person.  During this time period they took me to our family doctor who also had me start to see a psychiatrist and a nutritionist.  

The psychiatrist that I saw was a middle-aged man who I felt absolutely no connection to.  How could he relate to an adolescent girl who was willing to starve herself to fit in?  He encouraged my parents to take away privileges if I wouldn't eat.  That summer I wasn't allowed to go swimming.  But, nothing worked.

The 2 things that finally clicked for me were this.  When I reached 100 pounds the doctor & psychiatrist told me that I could not go any lower.  If I went under 100 pounds they would put me in the hospital & I would be force fed through tubes.  The other point that was made to me was that I was messing with my fertility.  If I continued to starve myself I might never be able to have children.  Even then I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a mother.

I finally, slowly started to gain back weight.  I was petrified that I would get 'fat' again.  Every story that I read about other girls/women who had battled anorexia showed them at healthier weights after recovering.  But, in my mind, healthy looked 'fat'.  And, I didn't want that to happen.

The ironic thing is, losing all the weight didn't help me fit in any better with the other kids.  The same kids who had called me fat now chanted 'Anorexic.  Anorexic.  Karen is anorexic.' when they walked behind me in the school hallways.  

Even though I eventually conquered anorexia (although I still obviously have food issues) I walked away from the experience with an even more shattered self-esteem.  I told myself if I couldn't make myself thin enough for people to like me, then I must truly be unlikeable.  This 'thing' that kept me from fitting in went deeper.  It must be something at my core.  And, that lie of Satan's is one I believed for a long, long time & set me up for a very dark period in my 20's.... but that's another post, another time.

I'm not sure what inspired me to share all this.  I just started writing and it came out.  I have wanted to encourage young girls who I see falling into the same trap I did.  And, I believe the pressures today are even more intense than when I was young.

The other point I guess I was making is that food and I have a long history.  I used to view food as my enemy.  Now I'd say I view food as my comforter.  Either way it's unhealthy.  And, I would love to finally reach a point where I am at peace with this issue.  And, that I use food as God nourish and strengthen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm Still Here

This week is (finally) the last week of school for my boys.  So, there's the mad rush of end of the year parties, field days, etc.  I'm ready for summer to officially start and a little nervous too.  When all four boys are together there is an awful lot of bickering.  I'm hoping to come up with some ways this summer to re-direct that energy.

My grandmother was taken to the hospital last week.  She's home now & everything seems to be fine.  (It's possible she had a mini-stroke but we can't be sure).  She's been living alone since my grandfather died several years ago.  Now, she's strongly considering making the move into a retirement home.  I feel sad for her.  She has always been such a strong, independent woman.  It's hard to watch her become weaker.

I had to replant 7 rows of our garden.  Our green beans & corn weren't coming up at all.  I bought a bunch of new seed this year.  But, the boys love looking at the seed packets & I think some of our old seed that I had saved got mixed in and that's what got planted.  Apparently, it was too old.  Thus, the replanting.

I've been tracking my moods on the calendar.  It seems that every few weeks I have a major meltdown or a serious UBM (Unexplained Bad Mood).  I'm starting to see a pattern and I'm thinking it's hormonal.  I'm trying to figure out what my next step is, because my poor family shouldn't have to deal with my fluxuating moods.

I've been spending too much time on the computer.  Between facebook, reading other blogs, occassionally writing on my blog, checking craigslist, etc.  I've allowed the computer to become a huge time-waster in my life.  I want/need to make some adjustments in the coming weeks.  I'm not sure what all that will involve yet.  I don't want to completely stop blogging.  But, I may slow down.  We'll see.

That's a short run-down on what's been going on.  I'll check in here again soon.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

These Are the People of Walmart

I've had this song going through my head for the last two weeks.  It's from this youtube video that a friend posted on Facebook.  The song/video is called 'These Are the People of Walmart'.  It's a catchy little jingle (which explains why I've been singing it for 2 weeks!).

The video shows pictures of real people shopping at Walmart.  And these people are dressed in ways that would make your head spin around - strange outfits, too tight clothes, barely dressed.  Many of them just look downright bizarre.

The point (?) of the song is to poke fun at some of the strange sights you can see if you walk into a Walmart.  And, we have a Walmart right up the road from us.  I end up running there more often than I like.  But, I can attest to the fact that sometimes the people you see leave you shaking your head in wonderment.

And, when I first watched this video, I was kind of chuckling along with it.  But, as the catchy song continued to play in my head at random points in my day I started to feel convicted.  And the words, 'These are the people of Walmart' became replaced with the words, 'These are the people that God loves.'  

I like to think that I am a relatively kind, non-judgemental, caring person.  But, I was struck with the truth.  I too laughed at the expense of others.  I do look at people and make judgements about who I think they are/what kind of life they lead based on how they look.  I set myself higher than those who seem 'less' in some way.

A pretty ugly truth.

Jesus loves these people with the same passion with which he loves me.  Jesus wants desperately for them to experience His love.  Jesus died for them.

The people of Walmart.
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