Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11.08.2011 -- Being Mormon

Mormons have been in the news a lot lately. Of course, everything is relative, but...well, they have. It makes me want to add my two cents.

Every once in a blue moon, someone I care about who is unfamiliar with the LDS faith will ask me about it. I bungle it every time. The problem is that it is such a deep part of me that I struggle to find a starting point and any kind of linear thinking that explains it well. What ends up happening is sort of like trying to show someone an enormous map in the dark using a couple of flashlights. Some people are very good at articulating this kind of thing. I have never felt comfortable talking about it with people who are not of my faith.

Isn't that sad?

I remember a "discussion" about Mormonism I had with a loved one years ago. It actually sort of wounded me. Suffice to say that "faith" is not an action word in this person's life. I think that if "faith" were to appear in a personal dictionary, this person would add a footnote: see Naive, Gullible, Stupid.

Maybe this is one reason why I am so reluctant to talk candidly about the role faith has in my life. I never want to feel that way again. Actually, I do talk about faith--with people I think will understand. I don't put myself out there much, though.

I find it hard to separate myself from a third-person kind of view that alerts me to things that sound strange. Sort of like...Oh. "About two-thousand years ago, a baby boy was born to a virgin. He was the only son of God. He lived a perfect life, then was killed, but rose from the dead. Because of this, us mortals have a chance to spend the rest of time in heaven. Without Jesus, we wouldn't stand a snowball's chance."

What a ridiculous story!! And yet, I am not alone in this world when I say that the truth of this story is a cornerstone in my life. There are millions and millions of us who believe. There are millions of us who hold the Bible to be a sacred text. Sort of a looong letter from God (as told to prophets) to men and women, pointing us in the right direction.

The story of Joseph Smith, the restoration of Christ's church, and the Book of Mormon are equally important to me. They make just as much sense. But to tell you the truth, my own faith, if dissected, would show itself to be made up mostly of day-to-day happenings at my home, in my community, in the world, at church or through modern LDS publications (publication, revelation). If you can believe in a god or gods...if you can believe that God cared enough to let His Only Begotten Son suffer life and death on earth, why is it a stretch to believe that he cares enough now to provide guidance today?

To say faith is personal is too little, I think. I also think that it is possible that for some people, it might be painful in some way for me to talk about the role of faith in my life, but I really don't know. This faith has always been part of who I am. It brings goodness to my life. Every time I act as a better Mormon, I act as a better person: more kind, more willing to serve, more willing to share, more patient, more faithful, more understanding, more proactive, more truthful, more loving. More Mormon. I will always be human--I make mistakes every day. But I feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

If you find yourself wanting to know more about Mormonism, go to this site. You know those Mormon Messages? Those are propaganda, but they're honest and they're accurate. Most Mormons I know actually try to walk the walk. Those Mormon Messages are a good window into my Mormon soul. If you want to know more, then go to local meetings on Sunday, spend time with Mormons, meet with some LDS missionaries. ...Or I could try to explain it to you. Just turn off the lights and give me a couple of flashlights.

Monday, November 7, 2011

11.07.2011 -- Degrees of Success

Happy 10 month birthday to my sweet Charlie. He had a rough night last night. Thank goodness I have a husband who helps me.

After trying to change my diet on Friday and failing by eating all kinds of sugar and treats, I needed to figure out something that would work for me. With a little thought, I figured out that trying to cut out so many problem foods (sugar addiction, anyone?) AND trying to keep calories in check was making me panic a little bit. So I decided that for the first bit, I would eat veggies, fruits, meat, nuts, but i wouldn't worry about how much I ate.

So far, so good! Saturday and Sunday have been good. I was expecting to get a headache sometime because I have in the past. It didn't set in until last night. I still have it, but I know it won't last forever.

Last night for dinner, we had turkey, butternut squash, pesto and green beans. This morning for breakfast, I had turkey, butternut squash and pesto. Pretty soon here, I will make myself a yummy shake with banana and berries and spinach, protein powder and soy milk.

It's amazing how you are able to notice the natural sweetness in food when you cut out sugar. Fruit is sweet, of course, but almonds are, too.

On Saturday, Charlie and I went to Logan to have a wedding dress party with lots of family for my cousin, Becca. We brought our wedding dresses and she tried them on, then we headed out to some local shops so she could try on other styles. Totally fun. I STILL feel grateful to my Aunt Lorna who served yummy salad and delicious minestrone soup that was so, so satisfying. It gave me hope that I could make the change.

After spending the afternoon with that wonderful group of people, I stopped at a shop to see if I could find frames for a project I have in mind. I found two barn wood frames that will work and got them at 60% off. Today I will get sheet metal for them and make them into magnet boards to put in the play area downstairs to satisfy the kids' urge to put stuff up on the walls.

I live such a glamorous life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

11.03.2011 -- Scared Out of my Mind

*Gabe just told me that he wanted to "lip hug" me. He came very close and gave me a little smack on the lips while I was sitting at the computer.*

Fun fact about me: the degree to which I am responsible for an outcome personally, is inevitably proportionate to the degree of anxiety I experience leading up to said outcome. So why am I scared tonight?

Because ambition has raised it's ugly head and I am actually making a goal.

I want to drop a few pounds. I want to clean up my diet in order to look and feel better. After all, I am only getting older, chubbier...and so far, I have not seen any study that has proven cookie dough and cheese to make people healthier and happier. (Reality check: I do not eat only these things. If I did, I'm pretty sure my situation would be much, much worse than it is.)

Why now? I have all kinds of great examples to choose from. Brian is one. He has done an amazing job of eating better and exercising consistently, and it shows--not only physically. My dad is another wonderful example. He has endured his fair share of jokes about being a "rabbit," but If I could magically graft his diet into my own life, I would be ecstatic.

The latest example is a little off-the-wall, which is why it is garnering the attention of so many people around the world. A guy named Drew has gained 70 pounds in six months. Drew lives in Utah, has a job and a wife and two kids. He has "always been fit" and works as a personal trainer in addition to his normal gig as a neuromonitoring technician (responsible for monitoring a patient’s nervous system during back surgery). According to Drew, he tried to empathize with and understand his overweight clients, but he really couldn't. It always came down to, "You don't know what it's like to be overweight and trying to change your diet." This was the seed of Fit2Fat2Fit.

He is now ready to begin his journey from fat to fit by eating the right foods at the right times and exercising about an hour a day. If you didn't click on that link, do it now or soon. It's virtual rubbernecking...just can't not look at the damage this guy has done to his awesome physique in the name of compassion and inspiration...but it's rubbernecking with a cause! You may just get inspired!

Anyway, that commitment to change has me a little scared right now. I feel like I'm terrible at following through, so I avoid making commitments. I tell myself that this is to preserve the integrity of the really important stuff in my life, like my family. I have a whole theory about it. If you have a few hours to kill, let me know and I'll give you the full version. It might be a lot of bunk, or it may not. Time will tell, my friends. Time will tell!

So if I see you soon, and you offer me a doughnut, and I decline--just know that I'm working on being an adult: following through on a commitment, working toward a goal. My pantry and fridge are now stocked with all kinds of goodness. If you are really interested in what exactly, check out the shopping list here. Spinach shakes, people! Just FYI, I have blended and consumed my share of spinach shakes, but it has been a few months.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

011.01.2011 -- Funny You Should Say That...

Lucy: "Pioneers lived a long time ago in ancient times, the eighties."

Lucy: "Mom, can I take these electric candles down to my room and turn off the lights and make it dark and pretend that I'm... poor?"

It makes me a little sad to think that one day, I will have to drag details out of Lucy. She doesn't always offer many details about school or playing with her friends, but I still can get full-fleshed six-year-old thoughts out of her, and I love it.

So, if anyone needs Lucy right now, she is down in her room with the lights off using electric candles to look at her Halloween candy, pretending that she's poor.