Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's All in My Head!

  I feel good today!!  I feel motivated!  I have to keep the feeling going.  I admit, diet and exercise is a totally MENTAL thing for me.  I don't just mean, it's all in my head, I mean I can be mental about it.  So, I've hired a personal trainer/therapist/body image consultant.  (my title, not his) I told him he should use that title in promotional material...seriously, I think it will help!
  I met him at the gym last night.  He asked how I was doing.  I said I've been wavering between embarrassment and self loathing!  The guy behind the desk chimes in with "It's a 'judgement free zone!'"  This farcical, plastic, happy crap can be a bit annoying!  I'm totally in favor of encouragement, however sometimes you need a little push, or a swift kick in the ...Mind you, this is the gym that keeps tootsie rolls on the counter...um...why??? 
   Anyway, it was a good workout last night.  I'm not Catholic, but I can imagine it's like going to a confessional!  A virtual stranger to whom I confess my deepest, frosted, triple chocolate sins.  I told him I share as much with him as I do my hairstylist.  And for that I get motivated!  I am absolved.  And I am encouraged.  That's what I need!  The accountability.  It's gotten so I don't want to embarrass myself by not meeting my weekly goals.  I've always been a pleaser.  Now I want to please the trainer!  It really is worth the twenty five bucks! 
I'd try anythi....almost anything!!!  lol!
   Today, feeding off the positive vibes of the night before I started a journal and hit the gym!!! (He told me he was proud of me!) Journal, complete with the ugly pics, (the ones that really look like you but you don't post on facebook) and the cute pics of me, the ones from twenty years ago... to motivate!  It's like telling myself, "Remember?  You can look good!"  Yup...it's all my head.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

There YOU are!

  I think God has been trying to teach me something.  Naw, I know he's been teaching me something.  Humility is a theme that keeps popping up again and again!  It's the character trait I admire most.  A product of humility is putting others first.  I'm not talking "Martyrdom" here.  And I'm sure not saying that when you do put someone else first, that you should go around looking for a medal!  But when you put others first, blessings come right back atcha!
  To be able to put someone else first, you must recognize it's not all about you!  I once read an article about Tim Tebow.  A homeschool kid that played football (for the Florida Gators), so I naturally took an interest in him.  The article stated that his parents never let him read a newspaper article about himself.  He was praise worthy, a Heisman winner.  But they didn't want him to get too full of himself.  I liked that.  Okay, if you make the paper, it is kinda fun!  But I get where they were coming from.  He was getting a lot of attention, and they wanted to keep him grounded.  Words of praise have much more impact when they come out of someone else's mouth, not your own.  That's humility.  It's a struggle.  We naturally want to think about #1!!  Call it self preservation.
  Thinking about someone else doesn't mean you have to go without three squares, or forgo paying the rent.  No.  Fulfill your responsibilities! What is does mean is that you should realize, it's not all about you!  There is always someone who has it worse off.  I was mulling things over with a friend who suffers from depression.  She told me what she has come to learn is that when she helps someone else, she feels better about her own situation.  Have you worked at a soup kitchen?  Have you ever given school supplies out in a low income neighborhood?   Participated in a fundraiser for a sick friend or family member?  How did you feel after?  I know how I feel.  I feel good!  I feel like I've accomplished something!  It can be a small thing like clearing your schedule for the afternoon to sit with a friend in a hospital room.  You may not have any idea of the impact it had on the other person, but I guarantee it did.  The blessing comes when someone says, "Thank you!  (with tears in their eyes) It means so much to me to know how much you care!"  Because really, what else matters?  All any of us want is to know that someone else cares about us.  So show someone!
  Let me close with sharing the story of a friend of mine.  My friends daughter, Bryce has Neurofibromatosis (nf1). She has a large plexiform type neurofibroma in her right thigh and abdomen.  (In layman's terms, she has a HUGE tumor on her upper thigh!)  She has been dealing with chronic pain for over five years. On September 21 she had this large mass debulked in Chicago at Children's Memorial Hospital. The surgery was risky and took all day. The surgeon, Dr. Mckay Mckinnon is experienced in removing these tumors with great success at reducing pain and them not growing back. No surgeons in Michigan wanted to attempt the surgery saying it is too risky that these tumors bleed a lot during surgery and she may lose the use of her right leg.  Brenda battled insurance companies, and many times we would have long conversations where she had some serious questions for God.  Everyday life seemed to be a struggle, and Bryce needed constant attention.  The chronic pain kept her from attending school.  If anyone had reason to fall victim to a pity party, it was Brenda!  But she didn't.  Oh sure, she had her moments.  She needed a shoulder, a prayer, someone to go out to coffee with and listen.  But if one of her friends needed something, she'd be there!  She'd be the first to offer to help me clean my house.  She came over and painted my living room with me.  She'd always make sure to ask about how my family was doing.  She's supportive of her friends.  And in doing so, she reflects Christ.  She is humble and other oriented.
My dear friend Brenda!
  Bryce has another week to go in Chicago before she can return home.  I rejoice with them.  I've seen their struggle up close.  I look forward to meeting the new Bryce!  Unencumbered by a 9 pound tumor, and living the life of a "normal" teenager.  And I am thankful for a friend who is humble, selfless and an example of what it means to be "other oriented".  Love you Brenda!!!!
"Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellowmen and I will tell you how much you have loved them." - Helmut Thielicke

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Comfort Food!

My kids will be sooo happy!  I thought I had lost this recipe, and found it in an old message I had sent to my brother in law.  Happy day!!  This is such a good, quick, fall favorite around here. 

1/4 c. onion chopped
1/3 c. green pepper chopped
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 T. flour
3 1/2 c. milk
2 c. cooked ham, cubed
8 oz pkg ww elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 c. sour cream
1 c. shredded swiss cheese

Saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender; stir in flour and salt. Gradually whisk in milk; add ham and macaroni. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Mix in sour cream and cheese; stir until cheese melts, but do not let boil. Makes 6 servings.

Now, go walk the dog and work it off!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


  Like everyone else, I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2011.  Okay, I'll tell you, it's the thing to do.  We had just gotten back from a camping trip up north the previous day.  I had 3 little ones at home and was getting ready for the day...breakfast, laundry, etc.  Mark came home to tell me to turn on the T.V.  We were having the same bright sunny weather that N.Y. was having.  I spent the rest of the day glued to the T.V.  The following days, I spent with all of you.  My friends and neighbors, as we came together to comfort each other. 
   I was feeling very dark yesterday and earlier today.  I feel like where we are today, our economy, our government, are all ripple effects of that day 10 years ago.  There is nothing I can say about that day that hasn't been said.  We have a lot of work to do.  I want to leave the American dream for my kids. 
  But I feel better now than I did yesterday.  Maybe its the song.  Music always plays with my emotions.  Maybe it's determination.  I definitely can't give up believing in this country.  When it comes right down to it, most of us, left or right, are good people who care about each other.  God Bless.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Boys of Fall

  It's soo sweet.  And it's something that I observe as somwhat of an outsider.  My husband has a bond with my sons, and that bond is football. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge encourager!  I love watching my boys  play!  And I can ring a cow bell with the best of 'em!  But, I can't give you my opinion on the single wing offense, and I can't tell you the difference between a half back and a full back.
  My husband  played in High School.  He went to the state championship game...and lost.  He was too short to play college ball, and ended up serving in the military after High School.  I attended one football game in HS.  I think I left before half time.
 My introduction to football began when M. was eight, playing on the local Jr. league team.  I know some mothers hesitate to start their boys in tackle football at a young age, but I wasn't.  There really wasn't any stopping them!  They wanted it, and it was something they shared with their dad.  I never worried about injuries.  Life happens.  And I want them to live life.  I trust my husband's expertise in the matter of raising boys.
  M. shares his dads passion.  Oh, his first year of football!  They lost more than they won, and every losing game, I'd watch for that little eight year old frame to trudge off the field.  I know him by his walk.  Tears streaming down his mud stained face, head hanging.  He gave every bit of himself in every game he played!  Physically and emotionally!  He was driven.  He was homeschooled at the time and even back then, he would wear his game jersey to our homeschool co op.  He was proud!
    During M.'s last year of Jr. league, he outgrew his age!  There wasn't an ounce of fat on him and he was trying to drop weight. The league we were  with had a weight limit.   M. was unable to lose the weight he needed, and so, was unable to play.  That was their winning year. He stood on the sidelines every game, and helped his dad coach his littlest brother's team.   The boys he had played with for the last six years, his brother included, were going to the championship game...without him.  That's one game I will never forget.  The kids were so excited, they were playing under the lights at the high school!  I sat in the stands with him, and as the clock wound down, and we knew we were going to win, it was a frenzy of conflicting emotions!  B. was on the team, and I was happy for B!  And next to me sat M., watching others celebrate the victory that he so longed for, for the past six years.  And just like when he was eight, I watched the tears roll down his face while he sat in the stands looking on as his brother, teammates, and fans rushed the field to celebrate.  I can't tell you how much my heart hurt for him!!
  In some states, you can homeschool your kids and they can still play sports for the public schools.  Not in Michigan.  After much consideration, we chose to enroll M. in the local public High School...for football.  That really was our only reason!  I could not stand in the way of his dreams.  Since then he has made the JV team as a freshman.  I was glad for him as this victory came on the heels of the previous years Championship drama.  As a sophomore, he was pulled up to varsity.  Four games into the season, he broke his foot in practice.  After getting word at the doctors office that his foot was indeed broken, he kept it together until he left the office.  We made it to a bench in the lobby and he couldn't even stand, he was crushed.  I had a six foot 215 lb. "man" sobbing on my shoulder.  All he wanted was to play.  God it hurts!  I wanted nothing more than to have my foot broken instead of his.  Holding on to each other, and me crying with him, we sat in the lobby like that for 15 minutes.  It's an emotional roller coaster, this game! 
  This year, he made captain.  Proud is putting it mildly!  He has shown dedication and leadership and was recognized for it.  He's not a partier.  He has a few close friends.  Football motivates his GPA.  He wants to play college ball.  The first day of summer vacation, he was at the school, in the weight room.  If the High School's weight room was open over the summer, he was there!  He brought along his brothers with him.  He and his father have influenced them.  And this year B. begins his freshman year at the same school  M. attends.  Following in his brothers footsteps, he too made the JV team.  B. shows the same willingness and commitment to work hard to achieve his goals.  I'm glad that it's his brother that's his role model.
  Through it all, Mark has been their biggest fan.  Mark's been at every practice.  He coached for six years.  I don't think he's ever missed one of their games.  He doesn't belittle mistakes.  He IS one hell of a cheerleader!  He's the dad that the whole student body knows, because of his booming voice cheering on the boys from the stands, and his ability to keep everyone entertained!  Mark will sit with the boys after school and watch video of the weeks previous game. He is commited to them.
  At last weeks game, he went up to the school an hour and a half before the game started, just because he was excited.  I drove up to drop off some snacks and drinks so I wouldn't have to carry them later, and there he sat, top row, right under the press box (so he can hear what they say), alone and waiting, just staring out at the field.  I tease him.  I tell him he's living vicariously through the boys, but he's not.  He shares their passion for the game!  He's never forced them to play, but he won't let them quit something they've made a commitment to.  He tears up at the Kenny Chesney song "Boys of Fall", and in turn, so do I.  He loves watching them play.  And he's proud of the men they are becoming. I still have a hard time understanding the game of football. What I do understand is the bond that it is between my husband and his sons.  I love that they share it.  I don't mind being on the outside looking in.

Soo long ago.  So little.  I love this pic. 
Click here to watch the Boys of Fall...better grab tissue!