Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thankfully Thankful



I have to admit that I don't consider myself a complainer.  I tend to assume that I'm pretty easy going and that I don't need things to cater to me.  There may be a loud outpouring of nays at these statements, but again, my perception.  Last night as I was lying in bed at 9pm, because everyone else in my house was asleep and I thought that I should be as well (I wasn't, I was WIDE awake). . .  I thought of my life.

I thought of how much better things would be if we were back in Redding.  I was picturing lake days and barbecues. Parks in the evening.  Going over to any number of friends houses (because I would be welcomed at any time).  Coffee with my mom, yard saleing with my sister.  Walks on the rivertrail.  Being in a town I have called home most of my life.  A town that thinks it knows me better than I know myself.  A place that has seen all of my failures and doesn't really expect anything extraordinary from me.  Pros and cons in that last part.  Mostly it is where I feel that my family can completely be, happy and welcomed.  Though desperately hot.

I thought of my house in Redding.  Sitting in the backyard, pushing my kids on the swing.  Playing chase through the sprinklers.  Cooking in my kitchen on my very old stove.  Washing dishes with the door open and the warm wind rustling through the ivy.  Sitting on the patio late at night with the white lights twinkling and the rich scent of gardenias and hydrangeas perfuming the air.  I was imagining how wonderful it would be to go outside and be warm.  Ahh, there's a dream.

I thought of Lynnfield.  Eric's amazing family and friends that live there.  Sitting with amazing people and just for a moment listening to the constant hum of conversation.  The football games.  Playing ring toss in the backyard.  Watching my kids be loved to perfection.  Drinking wine with women who will have you in stitches as they recount their exploits.  Listening to my husband with his brothers and wishing I could give that to him every day of our lives.  Smelling the trees and freshly mowed grass.  Actually swimming in the ocean.  Judah going fishing with his Poppi.  The rich scent of the rain perfuming through a warm summers day.

And I realized I am not thankful at all.

I have been sad.  I have been lonely, discouraged, just teetering on the very edge of depression.  My heart is divided between two towns and I am always wishing I were in one, never happy where I am.  I am sure if we chose between them, I would constantly yearn for the other.  Sometimes it really doesn't seem like there's one good choice.  Though in my mind either of them would be better than where I am.  I complain.  I grumble.  I wish and dream and hope that this season will swiftly come to an end.

                        I want to quickly interject that we have met AMAZING people in Eureka.  I am
                        so thankful for the friends we have made.  But it hasn't been home.  And my heart
                        is longing for its home.

Perhaps more.  I wish I knew exactly where Home is.


So, last night.  While I lay in bed listening to the breathing of my husband, felt his warm skin against me.  I decided I needed to stop wishing.  Stop dreaming.  Stop living in my head and look with wide eyes at where I am.  I started saying, Thank You.

Thank you God that we are in Eureka.  Thank you that Eric has an amazing job.  Thank you for our apartment.  Thank you that I am in bed with warm covers.  Thank you that I have food and clean clothes.  Thank you for your amazing blessings.  Thank you that my family is healthy and safe.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

There's a difference between living in the present and being thankful for the present.  My goal is to do both.  To embrace every good and amazing experience we have here, as well as the difficult and stretching.  To no longer succumb to wishful thinking.


I don't know what tomorrow holds.  This could be it.  But, I'd rather not wander through the dessert for 40 years, cursing the food that falls from the sky.  I guess, even if I do.  I'm going to be thankful.  I don't know where our home really is.  I'm just choosing to be thankful for where it is today.  More than anything it's a heart place.  And because I love him and committed to him until death do us part.  Where Eric lays his head is my home, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Failure.


Failure seems to be the theme of my week.  Like a red thread through everything I've done, marring and declaring itself in all of my attempts.  We had some wonderful friends over this week and I prepared a labor of love, my mother in laws Italian gravy.  A couple hours later it was complete.  Left to sit and muddle the flavors into the rich sweet scent of tomatoes and garlic.  It was to be enjoyed the next day, but was simmering happily on the stove at a very low temperature.  However, it was not safe from the tiny little fingers of my angel girl who as of yet cannot see eye level with the counter, but oh how she can turn those knobs.  And she did.  The heat cranked up it wasn't long before the putrid smell of burned metal and sauce caused me to race to the stove, lift the lid and be hit in the face with an acidic billow of smoke.  Try as I might it was ruined.  7am the next day I started a new pot of gravy, ending at 130 in the afternoon.


My new gravy now simmering, my house clean, company coming, we went to the park.  It was the only safe place.  We returned with 45 minutes to clean up and get dinner on the table, plenty of time.
  unless. .  .
while upstairs, my little ones moved a chair over to the stove and tried stirring and eating the thick red sauce, which resulted in splatters and goo in a three foot radius.  I pulled them upstairs, cleaned them up, deposited them in their room and finished getting ready.  2 minutes later Avalyn came screaming into my room with soap from head to toe and of course in her eyes.  As I threw her into the tub and was trying to clean her up, Judah came in, laughing.  I lost it.  I started to yell.  Then I went into their room found puddles of soap on the carpet, in their toys, EVERYWHERE!  and I screamed.  I was psycho mommy and I broke my heart.  No I didn't hit or 'hurt' my children, but I demolished my sons heart.  I demolished myself.

I am not a person who gets upset over messes.  They are the hallmark of my life.  Never something to lose yourself over.  But I did.  I let go of myself and yelled at my most precious boy.  The child that I would give my life for.  The son of my heart, my delight and my joy.  In that moment how I appeared was more important than my kids, and for me, that is never okay.   I had forgotten that having friends over to a perfectly clean house with dinner on the table is NOT who I am right now.  I am spaghetti splatters and mess, lots of life and laughter.  I forgot and yep, I failed.

Eric and I prayed over Judah, I apologized, lots of cuddles and lots of tears on my end.  He is okay, still the amazing precious boy as always.  I am doing my best and sometimes my best sucks.

Two nights later, just to make this a full and complete week of failure, I succumbed to my sugar addiction.  Found myself under the table, box of donuts on my stomach, candy wrapper in one hand, whipped cream in the other, or something like that.  Okay, it was the vanilla ice cream that has been in the freezer since I started my sugar fast.  It's been whispering to me.  So I finally gave in, big fat bowl with broken up snickerdoodles, that my kids and I had made that afternoon, covered in hot fudge.  Mmmm.  It was good.  Though on the second bowl I decided maybe not that good and I tossed it.  Yep, I failed.  I was shooting for 40 days and I made it 16.

I should point out that I made it over two weeks, even while at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and if there's one food weakness I have, it's carnival food.  Must be all the sugar.  I made it through 2 days of smelling funnel cake and corn dogs, ice cream sundaes in waffle cones and huge cokes.  But, I'm not stronger than my husband out of town and ice cream in the freezer.  So, yes.  This week I have failed.

What is failure?  def.  A lack of success.  Isn't it interesting the guilt that tries to sneak in when you don't make a goal?  The sinking feeling that maybe you just aren't good enough.  Maybe you'll never be good enough.  You quit, does that make you a quitter?  You flipped on your kid, does that make you a bad parent?  Sneaky little lies that if you aren't careful could completely trip you up and have you give into where you failed.  I could go nuts and binge on sugar and just blame it on how I couldn't make it 40 days.  I could decide I'm a terrible mom and not try to be better.  I could take my low moments and camp there.  Or I could be really proud of my successes and realize the areas that I need to improve.  I didn't eat sugar for 16 days!  I didn't succumb to carnival food!  That's pretty awesome!  I am a GOOD mom.  I adore my kids and I focus on them and put them first every day.  There is GRACE.

Lessons learned.  In the movie Meet the Robinsons their motto is just keep moving forward.  Failure is fabulous at letting you know what doesn't work.  It shines a glaring light on areas that need improvement.
My highlighted areas this week were:
-I need to be careful in moments of stress and remember that no matter what happens I value the condition of my children's hearts over myself.
-I can't have sugar in my house.  It talks to me.

What I am walking away with here and what is moving me forward:  The unconditional grace that God has for me.  The depth of his love and passion.  His covering, when I fail.  I am moving toward perfection, I'm not there yet.  Every day I'm taking a step closer.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Raw goodness.



Just a quick recipe post.  

Because I am not eating any form of sugar.  yes, I know.  tears.  I have been making raw cookies.  They are an excellent treat and perfectly accompanied with a cup of unsweetened earl grey.  

2 handfuls soaked almonds
2 handfuls soaked pecans
1-2 t vanilla
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 a lemon juiced
3/4 c soaked dates
a small handful raisins

I cook to taste, so my measurements are approximations.  I was out of lemon when I made this batch, but I usually add it at the same time as the vanilla. I also hadn't planned to make this so I didn't soak my nuts, usually I soak them over night.







put in your food processor and mix until completely combined.  You may have to add a little purified water to aid in the mixing, but not too much you don't want them to be very wet.  Sometimes I let them mix until there is not any nut texture left and when frozen they taste a lot like bon bons.  After mixing I shape into balls and freeze.  You could just throw into a container and freeze.  I've just found that the balls are easy to hand my kids and perfectly sized portions for them.




Sunday, June 5, 2011

confessions of a sugar addict.



Few of you may know this, but I love sugar.  Not just sweets or bread or soda, but pretty much if there is sugar in it, I will gleefully imbibe and more than likely not be the best sharer.  I have managed to shelter my children from this addiction as much as possible.  They are rarely privilege to my late night ice cream binges or the skittles and m&m's snuck quietly while they aren't looking.  Occasionally they'll find my stash and I'll share one or two, but remind them that we don't want to eat sweets because it isn't good for our bodies.

Poor Judah is convinced that if he eats too much ice cream he'll be sick.  I haven't meant to make it that taboo.  But, balance in everything is important.  This is one area in my life that I'm striving to learn self control.  Often I'll fast sweets only to binge like the mayor in Chocolat when I let them back into my diet.  And that isn't pretty for anyone.

However, even attempting to allow myself a few treats now and then, lulls me into a false feeling of calm only to realize I've completely stopped eating food, but have managed to exist on coffee, donuts and ice cream for weeks at a time.  This is embarrassingly true.  There was actually a time when I literally did not eat anything but ice cream for a month.  mmmm.  It was a yummy month.  No I did not feel terrible or gain weight.  If I had, I would have stopped.

Perhaps my lack of noticeable side effects is what allows me to so freely indulge.

Therefore, I am making changes not based on my weight or mood swings, but my desire to model a healthy lifestyle for my kids.  Children demand everything of their parents, they expect them to be perfect and it is a hard reality to face when they realize that they are fallible.  I am fully aware of my shortcomings, but I do not want it to be one that cuts off my life prematurely.  Regardless of what I see, sugar is death to the body and I have been slowly killing mine for far too long.

Sob.

A few interesting things about sugar.  It feeds cancer growth, leaches minerals, has a similar chemical make-up to heroin (though it is not considered addictive), promotes heart disease and diabetes, depresses  immunity, feeds candida growth, raises insulin levels. . . and the list goes on.

Sniffle.

I want to be very clear, that I am not planning to cut sugar out of my diet forever!  That would be silly.  I'd feel guilty if I slipped and had a bite of cake and I do not like guilt.  Rather I am taking a break, my goal is 40 days, but I won't hate myself if I don't make it.  I have quit all sweets, including all of the 'good' sugars.  Just in case you were curious, I am not supplementing with artificial sweeteners.  I hope that's not even a question, because I won't even begin to talk about how terrible those are for you.   I'm avoiding snack foods and breads, but I am not being overly cautious, just attempting to keep all sugars out of my diet.  I am eating fruit and I've made a couple of raw treats for myself.  I am mostly trying to teach myself how to eat whole, real food.

Sigh.

I am glad it is day six and I can tell you that I haven't broken down in a fit of tears, run wildly to the candy store, or harmed anyone as I've come off of my addiction.  And I am was addicted.  I have been tired, lethargic and a little out of sorts, kind of like being sick.  I have been famished and eaten more than I have ever seen myself eat, except maybe when pregnant.  Though, cutting out the five cokes and chocolate cake I would typically consume at a meal, may be lowering my calorie intake.

My goal at the end of forty days will be to slowly reintroduce healthy forms of sugar, but I'll do my best to avoid the scary white stuff as much as possible.  Because I know that just a little will have me lying under the table with an empty box of donuts on my stomach a can of whipped cream in one hand, a candy wrapper in the other.  So, I'll make my changes slowly, envying the multitude of people with massive amounts of self control.