Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Snip About Blogs (and the books that follow)

"Am I right, ladies?!?!"

You might think I was at a comedy club, but no, I am reading blogs by Christian women, books by the same and not enjoying every minute of it.

I don't expect to find the "perfect" anything, but I gotta say the new swoop of women preaching the gospel of "everything you do is OK" is a little disturbing. There are bunches of blogs and books out there with this philosophy and it makes me cringe a little when the tone is asking me to implicate myself in all of this mess...

My mother, who is chronically passive aggressive, left me a printout of this blog-post (written by a man) letting parents know that if they yell at their kids, want to hide in closets from them and who generally gripe about the roles they've been given that they're not terrible parents. I disagree. I'm not sure what my mother intended me to get out of this, but what I got was a headache.

Of course the ideal or perfect is not out there and I'm not striving for it. I'm striving for what my baby needs me to be, not what my neighbor's baby needs her mamma to be. I do have a simple focus on my family. Maybe that's unusual, but it's where I'm coming from.

I do think that yelling at your kids, having tantrums, constantly complaining about parenting is bad parenting and we should admit it as such. The distinction I draw is that not all hope is lost if these things do happen. I believe in forgiveness and reconciliation between parents and children and it's the parents who need to model this. What I find is that most parents who are angry, dissatisfied parents got into it for the wrong reasons and are festering in their bad choices because they can't keep their minds and hearts on their little nucleus. They're too busy comparing themselves and their unwitting families to others. Festering dissatisfaction leads to many an unhappy family.

So, you yell, you stop, you get your sorry butt together (a six year old is not your equal, so being her bully is not going to work out so well for either of you), ask her forgiveness, talk about what happened then take your sorry butt to God and ask for help to find a better way.

And if you can't find a better way than yelling and avoiding you need to go find a good counselor. Patting ourselves on the back for bad parenting is not the answer. Acknowledgement of where we fall short is great. Admitting our faults is good therapy. However, when it starts to become the normal way we talk about our lives and our little ones we have left the path of reason.

Parenting is hard, or hadn't you heard? But it doesn't make it easier to have a bunch of women, especially Christian parents, saying "hey ladies, just let it go; you're not perfect, so what of it? It's all about how you feel, not how you make your family feel." Let's just admit it, it IS being a terrible parent to yell at your child, but it doesn't stop there. There has to be a reasonable in-between. The standard isn't perfection, but it should be kindness, love, gentleness... and when you mess that up, you get up and get your forgiveness on.

Am I right, ladies? Am I right? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Training for Days and Days

I like that my job has evolved lately. I'm growing into new more fun areas, since I've been pretty static in my role for a few years. With new responsibilities comes training. Training means days and days of sitting in a conference room listening to a speaker present on their professional expertise on any given topic. This can be taxing and tiring.

It also means I'm away from my real job, which doesn't wait, just piles up.

I wish there were a more innovative way to train rather than having someone at the front lecture on how do to 489 things in this new role, none of which you're really able to determine really applies to you or not. It feels like a waterfall of information crashing on my shoulders. I like the idea of walking upstream of a brook... I can take my time, catching the information I need as needed.

So, anyway, the training aside it also means I'm sitting for 8 hours a day... ugh. I did well these last few days getting out on little walks, watching what I eat, trying to get some more sleep, but these three days have really worked against me.

I'm excited to take this information, sieve through it and get on with my job. I'm also glad to get back to moving around more regularly (at will) and keeping those calories burning.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bored with Blogs

I used to be a frequent blog reader, now I'm kind of over them. The ones I've read have been entertaining at best, but most of them have turned into overly-popular blogs (turned way cluttered tacky websites) like the Pioneer Woman, or they've gotten too deep and personal (won't mention). Mostly I'm just bored by the middle road.

Maybe you see this blog that way. Not sure where I'm headed yet though, so thanks for bearing with me.

I don't really post so I can win "faithful readers". I write for myself. I guess that's where I have an issue with some blogs I used to love. Either too preachy or too public in their personas, I don't get a sense of the writer anymore - it's just a character. Christian women I've followed tend to just be cheerleaders about life (much appreciated, but not always necessary), others have been frivolous at best, cooking blogs tend to get pretty image driven... and on and on. I'm picky, what can I say?

I'm not sure what I'm looking for in a good blog. The reason I kept up with some was because I felt like I was catching up with a friend every week, very authentic voices, personal, but not confessional (after all we are strangers). I also don't have a great deal of time to read during the week, so it was nice to spend ten minutes reading someone's opinion, recommendation, or reflection of something in their life.

I don't know if I'm not looking hard enough, but I can't seem to find that anymore.

There are no stores, speaking engagements, great personas to be maintained on this blog, I assure you. But I want it to be more than just my space to note life's challenges and whine. I want to feel like I can stretch out like a lazy cat and open up, to write about things that are personal, nerdy, spiritual, or mundane... I want to feel free to write well, and poorly; talk about exercise and the baby; what I'm reading, how I'm voting, what concerns I have about the world I'm in... but I hestitate... I hesitate for weird reasons: people's opinions of me (even though the comments are off); whether I'm really saying anything of interest; Is this a blog people read and pass by... Am I interested in what I'm saying?

I'll keep writing... I'll keep thinking and becoming whatever it is this is going to be.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Stride

I don't really like hot weather. Warm I can deal with, but hot, sweaty, muggy weather stinks. I love the crispness of winter that brings on apple cider and comfy sweaters, the bite of winter that gets you reaching for long johns and quilts (and your favorite couch cuddler)... so in many ways summer stinks for me, but I am looking forward to a few things:

1) Summer Study on She's Got Issues - something about this looks good. Don't know if it is yet, but I'm excited to dive in.

2) Beach trip: we go to the beach every year, retreated early last year because of a snake outside of the house (eek!!), but this year we're taking the baby for her first trip to the ocean. I'm excited for her to be in the presence of something so great. I only hope it doesn't cause a complete meltdown between the sun, sand and surf... we'll see how it goes!

3) Cleaning Out: we started this task this weekend. We live in a very small apartment and it's easy to have our place taken over by clutter if we let it get away from us. We spent some time cleaning out and organizing closets. At some point you just have to be ready to say "goodbye" to things you don't use or are just using you.

4) Ending Obligation: since my Dad died my siblings and I have had to take care of cleaning out, dividing and donating all of our father's possessions. This is not an easy task, but we are in the home stretch. I hope to, very soon, have this task behind me and have no other need to dig things up again. It can finally be laid to rest.

So summer looks ambitious, but I am looking forward to the challenge of meeting new people and learning in the book study, to enjoying the beach, and finishing the freeing task of clearing out years of baggage.

On Track

I am happy to report that this weekend marked a turning point for me for several things:

Physical activity: I was good about walks, doing stretches and fun little step exercises. It's always good to feel the burn without feeling burned out. Little One enjoyed it too!

Eating: I felt free to not over eat. Does that sound weird? It's not like I have someone standing over me screaming "Eat more!!" after every plate, but sometimes I just am going so fast, I keep going without thinking, stopping and feeling... I felt free to stop before I hit that pain point where my belly says, "you've gone too far".

Health: I have diabetes, and for the first time in 6 months I had a scary high on Friday night, coupled (post-insulin) with a terrible low. I looked at my baby daughter and thought "I will not be this out of control again, for your sake".

I feel incredibly invigorated and excited to give myself the best things that will have me at my best for myself, my husband and daughter. I was listening to a Beth Moore study and the "blue ribbon" commitment to remember your struggle and what you are striving for - I have yet to tie a blue cord on my wrist yet, but it's been on my mind a lot which is just as good when it pushes you in the right direction.

I reflected on my dear Dad, who has been gone for 6 months now... how much would he have liked some years back to repair his health... I have that chance now, as much as I'm able I want to do what I can every day. Only this one day I have to be active, be on track. I don't have to be yesterday or tomorrow. Just today. That's do-able.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Last week our team at work had doughnuts TWICE in a week. I participated. Both times.
My lean, healthy husband had dessert nearly every night. I participated, too.
Our anniversary was Friday. I bought us a cake.

I have the guilty sugary pounds of guilt all over my hands. I have to be hard on myself here. Thinking I have tomorrow to re-start is what got me here in the first place. I am terrible at this. My constant, ever-present, heavy source of failure since I was in fourth grade. I cannot get there like this.

I need to confess simply to put it in front of my own face. Exercise is great, but without shaving off the sugar, I'm stuck.

Mommy's going to go out on a limb and make a promise. Week by week: I will not make excuses that cause me to have something to confess later on. I will make good choices. I will exercise and exercise self-control. I will remember the Mommy I want to be for my little one, the Mommy she needs me to be.

I will do better.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

No Excuses

We just ordered a few items that will make it easier to get out with the baby this summer - no excuses for Mommy to not be willing to take her out in the summer heat on the weekend.

Our little one was a miserable hot box whenever we took her out during the day. We're hoping these things will be helpful:

Meeno Babies "Cool Mee" Universal Bucket Seat Liner:  This will help keep her cool on her back so she doesn't sit in a pool of sweat. 

Cool On The Go - Versatile Hands-Free Personal Cooling Device: This will hopefully work to provide her a little breeze and to keep bugs off of her while we're out and about. 

Clip On Sunshade: Since my husband is obsessed with the UV index and keeping our fair skinned little one protected (she's not old enough for sunblock yet) we decided to try this. It'll provide shade and sun protection. 

We've also gotten some shades for the car, a couple of brimmed hats, and sunglasses which she refuses to wear now. All hoping this adds up to more time outside without a lot of risk and difficulty for Baby. 

It will be nice to move more on the weekends. My weight has been steady, but stagnant - I need to get this off soon. I've started to have pain in my feet and knees, so summer, here we come!!

Might get one of those sunshades for myself! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Recommendations

Been a long time since I've read books that didn't have pictures in them, but here's a quick list of books I've really enjoyed in the last year or so:

Still by Lauren Winner: Beautiful exposition of her life post-mother's death, post-divorce, and in a spiritual lull... thought it was very sensitive and thoughtfully written. I went to a lecture series by her in Charlottesville years and years ago and wasn't super impressed, but I find her writing much more accessible. I'm ready to dive back into her "Girl Meets God" memoir which I got distracted from a long time ago.

A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet both by Beverly Cleary; Beverly Cleary is one of the most gifted writers of all time. Yes, they are children's books, but beautiful, funny, and heart-warmingly close to home for me. Her real life story is equally well written, very matter-of-fact-ly, but with a lot of heart. A really fantastic woman.

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma This book has a really simple thesis and it doesn't stray into wild calls to action. Libraries matter, reading with your kids matters. I really enjoyed this daughter-dad reading streak story as my Dad was a fantastic reader in his own right... I will never forget the voice he did for Little Bear from Indian in the Cupboard. I related, and I loved this story.

Baby 411 we've got a lot of baby how-to books and this is the best resource we've got. Hands down.


A crazy week and a full weekend = a need to re-focus. Monday being a holiday we went to a nearby park that has a petting farm. It was fun to see our little baby interact with a baby goat. It didn't last very long though - she was hot and tired and after about an hour was ready for home. We are taking these things for what they are as they come. If family time is 30 minutes, so be it.

Tuesday was a regular day at work, Wednesday we had a team volunteer event all day, Thursday was a team fun event at the river, then Friday I was working from home. Kind of a bonkers week for a girl who really likes predictability and routine. It was fun though.

Physical activity was the name of the game on Wednesday while we worked on painting and working with horses, and a little on Thursday, so I was excited about that. I planned on some this weekend, but it became more of a 'it's too danged hot to go outside' kind of time. I did run errands with the baby Saturday afternoon which was a sweaty mess of a mistake.

So, I begin the week needing to focus again and make time to move. I know that self-control is not a virtue granted or bestowed on people... it's something you practice. Self-control will not happen to me, I have to make it happen.

I've taken meetings today across the company campus, rather than taking meetings over the phone; I'm taking the stairs as much as I can stomach it.

A few days of hauling stuff this week at my parents house (my mom wants all of us to go through my Dad's belongings for her) and I'll be set.

Keeping my head up, moving on.