Friday, March 22, 2013

We Drink Dead People?

recycle please
Photo Credit
Homeschooling Rassi boys leads to some interesting discussions...

Evan: Mom! Micah said we won't use up all the water in the world...but we CAN! Billions of people DRINK water so we might use it all up!

Me: No, he is correct. Water may get dirty or change forms, but it doesn't just disappear. Remember, we also sweat out water and pee. The Earth doesn't gain or lose matter, it just changes a bit during different processes. It all evens out.

Evan: The Earth DOES gain water. Our bodies are made up of 70% water, and BABIES are born! God makes babies and they grow and all that water is added to the world! People have babies ALL THE TIME.

Me: Yes, babies are made of water, but that doesn't mean water is added. They grow by taking water out of the world, but that doesn't mean that the world will run out of water either. You have to remember that people die too. Water from those bodies returns to the ground. It all balances out.

Evan: Oh yah. People do die all the time. Wait! *holding up his glass of water* Are you telling me that I'm drinking DEAD PEOPLE?

Me: Yes. Yes, that is what I'm telling you. Glad we got that all cleared up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How I Decided I Was "Fat"

As I mentioned, I am on a diet. Again.
At least this time, Clay is joining me (which has its good points and its bad points, but we won't get into that - again.)
I am bound and determined that this will be the LAST time I ever diet. Ever.
After this, I will thank God for an abundance of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, maintain self control, and eat treats only on special occasions.
(Quit laughing and rolling your eyes. Oh wait! That's me.)

I have fought with my weight and my body-image for many years.
It all began when I was in 6th grade...
Actually, a LOT of my body image issues started in 6th grade - when all the other girls got boobs and I did not - but we'll save that for another blog.

In 6th grade, prepubescent me started chubbing up a bit (compared to the stick-thin little girl I had always been). We went to visit my grandfather, and I heard him say (with a somewhat negative tone), "Becky is packing on the weight."
Many questions and conversations followed over the next few days; and all of them started with me saying, "Mom, am I FAT?"
I had much need for my mother's reassurance. Thankfully, she provided it.
"Don't worry honey, if you were fat, I would tell you; and we would work together to make sure you were making healthy choices. You look good."
She's such a good mom.

Then, in 8th grade, we went to Delaware to visit my Aunt Belle.
She was 4 ft. something and had arms the size of toothpicks. (I still didn't have boobs, but I was temporarily past thinking I was fat.) When that dear ol' teeny-tiny aunt gave me a hug, the words that exploded out of her mouth were, "Wow, you have thick arms!"
As my face fell, my mom had to keep herself from hurling Aunt Belle across the room.
Mom saw it coming.
I have had issues about the size of my upper arms ever since.
I don't wear sleeveless shirts.
I say "no" to ADORABLE sleeveless dresses (unless I have a sweater to wear too.)
You can imagine how this has crippled me in the fashion world.
(Are you rolling your eyes again? Oh, wait, that's still me.)
It's amazing how I let off-the-cuff comments of other people impact my fragile self-image.
Can you say VANITY stinks?

When I hit college, my weight issues quit being a figment of other people's my imagination. I went to school and promptly gained the freshmen twenty. (No, it's not fifteen...I DEFINITELY gained twenty.)

I came home from my freshman year of college to this conversation:
Me:  Mom, are you wearing my jeans?
Mom: Why yes! They are so cute. Is that OK? You left them here while you were at college, so I figured you didn't really care for them.


I dieted for the first time that summer and started the VERY LONG, NEVER ENDING battle I've had with food.
In three months, I literally walked my butt off.
I walked three miles a day while jamming to "Love of a Lifetime" on a mixed tape from my boyfriend (who, ironically, didn't last 6 more months). I also waited tables at Parasson's Italian Restaurant. (Yes, I lost weight while smelling Italian food for 30-40 hours a week. I was motivated and ate tuna fish most of that summer.)
My mom was NOT going to be thinner than me. Even though she is 3 inches shorter and quite thin, it was NOT acceptable to 19 year old me. My mom was OLD, after all, like FORTY. Ha!

Six years later...
I was getting married and had to go to a doctor to get birth control pills. I had never been to a gynecologist before, so this was hell on earth a bit of a traumatic trip for me.
I walked into the office at 4:00 in the afternoon (wearing jeans, a sweater, chunky brown shoes and maybe even a coat), and I jumped right on the scale with no qualms (and with ALL those clothes on). I was there for birth control pills, not a weight consultation; plus, I knew I was healthy and thin. (I caught me a very picky, very handsome man, after all).
I still know exactly how much I weighed that afternoon. It is burned on my brain. I have since looked at weight charts and found that I was indeed in the healthy range for my height. In fact, I was just about "ideal", but the horrible man doctor that I saw that day looked me right in the eye (after making me VERY uncomfortable looking at other parts of me) and told me that I needed to lose 5 pounds.
Can you see the shock on 25-year-old Becky's face?
If I could do it over, I would show up first-thing the next morning with an empty stomach and wearing a sports bra and spandex. I would jump on that office scale and yell, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, YOU JACKWAGON!" - then give him a dissertation on the damage he is doing to poor unsuspecting women.
But my young, going-to-get-married-and-have-a-man-see-me-naked brain could only hear, "LOSE FIVE POUNDS". So, I started walking again. I didn't manage to lose the weight, but that little trip to the doctor helped solidify the concept that anything above the "ideal" meant that I was fat.

Well, this is getting a bit long and I'm still only in my twenties on this journey. That means I have almost twenty more years of warped thinking and crash diets to share with you. Since I will no longer write a blog series, we'll see if I actually get around to sharing them.
I still struggle with a lot of warped thinking, but I am slowly looking to God to give Him glory in my health rather than comparing myself with the world. I am also learning to focus on my purpose in this world - and that it has NOTHING to do with my vanity or what other people think of my current size.

*Er, at least I THINK I've made some progress (says the gal who is currently boycotting sugar and putting on shoes to go walking...)

Update: I DID write a second part! How I Decided I Was Fat: Part 2

Friday, March 8, 2013

Accidental Pharisee

My Sunday school class has been discussing the book Accidental Pharisee by Lawrence Osborne. 
A few concepts from the book have lodged themselves in my brain - which OBVIOUSLY means I need to blog about them (until a different shiny object deep thought distracts me.)  

Last week, I kept thinking about Osborne's statement that, "God has always drawn straight lines with crooked sticks" (page 130, Chapter 14). 
The Bible is full of God-centered men who climbed through some VERY big screw ups in the Bible - and their mistakes were written down for all eternity. 
God used those sinful moments of not-so-perfect men to teach, to bring change, and to make them into testimonies of His faithfulness.
I can get a bit crooked at times, but I like the reminder that God will still use me. 

This week, we discussed "Unity vs. Uniformity"
He wrote about how we can be unified in Christ without all being the same, and even without AGREEING on many different topics. All Christians are of ONE church...but we don't always act that way. We too often think everyone should be the same. We try to force Uniformity - and end up dividing ourselves. We tend to spend time with the people that think like us, worship like us, and baptize like us.
Until they don't anymore...then we decide they are heretics.
Listen to this joke. It makes the same point that the book makes...but it's funnier.

To paraphrase Osborne's point that I keep chewing on:
We are brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn't mean that we are going to always agree and always get just means that we are family, and must bear with each other in love. 
Family DOESN'T always get along, but they (normally) keep showing up to the Christmas get-togethers.
We are stuck with each other, so we must lean into grace...and love each other anyway.

I want to be like that.
I don't care if you are Pentecostal, Brethren, Traditional, Modern, or anti-"church"-while-still-being-a- disciple-of-Christ.
If you call yourself a Christian, then you're family.
(Actually, if you aren't Christian, I'm going to treat you like family as well.)
I don't want to focus on how each of us might be a little "crooked".
Instead, I want to work together to seek God and let HIM make our paths straight.

Ephesians 4:2-6
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 Reasons I'll Keep Being a Girl

Such cute little PINK. GIRL. SHOES.
(good thing)
Clay started dieting 5 days after me.
He has lost 10 pounds.
I have lost 5.
If being a girl didn't have it's own perks, I'd quit right now.

Since I want to quit being a girl at least once a month, I have decided to make a "Top Ten" list of reasons that I like being THE girl in my house of boys.
  1. All the boys at my house smell worse than I do (especially the big one). Sometimes it's on purpose, sometimes...not so much. Either way, I'm really glad I stink less than them.
  2. I don't have to lift heavy things. Ever.  This includes suitcases, coolers loaded with ice, and shovels full of snow from the driveway. My 'men' are always willing to flex their muscles and take care of this little lady. (This may be part of the reason I haven't lost as much weight as Clay, but let's not discuss that.)
  3. Boys tend to be hairy. My husband has to shave his face daily. Since his hands are more calloused than mine (and he isn't very observant) I can get away with shaving my legs a bit less often (which doesn't even require a sharp blade scraping my FACE). I also rarely get haircuts (long hair). Actually, my boys rarely get haircuts either; but that's because Clay tells them that "You gotta have long hair to play in a band!" Clay, on the other hand, gets his haircut often (even the few that keep sprouting on top of his head).
  4. Girls have way cuter shoes and coats. WAY CUTER!!! Enough said.
  5. Purses. Not one of my guys carries a purse. I like purses. I always have what I need right there with me, and I never get too fat for the purse to 'fit'. (Honestly, this is one reason I like shoes and coats can gain 20 or 30 pounds and still feel adorable in the same cute pair of shoes, coat and purse that you had when you were "thin".).
  6. In this house, being a girl means I get to blame submit to Clay for the big decisions. He carries a lot of the pressure that goes along with being a family. I get to spout opinions, encourage our gang toward the truth of God, and trust Clay to listen when something worthwhile pops out of me. He, on the other hand, gets the responsibility of leading us. Sometimes I really like that his logical, less reactionary brain has that role. (And I know if I was a man that I would probably have a less emotionally driven brain...but I LIKE my emotions.)
  7. Speaking of emotions...I am the one that my boys come to for sentimentality. They snuggle me (probably because I'm soft due to the weight I can't lose - and less muscle-y due to never lifting anything). They have me kiss their boo-boos tend to their injuries, and they also know I will encourage them when they are hurting (instead of telling them to "wipe some dirt on it and get back in the game"). I get to experience a softer side of them that men don't always get to see. 
  8. My 10 year old opens doors for me. Not sure where he learned this GREAT idea. He must have been watching out the window one of the 4 times a year that Clay and I go on a date. He is much more likely to let a door hit Clay in the face because it is funny than open it for him. Definitely a benefit to being a girl.
  9. I don't have to climb ladders or get on rooftops because my "big, fearless men can do it". I accrued a fear of heights sometime around the age of 25. My husband has no such fear. And my youngest would have jumped from the top of the refrigerator to the floor when he was not yet walking if he could have gotten away with it. (Wait! If he wasn't walking, how did he get on top of the refrigerator? My husband put him there.) Just today, the little one was volunteering to go up in the attic above the garage and chase down long as he got to climb the ladder. 
  10. I texted a girlfriend that I wanted to quit being a woman. I won't tell you her name because she might be mortified when I tell you that she texted this back: "Men have to deal with unintentional erections." I laughed out loud; and in one fell swoop, she convince me that I should indeed stay on my current team.
This post is linked to Many Little Blessings Top Ten

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Slap Jack Times Two

Early in our marriage, Clay and I would play card games at night.
We learned quickly that Slap Jack was NOT a game to play if we were trying to strengthen our marriage.
You see, Clay was not as good at Slap Jack as I was.
Nope, he was not a sore loser.
In actuality, I was a sore winner...and had the bruises to prove it.

The goal in Slap Jack is to collect all the cards in the deck.
We would take turn flipping cards; and when a jack would appear, the first to slap it would win all the cards in the pile.
I would inevitably slap the jack first, but Clay's massive meat mallet hand would end up SLAMMING down on top of mine. He'd blame it on momentum, shrug, and reply, "I guess you just need to decide how badly you REALLY want that jack. Is winning WORTH it?"
I like to think of Clay as a protective, sweet man, who's competitive nature is nothing compared to the love he has for his woman. It's obviously a delusional thought, but it's where I live.
So...we no longer play Slap Jack - for the sake of our marriage and my delusional world.

The other day, Clay and I were spending some quality time. (We have to work at it a bit more now that we aren't newly married and living in an apartment with nothing to do but draw, play guitar, and wrestle around naked after playing cards.)
We took a Sunday afternoon, let the boys play video games in the basement as long as they wanted and chose to INTERACT with each other. We talked and laughed and wrestled around a bit (fully clothed,  unfortunately, but we WERE in the middle of the sun-room and children could decide they needed hydration at any minute and emerge from the stairwell. We have no desire to scar them in that way - on purpose.)
It was a really good day.
At some point, I pulled out my iPhone to make a note. Clay decided to be annoying while I was trying to type and asked, "You want to play Slap Jack?"
Then, he started poking me and picking at me so I couldn't type.
I pushed the 'Siri' button. I planned to SPEAK my note so I wouldn't have to type.
He began yelling, "Slap Jack, Slap Jack," every time I tried to speak into my phone.
This is what I ended up with:
"slapjack flapjack topdeck Merbrook that ended typing slapjack or at the VA back out of me or Woodenshoe" (Woodenshoe? I no longer have any idea what I was trying to say.)

It is now Clay's goal to start a worldwide phenomena...
Every time someone starts giving their phone verbal commands, he wants SOMEONE to start yelling "slap jack" at them. It could be such a great, annoying trend. *shudder*

*sidenote* My husband can not hear the word phenomena or any other similar sounding 4 syllable word without singing it to the following Muppet song. I love that man.