Uncategorized

A Bit Loony

At the cottage this year, my husband and I spent some wonderful evenings enjoying the view of Charleston Lake and, as usual, this quiet time surrounded by God’s Green Earth had us thinking about the pace of our day-to-day lives.

Like Annie Dillard, tinkering at her creek, I often find that the time I spend in nature is spiritually charged.  It compels me to reflect on and examine my life and to learn from the wisdom embedded in creation.  This particular vacation, my attention was drawn to the flight patterns of two birds.

Have you ever observed the distinct contrast between a loon’s frantic flapping and a hawk’s majestic soaring?  Sure, they both make it to their chosen destination but watching them get there reveals a significant difference; the loon looks like she is barely surviving while the hawk makes it look easy.  Truly, loons are not very graceful when they fly.  They exert so much energy and appear to be fighting against the wind and the gravitational pull whenever they are airborne.  It seems they should take some advice from Dory and “just keep swimming” because they’ve got that mode of travel mastered.  Just take your time, loons.  Stop trying so hard.  Align your flight with the power of the wind.

Oh. Right.

So, I’m a bit loony.  Shocking revelation, I know.   Friends, I am fighting every fiber of my being as a Type A, driven, task-oriented individual and am resigning myself to the fact that this pace is not a healthy or inspiring way to travel.  Actually, it’s a little crazy.

I often succumb to the frenetic pace of our society because I feel the need to get somewhere or to accomplish something according to an arbitrary timeline that I have established for myself, generally based on unrealistic expectations and external pressures.  I rarely orient my life to a rhythm that breathes.  Hence, the frantic flapping and the trying too hard.  And the grace-less flight.

istock_flying_common_loon[1]

But, I am weary from all the flapping and I’m baby-stepping my way into the hawk program.

The late Dallas Willard offered the wise instruction to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives”.  I must do this.  I know it to be true.  But it is SO HARD.

So, where is the hope for me in all this loon-acy?  How can I reorient my pace to something that is life-giving instead of life-draining?

I think it is as simple and as hard as this:  daily I must resist the tyranny of the urgent and SLOW DOWN.  Daily I must choose to live in harmony with the indwelling Spirit, release all the busyness and striving, and become attentive to God’s work in and through me.

If I want to soar, I have to put my hope in the Lord to renew my strength.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like [hawks];

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40, italics mine

Reflection

What Lies Beneath

So, I bought my first pair of Spanx last week to wear under my dress for my brother-in-law’s wedding.  (Well, not actually Spanx another – I’m sure much lesser – brand from The Hudson’s Bay Company but you get the idea.)

I don’t think I fully understood what I was getting myself into.

I mean, these gitch are the envy of every granny-panty ever made.  A single pair is about $50 – one pair of underwear, essentially – and mine are the cheap knock-offs!

However, I need them to wear under fancy dresses and the like to smooth out what I will call my “life lines”: the extra bits of me that have grown from experiences like birthing too many children and eating too many Lays Dill Pickle Chips.  Yep, that’s right. I paid good money to strategically stuff pieces of me into the largest pair of undies you’ve ever seen.   A pretty picture?  Maybe.

Yes, I could just sport a lovely muumuu to the family wedding but if it is a choice between grandma’s outerwear and grandma’s underwear I’d rather hide this necessary evil and pretend my weight issues away.  The muumuu is a dead giveaway that I have been eating like a cow. (I realize this blog is too, but so few people read it.)

So, the big day arrives.  I’m prepping for my debut as a 10-pound-lighter-looking goddess in the bathroom of the Holiday Inn because I know there will be no end of photography on this occasion.  I’m showered, shaved, newly coiffed, and ready to go out into the world until I try on my undergarments. And they suck.

Ladies, it is no small feat to get into these things, let me tell you.  It is no spa treatment.  I could pay the same cash for a lovely pedi and be much less aware of my shortcomings.  Because, after squeezing my parts into the proper places with several grunts of dismay, I stood in front of the mirror and realized one simple thing.

I am NOT 10 pounds lighter.

I am merely bound by the modern equivalent of the corset and my lack of self-discipline.

Spanx are a merely a Band-Aid solution.  Sure, they work wonders to conceal my flaws for a few hours but nothing has really changed.  It’s all a façade.

As many of you know, I have struggled for sometime to maintain a healthy lifestyle  but it is so much easier to stuff it than to actually make changes.  I am weak and my resolutions fail and I continue to find myself in front of the mirror, confronting the truth.

And the fact that Spanx  (and wannabe Spanx) fly off the shelves indicates to me that I may not be alone in this battle against the bulge.  C’mon friends, surely I’m not the only muffin-topper out there that needs some encouragement!

How can we come together to create a prettier picture that embraces health and wellness in all its forms – including our bodies? How can we get beyond the lies we tell ourselves and really find some freedom?

Maybe if we all rally together we can help each other confront the truths about this deeply spiritual issue. Is it possible?

Is it time for a support group instead of support panties?  I’d like to think so.  Let me know if you are in.

Check out this group resource: http://madetocrave.org/

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Reflection

Confessions of a Selfish Mom

“I wanna do what I wanna do.”

This is my 2-year-old’s newest chant.  My heart chimes in with an amen, I hear ya, little man every time it is uttered.  And I wonder if that makes me a selfish mom.

Like many moms, I know I need to look after myself but so much of my time and energy is poured out into my husband, my kids, my home, and my work that I don’t know how to juggle it all. I often struggle with the guilt associated with taking “me-time” and making decisions to meet my personal needs.  I often feel that I am not fulfilling my motherly duties if I take time away from the kids so I tend to neglect myself under the guise of caring for others.

I’m convinced that there is a spectrum that lies between

selflessness ______________________&___________________selfishness

and I’m really not sure how to pin point the golden mean.  In this case, Aristotle’s virtue between the two extremes is a little vague for my liking.

I know that we must take care of ourselves as moms in order to be able to take care of our families but the litany of items that “ought” to be addressed in my life under “self-care” constitute a full-time job and I already have at least one of those.  How can I stay spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically healthy and have time for anyone else?

Every mom knows that the job is draining; everyone wants a piece of you but there are not enough pieces to go around. So we can’t keep running on empty and expect to carry on without deficiencies in one area or another.  I know that taking time to care for myself is necessary in order to be any good to those who depend on me but trying to discern the practical parameters of my self-care is really tricky.  Perhaps, I am lacking wisdom and should ask for it…so, wise ones out there in cyberspace, what say you?

Currently, I try to take one night of the week and break from my motherly duties.  I try to be as consistent as possible to keep our family routine intact so that the kids can expect it. This seems reasonable enough but it is the daily disciplines that seem to be so elusive.  I have trouble finding moments throughout my day to refresh.  And even if I should miraculously find a spare 10 minutes, I don’t always use these precious few breaths well.

So, I guess what I am really asking is, at what point does self-care descend into selfishness? I know we invest so much of ourselves in this holy calling known as motherhood but is it okay that sometimes I just wanna do what I wanna do?

Rant, Reflection

I Can’t Do It and Neither Can You

So that resolve thing?  Yeah, it’s not working.

I keep trying to do things on my own and my resolve lacks results.

So, here’s what I am learning.  No amount of doing on my part is going to help.  This is a difficult realization for me to admit.  You see, I’m a doer and a doer that can’t do anything is a force to be reckoned with.  Just ask my husband.  I don’t like to wait;  I want to take action.  I want to develop a plan and implement it.  But manipulation of the externals rarely succeeds in bringing about internal change.  And therein lies the problem.

This frustration is at the heart of Christian experience, right? The Apostle Paul got it.  It has to be God doing the work because we’ve got nothing.  No amount of wishful thinking or good intentions is going to accomplish the work He has started.  Only He can do that.  And so we wait on Him.  Argh.

I’m just trying to figure out how to live in that holy dependency.  Seriously, how do we practically depend on God for strength?  (And don’t comment in Christianese; “let go and let God” just doesn’t deal with this very real struggle honestly enough for me.)  I know that trying to “figure out” the mysterious movement of God is a bit of a fool’s errand.  But I’ve got to do something!

Often, I feel like there is little point in trying at all:  what I want to do I don’t do; but, what I don’t want to do, I do. Yeah, I get that, Paul.  For all those areas that need discipline in my life, I am at His mercy. Somewhere between grace and application a balance can be found – not that I’ve found it, I just choose to believe in that hope.

But how do we allow God to work in us to break us free of these chains?  I have to believe it is possible and that I’m just a work in progress with a long way to go to completion.

I suppose I should feel it is freeing to know that this work is not up to me.  Somehow, that’s not where I’m at and I want to be able to accept that I can’t do it.  And I want that to be okay.

Looking for some wisdom?  Can you supply it?

Uncategorized

The Top Ten Reasons to Love Gwyneth

So, my baby girl just turned 10 and I thought it was the perfect time for a top 10 list.  The last time I wrote about her was when she was two.  A tribute is long overdue!

If you love Gwyneth, feel free to add your thoughts to the comments below!

I love Gwyneth for…

10. Her vibrant smile and freckled nose (and red hair, of course)!

9. Her delight over a good book.

8. Her willingness to try new things, especially foods.

7. Her creative script-writing, song-writing and flair for story-telling.

6. Her contagious laughter and silliness.

5. Her thoughtful gestures and kindness to others.

4. Her ability to animate any anecdote.

3. Her integrity and commitment to what is right.

2. Her sincerity when speaking to and about others.

1. Her strength of character and her authenticity.

Me and my girl
Me and my girl

Happy Birthday, G-Jane!  I love you to the moon and back.

Reflection

What to do When you Hit the Wall

Stone-walling. That’s the recurring tactic of my son, Wes. When something is bothering him, he withdraws and shuts down. Completely. It’s a rather disturbing version of the silent treatment, though often with tears. Despite my constant cajoling for him to “use his words”, this little man has trouble articulating what is wrong and this big mama has trouble penetrating the silence. Frustrating combo.

You may have read about our sharing journals in my other post. Just last night, Wesley wrote “snuggle me pleeeeese, mom!” (large enough to fill a page) and drew a page full of tears to accentuate the need he was feeling. He ripped the pages out of his journal, snuck out of bed to sit on the stairs, and passed them to his father (who found him there) to give to me.

Insert teary eyes and a quick leap from the chair to his rescue here.

We headed to my bed for some Snuggle Therapy and, once we had a few laughs, his sadness had dissipated significantly and he fell asleep feeling loved.

Thank God.

All’s well that ends well. Or is it?

He is the kid who says ” you never listen to me” but he really means that I don’t understand him. And, the truth is, I don’t. But I want to. So, like most moms, I struggle to find ways to access his personality and understand his needs; but, it is a perplexing task to say the least. And it is so easy to feel defeated.

Intense, withdrawn, cerebral, compassionate, sneaky, tender-hearted, active, funny, introverted and slightly melancholy – that’s my Wesley. He fluctuates between moments of sincere concern and patience with his siblings and flat-out punches to the face. Always retreating and hiding to cope with his guilt (like most humans). He is amazingly complex and, seemingly, so out of reach?

On days that I seem to be a particular failure as his mom, I have to remind myself that I am the mom God wanted him to have. This combo was meant to be! Oh, boy! That means that I am what he needs, or at least I can learn to be, right?

So, here’s what I’m learning about hitting the wall, Wesley-style:

1. Snuggle first, talk later. Physical affection breaks through that tough exterior like nothing else. In this case, a hug is worth a thousand words.

2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If I can give him my undivided attention as often as possible in any given day, I will minimize the risk of intense outbursts; or, at the very least, lessen their severity and duration.

3. Understand the reasons, but don’t make them excuses. A lack of sleep, a sugary diet, a tough day, or an overload of people will all trigger Wes’s emotional upheaval. If I know that one (or any combination) of these factors is at play, I can chalk his difficulties up to the source and address the root of the problem as part of the solution.

4. Don’t give up. It is so important that I work through the discouragement of misunderstanding and keep trying to “get” my kid. It would be so easy some days just to default to Daddy, but that’s a bit of a cop-out. He needs to know that I will keep trying, despite the difficulties and that Jason and I are both in his corner.

5. Embrace the morning. The fact that each new day presents an opportunity to do something differently is such a gift of grace. What happened today does not have to determine tomorrow’s agenda. As Anne of Green Gables would say, “tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it.” Together, Wesley and I are learning this truth.

Photo

That’s my boy, on our breakfast date. The morning after.

Ah yes. New mercies.

Do you have a Wesley in your clan? What do you do when you hit the wall?

Rant

If it’s not one kid it’s your mother!

So I am currently home taking my sixth sick day of the school year and it’s not even the end of November!  The trouble is, I haven’t even been sick yet!

(The truth is, I’m actually at home for another sick day because of dental surgery and it is February 14th, but it seems I neglected to post this blog before Christmas.  Can’t imagine why I didn’t have the time then!)

It seems that the Covey clan is getting hit hard this fall with every communicable disease going.  From colds, to lice, to flus, to pink eye – if it is out there, someone in our house has had it since September. And it never fails:  we don’t get it at the same time, the virus staggers its way through our family and turns a 24-hour bug into a week-long saga.

I’m sure there are many factors that have contributed to this current dilemma in our house, not the least of which is the fact that I have young children who do not use discretion about appropriate places to stick fingers and frequently rub eyes, pick noses, and chew on fingernails!

Yes, I have taught them about germs and proper hand-washing but they seem to be willing to risk it when mom is not looking.  The thought process is something like this: this one time won’t matter, what mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her  or it’s not going to happen to me. (Come to think of it, that sounds like a teenage mentality!)

Alas, no matter how often I disinfect, we are at a stage in life that seems to be characterized by illness (or perhaps, antibody development if you are a “glass-half-full” kind of person).

I have a bit of a unique (and wonderful) daycare arrangement for my kids.  For the most part, my mom is their Nanny.  It is win-win-win:  I know they are loved and safe, mom has a source of income, and the kids have their grandmother as an important part of their lives.

I must say that it is very comforting going to work each day knowing that they are in the care of family and able to play with their beloved toys and nap in their own beds.  It also means that I do not have to have all four ready to go in the morning by 7:30am when my husband or I have to leave for work.  And, as many of you moms know (especially those who have to drop your kids off somewhere in the morning before work) the morning routine can be a nightmare so this is a bonus that I do not take for granted.

But, I have run into a glitch in my splendid plan:  illness. What do I do when that wrench gets tossed in? How do I juggle my obligations? And what do I do when Nanny is sick: take a sick day to cover her shift? (I did.  That’s why I’m home blogging instead of working!)

Truly, if it’s not my kid, it’s my mother!

If I actually calculate the number of days in total that at least one person in our family has been “under the weather” it is a least triple the time I have taken off (I think we are at least 20 days now).  Jason has also been unwell and has taken his share of sick days to care for himself and the kids but even with the two of us the burden can be overwhelming.

How are working parents doing this? One friend assured me that it does get better as the kids get older (they are sick less often, for a lesser amount of time, and are able to care more for themselves) but in the meantime it is really hard.

When I am not at work, I have a guilty conscience and I feel I am being irresponsible, even when circumstances are out of my control.  I am learning from Andy Stanley’s book, Choosing to Cheat, that parents often have the wrong perspective on that.  I am trying to remind myself that my primary responsibility is my family and that not caring for them in their illness is actually the true irresponsibility.  I can tell myself that 1000 times but it doesn’t negate the very real pressure on working moms (and dads) when it comes to this issue.

I wish I could be more like my husband who is far less swayed by the opinions of others and is content to do what is necessary, in spite of how it may be perceived in his workplace.  I am learning a lot from him about not getting caught up in the “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” of people pleasing and false guilt.  He’s good for me (more on that in another post).

I would be interested in hearing about other working moms and how they handle the disruption that illness brings to their schedules.  I am learning to expect the unexpected but I still need practical help with how to manage it.  Can you identify with the struggle to care for little ones at home and the demands of your career? Do you have any tips or sage advice that you would be willing to share?

Note:  Since January, I have enlisted the support of another excellent in-home daycare provider and that has helped alleviate some of the pressure!  Options and backup plans seem to dispel some of the worry associated with the inevitable changes in plan that characterize parenthood.

Practical Idea

A Little Idea to Share

If you have been following my blog at all, you’ll know that I have 4 children under the age of 10. As you can imagine, it is tricky to provide undivided attention to each of them in the amounts they might desire. I was concerned because of the frequency of the situations that arose where one of the older kids had something they urgently wanted to tell me or ask me but I wasn’t able to listen at that particular moment. Of course, this bothered me because I wanted to be sure to keep the lines of communication open and not have my kids feel like what they wanted to share was unimportant. So, I thought I’d try to put a new idea into motion.

A few other moms have asked about it so I thought I should share it with you:

Purchase a simple journal and present it as a gift to your child with the idea that it can be a place for ongoing sharing. Essentially, my child is free to write in it at any time though they usually write at bedtime, if I am out of the house, or if I’m not available for conversation and they have a pressing concern or idea. They can include anything that they want to share with me, and write as much or as little as they wish. Then, they leave the journal on my pillow. I find that I read them just before bed and then, after writing an appropriate response, I place them on their bedside tables where they will see them in the morning.

This little system provides an opportunity to be involved in one another’s lives in a variety of ways, most of which are very light-hearted and fun. In particular, though, I am finding that it is also a great place for kids to ask a difficult questions, to share a hurt or an apology, or generally to communicate things that are hard to say out loud. It is amazing what they will write but not say and, as their mama, I want to know what is occupying their little hearts and minds. Usually it is in the form, “Dear Mama, …” but not always. Sometimes I write little comments in the body of their letter if it makes more sense to do so. Sometimes the kids will enhance the comment or letter with drawings or doodles.

Inside the front cover, I wrote a list of possible items to include in the journal to make it clear how broad its applications could be and here it is:

  • a thought
  • a verse
  • a worry
  • a joke
  • a question
  • an idea
  • a quote
  • a suggestion
  • an apology
  • an update
  • a memory
  • a reminder
  • an encouragement
  • a need
  • a request
  • an anecdote
  • a hurt
  • a promise
  • a drawing
  • Any other thing you want to share with your mama!

So far, it has been used regularly (practically every day) and it is really helping to make us all feel that much more connected. I have encouraged them to write things in there particularly when there are times that I cannot give them my full attention but they are concerned about forgetting something important. I try to do the same for them. It has now become a wonderful part of my nightly routine to read their thoughts and to respond to them.

Certainly not rocket science, but it has been rewarding to share in this simple way and I’m hoping it will be something we can continue to do. Perhaps, because we have developed this communication habit, it will even work in the teen years! Too optimistic?

And (insert shameless English teacher plug here) it is an excellent way to promote and develop literacy skills!

Currently, I am using it with my 10-year-old girl, Gwyneth, and my 8-year-old boy, Wesley. I have a few friends that have recently tried it with their children that are around the same age. Just the other night, though, my 4-year-old, Edmund, asked his Daddy to help him write an “I love you” message in Wesley’s journal while I was out so it seems I may have to get him started as well!

Let me know how it goes if you decide to try it with your child(ren). I’d love feedback and ideas about how to modify it for different ages, stages and/or purposes!

Rant

Consider the Big Picture: The Saturday Night Rant of a Public High School Teacher

“It doesn’t matter if you love teachers or you hate teachers. It doesn’t matter if you don’t care about teachers at all. What everyone should be concerned about is the government and their new tactic of “convenience laws” that violate pre-existing laws. The government has targeted a specific group of people and are rallying hatred towards them while they enacted legislation that violates pre-existing human and legal rights. *THAT* is what this is about. *THAT* is the whole problem. If you take away all the ‘he said’ ‘she said’ and whom is involved, and any of the side issues (nobody cared whether extras were happening until they weren’t anyway) then you boil it all down to the above statement. And no, it doesn’t matter that they said they’re repealing the law. They’ve used it. It’s too late. Now, whenever people refuse to something the government wants, they will enact legislation that tramples those people’s rights in order to make them do what was wanted; and once the people do it, the government will repeal the law, thus saving themselves from any responsibility or legal challenge. That is simply terrifying. I guess if I wondered what it was like to live with a dictatorship that the general public tacitly approved of…I now know. “ Ken Cory,  a comment from a reader on CTVNews.ca

This comment helps to explain why it is so important for teachers to fight what is happening with our government.  We cannot, in good conscience, allow dictatorial strategies to have a foothold in Canadian government.   What kind of precedent would that set?  This labour crisis is highlighting a scary reality that we need to acknowledge and address.

Unfortunately, because we work with children, it is impossible not to have families affected by this direct attack by the provincial government.  It is appalling to me the lack of respect being voiced for educators that is primarily based in personal inconvenience.  Does the public forget that most teachers are also parents that pay taxes and have their children in the school system, too?  Our kids are affected by the same things that all parents are facing but we feel it is a necessary battle so we keep fighting.  Teachers’ families are directly affected by this crisis even more than the average Canadian family because the education sector is the target of the bullying, in many cases from the government and the public.

So many people are cursing teachers instead of becoming informed about the real issues and seeing this problem in light of the big picture.  The caustic accusations that are being hurled are not helping anyone come to a solution. Becoming an active participant in the bullying only perpetuates ignorance and cruelty.  The unlawful action on the part of our government  is something that stands to affect the very democratic foundations of our country and consequently the lives of ALL Canadians.  Shouldn’t we all be outraged?

Because teachers are not interested in breaking the law and wish to make ethical and respectful decisions, we have been put in a very difficult situation this year.  We have little legal recourse to protest this injustice because of the imposed working conditions under this “convenience law”.  We are only able to make a political statement by removing the voluntary and extra-curricular activities if we wish to abide by the Education Act and to continue to perform our official duties.  We fully intend to do our jobs and continue to provide quality education in a safe and caring learning environment.

Teachers love to facilitate all sorts of opportunities for students that go above and beyond our job description and that is precisely why they have been offered for years without any remuneration.  But the government’s recent tactics have totally decimated all of the goodwill that existed and have consequently created this terrible mess in education.  And if the only leverage we have is to cut out the extras for a period of time, then we have to do it.  Believe me, no teacher is enjoying being in the midst of this crisis, it is incredibly stressful and difficult.  However,  I would rather have my kids miss a few trips, concerts, or tournaments than have them grow up in a dictatorship, wouldn’t you?

Students can and do get all sorts of extra-curriculars through organizations outside of the schools.  If you want to see a certain club or activity continue at your local school, consider offering your time to volunteer to keep it running in the midst of this political uncertainty.  All children in the public education system are still getting their education; their learning is not what is at stake, their future is.  I need to fight this injustice for the sake of my kids and your kids, too.

Although Broten calls it a “collective agreement”, that is not at all what we have in place – nothing has been agreed upon collectively. We have dictated working conditions (that have not even been communicated clearly to us) and a government that is totally unwilling to compromise.   The Ontario Labour Relations Act has not been followed by the government because Bill 115 allows them to override it.  Essentially, they don’t have to play by the same rules.  Apparently, the rights of education workers are not as important as the rights of government officials.

Despite the misinformation that has been circulating in the media, the truth is that there has been no willingness on the government’s side to engage in civilized discussions to try to negotiate something reasonable.  OSSTF and ETFO’s attempts to have those conversations have been shut down.  Instead, the government is wielding unprecedented power to disregard previously existing legislation in order to control a large group of people.  This is simply not okay.  It is ridiculous that the government can approach the Ontario Labour Relations Board to rule against teachers having a political day of protest but they are not accountable to that Board and the Act it upholds at all.  Why not?  That is a question all Canadians should be asking.

This fight is NOT about wage freezes or sick days at all; teachers are more than willing to acknowledge the need for austerity measures and to make concessions in light of the current economic situation; but, we want to have a voice in how that is done rather than having it shoved down our throats.  So would you.  There are so many cost-saving options that those working in education could suggest because we know the system but we are not being given any opportunity to work together towards a better solution.  If we really need to save money, we should be looking at efficient and intelligent solutions that don’t attack and destroy the morale of those in the front lines.  The government has severely miscalculated the impact of their bulldozer approach and will spend many years having to make amends for that stupidity.

If you are a Canadian, you need to be aware of what is happening because, if teachers give up or, God forbid,  lose this fight, you could be part of the next group that is targeted.   This is a fight against the misuse of power by those in positions of authority in the Ontario government.

Instead of complaining and criticizing, why don’t you try standing with educators in their fight to preserve democracy?  I know I’d sure appreciate it.

Reflection

You Can Lead this Horse to Water…

So, I wrote a blog in the summer about my absolute resolution to lose weight.  I also put a plan in place to do this and called it my Healthy Temple Manifesto.

Interestingly, it was another reflection in my window that revealed what a terrible failure I have been at keeping these promises to myself.

It is so discouraging to see how little self-control I have.  I feel like I succumb to any or all justifications for indulging:  stress, comfort, entertainment, joy, celebration, proximity, you name it and I’ll eat to that! And now it is the holidays – potentially the hardest of all seasons to weather when you struggle with eating!  Sugar cookies, anyone?  An edible treat made solely of sugar, flour, and butter can be delicious, but not nutritious. As it turns out, you can lead this horse to water but she might only drink it after eating an appetizer or two.

My son asked me the other night, “how much weight have you lost?”  He notices my stones (which are now reunited in the original jar –  looking rather forlorn, I must say). In a way, I appreciate the accountability he offers me; however, no one really likes that kind of reality check any more than a post-Christmas Visa bill, do they? Sadly, I had to tell him that the weight I lost has been found again.  Somehow it has returned to its owner.  And although there may be many reasons (or justifications), there are no excuses.

This is discouraging to say the least; actually, it’s embarrassing.

I need to go back and read  follow my own advice.  I don’t really need a New Year’s Resolution (I’ve got my fair share of old ones);  I need a new year of resolve.

Anybody with me?