CC's graduation

CC's graduation
2nd in our class to graduate

Monday, October 25, 2010

Take'n fashion cues from... Dad?

Yes.  My Father was quite the fashionista.  Actually a slave to fashion.  If I think upon his extensive wardrobe and the elaborate hygiene rituals, I am amazed that the man had enough time for his Family, collecting random things that amounted to a lot of what no one really cared about and of course his time hunting things down on ebay.

When I think about his person, I envision cuff links that were to die for, watches that he had furiously searched for, ties that he hoarded like there was no tomorrow, suits he had made for him personally (he looked like an Easter egg one year.. with the help of a personal shopper from Nordstrom), belts for any size, the latest glasses and of course shoes.  Ahhhh... the shoes.  His collection of shoes was actually an obsession.  It went beyond obsession.  He had shoes in multiple sizes and colors and textures.  When he died I believe the count hovered somewhere around 120 pairs of men's shoes.  All expensive shoes.  Never would he have dreamed of going somewhere like Target to look for accessories, let alone shoes.  My mom ended up giving them away as she did with most of his clothing.

It took my mom quite some time to give away all of his clothing, but she did so at her own pace and slowly claimed his closet as her own for her craft projects which she so enjoyed.

A few years ago, my dad was into TOTAL MATCHY, MATCHY - he had several shirts that matched his shoes exactly.  He was super into stripes at that time... he would wear jeans and shoes that coordinated with the shirts to the T.  I could look at him and think, "at least he's coordinated"!   Please note, when I said several... I meant several - different colors, etc.    

His personal hygiene was one that I'll never forget.  Long showers, a system of drying off that was a loved routine, he shaved EVERY day, when I see him, I often envision his head turned with a face full of shaving cream responding to your question as we would contemplate the day.  He would get hair cuts frequently and used sun in on a regular basis.

He took better care of himself than most women I know.  I don't know how he did it, but he remained on the cutting edge with his fashion, whether it was his own or the actual latest fashion.

I think he would be proud of me.  I think he would be the last person to ever let me touch his hair.  He was a good looking guy.  When he died, the few things I got from him were one of his car t-shirts that still smelled like him and cuff links.  Some ties went to Ryan and I'll make sure that the boys get in on that when it's appropriate.

Mom made stars for us at Christmas time (he died in early summer) out of some of his clothing, which I think was therapy for her and a blessing for us - we can incorporate this into our Christmas time.  

When I look back, I appreciate his style, his meticulous way of taking care of himself, his passion for a good deal on clothing and his execution and attention to detail.  I love my Dad and miss him.  This is just one of the things that when I close my eyes I think about.

His birthday was last week.  He would have been 60.  There would have been fireworks.  He's been gone for just over 5 years.  What a happy memory he passed along.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maintenance: How do you fit it all in?

I just posted the Evolution of Beauty by Dove in the blog right before this one, if you didn't catch it, here is the link:

As I've plunged myself into a life of great personal maintenance, I honestly struggle with keeping up with it all.  Time vs. family vs. household vs. work vs. time with Jesus vs. all the pressures of a woman's life...  

So, if I were the "properly maintained modern woman" I should at minimum:

Wax (or sugar) my brows (at minimum) and other places at least twice a month.

Foil every 4-6 weeks (and/or some kind of color treatment)

Hair cuts 6-8 weeks

Conditioning treatment 1x per month

Nails at least 1x per week depending on what you have done (manicure vs. artificial nails 2x per mo) - don't forget fingers AND toes (I do mine at home)

Facials every 3-6 months

A facial mask 1x per week

Shower - with a good shave if not waxed (I shampoo about twice a week)
Your skin care routine - morning and night (which consists with at least a cleanser, serum, eye cream and moisturizer)

Makeup application (don't get me started on how many steps this consists of for me)

Great blow dry and flat iron for your hair

Choosing the appropriate clothing for the right occasion (running kids to school, grocery shopping, work, church, play groups).

Touch up your nails if they've started to flake (mine are going at a rate of every three days) and the WAIT time to let them dry.

I think that's about it.  If I am missing something - let me know!  I did cover the shower part, right?

Of course there are many more things I could add to this list... but this is the minimum that is the generally expected of the average woman in our culture...

We are not even going to go into product... as you know I could go on for hours about serums for hair and face, lotions and sunscreens - body and face, primers for your foundation... ok, I'll stop, but you get my point.

How do you fit all of that into your time?  How well do you maintain a balance between what is relevant and needed for your basic beauty routine - and feel free to pick and choose what you do.  How do you keep up? Well, I'll be honest - as I've plunged headlong into the beauty industry, beyond just working a make up line, but hair, nails, waxing.  The pressure to maintain it all is ON!  How do I keep up?  How do I get it all done and balance putting myself in front of my my family and household duties - let alone time with Jesus and some reading to challenge my mind vs. what my industry now requires?  How do I not become consumed with the way I look and myself, yet maintain a standard for the line of work I've chosen?

In CAD (Condinued artist development - Mod 2), we did a million manicures in about 2 weeks on each other.  It was crazy, it was fun and educational.  As a result, I've noticed my nails are growing like crazy, longer and stronger than before.  So, I decided that I would start painting them on a regular basis.  Logan (and Damon) have been oddly curious with my new beauty routine for my fingers.  I painted my nails last night after the boys were asleep - because they've got to dry and I can't manage a two year old, open bottle of nail polish and wet finger nails, right?  This morning Logan DID notice that my nails were a different color and he took each finger and smelled them.  It was totally hilarious.  I know that painting fingernails might be a minor thing, but if you look at my "proposed" beauty routine - it adds another 2 hours to my week that is already jammed packed.

At what point do you stop, slow down or remove parts of your beauty routine to maintain your life?  I know this won't be popular among many in my circle, but it's a real question I've got to ask myself... how to maintain and keep all the balls in the air.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on your routine and how you fit it all in...

The Evolution Of Beauty

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1st week on the floor!

Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew: it's been a long week!

Our first day on the floor was Tuesday and I didn't expect to be so busy.  My first guests were people that I did not know and I think that was for the best.  I could be myself and like I've been told for weeks: be a duck.  Smooth on the top and feet scrambling under water.  Well, that's what happened.  I've found that it is a little tricky to find a balance between having your guest wait a really long time when you are waiting in line for a check from your educator, my education and my guest's satisfaction.  I'm trying to strike a balance.  I have not found it yet, but hopefully through out the next several weeks I will.

So... saturday was the end of week 19 and the last day of my first week on the floor.  I get a guest with long... and I mean long hair.  Not only was it long, it was tangled like I've never seen before!  AND it was 6pm.  As a Mod 2 student, we are given 1.5 hours to complete a hair cut.  At 6pm, I've got to finish up with my guest and start cleaning up so every one can get outta there at 7pm.  I just kept thinking... how is this going to happen?  It took me around 15 minutes just to untangle her hair!  I ended up giving her a decent cut, my educator cut bangs that looked great and gave her just want she wanted.  I booked her an appointment for next week - just to make sure those bangs are working for her, the right length, etc. and made an appointment 8 weeks out, just before the holidays to ensure that she was able to get a new cut right before the holidays.  She also went home with some detangling spray for sure!  This is a prime example of how you can make it right with a guest, even when you are cutting it short on time.  Thanks to my instructor Bianca who cut section 3 with perfection and helped me send home a happy guest!  I stayed late, but ended my first week with much success!

Here's to a successful week 2 on the floor!

Friday, September 17, 2010

We're moving! Caution: make no assumptions until you read my blog:)

Not me and my family, but my class.  Yes, tomorrow will mark a big day for me and my classmates.  We are moving from the annex building to the main building and most importantly the clinic floor.  It's been 4 1/2 months, 18 weeks and just about 500 hours and now we're ready to take on the world by storm... at least a little.  Some of us are wracked with fear and have no idea how to handle the pressure of what, as of tonight is pretty unknown for us.  Some of us are ready to jump in, but really have no request guests to speak of!  One gal in our class has 15 requests on the books and she has no idea how she's gonna do it!  We are as a class of about 10... all over the board.

Movie Contest: Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys

As I reflect back, time has flown by.  Six months ago, I had no idea that I would be in school full time, let alone, know how to cut a woman's and man's hair cut, give a scalp massage, color, perm, highlight - and didn't know what a relaxer even was... but I now know how to do them!  In the past week alone, we've learned corrective color and passed the final, manicures and pedicure practical and written finals.

I wonder, where will I eat lunch... the break room is awfully small.  Will we have time to chat and learn new things?  Is our foundational education over?  We've got 8 months left - I've learned so much in 4 1/5 - I cannot imagine what the next 8 holds.

We've been told, "wait until your on  the floor" and "we'll let you know when you need to know" and "just wait for now" - tomorrow is the day they "let us know" - we'll get our new lockers, assignments and expectations.

This move feels like a graduation of sorts - we've met the requirements, we've made the grades and had the attendance to warrant moving onto the clinic floor... Tomorrow's moving day... gotta pack!

Good-bye for now annex - I'll be back for State Board Prep!  See ya working on the floor Tuesday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

mama loves babies

Today is my day off. I always try to prioritize my precious time, with so many things pulling me in different directions. Finals are this coming week, I have clothes that don't fit the boys that I need to get in order and some potential grocery shopping to do.And yes, I plan on getting us all to church on time tonight.

Yesterday was a tough day for Logan, he asked for me when I wasn't here, he had to get up early, pulled from bed to take me to school early in the morning. Talk about Mama guilt. I promised him we would get the whole day together today. Well, as you can see... we are together, he just happeneds to be sleeping. Maybe we'll get a walk in later.

My days off never quite turn out as expected, but I am sure glad to have my little snuggle bug right next to me for now. What a perfect relaxing afternoon!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

mediocrity no more.

A couple of weeks ago another student at school commented to me that I seem extra focused on getting things right.  I confirmed that yes, that perception would be accurate.  She didn't understand why that would be important to me.  I was compelled to explain to her that there were few things I feel I have done really, really well in life - besides my children.  This is my chance to take a fantastic opportunity and turn things around and do well.  Mediocrity is no longer an option.

I have taken steps to ensure my success in the classroom - just little things that I believe that have given me an advantage.  A couple of weeks ago, I realized I was super aggravated and had a head ache - I was in front of a huge fan that was drying out the moist products I needed to accurately and efficiently do my work and I was next to the music - blaring acdc.  There was also a lot of idle chit chat, which was slowing the rate at which work was being achieved for the entire classroom.  I must say, it did take me all afternoon to figure out that those were key factors that were not working! I have since moved across the classroom, my concentration level has been honed and my work has increased in efficiency and accuracy by 100 fold.

Front of Spiral Perm for Hair 6" or Longer

Some times these new practicals take hours to complete and you've just gotta commit yourself to the project at hand, not knowing exactly how long you'll be wrapping, spraying, twisting and picking!

Everything has gotten in my way to be able to go to school at Gene Juarez - since I was in high school, when I first started looking at going to school there.  I think it was initially that I was scared, then it was that yes, indeed I was scared - scared of failing.  Then, again - I am scared of failure.  Thus, I am finally going to school.  Sometimes at the beginning of school, I would look back over my shoulder and whimper a little to myself, scared of being there.  But, that's over.  I am sacrificing so much right now to be in school, that I have not ever sacrificed before.  I have settled for mediocrity and that is no longer acceptable to me.  I strive for excellence in my work, through head aches, feet aches, itchy skin, prickly people and throbbing arms and fingers.  This is my new life.

 Back of Spiral Perm for Hair 6" or Longer
The perm picks remind me of my grandma

When I finally discovered that it was fear that was holding me back, I gained a new perspective.  It's the end of week 11 - finals for Technical are next week.  I can't believe I've made it this far.  I can't wait to come home next Saturday night - having graduated this module and knowing I was focused, my head was in the game and I came out a winner.  Mediocrity no more. Life's too short.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's school time: come drink the juice kids!

There are surprises that have hit me along the path as I've just finished week 10 at school.  One of them crept up on me during our first six weeks in Design.  I saw one or two people taking energy drink shots, a few more tapping their legs like crazy and thought... ok, good for you, you've found something that works... or not.

Well week 7 rolls around and we all graduate into Technical.  Different educators = different game.  "Ok people - go get your *Rock Stars* - your *Five Hour Energy* or *Red Bull* - we've got some work to do!!! Next day: come with your (see above list) and be here on time!  Next break - go get another one people - hurry it up!

I gotta tell ya.  Energy drinks have not appealed to me and they still don't, but these educators are awfully convincing.  However, I have not seen any behavior out of the students (who's numbers have steadily increased) that have decided to drink the juice preform at excellent levels or increased anything other than perhaps irritation and possibly aggressive behavior.  If anything, it's an interesting side note on watching a group of people migrate toward the same behavior - "everybody's doing it..."

By the way:  I've never had an energy drink and I've even decreased my caffeine intake since I've been in school!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6 weeks went by so quick!

On the eve of my first final.  I am sitting here at... oh my.  12:21am.  I guess  I could say the morning of my first final.. .awk.  It starts in less than 8 hours!  Well, I feel confident.  I feel as though there is nothing that I couldn't have prepped more for given the circumstance and that it will go very well. I think I did a good job in choosing my models and helping out my classmates and I have also prepped myself as much as I can.  I look forward to cutting Kristen's hair b/c I hope she feels beautiful when she is done.  I have already prepped myself for her cut pretty well, so I hope it goes well.  I hope I get enough time to flat iron it... we'll see.  I also look forward to my time with Charlotte tomorrow afternoon.  I think she will be a kick in the pants and make it pretty goofy.  I am excited.  The only thing I do not look forward to is the waiting time after 5pm, where all we do is... wait.  Who passed.  Who didn't.  Do I secretly take bets?  I put big bucks on myself.  It's all good.  Whatever the outcome. It is all good.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

13 months seems like a long time.

Today is "my" last Thursday for the next 13 months!  I am feeling sad, full of anxiety and I hate to say it, but fear. There is so much pressure to get this right, do well and make my friends and family proud, pay off loans quickly and actually be good at the skill in which I will be educated.  Wow.  I feel as a Mom there is even more pressure because I kind of have to justify taking time away from my sweet ones to pursue some thing in which I believe will ultimately make life better for all of us.

We have community group tonight - it's my last night preparing for community group and I just hope and pray I do it well.  It is scary to pass of the responsibility of this ministry and not know if it will quite happen the way I expect it to.

I hope I've done enough prep work to enable whomever would watch the boys all the tools needed to do so.  Logan prefers white food.  I guess that's pretty easy.  Damon... a little more difficult to pin down - things change so quickly with him, I guess it's good that the time he will need to be cared for will be short on my end of things - I don't have much time with him during the summer.  I'm afraid of what I'll miss.  Will it be equal to what I'll gain?  If I don't do it now... when?

So, if I were to list my areas of concern it would be:
- loss of time with the boys
- having to stand on my feet for 10 hours at a time
- Rolling perms for hours on end!
-Not being able to get to necessary Dr. appointments for Damon, that cannot be negotiated.
-The household being thrown off balance, not budgeted, cleaned or well shopped for.
-Meal planning.
-Getting so hopped up on myself that I get arrogant and forget that I need God.
-Looking the part that is expected of a Gene Juarez student (see my picture below and you'll understand my concern).

 I can "what if" all over the place, but it wouldn't matter if it were school or something else... live will still go on and if I don't make a move now... I'll be in the same place 13 months from now that I am now.

I was actually surprised to see how hard it was to get the application and approval process completed.

Ok, so 13 months - I plan on being done by the time Damon is done with 3rd grade!  A race to the end for sure!  A motivation to have all of next summer free to play with the boys!

Here we go: Tuesday, May 18th - a life changing day for sure. I'll keep you posted.

My hair can't ever look like this again (my face either):

Thursday, April 15, 2010

If you love some one, you learn their language.

My sweet friend has a child with CHARGE syndrome.  Don't ask me to explain it, if you want to know - find it on  a web site that will give you some general information.  Part of this syndrome involves being deaf.  Obviously, sign language would be a factor in this little boy's life and ultimately part of the families communication.  Over a short period of time, God gave me a heart for this family and especially my sweet friend.  It occurred to me that if I were to love her, really love her, I would learn their language.  Her life, her needs and the needs of her family.  She also has identical twins.  If I wanted to love her, really love her, I would learn to tell them apart.

In my heart, God slowly taught me that just as a missionary with a heart for a specific people group, would spend years knowing the language and culture of the people they are going to minister to... they would learn their language.  I am now convicted that if I am to love the "people" group that I feel God has called me to, I will learn their language.  I may not do it perfectly, but over time, I will learn.  I will learn to tell the twins apart and I will help them learn to love their brother with the few signs I know and am able to pass along.

God planted seeds in my family long ago.  Damon learned to sign as a small child and had 50 signs he either displayed or understood by age 1.  Logan is two and understands and displays signs as he can articulate.  We aren't pros, but we know a little and are learning more.  If we can learn their language, how much more will we be able to enter into their experience and really, truly love them.

God has given me a gift in my sweet friend, she is not some abstract name I've pulled out of a "needs" or "ministry" web page, but a carefully and strategically placed into my life... just two blocks away who has changed my life and my heart.  May God continue to give me a desire for my friend and her family, even when times get tough (with either of us - lol)!  We're in it for the long haul.  Not just a passing interest of people who have this "issue" that could easily become a side show.  I feel protective.  I'm not about to introduce them to people who have a passive interest, invest nothing and walk away.  But, that too is up to God who is sovereign and knows and deals with "what's up"!

I love my friend and her family and thank God for them every day.  May God continue to bless them and bring people in their lives who will be strategic about their love and care enough to learn their language - not for selfish ambition, but for a deep love of people.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A little Golden Calf outta that pan of brownies.

The voice still rings through my mind, "just carve yourself a little golden calf to bow down to when your cutting up those brownies..." in a woman's southern accent full of sarcasm.  

The woman who's voice I just talked about became a heretic - Gwen Shamblin.  She was a really successful "Christian" dietary theologian.  In the late 90s (I can't believe I just said that), she was the talk of the Christian circles, every one asking have you tried the "Weigh Down Diet" - does your church have the "program"?  Her premise was that we eat only when we are truly hungry and you could eat whatever you wanted.  I listened to her tapes (yes tapes) daily for months. She started isolating people and teaching about God through the enrollment in her program.  Unfortunately her view of God was a little warped.  Apparently you needed to become "pure" before coming to our Holy God and basically following her program would give ultimate submission to Jesus and ensure your eternal Salvation.
This is not true of course.  Come just as you are.  Our sin nature is from birth and God redeems.  

Well, I decided to just become "aware" - it's like when you've been sinning and you didn't know it, but it is revealed to you in some form or fashion... well this is exactly what has happened to me.  My need to loose weight didn't line up with my desire to loose weight.  Wow.  It's been about 7 weeks and I can't believe all that has happened.  I've grown as a person... and lost ground too.  I have been sporting a nasty 'tude for a couple of weeks.  My friend Amy said... maybe your hungry.  No, I'm not, just for some reason, God has me really, really struggling with the flesh - my heart and my mind = seeing the "fruit" but not eating it.

Tonight I am below my caloric goal pretty significantly, but I'm not hungry.  I took a stroll through my kitchen just before I sat down to write, just to "see" if there was anything in there that might interest me and fit into my food "budget". Nothing sounded good except for a few rice chips.

So, I have been approaching my calories this way: I can take out of the bank, only what is there.  I am using the Livestrong  daily plate and it's been an amazing tool.  I plunk in my numbers and track my food - it allows me to "budget" out my calories.  For example, I know I can pretty much drink coffee all day long b/c it's under 10 calories and half and half is only 15!  I think a combination of knowing what's "in the bank" and your nutritional needs and hunger cycles are really the trick - at least for me.  You may have other convictions, but this is what has worked for me.

Today, I stood outside of a QFC, where I had just bought all this fresh produce and smelled *very clearly* Burger King.  I didn't see it coming, but it was there.  I know you know that smell, a grilled burger waving in the wind.  My mind went to... wait I stopped myself because I was fanticizing about a CHEESE BURGER!  I realized that the cost was too high.  It would be sinning if I had driven over the Burger King and ordered that Burger.  I had a certain amount of "calories in the bank" and this would blow them all if I decided to make that decision.  Even as I had walked through QFC I thought, Aren't those cupcakes so cute?  Isn't that so appealing.  I was even standing in the garden, being surrounded by beautiful things.  Through this experience, for the first time I feel like I can relate to a man in regards to many men's struggles with lust.  I lust for food.  Don't get me wrong, but I want to "feel" good by "beautiful" things.  Even though I know that broccoli with a little lemon spritzed on top actually tastes good to me, is easy to prepare and would satisfy me... oh that Burger would have given me what I wanted when I wanted it, but the cost would have destroyed every thing in a matter of minutes and I would have paid for it in my "bank" and my conscience and my belly - AND feel like a hypocrite.  Isn't that similar to the struggle men have?  They can log onto a web site, unzip their pants and be satisfied in a matter of minutes.  All I had to do was drive through a window, pick up my food and open up wide in the privacy of my own car.  Guess what? Tonight... I would just be left wanting more and it would probably be worse and I would then be tempted to just continue to go over my caloric intake with great justification... well, I ate at noon and now it's 11pm so I'm entitled to eat.  Tomorrow would have been easier to justify one more "unhealthy" decision.  On the other hand and on the other side of the store from the Bakery isle... I ran through the pop and candy isle as I had made a wrong move and found myself in the wrong isle... just like Joseph - running from potipher's wife - wrong place.  Wrong time.  All I could see were calories clinging to my body as I eagerly neared the end of that isle.  The people scanning the video of customers must have thought... what the hell is going on there?

Thankfully, I have come into an education where I can, after much research on the foods I like to eat, eat them in small portions and not have the,  "well I really shouldn't..." to - yes I can... in moderation and decide what the actual (caloric) cost to me will be and if I can live with that cost and not over analyze it - thus it becomes an idol, but listen to the sweet voice of our gentle Lord when temptation crosses our path.

Remember, he was tempted too.  Satan offered him food if he would bow down to Satan.  Why would we be exempt from the same temptation?

Weight the cost - educate yourself.  See if you can afford it.  If not... don't.

This is me, all full of myself today: not seeing the temptation that lay ahead.  I made a good choice and by Jesus's sweet voice, I hope to make many more. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Laugh like your in Junior High

Girlfriends are so much fun. But, how often do you really get good girlfriend time in when there is so much going on with children, work, housework, etc. When we typically think of good girlfriend time, you may think of going out for a cosmo... my mommy friends may think of putting on their "nice" pair of jeans and the shinny danskos with a supportive bra with your hair blown dry. Why are the days of heels, full faced makeup with shinny lipstick, push up bras, pretty skirts and wicked hair gone? At least that seems to be the case in my circle (sorry girls... for the most part it's true).

Ok, so I love to play dress up, but that just doesn't happen all too often - especially carrying a 2 year old, up and down stairs and possibly stepping in mud on my way in and out of my car.

So, my version of a fun girls night is just so junior high. "here let me do your makeup" - "ok, I'll let you do my hair" - "let me try that on" AND TAKE PICTURES. When's the last time you've done that with your besties?

If you look closely... you'll see me laughing my ass off (yes it requires me spelling it out instead of the common LMAO, because I truly did). I am so blessed to have a friend that lives close enough for me to bring my case and play makeup for a couple of hours then plan it just right so the husbands could shake their head wondering just what came over their wives, but faithfully took pictures of two women laughing loudly... and most of all - their asses off.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today is indeed a new day!

Today there are big things on the horizon - I've worked days on end to revamp my old web site. I worked late into the night ensuring there are no grammatical errors, unlinked-links... now the exciting part: post to Facebook and see what comes of it... I can check my counts like a crazy woman to see who looks, who becomes a fan, who is interested... but ultimately it will be hitting my clientelle. I wanted everything in tip top shape for all the pre-show blogging for
"The One"
A premier wedding show at the Sole Repair Shop in Seattle, WA on April 18th from 3-6pm. I'll be there in person... yep - you lucky blogging, Facebook and emailing friends will be able to see me up close and personal. I'll be demonstrating crazy... well not so crazy makeup advice as well as some practical tips to get your skin in high gear before the big day.

Check out the new site: - the colors are so lovely and classic - Burnt red, black, white and shades of grey. My featured picture is of one of my favorite brides, Andrea (Ford) Waterbury.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"I really shouldn't...." - Then don't.

"I really shouldn't..." - then why did you?

My dear friend brought this phrase to my attention upon talking about her mother in the context of food right around Christmas time. She would announce this upon eating the last piece of pizza, brownie, cookie. No one cared, but she obviously needed a group stamp of approval, and continued regardless of a response and had a conscience issue about it... why else would she bring it up? It occurred to me upon reflecting and conversing with my friend that this is downright sin. Announcing that you "shouldn't" be doing something you are going to do anyway is sin.

Since then, I've caught myself doing the same thing. Just not announcing my choices to a group of people. Oh, I really shouldn't stop by micky-d's... but I just want a cheeseburger (300 calories + 12 grams of fat) and I'm on the run... it would just be so easy. Oh, I really shouldn't get that grande mocha (aprox. 470 calories +16 grams of fat)... but the green logo at Starbucks is so alluring and the cups feel so good in your hand. In my mind I was being "diet-ish" - you know, when you kind of put yourself on a " mental diet" when you kind of feel guilty about something you think you should feel guilty about, but honestly don't know the cost of that decision. Do you know how many calories you should be eating per day? Do the above numbers register for you? Do you say, oh... that's a lot? I didn't.

Context: In the past several months, God has brought just a messy mess into my life where I struggle after struggle seeing my sin, the effects it has had on my relationship with God, my family, my husband my friends. If your not struggling with your sin... are you walking with God? God showed me that I was not really walking the walk, the walk, the walk with him. I was "playing" church, family, wife, home, but not walking with Jesus. This is all an aside to say that after dealing much muck that I've been convicted on - this is just the latest and the most physically challenging to say the least.

Damon was in the hospital and quite ill for just about 6 weeks from the beginning of January to mid-February. I looked at myself one day and realized I had gained several pounds. The thought of me walking through the hospital cafeteria to get a meal - on a break from the room crosses my mind. 1. It was a break from the small room we were in and 2. I could "feel" good by the plethora of choices available to me - and Children's cafeteria does have good food. Not only was I over eating to "feel good" - I was over spending. I didn't have $10 per meal budgeted! What was I thinking? Oh... but it felt good. I shouldn't have...

Fast forward to me looking at my belly in February. Yep. Rolls. I was on the loosing streak and just bounced myself back to bigger than I had hoped. I hopped on the scale at my friend's house and was disgusted.

I was also drinking at least ONE glass of wine a day, that was just recently, between December and January, I was having at least ONE margarita with a couple of shots of tequila per day. I shouldn't... but I did.

God really convicted me: my body is a temple of God. What the hell was I doing to it? Well, I got introduced to a couple of things in a really random way and I believe that God truly works in random ways with a huge overall plan that none of us can really see until later.

February 20th, I had run to Costco and yes.... I stopped in *of all places* the "health" area of Costco. They were promoting a supplement and I had seen it before, but this time it clicked with me - it was on sale and I thought, heck, I've never tried anything like this before, so I'll give it 2 weeks and just see what happens. As with anything like this they always recommend a healthy diet as well. I thought that was a little funny, but decided to do it anyway.

February 21st - I started the supplement, I started a new skin care routine and I stopped drinking alcohol. I recorded it on my calendar... just to see what happened. Just to see how long I would stick with it. How long I could "go" with out alcohol.

February 22nd - Monday - I started logging my calories on, using the "my plate" program. I quickly learned just how many calories I was taking in - I was super surprised to see that all the foods I thought were healthy... were absolutely not! Wow - another crazy awakening.

Later in the week, I found out I could "log" any exercise I did. That was really funny to me. I don't exercise. I don't like to go outside and I can't afford a gym. One of my last blogs was about how I love my blankie. Well, my sweet neighbor showed up at my house with her three kids and said... I'm in front of your house... we're going for a walk. Logan started standing in front of the door begging for shoes to be put on his feet and just get OUTSIDE! My 8 year old was having a terrible, terrible day with much crying and I insisted we get outside and just take a walk. He cried the first block, until I told him it was a stress reliever and gave him a goal to race to. When we got back to the house, he had stopped crying and said, "Wow, I feel better, it's just what I needed." Me too buddy.

God reinforced just how important these things were. I viewed exercise as dry and boring, but God showed me that 1. I am enjoying my friend on our walks and Logan gets to see his friends 2. Logan gets his heart ministered to by just getting out - he's now insisted on pushing the stroller the last block (you go Logan) and 3. My big boy loves to get out and race me - this week he raced for video game minutes in 5 minute increments... they added up pretty quick. It's not about me anymore, but I am benefiting from it.

I am now becoming more and more aware of what my body needs and realizing how ignorant I was to calories, fat, fiber, sugar intake. I ate an egg the first day, thinking the protein would carry me through the day - or until the next meal, as I was sure I would be hungry. It was an eye opening experience to find out that the ONE egg I had eaten took up all my cholesterol for the day. How many eggs had I been eating prior to my week of revelation? I had also been eating lots of bacon - duh - bacon is not a weight loss solution, however I did not realize it was maxing my body out on sodium! I walked into Starbucks earlier this week and I was HUNGRY. I used the app on my phone to find out how much that low-fat berry thing I like so much was going to cost me... 350 calories. I couldn't do it. The cost was too high. Luckily, Starbucks had nuts for sale...

When I was having the "I really shouldn'ts..." they were there for a reason. I had a responsibility to explore what that was. I knew that McD's was "bad" for me, but I didn't know why or just how bad. I do now. If I can't remember what I've eaten, I take a picture on my phone so I can log it later.

If your questioning, should I? The answer is usually no. Also, if you make a statement like that in a group setting. Please understand that I will shut your trap with a response that goes something like "no, you shouldn't" - that goes for the rest of you. Hold the "mental dieters" to a higher standard so that one day it will occur to them that they will need to shit or get off the pot. In saying all this, I am not making a judgement in WHAT you are eating, WHAT you weigh or "should" weigh, but rather holding you accountable to what seems to be a conscience issue. In saying this I don't want any of you to be worried about being judged about what your putting in your mouth. That's your business... but if you make it mine, I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

Since February 20th,
  • I've lost over 10lbs.
  • Dropped a dress/pant/underwear size. They were having a great sale at Lane Bryant last week and I thought I should probably go check it out... then it occurred to me that nothing in the store would fit! I'm below my pre-wedding weight (over 3 1/2 years ago).
  • I have ENERGY. Crazy Energy. I feel great.
  • I am aware of my behavior.
  • My skin looks better.
  • I have not had a lick of alcohol since February 20th and have not been tempted. I don't believe I had an "alcohol" addiction, it just tasted good. I do plan on having a cosmo for my birthday next week.

Last night, I was hungry. Really hungry for the first time since I started all this. I choose to go over my calorie allowance. I have been so strict for so many weeks now and my progress has really shown. I decided that for one night, it was ok to fulfill that true physical hunger - my conscience was clean and I ate healthy foods. I will live a life of discipline, but not live a legalistic life with false guilt and "I shouldn'ts...".

This isn't necessarily about me loosing weight, but God has woven this into my life as an opportunity to obey him about the things I choose to put in my mouth.

Don't be like me - pre-February 20th: on a mental diet with "I really shouldn'ts..." I love the learning process - about nutrition, but also a new journey of conviction that is ultimately reflecting the glory of God in my life. This is one area that I can share with authenticity to those around me - with physical results. Jesus showed the disciples his scared hands after his resurrection so they would "see" Jesus and know him. I am glad to follow his example and say, "hey, I am living out what Jesus did... let me show you how he's put his mark on my body" - I hope the same for you - inside or out.

"I shouldn't..." By God's grace... I won't.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Web Cams: the solution to all your cross country relationship dilemas

Ok, so we (I) had the *brilliant* idea to get all the family members - who are out of state, web cams for Christmas... in the name of relationship building, of course. Well, we got every one set up before Christmas day so we could all talk on Christmas... because of course it is a high holy day and if we don't talk... well heaven forbid the thought. But, how great it was going to be - not only talking on Christmas, but doing it face to face!

There was all this hype created by myself with much self-promotion only to lead to awkwardness and many malfunctioning web cams across these United States.

First we called Dave (Ryan's Dad). Ahh... Dave came out not fully dressed to see us and greet us for Christmas and watch the boys open their gifts. Ryan was kind (and wise) enough to have him go change. Again. Not what I had envisioned. Granted, we called at about 9am. Dave is in Florida time: a 3 hour time difference. It makes me sad to think that he wasn't even dressed by noon time on Christmas day. Well... we'll call that a 1/2 success because Grandpa got to see the kiddos open gifts and we had sound.

Jon and Carolyn joined us on Christmas day - Jon my only brother (out of five kids) and my best friend Carolyn, who happened to marry my brother. So, the moment was upon us: time to make, well receive the big call. We all piled onto the couch and viewed my other sisters, my mom and her brother and his wife all crouching around the computer in Monica's room (my youngest sister). It was a disaster. We couldn't hear each other. We could only see each other. My brother was pacing - just out of view of the web cam saying, "oh this is so stressful" - "oh I can't stand it" - "oh somebody do something" - we all said hi on someone's speaker phone and called it a day... well Christmas day any how.

Since the sisters (Lisa and Monica) were already with Mom... there was no need to make an additional 2 calls.

My point: even the *best* of intentions wind up with not such a great result. We're still trying to web cam with the fam, but honestly it's been difficult to nail down a time when some one isn't on the road, too tired to "hook up the equipment" or some other excuse.

Now that we have web cam experience under our belt, here is what I've learned:
1. Always hide the crap you don't want others to see behind your couch so you appear to have a cleaner house than once thought.

2. Create great lighting - a friend who shall remain nameless at this point has taken a picture of herself with a web cam and is excited because she thinks it looks like her "goth days" (that were 15 years ago. That is not the look your going for. Trust me. We want to see your pretty face.

3. If you take a picture of yourself with your web came, please make sure you edit it. Again, good lighting makes all the difference.

4. Have a point of conversation before you start. There is nothing more uncomfortable than having a conversation with some one with out having something to say.

5. If you decide to show off your living space and give tours, please make sure you can hold your laptop in a steady position, as to not make the web cam viewer ill.

6. Watch what you say - you never know who is in earshot and who may be listening, just out of earshot.

I will say, it has been great to see my sisters in real life. I have not seen Lisa for almost two years, so to see her animated and alive... well it was great. My how all their hair styles have changed, their expressions, goals and desires - you just don't get that on facebook.

To summarize: The web cams were a disappointment. Like so many other things... I get hyped up about something I believe will be new and exciting that will surely change your life - and that was clearly not the outcome here.

The intent: good. The outcome: not as expected.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Blankie

I love my blankie. Yes. I have a blankie. I sleep with it absolutely every night. Not many people know this. If they catch me with one... it isn't the real blankie because I have it always hidden when people come over or I spend the night some where else. Craziness I know. Who else out there has a blankie? One of the books we read to Logan (2yrs) has a line that says: cozy dozy sleeping space. It shows a little boy all cuddled up with his blankie, bear and ready to get to some cozy dozy sleeping. Love it. That's how I feel. All ready for a nap and totally relaxed. It's better than a glass of wine: it's warmer and softer. Better than an anti-anxiety pill... I'm never anxious under it. Nope - I don't even have a favorite pair of pajamas or pillow or jeans. I have a favorite blankie.

I won't tell you which one... you can keep guessing next time your at my house, but it is my favorite thing in my whole house and the most private thing too. Now, I wouldn't let you see my undies, but I also wouldn't let you see my blankie unless you were in total and absolute security in the "circle of trust" - few of you are. But... oh... how I wish I could bring it out when we talk. I'll stop my lovely from talking just to get situated in my blankie. Is anyone else like this? Does any other adult need their blankie to hold them close and tight to sooth them to bed, to get though a tough conversation, to enjoy a movie more? Dam and I even snug on a very regular basis. I love it when he says... "mom, I need to snug" - ahhh snugging with my boys. Logan isn't much of a snugger, but my Damon boy sure is.

More about the blankie. When choosing a blankie for the maximum comfort you need to consider the following: softness, is it totally snug-able and feels oh-so-good on your skin? moldable: does it mold and cling to your body just right? I've tried out a few and mine is perfect for this. Size. Yes, I've tried to be a minimalist on this, but really... larger... but not too large is better. It needs to go up to your neck and down past your toes so it can totally wrap around them when it is extra cold out. Color... well I can't comment on this b/c then some of you might enter into the circle and be able to spy my blankie secret based upon my description and advice here. I will say this: knowing me... you wouldn't guess this as my blankie of choice. Another note about size: you need to decide if you are going to be sharing this blankie with another person AND if that person is an adult or child. Remember: children grow. What once fit me and a toddler... fits me and an 8 year old very differently... I do need to laugh at this point, for it was truly not part of my consideration when my relationship with my blankie started.

Ok... there is a second blankie. Yes, it is a backup blankie when say, perhaps, a child has spit up or puked on the primary blankie. And... it is the blankie I will most likely cuddle up with in front of people.

Sharing: sorry. I don't share very well. If you are cuddled up with my blankie... I will ask for it, but I will always offer something in it's place. I'm kind of polite like that.

Now, I've come to the point where I must sign off and realize I sound quite a bit like Junie B. Jones, but oh! - I must continue.

Please contact me if you would like additional information on what you should consider before starting a relationship with a blankie BECAUSE... a relationship with a blankie is one that will last a long, long time. Trust me... I have strayed and tried a few, so based on my experience and yes my relationship with my blankie, I feel the above is reliable information for the basis of a blankie-adult relationship. I have different criteria for a child's blankie... a different post all together.