September 25, 2014

random thoughts: is spam a legitimate protein source?

Yesterday, as I was browsing the canned meat section, I actually considered whether my son would like Spam since he generally won't even look at a cut of meat. I read the ingredients: pork and associated byproducts, water, salt, and sugar. Yeah, probably he would. I just couldn't bring myself buy it. I will continue to pretend I have standards.

early riser

Captain Sillypants came creeping into our room at 4:30 this morning and plopped a stuffed animal on my back. I jumped and startled him, causing him to fall onto his bottom in the dark. We told him it was still nighttime, to go back to bed, but he wanted to sleep with us. In our exhaustion we acquiesced. So, every time I started drifting back to sleep I’d get a foot in my back or hear the jingle of his plush puppy. Sigh. I gave up and made coffee at 5:30, and he was up complaining he was hungry at 6:00 (guess who's going to bed early tonight if it's the last thing I do?).

So I dropped him off at school early and treated myself to a breakfast burrito from a gourmet food truck. The end.

September 22, 2014

toddler toothbrushing

As it turns out, I can no longer brush my son's teeth. It is one in a long list of things that I can no longer do for my child and cannot make him do for himself (potty training is another subject altogether). Such is the world of the toddler. Toothbrushing, however, is sort of non-negotiable. It has to be done, even if these are his practice teeth.

I didn't have great brushing habits growing up. In fact, I didn't start brushing twice a day (instead of once) until I was in college. It's embarrassing, and I have the fillings to prove it. My kid is not going to grow up with teeth rotting out of his head if I have anything to say about it.

Try saying that to a two year old who's only interested in brushing his toes, eating the toothpaste, and running into the other room every time I break out the dreaded toothbrush. As far as he's concerned, my son is done when he's chewed on the thing for ten seconds. Until recently, my best tactics were the "tickle brush" when I hold him in my lap and tickle him to laughter with one hand while brushing with the other, and brushing each other's teeth (which led to him using my toothbrush and me getting a case of germophobia).

A couple weeks ago I asked a coworker what worked for her kids and grandchild. She swore by the electric toothbrush -- a $6 novelty that promises to need replacement every few months. A ridiculous indulgence, I told myself, but I tried it anyway.

And you know what? It bloody works! He's so interested in the silly thing that he'll let me brush his teeth again, and for longer than 4 seconds. He wants to turn it on and off, and loves the bit of independence it gives him since I'm not trying to wrestle him into using it. He's just starting to really try and emulate me when I brush at the same time, so I lather him with praise for the bit he does.

And if that fails on occasion, I'm not above giving him sugar-free gum to chew for half an hour. Ahem.

September 16, 2014

"gimme kiss"

This is what my son says to me lately, every time I drop him off at daycare. And he means it -- he'll give me a kiss, then walk away, then turn around saying "gimme kiss" and come back for another one. This will happen 3-4 times before I duck out the door and on to work.

Sigh. I just love that boy.

jesus vs yoga part 2

Everything comes down to love. That is the deepest lesson I can learn as a follower of Jesus, whether it's about my faith or someone else's.

After my first post on jesus vs yoga, a wiser person than me invited me to study Romans 14. The book of Romans was (by most accounts) written by Paul, who was busy trying to wipe out Christians until Jesus intervened and gave him new life. I point this out to underscore the irony of a man who had once been defined completely by religious legalism that later showed how much more important love is.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul urges us to resist judging each other and recognize that each person's walk of faith is unique. My relationship with Jesus looks different than my husband's, my friend's, and anyone else's. Such is the beauty of God and faith. And because of this, I have the responsibility of working out my own faith rather than being overtly concerned about a friend's whose faith may just be weaker than mine. My faith is strong enough that I can, in fact, do yoga exercises without absorbing the tenets of other religions and philosophies that are not in line with biblical theology. They're just poses, after all. While that may look different for someone else, the best thing for me to do is love my friend and, if asked, explain why I'm taking a break from yoga for a while.

Paul uses the analogy of food and drink, which was a far more divisive issue in that day than it is now. But, lest we think he's only talking about food, he then uses the example of how one person considers a day sacred while another considers the whole week sacred. Both do so to honor God, so it doesn't really matter.

If I believe in my heart, after careful prayer and discernment, that I can do yoga exercises without compromising my relationship with Jesus, then I should as long as by doing so I don't hurt someone else's faith journey.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
That second sentence really stood out for me, and I'll be meditating on it more. May your journey of faith bring you closer to Jesus and deeper into love.

September 10, 2014

random thoughts: doing more with less

I was at the gym yesterday, in the zone on the elliptical with my favorite book, when two teenage girls hopped onto the machines next to me. Their giggly girly energy, coupled with the music one of them was playing on a phone, irritated the crap out of me. Then I realized that, being teenagers, they'd likely move on to something else within 45 seconds. I was right. I congratulated myself on sticking to one thing.

For whatever reason, it reminded me that I used to do a lot of things all the time. Now I do just a few things the best I can, and ignore the rest. Call it selective multitasking.

September 8, 2014

jesus vs yoga

I have practiced yoga for about 6 years, though I have been a follower of Jesus for much longer. And now, though I've consciously deleted the Eastern mysticism aspect from my yoga practice, I suddenly find myself at odds with it and am considering another path to wellness.

Yesterday, I went with a friend to an outdoor yoga session, which on this particular day was free and open to the public. My friend is a yoga instructor, and though I don't know her very well I do know that she loves yoga and loves the Lord.

As we waited for the session to begin, we talked about her vision to help young women who've been victims of abuse by teaching directed yoga classes. She admitted a specific fear of moving forward with this, and I started to see the conflict that she may or may not be aware of.

All morning -- before, during, and after the session -- I felt ill at ease with the entire event. From the emcee's "Namaste" greeting (which I replace with God Bless You), to the encouragement of bending my "third eye" to the mat in submission, to the ending relaxation which was organized to look like a gigantic hug in the shape of a heart while we were encouraged to feel the connection with each other and everything else -- I felt the conflict in my heart and asked Jesus for help.

Why was I feeling this now? Maybe it's because my friend shared a great deal of how much she believes in the yoga practice and its associated Eastern philosophies such as chakras, and I knew I was hearing blasphemy. If my friend didn't see the conflict, I certainly did, and it made me very uncomfortable. But I thanked her for the experience and went on with my day. Later, my husband asked me why I didn't enjoy it. I told him "I felt like everyone there were true believers, and I just couldn't drink the punch." Later that day, and this morning, I have been researching this conflict so I can be better informed.

I am praying now for wisdom and discernment, and asking God to reveal the plank in my eye long before I even consider pointing out a speck in my friend's eye, lest I reveal myself as a hypocrite for practicing yoga at all.

The question is, can a person love Jesus and enjoy yoga?

Instructors run the gamut from the spiritually removed to true believers, so influence could be a matter of who I'm learning the practice from. I use the analogy of horoscopes: Reading a horoscope in the newspaper is fairly harmless and far removed from drawing my own astrology charts, but at the end of the day my indulgence in it takes me away from Jesus and toward self-worship by seeking my own answers to life's questions instead of asking Jesus for his guidance. So I don't do it anymore. Why would yoga be any different, especially since its original philosophies, which are still current, are diametrically opposed to biblical teaching?

This is the question I am now asking myself, and the obvious conclusion is that it isn't and I need to make a change.

I admit that it makes me a little sad, but instead of signing up for my regular yoga class at the gym I'm going to try pilates which does not involve any spirituality and includes all of the stretching, strengthening, and concentration that I love so much. There are plenty of other Christians who've turned yoga around as a Christ-centered spiritual practice, and I might check out a DVD to see if it works for me. But since I really want to get out of the house for this kind of exercise, I'll see if pilates scratches the itch without exposing myself to deeper wounds.

September 4, 2014

the coming apocalypse -- or perimenopause and the closing door of fertility

Since my body is no longer compatible with the pill, I started tracking my cycle and have observed that it has shortened to every 3 weeks. Since my recent exam came back normal, I am concluding that this is a symptom of perimenopause -- or as I like to call it, The Coming Apocalypse of My Reproductive System. Ha!
All hilarity aside, this means I suffer from anxiety, sleep disorders, mood swings, and other hormone-related side effects more often -- to my dear family's detriment as well as mine. It could possibly explain my inability to concentrate and remember things too, like grocery shopping and locking my keys in my car (which I did just the other day).
It's making me increasingly frustrated.
Reckogning that perimenopause is a signpost of aging and subsequent infertility is kind of depressing in its own right. Oh yes, all women go through it unless they skip this stage by surgical necessity. But that doesn't make this part of the journey more enjoyable.
I am all the more confronted with the reality that our childbearing time is over as quick as it began, even though it's as much choice as circumstance.
Yes, I'm 45 and as strong as I feel some days, I know this is a precarious time at best to consider another pregnancy. As I recently told someone, I don't expect lightning to strike twice. It would seem foolhardy to put the Lord my God to the test (Matthew 4:7). But like the end of a lifelong frienship, feeling the door slowly close behind me still makes me melancholy.
In the meantime, I'm booking a consultation with an herbal specialist to see what I can add to my diet to help balance things out in the mood and stress department. I owe that much to me and my family.

September 2, 2014

random thoughts: me vs the chocolate bar

Chocolate bar: Serving size, 1/2 a (big) bar
Me: Really? I was only planning on eating a couple of squares, but if you insist...