Who Decided This?

Life is hard.

I’m trying to eat healthier, and it’s not only expensive, it’s also confusing and hard.

Add in food allergies, and it’s pretty much impossible to do it right 100% of the time.

Still I’m trying.

So the other day I was going to fix me some roasted Brussels sprouts for lunch.  It’s the craziest thing, but I didn’t like the things when I was growing up.  Mama didn’t fix them often, probably because of how I (we?) acted when she cooked them.  But in recent months, I’ve discovered that I really don’t like them.  I LOVE THEM.  There are all kinds of things I could think of as possible reasons why, but I think it just boils down to–tastes change.  I don’t eat sweets very often at all anymore, and I have learned to like black coffee–something I never thought I could do.  I think the bitter, strong taste of the sprouts that used to turn my tastebuds off is now the very thing I like the most.

When I was putting some in my toaster oven on broil the other day, I wondered how many to fix.  I usually eat them with something else, but this was pretty much all I wanted.  Is there such a thing as too many Brussels sprouts?  Curious, I checked the bag they came in from the frozen foods department.  I ran my finger down the nutrition information.  Ummmmm, calories, protein, etc etc etc…..ahhhh, yes.  Serving size.  Five.

Wait. What?!  Five sprouts is a serving size?

In what world and for whom?

They aren’t even all uniform size, so that’s just misleading.

But seriously. Five?

I can eat these things like popcorn, y’all.  Five is not going to cut it.  That’s like an appetizer.

For a toddler.

But I mean, we do have to wonder, right?  Who decided that five sprouts is a good amount for one person to eat at any one meal?  Or that this size of that is perfect for one person?  Is there a room somewhere where folks sit around eating different portions and hit a thumbs up when the amount they intake is the “Baby Bear” just right amount to fill them without making them feel stuffed?

If so, I want to go there.

Because we need to talk.

How is one serving of this cereal one cup and one serving of that only one-half cup?

How is one slice of this kind of bread one serving, but it takes two slices of that loaf to get there?

And how in the world is five sprouts a serving and so is a big ol’ Whopper?

I need to know this, y’all.  Because I really don’t like feeling like I’m pigging out when I eat a dozen (give or take) Brussels sprouts.

I can’t handle the guilt.  And I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t.

Aren’t they like good for you or something?

Leastways that’s what Mama always said when she put them on my plate way back when.  (Like that’s ever been what convinced a child to eat something. “Okay, you don’t like it, but it’s good for you.”  “Good for me, you say?  Well, why didn’t you say so before?  Of course I’ll eat it.” Ahem.)

Tonight I’m thankful for the food we eat and the choices we have.  I’m thankful for the good information that is out there that can help us make wiser choices.  I really appreciate my changing taste buds that have me learning to love new foods even at my age. Most of all, I’m thankful that I have a mind, and I know when to throw out bad information and go with what I think is best.

Five?

I think not.

Wishing you all a healthy serving (whatever that looks like to you) of a food you never thought you’d love but do.

Love to all.

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That looks to be about a serving, right?

Making It the Norm

forgotten everything meme

Ever have one of those days?

Often, my friends, often.

And then it occurs to me, that if “free time” is so “not the norm” that the potential of having it causes me to question my own sanity, there might be a problem.

If my schedule is so packed that finding an hour here or a morning there with “nothing,” makes me wonder what I’ve forgotten–well, it’s a shame.  A crying shame.

We deserve better.

Just like when we’ve carried a weight or burden for so long, and we finally decide or reach a point where we are able to let it go.  Suddenly we’re so unfettered that we are nearly light-headed and hardly know how to live without that weight.

Or when we’ve felt bad physically for a while, and after making deliberate choices or seeing a good professional who can help, suddenly we feel so much better we don’t even know that what we are feeling is better.  We can’t trust it.

It’s too much.

Feeling good physically and not weighted down with worries and woes should be the norm, not an anomaly.

As we head into the holidays, let’s all make a pact not to over schedule ourselves or our families.  Let’s have all kinds of moments and days where “nothing” is the norm, and we have all this time to be with the folks we love.  Let’s aim to let go of the worries of the season and focus instead on the warmth and fellowship of the last days of this year.

Wishing you all a day of “free time”–one where you can go and make all the memories.

Love to all.

beyond

for C and A, and all of the strong and brave ones who rise above fear to do the right thing and hope for the day when all of it will be behind them

there is a place away from all this
where the pain of the moment
the fear
the sadness
the feeling lost

is just a distant memory
something you may carry in your pocket
but it will no longer color your vision
or take your breath away
as it does now

today

in this moment

this moment when you still can’t think straight
when your heart is still beating to the tune of all that has been
up to this point

but in this new place your heart will beat
better
stronger
whole again
cracked, but whole

and this place is the perfect one for you to set out for–
pack up all your worries, anxieties, sighs, and
stories of heartbreak
and as you travel along, don’t let them trip you up
or allow the weight of them to slow you down
or make you give up altogether

as you go and you let others join you
the weight of all of this will grow lighter
and your pace will quicken–
some days you will almost forget what is now,
others you will need to rest and work on letting go
again

still, move…..travel…..leave it

and one day, with work, you will find yourself there

beyond

beyond all of this that is writing your story for you today
and each day you awaken in this land of leaving things in the past
you will have to earn the right to stay there

it’s a choice

and no, it’s not fair that you can’t wiggle your nose and
just
get
there
today

but when you find yourself there, you will know
and you will want to stay there
most days

just don’t let the past whisper seductively to you
and convince you that wallowing with her will
feel good
and justified
and the pain will be worth it

instead turn your head to the rising sun
feel the heat on your skin
and know that a new dawn is here
in this land of beyond
a new day to grow up and away
from all that is hurting you now

and choose
to stay there

beyond

Maybe I Should Wear a Cone of Shame

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a Monday so stereotypical as this past Monday. You know, one where you’d really rather just pull the covers up over your head and go back to sleep?

Yeah.  That was my morning.  Between me and Miss Sophie, we stayed in the road for appointments.   One in town and one out of town.  By the time we were all home and settled back in, it was mid-afternoon.

That evening my sweet cousin texted me to check and see how we were all doing.  Because she has a hot spot she won’t leave alone, Miss Sophie had to wear a cone–the “Cone of Shame,” as some call it.  It’s not serious, but she keeps scratching so the cone was the obvious solution.  As I told my cousin about both visits that day, she wrote back, “Well, at least you’re not having to wear a cone too.”

Well, if that isn’t the truth!

After I laughed and appreciated having someone on my side who can keep it real and yet keep me laughing (a true treasure), I got to thinking about what she said.  And while I’m glad I don’t have to wear a cone, I’m not sure if maybe I shouldn’t be wearing one.

After all, I tend to pick at things until they fester up again, instead of leaving them alone and letting my heart and soul heal.

In cases like that, a cone around what is worrying me would be a welcome reminder for me to leave it alone.  Let it go.  Move on and beyond.

I was thinking about this today when something that frustrated me a few weeks ago started rumbling around in my heart again. After a few minutes of reliving it and getting all riled up again, I realized what I had done.

Opened the wound.  Felt the pain again.  Set the healing process back all over again.

So yes, please, could I borrow that cone of yours, Miss Sophie?  It seems to be working for you.  Maybe it’s time I learn to quit picking at those worrisome spots.

May we all learn to let things go.  Even just a little.

Love to all.

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the edge of never

their life began with the cherished words
“I will always”
and time swept them along, transforming them
until eventually they became “I will never”
still full of the promise, but with the
contemplation of the darkness that threatened to close in

then the weight of the world pressed upon them
and they became “I would never”
as if in protest of the very idea

when finally it turned into denial
“I never”
for a while she tried to believe
the words
and hold at bay what lay beyond the never

they went right up to the edge of that darkened precipice,
peering over and seeing what lay in the valley beyond
she turned away
and burned the bridge
so she could never be taken along that path again

No Frowning in the Mirror

We were driving up the main road to campus to see our college girl when I saw a sign in front of a restaurant that had me doing a double take just to confirm that my eyes did not deceive me.

I was driving so I wasn’t able to take a picture.  But trust me on this, you can’t make this stuff up.  The sign said,

“Our Salads Will Make You Skinny”

 

Are you kidding me?

This makes me angry on so many levels.

First, is this what our society is coming to?

Never mind, don’t answer that.  I know that it is.  The skinnier the better, right?  Frankly, that really ticks me off.

Second, what about “our salads will make you healthy”?  Wouldn’t that be a better selling point?  A better thing to focus on?  Health?

Right, I know.  Skinny is equated with healthy.  But that’s not always the case.

Skinny does NOT equal healthy.

Third, this sign is less than a mile from the all women’s college campus where my daughter lives and is attending school.

Yeah, this restaurant knows exactly what it’s doing and who its market is.

Wrong.  On.  So. Many. Levels.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many law shows, but as my blood started boiling, I thought about what lawsuits I could throw at them and what I’d say to them in court.  False advertising, emotional distress, child endangerment (some of those young women aren’t quite 18), and just plain out indecency.

Signs like this, businesses like this, and the people who run them and choose to advertise this way are playing on our insecurities. In that one moment that business owner is saying, “Hey, you, the one driving over there…..yeah, you.  You are not perfect or beautiful or well-proportioned.  Your body is not all that it can be.  But hey, if you eat our salads, you will become skinny, and since this is something everyone wants to be, you should come here and eat our salads.  And then the world will be yours.”

I’m calling them out on this.  This is nothing but blowing hot air.  No, it’s worse than that.  It’s made up of the stuff I used to walk around and avoid stepping in when I was following my Daddy through the cow pasture.

And I say No More.

It is time that we all stand up and say that there is no perfect body shape or size and turn away from those who would have us believe otherwise.  My friend Lisa who writes over at My So Called Glamorous Life asked a great question: “How many people make money off of our insecurities?”

Exactly.

So to my daughter and her friends:  You are beautiful.  You are young and you are learning, and there is so much to life that is hard.  Don’t make looking in the mirror a part of the hard stuff.  Love who is there.  If you feel healthy, that is wonderful.  Keep on keeping on.  But if you don’t feel healthy, do something about that.  Find a friend to join you and make wise choices–in all areas of your life, including eating and moving your body and keeping good company.  If you feel like eating a salad, go for it.  But please don’t do it because of a promise to “make you skinny.”  Just.  No.  Salads can’t do that.  At least not alone.  And sometimes not at all.  Look in your mirror.  Smile.  That woman in front of you is beautiful and deserves to be smiled at and loved.  So love her, and go do you.  As a friend once told me, ‘You are the best you there is.’  A salad’s not going to make you more awesome.  Loving yourself and then those around you–now that can fine tune and amplify all that is wonderful about you.  

Ain’t nobody got time for false advertising and empty promises.  Or frowning in the mirror.  Life’s too short for all of that.

Love to all.

 

It’s Not Okay

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I was talking with some folks a *bit* younger than me about the blog, and one of them said, “You should write about how it’s not okay for guys to push females around or be forceful with them.”

Ummmm.  Okay?

I listened to the stories, and I know that she knows it is not okay.  I know she can take care of herself.  And for that I am thankful.

But I’m sad that this is something she thinks needs to be written about.  Very sad.

I’m no expert on the subject of dating violence.  However, I think we might be doing the whole world a disservice by calling it dating violence, because I highly suspect it doesn’t start off as violence.  I think it can start off as disrespect.

And that’s not okay either.

Let me say that again.

Disrespecting another person, whether you are dating or not, is not okay.

But disrespect is where it begins.  An unkind word, a put down, a demand on your time or resources that is just that–a demand.  Getting frustrated when you want to spend time with other people.  Getting frustrated when your world revolves around anything but them.

But no, the violence hasn’t started, so it’s hard to feel like it’s not right.  Because the demands and frustration and disrespect are usually followed by a reminder of why you started dating the person to begin with.

They’re funny, charming, kind, handsome, gorgeous, silly, goofy, smart, dark and brooding–whatever.  You second guess yourself.  You start thinking that maybe they’re right–you should want to spend more time with them.  You shouldn’t be so serious about your education or your career or YOUR dreams and goals.  After all, it’s sweet they want more of your time–that means they love you, right?

Wrong.

Anyone who loves you LOVES you.  Supports you.

Not only is disrespect not intended, it doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately, because the violence often does not happen at the beginning of the relationship, it is easy for young people (and older ones too) to rationalize about the disrespect and continue with the relationship.

Because “at least he/she doesn’t hit me.”

NO.  Just no.

We have to raise our daughters and sons to know what disrespect looks like and that this is not acceptable or okay in any kind of healthy relationship, friendships included.  And we have to empower them to have healthy relationships.  We need to hear whatever story they bring to us, and let them know it’s okay–we love them no matter what.  And then we have to help them define disrespect and set boundaries.  And to let go of the bad stuff and the bad relationships, no matter how long they’ve been with someone or how long they’ve been friends, no matter how nice it was in the beginning, no matter how many promises the other person has made.

No means no.

Disrespect is the gateway to violence.

I really believe that.

I’m not sure what my young friend wanted me to say.  Sweet girl, I hope this does what you asked me to do.  I see you there, being so strong, and letting the guy know what is not okay.  And I am thankful you are able to do that.  But know this, any guy–any person–who isn’t in awe of you and all about celebrating all that is you–just keep on walking.  Because you are better than that.  You deserve someone you can respect to the end of your days and who will spend every breath supporting you and your dreams.

It’s a bumpy ride, and there will be disagreements.  Misunderstandings.  Hurt feelings.  Many times.

But there should never, ever be disrespect.

Be particular, as my Granny used to say.  And be cautious.  If they can’t respect you, they don’t get to be with you.  Dating, friendship, whatever.

And that’s pretty much it.

May you find the one you are meant to be with, but in the meantime, may you grow to be your own biggest advocate and dream big.  The one who will appreciate walking that path with you will come.

Love and respect to all.