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How to lose 20 lbs overnight.

15 Nov

I’m about to tell you a true story.

A few weeks ago, I’m lounging around the house, dinner done, comfy in my robe and fuzzy socks. And my dear husband asks if I can help him with something, which these days often involves doing something for his online science class. So it means holding up a yardstick while he bounces a ball, or rolling something that was never meant to be rolled or him making knots in my hair to build up static electricity or something like that. So sure, whatever.

This time I’m informed that we each have to weigh ourselves, and then time each other running up the stairs.

Great Idea, Beav!!!

That girl in the back left? Just weighed herself with an Ikea scale. For SCIENCE.

For the sake of my husbands education, I subject myself to this torture, despite the fact that I was already comfortable in my PJs and robe with a cup of tea. I had to actually put shoes on which sucks after you’re already in robe-mode. And then there’s the part where I have to weigh myself, something I’ve managed to avoid the last few months.

Blurg.

Anyway, so I get on the scale and…..

TWENTY POUNDS.

GAINED.

What the WHAT?!?!

"Mystery solved! Liz ATE the cigarettes!"

I’ve never gained that much in such a short time. I was totally confused. My clothes weren’t really fitting any differently. I didn’t feel much different. I got off the scale and back on. I checked to make sure it was at the “0” when I was off. Nothing. I couldn’t argue with it.

So I cried instead.

I’m not generally one of those girls who obessesses about weight or wearing the perfect face everytime I leave the house but for heaven’s sake, you’d have to be the mother of Jabba the Hut (presuming his issues are genetic) in order to not think much about 20 lbs in such a small amount of time. I’m not a emotion-less robot, nor am I the overweight blobmom of a fictional character from an overrated sci-fi trilogy (YES, I SAID OVERRATED, AND YES I SAID TRILOGY. I STAND BY MY STATEMENTS.) Hence my tears.

Jabba the Hut Cake. Irony. Or something.

Ben felt awful. He felt like it was his fault, for making me get on the scales. I told him it wasn’t his fault that I (cover the ears of the children) was a fatass. At which point he gave me that “stop it” look and told me that stuff that husbands say about “no, you’re not” and “beautiful” and blah blah. I know he means it, but it was hard to hear in that moment.

Oh, and when I thought about it the next night I cried again.

So that was a few weeks ago. I’ve been charging up to get my fatass in gear and lose those 20 that appeared without my paying attention. (But my birthday was last week, so I wasn’t going to start THEN. Der.)

Fast forward to this morning. This morning I have the dreaded yearly lady-doctor appointment. (Though this is where I mention how much I really and truly love my OB-GYN and his AMAZING Nurse Practioner, Jodi, who I actually look forward to seeing at said appointments. She is so wonderful, I must be the only woman on earth who doesn’t REALLY these things because I get to catch up with her.)

I fill out the forms and they copy my new insurance card, call me back and ask me to get on the scales. I raise my chin with the attitude of a woman WHO IS NOT ABOUT TO CRY AT THAT NUMBER. I got on and….

Wait, what?

WHAT?!

The 20 lbs NEVER FREAKING EXISTED. I weighed in at my normal weight.

Damn you, Ikea*, and your $5 scale. I knew you were too cheap to be true.

Imma hafta go all Office Space on you.

Imagine yourself as the fax machine record**. Because I AM COMING FOR YOU, LYING SCALE.

-M-

*I like lots of Ikea stuff, and we have appreciated many items that we have bought during our yearly visits to Cincinatti to go there, but I may have written this in a bout of well-placed anger.

**I linked the Family Guy parody of the Office Space scene, because the song on the original is unedited and I didn’t want to offend anyone. I mean, any more than usual.

“…that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Or: On Mentoring.)

9 Nov

My dear friend Kathy took me to breakfast this morning. Yes, it’s my birthday, but she didn’t take me for my birthday. She didn’t even know it was my birthday til I was there. (I may have mentioned it.) She met me at Four Seasons for omlettes (Gyro and Feta, so they called mine…it was divine!) not to celebrate another year I’ve made it around the sun, but to be a listening ear and loving friend. It’s been a hard weekend (though it was wonderful to have my very best friend Chrissy here, and to share life and love with my dear sisters at the New City Church Women’s Retreat), and when I texted her yesterday to ask if she could meet for coffee, she didn’t reply “Sure, next Friday”, or “maybe tomorrow”. She was available within a few hours. (Kathy has a pretty fancy in-charge kinda job, so it’s no small thing to up and be somewhere…even the same day.) It ended up not working out on my end, so we met this morning for breakfast. The coffee was bottomless, and I wish we could have stayed longer. Meh. Jobs.

Kathy isn’t the only woman who has been such a wonderful mentor to me. Women such as Chris, Kathy, Joanna, Alice have all, at different times in my life, moved toward me in love, being willing to support and love me even when they hardly knew me. Boyfriend breakups, job changes, marriage difficulties….each of these women faithfully, lovingly, walked beside me with love and laughter and truth. I pray often (though not often enough) that I can be that kind of a friend to women younger than I. I don’t feel very old. I don’t feel very wise. But they have often been humble enough to admit that even at their ages (which has varied!), they don’t have it “all figured out”, and it’s okay if I don’t either. I never felt intimidated or talked down to. I was viewed as a daughter, or sometimes a peer, even if the age difference was 20 years or more.

Did I mention that these women moved TOWARDS ME? They have invited me places, taken me to coffee or dinners, had me over to babysit or watch movies. As a young woman (at least for now) , I don’t often feel I can move towards older women to ask for help. I feel like the 5-year-old, tugging at the hem of a skirt while “Mom” (whoever that may be) is too busy doing laundry and baking bread to have any time for me. I should mention here: My mom was never like that – I never felt she was too busy for me! Just that I feel like that now…at the ripe old age of 29….now that I truly understand how busy the lives of these women are. I don’t want to stress them out or add to their worries. They are surely too busy, right?

I forget this when I fail to move towards women younger than me. I’m still trying to figure out how to do this without seeming like a total goofball, or feeling like I don’t have anything to contribute. Middle schoolers? Sure. High schoolers? I got this. But 20-somethings? Uuuuggggh. I can’t even figure out my own crap, what could I possibly contribute?

I suppose the secret is in what my dear (older) friends have said: “I don’t have it all figured out yet either, and that’s okay.”

Maybe I should practice this in the mirror a few times. And then have someone over for coffee.

“It’s her birthday today! She’s 29! The real 29, not like ’29’ like the rest of us.” – Kathy, to our 50-something waitress at breakfast today.

Whoops.

7 Nov

OK, so here’s the true story of why I didn’t blog Friday or Saturday:

1) I thought there would be internet access at our retreat center. There wasn’t. (Or, there was, but I couldn’t access the computer that it was on. Apparently.)

2) When I did finally get internet access, my WordPress iPod application crashed every time it opened (thanks for the update, WordPress! BLURG).

So that’s the truth. But it was a bit of a blessing. I was running (my first ever) a women’s retreat for the women of my church. It was a hugh honor, and it was such a blessing to be with those women. Plus, my best friend Chrissy was in town for it (she was a GREAT speaker, and a gifted teacher), so I loved spending time with her. She is the best possible friend I could ever ask for, and I love seeing her (she lives in St Louis with her hubbins and goes to Covenant Seminary).

I came home after the stress (and honor) of all that to a bit of a mess at home I have to deal with. So I’m sorry if I’m out of sorts a bit for a while. It’ll be fine. But I’m a little cranky.

Also, I’m cranky because I can’t get the Colts game on TV. What’s that about?!

I got nothing.

4 Nov

Workin on my night cheese!

Ok, all my deep thoughts are spent. I have a Women’s Retreat happening TOMORROW that I’m finalizing and my BFF is coming into town and I’m super excited. Also, 30 Rock is on and it’s kinda a big deal. So is this Pumpkin Dunkel (Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale), and the leftover Halloween candy I’m eating/drinking here at the Shattucks.

So I think we can all agree that these things are very important and I should get back to those things, and that yes, this still counts as not breaking my NaBloPoMo streak, SUCKAS.

“Liz Lemon, Man … ninjas are kind of cool … I just don’t know any personally”

The Unwinnable Contest

2 Nov

Everyone in their lives, no matter who you are or where you are, knows that one person who does everything. Whether on the 36th floor at “Corporate”, or that one overachieving mom who is raising her 27 kids in the tent next to you in the jungle….we all know at least one. It’s easy to hate them. They have a tendency to give you lectures about how to raise your kids or what kind of car you should drive, or what kinds of books you should read/write. They make it look so easy, and you never hear them complain, or tell you what they struggle with.

But once in a while, you’ll find the ones who “do everything”, who aren’t hateable. These are the Wunderpeople, the ones who sit on every board of every one of your favorite non-profits, while acting as CEO of a great, world-changing company, raising 5 kids, and throwing great weekend parties that aren’t shallow. It helps if they share your taste in music and art. When they talk to you, they genuinely want to be with you – they aren’t faking it, or using you to widen their “network”. You can leave feeling loved.

I know one of these people. She’s wonderful, and intimidating. She does really great things, loves Jesus, and loves people well. She is an older women, with wisdom and kindness. And so, is completely non-hateable.

I recently had a conversation with her about church things and commented on how she seems to do EVERYTHING.

She quietly paused and said to me: “Well….I realized….I don’t have to do everything perfectly.” She shrugged her shoulders.

I should probably let her know that her small comment was a big deal to me. I’ve spent the last few months trying to do everything perfectly. I have a new job, a new house, and I want to do these things WELL. I hate feeling incompetent, but not nearly as much as I hate feeling like other people can see any incompetencies in me. I certainly awknowledge to myself that I am not perfect, but I am always trying to live up to this standard – especially at home – that is often impossible. Will my house be clean enough? Will they enjoy our party? Is my dinner good enough? Will I get enough things done to be able to be satisfied with myself?  In my head is the echo of thousands of women, none of whom are actually my friends, but they live in this imaginary judgement world, where women are constantly in competition with each other, in a contest no one can really win.

I know people say they have epiphanies all the time. But her words made me feel like I could breathe again. This woman is not only looked up to by me, but by many others, including civic and church leaders. And her secret? Not having to do everything perfectly. Novel. Belief in the inevitable. A woman who actually dares to believe that Christ’s strength is made perfect in her weakness? And here I am, trying to fill in the gaps of my own failures with a mortar that holds up as well as toothpaste, when the strength of an Eternal King is offered.  What an idol I have made for myself.

I have watched  myself freeze at the prospect of not “doing everything perfectly”. So what do I do? Nothing at all. What a waste. What a dishonor to who Christ has made me to be – as a woman, as a wife, as a sister, as a friend. I may as well carry a sign that says “I do not need God.”

I desperately need God. I will fail tomorrow at something. I may even fail you.  I don’t have to do everything perfectly, because Someone Else already has. And his Grace? It is sufficient. Yesterday, tomorrow, and forever.  Even when I do not believe it.

How much more can I do when I stop believing in the lie of perfection apart from Christ?

I really really tried.

27 Oct

So I went to Aldi tonight, because I was running very short on one of my five food groups: cheese.

I walked past the Halloween candy aisle. Calm. Collected.

I don’t need Reeses. The Reeses do not control me.

*five steps*

I stopped.

Turned around.

Picked up the bag of Reeses.

I told the lady next to me, who had been staring at the whole case of candies for at least 30 seconds: “I tried. I tried to keep walking. I failed.”

(New) Creation

27 May

Back in 2001ish, I read a couple of John Eldredge books.  Now, say what you want about him and his theology, but this post isn’t really about that. I don’t remember which book it was (either The Sacred Romance or Journey of Desire), but it was the first time I read anything about the concept of “creating things” in Heaven (or, the New Earth). This later  came up again in a conversation with Ben, when he was expressing how excited he was about the idea (I believe this was when he was doing a book study with some guys on Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven”). Ben is a born “creator”, as am I. I suppose we all are, to differing degrees. If God is a creator (and this is a true and good attribute of him), and we are created in his Image (!), then there are all sorts of arguments as to why the “creating” can go on in Eternity. (I’ve heard on more than one occasion that “the only thing that we do now that we will continue to do in Heaven is worship”. Feel free to point out some glaring scripture I’m missing, but I don’t see this in Scripture at all. There are so many good things that will carry on. Though I suppose you can make the argument that in the New Earth, in glory, everything we do will be “all worship”, without tarnish.)

This whole idea excites me, especially on the days and weeks that I just want to stay home and create. I want to wake up and write a book and paint and take photos and rehab furniture and make things. Surely I’m not the only one?

One day I can do that without having to worry about getting paid. Or sleep, for that matter.

All Things New

26 May

Whew. What a week. Can we move into our house yet?

It’s been almost a week since we became homeowners….by which I mean “we pay a bank to live in their house instead of a landlord”. (OK, that’s the more pessimistic side, I know.) We aren’t moving into it til August, because 1) our lease isn’t up at our apartment til August, which is good because 2) we have a list several pages long of things to do before we want to move in. But that part I’m excited about! I’m sure you’ll eventually have to remind me that I was once excited about all these projects, because at some point I’m sure I’m going to start crying and complaining and heading over to the Steer-In for a huge plate of fries. (Or maybe Stoney’s is more likely.) But right now, I’d love to get to work on it. We have a couple weeks though, before we can get started on the big stuff when our tax refund comes in. In the meantime, I’ll be working on refinishing/painting some good furniture I picked up (an antique desk for $15 from Goodwill! and a chest of drawers that doubles as a bench seat for FREE!). I’ll keep you updated.

You didn’t know this was gonna turn into one of those house blogs did you? Sorry. 🙂 I’ve become more and more enthralled with the idea of renewal and “making all things new”, including our little house (built in 1925)  on the eastside of Indy and the things we put in it.  I like seeing old things repurposed and rehabbed, and I like seeing the beauty even in things that have a little “history”.

Part of it may have to do with growing up in what now feels like a pretty sterilized suburban environment, which I was ready to move away from. (As a side note, I’ve come to learn that those newer houses seems to fall apart a lot more easily than our older homes. They really don’t make them like they used to!) But part of it too comes with my changing understanding of what my theology means to everyday life. I love that (in my understanding of Scripture, and that of my tradition), God isn’t just going to throw everything out and start all over. He’s using what we’re doing now to make all things new. What we do here, on earth, in this life, really does matter. We’re not just trudging through to get to this celestial home in the sky, we’re working on a  project (Creation) deemed worthy by God to  be brought back into right relationship with him, and wholeness. In the “new earth”, we will have new bodies, but we will still recognize them – they will still be ours. This earth will be here, but it will be made new, and right, and whole. No more death, no more decay. What can be more worthy of our time and attention that participating with God in moving toward something that amazing?

And so, we garden and we clean and we help and love and mend and remake and redo and reform and bring wholeness. Because nothing is wasted, all of it matters, both now and forever. And yes, until our “new earth”, we will all still need mending and remending and more help and more growth. But it’s worth it because it is good and right and it’s part of our calling. And all that is broken won’t just be mended: it will be redeemed. It will all make sense, and it will be whole and good.

In my big dreams of “redemption” (and my smaller ones of simply redecorating the bathroom), I’ve run across all sorts of amazing home and life blogs that I’ve grown to love (and lurk around!). Just a few to introduce to you all, if you are interested in that sort of thing (you know….redemption…. ;))

Young House Love: I can’t go to this site too much because I get crazy jealous about the awesome goodness they manage to pull off to their little abode. (Also, I just recently got MORE jealous of them when they both quit their jobs to be full time blogger/renovators!) I actually first found out about them through their cover story on The Nest magazine and became a regular reader after we started looking at houses. They also have a great “how-to” page with links on all sorts of stuff to do to your stuff. And things.

We Can Make That!: OK, I’ll admit, these are two close friends of ours Chris and Amy. (Well, Amy does the blog, but they both do the work!). They bought their house a year ago and have been injecting their DIY excitement into the air around us ever since. They’ve done stuff like tear down walls and tile pretty much their whole house. And Amy painted their toilet. No, really. Also, they have a truck, so they help us out. They’re pretty excited about our new house projects too! And we love them lots.

Fly Through Our Window: Darby’s blog has become my New Favorite. She is truly inspirational in practically every way – she’s a brilliant photographer (it helps that her family is SO beautiful!), fantastic woman-of-the-house and a mom who truly gets what the “mission of motherhood” is.  Her blog is a joy to read, largely because she “gets” what redemption and “all things new” truly means. And I love her recipe ideas! (Check out “renovations” for the awesome stuff they’ve done to their house!) Also, she loves Indelible Grace so I’m pretty sure we could totally be friends in real life.

All Bower Power: Amy got me hooked on Katie Bower’s blog. They have a beautiful house and Katie is really funny. Also, I don’t hate her nearly as much for being super cute and having an adorbs house, mostly because she’s hella funny and totally normal. (If I must read blogs about beautiful people, I also want to read about their imperfections!)

Knock-Off Wood: Another blog I found via Amy. This girl makes me more confident about actually making stuff! (Also, we’re going to benefiting from Ben’s dad’s woodshop items in our basement, so I’m hoping to learn how to do some of my own woodworking soon.) Outdoor patio set anyone?

Apartment Therapy: Classic design group that has great ideas for small spaces

Junkmarket Style:  Junkmarket books inspired me to go on a hunt for antique ladders (which I found for $15 each) and then some old hardback books to hang on them for decoration. And they look awesome. But you’ll have to trust me because I’m too lazy to post a photo  of them right now. (Also, they were originally intended to go in the new house…they’ll be far more exciting to look at there than her in our apartment!) GREAT idea to be found here.

Humble Ablog, Tearing Up Houses, This Fresh Fossil: More fun blogs focused on taking old houses and making them new.

Anyway, I have others, but it’s bedtime for me. Click around some of the above links and tell me what you think. And then follow some of their links too…I love discovering new stuff!

M