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Food, Glorious Food

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Recently, my dad started chronicling his weight loss journey.  It’s been interesting and frustrating to read.  On the one hand, he’s made a few minor changes and weight has just fallen off of him. . .why does that happen for men? (My husband as well has made slight changes in the last month and dropped 10 pounds. . . me, slight changes, 1 pound) On the other hand, he’s made some points about food that resonate with me deeply.

So, I thought, maybe, if I started writing about my relationship with food and body image and all that jazz, I could make some headway.

I have some body image issues that I somewhat know where they came from.  Let’s just leave it at I was the smart one.  I also have some fears about what may happen with my body as I get older, and that I won’t be able to control it.  Because, like my dad, I love food. Not just the flavor, but the whole experience.  The smell of it, the preparation of it, the texture of it, the combinations that you can do with it.  Part of my problem with putting food in my mouth is that I just love the experience of flavor bursting around my

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Easter 2018–our family feast. . .we love food!

tongue.  Eating ice cream is more than the creamy texture and flavors, it’s also the cold feeling that I can still distinguish at the back of my throat and down the esophagus at it travels towards my stomach.  It’s just delicious in all aspects.

But, I must make some changes, because I am at least 50 pounds overweight. I have managed to lose weight before.  I’ve done a lot of programs, all of which require me to track my food. I do a great job tracking for a while, and then, I just don’t. Even with the ease of using my phone, I just hate it. I just want to be allowed to eat food and enjoy it. I listen to what others do to lose and maintain weight, and it sounds boring.  They limit their types of foods and eat the same thing day in and day out.  Bleh!!

I’ve given myself a lot of excuses for why the weight creeps back up. . .most recently, I broke my leg and lost a baby.

Yes, I’m an emotional eater.

I’m not sure how to change that.

I know that there are a lot of concepts and ideas and suggestions out there.  Find something different to do with your hands. When you’re feeling emotional, find an activity that will concentrate your brain on something else. . .meditation, reading, exercise. Drink water.

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Me and a stuffed jalepeno having a moment at last Easter.

Ah, if only those things were as comforting as chocolate and peanut butter or pasta and cheese.

So, it’s out there now.  I have an unhealthy love of food, and a no love whatsoever of exercise. Well, that’s not entirely true either.  I do love to ride my bike, just not alone. . .another excuse? Probably. I used to ride alone for miles a week (It caused worry among my friends and family).

I’m going to make some changes. Food and I are going to work on our relationship. We’re not breaking up. We’re just going to therapy!

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Strength

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It’s been on my mind lately the cliche of “God must think you’re strong to give you all this to deal with.”

God thinks no such thing.  He knows I’m not strong. He knows I’m human.  He knows every little weakness and failure about me.  He even says so in Genesis. . .8:21 “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” That’s only one place that he points out my weakness.

My trials are not a test of my strength.  They’re a test of my faithfulness.

It’s not me who is strong.

It’s God.

“My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

My Life with a Vampire

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countOk, so my husband isn’t drinking O negative cocktails, and he loves garlic, and the holy water at mass and confession isn’t leaving open sores.

BUT. . .he does work a 12 hour night shift as a paramedic.

Which means he sleeps during the day, and we had to make some adjustments to our lifestyle.lazy smurf

It’s difficult sometimes to explain to those who don’t live this lifestyle what it’s like and how those changes impact your day-to-day living, much less when you want to do something special.  Our culture is set up for day walkers, not night walkers.

When we first got married, Steven struggled with what to do with himself in the middle of the night on his off days.

{you see, it’s a strain on your physical and mental well-being to reset your sleep schedule every two days.}

I had to remind him that when I’m home on the weekends or the summer or the holidays, I don’t do nothing all day to avoid waking him.  I still use the kitchen, watch television, and if I need to, go in the bedroom.  Things around the house still needed to be done.

So, within a few weeks (or months. . .I don’t remember) we settled into the nice rhythm of him doing the laundry in the middle of the night, running the dishwasher, and feeding the worms (yes, we have pet worms). When it’s warm, he may take Daisy for a run near dawn or start mowing the grass at 6 in the morning. He also does things for himself like reading and devotions or playing Atari or Nintendo (yes, we have retro video games).

But what does that mean for our date life or social interactions? Well, date life happens at night when most dates would happen.  And social interactions are much easier in the evenings.  If you ask him to do something at noon, even on his day off, that’s like asking me to do something at midnight on my day off. And we’re not in our twenties any more so all nighters do not sound appealing!

We do, on occasion, decide that an activity is worth the task of resetting his sleep schedule.  For example, we wanted to participate in a Remembrance Walk for our babies in October.115.jpg  It was on a weekend he was to work.  For him to participate, he had to take one of the nights off–either the night before or the night after–so he could be awake during the walk and make sure that he could get his sleep back before working again.  No one wants a less than well-rested paramedic! When we go on vacation, the first day of it is him re-calibrating himself to a day walker and the last two days are calibrating back to night walker.  And if too many of these calibrations happen too close together. . .well, then it’s a mess.

I’m at least an 8 hour a night girl for sleep.  If I go too many nights without that or have to adjust the when I go to bed or get up, I start to get grumpy.  It’s the same with Steven.  If he has to stay up past about 9 a. m., you don’t really want to try to talk to him.  Or if he has to get up before 4 p. m., well, for me that’s like getting up before the sun. . .just no.

Lots of people in our young marriage have questioned this lifestyle for us.  How do we make it work?

First, Steven LIKES working nights.  He enjoys the types of calls he gets for the most part; he enjoys his co-workers; he enjoys that some nights there’s nothing. ambulance It’s reminiscent of the military for him where he always had to be prepared, the adrenaline bubbling just beneath the surface.

Second, Steven isn’t really a morning person, and if he were a day walker, he’d have to leave the house before 6 a. m. which means he’d have to get up at like 5 a. m. Makes me shudder just to think of it.

Third, it’s our reality, so we make it work. In all honesty, it’s probably best for us.  If he worked days, our interactions would be even less.  He would leave for work before I even got up and get home from work after supper time (and that’s without a late call).  This schedule means that on his days off, he’s just getting up when I get home from work, and we have the whole evening together.

It is a balancing act, as any co-habitation would be, I suppose.  We weigh what’s worth a change in our routine, just as any other couple does, I suppose. Does it mean that sometimes I do things alone in our day walker culture that I wish he were a part of? Of course! But I also know that he is providing for me and our home, and I love him for that {and for many other things}, so if sometimes I have to say, it’s just me today, that’s ok.

How Much More

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Every so often, I like to do a puzzle. But I have to be careful.  I have what I call “Finish the Puzzle-itis”. I can’t leave it undone.  Once I start, I’m slightly obsessed.

So, “puzzling” happens when I know I’m going to have the opportunity to be tunnel visioned.  Like a snow day such as we’ve had this week.

I told Steven yesterday that I just can’t help it.  I get so excited when a piece fits or when I find a piece that connects two sections. There’s a rush of dopamine, I guess, and I have to see if I can do it again and make the picture that much more clear. . .until I have a finished product.

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500 piece Thomas Kincaid: started at noon and finished at 10:30 pm

As I worked yesterday, I thought about how often we hear that God sees our whole puzzle while we only see pieces.

It created an image for me of God sitting at tables with puzzles of His people in front of him.  In my imagination, He grinned as pieces fit into place, creating the picture for us that He designed.  And, then, like me, because it was so exhilarating, He kept at it.

I am not foolish enough to think that I understand the mind of God.  Or how he lays out His plans for us.  But the image of Him doing a puzzle brought joy to my heart.  And while I know He knows where each piece goes, because we have free will, I can see how sometimes we might force a piece into the wrong place–somewhere it doesn’t quite fit.  I imagine His disappointment in our doing that and His pleasure when we remove it to put it somewhere else.

It’s a puzzle we do together.

And if my excitement at completing a picture is so great, how much more must His be when we finish.

It’s nice to think that He’s working on me yet.

Monkey, the third

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They say you get pregnant when you’re not thinking about it.

Since the first two pregnancy losses, I’ve wondered how you DON’T think about it. It’s pretty constantly in my mind.

Apparently, you break your leg to not think about it.IMG_20181011_005109

When we found out we were pregnant for the third time, we were relatively surprised.  I was just four weeks out from my tib/fib fracture and surgery. Getting pregnant was pretty much the last thing we were thinking about. We mostly were just trying to figure out how I was going to let the dog out while Steven was sleeping or at work.

But, there was no denying the two pregnancy tests at home and the blood test at the doctor’s office.

Monkey was here.

The doctor used the word miracle after the first ultrasound. . .it looked like I got pregnant from my right ovary; I don’t have a right Fallopian tube. It was taken with Nugget.

But when do we tell people?

How do we get excited when we know the all too real truth of the fragility of pregnancy?

We told people.  I’m horrible at keeping this kind of secret.  It was bursting to be out.  Plus, I started getting “morning” sickness. . .pretty consistently at 7 pm every night. And it seemed to be doing Monkey an injustice not to share our excitement with others who would love the munchkin.

However, there were many days when I had to remind myself that every weird sensation in my body didn’t mean that Monkey was leaving.

The questions that come after a third pregnancy loss are, in many ways, harder than the ones that come with the first.  And it’s almost unfair that this is so.

Is this some kind of sign?

Is God telling me no. . .over and over again?

Am I broken?

Are we foolish?

Why?

We haven’t made it past week 9 without a heartbreaking ultrasound.  We’re starting to hate the room.

Our babies haven’t made it farther than week 7.

Monkey was a boy with no chromosomal abnormalities who had a strong heartbeat at week 7. *the week after I wrote this, the second round of chromosome testing was completed. Monkey actually had a double trisomy which is rare and fatal. It’s unusual for the second results to differ from the initial ones.download

It’s surreal to know this about him.

I wonder if he has two big brothers or two big sisters or one of each.

The week after he was gone I struggled. Just getting out of bed was difficult. I was losing all three of them over again.

In my devotions that week, I read the story of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus. Both Martha and Mary say to Him beforehand that had He been there, Lazarus would not have died. My devotion book pointed out the boldness of saying this to God.

But it emboldened me to say it as well. “God, if You had wanted to, this could’ve ended differently.”

There. I said it.

It’s important to also remember that in the story neither Martha nor Mary deny who Jesus is or His omnipotence or omniscience.  And that what He wants to do from that point is ok with them.

Christ points out that what has happened is to glorify the Father.

That challenged me.

Am I holding on so tightly to my grief that the Father can’t do what He needs to do, and better yet, wants to do?

I opened my fist a little. Breathing got easier. Getting out of bed quit being a chore.

Am I less sad?

No, not really. I just find the yoke a little lighter to carry.

I wait expectantly for how God is going to use each of these events to glorify His name. Because that’s what I want for Him to do.

Romans 8:28. . . .always.

 

Personal, not Private

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Today, I’m a little sad.

Today is the anniversary of finding our Little didn’t make it.  The heart just stopped.

Yesterday should have been our Nugget’s first birthday.

It’s a tough few days.

I don’t usually do this, but I wanted to share some statistics about pregnancy loss in this post.  Mostly, I want to do that because recently a friend mentioned to me, after I had brought up our losses, that she had been praying for us but hadn’t wanted to call because she knows it’s a private matter.

Death is not private.

Death is personal. . .deeply personal.  But it isn’t private.  And I have come to feel that the privatization of pregnancy loss does way too much harm.

Here’s some things to consider: according to American Pregnancy Association 10-25% of ALL clinically recognized pregnancies {meaning we know we’re pregnant} will end in miscarriage.  The same article states that there’s a 15-20% for a miscarriage in healthy women.  Putting this in personal terms, if you’re in a group of five, chances are one of you has experienced pregnancy loss.  Most of us know at least five women.  But do you know what grief they may be carrying? Somewhere along the line, pregnancy loss became private.

I think it’s partly the word that is associated with it: miscarriage.  It implies through its connotation that the women did something wrong. . .they carried the baby wrong.

Pregnancy loss, in my mind, alleviates some of that blame {which let me tell you, is difficult to do because despite knowing statistics and science and having faith and hope, it is a struggle to remind yourself that there’s nothing you can do}. Having that word “loss” attached to what happens validates the idea of death and grief.

The death of any family member is personal.  That relationship on earth ends. There are only memories and stories to retell.  When a pregnancy is lost, it’s the same.  The relationship on earth ends. The memories are different and in some ways a product of our imagination because we have started to add potential to the child that would be. It’s still very personal.  But it’s not private.  It’s loss that we need acknowledged, not closeted.

I am in a 1% of women who have recurrent pregnancy loss, a statistic I found on March of Dimes’ website. Most women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss, up to 75% of them, will never know why.

Nugget was ectopic.

Little was intrauterine fetal demise.

These losses are very personal to me, despite the very scientific labeling of them.  They are my children.

But Nugget and Little are not private events in mine and Steven’s life.  They have impacted us, changed us, and therefore, impacted those around us in a personal and intimate way.

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Nugget: grew up until a little over 7 weeks.

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Little: this shot the little heart was still beating

First

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Shortly after Steven and I got married, I tragically ran over my cat of 16 years.  I was on my way to work, and Steven was asleep in the house as he worked a weird shift.  The first thing I did was call my brother.  It was just what I was used to doing.  It didn’t dawn on me until I was on the phone that I had a husband in the bedroom.

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We laugh about it now.

About three weeks ago, I broke my leg. You can almost see all three breaks in this x-ray.  I was ice skating.

It struck me after getting home that in all aspects of the journey, I kept asking for Steven.  When the ambulance got me to the emergency department. . .”Where’s my husband?”

When I woke up in my hospital room after surgery, even though both my parents were there, “Where’s Steven?”

I guess it’s safe to say that I would call him first now.

I like that this experience has illustrated growth in our young marriage.

And that he will go out to buy me cookies and cereal because nothing else will do.

He is a blessing in my life that I never knew I needed but can’t imagine being without now.

 

 

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