Mom Genes

Last week was the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live. We weren’t able to catch it “live” but we made it through piecemeal several days at a time. I can’t help but remember where I was in life when I first saw these skits, but for whatever reason they all make me reflect on how far God has brought me.

But then this commercial parody graced the screen and I lost it. The crazy thing is, I’m a mom now and I’m not really sure I ever thought I would be. I don’t wear those dreadful pants, but my body has changed. My mind has changed and even my health has changed. Spencer and I commented last night on how we are sick ALL THE TIME now that we have kids, which leads me into the whole reason I opened my laptop in the first place.

This week has been filled with pink eye, colds, coughs and forced homebound(edness). This is probably the worst part of being at home with your kids. You look at the clock and realize it’s only 8:30. There is no help coming and you are on your own until bedtime. On top of that, I lost my voice, which makes discipline a real breeze!

But we made it through those three long days at home. Somehow, God has gotten me through meal after meal and diaper after diaper (not to mention the 3xday administration of pink eye drops that I have to pin my son down to accept). It’s hard. No one thanks me and, at the end of the day, I mostly have dirty clothes to show for my work.

My husband often says he’s not wired to do what I do. And I watch him. He is the best dad I know of, but he’s right. God really has given women something special to endure baby days/nights, sick toddler days that last forever and all the scary kid stuff that I don’t even know about yet. So today, I guess I’m thankful for my Mom Genes.

You’re Giving Up What for Lent?

I’m ashamed to say this, but Lent has always been about me. Sure, I would make the sacrifice “for God,” but only if I got something out of it.

Give up alcohol: gain some evening productivity.

Give up Starbucks: gain a wad of cash I can blow on something else that catches my eye.

Give up dessert: lose a few lbs.

Our society has turned Lent into some sort of deprivation experiment that has nothing to do with Jesus. And I’ve always been right there in the mix, but this year has been extraordinarily trying and somehow forgoing cupcakes for a few weeks has no chance of transforming this weary heart of mine.

See I’ve been in a walking boot 2 out of the last 5 months. It’s a pain and I’ve spent most of the last 9 months chomping at the bit to get back to running, the one athletic activity I really enjoy. The trouble is that my body has been saying NO! I have been injured and annoyed, but God used this most recent month in the boot to teach me something beautiful. Exercise had become an idol, so much so that I was now unable to throw my kids in the stroller for even a walk. My idol had started stealing from me.

Thankfully, The Lord disciplines those he loves.

Don’t get me wrong, I hated every minute of the boot, but by the time it came off, God had rearranged my priorities. Sure, I want to be healthy and fit, but more than that I want to be able to chase my kids around the yard and crawl into play huts with the rest of their stuffed animals. I want ability to hike around the creek near our house at their speed, to make dinner for sick neighbors and serve in the nursery. In short, I want to use my body to glorify God not myself.

So, when I started thinking about Lent this year, the best thing I could think of giving up was myself. For 40 days I will say NO to my “perfect” schedule and plans. Instead of putting my agenda and desires first, I will no longer miss those precious minutes of singing songs in the driveway with my son. I will kneel down to marvel at a buttercup in my yard with my little ones instead of racing inside to cross the next thing off my list.

During this Lenten season, I will sacrifice my ideas of how I think my world should look and be willing to receive something different; a different life. And part of saying no to me is saying yes to Him. I want these 40 days to be a true preparing of my soul and denying of myself. I will deny because I know He satisfies and because I want Jesus more than I want anything else; fitness and a perfect body, marathon medals around my neck, your good opinion of me or any of the other shiny trinkets the world dangles before me.

Matthew 16:24 (NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

IMG_9883.JPG

IMG_9866.JPG

IMG_9921.JPG

Flashback and Move Forward (In Moderation)

The following is a glimpse into my mind almost six years ago.

April 13, 2009

Normies panic when I mention that it might be possible to live healthy, drug-free lives without Big Medicine. They brace themselves as if I am a terrorist plotting to disrupt their smooth flowing American life. Maybe we can live into our 80s without popping a cocktail of drugs morning, noon and night. And maybe we could have fewer gray hairs and wrinkles and be cognizant after 3pm.

But I see it in their eyes –that twinkle of suspicion when I reject conventional medicine. I thought it was common knowledge that doctors are in bed with pharmaceutical companies, in cahoots with dairy and poultry farmers and that maybe humans weren’t intended to eat or drink from a cow. Apparently it is taboo to suggest to the layman that fruits and veggies might actually heal our ailments. And I look back at their skeptical eyes tentatively, like they are the ones conspiring against me.

Granted, the only people I’ve bounced these notions off of are Raw Vegans and their Fruitarian counterparts. These Foodians speak another language; one that I understand, but have trouble translating back into Normie.

Is this hogwash, it is all psychological?

The doctor I saw today confirmed all of my nagging reservations. It wasn’t the fact that I sat for 20 minutes, swinging my feet from the high bed waiting for him to see me. Or the fact that he failed to apologize for keeping me waiting. Or even his “Just eat everything in moderation” comment –although I did want to fire back with, “Great, so high fructose corn syrup can moderately eat away at my essential organs. No thank you.” It was his pious tone, the way he held his chin up a little too high that made me want to scream. He was the answer man. And, to him, all I could possibly have are questions.

With a puffed up chest, he proceeded to tell me a story he’d heard on Paul Harvey: “There was this little town in South Carolina where this group of people had discovered what they thought was the fountain of youth. They were all healthier than the rest of the town, woke up early each morning and walked a mile to and from the well that held the source of their good health. Medical tests showed that they were indeed healthier than the rest of the town,” he said, throwing up a hesitant finger. “But if you think about it, that test failed to bring a few things into consideration.”

Had my mother not taught me manners, I would have plugged my fingers in my ears. I knew where he was going with this.

“This was a group of people who were walking two extra miles each day” he said counting his first point on his finger, “they were motivated to seek good health and feeling good about what they were doing, which is a psychological nourishing of sorts.”

“Uh-huh.” I nodded in agreement, so he would hurry up and finish.

 “When the scientists finally studied the water, they found it to be no different than average creek water. No fountain of youth. It was all in their minds.”

Is it all in my mind that my health is directly linked to how I eat? Regardless, I was appalled that I blew a $15 co-pay on a five minute Paul Harvey recap.

As my six minutes drew to a close, he continues dispelling my myths about healthy eating.

“We can tell you how to eat all day, but nobody listens to us anyway,” he said, filling out my prescription. “Besides, we’re learning that there is no scientific research that supports healthy eating.” He tore off my drug ticket and handed over floppy piece of paper with a conclusive smile.

I walked out of his office like the rest of his patients, sent straight into a life of drug dependence. And somehow my objections make me the nude hitchhiker disrupting the peace – as if the dirty exchange of sick, Twinkie-ingesting patients from doc in the boxes to the Walgreens on every other corner creates any more peace. 

I want my missing peace back. No more pills, I want answers. I want to be spoken to in two-syllable words that I can understand. I want practical measures, not procedures that cost me thousands of dollars only to tell me that I need another one or a pricey bottle of pills. That doesn’t come in generic yet. That I will have to take until I die.

I want a doctor who will tell me the truth. Someone please tell me the truth! Tell me that you only took one semester of nutrition during medical school and then send me to someone who knows what they are talking about. Meanwhile, do some of your own research –maybe you’ll remember why you got into medicine in the first place, surely that you didn’t hang up your hat when you finally pulled that Mercedes into the driveway.

Then again, maybe I am a fool. Maybe it’s foolish to make waves these days, not just follow doctor’s orders like an ignorant sheep. But I refuse to be another piece of plastic on an assembly line, another contributor to their monetary empire. I won’t contribute to it, even if it contributes to a few odd looks into the world from others along the way.

____________________

Fast forward through two natural childbirths (in a hospital setting) and some other untraditional parental decisions and here we are. Downstairs, our fridge is filled with beautiful fruits and veggies, Ben & Jerry’s and leftover Pizza Hut. I had a spinach smoothie with flax milk and chia seeds along with my buttermilk waffles for breakfast and not one vegetable with my chicken nuggets for lunch. Fish tacos are on the menu for dinner. And I love a Snak Pak pudding around 8pm.

My kids are vaccinated (we skipped Hep B and erythromycin at birth and have a delayed schedule) and my kids eat string cheese. From a cow. That was probably not raised at a 5 Star farm.

I guess what I’m saying is that while we appear to be uninformed, the opposite is actually true. It’s not that I don’t know about The Weston A. Price Foundation (was formerly obsessed), it’s just that we have chosen a different life. I don’t believe kale, French fries or vaccines are redeeming or damning. They just are. And because we have access to all three, I’m choosing to partake in all three.

People change and I will readily admit that I am much happier and healthier (both physically and emotionally) living a moderate life.