2:14 p.m. I’m wandering the craft store looking for yarn for a gift/ project.Not hot tea.... but this needs a pic...
2:22 p.m.I panic-I realize that if I don’t get out of here- I risk a way-down the line -parking spot during carpool-that will involve having to count rows to find my car…which is almost math. #fail.

2:24 p.m. I grab good enough yarn and take my place in line. I calculate my estimated wait time. It’s going to be close.

2:28 p.m. Still waiting. Starting to get annoyed. I’m not the only one. “Can’t they open another register?”  So many people are saying the same thing I wonder if it’s a line from a new viral video….

2:30 p.m. I’m next in line. I hear the very raw sounding voice  of the very pierced and creatively hair-colored girl at the register. Her nose is red and sore looking…. I’m convinced she’s a a walking influenza factory. She probably is. I try to calculate how many virus particles are floating around her register. I wish I had a surgical mask.

2:31 As she’s ringing up my purchase, I have sudden onset iced tea and shortbread cookie craving. I immediately decide counting cars is worth it. I’m going to Panera.

Which is when I realize she’s not just a pierced virus carrying cashier…… she’s a human. With a sore throat. Standing right in front of the constantly-opening- in January- sliding glass doors at Michael’s. She’s trapped by responsibility and is obviously: miserable.

“You need a hot tea and honey on your break.” I state- as the captainess of the obvious, that I am. “Hot tea sounds great- but my break is too short.” I’ll have some when I get off work.” I wish I could tell you that i jumped over the counter, grabbed the mic, called  her manager and talked them into letting me finish the girls shift so she could go home without missing pay. I didn’t. Honestly? I was annoyed she was there- passing viral contagion to all she encountered.

I winced as she handed me my bag. I did not want to touch her germies. It was a little like being handed a bag of hanta-virus. At least I had my gloves. I slipped them on before taking the bag. I hoped she’d think it was just the weather- not personal. (Even if it was.I do NOT have time to get sick right now. Just saying.) In truth-she probably just wanted me out of the store. One less customer to deal with means one step closer to going home.

“Feel better.” I told her. More mom-like than I wanted to sound. (I can’t help it. Having a child makes you mother everyone you come in contact with. Maybe it’s viral…. I know I’m not the only mother-of all out there…I’ve been mothered by others- myself. ) It was not my most compassionate moment.

I left. Driving through the parking lot, the tea and cookie craving took over. It drove me straight to Panera. I didn’t bother looking at the clock. “I’ll get there before bedtime.” I thought.

By the time I was in the drive through- I was feeling like a selfish jerk. Here I was- totally NOT sick. About to suck down exactly what that poor girl really needed….

“I could take her a tea and honey…..”

“I don’t have time. I’ll be even LATER.”

“So? You’re late for everything.”

(In case you’re wondering- yes-I was arguing with myself. I like to- either way- I win.)

Which I did.

I rolled down the window and ordered: “I’ll take 2 large hot tea’s with milk and honey and a cookie.”

I drove back to Michael’s. I parked illegally. I went in the out-door.

And then- I made a very tough looking girl- cry. (I was on a roll.)  Accidentally. By interrupting her at work. To hand her hot tea and honey.

“That’s the nicest thing anyone ever did for me.” She said between either coughs or sobs…. (They were coughs. She had actually just teared up.  Crying would have involved tears- which could have frozen as she stood by that almost never closed-door, probably creating an icicle to form on her nose ring. Which may have caused frostbite. And probably would have caused her to miss work. Maybe. But, I doubt it, because the plague sure hadn’t. )

I left feeling… well. Conflicted. I felt good that I’d done something to ease someones suffering…. (In my brain- that’s what I did- but let’s face it- it was just a cup of hot tea- not a cure for Influenza.) I also felt: sad. Sad that that was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her. (Even ignoring the hyperbole- i’m sure nicer things have been done… but you get the picture.)

I felt a little puffed up and prideful. I was that chick. The amazing chick who brought a cup of tea to a sick chick.

Which made me feel: guilty. Cause really? duh. Pride has no place in care.

But at least I did: something.

Id love to say that God rewarded my awesomeness with that sweet first in line parking spot. He didn’t. I would like to say that I was on time and that angels carried my car through every light… Not so much. I’d like to say that my tea was still hot when I got around to drinking it. Nope. cold. Id like to say that my explanation as to why I wsa late touched my 10 year old and inspired him to be more considerate of others. Nope. he was mad.

I can’t even say God used his holy- GPS to help me find my car in the line-up. Nope. I totally wandered around and had to hit the stupid “panic” button. (Maybe more ethan once.)  I probably caused a kindergartner to lose bladder control.

But, I did: something.

Ghandi said (At least the internets say he said..)  “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Elisa Morgan said: “She Did What She Could.”

I was, and: I did.

I hope you will and do- too.

Matthew 25:37-40  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

001

“I KNOW! YOU DON’T NEED TO RUB IT IN!  Why do you think I’m playing this stupid game anyways?”  I yelled at the little white, wiggling  “balance board”  icon touting my fatness all over the flat screen. (WHY do we have such a big screen anyways? To validate my shame?)

Watching the little scale weigh my tired, sore body and then pronounce the fact I already knew, infuriated me for some reason. It caused an immediate craving for chocolate, with a chips and salsa chaser.  (My perfect vortex of junk food..one bite tries to balance out the other.. spicey, hot and salty calls for a dousing of sweet creamy chocolate.. you just can’t STOP!)  For just a minute, I considered stepping off and retreating to my happy kitchen.  Or at least, to the comfy and rarely snarky; couch. 

Instead, I clicked through to “aerobics.”  I huffed and puffed through that first 3 minute run like a brownie overloaded, Thomas the Tank Engine working a steep hill.  I thought I might die.  I didn’t.

 I clicked to do it again.  I struggled to keep up with the little dog with an arrow over his head. I googled to see if there was a “leash cheat” that would attach that stupid dog to my Mii and pull me along.. there wasn’t. I got annoyed when the screen told me how un-steady my pace was.  Again, I considered running straight to the kitchen.  Again: I didn’t.

That was two weeks ago today.  That first day on the Wii Fit I struggled with 6 minutes of running. (Albeit in place) Yesterday? I managed 30 minutes, with much less angst. I barely fantasized about leashes, cheats or chocolate.  I’m starting to have more energy.  I even managed to work in some yoga.  (Which is apparently, hilarious to watch- according to my kids. So glad I can still make them laugh.. even if it’s at ME.  No worries, I’ll get them back.)

Theoretically, it takes 21-30 days to build a new habit… I think I just might make it. I’ll tell you this: exercise changes my attitude towars food.. instead of  “OHHH YUMMY”.. I say: “Ohh.. is that worth extra time in the tree-pose?”  Most of the time the answer is a resounding NO.

So far, I’d say- Wii Fit is a great fitness tool for moms.  There is flexibility to keep you from becoming bored.  There is minimal set up and it doesn’t take over your house the way a treadmillof other exercise equipment does. The cost isn’t exorbitant. (I got a deal through Amazon- a returned- open box  item for about $80- I only waited about a week fo it to come in stock and be shipped..)  And you don’t need childcare.  My youngest not only thinks it’s cool, but works out with me. Which is fun.  (Except when he tells me I look like a tree frog instead of a tree, and laughs at certain bouncy parts of me…that, I could do without.)

My goal is to get fit enough to be able to run outside. (Currently the extra weight I’m carrying makes my asthma worse outside- especially in the cold. Not to mention my vanity..about running in my fat girl sweats in public.. but I digress..) I’m also hoping to improve  my sanity, so that I eventually I won’t be arguing with the Wii.  Also: I want my haircut like my Mii.  Am I asking too much? 

Maybe.. But, I’m thinking the Wii Fit just might be able to deliver.

Interesting.. when I started this Lenten Journey I had no idea that taking better care of myself would be part of it.. I wonder where else it will lead?

001

Yoga looked so easy and relaxing,  until I tried it.

“Breathe, maintain your center of balance, lift one foot, using your hand and place it on your opposite thigh, knee turned out.  Bring hands together, front centered..” 

So begins the instructions for the Yoga practice known as the Tree pose.   It sounds simple enough and not the least bit dangerous or even painful.  IT LIES.

Yoga is about maintaining body centeredness, core stability and deep breathing.  This should be RELAXING.  Umm.. Hello.  IT IS NOT. (At least, not so far). 

Maybe it’s because I’m using the Wii Fit Yoga method…Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Maybe it’s because my yoga partner is a 6 year old who giggles while I wobble.  I’m not sure WHY, but I KNOW I do not look like the pics and videos I’ve been viewing. 

The yoga instructors look calm and relaxed- my face is scrunched up in a mix of: concentration and pain while sweat is dripping down my back .  The yoga instructor looks serene and stands elegantly motionless.  My ankles shake and I sway like a top heavy sapling in it’s first summer storm.

In the Yoga class of life I may be more tree-frog than tree pose, but I’m  making progress. During this lenten season- I’ve felt that I needed to add things into my life that would nourish and care for the life that God has given me.  An aspect of my life that has been long neglected is the physical aspect..

I’ve started 3 simple things:

1)  Eating food, not products.

2)  Feeding myself instead of starving myself until I’m ravenous and then stuffing myself.

3)  Exercising to strengthen my body for service.

I used to run. ALOT.  I miss the rhythm and the meditational quality of running, what I don’t miss is my former obsession with it.  I’d like to learn to run in moderation.  I’ve set a small goal: to run a 5 k race.   I’m starting slowly- and am adding other forms of exercise to balance out my exercise schedule.

 I may be a tree-frog now— but I’ll be a strong deeply rooted tree , eventually.  This is the scripture I’m meditating on while my ankles shake and I struggle to maintain the tree pose:

Psalm 1:3 (New International Version)

 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
       which yields its fruit in season
       and whose leaf does not wither.
       Whatever he does prospers.

Dear Lord- I want to care for all that you’ve given- mind body and spirit..please help me to honor you by being a stewart that cares well for your gifts, oh.. and Lord?  Could you hold me still duing the tree pose?  I’m having a little trouble with that!  amen

*Blink* *Blink*

That was pretty much my answer to my primary care physician a couple of weeks ago, when she asked me a question that I had NO answer for. (Me speechless? I know- it’s shocking.) We were discussing my (now plateaued) weight gain. “Trouble shooting”. (As if I may not KNOW what I’ve been doing wrong.) It started off fine… until she asked whether we’d had any dietary changes…. I said “You know, we’re probably eating more pre-packaged and convenience foods…”

That’s when she asked me “Why?”.   My response was this:

*Blink* *Blink* 

I didn’t want to say what I was thinking. “Ummm laziness…convenience…ease.”

I finally did answer after losing the “she who speaks first, loses” game.  (My doc can be brutal when she needs too be, she just stood there looking at me waiting for an answer! ) My answer has bothered me, ever since. 

I did a pantry/fridge evaluation.  My pantry and fridge, both flunked.   Almost everything had an expiration date further in the future than my youngest son’s graduation.  Instead of actual foods listed in the ingredients, there were chemical combinations that sounded like diseases.  That can’t be good.

So- I’m doing a little experiment.  We’ll call it a “real-food experiment”.   My goal is not to lose weight or diet… (alhtough that would be nice;) but to eat actual food as opposed to chemical cocktails in ever-fresh packaging.  It’s May- and farmers markets are opening up, it should be fairly easy to find actual- real food.  I love to cook- and actually can do it… it’s time to stop being lazy.

Yesterday- we baked whole wheat flax seed bread and had whole wheat pasta with easy homemade pasta sauce. Yum. 

Today- Noah and I are making a second attempt at home made Mozzerella (yesterdays shall remain unmentioned… gross:( ) We’ll toss some more ingredients into the bread machine (I and I put chicken, canned tomatoes, black beans, onion, green peppers in the crock pot to cook all day.  I’ll serve it up over brown rice with a salad on the side. It wasn’t hard… but it’s all actual food.  No powdered cheese… no rice mix of salt with pseudo-flavoring…. just, real food.  There will still be plenty of treats and snacks…some “real food” and some “junk food”… but definitely a move towards the “real”. 

I can do it.. and I have the time… so I will.

Stay tuned- you’ll get to watch the wins and losses- enjoy:)

From the top left:  Whole Wheat Bread with ground flax. Home made pasta sauce.  Second row- OOPs thats not food… thats my Tuscany Shawl from “No Sheep For You” .. Indigo Moon Fingering weight yarn in Aubergine. I love it;)

Bottom row- What was supposed to be Mozzerella cheese- but someone accidently let it boil….That’s a loss. and real ingredients for today’s chicken dinner;)

Whole Wheat Bread Good for Toast-  I added 2 tablespoons of cold milled flax seed, and instead of oil, I used fresh butter;) .

Tracey’s Homemade Pasta Sauce:

fresh mushrooms, sliced

chopped onion, minced garlic, green pepper diced

turkey sausage (1 lb)

1 lg can tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion

1 small can tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste

Brown turkey and drain, add onion, garlic, green pepper, mushrooms, salt and pepper sautee until veggies are slightly softened. 

Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir and simmer until pasta is ready.  (about 45 minutes) Serve with  your favorite whole wheat pasta;)

Today’s dinner-

Chicken and sauce-

Whole chicken cut up

Can tomato sauce

can tomato paste

can of black beans

onion, garlic and green pepper chopped, salt and pepper (I’m part Italian.. can’t cook without these ingredients;)

toss everything in the crock pot, and cook until you are no longer afraid to eat it;) (I usually cook on high for 5-6 hours) Serve over steamed brown rice;) Maybe with a few grates of parmesan or fresh mozzerella.