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Don’t Tell Me I’m Awesome

22 Jan

`The internet is full of mommy blogs and internet articles to tell all us moms that we are awesome and amazing and super—even if our 4 year old isn’t potty trained yet, our house has a crunchy floor, and we haven’t done laundry or mopped the floor in living memory.

I had twins a year and a half ago.  They made babies # 8 and 9 for me.  I know how to make bread and I know how to sew.  I cook from scratch, and my family is pretty happy to eat the food I cook unless I commit the awful sin of not chopping the onions finely enough.  I am not awesome because I do these things.  My mom taught me how to do them, and so I can do them, much like any other woman out there who does what she learned from her mother and tries her best to be a good mother to her own children.

I love to teach and I like to make pretty things and read books about interesting ideas.  I like to share about what I am excited about.  Usually the response I get is

“Wow, you are amazing, I could never do that.”

“You are a super mom.”

This pretty much makes me feel like a shmuck.  I wasn’t sharing because I was seeking praise.  I was sharing because I was excited.  I want to hear about what other people excited about. I want them to be excited about what I’m excited about.  Instead, I’m stuck all by my self in a time-out called “You are Awesome.”

Sometimes I share about the struggles that I have.

I get the same responses.

“You are a super mom.”

“I could never do what you do.”

“You are so patient.”

“You are awesome.”

Sometimes I want to argue with people.  I want to tell them that they could do what I do—

which is do the best I can with what I’ve been given.

I want to tell them that I’m not patient; I’m just too tired to fight battles that aren’t worth fighting. Or I’ve realized that some things aren’t important enough to get mad about.

“God gave those twins to you instead of me because I couldn’t handle them, but you can.”

Maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

I think God helps me deal with what life throws at me.  Just like God helps others deal with what life throws them.

Besides, I don’t want to be told that I’m super mom.   I was looking for connection, maybe even asking for help.  But instead I am again isolated by the assumption that I can be patted on the back and told I’m awesome and that this will magically help me feel happy and not exhausted.  Is it too much to ask to let me join the ranks of normal mom and have normal mom friends?

Next time you have a friend who shares what she is excited about, instead of telling her she is amazing, say “That’s cool.  I’d like to try it, could you show me how?” Or  “Neat! Here is this cool thing that I am excited about.”

Next time your friend mentions her struggles, maybe she doesn’t need to be told how far superior she is to all the other humans.  How no one can match her.  Maybe she doesn’t feel awesome and telling her she is awesome will just make her feel the gap more.

Maybe she just needs a friend beside her, to know she isn’t alone, a few laughs about how life is crazy, and a salted-caramel-truffle blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Karma double-crossed me, kicked me in the face, and stole my lunch money.

1 Mar
English: Vinita Hotel, in Vinita, Oklahoma

English: Vinita Hotel, in Vinita, Oklahoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So this morning I blissfully headed out the door to do a Mary Kay party.  I left in plenty of time and I had everything ready. 

The party was a bit farther than I usually go, but it was for a sweet little lady who is a great customer so I was happy to go.  I got there just fine and my new iPhone bailed me out when I couldn’t find Pat’s house.  I tried to call her, but I had entered her phone number wrong into my phone.  Never fear, I used my Mary Kay app to log onto my website and find her correct number.

The party was fine-I sold what I sell on average–even though 2 of the guests refused to try the product because they were not going to remove their makeup.  This always surprises me, though it happens occasionally.  I talked a little bit too much and left a little late, but all was well.  Here’s where things started to go downhill.

Since my trip required getting on the Oklahoma Turnpike, I headed towards the Vinita toll booth.  It wasn’t labeled very well and I wasn’t sure if I should pay toll or take a ticket (and pay later.)  I opted for take a ticket because that is how it had worked when I came from the opposite direction.  As soon as I was through the booth, and past the point of no return, I could see that my ticket was for the wrong direction.  It was for west and I wanted to go east.  Right on the ticket is says something like, “It is unlawful to take this ticket and travel in a different direction than stated.”  I panicked.  I did not want to be unlawful.  FIGHT OR FLIGHT! FIGHT OR FLIGHT!  I went west even though I was already late and even though I knew it was the wrong direction because I didn’t want to be unlawful.  It cost me 20 minutes and $3.25 in toll fees to go down to riggin’ friggin’ Big Cabin and turn around.  I imagined telling the whole thing to my dad and how he would laugh and ask, “What are you such a silly goose for?”  The worst thing is it was all so deja vu, like, I’m pretty sure that I have done this very same thing before.  Next time, Vinita, I’m traveling east no matter what.  Get a better sign.

Now an hour late instead of half an hour late, I continue to the Baby-sitter’s and pick up the girls.  I really hate being late to the babysitter’s.  It makes me feel so flaky and bad mom and unreliable.

I let the DH know that I will be late home and make one last Mary Kay delivery before heading home.  Now I’ve been on the road for more than 2 hours and I’m tired.  Not sleepy tired, just that numb “I can’t believe I’m still in this stupid car when I just want to be home” tired.  So I’m just on auto-pilot, thinking about home and what I’m going to cook for dinner, when suddenly I see those beautiful red & blue flashing lights in my rear view mirror.  Yep, that’s right, I’ve totally missed the 30 MPH sign and since my auto-pilot default is 45, I’m in trouble.

Don’t worry, I did not miss the irony of getting pulled over for speeding when I already ruined my afternoon in an attempt to avoid being “unlawful.”   The thing is I wasn’t trying to speed.  I just wasn’t paying attention because I was so done.

Is it just me, or are police officers getting really young these days?  Mine was wearing a jacket that was too big for him and a mustache that was WAY too big for him.  After he decided to give me a ticket, he went into this schpeal about how my signing it was not an admission of guilt, just and acknowledgement that I had received it.  I asked him if I could just pay it and not go to court, which he said I could.  Then he repeated the whole schpeal about how my signing it was not an admission of guilt, just and acknowledgement that I had received it, and then get this, he said in this very wheedle-whiny unsure voice, “So…will you sign it?”  I’m not sure what he expected me to do instead.  Flip out and scream at him in front of my 4-year-old?  Wake up the baby?  Maybe the way I was just sitting there with my hands in my lap and staring straight ahead all defeated made him think I was about to go psyco.

When I got home, the big kids had done their chores and the DH was washing dishes.  Ah Home, sweet Home.

Then as I unpacked my Mary Kay bags, I discovered I had lost one of the sales slips from the party.  Not only does that mean I don’t have the lady’s information and can’t get paid, it also means her bank card information is where?  Still at Pat’s house?  Blowing down the Oklahoma Turnpike?  There was that bit where my car window got tired of going up and down at toll booths and just stayed stuck down for awhile…..Oh the humiliation of having to call her and tell her I’ve gone and lost her card number who knows where.  How to avoid that in the future?  I bet my iPhone has an app.  Curses for not thinking of that sooner.

Oh I just want to curl up in a ball and eat a bunch of chocolate.  Wait…already did that and am 500 calories over my limit for the day.  Super.

I think the best part about being married is that at the end of a day like today, I can go home and get a good hug and know that somebody still thinks I’m great, even if I’m an idiot.  

And I’ll tell him about that speeding ticket tomorrow, first thing, I swear.  It’s just that when I took a breath to tell him, I felt like I might start crying and so I stopped…

The Word for 2013

7 Feb
Christ Mormon

Christ Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

I have a cousin who chooses a word or phrase each year to go along with her New Year’s resolutions.  When I first saw this idea, I loved it!  However, in January, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted from this year.  I was really struggling with the tension between things I want to do and things I need to do.  Struggling with how I want things to be and how things really are.  It’s been an eventful month for me though, and my mind and heart have grown.  I’ve realized what my word for the year needs to be:

ACCEPTANCE

That’s right.  Not Tolerance, but acceptance.  Acceptance of my role in my family.  Acceptance of situations in life beyond my control–because until I accept the situation, I can’t do anything productive about it.  I have to be able to say “Here is where I am.  Now what am I going to do about it.”  rather than “But I don’t want it to be like this, it should be like that.”

oh, those dangerous words “Should be.”  So much judgement is hidden in those words.  So many lies are said with those words.

Most of all, acceptance of God’s will in my life.  I have to be willing to let go of trying to control my life and do what I know God wants for me to do.  It is kind of scary to say alright, I’m going to allow this to be and trust that God’s plan is the better one.  My brain says, “but what if it is God’s plan means I’ll won’t get to do what I want.”  I have to answer with faith that God’s plan will be better than mine was.

Have you ever experienced this:  Where something you have heard and talked about your whole life–really taken for granted–is suddenly so real and amazing to you?

It’s happened for me a few times recently.

Something we all say like “God is always there for you.” or “The atonement of Jesus Christ can heal any hurt.”

I remember sitting in church a few years ago, going over a problem in my mind and thinking, “There is no way.  How can Jesus solve this pain for me?  I don’t know if he can.”

But of course, He did solve it.  And now when I hear someone say, “Jesus can heal any hurt.”  I wonder to myself what the story behind that testimony is.  Because it isn’t just something I repeat because I’ve heard it.  It’s something I know from real experience now.

So for this year, I feel like I have learned better what it really means to do God’s will and trust in Him that what happens will be a blessing for me and my family.

I still have my Jonah days, where I want to run away and follow my plan instead.

But my guiding focus for this year is acceptance.  So less Jonah days.

Like Peter, I’m going to try walking on water.  Some days, I’m sure the wind boisterous will distract me and I’ll start to sink.  In fact, some days I’ll probably plummet towards the bottom and it will be loud and messy and terrible.  But other days, I’ll remember to stay focused on my Savior and keep afloat–even maybe keep my head above most of the waves.

What is your focus for this year?

Is there a connection between this post and this one?  Now that I think about it, yes.  But mostly because the atonement of Christ really does cover everything.

Matthew 14:26-32 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.   And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish

18 Jan

I’m a celebrity now, so naturally,

inquiring minds want to know, so naturally,

one interviewed me, so naturally,

I’m sure you will love to read all about it.

 A Back Yard Interview With Glow Worm

p.s.  It’s only goodbye until Tuesday.

Sometimes I can predict the future.

18 Jan

Do you ever say something that up until that point has been true, but the second the words leave your mouth, your brain tells you, “You are about to be made a liar.”

Happens to me all the time.

Like last night when we had a friend over and I proclaimed,

“I am the BLOKUS master.”

My brain went “ping! wrong-o”

I proceeded to murderously lose 3 games.

Well, the first one was a draw. Which is pretty much the same as a loss when you are expecting to dominate.

Begin at the Beginning? Maybe not….

3 Jan
“Begin at the beginning.  And when you come to the end, stop.”

So I’ve figured out my problem.  My problem is I always want to talk to people the same way I blog.  I want to begin at the beginning of my story and tell how I progressed and how my thought process altered and then show where I am now.

The problem with that method is that my first sentence is often in direct contradiction to where I am now.  So then when I’m at a party and talking, people hear my first sentence and are like, “Whoa, that’s not right.”

Then they get this look on their face like, “I’m not happy with what you’re saying.” 

OR WORSE, they interrupt me and say, “You really think that?”

And I’m all, “No! Wait! let me finish!” and I get all flustered.

And sometiems they are all,”I’m done listening,” and I don’t ever get to explain my story. Or worse, in trying to defend my story, I make some gross generalization that I’m way too smart to actually believe myself and totally cut the ground right out from myself.

I need to start at the end and then go back to the beginning.  Important information first.

Maybe I should blog that way too.  Important information first and then fill in the back story.  Maybe you all read my first sentence and are like, “Leaving now.” and never finish it to find out how I learned something.

Come back, I promise I’m smarter now.

Just Eat It

13 Oct

I have reasons to make a change:

**I feel nauseous after I eat. 

**My mom had cancer when she was 37 and I am turning 34 next month.

**I’m struggling with low energy & dramatic mood swings.

**My kids need to eat more vegetables.

**I’d like to lose weight.

I have history: I grew up eating healthy.  

**Whole Wheat:  My dad made me eat cracked wheat mush nearly every day for breakfast whether I wanted to or not (on Saturdays mom made whole wheat pancakes.)   Any kind of baked goods, my mom made with 100% whole wheat flour that she ground in her electric wheat mill.  Bread, rolls, pasta, cookies- all 100% whole wheat. 

**No Sugar:  Mom only used honey for sweetening things like cookies.  When she made pancakes, she would make a little syrup on the stove boiling honey & water together.

**Lots of vegetables:  Most of what we ate either came from the garden or it was a kind of dried legume.  When we had meat, it was  a small part of the meal–a little hamburger in gravy to go over mashed potatoes.  The only time I ever saw a chunk of meat on the table was Thanksgiving Day and Christmas day.  Those days we had roast turkey, although one year, I remember going to Grandma Bennion’s house and she had made some kind of a baked brisket.  It was so good. On the menu for dinner at the Hansen house depended on the season.

Early spring: Asparagus soup or Broccoli soup; lettuce
Late spring: boiled potatoes with cream sauce & peas; steamed green beans; milk; cantaloupe

Summer: tomato & cucumber salad; mashed potatoes; corn on the cob; milk;  or garlic & parmesan cheese coleslaw; watermelon

Fall: split pea soup; bread & butter; milk;

Winter: home-canned tomatoes poured over rice & homemade cheese; milk

The eating healthy train is derailed:

Then I left home to go to college.  I ate the cafeteria and reveled in the glorious bounty of meat and gravy, white flour pasta, cookies, pudding, and cake. 

I gained 10 pounds.

Then I went to basic training for the army.  I ate in the Dining Facility. Everything they gave me, I ate.  I was so worried about having enough fuel to work with.  I didn’t eat syrup on my pancakes though–I couldn’t stomach that much sugar in the morning.  I would pour the strawberry yogurt we got on my pancakes in place of syrup.  Saved me time anyway.

I gained 10 more pounds.  But to be fair, a lot of it was probably muscle since I went from not being able to do a single pushup to being able to pump out 42 in 2 minutes. 

Back on track for a little while:

When I got back to college, I suddenly couldn’t stomach the cafeteria food anymore.  I still had to eat at the cafeteria (since I was living in the dorms) but I switched to omelets for breakfast and bagels & salad for lunch and dinner.  I just could not bring myself to eat all those meaty, gravy, fatty foods.  I lost 15 pounds, but I’ve felt guilty about it for a long time–that I “starved” myself skinny. 

Then about 3 weeks ago, I realized:  I didn’t starve myself at all.  I just went back to eating like I did at home as a girl, or as close to it as I could at the cafeteria.  I chose to eat what didn’t make me feel sick: vegetables.  The salads I ate were not just a bit of wimpy lettuce–the glorious thing about a cafeteria salad bar is all the chopped vegetables you want, and you don’t have to be the one who chopped them.  My salads were a plateful of lettuce and broccoli and cauliflower and cucumbers and mushrooms and green peppers with chopped boiled egg and sunflower seeds and cherry tomatoes and baby carrots drenched in ranch dressing and cheddar cheese.  There is nothing starving about that!

Marriage (in other words, keeping the Man happy):

About 2 weeks after our marriage, the Man of the House asked me, “When are we going to have meat for dinner?”

I was confused.  “What are you talking about?  I made chicken soup this week, pizza, hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes. All those things have meat.”

He said, “No I mean a chunk of meat.” 

I did not know how to cook a chunk of meat.  But I had The Joy of Cooking and 2 Relief Society cookbooks full of cream of mushroom soup casserole recipes. I learned how to cook pot roast, country fried steak, pork chops, and 5 kinds of chicken.  After 2 weeks of eating a chunk of meat every day, I decided our budget couldn’t handle that much meat.  Surely people didn’t eat like this all the time?

But a fundamental shift had occurred in my thinking.  I no longer thought, “What am I cooking for dinner?”  I thought “What meat am I cooking for dinner?”  If there wasn’t meat in it, the Man of the House insisted that it wasn’t a “hearty” meal. 

I did manage over time to shift some of his opinions.  I made homemade cinnamon & raisin swirled bread and gradually, week by week, increase the amount of whole wheat flour in it until he liked to eat whole wheat bread.  He insisted that there wasn’t a difference between margerine and butter.  I only used butter.   A month later at his mom’s house, he put margerine on his bread, took a bite and made an icky face.  “What’s this?”  he asked me.  “Oh, that’s margerine,” I said, probably a little too smugly.

I reduced the amount of meat I cooked as much as I could, using only 1/4lb of hamburger per quart of spaghetti sauce and making things like stir fry that had lots of veggies.  But my thinking was still, “What meat am I cooking for dinner?”  

I’ve blamed the weight I’ve put on in the last 13 years on 6 pregnancies, but I think it had a lot to do with all the meat and all the desserts my husband wanted me to cook and my inability to not eat just one serving of said dessert. 

Everybody is ready for a change:

The Man of the House has gradually come to his own realizations about eating healthy.  He knows that the less processed a food is, the better for us it is.  He likes to eat spinach, kale, and bok choy.  And now, he is wanting to feel healthier too.

The Change: 4 changes for 3 weeks: 

**Green Drinks The plan is for the adults to drink 1 quart of green drink and for the kids to drink 1 cup to a pint of green drink every day.  Here is my recipe for now:

2 1/2 cups water
6 cups kale or spinach or beet greens (I’m working up the courage to try comfrey)
1/2 tsp truvia
1/8 of a lemon (peel & all)
2-3 cups frozen fruit
1-2 small apples (sometimes)

Blended in my wimpy Walmart special blender.

I won’t go into all the reasons why this is good for you.  Suffice to say, we are getting more raw veggies than we were before by a long shot.  Kale & spinach are both packed with all kinds of nutrients. 

I bought The Green Smoothie Diet by Robyn Openshaw.  Much of what she said about how you should eat reminded me of what I grew up eating.  It was good to have facts to show the Man of the House and the more I read about the nutrients in raw food, the more I realized how much I had been worrying about cancer.   Now I know what to do about it.

**Less Cow milk.  Being the daughter of a dairy man, I grew up on the gospel of milk is the best food on the planet.  But after I read the research, I decided it might not be so.  I stopped drinking milk ( I was drinking a gallon a week- more than twice what the rest of the family put together drinks) and realized that nauseous feeling I had all the time was caused by the cow milk.  I’m considering getting a goat, to see if raw goat milk would sit better, but until then, no milk is better than processed milk.

**I have shifted my planning mindset back to “What vegetables and fruit are we having for dinner.”  We aren’t going vegetarian or anything, but my focus is on the vegetables.

**I’m cooking with olive oil and coconut oil and a little butter.  No more soybean based vegetable oil.


I also plan on  eating **Less Sugar, but I didn’t manage that one yet.  I’ve realized that  I’m addicted to sugar.

Results:

 After 3 weeks of green smoothies (although I didn’t make them every day- more like 3 times a week), only drinking 1-2 cups of milk per week, and using coconut oil instead of soybased oil:

I feel so much better!  I don’t feel nauseous all the time and my mood swings have dramatically evened out.  (I think the Man of the House is massively relieved.)  Also, by the way,

I LOST 4 POUNDS.  That might sound like a little thing, but I haven’t been able to lose more than 1/2 pound in a week for the last 12 years, and I had to carefully count my calories and exercise until I was red in the face and sweating buckets to do it.   

I lost this 4 pounds (more than 1 pound a week) without suffering; without exercising, without spending hours planning meals and counting calories, without feeling hungry, and I ate more sugar than I should have.  Like I’m talking about a whole bag of mellow cream pumpkins and 2 bags of Lindt chocolate truffles.  (sorry for not sharing, Dear Husband.)  Then there was Julia’s birthday cake and after school cookies and etc. etc. etc. Just think what might happen if I did not eat sugar and exercised a couple times a week!

Now I’m 38 pounds away from what I weighed when I was married and suddenly it doesn’t seem like a hard thing, but a possible thing that those pounds could go away.

 
Hurray for Green Drinks!!