Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Do You Feel Guilty?

One of the best reasons to get up on Sunday morning and go to church is to hear Bishop Sutton.  I always seem to learn something new and am inspired, often, to research what he says.

This week, I learned the government has kept a Conscience Fund since the early 1800's.  Sure, sending money to the government isn't on par with Biblical forgiveness, but sending ill-gotten, stolen, or unremitted money to the government MIGHT help you sleep better at night.

The first letter sent to this fund demonstrated the fact that we often know what we ought to do, but we don't always know what to do.  Maybe, for some, sending money in arrears will do the trick.  For some, though, money can't solve the problem.  Their conscience has been pricked because of something they've done or said that was inappropriate.  And, if you don't already know this, money doesn't and can't fix everything.

I would suggest, to those who have decided their conscience isn't clear, that forgiveness, through the power of Jesus Christ, is the actual solution.  After all, we are convicted of our sin through the Holy Spirit and feel the need to absolve ourselves because he gifted us with a conscience in the first place.   Clearly, he wanted us to know right from wrong, to have a moral compass if you will, and he wanted us to have an "out" when we went astray.  That "out" is forgiveness.

A clear conscience is, therefore, found in a person who is forgiven.  However, only when that forgiveness is accepted will that person be truly free.  There is nothing more pathetic than a person who can't accept the forgiveness offered by another person or by God.  Forgiveness is meant to be embraced and to have the daylights squeezed out of it until is permeates the soul of the forgiven!

So, what is troubling you today?  What past hurts do you need to rectify?  What has gone unresolved far too long in your life?

If you have an answer, you have a conscience.  And if you have a conscience, you have a Savior who is willing to forgive you, no questions asked.

Do yourself a favor and do the dirty work to move forward.  I can't guarantee you won't suffer through the process, but I can guarantee that accepting that forgiveness will lighten your load.  In the end, you will walk taller and feel better than before.

If what you've been doing hasn't been working, I would propose trying forgiveness just might be the answer.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Science of Skinny

My Mother-in-law has a knack for sharing.  She is one of those people who has an opinion but is gracious enough not to "should" all over you, as in "You SHOULD do this."  Instead, she offers you information and lets you decide if you are going to use it or not.

Over Spring Break she offered a couple of books she is reading.  In fact, she bought copies for me and passed them along saying they were really helpful to her and invited me to read them.  No pressure.

For whatever reason, probably because the word "skinny" is in the title, I opted to start reading "The Science of Skinny" first. The book is based on research done by a chemist turned nutritionist who lost 100 pounds many years ago and has kept it off with common sense eating.

Knowing that my Dad is an MIT-trained chemist and that I, his only daughter, almost FAILED chemistry in High School (even after hours of his tutoring and hours of my tears), you would think this reading this would be a real mis-match. But, let me tell you what, I feel redeemed at the tender age of 46!  I could probably go back now and understand Mr. Kurth a bit better.  I might even be able to hold back tutoring session tears.  That is how much Dee McCaffrey's book has convinced me that chemistry isn't the rocket science I thought it was back in the early 80's.

I've waded through the chemistry behind sugar, processed flour, fats, oils, and the mad science behind food chemistry (aka:  fake flavors, colors, preservatives).  I have learned about proper pH levels in the body.  I've even been able to pat myself on the back, but just a bit, for guiding my family's food ship in the right direction. But, I've also discovered that I have a LONG way to go.  Even though I only find myself halfway through the book, I am INSPIRED to make healthy changes.

I've read Mike about a dozen paragraphs that highlight the science behind "bad" fats (goodbye canola oil!  Hello butter and coconut oil!) and poor sugar choices (goodbye, agave nectar!  Hello honey!).  He is on board, too, even though he hasn't cracked the book one bit, because the science just doesn't lie.

I tote this book with me everywhere I go.  As any Mom with growing kids knows, you have to take advantage of every spare moment to read if you aren't going to resort to books on CD.  (I am an avid under-liner and highlighter when reading, so CDs just aren't my learning style at all.)  I read at dentist appointments, stop lights, learning centers, and in between stirring the brown rice.  I've recommended the book about six times because people see the title and are immediately intrigued.  Then I immediately dive into the "why" I am reading the book and the amazing ability of Ms. McCaffrey to dumb down the science for people like me, the chemistry-challenged of the world.  Not a single person hasn't jotted down the title and author's name.

Just a slight warning:  if you aren't in the mind-set that you want to understand what you are eating, don't bother with this book.  Once you are made aware of the choices you are making, you will very likely feel the way I do:  slightly guilty when I veer off course and disrupt my entire system.

If you don't believe me, consider that today is "cheat day" for those of us observing Lent and I attended a baby shower.  As with most baby showers, this one was rife with great, sugary choices, such as cake pops, strawberry cake (one of my favs), coffee cake with a thick frosting top, and pastries with dense cheese and fruit tops.  Not only did I bypass all of them, I did so with a great deal of willpower, based on what I now know about sugar and processed flour.

I don't expect this book to change my body overnight.  I don't expect to be "skinny" any time soon.  That will require a bit more work than I think Dee's book can inspire or that my scarce time will allow.  But, I can darn sure tell you I (and my family) will be a lot more HEALTHY as a result of spending the time to understand the foods I/we eat. And, for that, I have my sweet, dear Mother-in-law and Dee McCaffrey to thank.

Here's to happy reading and more healthy eating!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sermon Tidbits

Bishop Sutton is on a tear this Lent with great sermons.  The takeaways are causing my pen to burn a hole in the bulletin every week.  LOVE it!

This week's greatness:
Satan is a master at turning God's people against God.

Our real friend is God, but our culture needs to be reminded of that.

When we aren't getting what we want we perceive God is against us.  (The opposite is always true!)

Satan confuses us to make us think we are running toward God when, in fact, we are running away from Him.  And, when we are running away from God, Satan tricks us into believing we are running TO God.

That crafty old DEVIL!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


One of the funnest things the fifth graders do at Hoo's school is monologues after they read Prince Caspian.  Most of the kids dress up in the costume of their character and ham it up.  Some take on English accents, some play act, some read straight off cue cards so as not to blow anxiety-driven chunks at their audience.

There is a combination of innocence, happiness and an edge of tween that emanates from this group.  This is probably the last year most of the kids will acknowledge their parents without an eye roll or a huge sigh, indicating our relative ignorance about life.  It is also the last year most of the boys won't stink if they run five feet.  And next year the girls will likely discover make-up and their first bras.  They are, as a group, on the verge of diving into the deep of adolescence.  They just don't know it.  But, my misty eyes betray the fact that I know.

So, while I am having these thoughts watching them cycle through their performances, Hoo hits the stage, which is really just the front of his classroom but might as well be Broadway.  He is nervous.  You can see it on his face and the way he grasps at the bottom of his kingly robe.

He has worked hard on this performance.  He has written it, practiced it, memorized it, matched it with the perfect costume, and waited impatiently for his turn.  His family has, in turn, listened intently, offered a few suggestions, clapped after every performance, and wished him luck.

And now it is here. He starts strong:  loud voice, good eye contact, great speech.  He doesn't waver.  He holds the robe for dear life but, otherwise, seems comfortable to the untrained eye.

But there comes a point where the words get tangled.  He is to say "Peter and I fought very hard" but trips over the verb.  And interchanges it with, quite arguably, the funniest word in history.


It came out "Peter and I farted very hard".  And there was a pause.  His entire body stopped.  His eyebrows raised and his mouth dropped open.  He appeared to become a statue for a milli-second.  And then the laughing started.

The entire class was in stitches.  The adults there to watch were even having a tough time holding it in, yours truly included.  My shoulders bounced and my eyes watered as I tried to hold my laughter inside.

He went after the sentence again, still having not cracked a smile.  This time he found "fought", but immediately cracked up after he said it.  This happened four times before he finally looked toward his teacher, who quieted the audience and encouraged him forward.  He shot a glance at me and I motioned to him to move on. 

And he did.  He got through the sentence after four attempts and finished as strongly as he had started. 

He was the belle of the ball after he sat down.  The boys were high-fiving him and the girls were giggling. He was approached by another fifth grade teacher in carpool congratulating him on his monologue.  Hoo's response "That sure spread fast!  Now the entire fifth grade knows!"

I recounted my faux pas in a business meeting at Citibank sometime in the late 80's where I intended to say "Come out with my guns blazing" but instead managed to mangle the sentence to "Come out with my buns blazing".  I didn't live that comment down for the rest of my career with the bank.

It happens to all of us, was my conclusion.  Young, old, smart, dumb, we all have those moments. Considering he lives with three other males of the species, his trip up wasn't surprising in the least.

I just can't wait to hear the new nickname he will gain as a result.  If his friends are worth their salt, they are pow-wowing over that decision at lunch and recess today.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Babe Outs The Parents

"I know where you and Dad have puberty."

One of the nice little side effects of The Babe's learning difference is not being able to come up with the right word.  He can describe the living crap out of whatever thing he can't name but give it a name...nyet.

I racked my brain.  Puberty, puberty.  This word is being thrown around our house daily now that Nickels is going through it.  But how were we, his parents, being sucked into it?

That's when it dawned on me:  he was talking about s.e.x.  So I asked him, "Do you mean where Mommy and Daddy have SEX?"

"Yes", he confidently replied, smiling big and wide, like he had just outed the biggest secret in the whole universe.

"And who told you this?"  I already knew it was Mike.  There was no doubt in my mind it was Mike.  To think it was either of the other two boys would be to admit that they KNOW we have sex, where we have sex, and probably THAT THEY HAVE SOMEHOW BEEN AROUND TO KNOW WE'VE HAD SEX.

I had a total and complete cooties moment.

There was a bit of bantering back and forth about this whole thing and then it was over.  He knew.  I knew he knew.  And the world didn't stop spinning.

Then, later in the week, he asked how he was born.  I'll spare you the anatomically-correct version of the explanation, but let's just say he was completely and utterly grossed out.  Wished aloud that I had had a C-section instead because that was so much more palatable than coming from "down there".

Can I just say that I am glad this is the LAST time I'll have to wander through the joy of explaining sex to  my boys.  And Mike is SO on the hook for the penile explanations.  I don't have one, I just live with many of them.  So, technically, I'm no expert.  That falls on the man WITH the ding-dong.  Just sayin'...