Moderation in All Things

May 29, 2011

The hand of God is such an amazing thing. I finally declared I was taking control of my life and actively working to lose weight and be healthier. I bought a scale (or, rather, requested that Paul buy me a scale), bought a new scale that worked, even if I had to accept that my starting weight for our biggest looser challenge was incorrectly two pounds lighter, started eating better, and then, out of the blue, I got a phone call.

Hi, this is [name] from Curves. I’m calling to let you know that you won a free month.

How did I do that? (I was surprised.)
She helped me remember that the previous week at the bowling alley I had filled out a paper for their giveaway while waiting for the boys to put their shoes back on and exit. It was just one of those mindless things; of course I never thought I’d win, I never win those things.

But I did win. It was so clearly the Lord saying, “okay, Heather. You’re finally taking control. You’ve made some real steps instead of just lipservice. You’re going to do it this time. So let me help you.”

I know there are those who think it’s silly to think of weight loss as a form of repentance or caring for your body as a form of worship, but that’s how I see it.  In our church we have been given inspired guidelines to follow called “The Word of Wisdom” (full text of revelation) in which we are discouraged from items that would be harmful to us, or addicting, and encouraged to eat healthy foods sparingly and in season. 

The milk of the law is clearly the don’ts: don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs … and once a person establishes a lifestyle without these things, it’s pretty easy to maintain.  Instead of thinking of this as a freebie law, one that would require overt disobedience, we need to remember that the Word of Wisdom includes so much more, and the rest is considerably greyer in terms of obedience, but therein lies the meat of the law.

It’s a very slippery slope for me from appreciating all the wonderful foods the Lord has provided or inspired to a complete lack of control or moderation.  That is exactly where I have fallen.  Food is more than just a utilitarian input of energy, but it is an art.  It’s also a tool we use for celebration.  All that is fine in moderation, but when we fill our bodies with junk or simply fill our bodies with excess we fail to see our bodies as the temples that they are and we disrespect ourselves and the Lord. 

Conversely, when we appreciate good food for what it is, but also appreciate the healthy limits of our own bodies, and exercise restraint, we are putting aside our natural inclinations and showing deference to God.  It is in putting God’s will before our own that we worship Him.  In showing respect for ourselves and our bodies that we show respect for Him. 

Making restitution with my body isn’t going to be easy or instantaneous, it’ll be a long time before I’m at a healthy, normal weight.  Fortunately I’ve already been able to reap the blessings of my new-found perspective.  My energy levels and moods have increased.  My stamina is close behind, which is fortunate, because I just got this free month at Curves, and I plan on getting my money’s worth!


I Went to Sleep at 2 am

May 28, 2011

I went to sleep at 2am because I crawled into bed at ten to two.
I crawled into bed at ten to two because I didn’t get home until sometime after one.
I didn’t get home until sometime after one because I was the last person in our carpool to be dropped off and we didn’t leave the party until twenty to one. (Which, by the way, means we made incredible time.)
We didn’t leave the party until twenty to one because we had only barely broken out the desserts at midnight.
We’d only barely broken out the desserts at midnight (or later?) because we didn’t even start dinner until probably eleven.
We didn’t start dinner until eleven because we had to talk about our plans for middle school and high school and how to take over the world, and take a group shot and having the grill going would definitely have ruined the picture.
We didn’t take the picture until late because we had appetizers going until sometime after nine (which I didn’t believe when someone told us it was nine, because how was that even possible?)
We prepared and ate our appetizers until after nine because they were sooo good, and anyway, most of us didn’t arrive until seven pm and since we’re all such good friends the time just flew by; that’s why, for the first time in probably my whole life, I went to sleept at 2 am.

I could have stayed with those women, the other mothers in our class, and chatted all night.  (I have to keep pinching myself that this is real, and this is public school.  It feels like a dream lottery.)

I Know How It Feels To Glow

May 26, 2011

Nope, not pregnant. Thanks for asking, though, it’s really helping my diet. (Did you hear that rumour going around a couple of months ago that I was pregnant? Yeah, that was really funny. I think I should make a whole blog post about all the blasts to my ego lately. When put all together they’re funny — or it is that individually they’re funny and collectively they’re sad? I digress.)

It’s been a year since I started teaching piano again. My students have been progressing well, and with a lot of preparation we finally had our first recital! Every single thing about the day was perfect.

The day before Mother’s Day we all assembled at the gracious home of one of my students. The temperature was perfect, the sky was sunny but it wasn’t too hot. The children came very prepared and almost all of them played their memorized pieces perfectly! They were also great audience members for each other.

Then of course we had food for the reception afterwards. I ordered some of my favourites from Have It Sweet and some of the other families brought a plate of something to share. We had an amazing assortment of delicious foods.  Everyone was happy and well fed.

They presented me with flowers. I was so touched. I really thought all the students deserved the flowers so much more than I. The day was all about them. (But how could I refuse? To do so would have been rude. Besides, they were gorgeous.)

I was on a big high from the success of my students that I practically floated up the hill for a pre-Mother’s day barbeque at my brother in law’s home.  I just can’t believe that this is my job — I have the best job in the whole wide world!

Preschool: Z

May 25, 2011

Z is for Zoo

As the children entered I had them play with all of the animals (toys, puppets, whatever) that I had previously laid out. After a short play we did an animal sort with them, classifying which animals were zoo animals and which were not.

Reading Time (Z is for zzzzzzz and zoo)

(after I taught them that in books we often use “zzzzz” to demonstrat that someone is sleeping, I read to them some of the bedtime-y books we had.  None of which actually contain “zzzzz” in the text.)
“Little Quack’s Bedtime” by Lauren Thompson, ill. by Derek Anderson
“Good-night, Owl!” by Pat Hutchins
“Just Go to Bed” by Mercer Mayer
“Northern Lullaby” by Nancy White Carlstrom, ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon
“Dr. Seuss’ ABC” by Dr. Seuss
“Curious George visits the Zoo” written by someone at the Houghton Mifflin Company in the style of Margret & H.A. Rey

Z Eats E

Since they were already on the couch from storytime I turned on “E Eats Everything” from They Might Be Giants’ Here Come the ABCs, one of our favourite children’s albums which doubles as a dvd.

Z is for Zebra

The children practiced their “z”s on a zebra colouring sheet while I prepared the snack: zebra sandwitches.  You can do this however your creativity strikes, but I slathered nutella between two crackers.  The kids (and I) gobbled them right up!

Z is for Zinnia

We made crepe-paper flowers and talked about the only flower (that I know of) that begins with a z: Zinnia.  Ours were puffier than zinnias in the end, but hopefully I’ve added another word to their vocabulary. 

Z is for Zoom

While listening to “Zoom!” by Egg we raced cars around the room until it was time to go.

Preschool: U

May 25, 2011

(I’m not sure why I didn’t post about this lesson the day-of, because of course, a month later, I can’t remember it all.)

Reading Time (U is for Underpants)

“Dinosaurs Love Underpants” by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
“Dr. Seuss’ ABCs” by Dr. Seuss

U is for Umbrella

What is it than an umbrella does?  It protects us from the rain.  I cut out an umbrella template and  placed it over a piece of construction paper.  The children splatter-painted raindrops on their papers.  When they were satisfied with their storm, we lifted up the umbrella to show how the umbrella had protected the paper from the rain drops.

U is a yummy shape

I cut up all of our food into u-shapes: apples, oranges and carrots

Playground Politics

May 18, 2011

When I was a teen my mother joined the committee to help plan the only high school reunion our school had ever had to date. Instead of planning for one graduation class it was an event open to anyone who had graduated before 1980 or something like that. It was fun for her to do something for herself, a short break from her hours of slaving away after us. It was even rejuvenating. She came home with stories of people she’d met at the meetings whom she hadn’t seen since she was in high school. She came home remembering stories from her youth.

As luck would have it, one of the women with whom she worked the most on the planning meetings had a daughter in several of my English-language classes. Of all the people whose mothers were friends with my mother, I was most confused with this particular pairing. I felt surprised, horrified, awkward, and honestly I was so confused I didn’t know how to feel. How could these two women be friends when they were raising their children so differently? Since there was so very clearly a chasm between myself and the other daughter –we could not have been more different and while I thought at the time she was also incredibly mean, I can’t, now, remember a single thing she ever said or did to me– shouldn’t there also have been irrevocably a line (at the very least) between them? I was stymied, but to be the grown up in the situation I kept my feelings about my mother’s friend’s daughter to myself.

Now I am a mother, and my son’s class will remain the same twenty students for the next six years or so. I can honestly say that I consider every single one of the parents in the class to be my friend; even when I see the children do really crazy things, even when the children do mean things, even when the children do mean things to my son, I am still friends with the parents.

And I finally understand what it is to be the grown up: telling my mother what the other girl was really like wouldn’t have made a difference in them being casual friends anyway.  It was never about the two of us, and they would have had the same friendship if neither of us had ever been born.

May in LA

May 14, 2011

Blue sky up above
Purple jacaranda blooms
Green palms standing by