Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Importance of Friends

Friendships multiply Joys and divide Griefs. – Thomas Fuller

Three friends and I met at Winger’s in Brigham City for lunch recently. We first became friends in high school and college, and our lives have taken us in multiple directions. It seems a bit odd that Brigham City is now the central meeting place.

Do you know how to tell you’ve got a true friend? She’s someone who suggests lunch at Maddox but is perfectly happy to substitute Wingers when you plead poverty at the end of the month. A true friend is more interested in great conversation than in great food. (I have three true friends!)

Six months have passed since I last saw these friends. Julie shocked Mindi and me when she walked in with short dark hair. (We’ve always known her as a blonde.) The waitress saw that we were still waiting for another friend, but wondered if we wanted to order before she arrived. We all looked at each other. I said, “It is Jennifer.” After exchanging knowing glances, we unanimously told the waitress we’d wait a bit longer.

When Jennifer found us in the corner booth, the four of us probably sounded like a coop of reunited chickens. Baa-gock! Look at your hair. Cluck-cluck, what happened to your eyelid? Bok-bok, where did you get that jacket?

After settling in a bit and making our orders, we got down to the business of catching up. Mindi reported that they’d finally figured out what had been causing her daughter’s health problems – a thyroid disorder. Things were looking up. Jennifer described her latest successful craft project -- making sugar peek-a-boo Easter eggs with her girls. (Jennifer seems always to be having culinary adventures.) Julie, however, had sobering news. Her ten-year-old niece was dying of a brain tumor.

A collective hush fell over our corner of the restaurant. We spoke in subdued voices. We wondered how Julie’s sister is coping. How has her niece handled so large a trial at such a young age? How have her own children reacted to their cousin’s failing health? As Julie talked, our faces expressed our spoken and unspoken shock, concern and love. Our conversation centered on the necessities of life: faith, family, friends.

Our food came, and the prospect of eating something we didn’t have to prepare lifted our spirits some. We began grousing a bit about the realities of being The Mom. Mindi mentioned that in the last year she’s probably gone to bed in the P.M. hours only about ten times. Julie also burned the midnight oil. Of all of us, I went to bed the earliest. Laundry came up. Jen and Mindi do multiple loads a day, but Julie and I are once-a-week washers. Only Julie wins for the most loads – TEN every Monday! Jennifer seems to do the least laundry, possibly because her husband’s work requires him to use a dry cleaner for his shirts. That led us to the joys of ironing.

“Ironing?” Julie said. “Who irons? I only buy permanent press shirts that don’t need ironing. And I especially love it when the boy’s white Sunday shirts come with stain guard. In fact, my six-year-old didn’t even know the name for an iron. In trying to describe it to me one day he said, ‘… you know, the thing that gets really hot and then you smash clothes with it.’”

We all laughed. I laughed until I snorted. A really big snort. The waitress even heard it.

I basked in the moment. I have a friend whose children don’t even know the name for an iron. No wonder we’re friends! Jennifer grew so tired of hearing her kids complain about planned family activities that she cancelled the family bike ride and had them clean the house instead. That’s my kind of mother! Mindi’s first calling in the Relief Society was as her ward’s Relief Society President. What a woman!

All too soon our plates were picked over, and we paid our checks. We lingered and laughed until the realities of kids coming home from school and neighbors tending nap-deprived children broke up our outing.

Jennifer summed up the necessity of our lunchtime get-togethers. “It’s so good to get together with you women. I love to laugh with other adults and feel normal, for so often I walk away from my kids and wonder if I am off my rocker.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Enduring Health Problems . . .

I’m getting started. Today is the day I start writing my book on adversity. I’ve thought about it for a long time, but now is the time to quit thinking and start writing. Wait. That’s not quite what I meant. I’ll be thinking a lot as I write. It’s just that thinking won’t be the only activity associated with my book on adversity. I’ll be writing as well.

Apparently a prerequisite for writing about adversity is living with it. Perhaps that’s the reason my health has been on-again off-again lately – to help get me in the proper emotional frame of mind. Actually, that’s not what I really believe.

I believe that health problems are part of our mortal lives. They’re not a blessing or a curse from God, but rather a by-product of having bodies of flesh and blood. God, in his omnipotence, can cure all diseases of the mind and body, but most of the time He doesn’t. They’re part of our mortal testing, part of what we agreed to endure as part of our decision to follow the Son’s plan and come to earth.

Some people handle health problems (adversity) better than others. When I’m having poor health days I often throw myself a Poopy Health Pity Party. No one else ever shows up. Even my family avoids joining in my wallowing. Usually it’s just me moping on the couch or sleeping away the afternoon.

Last night while watching TV with my husband, I became the reality commentator for the commercials. I followed an ad that combined Wendy’s fast-food restaurant with the Utah Jazz basketball team with, “That’s right folks, come watch the Jazz sweat and play while you sit on your duffs and clog your arteries. Maybe even raise your cholesterol.” Another advertisement was for the Utah Blaze – an indoor arena football team. I talked over their promo with, “This sport is made for all you men who can’t stand staying at home with your family. Come watch another sport you never play with your kids and spend even more money and time on something that doesn’t really matter.”

After a few more tart-minded comments my husband said, “You’re not feeling well, are you?”

How did you know?

I know that no one handles health problems perfectly, but my neighbor, Wanda, sure seems to. I look up to her as a terrific example of how to endure adversity with grace and dignity. I came across a poem last week that reminded me of her.

On His Blindness

When I consider how much my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er the land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

-- John Milton

Wanda has expressed frustration at not being able to do more, serve more. And yet she regularly attends church with a smile on her face and twinkle in her eye despite on-going pain and illness. As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that her best service is doing exactly what the above poem mentions – bearing her mild yoke, standing (in her case, sitting) and waiting.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What your purse says about your "purse-onality"

I found this link today and loved it.

What does your purse say about you? Find out by clicking on this link:


Personally, I'm a mix between the Tiny Toter and the Serial Monogamist. I'd love to know what you tote around.

Have a great weekend!
-- Christie

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Latest and Greatest Dieting Techniques

Hubby and I started a “biggest loser” contest on Monday. So far so good.

I may not win, but I’m having lots of fun! On my birthday Hubby was vacillating between two dishes at the restaurant. I encouraged him to get the 3-cheese fettuccini alfredo . . . and he did! (It had approximately 16 W.W. points per cup – 800+ calories. And he thought I was just guiding him in his ordering so that I could sample his plate. Ha! I didn’t have a bit.)

Then yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies for the student council that Loula Belle is on. I did not have one lick, snitch or bite of dough during their baking, and only ate ½ a cookie much later in the afternoon. Even though they were still available this morning, I resisted. (I think Hubby has had at least six cookies.)

Sure, men may have an advantage when it comes to weight loss because of their muscle mass, but I’m finding ways around that . . . SABOTAGE!

In other weight loss news, I’ve taken to wearing a loose rubber band on my left wrist. When I’m about to eat a treat or goodie – something that my mouth likes but that’s hurtful to my weightloss efforts – I give the rubber band a couple really good snaps against the inside of my wrist. OUCH!

It’s a very physical way to remind myself that eating junk really can be painful for my body.

The consequences of eating too many sweets could . . .

Lead to diabetes – a disease that already runs on both sides of my family.

Contribute to heart disease – another health problem that plagues my mother’s side of the family.

Cause even more pain in my already touchy weight-bearing joints.

Elevate my cholesterol. And after I’ve finally been able to get it into the healthy range – after 14 years of being a bit above recommended levels.

Hit me in the pocketbook. I’ve loved not having to buy clothes from the plus-size section anymore. Plus, smaller clothing sizes usually cost a bit less. Not to mention that if I gain much more weight I’ll have to buy an entire wardrobe of bigger clothes. (Note: This would also cause pain and suffering for my family as I’d be extra grumpy every time I thought about my growing thighs.)

So there you have it. I’m hoping my new rubber band technique snaps me back to the reality of my choices. I’ll let you know.