Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seeing the Sights in Northern Utah

If you visit my neck of the woods the week of August 13th - 18, here are some of the things that I'd love to introduce you to!

Of course there is more to see, but these are the highlights that must not be missed!

Can't wait to see you here in Utah!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Doing something to get healthy makes me happy!

Getting off dead center. Walking with a buddy. Tracking what I'm eating. Logging it all on SparkPeople. Feeling in control.

These are the things that have made me a very happy woman today.

Oh, and painting the white tips of my fingernails in red and blue polka-dots in honor of the 4th of July.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Just Joined SparkPeople . . .

In my efforts to get healthy, I joined SparkPeople. I first heard about it through a doctor, and although I didn't use it when she recommended it, I'm going to use it now to:

  • track the food I eat.
  • track the fruit and veggie servings I get each day.
  • log the glasses of water I drink in a day.
  • post the workout activities and minutes I do.
If you'd like to find me there, my username is: ChristieHansen. Because it IS my name.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How a friend can make all the difference

I have a strange and unusual compulsion to analyze what's keeping me from being content and happy. And for the past few months, it's been my weight.

I'm at an all-time high. More than I weighed at full term with any of my pregnancies. Blech!

I know that happiness shouldn't be centered on what the scale says, but knowing something and feeling something are not the same thing. I feel fat. And it niggles at me throughout the day, eating away at my happiness.

Ever since I started teaching school two years ago I've fallen out of the habit of regular exercise. I know I need it, it helps me feel better, energizes me, and yet I still haven't made it a part of my routine.

Until yesterday.

I've finally found an exercise buddy! And it's making all the difference.

As part of my analysis on how to get healthy and happy, last week I jotted down some of my biggest obstacles -- the things that are stumbling blocks for me when it comes to fitness.  They are:

  • Sugars -- once I have a taste of sweet, I'm left wanting more. And more. And more.
  • Boredom eating.
  • Managing my environment -- having treats around the house.
  • Succumbing to the "I'm taking a break" mentality
  • Making excuses.
  • Not having an exercise buddy.
  • Ignoring and/or overriding hunger signals.
  • Eating too fast.
  • Multitasking while I'm eating.
  • All or nothing thinking.
Of all those challenges, I instantly saw one I could do something about -- not having an exercise buddy.

Sunday after church I cornered Susan. (This spring as I was driving to work before 7:00 AM, I'd often see her walking along my road.) "Susan," I said, "would it be possible for me to join you on your morning walks?"

Fortunately, she said yes.

We meet to walk at 6:00 AM -- a time I wouldn't normally see without having made a commitment to meet Susan. We walk and gab, and gab and walk. And before we know it, we've got our hour in and it's time to head home. I love it!

I can let myself down, turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. But when I've said I'll meet up with a friend, half the time I'm up even before my alarm goes off.

Aren't friends wonderful?!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Who were you at 12 or 13?

Ray Bradbury passed away this week. (Tuesday, May 5, 2012) In my newspaper this morning there was a write up about him. I read it with interest and a little melancholy, but one thing stuck with me -- a quote of his from 1982:

"The great thing about my life is that everything I've done is a result of when I was 12 or 13."

This stayed with me for a couple reasons. First, I teach 12- and 13-year-olds. And we do a brief science fiction unit each year and read a few of Ray Bradbury's short stories. I thought the quote would be perfect to work up into a display during our sci-fi unit.

Second, I really do believe that there is something important that happens at 12 or 13. It's an age when kids are  past childhood, but not quite fully into adolescence. It's a time when they know what they like and what they don't like, and they're dreaming about the future. I deliberately chose to teach 7th grade students because I like that age of kids. They're malleable, flexible, intelligent and ready to laugh.

Ray Bradbury's quote had me thinking about myself at 12 or 13. We moved from our house in Hyrum to live with my Kofoed grandparents while my dad was building our new house. Looking back, I did things then that I still do now. I still write in a journal. I still mow the lawn and work in the yard. I didn't really enjoy cooking then, and I'm not enthusiastic about it now. I did craft projects, played the piano, and enjoyed looking through Country Living Magazine. I took long walks though the neighborhood and noticed landscaping techniques.

I can't completely say that "everything I've done is a result of when I was 12 or 13", but I'm certainly still the same person.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Yard Work Workout Boosts Mental Attitude

School's out for summer. (Humming the rock anthem that these words remind me of.) That means that my summer yard workout season is going to get underway.

I've noticed something about myself; perhaps it's true for you too . . . when I'm feeling blah, if I start doing something -- especially an outdoor gardening task -- I feel better in no time. Just being outside is a lift, but tackling some yard chore and being able to see immediate results gives my mental attitude a boost too.

The question is, if working in the yard lifts my mental attitude 100% of the time, why don't I spend more time doing it? And why don't I look forward to it? I think the answer is . . . because I'm human.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Top 20 Book List

I'm a reader. Not much of a TV watcher, but I love reading!

Before I get to my top 20 book list, I'd like to make note of something that made me really happy this week. I discovered that one of our favorite family sayings has its origin in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." My dad is fond of saying, "It was so good I almost wet my pants."  In fact, the very first time my parents bought a brand new vehicle, Dad drove it home. When my mom asked him how he liked it, he said something like, "It's great, except for the seats."  My mom, wondering what's wrong with the seats, asked for clarification. "They're wet," he said. "I couldn't help myself. It was just so nice that I wet my pants." Of course he was joking, but now you know the "gold standard" for my family.

So this week as I'm reading in "The Merchant of Venice" Act IV, Scene I, lines 50 thru 53:

"And others, when the bagpipe sings i' th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine; for affection,
Master of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. . . ."

There you have it. Unable to contain urine because of affection. ("It was so good, I wet my pants.")

Christie's Top 20 Book List (20 fave books, not in exact order)
  1. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why, by Amanda Ripley
  2. The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
  3. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  4. I Am a Mother, by Jane Clayson Johnson
  5. Exodus, by Leon Uris
  6. 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny, by Phillip Done
  7. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (series), by Alexander McCall Smith
  8. Maisie Dobbs (series), by Jacqueline Winspear
  9. Team of Rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Dorris Kearns Goodwin
  10. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer
  11. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  12. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall
  13. Anne of Green Gables (series), by L. M. Montgomery
  14. A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck
  15. Moonraker's Bride, by Madeleine Brent
  16. The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller
  17. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  18. Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  19. The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, by Lester J. Cappon
  20. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
Keep in mind that I'm always reading a book. This list ebbs and flows.

Friday, May 11, 2012

This and That

Hey. I'm actually posting something. Wonders never cease.

Actually, I've been posting stuff, just not on this blog. I now have two other blogs. They are: -- where I post stuff from school -- where I post stuff about finding happiness in my own skin.

If you're looking for a list of books to keep your tween or teen reading this summer, check out my students' recommendations for this year. Every year I ask them to write down their five favorite books of all time. These are the results:

Favorite Books for Girls

Favorite Books for Boys

I'm always reading books too. One of these days I need to post my own top 20 book list. But I have to compile it first. That may take a while.

Happiness is . . .

Here's what made me happy today:

In my Monday Update email to parents of my 7th grade language arts students I asked parents who were interested to donate items in 3s for each class's Reading Reward Drawing. The response has been terrific! Today alone I had three students bring in motivating donations for the drawing.

While my students in 5th hour were working on their fast fiction assignment, I was reading some of the turned-in assignments from 2nd hour. There were a series of questions that they were answering as their own created fictional character. Question #2 asked, "What makes you laugh so hard that soda comes shooting out your nose?" A student in 2nd hour wrote: farts. This caused me to laugh out loud, which caused the students in 5th hour to ask what had made me laugh. So I told them. And then someone mentioned the time earlier in the year that the class clown had accidentally sneezed and farted at the same time for all to hear. I laughed 'til I cried just remembering the incident.

Playing volleyball for our 7th grade grade-level PLC meeting after school. Mike Hylton's ability to cover the entire court despite his slippery dress shoes. Jan's imitation of the quarter walk. Floyd's solid serving. Colette's skill! (I want to grow up to be as active as Colette when I'm her age.) My belly flop dive onto the floor -- glasses go flying.

Getting an afternoon nap.

Letting my outdoor dog into the house while I put my shoes on. Hubby and son are at the Father's and Son's campout, oldest daughter drove to a friends house for a party, and youngest daughter is at a neighbor's playing night games. Giving the dog a very small slice of banana bread.

Taking the dog for an evening stroll around the block. Enjoying the robins chirping and flitting about. Stopping to smell the last of the current berry blossoms on the Allred's bushes. Looking at the cute chalk drawings on the Higbee's driveway. The smell of Karma Lee's white lilacs. Heaven!

Friday, May 04, 2012

May the 4th Be With You . . . Cape Capers

In honor of May the 4th be with you . . . I brought my Sith Lord cape to school today. (It's really the witch cape I made a couple years ago.) I drew a student's name from the pit-of-despair each hour to determine who got to wear it.
In first hour it was Austin's birthday. He asked if he could wear it, because it was his birthday. I said, "Yes. If I draw your name." And then I drew his name. Really. And it was announced over the intercom for all the birthday people (Austin's name was read) to come to the principal's office for their birthday treat. So he went to the principal's office wearing the cape. Sigh.
We were already reading The Wednesday Wars when Austin returned, so it wasn't until after the quiz that we heard how it went in the principal's office.
Me:  Did the principal say anything about the cape?
Austin:  Yeah. He asked me why I was wearing it.
Me:  And you said?
Austin: I told him that I was trying to make my family proud.
Me:  That's it? That's all you told him.
Austin:  Yeah.
Me:  Austin! He's going to wonder which teacher sent a student to the office wearing a cape! And he'll look up your schedule and find out it was me. And he'll have no idea why I really sent you to his office wearing a cape. Aagh! I'd better call him and clear this up.
Me: (after dialing the principal's number) Hi, This is Mrs. Hansen. I understand you had a student in your office this morning wearing a cape.
Principal:  Yes, I did.
Me:  I thought you'd want to know that we're commemorating "May the 4th Be With You" by drawing students' names from the pit-of-despair and letting them wear my Sith Lord cape.
Principal:  A-ha. I did ask about it, but all I got was that he was trying to make his family proud.
Me:  Well, now you know the rest of the story!
Actually, it made for a pretty memorable May the 4th! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

P.S. The principal came down during another hour to deliver something. My students were quietly reading The Wednesday Wars like model students. And he saw yet another student wearing the cape -- while being perfectly on-task!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bliss on a Bike . . .

Today I enjoyed an activity that never fails to bring me happiness -- riding my bike with my dog running along on  leash. About a year ago I posted another post about it on my Belly Acre Farm blog.

There are a couple things about this activity that make it so enjoyable. The first is that I'm doing it with my dog. She's awesome! She wears a harness and pulls and pulls. My first stop today was at my pharmacy drive-up window. As they filled my prescriptions, I asked if they still give out dog treats. (I'd been in there a few months ago when another customer pulled in with a dog in their car and received a dog treat.) "Sure!" they said, and gave Annie a doggie biscuit. Annie seems to enjoy these bike rides almost as much as I do.

The second thing that great about these rides is that I get to ride a fun bike. It's a lot like this bike, but with a red seat, red handle bars, and a white metal basket on the front. And, yes, it has a bell!

My bike is a joy to ride because it has a wide, tractor-like seat. In other words, when I sit on the seat, you can still see it beneath my butt. And I don't have gluteus maximus pain for days afterwards either. Plus the basket and the bell are a kick! I can ride my bike to my local grocery store, buy two gallons of milk, and they will both fit in my basket for the return trip home. Oh, and the basket is easily detachable, so I can use it in the store like a mini-shopping basket and not even need plastic bags. Yeah!

I'm so glad that warmer weather is here so that I can get out on my bike with my dog more often!

Monday, April 30, 2012

2012 -- Favorite Books for 7th Grade Girls

At the end of every school year I ask my students to hand in a list of their top five books. I compile these into a recommended readinglist for 7th graders. Here is the girls' list.

2011 / 2012
Favorite Books of Mrs. Hansen’s students

GIRLS’ TOP 10  (in order of popularity)
1.       The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins
2.       Books of Bayern series (Goose Girl), by Shannon Hale
3.       Fablehavenseries, by Brandon Mull
4.       Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
5.       Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan
6.       Heroes of Olympus series, by Rick Riordan
7.       The Candyshop War, by Brandon Mull
8.       Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney
9.       Ugliesseries, by Scott Westerfield
10.   Matched/Crossedseries, by Ally Condie

All Others  (in alphabetical order)
39 Clues series, by various authors
Allie Finkle, by Meg Cabot
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
Anthony Riderseries, by Anthony Horowitz
Artemis Fowlseries, by Eoin Colfer
Bearstone, by Will Hobbs
Beyonders series, by Brandon Mull
Bread and Roses, Too, by Katherine Paterson
Breanna, My Brother, and the Blog, by Jack Weyland
Calvin and Hobbs comics, by  Bill Waterson
The Candymakers, by Wendy Mall
Cesar’s Way, by Cesar Millan
Charlie Boneseries, by Jenny Nimmo
Cirque Du Freak, by Darren Shan
Close to Famous, by Joan Bauer
Crazy, by Han Nolan
Daniel X series, by James Patterson
The Daughtersseries, by Joanna Philbin
Deep Down Popular, by Phoebe Stone
The Demon King (Seven Realms series), by Cinda Williams Chima
Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen
Ella Enchanted/Fairest/Beast, etc. by Gail Carson Levine
Entwined, by Heather Dixon
Everlost, by Neal Shusterman
Famous, by Todd Strasser
Farworld series, by J. Scott Savage
The Fast and the Furriest, by Andy Behrens
Flipped, by Wendelin Van Drannen
Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter
Goosebumps series, by R.L. Stine
Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
Hope Was Here, by Joan Bauer
The Host, by Stefanie Meyer
How to Survive Middle School, by Donna Gephart
Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Inheritance series (Eragon), by Christopher Paolini
Janitors, by Tyler Whitesides
Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen
Kissing Kelli, by Cathy Carmichael
The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks
Maximum Rideseries, by James Patterson
May Bird and the Ever After (series), by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Missing Children(Light Traveler Adventure series),
by Brent Rowley
Molly Moon series, by Georgia Byng
The Mortal Instrumentsseries, by Casandra Clare
Mother Daughter Book Club series, by Heather Vogel Frederick
My Double Life, by Jannette Rallison
The Mysterious Benedict Society series,
by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Name of This Book is Secret, by Psuedonymous Bosch
Peter and the Starcatchers series,
by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale
Prom and Prejudice, by Elizabeth Eulberg
Prom Season, by Elizabeth Craft
The Ranger’s Apprentice series, by John Flanagan
Runaway, by Wendelin Van Draanen
Science Fair, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Secret Journal of Brett Colton, by Kay Lynn Mangum
Seekers series, by Erin Hunter
Series of Unfortunate Events series, by Lemony Snickett
Sherlock Holmesbooks, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sisters Grimmseries, by Michael Buckley
So B. It, by Sarah Weeks
Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series,
by Chris Heimerdinger
Times Squared, by Julia DeVillers
The Tomorrowseries by John Marsden
Tomorrow Girlsseries, by Eva Gray
Tunnels series, by Roderick Gordon
Twilight series, by Stefanie Meyers
Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
Warrior Catseries, by Erin Hunter
The Warrior Heirseries, by Cinda Williams Chima
Witch and Wizardseries, by James Patterson

‡  Represents a book that I CAN NOT recommend for this age group.

2012 -- Favorite Books for 7th grade boys

At the end of every school year I ask my students to hand in a list of their top five books. I compile these into a recommended reading list for 7th graders. Here is the boys' list.

2011 / 2012
Favorite Books of Mrs. Hansen’s students

BOYS’ TOP 10  (in order of popularity)
1.       Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins
2.       The Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan
3.       Fablehavenseries, by Brandon Mull
4.       The Red Pyramid series, by Rick Riordan
5.       Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
6.       Heroes of Olympus series, by Rick Riordan
7.       Inheritanceseries (Eragon), by Christopher Paolini
8.       Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney
9.       39 Cluesseries, by various authors
10.   Janitors, by Tyler Whitesides

All Others  (in alphabetical order)
The 13thReality series, by James Dashner
Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz
Beyonders series, by Brandon Mull
The Big Field, by Mike Lupica
Big Red / Wild Trek, by Jim Kjelgaard
Bone graphic novels series, by Jeff Smith
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Calvin and Hobbes comics, by Bill Waterson
The Candyshop War, by Brandon Mull
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, by Brian Jacques
Code Talker, by Joseph Bruchac
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
Dark Fire (The Dragon Chronicles), by Chris D’Lacey
Deltora Questseries, by Emily Rodda
the dictionary
Enders Game, by Orson Scott Card
Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan
Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick
The Gatekeepersseries (Raven’s Gate),
by Anthony Horowitz
The Giggler Treatment, by Roddy Doyle
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore
Hank the Cow Dog, by John R. Erickson
Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
Holes, by Louis Sachar
The Home Ranch, by Ralph Moody
Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher
Leven Thumpsseries, by Obert Skye
Lord of the Ringsseries, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Magic Thief, by Sarah Prineas
Maximum Rideseries, by James Patterson
Million Dollar Throw, by Mike Lupica
My Side of the  Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
The Mysterious Benedict Society series,
by Trenton Lee Stewart
Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson
Rangers Apprenticeseries, by John Flanagan
Redwall series, by Brian Jacques
The Roar / The Whisper, by Emma Clayton
The Shadow Childrenseries, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Septamus Heapseries (Magyk), by Angie Sage
The Stonehearttrilogy, by Charlie Fletcher
Summer Ball, by Mike Lupica
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
Voices from Afghanistan, by Allan Zullo
War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo
The Warrior Heirseries, by Cinda Williams Chima
Western books by Louis L’Amour
Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
The Whipping Boy, by Sid Fleischman
Witch and Wizardseries, by James Patterson

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Life is no picnic with A.N.T.s

When it comes to body image and day-to-day happiness, sometimes we are our worst enemies. And how do we sabotage ourselves? Our thoughts.

We allow our swarming thoughts to become A.N.T.s -- Automatic Negative Thoughts. Instead of neutral thoughts such as, "this red scarf looks nice with my red tennis shoes," our A.N.T.s come up with something like, "I'd better wear this red scarf to distract attention away from my tummy rolls. And it won't hurt to wear my red tennis shoes to draw eyes down and away from my rear end."

As part of my parental responsibilities, whatever my kids download onto their i-pods, I download onto mine too. A few days ago I added a new batch, and one song in particular has been stuck in my head --"According to You" by Orianthi. (You can listen to the song by clicking on "track 1" in the playlist to the right and hitting the play button.)

The opening lyrics go:

According to you I'm stupid, I'm useless
I can't do anything right.
According to you I'm difficult, hard to please
Forever changing my mind

I'm a mess in a dress, can't show up on time
Even it if would save my life
According to you . . .

Although the lyrics are about what a boyfriend tells her, it could very well be the negative thoughts that she tells herself. Have you told yourself similar things? I certainly have.

Now see if you've ever heard your spouse or friend say something similar to the lyrics that follow.

But according to him I'm beautiful, incredible
He can't get me out of his head
According to him I'm funny, irresistible
Everything he ever wanted.

If you're like me, you tend to discount the positive things people tell you about your looks. Why do we do that?

I have a theory about why I don't believe what others say about me. It has to do with the "all or none" mentality that I often find myself in. If everything about my looks isn't perfect, then the entire effect is ruined or ugly. Perhaps it's even a bit of a perfectionist problem.

I'm no psychologist, but I do know how to get rid of ants of the six-legged sort.

1. Eliminate what's drawing them -- sugary food, usually. As I wrote this heading, it dawned on me that my A.N.T.s are the very worst when I'm not eating healthy foods and have avoided exercising for a while. In other words, when I don't make my actions consistent with what I know to be best for my body, I kick myself with negative thoughts. There's probably some connection between exercising and a positive mental boost too. I'm almost never negative after a good workout.

2. Spray a little Bug-B-Gone -- There's not really a spray that will make negative thoughts go away, but I have a few ideas. In order to get rid of a bad habit, it's important to replace it with a positive one. Whenever a sneaky little A.N.T. creeps into my mind, I can "spray" it by covering it with a positive thought. Here are a few I might try:

  • I have a nice nose.
  • My sense of humor brings me joy and laughter!
  • My complexion is clear and freckled -- it keeps me looking young.
  • I have a nice neck. (Good advice: treat the skin on your neck just like the skin on your face.)
  • My large hands let me reach an octave plus one note on the piano.
  • I am pioneer stock! Built to last.
  • I have a lot to be grateful for . . . (think of a few things).
  • I'm a pretty good dog trainer. Annie sits, stays, rolls over, plays dead, jumps on demand, and can catch a frisbee, tennis ball, and rope tug from the air.
  • I love the color of my hair, and there are very few grays
Take that you A.N.T.s!

Friday, April 27, 2012

What does Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" mean?

Today I asked my 7th graders to listen to Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" as they read the lyrics. Their assignment was to tell me what "set fire to the rain" might mean. They were told that it was for participation points.

Here are some of the more interesting responses:

"I don't care, but I participated. So, therefore I get full credit points. You have to give me an A. And this has no relevance to language I'll need in life."  -- N.H.

"I think she was burning pictures of someone who cheated on her, and all of the pictures made her cry." -- S.R.

"This girl really liked this guy, then she realized he was a crappy guy. Then she ended the tears by setting fire to the relationship."  --E.Z.

"I think it means they don't go well together."  -- K.W.

"I think it means that a guy broke her heart, and so the girl got rid of him by throwing their relationship into the fire and let it burn. The rain means she's crying." -- M.N.

"Two people broke up because there was a side to the guy that the girl didn't know. Rain is her tears. The guy lied, played games and always won."  -- A.S.

"She broke up with her boyfriend and now she is getting over it. In other words, she threw their relationship into the fire. - OR - She broke up with him because he was a flippin' jerk!"  -- M.D.

"Fire is anger, and rain is sadness."  -- A.C.

"She had a boyfriend and found out a different side to him. And then he left her, and her heart burns?" -- N.P.

"Her tears are the rain."  -- M.P.

I'm gaining weight, but it could be worse

The topic for talks at church this past Sunday was dealing with adversity. If I remember correctly, one speaker even said that they'd been asked to talk about "smiling through adversity." That's something that I'm usually pretty good at -- finding the humor in difficult situations. But being a person of size often leaves me anything but smiley.

In fact, when I saw the photos of myself on the zip line in Puerta Vallarta on our recent vacation, I cried myself to sleep. Nothing like lots of straps to emphasize the lumpy midsection of your body. I even went so far as to call my sister-in-law to ask that she please not include any strappy photos of me on the zip line in the book she was creating from the vacation photos. That was a first.

But back to church. As I listened during the talks, I realized that my struggling with my weight is probably going to be a lifetime challenge for me. Funny, but I'd never really thought of applying lessons for dealing with adversity to my weight or body image. But that's exactly what I need to do. And what this blog is all about.

The really learning moment on Sunday came when I was talking with my neighbor, DeeAnn. She has a sister who is struggling with adrenal cancer, a sister that I know too. I asked her how her sister was doing. "Well," she said, "she's gained 17 pounds in the last two week. And it's all tumors."

That put my own weight gain into perspective.

DeeAnn said that the tumor growth is causing her sister's midsection to become misshapen and distorted. She's started chemo in Texas, but it's too soon to know if it will buy her enough time to make it until her son returns from a mission in August.

I think I can smile through my weight gain adversity, but the cancer weight gain has left me in tears.

Letter to My Mouth . . .

Dear Mouth,

We, the rest of the body, wanted to write you this letter to let you know that we're important too. We are tired of you always deciding what we eat. It's not all about you.

Yes, desserts taste wonderful for you. But once they hit Stomach and go through the digestion process, the rest of us don't feel so hot. The sweet things you like to party with leave the rest of us feeling flat. Or plump is more like it. Desserts and breads spend a moment on your Lips and seem to last forever on Tush and Hips. Plus too many sweets and carbs leave the rest of us dealing with water retention and fatigue. Enough is enough!

Brain, Legs, Arms and Hands are no longer going to sucker for your sweet talk. In fact, Brain is taking back control. And we're all standing behind her. Legs will walk past the candy section at the store without stopping. Arms and Hands are no longer going to lift large quantities of carb-filled pleasures into your gaping maw. We're doing this because we love you.

We're all in this together. Have you noticed that when the rest of us are feeling crappy you say things that you later regret? Well, here's the thing . . . we've been out of balance. But we're headed back to a good place by reducing sugar intake and swapping refined carbs for whole-grains.

We'll do our part and try to slow down and let you savor the eating process. Food IS good! We're not asking that you eat only tasteless tidbits. Quite the opposite. We'd like you to savor and enjoy the delicious food you get to eat everyday. Foods like eggs, fresh mozzarella chesse with proscuitto and basil (Panino), frozen raspberries in half and half sprinkled with Splenda. Nice juicy steaks.

We're asking that when Eyes spot the plate of brownies that were left on the counter, you'll stay shut. That plate of brownies only provides pleasure for you. They hurt the rest of us.

Thanks for listening.


The Rest of the Body