Friday, February 26, 2010

Coming Clean

My weight has been creeping up since mid December. It's not a pretty sight. I've stopped checking my families weight loss blog and started skipping the body test on the Wii-fit. I don't want to face the weight gain so I avoid things that remind me. But I can't avoid getting dressed each day and it's getting painfully obvious that it's past time to do something.

Although I've made multiple half-hearted attempts to get it under control in the last few months none of them have been real enough to yield any results. This week I'm getting serious. Making better choices, controlling the mindless eating, zipping the lip after 7:00 pm, making exercise a priority every day, and I've put a weight loss tracker on my blog (up in the right hand corner). Hopefully it will help keep me accountable. My goal, for now, is ten pounds and I'm currently down two.

Here are the facts. They're not pretty, but I'm coming clean so I'm not gonna sugar coat it. After moving to the Midwest ten years ago I joined weight watchers and lost 60 lbs. I put back on 35 those pounds, but lost 10 of them last year training for the triathlon. Currently, I'm right at the 35 re-regain.

During weight watchers I learned to look at weight loss in terms of cubes of butter. That way, even a 1/4 lb loss was a success because it was a whole cube of butter no longer hanging on my hips. Well, I just did the math and 35 lbs is ... shudder ... 140 cubes of butter! YUCK!!! No wonder my clothes no longer fit!!! That's just downright embarrassing!

I've come clean. I'm motivated. I'm down 8 cubes of butter. I'm tracking the loss publicly. Watch me shrink.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gasp! Are you a Utah Mormon?

Although I now live in the midwest, I'm a Utah Mormon. Born there, raised there, lived there for the first thirty-five years of my life. Growing up I would occasionally hear comments about church members outside of Utah (you know, in the mission field! Ooo, exotic!).

After moving to the midwest, I began to notice occasional remarks about Utah Mormons. Probably no more than I'd heard about saints in the "mission field", but being a Utah Mormon, I paid more attention.

For example, not long after my move to the midwest, a truly sweet lady told me she'd heard that Mormons in Utah don't even DO their visiting teaching! She was aghast and wondered if it was really true. It was after that conversation that I began to think in earnest about the issue and pay attention to the stereotypes.

My conclusion, after exhaustive research and study (okay, after mulling the issue over for some time) is that saints are the same regardless of where you live. Shrewd , huh?

In every ward I've lived there have been three types of people. These are my classifications, and may be lacking. If you disagree, write your own post! (Or comment on mine) The following will surely seem judgemental, and probably is. It should also be noted that the classifications are not strict divisions, but more like markers on a continuum. There may be more members between the classifications than actually in them.

People in all three groups attend church meetings on a regular basis, and, I would assume, have testimonies of the gospel.

Here are the three categories:

1. High yield, low maintenance saints (I stole this phrase from a conference talk, but can't remember who said it. My vague memory is that it was Elder Maxwell, but I didn't bother to look it up). From my experience, every ward, whether inside of Utah or out, has a core of workhorse members. Those that give in abundance (at least of their time, and talents, I've never been privy to tithing receipts) and ask for little if anything in return. They work through all but the biggest of their own trials without thinking of asking the ward for help. They are the ones who step up and act when others have a need, accept whatever callings come their way and serve without fanfare. That their testimonies are deep and abiding is evidenced by the way they live quiet lives of service.

2. Luke warmish saints. These are members who, though active, can't necessarily be counted on to follow through when it comes to service. They serve well and lovingly at times, but frequently aren't willing to put forth the effort. (As I write this, my lack of visiting teaching so far this month nags at my conscience). I've known more than one person who started out luke warm and ended up being high yield, low maintenance.

3. High maintenance, low yield saints (reversed the phrase from the conference all by myself!) These are ward members that are repeatedly in need and tend to loudly make their needs known while expecting a crew to come and get them out of their fix. They infrequently are on the giving end of service, but expect to be on the recieving end on a continual basis. I'm not talking about hard working families that have fallen on hard times and, while doing all they can, still need help. These are saints who expect others to do the heavy lifting whenever they're in a bind. I'm happy to say that this group is the smallest of the three.

I've lived in ten wards and each has had individuals running the entire spectrum. I believe that all three groups are necessary. We learn and grow as we interact with each other. And interacting with whiners in a Christ-like manner helps us grow in ways that interacting with fab, fun, folk simply doesn't.

Give me your thoughts. Do you think people are different inside and outside of Mormondom?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day of Rest!

We went to Nauvoo to see Mom and Dad this weekend. It was just me with the three youngest. We had a wonderful time. A sleigh ride (forgot the camera so Dad lent me his, but the pics are still in Nauvoo). Hot chocolate at Magleby's -- THE BEST hot chocolate on the planet!!! Games with Grandma and Grandpa. (if you haven't played Qwirkle, you should. It's a good one!) Fun conversation and the love that you feel from parents. All great stuff.

Sunday morning, however was not my fav. You've experienced your own version this. Mine went something like this.

Wake up at 7:15 in a panic because church starts at 8:00 and Dad warned you that all the missionaries are in their seats and listening to prelude music by 7:50. Rouse three children and rush them to the breakfast table. Leave them with instructions to get dressed the minute they finish their cereal while you jump in the shower. Get out of the shower to find that your children aren't done getting dressed, yell, patiently usher them through the dressing process.
Fix hair, brush teeth, comfort eleven year old daughter who's discovered she left her Sunday shoes home and is mortified at the thought of wearing tennis shoes to church. Fix Girlie-whirl's hair. Snarf a bowl of cereal. Holler for everyone to get their coats on as you eat the last two bites. Throw on your coat and yell gently remind your children to get their coats on. NOW.

Herd them out the door and discover that we're gonna have to wade through snow to get to the car, a fair jaunt. Tell them to wait at the door while you get the car. Plod through the snow in your Sunday flats and fill your shoes with snow. Open the trunk for the snow scraper. Realize that it's in the very back of your large trunk and that you're gonna have to climb in to reach it. Notice that your skirt isn't gonna allow it. Hike up the skirt and climb into the trunk with great haste in a very, ahem, shall we say, ladylike fashion. Grab the scraper and hastily brush the snow off your windows.

Jump in the car. Start her up and force your impatient, late self to eeeease on the gas so your wheels won't spin in all the snow and slowly drive round to the front. Roll down the window and, with the patience of Job, of course, verbally hurry your children along as they dawdle out the door.

Drive slowly and carefully to the church while pointedly ignoring the persistent little voice in your head that's screaming "You're gonna be late!" Arrive at the stake center only to find that you can't park any where near the place. Drop the children off at the door. Find a parking place on the opposite side of the building from where your children are.

Wade through more snow (filling your shoes again). Enter the building, seeing your children at the end of a very long hallway. Wave to them, 'cuz you're right by the chapel and it would be really convenient if they would come to you. Realize that they're looking out the door for you and thus will never see you waving. Race walk down the hall. Gather your children. Hang up coats. Herd them down the hallway. Find your parents in the chapel. Collapse on the bench and recover as best you can from the marathon morning.

It was well worth the effort. A lovely sacrament meeting. My children have never been to church in a congregation with no children. The sacrament was completely silent. A novel thing. But I could have happily done without the first hour of my Sunday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why do you blog?

I have a friend who has no patience for blogging. She feels it's waste of time; self centered people rambling on about their own little lives. I don't completely disagree with her. There's a lot of that out there. But there's so much more.

Lately I've been pondering about why I blog. What roll does it play in my life? Is it something I should continue? How much of my blogging is about selfish pride? Let's face it, most of our posts are about ourselves. I tried to write a post once without referring to myself in any way, and I couldn't do it. It's also quite an ego boost when you get great comments and see your following increase --not that I have many followers, but watching it go from nothing to the 20's felt good. Impressive, huh? I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that's part of why I do this. I don't necessarily have answers to all these questions, but I think they are worth asking.

There ARE drawbacks to this whole bloggy thing. The biggest negative for me? It's soooo easy to spend WAY to much time and neglect my home and the wonderful people who live here. (For example, I'm supposed to be balancing the checkbook right now, one of my hate jobs, but I enjoy blogging much more and so, here I am). There's always the temptation to click on one more link, and then one more, and life becomes unbalanced. (And even if I find the right balance today, it will still be a struggle to find it tomorrow.)

The benefits are just as real. I've met wonderful new friends. (Bloggy friends gave me the inspiration to wage my own mini anti-smut campaign in my neck of the woods.) I know exactly where to go for tutorials on everything from home decorating and crafts, to cooking, cleaning and organizing. (But to be completely honest I don't generally DO any of the tutorials myself, I just read them and think they're cool). Another benefit is simply the fun of it all. No guilt here about doing it just 'cuz I like it as long as I keep it from taking over my life.

My two favorite benefits? 1. I'm writing regularly! I've long known that to improve my writing skills, I need to simply put in the time and write, often. But knowing and doing are two very different things (remember Elder Bednar's Conference Talk?). Enter, blogging. Now I write at least weekly (even when I don't post) and my writing is improving! I'll never be a Hemingway (I confess I've never read anything by him), but improvement is always a beautiful thing and is met with palpable smiles from above. 2. With the exception of three years in my late teens, I've never kept a journal. I know I should, but I don't. And I feel guilt. My blog is a record of my thoughts and feelings and of some of the doings of my family; again, I feel heaven's approval and the burden of guilt on the journal front lifts! (I remember someone posting that her blog couldn't count as a journal and I vehemently disagree!!!)

So my question: Why do you blog? Have you considered calling it quits? Give me your thoughts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Quarter of a Century!

Twenty-five years ago today I knelt across the altar from my man. (Dig those glasses!)
We were married in the olden days when engagement photos were always formal and in your Sunday best. (And perms were in!)

We've been through a whole heap 'o livin' since then. Six babies, seven moves, good times, money worries, health problems, house building, more puns than you would believe, weight gain (I'm at my chubbiest below -- why is chubby only cute on babies?)...

...weight loss. This was the year that I had a trophy husband...

...Silliness and more humor than I could have imagined. I never know what he'll be up to next. (Much of my family has commented on the appropriateness of my look below)...
...a bit of heart ache and a whole lot of joy. I'd do it all over again in a heart-beat!

Happy Anniversary, Hubders!