Posted by: cmittermeier | December 8, 2017

Day One … this is going to be a long journey back

Ever been on one of those day hikes where your gear gets so heavy you wish you could just drop everything, you’re are hoping the end of the trail is near only to hear the guide proclaim, “Just another xyz and we’re at the half way mark!”?

Today is a bit like that. I decided last night to follow the whispered voice and head back to eating properly, and in all honesty I feel like the storm trooper my son set up in our garden… stuck in a wooded area with a tonne of gear that does not seem to be part of my mission, a helmet that seems to obscure my vision more than help, and lots of interesting plants that are all larger than life.

It is 6:19 as I type this, we are about to head out for formation and prayer that often has some goodies after. Not surprisingly, I’m hungry… yet I’ve eaten everything for the day. All day long my schedule seemed to have the wrong gear for the task at hand, and I can’t prepare well for the prayer meeting possibilities. Before I gained back the weight, these meetings were never a problem for me. I have a long way to get back there.

Yet, even though my gear is heavy and my vision obscured, there has been a lot of interesting parts to the day. Enough to distract me so far, and I have to trust that God will continue to provide “interesting, larger than life” bits to get me through the end of my first day. So I am off to my prayer meeting, with the hope that Day two will be a little easier. God Bless!

Posted by: cmittermeier | December 7, 2017

Happy New Year!

I love being Catholic! It means I get to celebrate New Years BEFORE Christmas, and then again after with all the secular folk. Considering this time of year is fraught with temptation for me, I think God did it specifically to help remind me of the direction I want to be headed towards before I have to battle it out.

This year I have gained back what I lost, and till today I have not truly wanted to get back to the grind. I’m still not sure I am 100% going to, but what I am 100% certain is that God is giving me the opportunity to do just that. I have said it before, only God can look you Square in the eye, tell you your faults while filling you soul with the most amazing “I love you”, and today I had one of those sorts of moments. I had an unrelated doctors appointment, a specialist who wouldn’t know me or my back story. After getting all the relevant data from me, she wanted to take my blood pressure and knowing my weight she automatically assumed I would need the “large size” cuff. Though I know the regular is fine, part of me knew to absorb that moment, live in it, ponder it, and decide if I were going to deal with it.

My chapel time was a bit earlier, and it meant I got to be alone with him, and I took full advantage talking out loud as best I could with him. As I type I am still pondering, mulling over my decision. Like every overweight person, I so want this to be a “YES!” Moment. …and like many overweight people I spent much of the time after the initial time thinking of all the things it will mean saying good bye to. I had let a lot of things back in… Doritos, homemake cakes and cookies, not to mention things like pasta or potatoes with dinner (not lunch), and eating grains more often and even into the evening! Honestly, there isn’t a good eating habit I haven’t reversed. Saying “Yes” means a lot of “good-byes”.

Though none of those bad habits have satisfied me for more than an instant, we all know the pull of that instant.

My Mum was a social worker, and she once told me that it took seven times or more for an abused woman to leave and stay away from her abuser. As I consider the pull of the instant, the truth of her words sinks in – the fuller truth, not the half truth my enemy wants me to focus on. If it takes more than seven times down this road, then I better get one more attempt going. As they say, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

Today, God invited me to return to a more healthy path for my life. There was one step in particular that stood out, and so that step I will take. Do ten minutes of exercise, either on my indoor exercise bike or a very short walk, after every meal – and I have to do it at a minimum twice a day. The other steps he whispered were simply reminders of things I was already capable of, but they too shall be tried.

As I head back down the road to a healthier me, know I am not going on will power, white knuckles, or some internal personal strength. I’m going forward because God has invited me, and that means he’s got a path forward that will work with ME – not some super idealized version of ME, but me as I am right now, right here. God knows how far I will get this time before I fall back down on my knees, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when God whispered my name, I said, “yes Lord?”.

Posted by: cmittermeier | September 15, 2017

Making tracks with my bike, but not tracking my food

I cannot remember a time I did not love biking. I was one of those kids who wanted to grow up to be Lance Armstrong and, yes, I even wanted to do the Tour de France… till I tried biking from my little hamlet to the park just inside the city.  At that point I started to have lesser goals, like biking to work, or getting small amounts of groceries and doing day trips on a level grade…

When I was pulled off my bike by my sweetheart of a dog during her bike training this spring, another cyclist stopped by as I was being loaded into the ambulance to remind me to get back on it, not to give it up.  I told him off the cuff, I have epilsepy from going head over heels at age six from a bike and nearly lost my tongue – if I didn’t stop then, I wasn’t going to stop now. I have been back on my bike for a bit now, but this week was the one I returned to the full range I used to roam.  Two days I biked to morning mass, and today I had the fun and easy ride down to the adoration chapel.  Its pretty much downhill, so while its a longer distance I knew I could do it.  I timed it so my husband would pick me up on his way home from work, I know I’m not ready for the return trip just yet.  It feels very good to be on it.

But I know, no amount of cycling will compensate for poor eating.  Last year, God gave me the gift of working with a nutritionist, and I lost a lot of weight.  It required very few changes – no heavy carbohydrates (breads, potatoes etc.) after three, protien at every meal, dessert really only once a week – and consistency.  That last one was a doozy.  Everything in life yields to consistent pressure.  To stay consistent, I need to track my food.  A mental log just isn’t the same, I need to put it either on paper or some electronic counter. I just can’t seem to get started.

My body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, not a garbage dump, not a storage facility.

Obviously, I’ve got a lot of praying to do. God has a plan, time for me to find it.

Posted by: cmittermeier | August 27, 2017

I can cook!  OR the impact of reinforcement

I realized at the end of the last month that I had stopped cooking. What was the point, I couldn’t cook… this was hard to the core “I can’t cook”. I knew I used to be able to cook, but then…

I have an autistic son who is a picky eater. From early days, getting him to eat was often beyond my ability as a parent. We tried starving him out, with doctors permission, it didn’t work.  We tried forcing him, he would throw up, often right onto his plate. We  educated on the importance of the foods he was lacking in his diet. You can have imagine that when I would make new things, his response would not always be … polite. After a while, even his brother started learning his responses. Two weeks ago I made something new – with bacon – and it was so good I forgot myself and called the younger one down to try. His response, “it’s not anything.” Further prompting for an explanation yielded, “it’s not good, but it’s not bad”

That was pretty much the highest praise I ever got from my kids.

And I bought it. I couldn’t cook.

They are away at their Grandma’s right now, and after I realized how badly I feel about my ability to cook I decided I was going to use this time to cook. 

Tonight I tried something totally new, and without measurements. The directions were rather vague, add this, that, the other thing, sauté then add grated vegetable and continue cooking till done.  Not a single measurement, and I found out part way in that I was missing a few ingredients.  I had to use my experience with the seasonings, and in the end I tossed a few other ingredients from the list totally. The menu was pork chops with friend onions and peppers, and rice cauliflower. It was delicious.

En empty and plateCan’t you see how good it was? The riced cauliflower was a perfect pairing, it had onion, garlic, and cumin to flavour it. The pork chop was spiced with cracked peppercorns, and the pepers and red onion, being cooked in the pork chops pan also carried the spicier flavour that melded well with the richer, more savoury cauliflower rice. 

The cauliflower had the texture of couscous, and if I had not known I would have thought that’s what it was. Looking at it, you could never tell.

Now, what is the real point to all this? Words matter, no matter how hard we try to tell ourselves differently, we listen to what people say. I am a parent, and though I know what I say counts, I’m not sure if before this I fully appreciated the scope of it. As a homeschool teacher, I spent a lot more time pointing out what still needed to be done instead of cheering what was there. Though my son called me on it, and I’d try and change the mix, I’m sure my responses were no different from his to my savoury dish above… not good, but not bad.

Now, as Catholics, I am to ignore the words of the world and focus on what God thinks of me, right? But how do I do that, he is more often the silent type… or is he? Why do you think it’s so important to read the bible everyday? Because we need to hear his words, his encouragement and correction – balanced in a way no human could. Today is Sunday, our Sabbath. Many will be getting a dose of the word, but, speaking as someone who had to go long periods without the right words, I don’t think it’s enough to just hear the right words once every seven days. So here is my challenge to you, tomorrow, pick a number between 1 and 150, and then go read that psalm. Listen to what God has to say, then go find that verse in the Song of Songs… you’ll find a way to convert it to chapter:verse. Listen, your God is speaking and we need it.

Posted by: cmittermeier | August 25, 2017

Sound bites, Real time, and the Montage

I was checking in with a friend who is going through a hard time, the kind of hard time that is likely to end in divorce and an annulment.  It struck me how when I pondered her situation I had an expectation of instantaneous change.  In many of my own situations I generally assume once a decision is made everything happens all at once. I have done some midnight moves in my time, which only contributes to idea that life is more like a montage than real time.

The battle between real time and the desire for a montage is a product of our culture, our time in history. Folks didn’t do a lot of that before, but now it’s expected. Someone has a birthday? Do the montage to show how they’ve changed through the years! Anniversary? Graduation? …every milestone is met with this urge to review in the hopes of recapturing all those ahh moments, all the good stuff, and saying good bye to the bad and the painful stuff.

But what if the past wasn’t all good and the pain isn’t all over with?

When I was still in the plaster cast, I couldn’t stand on a scale with one foot. I had no clue what I’d gained back with my leg in cast, nor could I know what the weight of the muscle I have lost in my calf is.  I knew from my clothes there has been a change, not a good change.  I don’t want a real montage, showing the backslide.  I wanted the future montage, full of healthy eating and pounds melting away again as I gain back my strength! But both of these montages are destructive.  One focuses on guilt of sins past, the other the allure of an imaginary future and both steal from the moment the grace God gives called the present. I had to meet my friend in the present, not offer her a montage of unrealistic fixes, nor ask her for a retrospective of how then ended up here.

I am back in real time, and able to withstand the desire for a quick montage like fix because of confession and the Eucharist . When I lost the weight last year, it was a real time process. The struggle to accept this was a forever change and not just a Rocky Balboa moment is easier, but still present. It is a trap, and needs to be rejected. Especially if I’m going to help my friend move forward.  Recognizing that a family is better when Parents live apart is not the end, but a series of new beginnings. The reasons for the destruction do not go away, it only provides a space for the people to get help, like a medical truce in a war. Like my weight loss, it is the beginning of the forever road. Daily hard choices.  Continual work.

Please say a prayer today for all families in crisis. The journeys some of them travel is arduous, and we need to support them. I won’t say they put in perspective my own trials, because we don’t compare lives. God gave me mine, and God gave them theirs. I try only to glean the similarities to help me be more compassionate. What I learned was to present for her, to bring God into the mess right now. If you can, be that person who brings Christ into their now, and let Christ into your own. God bless.

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