I grew up with primarily weekly chores, only cooking and cleaning the kitchen was daily. The rest was Saturdays.  The morning was indoor stuff, things that happened pretty much all year round. The afternoons were spent on the house, in summer that meant gardening, fixing, and because you’d never accomplish all the things on the list it was a seemingly endless. Gardening especially. Weeding was always there, so much so it would blend into summer evenings. For my parents that is. I was a child, flitting away my evenings as children do. Sometimes I would help, I wasn’t that kind of child but I had activities and homework, so really, the weeknight gardening was never part of my regular routine. During summer vacation, if there was weekday weeding to be done it was ordered for the day, turning summer vacation into summer work for us.  It never solidified for me that gardening was not just a weekend hobby.

This year, because of my broken ankle, I’ve been distributing a lot of my activities into smaller bits. I’ve also learned the value of those Fitbit reminders to move my arms every hour – just those five minutes every hour to “count” 250 steps have changed my arms! Seriously, no extra weight, just five minutes every hour has given me biceps. Who knew consistency was what mattered? Ok, everyone knew, I just never implemented it.

Today is the first Saturday since being allowed to put weight on my broken ankle (still in cast). Getting up and down is a major pain when one side can’t take weight, only one of my gardens what’s high enough that I could sort of easily get in it to weed. The rest have been, somewhat, untended. Now that I get down, I GOT DOWN! My strawberry patch is a hill, and runners always end up in the trough at the end – today they were taken up, replanted at the top! I dead headed the roses and the daisies in the front yard, tidied it up, and started on the other front garden.  The herb garden need weeding, and my green onions have reproduced in an amazing way, I promise a picture later, so I have to figure out a new spot.  As you can see, the “forever” gardening list began to grow.

I knew today would be a vigorous day, so I ate my piece of carrot cake at breakfast. Gardening burns calories! Even minor stuff like weeding is 200-400 per hour, not bad at all. As I reviewed all the work still to come, I realized it would be better done being spread out an hour each evening.  Think about that folks, instead of a mega blitz every weekend, that would be REGULAR, CONSISTENT, calorie burning activity – instead of two episodes on Netflix, I can do something I love, burn calories, and become consistent! All the stuff my garden would prefer. So there you go, I’m distributing the calories from one day to the week. I like it!

I remember being told that if you can handle the little things right, you’ll do fine with the big things.  I don’t know for sure, because we all know the joke of the women who eat their way through a dozen donuts a quarter at a time and then wonder who ate them all because, “I can’t even eat a whole one”.  There’s also frequency to be considered. 

Basket full of donuts!
I’m going to start rereading a book, it was written by a Christian woman, Chantel Hobbs, who lost an entire person in weight and has kept it off for decades at this point. Her story is what First inspired me, so it’s not surprising I’m turning back to her story for more inspiration.  I am a long way off of my regular life, let’s face it even being able to weight bear is not going to be that much more activity in my life. I’m going to have to build it back up while returning my food intake to where it was before this all happened. She had difficult times too, and, she wasn’t always the super exercise person she shrunk into (just couldn’t type grew into, but really it was a growth process, she was not some teen athlete who had gained and needed to loose, she hated exercise and has since grown to love it).

I put my Fitbit back on yesterday after not having worn it for most of the week.  It has alerts to get moving and out of sheer annoyance when it beeped I decided to fake it. Just swing my arms for a few minutes to get my step numbers up. The next hour when it beeped I did it again. It wasn’t long before I realized I was adding movement where there was no movement before. Slowly, but consistently, I was getting more movement in – just as I know I need to do. This was gold! This was the small ticket item that when I use frequency in the right way can make a difference. You have no idea how thankful I am!

As for returning to the proper eating habits, praise the Lord, I think I have a fighting chance. In my last confession I was told to spend time everyday just talking with God, friend to friend.  There is something deeper in that statement that I can’t articulate, but, let’s just say moving forward, this isn’t a pray to thin air activity right now, this isn’t a submitting the Santa list prayer… this is the two friends moving arm in arm through a journey. This little thing isn’t a little thing though… in terms of staying on track with food it’s a much bigger thing, but it’s still about being faithful in the small things.  Making the right choices will be in the small moments, but the frequency is ALL, which is big. I had my Sunday dessert and from here on, that’s it. Back to frozen cherries and almond milk with cocoa, chia pudding… no more ice cream every night.  Those other desserts are yummy, they will satisfy. 

So, in my little moments I know how I am to be faithful. By being consistent with them, in other words making them ROUTINE, they will become the big things I need to undo the weight I gained with this leg. Unlike the last time I broke my leg, I know what to do, and I have the perfect partner to support me through it. Thank you God, I get why you became incarnate.  You were one of us to lead us out of darkness, and it’s pretty darn cool being able to hold your hand along the way. Thank you for being a personal friend. Luv you so much.

Posted by: cmittermeier | June 17, 2017

Routine

Years ago, when I decided to accept being a stay-at-home Mum, I realized I needed a routine, some structure if you will. Having always relied on school and work to provide the backbone and expectations of life, I had never created one of my own. 

At one point in time, everyone had a similar order to their day. There were various calls, be it a rooster, or church bells, that marked out your day in sections along with the tasks of those moments. In my lifetime, I saw those structures challenged and fall. Shift work was no longer for emergency workers long before I came into this world – factories figured that out much earlier. That may have contributed to the challenges for the removal of structure, many things did. Banking hours were challenged because people needed access to their money, and the old system could not handle the volume as people tried to cram it all in during the lunch hour or by leaving work a bit earlier. Grocery stores needed to be open on Sunday because the lines on Saturday were reaching a breaking point. I remember waiting in the car for the store to open Saturday morning in the hopes we could be in and out and not get stuck six deep in a line. Even regular stores like Sears, malls, began to open later… all because fewer and fewer people were shopping during the day and too many needed to accomplish too much when they were not working. 

Our daily rhythm was rewritten, or more specifically unwritten – all in the name of freedom. So here I found myself, nearly forty years of age without a routine and realizing I really needed one.
 I went first, don’t laugh, in search of a nursery rhyme.

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.

It was my start for structure. Our faith is vast, searching the wisdom it has accumulated over two thousand years, and before that, what, ten thousand years of Judaic life is not a task for mortals, even google has its limits.  We rely on God a lot to direct our eyes, so it should not be a surprise that as I was searching of structure in my life the Church Calendar kept coming up. Article after article on families organizing their life around it and not the school year seemed to magically be written and posted just when I was searching for structure! Imagine that! No google search, these were my everyday go to blogs. You’d have thought I had written in to the authors and requested their secrets for time structuring.   I’m not a dummy, so within short order I started looking at time structures in the church.

I learned about the church year. I came across daily structures, like the liturgy of the hours. I came across weekly rhythms. And eventually, I came across the concept of “a Rule of Life”.

What is a rule? In a nutshell, it’s the basic routine of your world. Some orders are very fixed, wake at this hour, do this till that hour, then do this till that hour, etc. Other orders are more flexible, with a set list of basic tasks in a day but no fixed times. 

Building one takes time and a lot of prayer. God knows what areas of your life will bend to routine easiest, and what frequencies are needed to make it work for you.  Some women like sweeping their floors every day, others not.  This morning I talked with a friend who was cleaning her fridge today, she did it last month. I don’t clean mine that frequently – and that’s my point! God knows her level of need and mine.  God also knows what areas need structure the most, and he sees with much fuller wisdom than we do.  Three squares a day, seven days a week is a lot of work for some of us – so I know friends who prep it all out for the week or the month in one big day. For others, they love having the anchor points of meal prep in their day, it breaks the day into chunks and allows them the day to day flexibility in meal choice.  It does not take much to show how inpossible it would be to give a formula for building a routine outside of prayer!

So today, if your found this blog because you need to build some routine into your world, don’t turn to me but to God the father who has it all planned out, not as some maze you follow to get the cheese, but as a holistic journey designed to heal and reveal your best, truest self. Pick up the word, yup, the bible. Before you open it, ask your guardian angel and the Holy Spirit to guide your readings and after quietening your breath and possibly your mind, open it up.  Look over the names of the books, and get started where you are led.  Proverbs is short, individual bits of advice that are worth pondering far longer than their words linger on your lips. Don’t race.  Leviticus is the book I’m called to, and I have no clue why! In the past, I have found help in many odd books – Daniel was a special favourite! So was the book of Tobit, go Raphael go!

Though society cannot be relied on for routine anymore, God always can.  He knows your pace when others don’t. He knows the best place to start when others focus on their tried and true lists.  So, go listen. The answers await in the Word.

Posted by: cmittermeier | June 11, 2017

Ah… confession

I did not start scarfing down mountains of food on Friday at three. I did not eat as we watched TV on Saturday. Today, I ate a tomatoes at breakfast, and another one at lunch! I cannot wait for weekday mass this week! Pray, pray, pray that my driver stays well and we get there both TUesday and Thursday because the internal drought is such an ache.

I had promised myself on Friday that at three I would pray and specific prayer, unrelated to the issues with food. After being interrupted half way through because we had to get dinner going (to leave for an event), something wonderful happened. Not just the fact that it felt good to know I would be filled up properly with veggies and fish so my cravings wouldn’t be an issue, but something extra! Someone had taken the cheesecake out of the freezer and left it out downstairs, my husband found it and was dumping it out as I was preparing a healthy dinner. I looked at my prayer beads and realized the big guy was doing something.  It was time for me to get properly on board.

On Saturday I made an effort to get to confession, and in the words of my driver, I became a little bubbly. It felt so incredibly good to tell my Lord how sorry I was for not just the gluttony but how when I was worn out and turning to food I wasn’t thinking of him. Like, at all.  You’d think in the roughest patch is when you’d turn to God, but I wasn’t! Nope, after the deed was done I would cry out for help, but in the midst of things I was just trying to get through by eating. Near the end of my confession, I kid you not, it was as if God was hugging me.  

He just wants to help us, he really does

.  
Though today has had a few dips of my blood sugar, I’ve always had healthy, tasty food to run to. Breakfast was later, not surprising I was a bit low – and boy did that tomatoes look mouth watering! At lunch I made one of those fancy open faced sandwiches you see… toasted bread, mayonnaise, thin sliced chicken breasts, tomatoes with sprinkled gently with melted mozzarella. Wow! We will have a salad with dinner, which is more veggies than I’ve eaten in many a day.  It just tastes so good!

Ah. The power of a good confession. Thank you God.

Every time I run into problems with one of my sons, the quote from 2 Peter comes to mind, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

In the end, getting their schoolwork done is my responsibility and that means there will be many an argument.  The older one knows to hold it in check a bit, and certainly knows when I’m nipping it in the bud to knuckle down and do it – during the day that is.  After school hours, well then I’m just a regular parent nagging about homework.  The younger one is just starting into the teenage push back.

I tried to sit him down again tonight, review the rules of the game… I tried the approach of why adults like to work with adults is because they have mastered the unspoken rules like not interrupting, but he had to do the interrupt-to-explain-why-he-interrupted…

Do no speak unless spoken to.  Sigh.  Life was much simpler with straight forward rules, now we complicate things.  Empowering children, that’s how I remember it when that old rule came down… yet, I don’t think removing that rule empowered them at all.  Authority matters. Respect matters. Staying quiet matters.  Learning to hold your tongue is a very important life skill, and is an important part of learning how to speak your mind.

But no one learns how to speak their mind by interrupting and rambling on.  They learn by holding their thoughts in, sorting them, ordering them, and expressing them clearly in an organized fashion.  When appropriate.

All these mountains we help haul them up are for their own good, and as the teen years come, we hope they have a greater buy in.  Learning not to fight the one helping you is a difficult lesson, but a necessary one. For the helper, it is a challenge to stay strong, and stretches the time so a single lesson can feel like the proverbial thousand years.

The last two days, to not loose it during my thousand year climbs, I have been eating.  It allowed me to have an oasis of something I’m still trying to identify.  It was partially calm and feel good, but it was something more than that. So I decided to journal tonight and see if I could understand it better.

Some of it is running out of control – though often I can do both, eventually I can either control my eating, or my temper.  Both are the same muscle – resisting an urge. As I started to slip off the rails yesterday, I knew I was making a conscious choice to not yell instead of staying strong on both.

Some was taking short term control; I had very little control over my sons response to the work he had to do and no one enjoys a fight, so I would take short term control over the food as a substitute for happiness, albeit a very temporary one.

I am worn out, and I sincerely hope my son will try just that little bit harder tomorrow to work WITH me.  So many friends have said they could never homeschool because they felt every day would be like the last two I’ve had, but, they aren’t that everyday.  My hope that tomorrow will be better is not some airy fairy pie in the sky hope.  Its very real.

Homeschooling has allowed us to find the same page when climbing a few mountains, and every time it gets easier because it builds the habit of working with, not against each other.  We still have mountains left to climb (isn’t that right, mr. sixteen-year-old evening homework?), but we are getting practiced at climbing them and that means the time frame shrinks so they don’t all feel like a thousand years. Who knows, maybe even I will learn how to climb the under-stress mountain along the way.

Till then, I’m back to the sacraments and prayers for glimmers of the road ahead.

 

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