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.

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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.

Posted by: cmittermeier | August 23, 2017

St. Anthony, help me find my way

I still can’t find my old bible, and it really bugs me. “Transitional” is a polite description of my home right now, cluttered in more descriptive if you ask me.  Both of my children have done the work to opt back into the public school system (Catholic public, we are in Ontario), and that meant I had to create a formal transcript for my older son and mentally review what my younger had done in preparation of meeting his new teacher. Three years worth of texts were dragged off shelves, my teachers logs were read and reread.  Today, after a false start at registering the older one, I had enough! The boxes were bought and sorting began – sell, store, keep.  Now the mess is even bigger.

If I had had a hope of being able to comb through my shelves in case my bible was misplaced, it is gone now.  I had hoped getting the piles into boxes would have helped me find it, but, it feels like I just added to the confusion and made things worse.  Now when I search I will have to mentally inventory a whole new set of boxes, in addition to the shelf checks… In the bible cover was space for a pen and a journal, and two had been snuck in it. Tonight, I did not know where to put down my thoughts. Though I had never feared anything I wrote should be private, having the possibility of two journals missing has me a little edgy. I can’t remember what was in those two books, should I fear? Things are going from a simple prayer of “help me find my bible” to something much greater.

St. Anthony, I have gotten lost in the clutter of my life, it is blocking me from God. I have ample bibles, yet my mind fixates on my first one and it’s shaded parts, easy to flip pages, and .. I need to return to what it contains, not it. Help me read his word and not think of my dear lost book. It was not more than what it contained – God’s word.  Instead of being open in my journal prayers, I am getting caught up with fears my thoughts to God might be read. I don’t think well just in my head, writing is the most wonderful gift to help sort my thoughts and anchor me. St. Anthony, you helped many souls find their way back to what really matters, the word and their relationship with God. Help me to pick up another bible and enjoy it. Help me to journal anew, with the same abandon to my dialogue as before. If, as you guide me, you should happen to come across that missing bible… maybe hide it for a while longer till I hold true to what truly mattered. 

Posted by: cmittermeier | August 21, 2017

Learning… a lifelong endeavour 

A while ago while chatting with a friend who is also working to loose weight with God, she mentioned a new situation she had been in and how it had been a challenge. Without thinking, the word learning came out of me… we are learning a whole new lifestyle… and I knew I had to write on it.  If you, like me, are working on loosing weight from a Godly perspective, chances are we are trying to create a new life – to ingrain new habits, new ways of being. We are learning.

Learning is sometimes easy, sometimes not so… and how you viewed school will decide if this post helps or hurts.  If you viewed school as do or die… don’t go here! If school was, as it should be, a learning experience where failure was part of the journey, then read on!

I was exposed to something beautiful as a university student: The best scientists, mathematicians were all ready for failures and expected them as part of their craft.  I’m sure if I’d been in the liberal arts I would have been told the same thing, but I was math and physics geek.  Those who push boundaries consider failures as part of learning. We need to as well. Romans 12:2 keeps being whispered to me, and it speaks on changing our thoughts.  Often times, just by changing out thoughts from do or die, to learning is all we need to do to face the next hurdle well.

The next few weeks are going to be hard for me, insert your “high stress event here” folks! I would love to numb myself with food, oh how I would! Unlike my friend who encountered a new situation, I’ve been in a few stressful situations before. I could draw out for myself a road map of the temptations ahead. This is where I have to put my learning to good use. This is where I work in changing my thoughts first.  It’s time to review old data and prepare! My thoughts are not dim and worried. I am not all or nothing, I am going from one Our Father to the next, ie, one day at a time. Here is some of my daily plan…

  • I will not buy more ice cream, or cookies. 
  •  I will not allow any treats in the house, because past experience has taught me that I won’t have control. End of statement.  
  • I know I will have to force myself to eat veggies, even though I won’t want to.  
  • More important, I need to find more time for God. No excuses, daily reflections are a must. 
  • Getting to daily mass twice a week, also a must.  
  • Getting moving is also one of those things I’m just going to have to force myself to do.  

The last few are stress relievers, the first few are setting the environment for success.  I have “learned” some general strategies that work for me, and every time I am back in stress filled times I do my best to use what works and listen for any new ones God will teach me. Small daily walks is a new one, just so you know.
But what about my friend, who found herself Ina new situation? LISTEN! There will be specifics and general lessons. Some problems she will find easy to solve, others…. not so easy. And that’s okay, because like any good scientist, a negative result is still a result. It is data that will help fill in the bigger picture, nothing is wasted with God. Remember to offer up the challenge gone wrong or right, and ponder it so you can discern what God would point out to learn from. Then, remind yourself, you are the student, not the master… we are all here to learn.

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