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. 

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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.

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.

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