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.

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.

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