Friday, February 28, 2014

Just a quick check in day.  Lost 1.4 pounds ---totaling almost 18 and a half pounds.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Just a quick check in day.  I lost 2.5 lbs this week---totaling about 17 in all since the beginning of January.  It becomes more and more apparent to me that God is the only way that this is possible for me.  When I ask God to lend me strength of spirit to break down these unhealthy (both physically and spiritually unhealthy) dependences---He really does lend me this strength.  So, that's a praise and a blessing.  And I'm grateful.  I finished exercising one day---and I just thought---I feel like I can breathe again---I feel like a person again---a person who knows the difference between what matters and what doesn't.  And that feeling of freedom----more than even the numbers on the scale----that is incentive to keep going.

Internet has been spotty at home all week---so haven't been able to really stay online long enough to post much this week.....It's been a somewhat challenging week.  However, every time I start to feel bogged down and just overwhelmed----perspective finds me.  As I've been tempted to compare myself to others---to find myself sorely lacking----a sense of calm overrides the encroaching panic.  I am who I am---I have strengths---I have weaknesses.  But my identity rests in neither of those---but only in Christ.  And day by day---it isn't about trying to be as good as or better than someone else---but just doing the best with what God gives me---and hoping to live a life that somehow reflects back just a little of His goodness---His light.  I'm grateful for these reassurances from a God who sees me---all of me---and still chooses to hold my hand during these moments of insecurity and fear---no matter how trivial they are when looked at under the magnifying glass.

Miriam has taken to repeating:  "Jesus loves me" many times throughout the day.  And this makes my heart happy.  (We'll focus on that and not the "MY Jesus!" where she uses the same emotion for MY as when she's claiming a favorite crayon or block..... Hahahahaha.  Oh toddler time---it's always fun.  :)   Love my sweet girl.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Check in day.  Lost 1.4 pounds this week.  That makes about 15.4 pounds total lost.  Although I've stayed under my calorie goal for most of the week----I have missed my exercise session twice.  Once because I just thought that getting up at 5 on a day that I was going to be at school till seven might make me unbearably cranky----and once because after staying at work at school until seven---I just plain didn't feel like it.  So yeah---take that mild amounts of adversity.....

Eh---it's ok.  I've been dancing with the kids this week---a hip hop dance that I learned at a workshop with fourth and fifth graders----and a fun folk dance that is more like a game than a dance with third graders.  I figure that has me dancing at least 30-45 minutes a day....Count it.  :)

Discovered a food I didn't know I liked.....hummus...but apparently only pine nut hummus.  My new favorite food---low on the glycemic index---and does manage to fill you up with just a little--which is a good thing because it does have a fair amount of fat in it as well.

Also---I can eat celery and like it---IF there is a little peanut butter with it.  I have an aversion to celery usually----so I've come to the conclusion that if peanut butter can make celery better---it can make ANYTHING better.   Fun experiments ahead.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yesterday, I think I was too angry at the snow that didn't happen to post here  :p  

You can read more about how my deeply rooted, long-standing grudge against snow began here:

Dear snow, although it’s certain
We’ve had our differences in the past
You and I both know that
This cold shoulder just can't last

For years now I have waited
For you to come around
And you have left me nothing
But a dusting on the ground.

Or you’ve blown in with the wind
For Friday afternoon bus duty
Did anyone ever teach you
Mockery’s just snooty.

Ok--you’ve had your fun
But it’s time to mend our fences
Just pop on over for a visit
Come back to your senses.

I just want to tell you
That hey---there’s no hard feelings
I still love you—I still care
I still find you quite appealing.

And should you show up casually
On Monday afternoon
I would welcome you with gladness
That’s all—hope to see you soon.

But since the composition of this poem----I have come to the conclusion that there are hard feelings towards snow----many, many, many, many hard feelings.  And even if it DID snow at this point---I wouldn't speak to it.  Bring on the spring---that's right snow---you heard me---spring---warm sunshine I'm rooting for you now---down with snow and all things icy  (Do you think my reverse psychology will work on snow? )

Anyhow---nutrition and exercise wise---still hangin in there.  Lately---I've caught myself thinking---Ok--my goal is to be down this many pounds by the end of the week.  All the while---the truth of the matter is---that's the very mindset I wanted to avoid when starting out with this whole thing.  If I don't lose even one pound----but am making healthy choices and learning not to lean on food as a crutch----if I can---remain at war with this idol in my life----at lean on God the way I'm built to----well, that would be the point.  And nothing else.  So---this is a nice place to remind myself of that.

Miriam is saying more everyday----and she adds people that she loves to her ongoing monologues every day too.  God bwess Ashwey and Kwisty.  God bwess Jackie and Janice.  God bwess Banni-G (whose name is actually Giovanni, but Miriam has renamed him Banni-G)  I am proud of how much Miriam loves people.  I am such an introvert----and though I often admire people---pray for them on an ongoing basis---and hope for God's blessings on their lives---I do poorly with communicating my feelings towards them.  I am not at easy person to be around socially----it's awkward---for me---and I imagine for the people around me as well.  And I am at a place where I'm ok with that---but I love that my daughter is different from me is this respect.  I love that she hugs people without abandon----that she loves people in general---and is sooo stinkin' excited to see them. I'm going to be real for a minute---and hope it's ok.   Sometimes these differences are a reminder to me that Miriam and I don't share genes---that we lack that biological connection.  And at times, I won't lie----that can hurt a little---scare me a bit---because I wonder---will we be able to relate well to each other as Miriam grows up?  But then---at the same time---I know that although I am certain our relationship will have challenges that are specific to adoption related issues----at the same time---these differences that I notice---Miriam being an extremely extroverted, active (really turning out to be a tad athletic---the kid can make a basket 9 times out of 10) little girl----they are what make Miriam Miriam---and I love Miriam.  I wouldn't want her to be anyone else.  I'm proud of who she is---and even if I am the introvert who would rather sit in the chair with my knitting and a book on tape----I'm glad Miriam is the kid who is telling me "Mommy--pway ball.  Pway ball.  Pway mommy pway."  I'm glad she isn't afraid to get in the game....and I'm glad God blessed us with our daughter.  This home---this family---is changed completely because of Miriam----and though the insecurities that are intrinsic to an adoptive family are certain to crop up now and then----beneath those ripples on the water---the deep is still, rich, and brimming with beauty. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sting me with a phrase
Unhinge me with a word
While I--I remain silent
Consequently feel unheard.

Be terse and be unkind
Though not outrightly cruel
Just drain your voice of warmth
And train your expression to be cool.

And I---I hardly know you
You're no confidante---no friend
Yet I lose my balance
Totter and descend.

From the corner of my eye
Behind the next breath taken
Already there's within me
A voice that leaves me shaken.

You are not who you should be
You are less than I would hope
You are always just free falling
Down an ever sharpening slope.

Your voice joins the other
That was already there
And they tightly wind together
And remain like braids of hair.

And who am I--that I cannot
Untangle strands of three:
Who I am, who I'm not
And who I'm perceived to be.

"Quiet," says my Companion
"Be still," says my Friend
"Child of mine, be silent,
I'm here---let me attend."

Deftly, gentle hands work
Through too tightly braided hair
One section at a time falls loose
And I---I feel seen and bare.

I hide my face within my hands
But Friend says---"Look at me.
He holds the strands in isolation

This one---who you are
Your identity
Remember---this is simple
Beloved---you belong to Me.

The second--who you're not

Your deficiency...
I am perfect in your weakness
My Grace is sufficiency.

And finally--the third
Who you're perceived to be.
This one doesn't matter
Beloved--you belong to Me.

Beloved--you belong to Me.

Just a quick check in day----I lost 2.2 pounds this week.   So that makes about 14 pounds in all.  Still staying under my allotted calories most days.  Up to 15 minutes of exercise in the mornings now.....and yes I know that's a pitiful amount...but increasing by 5 minutes every two weeks makes me feel like I can actually do the exercise.  I have lost a large amount of weight in the past----and I know that exercise is a critical thing for me---so I don't want to burn out early.  I want to just gradually add it in so that each little bump up will feel more natural.  Still praying for strength to stick with this----and some days are harder than others right now.  But I know God is lending me perseverance---and answering my prayers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

First thing yesterday morning, I ran into the same little girl while I was at bus duty.  I was so excited to talk to her because our conversation from the day before had stuck with me.

As I approached her, I overheard her talking with another little girl---they were making plans for when they would sit together---at lunch, at indoor recess, etc.  And it made me smile.

I asked her quietly---"So did you work things out."

"Yes!" the little girl smiled---"We did!  And now we've even made up a rhyme together."  And so she and the other little girl proceeded to perform an elaborate hand game as they chanted rhymes about girls with yellow hair and boyfriends named Jello----and other silliness that only friends can fully share.  

It was a good moment.

Especially after the bit of a rough start yesterday.  I swear I think my brain is already deteriorating.  I drove past the school yesterday on the way to drop Miriam off at daycare---and noticed there were a lot of cars there.  I'm usually one of the first ones there, so I was a bit surprised though not overly alarmed. Hmmm, I thought to myself, that's funny.  After dropping Miriam at daycare, I came back to school---walked in the building----and saw a lot of teacher's kids playing together in a classroom.  And that's when it hit me---faculty meeting.  7:45 faculty meeting.  I checked the time---it was 8:20 when I finally discovered my mistake.  I stood in the hallway---contemplated going in to the meeting late----but just couldn't. I couldn't stand the thought of drawing that much attention to myself. The new superintendent of Bartlett schools was there today meeting with us.  I had been looking forward to this meeting.  How had I completely flaked out on a faculty meeting?  I went back to the car and cried for a few minutes. I was so angry with myself.  I called Stu and told him what I'd done---he tried to tell me---it's ok---it's not the end of the world if you miss a meeting.  And then I got kind of angry with him too.  (one of my prayers is for a gentle spirit----that one needs an under construction sign)

I don't know---sometimes I just feel like I'm doing everything poorly---everything.  I know those feelings aren't completely accurate----but I do feel it's true I make more mistakes than I used to.  I forget things, legitimately forget---important things.

But ---then I try to remember something our pastor talked about last week----our identity isn't in our weaknesses---our struggles.  Our identity is in Christ.  Spending time beating myself up about things I'm not doing well---I don't's one thing to go to war with your idols----which I'm trying to do---but it's another thing to focus solely on intrinsic character traits about yourself and wish you were different.....I'm a forgetful person....absentminded-----not that I shouldn't try to write myself notes---make extra effort to remember important things----but this feeling of "not good enough"---that isn't valid.  My identity---anything good in me----anything of worth in me----can be found in Christ, and in Christ alone.  And His grace is sufficient for me.  

It is ridiculous how little it takes to sink my meager ship when I forget this.  Perspective-----I'm praying for that too.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I was walking back to my classroom yesterday---and a little girl in the first grade was walking beside me---headed in the same general direction.

"Hi Mrs. Finch," she said cheerily.

I said Hello back and asked "How are you doing today?"

The little girl said, "Fine--" and it seemed sincere.  But a minute later, she said "Well, actually---not so fine."

I said--"Oh really?  What's going on?"

She answered sadly--"Lost a friend----a best friend."

"Oh---that's terrible.  How did that happen?"

"She says I never sit by her....but I always sit by her every day." and then, with a desperate since of exasperation that you don't normally hear from first graders she said---"Come on---just cut me a break already."

I told her---"Well, I wouldn't give up on her just should try talking to her.  It is a serious thing to lose a friend---a best friend.  And sometimes all it takes to keep a friend is a talk.   Maybe she misunderstood something----and she thinks you don't want to be her friend anymore.  Try to clear it up---and see what happens, ok.  Don't give up..."

She nodded, but didn't look too optimistic---and walked into her classroom.

Today---I hope I have the chance to ask her what happened.  Because it truly is a serious thing to lose a friend---a best friend.  I'm pretty sure she already knew that---I think first graders understand that more than we adults do sometimes.  Friendships are important----and they're worth saving.


Stuart had to go pick Miriam up yesterday from daycare.  Although she seemed fine at home---and fine when I dropped her---they called and said she had been crying ever since I left---rolling around on the floor and holding her stomach.  She had calmed down by the time Stu picked her up----and he took her to the doctor for an 11:15 appointment.  The doctor said she seemed fine---he listened to her breathing because she's had a cough for a couple of weeks---he felt her tummy---and said it felt normal---checked her bloodwork---also fine.  He said---it might be a virus and that if it was she might feel worse that afternoon or evening.  But Miriam felt just fine all evening----so we're thinkin' gas---and limiting dairy as recommended by doctor.  Miriam usually has some pretty big meltdowns at the doctor's office---but Stu said she was really actually very sweet this go-round.  When the doctor came in---Miriam asked--"Who's dat?"  Stuart told her--"It's the doctor."  Miriam said:  "Doctor?  Doctor?"  She was good while he did everything he had to do---and didn't even cry when they stuck her finger.  She did however cry when they put the bandaid on--"Sticker off!  Sticker off!" she demanded.  Hahaha.  When the doctor left she said---"Bye bye doctor......that's my doctor."

I'm really glad Miriam seems fine and isn't sick----but I'm also really glad Stu left work early to get her. Yesterday---there was a lot of rain, freezing rain, and flooding on the roadways.  I was glad that Stu and Miriam were home before it got really bad.  Count that whole story under the blessings column please.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

From Piper's devotion:  This morning I read about the "Five Ways affliction helps"---I really like this article---so I'll post those five ways here----as a reminder that affliction isn't something to curse and be angry over---but rather it can be seen as a way to grow closer to God in relationship....

"Affliction takes the glibness of life away and makes us more serious so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God's word."

"Affliction knocks worldly props from under us and forces us to rely more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the world"

"Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for help, rather than treating it as marginal to life."

"Affliction brings us into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings so that we fellowship more closely with him and see the world more readily through his eyes."

"Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so brings us into a more spiritual frame which fits God's word more."


I had one of those dreams that was still going on right as the alarm clock's jarring buzzer started ringing in my of those dreams that leaves you disoriented because you wake up so abruptly from this other reality.  All my teeth had started to fall out (lovely, right?)  Just one at a time at first---and then by the handful---could have made a killing off the tooth fairy...  Anyhow---obviously I'm pretty upset that all my teeth are falling out----but a beautiful woman---I suppose she was a dentist, though she was dressed more for an outing to some grand party---don't remember much---but I remember dangling earrings and a dazzling necklace with amber jewels---anyhow---the lady started putting my teeth back in place, one by one.  And when she had finished----she said---there, now see----you're beautiful.   And right after she had put me to rights----she was fired from her job.....I woke up right as I was trying to comfort her.  A little disturbing really----made me think of role reversals a bit.  How we tend to put the people who have been there for us---up on a pedestal---and we somehow think that nothing bad will ever touch them.  And yet----those people are human too----living in the same broken world as we live in----and the brokenness---the affliction----it will find them too at some point.....And we may be the ones who need to pick up the pieces the next time.....

Keeping my prayers in a separate notebook right now---but I will say that I'm praying for change.  I keep praying for situations to change----but I've also prayed that if it isn't God's will for these situations to change----then I pray for change within myself.....

Blessings: Laughter.  When I was student teaching, the principal of Campus School told us "My advice to you is this.  Laugh----laugh whenever you can---as often as you can."  She knew what she was talking about.