Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beating the Green-eyed Monster of Jealousy

I'm not typically a jealous person. Granted, I do have my moments, there are fewer and fewer moments when I look at successful parents, artist, spouses, and even family relationships and think, “Why, oh why, can't that be me?" But mostly, I see successful people and am inspired by them.

Envy rears its ugly head when someone has a thing or benefit you want for yourself - a bigger office, a better body, a bigger paycheck, more attention, a special privilege.

Both envy and jealously are fanned by the perception that a "winner" had an unfair advantage. The jealous or envious person finds themselves constantly thinking about the situation, wondering when their "turn" at recognition is going to come.

I think I’m struggling with a bit of envy and a bit of “it’s not fair.”

I’m jealous of people who can eat whatever they want and gain nothing… and don’t even “have to” exercise.

I am tired of eating another carrot and my friends and family get to enjoy their 4th cream puff and even a piece of toast! Imagine! I am jealous of toast!

I’m envious of people who can have perfect, trusting, supportive relationships with other… who always know where they stand.

I am jealous of people who receive accolades for the work well done… when I have worked just as hard and have sacrificed equally, if not more, without so much as a thank you.

I even find myself resentful of support others receive through their struggles while I often feel as though I am drowning in chaos with a heavy heart by myself.

The dictionary definition of jealousy is the fear of being displaced in affection. Hmmm….

As one of the “seven deadly sins”, jealousy is one emotion all people should seek to master early.

Life clearly isn’t fair, or there wouldn’t be people with disease who have eaten healthy and exercised all their lives.

Life clearly isn’t fair, or there wouldn’t be dreams coming true for the seemingly “unworthy”.

Life clearly isn’t fair, or someone wouldn’t be able to take credit for someone else’s work and to be rewarded for it.

Life isn’t fair, or there wouldn’t be people who feel lonely in a crowd or feel like there is no one there for them because all attention is going to others that know how to squeak.

So, as tough as it is, I need to acknowledge those feelings of jealousy, or I will never have an opportunity to move past it. Controlling my jealousy and my eating and my lack of motivation and my tendency to compare my situation to the situations of others will have a huge impact on my health in the long run.

Time to get this under control!

Negative emotions can be exhausting. They cause me to lose my focus on my goals. Rather than thinking about the situation, I need to take control by making conscious choices about what I want in my life.

Maybe the best advice comes from a Dove candy wrapper I picked up off the floor… It’s ok to be fabulous and flawed.

That’s me… fabulous and flawed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Salad Say 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, and 58

Monday is a busy day.  I teach voice lessons starting around 11:30 and I continue until around 8.  Hence, I didn't take the time to go crazy creating the yummiest salad ever.  I did use the last of the yummy chips that my friend Rachel got me.  That was nice.

Although I was going to have a busy day, I made a salad topped with my home canned tuna.  I sure enjoy that stuff.  I hope I can afford it when it comes into season again this summer for canning.

Wednesday I made some coleslaw and added apples.  I also ate a "liquid" salad.  I just got a terrific blender and made a delicious green smoothie with spinach, kale, coconut milk, carrots, apple, and cucumber.

Thursday and Friday I was back at the HS for the final performances of Little Shop of Horrors.  This makes for incredibly busy day.  I ended up getting a salad from Subway both days.

Saturday was the busiest day of the week.  I left my house early for a Saturday.  I went to auditions for a new project, Brigadoon at a local theater.  I left from the auditions and went straight to the HS for closing night of Little Shop (when I get some pictures, I'll post about that set and the show).  The sad thing is, I didn't eat all day.  My cute little 8 year old made me an omelet at 8 in the morning... then nothing.  It wasn't until after the show and after strike, that I finally got to eat something.  The cast party was a taco bar.  I was able to find some lettuce, corn chips, and tomatoes to fake a taco salad.  It was rather dry... but hey!  It was a salad.

Sunday was busy with church and call backs for Brigadoon.  My sweet hubby made spaghetti (I got yummy quinua noodles) and salad for dinner by the time I got home.

Yesterday was Monday... a busy teaching day for me.  I only had time for lettuce and dressing.  Maybe today I will be able to get a yummy salad together for lunch.  I will have to eat on the run for dinner.  I teach from 2-6 and then I have to run to our first rehearsal of Brigadoon.

At least I am still on a roll.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Salad Day 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, and 50

Monday I realised I had purchased a bag of coleslaw mix and it would soon expire if I didn't do something with it.  I mixed up some olive oil mayo, honey and a dash up mustard, sliced up some apple and mixed it all up for a yummy coleslaw for lunch.

Tuesday, I only had time for a small salad of green with Italian dressing.  It was a long day of teaching and then the final dress rehearsal for Little Shop of Horrors.  The show is a ton of work.  I am the set and light designer as well as the tech director.  Let me tell you!  It keeps me stinking busy.  With all the stairs I climb up and down you'd think I'd have lost 50 pounds by now.  Sadly... nope.  Oh well.  Life isn't always fair.  Right?

 Wednesday I ate the last of the potato salad.  I have to admit, it's not the best choice.  I just hate to see food go to waste.  To bad it ends up on my WAIST!

Thursday I was busy getting the "official" opening night together.  My daughter ran over to Subway and got me a chicken salad with all the veggies and honey mustard dressing.

Friday I made myself a simple greens salad for lunch and ate it with a couple fish sticks on the side.

Saturday was date day.  We intended on spending more time together, but my husband and I were spread thin with all of the kids weekend activities.  Finally, at the end of the day, we snuck out to Subway on the way to my Little Shop performance and I got a tuna salad with all the veggies.

Today my husband made yummy Thai Basil Chicken and I had a simple green salad on the side.  Nothing fancy, but it works.

This coming week looks like it could be a challenge to get in a salad, but I will prevail!  It is our final week of performances... Thursday through Saturday, with strike on Saturday night.  In addition to the play I have voice lessons to teach, an awards ceremony for one of my daughters, a orientation at the HS that may need help, and a band concert... oh and auditions for the next show I will help with over the summer - Brigadoon - on Saturday afternoon.  Busy, busy.

To top it all off, I've been craving chips.  I was so relieved when my daughter came home from a movie party and through a bag of corn chips at me and said, "Rachel said to give this too you."  Thanks Rachel!  I love trying new things!  They are yummy!  And how did you know I was ready to trade my first born for a bag of chips?  LOL.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Salad Day 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 43

Monday I taught all afternoon and had Dress rehearsal for the HS musical, so I stopped by Subway and got a salad.

Tuesday, my friend brought me a salad becasue she knew I was teaching all afternoon until rehearsal. She introduced me to rice chips too. She even gave me my very own bag of the delisious crunchy morsels. I have great friends!

Wednesday, I did my best to recreate a salad from the previous week. It didn't have all the ingredience and my camera wasn't charged, so I had to make due with the salad and resurrect the phote fromt he previous week.

I spent all day Thursday working on the giant puppet for the play. My duaghter took pity on me and got me a salad from Subway.

Friday I worked on the finishing touches for the play. I was still at the HS when my in-laws and parents joined me to watch the dress rehearsal. My husband was kind enough to pick up roasted chicken and a potato salad at the store at 9 pm to feed the family.

Saturday we took the family to Hometown Buffet. Sorry the picture is blurry. The salad was the best tasting. Sadly, there must have been one of my "bad" foods in the dressing or something. Sunday morning I awoke to stiff fingers and swollen ankles.

Today my family made me fruit salad.

It's been a good week.

Changing My Attitude About Mother's Day

"What we love we shall grow to resemble."

Saint Bernard

Happy Mother’s day!

Today I thought about a little girl with large brown eyes making a mess in the kitchen as she did her best to make breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. 

I loved doing that for my mom as a kid.  I never missed a Mother's day that I lived at home, once I learned how to cook.

When I think about life, I could think of hundreds of things that my parents, both together and separately, have taught me. Most of these are not your typical lessons… you know, cook a pork tenderloin until 160 degrees (I have no idea if that’s right) or change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles or better yet, avoid smacking the distributor cap with a hard object such as a fishing reel. These lessons are the ones that really guide your life. My mother taught me many things. She taught me to love the classics and good music in general. She taught me the importance of being intellectually curious and the value of community. She modeled for me how to be a forgiving friend, great wife, a kind sister, a giving daughter and how to be a nurturing mother.

In fact, when I’m faced with a decision, I often think about the lessons that my mom (and dad, too) have taught me. Sometimes, I even still go to my mom for the best options.

Now, you are probably thinking that I should be old enough at the ripe old age of 45 to make my choices without my mommy. I am. It’s not really even like an approval thing or a mom-daughter thing. It’s more like a best friend thing… talk out the choices, weigh the options, etc.

My mom was a mere 19 when she had me. She is a hard working, hilarious, amazing person. Not everyone is lucky to have a mother and few are lucky to have a mother like mine – well 6 other people are. As with most people, I have a few people in my life who really inspire me, and my mom is one of those. Throughout my life, she has always been there for me -- inspiring me and caring about me and encouraging me. Not only has she always been there for me, standing by my side no matter what crazy phase I was in, she's also been teaching me some great life lessons.

My mom is a smart cookie. So… I decided to make a list of the lessons I’ve learned from my mom as my gift to her on this Mother’s Day:

1. Be generous with others. Anyone who knows my mom knows she's one of the most generous people in the world. She’d give the shirt off her back for you… if you needed it. She taught this lesson to her children. It’s something I’ve learned well and I often find myself giving away my favorite dress because my mom did that once for me (she took off right as soon as I said I liked it and gave it to me). My siblings have learned this too. Every one of us is generous to a fault.

Even this past weekend is an example of the giving heart my mom shared with us children. Saturday was the baptism of my youngest daughter. After the dip in the water, my husband and daughter changed into nice clothes while the rest of us sang Primary songs. During one of the songs, my 17 year old daughter sheepishly got up and walked over to my brother. “My dad needs you to go to the bathroom.” “Huh?” My brother raised an eyebrow, but went to the bathroom. John was hiding out in the bathroom stall to avoid any extra eyes wondering at his predicament. “Oh good! You came. Can I barrow your shirt?” He neglected to bring an extra one. I almost peed my pants laughing. He had spent the morning being the Mother Hen and reminding me of all the things Lilli needed and forgot an important item for himself. Paul, taking on the lessons of mom whipped his own white shirt off, put on his sweater and headed back to the singing. John returned to the room with a white shirt with the sleeves 3 inches too long. I’m sure no one noticed.

That’s just it. Mom is always happy to lend a hand or help someone out if she can. It's from her that I've learned to be (or tried to be) a giving person.

2. Live in the moment. Throughout my life, my mom has always shown me how to embrace the present moment. She finds a way to make every activity fun.

After the baptism we all went home and made brunch. Mom started telling stories: “remember when the cop stopped us and someone was throwing the stuffing out of the back seat and out the window at the cop?” “Hey! I think I was in that car.” Or, “The dog always eats better with a little gravy.” “So does grandma. Do you remember how she ate dog slobber?” We all laughed ourselves silly reminiscing, telling stories and quoting movies and the Smother’s Brothers.

My mom is one of the few people I know who really knows how to live in the now.

Life can be really, really funny -- but only if you're paying attention. My mom is one of those people who, when faced with hard times, knows how to look for the humor in it. And I can remember quite a few times when I was so down and only she could make me laugh.

And, don't be afraid to be silly. My mom is a silly lady, and she's not afraid of her silliness. She even did her “bacon” impression at my wedding. LOL. There are so many aspects of life that require the utmost seriousness, so why not take some time to be silly every now and then? My mom knows how to embrace her silly side -- and helps me embrace mine too!

3. Strive to be patient. Between dealing with me, my 4 sisters, 2 brothers, and my dad, my mom has developed an amazing ability to be patient. This is something I truly admire since I'm not the most patient person in the world. I hope someday I can be as patient as my mom is.

4. Support those you love. Through ups and downs, good and bad, my mom has always remained supportive of her loved ones. I'm sure at times it was hard to be supportive of my choices, but she has always been my #1 encourager. She is also the #1 supporter of my siblings. Some of us have made some real dumb choices in the past (yes, I resemble that). Yet my mom has always been there to cry on, complain to, work beside, clean up after, and just plain support. No one prays as hard for her family as my mom does. I’m sure of it.

5. Stand up for what you believe in, even if it isn’t popular. If you know my mom, you know me. She is a people-pleaser. I think I am, too (I know… if you know me now, you are cracking up). My mom showed me on numerous occasions that you don’t have to go along with a crowd and do what’s “popular”. I actually could write an entire post on my mom’s ability to just say, “No, I don’t really feel that way at all… and this is why…” I always thought it was incredible to watch her go against the grain with people. She’s brave. She’s tough.

6. Remember what's important. My mom has a lot going on in her life (who doesn't?!), but she always manages to prioritize what's important to her. Her family and friends really matter to her and she makes time for them and puts them first. Most importantly, she puts her faith first. My mom knows what she believes in and she stays true to those beliefs. It's important to recognize what's important to you and what matters most to you, and my mom has manage to do that -- and to stay loyal to those things that matter most.

7. Celebrate beauty. My mom is a beautiful person -- inside and out -- and she is one of the people in my life who has taught me to celebrate and appreciate beauty. She notices the beauty in things and, in turn, I've learned to do that as well. She sees the beauty in nature, in art, in music, and in people. I have learned that God created enormous beauty in the world through my mom’s eyes.

8. Never give up. One of the greatest things about my mom is her persistence. If she wants to get something done, she will find a way -- no matter what. "Where there's a will, there's a way." This should be her motto.

9. Give energy to get energy. "Energetic" and "full of life" are two things I would definitely use to describe my mom. She is always full of energy and, for that reason, she gets a lot of energy coming back at her. I've noticed when I give out energy, I always get it back (just like my mom!).

10. Do what you can with what you have. My mom knows how to make the most of whatever she's working with. I can’t tell you how many times she created a meal out of nothing… clothing out of a pillow case and remodeled hand-me-downs… or pushed a cars to get around town. Life was hard sometimes (my youngest says that I am practically a pioneer. If that’s true, my mom is the leader of the pioneers.) Whether it's supplies for a school project or life in general, my mom knows how to take the things she's given and make them work for her.

11. Help others help themselves. While, of course, my mom is a huge fan of helping others, she's also really great at helping them help themselves. She's taught me and my siblings how to do things so we could do them for ourselves. As great as it is to help, it's even great to help others help themselves.

12. Work hard for what you want. Nothing good comes without a lot of hard work, and no one knows this better than my mom. If you really want something, you have to go after it. You have to make it happen. My mom is so inspiring in this way because she has taught me to really go after what I want in life. I’ve seen her wield a chain saw and work on the family log house; I’ve seen her finish her college degree after 5 of her 7 children left home and start a career as a teacher; I’ve seen her pray for her children… and get results.

13. Know which battles are worth fighting. My mom knows how to pick her battles. She knows which things are worth fighting for (or about) and which are worth letting go. I'm still learning this myself, but I'm lucky to have a role model to look up to so that I know that not everything is worth a battle.

As you can see, my mom is a pretty amazing person. She has inspired me in so many ways and she is constantly teaching me new things. She's taught me all of the lessons listed here and so many more and, for that, I will always, always be thankful. Not many people are lucky enough to come in contact with people as great as my mom, let alone have her for a mother so, though I'm trying my best to resist bragging, I must say that I am extremely lucky to have her in my life.

I used to hate Mother's Day.  No little brown eyed girl made me breakfast; children usually argued and faught; I was lucky to get a so much as a note.  This year is no exception.  Still no breakfast in bed; my son is grumpy and rude to everyone; my children have acknowledged the day in word but no deeds; my husband made dinner, but I helped with the dishes because the daughters were taking naps.  Still, this has been a good day.  It's my attitude that's different this year, I guess.  This year I am focusing on my gratitude for my mom and the lessons she taught me.  This year I'm focusing on how grateful I am to have the oppertunity to mother my kids.  This year I am dreaming of the Mother's Days to come when my own daughters become mothers.
It's been a good day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fear of Falling Gracefully

I ran across this thought today while contemplating what I might write about… I'm not afraid of heights; I'm afraid of falling.


For someone who is so afraid of falling, I certainly do it often enough.

It happened again yesterday. Busy day. Many tasks to complete; many people calling me in many directions; darted quickly between set pieces and got my feet tangled in a piece of black fabric cleverly disguised as a shadow — and then me, sprawled out across the stage. A student helped me up off the ground. It was so-o-o-o embarrassing.

And painful. Knees, hands, wrists, elbow, shoulder. The usual list of body parts you hurt when you biff it.

Nice fall.  See you next trip!

I am not all that old, yet I feel I am on the doorstep — for want of a better tripping analogy — of senior citizen land, but I am falling like an 85-year-old with too-thick glasses, too many scatter rugs in the house and too much medicine in my system.

Honest! I am not under the influence here. I just have a knack for falling gracefully… or is it not so gracefully?

If I don't watch it, I am going to break something instead of just bruising something or spraining something, and the neighbors and Relief Society ladies will have to start delivering meals.

My daughter says I fall because, "Well, um, you've never been very coordinated."

Maybe I am “gravitationally challenged.”

Neither explanation is particularly satisfactory — or flattering — so I went hunting for more information. It turns out that my fear of falling, instead of keeping me safe, may make it more likely that I will fall.

The fact that I cling to railings like Kate Winslet in "Titanic" doesn't contribute to the strength and balance — or the confidence — I need to stay upright.

And the stiffness and soreness in the joints in my legs — the result of too many years of pounding aerobics (I wish) — hinder my gait and give walking an uncertain outcome.

I know. The stiffness in my joints is more related to my allergies. I’d do better if I truly avoided “everything.” But that’s hard!

The fact is, falls are such a serious and expensive health issue that balance has become a significant part of all kinds of exercise programs, and the staff in doctors' offices are training patients in fall prevention.

Hmmm… Does that mean I should avoid ladders? Cliffs? Rock climbing? Bicycles? Walking?

While I am afraid of falling, it clearly hasn't affected my lifestyle (hence the fact that I keep falling). I could resign myself to being a couch potato.  For others, the fear of falling has been so debilitating that they needlessly restrict their participation in life: exercise, shopping, going to church, seeing friends.

I guess I’ll keep falling… and nursing my injuries.

Salad Day 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36

Tuesday I had a yummy Gazpacho Salad.

Wednesday and Thursday I had Potato Salad. I had to do something with the left over Potatoes and hard boiled eggs from Easter. tehehe.

Friday I made a Waldorf Salad for lunch. It's surprising how yummy fruit tastes in a green salad. I worked all afternoon at the HS and remembered on my way home that I was having guests for dinner. AHHH!! Thankfully, I was able to get sub sandwiches on the way home. Me? I ate more salad.

Saturday, my friend Rachel brought me a salad. She knew that I had been spending hours and hours at the HS working on the set and light for the up coming musical. She is so thoughtful! She made the most delicious French dressing. The salad had greens, ham, sunflower seeds and carrots. I'm telling you... IT WAS LIKE HEAVEN sitting on the side walk for 15 minutes and enjoying something that I didn't have to make myself! Sadly, I didn't have a camera with me. I didn't get a picture of my heavenly treat.

I am so blessed to have friends that are supporting me in my goal to eat a salad everyday for a whole year. With my friends behind me, I know I will make it!

Today? I will finish off my Sabbath with a Taco Salad made with greens, tomato, guacamole, turkey burger, green peppers, black beans, and my friend's french dressing.

See you after dinner!