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Archive for July, 2009

Self analyzing is exhausting! I gained weight again this week. I keep sabotaging my own weight loss efforts. Why do I do the things I do? Looking back through my weight loss journal, Diary of a Chocoholic, I found an entry that sums up my feelings some many weeks later. I’ve not made a lot of progress…

Mar. 12, 2009

I have been angry all day for gaining weight. I started off  not allowing myself to eat until I was really hungry. Good for me, I didn’t eat all day. Leaving for a Bible study at 6:30 pm, by the time I got to Mount Airy, I didn’t care anymore and was craving comfort food. I stopped at Wendy’s after pretty much starving myself all day. Would someone tell me that doesn’t work!  Then I became upset because I didn’t allow myself time to make a better choice of food before going to Bible study.

Arriving late, the group was ready to break for refreshments. To celebrate our final class, we had Haman’s Ears! The different flavored pastries were delicious. Out of four flavors, I had three…AND some pecans. So much for starving myself! Before I ate all that, there was a battle going on in my mind. I know this is going to sound crazy so brace yourself!

Being mad at myself, I told myself, I didn’t care what refreshments myself had. That hurt myself’s feelings and I told myself, if that was the way myself was going to treat myself, I didn’t care either. I just told myself to have whatever myself wanted and forget about what myself had just said to myself. I will work it all out myself!

I warned you…dieting makes you crazy or just reveals it…I’m not sure which.

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It’s all Kay Shostak’s fault! Had I not met her at a couple of writing conferences and had not joined facebook, I would have never read her blog post of July 22, 2009. Kay innocently asked the question, “Do you ever go to movies alone?” Well! That is something that has never entered my mind. Maybe I am too co-dependent…I don’t know! However, that question led me to her blog post Tuesdays with Kay: Alone in the Theater at http://bit.ly/9158c  or http://kayshostak.blogspot.com/2009/07/alone-in-theater.html or search for her on facebook.  I dare you to read it if you have never gone to the movies alone.

Upon sharing the article with my daughter, she revealed that she has indeed gone to the movies alone and seems to enjoy it as much as Kay does.  “Going to the movies alone seems sad to me.” I explained.  She began asking prying questions like, “why? What’s wrong with it? What’s sad about having some free time to yourself? What are you afraid of mom?”

To make a long story short, on July 26, 2009, I found myself alone in another state, feeling a little down and missing my family terribly. I needed to give my mind a rest but dreaded sitting in my hotel room all evening. I thought of Kay’s article and my daughter’s probing questions.

I loved the experience of going to the movies alone! Don’t waste your money seeing The Ugly Truth! The ugly truth is that it is predictable, has horrible language and for a romantic comedy, it is not romantic or funny. Regardless of that, I really enjoyed going to the movies alone. Recalling the list of reasons Kay gave for going alone, I now agree with all of them.

Last night I invited my husband to go to the movies with me. You would have thought I asked him to saw his right arm off. Now I remember why I never go to movies. My husband doesn’t care for it. He complained that I always “spring things on him!” Oh yes…another reason we never go anywhere…he doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in his body. He needs a couple of days to plan and get used to the idea.

When I told him it was not a problem, I would just go alone, he came unglued! He said it didn’t make sense. Sounds like something someone would do that wanted to get picked up. I could have sworn I said movies…not bar! I can’t imagine getting picked up at the movies, but that is what he said. 🙂  It is not safe, it would be dark when I came out. He didn’t understand why anyone would want to go to the movies alone.

I thought he was going to burst a blood vessel when I told him I had gone alone while I was away and I enjoyed it very much.  I could see his eyeballs floating around in his head trying to think of something to say. You think you know people…( reading his mind.)

Then I blamed it all on Kay. I told him about her article and how some women responded that loved going to the movies alone and his own daughter admitted to going alone. I told him I felt safe walking to my car with a group of people leaving the theater at the same time.  It was more of  “If Kay Shostak jumped off a cliff would you jump off too!”

Okay. I got it now. This is why it has never entered my mind to go to the movies alone. Good grief! What drama!

Calming down a bit, he asked me to wait until today and we would go to the movies together. I caved and agreed. I went to my daughter’s house instead.

Make no mistake. Kay has created a movie monster! I have suggested seeing countless movies, but because my husband wasn’t exactly on board, I forgot about it.  No more asking. I will continue to go to movies. I prefer going with someone else but I have discovered it is much more fun going alone than twisting the arm of my husband, just to glance over, finding him sound asleep. Yes, it is all coming back.

Kay has liberated me. No more trying to match schedules with friends. Can’t go too early. Can’t go too late. Now, if it works out, great! If it doesn’t work out, that is great too. I will go alone and enjoy it very much.

Already today, my husband is trying to wiggle on the movie thing. He will go because he knows I will go alone if he renegs. I know he will not make it through the whole movie without dozing. As disheartening as that has been before, it will be so fine with me now. I will just pretend to be alone and still have someone to walk me to my car. Win win situation. Thank you Kay Shostak for coming between my husband and me.

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Do you ever wake up depressed? You can’t really put your finger on a good reason for it? Do you feel silly for feeling the way you do when you have so much to be thankful for? You just feel sad? You could break down and cry but you wouldn’t know what you were crying about.

Have you ever thought of calling a friend and just pouring out your heart to them? Of course you don’t, because after all, they do have problems of their own. Right?  Besides, what would you say the problem is when you don’t know yourself? Ever fear you will come across as crazy?

Do you feel a little lonely sometimes? Ever feel as though you just don’t belong anywhere? 

Everything and everyone looks differently through the lens of depression. Things are distorted to be bigger or smaller than they really are.

What causes this disconnected feeling? Could it be diet? Hormone patch is screaming to be changed?  mental disorder? medical problem? Too busy? Not busy enough? Or is it just me?

Depression is not our friend. If I wake up depressed again tomorrow…I am going to throw a fit!

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 by Aggi Stevenson

 

Maybe I got out of  bed on the wrong side this morning but I am fed up with the selfishness smokers exhibit. My heart is hurting so much right now, I am babbling in my spirit. If I see another woman in a car with children in car seats, the windows up and SMOKING, I think I will explode! Talk about a helpless feeling…

Infants That Smoke

When infants are dropped off at day care smelling like they just had a Marlboro, all respect is lost for the parent. Infants strapped into car seats, unable to resist, are forced to breathe the same smoke filled air that has swirled around in a smoker’s lungs and vomited into their small space. Fragile infants can’t verbalize the pain in their chest and irritated eyes from the polluted air forced upon them. Their lungs are not equipped to handle cigarette smoke. That is why hospitals don’t provide tiny little Winston Lights for infants. If they did, they would be sued, but that is exactly what some smokers do the moment they are alone with their infant in the safety of a vehicle. With no prying eyes around, the first thing they do is introduce the infant to cigarette smoke.  They may as well roll up some  iddy biddy Prince Albert cigarettes, jam one in the infants mouth and light it! That would be cruel wouldn’t it? Why bother with wasting precious smokes on infants that can’t do a cigarette justice anyway? Why not just blow smoke into the air and let the helpless infant inhale the addictive nicotine smokers love so much. The infant needs to get used to it. Like the nine months of smoking in the womb wasn’t enough. After all, quitting is NOT an option! Many smokers put their addiction before the health of their infant child.

They call it a habit. I call it cruelty! I call it child abuse!

I have and know people that interact with children and are heartbroken by the selfishness of smoking parents and/or care givers.

Out of all the infants in our Day Care nurseries, it is harder to hold and cuddle a smoker’s baby. They don’t smell like sweet baby powder. Instead, they smell of the putrid lingerings of cigarette smoke. Their baby’s seat, blankets, diaper bag etc. is removed from nurseries to keep the odor from permeating the belongings of other children that are fortunate to live in smoke free environments.

Some nurseries won’t use diapers from a smoke filled environment. The infant is kept from smoke infested items as much as possible during the day. Judging by the odor of the child, everything they wear and own smelling like cigarettes, one would surmise smoking is taking place in the home as well as the vehicle.

The way they see it…so glad the smoker’s child is in daycare! At least they are not breathing harmful cigarette smoke all day and all evening too.

 Kindergartners That Smoke

Kindergartners are still such babies. Teachers need to be affectionate and as loving as possible to help them have a stress free learning environment.  Closeness is essential when leaning in to help these small children with their early education. It is more difficult to give a smoker’s child the same attention as non-smokers children because of the horrific odor of stale cigarette smoke. The stench attaches to their clothing, hair, book bag, lunchbox and even papers and books. The smoker’s child and everything they own reeks with the repulsive odor. No doubt the child is trapped in a home and a car seat while the dreaded fog of a bad habit fills their air space and tender lungs.

Teachers don’t exactly light up when a smoker’s child enters the room. They fight thoughts like, the little skunk has arrived. Teachers don’t linger as long when trying to help a smelly child with their lessons and don’t offer extra interaction because of the odor. Let’s face it. Children are cruel. They steer clear of  foul odors and when forced together, heartlessly complain by yelling, “You stink!” The scent of cigarette smoke meanders through the class as the smoker’s child opens his lunch box, eating food that has absorbed the odor. 

Teachers go home broken hearted each day because they are helpless to change a child’s life. They can’t exactly give the smoker’s child a bath, put on fresh clothes and give him new school supplies every day. Because of  the smoking care giver, they watch as the child’s self esteem takes a battering day by day. They notice the constant runny nose, watery eyes and cold like symptoms.  They notice, in some cases, he may not always have what he needs for class. He is not as well cared for as most of the others. They notice more when it is a smoker’s child and wonder when the child goes without at school…how many cigarettes did the parent or care giver go without that day?

Visits from Smoking Friends

The truth is, non-smoking friends dread seeing some smokers come.  They close the bedroom doors before answering the door, hoping cigarette smoke won’t waft through their home. However, after each visit, their bed linens and their children’s are changed out. They hate how the smoker insists on smoking in their non-smoking home and is obviously bothered by it. The visiting smoker is apt to help themselves to a saucer from the kitchen to use as an ashtray. Heck no they don’t clean it up! It is left for the non-smoker to clean after the smoker is gone. Smokers ignore the constant fanning and dabbing watering eyes of the non-smoker.  When sitting outside, the smoker rudely flips butts onto the lawn and into flower beds for the non-smoker to clean up later.  Once the smoker is gone, the non-smoker with trash bag in hand, retrieves the butts from the landscaping. Every window in the house is opened regardless of temperatures and ceiling fans go on high, while the non-smoker takes a shower and washes their hair.   

Visiting Smoking Friends

Smokers smell everything except cigarette smoke.They don’t know you can smell cigarette smoke when you walk up to the front door of their home. They don’t know they smell just as badly…no make that worse than their children do and we won’t speak of the breath thingy. They don’t know, after visiting with them, non-smokers drive home with the windows down and go straight to the shower.  They don’t know their ceiling fan doesn’t fumigate their homes. They don’t seem to notice yellowing walls and ceilings. Nor do they notice the children’s rooms are stained with the same yellow gunk. The ceiling fan probably helps push the cigarette smoke into their rooms. Non-smokers have little sympathy when smokers complain about not having time to do things for your children. How long did it take to fill up the ashtray on the coffee table? They don’t know the non-smokers are going to exit the event as soon as possible…so they can breathe!  Friends seeing children doing without while a parent or caregiver has money and time to smoke is heart wrenching.

Traveling with Friends that Smoke

Smokers get offended if friends don’t want to ride with them. It is a dilemma for the non-smoker. Oh gee…what to do. Which car should they take?  The smoker’s car stinks! The odor will be on and in everything.  The smoker will be smoking the whole way.  If  the non-smoker takes their own vehicle, their car will stink! The odor will be on and in everything and the friend will still be smoking the whole way. Smokers soothe their conscience by cracking the window to suck the smoke from the car. The air rushing in only blows the smoke into the rear of the car and around to the other side. Passengers get little relief from the extra air.  The only comfortable passenger is the smoker and they can’t smell it to start with. No way around it. It is painful for smokers and non-smokers to travel together.

Not ALL Smokers

Not all smokers are like the ones I have mentioned. Some smokers wouldn’t dream of smoking in a car or home of a non-smoker. I know a couple that only smokes at their kitchen range with the range vent running the whole time. The fan pulls the smoke out of the house. Upon pulling their vehicle into the garage they put all the windows down to let it air out.  They consciously battle the smell of cigarette smoke.

Then there are smokers that make me want to scream! I see women all dolled up and puffing on a cigarette with a couple of little children that are dirty, clothing don’t fit and shoes that are too big, too little or non-existent. The woman obviously takes no pride in the appearance or care of her children. It is all about her, her wants and her addiction. You’ve seen them in your local shopping areas. Whatever, you do, don’t watch them get in their vehicles. The children go in car seats, the windows are up and just before the engine starts, she lights up!  You will be crazy like me!

Cigarettes have gotten very expensive and are going to get only worse. I suspect a lot of children will suffer even more in some households where money is tight. Cigarettes come first, children somewhere after that. God have mercy on the children that play second fiddle to tobacco, alcohol AND the lottery!  I have seen this scenario play out one time too many. I am sickened by it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t really know what breed of dog it is that happily lumbers around aimlessly with long ears, slobbering as they go. Like me, they have a little too much skin hanging on their face and even when they are deliriously happy, they look sad. They are a little overweight and fight gravity continuously to tighten up that extra skin that hangs in folds here and there.

When the day of the LIFT (Ladies in Fellowship Together) meeting rolls around, I am as excited as a dog with a fresh ham bone. I can’t wait to romp with the other 303 women for an evening of fun, food and faith. On LIFT day, I gawk around aimlessly with great anticipation until it is time to trot out to my car and jump inside. Driving to the church is a time of reflection and prayer for the meeting. With  perky ears and bright eyes, I sling slobbers all over my car as I pant for the word that will be served up by the Holy Spirit through the speaker for the evening. Feeling younger, lighter and more energized than usual, I am always early.

Upon sauntering into the COAC building, the aroma of  lazy days southern cooking, filled the large room. My long nose twitched uncontrollably as I sniffed out my table.  Eagerly, I marked my territory by placing my huge purse in the chair I chose for myself. With that little matter out of the way, my mother heart beat wildly in my chest as I searched for my child (pup). When my eyes finally rested on him, I was overcome with the greatest compulsion to race to him, jump on him and lick his sweet face through playful growling. He just hates it when that happens!

 Since he is in his thirties now, a true man of God, and we were in PUBLIC, I was forced to calm my instincts to rush him. He is always busy setting up the sound system for LIFT. I slowly walked up to him and waited for him to realize I was there. It was all I could do to curtail the urge to jump up and down, run around in circles chasing my tail and refrain from slimeing him. Instead, (we are Baptist) we just hugged.

At this point, my heart was already full. I was a happy canine…er…I mean woman.  Loping back to my table, I marveled at the decorating and the work that had gone into the event. The men of the church wait on the women hand and foot. The food is to die for! Can you imagine sitting down for a meal and not jumping up several times? Oh no, no, no… not at LIFT. Happy, handsome men of all ages, in black slacks, crisp white shirts and dark ties serve the women. Quite efficiently I might add. It is truly a gift to be ministered to in that way. The men are well trained. They even come around at the end of the meal with foil…just in case you need it for your doggy bag!  Oh…it gets better. Like little soldiers, the men disappear to clean the kitchen while the speaker is on stage. They re-appear like magic when the evening is over and begin cleaning the dining room. See…there are still lots of good men in this world.

The music is indescribable! It always amazes me. I remember one month I sat with a petite woman. She must have been the runt of the liter when she was born. As our table candle ignited our centerpiece, she attempted to blow it out. After huffing and puffing, she couldn’t blow the candle out. Some of us hefty breeds, rescuing the effort, snuffed it out instantly. Then I learned she was going to sing. Okay. I was a little worried. “Lord, help this little thing get through her song.” I prayed silently.  As her small frame climbed the three steps to the stage I kept praying. “Help her Lord!”  The music began and she opened her mouth. You could have knocked me over with a dog biscuit. Before she was finished, I thought every light and window in the place was going to pop. The fur on the back of my neck stood at attention. My water bowl runneth over!

The speakers are awesome. The most spirit filled, genuine and selfless women speak at LIFT. Each one makes me glad I too am in love with Jesus as they share stories of their journey with him in this life. The Holy Spirit floods my soul with more than I feel I can contain. Inwardly, (I am Baptist) I sit there barking my head off!

Just when I can’t imagine any more goodness for one evening, God gives me more. The same evening the runt sang, two other women from our table performed to close out the evening. Clips from The Passion of The Christ flashed on the huge screen overhead as they sang. They literally brought the house down! It was the same way last night. Goose bumps covered my arms and I was howling within my soul.

After the meeting, I left with my tail joyfully swishing from side to side. My pup and I were going out to play awhile before I had to leave him.

God is so good. Thank you God for each person that exercises their God given gift to make LIFT possible at First Baptist Church in Clover, SC.

I am standing because He is holding me up……Aggi Stevenson

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Sarah Palin Doesn’t Play by the Rules

Sarah Palin dropped a bombshell late Friday evening. The news media hates that! They like the BIG announcements to come during the week so they can descend upon the person and place in the twinkling of an eye. The person with the, story of the moment, doesn’t know what hit them as satellite trucks, cameras and reporters surround them.

Sarah Palin announced she would not seek re-election as Governor of Alaska and furthermore she is quiting. During the Governor’s picnic, at the end of July, she will hand the reins over to Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. 

Questions Liberals Have

What kind of woman would just quit with 18 months yet to go in her administration? What a quitter! Sure she was unmercifully hounded daily by those who hate and fear her because of her ideology. Shouldn’t that be expected? How hard is it to fight one frivolous law suit after another? How expensive must that be? What toll would that take on her family? How heart breaking is it to hear people make fun of her special needs child? Why didn’t she abort the child with special needs when she knew in advance he was not perfect? Why not make her the poster child for abuse by rabid comedians and nervous politicians? If you are going to be in politics, you better be able to take the heat! Right?

Sarah Palin Could Make a Lovely Feminist

Ironically,Sarah Palin is the woman feminist strive to become. She is career oriented, well known, well respected, beautiful and high profile. Pretty much a super woman. So what’s the problem?  If that was all there was to Sarah Palin, she would be loved and adored by feminist and the liberal media.

Why Sarah Palin is not Endearing to Feminist

Sarah Palin is all that AND she has a large family, a special needs child, a loving and supportive husband that she credits for her success. Without him, she says she could not do it. Sarah Palin is not rich. She is just a regular person. Cameras were allowed into her home as she was reduced to domestically slaving over a hot stove for her family. Then there is that pesky pro-life thing. Therefore, she is disqualified from being the darling of the feminist movement. She just doesn’t meet their social or political agenda.

 Feminist talk about women having it all. All the money, good looks and fame one can acquire, no matter who suffers in our way to the top. After all, it’s all about us, our needs and our wants. Is it any wonder some feminists are now writing about being cheated? When they woke to reality, they became angry because their biological clock has ticked it’s last tock. The inborn desires of a woman for children and home were scoffed at until now the time has passed to have it all

Reasons Sarah Palin is Hated

Sarah Palin says we can have it all and do it all only if we have supportive family and friends. Family and friends gird us up, they are not people to be stepped on and neglected so we can fulfill our dreams.

Sarah Palin says she will never terminate a pregnancy and especially because the child is not going to be perfect according to society standards. She says we need more special needs children because of the love they give and the great life lessons they teach. Only God can create life. What right do we have to take that away?

Sarah Palin says, no family is perfect. However, we love and support each other through everything and anything.

Sarah Palin encourages women to work hard, follow our dreams and stand for what we believe in.

Sarah Palin teaches common sense governing and fiscal responsibility.

Sarah Palin reveals our worth is not reflected in our bank account.

Sarah Palin agrees we have the right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our families.

Sarah Palin calls for love of country and the greatest gratitude and respect for our military.

Sarah Palin says faith is essential to everyday life and making wise decisions.

Sarah Palin supports faith, family,small government, women, military, special needs, and conservatism.  For this she is hated above all women.

Liberals Declare Victory

This weekend Sarah Palin is showing us we can do as we darn well please and nobody controls our lives but us.  Once again, she has broken the mold and is not doing what everyone expects her to do.

Oh the speculation! It has been mind blowing! The liberals have her totally defeated and down for the count. They are reveling in the fact that the woman most loved by the conservative movement is quitting. I suspect it will become a national holiday for sure.

Liberal comedians and politicians are shaking hands and slapping their knees in delight…except for one little thing.  What will she do now? What is she planning? Is this a well orchestrated attempt to move to the lower 48 states and get even better known and run for President in 2012? Will she sharpen her skills pertaining to foreign affairs? Will she lose the folksy accent and stop dressing like a trashy flight attendant? Will she stay home and keep her daughters from attending ballgames and becoming pregnant out of wedlock? Will she admit to being the hypocrite The View portrays her to be? Friday evening, all liberals great and small were breathlessly calling, emailing and meeting to discuss the announcement Sarah Palin made in the spirit of sweet victory. They were almost as breathless as Carl Cameron when he broke the story about how badly the John McCain staff loathed Sarah Palin and how difficult she was to work with.

If we agree with Sarah Palin, we too are hated. Do we have the strength (guts) she has, to stand up for what we believe in?

God Bless Sarah Palin

No one knows at this point what Sarah Palin’s plans are. Will it be, Run Sarah Run or does she just want to be a mom and wife for a change? Maybe she is planning to further her career in politics. What ever her plans, we have never seen the excitement and determination this woman has brought to conservatism. Nor have we ever seen anything comparable to the political, verbal and emotional beating she has endured. She declared her independence on the eve of Independence Day and all I can say is God Bless Sarah Palin and God Bless America!

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Early on, I was hopeful Governor Mark Sanford would be forgiven for an affair and could continue his job as Governor of South Carolina. Watching  his tearful confession of cheating on his wife, I thought he would never shut up! The more he talks, the more rope he gives himself for his own political hanging, humiliates his family and exhibits a lack of good sense.

Mark Sanford’s amazing wife is, or at least was, willing to forgive him, keep their marriage together and the home they have made for their four boys. She is a woman of grace. Reading her public statement portrayed how fortunate Mark Sanford is to have a woman like her by his side.

Mark Sanford’s situation gives Christianity and conservatism a black eye, as he continues blathering on and on about his lover, Maria. However, Maria has a boyfriend other than Mark Sanford. Does the plot thicken or what? Yet, he will not shut up!

The beginning hope is all but gone as he becomes increasingly unlikeable with each shared detail of the other woman.  He says it is probably more information than we ever imagined getting. He can say that again! We were enlightened with more information than our hearts could stand. Forgiveness and restoration is for those actually wanting forgiveness and restoration. Speaking of his love for another woman, is not someone wanting to reconcile with his family.

Then there are the conveniently leaked personal emails between the Governor and the mistress. Mistress Maria says it was an evil act by someone she knows that hacked into her email. She will not name them because she can’t prove it.  She says nothing of the affair being an evil act.

Affairs happen all the time. Many marriages survive them and become sweet and precious again in time. The Sanfords could survive this as well. However, if he is kicked to the curb, that will be okay  too.

Thankfully, this has all come out now, instead of when he may have been running for President of the United States, in the next election. Sadly he speaks as a 13 year old boy, gushing about his new love, without any regard for his position as Governor of the great state of South Carolina. No one is above making such a mistake. Mark Sanford apologized and now he needs to… please… just shut up.

Governor Sanford will most likely be forced to step down as confidence in his ability to make wise choices dwindles. Through repentance and restoration, he can emerge one day as the man he wants to be remembered for.

 The Sanford family needs prayer, not reveling in this human tragedy. God specializes in hard cases such as this and there is no telling what good things will eventually arise from the ashes of this time of desolation. Some times, we learn valuable lessons by walking through the fire of circumstances that burn beyond description.

It is painful to see attacks on Mark Sanford by so many who undoubtedly are or have been guilty of the same thing. It has created a media frenzy as they smell blood in the water. Great and small, we are all susceptible to falling.  However, those in leadership risk having their sin flashed on TV screens all over the world. It won’t last much longer. A new scandal is always on the horizon. The public will forget this episode and get involved in the next tryst.

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