Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Go Ahead, Judge Me

I like to think of myself as a pretty non-judgmental person.  I also like to think of myself as a size 4, but that doesn't necessarily make it true. 

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" is probably one of the most referenced scriptures in the Bible. Moral debates without a definitive answer, "Well, judge not, lest ye be judged."  Even people that don't believe in God use this as a guiding principle. Kind of like the Golden Rule, only with consequences. 

Turns out, I judge people all of the time.  Maybe not in the "You're going straight to hell" way, but in smaller ways like, "Why would they possibly buy a new car when they can't make the payment on the old one?"  or, "Guess someone had a few too many cocktails before choosing her new hair color."

But my most egregious judgments have been made about how people parent their children.

"What kind of horrible parents let their kids throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store? Get control of your child."

"That poor kid has no coat.  Do his parents not realize it is 25 degrees out."

"What kind of person yells at her child in the middle of a crowded restaurant?  Seriously, some people should not have children."

In case there is some confusion, these are all judgments that I feel confident have been made about me in the last seven years.  Heck, most of them have probably happened in the last seven days.  What makes it such a bitter pill to swallow is recalling the multitude of times I made similar judgments in my pre-parent days.  Rolling my eyes, rude comments under my breath, disapproving glances, I've done it all.  My judginess probably peaked when I was pregnant with our first child.  Oh, how many times I uttered the words, "That will never happen in my house." As I think back on those days, if I am really quiet, I can actually hear God laughing.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my children and most of the time, they are incredibly well behaved.  But, as my dad says, they are children. Apparently, reasoning with a three year old is different than reasoning with a grown adult (well, most grown adults).  And dang, being a parent is exhausting.  If only I wasn't constantly picking up after them, doing their laundry, packing lunches, brushing teeth, and moderating battles, I would have the common sense to check the weather before I sent my child to school in shorts during a snowstorm. I mean, it is Texas.  Why the heck is would we ever have a snowstorm? If only I had more sleep, more hours in the day, and let's face it, several glasses of wine, I would definitely be more patient.  We would read and play educational games all day long and I wouldn't feel compelled to lock myself in the bathroom just to get three uninterrupted minutes of peace and quiet.

Instead, I have resolved that I will be the woman on the other side of the judgments for the next few years.  Looking back on that scripture, it's clear I earned my place there. 

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Curves are Freakin Awesome

The Birth of VenusImage via WikipediaI am a curvy woman. I have been curvy for as long as I can recall. Sure, there were times when I was skinnier. A couple of times when I was just plain skinny. But even in those skinniest of times, the closest I ever got to wearing skinny jeans was in the dressing room when I tried to pull them on and got as far as my mid calf before the seams started to pop.

Somewhere around sixth grade I developed what I've come to know as "good child bearing" hips. Just what every middle school girl wants. Apparently to hold up such important hips, my thighs had to be substantial as well. I've always had a small waist, so if I ever got promoted out of the A cup to the big D leagues, I could have a perfect hourglass figure.

This became a reality after pregnancy, and his friend the Booby Fairy visited my house. Twice.

Hello hourglass.

I've been various sizes over the past 15 years. There are pictures of me in a size 4, and pictures of me in a size 14 within 18 months of each other. But on any given day, I usually fall somewhere in between.  Say, an 8. Over the last few months, I've been moving farther and farther from that size. Then came the horrible day when I had to pull out my stash of big size clothes (You know, the ones you want to give away because you know you will never be that big again.) Except that you will definitely be that size again. So you stick the Fat clothes in a box marked "Feminine things" hoping your husband will never open the box and discover that his size 6 bride is a size 14 wife.

For the past few months, my weight really started to bother me. I would go for a couple days without eating just so I could comfortably zip a pair of jeans. Then I would only eat fruit smoothies for five days, those kind of ridiculous things. And like every dieter I have ever known, I became miserable, depressed, angry, and pretty much a horrible person to be around. This behavior wasn't entirely new to me.  I watched similar patterns growing up. My mother (who is absolutely gorgeous) spent the better part of three decades obsessing about her weight. The lower the number on the scale, the better life got. The larger the number, the worse she felt about herself, about life, about everything.

A few days ago I stepped out of the shower. Since the extra 15 pounds made their way to my life, I make it a point to wrap a towel around me before I get out of the shower so I don't have to face the mirror. For no particular reason on this day I decided to get a look at exactly how bad my body has become.

That's when I discovered it.

My curves are freakin awesome!

I was right in line with American Icon Marilyn Monroe. Better yet, I could be a stunt double for some of the women in Renoir's paintings. This brilliantly curvy body is what men for centuries viewed as the ideal beauty. Curvy women like me have been immortalized in paintings, sculptures, heck, I bet there are idols out there formed after a beautiful curvy woman. Thus leading to my realization that a curvy woman is truly a work of art.

I made another discovery that day. I don't need to lose 15 pounds and I don't need to be a size 6. What I do need to be is healthy. So I'm making a battle plan. My plan is that in the battle of healthy and non healthy choices, healthy wins at least every third time.  Walk a little more, have frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, unless, of course, it is national ice cream day, during which I would be unpatriotic if I didn't eat ice cream.Yeah, I can make healthy work.

If I can be a little healthier, and the result size 10 jeans, I will be content. I will take my curves, and I will rock the size 10 they way it should be rocked, with child bearing hips, post pregnancy exploded breasts,and thighs who hear angles sing when they hear the words "loose fitting" I will feel comfortable in my own skin, because my curves are freakin awesome. Men have known that for centuries. It's time we women caught on.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting for Battle

Bible Eric 2Image via WikipediaFor the past five years I have had a goal; read all the way through the One Year Bible. The words, "One Year" indicate this should not be a five year project. I should probably give it up, but every year, on some random day, I pick up the One Year Bible, flip to the corresponding day, and start my quest again.

Today was that day.

My One Year Bible follows the following daily format;
  • Old Testament reading
  • New Testament reading
  • Chapter from Psalms
  • One little Proverb
I'm not going to lie to you, those Old Testament chapters are usually what bogs me down. The New Testament is filled with so much hope, joy, and red print to easily identify the most important parts. The Psalms bring comfort and peace in the midst of trials. And who doesn't love Proverbs? Besides being extremely short, they are uber-practical, even for non-believers. "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." Proverbs 25:24. Awesome.

But the Old Testament . . . somewhere after the familiar stories of creation, Noah's Ark, and the parting of the Red Sea, it seems filled with war, a bunch of laws that don't make any sense, and pages and pages of names that I can't pronounce.

But since it was my first day back, I opted not to skip the Old Testament reading; Judges 7 a.k.a.the story of Gideon. Being a preacher's kid, I'm familiar with the story of Gideon (I think we even have a Vegie Tales to that effect). But somehow today the story looked different.

Here is the Cliffs Notes version. A giant army (swarming like locusts and too numerous to count) attacks the Israelites and strips the land bare. Then they camp, basically inciting a man-made famine. God's help comes in the form of a man named Gideon, who just so happenes to be a member of the weakest clan around.

Gideon is unsure of this arrangement to say the least, but he rounds up 22,000 men. This rag tag group is about to head to battle when God says something like, "Sorry Gideon, I know you are outnumbered like a million to one, but I think your army is a little big.*" He proceeds to send 10,000 of the men home.

But 12,000 Israelites vs. a gazillion bad guys still seems to be weighted in Israel's favor, so God whittles it Gideon's army down to a measly 300 men. To make matters more interesting He sends them to battle with trumpets and torches.
Just trumpets and torches.

Somewhere along verse 2, my life flashed across the pages.

After a year of health, the past month has been filled with trips to the ER, hospital stays, and more blood draws than I care to remember. An abundance of tests (which are starting to look like a swarm of locust) with no answers.


I keep fighting, but after every small victory I just get pummeled again.

"You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength" Judges 7:2

Seriously, God? Too many warriors. At this point, I can barely hold my head up, much less hold a weapon, or even a trumpet for that matter.

Still, I knew it was true. When things are running smoothly in my life, I view my accomplishments with an "
I did this" attitude. It is only when I am completely outnumbered, outgunned, and overwhelmed that I finally say, "There is no way in the world I can do this," and look outside myself and into the face of God.

What the April 27 Old Testament reading reminded me is that the more hopeless my circumstances, the more hope I find in Him.

Gideon's tiny army from the weakest clan won their battle. Not because they were stronger, or smarter, or even soldiers for that matter. They won because they knew
they couldn't win, so they let Someone else do the fighting.

*This is the Kristen interpretation.

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