Friday, September 18, 2015

Fat Shaming or Honesty?


Happy Friday.

Romans 12:1-2  - I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

There is a lot of talk about fat shaming going on these days.  Some trainer or personality says all the news about plus-size models is bad because these women are unhealthy. There is a Fat Life show on TLC (I don't watch it because I don't think being that heavy is funny).  I confess that I have not listened to the video that caused the ruckus, but since I am heavy, I will say this....

The truth is, it takes courage to help someone that you love or care about understand that being so heavy is terribly unhealthy!  So, I am going to attempt to come at this weighty issue with a different perspective.

For the past 12 years, I have been very heavy. I thought I was FAT when I was younger because I was told I was by an abusive mother and other relatives... but it turns out, I was slim (just not skinny). I hate when that happens.  Anyway - let me give you some facts about me.
  • I've always been a short person with broad shoulders. No I am  not big-boned, I just have broad shoulders. Great for gymnastics. 
  • I loved to dance, was fairly good at it, BUT when I was growing up, GOOD dancers were tall (well, at least 5'7".
  • There were times in my life that I was heavy growing up. My way of protecting myself from certain abuses that were going on... probably largely due to depression/anxiety.
  • I carried my living child to term when I was 40. Pregnancy and I did not get along and I gained a lot of weight and had complications... fast forward to NOW.
  • I'm 51, 5'2" and I weigh 240 lbs. Yep. You read that right. The problem is, people don't want to hurt my feelings and say I am fat/plump/unhealthy, etc... but I AM!  
Right after my child was born (I'll be 52 in October, he'll be 12), I lost a ton of weight, and in fact, I really only had about 40 lbs to lose back then. Slowly but surely the weight has crept on. I've droned on and on for YEARS about getting in shape and losing weight, but I haven't. AND I didn't "SEE" myself as one of those big women.

But then I saw this picture, and I was devastated. THIS is what others see:


I am sitting on the far left, with my back to the photog. I am twice as wide as the person sitting next to me. I am the fat woman. And it's embarrassing.

You are reading thinking, "she's being hard on herself", but I'm not. I'm being HONEST!  I am sick of people saying "you have such a pretty face". We all know that is code for, "thank God your face is holding up, because the rest of you... not so much!" LOL Truly!

So what is the point of my title? My point is complicated. Why is it taboo for a friend/family member to say, "maybe you should have a salad and fruit instead of a burger"? Why is it taboo for a friend/family member to say, "you need to work out and get some of that weight off"?  Why shouldn't a doctor be saying, "lady, you have got to get a grip... you are hurting your joints, your organs, etc..."

People who love you SHOULD (in my opinion) care about you enough to let you know when you are walking down any path that is unhealthy. And since I have 110 lbs to lose - I can say, for certain, that it would be less aggravating if people helped me, reminded me... because honestly I don't always think about it.

I am not saying it is easy to approach things. I am not saying it is ANYONE else's fault I am heavy. It is only my fault. I've been depressed the past 7+ years I guess... living here has been hard on me in every way. Though we are coming up on 10 years in North Texas, I have never lived ANYWHERE that has taken me so long to adjust. Clearly I turned to food. I'm a great cook. Sure, I cook healthy - but if you eat and never exercise, you will gain weight. I've gained ten pounds a year since we moved here. Sigh... I've talked about it the whole time. My husband and son are heavy too. I've badgered them about it (well, I think it is loving, they think it is badgering... I'm sure some days it is).  Well - talk is cheap.

Sadly, our insurance doesn't cover Nutritional help unless you have diabetes. You know, because that makes sense to NO ONE! I wish I knew a nutritionist. I don't want to count points. I don't want to read a complicated book. I just want someone to say eat ____ calories, here are some menu examples. You know?

I am awake now, thanks to the picture above. I have seen others and thought, "I look fat"... but this was taken by someone else.. and it embarrassed me.  The person would hate that thought... they are kind. But it's true. I have tried many things and failed. But I can not sit idly by while weight gain kills me. I have a young son, and grandchildren.

So if you know someone who is heavy (especially if they haven't always been), what can you do -
  • Tell them you are concerned.
  • Offer to walk with or exercise with them.
  • Love them, but be honest with them.
  • Please DO NOT tell them they aren't fat or heavy (whatever word you want to use). I mean it. If they say, I am so fat... you say, "I love you, but you do need to lose some weight, how can I help!"  
  • Encourage them.
This is NOT fat shaming. This is honesty. This is LOVE! And love is not always easy!

I am in a better place now.  I am coming out of the depression.  I am clear about who my friends are and who they are not.  Being here in Texas, being lonely for true friendship.... it's been a crazy ride mentally (and physically). I am assuming this is what needed to happen in my life to help me SEE many things differently. I can tell you this...  The Lord guides me. HE is saying, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS! He doesn't berate me if I don't work out. But He is not happy with laziness or gluttony. Right?!   Regardless of your answer, I feel I must Obey HIM!

And listen, if you are a friend who tells me I am beautiful in spite of the weight. Or if you are my husband who thinks I am sexy in spite of the weight - I love you dearly.  I appreciate your wanting me to feel good about myself I do!  I'm a good person. I'm a good friend, etc. I have many great attributes. But please... Please do not tell me I'm not heavy and that I am healthy. It's a lie.

We have become so politically correct that we are afraid to be honest with our friends. We can't encourage because we might say it wrong.... and we dang sure can't disagree with one-another... OR CAN WE? I say, let's kick PC to the curb and co-exist in a world that is full of honest people who help one another with NO negative repercussions.

So what'd you think? I'd love to hear your opinion on this topic.

If you are heavy, seek counsel in a doctor/nutritionist/friend. Make a plan. You can do it. I am starting to... It isn't easy, but with God, ANYTHING is possible.

Please pray for me as I need to be diligent about walking and moving more. My legs are starting to swell from lack of movement. I'm fearful, but know this is the wake-up call I need.

One more thing - I am in NO WAY suggesting that you be mean to anyone. That you purposely humiliate them in public or private. I am saying - we have to be honest with ourselves and our friends/family. If not, what kind of person are we?

Hugs & blessings,
Em

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Small Success Thursday

Happy Happy Thursday Afternoon.

This morning I was with a group at Catholic Charities of Fort Worth as part of my son and I wanting to touch the community more.  Only a couple people showed up (three adults and two children)... we put together 34 bags for the homeless in our community and packed a few boxes of food, baby diapers and other things, to be send to other facilities.

It's a very humbling experience to buy things to put into these bags, because they are VERY specific. And it was hard to explain to my child WHY he couldn't add mouthwash or whatever else it was HE wanted to add to the mix.

Here is a picture of the two boys that showed up. My son and another little boy, R!


Now on to SST!



Today is Small Success Thursday. Please do yourself a favor and go read today's post by Sherry Antonetti.  That post = HOPE! You know, because we think we are alone sometimes and the truth is, we aren't alone. We ARE going through what other moms go through, and THAT is sometimes all you need to get you through the day.

My successes are:

I Went Anyway...  It is really hard for me to get into planning events for groups because typically the people who complain about nothing being planned are the ones that don't come. So I get a little middle-school attitude going and just BAG IT!  I know I know... people have good intentions and plans change. But some people also take your ideas and do them with other groups. And it is hard not to take it all personally (well for me it is).  But I decided this school year along with NOT being in Co-Ops, that I was going to plan what my child and I wanted and go anyway EVEN if no one else came.  This way, when just a few people came today I was totally NOT disappointed.  And to me, that is a HUGE success.

Taking A Few Weeks Off... This is the third week of NO school. Yep - our mini Summer break.  In this time I have gotten other things organized and I am so happy! We went on a vacation, we hung out and did nothing, we played with friends... Monday starts the 6th grade. Pray for us. I'm shockingly totally unorganized.

I Am Teaching Religious Ed Again...  Yep. This is going to be the year of doing. (Now if I could really lose the weight I need to, that would be great.... anywhooo). I loved teaching Religious Ed at Holy Family. When we left and went to SEAS, I tried to get involved but they were unorganized AND aloof (meaning not just unorganized, but rude about it). So I said, "no thanks" and walked away. In the end, we Church hopped till we landed on the Cathedral (seriously the last place we thought we'd be). BUT - here's the thing - WE FEEL WELCOME THERE. Flawed and all, they are happy to see us. People talk to us and say hello. It Is AMAZING!  I'd volunteered a couple times at VBS there and things, so went I sent the DRE a note asking if she remembered me and if they needed help, not only did she remember me from a couple Summers ago, but she was ecstatic that we were attending St. Patrick, and that I was volunteering. It's nice to be wanted and needed. And I have a class full of third graders, most of which have not made their First Holy Communion.... and I'm excited that they are in my class and pray I make a difference in showing them the Love of God!  I am so excited.

Sure, I canned peach and strawberry jam and held down the fort while hubs was on an unscheduled trip. But mostly - I revel in the new things I don't normally do.

Please go read the other posts at SST. Join in if you blog. It's so great to always remember the little things we do.

Blessings to you all.
In Christ!
Em

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review Wednesday - The Perfect Blindside

Happy Wednesday!

Our weather is nothing but hot here in Fort Worth. We hope and pray for rain and cool air. Regardless, we are very blessed. As I shopped for items to put in the bags that Catholic Charity volunteers will hand out to the homeless, I thanked God for all I had - even if I think, sometimes it is not enough. Sigh.

I am getting quicker at reviewing books. I mean - I only got this one two months ago (if you remember my last review for Cathy Knipper of Pauline Books & Media, it took 6 months. Sigh. I am so thankful that she sends me these books and asks my opinions. What a blessing!

Today, I am reviewing The Perfect Blindside by Leslea Wahl. Before I start the review, I want to share a couple of links with you:

Lesley Wahl's Site
Goodreads Giveaway of The Perfect Blindside (this is actually Ms. Wahl's site too, but the information about the giveaway is there... and who doesn't like a chance to win a book?!)

I really enjoy reviewing books for teens because my son is about to turn twelve and I want to make sure I have "the right kind of books" here for him to read. Sure, we love all the classics, but as our Priest said on Sunday (paraphrased), 'As parents teaching your children about our Faith and morality, starts with you, at home. The love of God in your children's hearts; the teaching of virtue and commandments ALL start with you.' My immediate thought was - "NO PRESSURE!"

It is with that in mind that I know my husband and I have to make sure our almost teen is presented with the right type of reading material.  We do not believe in isolating him from society, but we do believe in insulating. He plays baseball and takes karate and is around non-homeschooled children on many occasions. Even when watching appropriate TV shows, he sees commercials we would rather him not see. He asks a lot of questions and we have constant dialogue.  

I have to be honest, at first, the chapters going back and forth between perspectives of the main characters Jake and Sophie, put me off. Chapter 1 was Jake's perspective, Chapter 2 was Sophie's perspective... back and forth it went. But after the second chapter, I got it... and I really liked it. It's different and frankly, I hope there are more books coming about these two and their little town.  

This book is about good, old-fashioned mystery solved by two teenagers that could not have misjudged one-another more... and I love it!  We talk to our children about expectations and judgments. We tell them that things are not always what they seem... that people are not always what we perceive... that situations that may seem ______ could turn out to be ______. You just NEVER know until you get to know someone or go to the _______________. I left those blank intentionally because there are a zillion things any one of you may put in those blanks.

The two main characters are:
  1. Jake. Olympic Snowboarder with a silver medal. Egotistical. Teen sensation. Struggling with all the normal teen stuff AND how to manage fame. His parents moved him to a little town in Colorado in an effort to shield him from fame. And he's torn between being cool in everyone's eyes AND wanting to fit in like everyone else.
  2. Sophie. Honors student. Budding Photographer/Reporter. Small town sweetheart. Judgmental and a little bit OCD. She and her best friend Kate are like so many teen girls. It made me smile when they planned their first day of school outfits (we all used to... awww).

There are many twists and turns in this classic story about two people so determined not to like one-another that it becomes all they think about. They struggle with jealousy and insecurity. They struggle with their families, who are really good families (but teens struggle with authority figures).  They struggle with other teens at school (you know, some teens can be so cruel).

Through a series of unexpected events these two teens have to work together, learn to trust each other, and be humble enough to do God's will... in order to save Jake's reputation and their small town from a drug ring.  SO exciting!

This book is about learning virtues; appreciating the talents God gave us, and working together for the betterment of God and His people.  And this book is a great book to have your teens read. The way Mrs. Wahl writes is exceptional. 

I highly recommend it. I'm so thankful I read it!

Blessings all,
Emily

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Moments - Catching Up, Trip to NorthWest

Happy Tuesday All,

I hope and pray your day is full of blessings.

It's been a few weeks since I posted... but we've been busy, enjoying our break from school and on vacation!

This post is about our trip to Washington State.

Washington State/Oregon! Our part of Texas is dry and flat, so the Northwest is a HUGE contrast to that. My child had not been, and I knew he would love it... and he did.

We visited my friend Becky and my friend Domenica, and their families. Below are some of the pictures.  The scenery was so beautiful... The pictures below do not come close to doing God's work justice. I felt so close to God, I was tearful several times.

Good friends, great scenery, my family... what more could I ask for?! Thank you God!  Here is some of what we saw:

Beautiful Mountains from the plane!


The Pacific Ocean -
  

He was so excited.
Love the rocks. 
Becky, Me, Christopher & Cissy

Visited With Katie's Family -

Some of you do not know that my friend Katie passed away several years ago. This is a picture of her twins with Becky's daughter Catie (yes, she and Cissy are twins), and my child is in the pic too. We were hosted for an afternoon of cookies and fun at Elizabeth's House. And OMG you should see her house. So beautiful.  Elizabeth is Katie's Mother-In-Law. Katie and I met online via crafting. I was so happy to finally meet Elizabeth, Kevin (Katie's husband) and her twins. They have another son, but he was busy. Becky and I met for the first time too, but we've been framily for years (friends + family).


Mount Saint Helens - 


My Guys with Mount Saint Helens in the background.
Small lake off to the left of Mount Saint Helens!
Mount Hood - 
The Peak is covered by clouds.
This is what Hot Chocolate looks like at the Timberline Lodge.
The Columbia Gorge (and waterfalls) -

Driving Up to the Water Falls.
A train on the scenic route.
People walking on trails near waterfall.
Deception Pass -
Me and Christopher
From the Bridge
Becky and Christopher
View from the walk down to the water!
We Painted Together - 

My friend Domenica took our family painting. I've always wanted to do this and we had so much fun.  Afterwards we went out to a great little Vietnamese Restaurant.


Domenica and I.
Fun At The Hotel -

My child said we had to stay where there was a pool. And so we did. Bonus... there was a game room too.
In the Game Room.
At the Pool.
Misc. Pictures of Scenery - 
Path outside Domenica's.
View from our seafood meal with Domenica! 
We Saw the most ENORMOUS FOOD!

Food story. These portions were enough for ten people. So we boxed it all up and took it to a homeless person. Marque said to the gentleman, "have you eaten today?" and he said, "not much". Marque said, "well, we have pancakes (I ate a portion of one), sausage patty, grilled cheese sandwich and the onion rings", and the homeless person said, "I don't like pancakes. No Thanks." Can you imagine? Sigh, we ended up throwing away so much food.

Pancakes.
Sausage patties.
Grits.
Grilled Cheese.
The trip was so gorgeous. We hated to leave. It was so hard to come back to 100+ degrees temperature. Sigh...

DAYBOOK

Thankful For...
  • Our break.
  • Our trip to Washington State.
  • Teaching Children Religious Ed (started this past Sunday)
  • Stamping Up! (became a demo).
  • My Faith. 
Praying For...
  • The Pope.
  • The Catholic Church.
  • All Clergy.
  • My prayer life. 
  • For Rain and Cooler Weather.
  • PEACE
  • the homeless and downtrodden.
  • YOU!

At School...

I am working on lesson plans. We are supposed to start on Monday.

In My Kitchen...
  • Canned Jam this week - Strawberry and Peach 
  • Dehydrated Mushrooms
  • I made a One-Bowl Apple Cake (added peaches)
  • Meal Planning - healthier meals
This week At Home...
  • Lesson plans for school.
  • Lesson plans for Religious Ed.
  • Laundry/Cleaning.
  • Making Cards and getting Stamping Up Organized (ok, this may take a while).
  • Hanging with Christopher. Marque is out of town (as usual).
  • Baseball Practice.
I hope and pray all is well with you all. If you need prayer, please ask me... I am happy to pray for you all.

Oh and I am linking up with Mom2Mom Monday Link-Up. Their last link-up will be next weekend. Sigh.

Be blessed,
Em