It’s been nearly four years since I last published a blog post. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because what is here often doesn’t reflect what people see on a day to day basis.
What I show outwardly through my Facebook posts, my status updates, my shares of events that I’ve attended, days spent doing things with my loving husband, fun times with classmates, work mates, best friend, all make it look like I live this fantastic life.
The truth is, I am truly blessed. I do have my husband, my best friend, a small circle of close friends, a wider circle of casual friends through school, work, mutual friends through hubby from his life, his work, his other social circles. I have the opportunity for fantastic vacations every few years – sometimes more. I have a good life. I am nearly 48 years old, own a home, drive a reliable car, enjoy my marriage of 17 years, have a mother and father and brother -in-law whom I love, more-so now as both of my own parents are deceased and my own brothers are distant and not in touch. Most days my life IS amazing and fantastic. But that’s most days.
Those other days, a part of me deep down wonders if all these amazing people in my life see that I struggle too. A part of me that feels that maybe the reason so many don’t ‘think of’ me often is that they feel that my life is grand, I rarely need anything, everything is wonderful all the time… but do they know that I struggle? That I long for those interactions too? I don’t actually know how to reach out when I am feeling that nagging emptiness inside, or that loneliness that everyone experiences at some point. What people see is this outgoing person, living an amazing life, but they don’t see that I’m not outgoing. I don’t know how to reach out, how to make new friends without seeming needy. On the flip side of that, I wonder if I come across to people as stand-offish, or snobby, or even disinterested.
There have been plenty of times when people have seen me outwardly struggling and then reached out, but it’s rare that people reach out when I am outwardly happy, satisfied or at peace with my situation.
I do admit that I am guilty of not reaching out to family and friends, responding in a timely fashion to emails or returning letters or phone calls without delay. So as I prepare to close the chapter that is 2015, and prepare to start a new year, with new classes, new things to learn, new goals, and renewed friendships, I will put at the forefront of my social efforts to be more responsive, to be more willing to reach out when I need to, and to be the sort of friend that I would like to have in my life. If we all wait for those we care about to reach out to us, then we might feel that nobody cares, when in fact, the other person or people are simply waiting for us to reach out as well.
The Church I go to (The People’s Church) is an interdenominational Church. Over 100 years ago, four religions came together to create this experiment in religion. A place of worship that would welcome everyone. Regardless of religious background. If you wished to worship God, learn the words of Christ, explore Christianity, you are welcome here. This is what drew me to this Church in the first place.
Most of my life I have made excuses. Okay, my entire life I have made excuses. Excuses for why I eat bad. Excuses for why I don’t exercise. Excuses for why I don’t finish things I start. Excuses, not reasons. They are just that, excuses.
Tonight’s meal was quite good. I had a thought in mind and it turned out quite well.
4 medium boneless pork loin chops, lean
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1/4 cup warm water
2 8-oz packages sliced mushrooms
6 oz white onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or chopped
2 tbsp your choice meat rub
1 tsp Olive oil
1/3 cup organic brown rice flour
1 tbsp ground flax
First, rub down the chops with the olive oil, then sprinkle the meat rub. For tonight’s recipe I used a mesquite garlic rub. Coat each side well then put on a plate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Heat 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame oil in a skillet, heat on high for a few seconds. Add in the onions and minced garlic, stir together allowing the onions to soften. Add the sliced mushrooms and 1/4 cup warm water, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until mushrooms and onions are tender. Once they are done, remove from pan, set aside in a bowl.
Take the chops from the fridge. In a shallow dish, mix the rice flour and the ground flax. The flax is optional, but it adds a nutty flavour to the mixture, as well as added fiber. Coat each chop in the rice flour. There should be enough sesame oil still in the pan, if not add a teaspoon more and heat it up. Add the loin chops and cook on medium, turning each chop every few minutes until each side is nice and brown and the pork is cooked thoroughly. Once they are done, pour the cooked onions and mushrooms over the chops evenly, continue to cook on medium until the mushrooms and onions are nice and hot.
Serve with your choice of veggies on the side. Tonight we had salads with pine nuts and diced cucumbers and homemade vinaigrette dressing.
My recipes tend to be a little of this, a little of that, so putting it into ounces and teaspoons is not always accurate, however, I will be as accurate as I possibly can.
I needed something quick and easy, both to cook and to eat, since tonight is Raid night in WoW with hubby, so we’ll be eating at our desks. LOL. I’m sure we’re not the only couple in America who do this.
Another year has passed, a new one begun. Not just a new year, but a new decade. What does this mean for you? For me it means a new beginning. A time of renewal. A time to make things new again. So I changed the appearance of my blog, let’s hope it sticks and doesn’t glitch the way it did when I first created my wordpress blog.
For me, liberty is liberty from the struggle I’ve suffered my entire life. My weight. I have no grand tragedy that turned me to food. All I know is that it’s been a source of comfort for me most of my life. Food comes into play when I’m bored. When I’m sad. When I’m HAPPY. It’s always there, no matter what. Go to a party, there’s food. Go on a date with my husband, there’s food. Visit friends for an afternoon, there’s food. Go to a holiday event, there’s food. We are a society built on consumption. Food is EVERYWHERE. It’s not like a hundred years ago where you had to milk your own cow or pluck your own chicken. Obesity is so common, because food is so common. Even those struggling to make ends meet can come up with a buck or two for a McDonald’s value menu burger. When I was living in Grand Rapids in the 90’s, I could get burgers for 39 cents. And in Michigan, you can cash in aluminum cans for a dime apiece. Four cans for a burger? Sure. Who cares if those calories are mostly non-nutritious… poor people can eat meat and cheese and bread, and not spend a ton of money for it.
When I was 12 and 13, my dad used to send me to Wisconsin to spend the summer with my relatives. It was always so exciting for me. I got to fly on an airplane by myself, my uncles and aunts met me at the gate, and I felt so grown-up! My Gramma was a very talented woman. She crocheted dolls, afghans, clothes, among other things. So when I was 13, she began teaching me how to crochet. Basic stuff. Chains, single crochet, slip stitch, double crochet. I never advanced too terribly far. I could make a square, and not always a good one. As I got older, I lost interest, though now and again I would come back to it. In my 20’s I crocheted a hat. A giant, floppy hat with curly edges and a bow. I was so proud of that hat. I wore it whenever it snowed, and I loved it. I really wish I knew what happened to that hat, but I’ve never felt driven to try to make another one.
In my 30’s, I began crocheting granny squares. I learned from instructions found online. I had a friend I met online, she lives in Australia. When she became pregnant with her first baby, I had a much too ambitious idea to crochet her a layette for the baby. I think I crocheted all of six granny squares in pastel blue and cream colours. Again, I lost interest. Well more like I discovered I bit off more than I could chew, and it became more of a chore than an enjoyment for me. That bag of yarn and needles and granny squares is probably buried somewhere in my garage presently. Or it was lost in the damage of a basement flood at my in-laws. I really don’t know, and it doesn’t concern me all that much.
Recently, due to activities for Christmas with my Church, crochet has come back to me. I searched for basic instruction online and found a good many websites with patterns and ideas and all, but there is one problem. Gramma never taught me how to read a pattern.
Thanks be the Internet, miracle of miracles, where you can find information about every which subject there is, in spades. Little by little, one abbreviation at a time, I figured it out. I mean, I knew how to crochet simple stuff. A chain, a single crochet, double crochet, front loop, back loop, and even how to weave in the ends. But there is so much more that one can turn into some lovely little items. I’ve been crocheting motifs and flowers and granny squares like mad. And recently, VERY recently, I got ambitious and crocheted a hooded scarf! Can you believe it! Me, crocheting a hooded scarf.
I found the most delicious yarn at Hobby Lobby here in Lansing, called Tweed. It’s a solid colour with flecks of many other colours. It’s so lovely! I chose black, and I was going to trim with navy blue tweed, but at the point I’m at I don’t think I want to do that. I have a thought on what to do with one of the ends, and maybe I can get some of that fluffy fur-like yarn they have and make a fuzzy edge around the face.
I also tried to start a blanket,in sparkly green with red stripes, but the ends are coming out just a little crooked. I dropped and gained stitches in a poor manner, but the edges are supposed to have layers crocheted so the red stripes appear to be ‘floating’ in a sea of green. Maybe it’ll turn out okay. I sort of lost interest in it once I saw how badly the one side had turned out. Maybe it can be salvaged. Or I can just turn it into an interesting lap blanket. We’ll see.
Everybody has their own struggles in life. I’m certainly not the only one. Not everyone wishes to share theirs on a public forum though, and I respect that. To be honest, it’s taken me a LOT of years to feel comfortable enough to put my own struggles up here as I am in this blog. I mean, my whole life is made up of “Why would anyone want to listen to me? I’m nobody special.”
The truth is, we’re all somebody special. We’re all here on this Earth for some reason. God chose to put us here. The struggle comes in figuring out why. Is my purpose here to help motivate and teach? Is my purpose here to be taught? Somewhere in the middle? Can I someday be one of those people who I NOW look up to for advice and encouragement? Of course. Will it be through this blog? Who knows… all I know is that being here, helping to motivate by sharing my own struggles feels right to me.
I often think of God’s will. Is it His will that I’m overweight and suffer the struggle with food that I have my entire life? I’m not so sure about that. God only controls us so much. Otherwise why would He have given us Free Will? He lets us make our own choices, and when we ask for guidance, He gives it, in His own way. Not everyone can see what He is asking them to do, though. It isn’t until this past year that I began seeing God’s work in my life. When I began praying for guidance, He gave it. Gladly, I’d like to think. He guided me to the right Church, to meet the right people, to give me the right opportunities that I may find my way in this world, with a greater purpose than to simply exist.
I think my health issues are part of that. My weight issues. Think about it. Everyone who speaks publicly to motivate and advise, they’ve succeeded in some way, overcome some great obstacles. Think about contestants on The Biggest Loser. The ones who maybe didn’t win in the end, but went on with their successes to share them. I have friended many past contestants on Facebook and follow blogs, and gain insight and motivation from them. Was it their destiny in life to become the person they are now? I believe it was God’s plan. Not everyone will see it that way though. Faith is a very personal and individual thing.
It wasn’t that long ago that I turned my nose up at anyone trying to witness to me. I hated that they were ‘forcing’ their views on me. “I have my own personal relationship with God, nobody should try to push their religion in my face.” Now, to some extent I still feel that way, but no longer am I shy about sharing my experiences and my beliefs. I don’t expect anyone to follow along with me, nor will I push my religion onto anyone, but I will share it. I will give it to anyone who wishes to share it, willingly and lovingly. I will respect those who don’t wish to hear about it or talk about it. God will find His way into the hearts of those who believe.
I truly believe that God helped to guide me into a healthier way of life. He’s helping me to find the problems and fix them. He is forgiving when I falter, as are those who are my supporters and friends. I am grateful for the true, close friends I have in my life, who respect me, support me and love me, regardless of any differences in religious or political views. We are all unique and nobody should expect anyone to think or feel exactly like them. What a boring world this would be, if it were like that, don’tcha think? :)
No, this isn’t about an achievement in World of Warcraft, I promise. It just seemed fitting as I’m thinking about how good versus negative feelings tend to linger.
Each week I subject myself to a variable number of struggles. I know I’ve talked about struggles versus victories, but the feelings one has about the struggles linger a lot longer than those one has on victories. At least that’s the experience that I have.