Keep calm and fiber on

FIBER ON

I’ve lived the majority of my life with the mantra, “life is short, so eat dessert first.” And then a few years ago I did the Daniel Fast, and it changed my life. Oreo’s and Coke for breakfast was replaced by egg whites and veggies.  And I liked it!

I hate diets. The minute I decide to start one, that’s when I crave all the things I can’t eat. So why bother?

Dear Diet,                                                                                                                                       Things just aren’t going to work out between us.  It’s not me, it’s you.  You’re tasteless, boring, and I can’t stop cheating on you.

I know I’m supposed to eat a healthy diet.  And for the most part, I do. I am married to Mr. Fit Forever after all. I drink water, a LOT of water, and seldom eat fried foods. I lost my craving for sugar or anything sweet years ago and I honestly prefer salad over bread (I know, crazy!)

In fact, I was told the more colorful the salad, the healthier it is.  So I replaced the croutons with M&M’s.

But if someone had told me that a lack of ENOUGH fiber in my diet would lead to excruciating pain, humiliating rectal exams, daily discussions of my bowel movements, and a lengthy hospital stay that really messed up my plans, followed by a 10 day diet of cranberry juice and chicken broth, I would have been eating beans every day. I may not have had any “close” friends, but I wouldn’t be in the predicament I’m in today.

And now, thanks to my ignorance regarding the IMPORTANCE of fiber, I have to give up my beloved popcorn, my berries – blackberries, raspberries, strawberries – and the one that breaks my heart just as summer arrives? Homegrown, (makes my mouth water just thinking about it) tomatoes  *sigh* Tomato1

 

 

Aren’t they beautiful…

I had heard of Diverticulitis, but had no idea what is was. I’ll spare you the details. But if I were you, I’d https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=diverticulitis

And, like the rest of the world, I’ve seen the commercials about fiber.

 

I asked the doctor how much fiber I should eat. He said, “don’t worry about how much fiber you should eat – eat all of them, including the box.”

Awesome. Maybe I need to invent a line of raspberry flavored boxes for all the other nincompoops like me.

Don’t be a nincompoop.

#eatmorefiber

 

Posted in My issues, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Conversation

I found myself caught in the middle of a conversation tonight. And it was a win-win lose-lose situation.

The conversation? Mine. By me. Including only me. Am I the only one who does this? Do you ever have conversations with yourself?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have dual personalities or multiple personalities or some mental defect. (Although some may disagree.) But I find myself having conversations like “you know you should be eating salad instead of chips and salsa!” Or “shouldn’t you just go to bed and try to sleep?” And then there are the arguments. “No! I don’t want to exercise! Yes, I know I need to cut back on sugar. But dark chocolate is healthy, even if it’s enveloped in a cookie!”

And most recently, “what do you have to offer? Do you have value? Is it too late to contribute to society? Are you willing to let a Lupus diagnosis from 20 years ago define you?”

No dual personality, although I suspect – no, I’m certain! – that there is a 25-year-old, beautiful, confident, intelligent woman with a body that has no hail damage, stretch marks, frown lines, age spots, or wrinkles inside of me that’s begging to get out. A woman with a gift.

Either way, it’s a win-win or a lose-lose and sometimes a win-lose situation.

Am I alone? Is this normal for the over 50 empty nester mom who is trying to reinvent herself? Not just reinvent, but remember! Remember the girl I was when I was 18 or 21. That girl! Confidence. That girl! Nothing to back up said confidence. All she had was a belief that she deserved more. That she had a gift. And that girl hadn’t lived long enough to have fear. Fear of rejection, fear of disapproval, fear of trusting. That girl came from a small town where she believed she had something to offer. That girl had the “big fish in a small pond” mentality.

And then, Life happened. She began to view life behind the curtains. No longer was she a viewer, she saw what went on backstage. Behind the scenes. If you’ve ever been to a Broadway show, you sit in the audience and you are entertained and all is well. Lines are rehearsed and remembered and repeated the way they are intended. As a member of the audience, you have no idea what goes on backstage. The chaos. The confusion. The stress. The meltdowns. The forgotten lines. And the realization that This. Is. Live.

No retakes, no do-overs.

Is it too late? Should I put a stop to the conversations I have with myself? Or do I let the world determine my value? Am I too old? I’m over 50. By the world’s standards, am I over the hill?

My brain says “give it up.”

But my heart says GO. PUSH. You have VALUE.

Is that wrong? Is that ego? How does someone recognize their gifts without being perceived as egotistical?

When I was 16 I believed in myself. I believed I had a gift. I wanted to be on a stage making people FEEL. I wanted to entertain, for people to experience laughter, sorrow, empathy.

If it sounds egotistical, I ask for your forgiveness.

It truly wasn’t about elevating my ego, it was about the ability to make people feel something. Even if it was at my own expense. I used to say I wanted people to laugh, even if it meant laughing at me!

We have been given an opportunity to start over. To begin a new season and write our own chapters. Part 2 of our life.

Should I listen to my heart? Or should I be realistic and recognize that statistics indicate that I’m on the downhill side of life?

And still, the conversations continue. Should I post this blog? Should I keep my inner thoughts to myself? Do I really want to know what people think?

Should I press the button? The “POST” button? Knowing that once it’s out there, it’s out there forever? Am I strong enough to handle the critiques?

Pressing the button before I lose the courage or talk myself out of it…

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Why I “unlike” Valentine’s Day

Charles Schulz said, “All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”

Okay, so I don’t really dislike Valentine’s Day. I just think it should be celebrated every day. Valentine’s Day creates anxiety in those who are not romantic by nature. The pressure is on to buy a fancy card, chocolates, flowers, or jewelry.

A friend recently told me a story about her husband, a man, who for her birthday, was going to buy her a gift card to Bass Pro Shop.

“He is a man of few words. Not the romantic type and that’s okay. But, he’s a good man and I know he loves me.  Our anniversary was coming up, and I had been griping about how he never compliments me.  The day arrived and I noticed that he was more quiet than usual.  Just before we left to go to dinner, he checked me out from head to toe.  And then, he looked directly at me and said, ‘I really like that black stuff you put on your eyes!’”

Now that, my friends, is romance at its finest.  Maybe not for everyone, but for her, she knew that he was TRYING.  And when you love someone, just the idea that they’re trying to meet your needs and give you what you want, is enough.

My husband and I were watching TV one evening, and a commercial came on about a luxurious hotel in Rome.  The hotel was featuring a newly remodeled suite for a mere 2,400 euros a night!  Only $2,733, a little out of our price range. I told him how much I wanted to go back to Rome and how amazing it would be just to see the suite. He then replied, “If I had the money, nothing would make me happier than to take you there and stay for a week in that suite.”  Just hearing that he would do anything to meet my needs? Knowing that was all I needed to hear. It was enough.

As soon as the Super Bowl ends, the bombardment of commercials about Valentine’s Day begins. There are some that are real tear jerkers:

and a couple that are “laugh out loud” funny:

Love should be celebrated every day. Okay, maybe not every day.  I’ll be the first to admit that there are lots of days that I’m not very lovable. But every day I fall more and more in love with my husband.

Except yesterday, yesterday he was really annoying.

Now my husband thinks that as long as he tells me he would if he could whenever I mention a want or an I wish, is sufficient.

In fact, my husband told me the other day that if he had the money, he would love to pay for me to have a tummy tuck.

Hmmmm.

You know what they say.  Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

 

 

It’s a real word – unlike. Commonly seen on Facebook after you click like, giving you the option to change your mind. And it drives me nuts because it’s not being used properly. It should say dislike. (Grr…blood pressure rising because of my ongoing frustration with improper use of their, there, they’re. Or the thorn in my flesh, “me and him.” I’ll save my rant for another day.)

 

 

Posted in Husband, Just For Fun, Laugh, LOVE, Valentine's Day, Women | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll be back…

<img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-1045" src="https://denehopkins.files.wordpress .com/2014/12/image.jpg?w=257″ alt=”image” width=”257″ height=”300″ />

 

Nothing else I can say for now, but beginning in 2015, I will be back and be transparent as I’ve never been before. For the first time in over 3 decades, I will be completely honest and open. The glass house we’ve lived in for years will have the windows covered, but the truth from inside will prevail. Being a blonde over 50 has its perks, and I’m embracing all of them!

 

Posted in Family ties, guilt, guilt by motherhood, Just For Fun, Laugh, Memories, Motherhood, My issues, New Year's resolution, On the serious side, Parenting, Preacher's Wife, Uncategorized, Women | Leave a comment

Pastors Are Human – 12 Heartfelt Things They Want You To Know

first attempt (2)

October is Pastor Appreciation Month and to kick it off, I decided to put together a compilation of heartfelt things pastors wish they could say to their congregations.  I gathered these insights from various blogs and websites, and added a few of my own observations.

Please hear me clearly. Most pastors love church members dearly. They truly care for those they serve.

But pastors are human.

And there are times they would like church members to know some things about them.

#1. We Take It Personally When You Leave The Church.

It’s just a straight up fact. We pastors eat, drink and sleep the local church and with that have a deep desire to see it thrive. Therefore when you leave to go to another church because…

  •      you’re bothered by a recent decision, but didn’t ask about it…
  •      the new church has a better kids ministry, youth group, worship team, building…
  •      your friends started going there…      

… it hits us personally.

For us it feels disloyal, shallow or consumer driven. People affirm that church is a family, thus when you up and leave because the church down the road has Slurpee dispensers, a fog machine or it’s just cooler, well it jams us pretty deep.

We wish people would make a decision about a church home and stick with it. Whatever happened to loyalty? These days, many families are content to float in and out of churches like spiritual butterflies, never setting down roots or establishing deep relationships. Churches should not be treated like Target and Wal-Mart, where you can hop in and out according to which one has the best deal going this week. If you want to stay, then stay and be a fully functioning member. If you want to leave, we hope you find a church home that’s a good fit. But please don’t come expecting to only receive and never contribute your time and resources.

#2. We Feel Pressure To Perform Week After Week.

The average TV show has a multimillion-dollar budget, a staff of writers and only airs 22 weeks out of the year; that’s what we feel we’re up against. Where the pressure is doubled comes from the previous point. We know there are churches nearby with a multimillion-dollar budget or a celebrity pastor who have the ability to do many more things at a much higher level. From this a sense of urgency is created in our mind to establish the same level of quality, option and excellence to meet the consumerist desires of culture.

Now if this were exclusively in the hopes of reaching new people this wouldn’t be so bad, but increasingly pastors feel the need to do this just to retain people who may be stuff struck by the “Bigger and Better” down the way.

#3. “We cannot show up at every place all of you would like us to be.”

We joke amongst ourselves that we wish we could be omnipresent. We love you church members, but it is physically impossible to be all the places you expect us to be. And, we always take into consideration the importance and value of the event, but sometimes we make mistakes, we forget, we oversleep, and yes, sometimes, we are just too exhausted.  We know our schedules and time constraints, and we have to do what’s best for us so that we can be the best for you.

#4. “Not all of our sermons will be ‘home runs.’”

We wish they were. But with the number of messages we have to prepare and preach in a year, we won’t always be the stellar preacher you want us to be. In fact, we won’t always be the stellar preachers we want to be. Please don’t criticize us or ask us to do something right before we preach. We put many hours into sermon preparation. We have prayed with intensity about the message. Please don’t complain about the worship center being too cold right before we preach

#5. “We struggle when the church numbers are down.”

We know we shouldn’t. We know we shouldn’t derive our worth based on attendance and offerings. But when attendance declines or offerings drop, we question our own leadership at the church.  The absence of growth in our churches can cascade into an internal turmoil by which we begin to scrounge for “The Next Big Thing” that will bring “Radical Growth” “Guaranteed.” So we read books on how to be a “Deep & Wide, Vertical, Purpose Driven, Radical Reformission, Creature of the Word, Big Idea, Center Church.” Then we jet off to a conference with thousands of other pastors who are seeking to glean the secret of success. And what is the first question we ask one another between sessions? “So, how big is your church?” Yep, we measure ourselves by the numbers.

#6. “We wish you knew how much we need your help.”

You can pretty much assume that in any given church, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. It takes a small army of volunteers to make things happen each week. Most people come to church and don’t think about how the sound is operated, the communion is prepared, the chairs are arranged, or how any of a hundred other large and small tasks get done. When you give your time, even just an hour or two a week to volunteer, it makes a tremendous difference. And not just for a week or a year—it makes a difference for eternity.

#7. “We wish you would come to us personally (and privately) when you have a complaint.”

Don’t use the guest connection inserts to gripe about anything. Don’t write an anonymous letter. Don’t talk to someone else about the issue. And please don’t air your grievance on social media! Please, come to us personally if you are unhappy about something we have done (or haven’t done). In addition, don’t complain about a problem unless you plan to be part of the solution.

#8. “We hurt deeply when good people don’t defend us.”

Every leader will have his or her critics; and that is certainly the case with pastors. We don’t expect to be immune from criticisms. But what hurts us the most is the silence of “good” members when we are attacked unfairly. Please say a kind word about us in response to the negativity you hear. Don’t let the few critics dominate the conversation.

#9. “We wish more people would trust God with their money.”

Any time we teach about stewardship, it’s an uphill battle because everyone believes the church only talks about money. It’s definitely not all about money, but it’s pretty high on the priority list of teaching topics. The reason is money touches every aspect of your life. There is a spiritual component to money that we can’t dismiss. We’ve seen it many times: when you begin to trust God with your money and use it according to His principles, strange (but good!) things begin to happen. We wish more people would take that step of faith and experience the blessings God has in store for them.

#10. “We wish you knew how much we need a sabbatical.”

Most people don’t understand the purpose of a sabbatical. It’s not a vacation, but rather a purposeful break from the regular responsibilities of ministry in order to get recharged and renewed. Because we’re on call 24/7, we often feel exhausted and depleted. We realize most other working people feel tired as well, but ministry brings a unique kind of fatigue—a fatigue not just of the body, but of the heart, mind and soul. A sabbatical is a great investment in a pastor to help ensure long-term ministry. It’s also a signal that you care as much about his well-being as his work for the church.

#11. “We wish you knew how much your encouragement means.”

We are often much more discouraged than you realize. We usually do a pretty good job of hiding it. But to be perfectly honest, the weight of leadership, the criticism, the pressure, the expectations, and the spiritual attacks are sometimes more than we and our spouses can bear. When you send us an encouraging email or note, when you pray for us personally, when you show love to our family, when you offer to help…that’s huge. Your encouragement can turn our whole week around.

#12.  “We wish you knew our intentions are always for the betterment of the church.”

It may not make sense, it may take time (a lot of time) but we want only the best for God’s church.

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Blonde brain?

My brain has been on vacation for the past few weeks.  (I know, I know – let the blonde jokes commence.)  Although I don’t have proof that said brain exists, I’m working with the assumption that it’s still up there.   So this little blog has been on hiatus.  I was waiting to see if my readers would sign on for season 2 or if you were going to replace me with Betty White.

I first noticed that my brain was a little slower than usual when I started a 40 day fast.  Hmm, just saw the irony in that – slow fast.  For almost 6 weeks I deprived myself of the very nutrients I count on for daily survival.  Chocolate, sugar, caffeine, pop and butter – my 5 food groups – disappeared.  The grief was unbearable.  I missed my friends.  Coke and I had spent our days together for as long as I could remember.  And Double Stuf Oreos, my comforter – gone. That break up still brings a lump to my throat.

My brain seemed stuck on pause.  While I realize that the very thought of blondes with brains is a lot like the idea of Jello with rocks, every once in a while I got a little hint that my brain is still up there. For instance, I actually knew 3 answers on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  In the same episode.  But the next day I was signing a birthday card for my niece and wrote my first and last name, as if she had another Aunt Dene’ and I needed to clarify who I was.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, when I addressed the envelope, I sent it to my own address.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, but I want to take it slow.  I don’t want to cause a power surge and cause all the little light bulbs in my head to grow dim.

I suppose I could challenge myself to watch an episode or two of Jeopardy, but who am I kidding.

Yep, the Blonde is back.  Whatever that means.

Here’s a little something to see if your brain is still up there:

A family photo contained:

one grandfather, one grandmother,
two fathers, two mothers,
six children, four grandchildren,
two brothers, two sisters,
three sons, three daughters,
one father-in-law, one mother-in-law, one daughter-in-law.

29 people you may think, but no! What is the fewest number of people who could have been in the photo?

To see the answer you will need to stand on your head or turn your screen upside down.  If I could be a fly on the wall just to see how many of you actually do that!  Then we would all know who the REAL Blondes are, wouldn’t we?

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Inspired

I’m inspired.

I just finished reading 6 new blogs written by friends, friend’s kids, and cats.

This is supposed to be the year of the writer, the blogger, the twitterer and the pinterester.    And although spell check keeps signaling me to take the “er” off those words, it’s the truth. Time for the writer in all of us to break out and spread our wings.  Pin things to our boards, get people to follow us and repin – and if a hairless Pomeranian can get 42,569 people to read his twitters, then surely the rest of us can get a few people to notice us.

2012 is the year for my reinvention.  I just turned 49, and before I’m 50 I’d like to reconfigure, renovate, rejuvenate and reinvent myself.  I think the term used to be to ‘find’ myself.  I don’t need to find myself, I know exactly where I am.

Now I just have to figure out who I am.

Watch out Giggy – Reinvented Mom is coming.  Let’s just hope I can figure out Pinterest before it becomes a thing of the past…

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