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Posts Tagged ‘Habits’

Quick Fixes

Quick fix. Keyboard

When I was a kid, growing up in my parents home, my dad had two quick fixes to fix things … WD40 and nails. My mom had a regular quick fixes as well … cornstarch.

For myself it’s water and baking soda. When I, or anyone around me isn’t feeling well, I ask if water consumption has been good that day. And baking soda is my most used cleaning product … nothing cuts grease and softens baked on food or stains like baking soda (and it softens skin too).

There are other quick fixes, or defaults, in life:

  • chocolate
  • alcohol
  • music
  • shopping
  • gaming
  • reading
  • talking to friends
  • hobbies
  • time in a beautiful place

and so many more!

These are the materials, the activities and the habits that we tend to fall into doing and using when something has gone awry. Most often the reason that we go to them is that they have proven themselves to be what can get the job done, over and over.

The key is to find and utilize quick fixes that are life-giving, and not destructive.

I will never claim to have chosen the life-giving quick fixes every time. As a matter-of-fact I have often chosen that which was easy, as opposed to that which was life-giving.

Our quick fixes are part of our lifestyle habits. The word habit means to hold on to. We would do well to remember that these defaults are to be the things that we ‘go to’, not things that have a hold on, to us.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!”
1 Thessalonians 23-24

 

 

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Back when hubby and I were first married (in the stone ages), there was so much to adjust to in coming together into a new life.

Trying to blend two unique lives, experiences and upbringings is no small thing, and not at all easy. When this blending is in the initial stages the others family, habits and rituals seem nothing short of strange, because we humanly always think that our own existence is the ‘normal’ one (thus the others is abnormal).

Recently, when hubby and I were celebrating our anniversary, we were discussing the different things we each had to adjust to when our separate families were joined through our marriage.

One thing that stuck out, as contrasting was how our separate families would celebrate events, occasions and events.

My family celebrates EVERYTHING! Christmas, Easter, birthdays, graduations, moving away, etc., etc., etc. The celebrations would include not just our immediate family, but extended as well. Frequently including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There was always food in abundance, always a cake.

My exposure to my hubby’s family, in terms of celebrations was different (remember these are just my interpretations, not necessarily those of my hubby’s experience growing up). Celebrations also included food. For birthdays the celebrations would take place at a restaurant, including the immediate family. At Christmas a meal was prepared, and shared by a few more family members. Celebrations were smaller and quieter.

From my perspective (due to my ‘other end of the spectrum’ experience) there was no celebration. I remember our first married Christmas, when the gifts under the tree were still unopened when we went to bed on December 25, only to be eventually opened the following day.

From the perspective of my hubby (due to his ‘other end of the spectrum’ experience) there was always an over-the-top celebration, with food and gifts substituting the reason for the celebration. He still does not grasp the need, on Christmas morning, to be up at an “ungodly hour” (a tradition in the home of my childhood) to open gifts, when they will still be there hours later.

Ah, and after the recognition of these differences, and others, comes the hard work of what to keep from our childhood traditions and what to throw away.

And that is what leaving and cleaving is about. When we marry, we leave our childhood, and it’s rituals behind, and we start something new. We look at the heritage we have come from and we, together as husband and wife, decide what to keep, and what to let go of, in an effort to cleave, to become a new ‘one’.

Mark 10:7-8 says, “for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh: so that they are no more two, but one flesh.” Our goal should be that over time, the two become one, understanding that together they have created a ‘new normal’, unique to only them.

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You can’t teach an old dog a new trick, or so the saying goes.

I like to talk. This goes back as far as my school years, when my parents would go to the dreaded parent teacher conferences, and the one thing that all of my teachers said of me was, “she really likes to talk” (hey, at least I was consistent).

I love to chat it up with cashiers, moms with little kids, and elderly ladies. Oh, elderly ladies are the best! They are funny, full of information, and (big bonus) they say stuff to you like, “when I was young like you,” or “you are still so young,” or “my what beautiful skin you have.”

I have no problems with communicating via email or text (but I do hate the telephone). When there is something that I need to communicate with hubby, the kids, a friend, family, or a co-worker I want to be across from them and feel the conversation, so that I hear not just their words, but what their eyes are communicating too.

All of that communicating is great, but I have been learning something about myself, and my communication habits over the past couple of years. I have learned that when I am speaking to someone who does not leave me feeling listened to I keep quiet, I stop talking.

Perhaps this started as a means of avoidance. Perhaps it was a wordless way of communicating. Perhaps it was a means of keeping the peace.

If it started as avoidance or wordless communication, then what I am really trying to avoid is conflict, because I am feeling powerless in a particular relationship.

If this started as a means of keeping the peace, it is a farce! If that ‘other’ person(s) could only hear what is going on in my mind while I am feeling ignored and not listened to!

Keeping quiet, however that started, can forfeit ones ability to express an opinion. Eventually, one might begin to believe that their thoughts are not important, so why bother trying?

Why or how this began, I do not know. What I do know, though, is that it is time for me to grow out of this stage I am stuck in.

This ‘old dog’ may not be so good at tricks, but I am determined to learn a new skill, by undoing a bad habit … I sure hope the treats are chocolate!

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Halfway …

As of last week, I am halfway!

Halfway to what, you ask?

It could be halfway to school starting … oh no, not the dreaded ‘s‘ word!

It could be halfway, as in middle aged … no way baby, this chick is going for 100!

It could be halfway to paying off our mortgage … in the immortal words of Cinderella, “a dream is a wish your heart makes …”

It could be halfway to vacation destination (Cannon Beach? New Brunswick?) … nope … sadly still slogging away!

It is none of these.

Last week I reached the halfway mark of my weight loss goal … thirty pounds down, and thirty more to go. Hurray, all that hard work, saying ‘no’ when I really wanted to say ‘yes’ to my favorite treats. All those miles of walking. All those celery sticks and salad. All those times I had nothing, when what I desired most was cheesecake.

Hey, it’s time for cheesecake, to celebrate! Actually, even though it is only 8am, as I am writing this, I could really go for a slice of cheesecake right now … the variety really doesn’t matter. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water (and my pants feel tighter … sigh, I have reached the point of weight loss that my own brain becomes my enemy … aka, my accountability conscience).

This weight loss stuff is quite the journey … really more like a slow motion video than a journey. Back in January I began this process (no, this was not a New Years Resolution, it was more of a response to the fact that my hubby was dropping pounds like my beast drops poo! So I figured I better keep up with his fine example … it might have also been in response to that ‘sweety’ at church who said, “so have you been finding all that weight your husband has been losing?” … deep breaths … deep breaths … deep breaths! But, I digress).

Somehow, unlike other weight loss phases of my life (oh yes, I’ve been this size before … heck I have been anywhere from a size eight to a size twenty-four over the past twenty years), this time I have not gotten all depressed when I go through those ‘plateau’ phases. And I don’t even feel tempted to stop eating well … I guess it is because, this time I have finally got it through my thick skull that it took all these years to pack on the pounds and ounces, and it will probably take years to take them all off again … and then it will take the rest of my life (decades) to keep it off.

And really that is the biggest battle in this exercise (pun intended) of weight loss, but really in battling any bad habit. The need to realize that, although we live in a ‘microwave’ society, where we can access what we want, and when we want it (from hamburgers to movies to education to money from a cash machine) there are some things that take time to access, to achieve.

In this time that we are living, cash is quick and easy to access … and debt, along with that!

Sex is quick and easy to access … and loving, meaningful relationships are not.

Food is quick and easy to access … and our belts constantly need readjusting.

The things that are truly good for us, are not quickly accessed, and the habits that are bad for us, take immense strategy, commitment and determination to overcome.

And so I will continue plodding along on this quest to, not just a smaller pant size, but to a healthier me. I also know that although it only took six and a half months to loose the first thirty, it will probably take another year (or more) to take off the next thirty. And that’s okay, because I have learned that things that are good, are worth taking the time to achieve.

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