Friday, January 11, 2013

What I'm Reading/ Thinking Now--Be careful!

I'm a cah-razy reader.  I read detective fiction, chick lit, literary fiction, young adult lit, parenting books, teaching books, blogs, magazines, etc.  My brain is organized chaos, and my reading life tends to be organized chaos as well.

So without further ado-- a reading list of sorts:

1.  French Kids Eat Everything

In an effort to accomplish my goal of becoming a healthy family, I began with this book.  The author really likes the French (she married a Frenchman), and she is very anti-American eating mentality.  However, I liked her 10 rules, and I am implementing some of them at the Denton house-- less snacking, enjoyable meal times, more "real food," etc.  The book is not revolutionary; however, it is good sometimes to be reminded what you should be doing.  I am especially working on having the table set (I have 3 great table-setters) and making supper time a time to enjoy one another as a family.  In other words, I am working on getting my family to help out and relaxing my expectations :-).

That being said, I felt that she cow-towed too much to her husband and his family and that she put too much responsibility for her children's eating on her shoulders.  From what I got from the book, both she and her husband were work outside the home parents, and to me, it should seem that they should be equal participants in feeding their children.  However, I don't know why this angered me so since it is the way it goes down in my family as well.  Maybe I'm angry because I not the homemaker type, but I feel forced into this role--either by my control-freaky nature or Brad's lack of guilt over our children eating McDonald's every night :-).

2.  Sophie Kinsella books like this and this.

OK.  I am woman hear me roar.  I have feminist tendencies.  I want to be respected even though I have no desire to make a perfect casserole.  BUT, I LIKE CHICK LIT!!!!

Sophie Kinsella's books are just fun and funny.  They are not revolutionary or life-changing, but you will laugh and laugh and laugh.  Plus, there are no gratuitous sex scenes.

3.  The blogs.  I love to read blogs.  Especially blogs by funny, smart women.  Actually, I only read blogs by funny, smart women.  Here are my favs (the ones I read every day, or at least every time they post):
Jen Hatmaker--  She meets my "smart and funny" requirement, and she is also challenging and real.  I have especially enjoyed these blogs of hers this year:
The Election Thoughts From a Christian Independent
Women of Valor--Pinterest Aside
For Cheaters, Shirkers, and Cherry-pickers
The Easter Conundrum:  Part 1
In the Basement

Sarah Bessey-- Definitely "smart and funny" and also struggling, challenging, real, and a great writer.
Read this:
In Which I Hope She Remembers, This Day at Church
In Which I Learn to Own My Authority

The Pioneer Woman-- I read all of her new confessions, and I try some of her recipes.  I find her incredibly funny, and I have shared some of them with Brad and he finds them funny as well.  Loved this one:
I Digress

Southern Hospitality--Her story is what fascinates me.  She decorated this beautiful house with her husband in Alabama, and then he left her with nothing.  She had to totally start over.  She moved in with her parents in Atlanta, saved up her money, and bought a 70,000 fixer-upper.  Most of her blog is her journey to fix-up this home with her mother and father.  They are pretty amazing.
Her story

Bower Power--  Katie Bower is the epitome of REAL.  She just had her second baby, she is rehabbing a house, her husband has an hour commute--sometimes life is not pretty, but she is honest and funny throughout it all.  She lives in Loganville, so I have fantasies of meeting her in Walmart and becoming her best friend :-).

Young House Love-- They are the ones that started me on reading blogs regularly.  They are a couple who quit their jobs to blog about rehabbing their house.  I just like their personalities.  I wouldn't mind being their best friends too :-).

4.  The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler-- I love, love, love a good Anne Tyler novel.  I started reading her novels with The Accidental Tourist and then Breathing Lessons and then all of them.  I'm a little behind on her recent novels because (see Chick Lit section) I have been reading mostly pulpy things since we had children.  A good Anne Tyler novel, though, will take your breath away.  She is a beautiful writer who writes fabulously drawn characters--and I LOVE great characters.  The Beginner's Goodbye was good, but it is not her best.  I love Digging to America and really any of her books.

5.  The Night Circus-- This book seemed to be a set up for a movie, rather than a fully formed novel.  I love well-drawn characters, and the characters in this book were not very memorable to me.  In fact, I kept losing track of who was who.  The plot meandered and this book was unique.  So if you like meandering, unique plots, read it :-).

These are the books I have read recently.  Maybe I'll write about the books I enjoyed most this year next :-).  Who knows?  I figure this blog will be like my reading preferences, meandering, awkward, and a little weird.

Peace out XO (I teach JH)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Internal Conflict: Why is It So Dadgum HAARD!?

Romans 7:15 (or a perfect description of my internal conflict)

15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 

And then, Romans 7: 19-25

19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Argh!  Here is what I know:

1.  I am responsible for what my children eat and when they eat.  They are in charge of how much they eat.  

But.  .  . at the end of the day, I just want calm more than anything else.  I don't want to struggle with my kids at supper time.  I just want to feed them something they will eat without complaining.  I want dinner time to happen quickly and without incident.

2.  Snacking should be healthy.  Oreos are not healthy, and therefore, are not a good snack (neither are No Bake Cookies.  Darn you, Brad Denton for making them on Wednesday night.  Fortunately, or unfortunately they were gone by Thursday night :-/).  

But.  .  .then I want quick and easy and I'm stressed and the only thing that sounds good is chocolate (and not just one little bite of dark chocolate.  I want melt in your mouth goodness).  I want the crunch of chips--with a Coke, a real one with sugar and no nutrients.

3.  Healthy eating requires a good plan and food prep ahead of time (see note about how Oreos are not a health food even though they are easy).

But.  .  . I am so tired, and I want to rest.  And it is more embarrassing to send my children to school in stained clothing than to send them to school with Fruit Loops as a snack.  And my bathrooms are dirty, and I can't stand dirty dishes.  And I can't chop vegetables for those healthy snacks until my sink is clean--with bleach.  And did I mention I'm tired.

4.   I should work out at least 4-5 times a week.  When I do work out, it feels good, relieves my stress, and makes me healthier.

But.  .  . I want a nap.

5.  Eating healthy food makes me feel better than eating unhealthy food does.

But.  .  . unhealthy food is easy.  And for some reason it satisfies some longing inside me.

6.  When my prayer life and Bible reading life are good, my life is more centered and my decisions are more pure.

But.  .  . have I mentioned I'm tired?

7.  Cokes take calcium from my bones and are not good for my kidneys.  They also are full of calories and sugar.

But.  .  . Oh my goodness!  That sound a Coke makes when you open it!  The sizzle it makes as it goes down your gullet.  Oh Nectar of the gods!

I stand in the way of my good decisions, but why?  I know what to do.  I have read books.  I know how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  I know that Zumba makes me feel fabulous afterwards.  Why then is it so hard to go?  Why did I have to force myself to go today?

As I was Zumbaing today and then lifting weights afterwards (I was sooooo good today), I determined that in order to be consistent, I am going to have to do some things:

1.  Plan.  I know from being a teacher that a good plan is essential.  For me it makes me sane, helps me with classroom management, and lets my students know we are heading in a direction (not just wandering aimlessly in the land of language arts).  So here's my plan for next week:
  • I will continue with the One Year Bible, but I will read it before my nightly novel reading.
  •  I will pray after I do my Bible reading and my prayers will focus on my family and my church family's needs.  I will also pray about my success with my goals and that they are God's goals.
  • Monday will be Jami day-- I will work out, and I will attend the accountability group at the Y.            Brad will cook supper and tend to the children for me.
  • I will also do strength training on Tuesday after the kids go to bed and cardio on Wednesday right after school.  I will pack clothes to go to the Y on Wednesday.
  • We will leave right after school every day, so that my children can have a healthy snack at home and time to play outside.  I will be present with them while they play, and I will enjoy them.
  • Monday will be taco night, Tuesday will be an e-meals night, Wednesday will be vegetables and sandwiches, Thursday will be e-meals, and Friday will be vegetables and sandwiches.
  • I will get carrots, celery, and peppers at the grocery store because my children will snack on them (and so will I).
  • I will continue to have water before school, to limit my coffee intake, and this week, I will only have Cokes every other day (Yikes!).  I will not snack unless it is a fruit or a vegetable.

2.  Change my identity.  We were talking about reading in my class this week, and one of the students said, "How do you find time to read?"  And I don't know--I just do.  I'm a reader so I read.  I don't think about it.  I just read every night, and I have for most of my life.  I need to be a healthy person.  It needs to be my identity, and I need to help my children to have this identity like my parents help me to have a reader identity.  It needs to not be what I struggle against, but who I am.  I need to remember daily that it feels good to be healthy.

3.  Pray and have others pray for me.  I know that when my prayer life is good and active, I make positive changes in my life.  

So God, please "rescue me from this body of death."  I need it :-). 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


What do I want for 2013?

I have noticed that a lot of people have chosen words for their years for the past couple of years.  It is somewhat of a trend.  As I have been contemplating the new year and what I want out of the new year, I have decided to follow the trend and choose a word.  My word this year will be present.  I desire to be present for my life.

I tend to be future focussed.  I care little about the past, and I am thinking always of what I want next.  This year, I am going to try to be in the here and now.

Today at the end of the day--the last day of our break--I became overwhelmingly aware that I had spent little time with my children.  I had spent the day readying us for tomorrow, and I had spent virtually no time enjoying today.  Now, I am not bemoaning myself or saying I am a horrific mother.  My children were well-cared for and had a wonderful day.  They played hard and had a terrific day--one of the best days of the break.  I am bemoaning the fact that -I- missed out on the joy.

I am also not saying that I should have let the house fall to shambles around us, and we should live in squalor while I ride roller-coasters every day with my children.  What I am saying is that I should find time every day to be present and to enjoy my life.

And while I am being present, I am just going to focus on two goals for now until May (when I will set summer time goals):
1.  I will eat healthier, I will cook my children healthy food, and I will encourage them to make healthier food choices.  In pursuit of this goal, I will drink a glass of water before work in the morning, only one cup of coffee a day, and I will not snack.  I will not stay at school past 4, my children will have a healthy snack at home, and I will find at least 5 healthy, easy meals for us to have every week.  I will do Zumba once a week, take a walk with my children once a week, and do some other type of physical activity once a week.  I will blog weekly about our menu, new recipes, and successes and failures.

2.  I will grow closer to God by reading his word and praying before I am too tired to keep my eyes open :-).  I will do this by going to bed earlier, so I will have time to read and digest the day.

And that is it, peeps.  So what are your goals?