“Mom….” my youngest whined painfully towards me, mouth half-open revealing what she was trying to chew, “I can’t swallow this.”
Dinner is always a chore…an event…an endurance activity for parents and kids everywhere…at least at my house. Finally, my daughters four and six, I have been able to come up with a list of meals that I can put on the table to make them and my husband happy and full.
So why, on God’s beautiful green earth, would I ever want to mess with that?
New Years Resolutions. Read one book a month…run a marathon…write a book..volunteer in the community…publish my photographs…stop yelling at my kids… things I knew I would only be able to accomplish with a lot of prayer, hard work, patience, and the grace of God. I mean…stop yelling at my kids….I feel severely disadvantaged from the start given the volume I’ve been blessed with. But it never hurts to try, and I believe the continuous growth of person in knowledge, spirit, and physicality is a healthy way of life. That volume I’ve been blessed with converts to my coach voice ringing in my ears, saying, “How do you know it’s impossible?”
Three months into the new year, there are some goals that have not yet leapt off the page and into my life yet. They remain written in my journal on the first page, staring back at me every time I open it to take inventory, just waiting for their turn to be realized and worked on. Others have left their ink skin and transferred to voice and action. A state they’ll undoubtably stay in for a while…as they are…again…pretty lofty.
Suddenly my goals have begun to trickle down into the lives of my daughters and husband…and also onto their plates. “I’ll never be able to be a marathon runner, because I could never eat like that,” said a naive middle distance runner named Me, after looking at what my favorite American runner posted on Facebook. Well, little did I realize that the once my God and my legs proved just enough to lend an ear towards the possibility that they could run that far, a panic set in as to what else I had to do to make it to the finish line. Now, avocado and greek yogurt on whole grain toast is the post run snack I can’t wait for.
Which brings to light the dismay of my family.
“Mom, why can’t I have any more ketchup?” my oldest, Brianne, asked.
“Because it’s not nice to drown your food,” I’ll explain, “you’ve already had enough.”
Oh, the face. Not from Brianne…from my husband. The you’ve-gone-too-far face. The holy-sh@#-my-wife’s-gone-mad face. Yep. And no, it didn’t go over well.
Any new plan I roll out always takes adjustment, and fielding a lot of questions. Coupled with the need to cross the finish line in May, came the inspirational read of The Daniel Plan that motivated me to remove anything that has high fructose corn syrup from the house, and steer away from gluten. With my susceptibility to auto immune disease, it seemed like a no brainer.
“So, what kind of noodle is this?” my husband asked. Poor man can’t even find the right face and tone of voice to ask with…his honest opinion just bleeds right through.
“It’s quinoa.” I responded. “It’s like rice, just try it.”
To defend my sanity, there’s no calorie cutting going on in the Bucher house. More veggies and fish has never been known to kill anyone. Healthy grains and lean meats? Not on America’s most wanted list. It’s taken a lot of research, scouring the aisles of the grocery stores to learn where everything is and read labels, trying new recipes and planning meals for the day. I, as the motivator, feel super guilty on the day that I want to be lazy and cave and eat the pint of Ben and Jerry’s…which I do…because I’m the last line of defense! I can’t even figure out how to pray myself out of a chocolate craving. Only human.
My youngest daughter, Lauren, is the least concerned about the meal changes. In fact, she’s in less trouble for not finishing her dinner, because she’s in love with veggies…loves fish…loves rice…and can take the glares the glares her sister shoots her from across the table like a pro. (With tears…followed by…”She very broked my heart, mommy.” Pro.)
Then came the chewy bite.
“I very can’t swallow it, momma,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Oh, you can feel bad for her, but I can’t. I know all too well the over-dramatic lengths that my two girls are capable of rolling out at the dinner table to negotiate their number of bites down.
“Lo, calm down and swallow it,” I said to her matter of factly. “I’ve seen you swallow whole pieces of gum larger than that bite of chicken in your mouth.” True story.
I had to feed her the rest of her dinner that night. (Ironic, coming from the child who refused to let me feed her as a baby.) Every bite of chicken was the same way. Those bright blue eyes filled up with water as if she’d just eaten a tear jerker. I’m not quite sure what her dilemma was, but through the grace of God I calmly and matter of factly fed her every last bite…big sister watching on intently to make sure she had to complete the same task as she did to earn a popsicle for desert.
It’s understandable. Every once in a while I’ll go to bite into my favorite meal, the one I’ve had a million times, and I run into a chewy…unidentifiable…bite of something. Or, I cook chicken the same way I always do, only to take my first bite and realize it’s going to make my jaw hurt by the end of dinner. It happens. Doesn’t mean I don’t eat it, though. I love to eat. I’m always hungry. Especially now.
Dealing with adversity can come in many ways. Sometimes, I”m as shocked by the “I’ll never’s” that come to pass in my life than the goals I purposely set out to achieve. God is teaching me in my life that the words that have always breezed so easily out of my mouth need to be chewed on a little more before I let them out into the world. That the ideas and goals that I feel led towards take more time to digest than I realized. The path that a God-lead resolution is capable of leading me down just may happen to include a few “I will never” pit stops along the way. Pride swallowing, faith building, prayer requiring, legs of the relay that have to come to pass before I’m prepared to face the finish line.
I pray today that my kids, my husband, and I are able to experience all of the joys that are folded into those gluten-free cookies, blueberry spinach smoothies, and fish tacos. That with every extra chewy bite, we grow in ways that we didn’t know were possible. I suppose it’s me wanting to pull them into my experience. With every week I add-on one or two more miles to my long run, and they are always excruciating on my back. Yet every week, despite the odds and the crooked back and uneven hips, God brings me one mile closer to my goal. Those are some extremely chewy miles, but every step is a stride of glory for the Lord.
It doesn’t hurt that my little girl, bouncing up and down in her unicorn hat, is out there with her daddy to give me “pit stops.” How can a person be so blessed in this life. To God be the glory.
Happy Healthy Living,