I had just finished a hospital visit and was texting a joke to my colleague as I walked through the parking lot. I looked up every so often, between finger taps, and stayed on the edge of the lot.
A car slowed down and the driver, a man, said something out the window.
I stopped texting. “I’m sorry — what was that?” I ducked my head to peer into his car. There was a woman in the passenger seat. Both were smiling.
“I’m sorry,” the man said. “I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m worried about you texting. You can’t tell what’s going on around you.”
“I know,” I said, “and I know it’s bad, and I do it anyway.”
“I know. And you never know if someone’s gonna sneak up behind you and steal your pocketbook.”
Both he and his passenger seemed kind, and embarrassed.
“Thank you for looking out for me.”
“I care about you,” said the man.
“Thank you.” We exchanged have-a-good-days, and then I said something I rarely say, even though I’m a pastor: “God bless you.”
I sat in my truck to finish the text, zipped the phone into my purse and drove off.
He wrote these poems while receiving cancer treatment that made his skin sensitive to the sun. If he wanted to take a daily walk, he had to do so in the dark.
I read these poems four years ago, on increasingly dark mornings. I read them slowly, aloud, while taking slow steps around my bedroom. I came across one I copied in my journal on October 22, 2014. Will God grace me with a marriage someday, I’d asked, — a good one? Will my childhood self finally know what she has only daydreamed about? Will it be all she hoped?
Windy and cold.
All night, in gusty winds, the house has cupped its hands around the steady candle of our marriage, the two of us braided together in sleep, and burning, yes, but slowly, giving off just enough light so that one of us, awakening frightened in darkness, can see.
On Day 12 of the Whole30 nutrition program. We’re hanging in there.
Quick summary: Fill up on meat/seafood, veggies, and fruit — but you can’t have dairy, beans/corn/soy, peanuts, grains, booze, added sugar, or things like carrageenan/MSG/sulfites (none of which I can define). You have to read every label and scrutinize every ingredient. It will likely mean you make your own sausage, tomato sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and mayonnaise.
Breakfast has gone from a bowl of dry Cheerios with cheese on the side, to:
Slider buns get replaced with potato wedges, accompanied by homemade mushroom/kale/squash chips:
And, as an added bonus, you get intimately acquainted with your grocery store clerks!
The Whole30 lasts about 45 days — 30 days of following the rules, then a two-week period of slowly reintroducing food categories and seeing how your body responds. Do you feel more bloated? sluggish? Does your skin break out? Is your sleep suddenly restless? From then on, you can know which foods keep your energy high and which foods make you gassy. Everybody wins.
Ideally, you’ll not only manage your weight better, you’ll also rack up NSVs — non-scale victories. But I’ve been surprised which ones have bubbled up, for me:
more gratitude for food
praying before every meal and almost every snack
and meaning it!
more peace while eating
I used to “need” to read a book or watch a show while eating. Now I can sit quietly, simply savoring and thinking.
more confidence in the kitchen
I hated to stray from a recipe, but now I’m growing more comfortable estimating — and riffing!
less screen time
because when you can’t just zone out in front of the boob tube, mindlessly feeding yourself chips, there are fewer and fewer excuses to watch TV at all
more sense of control at work
Building on the positive momentum of planning ahead and meal-prepping at home, I feel more motivated to tackle work projects and chip away at each next action. One positive change in life can lead to another, and another.
All right, so far the Whole30 has not been all magic & fairies…but the good has outweighed the struggle, and we’re still early into it. The book promises that in a week or two we’ll be filled with Tiger Blood.
I look forward to that.
Of course, eating itself reminds us that none of us can stay alive on our own. If you are breathing, it’s because someone fed you.
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p. 71
Now you know why, in lieu of wedding gifts, we asked people to donate to Reality,
and in lieu of album money, all proceeds go to Reality.
Living in North Street neighborhood for two years taught me that the kingdom of God isn’t about “inclusion,” as though some are “in” and some are “out” until those “in” deign to “include” them. No. It’s about plain belonging. We all belong to God, and to each other.
Around 9:30 this morning I opened the garage door and rolled our recycling can out. I was wearing the long teal bathrobe Mom had sewn.
Around 10:30 I went out to mail a birthday card for my friend, who’s turning 97 on July 4. I was still wearing my bathrobe. When I walked to the mailbox, the construction workers stopped talking and looked at me.