Mean Girls, Not In My House

While the movie is truly hysterical to watch (Mean Girls 2004), the theme is all too real for girls today and yesterday for that matter.  We are always trying to remain fashionable, wear nothing larger than a size 5-6 and have the right friends.  It’s unfortunate, but the reality is that many girls, to make sure that they feel good about their situation, will find someone worse off than them and make sure they know it. My daughter is only 4 years old, but as I watch her play on the playground at the park I can already see the beginnings of cliques forming.  The adorable little boy with the glasses swings alone, the girl with un-brushed hair tries desperately to make it pretty with her little fingers and still none of the kids go near her.  It’s sad to watch them draw these lines for themselves at such a young age but it’s worse when their parents do it for them.

Several months ago during a Mommy’s night out, a friend shared a story of how another parent had rudely snapped at her in the school parking lot.  After hearing the story I was appalled.  What gave this woman the right to snap at my friend for a reason that was none of her business?  I wanted so badly to never speak to her during pickup or let my daughter anywhere near her child again.

The next couple of times I saw her I found myself being short and abrupt, and then I realized what I was doing.  I was behaving like a child!  “You’re mean to my friend so I’m going to be mean to you”… what kind of example was I setting?  It wasn’t until a birthday party several weeks later that I found out her mother had been battling the final stages of breast cancer while she was working over seas for extended periods of time.  In fact, her mother had passed away only 2 days before.  I pray I never find out how I would behave if faced with a similar situation.

We all do the best we can for our children and for now I refuse to let my 4-year choose all of her friends.  My mother used to tell me “I can see farther than you,” and she was right.  When she’s older, I hope that her exposure to people of different colors, sizes, religions and economic backgrounds will give her the wisdom to surround herself with diverse friends.  The last thing I want to raise is a Mean Girl.

Plate Design

What to eat?  With so many responsibilities and a “To Do” list that keeps getting longer, it can be frustrating trying to plan a healthy meal. The thought of having to add one more thing to our list is overwhelming.  The week before returning to work from maternity leave with my second child, I vividly remember having the realization of all the new responsibilities and tasks that were about to be added to my plate.  My daughter was also entering a new phase starting kindergarten, which meant we all would have to get up and out the door much earlier than the year before. Working, packing school lunches, keeping up with school work, supplies and all of those extra curricular activities like soccer and karate, along with the schedule of a new baby began to feel over whelming.

 I had desires to keep myself and my family fit and healthy and knew there would have to be a few changes. Something would have to come off of my plate if I wanted to stay healthy physically and mentally.

 At the end of the day, my priority has always been to have quality family time and provide a healthy meal.  However, I knew, at this stage of my life, an elaborate meal that took too much time in the kitchen would not happen, at least Monday –Friday. Every busy woman has different ideas, responsibilities or tasks that may need to be removed when something new is added. For me, it was the idea that a healthy meal required a lot of labor and time each night to eat healthy.

 To make things simple, when things can get hectic in the fall of the year, there a few tricks of the trade to design a quick healthy meal. 

 1. Plate Design

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, fifty percent of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, twenty-five percent proteins and twenty five percent healthy grains. Quit worrying about what you can’t eat and focus on what to add to your meal. By planning to fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables, the process and preparation can be cut in half (and healthier too).

 2. Look at your schedule

Planning is the key to eating healthy with a busy schedule, however, make sure the plan is according to your personal schedule. Before picking elaborate recipes, are you aware of what your time constraints are for the week?  Nothing is more frustrating than to realize, at the last minute, we do not have the time we had hoped to spend preparing a nice meal. Are there certain days that make more sense to cook in the crock pot? Could you double a recipe one night to have leftovers on a night you can not cook?

 3. Keep it Easy

Because our schedule can be so hectic in the evening, I chose only one item that may take a little extra work.  For example, if making a chicken dish that takes extra ingredients and time, my salad or vegetables will be steamed or simply baked.  If my sides need a little extra time, chicken or fish will be marinated to quickly throw on the grill.

 To stay consistent with healthy eating and exercise, your personal lifestyle, likes and dislikes have to be a part of your design. We each have a unique style and have to find what works for us.

I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, but at this season of my life, my time is limited so I have to figure out what healthy design works for me right now. 

 “What’s working for you in your design”?      


True Guilt vs. False Guilt

Picture this courtroom scene:  The jury comes into the courtroom and take their seats.

Judge to Woman"Will the defendant please rise?"  (A frail looking woman stands up with her head bowed; her shoulders slumped.)

Judge to Foreman:  "Mr. Foreman, has the jury reached a verdict?"

Foreman:  "We have, your Honor.  The charges brought against the defendant are:

  • Count #1 - Her past sinful life
  • Count #2 - Not making others happy
  • Count #3 - Not meeting people's expectations of her
  • Count #4 - Being a Working Mom
  • Count #5 - The cause of her divorce
  • Count #6 - Saying "no" to volunteer work at her church.

On each of these charges, we find the defendant GUILTY as charged!

Judge to Woman:  I now sentence you to life in prison where you will serve out the remaining years of your life in misery.  (And with that, the frail woman was lead bound and shackled out of the courtroom to begin her life sentence.)

Obviously, those charges are not ones you would find in a court of law, but they are charges, plus countless more, that women have had levied against them.  As a result, they live a life of misery in their own self-made prison.

"I personally have been there, done that," as the saying does.  Guilt comes with excruciating pain that penetrates deep inside the human spirit.  My feelings of guilt resulted in a loss of self-respect, insecurity, and a sense of unworthiness.

While in my self-made prison, I read a book entitled:  "Happiness is a Choice"  by Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier.  Their explanation of True Guilt vs. False Guilt caught my eye.

TRUE GUILT is the uncomfortable inner awareness that one has violated a moral law of God.  It is produced partially by the conviction of God's Holy Spirit, and partially by our own conscience.  True guilt is valuable.  God uses it to influence us to change our minds about behavior that is wrong, so we can be in closer fellowship with Him.

FALSE GUILT is feeling guilty for something that in reality does not violate any of the laws of God.  Another way of saying that is feelings that come as a result of the judgments and opinions of others, or from a judgment that we have wrongfully imposed upon ourselves.  False guilt send messages to our inward being that shouts:  "You've failed!"   "You'll never amount to anything."  "You blew it."  "It's all your fault!"

And so it was, I did a whole lot of soul searching and made a list of all the things that were plaguing me with guilt.  I asked forgiveness of those things God was gently showing me were indeed, True Guilt---things that were hindering my relationship with Him.  I took the remainder of that list, threw it in the garbage can, and let it take a ride on the garbage truck.  I then walked out of my prison cell a free woman.

           My case of "False Guilt" had been taken all the way to the Supreme Court of the Universe, Almighty God, and He dismissed the charges against me.

Do you need to come out of your self-made prison?  It will free you to become the Created Woman God designed you to be----minus the heavy load of guilt!

It's Not About How I Look

  Working out yesterday, I met a woman who has lost over 100 hundred pounds.  Immediately, I began asking the standard questions:  How did you do it?  How long has it taken you? What are you eating?  Very gracious with her answers, she explained that when she started out, she was over 3oo pounds and as far as her goal is concerned, she wants to see her children graduate from high school.

She started off  working out a few minutes on the elliptical.   Later,  changes in her eating began to take place.  This new way of living has become her life-style.  Curious about how she managed working out several times during the week, working full time, along with managing family and friends; she confidently mused 'I used to watch a lot of television, but my priorities have changed.' You see, most of us have time to do exactly what we want. This created woman's desire and priority is to become healthy.

At the end of our conversation, she looked at me and said, 'It started out being about how I looked on the outside, but now it's all about how I feel.  I feel so much better and enjoy life on another level, and I look forward to seeing my children graduate from school.'

A few pounds shed each week, slowly and steadily over the course of 15 months, consistent workouts and healthy eating have made a sizable difference in my new friends life-style.  I walked away from our conversation inspired by someone who is not at all moved by outside pressure, but is comfortable with the woman she is today and the created woman she is becoming, just a few pounds at a time.