To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


T...this is getting harder...
O...oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam...

I had so much I was going to spew about as far as what frustrates me (recently, presently) in life, but after doing that letter/word association poem, I am not all that frustrated anymore.

Here's the deal, I don't know how to deal properly with frustration. This is very unfortunate considering how often I find myself frustrated. As a Christian, how am I to respond when things frustrate me?

1) Am I to pretend all is well with the world regardless and go on about my business, forcing myself never to feel frustrated?

Answer: Nice try. No way.

2) Am I to let frustration get to me to the point where I issue black eyes to unsuspecting individuals as a form of personal therapy and release and work out my frustrations as such?

Answer: Though incredibly tempting, NAY.

Well then what? Either I let it get to me or I don't, right?


In one of my talks with God earlier (about five minutes before I started typing this) I asked him, "God, what am I supposed to do when I get frustrated?"

What am I supposed to do when my washing machine breaks? When I struggle with how to allocate our finances? When I step in something wet with my socked feet? When my heater at work breaks and my legs go numb because I'm so cold? When people expect me to help them in ways I can't? When the florist makes me repeat - three times - information I've already given her? When I get tired because people just don't get it? When I want to be left alone and people won't leave me be? When I want to be around people, and everyone lets me be? What am I supposed to do?

I heard nothing.

"God, what am I supposed to do when I ask you something but become frustrated because you just sit there to let me figure it out? Hello! Answer me!"

I heard it. A smile. Have you ever heard a smile? I don't believe I ever had, but that's the only way to explain it. I heard a smile.

1 Peter 5:7. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Okay, fine. I have no problem giving my problems away. But then what? Do I just sit here and wonder what will happen next?

I heard a smile.

Proverbs 16:3. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

So wait. You mean to tell me you're going to take my problems ~ if I hand them over to you ~ and then working as if for you, things will work out? What if something happens? What if something goes wrong? And why are you smiling at me?

Matthew 6:33,34. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

And there I have it. Give, Do, Trust.

If someone came to me asking how to deal with frustration, and all the while I had been frustrated with them because they weren't listening to me trying to tell them how to deal with frustration....I would smile too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Losing

....or at least I hope to lose.

Brittany and I have been friends for about four years. We waited tables together in Cody, WY. (Shout out to the Sunest House!) She was a senior in high school when she started working there, and I was a married old biddy. We hit it off because she was fun, funny, and down-to-earth. The last quality was one that was lacking in the other youngsters working there, so I was drawn to Britt, and thankful she had a good head on her shoulders.

Last year Brittany moved here to go to school. I was thrilled to have a little piece of home here, and thrilled that my little piece of home was Brittany! We even waited tables together again for a few weeks after her arrival, before I got a different job and decided I couldn't stand waiting tables anymore. (Five years of food service is enough for this married old biddy.)

Last night I got a call from Brittany. She had been "Martha Stewarting it" all day (her words) and had something for us. I told her to stop on by when it was ready. She showed up with this marvelous, decadent pumpkin cheesecake. People ~ not only did it look amazing, but you should have tasted it. She did a fantastic job, and she made it from scratch!! But it's cheesecake......and I have a severe allergy to most foods that taste good.

You see, when I eat cheesecake, ice cream, donuts, brownies, etc., my body goes into this wierd allergic reaction mode, and my butt swells. Larger and larger and larger. It's been happening for years and I keep trying to tell people I'm allergic, but since they don't see a rash or since I don't stop breathing, they don't believe me. It has to be an allergy, though, because my butt has been swelling for the last five years.

Brittany and I got to talking about our weight, our bodies, and our dissatisfaction with ourselves. I told her about my chiropractor and how he is always sneaking stories in of obese people he's seen recently. My chiropractor is all about total health (as we all should be) but wow is he ever intense on this health thing....

Chiropractor: You know, Val, yesterday I was at the store and I saw this huge couple. Huge. They each had a caribou coffee in their hand, and Val, you should have seen the stuff in their cart. They are loading themselves up with toxins. I don't get it. How can people do that to themselves?

Me: (sucking in my tummy) Yeah really....who doesn't want to eat vegetables all the time?

Chiropractor: There are so many foods that are good for you and taste good, and don't result in obesity.

Me: (wincing from sucking in my tummy) I hear ya.....those crazy big people.....

So I got to thinking yesterday after my spinal adjustment, Oh-my-gosh. My chiropractor thinks I'm FAT! Now, granted, if you had told me five years ago I would ever be wearing double-digit-sized pants, I wouldn't have believed you. But it's the allergy, I'm telling you. My butt won't squeeze into the good ol' size 8 or size 6 anymore becuase it's so swollen from my allergic reaction to food! Okay, so I've grown some. But enough with the obesity stories, doc! I told this chiropractor story to Brittany. I didn't get a, "Val, you're not fat!" response. Oh-my-gosh. I might not be fat, but you won't find "slender" or "skinny" in the "descriptive terms about Val" section of the vocabulary of those close to me.

So Brittany and I got to talking and we challenged each other. We are turning a new leaf. Whoever loses the most percentage of body weight by December 15th (6 weeks from now) will be treated to a pedicure and a manicure by the other. We wrote a contract, we have a weigh-in schedule, and we are committed. Baby steps and short-term goals are the way to do it. After these 6 weeks, we'll come up with another reward for the next 6 weeks, and we won't stop until we're satisfied with our energy levels, our physique, and our health.

Last night I bounced on my exercise ball and moved around on that unstable thing for a good hour or more. I bet I burned off a good solid bite of that cheesecake Brittany brought.....and I think it helped my food allergy.

This morning I had fresh pineapple, strawberries, kiwi, and raspberries for breakfast. I have to admit, though it was no jumbo blueberry muffin, it was quite tasty. Instead of a vanilla latte, I'm drinking green tea with honey. It's no latte, but it's warm and cozy for my morning.

I'm gonna lose, I tell you, and I'm gonna be happy about losing! Food allergy - BE GONE! (Lord, help me....)