what I crave

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-daily-meal/summers-healthiest-and-un_b_3492266.html?ir=Taste

It never fails.  Each afternoon, after 2 PM, my mind conjures up the image of an iced frappuccino; imagining the caffeine buzz that will get me through the triple digits of the heat into the evening.  I find myself wanting to run bank errands during this time and, conveniently enough, the Starbucks is right next door.  For the past month I have squashed this urge but as it gets hotter and hotter; the craving gets stronger and stronger.  Yesterday I almost caved so it was fortuitous to find the above article in the Huffington Post today.

craving: an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing.  Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

Whenever I do get a frappuccino it is short-lived.  The blended ice swirls in the clear plastic, the whipped cream puffed to the top of the lid.  Sometimes there are crumbles or sugary syrups drizzled to complete the package; other times it is plain with no whip.  But each time I order one of these things I guzzle it down in less than half an hour.  I sometimes wonder if I actually enjoy it or if it’s a mental thing;: 1)Freedom of choice:  I CAN have this drink.  2) Status:  I can AFFORD this $5 frothy item and 3) Indulgence: I WANT it.  Thus, the daily battle I wage within isn’t really about caffeine.  It is the fact that I can: choose, afford and get instant gratification.

This is the cycle I must break.  I must teach myself to practice self-control and discipline.  Surely I don’t need the calories but in the end, that’s not going to really stop me from buying this item.  My mental faculties will override those thoughts to its simplest, most basic form.  I crave it.  I want it.  NOW.

The hubs always likes to retort how I crave things, not ideals.  I would love to look HOT; have a million, gazillion dollars, own the newest, must-have techno gizmo.  But do I crave health?  God?  Progress?  I would like these things, YES, but not in the intense, focused way that I crave my frappuccino.  The most basic of cravings are very simple.  Ideals require a lot of work.

The frappuccino quenches my thirst and appetite; the caffeine stimulating my central nervous system to allow me better mental focus and suppresses my parasympathetic response; namely hunger/digestion.  But as the caffeine buzz dissipates, the hunger pangs come in full force and no food is safe within reach.   By the dinner hour I am scrambling to make a meal and I am ravenous.  Again, the brain overrides my healthier options for the quick and easy; comforting and filling; usually something involving fat.

IMG_20130710_081334_resizedChoosing to lead a healthy lifestyle takes a lot of work.  First you must stock your home with these healthier items, particularly fresh produce.  I have wonderfully stocked fridge shelves of the stuff but must eat it quickly, before it spoils.  My mind does not see meals to make with these items, ingrained from my culture and youth to have the carbs (aka rice) and meats.  Vegetables?  What’s that?   I am hungry n-o-w.  The rice is filling and gives me energy; the starch immediately getting converted to sugars and ATP.  The meats are filling but also more fattening.  It takes a lot of planning and organization to EAT CLEAN.  It is easy to do when you are a couple; much harder to practice in a family with three ravenous sons.  If the hubs had his way, he’d juice everything up and call it “healthy.”

The same goes for religion.  It is easy to practice going to church, once a week, sitting piously in a pew for one hour.  But if you walk out of those four walls and revert back to ways that, really, aren’t very Christian-ly, what do you represent?  The hubs calls these people, hypocrites.  They talk-the-talk but don’t walk-the-walk; caught up in their legalistic and high horse views.  You don’t have to sit in a church to be Godly; particularly a large one with beautiful stained windows and frequent collections to build bigger and better to increase our outreach.  Being Godly comes from within.  To look out for your neighbor (even if they throw dead rats at your employees).  To bite your tongue and accept other views.  To not cast stones.  Too much energy gets wasted conjuring up mental stuff and it requires a lot of work, on my part, to turn it off.   Faith.  Love.  Grace.  You just have to BELIEVE.

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And then there is progress.  How do you measure it?  What does the word even mean?

progress:  Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
1c : an expedition, journey, or march through a region
2: a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal) : advance
3: gradual betterment; especially : the progressive development of humankind
As humans we seek to improve.  It is an innate desire we possess, our brains much larger than other species to process and create; to prosper and fail.  It is easy to be complacent and lazy; much harder to motivate and work.  My work is cut out for me in this season of life.   My journey is to move forward and I have had enough years to look back; to try not to repeat my failures.  The goal?  The gradual betterment of my life, my family, my world.  It takes a community to make change but it starts; one mind-at-a-time.
And how will I know I am progressing?  How do I mark my passing?
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By not marking it; just living. 
That is progress.  That the material things and achievements in this world mean nothing when you enter those pearly gates.  You are, what you are, not by what you do, but by who you are and what you represent.
This is where I have arrived.   When I walk in the mornings I look to the end of my trail and fix my gaze on it.  What my eyes see are vastly different from my youngest son; my guest walker this morning.  He held my phone and used my camera; unbeknownst to me.  When we reached the end he couldn’t wait to show me his shots; some a bit blurry.  But they had a lot of meaning for him.
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Mom, Snuggles, sunrise, home.  These are what were meaningful to my youngest son.  I need to see through the eyes of a child; not the quick fix and short-lived high.  This is what I crave.
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