Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Food for Thought

I have been very moved by a few documentaries, and they are films that I wish everyone would see. For me, some of them have been educational, informative and mind broadening, others have been life-changing. All of them are biased in some way or another, though some are more objective than others- but, as humans, we wouldn't tell any story unless we were motivated to do so for some personal reason, they are enjoyable to watch all the same.

1. SICKO, a documentary about the deplorable state of healthcare in the U.S. and comparisons to other countries. Watch the special features on the DVD! This film literally made me want to pack it all up and get the heck out of this country.

2. THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN, a documentary again about healthcare, but this time focusing on the care of childbearing women. WOW- eye opening!

3. SALUD!, a documentary again (I know) about healthcare, but this time looking at Cuba's amazing success at providing healthcare for all of its people, with a very limited budget. Also their outreach programs. If they can do it on so little money, ANY country can.

4. SUPERSIZE ME, a lighter hearted *sort of * documentary about the downside of the habit of eating fast food, and what it can potentially do to our health. Shocking (we all know it's not good for us, but this was a smack in the head) again- watch the special features for some additional truly surprising experiments. I completely swore off of all fast food for at least a month after watching this, which was a huge effort for me to do.

This list is not exhaustive, but a few that stand out to me. I have seen many other great, educational documentaries, I just can't think of them to add right now. Do you have any must-sees?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


For those of you who don't know, I'm LDS (or Mormon). I have been since I was fourteen, so about thirteen years now, almost half of my life. I totally and completely believe the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that Joseph Smith is/was a true prophet of God. But I have had some real difficulties in practicing/living these beliefs and all that being a member of the Church entails.

First, I'm basically the only member of the church in my family- technically, my oldest brother has been baptized too, but he (I think) adheres only to what he wants, and so it's not a supportive connection. In the Mormon faith, this is both unusual and makes things a little difficult. The church is VERY family focused and really places a high value on family- which I love! However, I kind of feel like I'm floating alone in that Mormon sea, with no family support to help me make the right choices or to set an example for me (not that I don't know what the right choices are, it's just hard when most of your family doesn't understand your religious views, and doesn't want to). Plus, it makes going to church, alone, a little awkward.

Since my first ward split, where I felt very loved, supported and included, I have really struggled to live the gospel and even just attending on Sundays has been really difficult. Since then, most of the people that helped support me and my new faith have sort of drifted out of my life. Needless to say, this has made my teenage and college years, a little difficult. I haven't always made the right choices and I've had to go through some really difficult events in my life without that support from my church "family." With such a lack of support, or really any contact with my religious community for literally, years now, it seems like it would be easier to just walk away and not worry about it anymore. But, I just can't turn my back on something that I know to be true, and that when I'm actively living these principles, makes me truly happy.

I've tried, off and on, since my "home" ward split to attend various wards and I've never found a place that has felt like home, or anyone who truly reaches out to me to try to bring me in and make me feel included. This has been especially hard since my mother's death, I think that in the four and a half years since her passing, I have literally only attended church once or twice- which I feel terrible about, but also kind of afraid to throw myself out there again. Also, I'm very embarrassed to have the church members that I do have occasional contact with to know that I'm not active, even though I want to be.

To further complicate matters, I now have a job where I have to work every Sunday, a situation that, without quitting, I'm not sure I can change. But the biggest roadblock for me right now is my boyfriend, who is not Mormon, not that he opposes my faith in any way, or me practicing it; but the truth of the matter is that me practicing my faith would change our relationship in so many ways that I'm pretty sure I would wind up losing him. This is something very hard for me to even think of, he has been with me through some very hard times in my life and has really become my best friend. I can envision marrying him very easily, I love him and his family completely, except that he's not LDS. I wish that he could open himself to the gospel, because I really believe that if he did, he would learn for himself that it is true, but he is very opposed to religion in general- and I don't want him to be baptized only for me, as that would not accomplish what I really want.

I really strongly feel that it is vital for spouses to be on the same page religiously/morally, etc. to raise a family together, and this is a common foundation that I've always held as an ideal for myself in marriage. I come from a family with divorced parents and I don't want that to be the life I lead. Mormon marriages, and in turn, families are some of the strongest and happiest I've ever seen, and I desperately want that for myself (I'm not saying that they're perfect, or that non-Mormons can't be happy or have good families, it's just something that I've observed). I'm sadly afraid that this will be the breaking point, eventually, in my current relationship- I truly hope that it won't be.

For now, I'm slowly trying to work toward getting back to church, where I'd like to be, but I feel like I have to ride out some of these life situations that are preventing me from doing so (like being able to survive financially without working on Sundays). I hope that, when I have the courage to jump back in fully (and pay the price for mistakes I've made, repentance is never easy) that I find the support I need to make the transition easier. Wish me luck...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Health and Such

Well, I've been trying to lose weight and get into better shape for a while now- four or five years really, but actively since March when I joined Weight Watchers. I do really well for a few weeks, then sort of fall off the wagon, gain back a little, and then get re-motivated to start again. Ultimately, I'd like to lose 50-60 lbs, but I realize this will take some serious dedication, and exercise in addition to dieting. My college student and work schedules generally leave me exhausted, so I usually don't want to cook dinner, so... fast food + being exhausted (and not really enjoying exercise) = poor eating habits and not nearly enough exercise. But, I'm working on it. I've lost a total of 11 lbs so far.

To complicate matters, and scare the crap out of me, my doctor told me in August that I'm pre-diabetic in addition to my slow thyroid problems. So, even more incentive to really commit to losing weight. If I can lose the weight then I may prevent diabetes all together, or at least put it way off into the future (and reduce my risk for heart disease which often co-occurs with diabetes. Lucky me, I have a strong family history for both!). The downside is the medication that I'm taking to help aid my weight-loss and control my blood sugar- Metformin ER- makes me feel rotten: nauseous, headachy, tired, and swinging from extreme hunger to no appetite. So, I really feel like heading to the gym feeling this way!

Hmm... That might be depressing enough for today :) It can only get better from here, right?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Off to a slow start

Well, so much for writing on this thing frequently! Summer school came and went, and I did well. And then the Fall semester started, and it is kicking my butt! I can't ever remember having so much work to do- EVER. But, maybe I'm just feeling the pressure more since this is my LAST year- woohoo!!!! So, no room for do-overs or failure, which is a little scary, at least if I actually want to graduate in May- and I am desperate to do so. On top of the crazy school schedule, since May I've been working not one, not two, but four part-time jobs! And to really top the cake, one of my classes requires a volunteer work project too! So, needless to say, I'm ready to pull my hair out, and most days wind up taking a nap to cope with the stress and just not knowing where to start. I have quite a lot that is happened in the last few months that I would like to go back and catch up about writing on, but that will happen as time allows.