Sunday, June 13, 2010

Be Thankful

Today, while I was unfortunately working, I was powerfully touched by the story of one of the nurses I was working with.

This particular nurse has a young adult son who is slowly dying of a genetic disease, the same one that took the life of his father, her husband. She has every reason to feel sorry for herself, watching her son waste away, knowing that it is only a matter of time until half of her family is lost to this awful disease.

This nurse recounted an experience that she had the other day. After walking with her dogs in the rain, she brought them home and put them in the shower to wash off the wet dog smell. The dogs then proceeded to run like maniacs in an attempt to dry themselves. This nurse and her son were so entertained by the antics of their dogs that they were laughing hysterically. She was suddenly so caught up by the laughter and sheer  joy of the moment that she just burst out to her son how much she loved him and was so grateful that she has had the privilege of having him in her life, along with these wonderful dogs that bring them both so much happiness. She was able to realize that she was lucky for these simple pleasures, no matter how briefly they might last.

This simple story, recounting what some might see as mundane daily life, touched me profoundly in that moment. I had a sudden epiphany in that moment.

What an ungrateful little complainer I am. I have so much that I should be thankful for. Despite life's imperfections and struggles, and the intermittent real personal struggle and tragedy, on the whole I should be happy for all that I have.

Yes, school is hard. Working two jobs, with no benefits is difficult and stressful. I wish I had a more spacious home. I wish that I were done with my education. I wish that I were already married and a mother. But it is important to remember that all of these challenges are making me a better person, as unpleasant as the process might be at times. Things might not always happen on my desired timeline, but I know that there is a greater plan that I cannot always comprehend. I have a wonderful family and boyfriend, and a best friend who has been there for me for the past 16 years.

I need to remember these things more often.

Remember to stop and be thankful, count your blessings.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Operation Veggisaur

My boyfriend and I are trying a little experiment for the month of June. We are going vegetarian. We are currently 5 days in and I think it's going pretty well.

We would like to be healthier, but to be honest, this isn't our primary motivation. I wouldn't complain if it helps me drop a few pounds either...

Our main motivation are the ethics behind the meat we consume. I love animals dearly. ALL of them, even the ones most people hate. LOVE THEM. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right to eat them, but I was raised in a meat-eating family and generally haven't ever given this a second thought. I like meat, it tastes good, so why rock the boat, right?

Recently my boyfriend and I watched Food Inc. and were incredibly disturbed by what we saw. This was really the trigger. I honestly wouldn't have minded drastically reducing our meat intake prior to this (while I like meat I don't really like to eat vast quantities of it), but I figured that my boyfriend would never go for it- he is a serious carnivore. But, when he suggested this little challenge, I disbelivingly accepted.

Additionally, I've recently been exposed to a more open-minded view about what we eat, where it came from and how it was made. I've been reading more about this topic, and for whatever reason it has stayed at the forefront of my mind. I don't honestly think that I will ever be a total vegetarian, I'm not ruling it out though.

I think that family gatherings and holidays as a vegetarian would be very difficult. I also think that world travel as a vegetarian might be difficult (which I hope and plan to do a lot of), partially because experiencing local dishes is an intrinsic part of the travel experience and partly because I think language barriers and foreign food preparation methods would make this difficult.

I hope to learn from this challenge. I grew up in a home, like I mentioned above, that eats meat. I honestly don't know how to cook very many meals that aren't based around some type of meat. So, I'll have to re-learn some cooking skills. This, so far, has been good. I'm exploring new foods and trying new things (including faux meats, which has been difficult to wrap my brain around). I'm also trying several recipes that are familiar and just trying them without the meat. I'm giving much more thought to my nutrient intakes, particularly protein- also good.

So, Operation Veggisaur is underway! Wish us luck, and if you have any good vegetarian recipes, send them my way!