Maybe we should all read that book, “Women who love too much”–If you find yourself drained, not fulfilled, and not being pampered by your loved one; are you really living the life you were meant to live? I think not! That bad boy relationship that seemed so inviting and exciting, will only leave you spent and tired. Yes, those men are fun and full of passion, but it only lasts for a moment. Remember what you are worth and how much you have to offer in this world. Don’t sell yourself short girl–This too shall pass. It’s ok to be different! It’s ok to be you–that makes you different-not wrong!
I write these words of encouragement for many female patients whom neglect themselves and their own needs in order to be superwoman only projecting the image of perfection as wives and mothers! I am certainly the pot calling the kettle black with this one since I have to remind myself daily that I don’t have to solve every problem or issue that comes up in our household. It’s a narcissistic martyr role that I take when I try to do everything for everyone in my family. I think I am doing it out of kindness when I am actually doing it to prove to myself that I can. Then I resent everyone else for allowing me to do everything! When we make life too easy for our families and children–we disable them and neglect ourselves. I really don’t want my girls to fall into a pattern of overextending and resenting so I have vowed to try to lead by example and make the change for the better.
Let’s face it. We aren’t living in a “Leave it to Beaver” world anymore. That’s why I relate to Claire from Modern Family a little better than June Cleaver. Do I have dinner on the table at 5 pm nightly? Of course not. I work and don’t even get home by five. Do I like texting my daughter at college rather than calling her to see how her day was? Heck no! Unfortunately, calling her would leave me hanging for days. Sensibly, I text her and she responds in nanoseconds. These days we are forced to ask ourselves, how can we connect without relying on the reality of what we were raised to believe was normal? I think Theresa Mazza does a great job with this post. We adapt and reconsider what we value daily–it may not be “normal” for us, but it just may be what we do to stand for what we think is right. Change is hard in the dance of life. Occasionally, we take a leap of faith.
Here is Theresa’s recent post–be sure to visit her blog at http://www.theresamazza.com
Cultural and societal norms seem to move as fast as the white waters of the Colorado River. The recent NBC series, The New Normal, highlights this reality. Every day it seems like there’s a new normal. What was normal 90 days ago is old school, out-dated, and irrelevant. Remember when paying for your flight included your luggage? That was then; now it’s normal to pay additional fees for each piece you check. Or remember when Christmas shopping meant fighting crowds and shopping till you literally dropped? But what normal person would put themselves through all that when you can shop for just about everything online and have it delivered right to your front steps?
The biggest question is, who decides what’s normal? The truth is, what’s normal for society doesn’t always become the norm in our personal lives. It’s normal for mothers to dress like their daughters these days, but maybe you can’t imagine adopting that as a personal norm. It’s more normal than ever to get a tattoo but, although I think tattoos are cool, I admit I’m all talk when it comes to getting one.
So what are we to do when we just can’t adopt the new norms that surround us? Do we picket and boycott, give in, do nothing, flounder in between, or do we resolve to continue loving people and allow Christ to shape our normal rather than society? “That’s normal” should never be the reason we accept something as a norm. Normal for the believer must come out of a relationship with our Creator.
In Genesis normal shifted as fast as it’s shifting now. It was normal for Adam to hang out in the Garden, walking and talking with God. It was normal for Adam and Eve to walk around naked. It was also normal for people and God to be so connected that God always knew where they were. But then, normal changed.
Adam and Eve decided to adopt norms that were not in the interest of each other or their relationship with God, but self-interested. They left God out. This decision changed normal for them. In this Genesis story we see fear of God becoming normal over connection with God, we see blame becoming normal over caring for one another, we see a God who was normally delighted in his creation experience disappointment, we see a God who was able to give, now having to take away. It wasn’t just the first sin; it was the first time humans adopted a new normal outside of the normal God had established for them.
Self interest and the desire to know more and experience more allows normal to define us. Interest in others before ourselves and a desire to know God allows us to define normal. When our relationship with God is the deciding factor of the normal in our life we can influence normal instead of normal influencing us.
When we embrace God’s idea of normal, we can be a part of positive shifts in the society and culture we live in.
A “me” society can become a “we” society.
A violent people can become a peaceful people.
An exclusive local church can become an inclusive local church.
Global awareness can become global impact.
Followers can become leaders.
I recently spoke to group of teenagers about normal and left them with these two things:
Desire God first, and influence normal instead of letting normal influence you.
Where do we start? In the beginning…where God desired to walk with us, talk with us, share everything with us, create with us, and love us. Pursue God. Choose and live by his idea of normal for you. Then embrace and glorify him in your normal everyday life.
Romans 12 from the Message Bible says…
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
When I was a little girl–the words “become a professional and don’t expect someone else to take care of you” were gently and repetitively etched into my head. I think that is why I aspired to become a doctor. I didn’t want to do law, I have no passion for rules. A business owner seemed too processed for me. I wanted to help people.
When I was in college after already committing my life to become a doctor, I became terribly ill and landed a spot in the hospital. My doctor at the time told me “You are not going to die” That phrase I will never forget because at that moment–I felt like I might. I was then forever indebted to becoming that person who would reassure a patient that their darkest hours were not at hand. I studied hard and abstained from activities my peers were engaged in only to persue my dream. Eleven years ago my dream came true and I was finally the doctor starting practice and ready to change the lives of many. I was trained to treat every disease with the best of medicines and could conquer any patient’s complaint. Unfortunately, those concepts drastically changed as I continued to evolve as a person and was touched by each patient that I met. After ten years of medicine I could feel myself beginning to change but I wasn’t quite sure just what the change was. Then the day Susan came in I began to have a greater focus.
A few years ago, Susan, a popular vet in the local community with 4 boys, came to me tearstricken and upset. She had developed an autoimmune disease seven years before that had debilitated her to the point that she was unable to function as the woman, mother, and wife that she had once been. Tears welled in my eyes during that annual visit as I noted her spirit and life’s luster being eroded by the burden of her disease. I told her … “I am no superwoman, I have no answers for you.” We could only pray together that things would change.
The following monday morning she called and said “My pastor pulled me aside after church on Sunday and told me he had dreamt I got a second opinion and was healed.” I immediately called a physician who I had not seen since residency. He was leaving for a mission trip to Haiti the next day and the only way he could see her was if she could be there in thirty minutes. Ironically, she had no patients scheduled that day, had a babysitter for her kids, and was already having lunch in the area. He told her that it wasn’t a disease, it was an allergy. He hadn’t a clue as to what she might be ingesting that would cause this severe reaction. Eventually, she discovered that she had to eliminate red dye # 40 from her diet and she is 100% healthy now.
I have spent countless hours walking in the woods and enjoying my own family. Yet, I continue to watch many other patients struggle with their inability to share the same pleasures in life. I have now realized that I have been on the wrong track. We dont need to cure and treat disease–we need to prevent it!
All the years of training to to heal people have proven that I have been coexisting with them. I must shift my role to help them before the diseases takes hold. I must help my patients change themselves. I realize that the best way to change the world is to change yourself.
Thank you to Theresa Mazza for yet another inspiring post!
The London Olympic games have given the world an excuse to pay close attention to some very exceptional teens! As we cheer on our spectacular teen athletes, you can almost feel the hope and inspiration radiating from the television screen. It has been a refreshing pause reminding us of the potential that lies within every teen.
As I’ve watched the games and read the stories of these athletes, I can’t help but wonder, what is it about these particular teens that gives them the capability of competing and representing their country on the world’s biggest platform?
We might be tempted to answer with the obvious things – talent, opportunity, and discipline. But what if, what if the combination of things that make these teens exceptional is not only about what they have, but also what they lack…
__excessive social lives. “Missy [Franklin] will still have a curfew and still have to do her homework,” her mother reported. – The Boston Globe
__a me, me, me attitude. Gabby Douglas, who left her family in Virginia Beach when she was 14 to train in Iowa, said she wants to be a role model for minorities. – New York Times
__time to obsess about the opposite sex. Several proposals for dates have come in, but Douglas never has had a boyfriend and Hawkins wants to keep it that way for now. –New York Times
__unhealthy desire for attention. Newspapers report that when Gabby Douglas’s car was run down by a fan wanting her autograph, it took her by surprise. She didn’t know what was happening or why, then she thought, Oh that’s right, I’m a gold medalist. – New York Times
___entitlement.These hard working champions put their pants on one leg at a time, except once their pants are on, they win gold medals. 15 yr old gold medalist Katie Ledecky’s is quoted as saying, “I didn’t really expect gold, but I’ll take it” – Sports Illustrated
__uninvolved parents. Missy Franklin’s parents go everywhere with her. The clips of Missy as a young child that have been played during the broadcast of the Olympic games reveal very involved parenting. They were celebrating their daughter long before these Olympic games.
Recently my husband directed my attention to People Of The Second Chance. I was instantly captured by their message, Labels Lie. People Of The Second Chance recognize that labels distort the truth and they’re doing something about it. I’ve discovered this the hard way. The sad and ugly truth…
I label people I don’t understand
I label people out of fear
I label people because I’m not confident in my own identity
I label people because I think there’s safety in not venturing far from what I know
Just over a year ago I was working at the Rocketown music venue in Florida. During a sold out concert we turned away hundreds of teens. While doing a routine parking lot check I discovered that these hundreds of teens had gathered in a circle. My immediate reaction was to call on my security team. I was afraid. There must be a fight! Or there will be if we don’t get these teens out of here.
Check out the video to see what really happened.
check it out my friends, we all in this together. So live your life, do it right, do what you want.
me and my friends in this circle right now, this is your life,
do what you can, do what you want, don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t do you.
nobody ever tells you that you can’t be you.
you stick your middle finger in the air, like you don’t care, this is your life
There was no fight that night. But the truth of this singer’s message hit everyone, even me. We are all in this together. No one can tell you that you can’t be you, even yourself.
Why was I afraid of a huge crowd of teenagers? Because I saw labels instead of truth. I saw a riot instead of a beautiful generation of honest and expressive teens. I saw a crowd of rebels and fringe kids instead a mass of world changers. Now, sure, the middle finger ending isn’t necessarily beautiful expression. But when Johnny Cash did it, we labeled him an icon of the everyman struggle, so why is it any different for these kids?
Here’s what I decided that night: I want to trade my lies for truth. The truth is, we’re all a little strange. None of us is perfect, but it’s our imperfections that make us unique. And even more important than accepting that we’re all strange and imperfect is the undeniable truth that we’re all perfectly strange. You are you. Don’t listen to the old lies or labels, and don’t make up new ones. The truth. God made you, no one can tell you that you can’t be you, even yourself.
What lies are hiding the truth in your life?
I’m constantly asked, “What diet are you endorsing? Vegan, Vegetarian, Adkins, Southbeach, Paleo etc” I’m not actually endorsing any one diet per say. My philosophy includes eating more whole foods! It’s not actually any specific diet. As we know, the whole dieting paradigm is flawed. We have to make lifestyle changes in order to get healthy in the mind, body, and spirit realm. Although, all the different types of diet schemes have their benefits. I believe that we make choices every time we put something into our bodies, including food, drink, products and especially thoughts. When we think negatively, our minds allow us to make poor choices. The main take away point at this part of my nutrition learning curve is to cut out processed foods. Eat clean and pure. But also, think clean and pure. Eliminate toxic people and emotions from your life. To quote Wiz Khalifa “If you believe you can do it, then you can do it. I don’t follow no cliché, I live to be that way. I don’t try to be different, I try to be me and people think that’s different.” Denise Minger sums up a big difference between the Paleo diet and the Vegan/Vegetarian diet differences in this excerpt from the Real Food Summit this last week. It may help explain some differences of thought. Just more food for thought.
See her site at http://rawfoodsos.com
Singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith founded Rocketown in 1994 to give teens a positive alternative to the many negative pressures they face. The first of its kind in the Southeast, Rocketown has grown into a regional outreach as well as a model for faith-based relational outreach across the country.
For several years Rocketown operated as a teen club, then organized Sunday evening programming and special events for teens. Following the tragedy of Columbine in 1999, Rocketown’s board was inspired to grow the scope of programming and move to a central location in downtown Nashville. Mark Ezell, co-founded the current facility which opened in 2003, and houses a coffee bar; photography, art and dance studios; stages for live entertainment; and Middle Tennessee’s only indoor skatepark. To date there have been more than 425,000 visits with an average of 1,350 teens from across Middle Tennessee participating in programs each week.
Theresa Mazza partnered with Michael W. Smith in creating this great faith-based venue for troubled teens. I am honored she has allowed AngelaMD to post some of her great teachings about dealing with teenagers and maintaining your sanity. As most of you know–I have three teenage girls at home along with a precious 5-year-old. I struggle maintaining sanity considering that my older girls have officially decided that I am the dumbest person to walk the earth. This too shall pass I know but Theresa’s Sanity Post was helpful to me.
It’s undeniable. Teens have a way of driving us insane! The pants on the ground, the one headphone in the right ear, the short shorts, that evil “duh” look. These typical teen characteristics alone are enough to drive us crazy. If you have a teen in your home or if you work with teens you could probably add about 100 other characteristics to the short list above. Your problem isn’t that they drive you insane with all their silly teen behaviors and desires, your problem is that you love working with teens. So how can you keep the main thing the main thing? You love teens and you desire to see them reach their full potential.
YOU NEED TO TAKE A SANITY PILL. Of course I’m not talking about real sanity pills, although you might feel like you need to be on some sort of medication at this point. I am talking about five key things that can keep you sane when the teen you love or the teens you love are trying to drive you insane!
Teens have mastered the art of making adults feel disrespected or stupid. Every time a student ignores you, rolls their eyes, etc and you react in a negative way, you are taking the bait. Taking every roll of the eyes, or disrespectful comment personally will drive you insane. When you address a teen, do it with a pleasant tone, ignore any bait being thrown at you. Repeat yourself calmly if you have to, and make good eye contact. When they see that you are not responding to their tactics you’ll be amazed what results you get.
If your main priority is to love the student you live with or work with, keep that the main priority. Constantly policing what they wear, how they talk, what they listen to will drive you insane. I’m not at all saying that having an influence over some of those choices is not important, but it cannot be the most important. Make sure your love for your teen does not get overshadowed by things that in the end you will both laugh about.
Take the student or students that are driving you insane and write out things about them that you love or know that they are. Example – Michael is creative, has a huge heart, and is a leader. Write down a second list of things that are stealing all the attention away from the first list. Michael is leading other students in negative ways, Michael doesn’t listen, and Michael is not responsible. Now, every time you see “Michael” or your student, make a point to celebrate by affirming or connecting with the things you wrote down on the first list. It’s easy to let the negative characteristics of a student still all the limelight. Remember, this student is a person that you love and has amazing potential.
Part of your insanity is on you and you alone. You can’t say one thing and then do another. If you say you’re going to call a student’s parents, call them. If you say you’ll send a student home, send him home. Teenagers can not live without boundaries. Students will not take you serious if you bluff. And once they call your bluff they will drive you insane.
In all my years of mentoring teens, the biggest thing that has kept me from going insane is Jesus. Seriously. If I did not have a close relationship with Jesus I would have reacted selfishly so many more times than I have. Pray, get time alone with him, talk to him, yell at him, whatever, but stay close to him.
Now, go love on some crazy teenagers and keep your sanity!
For more pearls of wisdom from Theresa, visit her site at http://theresamazza.com
Our friend Kate Chaplin has a charming book entitled “The Celebration Diet” that is a welcome addition to any plan to get healthy. This blog embraces the mind, spirit, and body. After all, how can your body be healthy when your mind is cluttered by stress and you start losing faith and spirit? Kate offers some great ideas on how to center your mind to help improve your overall health! You can purchase a copy at http://katechaplin.wordpress.com/ Here is an excerpt worth reading. Thanks Kate for making a difference!
“Every January, I make a resolution to lose weight. The year starts with great progress; I am eating healthy and exercising. There are a few holidays and birthdays of long distance friends and relatives, but no parties or triple-layered chocolate cakes to dodge. Then BAMB! We are in February through June, otherwise known as my “weight gaining season”.
Valentine’s Day is the warm up. Some flowers and a few chocolates but I am still on track. What I do not realize is that the Ides of March are fast approaching. In which lies my father’s birthday and my birthday. Somewhere in March, there will be cake and ice cream. I think to myself, “It’s my birthday, I deserve a treat.”
No sooner do I reward myself than my anniversary approaches. “We have to celebrate our anniversary at a nice restaurant” I say. A few glasses of wine later the power to resist the sweets, fats and carbs are fading away.
May comes along with my husband, daughter, and brother’s birthday and they will definitely want cake and why not they each weigh a buck-twenty. Soon Mother’s Day approaches which inevitably will be a repeat of Valentine’s Day filled with flowers and candy. Before I know it, swimsuit season is upon us and I have gained at least ten pounds. It’s the celebrations that kill me. I knew I had discovered my Achilles heel and I had to come up with a way to celebrate without food”
This tribute is in honor of one of my favorite patients whom recently lost her battle with ovarian cancer. She was an incredible woman and the kind of person that really touches lives, including my own. Her children are both patient’s and friends of mine and I wanted to share this with you. I can think of nothing better than to have my son or daughter feel this way about me after I have passed. Her kids may have lost her here on Earth-but, they will never lose the character and integrity that she gave them.
Her son writes the following final tribute after putting her to rest yesterday—
“Mom was a charter member of St. Susanna. Like many good Catholic mothers she was involved in choir, fundraising, Women’s Club, festivals, and other church activities, while being a devoted mother, daughter, and wife. So like many good Catholic families, when a special dessert or covered dish appeared in the kitchen, and we asked “Is that for us?” the frequent reply was, “don’t touch that, it’s for church.”
• Mom’s devotion to family was very real. She and Dad not only made sacrifices for their offspring, but each remained attentive to their respective parents. Mom remained a constant companion to her folks when they were in good health. When her parents and her husband, Ed, fell ill later in life, she was the consummate caregiver until each passed on.
• Mom’s move to Plainfield marked a totally new phase in her life. Despite being in her 70s, the change in surroundings from rural Mooresville to “city life,” brought her a lot of new and renewed friendships, closeness to church, and a remarkable range of new activities.
• Her outlook was a mixture of a mature experience and youthful enthusiasm. When she first moved to Plainfield, someone asked if she would like to transport the elderly. Despite her generosity, she hesitated, because she wasn’t sure she could spend so much time with “older people.” She was committed to physical activity going to water aerobics several times weekly until a few years ago, and recently renewed her interest in card playing, joining a euchre group in the area.
• In addition to continuing her regular attendance at Notre Dame games, and her relish of the pregame tailgating, she added the occasional Colts home game, and opened a new era of travel. As a child and younger adult, she had already seen much of the US with parents and us kids. She began traveling with St. Susanna friends to Great Britain, Ireland, Hawaii, and the Mediterranean.
• When the role of tour guide became too much, she enlisted her son Ed to be her chaperone for her continuing excursions to the Emerald Isle, around 7 or 8 in total. She reasoned that there were 1000 pubs in Ireland, and we still had most of them to visit. As recently as last fall, she was considering another trip.
• Until two years ago, when her health was beginning to decline, she still served as an ombudsman for the needs of her adult children and extended family. Our medical needs, transportation issues, and especially our day-to-day problems were never too much for her to try to handle.
• During her final years, Mom never lost her optimism, nor her acceptance of God’s will for her. As each of us is called upon to be Christ’s human presence to one another, Mom was a great example of that calling to her family and all who knew her well. Mom was not above human frailties, but our memories of her are of her unqualified love.
• Christmas was a shared passion with the rest of the family. Mom celebrated Christmas from Thanksgiving to the Epiphany and often beyond. Even when she was physically able to do much of the work, it took weeks to do all the decorating, cookie baking, shopping, and churchgoing. Midnight mass was followed by a great breakfast in the wee hours of the morning, and she had her last yuletide gathering earlier this year.
• The church raffle/dinner/auction was an annual observance for Mom. She attended enthusiastically each year, and this year (not surprisingly) we bid successfully for a number of items intended for this coming Christmas. It was a standing joke in our household, from January on, “Do you know, it’s only *** days until next Christmas?”
• Throughout her life, even in recent months, her dry and sharp wit remained. There were a range of family inside jokes and sayings, and the slightest hint would raise Mom’s eyebrow and prompt a mischievous look.
• As we reviewed her photos and other memorabilia of her long and rich life, we were struck by one overriding impression, that of her goodness, her strength, her gentleness, and of a life well lived.”
A dear friend of mine shared this with me as well—hope this helps Ed!
WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO EXPLAIN IT
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,
‘Doctor, I am afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side..’
Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know..’
‘You don’t know? You’re, a Christian man,
and don’t know what’s on the other side?’
The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside..
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing…
I know my Master is there and that is enough.’