Are You Eating Dinosaurs?

man eating meat

One day I posted something on Facebook about my renewed desire to drop a few pounds. Oh my word. The response made me think I had embarked on a mission to cure cancer.

Food advice came pouring through the computer screen with religious zeal. I didn’t even understand some of the questions: “Lisa, are you eating ‘paleo’ now?” Uh, am I eating what? Am I eating dinosaurs? No. I’m not eating dinosaurs. Or unicorns. I’m still eating regular food and an occasional Pop-tart (even though I know Pop-tarts aren’t real food). So, no. I don’t think I’m eating “paleo.”

I’m sure some of you who tend to eat potatoes and green beans and cornbread want to know what it means to eat “paleo.” According to the premier “paleo” advocate it means: the world’s healthiest diet – based upon eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Paleolithic era, or Stone Age. So, that means no Pop-tarts or Ritz crackers, people. Berries and dinosaur meat for everyone.

Another frequent question: “Are you eating Mediterranean?” Am I eating the entire Mediterranean area of the world? Sadly, some days it feels like it. But gosh, I hope not. If you’re asking if I love olive oil, I do. Chicken fried in olive oil sounds great. But I don’t think that’s what most people mean by a Mediterranean diet.

One friend asked if I had read that book about what Jesus ate. I didn’t. I know what Jesus ate. Jesus ate fish and figs and olives. Jesus ate fish and figs and olives because that’s what the people in that region ate. If Jesus had lived in Georgia, he would have eaten grits. Jesus didn’t make such a big deal about his food and maybe we shouldn’t either.

I know. Some people (myself included) really do feel better when we eat more whole foods. I’m for it. Fruit, veggies, and meat are the staples of a good diet. It’s probably wise to avoid items that have a shelf life of over 20 years. But in the midst of all our “good” eating, we need to remember the vast number of people all over the world who are just trying to find something to eat.

So skip buying that dinosaur meat online, friend. Join me in a less complicated method. Eat a little less. Think of others a little more.

All Hat and No Cattle

cowboy costume

When I was in college, I traveled with a friend to visit her family in Alabama. We both got ready for church on Sunday morning. But when my friend walked down the stairs, her very sophisticated beautiful mother said with a pure Alabama drawl, “Dahlin’, that dress is as wrinkled as a dog’s behind.” I had never heard that saying. I laughed out loud but not too loud. I didn’t want her mama to say, “Your friend is louder than a cicada at bedtime.”

I’ve been known to use my own unusual phrases when it comes to children. “Give me a hug, you little cheesy biscuit.” “Come on over here, you little cocoa bean.” “I could just pour you on a pancake and eat you for breakfast.” I know. I know. There’s a definite food theme at work in my personal life. Can we just choose not to over-analyze that right now? Yeah, thanks. I don’t want to be as depressed as a turkey the day before Thanksgiving.

I’ve always been fascinated with southern sayings or western wisdom. I recently heard for the first time a phrase that I absolutely love. All hat and no cattle. A brilliant picture in a few simple words. Because I’ve spent most of my life in the great state of Texas, I can assure you that a big expensive cowboy hat doesn’t always indicate a ranch full of cattle. Sometimes the biggest hats are worn by suburban residents who eat scones, drink cappuccino, and never get their hands dirty. And sometimes those with the most cattle wear old unimpressive hats which mark them as a commoner not a cattle baron.

But of course we all know that the term “All hat and no cattle” is not about hats or about cattle. It’s about something far deeper. When speaking to young people, I often exhort them, “The more time you spend telling people how awesome you are, the less likely they are to believe it.” The more you work on your outward impression, the less time you’re able to devote to your inward character. When someone who is deeply in debt drives a big expensive car it’s an example of all hat and no cattle. When a person brags about his high-paying job it always sounds like all hat and no cattle. Why? Because people with high-paying jobs don’t tend to talk like that. When someone constantly explains the sheer brilliance of their child in comparison to all the “regular” children out there, it’s an example of all hat and no cattle. Insecurity tends to produce that kind of jargon.

As a true Texan, I can tell you that a well-crafted cowboy hat is a beautiful thing. Impressive. The problem? You can’t eat a cowboy hat. Someone somewhere has to own a field of cattle. But I’m not worried. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And that thought makes me happy. Happier than a pig in slop. (Again, don’t over-analyze that please.)

The Habits of Love

newlywed couple
I know. You didn’t ask for my advice. And yes, I know this isn’t an advice column. But sometimes I feel an overwhelming desire to dispense a little free counsel. Just think of me like your Aunt Gladys, the one who corners you in the hallway every holiday to tell you what to do with your life, your career, and your fond affection for carbs. Let’s go to the hallway and talk about marriage.

Marriage is about habits. I know. Doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? When’s the last time you saw a Hallmark movie called, “The Habit of Being Nice to You”? Or what about a romance book called, “Habitual Respect and Admiration”? I doubt the Oscar-winning romantic/comedy this year will be called, “I Took Out the Trash in Love.” Yeah. Not much heat to those titles, huh? I beg to differ. Habits actually produce a lot of heat and passion. Over time. The kind of heat and passion that fuels a lifetime of love.

When we counsel young married couples, our advice is pretty simple.

1. Stop thinking about yourself. Do you get your feelings hurt too easily? There’s a pretty simple solution to that. Stop thinking about your feelings so much. Think about the other person’s feelings instead. It’s revolutionary. Get in the habit of waking up in the morning and thinking about your partner instead of yourself. It saves a lot of marital conflict. Your life will be a lot more joyful too. This counsel goes against the grain of our 2014 narcissistic thinking. Make note. Narcissism is death to love.

2. Use kind words. Do you scream at your best friend or your grandma? Do you call them rude names? I hope not. Your spouse should receive way more respect and kindness than your best friend or even your grandma. Oh, and guess what? You can have a thought without that thought coming out your mouth. It’s called respect. And maturity. And restraint. It’s called love.

3. Get physical. A lot. Hug. Smooch. Put your arms around each other several times a day. Sit close to each other. Hold hands. I get that some people are not as physically affectionate as others. But again, welcome to the world of “Life is not about you.” Or about me. When it comes to a healthy marriage, life is about US. Oh, and if you want a great marriage, physical “intimacy” is very important. Very very important. Did I use the word “very” ‘cause if I didn’t, I really meant to.

I get that marriage is harder for some people than others. I do. I get that. But whether you and your spouse have a natural and easy affection for each other, or whether it’s a daily struggle, habits can still make or break you. So, if you’re in a bad place right now, decide to start over. Decide to invest. Ask forgiveness. Speak kindly. Get physical. Get in the habit. The habit of choosing love.