Monday, July 31, 2017

Fear Not, Do Not Fear - 365 times in the scriptures

Education Week, BYU-Idaho
Godfidence: Facing Fear and Finding Freedom
Eric Richards

Some would argue that what made the works of Edgar Allan Poe so well known and albeit, spooky, was the fact that he played on the common fears of society at the time. It is interesting that a lot of these fears that were common in his time, are still common today.

The talk started by outlining the top common fears of society including: fear of spiders, snakes, small spaces, clowns, and heights. In this discussion, it was easy for me to see the role of "fear" and how it can prevent growth, overwhelm our faculties, and potentially take us captive.

Brother Richards shared some interesting stats about fear in the scriptures, including that the words "fear not" are mentioned 365 times in the scriptures; one for each day of the year. (I loved this insight!)

There are three insights from the talk that resonated with me including:
  • God is good: a light-hearted tale
  • Anchoring the boat: minimal drift
  • But if not: I will still have faith
God is Good: a light-hearted tale
Painting by Robert Barrett
Brother Richards tells the tale of a young man sitting on a bench reading the scriptures. After every verse, he would declare, "Amen! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! God is Good!" He was so vocal many would stop and look over to see what all the commotion was. 

Amidst his declarations, a well-known, scholarly gentleman stopped by to understand his enthusiasm and demonstrate his scholarly know-how.

Scholar: What scripture are you reading young man, and why the declaration?

Young Man: I just got to the part where Moses is leading his people out of captivity, and parts the Red Sea. Amen. Hallelujah. Praise Jesus! God is Good!

Scholar: I hate to tell you this, but perhaps I should. Historians, archaeologists, geologists, and other theologians have recently discovered that about that time there was a huge drought, which means that the Red Sea was only about 6 inches.

The Young Man was down trodden, thanked the scholar for his insight. The scholar left the young man, and quite proud of himself for fixing the presumed error of a 'miraculous' event, as proved by science. 

All of a sudden, he hears the young man proclaim "Amen! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! Good is Good."

Rushing back over, the scholarly gentleman inquires why, when after he corrected the young man the first time, was he now proclaiming praise.

Young Man: I just got to the verse where the Pharoah's soldiers reached the river. If what you said was correct, the Pharoah's soldiers all drowned in 6 inches of water! What a miracle! Praise Jesus.

I loved how this story demonstrates that even amidst the know-hows or naysayers of the world, that we can still be fearless because we know that God is Good. When we have a knowledge of this, even a slight knowledge, it will work in our favor.

One thing Brother Erickson said was that fearlessness is NOT the absence of fear - it is living a life of faith, in spite of fear. Choosing to cling to the promises we have made to God (our covenants) despite the situation at hand, has the potential to influence how we choose to walk. And when we walk in faith, we will have more courage than we thought.

Anchoring the Boat: Minimal Drift

Brother Richards has a lineage of what he calls the Island people. He said that the new Disney movie, Moana, had a profound impact on him, because he comes from that lineage. The next story was about this idea of 'anchoring the boats.' I pictured Moana the whole time he spoke.

In the past, when the island people worked at sea for a living, the chiefs and other experienced sailors would teach the youth about the importance of anchoring their boats. They explained that a sailor must anchor their boats to avoid losing their boats. The anchor allowed for minimum drift and was still able to function because it hadn't been tossed to and fro with the natural elements of the sea. Anchoring in a swift amount of time was crucial when sailors would see storms coming in.

To practice this feet, the young sailors would throw out their anchors, and when the anchor didn't hit the bedrock, the would pull it up, sail a distance, and scout for the perfect place to anchor.

The experienced sailors would shake their heads against this practice. What the young men couldn't see from the shore was 1. How far off they traveled to find the perfect place to anchor 2. Exposure to other dangers in the water in areas that are not as well known, and 3. How time got away from them, the storms approaching faster, as they scouted for the perfect place to anchor.

They missed the importance of the exercise.

What they were taught is that when they need to anchor 'now', they need to anchor in the spot indicated. If they run out of rope, the pull the anchor up, add more line, and try to anchor once more.

The point I loved was when we are anchored to Christ, yes, there could be drift - that is part of being mortal, but we will not drift too far. In addition, we cannot look for other places to anchor. We must anchor where we stand now....not hoping for a proverbial perfect location. The location is set and it is perfect.

But If Not: I Will Still Have Faith 

Brother Richards spoke of many stories in the scriptures and in church history that speak of courage, and strength to do the right thing. My favorite story of the event was the answer that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave when King Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to worship the golden idol and deny their God. As the story continues, they refuse to worship a false idol, and the King threatens that he will throw them into a fiery furnace.

Daniel 3:17-18 states:

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up

My favorite thing: our God is a God of all power. He CAN certainly deliver us. But, if he doesn't, we will still believe in God. I love it. What conviction. What courage. 

Conclusion

From Ruth Fazal's album cover: Deeper by Oliver Pengilley
When I am ready to take up my anchor and start to doubt His word or His promises, or start to doubt myself, I also need to remember that Heavenly Father has asked me, and all of us to take Him to the place where I started to doubt, or lost trust - take Him to the place where I/you were bullied, abused, mistreated - let Him in on the process of those feelings, memories, emotions. ...and trust that He has the ability to heal.

Psalms 118 was not placed in the DEAD CENTER of the Bible for now reason. There are 594 chapters before and 594 chapters after. It is the 1188 Psalm (118 verse 8) that states: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." When I put my confidence in him, my fears become a little more manageable.
Even when I am feeling tossed by the wind, or struggling to help a teething 1 year old, or making it through a 'relapse' of a loved one, or feeling undervalued, all I need to do is remember: God is a God of ALL power. He has the ability to deliver me. BUT IF NOT - I still believe in God.

That, my friends is the ability to defeat fear. That is courage!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Offering a Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit to Jesus Christ

I am currently attending Education Week at BYU-Idaho. Even if I hadn't signed up for all of Education Week, the opening lecture from Gerald Lund was enough to make this experience worth it.

The entirety of the talk was based around the approach that we hardly consider when speaking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Typically, when we discuss or think about the Atonement we consider two perspectives:

The Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Son of God OR The Atonement of Jesus Christ, as it applies to humanity (to me).

The approach Brother Lund took was The Atonement of Jesus Christ, the mortal man, or the Son of Mary.

There were five aspects we discussed about Jesus Christ, the mortal man and the symbolism embedded with what, as a mortal, He experienced, including:
  • Knowest thou the condescension of God
  • I, God, have suffered thees things for all
  • Abba, Father
  • A broken heart and a contrite spirit
  • Ye must be born again
There were so many beautiful things we discussed, but the one that resonated and stuck out to me the most was this idea of what it meant to Jesus Christ as he experienced a broken heart and what it means to truly be born again. I will only discuss the first one in this particular post.

Broken Heart
The act of crucifying as a form of capitol punishment was developed by the Assyrians, but 'perfected' by the Romans. Where crucifixion was used as a means to an end, the Romans designed it to prolong, instead of hasten death. It was not unusual for a victim to live up to 5-6 days.

I came home and researched the physiology of a crucifixion, and what it would do the human body. I found an article entitled, The Science of the Crucifixion by Cathleen Shrier Ph.D. with Azusa Pacific University.

The article states:

"Normally, to breathe in, the diaphragm (the large muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity) must move down. This enlarges the chest cavity and air automatically moves into the lungs (inhalation). To exhale, the diaphragm rises up, which compresses the air in the lungs and forces the air out (exhalation). As Jesus hangs on the cross, the weight of His body pulls down on the diaphragm and the air moves into His lungs and remains there. Jesus must push up on His nailed feet (causing more pain) to exhale."

"The difficulty surrounding exhalation leads to a slow form of suffocation. Carbon dioxide builds up in the blood, resulting in a high level of carbonic acid in the blood. The body responds instinctively, triggering the desire to breathe. At the same time, the heart beats faster to circulate available oxygen. The decreased oxygen (due to the difficulty in exhaling) causes damage to the tissues and the capillaries begin leaking watery fluid from the blood into the tissues. This results in a build-up of fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion) and lungs (pleural effusion). The collapsing lungs, failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get sufficient oxygen to the tissues essentially suffocate the victim.5 The decreased oxygen also damages the heart itself (myocardial infarction) which leads to cardiac arrest. In severe cases of cardiac stress, the heart can even burst, a process known as cardiac rupture.6"

While gruesome and completely horrific, these facts are important to note as Brother Lund described the physiological state of Jesus Christ as his mortal body experienced a crucifixion done by the Romans, and as supported by the article above.

In John 19:34 as the Romans went to check to make sure Jesus Christ was really dead, "one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." 

We can gather at this point that Jesus Christ could have died from a heart attack, as alluded to in the article above. As James E. Talmage states in Jesus the Christ, "Great mental stress, poignant emotion either of grief or joy, and intense spiritual struggle are among the recognized causes of heart rupture. The present writer believes that the Lord Jesus died of a broken heart."

John 13:15 says " For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.It makes so much more sense to me why, when we covenant with our Heavenly Father that we too must offer up a broken heart."


And as we are commanded to do what He has done, He asks us to offer Him a broken heart and contrite spirit that we may live again (Doctrine and Covenants 59:8).

This idea of a broken heart is tied to the covenants we make at baptism. When I go into 'being born again', I will share how I made some of these connections for the first time. I can say that I now have a more profound attention and respect for the sacrament I am offered every Sunday - which provides an opportunity for me to renew my covenants by taking the figurative blood and body of Jesus Christ with the bread and water.

Painting by Elizabeth Wang
Even in the Darkness of our Sufferings
Jesus is With Us
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ has always been hard for me to hear. I always skipped the details, or left the room if they were discussed because I couldn't bear to hear about the cruelty. Today, I listened with different ears.

And, as I did, one thing became abundantly clear: I know without a doubt that my brother, Jesus Christ loves me beyond what I am capable of understanding. This love that He has for me is unique, personal, and intimate. He has a deep personal love for all of His children, which is also unique, personal and intimate with each of them.

My love for the Savior and what He for me as the a Son of God, and as a mortal man, has exponentially increased since this morning. I left feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Taking Time to Ponder: Being OK With Where I Am

Remember my last post - where I talked about spending time with Little Bundle? Over the course of the last several months, Little Bundle learned to crawl, eats solids (wahoo), and is very curious. I love seeing this development and growth in him. It keeps us both busy...and I like it that way.

One thing I am still learning though, is being able to accomplish the goals I have made...and have broken, and made again, but still be able to be with Little Bundle. I am not sure what this looks like yet, and don't have any advice for what to do to have a balanced life.

But I can say that today, while listening to Marfa Lights 1 by Deuter, I looked out my window and just looked. I breathed in deep breaths. I raised my standing desk and stood. I stretched and lengthened. I pondered. Really pondered.

I have been thinking about what's next for me lately. Often when I start thinking too far ahead, I don't see the Lord working miracles in my life because I end up getting nervous and anxious. I start doing things out of context and stepping on a lot of toes in the process. 

Two days ago I listened to this great BYU devotional talk about women, perseverance, education, direction, persistence, and devotion to God. The message was beautiful and clear. At a different point in my life, I could have been empowered by it. But this time, I needed to disregard it in order to keep my mind sound and open. I finally feel like I am in a good place. I am not saying that I am too content (because being content is sometimes not a good thing). I am saying that I am in a good place emotionally, spiritually...ok, maybe not physically (but I have accepted this). 

When I start questioning where I am, or the next step, I start going faster than I have strength, and end up crashing hard. Crashing hard hurts. It has taken almost my whole life to finally figure out that I will get to where I need to at the time and pace that I need to - and that God is more than happy with that. For those of us who already burden ourselves with "I am not good enough" or "I am never happy until...." I have found that it is better to allow the Lord's plans to unfold, instead of trying to unfold them too early.

That is why I am happy with where I am. I want to take this time to ponder, but not have anxiety. I want to be ok with the fact that I am still growing, and I know that it won't be as painful because I am taking a step back. 

  • I have plans to pursue my PhD, but not right now.
  • I spot clean until I have time to deep clean, because I would rather spend time with Little Bundle.
  • I choose to eat as healthy as I can, go on walks, and live an active lifestyle....with Little Bundle in mind....but am not overly concerned about my baby weight and trying to lose it.
  • I choose to stay in my marriage in spite of all those around me that see so many things that could be improved, or that they deem as "wrong".
  • I am happy with my current work position and find joy with my team and who I serve. Sure I am interested in progress and upward movement, but not right now.
  • Sure I wish I had enough energy at the end of the day to blog, read, plan meals, etc. And eventually I will start to bring these things back into my life, but not as full force as I have in the past. And I am OK with that.
  • I will take the time to have 10 minutes of ponder time a day. Perhaps in the morning at work, just like today - where I can remind myself that my life is wonderful.
It is remarkable how many times I have to tell myself that I am OK with where I am in life. Admittedly, this time around has been less painful and enjoyable....and it has taken a long time for me to get to this point.

Go me.

AND Go YOU, all my amazing anxiously engaged friends,...if you have been able to get to this point too.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mommy tales: Mondays are the hardest

Most weekends, I pack up Little Bundle and we go shopping, or go on a mini-vacation, or just get out of the house. My attention goes to making sure he is safe, and that we get things accomplished.

This weekend, we had a service day where we helped our neighbors cut down large trees, helped with yard work, and really felt like we were part of the community. Little Bundle and I spent all day interacting together, having actual nap times - that get thrown off when we travel - and just really had a good time. While he can't verbalize his good time, he was SO happy, and slept when he needed to sleep.

Sunday, we were both very sick. My Sweetheart came down with a cold last week. Even though we tried to avoid it, it came at us full force. Little Bundle and I were out of commission all day. The beauty of having a baby that sleeps the entire naptime is that mom can sleep too.

And just like that, we were cooped up inside our home all Sunday. 

In spite of our colds, Little Bundle showed me all his new tricks. The advantage of being the nanny is that you mostly get to see all the tricks before the parents do. He scoots backwards, starting clicking his tongue, looks up at you when you are holding him forward with those beautiful brown eyes, and "squinches" up his nose when you do something he thinks is funny. He also imitates your laugh and fake laughs, which I get a kick out of. He is growing so fast it is hard to keep up with all the new things he learns. By the time I write it down, he is onto something new.

But yet, when I sneak in on him sleeping, he seems so small - even though he is getting so big.

For a working mom, I only see Little Bundle 4 hours of any given day (if I keep him up to play instead of going to bed). This is tough. 

This is why it is easy for me to say 'no' to events I am invited where Little Bundle can't come with me. This is why it is easy for me to cook Mac N Cheese instead of something that requires more time. That is why I would rather be with him than with anyone, no offense. 

That is why Monday's are hardest - because my 12 hours of awake time with Little Bundle dwindle down to 4.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I Tire of Me

Angel of Death by Gold-Seven
In The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, there is a scene where Death (the narrator) is wondering about God. In wondering and questioning why, why all these people? Death says, 

"I blow warm air into my hands, to heat them up.
But it's hard to keep them warm when the soul still shivers.
God.
I always say that name when I think of it.
God.
Twice I speak it.
I say His name in a futile attempt to understand. "But it is not your job to understand." That's me who answers."

Then Death continues, "Your job is to..." And then I stop listening to me, because to put it bluntly, I tire of me."

That is how I have felt lately....I tire of me.

The past several weeks, I have had things brought to light by myself, by others, even by strangers, that I am sick of. I am sick of getting down on myself for things that don't matter. I will replay scenarios and conversations over and over and over just to make sure I didn't do something wrong, or say something upsetting or offensive.The "people pleaser" in my has taken full affect, and to my detriment. My paranoia of making sure everyone is always happy has taken a toll not just on my emotions, but also my physical state.

In this discovery, I am learning what it TRULY means to "please others." Before, I thought it was to make sure someone was happy with me all the time. But, duh....I can't control that. To please others was very surface for me, and I always came back with anxiety about an interaction.

I failed to grasp the deeper principle.

In the talk Which Way Do You Face, Elder Lynn G. Robbins captures the essence of what I have learned, "Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second great commandments (see Matthew 22:37–39). It is forgetting which way we face. And yet, we have all made that mistake because of the fear of men."

My fear of man runs deep, but is something I feel like I am overcoming. When I relax the small things (reading scriptures, praying, attending the temple, FHE), I find this fear comes back full force. The adversary is very aware of my shortcomings, and knows this is my "go to" when I am straying away from the Word of Christ and Love of God.

I have had many angels help me in my effort to strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ and My Heavenly Father the past several weeks, including:
Pilgrim of the Cross at the End of His Journey. Thomas Cole. 1848.
  1. During a conversation with one of my supervisors, I relayed that I was struggling to feel valuable to the organization. I wasn't trying to demean the organization, nor leadership - but approached the topic with my supervisor in hopes to get advice for what I was doing wrong, how I could be more efficient, or what I could do to do my job better.

    The past several weeks, I have examined why I have a need for constant feedback, and why I like to know that what I am doing is good, bad, amazing, not so amazing, etc.

    It was at that moment that my supervisor expressed that as long as my relationship with Heavenly Father is in tact, I will feel value/valuable in all other relationships, or whatever work I pursue. It was that moment, I knew my relationship with Heavenly Father was not where it needed to be.

    This was the culminating moment where I realized my pride was being broken down in a VERY loving way from an EXTREMELY loving Heavenly Father.

  2. I attended an All Employee Conference where the HR Director from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about leadership and becoming Disciple Leaders. Part of the training the church administration uses includes an exercise of asking Heavenly Father, "What Lack I Yet."

    I was not ready to ask this question. At this moment, I knew that this is what Heavenly Father was waiting for me to do - so that we could strengthen our relationship. I didn't know if I could handle what he needed of me. Without really asking, I know Heavenly Father allowed me to think/ponder the idea of asking Him "What Lack I Yet," for a little while. I am grateful that He gave me this time.

    I still haven't asked Him, but feel like I am learning anyway.

  3. There are some foundational things that aren't in place in our marriage for us individually, and therefore not in place for us as a couple. We both recognized the need to seek help to overcome some habits that have turned extremely ugly in our marriage.

    Our amazing Bishop is helping us with those foundational elements that are deep rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. His encouragement and testimony of our Savior's ability to heal and help us overcome our challenges has restored in me hope....something I haven't felt in a long time.

    The other night, our Bishop gave me a blessing. Prior to the blessing, I shared with him that I am being humbled right now, and in this state my pride is being broken down....and it is painful. It is so painful.

    The blessing was sacred, but I want to share that this period of being humble is far from over. However, I left the Bishop's office with a renewed sense of hope, a remembrance of Heavenly Father's love for all of His children, and with a surety that when I rely on Jesus Christ, I will be able to withstand, carry, power through, and be so incredibly happy.

  4. In a situation where I was supposed to be advising, I found myself being advised. This young lady pointed out: there are many people willing to die for Christ....which is highly admirable. Yet, how many are willing to live for Him? She continued that when she stops doing the small things, like reading scriptures, going to the temple, praying morning and night...how easy it is to fall short.

    I valued her perspective and realized that I had been falling short. I know one of my Happiness Project Commandments is #8
    It is part of life's learning experience to fail - what is failure anyway? But this is something I realized CANNOT be compromised. I can't fail in this.

    Please don't misunderstand, I GET the reality that I may not do this sometimes. But the conversation renewed my conviction, and buoyed me through this turbulent time.
There are so many other moments that have helped and are helping me along the way. 

Going back to The Book Thief, after Death says "I tire of me," Zusak writes, "When I start thinking like that, I become so exhausted, and I don't have the luxury of indulging in fatigue."


The talk The Need for Total Commitment by Theodore M. Burton, states, "It is true that we each have imperfections to overcome. Life is a constant series of challenges and trials. Notwithstanding, we should never fail to strive for that perfection of life which can bring us closer into harmony with God. As the apostle Paul said in writing to the Philippians:

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as [would] be [come] perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Philip. 3:14–15.)

Thus we should seek to overcome any discovered fault in our characters which tends to take us away from a total commitment to God."

I don't have the luxury of being in this life with half my foot in the door and half my foot out the door. The time is now for me to commit fully.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Save Me Buddha-Bar Pandora Radio!

I was introduced to the Buddha-Bar soundtrack back in 2009. I heard it when I worked at The Summit Group Communication back in the day via my buddy and amazing colleague, Scott. After hearing it, I went to the library and found out that Buddha Bar had a variety of different soundtracks. I was hooked and bought all of them.

Since then, Buddha-Bar has been my go to when I need to get stuff done, and get it done quickly. Often, you will hear these tunes in my office when I have important deadlines to meet. Its varied sounds including drums, zithers, accordion, bongos, and Parisian influences provides the beats I need to stay focused and "get 'er done." 

With Pandora, I eat up the Buddha-Bar station like gangbusters. 

During my masters program, I would find my chair (Burt) in the Marriott Library at the University of Utah campus, plug in to my computer, and throw on Buddha-Bar. The end production of my writing and assignments was astounding - did I really just write that? Cool.
It is not news that music influences behavior; just read:

How Background Music Influences Behavior at Work: Berkeley Online Magazine
How Music Affects Your Productivity: Help Scout

Some of my most insightful blog posts were written while listening to Buddha-Bar. Now I sound like an advertisement - but I don't care. I just had to share with you something that works for me.

I also notice my house gets a little cleaner with these tunes streaming in the background.

Thank you Buddha-Bar....

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Marriage Learning Curve, Lesson 8: I Hide the Poptarts

Hidden away in my cupboard are varying food items that are purposefully hidden. There is a scene in the Family Man, not my favorite movie, but a fun scene nonetheless - where Tea Leoni's character is enjoying a large piece of chocolate cake. Nicolas Cage's character sees this and gets truly exacerbated because he was planing on having the last piece of chocolate cake. They end up wrestling over it.

Since as long as I can remember, I have stashed the good food stuffs for myself. From the time I was young, I would hide my favorite food items in places no one would ever find them in the pantry - behind the canned food items, for example. I don't know how this started, but have a theory.

I savor. I eat slowly so I can enjoy every bite. Sometimes, I close my eyes. Other times, my friends are embarrassed to be around me because I make yummy noises at restaurants. In this regard, I like the good stuff to last. And often, growing up - the good stuff would disappear after one or two days.  

But I was planning on having that cookie....in two days, because I had one yesterday, I am having chocolate covered pretzels today, and cheesecake tomorrow...therefore HOW DARE YOU TOUCH MY COOKIE.

I often have a plan with my food. It requires that I save it as long as I can. I don't know why; this has always just...been.

Since being married, this concept of 'saving food' for when I anticipate a craving, is non-existent. I am married to someone who lacks discipline to stop eating. Left-overs were never a thing for him and his family. And when there are left-overs, they are quickly forgotten and end up going bad if I don't remind him they are there.

The Poptarts I bought just two days ago....are gone. The 4 boxes of cereal I bought 2 weeks ago...gone yesterday. Not to mention that My Sweetheart always says how bad these things are for him. So, I buy them thinking that maybe, just maybe, one day when I am craving Marshmallow Maties because I just love the gooshy marshmallow goodness, I will have a bag left. Nope.

Back in my college days, I used to share staple food items (milk, eggs, butter) with my roommates. Over time, I developed "Roommate Meetings" where when we would first move in together, we could air out any items that 'bugged' us, so that the other roommates would get and understand pet peeves beforehand. It saved a lot of heartache and potential drama to do this. 

My 'bugs and recommendations' were: 
  • If you finish the milk, you are responsible for buying more milk - same day. Heaven forbid that I wake up thinking I have breakfast all taken care of, and have to eat my cereal with water...or not eat cereal at all *gasp
  • Do your dish, or if you don't, don't leave crap in so I have to soak your dish
This food thing has been a source of contention in our marriage. On those days where I have something in mind to cook for our family, and the main ingredient has been eaten - with no regard to my meal preparation - I can't help but get upset.  Not to mention that some of the things eaten doesn't make sense:

Why, why did you have to eat two bags of sharp cheddar cheese for lunch? Really? Couldn't you find something else substantial to eat...like those frozen meals that you pop in the microwave, or the left-over roast and mashed potatoes we had last night?

And so, after many an argument about how I savor, and My Sweetheart's lack of food discipline, I have incorporated a couple of things:
  • Get that food is food, and that we both need it to survive - stop being so grumpy about when food is gone - at least he is eating.
  • I label my food (particularly my fancy French jam). My Sweetheart doesn't have refined tasted buds like mine and doesn't mind non-fancy jam. So, I label my food.
  • My Sweetheart doesn't often have patience for waiting for the microwave, so I have just accepted that I need to buy more cereal and milk. I needed to stop fighting this one, even though cereal is extremely expensive and unhealthy.
  • I put the leftovers right on top of other items in the refrigerator.
  • I put a limitation on the amount of cheese he could eat per day so it could last for at least 1 week 1/2, with which he agrees - and I am grateful.
  • I buy two of the things I know he pounds, like bread.
  • He checks in with me if he wants to slam a gallon of ice cream.
  • I buy him 'food presents' so that he can remember that I love him in spite of the fact he ate my food. 
We are still working on the 'please replace my item same day' business, which is why I still hide my Poptarts.