Sin and Bad Dreams

I just woke up from a horrible dream. In the dream I was sleeping around on my husband. And then someone walked in on me, right after the fact, and they could tell what I had been doing and the look of shock and disappointment on their face was horrible. And I started making up all these lies and excuses, but I could tell they didn’t believe me. And they left and I sat there knowing that I would never have peace until I confessed what I had done, but how could I confess? My husband would divorce me and then it would ruin our kids’ lives. And I knew I would just have to keep this horrible secret forever and I was just covered in despair. 

And then I woke up. And I had to go through some self talk to calm myself down. Have you slept around on your husband? No. No I haven’t. Are you planning on sleeping around on your husband. No. No I’m not. Ok. Then this is not your worry. You don’t have to carry these feelings around. Let it go. It was just a bad dream. 

But then honesty had to kick in. Are you capable of sinning like this? Umm. Yes. My heart is just as sinful as the next person. There have been rough times in our marriage that, if I had been faced with the exact right temptations, I might have succumbed. But, God’s grace has kept me. 

And then I just had to sit there and cling to that. God’s grace has kept me. 

From so many things. 

And then I had to think about the nature of our God. He is God who can unravel any mess that we make. What if I had been in that situation? What if I had confessed such a sin? Maybe my husband would have divorced me. Maybe not. But I do know that God would have been faithful to work in my heart. To bring me to a place of repentance. To take me through a path of healing. To help me deal with the sin issues in my heart that led me in that direction. And throughout all of it, he would have stayed with me. 

The tragedy of the dream, I think, is the pain and suffering I would have caused my husband and children. Why do our sins always end up hurting other people? And knowing that God could bring me to a place of repentance and healing, but what about those wounds I would have inflicted on my family? I would have no power to heal those wounds. Only God could. And I would have no power to force my loved ones to turn to God for that healing. It would be completely up to them what they did with those wounds. 

It brings home how completely dependent we are on God’s mercy and grace. We truly live in a sinful dark world. And we are capable of the worst sins imaginable. And it is truly a miracle that Jesus would be willing to come down and offer a solution to our sin problem. He died on the cross and took the punishment for all this sin that we humans so easily commit. If we turn to him and repent of our sins, he will forgive us, and cover us with his own goodness. When God looks at me, he no longer sees sinful Esther. He sees Esther covered in Jesus’ goodness. Clean. Acceptable. And when I submit myself to him, say Your will be done in my life, not my own will, he is faithful to lead me down a path of goodness. 

And yes, while I live on this earth, I will still deal with sin issues that pop up here and there. We are on a path of change, while God works in our hearts to slowly make us more like him. But my God is big enough to unravel every mess I make. And I cling to his grace and mercy. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Fat Fridays: Becoming More Like My Kids

I spent this evening being a sports mom. This is a new role for me. Our family has not done sports with our kids. We are not very sports oriented (at all) and the logistics of getting kids to practice and games when there are twelve people in the family made it feel impossible to try. So this year my twelve year old son started at a new school and they have a middle school basketball team, boys and girls. And they don’t do tryouts. You show up, practice, you are on the team. So, my kid who has never played basketball decided he would like to play basketball. Yay! Alright son, we’ll support you! He went to the first practice and I picked him up afterwards. 

How was it?

It was fine. Oh, by the way, I also joined the cheerleading team. I talked to the coaches and they said it was fine. I can cheer for the girls games and play for the boys games. 

Ummm. Ok. 

And that is how I became a sports mom. So this evening I worked the concessions stand and watched through the doorway as my son was allowed to play during the 3rd quarter. He really is a beginner. Very eager, but obviously just learning the game. I always feel grateful when the coach lets him get some time. And then I handed over concessions duty to another parent after the boys game and went and sat in the bleachers and watched my son cheer with the cheerleading squad for the girls game. Go team. 

How does all this relate to diet and exercise? Well, I was sitting here thinking about all this, and thinking about how important it is that I exercise and pursue health in front of my children as a role model to them. But as I sat here and thought about it, I am beginning to think that my kids have had more of an influence on me in this area than I have had on them. My kids take after their dad, they seem to have confidence oozing out of their pores. They are very comfortable in their own skin. They have interests that are different from their peers and it never occurs to them to not pursue those interests just because others might think they are weird. 

I, on the otherhand, tend to be very self-conscious. And I’ve got legitimate reasons for why I became that way, but it’s not something I need to hang onto. I feel really self conscious about exercising. I’m not an athletic person. I’m not particularly skilled. I’m overweight. I feel like, if people see me running, they are automatically going to look and see who’s chasing me, instead of thinking I’m out for exercise. So, it’s been a big stretch for me to go out in my neighborhood and run on a regular basis. But, I’m enjoying it. No, I will never be a marathon runner. No, I will never win any races. But am I having fun doing something I like? Yes. And the big bonus is that it’s also good for me. 

And so I find myself in a place where I can continue to encourage my kids to pursue what interests them and try new things, and they are encouraging me at the same time. It’s a good place to be. 

Large Family Life

One of the things I beat myself up about is that I don’t feel like I work very hard. I have a lot of days that are slow paced, mixed in with days of pure chaotic busyness, then back to slow pace again. “You are so lazy” is something my brain likes to say a lot. And maybe I am. The jury is still out on that one. But I am starting to think that maybe I am not a lazy person and rather, I NEED a slow pace. So I structure my life in such a way that I can keep myself from staying in a stressed-out state at all times. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. 

To reassure myself that I am not lazy, and actually do get things done, I sometimes make lists of my accomplishments. (Surely I’m not the only one that does this??) So, today, as I was making my reassurance list of accomplishments, it got me thinking about Large Family Life. I do a lot of things that feel really normal to me, but I know to others it may seem over the top. Just for fun, I decided to take some pictures of Large Family Life. 

Ok, so here is 24 hours worth of dishes. I do the dishes, but a couple times a week I tap a couple teenagers to do the job. Since it gets spread around so thin, they usually don’t complain. 

Food is a big deal. I buy most things in the extra large size or bulk, or just end up getting four times what everyone else does. I get these breakfast bars because my kids eat breakfast at school, but some of them don’t like school breakfast, and some of them are more hungry in the morning and want something extra, and we get up and out of the house pretty fast, so we don’t take time for a sit down breakfast. Note, the box is on top of the fridge. This is a signal to the kids that this is off limits unless I put it out. Otherwise, it would be gone in a day. 

My kids also eat a lot of fruit. This is a week’s worth of fruit for them, and we are three days into the grocery week already. 

I got extra eggs this week because we’re going to have frittata. I will probably use 36 or 40 eggs to make the frittata. 

Any time I bake, I double or triple the recipe. Baking is a really inexpensive way of feeding a lot of kids. 

Today I finished doing laundry and then folded everything. All the kids help put it away. My four oldest kids at home do their own laundry, so their laundry isn’t in the picture. 

I have a sock basket that not only has odd socks in it (I recently cleaned this out and threw away about 2 grocery bags full of old, unmatched, holey socks), but also has random socks that don’t belong to anyone in particular, but are too nice to get rid of, and will be waiting around for the next person that needs them. The only clothing I get rid of is what my youngest child outgrows. 

Every day after school I check everyone’s backpacks, sign folders, take care of papers and keep an eye on who has homework so I can have them sit down later to do it. 

Decorating for Christmas is always fun as everyone has to be represented. Stockings are ready to go. Everyone also has their own Christmas mug. 

So these are random tidbits. I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom of lots of kids. It suits me. I have lots of time to think and ponder, read, be involved in people’s lives, and feel like I’m giving my kids the home they need to be able to grow into the people they were meant to be. I realize that having a big family and being able to stay home with the kids is a big blessing and I hope I never take it for granted. And I’m going to keep working on my self-talk that’s always trying to put me down. Not lazy. Just slow and steady. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving morning and my heart is bubbling over with contentment and wonder. The last several days my mind has been taking a walk down memory lane and I’ve been really focused on God’s protection over me over the years, and how he used specific people in every phase of my life to offer me that protection and care. 

I think about past teachers who offered me friendship and encouragement…a certain Ms Iutzi comes to mind, my English teacher in Bethel, Alaska. She genuinely loved her students, opened her classroom as a hangout place, was always handing me new books to read, laughed at my jokes, and has continued to be an encouraging person in my life, even now, twenty-five years later. 

I think about my dear friend Louima who became my big brother in college and still is someone I count as family and someone I continue to learn from as he shares his wisdom in his writing. 

I think about my dear friend Telena who became my friend and mentor when I first moved to Tennessee. We’ve shared a lot of life together and her wisdom and common sense helped me a lot as I first started on the path of marriage and motherhood. 

I think about my dear friends Francie and Rob whose ministry has led me to a place of wholeness and healing in my life. 

I think about my pastors at our church who have offered counsel, prayer, and a helping hand over the years. 

My parents and my husband’s parents who have continued to be there for us through thick and thin. 

My friends on Facebook who take the time to write encouraging notes that brighten up my day. 

Strange as it might sound, those friendships represent to me God’s care for me. His protection. His sovereignty that knew I needed those people at those times to help carry me through. 

This is only the tiniest sample of people that have blessed me. I’m thankful for all of you. I’m thankful for God’s care for me. I’m thankful that we have this day to stop and name what has brought joy to our lives. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you have a blessed day!

Updates and Manga

I wanted to give you all an update on our meeting that we had last week concerning our foster child. The meeting went really well and we were able to come up with a timeline that is long enough to enable a slow, hopefully smooth transition, with a lot of safety measures in place. It was definitely an answer to prayer and I am feeling a lot more peace about the upcoming changes. 

The meeting was Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning my husband went running with me (a sign of true husbandly devotion) and then I came home and ended up doing almost nothing, all day long. I was wiped out from stress. But I have felt God’s mercy on me as the last couple days have been worry-free, slow, and peaceful. 

In other news, this past weekend, I started reading one of my daughter’s manga. Basically, comic books. It’s a romance manga that my daughter really liked, and we used to tease her about it. Then for her birthday, we bought the anime series and all watched it with her, and it was so wonderfully sweet and fluffy that me and all the little kids fell in love with it. In a culture where “romance” is often just another word for pornography, it was very nice to see a version of romance where handholding is about the raciest thing that happens. 

My kids have been laughing about me reading this, but I have to explain a bit why this has grabbed my fancy. I have always had a fascination with how people interact with each other. The role of power and submission, friendship, protectors, the heroes, the villains. How it all plays out. And I have so many questions. Why are we drawn to these kinds of characters? Why do we think that this kind of interaction is “sweet”. It was really interesting to see drawn out pictures, cartoons,  of all these tropes that appear in every kind of literature I’ve ever read. My interest is not so much in the story, but rather the stereotypes that they are representing and trying to understand why these stereotypes show up so often. 

I’ve been thinking a lot, too, about the nature of Jesus. Our perceptions of him. How we interact with him. The connections between the literature we love, and our inner desires for a relationship with God. Because I do see a lot of connections. I look at this cartoon in this silly manga, and I find something inside of me is stirred, and I have to ask, what inner longings do I have that draw me to this caricature? And I find myself setting the book down and asking God about it. These stories that captivate us only do so because they are a shadow of what God originally designed for us in the Garden of Eden. So what is this desire and how do I find the real version of it in God? And it’s actually been a rather nice time of talking to God. I don’t feel like I’m getting all the answers, but I really feel like he is listening to me. 

The verses that he has put in my mind this morning are ones like Jeremiah 29:13:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

And Matthew 7:7:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

I just feel like God is saying, No you don’t understand it fully right now, but keep asking questions. Keep looking. You’re looking for me, and I want to be found. 

And I feel encouraged. God can be found in the craziest places, even in an anime cartoon. 

Fat Fridays: In Search of New Strategies

Well, it’s Friday, and I’m still fat…Guess I don’t have much else to say. 

Just kidding.

I’ve been “training” for my 5k. Which sounds really pretentious. But, I don’t know how else to put it. Last Saturday I ran 5k in 37 mins and 28 secs. Which was an improvement over the 40 mins it took me the time before. I think I’ll be trying it again tomorrow. Today I’m supposed to run 5 mins at a moderate pace, 5 mins at a fast pace and 3 mins ALL OUT. I am not a fast pace or ALL OUT pace kind of person. So, this will be interesting. Ok, so here is a question. How do you keep track of these times when you are running? I have a fitbit and I have a cellphone. Running with a cellphone in my hand is awkward. Trying to press the button on the side of my fitbit to light up the screen while I am running is also awkward. And sometimes I accidentally bump the screen and it pauses my workout and then I’m frantically trying to make it start again, while still running. It does not make for a smooth running experience. And I can just see myself today, trying to go ALL OUT for a whole 3 minutes and I’ll keep having to stop and look at my watch. Not an ideal situation. So how does everyone else do it? 

The other thing is I run in my neighborhood and there are awkward breaks where I have to cross a big road and so I’m trying to figure out how to map my route so that when I’m going fast and ALL OUT, I don’t have to pause and wait for traffic. RIght now I’m thinking it might be easier to just do the same half mile stretch several times because I know approximately how much time it takes me to run that and I’ll at least have some clues as to when to look at my watch. 

We’ll see. It’s cold outside. I’m not going to go out till it warms up a little bit more. 

Diet is going horrible. I find myself thinking, maybe I just need to try to maintain this weight until January when I can get all hyped up about healthy eating again. Why does January always seem like a good time to diet? Looking at the upcoming holiday season, it does not feel like a great time to be eating healthy. And this is my old, unhealthy thought patterns having full control right now. My memories of past holidays where I ate carefully are that I felt great from not over-indulging. 

Right now my brain is in high-stress mode and it’s really hard to practice self-care when your brain is in this mode. Really hard. I’ve been able to keep exercising and make that happen. I just don’t know how to keep the healthy eating happening. 

We have an important meeting today which I’m hoping the outcome is that I will be less stressed afterwards. We’ll see. The problem is that we can’t wait for the stress to go away before we try to be healthy. My experience of the past two years is that the stress is not going anywhere. It appears to have moved in to stay. And my main strategy has always been to wait for stress to pack it’s bags and leave. So now I need a new strategy. And actually, writing about this has been helpful. I don’t think I’ve put that reality into words before. The problem at least feels a little more simple. I need a new strategy for handling stress because I need to accept that the stress is here to stay so waiting for it to leave is no longer an option. 

Well, I think I’m going to spend the rest of the day pondering that. I’ll see you all next week. 

Walking a Hard Road

We’ve got a meeting at the end of this week to discuss the reunification of our foster daughter with her birth family. 

There are a lot of emotions going on right now. On the one hand, this morning as we drove to school, I prayed for each of our family members and for our foster daughter’s family as well. Which we have been doing for two years. And I had the thought, Why are you surprised that prayers are being answered? Except, if I’m being honest, those prayers were more for the benefit of my foster daughter than because I had any faith. Anger and unforgiveness has kind of made me only able to make a blanket prayer, God be with them. But at the same time, I’m proud of her birth family. It’s been a long hard road and they’ve worked hard to overcome some really big obstacles. 

When I’m dealing with some big tantrums and crazy behavior, I find myself thinking, Well, at least this will no longer be my responsibility. But then sweet moments happen and I think, what is our family going to look like without this child smack in the middle always stirring things up? And I worry about my other kids’ grief that they will have to process. 

And I wonder, how on earth are we going to come up with a smooth transition that will produce the least amount of trauma? How much assistance do I offer to make this easier for my daughter? How much assistance will hinder her bonding back with her family? How do I make sure she knows, beyond all doubt, that I will always love her and I am always going to be her mom, and I’ll always be here for her if she needs me? How do I step back from primary caregiver to friend of the family? 

I don’t know. 

I have no regrets. But I hate this. 

I’m sitting here in my living room while I write this and I looked out the window and saw a bunch of birds swooping through the early morning gray sky. This verse came to mind. 

Matthew 10:29-31  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

This is what I have to cling to in faith. That Jesus loves my foster daughter even more than I do and he has his hand on her life. My job is to say yes to whatever love and care God needs me to offer this child, but I also have to let go when he says it’s time to let go. Though maybe not a complete release, just a loosening of my hold. 

I try to look forward into the future, and fear shows me all the things that could go wrong. But faith requires me to stay in the moment. Right now what am I required to do? I’m required to give her birth family another chance. And I’m required to walk with them through this process. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I know what I have to do today. 

All prayers are appreciated as we walk this road. 

Fat Fridays: Big Changes, New Goals

It’s Friday. Thank God. This has been a very long week. Very long. Today is going to be one of my busiest days. I think I will be able to start relaxing somewhere around 5:30 tonight. I’m counting down the hours. 

I received news this week about our foster daughter who has been with us for two years,  possibly starting the reunification process with her family in the very near future. It was unexpected news. I’ve been a bit out of it the last several days as I try to process how I feel about this. 

Last weekend I decided to sign up for a 5k race on December 18th. I’ve never done a 5k before or any kind of race since I was in elementary school. I felt like I was needing some motivation to keep on exercising. A goal to work towards. I’m pretty excited about it. At least, I’m excited about it until I’m actually out running. And then I find myself wondering why on earth am I choosing to do this? This is hard. I’m not feeling great joy. And then I finish running and all the good feelings come back. Yay! I’m going to do this! 

I talked to my trainer and asked her to give me workouts that will help me get ready. I think she’s planning on having me run four days a week. I have very modest goals. 

Goal #1 Run the whole race without having to stop and walk.

Goal #2 Try to finish in 36 minutes. 

And that’s it. And even if it takes a couple minutes longer, I don’t really care. Just running the whole thing without stopping will be a big accomplishment for me. 

I am glad that I set this goal. It’s been helpful this week as I’ve been dealing with crazy emotions. Here, I’m going to take all this nervous anxiety and go run it off. I’ll let you all know how the training goes. 

See you next week.

The Relief of Giving In

I am a bookworm. I have gone through many phases of favorite kinds of books. Historical fiction. Christian Romance. Mystery. Spy thrillers. World War 2. John Grisham. American frontier stories. Books about different people groups. And, probably one of my favorites, Post-Apocalypitical. 

I was thinking about this genre lately. I also enjoy post-apocalypitcal movies, but I find that I have a hard time getting through them nowadays as they mess with my emotions too much. I start the movie and get about ten minutes in and then turn it off. Nope. Can’t do it. Even though it looks wonderfully interesting. But, what I was thinking about recently was the theme of the Traitor. Every book always ends up with the Masses who are all doing one thing, and then a small group that is fighting to do something different. The Masses are always the “bad guy” and the small group are always the “heroes”. And there is almost always one person in the small group who turns traitor and joins the masses, betraying the small group in some extravagant way. 

What hit me was that when that person turned traitor there was a sense of relief and peace. A relaxing. Ah yes. I have finally stopped fighting and just accepted what the masses want me to accept. It’s so peaceful. No more fighting. No more striving. I can just live a “normal” life like everyone else in this mass of humanity. I won’t stick out. I won’t draw any attention to myself. I will be liked and accepted. Wheww. That feels so good. No more hardship. No more sacrifice. It’s the normal life for me. 

And of course, as the reader or viewer, we are appalled. How could you! You traitor! Can’t you see the masses are on a road to self-destruction?? Can’t you see the rigthness of the small group’s cause??? How could you??

And really, that’s not very fair on our part. Being in the small minority is never easy. It’s a struggle. It’s a constant battle of self-doubt. Am I really in the right? All these masses seem to think otherwise? You believe in your cause, but you don’t have much support for that cause, if any. It’s very much a solo struggle. 

Of course, all the books and movies (dare I say history as well?) prove to us that the fight is worth it. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many people agree with the masses, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. And you have to stand up for right, no matter how difficult. And, at least in the stories, right always prevails in the end. 

I think about times that I have turned traitor to my own convictions. The time I was really convicted that my kids needed less screen time and more books and imaginary play. But they were driving me crazy, and I just wanted some peace and quiet. So I turned the tv on. And it felt peaceful at first. Ah. Relief. Except later, I had kids even more addicted to screens and learning balance and self control in this area became even harder. 

There are times when I am trying to heal my body of the effects of too much sugar, fat, calories. And I determine that I will only eat certain foods that are going to help me be stronger. But someone offers me a dessert. And I could be awkward and say no thank you, and be the only one not eating it or I can just, sure, why not, just this once? Ah the relief of eating that wonderful dessert. Except later, I find I have taken ten steps backwards in achieving my health goals and it’s even harder to move forward again than it was before. 

I feel very strongly that in the days to come we are going to be more and more in a situation where you are called to go along with the masses, against your moral convictions and beliefs, and the group of people who are fighting for right is going to get smaller and smaller. Our culture is pushing more and more for Full Acceptance of the status quo or face harsher and harsher consequences. This is the time to fully examine what you believe and what you stand for. Own your beliefs. Don’t believe things because it’s what your family or culture believes. Don’t believe things because it’s what mainstream media teaches you. Don’t believe things because it’s what your favorite political party is preaching. Do your research. Do your due diligence. If we can learn anything from books/movies/history it’s that being in the majority does not automatically make you right. There is a great relief in being in the majority. But in the end, that relief leads to death. Not life. Know what you believe and then be ready to stand firm in that belief. 

Fat Fridays: The Stories Behind the “Why”

I grew up in the North of Haiti as a missionary kid. Our final four years there was a very turbulent time for the country, during the time of Aristide’s presidency. We were there when the US placed an embargo on the country and it was a very difficult time of food, gas, and medicine shortages. 

We lived in a flat roofed, two story, concrete brick house at the top of a mountain pass (ok, it was really a very tall hill, but it had the feeling of a mountain, and the road was steep enough that it might as well have been a mountain.) We had a view of the Bay of Acul and the Plan du Nord, a beautiful plain dotted with rice paddies and sugarcane fields, surrounded by distant mountain ridges. I spent a lot of time outside, just gazing at the view, maybe trying to sketch what I was seeing, thinking a lot. 

We didn’t have electricity. We had a generator, but during the embargo we had to be very careful with our fuel. We would turn the generator on every couple days so we could get the water pump working. We had a utility room that was full of 5 gallon buckets and water jugs that my brother or I would stand and fill with a hose. This would be our water supply until the next time we turned our power back on. (I mastered the 5 gallon bucket bath.) We had a kerosene refrigerator, but no kerosene, so we just made do without a fridge. Our stove was gas, but somehow we were able to get the fuel for that. 

My mom was a genius at making do with what we had as she tried to feed the family on a very limited budget and very limited available resources. We had friends in the States who would send boxes of food occasionally and there was the local market place. By the time of the embargo, the few grocery stores around were mostly empty. I remember that my mom would buy a giant bag of flour and a giant bag of sugar that she would keep in a steel barrel in the kitchen. The barrel was to keep all the bugs out of the food. My mom baked our bread every week.

There were many times that we were unable to leave the house due to unrest and disturbances. While that sounds exciting, it was actually very boring. Imagine a fifteen year old sitting at home with nothing to do. 

Mom, I’m bored. 

One of my favorite things to do was look through old GOOD HOUSEKEEPING magazines that someone had sent us. They had so many amazing pictures of food. Imagine. Decadent desserts, fancy roasted chickens. Our diet at the time consisted of a lot of canned tuna and Spam, because that was what people sent in food boxes. My mom is a gourmet cook, but she didn’t have much to work with. We will never let her forget the “Sweet and Sour Spam with Angel Hair Pasta” that she made. One of the few times I think I just didn’t eat. 🙂 So, here I am, bored, looking at food magazines, wanting to make all these amazing recipes. I asked my mom if I could bake something. Sure. She handed me her Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with the red-checked cover. 

Find a recipe that we have the ingredients for. 

Ok. 

Turns out, the only recipe I could find that we had ingredients for was simple sugar cookies. Sugar, flour, margarine. Some salt and baking powder. Eggs. Ok. We can make this recipe! I mixed everything up and then pinched some dough when my mom wasn’t looking. (Salmonella! Don’t eat raw cookie dough!) We baked the cookies. A bit too long. They were rather crispy. But they were sweet. It satisfied a longing. It pushed away the boredom for a little while. The cookies made me feel good. 

And cookies and other sweets still make me feel good. For a little while. Until I look down at myself and see the consequences of too many cookies. Check my blood sugar, see some more consequences. But how to change this life long habit? I’m bored. I’m feeling antsy. I’m not happy…food will make me feel better. 

I am discovering that it’s a really hard habit to break.