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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)

By Sally Hanan


“You’re in denial,” he smiled. I yanked my sweater back down over my openly zippered jeans and harrumphed my way out of the room.

Seconds later I was standing in front of our bathroom mirror, checking out my newer folds of flab. Middle age had crept up on me unawares.

It’s no fun looking like a tree trunk. I am used to being petite, a slim willowy thing that blows in the wind. No longer can I eat any food in sight – the word “calories” actually holds meaning these days.

Honestly, I think a more appropriate description of my shape would be an “abdominal aneurysm”. Every time I sit down the dreaded flab bulges out. With a tree trunk, each wide ring within means a sign of a good year. That’s what my ever-widening flab means: it means I’ve had some good years lately.

“God,” I’ve prayed, “please give me willpower. Give me what I need to get thin again. Help me to start exercising (even though I never have); this is a NEED, not a greed!”

Hmmm, I heard Him say once, as he rubbed His white beard in thought.

I know exactly what that “hmmm” means. It means I have to get up off my blessed assurance and put faith into action. It’s one of God’s DIY answers (Do It Yourself).

So what do I do about it? I sit and watch shows where fatties go off to the fatty farm and rid themselves of hundreds of pounds of flab by dieting and exercise alone. If they can do it, I can do it too, I yell - inside my head; the last thing I want is to be accountable to anyone reminding me of banal statements.

The other day I threw my head upwards at the stairs and set my face like flint against the daunting climb. Up-down-up-down, as my breath and heartbeat combined in a race against time. “Tomorrow I’ll do that three times,” I said to my teenager, in all seriousness. That day has long since passed, and it turns out … I lied. Now I truly know what that look on her face means.

All I really need is four willing friends to chop me off my computer chair, haul me on a stretcher to the nearest gym and drop me through the roof. Even then, I can’t believe that if Jesus told me to get up and walk He’d force me onto the dreaded Stairmaster®. Jesus is sweet and kind: in Sunday school they always told me that. Then again, in paintings, He only ever has the little lambs on His shoulders, not the belly bulging ewes. I think he made them walk up the hills and down again. Up-down-up-down. Those words are starting to give me nightmares.

I guess I’ll be staying as thick as a tree trunk for now, and yes, I'm sitting here in jeans two sizes too small. Living in denial isn’t such a terrible thing, as long as my sweater remains long enough to at least reach past my zipper… and I do go up and down the stairs regularly these days: once in the morning … and once again at night:)


I thought I heard something just then. Must be my imagination.

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This article has been read 1166 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr12/12/05
LOL, truth is always the best humor. Great work!
Debbie OConnor12/12/05
Hmmm, this reads familiarly. Great fun and truth! :)
Beth Muehlhausen12/13/05
Funny - and truthful. :-)

Wondering about the plural topic, trees, and the "forest" of those with rings that are growing wider and wider - ?!?

Liked this line: "All I really need is four willing friends to chop me off my computer chair, haul me on a stretcher to the nearest gym and drop me through the roof."
Steve Clark12/13/05
I love your dry wit. I also wonder how much of this is autobiographical. Whether true about you or others who read your account, let me just say that the time you devote to your health will be better for me. If you live an extra year on this earth because of more trips up and down the stairs, then I will be better off; blessed by reading the fruits of your ever-increasing insights, the mirth of your witicisms, and the humility of your walk. The kingdom needs more of what you will continue to find and share.

I am now motivated to only use the upstairs phone and the upstairs bathroom. Thanks.
terri tiffany12/13/05
Oh:) you heard my own thoughts today!! What are rolls doing on me!! This was so cute and a good take on trees..I will forever think of my rolls as tree rings.Very good humor!
Garnet Miller 12/14/05
This one is hilarious too! I think I've heard that "Hmmm" once or twice (okay it was more than that but who's counting!)

Great story:)
Marilyn Schnepp 12/15/05
I loved it, I loved it, I loved it! So true and so witty! I especially liked where you write about Jesus holding the "little lamb, not the big fat ewe"; I laughed aloud. This piece taught me something! There are some times when God says "Hmmmm at one of those requests that is definitely a "Do it Yourself Type problems"! Great Job! Kudos!
Jan Ackerson 12/15/05
Funniest thing I've ever read here!
Pat Guy 12/15/05
'Help me to start exercising (even though I never have)' You got me on this one! Tehe! There is something here for everyone! What fun! Loved it!
Linda Watson Owen12/15/05
ROFL and laughing and laughing and...'H-m-m-m'... OK, I'm off to the gym! LOL!
Suzanne R12/16/05
ROFL! I love it too! Especially this line: "It means I have to get up off my blessed assurance and put faith into action." Well done!
Shari Armstrong 12/17/05
Delightful -something that many many people can relate to - or are looking foward to (not lol)!
Kenny Blade01/14/06
I just picked this at random. If it's any indication of your writing, I will enjoy reading more. You do a great job of painting a picture I can see as I smile my way through the piece. Excellent work.
Look forward to reading more!