My Older Sister

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I’ve always been second.  I am the second child, but that’s only part of it.  I was the second to graduate college, I was the second to marry, but also the second to do a flip on the trampoline.  That is what happens when you grow up with Katie as your older sister.

I can do a flip on the trampoline because I watched her do one first.  I can run a mile because of her, because she taught me how to run.  Without Katie I might not be married.

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I love having an older sister.  Katie was born on March First, 1982 and without her taking the lead I wouldn’t be the man I am today.  One of my favorite pictures from when I was a baby is of her holding me.

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I don’t remember her being an older sister who held my hand, but she would almost always include me in on her fun.  Like in our backyard in Tulsa when we would turn on the sprinkler and jump on a slip-n-slide trampoline.  It’s amazing that neither of us ever hurt ourselves on that thing.  But just like any brother and sister injuries did happen and things were not always perfect.

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Katie, or Katheryn as we called her when I was little, didn’t always share her friends.  She was real good at suggesting I play with my own friends.  This mentality lasted through my middle school years.  Maybe she was just challenging me to be a good friend to others, like other people than her.  Despite her insistence that I play with my own friends, she became one of my best friends.  That’s probably because Katie was a big sister who always helped calm my fears especially when we lived in a dark basement here in Colorado.  At age four I constantly saw monster tall shadows that reached down from the windows at night, but I knew I was safe because my big sister’s room was next door.

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When we moved to Illinois, she helped me build forts and shared a disgust of the egg stench that came from our water.  Katie has never been shy of sharing her feelings and when she first saw our new home she cried.  She did not cry when we moved to Tulsa.   She has always been strong and that strength motivates me to live in wisdom and courage.

Katie has always been great at offering that wisdom.  Sometimes that would drive me crazy.  Like at the Kirk on Christmas Eve, when she continually attempted to correct my public speaking.  I was reading the story of Christ’s birth and about to light the Christ candle when she tried to correct me.  “Katheryn,” I cried. “I know what I am doing.”  I dropped the match and the carpet lit on fire.  Laughter erupted and burned through the audience.  I burned with anger, but now I know she was offering her wisdom and leadership.  She only wanted me to perform well.

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Katie has always had a good eye for houses and during our early years in Tulsa, she taught me how to explore them.  Our neighborhood was new and as the empty lots behind our house turned into model homes we would go and explore them.  We are both still fascinated by beautiful homes.  Our friendship grew even though we fought.  She taught me never to kick back at a girl even if that girl is stronger than you and is currently beating you up because she will tell our parents.  Maybe I started to eat healthily and workout so that I couldn’t be beat up by my older sister.  I am grateful no matter what!

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Katie’s good eye led her to Michael.  Her marriage with her husband, Michael, has taught me immensely.  It has set an awesome example of how I need to love April.  Watching them grow in their relationship has taught me how to love and pursue April.  I love how she loves him and her kids. Michael has a real-estate company and it does not surprise me that Katie helps him explore for new houses.  As we explored she provided love and a listening ear.  She challenged me to keep my eyes open to all God has for me and this challenge led me to April.

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She has trusted me with her kids which has fostered a true friendship to grow between me and them  I think I would be lost if I didn’t have an older sister.  I’m thankful that she has paved the way.  First in birth.  First in marriage.  First in kids of her own.  And first in correcting me when I have remembered something incorrectly. And I love her dearly for the sister and the friend she is to me.

A Month Without Sugar

A little more than 30 days ago, right after I had my first In-N-Out Burger, I decided to try to go the month of July without sugar.  It had nothing to do with the burger, or maybe it did.

I’d tasted fast food perfection and had an idea.

It was a simple idea, just a challenge, nothing more.  I’d just slurped down a Dr Pepper with my burger, and thought, “Why not see how long I could go without the drink I love?”

Have you ever tried to give something up?

I’ve given up facebook, it was difficult and I reconnected after 47 days (I don’t regret it).  I’ve given up bread, it has panned out fairly well.  But I’ve never been able to give up sugar.  I have a sweet tooth the size of an elephant tusk.  But I knew if I wanted to truly live a healthy life, sugar had to go.

Sugar isn’t a bad thing, but last year my dad, Eugene Scott, was diagnosed with type two diabetes and well, it’s genetic.  When he was first diagnosed I thought about giving up sugar with him, but I couldn’t do it.  The month’s rolled by and I justified my sugar intake by how much I work out.  But come this last June, I decided to make July a sugar free month.

July isn’t an easy month to go sugar free.

C’mon it starts out with 4th of July, the day it’s okay to say yes to all things sweet.  I had to say no to dessert on America’s Birthday.  I also knew I’d be saying know to kid’s birthdays and a wedding.

Once I made it past Independence Day the challenge was all a piece of cake.

Directly after the 4th, the kids I work with started bringing in tempting birthday cakes, doughnuts just for the heck of it, cupcakes, and brownies (I love brownies).  But, because I’d said no to dessert on Independence Day I knew I could make it.  That didn’t make saying no to wedding cake any easier, especially since the wedding was at the end of the month.  I’d nearly reached me goal, how bad would it be to cheat just a couple days before the end of the month.

Last week as I adventured down to Crooked Willow Farms, I faced more dilemmas than being lost.  Should I let myself eat cake!

Not only cake, but Skittle’s too.  It was as if all of my friends had come together to taunt me with sugar.  My friend Hannah, the bride, had set out small jars of Skittles in front of every seat.  I had to sit there all night while my other friends devoured their sweet treat.  I decided to take precautionary measures.  I stuck myself on the dance floor all night and stayed away from all the sweets.  I had a blast dancing and at the end of the night realized I just hadn’t had time for the cake.  And I had a blast anyway.

Quickly one week became two, and then three, and before I knew it I’d made it.  July was over.  I’d said no to oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate cake, and every sugar filled chocolate chunk browny that haunted my dreams.  Yes, my dreams were even filled with sugar. (Okay I might’ve had a dream or two where I gave into temptation and fed my sweet tooth, only to wake up with a sigh of relief.)

But now here it is August and I still haven’t had any sweets.  As the month passed, I started feeling better.  And so why stop a good thing? I don’t know when I’ll have my first Dr Pepper or piece of cake, but it might not be any time soon.  ‘Cause what we consume affects how we live.

I never thought I could go a month without sugar, but I just took it day by day and now I’m having a hard time thinking about going back to the dulce vida (sweet life).

Plus, I gave up sugar for a physical gain, but the whole challenged seemed to have spiritual implications too.  As I said no to sugar I started thinking about how I am living life spiritually.  Life without sugar has made me feel healthier, but maybe when living spiritually, I don’t need to subtract from my life, but add too it.

I’ve spent this year journaling about what I am thankful for, how I’ve felt blessed, and how I’ve felt God.  Like the sugar challenge, this has been a daily challenge.  Each day I have to set aside time to read my bible, which can be as difficult as saying no to a bear claw doughnut, but it’s worth it.  It’s become like spending time with my best friend each day.

Just as I have felt physically healthier without sugar I feel spiritually healthier and closer to God too, because I am actively looking for him in each aspect of my life.  I’ve had to rely on him to make things sweet when I can’t just down a handful of frosting, and therefor I feel spiritually healthier.

Maybe that’s why I can keep on living without sugar, I’d rather have God meet my needs than a bag of Skittles.

Can you live without sugar and feel the true blessing of adding God into your daily life?

That’s the true dulce vida.