being mindful, daily moments, devotions, healthy living

tug-o-war

tugowar3rdgrade

Tug-o-war.  If you live in our neighborhood, this has been an annual tradition at the elementary school at least since my oldest daughter has been there.  It is an annual competition, a tournament among the grade level classes, that earns you bragging rights for the year.

This is a photo of my daughter’s 3rd grade class.  She’s the tugger in the white shirt right there with her teacher coaching her on.  These kids and their teachers are serious, mentally prepared, and make it fun.  The parents have as much fun watching as the kids do competing.

When I look at this photo it depicts how I feel with my daily journey to live more balanced.  Being about six weeks into weight watchers, I am feeling the reality settling in of living a new lifestyle. It’s not one big pull and I’m at my goal.  It’s something that I will work at always.  And I want to be healthy so  I take it seriously.  My health and the health of my family matters.  I have had to get to a place of being mentally prepared in order to approach this as a lifelong journey- a lifestyle of balance that I practice daily.  And, yes, I have fun.  I make it fun!  I have gotten in a rhythm of sorts with it all.  I found workouts I love to do.  I know what foods I need to fuel my body with and I am learning how to prepare them in ways that are tasty… that I look forward to eating.  I’m learning to say to no to things that make me feel overwhelmed and I try to rest when I can.  It’s not easy and it takes work.  Daily work.

So what else is going on in this picture?  How does this relate to a journey of better living?  I see a whole team that pulls with you, in the same direction you are going, to get you closer to the goal.  One person alone cannot carry the work that requires many.  Your team is right there by your side, going through the game with you, wanting the win too.  They are your steadies- those that do life with you in a way that makes you want to live better, love bigger, and give your all.

On the other end of your team?  That’s all the things that work against you… habits from the past that are hard to shake, negative self-talk that becomes your everyday norm when you are in that self-demoting mentality, emotional triggers that cause you fight or flight… and most days flight is just an easier option.  It’s those that may not support your new way of living or your new habits of bettering yourself.  And sometimes it’s just the taste of that one vice that you.cannot.say.no.to.ever.  (Remember… The chocolate struggle is real…). These things tend to always be pulling us away from our goal- whether it’s massive resistance or just a gentle tug.  We are in constant motion to pull back, away from these triggers.

Standing there right by your team is the coach.  Maybe this is a person, maybe this is an online community of support, maybe this is a monthly meeting you attend.  It’s that person or program that gives you specific strategies on how to pull harder in the direction you want to go.  Coaches that have clipboards full of ideas to keep you committed to do your best.  They see in you the goals you want to accomplish and they help you figure out a plan to execute a plan.

None of this would be easy without the cheering section.  These are those bystanders around you that yell out encouragement from the sidelines.  They are there, ready to give you that attagirl that we all need to hear from time to time.   They may not be in your life daily, but they are there watching you succeed, giving you that thumbs up to keep going.

My daughter’s class started off this competition losing two out of the first three rounds.  That didn’t stop them.   They kept trying, working together one round at a time, getting stronger as they kept going and relying on each other.  And by the time it was all said and done, they walked away with first place.  What a win!  Accomplishing a goal is always so much more satisfying when a little sweat and tears went into the game.

So I look at this photo and realize- this is life.  This is me using my strength to pull towards the goals I have set for myself.  One giant tug doesn’t get me there.  I have to work with those around me, that help push me towards my goals.  I have to use the support I have put in place to help coach me through, and I need to pay attention to the encouragement I get along the way.  One day at at time.  One tug toward the goal at a time.  The drawn-out, hard fought wins are always the ones that you remember the most.  And they are always so worth it.❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

creativity, daily moments

colorful little plate flower

plateflower

About a week into weight watchers I found an entire online community of men and women on Instagram. These folks use the social media platform as a way to connect, inspire, and find accountability. I could spend hours on end reading posts, finding new accounts to follow, and gaining wisdom from tried and tested habits, recipes, and ideas.

One thing I noticed right away in these images was the COLOR! Every color I could imagine- bright and vivid, subtle and calming- I see them all when I scroll the feed. Photos of healthy foods grown from the earth… foods that provide us with the nutrition our bodies were made for… complimentary background colors and objects… I notice them all. I see relaxing tones that depict an accomplished end to a day dedicated to healthy living. It’s all so inspiring to me- a steady stream of color that fills my news feed. I have always been a girl who loves color and now here I am, with this social media tool I can scroll through right in the palm of my hand.  Daily I am feeling inspired to bring color into my world in ways I hadn’t thought of before.

While out running errands this week, I found these fun plates at Kohls. They were all marked half-off, displayed to draw you into their design. It didn’t take long for them to find their way into my shopping basket to bring home. Everytime I look at them, I feel inspired to fill them up with healthy foods- foods that make me feel as happy as the plates themselves, foods that color my world with health and that help me thrive.  I couldn’t even wait to make the food that goes on them. With a laundry list of chores ahead of me, I decided these plates were a priority. I found myself creating the flower you see above, just as a way to play, express, and appreciate something so small yet so inspiring to me.

We all need these little moments. We have a list of have-to’s and should’s as long as our day will allow. But guess what? Tomorrow? Same thing- another list. There’s always a “I really ought to get ____ done” running in our head. But today?  Today I chose to play. Color makes me feel carefree.  A few round pieces of melamine consume my thoughts and let me just be.  I feel happy in this small moment, almost relaxed.  Some days the laundry can wait to allow this kind of spontaneous, unplanned time happen. Procrastination can be okay. Little plate flowers bloom right where I created that playful space for myself… and it colors my world just a little more happy. 🙂

“… a cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”    – Proverbs 17:22❤️

 

daily moments

silver size 10

imageMy five-foot-ten daughter just had one of the best and fastest shoe shopping experiences of her 14-year-old life. Keeping her fingers crossed she would find short heels for her 8th grade Exit Party dance, somewhere, and preferably in silver, she decided to walk in Payless. And within 30 seconds they delivered. We popped in simply because we were next door at Target and within five minutes we were done. One-and-a-half inch heels.

image

In the world of five inch stilettos at every turn, we managed to find the proverbial needle in the haystack in a silver size 10. I have one happy, tallest-one-of-her-friends girl. Some days, it’s just the little things like this…👠

 

 

creativity

sharpie art

josie sharpie

It’s been about a month since we lost our sweet girl, Josie.  It’s amazing just how close we grow to our pets- they most definitely are family.  The relationship between our kids and their animals is really something to sit back and admire.  It’s also interesting to see how differently we each grieve her loss.

My oldest girl turns to art for most things.  She drew this quick, sharpie-on-notebook-paper picture of our little pup.  I love how she captured her face so well with such simple use of color and lines.

We were all meant to be creative.  It doesn’t mean we have to all be Picasso’s.  By design, God is the ultimate Creator and He leaves a thread of that legacy within each of us.  There are so many ways to bring out your artistic side.  The obvious, yes… paints, colors, pencils and papers.  There are also words- writing and poetry, the way we express our feelings in those special cards we give others.  And we can’t forget that daily camera we have in our hands 24/7.   Our phones allow us to have a camera ready at all times to capture all those precious moments of life.  Even if you don’t love the photo you take, there are lists and lists of apps that put filters on those pictures.  You can click a few times and turn a mundane shot into a graphic work of art.

And to be inclusive of all mediums, simply the way we live is artful.  Loving others is an expression of our souls.  The way we serve those around us, attending to their needs, can be beautiful.  Reaching out to a hurting friend, praying for them… it all comes from the heart, which IS artistic.  Never stop paying attention to those people we do life with and the places we find ourselves.  Never quit looking for a way to find a creative outlet that suits you for both times of happiness and times of sorrow.  It is necessarily therapeutic and the beauty it adds to our world is priceless.

devotions

nailing jello

Lately, and quite often (ahem), I keep thinking of the saying, “Raising teenagers is like trying to nail jello to a tree.”  Maybe you would agree?  I remember the first time I read this quote.  I was heading home from work, before we had any kids, and read it on a church marquee.  I thought, “Haha!  How cute- that’s funny!”

Fast forward several years and here I am with three of our four kids now teenagers.  Day after day, I’m trying to nail that jello to the tree.  I still laugh at that analogy, but in a different kind of way.  I laugh at myself for thinking maybe I could actually do it… escape those notorious teen years of trial and prayer and skate through drama-free.  I could nail that jello on where it would be firm, intact, and stay put right where I wanted.  Uh-huh.  Yea.  No big deal.

jello box on tree

Technically, jello can be nailed to a tree.  But, it would have to stay in a box- safe from outside elements.  The thing is, that is not how jello is intended to be- all boxed up.  No necessary ingredients have been added to mix in, strengthen and mold it to it’s desired state.

jelloe cube on tree

So, let’s say we do away with the box.  Take the jello, add water, mix together and let it do it’s thing to firm up. It’s on it’s way to becoming a Luby’s-worthy cube of gelatin goodness.  Yes!  Just like I’d imagined.  I decide to give it a go, find a tree, and try to nail it on.  It may even stay in place for just a bit.  But, not long after, it begins to wiggle and shift and just can’t stay in that one place.  It gets a little sticky and a lot messy oozing out from the grip of the nail.

jello glob on tree

Today, this is where I find myself with raising teenagers. Parenting often feels like a gloppy mess.  I can try really hard to keep them safe in the box.  But that’s not how they were made to live.  I have to expose them to the things that will mold and shape them into the strong, Godly people I know they can be.  But they’re  going to test the water.  They’ll wiggle around, oozing out their independence to find their way… figuring out the right path to be on. It’s a necessary part of growth.  Just like the jello, it will get a little sticky and a lot messy.  I’d imagine every parent before me who has ever raised a teen would agree.

I need to remember our sweet teenagers aren’t meant to have things all figured out.  They need us.  I need to do my part to help these almost-adult young people figure out the person God is calling them to be.  I need to be patient with the process of how they shape and mold.   And, I need to always remember that there will be a mess.  It’s just a fact.  Things will get sticky.  That’s a natural side effect of them figuring out their own way.  And that’s okay.  Messy and sticky.  It’s what happens when you try to nail jello to a tree.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.”     -Proverbs 3:5-6

daily moments, devotions

bible study partner

tess bible pic

Our sweet dog, Tess, hopped up in my lap this morning when I was doing my bible study.  She just planted her face right in my bible.  I think the best days start when I do the same thing.

Rarely do I sleep in these days.  I’m up early in the morning well before anyone else in the house is stirring.  It’s my own personal quiet time in a household of six.  I have really come to cherish that time and when I don’t get it, my day is just not the same.  It’s off-kilter.  I’m out of sorts.  I need His calming influence and words on my heart to set the tone for my day.  Even if that means sharing it with my pup.  The way she climbed up in my lap to get a little love from me is the same kind of affection I seek of Him.  I’m not going to find that hitting snooze or jump-starting my day with the news.  I’m going to find that same kind of embrace my seeking and talking to my Father.

Thank you, God, for early morning quiet.  Thank you for the coffee that goes hand in hand with it.  Thank you for breathing life through the words in my bible that often feel like you wrote them just for me.  Thank you for cheetah blankets and Shephard-mix doggies that help make my quiet time with you even more special.  Thank you for today. 🙂

 

 

being mindful, daily moments, healthy living

pretty blue water bottle

ww water bottle

So, week 2 of ‪#‎weightwatchers‬ has happened. I love my new, pretty blue water bottle and am hoping it serves as a fun reminder to add more water to my day. That’s just not something I’m good at. I REALLY don’t like rules and restrictions with food. But, I decided it’s time for some accountability and thought WW may be a good fit. I have never been one to get too hung up with the number on the scale- it goes up some and it goes down some- and that’s okay. That’s life. Yet if my clothes start fitting a little more snug (which they were) and, more importantly, if I am regularly feeling a little more sluggish (which I was) then I know I need to make some changes. Over the last several days of being a little more mindful about it, I can already see where some daily habits were getting a little out of hand. My small handful of chocolate chips is not really reaping the health benefits of dark chocolate when it happens several times a day. Every. Day. 😁. (‪#‎thechocolatestruggleisreal‬). I see my choices improving. When I have healthy food ready and available, I’m more willing to choose that first. Rocket science, right? Bottom line is, I FEEL better. I am not hovering over the scale. I just don’t have the time or inclination for all that. What does matter to me is how much I plug in to life each day. I have more energy and am less distracted and I just feel more HERE. THAT is not a number. And that is SO worth it. When I committed to jazzercise, it made a difference in my fitness level. When I commit to bible study, it makes a difference in my faith walk. So, I decided to commit to this to help me get healthier. I’m much more likely to live out my purpose by being healthy and feeling good.  1 Corinthians 10:31- “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”