Though the Darkness Comes, I Am Not Alone: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: R J Ruppenthal Flickr via Compfight cc

 

I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in nearly two weeks. We’ve been virtually house bound (except for a 20 minute run to the grocery store) for nearly two weeks. First came the snow, then the respiratory infection my daughter had. Followed by the stomach bug that hit both the big kids and my husband. My daughter became so dehydrated we thought we were going to the emergency room. Now the baby has a nasty cold. Definitely not the week I had planned.

I know these are just part of parenting. I feel like, for the most part, I’ve accepted it. But this time was different. I could feel my nerves wearing thin by the fourth night of getting up with one vomiting child or another. When I have to leave the door open and I don’t really sleep because I know the minute I close my eyes, someone will need me. It is exhausting.  It has been such a challenge for me to sleep in this new house, it still doesn’t fully feel like home.

There are so many things I want to be doing and things I feel like I should be doing. Instead I’m tackling the 18th load of laundry and disinfecting everything in sight. I found myself angry at my daughter yesterday because she didn’t like the food I made for her (though she had requested it). I snapped at my son when he decided to serve himself soy milk into multiple glasses and onto the table. Even the baby, who is usually my happiest and most easy going child, threw his lunch on the floor. (I guess nothing tastes good when your nose is stuffy and you can’t blow it).

I have never been great at embracing this part of parenting. I love the cuddling babies, the connecting with my big kids. The light in their eyes when they learn something new. But the drudgery and monotony gets to me. I also have trouble with the way an illness just derails life. I want to be the nice person who doesn’t spread the germs so I have to be the mean mom that makes everyone miss their activities. Some women rise to the occasion at times like this. I always survive (as does everyone else) but just barely.

Instead of leaning into the difficult moments, and soldiering on, I find myself holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop and praying like crazy that things will just return to normal.Because this crazy life is hard enough without everything being derailed indefinitely until the bug of the month has had its fill of terrorizing my family and moves on.

I want to be able to learn to feel the embrace of the Father during times like this. I am not alone. I don’t know why some of my prayers whispered in desperation in the dark weren’t answered. I’m grateful for the one’s that were. I watched my children sit at the dinner table last night and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Yes, they were driving me crazy, but they were all there. The baby isn’t throwing up, though his nose is stuff. My son is fully recovered. My husband is back at work again. My daughter averted an ER visit and is showing interest in normal food again. For this I can be thankful. Until next time, I continue to try and hear His voice amid the daily chaos, hoping that when the difficult times come again, I will feel His presence more.

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Categories: Faith, Five Minute Friday, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Fit2B Advancing: Week 3

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This week I decided to slightly increase my weight levels. I didn’t always do this wisely. Sometimes I still battle the old tendency that if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not difficult enough. (I know this goes completely against Beth’s philosophy of gentle fitness, I’m still working on it).

 

WEEK 3 GOAL: Three Studio Workouts + 1 Daily Double

 

Studio Workout One: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Balanced

Warm-up: Fingers and Toes

Balanced

I had originally planned to do this workout with 3 lb weights since it had been a while. Instead I decided to try the 6 lb. I was able to keep my core engaged, but my muscles were definitely fatigued afterwards, perhaps too much. I like that the focus is on balance as well as weight, not just straight weight lifting. Fingers and Toes was also a great way to warm up since my hands do actually get a little sore as I adjust to lifting heavier weights.

 

Studio Workout Two: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Ultimate Upper Body

Warm-up: Basic Aerobics III

Ultimate Upper Body

I was feeling particularly tired this day, so it was hard to get through Ultimate Upper Body. I alternated 3 ad 6 lb weights. But I definitely was feeling it in my arms. Perhaps more than I should, because I felt a little weak and shaky afterwards. In the past I would have seen that as a sign of a good workout, but I’ve learned from Beth that we don’t need to destroy our bodies to make them stronger. So I want to feel the work without ended up in pain.

 

Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 3-5 minutes then do Tabata Ball Workout

Warm-up: Mula Bandha

Tabata Ball Workout

I haven’t done Tabata Ball workout in at least a year or two. I used a 6 lb dumbbell rather than a weighted ball. (I’m still hoping to get a 8 lb one like this). Most of the workout went fine with that. But the squats were a little awkward. I couldn’t find a way to easily balance the dumbbell between my knees. Wow, did my calves hurt. You wouldn’t think that would be the worst part, but it was. Two days later and I was still feeling it.

 

Daily Double: Warm-up for at least 5 minutes then do Insane Upper Body & Totally Transverse II

Warm-up: Shoulder Stretches

Insane Upper Body

Totally Transverse

I used Shoulder Stretches as my warm up before Totally Transverse II and Insane Upper Body. As I’ve started to include 6 lb weights in part of Insane Upper Body the workout is beginning to earn it’s name for me. I’ve given myself permission to switch to 3 lb weights or complete fewer repetitions but between making sure my core is engaged, breathing properly and focusing on proper form, this is a doozy. I always feel a tad shaky afterwards. I won’t start advancing to a heavier weight until I can do the whole workout with the 6 lb weights without feeling my muscles get all twitchy.

 
BONUS: Try to accomplish some medium-intensity cardiovascular training for 30 minutes on two additional days.

 

Basic Aerobics IV & Basic Step

My 1 year old is adorable when I do step aerobics. He grabs the lid to his Duplo and stands on it like it’s a step. I like the basic concept of step aerobics because of the high cardio value as well as the need for coordination. I like challenging my brain and increasing the level of impact. Basic Aerobics IV was a nice add on because it increases intensity with the use of weights. Don’t go too heavy if this is your first time.  Light weights go a long way.

 
Kelly’s Total Body Workout

After using weights so much this week, it was nice to do a full body workout, including a killer arm routine, but without any necessary equipment. I am always continually mystified each time I do this workout that I am able to get such a great effect in my upper body without the use of weights. But of course the biggest selling point for me is the full body nature of this workout and in less than 30 minutes. (It’s also pretty easy to do in a small space).

This was a rough week with my kids being sick, but I still wanted to make exercise a priority. Sometimes I meant the kids literally being under my feet. But at least I’m setting a good example for them. It’s especially cute when they decide to join me. Occasionally, my five year old even asks for his own workouts to do. Even if you have an off week, don’t give up. If you have to repeat the week, or take two weeks to get through all the workouts, that’s OK too. Better to go at your own pace than to give up.

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Categories: Exercise, Fit2B Advancing, Fit2B Studio | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friendship Without Fear: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Vicki’s Nature Flickr via Compfight cc

I think of all the women who say “I don’t really like other women.” I used to be one of these women, mostly because I’d been hurt and excluded. Among my male friends I found a place where I could be myself, without pretension. After my husband and I got married, having close male friends wasn’t really doable. So I often found myself lonely. I had a couple of good girl friends I made in college, but the downside of getting married young, is that it isolates you. Logistically, because I no longer lived on campus, but also socially too.

It never occurred to me until years later that it was those early female relationships that were flawed, not the concept of female relationships in general. I thought that since I couldn’t be the “right” kind of girl that other women wouldn’t accept me. Or at least that I would never have the kind of close relationships where I could really be myself. 

Lisa Jo Baker has a new book coming out (You preorder it here), that I’ve been lucky enough to preview. The following quote hit me like a ton of bricks.

“Because Satan would like nothing more than to see all of us women infected by our past hurts, the lies we’ve believed, and the grievances we bear. If it were up to him he would strap the corpses of our failed friendships and dead relationships to our backs and have us carry them into every conversation, every tender connection, and new interaction. Into every Bible study and book club, into every girls’ night out and kids’ birthday party. “

Yikes! I know many women for whom this is true, including myself. We may suffer from what Lisa Jo calls Friendship PTSD. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can extend ourselves without worrying what the final picture will look like. Risking vulnerability and pain, creating healthy boundaries and still finding intimacy.

I may not have a bosom friend like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. But that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to walk the planet alone with only my husband (dear as he is) to make conversation with. I remember the old childhood saying “To have a friend, you must be a friend.” It sounds cliche but maybe not all wrong. If I could learn to let go of the fear, to be a friend even if I’m not sure that it’s going to work, applying the save level of sacrificial love that I’m trying to find for my family into my friendships as well, even the one’s too new to have necessarily earned it. Then maybe I will be surprised by what I find.

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fit2B Advancing: Week 2

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This week introduces warming up as a good way to extend the length of the workout. I also think that warm ups are very important before extended stretching as well as before high levels of exertion. Basically any gentle movement that gets your blood pumping and your body moving. You don’t have to get sweaty. Think of it like warming up your car’s engine on a cold day. It makes everything run smoother. Only four workouts this week. Which actually feels quite attainable to me.

WEEK 2 GOAL: Four Fit2B™ Studio Workouts
Studio Workout One: Warm-up for 5 minutes then do Yoga & Pilates Blend

Warm-Up: Core Wake Up

Yoga & Pilates Blend

This is a refilm of an older workout and I hadn’t yet tried the new one. The plank position was difficult but I was able to successfully modify it. I do enjoy both Yoga and Pilates so a workout combing the two was a nice way to start the week.

 

Studio Workout Two: Walk for 10-15 minutes then do Kelly’s Floor Core Workout

I substituted the Walking Workout and added weights. For some reason Kelly’s Floor Core always makes me feel kind of sad, because when I’m laying down, my stomach kind of folds in on itself. But at least I felt strong enough to properly engage my abdominals. While it isn’t one of my favorites, this contains many good modifications for traditional ab work.

 

Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Weighted Warriors

Warm-Up: Vertical Core

I love these short core routines as warm ups. It’s a great way to make sure I’m properly connecting with my abdominal muscles and continuing to stabilize my diastasis as it heals.

Weighted Warriors

I love the unique combination of weights and slow sustained movement in this workout. I chose light weights this time because I wanted to make sure I could use proper form before adding heavier weights. The integrated nature of the weights makes it much more fun for me than just a typical weight routine.

 

Studio Workout Four: Warm-up for 10 minutes then do Insane Upper Body

Warm Up: Basic Aerobics II

Insane Upper Body

This isn’t so much a warm up before a workout, as a complete body workout combination. This felt fantastic. First of all, I always love doing Basic Aerobics, it gets my heart rate up quickly. Then following it up with Insane Upper Body got my muscles really working. I experimented this time with trying heavier weights (which for me is 6 lb dumbbells), at least for portions of the workout. I was pleased with what I was able to do. A great way to finish out the week.
But wait, you want to do more? Then do more.

You can always do more or less than is recommended in these weekly schedules.

I like to do something each weekday whenever possible, so grab an extra short cardio or something from the Pathway to Relaxation to finish out the week.

I hope you are finding, as I am, that you are making progress with your exercise goals and feeling stronger. The goal of exercise is not so you can do more exercise, but to make you strong enough for the life you want to live. So make sure you have enough energy left after your workout to actually function in your life.

Week 3

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Categories: Exercise, Fit2B Advancing, Fit2B Studio | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Loving With Abandon, Serving Without Bitterness: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Calpastor Flickr via Compfight cc

Parenthood has a way of making things both clear and confusing at the same time. It quickly revealed to me my worst qualities, while also showing me how much I am really capable of. But as I approach my eighth year of parenting, I continue to find myself analyzing my reactions.

When the children are small (or in the case of my older two, not quite as small as they used to be) it is easy to feel like a victim. Maybe this isn’t your experience. But I have found myself struggling with bouncing between the extremes of selfishness and martyrdom. Yes, I have needs, and burning myself out (and feeling bitter about it) isn’t useful to my family. But at the same time, I am not entitled to my “me time” either.

Even the church can’t seem to make up its mind. After generations of telling women to sacrifice all for their families, now the pendulum swings the other way and we see women willing to abandon their families for a “higher” calling of ministry. (Let me be clear here, I am not criticizing women who work outside the home or are heavily involved in ministry. Those things aren’t good or bad. It is what we do with them, and the attitude in which we do it that the issue lies).

I find myself in the place again looking at how to love sacrificially. How can I learn to love them with abandon? What does this look like in my life? The only example I can look to is Christ is his time on earth. Why only him? Because he did take time for himself yet he was without the sin of selfishness. We see in the scriptures that sometimes he prioritized self-care for both himself and his disciples. But I doubt Jesus looked as his disciples and uttered the words “Ok, I’ve had enough of you. This is ‘my time.’ Get out of my face.” (Not that I’ve EVER said that, and I’m sure you haven’t either, right? wink wink).

So how did he do it? The Father was his source. He had a mission, and he constantly communed and touched base with the Father to keep him on course. This is something I can do as well. I can serve my children, my family, and my ministry obligations and still take care of myself. But I need to be continually listening for the still small voice so I can learn when to stand aside and when to press forward. Not because of my own selfish desires but because I have become attuned to the voice of the Father as Jesus was. Then I can love and serve without expecting anything in return and without worrying that the well will run dry. Because I am connected to the source and allowing myself to be continually replenished.

This will look different in each life. For me right now, it looks like pursuing silence, listening closely, deep breaths and constant attitude adjustment. May you find what it looks like for you, so you can love with abandon.

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Categories: Faith, Five Minute Friday, Parenting | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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