A Christmas Connection: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: melolou Flickr via Compfight cc

December is here and the crazy is setting in. It’s getting too chilly for the kids to go outside most days and I’m attempting to keep the house ready to show at all times. This is not quite the Christmas we had planned. Last night I broke the news to the kids that we won’t be getting  Christmas tree this year. I’m probably as upset as they are. It’s  compromise I’ve agreed to make with my tired, overworked, long suffering husband. Only once in our 13 years of marriage have we not had a tree. It was not  good year.

Even as I try to keep the holiday decorating simple, I’m trying to focus on the things that really matter to me this year. What is it I really want? The treasured moments of listening to Christmas music while sitting by the fire in the light of the tree may not happen. But I can still drink hot chocolate by the fire and listen to a Pandora Christmas station. (Our favorite Christmas CD’s were packed up with everything else non-essential). I can take a few moments to cuddle my children. Today we sang Christmas carols and talked about the meaning of the words and their history as a large portion of our school day. My daughter and I were invited to a Christmas Tea on Saturday. I resisted the urge to say no to the last minute invitation, as I am saying no to so much this year, but I decided to make room for it  anyway. It’s exactly the kind of thing my daughter loves and we rarely have time to do.

If I’m honest, I’m hoping to be remembered. Not to necessarily get fancy gifts, but that in all the chaos and crazy of getting ready to move that I will feel loved, and maybe even a bit appreciated. (Yes, I realize it sounds a bit entitled and self-centered, just being real here). Because there are definitely days around here, especially lately where I feel like the abused house elf (the Harry Potter variety, not a member of Santa’s workshop team). But I also know it isn’t really about me.

As we sang those carols today I was comforted and reminded of the fact that Jesus came to earth for me. To save me. (Ok, yes all of us, but in that moment I needed a bit of a personal connection). I loved the moment explaining to my daughter the line in Hark the Herald Angel’s Sing.

Rise the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

I told her this means that Jesus came to crush Satan’s head and when he did that, he crushed in the sin in all our hearts too. She liked the sound of that.

While I do crave a bit of peace on earth (my son is launching himself off the coffee table as I type this), what I want most of all is to feel a connection with the Christmas story. That it would be more than a story, and feel as epic and earth shattering as it was, and is. Because God became man to save us from our sin and ourselves;  to lift away the veil and allow us to commune more closely with our Creator until the time when we can be together again. What better news is there than that?

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Categories: Advent, Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Fit2B Minimum: Week 1

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This is an very busy time of year and it’s easy to let exercise slide during times like this. But trying to avoid that is what the Fit2B Minimum is about.

If you do nothing else, try to do one or both of these workouts every day.

Daily Core: Core Wake Up
Daily Stretch: Face & Neck Yoga

Now if you are able here is a list of workouts, one for each day of the week to tackle when you are able. You don’t have to do everything at once either. Try doing Daily Core first thing in the morning and Daily Stretch before bed. Fit any other workouts in wherever you can.

 

Basic Aerobics II

Yes this is one of my favorite workouts, ever. Because when I only have 15 minutes, it makes me feel like I’m really putting in some effort to keep my body healthy.

 

Little Big Band Workout

This is a great upper body workout if you don’t have much time and don’t love using weights. I actually don’t mind weights, but my four year old gets into them constantly, so the band feels safer. (Though he did actually snap one of my older ones) Beth Learn also points out in this workout that it is very portable.

 

Basic Aerobics III

Yep, same as Basic Aerobics II. Love it. Fast and functional. Good stuff.

 

Ankles & Upper Body

I love this workout because it allows me to get some arm and leg work in quick. No sweat, no fuss. A few small pieces of equipment (stretchy band and dumbbells)but it works great even if you don’t have those. (A few cans of soup, bottles or jugs of water and a stretchy scarf or even a pair of pants, will work just fine).

 

Kelly Dean Wall Workout

So I was pretty sick this week, but I didn’t want to get too far off track. This workout is short, and while not super easy, it can be modified if you aren’t feeling great.
Scarf It Down

This is a fun little workout. I was tempted to use it as a Daily Minimum, but it works great as a stand alone on a busy day when you don’t have time for much more.

 

Pelvic Floor Connections

I do fast forward a lot of the teaching in this workout, but it still has some good exercises to remember. While Mula Bandha is my favorite pelvic floor workout, this one really breaks everything down for you if you’ve never done anything like this before. Especially great when recovering from pelvic floor rehab.
I was surprised how much doing my daily minimum felt a little silly, and yet I liked the feeling of consistency. As we approach the holidays with lots of busyness (and in our case travel and preparing to move house), the consistency of doing at least something small, the same something small most days, is very appealing.

 

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off of your annual membership. Check it out here.

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Why is Fit2B Worth it? The Reasons I Splurge Every Year on a Subscription to My Favorite Fitness Site

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Today is the big Cyber Monday sale at Fit2B Studio. Any of you who have been reading my blog for a while know how much I love this fitness site. I was promoting it even before they had an affiliate program. I tell people about it in the park and the grocery store. Because as a mom, it has made exercise fit into my life instead of my life having to revolve around finding time for fitness.

Why is Fit2B Different?

What makes Fit2B unique is the focus on Tummy safe fitness. Most women who have had a child (and even some who haven’t, and some men as well) can suffer from diastasis recti. Basically it’s a separation of the abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominis) and the thinning of the linea alba connective tissue. This is why sometimes women continue to look pregnant for years after having babies, and men seem to have perpetual beer guts, even if they are fit and muscular in other areas.

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Now when this happens, many traditional forms of exercise designed to whittle our middles (things like crunches and planks) can actually make diastsis recti worse! Beth Learn has been a fitness professional for years but didn’t learn about the value of Tummysafe fitness until she developed an abdominal separation herself and became educated as she went through abdominal rehabilitation. This inspired her to devote her fitness site to helping people rebuild their bodies, and to meet each member at whatever level he or she is at. There is no such thing as a one-size fit’s all approach for Fit2B.

Why is Fit2B Worth it to Me?

I’ve been a member for Fit2B for the last four years. Not by chance, but deliberately because of all the value it adds to my life.

It Makes Finding Time to Exercise Easier

For me, it’s all about the Roku channel. But I know some people prefer to use the site directly via their computers and others love the new Mobile app. I can get a workout up and running in seconds, before I have time to talk myself out of it or get interrupted by my kids. Sometimes I don’t have time to change into workout wear, or I have to run out the door and can’t get too sweaty. If it’s almost bedtime and I just want something gentle to unwind or I only have 15 minutes but I want something to get my heart pumping, Fit2B has all of that.

Fit2B Builds Us Up, Instead of  Tear Us Down

No matter how you use it, it’s refreshing to find a site that not only promotes good fitness but healthy attitudes about our bodies. Nothing about what Beth Learn does is about destruction, not your body or your will. She’s all about loving the body you’re in, even if it’s not as healthy, as fit, as skinny or as strong as you’d like. She reminds her members often to honor the journey each of our bodies has been through, even if that journey included some things that have damaged and traumatized us. She constantly redirects us back toward healing our hurts and loving our bodies. This is something I need so much. I haven’t bounced back as well as I expected after this third baby, and it’s been very discouraging. Being part of Fit2B has helped me to refocus my energy on being healthy and strong rather than obsessing about a particular number on the scale or size of clothing.

The Users Provide a Loving and Supportive Online Community

The Fit2B Member Facebook forum is a wonderful place to get encouragement and support. Beth does her best to keep this as much of a drama free zone as possible. But it is still a safe space to share your discouragements and ask questions, even difficult and personal ones. (There is no such thing as TMI when it comes to women’s health issues on the forum). I’ve seen total strangers rally around each other to support and encourage after difficult births, miscarriages, surgeries, medical diagnosis and the desperation that comes with chronic pain. I think it is one of the wonderful unsung benefits of a Fit2B membership.

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What is Premium Membership?

I want to highlight when I think is one of the best deals of the Cyber Monday Sale: The Premium Membership. This is a new product that has just started being offered this year. You get an annual membership to Fit2B and lock in the rate at $99 for future years. That’s a big deal because while Beth and her business partners try to keep the prices low, the more they improve and add to the site (it’s already at over a 100 workouts) the more it costs to maintain. So yes, ever couple of years, the price has bumped up a bit. So purchasing a Premium Membership allows you to keep renewing each year at a fixed rate (The budget friendly part of me loves this because I know how much to set aside each year to pay my membership). But it doesn’t stop there. The Premium Membership also includes access to the four most popular of the Fit2B e-courses. (Plus, once you are the member you can purchase future e-courses at a discount).

If this has intrigued or inspired you at all, please check out the full Cyber Monday sale at Fit2B Studio.

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Premium Membership for only $ 119, No sign up fee on Monthly Memberships, $99 for Yearly Memberships, and 25% off everything else! Give yourself the gift of strength, healing and love this year.

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Out of My Control, But Not His Power: Five Minute Friday

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We are a month from a full house move. In the meantime, we need to keep our current house showing ready as potential tenants filter through, hoping that one of them will be the one to make this their new home. Of course the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a terrible time for this kind of thing. (As is the idea of closing on the new house and moving during New Year’s). These are not the times I would have chosen for this kind of upheaval in our lives.

(Did mention that the whole family is sick, and we have an open house tomorrow?) As I weigh the consequences (being totally out of it) with the advantages (release of severe sinus pressure) of taking cold medication, the to do list keeps piling up and all I really want to do is crawl under a blanket with a cup of something hot and a good book. But the continual calls of the small ones in my life rise above it all, needs for meals, noses wiped, diapers changed and conflicts resolved.

I realize that this is now within my power to solve. There is truly more to do than we have time for. I cannot will myself and my children healthy again. (Why does it seem that the kids are never as sick as the parents at a time like this?). After some whining about the unfairness of it all and having a mini-pity party, I must get back to work. Starting with talking myself through the basics. Get dressed, pray. Wash my face, brush my teeth, pray. For the last two months I have lifted up every aspect of this seemingly impossible journey we are on, and so far, we are still continuing, putting one metaphorical (though sometimes literal) foot in front of the other.

I have never been in control of the outcome, only how I handle the process. I haven’t always handled it well. But more often than not, I’ve been forced to recognize how much I like things to go my way, and that I must learn to make peace with the unknown and the unknowable. Because it is all known by the All Knowing One. The One who has determined my going out and my lying down. So I will lift my worries up to him, say a prayer of thanks and carry on.

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

Fit2B Minimal: Building Consistent Exercise Into a High Stress Time

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The last month has been really rough at my house, especially the last two weeks. I’ve spent most of my time trying to get our house ready to show to tenants, which with three small children is no small task. Exercise has taken a complete back seat. I’ve been patching, sanding, painting, and cleaning. But with the holidays coming up I didn’t want to let this become a long term habit. So I came up with a way to keep myself on track.

Every week, I will pick a short core and short relaxing workout. If I do nothing else, each day, I will do those; my daily minimum. Whenever possible I will pair them with other short workouts. (You’ll see a lot of familiar choices from my Fit2B Quick series). While there will definitely be a lot of old favorites featured (Yes, Basic Aerobics II and III I’m talking to you), but I’m also looking forward to trying some new workouts.

Even as our family is going through a period of incredibly high stress, I want to encourage anyone else going through something similar that it’s OK to do the minimum for a while. As Kelly Dean and Beth Learn like to say, consistency beats intensity. If you only manage a few minutes of a workout before being interrupted, that’s more than you would have done otherwise. Even if all you do is a few belly breathes or neck rolls during moments of tension, it all adds up.

Week 1

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off of your annual membership. Check it out here.

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Categories: Exercise, Fit2B Studio | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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