Speak to Me, I’m Listening: Five Minute Friday

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When my first child was born, I was so anxious for her to talk. I wanted to know what she was thinking and better able to understand her needs. She may not have been an early talker, but by 18 months she had more than 100 words. Then the second child arrived. He was a later talker, but once he started, he wouldn’t stop. Even at 5, he is the loudest of the house and barely pauses for breath. (I realize this may be a genetic feature I contributed to his DNA).  By the time my third arrived, I didn’t worry much anymore about when he would talk. I knew he would and sure enough he does. Much of it is unintelligible but as he approaches his second birthday, I definitely find myself wishing that it was a little quieter at my house with a whole lot fewer words.

 

Humans want to connect, it is in our nature. But not all of us want to connect with words. But communication, both written and verbal has always been such a central part of who I am. It was surprising to no one when I grew up to enjoy middle school and high school theater products, speech meets and took up writing. When my husband and I read the Five Love Languages together it was apparent very quickly that one of my primary languages is the dialect of quality time called quality conversation. I need to connect with someone through words to feel truly close to them.

 

Spiritually, this is no different. So often in the cacophony that make up my days I find myself wanting to hear God. I want to connect with him through words. This is why prayer and reading the scriptures is so important for me, even though both are something I’ve struggled with over the years. Because without those words, I can’t connect, I don’t feel close.

 

Yet, I have also felt called, especially lately, to spend time in silence. This seems to go entirely against my communicative nature. How can I connect with God without words? For me, I need the silence to better let my heart be my ears. To let the spirit of God impress himself on my soul and find my spirit renewed. This can’t always happen when I’m constantly full of words.

 

It is in those moments when I am too tried and worn out for words that I have no choice but to lift my silence up as an offering and see what He has to say.

 

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Speak to me, Lord. I’m listening.

Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 4

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I enjoyed the exercises this week but I also loved the way exercise integrated itself into my life recently.  We took a weekend trip to the mountains with friends which included some light canoeing. Mind you, I wasn’t responsible for steering, but I did paddle which added an usual motion that I don’t typically do. The best part, I wasn’t sore the next day! Plus sitting quietly out on the lake I was able to close my eyes, if only for a moment and soak things in. I was sad when it was over but I also wanted to use it to keep propelling myself forward. It would be great to be able to do that kind of thing again, and that means I need to keep getting stronger.

 

 

Basic Aerobics II / Kelly Dean’s Wall Workout

I like this combination of workouts because it gives me a quick punch of cardio and just a little bit of full body strength training. Since I know these workouts well, if I’m having a day where I’m just not able to focus well, I can almost do them on autopilot.

 

 

Defining Deltoids

Yay for heavier hand weights! This workout is done using exercise bands and dumbbells. Because the movements are slow and deliberate, I was able to bump up my intensity and still maintain good form.

 

 

Body Sculpting II5 Minute Arms & 5 Minute Booty Burn With A Band

Body Sculpting II is kind of a toning cardio hybrid but because it was so short I wanted to add a bit more. I decided to try the 5 Minute Arms and 5 Minute Booty with Band routines. Both provided a great workout in a short time. While I haven’t done the whole 5 minute series yet, I imagine if you combined them all together, you’d have a pretty great workout as well.

 

 

Body Sculpting

I decided to experiment again with heavier weights and managed very nicely again. I have to be hyper cautious about maintaining form and core engagement (and keep my lighter weights handy, just in case), but it feels great to be finally building my strength up further.

 

 

Gentle Blend

When I’ve had a stressful week, I’ll admit that I want something fast and difficult. (The ripping, tearing style workouts that I know aren’t good for me). But this was exactly what I needed. The even paced, sustained movement got my heart rate up enough for me to break a sweat but then Beth brought it down wonderfully and I left feeling more relaxed. While this isn’t necessarily one of my favorite workouts, it was definitely just what I needed together.

 

 

Kelly’s Total Body Stretching

I love these stretches, though the routine itself isn’t quiet as soothing as the Restorative Poses series. In a perfect world, I would make time to stretch like this every day. (Ok, in a perfect world I wouldn’t need to stretch but anyway . . .) Even if you learn these six movements from memory and just add them throughout your day, you will see such an improvement in alignment, core control with much less pain and discomfort.

 

 

I know I have two weeks of longer and harder workouts coming, so it was nice to have a week where I’m still working in my ideal workout time. This is probably the kind of week I’ll return to when my 6 week challenge is over. There is something wonderful about consistent lower difficulty workouts rather than fewer challenging ones. I like that my exercises make me feel energized rather than exhausted. I hope this will continue as I kick things up a notch next week.

 

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Are You Even Trying? Five Minute Friday

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Are you even trying?

So often I utter these words to my kids, frequently in anger. Because when I ask them to complete a task, especially one that is well below their ability it is frustrating when it doesn’t even feel like they are making an effort.

They just stand there, eyes glazed over or flop around on the floor like a seizing fish. It is one of those buttons that gets pushed daily and I’m still figuring out how to moderate my response to.

Yes, I could help them. But I my brain runs ahead too a theoretical future where they can’t take care of themselves, where I am still picking up laundry for my 23 year old and my 30 year old still needs me to cook her meals.

But it’s really unfair.

Because I have a loving Father who sees me. He sees when I try and when I don’t even bother.  He knows my heart and my attitude. He can tell the difference between when I’m phoning it in and when I’m giving it my best but failing miserably.

When it comes to my kids or even the other adults in my life, I obviously can’t depend on omniscience to help me discern their motives. But I can extend them the benefit of the doubt. I can assume the best about them and provide my help, sans the judgement and frustration. That applies especially with my kids.

So before I utter those words in frustration and irritation, I can stop and reassess and choose to try harder myself.

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 2

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Week 2

This week things got a little bit more difficult and I was still fighting exhaustion and stress but I really wanted to feel the sense of accomplishment when the week was over. So I powered through, this time in a good way. Meaning I took it easier when I needed to, but I still kept going.

 

 

Basic Step II

Since this is much longer than Basic Step I, I opted to use the lower height on my step and that was a good choice. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite cardio routines. I enjoy the choreography and even though I still frequently mess it up and end up on the wrong foot at the wrong time, I still find it energizing.

 

 

Ultimate Upper Body & Big {little} Band Workout

This is an interesting combo because one workout uses dumb bells and the other resistance bands. Therefore I felt like it balanced things out pretty well. I wisely opted for my lighter weights but still felt pretty bad about it. However, at the end of it, I felt like I had a great workout without totally depleting my energy stores.

 

 

Kickboxing

I love this workout. This particular day I was exhausted and it was very hot and humid. I wasn’t sure I would get through it. But I decided to try to focus and stay hydrated. There are lots of places where Beth offered modifications if I wanted them. But mostly I did the workout as written. A solid, interesting, high impact cardio workout using the interval method. So you don’t have to go at full throttled the whole workout, just for shorter intervals with small slow downs in between. Very manageable while still being serious cardio.

 

 

Yoga and Pilates Loaded

I’ve finally accepted my limits and I used my light weights today. It was still a great workout. The addition to weights to certain Pilates movements and yoga poses definitely adds a level of difficulty while still allowing me to maintain control of my movements.

 

 

Kelly Dean’s Total Body

I forgot what a punch this packs. The upper body portion alone was killer. This one seriously never gets old. I love that I can get such an intense workout without any exercise equipment. I appreciate the way Kelly alternates between core, upper body and lower body so each area has a chance to rest in between exercise intervals. If I had to pick a handful of workouts that I routinely choose, this is one of them.

 

 

Restorative Poses II

While relaxing, I definitely prefer Restorative Poses I. Maybe it’s just which muscles are tight in my body. This one is a tad shorter, but also very relaxing. I didn’t get to this one solo, I snuck it in while dinner was cooking and the kids were wandering about. But they mostly left me alone for it. I would have loved to take another hot bath and head to bed afterwards.

 

 

Beth Learn talks about about honoring your body and its limits. We want to grow stronger and we work towards that, but we also need to accept where we are and not push too hard. I am realizing that for some reason I am not as strong as I thought, so I am having to use lighter weights than I feel like I should. But I’m seeing the benefit of being kind to myself and still leaving room for growth.

 

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 1

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Week 1

After doing such long workouts in previous weeks, it was nice to opt for a few shorter ones. I was feeling pretty tired this particular week so it was easy to get discouraged. But probably the most empowering part was just getting through all the workouts in the same week and then not feeling completely wiped out.

 

 

Basic Step I

It turns out the step platform I use has feet to make it a little taller, so I did. Wow, talk about taking the workout up a notch. This is the shortest of the step aerobics workouts on Fit2B but adding the extra level of difficulty really helped me up my cardio. I will definitely be doing this again, perhaps regularly.

 

Kettle Bell I

I’ve decided that I don’t love Kettle Bell and that the one I have is too heavy, but I’m definitely not buying another one yet, so I’m doing the best I can. This definitely wasn’t as bad as doing Kettle Bell II like I did a few weeks ago. But there were still certain movements I couldn’t do properly because of the weight and my apparent lack of strength. I am hoping that as I get stronger I can come back and do this again.

 

Basic Aerobics IV

I love the Basic Aerobics series on Fir2B. But this one takes it up a notch by adding light weights. While I have been shooting for shorter workouts, I didn’t necessarily want them to be less intense, so I decided to kick this workout into high gear by adding heavier weights. I kept my lighter ones nearby, and I did have to downgrade a few times, occasionally do fewer reps or just take a quick extra breath. But overall, I was pleased with how intense a workout it was for only 20 minutes.

 

Balanced

I opted for my 3 lb weights instead of the 6 lb ones because I was so tired going into this workout. I didn’t want to miss a day of working out but I honestly would have preferred a nap to exercise. I kept telling myself that it was only 20 minutes. I got through it, I took it a little easier. While this workout does involve weights, it is also a rather slow moving, sustained workout with lots of stretching and balancing.

 

21 Tone Up

I was pretty tired this particular day and was again struck by what a great workout this is. It isn’t long, it isn’t complicated. But it also isn’t boring and it packs a wallop. It worked so many different muscles groups. When I’m exhausted, I can’t power through an hour, but I want be able to scrape up enough energy for 21 minutes.

 

Restorative Poses I

I did this workout as part of relaxing evening for myself. After the kids were in bed I did this workout and then took an Epsom salt bath. It was the most relaxed I have felt in weeks. This is a great way to wind down before bed or have a slow start to your day.

 

This week wasn’t easy, but it also felt very exciting. Just being consistent makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. When I’m overtired or very stressed out it’s easy to let exercise be the first thing I cut. But I don’t want it to be that way. Week 1 may not have been perfect, but it did help me feel more confident.

 

Up next: Week 2

 

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It’s Only The First Day

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Today was our first official day of school. As year round homeschoolers there is always learning going on around here. But we took the first part of the summer off from formal school like stuff to help us reset while the kids did VBS, swim lessons and we look a trip to see friends and family. But I knew we needed to get back into a routine and get started.

 

I had all kinds of grand plans about being full prepared and a lovely day spent covering all the subjects. Fortunately I talked myself out of the extravaganza I had originally wanted and decided to phase in our subjects over the next three months. These last two weeks of July will be spent on the basics and then we’ll start phasing in new subjects (like formal spelling, American history and science) and special subjects (like art and music) over the next few months. Our co-op doesn’t start back up until September so I thought this would be a good time to get our bearings.

 

Except my planning day on Saturday turned into a clean out the garage day because we realized there was standing water due to all the recent rain. (Did I mention that our garage is still full of boxes left from our move 6 months ago?) I spent most of Sunday night desperately trying to clean up the living room so that it wouldn’t be a mess tomorrow when we started school and all the while feeling overwhelmed by all there was to do.

 

We started the day with French toast for breakfast, which the kids loved. Then we started with a family devotional I’ve been wanting to try. (The kids were less than fans, unfortunately). We read two new poems from this children’s season poetry treasury that I love. Then we continued on with reading lessons, language lessons, and our book of the week from Five in a Row. I began reading aloud Mary Poppins during snack time and then we moved on to math and copy work.

 

That may all sound really impressive. Except it also involved:

 

A stop for a diaper change of the toddler and trying to keep him from writing all over the house with the pencils.

 

Dealing with whining from my 8 year old who refused to do her reading lesson and proceeded to do a rushed and poor quality job with copy work.

 

I was hoping to do an audiobook during lunch but my children were so disappointed that I didn’t have Mary Poppins as an audiobook (apparently they don’t like the way I read it) that they refused to listen to anything at all.

 

The kids fought, the toddler disrupted

Some how laundry was also done, though I’m not exactly sure how and before I knew it, it was time to start dinner. I still had to cram in a workout before dinner was actually ready and I had to run to a meeting at church.

 

Not an auspicious first day. But I had to keep reminding myself it was just the first day. There are many days ahead. Some will be better, often they will be about the same as this. Yet there is room for growth and improvement. First days tend to built up as some kind of symbol of how the year will be. But really it’s just a day.

 

There are so many other times I let one day define me. The day my workout goes terribly. The day my children won’t behave at the store. (Ok, that’s most days, but still). When my husband and I fight. When unexpected bills arrive and it feels like we’ll never get ahead financially. But it’s not about that one day, it’s the decision to get up each and every day, and continue with the mantra “I need thee every hour.”

 

Tomorrow I will get up, start a load of laundry, and remind the kids to brush their teeth and empty the dishwasher. Make a less impressive breakfast than today and we will begin again, all the while praying for the strength and provision I need for the day and the hour, believing that the strength will arise as I need it.

Fit2B Inspired (Again)

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Things have been rather stressful around here lately, but exercise is one of my usual tools for self-care. I’ve been trying to make it non-negotiable, but it’s still been a struggle.

I don’t feel quite ready to move on to the Challenging pathway since my DR is not entirely healed but I still want to keep building strength and stamina. So that means, yet again, I’ll be creating my own workout routine. I always do better if I have a set plan than if I wing it. Fit2B is a great site and it has literally over hundred workouts. Without a plan, I’d spend too much time debating and not enough actually working out.

Honestly, I usually love exercise. But lately it has been hard. The kids always seem to be underfoot and I’m constantly interrupted. It has been very hot and even though we sometimes use our air conditioning, it still saps my energy. I’ve also been feeling generally icky and a bit under the weather. I know that exercise is supposed to help but sometimes I feel like I’m doing it in the sleep. So I had to ask myself what I was was looking for.

While I wouldn’t mind losing a bit of weight, my main goal is to focus on strength. My toddler is getting heavier and sometimes I still have to pick up or restrain my five year old. My body just isn’t up for it. I’ve been discouraged that my strength hasn’t increased the way I thought it would have by now. I always seem to hit this wall that I can’t seem to progress past.

 

My plan

 

Cardio (2 X a week)

This means favorite workouts like Basic Aerobics III and some longer ones like Tummysafe Kickboxing.

 

Strength Training (2 X a week)

This will often mean weights, but not always. Big (Little) Band workout works for this, but so does Weightlifting 101 and Weighted Warriors. I’m going to try mix and match a bit.

 

Full Body Workout

What you define as full body is relative. Honestly, most of these workouts are full body. My favorites in this category are 21 Tone Up and Kelly Dean’s Full Body Workout. But you could also do any of the pilates or yoga workouts as well.

 

Stretching

I have been neglecting my stretching and really noticing tightness in my hamstrings and hips along with pain in my SI joint. So I wanted to make sure it was a regular part of my week. I look forward to trying out Restorative Poses III, which I haven’t done before, as well as old favorites like Simply Stretching.

I’m shooting for 20-30 minute workouts, maybe longer once I get going. I really want to push myself with some of the harder ones but it is so difficult to find time for the longer workouts. I like the short and sweet ones and if you are short on time, check out my Fit2B Quick series.

I just know that I have to keep going. I don’t want to give up. It’s frustrating to have these limits I can’t yet overcome. But I’m hoping that if I’m consistent, I’ll be able to see progress.

 

Week 1

Week 2

 

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