What An Orange Giraffe Cup Taught Me About Contentment and Trust

IMG_20170424_135649532

I’m in one of those crazy seasons where God is teaching me so much about myself through my children, especially through my one year old. Some of it isn’t necessarily for sharing. (I’ll spare you insight on the parallels between redemption from sin and a diaper blow out.) But yesterday during the church service God did speak to me through a sippy cup.

I was on my own with three kids during opening worship as my husband was serving. My mom provided a helping hand, but soon my sister and her three boys arrived as well, so she quickly had her hands and lap full. I had the baby on one hip and was trying to keep an eye on the other two as they colored and visited with their cousins. I try to encourage them to sing and read the words to the songs, but thus far I’m just happy we actually get through the service each week without me completely losing my mind.

Suddenly my usually happy one year old began to thrash and squawk. He had spotted the sippy cup belonging to his cousin sitting in the row in front of us. As chance would have it, today my sister and I had selected identical cups for our youngest children; an orange Nalgene with a giraffe on it.

I tried to explain to my son that it was not his cup. I kept saying “If you are thirsty, I have one for you.” But he, being 18 months old, naturally didn’t listen to reason. So I finally handed him his own cup that I had stowed out of sight in the diaper bag. He immediately began to calm down but still stared suspiciously at his cousin’s cup even as he guzzled from his own. At that moment, I felt God speak to my heart.

 

“Why are you so quick to complain about what others have? Can you not see that I am providing all that you need and that I am even anticipating your future needs?”

 

My son could not understand why his cousin had something that he was convinced was his. Except it wasn’t his. But he was unable comprehend that I had anticipated his need and had already taken care of it. How often do I lack the faith and understanding to realize that God knows my needs, even before I do?
He has gone before me to prepare the way. He will supply all that I need. It is so very easy to see what others have, and respond in envy or even entitlement. I cry out that it isn’t fair, especially when it’s something that feels so very necessary or is an long held desire. But in those moments, I lose sight of who God is. He is a loving Father, who wants good and wonderful things for me, but also what is best. I may squawk for my neighbor’s cup, when in fact God is preparing for me exactly what I need at the right time.
He has provided for your needs, don’t look at what others have, look at what He has already given and trust that He will provide whatever else you might need.

He Sings Too: Five Minute Friday

IMG_20170406_105343921

He likes to sing along, this last baby of mine. He doesn’t have many words (except shoe, which is his favorite thing to say), but he likes to add his voice to the chorus of little people in my house. The son and daughter are always singing. Silly songs, Star Wars songs, anything they come up with. The baby just adds his own flair to their creations.

His voice is changing now, less baby, more toddler and I know that soon he will be filled with words rather than the tender vocalizations that melt my heart. A part of me is sad as I see the baby years begin to fade in the rear view mirror of my life. The sleepy night time cuddles and snuggles. He’s always been such a trooper, contented to go along wherever we had to be. Now he has stronger opinions and he vocalizes them loudly (if often wordlessly).

I know that I will blink and the diaper years will be gone and all the rest will follow close behind. (We’re already making plans for the crib to take it’s well deserved retirement from service.) Everyone said it would go fast, and I tried so hard to slow it down. As I tuck him in at night and hold him close and whisper “Please don’t grow up too fast. You’re the last one.”

(We call the picture, the Simon selfie. The only way to get a decent picture of him these days).

sing-600x600

five-minute-friday-4

 

The Quiet: Five Minute Saturday

32639140836_7e4ec23454_b

Photo Credit: [Alan] Flickr via Compfight cc

It’s the empty day. Good Friday is over but Easter Sunday is still on it’s way. Though our culture has filled with day with egg hunts and food prep (I know I’ll spend most of today cleaning my house). But it is essentially a day of silence. The day God was quiet with the world.

The man who so many had set his hopes on was dead. He was buried in the tomb and all hope seemed lost. Saturday is the day of doubts, the day of grief. For the disciples, as good Jews, it was also the Sabbath. A return to normalcy and yet not. Because things would never be normal again.

Grief is like that. We feel like things will never be right again. After all the hubbub of funerals and memorials have past, we are left with the emptiness and trying to find a way to create some kind of normal again.

This is where we have the advantage. We know that Sunday is coming. But that doesn’t mean that we should skip the experience of the silence. I heard a counselor once say, lean into the pain, because there is no avoiding it or going around it or rushing through it.

Today is a day of unknown waiting. I think a lot of can feel this. We know all that we hope for, but it feels uncertain. All we can hear is the quiet and wonder where God is. As you fill your day with celebrations and pleasant diversions, take a few moments to think about this grief day. Connect with the pain and waiting in your own life. It may feel like a dark time. But the dawn is coming.

Sunset-chaser-2-600x600

five-minute-friday-4

Fit2B Advancing: Week 6

advancingpath

WEEK 6: Three Daily Double Workouts + Bonus

Daily Double One: Warm-up then do Yoga 4 Runners and Jump Change

Warm-up: Core Wakeup

Yoga 4 Runners

Jump Change
Core Wakeup was a great warm up. I want to continue to find ways to integrate proper core engagement throughout my day, and this is a good one to help do that. Jump Change is isn’t usually one of my favorites. It definitely gets the heart rate up and the higher impact aspect is supposed to be quite good for bone density. But it doesn’t have the flow of Beth’s other workouts. I also had to do a good bit of modifying since I seem to have this uncloseable core, despite all of my hard work. But I did my best to engage and do the alternatives offered and suggested. Yoga for Runners was a favorite of mine from back when I used to actually run. But it was still a good cool down and stretch. It’s definitely worth adding to your routine.

 
Daily Double Two: Weighted Warriors and Kelly’s Core Cardio

I loved revisiting Kelly’s Core Cardio and it was a perfect way to warm up for Weighted Warriors. I chose to use my lighter three lb weights since I knew I had lost some momentum during our weeks of illness. I probably could have gone a little heavier, but I decided to focus more on proper form and alignment. A great workout emphasizes just a handful of yoga movements but adding weights to increase the difficulty.

 
Daily Double Three: Warm-up then Wall Workout with Beth and Hold It!

Warm-up: Vertical Core

Wall Workout with Beth

Hold it!
Vertical Core provided a good, stationary warm up. I like these office routine workouts because they show how you can integrate healthy core movement. This is only the second time I’ve done the Wall workout with Beth. I definitely had to do some careful modifications, and you can be sure I didn’t end up upside down at all. It’s not quite as comprehensive as Kelly Dean’s Wall Workout, but it’s still some good movement in a short period of time. I’m not sure I’d ever do it by itself but it’s good paired with something else.

Usually I don’t like Hold It. The entire workout is focused on sustained movement. It is in this workout that I learn something important about myself, that I would rather do something hard and fast than slow and sustained. Because it somehow feels better to get sweaty and even hurt a little because it feels like a “real” workout. But in Hold It my arms were screaming from properly holding the various warrior poses. I was forced to focus on my breath, alignment and core. It is deceptively simple, because to do it properly requires a great deal of work.

 

Bonus
21 Tone Up

I love this workout. It has earned the rank of one I will come back to time and again; like all the Basic Aerobics routines and Kelly Dean’s Total Body Workout. It isn’t too long and while I appreciate the benefits of longer workouts, sometimes if I don’t have an hour it can be easy to just give up and skip it. But this packs a punch, without overdoing it and makes it easy to fit things into my workout. While it is fine as is, you can also add weights if you feel the need to bump it up a notch. Since I was having a tired day and working out in the evening which is not my preferred time, I did it mostly without.
Step & Pivot around the World

This was a new one that I have been dying to try. But since it was ranked as challenging I wanted to wait until I was in better shape. It didn’t disappoint. I chose the simpler modification of several motions and I’m fairly sure I was on the wrong foot the majority of the time, but this was a blast. Step aerobics may seems like a cliché from the late 20th century but it has a lot to recommend itself. If you’ve tried Basic Step and Basic Step II, and you are looking to try some more complicated choreography, give this one a try. It got my heart rate thumping without making me feel short of breath.
And just like that, 6 weeks is up and I’m ready to move on from Fit2B Advancing. I’m excited to come back in a week or two and tell you about the 6 X 6 Pathway. It debuted while I was postpartum, so I haven’t been able to try it yet. I’m excited to continue my fitness growth with Fit2B. Three plus years, and I still haven’t run out of ways to use this amazing program. I will always be grateful to Beth Learn, and the rest of her team for the positive impact they have had on me.

If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, I encourage you to give Fit2B a try. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

 

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

home-page-final-cta1

This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

The World Is Broken, Anything Else is Mercy

198358504_b9f28fb839_b

Photo Credit: EJP Photo Flickr via Compfight cc

I’ve heard it so many times, “I believe people are essentially good. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.” Except humans aren’t essentially good. Anything except the bad part is the miracle.
Am I over stating things? Maybe, but perhaps not. Because the world is a messy and broken place. I think part of why we often feel disillusioned with life isn’t necessarily just because bad things happen, but because we feel surprised that they do. It’s Ok and normal to be angry about the difficulties that happen in life. But sometimes that anger is really rooted in entitlement. We think that we don’t deserve the bad things that happen to us. We get caught up not so much in frustration with the challenges themselves but that they have happened at all. We want a reason, or a justification of why bad things happen.
Disasters may not be of our own direct making, but they are the result of a sinful and broken world. We are all part of that world and contribute to it in one way or another. But the beauty and wonder of salvation is that we don’t have to be limited to that brokenness. In fact, God made a specific plan to save us from it. Jesus. The perfect man who lived a blameless life and took all the pain and deserved punishment of all the world through all of time onto his shoulders. So yes the world is broken, but it is also in the process of being renewed, and reborn. So are we.

Like so many things, it comes down to attitude. Instead of just being angry when it all falls apart, we can be grateful when it doesn’t. I am by no means suggesting that we become cynical and assume the worst will always happen. But rather than when laws of entropy are thwarted and things aren’t lost, broken or destroyed, we can see in that moment the mercy of God. Because we all deserve hell, both here on earth and for eternity. Yes, I know that isn’t a popular idea and I’m sure a book by that title wouldn’t sell many copies, but that doesn’t make it less true.

We can also see the potential opportunity for redemption. I think this is what the scripture meant when it said all things work together for God for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. It doesn’t say only good things will happen, but that all things will somehow be worked together for good. We have a long history of examples to look toward.

A small example from my own life. I was very upset by some behavior I saw from my daughter. Despite all of my best efforts she seemed to be moving away from the things I had taught her and I felt powerless. A friend reminded me that while she is a strong minded kid, she is likely not more stubborn and willful in her sin than John Newton or the Apostle Paul and yet God got a hold of those men and used them to build his kingdom, despite all of the horrible things they had done in their lives. God’s mercy at work. Not based on behavior, not based on merit, but redeeming even the worst of men and disasters for good.

We’ve Got This: Five Minute Friday

14816444229_609628e97f_b

Photo Credit: ryeckman Flickr via Compfight cc

I hate that I couldn’t handle it alone. I love to write but technology is not my forte. So whenever I need something, it’s computer programmer husband to the rescue. He gamely offered to help me with some blog research last night which led to a multi-hour drama after I clicked the wrong button. (I firmly believe that everything in life should have an undo button).

Then at 4 AM the smoke alarm started chirping. Of course we couldn’t figure out which one it was. I know my husband doesn’t do well with early morning wakings and I desperately wanted to take care of it myself so he could sleep. An hour later after changing three batteries, he gave up on sleep and I crashed for another hour or two, but not before feeling guilty that I was sleeping and he was awake, headed exhausted into another workday.

I know marriage is supposed to be a team, but sometimes I hate how much I need him. Because I worry that someday if he isn’t there I won’t be able to make it on my own. In a generation that is teaching women self-reliance, after seeing other women flounder after losing husbands to death or divorce I feel like I should be able to do it all on my own.

At the same time, I love knowing that he has my back. He may be cranky at 4 AM, but he takes care of whatever the problem is. He got up with the babies when they were small, and even now when they get sick in the night. I don’t know why I’m so stuck on the idea that I need to be enough on my own.

Maybe it’s just important that I know I can do all the stuff, but that I’m lucky enough not to have to. We share the load not because I am less capable but based on preference and gifting. It doesn’t mean I’m not good enough, but that I have a partner who is equal to this difficult task we have taken on; to share a life and build a family. With God’s help, we’ve got this. Neither of us has to labor alone.

So, Hon, if you are reading this half asleep at your desk at work; thanks again for everything you did last night. Hopefully there’s a full night’s rest coming your way.

define-2-600x600

five-minute-friday-4

Fit2B Advancing: Week 5

advancingpath

 

WEEK 5 GOAL: Three Studio Workouts + One Daily Double + One Wellness Day

 

Studio Workout One: Functional Workout I

This workout is another good opportunity to incorporate weights, though this time I opted to use my lighter set. I had a bit too many reverse lunches for me though. While it definitely got my muscles working, it left me feeling strong enough to help my husband shovel our driveway for an hour later the same day.

 
Studio Workout Two: Warm-up for 5 minutes then Gentle Blend

Warm-up: Totally Transverse II

Gentle Blend

I feel like you can never go wrong with warming up with one of the Foundational Five. On the other hand, I know this is meant to be a gentle workout, but wow did I feel it the next day. Gentle Blend is always very challenging to my glutes and is a killer side leg series. But it is also a good way to start doing slightly longer workouts.

 
Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 5 minutes then TummySafe Kickboxing

Warm-up: Mula Bandha

Tummysafe Kickboxing
It has been a while. Tummysafe Kickboxing used to be one of my favorite workouts. But this time it really kicked my butt. (Ok, it may still be a favorite but I don’t remember it making me sweat so much.) I chose something without heavy upper body work for today since I have a strained muscle in my neck and upper back. I was able to get the full cardio I needed without aggravating my sore muscles.
My one year old now recognizes the opening Fit2B music and immediately comes over to check out the workouts. He began squealing with delight when the dog and cat made their appearance. So this workout was a hit with both participants and bystanders.

 
Wellness Day: Simply Stretching before or after a 15-30 minute walk/jog. 

Simply Stretching

Walking Workout

I used the walking workout in lieu of an actual walk given the late snow that hit our region. I did it with my light (3 lb weights) and it definitely provided a nice cardio and some good weight work.

I’ll admit that I tend to skip stretching days. I always plan to include at least one each week, but that often ends up being the day I miss. (Realistically, 4-5 workouts a week is usually what I can manage, at least until I start consistently getting up at 6 again. Ugh.) But I was very glad for the reminder to stretch. While it is a bit longer than I usually prefer for a stretching only workout, I found it very helpful in working my typical tight spots.

 
Daily Double: Totally Transverse and Love Handles Lost

Totally Transverse is a great reminder of how I should be engaging my transverse and maintaining my alignment throughout the day. Love Handles Lost This is not a hard workout, perse, but I find it to be effective. I was able to properly engage, but I didn’t feel I was overtaxed. After feeling unexpectedly challenged by Gentle Blend, this felt very satisfying.

I had to really prioritize exercise this week, in addition to trying to get my healthy eating back on track. It’s amazing how easy it is to let things go and it can be so difficult to work my way back again. But it matters so much to be that I be strong and healthy enough to take care of my family and live the life I aspire to. Here comes Week 6, almost done and ready to move on and up to something more challenging, but only if I feel ready.

 

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

home-page-final-cta1

This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support.