We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Archive for August, 2014

What In the World?!? – Response to 2014 VMAs

I knew I couldn’t handle watching the awards show live so I recorded it.  I had to watch it in two sittings.  My senses couldn’t take the show in just one.  It can be difficult enough listening to lyrics that celebrate debauchery, but to watch the choreography that goes with it can be a bit much.  I just finished watching it and feel like I need to take a shower.  Yuck.

I don’t even know where to start.  It was a parade of flesh.  Specifically big bare booties.  As in practically naked booties.  I remember when Madonna rolling around on the floor in a wedding gown singing about sex made everyone gasp.  In comparison, the women performing this year made Madonna in 1984 look like, well, THE Madonna.

As gratuitous as Nicki Minaj’s “dance” moves were, I was most offended by Beyonce’s performance.  How can any woman prance on stage like a stripper, treating herself like an object, and dare to call herself a feminist?  I’m not a huge fan of the feminist movement, especially what it’s become in mainstream media (future blog post).  But I found her use of the word to be ridiculously hypocritical.  Laughable, really.  You don’t want to be exploited?  Exploit yourself before someone else has the opportunity.  You want to be in control?  Use your body and your sex appeal to show ’em who’s boss.  Yuck.  And the adoration she received from the audience?  Super yuck.  The fact that her baby daughter was in the audience watching her mom on stage made me want to cry.

THIS is why I teach my 7 year old, and will do the same with the babies, that he is to treat EVERY girl as a lady, even if she doesn’t act like one.  I remind him that he may be the only person to show a girl that she is special, not because he thinks so, but because God does.

THIS is why I feel called to work in ministry full time with girls ages 11 to 21.  To walk alongside them and speak life and truth over them.  “You are loved.  You are beautiful.  You are a princess, the daughter of the Most High.  Your body is not your own.  It is not yours to throw around like a piece of meat.  You were made for more than this.”

Stepping off my soapbox now.

Did you watch the MTV Video Music Awards?  If so, what did you think?

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So How Do You Blog?

I’ve really enjoyed blogging this summer.  I set out with the reasonable goal (thank you, Jon Acuff for the recommendation) of posting once or twice a week.  Some weeks I posted more.  But it’s August now and real life has officially returned.  So how do you do it, you non-SAH bloggers?  How do you keep up with the demands of work and family and find time to blog? 

I considered journaling again.  I thought that once a week I could post a journal entry.  Would that be cheating?  Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated.  Ooh, maybe if I compile enough tips I can blog about it!

First Day Of Daycare

I officially return to work tomorrow.  The twins are starting daycare today, though.  We are trying to create a new routine so our mornings are as stress free as possible.  Also, I need a day to be away from them before I have to be at work all day.  Although I’m not dreading returning to work as much as I was, say three weeks ago, I still feel I have a bit of mourning left to do.  Today will be an opportunity to process this new chapter without the fear of crying in front of my colleagues.

My prayer today, and every day for the foreseeable future, is that when I get choked up by thinking of them, that God would replace my sorrow with gratitude and joy, and that I can live each day intentionally, as to not waste any time I get to spend with them, our oldest son, or my husband.  I will also pray that God allows me to leave the world of 8-5 (fellow teachers, let’s just all make believe for the sake of this post, okay?) so I can be as present in the lives of my children as my heart desires.

I'll Miss These Smiles

I’ll Miss These Smiles

ps – I’ve got no idea what we’re supposed to pack for the boys, so as soon as I finish my PiYo workout I will be calling to get that info.  So much for today being a stress free morning.

Gratitude Gained From a Twin Pregnancy

These are things that I took for granted (I think we all do) before carrying twins for 37 weeks and 1 day.  I had similar experiences with my first (singleton) pregnancy, but twins brought on my appreciation earlier.  I am listing these in no particular order.  No “Top 5” or “Top 10” list.  Who would want to read something titled “The Top 7” anyway?

Breathing

At first it was only difficult to breathe when I was sitting at my desk at work.  It turns out that when I thought the boys were going from Downward Dog to Child’s Pose at the same time, I was actually experiencing contractions.  I just figured they were really into synchronized yoga.  These contractions were most intense when I was at work, so I had to alternate between sitting down and standing – not doing either for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Then it came to the point where lying on my back, unless my upper body was elevated, became excruciatingly uncomfortable.  And trying to breathe during the last two weeks was just a joke.

Sleeping

I didn’t sleep much during the last trimester with our son back in 2007.  Carrying twins brought on sleepless nights much earlier.  Initially it was from having to use the restroom multiple times throughout the night.  Later it was from discomfort and pain.  The only upshot is that I didn’t feel sleep deprived the first few weeks of the boys’ lives – my body simply didn’t know any better.

Eating

Heartburn took all the joy out of eating.  Well, not all of it.  All things cow tasted yummy. I’m not a red meat eater, but the protein requirements for carrying multiples is crazy high and my body constantly craved it. Unfortunately, regardless of what I ate I had horrible heartburn.  Tums, which worked during my first pregnancy, were no match for heartburn brought on by carrying twins.  My OB said it was like bringing a slingshot to a gun fight.  So he suggested I try Zantac, and if that didn’t work I’d have to get a bazooka (can’t remember which prescription antacid).

Driving

First it was the difficulty breathing while sitting issue.  Then my belly forced me to move my seat back.  For the average woman that’s not a big deal.  But I’m 5’1″ and need to sit as close to the pedals as possible.  While I was on bed rest I had to be driven to my OB appointments.  Being chauffeured around town sounds much more glamorous than it actually is.  Especially when your chauffeur doesn’t drive the way you do.  By the time I drove myself it had been a month since I had been able to.  I was so excited.  I felt like the parking attendants who took Mr. Frye’s car for a joyride in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Getting Dressed 

It’s the little things in life that I truly started to appreciate around the five month mark.  Putting on my clothes – especially undergarments and shoes – made me feel like I was the main act in a Cirque de Sole production.  What little sense of balance I had left was tested every time I had to change clothes.  And I’d never been so grateful for having a set of stairs in my house, as they were the perfect assistant for putting on my socks and shoes.

Bathing

Think “Getting Dressed” but in a wet and cramped environment.  Joy.

Moving

I was very disappointed when I was told that teaching dance fitness classes three to five times a week was out of the question.  Something about increased blood volume from carrying twins.  I figured I would still be able to teach PiYo Strength (now PiYo Live) well into the pregnancy since it’s low impact.  But I underestimated how exhausted I was going to be, and waking up early enough to teach 5:30 classes just wasn’t gonna happen.  I taught my last fitness class in early August.

The next time I moved with the intent to exercise was in October, at a REFIT Revolution instructor training.  In those two short months I went from being able to move freely to not so much. As a group fitness instructor I’ve offered many different modifications but at only twelve weeks pregnant, I needed more than I had ever offered my class participants.  I gained a new appreciation for participants who need modifications and I’m a better instructor for it.

Fast forward another two months to the last time I exercised before giving birth in March.  It was in December using a REFIT Revolution DVD.  I took modifying to a whole new level. For most of the routines all I could do was “side step touch”, but the music was upbeat (as always), so it was a great workout for my soul.

By the time I was put on bed rest in February, it was a struggle to get off the couch and walk to the restroom.  I reminisced about the day when all I could do was “side step touch”.  Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi song comes to mind.  Now, 21 weeks postpartum, I am slowly returning to being fit, and I don’t take my progress for granted.  No matter how small or slow it may be.

 

So what about you?  Have you experienced something that helped you appreciate the little things?

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Chapter 2

This is my second attempt at recapping Chapter 2.  My first attempt read too much like a middle school book report.  Okay, maybe elementary.  So I’m going to share my personal highlights and takeaways from the chapter.

  • God planted the “Who am I really?” question in our hearts to help us understand who he created us to be.  If we don’t know who he created us to be, then we can’t fulfill the purpose he has for our lives.
  • Knowing who I really am is necessary to love God, others, and myself more.

Strengths

  • A strength is a personal characteristic that can be use on behalf of God in service to others.
  • The three strengths I identified – trustworthy, cheerful, supportive
  • God is the source of my strengths, I am not (Philipians 4:13)
  • When I come up short, I need to focus on who I am in Christ
  • My divinely created strengths are supported by my weaknesses, because if I was good at everything (which I’m not by the way), I wouldn’t focus on much of anything (which is difficult enough already with ADHD, thank you very much)
  • My assets (strengths) can easily become defects if I don’t keep my motives and their intensity in check

Skills

  • A skill is a strength expressed in a specific way that builds up others and benefits the kingdom – NOT the definition I would have given before reading this chapter
  • Mad props to Holley for referencing Napoleon Dynamite and making me giggle
  • The three skills I identified – relating, encouraging, guiding
  • Strengths stay consistent throughout life but the skills that express them can vary depending on the season of life I’m in
  • God wants my heart more than my skills – Thank you, Jesus.  Because some days I feel like a complete failure for not getting enough accomplished.  Or for not being cheerful or supportive enough.

My “Who” and Who I’m Called to Serve

These were my favorite sections of the chapter.  It took me several years to identify my social circles, and My “Who” served as a nice refresher.  This came at the perfect time, since I am returning to work after an extended maternity leave.  I don’t have the opportunity to regularly interact with adults (other than my husband), so remembering that I can’t truly share who I am with everyone there was a timely reminder.  Who I’m Called to Serve was an encouragement to keep striving to work on my dream of serving in ministry full time.

your strengths + your skills + who you’re called to serve

=

you making a difference in the world in your own amazing way

God’s Heart for Who I Really Am

This section made me cry.  Every time I read it.  Growing up, I struggled with being mixed.  I believed that I wasn’t Latina enough because I don’t fluently speak Spanish.  I believed that I wasn’t Black enough, because, well, I don’t look Black.  (I don’t use African American because my family is Caribbean and it just doesn’t fit) I knew that I could pass for being White but didn’t want to.  I wanted to be accepted for the unique person that I am.  I wanted to feel like I belonged.  God healed this particular heartbreak, but reading these words let me see how God has used the break to shine through me.

We are much more than pretty…we are wonderfully made.

We are much more than likeable…we are deeply loved.

We are much more than okay…we are daughters of the King.

I think the enemy tricks us into believing we are not enough because he knows if we discover the truth, we’ll be unstoppable.

Tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of relief.  Tears of regret over wasted strengths and skills due to fear.  Tears of grace.  But then I wiped away my tears with a renewed sense of determination as I read these closing words:

Girls, let’s stop shaking in our boots and instead start standing tall for him together.

Let’s use our strengths, skills, and relationships to make a  difference.

Let’s be who we are, really.

I can’t do it alone – are you with me?

YES, I am!  How about you?

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Just Kidding…

“Who Am I Really?” is the title of the second chapter.  Apparently I’m the girl who brings the wrong book with me on vacation.  I left my copy of the book at home, and accidentally brought the one I keep meaning to give my friend.  In other words, all of my underlining and margin notes are gone.  Ugh.  So…I’ll be re-reading the chapter tomorrow and posting a proper recap of the first part of Chapter 2 tomorrow afternoon/evening or possibly even Wednesday.  Phooey.

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