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.

Posts tagged ‘balanced life’

12 Days of Christmas: Day 7 – Create Margin

7th day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Breathe

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life?  Whatever your work/family situation is, do you ever feel like you’re juggling too many activities/responsibilities/roles?  And let’s face it, although technology can simplify our lives, it usually reminds us via social media that we can be doing so much more, or at the very least do what we’re already doing with a lot more style.

So today, we give you permission to just breathe.  What’s that you say?  You don’t have the time to stop and breathe?  Or your living space is so cluttered that you can’t find a place to sit down long enough to enjoy breathing?  Well, here are some resources that may help you find the time and physical space to do just that.

Corie Clark’s “The Simplicity Project” is aptly named.  Her approach to simplifying our over-complicated lives is exactly that – simple.  She doesn’t try to push a multi-step program .  Nor does she just focus on the physical decluttering that our lives need.  She addresses the need to tend to our spiritual health, physical health, physical spaces, finances, and time management.  Her approach to simplifying is not only doable, but grace infused, which makes it more likely for recovering perfectionists to complete the project.

Simplicity Project

While “The Simplicity Project” touches on learning how to say yes and no wisely, Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” really gets to the heart of the matter – people pleasing.  Too many “Oh, snap!” moments in the book to get into here.  If you can relate to any of the quotes from the front of her book {I dread saying yes but feel powerless to say no.  I hope there’s more to life than my to-do list.  I’m a little overwhelmed and a lot worn out.  I’m drowning int he regrets of too many commitments.}, grab a copy.

Best Yes

This last book, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” by Bonnie Gray, comes highly recommended from a God friend.  Since it’s on the “Read in 2015” list, you can read her write-up of it here.

Whitespace

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 3 – Rest

3rd Day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Rest

No book or blog recommendations or photos needed for this one.  Rest looks and feels different for each person.  Over the years, rest has looked very different for me.  Walking while jamming out to music.  Shop therapy at Loose Lucy’s (feels like a lifetime ago now).  Reading magazines while drinking hot tea at Barnes and Noble.  Napping when my oldest son used to nap in the house (now it’s only the car).  Morning quiet time in the kitchen spending time in God’s word and watching the sun rise.  Vegging out on the couch watching back to back episodes of my favorite television series.  I am currently back to napping when the twins do.

You know what rest looks for you right now in this current season.  So do it.  For your own well being, and the well being of those you love, take time out of your crazy busy schedule and rest.  Pencil it in if you have to.

I don’t think you need convincing that resting is good for you.  But, like me, you may not always believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  The world around us is vying for our attention, lying to us “If you just get this one more thing accomplished…” – you fill in the promise.  The biggest lie I fall for is “…you’ll be all caught up”.  As a teacher, a mother, and a wife I’ve come to suspect that there’s no such thing as “all caught up”.  There’s always more to do.  Even the hamster on the wheel takes a break from time to time, right?  So, as 2014 winds down, and before we gear up for 2015, let’s give each other permission to rest.

Full disclosure: The 3rd Day of Christmas was yesterday. I took a two hour nap and went to bed at a decent hour rather than stress over hitting the publish button on time.

Permission to Be a Mom

My body is not my own.

My name’s Reina and I’m a recovering fitness addict, image addict – I’m not sure which one is more true.  The last time I was regularly active, it wasn’t so much of an obsession as it was a really positive outlet.  But once upon a time, I was a fitness addict.  I was more concerned about the end product and it overshadowed the joy and blessing of being able to move and breathe.  I pushed my body’s limits just a little passed comfortable in order to get stronger, and faster, and build endurance.  And let’s face it, I wanted to look good in jeans.

I’m definitely a recovering image addict, and I think that’s something I’ll struggle with as long as I’m on this side of heaven.  It changes, the degree to which I struggle with it.  And also the specific focus of the obsession regarding image, that changes.  There are better seasons, better days, and then there are those days and seasons when I really struggle to let go of the opinions of others.  I truly do believe that it’s an illness, disease, whatever you want to call it, that women are prone to be effected by more than men. Or maybe we just reflect it or act out on it in differently than guys do.  In ways that are more noticeable.  I don’t know.

One of the unexpected benefits of being a new mom of twins is that my twin pregnancy really humbled me in the area of obsessing over my fitness and image.  I was teaching fitness classes when I became pregnant with the twins.  I really enjoyed it.  I loved the endorphins, the comradery of teaching group fitness classes, the whole group dynamic – and it could be a class as small as two people.  One person actually, when it came to my 5:30 in the morning classes.  It was awesome to have other like minded people allow me to partner with them in the endeavor to get healthy and fit, to strive for progress over perfection.  We formed real bonds, created real community.

When I got pregnant I thought, “This is awesome!  I’m going to keep teaching classes and I’m going to teach until it’s time to give birth.”  Then we found out I was carrying twins and I was told that wasn’t going to happen.  The last class I taught was in early August and the next fitness class I participated in was in October.  And in those two short months I could tell the difference in what I could handle, or rather couldn’t handle.  The next time I worked out again was in December and whoa buddy, what I could do was limited even more.

During this time (August to December) I was gaining weight (to be expected) and battling pregnancy acne (as if I wasn’t self-conscious enough already with the rapid weight gain).  It was becoming more and more evident that my body was not mine.  My body was a home to the two lives growing inside me.  It was a cafeteria to feed them.  I was also processing their nutrients, their blood, their oxygen, their waste.  There were so many things my body had to regulate, and my body’s needs took a backseat.

And although I was okay with it during the pregnancy, I really did think that once they were born and I reached the six weeks recovery period (really eight with a Cesarean) that I’d be able to jump right back into working out.  More than trying to get back in shape, I was trying to get active again.  It took me several months of chiropractic care to get my hips and pelvis to stay put and not jostle out of place.  I started doing well for a few days at a time, which became a few weeks.  I was doing at home workout programs and seeing some real improvements in my endurance and muscle tone.  And then the boys went to daycare and I went to work.  They got sick and lovingly gave their stomach bug to me and my husband.  After that, it just seemed like every time I put two days together of working out that something else would pop up.  It really feels like – not as an excuse, but as a reality check – that God’s telling me that now is not the season.  Now is not the time to focus on my fitness, but to focus on being a mom.

Although they are not living in me anymore, and I’m not their house anymore, I’m still their number one source of nutrition.  I’m still supplying the majority of their nutrients through nursing or expressing milk and sending it to daycare.  So I really felt God focusing my attention on my nutrition and food intake.  Unfortunately, when I lost a few pounds in September, my babies lost weight, too.  I’m not sure if my weight loss was tied to their weight loss or if it was just the timing because they had another touch of the stomach bug.  Honestly, I wasn’t heartbroken about not focusing on my nutrition.  It’s not easy to eat 3,000 calories of healthy food every day.  It’s time consuming and it’s costly.

But that didn’t change the fact that I felt torn between being okay with wearing my maternity jeans and wanting to hurry up and “bounce back” to my pre-pregnancy body.  There’s a lot of pressure in our society for women to “bounce back” and look like their pre-pregnancy self with a quickness.  Never mind the magazines that feature new celebrity moms who have lost their pregnancy weight and more in less than three months.  Those magazine covers have been around for years.  When comparison rears its ugly head I’m able to remind myself that those celebrities have nannies, personal chefs, personal trainers, and they do not have the schedule normal moms do.  What gets to me is when I see normal moms on Instagram and Facebook talking about hitting that pre-pregnancy mark.  It’s much easier to get caught up in the lie of “Well, if she can do it I should be doing it.”  It seems like getting back to pre-pregnancy size or smaller isn’t just a goal anymore, it’s an expectation.

I know I’m not the only new mom (or new again mom) who is looking for, waiting for, aching for permission to be okay with walking in the truth that our bodies are not our own.  To be okay with the current season of life.  Not that there isn’t a time to lose fat and tone up. I just know now is not that season for me.  I’m not willing to give up what little sleep I get to wake up super early in the morning to work out before my house wakes up.  And after a full day – waking up around 4 to either nurse or pump, getting myself and everyone else ready for the day, working 9 hours, doing Mommy stuffy with our oldest, nursing and getting the twins ready for bed when they get home from daycare*, putting our oldest to bed, cleaning the kitchen and preparing all bottles and pumping supplies for the next day*, and spending time with my husband before going to bed by 11 – I’m spent and working out is the last thing I want to devote my time and energy to.  If you’re a mom out there and you’re able to juggle working full time, a newborn, older kids, a husband, nutrition, and fitness – mad props to you.  I’m just not there right now and that’s okay.

Since having the twins I’ve noticed that what and how we feed our kids is a huge deal.  I see plenty of debates via social media about breast feeding versus exclusively pumping versus formula and mushy food versus baby led weaning and all sorts of craziness.  I regularly see posts where women lovingly give one another permission to feed their children however they see fit, to do whatever is best for their family.  People say things like “As long as the baby is happy, healthy, and thriving, let’s encourage one another and not tear each other down.”  I see plenty of those posts.

We may not talk about it outright but I definitely sense that there’s this issue of “bouncing back” from a pregnancy and how long it takes.  I’d love to see just as many, if not more posts, of new moms (and new again moms) giving each other permission to enjoy being moms and not having to feel the pressure of to do so within a certain time frame.  Giving each other permission to be present for the very, very short period of time when our children rely so heavily upon us.

So if no one else out there on the interweb can relate, then so be it.  But if you can, please hear me when I say you have permission to be a mom.  Because that’s so much more than enough right now.

*when my husband’s schedule allows he helps out with these tasks

The Tipping Point

Domino Effect

You know that uncomfortable space between stagnation and change?  That’s where I’m living right now.  I’m living in the space cohabitated (spell check says I made up yet another word – score!) by head knowledge and a lack of action.  I am not writing this out of shame or guilt, but rather out of a desire for a transparency that will create community.  My prayer is that this post will be the catalyst I need to thrust me back into living more healthfully.

Yesterday I submitted, or resubmitted rather (gotta love technology), a guest blog post about getting and staying active.  I was very comfortable writing the post, as I have been active for almost two months now.  Activity, movement, and fitness come naturally to me. What would have made me uncomfortable?  Writing about nutrition.  Why?  Here’s a big clue: I just finished eating natural peanut butter out of the jar along with mini-allergen free chocolate chips.  The fact that it was natural peanut butter has to count for something, right?

But seriously…While I was pregnant with the boys, I didn’t just gain a lot of weight.  I picked up poor eating habits I had put down years ago.  When the boys  were conceived, my diet was the healthiest it had ever been.  I was eating clean and mostly gluten free.  Then came the exhaustion and ravenous hunger.  A dangerous combination for a former junk food junkie.

Now, 3 months after the birth of my twins, I am still making poor eating choices.  The first poor choice is that I’m not eating enough calories.  Nursing twins requires what seems to be a ton of calories.  The second is a natural consequence of the first – satisfying the craving for high caloric foods with low quality foods.  But I know that with some preparation I can easily meet my caloric needs, stave off cravings (can you say salty and crunchy?), and eat quality food.

So what’s holding me back?  A lack of want to.  Plain and simple.  Which is crazy, because I really want to eat better.  The problem is I’m not putting in the work to back up that sentiment. Ugh.  I don’t need to read another book on nutrition.  I don’t need any more head knowledge.  It’s the putting it into action are where I’m falling short.  I was just telling someone the other day “Either you want to do something or you don’t.  If you don’t, you can find a million reasons to not follow through.  If you do, you simply do it.”  I hate it when I say something before realizing it really applies to me.

I don’t know about you, but I need motivation and accountability.  I’m really good at motivating others and holding them accountable, but sometimes find it hard to connect with others who hold me accountable.  So here I am at the tipping point, between stagnation and change, humbly asking you to hold me accountable. I’ll check in twice a week – daily is unrealistic for me and once a week isn’t often enough – and rate the quality of my diet.  What is it that you need to tackle on your journey to living a healthier, more balanced life?  Feel free to reply in the comment section or come over to Facebook .

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