Begin Again

It’s November in Northern Nevada and the weather has just started getting wet and cranky.  I’m standing outside my gym in the rain.  My body is hot, and I can see steam floating up off my arms as I lean against the wet wall and let allow myself 1 minute to cry.  I had been pushing all of my built up emotions down and down and down, as far as I could, throughout the whole workout.  I finally had to step out so that I wouldn’t choke on my own feelings lodged in my throat.  “1 minute, that’s all you get.” I tell myself.

Pushing yourself physically in a workout will ALWAYS break down those walls we work so hard to put up.  It exposes you, makes you feel vulnerable and you cannot hide.  That is part of why working out is so uncomfortable for most people at first, and we don’t like to do it!   But eventually, it turns into a magical, victorious, HIGH, that us weird fitness people chase like a drug.  That feeling when you’ve conquered the initial discomfort and you start to feel stronger, faster, BETTER. Suddenly there is NOTHING you cant face out in the world, once you’ve faced yourself in the gym.

Fitness magic.

But…starting over is SO HARD.

“I am so tired of feeling this way.  Is this ALWAYS going to be how it feels?  Why did I do this to myself? Why did I stop??!  Will I ever get where I want to be?” I think to myself, as I struggle to catch my breath.

So MANY valid excuses…that mean absolutely NOTHING in this moment, because I feel defeated and robbed of all my confidence I had worked so hard for.    I lean over with my hands on my knees. I take in deep breaths and let the rain fall on my back, and my mind race.  Tears rolling down my face.   “Here I am, eating my own words.” I say out loud to no one, and laugh.

I stand up, wipe my face with shirt and head back in to the session to finish, because even though I fell off my wagon for a bit, I CANNOT quit.  Too many people are counting on me to BELIEVE in what I talk about everyday.

So here I am, walking my talk.

My 9 year old daughter has been asking everyone in our family if she is fat.

It’s been very subtle, but I have discovered that she has been privately polling multiple family members at different times and it shatters my heart.  She is NOT fat, though I know there have been kids at school who have called her fat, and she has become sensitive to it.  I recognize those feeling all too well.

I worry, is it because of ME? Because her mom is in THIS body? And her mom was in another body before that? And working on another body still?  Has she, despite my best efforts, inherited my shame?  Has her being present and aware of my weight loss journey/body image journey/self acceptance journey, done the opposite of what I had hoped? I wanted to show her that despite everything and ANYTHING, I am capable of AWESOME…so that she could KNOW that she is too?

Even just typing this, I can feel my insides start to ache with the thoughts of her not knowing how beautiful and magical she is.

I watch her when she doesn’t know I’m  looking, and wonder how I made this human.  Her little 9 year old girl face. Her nose is freckled like mine.  Her hair is thick, blond and short. She likes it just long enough to tuck behind her ears.  She is a tomboy who loves to fight and wrestle and get dirty.  She LOVES karate.  She hates pink and loves black and green.  But she also thinks boys are SO CUTE (especially Justin Bieber and her 20 year old karate instructor, AJ).

She is in love with love.  She thinks shes going to grow up and marry her dad.  She loves to hug and kiss and crawl ALL over us, and declare her love for everyone, much to the dismay of her big brother.  She’s obsessed with all kinds of animals (except creepy crawly ones) and her heart is so tender,  she cries instantly if an animal is lost, hurt or wounded in movies.  She loves to crank her music up and sing at the top of her lungs…but gets embarrassed and shrinks all the way down to the floor if she catches us listening.  She loves to laugh.  Once she starts up its hard to get her to settle down.

She is our favorite girl in the world!! My ladybug.

And some asshole kid called her fat?

Who could ever know the depths of how wonderful she is just by looking at her?

But isn’t that true for all of us? How do we so quickly forget that we are harboring all the BEST parts of ourselves inside of these bodies, and not the other way around??

Coming home from our conference in September was a climatic whirlwind. There was an overload of praise, contentment, pride and satisfaction with ALL THE THINGS!! And there was also recovery from being dehydrated,  and off of my regular routine of steady workouts and usual diet.   I happily let myself enjoy it ALL, and honestly never quite made it back to “normal” before going on another trip and adding insult to injury.  Slowly and surely I started to make excuse after excuse and feel like crap.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turn into months and lbs turn into more lbs. I gained some weight back, and started to spiral downward and feel out of control and lose heart.

The good news is, it is my job everyday at my club, to convince people that no matter how far they have fallen off the wagon…they can get back up and try again. It is my job to assure people that even though it SUCKS in the beginning…it turns into magic when you start to love yourself.  It is also my job to continue to KEEP IT REAL. All along, sharing this journey, with all of its ups and downs.

And my most IMPORTANT job, is showing my little girl that my value as a woman is not defined by the state of my body, but the state of my heart!

So, I had to begin again.

And, however many times I have to start over, I will. Again and again, I HAVE TO. Because I have to show my girl that there is so much more that makes a person special than what their body looks like!!

And, for those of us who continue to get back up and keep trying, despite seeing the results we want to see immediately, and despite all of the doubts, fears and setbacks…KEEP GOING.

Push through, until it is magic again.

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Insomnia 

Mother’s Day this last weekend has left me feeling some feelings.  
Heavy feelings.  
Deep thoughts.  
If you’re not in the mood for some ponderous musings and reflection, move along. Im sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I’m not ALWAYS the, 100% gym rat/beast mode babe, slaying workouts and personal goals, striving for justice and equality amongst all the fitness levels and body types across the land, urging women of all ages to love themselves and promote genuine confidence all day long, chick.  
At times I have been known to be a very sensitive, and poetic Sally…and sometimes I must emote. So, turn on your Mumford and Sons Spotify station and enjoy this ride.  

There’s been LOTS going on for us, which is true for everyone it seems.  Adjusting to life as a full time working mom has been fun and thrilling, but also a huge adjustment for all of us. 
 And on Mothers Day, I found myself thinking about how rapidly my kids are growing, and how I’m running out of time to get it right for them. Knowing a thing and doing a thing are drastically different, and there’s always so much to DO.  I made the mistake of looking at their baby pictures and it sliced me open with nowhere to hide but here, in my words and sentences that always seem to somehow bring healing. 

Tonight, I find myself alone in my house with a soundly sleeping hubby, kids, and lazy dog. The washing machine is working away on dirty towels. No tv or music. Just an open window in my bedroom as I stare into the glow of my phone and type to clear my busy mind.  

This is one of my favorite times of year…when I can crack a window open at night and hear the sound of all the frogs by the little pond, way out beyond the houses in my neighborhood. I look forward to hearing them, as a reminder that warmer weather is on its way here again.  
I feel peaceful now, and weirdly emotional because I know that I haven’t sat down alone to write in so long, that I’m actually afraid of what might come through.  I had a friend at the gym ask me why I haven’t done a blog post in awhile, and I had to really think about it?  My life is FULL, and I have no complaints, but sometimes little crap builds up and makes your heart heavy. And when the mood strikes me to write it out, I’ve learned to surrender to it because telling the truth always sets you free.  

So here it is.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately.  
How your whole life is just traveling from the most current cluster of people in a moment in time to the next.  

Family, friends and acquaintances. Weaving in and out, overlapping. Mingling and vanishing. Reunited, reminiscing, disappearing. Sometimes reappearing…sometimes forgotten completely. People leaving impressions, memories and scars. Influencing and cautioning. Defending and betraying. Trust and disbelief. Loving and hating. Leaving and staying. Messy. Complicated. Devastated. Loyal. Devoted. Powerful.  

Relationships are everything.  

Lately, I have seen close friendships all around me, whom were thought to be foundational, split and fracture over technicalities. I’m so disappointed in the way we all proclaim to love, but when it’s tested we freeze up, and break off.  

Cold, iced conversations and miscommunications in rooms and across tables, where life was once shared together. But continue to pretend to be friends online? Why? 

Hardened.

Winter.

Lately, I have watched siblings step into being adults and pull away to build their own lives and stories that don’t include me. It’s selfish I know. Bittersweet, to watch something grow on its own that doesn’t require any pruning or help from you anymore. Little shoots of life and strength sprouting up, and thriving in the sunshine…NEED ROOM to grow. 

So I’m learning to let go. 

Spring.

Lately, I have been surprised and energized by the new relationships in my life. New people everywhere! New job, new surroundings, new routines, new jokes, new perspectives, new goals, new encouragement. New experiences. Fresh chances. Fresh opinions. Fresh AIR. Giving me opportunities, life and HOPE.  

It’s been amazing and I want it to stay this way forever. 

Summer.

Lately, I have been anchored by what HOME really means. My children, showered and jammied will sometimes still let me smell them and kiss them in exchange for a few more minutes before bed. They are growing into real people, but for these little moments they are still my littles…wrapped in blankets. My husband, the only person to VOW to stay by my side, and he has. He is faithful. He is constant. Cozy and comforting. Safe and warm. My one true love. My fruitful harvest. 

Fall.

And if you blink, the season spent with people has changed.  

This compels me to STOP and breathe in every moment.  

Take NO person I love for granted, despite disagreements.  

Be in each moment, with no distractions. 

Give my full attention and respect. 

Do my best to fully live the life I’m supposed to live.  

And LOVE people even when they are unloveable.  

If you have been in my life throughout different seasons, I thank you. I know time does not permit for all the people I have loved to exist all at once, in the same time and space, but I am grateful for each of you. 

Greatness awaits!

Came across this post and thought it was worthy of a re-post. 72 pounds lighter, but THIS is still the prayer and cry of my heart. May we learn to be kind to each other and ESPECIALLY ourselves.

Mandimonologue

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My daughter stepped on the scale in my bathroom today while I was cleaning. It was a golden moment from the heavens that I almost missed by being distracted by my own thoughts and busyness.

She stepped on it and said,”Ok mama, let’s see how great I am!”

What.

The.

Heck.

My face still might be slightly numb.
Seriously.
Men may not get this post, but I know women will.

For many of us ladies, the scale represents so many vile things. It boasts the measurement of our worth (or so we’ve learned from somewhere) and it doesn’t lie, right? It can’t be tricked or cheated like the number that we’ve put on our drivers licenses. The scale will expose all of your secret rendezvous with the drive thru, the left overs and the chocolate chip cookies that you thought were safe from the public eye, late in the…

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Update of the Year!

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The last time I wrote a blog post (a poem entitled “Reining it in”), I was headed down a familiar road. A comfortable cave of self-loathing was beckoning me to come back inside and stay for awhile.

I had just returned from serving teenagers and kids for two weeks at church camp with my husband and children. I was feeling amazing! I was feeling accomplished and good about myself. Like I was being useful and productive in the world again. It was hard, long days and hiking all over camp killed my feet but, I dared to get a little confident and bounce back in my step.

That is, until I got home and pictures of me starting popping up on Facebook. Well meaning friends and kids who had been at camp were tagging me in photos that represented all the fun we had had together, and instead of “liking” all of them I froze in horror. They meant no harm, but with every notification my fuzzy feelings of self love and contentment fizzled into nothingness.

Looking at the pictures and seeing what I HAD ACTUALLY looked like on stage while leading games and activities was devastating. I was disgusted with how far I had let myself go and even more disgusted with how helpless I felt.

You know the scene in Braveheart…where the camera pans from the side of the field where the archers have just let loose arrows, ablaze with fire, and it slowly follows them as they soar through the air to the other side, where they start pelting dudes and setting them on fire? Well, that’s how it felt watching the pictures of camp roll across my news feed. Fiery arrows strait to my heart. It was pathetic. It didn’t matter that I had spent a lovely time with my family or had held meaningful conversations about life and faith with kids. I threw all that out the window.

I wrote that poem in an attempt to stay focused and positive, but the negative force I was allowing was as strong as an undercurrent and I let myself get swept away.

I stayed that way for a few weeks.

The summer raced by. We had all sorts of good times and mini family dramas. Family fun nights, financial stresses, birthday celebrations, and even one really great neighborhood block party. Our summer was full and by the end when we started planning for all the back-to-school action, I had successfully stuffed away and had been ignoring my blog, and my self-concept right along with it. I had surrendered to the fact that it was all over. This is who I was meant to be. I took down the Realology fb page and even attempted to delete the blog itself. The only reason why I didn’t was because there are some poems on here that I haven’t properly saved and didn’t want to lose. But as far as blogging? Boo. There are a million people blogging about losing weight, even right this minute. It’s cliche. It’s boring. Who cares? I thought,” maybe I’ll just keep this as a place to post poems and that’s it.”

And that was that.

Or so I thought.

At the end of August my kids started school. My son was going into third grade and my daughter was starting her journey in Kindergarten. She absolutely could NOT WAIT to be a big girl in school. It was an exciting day in our household when the morning came and it was finally time to get dressed, pack lunches and head off to school. My husband left work to join me in taking her to her first day of school, just like we had done together with our son. As we walked over and helped her find her spot in line, I found myself overcome with emotion (which is NOT how I felt when we had taken our son). I was fighting tears and the wave of emotion that was inside my mind demanding more time with her, my baby! I wasn’t ready to hand her over!

I held it together but my daughter was still able to pick up on the energy of me and all the other emotional mothers. She saw that some kids were NOT as stoked as she was to be at school. As we waited for the bell to ring she became more and more nervous and shy despite our hugs, kisses and reassurances. When the bell rang and it was time, I was stunned to watch my baby girl stand up strait, suck in her quivering bottom lip and stick her chest out to walk triumphantly and confidently into her classroom.

I lost it.
Guys, so many feelings!

How could I dare continue living in such FEAR? She inspired me. Her courage was genuine and I will never ever forget that look of determination on her face (even though I KNOW she really wanted us to carry her back home). I needed to be WORTHY of being this little creatures mother. I needed to lay down my excuses and
be the brave woman that she NEEDS in her life to look up to…so that she can keep walking through unknown doors.

That same day, after some coaxing from a good friend who I had shared the experience with, I walked through my own unknown door.

The doors of the Anytime Fitness by my house.

I was warmly welcomed (to my surprise) and quite literally have not looked back.

I have been overwhelmed by the support, love and encouragement I have received. I will share details of my new adventures as someone who works out at the gym in posts to come, but for now I will leave you with this, since that day in August I have lost 31 pounds and have WORKED for every one of them.

But honestly, it not just about losing weight and getting healthy. It’s about being fully alive and not surrendering to being miserable. I want to be someone my husband and kids can be proud of, and mostly someone I can be proud of.

This is just the beginning of this new chapter.

Stay tuned.

Philosophy and R&B

We have a new radio station in my home town that plays pop music from the 90’s.    Technically, I guess the kids ’round here are calling it an oldies station…but I just can’t go that far.  All I know is, its music I listened to growing up and its funny how quickly a song can turn into a memory (you see what I just did there Mari?).

I just heard the song  “Two Occasions” by Babyface.  Man, this song captured the essence of my adolescent heartache.  I used to crush HARD.  When I decided to like a young man, I was committed.  I guess I’ve always been a sensitive, romantic artist type.

(Here is the YouTube link I found, the video is TERRIBLY awesome.)

 

Who will ever know the amount of time spent in front of the bathroom mirror singing my pain away and acting as if I was in front of a wind machine filming my music video.  You never knew a white girl could get down so hard on New Edition or Jodeci!  Time spent in front of the same mirror, perfecting the art of a messy bun or high pony-tail (with the ever necessary, carefully pulled strands of hair on either side of your face to mirror the T-Boz look).  Strait gangsta.  Never mind that I was a chubby, red-headed white kid from Northern Nevada. The struggle was real.  I wish I could get my hands on the journals and notebooks I kept my two years of middle school. That is when I discovered that writing could make me feel better about things that were bothering me, though mostly all it did was get me in trouble for writing trash talk and bad poetry about everyone.  

Back when there wasn’t anything quite as painful as not having anyone to couple skate with at the roller rink on a Friday night (that is IF my parents allowed me to go).  The dramas that we had were so REAL and PASSIONATE.  If a boy and girl dated longer than two weeks it was the REAL DEAL.  The fights and squabbles we had were ridiculous.  That was when we had to actually write notes with pens and pencils on binder paper, fold them up and pass them to each other.  No texting, no social media. Just good old-fashioned rubbish.  Simpler times that seemed so intense while I was living them. Looking back now, it only makes me laugh!  If I had only known how short that time would be, I would not have rushed through it.

How cliche.

Now, I can’t help but wonder about my son who is going to be 9 this winter, and what kind of teenager he is going to mutate into in a few short years.   I can’t even allow myself to imagine what kind of teenager my daughter will be yet.  Gives me heartburn.  I think about all of the little triumphs and tragedies they will experience that I might not even get to know about because I’ll be the old boring mom.  Soon enough, they will have a whole secret world of thought and dreams and loves and heartbreak that my Hubs and I will only be spectators of.  Rooting and cheering or grieving from the sidelines as we watch and pray with bated breath for a strong and victorious finish.

Its only in thinking of my kids growing older that I can appreciate this line from John Mayer”s song “No Such Thing”:

And all of our parents, they’re getting older.

I wonder if they’ve wished for anything better?

While in their memories, tiny tragedies.

They love to tell you, stay inside the lines.  

But something’s better on the other side.

I wonder if my own parents watched my teenage years approach with as much reservation, nervousness and even a little excitement/sadness that I feel for my own kids?

Did they hope and pray ( as I do for mine) that I would stay inside the lines and get it right??  Did they know deep down (as I do) that, that isn’t at all possible?  Will I remember this when my kids are older and steeped deeply within the dramas and concerns of their social world, that they will make mistakes and not stay inside the lines?  Will my husband and I remember how enormous it felt to crush on someone the first time, and be rejected the first time, and yes, even get into trouble (real trouble) for the first time?   Will we lose our minds and take it personally?  Will we show grace and understanding while still providing direction and discipline?  Will we be able to keep a foot in the door with our kids so that we can really know whats going on with them??

AHHHHHHHHHH!

Luckily, I don’t have to have all of these answers today, and most likely never will.  I will just have to trust God with my babies who loves them even more than my husband I do.  But I do wonder about the little people they are becoming and if they will be ok.

This evolution of roles and growing up stuff isn’t for sissy’s.

 

 

 

There’s no one I’d rather be than me?

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Before my family filled weekend I spent 4 days at kids church camp. That in itself may be why I am now post camp/reunion crashed and still in bed with a raging head cold. I may have officially over done it. I wanted to share about my time at camp today before the freshness of it completely disappears.

This would have been my first time on camp staff in about 5 or so years. I’ve often said that running around planning and putting on camps would be my absolute dream job. A job that I used to have when we ran our youth group and then had to give up when I had little babies. It was a big deal to me to be asked to help and the excitement of brainstorming and planning ignited a fire of creativity in me I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was stoked about camp! My son would be able to go with me as my “helper” and we were gonna adventure together, just he and I.

As the days were approaching I found my confidence starting to wane. Being so much bigger than I was before…would I be able to keep up with the energy required to run camp? Would I keel over and die hiking up all the hills?? Would the hot sun and my large body make me an easy target for the kids to make fun of? What if I couldn’t win them over as easy as I used to? What if they hated me? Why the heck was I even going?

Here I was letting the trap of my mind start to choke out the joy of what was supposed to be a blessing. There was no way I could have gotten out of my commitment even though I felt like I wanted to. I pushed through all the rotten doubt and went anyway and I am so very glad I did.

We used the Disney movie “Wreck it Ralph” as our theme. ( Don’t hate on my Disney loyalty!) Ralph is a video game character that experiences a bit of an identity crisis because he has been labeled a “bad guy”. The story follows him along on his journey to accepting himself just the way he is. The final theme (and tag line) of the movie is “there’s no one I’d rather be than me!” I guess months back when we were planning camp I didn’t realize how incredibly personal this theme would actually be to me and where I am at in my own life. Encouraging kids that no matter what their lives look like or who other people “say” they are, they were created by God without glitches or mistakes. Learning they’re meant to be the heroes of their story because there can only ever be ONE you, just as God created you. I watched my son soaking in this message and it made my heart glad and ache at the same time…knowing that my baby boy will experience self doubt and will at some point be labeled by his peers and possibly feel out if place and alone and maybe even without a purpose or value.

I prayed, “Yes God, let him soak this in and believe these things deep down in his core. May he never suffer from self loathing or hatred but when he inevitably does, remind him of these things. May he know that he was perfectly created to be exactly who he is. May he thrive in his gifts. My he have confidence in himself because he is fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for my wonderful boy.”

As I prayed I felt the finest hint of a whisper say to me in my heart, ” This is how I, your heavenly Father, feel about you.”

Sobbing, bawling, and ugly crying ensued that night when I put my son to bed and allowed myself to really sit and reflect and write about what I had heard. It rocked my world and a week later I’m still trying to surrender to believing it and embracing that “there’s no one I’d rather be than me”.

It’ll probably be something to strive for all my life, but as passionately as I believe my son (and my daughter) deserve to firmly grasp these truths…Im finally starting to believe that I deserve them too.

Maybe the answers to all life’s major questions can be found at kids camp? After all, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 ESV

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Caught in a familiar trap

“Action expresses priorities”. – Mahatma Gandhi

I saw this quote roll across my Facebook newsfeed this morning. I stopped and stared at it and allowed it to quickly pierce my heart like a paring knife. Swift little jabs and twinges of guilt in acknowledgment that my actions really DO express my priorities.

Sadly, this is nothing to be proud of.

Lately I have been busy getting ready for camp, a cousins wedding and my family reunion. I’ve been busy and I prefer it that way. I’m a gal that likes pressure and a deadline. But my ol regular ho-hum daily routine would express that my priorities are snuggling with my kids, napping, internet rabbit holes, reading (a ton) and basically anything other than housework, yard work, or a general beautifying or primping of myself in any way.
(Make-up? bahahahah! )
This is shameful to admit, but this is Realology so I am bound to divulge the dirty, ugly truths as much as the golden ones.

I have good days where I’m on point and have my stuff together and things accomplished with a fabulous meal bubbling on the stove when my husband arrives from work in he evening. But most days, I allow myself the funk. My sister says these may be the signs of a depression? Gandhi says they are an expression.

Who knows?

I’ve been pondering the reality of a “stay at home mom depression”. When I google it a ton of things pop up. There has even been a Gallup poll done on the topic. (Check it out: http://www.gallup.com/poll/154685/stay-home-moms-report-depression-sadness-anger.aspx ) I have had many conversations with friends my age, moms who stay home. Moms who don’t. It seems we all suffer from this in some measure. But nobody really wants to admit it may be them. None of us really want to share that we need help and even if we did we wouldn’t accept it. We want to conquer and reign victorious as women. We want to give our families and households the very best of what we can, so when the best we’ve got is microwaved leftovers we feel like losers.

Boo.

So, that being said, how do we turn our priorities around?

How do we stop the cycle of feeling bad about self, perpetuating slack off, perpetuating more feelings of self loathing (which in my case, leads to a food binge) which only fuels more negative fire…so fourth and so on?

Ladies, am I all alone in this? How do you combat these kinds of feelings and avoid this deadly trap?

Musings from a hot car

July.

I can’t even believe it. Before we know it it’ll be the start of the holiday season. Time rushes by as an adult. As a kid, the summers were long and drawn out. Sticky and hot. Somehow the hotter the day, the more time seemed suspended. As if the hours would get stuck in the stale heat that left us bound in front of open windows, fans and Nickelodeon. We weren’t the kind of kids who grew up with air conditioning. But there were endless amounts of otter pops.

Yesterday, while waiting for my husband to run inside a store to pick something up real quick, the kids and I waited in the car for him. We had all 4 windows down and were only waiting for my hubs for about 8 minutes. You would have thought my children were gonna die. They couldn’t handle being hot. I couldn’t believe the fits that were thrown. They live in a comfortable, air conditioned existence.

Hmmmm.

This got me thinking. My husband and I both want to give our kids a life we didn’t have. We both came from families with lots of kids (me being the eldest of 4 and he being the second oldest of 5). When a family has lots of kids the money for extra curricular activities, sports, movies, and vacations is almost non-existent. We both wanted a small family so that we could afford to do these things with our kids, and raise them comfortably. Even having the TWO kids gets expensive! I honestly don’t know how people do it with more! Our friends with large families have often teased us about having more kids,
but we are confident in the decision we’ve made. But sometimes I wonder if we aren’t creating entitled and apathetic monsters in the process. I think that I am pretty strict with my kids. We have rules, chores, and consequences in our home. Yet, I still find myself asking so many questions. How do you take the best care of your children without spoiling them? How do you teach them work ethic and responsibly without cracking a whip? How can we instill gratitude and empathy from this air conditioned point of view?

Everyone has their opinions and techniques. Once upon a time I would have thought I knew exactly how to execute these things with my kids. Having worked in child care for 10 years I was confident that with every new stage I would know exactly what to do. Well, was that ever WRONG.

Bottom line? My kids are amazing. They have tender little hearts for people and animals that they have acquired in spite of me and my parenting. I know that God has a plan for their lives and loves them even more deeply than I do. I just want to get it right!

Sometimes it’s just hard to let to and trust.

I.A.L.A.C. Week

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When I was in elementary school we had this week long themed week called I.A.L.A.C week. There are similar themes in schools today, some are called spirit weeks or unity week. At my sons school it’s a “celebration of reading” week. Basically how it works is Monday through Friday the kids are all given a little bit of a break to do fun stuff like wear their pajamas to school, or a have a crazy hair day. It’s a way of building up a team spirit atmosphere in the classroom and I’m sure a myriad of other benefits that I have no idea about because I’m not a teacher. But something about it MUST have been valuable because the model is repeated in almost every school.

It was no different for me and my classmates during our weeks back in the early 90’s…except for the message behind it. We were all given little buttons with the I.A.L.A.C acronym on it. It stood for,” I am love able and capable”. I can remember the teachers trying to get us to memorize this and kind of burn it into our minds. And here I am at 31 years old writing a blog post about it?! Well Done Grace Warner Elementary, well done. As I was laying in bed last night for some random reason ( my mind is a chaotic and rapidly busy place dudes…) this popped up and I began to really think about it. I woke up this morning and googled it. Sure enough, the I.A.L.A.C. message is still going strong.

This elegant and simple message of teaching children they are lovable and capable started to blow my mind. Maybe for the first time ever I really understand what the point was. It’s EVERYTHING. It’s the truest desires of the human heart.

How differently would my life look if I had believed those words and instead of just saying them for a week at school? What if I had started saying them to myself everyday? Now, I’m not saying that I wish my life were different. I’m grateful for the way my life has turned out because it led me to my faith, my husband and my children. But if I had actually believed in myself in this way…man…woulda, coulda, shoulda right?

What if I actually made an effort to raise my babies this way?? So much of the way I knee jerk discipline my kids breaks them down. I HATE it. I’ll confess that more times than I’d like to admit I’m more concerned about my kids behaving and not embarrassing me than I am about building up who they are and letting them just be kids. That’s a hard sentence to type and send out into the world…but it’s real. What if I was careful to build them up to believe they are SO lovable and MORE than capable to accomplish whatever they set out to do? What if I made MORE of a conscious effort to pray and try to protect them from whatever it is that starts to grow inside us that tells us we aren’t lovable? What if instead of getting frustrated at things that are left undone or chores that aren’t done the “right” way, I shifted gears and started focusing and celebrating the things that my children are capable of and DO WELL?

What if I started giving myself the same grace?

Image

Why I am not a mommy blogger

I have resisted the term “mommy blogger”.

I kind of hate it.

Not that I have anything against “mommy bloggers”, I just don’t want to be labeled one. But then I have to ask myself why? Is it because I feel the term leaves so much out about who these women might be as human beings? Maybe, knowing all my inadequacies keeps me from feeling worthy to dub myself as such, implying some sort of expertise in the field…which I am far from?

Perhaps? Who knows.

It makes me sound like a jerk for insinuating that there might be more to a woman than just her being a “mommy”. (GASP!) Many of the faith based mommy blogs are so…well…sweet.
They are nice.
Lovely.
They are perfectly color coordinated. They are filled with triumphs as moms and tender accounts of motherhood. And it seems, all of them beaming with spiritual maturity. Some women find these inspirational, I find them to be more of bright gleaming light on my insufficiencies, stained carpets and frumpy clothes.
I am not well put together or polished. I have dirty dishes and unidentified smells going on around here. (My project after writing this post, lucky me.) No matter how hard I try, I am not organized or scheduled. I sometimes long to be. This could very well be my aversion to the “mommy blog” world. That perfectly cleaned, frosted and accessorized realm of the Internet that bids the “mommy” to come on in and have a cup of coffee while we swap some tips on how to be awesome?

I’m just not invited to that party.
I’d have nothing to wear.
My attempts at making hand made invitations to perfectly themed birthday parties to impress my friends lasted about 2 1/2 years or so…my poor second child will never know of these sorts of grand affairs and she is perfectly content with her Walmart birthday cakes, thank you very much.
My scrapbooks? Don’t even ask.

The truth is I am a mommy and I also am (for whatever its worth) a blogger.

I have talked very openly here about my battle with food addiction/recovery and self esteem. Sharing this process of learning how to genuinely love myself and be kind to myself. (Still working on that one!) I’ve grappled with beauty and body issues. And YES, I’ve confessed much about my efforts as a mommy and a wife.
But also as a sister, friend and daughter.
I want evaluate my life for REALS and look upon my friendships and relationships in a real way. In hopes of growth.
Not just because I am a mom, but because I am a human being trying to get it right with this one life I get to live.

Throughout all of this I’ve been constantly examining my faith. Steadily combing out all of these different layers of my life with fine toothed bristles of honesty, especially where my faith is concerned. If there is anything I can say about myself, it is that I DO NOT want to be a phony. This might put some people off…but this is REALOLOGY, so we gotsta keep it real.

I was set free recently and resonated with Rachel Held Evans when she wrote in her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, “As a Christian, my highest calling is not motherhood; my highest calling is to follow Christ.”

Wow. Stop.

That’s all I really need to hear to get me through the rest of this day. What a wonderful reminder that despite all of the different denominations and camps…controversies, interpretations and commentaries and yes, even bloggers, there is but one thing I am called to as a woman of faith…

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
(Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)

Love God.
Love people.
Love myself.

Okie dokie.

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Day 20 of 35!!! 😊✅✅✅ Today was a CRAZY day, so I had to fit a quick 20 min SOMETHING in this morning! Hey...a workout is a workout! 💪🏽💥🙌🏼🔥💜 #keepgoing #persist #35daysofgainz #notallworkoutareglorious

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