what i learned this week #5 {a family health-related edition}

whatilearnedthisweekIt was after I’d written all these down that I realized they were all about food and exercise.  I may have learned other things this week, but I think I’ll save those for a blog post that will stay trapped in my head for a good two weeks.  Maybe this Summer I’ll be able to write more frequently.

  1. Don’t bake with colored toothpicks.  The dye will come off around the holes where you punctured your newly Pinterested pesto-chicken-roll-up recipe, and while confetti cake is awesome, unintentional confetti chicken is not.
  2. Zumba makes me feel like one of the cool kids.
  3. This stuff should not go in your eye. bugrepellent It’s not the worst thing you can imagine, but it was probably the worst part of my Thursday.  It’s important to make sure that the pump spray is pointed in the right direction.  Oh, you knew that already?
  4. I’m the only one in this family of five who really, really likes kale.
  5. My husband likes golf enough to play during the same week that he breaks down and visits a doctor for a shoulder issue.  Hmm.  This I cannot relate to.
  6. My middle child’s love language decidedly is quality time. 5lovelanguageskidsWe rode our bikes and ran around the block together a couple of times tonight, and twice he looked up and said unprompted, “I love you, Mom.”
  7. Two of my kids are old enough and strong enough to help me train for a 5k.  My oldest can run like crazy, and she shocked herself – and me – with how easy it was for her to run 1.3 miles tonight.  She’s come a long way since February.  Now instead of thinking I can’t exercise because I’m with the kids, I should think I can exercise because I’m with the kids.  Hallelujah!
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on forgetting important stuff

A dear friend, who shall remain unnamed in order to protect the guilty, and I were discussing some of our mutual flaws.  Though many elements of our stories are different, we struggle with so many of the same issues – like the monumental, soul-crushing task of changing bedsheets.  We laughed about how long it had been since one of us had last changed the sheets and how the other of us was currently sleeping on top of quilts while clean sheets lay in a laundry basket on the floor.

She laughed again and said something like, “Lauren, when it comes to us, sometimes I feel like it’s the blind leading the blind.”  And I said, “No, we’re sighted.  We just have really poor hand-eye coordination.”

remember3Isn’t this all of us in one place or another, when it comes to how we are versus how we want to be?

We get it.  We can see what should be done.  But somewhere, the connection is lost between what we saw and what we’re doing.  We forget.

This is why New Year’s Resolutions are the target of so many jokes.  We forget the beauty of the goal we’d set with the best of intentions.

This is why reading through parts of the Old Testament sounds like a broken record playing, “Then they served other gods and did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  The Israelites, like me, forgot what they’d seen God do.

This is why marriage conferences and parenting books will always be in demand.  We forget the ways we want to serve those we love most.

This is why I didn’t complete any of my health goals this week.  I forget in the moment how important this leg of the table is and how many things may fall off if I don’t tighten it up.

This is why you are constantly enduring professional development on the job.  Somebody forgot that a Diet Coke 12-pack doesn’t belong in the freezer, and now you must be reminded of courteous workplace practices.

If I may say, forgetting is a big part of being human.

remember2You’ve probably heard that quote that just begs to be cross-stitched: “A friend is a person who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you’ve forgotten it.”  It’s so true.  (That is, unless the tune you were humming was “Murderous Revenge.”  If someone sings that back to you, get a new song, and get a new friend.)  I need people to remind me of the good things that I know.  Isn’t it weird how we easily remember the bad, but it takes effort to remember the good?

These are some things that help me remember the life-balancing good:

I’m so grateful for my friend who is hopefully sleeping on [clean] sheets tonight.  She helps me remember that despite my frustrations and failures, I’m a good teacher.  She reminds me that too much TV for my kids is stealing too much happiness from our home.  It takes effort to maintain our friendship, but I need it.  I’ll even guess that we both do.

I struggle to take in God’s Word on a daily basis, but if I don’t, I can forget how all the dots connect.  My heart forgets peace.  My hands forget love. (I’m still feebly kickin’ it Hello Mornings style, but that’s another post.)

It’s not easy to get myself and my dancing, hiding, whining, laughing, loud, squirming children to church every week, but there’s a reason that God says in the book of Hebrews: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see  the Day drawing near.” [emphasis mine]  He made it so that worshiping together makes us remember, too.

In other words, I’ve got to remember to do something to help me remember what it is I’m trying to do.  Need to read that sentence again?  I do, and I wrote it.

And maybe the beauty in forgetting is that we get a chance to experience joy all over again every time we remember.

lessons from riding a bike

riding

My husband is a cyclist.  I am not a cyclist.

Let’s try that again.

I am not yet a cyclist.

Today I rode just under 3 miles, and I was really proud of that.  You’d think I’d be embarrassed to Instagram about a 2.75 mile ride when a 20-mile ride is an “easy day” for my husband and his riding buddy.

Embarrassed?  Nope.  I’m really thrilled, because I improved from my last few rides of 2 miles.  My success is about making progress, not about matching someone else’s achievement.

Sometimes my legs really started to hurt on a hill.  Pedaling harder felt better!  Tough times make you want to back off, but relief comes quicker when you press in.

I really didn’t want to go today, but even more, I didn’t want my husband and our friend to tease me for only riding once this week.  I don’t even have to tell you how glad I am that I went.  When have you ever heard someone say, “Boy, I really regret exercising”?  One of the most powerful tools in turning I-know-I-should into I’m-glad-I-did is effective accountability.  For me, accountability is most effective when 1) I greatly value the opinion of the person holding me accountable, 2) there is a good balance of praise for growth and challenge to complacency, and 3) I’m guaranteed to have frequent contact with the person or group.

I bought my own helmet last week, and today my husband told me I have to get my own helmet mirror and saddle bag.  I must be moving up!  Either that, or he’s annoyed at having his mirror fall off because I can’t reattach it properly.  I’m going with moving up.

you may say i’m a dreamer…

Some of you may have read posts from my New Normal series back in the Fall.  If so, you’ll understand how I could be so motivated and end up doing very little.  About a week and a half ago, I had probably the worst day I’ve had with fibromyalgia.  It took 4-5 days to get past that flare, but that was complicated by a sinus infection and a stomach thing.  I’m not sure if it was a stomach bug or if it was side effects of 2 doses of a fibro drug that I took.

All that to say that one doctor has now given me a fibro diagnosis.  In the meantime, I have bloodwork, a skin punch biopsy, an MRI, and a glucose tolerance test scheduled to continue to look for causes of neuropathy in my feet. (And now I think in my arms?)  We did an EMG in January because of the feet thing, and again I was told, “Looks normal!”  Yeah.emgThis being-motivated-but-not-able on many days is problematic for me.  I’m a daydreamer and a worrier, so having lots of time on a couch obviously doesn’t help me balance my imagination with action.  Here is my imagination when I’m not on the couch:

We got a fantastic new sporting goods store in my little town.  Walking the aisles, I know I’m going to go hiking and rollerblading and probably start cycling.

I take my daughter to get a library card.  Standing at the check-out desk, I see myself writing lesson plans here on Thursdays.  Too bad I can’t bring coffee.  I’m also going to check out really cool books that impress the librarians with my excellent choices.

Tsh Oxenrider shares tips on book writing, and oh, man!  I need to set some deadlines for myself on that devotional for teachers.

The Children’s Council meets at my house.  I’m going to revamp this Children’s Church thing, and it is going to be the best.  So much more Jesus-centered, and the kids will beg to go on Sundays.

I wake up.  Today’s the day that I will have clean surfaces and buy the perfect living room floor lamp that only costs $30.

Derek Webb tweets about his wife’s new album.  Why do I not know all their music?  I will fit in a songwriting session on Thursday, too — right after I vacuum the studio lobby for the dance teacher.

We discuss Chapter 2 of The Case for Faith in Sunday School.  Next week, I will have caught up on the reading and bring in more research on related scriptures and give a presentation on sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

Pinterest shows me a baby sweater soaked in sweetness.  I’m getting out that yarn tonight and learning to knit for my niece due in March.  No, I’m not.  I’m calling Tracy to help me finish this baby quilt that my grandmother started.  I stopped working on it a year ago.

You come to my house (theoretically) and tell me about your new project.  I am so interested.  I want to help you with that.

I just found this picture of myself at my sister’s wedding rehearsal last month.  The hands say, “I am a bridesmaid.  I hold flowers.”  The eyes say, “Where are my children?”presentnotpresentIs there such a thing as Life ADD? If so, I have it.  Can this woman learn to be more present where she is?  Can she choose to set aside some things in order to actually obtain others?  If so, I’m going to try it.

I’m setting some very specific goals to be completed by the end of this school year and share them with two women who I know will check in on my progress.  I have to make the most of the days that I am able and be content to purposefully rest (physically and mentally!) on the days that I’m not.  Here’s to less mental wandering and less subsequent guilt over shoulda-woulda-coulda.

how hawaii inspired me to get it in gear

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like to blast it all over social media when I’m leaving the continent for a week. This is where I was:

sunsetYou can see why I wasn’t blogging, too.

My aunt and I were talking about that phrase, “It’s good to go, and it’s good to come home.”  She said my grandmother used to say that it’s pretty sad if you didn’t feel that way.  I heartily concur, and it gave me extra incentive to work at that thing on the front of my brain: getting this house in shape.  Just because I’m not staying in a multi-million dollar beachfront rental house in Kailua doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the luxuries of clean, well-planned, and comfortable.  (Ahem. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the the lodging.)

Today I ordered this from Amazon to assist me in my epic battle with the clutter.  Yes, epic.  I know that word is overused, but my imagination tells me my battle’s worse than yours.speakerThe masseuse had one of these things going last week, and I was really impressed with the sound quality when I saw how tiny it is.  (Ahem. Thanks, Rachel, for the massage.) I thought, “You mean I can plug my phone into that instead of carrying around a drinking glass as a natural amplifier?  This will be the final push I need to show overflowing closets who’s boss.”

I really did think that. However, I am now in more of a right mind about my reasons for purchasing it.  Massages make me over-the-top silly, but now I’m remembering that I’ve purchased magazines, shelving, books, containers, binders, web applications, and likely things I can’t even recall all in the hope of organization.  Now I remember that you can’t buy your way into organized.  You have to work your way through it every day.

Here are a few songs of the songs I’ve lined up to power me through my work today:

  • Call Me the Breeze – Lynyrd Skynyrd (blues rock, YES!)
  • Sir Duke  – Stevie Wonder (no dancing = no pulse)
  • Bust A Move  – Young MC (that bass line, y’all)
  • Your Love Is Strong – Jon Foreman (just everything)
  • Give It Up or Let Me Go – Dixie Chicks (even my 4yo appreciates this mastery of jam)
  • When the Saints – Sara Groves (the bridge, the bridge, the bridge. amen.)
  • You & Me – Dave Matthews Band (i heart triple meter and my husband, who deserves a clean home)

sunset 2