Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get Out of That Box!

For a while now, long before I even got pregnant, I have mentioned to Randy how much I would love to take a ballroom dance class.  He's definitely one to try new things so getting him to agree was never a problem, it was finding the time and money.  For christmas this year, he enrolled us in a class at the community college here in their Continuing Education department.  With everything surrounding Jude, I hadn't really had a chance to get that excited about it, but low and behold, last night was our first class.

Now, for the record, it was nothing fancy.  When I think of a dance class, I picture scenes from the movie "Shall We Dance?" The college purchased an old elementary school for the CE dept. and our class was held in the old gym. Since it used to be an elementary school, parking is limited and we had to park almost in someone's yard!  There was supposed to be 5 people in the class and we were the only ones that showed up! It was definitely an adventure.

But, that was the most fun I have had in so long! Since it was just Randy and I, we got complete attention from the teacher and no one else to watch us goof up.  Neither of us had any experience so we were learning together baby free.  And talk about a workout!! It was probably 50 minutes straight of movement.  Most of which, I was walking backwards! I think its going to be the perfect thing to do for our relationship, my weight loss and stress release!

Last night's adventures just reinforces to me the idea that learning new things is so important for mental health.  Learning can be hard.  That's why most people drag their feet or avoid doing new things altogether.  But its proven to be good for you, keep you young and all that.  And when you relax and not take yourself so serious, it can truly be a blessing!  What new thing have you either wanted to or been given the opportunity to learn, but you've said no out of fear or hesitation?  From a couple of left-footed goofballs, get out of that box! It's fun! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today I am very thankful for being a part of something.  Because our lives are so different, its natural to think of yourself separate from others.  Several of the ladies at our congregation have gotten together and decided to live healthier lives while supporting each other at the same time. Some are trying to lose weight, but overall we're just trying to make healthier decisions for our families. Now let me tell you how much easier things are when you know you're not the only one!

Making changes of any kind in your life is a very personal and vulnerable thing.  Being able to share the struggle with someone else, I think, is invaluable.  And one of the best ways to foster a community willing to do that is to be open yourself.  When you're honest with those around you about what is actually happening in your life, it puts others at ease about their own.  Before you know it, you are sharing each other's burdens!

If there are things in your life that are significant (goals, burdens, struggles), find someone to share them with.  Of course not everyone is safe or suitable, but find those you're comfortable with.  Doing things together increases your likelihood of success!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our Relationship with Technology

I've discovered a few new things that have gotten me thinking.  First, I just finished Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina.  I don't agree with his evolution bent, but his science and logic about development and parenting seems pretty sound.  Aside from the numerous evolution references (that don't really add or take away from his points), I highly recommend it as a great discussion on baby development and what that means for parents.  One section specifically discusses technology and how its use with children ages 2 and below actually hinders brain development.

I'm also reading (and have yet to finish) Boys Should Be Boys by Meg Meeker. Also a really good book with (so far) a biblical basis and really good perspective on boys and parenting.  One of her major points continually is that kids need time spent with their parents more than anything else.  They don't need stuff, or new this or that, but face time with you.  And now I'm to the technology part where she also discusses the damages of technology, specifically tv and video games.

Finally, I ran across that new talk show, 'The Talk' (which didn't seem half bad) and the most recent episode discussed the idea of technology (and our excessive use of it) stunting our ability to relate with others.  They referenced this brand new book The Winter of our Disconnect by Susan Mausart, which records how a family pulled the plug on technology (for something like 6 months!) and lived.  

Ok, so what?  Well, last night Randy and I sat down to eat dinner and watch some tv. Jude was in his bouncer that was angled toward us on the couch, but, as it turns out, he could cock his head and see the screen as well.  He's never been interested in the television until now.  So, with all of this information running through my head that seems to be hanging out in one area, I've started to consider my ways, if you will.  I'm certain that most people would conclude, "Everything in moderation" but moderate to who?  The norm these days is excess.  And I want better things than the norm, certainly, for Jude.  This beautiful smile deserves the best I can give him!

So, because of all this, I'm taking inventory of my relationship with technology and intend on making a few changes.  I don't believe cutting off ties is necessary or healthy for me right now.  Blogging and a few facebook updates a week connects me with people I would not otherwise.  However, television, video and movie watching (even if I'm doing something else at the same time) may decrease significantly. It's difficult to pray and meditate when there's rarely any silence.

So, what do you think? For or against? Any suggestions? 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A 5 Day Edge

Weight loss and lifestyle changes are on everyone's lips right now and I LOVE it!  It's always great to see others succeed in this area and right now its especially encouraging to me in my own hill I have to climb.  The hardest part is always getting started and sticking with it for more than a couple of days.  If that's where you are at, don't quit yet!

After about a month after having Jude, I was starting to ease my way back into exercise.  Right before the holidays I felt good about where I was at and hopeful about my progress.  Then I got sick.  And Randy got sick. Then New Year's activities left me with little sleep or exercise.  Long story short, any good feelings about my progress had been swallowed up.  Sooooo frustrating!

Today was my 5th day in a row to workout and I feel awesome!  Once your body gets the message that you're not just doing something out of the ordinary today, but really trying to make this a regular thing, it finally jumps on board.  The motivating exhilaration I felt because of the success makes me want to keep it up.  There is nothing like it.  The key is keep it up.  As long as I'm doing what it takes to eventually be the size I want, I don't get impatient about not being there yet.  So, whether it is exercise or anything else in the resolution bag, let's keep it up and not quit together!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Write or Not to Write

I've had many people tell me they could never blog, write, even keep a journal.  Usually the reasons fall into a couple of categories.  Either they don't think they have anything to say or they're afraid of others reading what they have to say.  And both are valid.  Not everyone is a writer and not everything is worthy of writing about.  Still, I'd like to ask you to consider writing yourself, if you don't already.  Writing, as considered by the publishing world, is often considered in how many books can be sold and what not.  That kind of writing assumes that the writing is mostly for the reader.  The writing I'm referring to is firstly for the writer.  

The way I process information and emotions is mostly verbal.  If something significant happens, like the birth of my son, and I do not have anyone to discuss it with or take the time to write it down, I get very jumbled in my thoughts.  It can effect my relationships, that's how important it is.  Writing, for me, is not only an expressive outlet, but also a processing plant for sorting emotions and meaning.  If you're anything like me - sensitive, highly emotional, often irrational, etc. - I highly recommend journaling at very least.  I understand that not everyone is like me in that way so if I haven't convinced you yet, hold on.

Recently, someone commented that blogging wouldn't be possible because everything they went to say just needed to be deleted.  In our instantaneous world where your words are plastered in front of everyone's eyes in a matter of seconds, being careful about what you say is vital.  Still, there is something that happens when you sit down to write, attempt a thought, and then read it, only to decide it should be different or deleted altogether.  For me, I regularly discover areas where my thoughts are unhealthy, incorrect or just down right sinful.  When all I want to do is gripe about somebody or some situation in my writing, it becomes clear pretty quickly that I need to change.  All I'm saying here is that writing and disciplining that writing for others eyes helps me to grow.  It helps me be more honest with myself and see my thoughts and actions more as they are, rather than how I want them to be.  And to be honest, I hope that things I write about are interesting at least some of the time, but I write for me.  And I think that's important.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Give it a Week!

Yesterday was my 31st birthday.  Thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday and especially those who spent some time with me in honor of it.  I was asked many times what I wanted for my birthday, if I was doing something exciting, etc. and my answer was pretty lame every time.  I don't know, haven't thought about it yet, not really. Now don't get me wrong, I love my birthday, but this year it just came at a bad time! :)  With adjusting to feeding Jude every two hours for approximately 40 minutes and trying to get things ready to start lessons again, last week I just never felt like I had the time to catch my breath much less think about really celebrating.  If I had it would have just been because I was put on the spot and not truly enjoyed any of it.

I'm sharing this not to complain, but to share a lesson I'm learning today.  Sometimes we feel pressured to make a decision or a choice.  Perhaps others are waiting for what you're going to decide or peer pressure is a factor.  Maybe simple obligation is at play or tradition is pushing you.  As I have many times, maybe you're doing the pressuring.  A moment creeps in and pushes the emotional buttons so that now feels like the only time to act.  Since having Jude I have been overcome with waves of urgency.  Urgency to get better and move around, urgency to lose weight, urgency to establish a tolerable routine and urgency to be prepared for everything today, right now.  Makes you a little dizzy, huh? Well, I've been making myself dizzy!  But sometimes that sense of urgency is just fake - made up completely!  Wisdom has patience, takes time to research, and above all else waits a while because things (feelings, circumstances, information) could change.

Though I've had some trouble adjusting over the past 2 months of Jude's life, within a week or two the issue has passed or I've adapted.  Either way, in the end I'm still smiling, even when I thought I would never smile again (so to speak).  I don't know about you, but there is a lot of turmoil in people's lives these days.  Sickness, division, just change in general seems to be spilling into our lives from others.  I'm learning that sometimes the worst thing you can do is to make a rash decision (to open your mouth, make a judgement, give in to despair, etc.).  The best thing you can do is take a deep breath, say a nice long prayer and then tread slowly, wisely and give everything some time to fully develop.  Like my birthday, most things don't HAVE to be addressed right now when it comes down to it.

As Annie so eloquently put it, the sun'll come out tomorrow...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Appreciate Away

It's Thursday and maybe you are counting the minutes until Friday while enduring the mundane.  It's January and maybe the excitement of the holidays has left and taken your joy with it.  It's winter and maybe your family is sick, which seems to be the case with a LOT of people right now.  It's 2011 and maybe you are stuck in the middle of controversy or drama that makes you want to crawl into a hole and stay there.  There are many things that way on us every day.  And they make us bitter, resentful and flat out negative about everything, whether it/they deserve it or not.  It is natural to find ourselves here, but unhealthy to live there.

All of these things can be distractions for us, blocking out all of the really beautiful and noteworthy things existing around us.  Last night Randy shared with me the guitarist Jeff Beck.  Oh, and by the way, Randy is an information and library junkie, constantly looking for new and different things, in case you hadn't noticed. :) Anyway, as I'm changing Jude's diaper last night, from the other room Randy is saying "Listen to this!" and proceeds to discuss whether or not Jeff Beck is playing with a slide.  Honestly, I was only half listening.  His rendition of "Over the Rainbow" was beautiful, sure.  But it was already late and I had to feed Jude again before we could go to bed.  I told him to save the cd on our computer and I could listen to it more later.  I was in no way appreciating it.  Too busy with other things.

This morning I took some time to listen to it more.  I've already listened to most of the album 4 or 5 times.  This guy provides an emotional experience with just an electric guitar (and back up of course, but hey)!  Sit for a moment longer and listen to it.  It's beautiful, don't you think?

How much beauty and notable things are in your life that you skim right over?  What unique lessons are you going to learn from the negative experience you're going through right now?  Basically, how much of your life are you missing because you're hung up on unhappy things?  There is beauty and joy in the most  unlikely of places and every day we choose to appreciate it or not! And if you would allow me to prove the point further, watch this video (that you may have seen before).  It makes me cry every time I see it!  Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

8 Tracks

Most everyone has probably heard of Pandora Radio by now.  Recently, Randy discovered a comparable website that we're diggin' right now.  It's called 8 Tracks and its totally free.  People are invited to load a playlist of 8 tracks or more and the website shares it.  We've already discovered tons of music we've never heard of and I guess there is something to be said for a playlist generated by a real person, not a computer. Here's a quote from the website.

"Listen for free to the best internet radio, crafted by people who know and love music. Or, legally share your own online mixtape, a streaming playlist with eight or more tracks."

And the best part is that there aren't any commercials!!  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well, What Did You Expect?

In many aspects (if not most) of my life, I've been different since birth.  I'm strong-willed, very sensitive - in physiology and psyche - and think far too much.  Quite often in my dealings with other people, I was relentlessly reminded of how others just weren't like me.  And though when it comes down to it, I can't and don't want to be just like everyone else, I continually catch myself wallowing in the "But its not fair!" pool.  This difference usually results in things taking longer, requiring more work, or just not happening for me.  Even though I know all of that, I still get oddly optimistic ideas in my head that this time things will be different (easier, faster, less painful).  All of the major milestones that I've achieved (marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, etc.) have consistently proven to me that I'm different and expecting anything else is foolish!

In typical fashion, I honestly thought/hoped that baby weight wouldn't be a huge issue for me.  It is.  In typical fashion, I didn't plan on life with Jude being more complicated. He's not gained weight as he should, found out he's an inefficient eater and we're now nursing for 40 minutes every two hours! In typical fashion, I didn't think working part time with Jude would be a big deal. I'm starting to fear it will be.  I always underestimate how sensitive I am to large crowds, excessive time around people, lack of sleep and stress.  

So, here we are at the front door of 2011 and resolute change is on everyone's lips.  The reason New Year's resolutions are so cliche is because most people are UNresolved by February or March.  And when you attack something cold turkey without real insurance of change, well what do you expect?  For me, change has never come over night and certainly not as simply as I'd like.  So, the key to my success this year has nothing to do with a resolution, but wide-eyed acceptance of how I am and perseverance towards my goals of improvement. Slow and steady wins the race.

Instead of falling into the cliche, why not take an inventory of how you really are and work with that rather than expecting things that just aren't realistic, like working out 2 hours a day when you've never been in a gym before or vowing to never eat another cookie, EVER!