Monday, December 30, 2013

Random Thoughts about December 30

Eight weeks has come and gone. The holidays are drawing to a close. And our fitness challenge is officially over, but it has been nothing like I thought it would be. Yes, I kept track of "credits". I drank a little more water and ate a few more vegetables. But the experience was far different than I imagined.

I don't have anything very profound to say. December 30 was not an end date for me; it was simply the beginning of another week. I got up this morning and went for a walk -- it was bitter cold. I took a shower, enjoyed my typical breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, and got into my routine for the day.

The lessons I learned were simple ones, no real surprises. I struggled with the things I knew I would but enjoyed quiet victories along the way. There were some days when I completely ignored the tracking sheet, wishing it would disappear. And other times when I couldn't wait to add up the big totals for the week. I certainly was far from perfect and I'm pretty sure I'm not at the top of the winner list but I'm really okay with that.

I often feel overwhelmed by all the things I "have to do." But I am the happiest when I recognize the baby steps I've taken throughout the day that are moving me in the right direction. Yesterday I made some really poor food choices, but I also spent an hour in the car with my daughter talking about nothing of importance. My son and I looked at fabrics as we discussed his next sewing project. And I enjoyed a wonderful meal and visit with family from out of town. Those are the things I choose to remember. Those are the things that make me happy. December 30 feels no different than December 29. But I will do my best to fill it with more baby steps and small victories.

What about you? Random thoughts? Quiet epiphanies? I would love to hear about your experiences. Look for an email about our Challenge Celebration at the end of the week. And remember to click on the link for the Spiritual Challenge. It begins Sunday, January 5.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dusty Dreams and a Christmas gift

Today, I found myself thinking about Mary the mother of Jesus. This may be the first time I recognized the significance of the information the angel Gabriel gave in his telling her of the importance of her cousin Elizabeth's condition. Mary presented her faithfulness to the responsibility that was given her, but then pondered those things in her heart, and then sought out Elizabeth.

I, like Mary and Elizabeth, have found myself on a path that I hadn't anticipated I would be on. Mary and Elizabeth probably needed some time to contemplate the change in their paths that they could not have guessed would change the view of who they were as individuals and women. I would guess that both women were in need of an understanding heart to help bear each others' burdens. They could always turn to the Holy Ghost for comfort, but I am sure the Lord knew that these 2 women would be better able to recognize and succor each other in their need for compassion and understanding because of similar life changing situations that they were experiencing. They both presented themselves as faithful daughters of God and put a great deal of hope in his plan for them.

This morning we celebrated an early Christmas gift with the boys. We served cake for breakfast and called it the Sugar and Spice and Everything nice cake and let them know that they would be getting a baby sister in May. 10 years ago, after finding out we would have a second son, I pushed any desire or hope of having a girl out of my mind. Jason and I have been in the all boy world of Scouts, Star Wars and Legos for so long that we identify ourselves with the all boy crowd. It has been so many years since I have dreamed of the things I would do with a daughter and those dreams were left in the dust so far back on my life journey that I am not the same person I was when I had them. The day has given me lots of time to ponder and reevaluate where I thought the path was taking me and who I thought I was. I am not worried about what will come or what other changes the path may take, but I find I have a different understanding of faith and hope and find new excitement in dusting off some forgotten dreams.

I am grateful for the lessons of Mary and Elizabeth and recognize that the Lord knows my needs as well as theirs and has helped me find support and understanding hearts along my path.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Out of the dusty wayside

I was so excited about this challenge, until I ate my first sweet on day three or four.  For whatever reason, I lay on the side of this road, not earning points, not even counting points, until this morning.  Well, maybe I've been struggling to stand the last week or two, but today was the day. I committed myself to restart today and I did it. I'm sore from P90X, I've had lots of water, veggies, and no sweets. So, maybe I feel more like the laborer hired at the eleventh hour, but this is my "next right thing," and I'm glad there are some great women out there with whom to share it.

Fellow Sojourners

After reading Heathers post I reflected on my journey down the road of the Fitness Challenge. I really don't think that I would have lasted the first few weeks if I didn't know there were others trying out the path. If it had just been up to me to take on the path alone I know I would have convinced myself that it really wasn't something I was capable of. Somehow knowing that others are out there giving it their best, helps me to stay motivated to keep trying. As I think about the times in my life when I have felt like the abandoned and beaten traveler on the road to Jericho and the people, sometimes total strangers, that have helped me to know I was not alone and have left me feeling full of gratitude.
 I have thought a lot about the guilt I feel after eating. and it always comes when I exclude myself from others. Not only when I try to sneak a treat privately to myself, but also when I choose not to include myself in a memorable treat occasion. For example, Gilead asked for cupcakes for his birthday. I am not really fond of cupcakes, so had decided not to eat one and save sweet points for something I really wanted. Yet as we were singing and Gilead was blowing out his candles, I realized that my not eating also gave the feeling of not celebrating this little boy of mine that I really wanted to celebrate with. Was it really worth those five points in the grand scheme of things? I thought about the look I would get from him like the others I have seen on my boys faces when they have asked "are you going to have any Mommy?" There is a certain guilt that comes with this exclusion as well.
The week of Thanksgiving is a good example of how I see my personal motivations for food are changing. We spent Thanksgiving in a one bedroom cabin in Nauvoo. We packed our own simple Thanksgiving dinner including pumpkin pie.We made gingerbread cookies the next day at the cabin. I will always treasure the memories that flood back every time I smell or taste gingerbread cookies because of the fond memories of enjoying warm-out-of-the-oven gingerbread cookies in a cabin with my family. As far as points go- the week of Thanksgiving was half of what I had previously earned in the weeks prior. If only looking at points, that week looks like a failure- but it was the first week that I see as a real success. Every sweet I ate was enjoyed with my family. Not once did I sneak treats or feel guilty about anything I ate the whole week.
I have learned so much about myself from this journey. I am glad that my successes are not gauged wholly on points or grades and that I can recognize that joy and fulfillment come from making those decisions that will help me stay on the road to happiness.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the Road to Jericho

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post. Like all of you, this holiday season has been filled with craziness. One reason I wanted to take on this challenge now is because I knew I needed something to keep me on the straight and narrow -- even if I fell by the wayside on occasion. I really appreciated Alanna's comments from a few weeks ago.

"It's all a process. We want to see results immediately from the world we live in, but it takes time and we have to allow ourselves to come to terms with that. I'm in the process of translating my control of food into other aspects of my life. Controlling my behavior, trying to become a firmer disciple of Christ. To really take His name and countenance upon me."

I was reading the parable of The Good Samaritan earlier today and all of these thoughts were floating around in my head -- traveling the straight and narrow, falling by the wayside, this process called life, and this 8-week challenge -- so I did a little more study.

It was an 18 mile journey from Jerusalem to Jericho so it took more than a day of travel. Because there were long stretches of empty road, people normally travelled in groups as protection from potential thieves who could easily hide among the rocks and hills. But this man travelled alone.

When reading this parable, I've always thought about the Samaritan and how I can, and should, be more like him. But today I thought about the ways in which I've often felt like the lone traveler. How many times have I felt beaten emotionally and spiritually on my journey? How often do I try to travel this road alone? How is it possible to feel alone when I am surrounded by people who love me and care about my struggles and challenges? What Good Samaritans have I had in my life to remind me that I am never alone?

I have been blessed with beautiful, caring individuals who have tended to my wounds and made me feel whole again. Their actions turn my thoughts to the Savior who is always there, inviting me to find wholeness in Him -- both body and spirit.

Like Alanna, this challenge has been about more than just food. It has brought me to my knees many times as I struggle to control my earthly appetites. And every time I have wanted to completely give up, I think about this group -- my Good Samaritans -- who are traveling this road with me.

I know this journey hasn't been easy or perfect for any of us, but what do you say fellow travelers? Are you still on the straight and narrow or have you fallen by the wayside, as I have. If so, grab my hand and let's get back on the road to Jericho. I know you've had some good moments on this 8-week journey. Focus on those moments and don't let your struggles keep you down. There truly is no failure unless we stop trying. Imagine 24 strong beautiful women jumping out of bed tomorrow, giving thanks for another day and moving forward. What an amazing sight!