Moving forward


For Linda, who requested I write on this subject –

When I was in jr. high and high school I looked forward to practices for every sport every day.  I was slightly lost without them.  I didn’t know what people did with all their free time.

I wasn’t a stereo-typical teen in the sense that I had no desire to sit in my room and brood about the fact that the world wasn’t fair, boys didn’t like me, or that I didn’t have the latest fashion.  I spent every single day talking to my parents and siblings.  I adored school and I adored sports practices.  The day of my last senior year volleyball game I remember sinking to the floor and sobbing.  The season was over and everything was going to change.  This is the first time I remember noticing the seasons of life.

Then, I became an adult.  I got a job.  My time available to play sports shrunk significantly.  Then, I got married.  My time shrunk again.  And, then I had kids.  I stopped playing all together.  I missed it, but seldom had time to think about it.  I had health issues that helped me gain a significant amount of weight and made losing it extremely difficult.  But, all along I LOVED sports.  I never stopped loving them just because I wasn’t able to play.

When the twins were born I heard about a volleyball league I could play in.  I decided I’d go try it out.  I was nervous.  I was 10 years older, overweight, and hadn’t played.  But, it was sorta like riding a bike.  When I got there it just came back.  I didn’t move as fast.  My minimal vertical had basically disappeared. But, I had the basics.  The fundamentals that I used to be annoyed my coaches were harping on – those were still there.  And, I’ve been playing volleyball ever since.  I found it difficult to play in the league with the people who were beginners.  They didn’t even know the rules and were laughing like the sport was just for fun!  And, the upper division were all young and fit.  The guys were giants and spiking it so hard that if it hit me in the face there was a good chance I’d be knocked out.  But, I’ve managed to play in both levels and figure out a balance.  I’m not the best.  But, I’m having fun and being active.

This year life has gotten in the way of our league.  But, I intend to change that.  I want to be able to play and enjoy my time.  I refuse to stop being active.  The good news is that I haven’t stopped completely.  I’ve been coaching.  When I leave practices I’m sweaty and disgusting.  The girls probably think I’m old and crazy, but I don’t care.  I love playing and I love being there teaching these girls to love it.  The important thing I keep reminding myself about is that I don’t have to be the best.  I don’t have to play at the level I did when I was 17 and 18.  I just have to keep going.  I have to keep myself moving.  Sometimes that means I take baby steps and do the easy stuff.  Sometimes that means I swallow my pride and do the hard stuff even though I’m positive everyone else around me thinks I’m ridiculous.  It’s not about what they think.  It’s about me doing something I love and trying my best to keep myself healthy despite health issues that make weight loss annoying, despite time crunches, despite french fries.  I’m still going and I’m going to keep going.

If you feel like you are too old, too fat, too slow, too whatever – stop labeling yourself with things that do not help you.  Start labeling yourself as things like tenacious, persistent, and hard working.  Don’t waste your life hiding until you’re perfect for what you want to do.  Do what you want until you’re the best you can be at it.

 

Gardening


My mother always had the most amazing yard.  It didn’t matter what the ground was like or what she picked to grow – she had the ability to make anything come up beautiful.  I do not have that gift.  In fact, my husband calls me “The Plant Reaper”.

But, we’ve moved into a house that hasn’t had anyone taking care of the front yard for a bit. Basically, there were multiple dirt patches that obviously were gardens and we decided we should fill them.  The conversation between my husband and myself went something like this:

H: We should plant something out front so it doesn’t look so barren.

Me: I agree.

H: What do you want to plant?

Me: *blank stare*

H:  What kind of flowers and stuff?

Me: Bright and cheerful ones that will still grow when I don’t remember to water them…?

H: I’m not sure that’s a thing.  Let’s go to the garden center and see what we can find.

So, I followed him to the gardening center.  We looked at tons of plants. He hemmed and hawed about the cost of mulch, planting soil, and rock.  Then, we went to look at plants.  He pointed out cactus (ew!) that would grow nicely in the environment I described.  He also pointed out some bush type plants that I didn’t love either.  He kept asking “do you like this?”  And, I kept looking around feeling lost and wishing I could call my mom.  She was aware of my gardening lameness and would have told me exactly what to plant – or even better she would have had me plant something great and then come over to be sure it survived.  Finally, I picked out a few things and we made our way to the register.  The first line was really full, but there was a little grandmother like woman standing at the other register.  We made eye contact and she waved us over.  We stood in line and she looked at me and said “Do you want to know a secret? Want to know what plant is really cheerful and bright and its nearly impossible to kill?”  I’m sure my expression was total amazement as I nodded yes.  She left her register (there was still no one else in line) and took us out to the garden.  She helped us pick lots of seriously beautiful flowers.  She patted me on the back and said “these are not any work at all.  Just put them in the ground and you can simply water them when you think of it and they come back every year!”  Daisies.  I love daisies.  Who knew they were low maintenance?  We also got some snap dragons.  By the time we finished I had tears streaming down my face and she just smiled and patted me and rang us up.  My poor husband didn’t know what to make of the tears so he just got the car.  When I got in he said “Don’t worry about it – this store makes me want to cry too”. HA!

We spent most of Mother’s day weekend planting my cheerful flowers.  The front of the house looks like someone lives there now!  And, what a fun splash of color.

flowers

 

There’s still so much to do, but I feel like we’ve made serious progress.  And, I feel like I may need to go visit the garden center every once in awhile now too.

 

The Struggle is Real


There are days when ignoring any sort of healthy thought, eating, or movement sounds reasonable.  Oh, there are days.

I’ve started eating healthier (again).  I realize it is a life long struggle for some of us and I will learn to be better at it by doing it every day.  I also realize that if what I’m doing isn’t realistic and doesn’t fit into real life situations – it’s not even worth my time to start it.

So, along with eating better I have started to work on my head and my heart.  I started the “Made to Crave” Bible study (check out the book here).  It’s helping me deal with important issues like the fact that it’s okay for me to cry about the struggle.  I’m not a weirdo and there are others who do the same thing!  I’m learning that lots of people actually hate every second of exercise, and they also focus too much on the numbers on the scale.  But, I’m also learning that God has something better for me.  He wants us to crave him MORE than we crave food.  It’s a good place to have my heart and my head.

I am still dealing with the real life implications of trying to transform my own life.  I still want to eat to celebrate every.single.life.event.  I still want to just have some warm yummy fries to drown my sorrows in.  But, I am succeeding.  I’m improving every day.  My sister in law told me recently that I should focus on today.  I don’t need to worry about the past or fret over the future.  Just worry about being the most healthy ME I can be today.  Somehow that’s really really comforting.  It makes it seem smaller and more manageable.

The next hurdle is figuring out how to convince my kids that my life improvements are a good idea.  So far, the question I hear most often is “When will this end?  We want PIZZA!”