Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Finding Ease

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You are strong~
~You are courageous~
~You are compassionate~
~You are creative~

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Space ~ Taking the Space You Need, Emerging, & Being You

~This post was inspired by the recent work and theme that August is bringing in the Peace Circle group that I am in: Yes to Emerging, combined with a recent conversation I had with a good friend about finding your space, your grounding in this current season of life. ~

Space ~ giving space, asking for space, taking up space, personal space, outer space

Such a small word can have such a profound impact.

We teach our kids about personal space and the boundaries that go with that, making sure they ask to give a hug or fives, etc.  I used to use a hula hoop in my classroom to teach kids about the idea of personal space.  We learn to recognize space for what it is and what we need.

However as time goes by and we get older, sometimes we begin to forget about ourselves in relation to the space we need and loose sight of ourselves as who we are.  Not who we were, but who we are.  Right now, right here, in this moment, who we truly are.

We all take up space.  That amount of space varies upon where we are in our lives, what need and want, what our heart is telling us, what our emotions are saying, what our inner voice is saying.

Do we try to lay down, open up, and let go of the control to let in the space we need?  Nope, not always.  Sometimes we still try to do it all without laying any thing down, or asking for help, or by letting all the "shoulds" (even they ones we know don't fit anymore) dictate, or over complicating things instead of just simplifying, or letting our own fear or anxiety interfere.  

I have been there.  Feeling lost as I added in new roles and not sure about, well about much of anything.  Letting fear, anxiety, guilt, worry all wash over me, letting the negative inner self talk cycle take over.  I have rarely felt I had a good understanding of who I was just as Liz.  So adding in new roles like wife, mom of an angel baby, mom of one kid, mom of two kids  all while still trying to figure out me, what I wanted to do, what I enjoyed.

I am just beginning to let myself take up the space I need, or deserve.  Letting go of as many of the "shoulds" as I can that just don't fit with me, where I am at at this moment, where I want to head, that don't fit with my family.  Lightening the load, so I can, well so I can lighten up.  Simplify where I can, set up schedules that fit with our flow, and just let me be me.  Adding in the things that make me feel grounded, that help me thrive so that I can offer the same for those around me.  Facing the truths, adjusting perspectives, changing habits to find a better balance.

Where in your life do you need space?  Think on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.  Mind, body, spirit.  Where do you need space?  What does that space need to look like?  Feel like?  What do you need to do, want to do to fill that space?

Let your you, you true you emerge.  Let yourself find the grounding through the roots you create, feel the strength of your stem structure, and blossom.

You can blossom where ever you are in your life, just like this flower in the crack along the gutter in the street.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Health, Fitness, & Diet ~ No Pop and Frappe Challenge

On June 28, 2018 I decided after my yearly doctor appointment to challenge myself to not drink pop, not drink frappes.  To limit sugary drinks, using things like shakes and specialty coffees as special treats every now and then,  To focus on drinking more water all days of the week and basic coffee with some honey and milk or tea every now and then throughout the week.  I have found that sitting on my porch in morning, on weekends, having a cup of coffee has been a great way to start the day.

For some, this challenge doesn't seem like a big deal and should be easy.  In the past, I would have a pop every now and then, frappe too.  But it got to a point where I was having at least one pop, if not two a day and some days it was a pop and a frappe.

I was using it and spending the money as my emotional crutch to deal with my own emotions, the strong emotions that come off the kids sometimes, and dealing with some of the negative behavior choices the kids were  tossing me every day as an excuse to stop and get a pop or a frappe.  Come lunch, ordering take out for delivery became an all too often habit because then I could have lunch at nap time and get a pop as well.

I have given it up here and there, but only for a couple of weeks.  Then something I would face brought me to cave.

But it had gotten out of control.  It wasn't until my doctor appointment that I decided to challenge myself.  With an overall goal of 30 days and finding little rewards for each week complete and something a little bigger for reaching the 30 days, I started with day one on June 28.  I knew I could find the willpower and strength to make it to 3 weeks, when my recheck was.  I wasn't sure where things would go after that point.

To be honest, the first week was hard.  Because not only was I having to not turn to grabbing a pop or frappe, it was causing me to actually deal with the emotions I was facing in the moment.  I learned how to face them, found a healthier balance, and began to be able to resist the temptation (even when we went out to eat).

Each day, each week got a little easier.  When I got to my recheck date I knew I was loosing weight, but also found that my blood pressure returned to normal, I knew I could make it easily to the 30 days.

Well, July 27 was day 30.  I made it and I can tell you how proud I am.  I feel less desire for sugary drinks, sugary desserts, I am not even drawn to having a pop or frappe.  I actually like a basic coffee, though I do put a little honey and a little whole milk in it.  But I don't have a coffee every day, just usually on the weekends.  I save the specialty coffees and shakes for special treats every now and then.

It is hard to give up something, but in the end there are sometimes so many more benefits to it than we realize.  It is even harder when we are trying to break a habit.  It takes a while to create a habit, so it takes a while to change it, but you have first be willing to make the change.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I used a little check off sheet to keep track.  I found it to help me and decorated a little here and there.  But something kind of funny happened. I didn't give myself any rewards at the end of each week or as an overall reward.  Why?  Because I couldn't come up with non food ideas.  Instead of figuring out some ideas, I kind of just forgot about it and then decided to give myself another challenge to try out...a no make up challenge.  How that goes I will let you know in another post.  But I began that one on July 19.

Have you given up pop or sugary drinks?  Some other type of eating?  What habit have you changed recently?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Professionalizing Motherhood

Yup, why not?  Why can't being a mom be your, our, my profession?

I recently finished a great book by Jill Savage "Professionalizing Motherhood".  She is an author of several great books filled with inspiration, wisdom, perspective changes, and really gets you thinking.  She is an author, a speaker, and a blogger.  I have read most of her books she has out and the ones I haven't read are on my list of to read.

Through the book we learn that we just feel inadequacies as a mom, as a parent, and just on the journey of motherhood in all stages sometimes.  It is one of those things where try as we may, wish as we might, there really is no manually that comes with being a parent. 

We make mistakes, we have many fails, we ask for forgiveness.  We yell, we laugh, we cry, we just plain shake our heads.  We want to make our house a home, not loose sight of ourselves, and want to be sure to be enough.

When you look at all other areas of jobs, there is a training period.  As a parent, you are just kind of tossed in the role.  You move up and get promoted when kids change age and change seasons.  But it truly is a job that you never have enough training for, is ever changing, and is always there.

At some point, it feels, like society began to look down on woman who decided to stay home.  But staying home is an important job in our society in raising our kids. 

Staying home and raising kids is not an easy job and it is by no means taking the easy route.  You are on call 24/7 365 days a year, for at least 18 years.  Then your role changes as your kiddos begin to go off and create lives on their own.

Why not consider motherhood a profession?  If you think about it, if you look at certain tasks at hand as being a part of the job, they begin to take the monotony out it.  I know, doing laundry is boring and so is dishes, dealing with the same behavior that irritates you day in and day out takes its toll. 

But hear me out.  If you weave those tasks into daily living, along with teaching and guiding kiddos, and managing bits of self care things begin to change perspective a little.

I know, it doesn't pay in money.  Sometimes the rewards of the seeds sown don't show until weeks, months, even years down the road and we can't always see past the end of this rough patch of behavior, we can still consider it a job.  You are not just a mom. 

Take a look at the book.  It is an easy read, a quick read, with a lot of great insight and personal stories.  It does weave god and faith in to parts of here and there, but even if that is not something you follow, you can still get some great insight from the book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Finding Ease

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You are worthy~
~You are filled with value~

Friday, August 3, 2018

Health, Fitenss, Diet ~ Where to Begin, Where to Head

We all have a journey when it comes to this topic.  We all have a story to share.  I will be honest, when I first decided to write on this topic, I dug my heals in.  I wasn't ready to write on it.

For many reasons and an excuse here or there, I didn't think at first I had anything to offer up by sharing my story, my journey.  But then I was reminded that by sharing my story, my journey, someone else out there might be able to relate.  They might be able to find their footing again and might give them the courage or inspiration or motivation to start their journey too.  Where ever it may lead, even if different from mine.

Like I said, we all have a journey.  We may cross paths with others on a similar one through out it, but we all have differences too.  Where I start might be different than you.  How you track your progress might be different.  Your goals might be different than mine.  We might be starting at different levels, different lifestyles, different body shapes.  How I gain and loose weight may not be the same as you.

But through it all, there are some things that are the same.  Through this journey I will share those things I learned about health, fitness, and diet that affect us all and I will also share from my journey what I have faced, done, where I have succeeded and failed.

The important thing in this all is to start where you are.  Your end goal look and feel can be a part of your driving force and can be what fits with you, your habits, and your body.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

In the Calm, In the Quiet

I sit in the calm and quiet.

No, it's not nap time this time or the kids aren't in bed for the night.  Hubby took the kids on a little adventure, just the three of them. 

Oddly, what initially started out was my oldest and him going led to all three.  When it came time, my oldest said no he didn't want to go, but my youngest asked if he could.  Which, in itself, was a feat because lately it was mama only and he usually just wanted to stay home (and still go on adventures, but complain about wanting the other option).  Once my oldest heard that his brother wanted to go, suddenly he was interested in going again :)  Wonder why?

But nonetheless, all three went.  It was just me.  Well, me and two cats who were napping somewhere in the house as cats do during the day.

So many options at my fingertips of what I could do.  Aside from use the other car, as hubby had the key with him.  I had many choices.  Of course, there was the to do list, the chores, the laundry, dinner prep, reading, writing, and so on.  Hobbies and maintenance pretty much.

I needed to start a load of laundry, because, well lets face it, it is Summer and it needs to be done weekly in our house.  At first, beyond laundry, my mind was running a mile a minute with "what can I get done with the kids gone for a couple of hours?"

The list just piled up, but then I realize, I have time set aside during the week weekly to accomplish certain tasks.  But then my mind went to, well, we have two trips coming up we need to get ready for, have the house ready for, and so on.

But then I reminded myself, chores can usually wait.  In fact, a lot can wait or get moved around because we some things often enough that it won't affect anything in the grand scheme of it all anyways.

So what did I do?  I took some time to myself.  I did the things I wanted to do.  I chose to write, to be creative, to do me-be me.  I filled up on my energy boosters and then I could fill up those around me as needed.  It was relaxing, it was calm, it was quiet.  Just what I needed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Evening Bliss

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May I be filled with patience~
~May I have kind eyes~

~May I show others me~
May I be strong~
~May I be filled with faith~
~May I be consistent~
~May I be filled with calm~
~May I be peaceful and at ease~

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Health, Fitness, & Diet ~ That Kick in the Pants

So my last post about this topic I mentioned a kick in the butt.  You see, I have been working out, trying to eat overall better, and trying to get things in other areas a bit more grounded and flow better.  I started working out and putting more focus on diet just after A was born.
I was setting goals, reaching them and at the end of June 2017 I was only 7 pounds away from my biggest goal set.  To be 155 by the time A turned 2.  I set that goal when I looked at pictures after his first birthday and baptism.  I knew I could get there.

As things go, I stopped using the scale to measure and focused on other areas to show progress.  I stepped on the scale over the Winter and was blown away by the number and how far from my goal I was.  It had gone up, way up.

I knew I hadn't worked out as consistently with it being Winter and was less active overall.  I knew food changed because in Winter, in Minnesota, comfort food is so nice on the cold long days.  So I expected it to be higher, but not as high as it was.

Then in April while at the dentist my blood pressure read higher than my usual normal.  I chalked that up to having just had a coffee shortly before going and the extra caffeine added to my system.

Fast forward to June 2018.  Back at my usual yearly doctor appointment, I stepped on the scale.  I felt defeated.  I was nearly 20 pounds heavier than the year before.  All that work I had done leading up to 2017 since my youngest was born and here I was back at 6 weeks post birth weight.

I was frustrated leading up because no matter what I ate, no matter what activity I did, I couldn't change the scale number and the number on the tape measure.  Pictures showed no changes either.  I could no longer go off clothing sizes as my indicator of success because I had pants as small as XS up to size 10 depending on the type of pants, length, cut, etc.  Shirts weren't any better, small up to large depending on the shirt.

When the nurse told my blood pressure and I noticed that it was still high, that is when I got the courage to say something to my doctor.  We talked over  what had been going on and any changes.  The only change I made in the year was by going on a birth control pill.

The thought never occurred to me that my weight would go up, let along by that much.  Or it would affect my bp because it had never affected it negatively before.  But as pregnancy and having kids does, it changes your body in a lot of ways.  You may not know the change until you go back to doing something the way you used to.

So, we began with the obvious and easiest thing to try.  Stop taking birth control because that was the only big change I had made and do a recheck in 3 weeks. 

I stopped taking it, did my usual working out, trying to eat better and waited for three weeks to go by.  The only other big change I did after my appointment was I stopped drinking pop and frappes daily, which I had been trying to do for a long time.  This doctor appointment helped give me the much needed push to find the willpower to resist them.  A much needed change on many levels (I will go more into this on another post).

Three weeks later I faced my recheck, with kids in tow.  If I could get my bp to go down and have kids in tow when they were doing the recheck, while answering a thousand questions coming from both kids at once, then I would win this.

My bp was back to my usual normal and my weight was down by 4 pounds.  4 pounds may not seem like a lot, but for the fact I couldn't loose anything no matter what I tried and it had only been three weeks, I was happy.

It is hard to make changes sometimes, even when they are needed.  Sometimes we just need that little extra wake up call, that little extra push, that kick in the pants.

This one made me make some much needed changes.  This one gave me the courage to speak up about my health with my doctor and the frustrations I was feeling.  This one gave me the willpower needed to make some better daily habits happen.  This one gave me the creativity to find a workout combo I really do enjoy and can do easily anywhere.  This one was the catalyst for other changes that I am working on too. 

I encourage you to find your kick in the pants that you need to make the changes needed, to move forward.  I also encourage you to talk to your doctor with your frustrations and health concerns you have.

Share you story.  What was the catalyst for the much change you needed face?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Saying Yes to You

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself...

~ You are worthy and allowed to take time for yourself~
~To fill your tank~
~Letting go of the guilt, and truly immersing yourself in the moment~