Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I Choose...

I am typing this blog with tears streaming down my heart aching.  Stomach churning.
This is the week of the CrossFit Open.  2015.  My year. What I've been training for.  This has been my goal year for awhile now.  I've worked harder the past year than ever.  Reaching new goals.  New heights.  New weights.  New movements.  Checking off my lists of weaknesses.  No distractions.  Fully focused.  This is it.  The season starts, tomorrow night.

This is where my hard work pays off.  Where I lay it all down.  For the next 5 weeks, completing workouts, submitting scores against other people in my Region, in hopes of making it to Regionals in May.  Regionals.  My motivating factor through every sweaty workout, every 5:00 am wake-up call, every mental battle, every "I want to quit," every bruise, every ache and pain, every get back up again.  I just want to get there.  All my IG posts scream, "you can do this!"  "No excuses!"  "It's Now or Never!" "You earn what you put into it."  "If you work hard enough, your dreams will come true..." 

And I do.  I really do.  Hope they do.

Someday.  For sure, someday.
Just not any day soon.

My turning point came at a competition in December.  I was the oldest female athlete.  The only one with kids.  Most definitely the only one with 2 kids with special needs.  The only one married for double digit years.

Hmmm...where was everyone else my age?  With kids?
Not there.  Because this stage of life is hard.  Harder than any Open workout.  Life with "little's" is full-time.  Overtime.  All the time work.  And I was the only one crazy enough to try to do both.

The disbelief by the other competitors struck me.  How do I do it?  How do I make time?  How do I train hard and be a mom/wife?  While I felt honored to be able to share that I was doing it.  And it could be done...
I was convicted all at the same time.

And I couldn't shake this conviction.  That I wasn't really doing it all.  Well.
I prayed and wrestled with God for a month...what am I supposed to do? I can't possibly give up all I've worked so hard for, for so long.  I don't know what I would do if I didn't compete.  Competing is my motivation. My push.  My drive.  I live for it.

So I prayed for an answer.  A solution.  A way to do it all.
And it came...loud and clear one Sunday afternoon while I was praying for discernment as to what I should do about my CrossFit goals and my goals as a wife and mom.  And as clear as day, I felt the Holy Spirit say, "You will rest this year.  That is your big performance.  You will be done for now......I have bigger plans for you."

And this may be where I lose most of you.  Because I have doubted this clearly spoken directive, myself. Over and over.  But as soon as I surrendered to this, as soon as I said Lord, your will be done.  I want to follow you.  Obey you.  This goosebump like peace fell over my body.  And I knew this to be my decision.

I asked several people to pray over me in this decision as I knew it would be hard as the CrossFit season neared.  As people asked me if I was getting excited...and ready...and if I was going to get to Regionals this year.  Because I truly want to say, "YES! I'M READY...I'M GOING TO DO THIS! I am ready to make a name for myself, #homegym is ready to make a statement.  Prove my efforts. This is it!"

And I knew the battle would be hard.  I expected people not to understand.  Or buy my real lack of reasoning.
I am obviously struggling with it tonight.  It's tough.

But much more than I want to be known as a CrossFit athlete that is a mom and a wife and does it all...
I want to be known for not doing anything.  Transparent
Only as a humble servant of Christ.  Who honors her husband.  Guides her children.  Loves her Lord and Father.


I love working out. And will continue to do so. Hard. Because that is a passion God has put in my heart.
But right now, under the umbrella of rest.  Sitting still.  Waiting.  
And this could quite possibly be the hardest workout I've done yet.  Because there are no banners screaming "do less."  "Be still."  "Rest."  "Be quiet."  "Seek nothing."  And no one encourages you to seek the slower, smaller route.  Because this type of workout, this resting piece,  requires faith.  Faith in things unseen.

Things hoped for.

Things of eternal value that carry no merit on this earth. And don't fill a scoreboard.  Or earn me points.  Sponsorships or recognition.  No, this workout involves more discipline, sacrifice, humility, stepping aside so God can work...effort. It requires hands-on parenting. Being purposeful with my husband.  Jobs I may never receive affirmation for this side of Heaven.  No measuring progress.  No immediate results.  All based on hope.  And faith and love.

And this, my friends, is the kind of workout I want to live for.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Hot 'n Ready"

So Wednesday nights have become Jerad and I's "date" nights.  Kids at church for 1 1/2 hours...alone time for us.  It's a rare commodity around here because for some reason finding a babysitter to stick around with our gang is tough!  Understandably so.

Anyway, I had a fun night planned for us.  I sent him a text this morning, telling him I was in charge of tonight's date.

My plan was to make manicotti with chicken and basil pesto, covered in alfredo sauce.  It's a long running joke in our house because I made this meal when we were first married and didn't boil the manicotti noodles first, stuffed them full of cheeses, baked them in the oven and served them for dinner.  After the first crunchy bite, I knew I had done something wrong...because I was in near tears, Jerad pretended to hack his way through one before giving up and we ordered out....It's funny now. I just now let him laugh and tease me about it...most days.

I was going to replicate this recipe with the noodles boiled first...some candles.  I had some massage oils out for a shoulder/neck massage for him while we watched the first season of Game of Thrones on DVD.  I even bought a cheap DVD player for our bedroom so we could lay in bed and possibly fall asleep while watching this enticing series. He has been working a lot lately so I was going to stay up and go get kids at church and get them to bed.  While he rested...

I had it all prepared and was excited!
I ran to the store with my grocery list, got what I needed.  And rushed to get it all prepared early.  I got Autum out of the van, swung the front door open where the groceries were...the bag containing my alfredo sauce and manicotti noodles happened to be bagged together so neatly....and so when the glass jar of alfredo sauce rolled out the door and splattered across the cement driveway, my jeans, shoes, and the van door...breaking into 100 tiny pieces...I yelled...and just as quickly as I processed that disaster the manicotti noodles followed suit flying out the opened door and hit the ground very near the mess of alfredo sauce, breaking into 1000 manicotti noodle pieces...HUH...?

Hmmmm...that moment when you linger between crying or laughing...(imagine Jeopardy music here)...doo doo doooooo do, dooo do do...

Laugh.  Just laugh.  It's all I could do.  Or else the tears of crying may not stop.  (tough week)

So I laughed, walked inside, got paper towels to clean up the mess, unloaded the rest of the groceries in silence.  Assuring Autum I was ok.  Yes I was ok.  I just needed a minute.

Trying to figure out how to reconstruct my date night, I plopped down in the chair to think.  And not react.  Just keep laughing.  Laughing.  Yes, laugh.

Ha. Ha. Ha.
I decided to look up my Handy Dandy go-to surely they could help me out!
So Pizza it is...

 I messaged him I may not be hot and ready, but more a hot mess and tired-and I may add 2 bottles of wine to this pizza night-but hey, I'm not giving up yet!  We will have a date night and we are going to enjoy it--dang it! :)

And to top it off right after deciding on this, I get a call from the school to come pick up Blake. They think he's not feeling well after falling and hitting his head on the probably no church for this guy...BUT, he may get a lot of iPad time tonight...with his headphones! ;)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Weekend Vacation

Leah is taking over the blog today...

Santa gave me a gift to Wichita.   First my mom and dad and I went to mall I got some clothes then we got my nails done at the California Nail Salon. I wanted to stay at the top which was 4th floor of the hotel and I got too. I bought shirts at Justice. Jeans at Target with my gift cards.
Getting my nails painted.

Pink sparkles, with blue zebra stripes.

At the hotel they had a pool me and daddy did lots of dunking and cannon balls and sat in the hot tub--it had bubbles.
We ate lunch with my Uncle Chad for his birthday.  Saw my Mimi and Papa. They watched my sister and brother while we were gone.  Then we came home.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

In the Eyes of...

I have been exercising with my friends at Disability Supports of the Great Plains for 7 1/2 years now.  Over the years, I've observed many staff members, home health nurses, guardians, friends, maintenance people, teachers, parents, care takers, rug cleaners, plumbers, etc walk through the doors of the activity centers where the clients spend their days.  And as I am leading an exercise class or lifting weights with one of my friends, or chit chatting with staff, I find myself observing his/her reactions as he/she walks in the doors.  I find my mind wandering to what he or she is thinking?  What does he/she think is going on?  How does this environment make him or her feel?  Do they see things the same way I do?  What lens are they viewing this world I work in?  It can't be normal, right?

Like when the rug cleaning servicemen walk in the door...and they see a lovely lady sitting in a wheelchair, away from the rest of my exercise group, quietly watching them exchange the rugs out....and out of nowhere she begins to yell and scream words that don't make sense, and bang on the they quickly turn their heads as not to stare at this outlandish behavior?  Do they quickly write her off as being crazy and disabled? And just wish she would be quiet?

Maybe so...or maybe not...

Because what I see is a woman who so desperately wants to be able to share her thoughts with them.  Who wants them to know it is 11 AM and it is her lunchtime, and this is her day to go out driving with her favorite when her body clock routine tells her this and she realizes they are blocking the doors that she will be exiting soon...she yells.  She wants to tell them so bad how worried she is that if they don't move her staff can't come inside, and she won't be able to maneuver her wheelchair out to the she bangs on the table in anxiety, and fear, and helplessness...and frustration.  (this is why I don't ask her to exercise with us on this day at this time)

Or when the UPS man enters the building, and walks around carrying a package, desperately trying to find someone to take the package off his hands so he can get back to his work...and he sees a grown fellow in a wheelchair, blowing raspberries between his lips, with drool dripping down his face, his head turned sideways resting on his shoulder, his eyes barely open, his hands tucked in at his chest, his knees bent inward under his wheelchair table, supported by 2 blue leg braces... like they have been in that position for most of his life...he moans a loud noise over and over again, almost as in a rhythm.  Does the UPS man feel sorry for him?  Or uncomfortable by this fellows presence or lack of presence, maybe?  Does he avoid eye contact or touch in fear?

Maybe so...or maybe not.

Because if he stayed a minute longer you would see that this fellow is actually doing my exercise class.  Like he always does.  And he LOVES Michael he is dancing.  He is singing.  He is excited. He is humming a rhythm.  He is happy.  He may not be pushing weights, he may not be pulling resistance bands, but he is all about participating with the class. He is showing it in his own way.  Doing it his own way.  Fully present.

Or when the home health nurse comes in and is looking for a specific client, and he or she is met at the door by a petite older woman asking her if she has seen her bracelet...desperately asking her if she can have her bracelet back, almost seemingly near tears, or maybe anger...barely letting the home health nurse in the door.  Does the nurse dismiss her, or ignore her?  Or walk on by hoping someone else will answer her question?  Or does she answer her as best as she can and move on?  And this woman returns to a nearby chair and rocks and rocks, back and forth, muttering unknown words under her breath. 

I'm not sure.

But if she would take a minute and ask her, she would learn that this woman is really just wanting to have a conversation.  Just wanting someone to interact with her.  Make her feel safe.  Maybe even a big hug. Help reassure her that she is at the right place for her work, and someone will help her find her bracelet in time.  Because more than likely, she is confused and her world feels a little out of control at the moment because she doesn't know what she is supposed to be doing.  Or who is picking her up from work today.  Or who her night staff is yet.  Or she can't remember if she packed her lunch.  Or if she wore the right shirt for ClayWorks... (From a therapists point of view, her mid-brain is probably off and she is needing sensory input, note the rocking, the muttering to herself, the panic in her voice, the need for a hug or reassurance) 

I am not saying any of these things have happened.  But I always wonder.  What does this world look like to others?  I know what it means to me.  And I love being a part of each and every client's "normal." 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Identity Crisis

For some reason, being a mother is not an identity that comes easily for me.  I am not a natural nurturer.  Nor am I a very good sympathizer.  In fact, emotions are a far reach for me.  In anything.  I'm not sure why.  Genetics maybe?  Self-protection, maybe? Environmental?  Personality?  (be prepared, this is a rough post, but brutally honest)

I never dreamt of having babies.  I think I can count the number of times I babysat, when I was a teenager, on one hand.  Nope, not for me.  I had no clue as a first-time mom.  Leah came as a surprise.  It's seriously I think the only way God knew I would have kids, and needed kids for that matter.  (see previous post) I wasn't one to "ooh" and "aah" over a newborn baby a new mom was thrusting into my arms, just sure I wanted to hold.  Yet I think I wanted to be a mom at some point. Just had no clue that it would be hard. Ha! Makes me laugh now.

More important than, why, though, is how.  How do I grasp this identity...yes, I have an 8, 5, and 4 year old and I still don't feel like I truly own it.  I seriously walk around and wonder how mom's can love breastfeeding their babies for 4 years...and say its simply because of the connection and emotions they feel (let alone health benefits and cost-which I understand more as reasons)...or those mom's who's kids sleep with them until another baby comes along or they begin to get made fun of by their friends...I just don't have those "desires," I want my sleep.  I have not shed a tear yet dropping my children off at preschool for the first time, yet, and I've done this with all 3.  I am excited for them usually, but not sad to see them go.  I know, I told you, no emotion.  I'm weird.  I can't say I've gotten ridiculously excited about any one of their individual accomplishments, I get happy, but not crazy happy.  I at least smile.  And occasionally laugh.  I can however get really irritated.  Or frustrated.  Or angry with them.  That is an emotion they can evoke. 

Hmmm.  That self-realization has been a heart-wrencher for me.  I have NOT truly enjoyed my kids.  I have NOT had an emotional connection to them. Maybe better worded, I think I do have an emotional connection to them, it's just suppressed deep down...and as I'm raking back the layers of this realization...I see that it's because I haven't allowed myself too.  I haven't wanted to "go" there.  I have pretty much lived in survival mode since day 1 with my kids.  Like I said, motherhood doesn't come easy for me...and I don't necessarily have the easiest brood to mother.  I feel accomplished most days to get lunches packed, kids dressed, noses wiped, floor swept, appointments made, and a shower.  I can do all the basic things: fed? check.  house clean? check.  kids bathed? check.  books read? check.  I think most days it would be easier for me to go to a job and work and only have to tend to their needs for 3-4 hours in an evening.  Yet I am a stay at home mom.  Because I feel called to be.  Yet, I don't enjoy it?  What is wrong with this picture? 

But you ask me to go "there"...dig down to the emotional, relationship stuff with kids and I'd rather change a poopy diaper.  It's downright hard for me.  It requires work, effort, time, empathy, emotion, patience....and on top of that it's exhausting.  I fear it.  It is rough.  

And as much as I fear it, my kids need it.  So do I.  Because mothering doesn't come natural for me, I have to work at it.  And like anything new, it feels awkward and forced at first.  Maybe even dumb. A waste of my time.  But I want to "feel."  I want to be my kid's trusting place, shoulder to cry on, come and talk about anything with person...and that requires an emotional connection.  So I have to work at it.  I am working at it.  I can't take them to the park and sit on the swing on my phone catching up with an old friend.  I can't rush them through snack time after school, so I can send them in the backyard to play until supper.  I have to invest.  More than I usually do.  Meet more than basic needs with a splash of "fun" mom slipped in an out to eat trip,  a school outing together, or a surprise gift.  It has to be effort.  On my part. 

But what has been so cool, is God is helping me realize it can be fun, and easier than I think.  The more I work at it, the easier it becomes.  The more natural my reactions become.  The more my heart "feels" toward them.  Whether good or bad.  The more grace I extend.  The more aware I am of their needs, emotionally.  The better I can respond and sympathize, celebrate, or encourage.

And as a result, the more natural my identity as mom seems to evolve and take place.