Sunday, April 17, 2016

Keepin' It Real

I going to just come out and say it:  I am struggling with my life right now.  In so many areas of my life, I am tired, discouraged and just plain stressed.  And, although I have noticed it for awhile, I feel like it's all sort of come to a head this week for some reason.  It was an extra busy week at work with having to fill in for a coworker who was on vacation, and an extra busy week with evening activities to go to.  We had a 4-H meeting, volleyball game, a band concert, sleepovers, a birthday dinner, volleyball practice, a birthday cookout for a friend, bringing home 4-H pigs, a small group meeting, youth group, and working on the barn that will house our pigs this summer (they are currently living in short-term housing across the street in our neighbor's barn). With that being said, I'm pooped and emotionally unstable.  The house is a mess.  The groceries need bought. The laundry needs done.  And I all I feel like doing is cry.  Out of exhaustion.  Frustration.  Depression. 

I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist by any means, but I do like to be productive.  And ever since we sold our house and moved (twice) last summer, I'm on an ever-present battle to get unpacked, settled in, and organized.  And weeks like this frustrate me because I can't even take baby steps towards that goal.  There's just no time.  And I feel like a failure.  I hate the constant rush my life is in right now.  Rushing to work after trying to rush to get everyone off to work and school. Rushing home from work to get something that resembles dinner on the table at the right time and get the dishes loaded into the dishwasher before rushing on to the next thing that evening.  Rushing to bed at night because my brain can no longer function and I just need quiet and no one to expect anything from me.  And while all this rushing is going on, my mental list of things that need accomplished continues to grow.  And the rushing continues so that I just might have a few minutes of margin in my life to be able to accomplish something on that ever-growing list. 

To top it off, I am at my heaviest weight since having kids.  I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin right now.  I'm frustrated because there is absolutely no time to workout.  And if I do have time, I'm too exhausted or depressed to actually make it happen.  It took me a couple of years and logging in lots of running miles to lose the weight I gained back and the task at hand seems insurmountable right now.  I hate the way my clothes fit.  I hate the way I look in them.  I shudder at the thought of putting on shorts or a bathing suit in just a few short weeks.  The stress over the past year has resulted in 25 lbs gained, a ton more gray hair, and wrinkles where there used to be none.  My confidence is gone.

In addition to everything else, I am raising a teen and 2 would-be teens, it seems.  One is experiencing their first heart-break and it's killing me.  I don't know how to help because they won't talk to me.  One is searching desperately for someone to love them; to find acceptance.  And the other is struggling with the need to fine-tune their God-given strengths and the process is grueling. I feel so helpless with each of them and, as the years pass by, I can only pray that I've taught them the skills, and built up the character they need to be successful adults.  Only time will tell, I guess.

All of this is affecting my marriage, my parenting, the relationships closest to me.  I have come to the realization:  I've lost my joy.  Depression is setting in and I don't like it, yet I'm not sure how to counteract it.  Life is moving at a crazy-fast pace right now and I feel like I can't even catch my breath to savor the moments.  The sermon at church last week was about not complaining.  To counteract our desire to complain my pastor said we should focus on being thank for what we DO have instead of what we don't have.  We also need to process the information in order to find a solution to the problem at hand (as opposed to complaining about it and doing nothing). I have really been trying to remember this this week.  So this blog post is me processing and trying to find a solution. I need a do-over; a fresh start.  And Mondays are a good day for that, right?  So I guess I am thankful for Mondays. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Was Blind (Dating) But Now I See by Stephanie Rische

Although I am married and don't need any dating advice, I love reading about people changing their lives and losing weight, fixing their marriage, or, in this case, accepting being single and searching for a mate.  This book was more than that, though, and also includes much spiritual insight.  The author tells of her journey of being set up on 8 blind dates and even gives each one a nickname such as "Uber-Fundamentalist Boy" and "The Connecticut Yankee". Throughout the book she writes of her feeling of being single and her frustration with not being able to find a husband.  She also grows spiritually along the way.

I really enjoyed this book and helped me to view singleness in a different way.  I now have compassion for people who are single and searching for a mate.  I have been married since I was 20 and had dated my husband for 4 years prior to that, so I have never had to experience singleness in adulthood.  In one story, the author shares about hearing a sermon at church about marriage and the pastor concluding the message while having all the married couples pray together for a few minutes at the end of the service.  Since she was single, she felt awkward and somewhat depressed about her singleness.  This made me have empathy for singles, and to realize that there are people who are single, but don't want to be and are searching for their soul mate with all they have. 

This is a great book for any women whether they are single or married!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Taking Off The Mask

I am guilty.  I like to play the part of the Mom-Who-Has-It-All-Together.      You know her well, I'm sure...the mom who is well-dressed, her kids say Please and Thank You, she goes to Bible Study, has a good job, a great marriage, great hair, no wrinkles, nice legs, no stretch marks, and the list goes on and on.  I don't show my faults to the rest of the world, or not purposely.  It's easier to put on a mask than to bare it all to the world.  And honestly, most people don't want to hear about our problems so it's easier to just smile and wave. 

Can I just be honest with you? I'm a Hot Mess right now.  Motherhood is lovely, but today is one of those days where I have contemplated running away.  I feel the need to tell you what my day has been like so that maybe you can realize that you are not alone in your struggles and we can all start to take the masks off and Just.  Be. Ourselves.  Doesn't that sound refreshing?

So, today I woke up after not nearly enough sleep.  I was up late having a heated conversation with the hubster till after 11 and had to be up at 6 am to start the morning routine.  I honestly don't know what I did between 6 & 6:30 but I got the two older kids up so they could start getting ready.  We were out of eggs, so bagels were for breakfast.  Realized there was only 1 bagel so I made some toast.  Sibling rivalry and snarky comments happened and I had to lecture about how to speak nicely to other people and to watch our tone.  Eyes rolled.  No cash for food at the ski lodge tonight for the kiddos so I quickly threw together some PB&Js and a granola bar for their dinners.  They are out the door.  Get 8 yr old up and she yells at me for not getting her up sooner (even though I had gotten her up 8 minutes sooner but she fell back asleep).  Throw together her lunch and send her out the door.  Make some dinner and dessert so this Mama can do her best to stay on her diet (and lose these stubborn 30 lbs).  Kitchen is a mess and I haven't had a shower.  Shower is taken and by this time I'm running late to meet my friend.  I text friend to let her know.  Head out the door and haven't defrosted my van so it's freezing on my 30 minute drive to my friend's.  Had a great and much needed visit with my friend and rushed home to get the 8 yr old off the bus.  Along the way I remember that I need to get more medicine for our cat, so I stop by the vet.  Get the meds and realize I have no more checks in my checkbook...and no cash with which to pay him.  Embarrassed, I agree to stop by in the morning with a check.  Arrived at home with a massive headache.  I tell 8 yr old that we are going to get groceries tonight.  She throws a fit because she doesn't want to go.  I realize that I am nowhere near ready to buy groceries and my menu hasn't been made yet...and my head is pounding so I decide not to go.  8 yr old throws the mother of all fits because she wants to go shopping.  She takes my keys and starts the van.  She goes to her room and slams the door.  She says she hates me.  She throws the cat.  She finally is told to stay in her room and take a nap.  Currently I think she actually has fallen asleep!  Either that, or she is secretly plotting my demise.  Either way, I am enjoying the peace and quiet.  I have a dirty cluttered house.  The dishes are not done.  The laundry is not done.  I'm exhausted.  And it's only 6pm! 

Luckily the earlier part of the day was awesome.  I spent the day at a dear friend's house playing with her kids and catching up with each other's lives.  We prayed together.  We cried together.  We understood each other.  We saw each other for who we are, not who we are trying to portray most days. And we love each other despite all our flaws and weaknesses.  I am so thankful for times when I can just be ME.  I encourage you to try it sometime and feel how wonderfully refreshing it can be! 


Sunday, January 10, 2016

A New Year, A New Me...eventually.

First of all, Happy New Year!  I know I'm 10 days late, but as always, I have an excuse reason.  Thanks to my contagious daughter breathing a little too closely to my face on Christmas, I was lucky enough to come down with her cold the last couple of days in December.  That cold left me coughing my head off and sleeping on the couch so as to not wake the Hubster.  After 10 days of misery and exhaustion, I went to the doc and she diagnosed me with a sinus infection AND bronchitis.  She also said that, had I waited to be seen a couple more days, I would have ended up with an ear infection and pneumonia.  I'm glad I went when I did and have been increasingly feeling better with each new day. 

Being sick has been so frustrating!  This last year has been super stressful for me and with the stress, I have battled some health concerns as well as gaining back the 25 lbs I had lost over the past few years.  I feel like I want this year to be a year of new beginnings for me.  I want to finally reach my goal weight and be healthy and confident.  I feel like these extra pounds hold me back from doing so many things and truly enjoying life.  I had told myself to enjoy the holidays because come January 1st, I was hitting he weight-loss train. forward 10 days and I still don't feel entirely back to normal yet and I'm not really supposed to work out for another week if my lungs cooperate with the meds I'm on.  I have taken 1 walk and have done 1 upper body workout in these 10 days, but I've also done my share of eating snacks and cookies and such that I vowed to swear off.  I even made a plan with a dear friend of mine to get back on track together last Monday (a day before I went to the doc) because I thought I would be feeling better by then.  She did great and lost 5 lbs and I did poorly.  But that is where grace comes in.  I'm giving myself grace.  I will lose this weight this year but I need to make sure I give myself time to recover from this bronchitis too.  I'm just frustrated that it all has been postponed temporarily!

So here's my plan...

1.  Weigh in each Monday morning.  To be honest I have broken up with the scale, but it gives me a way to measure progress.  I actually didn't even pay attention to the number on the scale at the doctor's office...I have no clue what it read!  I knew the nurse too and had worked out with her a few years ago at the gym and normally would have been mortified by the whole situation.  But instead I just chatted with her and completely forgot to see what the scale said!  To me that is progress of its own!  I also am going to get nerdy and make a spreadsheet of my weightloss so I can track my progress along the way.  Oh yeah and one of those charts listing each pound I have to lose where you color in each square when you lose it.  I need some visuals! 

2.  Follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating the best I can.  I have fallen off the wagon time and time again with THM.  It's not THM's's entirely mine.  I fail to plan my meals or buy the proper ingredients or just get lazy and want to eat something that doesn't require a lot of dishes and/or preparation in the kitchen.  But the plan works and I feel great when I stay on-plan.  So I'm going to get back at it tomorrow! 

3.  Have accountability/encouragement from a friend.  I have a friend who is also doing THM so we have agreed to hold each other accountable and encourage one another along the way.  This is crucial for me because I often feel so lonely when trying to lose weight!

4.  Work out!  My sister recently told me about and it's great!  Cassey Ho, the founder of Blogilates, is super encouraging and not at all annoying like some fitness gurus.  Mainly she gives you access to a monthly workout calendar that lists each day's workouts that you should do.  The workouts are found on her YouTube channel.  There are ususally 3 or 4 shorter workouts that you do together for each day.  And the cool thing is that each day of the week (with the exception of Sunday) you focus on a different muscle group/body part.  I love that because it takes the guesswork out of it for me and I don't get tired of the same old workout DVD.  I am also planning to walk a couple of times a week with a neighbor and eventually get back into running once the weather is fit and my lungs are healed.

That's pretty much it.  I'm trying to keep things simple this time around.  Wish me luck!