Tuesday, September 15, 2015

the power of vulnerability...works for moms too...



Here I am, sitting shyly in the corner, about to get confessional and, well, REAL.

I'm a pretty authentic person, and usually what you see is what you get with me. I don't do fake and gamey sorts of relationships. Though I have a formal register vocabulary for work and my more casual register for conversational speaking/writing, my bottom lines are usually the same, just in different vernacular, so to speak.

But, that said....

I am not a reality TV star where everything I do and say is exposed for all to see, hear, and judge me for.

Well, yes. I do blog and share some of my weirdo neuroses - e.g., my word nerdisms, affinity for tying pop culture references into daily events- and deep thoughts - my faith is integral to who I am, thus I talk about it; I also entertain my inner Kant, Plato, Locke (philosopher for those of you unfamiliar) - and life struggles on occasion in this space.

So yeah, I do share more of myself a bit more freely than the average mama bear, but not ALL THE THINGS.

Like {what I feel to be} my huge failings in the parenting arena...beyond the standard mommy guilt, sometimes we have some really intense "discussions" in our home (see above picture's "We do REALLY loud."). With feelings so large, voices so loud, chaos so great, that our pets take cover. (Not kidding, or as my son said tonight "Hyperbole-ing.")

And it makes me so sad after these episodes, because that's not how I wanted this part of my story to go! I was going to be different than the examples I had.

My kids were going to come to me with ANYTHING and feel comfortable approaching me with their awkward queries, confusion about navigating their emotions, and the need for assurance and comfort when life was hard.

Anyway, that's not the way things are shaping up and more often than not I feel like Drew Barrymore's Beverly Donofrio, desperately wondering through tears and clenched teeth, "When does this job ever end?!?!"

Yesterday at our staff meeting, one of our organizational consultants shared the brilliance of Brene' Brown's TED talk "The Power of Vulnerability." I had already watched it numerous times, but seeing it again reinforced the truth in the paradox that through our vulnerability, we gain strength, power, confidence, and ultimately, contentment. (It's 20 minutes, but I tell you, it is time WELL spent. Click the link! Then come RightBack here)

And then I got home and we had much sibling rivalry over chores and other tween/teen miscellany that is minutia to the hubs and I and MOUNTAINS OF WOE AND ANGSTY STRUGGLE (cue Miley with The Climb) to them.

But I was enlightened. I had been reinforced with wisdom and truth!

And it didn't mean a damned thing.

This morning was a lather, rinse and repeat kind of deal, despite my best efforts to be mindful, present, and meditative during that window between the older two leaving and the littlest little waking.

Then my day at work got consumed by IT issues, that felt very real and worrisome....until at the end of the day, I discovered the reason my laptop couldn't recognize the hard drive, and therefore fail to boot up, was because it had somehow dislodged and was hiding in a pocket in my tech bag.

Seriously, I live a charmed life.

Got home, ate well, kids were behaved.

I felt a weight lifting.

Then the youngest and hubs went to Cub Scouts, and the other shoe dropped.

And by dropped, I mean that darn shoe fell with the relative velocity and force the Looney Tunes anvil had when being pushed out of the window.

I asked for some help with the household chores. Which has been the hot topic of late. I keep asking for help and all I get is push-back from all my room-mates at casa del Meyer. It's been a bit frustrating.

And it got really ugly and intense and I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and have someone mother me with the nurturing and support that EVERYONE in our house so clearly needs right now.

It passed through, and we took a timeout. I returned to my onerous task of comparing the costs and terms of health insurance and would it be better if we all went on my new employer's coverage or if we did a split of one of us with the kids and the other partner at their employer. (I live it up on a Tuesday night, yo!) The kids went to do the homework that was cited as the raison de la resistance, because, "Mom I can't do any chores because _________ never does jack squat, and I have homework that is due TOMORROW, my friends all hate me, yada yada yada."

After calming down, and the homework was done in, I kid you not, less than 10 minutes, I opened up to my son, the child with whom I'd particularly clashed tonight.

Was the cost of getting your way over not even 10 minutes of homework worth it?

I understand things are rough for you right now. I would never minimize that - and I'm not asking you to, but I am asking that you take a break from your own misery and recognize others around here are miserable too, for various reasons that may be different from yours, but just as real to them as yours are to you.

I am sorry. I don't want to be a dragon roaring in your face with ugliness and anger, and probably really bad breath. We did eat lasagne with a lot of garlic in it.

That garnered a chuckle.

We are in a lot of transition right now - and by and large it is good transition but new is stressful. New grades, new schools, new work, new routines. There is a lot going on, and I feel...... when ...... Sometimes, I don't want to come home after work because I dread the fighting so much. I'm so tired of this, aren't you?


Right now, I've got a lot on my plate. I don't have a lot of time for fun. My ankle still hurts from spraining it last Saturday. When you guys where playing at the party down the street the other night? I spent hours grocery shopping for bargains and nutrition and then cooking/prepping it all so that we can do our activities and not have to wait to eat at 8:00. Would I have liked to play or read a book? Heck yes, but I also have to make things run smoothly or else we are always in unhealthy chaos.

I love you. Will always love you, no matter how mad you get or how hateful your words may feel - you're stuck with me for always. I'm so proud of you and really wish I got to see the awesome young man everyone else at church and school gets to see. Instead, I get all your insecurities and anger dumped on me, and I understand it is because you trust me to still be here after all of that, but I am so very weary and tired of it. My bucket is beyond empty...it is starting to crack because of the dryness. 

Then the scouts got home and bedtime routines started...sort of.

The littlest decided he didn't like the lasagne I spent all night cooking (along with a bunch of other freezer meals) Sunday so that we could eat at a reasonable time, so naturally, he was hungry when he got home. I went to make him a bowl of cereal when I saw the notebook over by the coffee pot.

It's a very hard balance sharing your adult self so openly with your child. You can't burden them with adult problems they can't control, and you can't blame them for things when sharing. But let me tell you, that ^^^ right there? 

That is power in vulnerability!

It takes a big person to apologize. Bigger still when one is only 12 and that full of heart.

That has given me some peace, confidence, and contentment. (Also? My bucket is no longer dry. The tears that were generated have filled my bucket pretty much to the brim.)

Peace that he gets it.

Confidence that he is so much more than the angry and sullen kiddo that I've seen so much of recently.

Contentment in knowing somehow I've given him the knowledge that sharing hard things makes us grow closer.

A heart that is lighter, fuller of love, and reduced in worries and weariness.

These are all powerful gifts borne of me sharing my hard truths with my kids.

"Share each others burdens (vulnerabilities) and thus fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2.

^^^ truth that has been tested and proven by the work of the lovely Brene Brown. Why are we always so surprised when Scripture is proven time and time again?

Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful paradoxes in life. 

" 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' ...For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 9, 10.

It now stands to reason that I should be spiritually/emotionally strong enough to rival The Hulk's physical strength after this display of transparency, no?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Deo gratias; a counting of blessings

For the solid presence of his arm around me as my eyes reluctantly opened this morning.

Deo gratias.

For the inexplicable peace a mother feels when all her children are under the same roof.

Deo gratias.

For the sparkle in her eyes last night and the newly acquired Mexican accent on her Spanish.

Deo gratias.

For the little one stumbling into my room at 6:30 whilst I was fighting wakefulness; his quiet assent to me noting I had to get up. But can I still get in your bed? The peace on his face as he instantly fell back into dreamland.

Deo gratias.

For the gentle breeze caressing me as I walked this morning, soaking up Your mountainous beauty of in the midst of suburbia around me.

Deo gratias.

For the sun-washed extravagance of that particular time of morning, golden halos bouncing off every still dew-kissed leaf, pine needle, and flower petal.

Deo gratias.

For good friends and neighbors that stopped and talked while I was out.

Deo gratias.

For kindly forcing all these awarenesses into my conscious observations. Because You know as well as I do, I'm prone to forget. That all of these things? They're borrowed. And You chose me to give them to.

Deo gratias.

For the quiet peace and happiness on my heart this morning.

Deo gratias.

For the graceful glide of the pelican overhead

Deo gratias.

Sometimes as mothers, we can get swept up in the frustrations, the struggles, The Hard Things. Understandably so, because there are a lot of them. As a Christian mother, I get frustrated with how "They rise up call her blessed" does not seem to apply to my life. How all the strife and petty arguments (heck, I'll be real, the kicking and screaming, and not always by me!) seem to overwhelmingly season the days.

But then sometimes, the Lord gives me a morning like this that totally restores my soul. 

The resulting gratitude colors the day in a way words could never do justice to. Not just for the things I remembered above, but for the chain of grateful thoughts they birth. Like, wow, all those are great, but then there's Christ and His sacrifice; thank you Savior. 

There's a lot of mindfulness buzz out there that talks about how we have to be aware of our thoughts (hmm, sounds familiar) and while I don't disagree with the concept, I do feel like it is one more thing we feel like we have to do On Our Own. 

Be strong, and soldier on in your life. 

That has its place. Though when you're in the trenches of tantrums, potty training, work-mama balance, teenage rebellion, or whatever other mama meltdown du jour faces you at any given moment, how much strength do you have to muster up the mindfulness? Usually? I. Got. NUTHIN.

And that's ok.

Did you know there's no shame in asking God to put these things on our minds for us? Or for allowing Him to speak through a good friend who will do the same?

There's a reason why the song is called Blessed Assurance.

Thank you Lord. For this day and all the yesterdays and tomorrows you've written for me. For the countless blessings You've showered up on me. Please keep me mindful of them.

Monday, August 3, 2015

the middle class SQUEEEEEZE

So today I went to Larimer Health Connect to do a little comparison shopping. My new gig has put us in a waiting period in which we need to secure healthcare for the months of August and September; while I got the full low-down on COBRA at my exit interview, which would offer the comfort and familiarity of the plan we've had for over a year and a half, the new premium is MORE than our monthly mortgage payment. Yes. Paying into a pool of money that health insurance sharks invest to cover the risks of those in the pool, swimming in funds we've contributed but could potentially never even draw upon, will cost more than our shelter.

Oy. Hello Monday, there you are, you fickle frenemy.

So, yeah, I thought, "Perhaps there is something on the Exchange that could be [more] affordable in the interim."

And perhaps there are icemakers in hell. About the same probability, is all I'm saying.

See, Seth's employer does have insurance they offer to their employees. But it basically boils down to REALLY expensive catastrophic coverage (super high deductible and 60/40 co-insurance after deductible is met). Thus, when I started working at the Health District last year, it was cheaper for us to all have really good coverage on my plan than it would have been for us to do a split with me and the kids on my plan and him on his plan.

But...here's where the ACA went wrong and was totally perverted from its original intent thank you politicians more concerned with fillibuster and lobbying than taking care of ALL their constituents, but I digress....those of us who work and earn between 251%-400% FPL, and thus would be eligible for some health premium tax credit, typically are going to have employer provided insurance available to us in some form. Whether it is actually affordable or not doesn't matter, just whether we have the option in theory, because who cares if the numbers actually WORK is enough to take those tax credits away. 

As it turns out, without tax credit subsidization, the premiums on the Marketplace Exchange are laughable as to affordability, and downright absurd as to the narrow scope of "coverage" they offer, not unlike what some employers are offering their employees. Families in this "luxurious" class known as the upper middle are then forced to go with a policy that is MORE than their monthly housing expenses, plus whatever out of pocket expenses actually are incurred should you actually need to use the care.

So let's stop and look at the math, folks. 


A mortgage that is considered affordable and living within one's means is generally touted at about 30% of one's gross income. Add in a  healthcare premium that is MORE than that, and you have a family that is paying over 60% of their income to housing and health PREMIUM again, that's not even counting out of pocket expenses. Then take off all the payroll deductions/taxes, and you are looking at upper middle class families struggling to survive on roughly 1/4 of the money they work for. Twenty-five percent of our wages is supposed to cover food, transportation and again because we live within our means, our vehicles are paid for, but we still have to pay for the pump, maintenance, and insurance, educational debt for a degree I had to have in order to secure employment of a certain means, clothing, inevitable home repairs, {insert other responsible adult expense here}, and the elusive white rabbit of recreation/leisure oh, wait, there's a reason we haven't had a vacation in 7 years

Do our lawmakers know how soul crushing it is to work hard day in and day out but not have anything to show for it? Or to feel like you can breathe for a moment? Obviously, some do, or else those in poverty would not have gained from the ACA like they have. I don't begrudge that. I do struggle with the corporate welfare and failed trickle down economics that we allow to persist, creating a growing burden that squeezes any kind of prosperity out of the middle class reality.

I am not saying the ACA is bad. I believe the intent was great and I wholeheartedly supported it, given my work experience with people in need, and then our own personal near-bankruptcy caused by an unforeseen medical crisis.

I AM saying the logic got broken when partisanship caused the de-volution from what it was to what it is. 

And something has to give.

I have to do COBRA because of our family's needs until my trial period at the new job is done, and suffice to say, again as it bears repeating it is well OVER what we pay for our mortgage. But it is cheaper than buying a bronze pkg on the marketplace right now and paying for follow-up care with specialists out of pocket. 

In the meantime I have ridiculous amounts of student loans to pay and back to school season is upon us. Not to mention that I have a child who is merely 4 years out from needing her own help with higher education costs.

But...cue the scripture verse I put at the beginning of this post. Scroll back up and dwell on those words.

I may not have a fat wallet, but I do have a LORD who has blessed me in endless other ways.

Monday, July 27, 2015

service with a {maniacal} smile

This is 21st century parenting, yo. No joke.

Since I went back to work last year, my kids have done summers at home.

:insert the public outcry, "They're how old?!?" here:

Answer: 14, 12, and 6. And provided that many kids begin babysitting for pay at age 12, by my calculations, I have a 2:1 caregiver to child ratio. Plus the age-old #whenIwasakid spiel. And, just for good measure, no one's been lost, injured, or malnourished in the meantime. So, it's ok, thank you for your concern!

They do a good job for the most part. There are 3 parks in the vicinity; they occasionally ride their bikes to Kids Bowl Free; there are friends and adult neighbors around to socialize with; and church activities like VBS have broken things up a bit.

But, left to their own devices, they would spend far too much time on their screens. This results in a rather post-modern parenting reality for me of having to ensure the child locks are in effect for the Xbox, Netflix, Comcast, the computer, and our wi-fi before I leave every morning.

Even doing this...we've had a struggle of late with them getting their chores done every day.

Now, y'all know that I just started a new job, so there's that transition. There's also the fact that the mister has had 3 surgeries in 9 months, the last of which was the end of June and has rendered him unable to bear weight on his foot for 6-8 weeks. Therefore, it is imperative that the kids carry their weight, because this mama's got a lot on her shoulders right now.

Enter last night, and the girl child really wanted to get together with her friend whom she hasn't seen much of this summer. Said friend has two younger brothers that our youngest plays with at school and they have fun together on these visits.

So I said sure. But there were strings attached.

Not only would she and her brothers be required to get all the chores done before she went, but I would need photographic evidence texted to me before said outing would be permitted. Might as well get the most out of that family smartphone plan, right?

It worked like a charm.

At approximately 11:40 a.m. the texts came in rapid succession...

Disclaimer, my teenager gave me full consent to post the following pictures. They are unaltered, appearing just as they did on my phone.

Laundry folding in progress
Not enough room for the 1,000 words this pic conjures

There was a vacuuming mishap,
so she swept the stairs.
With. A. Broom.

Rosie was unloaded and seen here,
is in the process of being loaded up
I ordered them to eat leftovers for lunch.
Photographic evidence that they complied.
Moral of the story...

If you give a girl a [smartphone] camera, stuff gets done.

Friday, July 3, 2015

an abiding mindfulness

It never ceases to strike wonder into me when I think of how small I am in the scheme of God's universe, and all the more so when those moments in life occur that I just know He personally crafted for me at that very moment.

And for the past two weeks, I have just been so awestruck as I've been able to see not just a moment that He tailored for me, but my entire lifetime.

Sit down, grab a cup of tea or joe and let's go in for the backstory. I promise you, it's good, for the Lord is good.

More than six years ago, I left work to be a SAHM with my kids. It was a huge change for me because so much of my identity was wrapped up in my work and a giant leap of faith for us as our number crunching that led us to the decision showed that it would be very tight, but doable.

Then the economy crashed. And our bottom line took a nose dive. But we mustered through.

Then when the baby came, I had a near fatal medical crisis that wracked up thousands in medical debt during a time when we were already struggling to meet our basic needs.

To say we had some doubts as to the soundness of our decision is a bit of an understatement. The physical and emotional recovery from the ordeal took a long time. The financial recovery took even longer. We nearly lost our house and had a vehicle repossessed during the aftermath. And the shame of looking good on paper but not being able to meet our needs just about killed me. I hated that though we had a moderate income, I worried constantly about money; if one of the kids got sick, would we have enough money for a co-pay to see the doctor? There were times I had to make choices about whether I should buy milk for the kids or gas for Seth to get to work. Because Seth earned a decent income, we didn't qualify for any type of assistance and yet my children were having to go without and wear thrift store clothing like I'd had to growing up in poverty. I felt like a failure, like the little white trash girl who thought she was going to be someone, but then ended up with a life not too different from the one she grew up with.*

*that is a lie that Satan tried to fool me with. While our finances were tough, our family dynamic, values, etc. have always been different from what I grew up knowing. Hard to see the forest for the trees when you're in the thick of it though.

We scrimped and saved and cut where we could. I started free-lancing as a grant writer for some of my old contacts. Eventually, it became clear that I HAD to go back to work. I looked for several months with a few interviews that were promising, but then didn't pan out. Finally, I took a job with a non-profit for a lot less pay than I'd made previously, but it was something, even after childcare costs took a a significant chunk out of it. That job was nothing short of a horrible nightmare, and after 90 days I was informed that I'd failed the probationary period, buh-bye. My confidence plummeted.

I then continued to look for work in any way I could find it. After 12 months and too many interviews to count, I landed a 3/4 time position with a local organization. The position was primarily administrative and somewhat of a step down for my previous experience and skill-set, but the hours were flexible for a mama with school-agers, the co-workers were amazing and the salary and benefits met our needs. I was content to stay there for several years, setting my previous ambitions aside as my Jacobean wrestle with God left me submitting my ideas of my purpose to His will.

Last fall I received a referral for grant-writing for an agency with which I used to coordinate back in my case management days. I became reacquainted with their programs and really fell in love with their model and mission. At the end of the year, their executive director went on to a different agency and I worked with the board president on a grant in the interim.

In March, my grandmother suffered a heart attack and my mother and I flew out to Washington to be with her, as reports were not clear as what her prognosis was. I had not been back to Washington in over a decade, and hadn't seen some of my relatives in over 20 years. Over the week that we were there, each night my mother and I would go back to our hotel and discuss the hardships and dark family secrets of our pasts. We cried a lot, looking back at the injustices that had been heaped upon our loved ones as a result of poverty, abuse, addictions, and  other severe family dysfunctions. 

A spark ignited in my soul, rekindling my initial desire for a career that helped people change their lives. I couldn't let people in need live a life of shame, rejection, and hopelessness; I needed to find a way to incorporate that desire into a career change and make an impact.

Less than a month later, I was looking at Facebook and saw an article from our paper about two local agencies merging; one of them was my grant client and they were going to be hiring a program director for it! I campaigned hard for this job. I did my homework and all the extra credit with God breathing inspiration and providing angels in the way of coaches for me all along the way. The interview process was grueling, and wrought with emotion for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I'd had the radio on a pop station that morning, but changed to Way FM when a song that drives me nuts came on. At the end of that day....which had been quite taxing in relation to the job pursuit, I was praying in the car on my way home, "Whatever your will is Lord, just let me do what you want me to be doing. I will be at peace, whatever you decide," while 10,000 Reasons played on the air. I started to sing along with this song that embodied what I had just uttered. At the beginning of the final chorus, I was stopped at a light when my phone buzzed with the e-mail that I was officially being offered the job! And when the composite of all the details of that moment registered in my consciousness, the ugly crying commenced. Ugly JOY-crying, that is.

So now, here I sit with a life that is relevant to those of the students my program is serving. I know their struggles first-hand. I have the career experience and business acumen that will help garner community support for our initiatives. And I have a God who has shaped my whole existence with the details I will need to excel in this position. It is really quite overwhelming the intricacy of His love and plans He has for us.

I'm so excited to see what He has in store for me. I start next Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

it matters

The grammar OCD person in me has to point out that I almost didn't post this quote pic because of the typo (taskS) but it was the only one with the whole quote and the prettiest aesthetic. So yes, I know the task should be singular, and if you didn't, well, cue the The More You Know music and consider it a PSA.
These crazy days of three kids in school, with homework and extracurriculars, working, and omnipresent domestic chores are kicking me in the boo-tay. And not so gently, either; this season of mothering is, like, kick-boxing with Jillian Michaels strength jabs in the back-side hard. Brutal.

Last night, our only unscheduled night of the week, I was asked if we could play as a family after dinner. We were all set to go:

I felt so boss at this motherhood gig.


Someone all of a sudden remembered s/he had foreign language homework that would have to be worked on now since it was due Wednesday and Tuesday was a practice night.

Pro: Yay, insight into time management!

Con #1: Poor time management in the hours between his/her arrival home from school and mine from work. 

Con #2: The resulting sullen, woe-is-me-life-is-horrible-this-is-stupid-everything-is-stupid trope that ensued for 40 some minutes and kept me home with said child working on foreign language homework.

My kids are the Fun Nazis: #NoPlayForYou! #SillyMomFunIsForKids

Tonight, the mister and the older two got home from lacrosse practice at nearly 8:00.  

The aforementioned, slightly complicated pork chop dish had been prepared, along with brown rice and steamed broccoli, dishes were running in the dishwasher and those still littering the counters were being washed in the sinks when they arrived.

We snarfed down dinner with few complaints, and then went to town in search of cleats for son #2's lacrosse class that starts tomorrow and a special binder for the girl's end of year project. Son #1 stayed behind and did homework.

One unfruitful trip to Sports Authority and only a partial yield of the sought after items at Target later (no dice on the cleats, it's like everyone in Fort Collins bought all the size 12K cleats in town), it was nearly ten when we got back inside. 

The unfinished dishes were taunting me. So I answered their siren song and started doing them, resentfully noting the mister's residence in the recliner.

No - homegirl don't play that. Don't give the devil a foothold. Do not initiate the pain cycle!

"Hey, I know you're all cozy in your chair there, but could you give me a hand, please?"

Maybe it was my tone, maybe it was he was just cranky...who knows? Our relationship has reached "old married" status, which means there are going to be moments of contention, some more familiar and routine than others.

Suffice to say it wasn't a full blown argument, but the vibe was not romantical either. It happens. We're human. Still in love. It's allowable ;)

The thoughts that ensued before I was over it, though, they raged on in my head quietly. I recounted how I used to write and sing and now all I do is work, chauffeur kids, and clean. I'd seen that one of my former colleagues had been named director of our community's new Permanent Supportive Housing development, and a wee bit of envy crept in. I'd had meaningful and promising career options once upon a time...

But - you chose this. It didn't happen to you, you wanted it. It's ok - there is still time and this is just a season.

The youngest Meyer was having a hard time getting to sleep, so the mister went to perform bedtime reconnaissance. He returned with the following bit of intel:

"He said he wanted you to come sing to him, and I told him to lay down, that you would be there soon, and he looked at me and said, 'Last time you said that, it was a lie. She never came.'"

(For the record, I did that time, he'd just fallen asleep before I got there. So we're clear.)

"Guess I'd better go then. Can you put away the rice and wipe the counters for me, please?"


Upstairs, the girl was STILL up. She'd been really ramped up at Target and was in full-on relentless mode, and well, 5:45 comes really early in the morning is all. So I did my go-to-bed-now snarl and she did the teen-aged I-knooooow sigh that I just love. Fourteen is soooo fun. It's not her, it's the age is muttered multiple times a day. I haven't forgotten - it was just yesterday after all, right?

Anyway, the youngest was rolled over in his bed, and while I knew he may already have been sleeping, I poked the bear anyway. After all, I was not about to be made into a liar this time.

He rolled toward me, puckered his lips that are only 5 years old for another 11 days into the big, puffy, hyperbolic kiss that he makes and pulled me to him. "You're the greatest Mom ever. I wanted you to be able to watch me at soft lacrosse tomorrow to see how good I got."

It's funny how these moments can pierce my soul with a conviction that stings and yet comfort my heart with the validation that soothes all at the same time. For all the times I start to entertain discontent with and the frustrations of motherhood, such words bring me to face the burning conviction that this thing called motherhood matters. For all the times I doubt the quality or effectiveness in my mothering, these glimpses provide the reassuring solace that mothering, with me cast as their leading lady, matters to them, and they do notice. Sometimes - they are children after all.

Thank you Lord, for the reminder. Thank you for him, this child who is such an encourager.

"Aww, you're sweet. And I'm glad to get to watch you tomorrow, too! I'm glad you're excited."

And so, here I sit, taking a moment to be real, granting myself the grace to know I'm human and get distracted from the things that matter, truly matter, from time to time. And bolstering myself against the knowledge that they won't truly understand until they are parents themselves that sometimes the greatest thing we can do for our children is set aside our own hopes and wants for a season and invest in theirs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Anyone who's known me for any length of time knows that I have a hard time with commitment.

Not with people - no, I'm pretty darned steadfast and loyal and all that jazz when it comes to people.

What I'm talking about is a perpetual resistance of commitment to routines, habits, things that become rote exercises in life.

Start a new eating style (read: diet)?  And I'm off the wagon in short order.

Daily challenges?  I might make it a week.

Regular budgeting?  Yeah, I KNOW I need to get committed to that one.

I don't know what it is, precisely, but until recently I figured it was some combination of boredom, self-sabotage, poor time management, and sheer lack of will power.

But then....

Enter a MOPS meeting.

And epiphany followed soon thereafter.

This is pretty typical - if you are a mama of kiddos in the womb to kindergarten, find a local MOPS group and join.  

We discussed some material from Jennifer Degler re: the things that energize or drain your life, wherein a point was made that sometimes in this season of life, you're not going to get chunks of time that are task-sized such that you can sit down and do something that matters to you from start to finish.  So you capitalize on the chunks you do get.

I have a hard time getting out of that all or nothing mind-set.

Self-application = exercise.

I don't mind exercising - I mean, it's not like the thing I live to do everyday, but once I do it, I feel better.  Bonus - it makes me healthier too.

But finding the time???

I work 30 hrs/wk, have 3 kids aged 5-13 which means homework and activities, I do some freelancing work on the side, am actively involved in my church, and the list goes on and on and on.

Finding the 30-60 minutes to get an effective workout (and the resulting need for another 15-30 minutes for a shower, make-up, hair and dressing session) was not working and I just couldn't seem to find the time to get it all in.

So the pounds crept back on, and guilt plagued me.

For Christmas, I asked for a fitness tracker in hopes of having more awareness of what I actually did in the course of a day and be able to gauge where I needed to step it up (pun sort of intended).  After looking at the specs between FitBit and Jawbone UP, I went with the Jawbone.

It has really helped me to see where/when I need to shake things up and move.

But back to this time chunking thing.

I came to the realization that if I broke up exercise into little chunks, that I could actually squeeze it in.  After getting my middleschoolers out the door at 6:30, I had a window from 6:30 to 7:00 that I could get a little loop in for walking/running before my husband had to leave and it was time to get my kindergartener up and ready for his mornings.

Add to it that I've been getting out during my lunch hour and fitting in 30 minutes of walking/jogging as often as I can.  The end result is not always the Heather that looks and smells the best after lunch, but I feel better.  And I'm getting that hour/day of activity, averaging 3.25-4 miles and getting a whole lot more calories burned than sitting on my duff would.

I'm sleeping better.  Eating better.  FEELING SO MUCH BETTER.

This is the year, peeps, the year that I reclaim my health and well-being in little chunks here and there.  #20FITteen made possible by making opportunities instead of waiting for them to drop into my lap.

What can YOU accomplish if you did it in bits and pieces this year?