Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Extra Mile



I have sat down several times over the course of the last few days with every intention of pounding out a post about The Extra Mile hike that I did this past Saturday. Every single time I try, I come up short because I just can’t find the right words. But, I want to get it out there before I get to far away from the experience to remember the details.

So I’m just going to start writing. We’ll see where we end up.


I drove down to Bethel Mennonite Camp the night before the hike. The plan was to start on Saturday morning at 7:15 and I didn’t really want to drive from my house that early in the morning. I found it extremely hard to sleep that night. Nerves were getting the better of me. I tossed and turned and tried to get comfortable, but nothing worked really well. So in the dark, I busted out some yoga. I stretched and breathed and held poses and tried to clear my mind. I prayed and talked and recited every shred of scripture that I could remember. Around midnight I climbed back into my bed and drifted into a barely asleep sleep.


6:15 am came too quickly. I brushed my teeth, dressed, and did a quick devotional . Then down to breakfast.


7:15 am. Nine hikers loaded into a van and I was immediately intimidated. I was surrounded by seasoned hikers and young kids. At the drop off, my stomach immediately started churning and negative thoughts started seeping in my carefully crafted positive barrier. We set off and I was quickly at the back of the pack. I repeated over and over the words my dad said to me the day  before: ‘this is your hike. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else. Do it the way you have trained to do it.’ So I did. But that still didn’t mean that I was happy about it. Not going to lie. The first 3.5 miles of that hike were pretty miserable. I felt out of place and like I had bitten off WAY more than I could chew. Actually, I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I didn’t stop.


The ten mile hikers joined us at the end of the first 3. 5 miles. This is when my Aunt Rosie joined us. This is when my spirits lifted and my confidence came back. Her smiling face and her confidence in me put the spring back in my step. I was still slow and still the last one in the pack, but at least I had her with me. We finished 6.5 miles and then were bussed back to camp for lunch.

Lunch was sandwiches. I kept it pretty light. I don’t like to have lots on my stomach when I’m exercising. So I ate one slice of bread with turkey and cheese and a few salt and black pepper chips. And water. Lots and lots of water.



I knew what was coming. The middle of the hike was going to be my hardest part. I had always known this. This was the hike that I HATED as a child and as a staff member at camp. We were hiking to the fire tower in the Robinson Forest. To any of you that have hiked that trail, you know how hard it is. For those of you who haven’t…well, basically it’s a mile. Straight up a hill. And I’m not just talking about a sloping little hill here. I’m talking a big, stupid hill. Again, Aunt Rosie stuck with me. It was on this trail that I actually lost faith in myself. I was convinced that I couldn’t  do it. We stopped for a bit and I had an internal argument with myself. Every doubt was fighting to take over. Every negative thought was surfacing. If it hadn’t been for a group of friends that I knew were waiting to hear the victory story, I would have quit. We kept at it and finally made it to the top where everyone else was already waiting.

The downhills and the flat spots where the best parts. I caught up with friends and chatted and laughed and had a grand time.
The last 4 miles were the hardest, and longest of the entire hike. And it was all on flat, paved ground. I was tired. Every part of my body hurt. I could feel blisters. I was wet (did I mention that it rained off and on all day?). I wanted to be done. Aunt Rosie was done, but my Uncle Phil plodded along beside me. We talked to keep my mind off the fact that I was so tired that I could barely move.

Uncle Phil and I were the last ones. We didn’t finish with the rest of the group and the only one cheering us on at the end was Aunt Rosie who had come to pick us up. When I saw the van, I almost burst into tears. I didn’t feel like I expected to feel. I expected to be overcome with some kind of ‘I did it’ emotion. But the reality is, I was just glad to be done. I was glad to sit down in the van and lean my head back.

When we got back to camp, there was cheering for me. There were hugs. And I smiled and felt proud. I changed into some dry clothes and we waited for supper. Which included the best meal ever of fried fish, grilled chicken, pasta salad, rolls, and cake. Seriously. BEST MEAL EVER.

Kind of anti-climactic, huh? It kind of was. Ha!

Then I got home and the enormity of it all hit me like a ton of bricks. This whole day wasn’t about hiking 15 miles. I mean, it was. BUT it was more about setting a goal, working for it, and accomplishing it. I set a goal to hike 15 miles. I trained for it. I worked hard for it. I doubted myself. I was confident in myself. I’m pretty sure that I felt every emotion in the entire span of human emotions during the course of the 24 hours of October 11, 2014. I will never forget those 24 hours either. In that time span, I proved to myself that I can do what I put my mind to. I can succeed in this thing. I also learned that 31 is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby.

And I did it.

Because I can.

Friday, September 26, 2014

10 things i think about while doing a workout video

1. Do you think duct tape would keep the girls under control? 
There are not enough bras in the world that can keep my chest under control when I'm jumping. For reals. I need some more support.

2. That was the warm-up? 
My heart rate is already sky high! Is it time for a break?

3. Modifier? I don't need no stinkin' modifier! 
I've been doing this for like, one year. I got this. Don't baby me!

4. WHERE THE HECK IS THE MODIFIER?! 
Ok. So maybe I still need the modifier.

5. Burpees? Gah!
Didn't we just do these yesterday? I believe that burpees were created by the devil. They are pure evil.

6. I've only been doing this for 10 minutes?
Are you serious right now? I've only been doing this for 10 minutes? How much longer?

7. I'm pretty sure that you can, in fact, drown in sweat. 
I'm thinking my husband needs to be a certified lifeguard. I mean, there is ALWAYS copious amounts of sweat when I'm done.

8. Are you even human? 
Those perfectly muscled people on the video have to be robots. They are an invention of the production company to make me insane.

9. My kids eat entirely too many crackers. 
Holding a plank gives you plenty of time to analyze your carpet. Maybe I should vacuum more often.

10. SAVASANA!
Sweet, heavenly corpse pose. My favorite part of the entire workout. Just lay there and don't move. I can do that!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

a list of happy

Today I really just need a list of things that make me happy. I need reminders sometimes. So in the interest of raising my mood, here we go. A list of things that make me crack a smile.

1. cable knit tights
2. impossible blue skys
3. leaves that turn yellow
4. a cup of coffee in the perfect coffee mug
5. the color green
6. putting burt's bees chapstick on chapped lips
7. the sore ache of my calves after climbing a big, stupid hill
8. boots
9. my glass starbucks tumbler.
10. finding just the right word for just the right time.
11. a good denim skirt
12. a random text from a friend during the day
13. hearing the rain on a tin roof
14. clapping when it thunders
15. daisies
16. seeing silas crack a sideways grin
17. catching elijah with 'the look' of pure mischief on his face
19. quiet
20. going for a LONG run or walk, coming home, taking a shower, and then putting on pajamas that have been warming up in the dryer

Saturday, September 20, 2014

live free. see beauty.

Awhile back, someone asked me what my 'why' was for this whole lifestyle change. Why did I all of a sudden decide that I needed to get healthy when I had basically spent the pat 30 years not being healthy? There is no simple answer. There are no cut and dry, black and white words that I can type that will even come close to explaining it.

There are words that I could say. Things like: I want to keep up with my boys and I want to be around to see my grandchildren and I want to be able to fit in all the roller coasters at theme parks. All these words are true. There are also words that I could say like: I want to be able to shop at whatever store I choose and know they have my size or I want to see what the world looks like from the tops of mountains or I want to have real life adventures with those that I love. Every single breath of the those words is true and I mean them with every fiber of my being.

But saying all those words is complicated. There is a deeper meaning behind every single one of them. A root behind every thought. Over the course of the past year, I have realized things about myself that I had never known before. I have a resolve in me that is great and mighty and steadfast. I'm not trying to toot a horn here or brag or make myself important. It's just something that I have realized.

Recently, my friend Tracy introduced me to the term sankalpa. Basically (and this is very basic and I hope I'm explaining this correctly) a sankalpa is a phrase that expresses your inner desire and basic truth. It's resolve. It's you. Right where you are without changing who you are, but helping you realize the deep places in your life. Okay, so I'm not a yogi and I don't practice yoga on a regular basis, but unbeknownst to me, I have a sankalpa. I have boiled down my 'why' and I'm trying daily to make it truth.

Live free. See beauty.

My past lifestyle kept me in bondage. That bondage was fear and pessimism. I was afraid to do things because my weight got in the way. I always saw the worst in things because I felt horrible about the way I looked and felt. So what is the opposite of fear and pessimism? For me, it wasn't courage and optimism. It was freedom and beauty. More than anything I wanted the freedom to live my life with adventure and risk and taken chances. I wanted to see beauty in everything. See the beauty in my children, my husband, my family. But also see the beauty in my dark days and the valleys and the clawing and scratching to survive.

Live free. See beauty.

I have uttered that phrase more than anything in the the past year and a half. When I wanted to give up. When the workout was just too hard. When counting one more calorie was too much for me. When the biggest had a tantrum. When the littlest broke another set of blinds. When I finally ran up the big, stupid hill. When I was able to walk and keep the hula hoop going. When I could do an actual push up. When I hiked with my dad and my son without being completely breathless.

Live free. See beauty.

So call it my 'why' or my sankalpa or my mantra or whatever. It's my phrase. What I say when things are amazing and when things are so hard that I don't think I can take one more step. It's what I think when the biggest and the littlest are doing everything in their beautiful power to drive me up the wall. I squeak it out between sobs when darkness starts to set up in my mind and heart. It's my verbal cue to start praying in the good times and the bad. I've shouted it from mountain tops. I've whispered it, breathless, when I've beaten my best mile's time. I've proclaimed it in my life.

It's me. And it's what I want.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

ownership


that is mine
that road that you
fenced in and let 
grass grow
you have a piece 
of paper that says it 
belongs
to 
you
but it is mine

you may not know
that i walked and
rode my bike
and buried treasure on
my way from home to granny's
you may not know that i
whispered to trees and
ran my hands along their bark
leaving little girl secrets 
to grow in their rings

i don't blame you
grown-ups don't understand
little girl dreams
and whispered secrets to trees

they understand property lines
and deeds
and fences
and keep out signs

such is the reason
i have not hopped
the fence


this is not a do-over.

I started this little corner of the world with the intention of it being a weight loss blog. It is still that. But I also need something else right now. I need to get thoughts out of my head that don't always have to do with weight loss. I need to talk about being a working mother and having boys and write about foods I like to cook that have nothing to do with how many calories are in each serving. I need to write and share poetry. I need to be honest about being a parent of a special needs child. I need a place where I can post the funny stories and videos and anything else that pops into this brain of mine.

Many times over the course of the past couple months I have wanted to post something that was on my mind, but because it had nothing to do with weight loss, I didn't share. Lame. Then I was all like "this is my blog. I do what I want. Because I can!"

I need space to sprawl out and just let it all loosey goosey.

So that's that. Here's to something a little different.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

blessings

today i sat in the stairwell
of my little church
tears rolled down my cheeks
and splashed into your
mussed up blonde hair
you kicked
and screamed
and fought
one arm broke free
and nails that i try
to keep trimmed
clawed my face

i whispered my mantra
over
and
over again

children are a blessing
from the Lord
just as they are

Children are a Blessing
from the LORD
JUST AS THEY ARE

the other hand broke
free this time
it grabbed a handful of my hair
and you thrashed against me

time slowed down
i knew what was coming

your beautiful head bent forward
and then slammed back
into my nose
in that moment
the cinder block wall that
i braced myself against
met my head

tiny pricks of light
danced in front of my eyes
then i said the words
that i cannot take back

why can't you be normal

the words became stone
sunk into my belly and grew hot
i crumpled to the
floor beside your thrashing body

mother of the freaking year