How I’m Trying to Not Be Awful to Myself

Here is what I normally do.  I make a decision to start a new exercise routine and to do it vigorously. Or  I say I’m never drinking a soda again, when in fact I drink a small countries worth of Coke and Big Red per day.  Or I tell myself, I am going to write 10,000 words a day when I struggle to write 1,000 words a month.

All or nothing.

Go big or go home.

But here is what I’ve learned from that. Not just from my own decisions but by watching an entire society make decisions the same exact way.  It just doesn’t work.

This time, I’m trying something different. I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s work on shame and loving yourself and being imperfect. (I am convinced she did all those years of research just for me, or she’s been secretly watching my life for 40 years.) One thing I’ve learned is that I suck at extending grace to myself.

I don’t just suck at it, I actually don’t ever do it. I rarely, if ever, allow myself to fail, falter or be human in any way.  Maybe most of us do that. That’s why, when we start something and it doesn’t work out in the first few months, weeks or even days, we just give up.  Not because we couldn’t follow through, but because of what we tell ourselves when we don’t follow through.  We say things like, “I suck.” or “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough.”

In starting this self-imposed challenge of 30 days of Yoga and 30 days of writing, I almost quit before I even started. November 1, Wednesday night, I’m driving home from teaching a youth group and BAM it was like a lightening bolt hit my head. I can’t even begin to explain the pain of this headache that snuck up on me, most likely from the cesspool of allergies that linger around my city.

I crawled upstairs, yanked out my contacts, slithered into my jammies only to remember that November 1, Wednesday, was Day 1 of Yoga.  I had written earlier in the day, but I had not done Yoga, because, well I’m a last minute kind of girl when it comes to doing things that involve me. I laid on the bed, arm over my eyes, wondering how I was going to do this. I knew I couldn’t live with the impending shame if I skipped Day 1. Honestly, that would be pathetic.

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The old way of thinking would have forced myself to find a 30-45 minute Yoga video, and cry my way through it, and then shame myself anyway for doing too much and making myself sick.  Instead, I decided to find a gentle Yoga, one for headaches…to bring healing, so that I can take a step in the right direction and to make this whole process NOT the burden it could easily become.

So Day 1  I did Yoga with Adriene, Yoga for Migraines

Day 2  I wasn’t feeling much better so I stretched with Yoga for Bedtime

But today, Day 3, after a cocktail of Zyrtec, Tylenol & Sinus Meds, I was able to tackle Yoga with Adriene Day 2.

Sometimes just making the decision to do what I set out to is accomplishment enough. It doesn’t matter what Yoga workout I do, or how many words I write.  I intend to push myself, but what I won’t do anymore is expect unreasonable things of myself that are going to set me up to fail.

I’m human, I will get headaches and allergy attacks. I will sit in front of the computer and not be able to form any creative or inspiring sentences. I will not feel like it, or want to, or have time to. But I will DECIDE TO. I will wait patiently for the ball to come across home plate and swing when it feels right. And maybe by the end of this 30 days I will knock one out of the park.

What are some goals that you have that you need to grace yourself a little so you can accomplish them?

 

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Happy 2017-is-almost-over-thank-you-Jesus. It’s November, 54 days until Christmas. It’s time to start reflecting on all the things you were going to do this year but haven’t done, so you can hurry up and do them so your year isn’t a total loss.

Oh, that’s just me.

With a coming of a new month, I’m taking on new challenges. I’ve decided to invite you to sit front row on my journey. I’m not the greatest at finishing, because I really just like to have ideas. But not this time, my friend, not this time.

Lucky you, you get to hear all my adventures of:

30 days of YOGA.

and

30 days of WRITING.

I’ll either a. stop all of this all together by next Tuesday, b. Jesus will come and rapture us into heaven(please) or 3. I will actually accomplish something with my life in the next 30 days.

Either way, I have to try, because we can never stop trying. I noticed that watching baseball players during this World Series.

Down by 4

0 for 3 at bat

Only pitched 4 balls before being replaced by a new pitcher

strikeout

The players always go back up to the plate, they always swing their hearts out. Even if they strikeout, they don’t really fail, because after 8 more batters they will be right back up there trying again.

I’m back at the plate people, and I’ll go down swinging.

Thanks for hanging out with me. It should be…adventurous.

P.S. GoStros

P.S.S. Did you catch the Halloween episode of This is Us last night? SO. MANY. TEARS.

The Best Pumpkin, Just In Time to Celebrate

I was sitting in my room when Zac, my 12-almost-13 year old, walks into the room.  He’s holding his carved pumpkin, “Look, Mom!” My heart dropped a little. It was a perfect representation of him, a Nike Swoosh. But he carved it.
By himself.
Without me there to take pictures.
Without his siblings.
On.
His.
Own.
The freight train kept rolling over my heart, “No, I don’t want to go to the Trunk or Treat.” And then, “I’ll probably stay home and pass out candy.”
Just in case you didn’t know, the sound of a freight train and the sound of my heartbreaking are the same.
He’s not a baby anymore, which I’ve known. Zac may be 12-almost-13 and the youngest of 5, but he is 6’2 and wears a size 14 1/2 shoe. He’s growing out of 2XL shirts and eats more than your entire household. But he’s my baby. He’s growing and grown and I’m not ready.
But I guess we never are.
I know that he won’t need me less, just differently. I’m convinced, after keeping alive babies and toddlers, and making it through PTA performances, and parent teacher conferences and failed State tests, that parenting teenagers and young adults is harder. At some point, between pampers and pacifiers, our kids develop thoughts and opinions and strong-wills. They have the ability to make their own choices, often despite our pleadings and wisdom– often in spite of us. They do things we don’t agree with, and they do things without us, like carve pumpkins.
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I think I’m in a place where I realize the first part of my kids life, the making memories at the pumpkin patch, and the picking out costumes, and watching movies together, and going to breakfast, all of it is simply building trust and earning the right to speak into their lives in the second part, and hopefully the third and fourth. So when he proudly showed me his pumpkin I didn’t fuss at him, or guilt him because I wasn’t there. I told him it was the greatest Nike Swoosh I’ve ever seen. I told him where to find the candles and I put it front in center on the front porch.
Perhaps, just maybe, I might ask him later, if he wants to carve another one. Because, well, maybe I need just one more year.

Do Moms Evolve?

I’m a mom of grown-ups now. My girls are in other towns and make their own choices, and don’t have curfews and go grocery shopping. I have no idea what brand of toilet paper they use. Even though my boys are still home, sometimes they only speak these words to me: It’s fine, I’m fine, It was fine, ok, yah cool.

I’m wondering as they grow and change, am I changing as a mom?

When they were babies and would cry, I would hold them, and “shushhh” them and then put a bottle in their mouth.  When they were preschoolers, and would fall and hurt themselves, I would swoop in and pull them close, and then run to the kitchen grabbing some ice and a Popsicle.  Even now when I want to hear the word “fine” for hours, I hug my 6 foot tall boys and then take them for breakfast.

Really, I don’t think my instincts are changing. The nature of our conversations, how dependent they are on me, and how much I am a nag is absolutely changing.  They need me less and less, or maybe just in different ways. But I’ve come to the conclustion who I am as a mom is not evolving. I still speak truth to them when they don’t want to hear it. I forget to mail things to them. I listen when they need someone to hear them. I mom-uber them around town. I listen to their trap music. And when it comes down to it, I just hold them and feed them.

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That’s the mom I’ve always been, and that’s the mom I’ll always be. And someday when I become a grandma, I’ll do the same with my grandkids.  I’m a hold -em-and-feed -em-mom. After all, everyone needs a hug and a breakfast taco.

What kind of mom are you?? Comment & Share

 

 

READ AT END OF GAME: 7 Ways March Madness is REAL LIFE

Tonight is the BIG GAME!!
march madness

Gonzaga v UNC

March. Madness.

March Madness 2017 has been….ummm…er…well…it’s M.A.D.N.E.S.S.

I love to watch basketball anyway, but bring on the GO BIG OR GO HOME competition and I can’t get enough. Last year, I had wisdom and insight and brilliance to share. And this year, I have even more.

Watching March Madness  always brings a reflection of the realties of life. Secretly that’s why so many people love it, even those who don’t normally watch basketball. March Madness is a distraction from what the world tries to sell us as what life “should” be like…when really, life is like this:

1. Like in this crazy college basketball tournament, SOMETIMES YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO WIN, BUT YOU LOSE. There is nothing I love to hear a sports commentator say more than the word “upset”. I will admit, I get choked up sometimes when the seniors on the bench start crying knowing it’s their last game.   But it’s like that in life, too. We go into things expecting to finish well, or to get that promotion, or to take our dreams to the next level, and then life outscores us, and we lose.

2. The opposite is true as well.  SOMETIMES WE LOSE, BUT THEN WE END UP WINNING. I love rooting for the underdog. It’s great to me when these teams come in and everyone expects them to be out first round, but then BOOM! And then that team, no one expects to win, makes it to round 2 and then 3. We know those moments, when it seems all the cards are stacked against us in life, but we find something inside to keep going, and we end up beating the situation, or getting that job and we even surprise ourselves!

3. One of the most amazing moments of Madness this year was FLORIDA v. WISCONSIN. The game was tied at the end of overtime. Florida inbounds the ball with just 2 seconds left. Wisconsin plans to let time run out so they can take the game into double overtime. But not Florida.  Florida just kept playing to win. And on the buzzer, Chris Chiozza shot the ball for a 3 and Florida advances, and Wisconsin goes home. In life, we have to be like Chiozza: WE CAN NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. No matter how grim the circumstances may be, or how the ending seems to look…we can NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP.

4. Winning in life doesn’t just happen. In real life, we aren’t handed trophies. Participation medals give us no feelings of satisfaction or accomplishment. WE HAVE TO FIGHT TO WIN.

5. Over 5 million people watch each round of March Madness. That’s a lot of eyes on these players. Every move they make is under the scrutiny and opinion of commentators, other coaches, classmates, strangers and trolls. But, hey, no pressure.  In life, there are moments we feel EVERYONE IS WATCHING US. That no matter what we do, good or bad, we are being judged, graded, or criticized. That pressure can be overwhelming. Unlike these basketball games, often times we aren’t really being watched, but that doesn’t take way the fear that we are.

6. When Zac was 9 or so, I coached his basketball team. All it took was for me to coach one season to know that I was not cut out for that job. I struggled to put the right players in at the right time, and to keep myself from yelling at the refs, and even more so, to restrain myself from fighting with other coaches. I love watching the coaches during games as much as the players, because it’s a hard job.  But the players from all of these schools need direction and guidance.  They need someone yelling at refs for injustice, they need someone giving them a game plan. And just like them, in life, WE ALL NEED A COACH.  ( Jesus is a great one! If you haven’t signed up for his team yet, you should check into it.  If you have, and you haven’t let him actually coach you, you should probably stop trying to be the coach of your own life, because no one on your team is going to like you.)

7. Basketball is a team sport. Everyone has a job. When Zac plays, his job is to rebound and go right back up with the ball. He can’t do what the point guard does.  Zac is 6ft tall, the point guard on his team is probably 4’5.  (I witnessed him dribble through the legs of an opposing team member this past weekend, he is so short).  We all have a place, and we can’t play the team sport of life alone.  WE ALL NEED A TEAM to pass the ball to, to go in for us so we can rest, and to slap us on the butt when we’ve made a great play! Get you a team, and practice life with them, so when the big game comes, you know that you have each other’s backs and you are all working toward the same goal!

I busted my bracket the 1st Round.  But I keep watching…. and in life, I will lose. I will fight, I will ride the bench. I will want to give up, and then I’ll hear my coach yell, “Push YOURSELF!” And in the end, I will win. I will win because while I’m on the journey, facing game after game, I know I’m on the right team. And that makes all the difference.
GO UNC! Who are you rooting for? What do you love the most about MARCH MADNESS?