F-words

faith, food, family and fitness! that's pretty much where the majority of my life takes me....what i love the most? when i can combine a couple of those.....

Miss Independent

A friend of mine recently posted a picture of her little one’s first day of preschool.  She had a big grin on her face, backpack strapped on.  Boy, did it take me back to the First Day of School with our children.

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When both our kids were babies/toddlers they went places EAGERLY.  They literally jumped out of our arms, excited to meet new people, play, and go find a new piece of the world.  If tears were shed, it was when we came to pick them up, “I’m not ready to goooooo!”

It’s a great and terrible experience as a parent.  

Oh good, they are adventuresome.  

Oh heck, they don’t ‘need’ me.  

Fast forward the quickest 18 years of MY life and our oldest has packed and is also ready for the next phase of growing up:  The REAL world away from home.   Freshman year of college is HERE!!  justlikethat

Once again, she is facing this phase with contagious enthusiasm.  As a parent, I can’t help but be passionate alongside her.  We just dropped her off at Texas A&M University.  WHOOP!  She’s in her first dorm.  I honestly don’t know how she could possibly be more ready.  

This is Maddi on her first day of Kindergarten.  She was so eager! image

 Here she is now:  same sparkle in her eyes!  

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Oh how we will miss her!  And I’m pretty sure the adjustment period will involve some tears, and heartache.  BUT…we wish her well.  I absolutely can’t wait to see what this phase of her life brings about.  

Blessings on you, sweet girl!  Go show Texas A&M that beautiful heart of yours.  

May The Lord bless and protect you.  May He smile on you and be gracious to you.  May He show you favor and give you peace.  

Covered in Grace…..ALWAYS!

Have you ever found your self in a bleak situation and figured no good could come from it?  I’m here to tell you to Hang On!  The good stuff may very well be coming.  

As I started writing this piece I was in the office of CrossFit DSP.  Our son, Phoenix was over in the strength room putting in work that no one will ever see.  It was his first official day of summer and he asked to spend some time lifting weights.  He has chosen not to return to school sports and focus on Olympic lifting and CrossFit training.  

^^That sentence was so hard to type, because that decision was NOT made easily.  This past year was a struggle.  Sometimes getting up to go to football practice, when he would rather lift caused quite a bit of conflict at our house.  Parental lectures were had:  ”you are committed to your team, you are going to practice.”  Yet, I silently admired his dedication to his sport.  **background:  his daddy coached Texas High School football for 16 years. Our kids grew up on the sidelines.  

Almost as soon as he made his final decision to stop football, he received an invite in the mail.  Phoenix accepted the extreme privilege of being an advocate for Barbells for Boobs.   What does that mean?   It means he lifts for a cause.  He gets to use his talent to bring awareness to a non profit organization that attempts to ensure that EVERYONE has screening for breast cancer offered to them.  It also means he wears a LOT of pink!  

Breast cancer came into my life when my mom was diagnosed.  She’s a success story.  She lives and thrives years later.  I got involved with Barbells for Boobs because I believed in it.  Phoenix?  His journey began when he was SO little, lifting on behalf of his grandmother.

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The day that Phoenix met Zionna Hanson, founder of Barbells for Boobs.

If you had asked me how good could have come from my mom’s cancer, I could not have seen it, and I sure wouldn’t have thought it would continue to bless our lives years later.  As I watched Phoenix struggle through football season, and wrestle with the decision to quit playing, I didn’t like it.  But I love the outcome.  I love that he realized just how much he loves his sport, and that he is ready to focus on his training.  I am fully aware that could be the end of the story, but getting to join THE incredible team, Barbells for Boobs, and lift with a purpose?  Makes it that much sweeter.   

image     This was a fundraiser meet hosted by Barbells for Boobs.   

Today at 4 Eastern, Phoenix lifts in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (3 central for you guys back home!)  He has qualified for USA National Youth Championship.  Here’s the link to watch it live:   http://www.teamusa.org/usa-weightlifting/LIVE  (Proud Dad usually records his lifts and posts em on Facebook.)  

Sweet T!

What does it take to compel me to write?  Something must move my soul.  Something must happen that renders me powerless, while simultaneously masking me want to DO SOMETHING.

One of our athletes mentioned that he would be ‘out for a while.’  I was concerned.  This fella has been a faithful member of #CrossFit DSP since it’s humble beginnings.  He doesn’t miss!  

Turns out, he’s donating bone marrow.  ”OOOH, I hear that hurts!” is the thing I hear the most often.  More chats later I find out that he has to take personal days off work for the procedure.  T is a dad to two of the cutest young boys AND husband to The Sweetest Wife.  He’s a teacher/coach at our local high school.  I can imagine there are More Convenient times for a teacher to be out.  

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The thing is:  this is not about HIS convenience or his comfort.  If you know “T” (his name is Terrance), this action doesn’t surprise you.  This selfless act is typical of his gentle ways.    

I’m supposed to be doing some bible study right now.  But I keep getting distracted.  I came across some scriptures in Ephesians 5:1-2.  This lengthy version is from The Message translation:  

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Thank you, T, for giving me a living example of this very verse, and for extravagantly displaying a loving act to a family you don’t know.

What about the recipient?  She’s a 12 year old girl.  Her chances without the donation aren’t grand.  Her body still has to accept the transfer.  The Mom side of me imagines that finding a match has been a roller coaster process.  I wonder how much HOPE this gives them.   

Would you pray for all involved?  Would you pray for this transfer to be smooth, easy and successful for all involved?  Would you pray for Trish, T’s wife, to be covered in peace these next few days?  (Thursday is the actual procedure.) 

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On Thursday, I plan on wearing green.  If you would like to join me in a show of support would you post a pic (selfie time!) of you wearing green with the hashtag #SweetT.  Let your post be a reminder to pray and to bring awareness to bone marrow registry.  

Dots on Life

I have always liked a good timeline.  (Maybe it says I’m a visual learner?)  I’d rather see a graphic explaining something than hear about something.  I LOVE this one with pics!  **I think I would like a timeline at my funeral…anyone wanna work on that for me?

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As an elementary teacher we used to teach timelines and I always found it interesting what the kids chose as ‘dot worthy.’  

Several years ago I read a book.  It put a dot on my life, meaning:  life was viewed one way before the dot and a different way after the dot.  This  book is about food, but not really.  It’s mostly about what we crave (ever had that ‘rummage through the cabinets snack-fest?’  You know the one: it leaves you stuffed and grumbly but still not satisfied??!”)  

The book is by Lisa Terkeurst and it’s entitled Made to Crave, although most refer to it as Crave.  I getting ready to do a study of the book with some of my Online bible study friends from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  The last time I read it, I just read it…no studying involved.  I’m looking forward to really delving into it this time.

I have some unhealthy relationships with food.  I love food.  Healthy or unhealthy food, I overeat.  A good stage of overeating is usually followed by an attempt to mega-control what I eat.  I have also been known to become obsessed with Numbers:  body fat percentages, clothing sizes, bodyweight, etc.  Sometimes it’s for health reasons, other times for vanity’s sake.  (I’m not proud, I’m just stating the facts, folk!)

The premise of this book is that we were made to crave God, but we substitute our craving for God with food, alcohol, drugs, activity…..whatever.  

Would you be interested in doing this study alongside me?  We are about to get kicked off, January 19th.  Online bible study is just that, a guided study of a book with bible study.  You won’t be disappointed.  You can interact if you choose.

You can find out more by registering here:  http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/ 

I share with you for many reasons:  I found this SO helpful, I see many of you struggling as well, I think you will be richly blessed.  AND?  I have done many studies with these ladies and I have learned SOOOOO much from them.  

Come get your own dot!!  You will be glad you did.

i love you, CrossFit!

The Diamond Games, 2013 probably didn’t go quite as planned.  Even though every single Texan can recall Thanksgivings/Christmases wearing shorts, an unexpected COLD front descended early.  No worries for the hosting staff (ha!), they adapted, and the athletes and spectators rocked on.  

All fall our son has been wanting to go compete.  This was the first post-football season competition we could find.  It was nearby and put on by friends.  We checked with the hosts and they agreed to let him register as an amateur.   

Why I love this sport:

  • a 15 year old boy can compete with men in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s
  • even though every one else finished their workout, and it starts to  pour down rain in 30 degree weather, these guys stick around to cheer him through his last few reps
  • an athlete from another CrossFit (CrossFit Centex) took pictures from the field perspective.image

I’m the mom of Phoenix.  Typical- Always Starving, Messy Roomed, Drives His Momma Crazy teenage boy.  This sport has given him an outlet for all sorts of things he loves:  CrossFit, Olympic lifting, matching athletic apparel and photography.  Put him in a room of CrossFitters and he is shaking hands, and the age differences seem to disappear.

I suppose every mom enjoys watching her kid do what he loves.  I just get so darn proud when people that have so many differences (attend different boxes, are different ages, etc.) unite.  It may very well be a  common CrossFit Thing, but I hope it always encourages my soul.  

SO good to hear from you!

Our daughter is STILL on a mission trip.  Due to the nature of this part of the trip, we have only heard from her once in two weeks.  So yesterday when she said she would have wi-fi at 1 a.m our time, I was ALL about connecting with her. Anyone who knows me is clear I’m in bed between 8:30-9 virtually every night.  I was SO excited I could not sleep.  I finally started to doze at midnight, but as soon as the phone rang/buzzed/jiggled/whatever, i popped up.  We FaceTimed!  OH!  How sweet to SEE her face, to hear her voice, and to get caught up.  Brother came in and we lay on the bed marveling at the technology and sweet moments semi-together.  For a brief moment it didn’t seem like she was quite so far away.  I’m A, she’s B!

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As soon as we hung up, I got a big fat lump in my throat and tears ran down my face.  Happy, sad, relieved tears, achey tears, proud tears…, momma tears.  No, I couldn’t go to sleep afterwards.  

When I woke up ‘late’ this morning I found a mix of sad and tragic news in my social media newsfeed.  I quickly moved into bible study time….a sure fire way for me to experience peace in the midst of chaos.  

Soon, I was treated to another FaceTime session with My Girl.  No brother included.  We talked about all sorts of different things, I even put the dogs on!  We made attempts to tell each other what we’ve been doing, even talked about the weather (you KNOW she’s been gone from Texas too long when she describes an 85 degree day as ‘hot’!).  I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t so much WHAT we had to say to one another, just that we COULD talk to one another.  And yes, when we hung up, more tears. 

What’s the take away?  I wonder if God ever thinks:

I haven’t heard from (insert your name HERE) in a while.  How sweet would it be to hear their voice, to have some time with them, to share in their life.  

lesson from daughter’s mission trip 2013: 

I believe God is our Heavenly Father, and that our Father WANTS to hear from us.  When God seems so far away (or even far removed from tragedy) the distance feels shorter when I ‘see’ His face.  

Every year this child travels half way around the world, I get to learn some Big Lesson.  I wish I could tell you that I was excited to learn, or even waiting expectantly to learn…maybe next year.  How sweet I get a lesson whether I sought it or not! and if I gotta learn…then I’m sharing it with you!!  

There she goes, again!

I LOVE my girl, Maddi.  I love the heart she has for others…whether they are Special Needs or Ukrainian….there is little doubt in my mind that God put her here on this Earth to show love to those two groups specifically.  I state that as a reminder to myself….cause OFF she went, AGAIN.  

It does me no good to google just how recently the Ukraine was a communist country.  It also does me no good to figure out how many miles she is away from me right now.  (What IS good to do:  remember that God is the God of the Ukraine, and that HE loves her more than I could ever.)

Okay, so all that you read above?  Is a personal pep talk to myself.  It’s what I have to remind myself as I ache for the hole left behind when she’s gone.  

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YET, i wouldn’t deny her the opportunity.  I love the excitement in her eyes  as she gets ready to go!  I love that her world view is SO big.  I love that she is the opposite of self-centered.  I miss the gentleness she brings to our family.  I admire this young woman’s faith and am absolutely honored to have a front row seat to her life.  

So…until she returns, I get to exercise my faith muscle.  Faith that she will be fine.  I get to practice for the near future when she is away at college.  AND I get to be inspired by her love for others.  

Oh, and spontaneous tears….they happen.   

BE STILL!!

Everytime I hear those words I start squirming….kind of a ‘you talking to ME?!” response…

Even though God says, "Be still and know that I am God."  I’ve always sorta thought:  Hmmmm, well….God, you made ME, you made me super wiggly and since I know you are God…maybe I don’t really have to be still. (I have probably written about this before…it’s a lesson that comes around my life again and again.)  

How awful, huh?  To try and find a loophole around a biblical directive.  Last week I had a verse to focus on.  I was actually mapping it, which is just focusing on the verse and seeking different aspects of it throughout the week.  **google verse mapping

Here’s mine:

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Well, i DO know better than to look for biblical loopholes….but to really emphasize the lesson I had it shoved in my face AGAIN…in less than 12 hours from my bible-verse-study-start. 

We were at the gym working on Snatches.  Snatches are a techinical lift.  (or should that say:  The snatch IS a technical lift?!)  If they are done well- they are a symphony of physics.  You simply don’t get better at them without practice.  

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=106ChFbz5_U

***That’s our son, he’s trained for years.  He’s worked with former Olympic lifter (Chad Vaughn).  I used HIM in the video cause when I do it, it looks NOTHING like this.  I’m slowlllly getting better at this lift.  And it probably won’t surprise you that at the point where it’s most uncomfortable to be still, it’s also pretty necessary to learn to be able to allow things to settle.  (Are you seeing the analogy here?)

How about you?  Are you any good at ‘Being Still’, at quieting your mind, shutting out the chaos and drama of the world?  THIS-is where TRUE strength comes from.

Sugar Free ME!

I ate my way through the holidays, like I normally do.  I whined about how I couldn’t wait until January 1 so I could start eating healthy again.  Then I decided that waiting was ridiculous.  On Saturday, December 29th I couldn’t stand it, I cleaned up my eating.   I had been challenged to ‘do something I hadn’t done before.’  I had done 21 days without sugar, Whole 30’s, 30 days Paleo, etc., etc., etc.  But I always come back to eating crappy…granted-over the years my definition of crappy has changed, but one constant has been SUGAR.  I may start with ‘just a taste’ but I end up eating myself sick.  

In October I had a chat with a gal who asked me why I go back to sugar.  I said, ‘because you CAN’T go without sugar!”  (it was said with plenty of attitude) BUT it sure got me to thinking.  Alcoholics give up alcohol if they don’t make good choices with it.  I don’t make good choices with sugar.  Isn’t it the same thing?  

Heck with that.  I’ll just do at least FORTY days without….and then?  See what happens.  Forty days was new, a unconfirmed ending date-that was new, too.  I can NOT tell you what a difference not having an end made.  Instead of thinking, “I’m halfway!  Only 10 more days, only 5 more days, etc.” I just went along-NOT thinking about ‘how much longer.’  

Somewhere along the way I signed up for a team competition, that happened approx. 45 days into my No Sugar Life.  Well, I couldn’t very well eat sugar with a competition coming up!  After the competition, I took a week to have some products with honey and agave (they made my heart race) and then?  Got right back to Clean Eating.  

Define Clean Eating?  one piece of fruit a day, no artificial sweetners (no starbucks!?  no Diet sodas?!)  no bread, no pasta, no wheat/gluten.  

Well, now The Open is coming.  Can’t go off my food plan NOW!!!!  So…

and it just kept happening….the reasons to stay clean kept adding up and the next thing ya know?  

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I’m at 100 days without sugar.  I don’t quite know what to do with myself, but be glad.  I’m not sure I’m going back.  I seriously don’t miss it!  I have survived New Years, Valentine’s, Easter, family gatherings, birthdays, and a vacation without breaking.  

What have I had?  Some chocolate, with 85% cacao, some honey covered nuts.  When I wasn’t being super strict I ate fruit twice SOMETIMES three times a day!  I don’t want to give the impression that I ate beautifully, I overate plenty of healthy foods, but I do want to try and plant a seed out there for some of you.  

Breaking the sugar cycle IS possible.   I don’t know when/if I’ll have it again.  I know I like how I feel.  I know eating sugar makes me feel bad.  I still have some ideas on how to further clean up my diet, I’m still an overeater, over salt-er, who eats way too many nuts/fruit when I’ve not planned my meals well.  

MAYBE I’ll be the person who gets YOU to consider the possibilities of Life…Without Sugar.  

**Who are the two people who got me to even consider trying this?  The Hubs, Damon Phillips, and Azadeh Boroumund.  THANKS guys!  I truly appreciate it.  

Life Lessons from The CrossFit Open

Going into the Open I declared that I wanted to finish in the top half of my age group.  Why?  I don’t know.  Looking back, that’s ridiculous.  How smart is it to decide where you will finish when you have NO idea what the workouts are nor who you are competing with?

Week 1-Hello 75 lb. snatch!  THAT was not what I expected.  That’s darn near my max and this WOD confirmed what I already knew:  I HAVE TO LEARN TO DROP UNDER the bar.  What IS a BIG revelation for me?  My Mind is BY far my weakest muscle.  

Week 2-I really upped the amount of times I began checking the leaderboards…obsessively.  Last year I was in THE Open with THOUSANDS of others.  This year I jumped up TWO Master’s groups and found my region to have just 300 ladies in it…after the first week we narrowed down to about 160.  If I’m completely honest, I will say that I am shocked to find myself in the lower half.  

Week 3-Let’s call that one Ego Week…Ego Week coincides whenever my “non Home Girl” Karen shows up.   I have faced that chick 4 times in the past year and quite literally gotten worse each time.  What’s up with that?  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I go around saying:  ”I HATE Wall Balls!  I suck at Wall Balls.  Gawwwww, I HATE Wall! Balls!!” Negativity can NOT be good for the old mental muscle, now, can it?  I never even finished the wall balls.  As soon as I realized that I wasn’t gonna finish them?  I let alllll the Mental Demons in…and hang out….for several days.  

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Week 4-Don’t underestimate one’s ability to rise to an occasion!  My one rep max clean and jerk was 95 lbs.  I had determined that at 5 a.m. Wednesday…literally 14 hours before the workout was announced.  Did I try to get 100 lbs. up?  Yes, I successfully cleaned it, but Could.  Not.  Jerk.  it!!  When Wod time came, I literally had no idea what to expect, I knew I wouldn’t get a zero, but had no idea how to plan beyond that.  My score:  38.  Um, yeah, that means I clean and jerked my 14-hour-old one rep max 20 times.  We call that a good day!  

Week 5-FINALLY movements that I am sure I can do with confidence.  This week I began stringing 65 lb. thrusters together in groups of 3 and the occasional 4.  Chest to bar?  I can do ‘em. I don’t do them consecutively, but I can do them.  This week I went in with a plan, I even gave myself a back up plan in case things didn’t work out.  I stuck to the plan.  I walked away with a feeling of complete success cause I did what I set out to do.  My plan wasn’t based on a score.  It wasn’t based on someone else’s score.  

Just like many others, I walk away with a list of “things I need to work on.” I can walk away from the Open with my list….which really is just a Wish List unless I actually do something with it.  Time to set goals and go attack ‘em….

PR’s and scoring well is fun, but none of that happens without steady work throughout the year.  

Were there times where I seriously questioned doing the Open?!  Yes!  Times I even said that I was sorry I did it?  Yes, but it was only when i was focusing on OTHER people’s scores…and not my own.  So…I hereby declare the 2013 Open Officially over for me.  I call it a success because I walk away strongER both mentally and physically.  Thanks CrossFit!   Time to be a spectator and a fan.  I’ll be back next year!!