Sign me up for that!

It’s New Year’s Eve and I couldn’t let this occasion slip by without observation. I’m not doing a 20 things for 2020 list, or telling you how to reach your goals.

My take on entering 2020 is as simple as this photograph.

You could say I was excited!

More specifically, my expression reveals something worth considering as I set goals, make lists, break in my new planner, and generally prepare for a fresh decade.

It’s this: if I am not THIS excited / energized / enthusiastic about something, it’s a NO. It’s coming off my agenda, my calendar, my mind and heart, too. I am no longer interested in anything or anyone who produces a mediocre half-ass response.

Okay, I’m not referring to grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, or filing paperwork. We know these are necessary. Maybe sometimes I can smile like this afterwards – that I did something I didn’t really want to do. But this isn’t about chores, this is about all the OTHER stuff. The extra things, the recreation, the enrichment, the glorious things of life.

What I’ve realized over the past year is that I have had a lot of free time. Some of it was wasted on things that were really not fun or fulfilling. Or spent with people who did not bring out my best. Life is too short! My energy and time are too precious to waste on anything that doesn’t bring this expression to my face.

Or yours! When was the last time you were SO excited about something?

My friend invited me to an aerial yoga class, which I had been curious about, but had yet to try. It was every bit as challenging as it was fun, AND afterwards we grabbed a bite and had a great time catching up.

So it was a perfect GNO, and I was delighted to be where I was, doing what I was doing, and with whom.

I want one of these for my house!

That is what I hope and plan for 2020. That I can be enthusiastic with the endeavors of my choosing that lie before me, and that any company I keep will bring additional joy. As I ponder the future, I know I am going in with a fresh perspective and an optimistic smile!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Up for the challenge!

Yes, you can take this literally. I am getting up early every day to do these exercise challenges. Like dark early. Even when I was traveling last week. It’s become a good habit actually. And I learned last week that we spend HALF of our day on auto-pilot, so maintaining good habits gets easier once they are in place. I think that is true, and I love the idea that I won’t have to try so hard to do things that are good for me.

Anyway, back to the challenge…

You’ve seen these before. You have friends who are all fit and fabulous and post this stuff so you can feel more lazy and out of shape than you already do right? At least that’s how I felt when I would see these. Like who really does that? Who has time to do that many squats in a day? I have attempted them in the past, but have never been able to finish them. And that actually made me feel worse. So why did I start again? Well that’s the story I’m about to tell ya!

Last month my friend Evan, who is a personal trainer, invited me to a Gladiator Boot Camp. The name should have been enough of a warning right? I am not a gladiator, but it was free, and I really wanted to be a support to my friend who is launching his training business. So I went.

The camp was awesome. But my fitness level was beyond pathetic. Now granted, I am over forty, but even when I was young I was never very athletic. This one hour workout was a glaring look at the reality that I could barely do 5 pushups. Girl push-ups. I was part of a team of warrior beasts who managed to carry the load and I did not contribute much at all to our objective. 

It felt awful. I’m too competitive, and maybe a smidge too proud, to be that poor of a teammate. That experience could have done a couple of things. It could have discouraged me, and I would continue to feel old and weak. Or I could use it as some motivation to strengthen myself. I decided to use it for the good, and am working on this at home. Maybe I’ll try it again, but not yet. I want to feel GOOD afterwards, not ready for an ambulance!

Today I completed Day 16 on ALL of these challenges. I am over halfway there! No squats or crunches today but arms feel like rubber bands. But I am determined to finish these. And what I’m learning is that it is totally a MENTAL game, not just physical. Deciding to do this, telling others for some sort of accountability, and setting aside time each day to do it is all a huge factor in my success. Or failure. By the way a full day only takes 20 minutes, and that includes time in between to catch my breath!

I am not competing with anyone but myself on this. I want to be stronger. I want to be healthier. I want to feel good about how I take care of myself. It’s the only self I’ve got!

There are many things in my life I can’t change. But this. This I have some control over. And it honors God when I can be better, to reflect his glory.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinth. 6:19-20. 

There’s some good motivation right there!

So how do YOU rise to the challenge – whatever that is for you? How do you mentally tough it out, whether it’s the homework assignment, a new workout, or whatever God has in front of you? I’d love to hear….

Thanks for reading…til next time,

What to wear…

It’s that time of year again. School is about to start. That usually means a thorough evaluation of clothing and shoes, and maybe pencils and notebooks as well. For our family, we typically front load the wardrobe and pray that the only growth for the next few months is intellectual. Parents, do you feel me?

It was so much easier when they were young and didn’t care so dang much. And didn’t post a picture every day of their cutest outfit. My mantra is that no one cares what label it is and no one cares if you have worn it before. But it’s clearly irrelevant. Because now there is documentation of the wardrobe, so yes Mother (insert eye roll) everyone KNOWS that I’ve had no choice other than to wear the same outfit more than once! Gasp!

I’m being a bit dramatic. We shop the clearance rack. We shop at Goodwill. We will take hand me downs if you’re cleaning out a closet and think of us. On this year’s shopping occasion, I handed my high schooler an envelope with cash and said, “Here ya go, hope you can stretch it.” And she did. And she’s gainfully employed with few, wait, make that NO bills, so she can supplement her own style fund. And she is. And that’s ok.

It’s been said that clothes make the man (or woman?). I would agree with that. I have a few friends that are bachelors. They like to wear things that a married man could never wear. Shirts with holes or missing buttons or pants with a stain. I tell them to enjoy wearing that sort of stuff because it won’t happen if they ever snag a “Mrs”. This may also shed light on WHY they are still bachelors!?

Why do we care so much about what other people think? Don’t get me wrong, I have my days where I change my outfit eleven times before I leave. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”  I think it still holds true, even though she said it long before the days of Instagram.

My zany friend Chris has a verse from Proverbs 31 tattooed on her forearm. It’s this chapter that most of us hate because the Proverbs 31 woman is so unbelievably perfect. It’s like she created some impossible standard we can never in a jillion years live up to. But this particular verse talks about being clothed with strength and dignity. I like that, and it’s somewhat realistic.

I think along with that it’s great to wear humility and kindness. A pleasant attitude. A soft heart for others. A smile that comes from knowing you are loved. This doesn’t come from a label, and probably not from the outlet mall. This comes from knowing God, and anything that is good about us, is only because of his great love working in us. And the best part about that? It’s a freebie. You can’t buy it, earn it, save for it, or wait for the super-clearance, blue-light, red-tag sale. It’s just there…for you and me….and I am so very grateful.

Thanks for reading…til next time!