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Posts Tagged ‘Struggle’

*This is a post from three years ago, but it is one that is relevant to ‘swim families’ past, present and future. I miss such regular reminders of grace and love that swim people show.

Well, like a bowl of bad clams (I just love this saying) we’re back! Back to what? Early morning practices, afternoon practices, wet towels, broken goggles, last spring (where I live there has been little ‘spring’ anyway) and summer weekends … SWIM CLUB.

About nine years ago, our family entered the world of competitive swimming, through our oldest daughter, then nine. With the exception of a year, SHE has been part of the speed swimming community, as a swimmer, and as a coach. Her younger sister, took a longer hiatus … about four years. But she’s back … therefore WE are back.

I was rudely reminded of what I haven’t been missing on Saturday morning, when my alarm went off at 6am … I was so hoping it was just a bad dream! And, really we were lucky … it could have been (and will be in the weeks to come) earlier … much earlier!

So, off we went, for her 7:10am warm-ups! (Yikes, throw me into a swimming pool at that hour and ‘cool down’ might be a more accurate reflection of what I’d be feeling). I drop her off, and go in search of swim meet survival tactic #1 … coffee! And once that essential need is met, I am ready to cheer, towel off, and sign up for timing races (this has two benefits .. one is it makes the time go faster, and two is it gets you involved).

The meet begins … late (I sometimes have thought that is part of the meet … starting late), and the first race is IM (Individual Medley). Now in IM there are four strokes that are to be done in a particular order, and this is how I was taught the order … butter (butterfly) your back (backstroke), your breast (breast stroke) is free (freestyle, or front crawl, for those who are old like me). So, depending on whether it is 100m (one lap for each stroke), or 200m (two laps for each stroke), the number of swimmers, and the age of the swimmer (could be as young as six years old), this race takes a long time.

There was one heat that reminded me of why I love swim club. There were boys swimming the IM, and they were about thirteen years old. When the second to last swimmer touched the pad, to complete his race, there was still one swimmer left slogging away. And he was only halfway through backstroke! So we watched, and we waited …

Watching him swim was … painful! My first thoughts were, ‘he must be a new swimmer … poor guy … how humiliating.’ But then, as I watched his arms and legs flail (and I do mean flail), I recognized how VERY uncoordinated his movements were, and I wondered, if the boy struggling in the pool (with all his might, I might add) might be one with a disability.

Then … it happened … the thing that happens at EVERY swim meet I have ever attended, when a particularly slower swimmer is coming to their finish … the crowd began to cheer. No, the crowd began to chant … his name. The building was booming with the chant of this boys name, over and over … to the finish. The crowd of family and friends and strangers, his teammates and all the team, the officials … everyone in the building was chanting and cheering him on. When he finally touched the pad, you would have thought that Michael Phelps had just broken another world record! The smile on his face said that he felt as though he had just broken a world record (and that he had given it his all). Fellow swimmers were giving him high five, and patting him on the back.

I spoke to the mom of this boy, later in the day. Indeed, he was new to competitive swimming, and indeed he lives (and she, who lives with him) with asperger syndrome. He told me he loves swimming, as he headed off to marshalling for his next race.

It was all worth the early morning practices, afternoon practices, wet towels, broken goggles, lost spring and summer weekends … just to have that taste of being part of the lives of others who struggle … not that we all share the same struggles, but that we are all struggling to give it our all.

And that boy, and all cheering him on that day, gave it their all!

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When it comes to the end of the school year, I thought I was the worst mom, and I thought that I alone held that title (and there still might be a few teachers of our kids, past or present, who would still ‘amen’ my self-declaration).

Last week I was introduced to another blogger, and through her blog post, and the conversations with others who giggled and sighed through reading it, I have discovered that I am SO not alone!

For parents with school-aged kids this time of year is truly the storm before the summer calm. Personally I am counting the days that my son has left of band classes … forever (he and I are ridiculously irresponsible when it comes to his practicing and my signing the practice records)! Bed times have stretched much later into the nights, resulting in great struggles awakening the gang in the mornings. End of school year events are viewed more as ‘have to go’ than ‘get to go’ events. Homework … well, I think Jen Hatmaker says it best.

Jen is a a gifted writer, a speaker, a wife, a mom of five kids, and a woman with a heart for God. I am looking forward to getting to know her better through her blog, now that I have subscribed to it. I certainly know that when it comes to how I feel at this point in the school year, as a mom, she is a kindred spirit … and she even gave me a chance to laugh!

tft-june“You know the Beginning of School Enthusiasm? When the pencils are fresh and the notebooks are new and the kids’ backpacks don’t look like they lined the den of a pack of filthy hyenas? Moms, remember how you packed innovative and nutritional lunches and laid clothes out the night before and labeled shelves for each child’s work and school correspondence and completed homework in a timely manner?
 
I am exactly still like that at the end of school, except the opposite.
 
We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven’t checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can’t. Cannot. Can. Not. I can’t look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don’t even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don’t even care.”

And there is more folks! Please keep reading Worst End of School Year Mom Ever, and if you too have school-aged kids you will love the camaraderie that this post provides.

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Well, here I am, at month eleven of my weight loss blog … and it has been three months since I updated my own ‘progress.’

Sigh …d999b4880f53376b2d4549f2a2fac09a-1

Well, at Christmas time I was down twenty-four pounds, and feeling like I could take on the world! Then the New Year rang in, and the scale did not move … at all … despite good efforts! Sadly, when it did start moving, it was moving in the wrong direction. From the beginning of February until today, I have gained back eleven pounds 😦

Ugh!

But worse than gaining those hard fought-off pounds back, is the reality that my head (the most important part of the weight loss process) simply does not even give a rip! I have reached a new low … weight and health related apathy.

Obviously I cannot continue as I have been, so I did the most motivating thing I knew … I re-read the posts that got myself motivated in the first place.

It was in my post, The Fat Came Back, where I shared the event that made me face the hard reality that I had lost my way, lost my focus, and gained previously lost weight back.

The following were my original goals:

* get weighed every Friday, and only on Friday
(I tend to be addicted to the scales, when trying to lose weight, and I need to work on my obsessive compulsiveness)

* use”My Fitness Pal” app on my phone (or website My Fitness Pal)
(this is NOT an advertisement for the app. I have used it before, and it is an easy way for me to know, not just the calories, but also the nutritional values of the foods I eat. When I use it, I find I will look at the minuscule package of ‘healthy’ cookies for 100 calories, and a large fresh apple for the same, and when I see the nutritional values of each, I make better choices for the health of my body, and not just counting calories).

* walking
(still three bigger (one hour or more) walks each week, preferably on my favorite trail, but added to that, one twenty minute walk each day. The beast is starting to show signs of middle age spread … just don’t tell her I told you, and she could use this too)

* abdominal exercise
(I am still not sure what shape these exercises will eventually take, but my bowl full of jelly must be reigned in. I am starting with twenty-five crunches a morning … before coffee … I need to have incentive)

* accountability
(I am planning one letting it all hang out with you, the reader … heck, I’ve been letting it all hang out visually for all around me for

These are good goals, doable goals, and they are the ones I am returning to, not next month, not next week, but today.

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images-2Hum, this is a little awkward, but this guest post might be a little too … gritty for some of you.

This guest post is by a writer whose blog I have just recently subscribed to. She writes poignantly about whatever she chooses, often dealing with some of the daily plights that females might face.

The post I am providing a link to, today, is called Girl.

Girl reads something like a diary entry, written by a teenage girl. It is specific enough in it’s detail to let the reader understand the heart of this girl, yet leaves enough ‘holes’ where there is an absence of details to make you wonder.

As I read it I thought of the teenage girls I pass in the halls of the high school I work, every. day.

I thought of individual girls … girls who fake confidence … girls who ‘look’ tough … girls whose eyes … don’t … look.

Girls who struggle to fit. anywhere. with anyone.

Girls who were once …

cradled in their mother’s arms

cheered as they took their first steps

wondered at the bean seed they planted

smiled proudly as they were applauded at Christmas concerts

giggled with their girlfriends while swinging higher on the playground

What happened?

What is happening?

To our girls.

I say this as a mom who delights in the whimsical, beautiful, confusing, frustrating, magical, wonder-filled packages of hormone-filled females that my daughters are.

I say this as woman who works in a high school, and I see girls who are losing … have lost, all that they were created for.

I say this as a Christian woman, who knows that my breaking, broken heart for this beautiful creatures is breaking and broken like their Creator.

They were created for

SO MUCH MORE!

So, some of you might not want to click on the link I have provided today.

It might be too gritty.

It might be too upsetting.

But, I believe, it is the social justice issue that never gets mentioned, has always existed, and is within the power of all of us living in the First World to improve, impact, and maybe even … change.

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Welcome back to The Weight Loss DiaBLOG! It has now been four months since I started and I am feeling great! Partly because I AM feeling great, and partly because I lost another 5 pounds! That means I’ve lost 19 pounds … about the weight of all of the pics on this post today.

Well lifestyle changing, healthier-getting friends, how is it going for you? I hope that for the Canadians among us, you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feasts (because it is rare that there is only one feast over any holiday). And now, just around the corner is that candy-fest more popularly known as Halloween.
Halloween always takes me off guard. The day arrives and I have no inclination at all to overdo it. Then the bags of candy get opened and poured into a big bowl, to have easily available to hand out to the kiddies, so I try just one … By the end of two hours I am bartering preschoolers at my front door to get the specific candies and chips that I love the most! And by the time I lay my head on my pillow I am on a drug-like candy trip.
We could call next Wednesday, the Halloween Hurdle (hoping to avoid the need of a girdle). A day to expect struggle with temptation.
Segueing onto other things ….

Although the weight is coming off, I am still not into a habit of exercise, and I really do desire to make regular physical activity (other than sitting up and pushing up to get out of bed) part of my lifestyle. So, for the next month, my goal in this area is small, but firm, walk twenty minutes, three times a week, and sit ups/crunches five times a week. I know that once it becomes a habit, I will be hooked, and will make it happen … I just need to get the habit started!

I do not mean to sound like a salesperson (and I guess I am not since there is no cost to this) but I really do love the myfitnesspal app. and website. There is never a sense that a food is BAD, or can never be eaten. Instead I am made aware of the cost of all foods. For instance, peanuts in their shells … something I do not eat often, but would choose over chips any day, and love to nibble on them while sitting by the pool (NOT something I am doing in November). If I were to eat them pre-myfitnesspal, I would have eaten about two cups (or more) at one sitting. Now I know that just one cup of peanuts IN their shells has 320 calories! 14 carbs! and 23 grams of fat! So, do I stop eating them? No, but I choose when to eat them, and how much, and I ask myself, “do I really want them?” I feel like I am becoming a more intelligent eater, and that is a good thing!
Well folks, I hope that you are having successes as you pursue a healthier lifestyle. I hope you are feeling better, sleeping better and feeling the joy of pants buttoning up without having to do acrobatics to get dressed. And remember, one pound is more significant than you think … just look at the picture below!

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My advice:
If you just clicked on this and have no time to read, just scroll down to the bottom, and watch the video … it is just that good!

It had been so long, so very long, since it had happened, since I had even thought those thoughts, and yet, out of the blue there it was again, as if no time had passed.

I had thought that I had turned my back on the past and that it would stay there … but here it was, and I was feeling all that I had felt before.

As I sat in the driver seat of my vehicle, I felt like anything but the driver. I put my head back closed my eyes and moaned, “why does this keep haunting me? when will it go away?”

The ‘it’ was sin. A sin of the past, one that I had acknowledged, repented of, and was forgiven. Yet, here it was again stalking me like some deranged killer, eager to snuff the life from me.

I wondered if this struggle was like the “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) that Paul had experienced. He referred to it as “a messenger of Satan to torment me” that helped to keep him humble. Well, I am not sure if my sin of the past is keeping me humble, but it certainly drives me to my knees!

For a week or more the guilt of this sin was haunting me. It was there when I went to bed, and when I work up. It was everywhere, and all the time. I was easily able to relate to Romans 7:21-24 “although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man/woman I am!” I just wanted it to go away!

And then, while driving in my van a couple of weeks later, as so often is the case, the voice of Truth spoke to me, loud and clear. It was through a song I had not heard (or had not needed to hear) before, but the message I received from it, I believe, answered my cry, “who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).

It answers the cry of all of our hearts!

Redeemed
“to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of”
American Heritage Dictionary

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Welcome back to The Weight Loss DiaBLOG! We have so much catching up to do!

Since we were last together, there is so much that has been going on! For some it has been the end of vacations, the return to school and/or work. If you live in an area of four distinct seasons, the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing, and the days are lessening in hours of light.
I always find that the beginning of the school year is like New Years. It is a time of starting over, creating new habits and making goals for the year to come. In that regard the turn of the calendars to September is a good opportunity to get focused on healthy eating and living.
The start of the school year was like that for me. For one thing I am too busy, too tired and too stressed to eat much! Sadly, my body thinks it is that of a polar bear, and when I endeavor to eat less it automatically goes into hibernation mode, slows down the metabolic processes of my digestion, and shuts down the ability to shed any weight. So, I eat healthy, I eat less (significantly less) and the scales still do not move south! As a matter of fact, one particular week, I was below my caloric intake every day for an entire week, and I gained two pounds! How does that happen?
The flip side to the similarities I share to a hibernating creature, is that eventually my body has to recognize the obvious, and my body lets go of a pound or two. So, this past month my weight loss was only TWO pounds, but I promise you, it is a minuscule representative of the effort that I put in to dropping it!
I need to give you a success update that (sadly) is not reflecting on the scales of doom, and that is my writing last month about the need to ensure that food is not an idol in my life. The consciousness of this has really changed my habits. Let me give you an example; recently, at lunch, in the staff room, a box of really good chocolates sat on the table. I looked at it, and memories of chocolates past danced through my memory, like sugar plums. Then I asked myself, “do you want one because you really want one, or because they are in sight?” The answer was clear, I was not hungry, I was not even desiring chocolate at that time (a miracle in itself!). So, I passed … and didn’t regret it. Now, if the answer was yes, I would have taken one, and just one.
For me, to take the time to really consider the difference between need and desire, over eating because it is there is a monumental change. There have even been a few times when I have left food on my plate (something our beast was immensely delighted about), and for those of us who grew up under the rule to “clean everything off your plate” that is also a monumental change.
As far as my goals for this past month, I have been recording my intake daily, even when I knew I would be over my daily goals. This has been made easier because one of my co-workers is also using myfitnesspal, and so I have an accountability partner to celebrate successes and share frustrations! I have not gotten to the point of walking on a daily basis, but I am up to three times a week.
Well, off I go, I need to do something about these legs that are looking far too much like a polar bear too!

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