Beyond Compare

Usually when we say something is beyond compare, we mean that it is superior, so much better that it is impossible to compare it to something else.

How about we use it in a different way?  As in, I am so over comparing myself to others.  I am beyond compare.

It can be tempting to compare ourselves, our accomplishments, our possessions, even our appearance to others. What does that get us? We might think we fall short and feel bad about ourselves or feel jealous of someone else. Or we might think we are better than someone else, and you know that’s a lovely attitude.

Either way, we are seeing it as a competition. While we could be encouraging and supporting each other through the journey, we might end up focused more on how we measure up. It sounds like a recipe for dissatisfaction and strife.

How about this? Let’s all do the best we can, work hard, and treat ourselves and others with kindness and respect. Forget trying to measure up to anyone else. Just be the ‘you’ you want to be, the very best version of yourself. You are beyond compare.

Have a great weekend!

Life, loss and lessons

Hard to sum up the last week, but I do feel like sharing. Last Thursday I went in for my annual check-up. I am a breakfast eater, and I ate breakfast like always before I went. Little did I know that this would be the year that my doc wanted to check my cholesterol and glucose. Whoops. That had to wait for another day.

I had my typical busy Friday, with the homeschool co-op, and I was tired by the end of the day. I dragged myself off the couch for a thirty minute run, but I did not enjoy it. Got through the evening, kids put to bed, etc. and then got a phone call. Someone I know was in the hospital. Things were not looking good for her. I was so taken aback that my mind was in a bit of a fog as I tried to determine exactly what this meant and tried to contact others who would want to know. Then I headed out to the hospital. I spent several hours sitting with her in her room, did a little reminiscing (though I don’t know if she could hear me) and visited with others who were there to see her. Realizing I would need to be up in a few hours again to manage my children’s busy Saturday, I headed home around 2:30 am. I went through the Saturday routine and got a call in the afternoon that she had passed away.

I am grateful that I got that phone call that allowed me to go see her one more time.

I was beginning to feel pretty run down. I was scheduled to sing at church on Sunday, and I did, along with playing cowbell. (I can’t think of cowbell without thinking, “More cowbell!” but it was just one of several percussion instruments we used to accompany an upbeat African song.)

The one thing I did skip was my long run for the weekend. I was so tired and feeling like I was coming down with a cold. My body craved rest, so I rested as much as possible.

So far this week, I have managed to keep up with our homeschool schedule, and have completed a sixty minute run. Not much else, to be honest. Trying to rest up and get better. I did go in for my blood draw this morning. I have family history of high cholesterol and diabetes, but I am hopeful I will have good results.

Friday will be the funeral.

Sunday will be my daughter’s birthday party.

And so it goes.

For M. ~

You demonstrated a quiet strength that inspired those of us who knew you.

You showed that patience and persistence are not mutually exclusive.

You helped me see that even when communication is not easy, it is so worth the effort.

Thank you for the lessons you shared, simply by being you.

You will be missed.

5 Things About Me

The week six challenge for Bliss Community’s “6 Weeks of Bliss” is to share five things about myself that you may not know. Here goes.

1. Once upon a time, I played trombone, and I sometimes wish I hadn’t stopped learning it. Not enough to go out and buy one. At least not yet.

2. I enjoy a good wood-burning sauna with a touch of eucalyptus oil in the water that we pour onto the hot rocks. Ahhh.

3. I love playing Rock Band with my family.

4. I wore a brace as a toddler to correct my hip dysplasia. To this day, one leg is slightly longer than the other.

5. I will be playing cowbell during a choir piece at church this Sunday. True story.

Now you know a little more about me. Want to tell me a little more about you?

Time Crunch Workout

I have been participating in the 6 Weeks of Bliss challenge through Bliss Connect, and this post was written for the week five challenge.  The question this week is, “How do you fit fitness into your crowded schedule?”

It happens that I know all about crowded schedules!  Kids, work, homeschooling – my biggest time commitments – keep my days pretty packed.  I love to run or bike, but I’m unlikely to do either if I don’t have at least 45 minutes.  I also like using workout dvds, but again, I don’t always have enough time to complete one.  I don’t belong to a gym, so whatever I do is typically either at home, outdoors, or at the (free) track.

When I’m pinched for time, and I want to get in a workout, I have been known to do 10 minutes here and there throughout my day.  Even ten minutes can give me a boost!  I will happily do sets of any or all of these moves as I have time during the day:

~ Push-ups

~ Crunches (various: standard, reverse, oblique, bicycle, scissor, etc.)

~ Dips

~ Planks (forward, reverse, side)

~ Squats

~ Lunges

~ Jumping jacks

~ Burpees (though I find this one a little torturous)

And if I’m in my home with my own stuff around:

~ Jump Rope

~ Use resistance band (rows, shoulder presses, etc.)

One of the greatest things about most of these is that I can do them anytime I have a few minutes to spare, say, if we are pausing our homeschool day while someone is in the bathroom or while I have something simmering on the stove.  Why not drop and do some pushups?  Another great thing about these moves is that I can do most of them no matter where I am.  I mean, I won’t be doing crunches in the middle of the supermarket, but I can easily do these kinds of exercises if I am traveling and out of my normal routine.

I feel so much better when exercise is a regular part of my life, so I like to squeeze a little in even when it’s an especially busy day.

What are your go-to exercises when time is tight?

A Healthy New Year!

I have been participating in the 6 Weeks of Bliss challenge through Bliss Connect, and this post was written for the week four challenge.  The question this week is, “What diet and fitness tweaks will help make 2012 your healthiest year yet?”  I’ve already mentioned some of my goals for the new year, but I will take a moment to consider my goals through the lens of this particular question.  Who wouldn’t want to achieve her healthiest year yet?  🙂

First of all, let me share what “healthy” means to me.  I do not define health by a number on a scale.  I do not define health as perfectly adhering to a particular diet or rigidly following an exercise program.  That being said, I do believe that wholesome foods and exercise contribute to my healthy lifestyle.  Likewise, I do acknowledge that keeping to a healthy weight range for my height and frame will help stave off a number of health concerns.  But there is an important concept that I think needs to be added to the mix.  Balance.  Feelings of deprivation or burnout will not help me maintain a healthy lifestyle in the long run, and that’s why I think it is important to find a good balance.

I should also note that health, to me, pertains to more than my physical health.  Health in body, mind and spirit are all important goals to me.

So how will I make 2012 a healthy year in body, mind and spirit?

Consistent exercise.

I am currently following a marathon training plan.  As I did last year for my first half-marathon, I am following a Jeff Galloway plan, which takes a pretty conservative approach.  One of my biggest goals in my marathon training is to avoid injury, and the Jeff Galloway approach, which calls for a slower training pace and includes some walking, worked very well for me last year.

Although it can be tempting for me to stick to running alone, I will be making a point to include strength training in my exercise routine.  I will give special emphasis to core strength, due to my history of back problems.  A strong core is my back’s best friend!

I have also had the tendency in years past to drift away from exercise at certain points in the year, usually in the fall.  It is my goal to stick with it through my busiest seasons.

Don’t get derailed by an off day (or week).

This could be considered a sub-goal to the above.  Yes, I intend to workout consistently in 2012.  And… life happens.  Illness happens.  Crazy days get the better of us sometimes.  Injuries happen (knock on wood).  If I find that I’ve gotten off track during sickness, travel, etc., I will not let that become my new habit.  I will not beat myself up about it, but I will get back on track as soon as possible.  I know I feel better when I do work out, so why wouldn’t I get back at it as soon as possible, right?

Food.

Eating food should go without saying, but I specifically mean that most of what I eat will be recognizable as food.  I will include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and try to avoid eating items with ingredients that I do not recognize.  Since I am not a big meat-eater, I will take care to eat enough protein.

Reading.

Nourishment for my brain.  I will read at least one book per month.

Feed my Spirit.

Some of my preferred methods are worshiping with our church family, reading my Bible, and praying.  Time well spent with friends and family certainly nourish my spirit, as well, and I intend to use all these activities to keep my spirit refreshed in 2012.

Rest.

So important, and sometimes so hard for me to do.  I will try to make time for the rest I need to restore myself in body, mind and spirit.

These are some of the things that I plan to do to make 2012 a healthy year.  What about you?