Keep on Keeping on

As I was recently thinking about blog posts, I realized it’s been a long, long time since I’ve written anything about health or progress on my big exercise goals I shared last fall. People sometimes ask about my five minute plank, and I feel a little heartbroken when I have to give them the update, which is usually a sign that I need to write about it, cause that’s the way I deal with stuff.

I looked back on my blog to the last time I wrote about it, which was interesting to me, because it was only a few days after the post that I injured myself so badly, I’m still trying to pull out of it. The progress has been painfully slow, and just painful in general, so I stopped saying anything about it, because there wasn’t much to say. A year later, I’m still not sure how much there is to say – no dramatic progress or exciting accomplishments, but here’s the thing: I’ve kept at it for a year without a lot to show. I’ve been thinking about how that in itself is worth a lot.

It’s easy to stay motivated when there’s progress, but when you work and work at something, with little to show for it, the motivation can take a major hit. It’s terribly disappointing to keep putting in the effort, hoping for things to change, waiting for some indication that things are improving, and not getting the results you’re wanting. What do you do then?

Before I injured myself last fall, I had worked my way up to a six minute plank, and I was feeling better than ever. My body was noticeably stronger, and I was feeling confident and excited about reaching my goals. But I ended up hitting my tailbone so hard I couldn’t move for a couple seconds, and it seems that everything in my pelvis, hips, and back is still being pulled out of place. The balance of strengthening these weak muscles is tricky – doing nothing means I won’t improve, and doing too much makes the pain flare up and then I need to backtrack. It’s long and frustrating and annoying.

I’m still able to plank for three minutes, but I’ve had to stay there for an entire year, unable to increase my time, hoping to get to a point where I can continue to work up to my 10 minute goal.

Just in the last month or two, I’ve started to feel some relief from some new things I’ve been trying, and I’m FINALLY able to begin increasing my planking time. I have to go very slowly and carefully, only adding about 10 seconds at a time every couple of weeks, but I’m delighted to be in a place where this is possible.

So how do we keep on keeping on? For me, it’s a combination of lots of prayer, Ben’s encouragement, and words of inspiration! It’s been awhile since I went hunting for quotes about exercise and not giving up, so here’s a good dose of exactly what I needed!

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How do you keep going when things are hard?

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Around Here Right Now

Every so often, I love to round up some of the things we’re enjoying in our home, and pass the good stuff on to you! Here’s what we’ve been loving lately:

The Next Right Thing

This may be my all-time favourite podcast. I love podcasts, so it’s hard to choose, but this is definitely the one I’m loving most right now. It’s beautiful, calming, full of wisdom, and all about making decisions, which I struggle with. It’s such a thoughtful, gentle podcast about exploring how to decide your next step. The episodes are only 15 minutes, which is such a great length for getting a little dose of something beautiful and life-giving. I love everything Emily P. Freeman has to say, but this podcast is just especially lovely.

Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe

We still love the Applesauce Pancake/Waffle recipe we use all the time, but when we don’t have applesauce on hand, we’ve been trying to find a good back-up recipe. Everyone is loving these pancakes, and Anika claims they’re as good as pancakes from a mix (which is better than homemade??).

This Quote:

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It’s on my fridge at the moment, and I’m making myself read it regularly when my stress is going up over stuff that is just not my problem!

When Your Kids Push Your Buttons

I just finished reading this book, and it was fairly life-changing. I really loved it, and kind of wish there was a version that wasn’t just about kids pushing parents’ buttons – the topics covered can relate to all people in general! I’ve never read a parenting book quite like this one. It walks you through discovering why you do what you do, and why things make you angry or hurt. It helped me unearth some deep roots of hurt and guilt that have been affecting my parenting (and other relationships!) in pretty significant ways, and although it’s sometimes hard to come face-to-face with our hidden ugly sides, it’s been very healing. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will play out in my parenting.

This is worth a post all on it’s own, which I’ll get to sometime soon! In the meantime, you should definitely check this book out if you’re a parent!

 Grocery Budget Bootcamp

 

Remember when I took this online course? It’s being offered again! I loved it so much, I became an affiliate, and I’m always happy to let you know when the course opens registration for another round, because this course is truly helpful. I took it this last January, and the habits I started forming then are still affecting the way I shop, meal plan, and cook. Just the other day, I was going through some online flyers and making my weekly shopping list, thinking about how differently I make my list because of the Grocery Budget Bootcamp. When I was finished my list, I rewarded myself with a little blog reading, and there in my blog reader was the announcement that the course is running again! Such ironic timing, it seems like I made it up, but it’s true.;)  Registration closes on Tuesday, September 19, which doesn’t give you much time! Head here to enroll, and here if you want to read more about my experience taking the course.

What are you enjoying right now?

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Your Success is Not My Failure

It was the summer Anika was five, and she still didn’t know how to ride a bike.

Her little friend next door was a year younger than Anika, and had already learned how to bike the summer before. As a first-time, up-tight, over-achiever kind of mom, I was stressed.

Her little friend also learned how to swim earlier than Anika did, so pretty much, I was worried about her future. Suddenly, biking and swimming were no longer fun activities for her to take part in that summer – this was serious, and she needed to learn fast. We were falling behind. How would she grow into a well-functioning adult if she was behind on basic life skills and athletic abilities?I was pretty sure this was a sign that we were failing as parents, and I was passing on a nonathletic curse so strong that Ben’s athletic genes could not overpower it.

But one day, I went next door to visit our friends, and was waiting in their hallway for some reason I can’t remember. As I stood there, I suddenly noticed something hanging on the wall that I had never paid attention to before.  It was a rack full of medals – medals for bike competitions of some sort. A huge wave of realization swept over me – our friend was hugely into biking. He was incredibly passionate about it, and it was a hobby he spent a lot of time enjoying and perfecting. As a family, they took biking very seriously, and they had spent a lot of time teaching their daughter to ride a bike.

As I thought about these friends, I suddenly remembered that she was a lifeguard. Swimming was something she was passionate about, and she had also spent a lot of time helping her daughter learn how to swim.

If I could pick two activities that defined our friends, it would most definitely be swimming and biking.

This made me curious – what were Ben and I passionate about? It didn’t take me long to identify what was most important to us – reading and music. These were both hobbies that Ben and I enjoyed, and as I thought about it, I could see the ways in which we were passing on these joys to Anika, in the same way our friends were focusing on swimming and biking.

I read to Anika for hours and hours each day. She learned to read at a young age, and at five, she had the vocabulary of a 10-year-old. And Ben would often pull out his guitar and sing with her. I had taught piano lessons for years, and I loved seeing how Anika was becoming a very natural pianist, catching on quickly and playing confidently.

We had chosen to put our time, energy, and passion into the activities we enjoyed, and wanted to share with our daughter. It made no sense to assume that because someone else was naturally good at something, and had put in the time to increase their skill, we needed to do the same, and expect the same results, without the same amount of passion or practice.

I had been comparing my weakness to another person’s strength.

The comparison game never makes anyone a winner, but that day I realized how completely unfair I’d been with myself, and even with Anika. No one can be good at everything, and there isn’t enough time in a day to be passionate about too many things.

At that point, we were fortunate enough to have Anika share our love for books and music, but this would not necessarily always be the case. We could pass on our hobbies, but we also needed to allow room for the things she wanted to pursue, without that being a reflection of our skill as parents.

She did learn to swim and bike that summer, and now it doesn’t seem important anymore. I had to think very hard to figure out how old she was the summer she learned to bike, because it doesn’t matter anymore when it happened. She spends hours a day writing fantasy books, and is signed up for Musical Theatre classes this fall, and we love watching her enjoy things we enjoy.

And I often think about that rack full of medals, and how each family is unique, free to develop their own passions and interests, and even the culture in their own home. This is right and good – something to celebrate, actually.

The strength and success of another person does not take anything away from me. Why is that so hard to remember sometimes?

Anika once said to me, “Just because my friend is very pretty doesn’t mean that I’m not pretty.” I’ve made lots of mistakes as a parent, but if she’s figured this truth out at the ripe old age of 13, I think she’ll be okay.

I wasn’t planning on ending this post with a collection of quotes, but when I went looking for a suitable thought to share, there were so many fantastic quotes that I couldn’t pick just one. Here’s a bit of inspiration to hang on to next time we start feeling the temptation to compare:

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https://a-joyfuljourney.tumblr.com/post/151409968453/a-joyfuljourney-acsliving

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Quote Love

Every couple of months, I like to round up all the best quotes I’ve come across, and share them here. There’s something about combining beautiful images with inspiring words that gets me every time! Here are my latest favourites:

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Any quotes you’ve been loving lately? Please share!:)

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Quote Love

Somehow, it’s been many, many months since I’ve done a favorite quote post, and I’ve got a ton saved up from Pinterest! I love putting these together, because it’s such a great reminder to me of where I want my thoughts headed. I hope you find something in here that does the same for you!

 

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Sharing the Love

Anika has always been this blog’s biggest fan. She could spend hours and hours going back over all the pictures, and reading the funny things Kaylia used to say when she was learning how to talk. She skips the “boring” posts (anything written while I’m feeling deep and spiritual), and usually sticks to the pictures. But the other day, she told me it had been too long since I’d written a post about what we’re loving around here right now.

This fall has been good to us – we’ve discovered a whole list of new things to love, so I’m delighted to share them with you today!

Chocolate Hummus

Cheap, fast, easy, and very intensely chocolatey. There, that should be enough to get you pulling out your food processor already. The recipe can be found here, and you’ll have your loved ones happily eating beans. Yes, this is related to black bean brownies, so I understand that it’s a love/hate kind of thing. Fortunately, my family loves it, and the girls are picky when it comes to beans, so this surprises me. There’s also a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Hummus on the same site, but we haven’t had time to try it yet, because everyone is so obsessed with the chocolate.

Chocolate Hummus

The Martian

I rarely watch movies anymore, because we prefer to watch a quick show instead, but Ben and I did watch “The Martian” a couple of months ago, and I’ve been wanting to see it again ever since! I loved it, and I didn’t think I would. Usually, I don’t like space movies, but Ben was very sure I would like this one, it’s on Netflix, and the trailer looked promising, so I decided to give it a shot.

It was so good!! Matt Damon stars in it, and it’s a story about an astronaut who is left behind on a mission to Mars. He has to find some way to survive until the next space ship lands on Mars – in four years. Here’s the trailer:

Swiffer Cordless Vacuum

A few years ago, a friend told me to go buy myself a small vacuum to use instead of a broom. It sounded like a good idea, but I just never got around to it, because it didn’t feel like a pressing need.

Oh, my word. If you have hardwood floors, this actually IS a pressing need! We bought it a couple of months ago, and have used it often. It is much faster than sweeping, and I love not having any cord to worry about. It’s so much fun to use, the girls like to vacuum now, and chase Everett around the house with it while he squeals with delight-verging-on-terror. He also loves to be the one controlling the vacuum, and I’m happy he has something to entertain him! If he actually happens to pick up any garbage, even better! Win/win.

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Francis Chan’s Bible App

This is an app to use if you want to read through the Bible in a year, and you’d like a better understanding of the background of each book of the Bible. There’s a really cool video at the beginning of a new chapter that breaks down the theme and background of the book. The artwork is fantastic, and it helps explain things very well. I started using this a few weeks ago, and I’m really enjoying it. Plus, I’m a check mark girl, so I like being able to mark it off when I’ve finished my reading. The drawback is that I tend to get into a “finish the reading for the day!” mindset, rather than a “meditate on Scripture” focus, so I’m trying to take time for both.

Francis Chan app

Restore

Last spring, one of my trusted alternative health people told me about this new gut health product called “Restore”, and it only took a couple of weeks of trying it to start noticing it’s benefits. We felt like it gave us a lot of energy, Ben said he didn’t get his mid-afternoon sleepiness, and the girls were able to eat gluten again for the first time six years.

But during the summer, I made a mistake with ordering options, and we ran out of Restore. After a few weeks without it, I felt exhausted, I had issues sleeping, we felt like our digestion was sluggish, the girls went back to getting sick from eating gluten, and we just felt all-around a bit yucky.

We were pretty excited when a new bottle arrived! It took a few weeks to get back to our “new normal”, but we seem to be back on track now!

Besides the fact that it makes us feel great, here are the other things I love about it:

  • No multi-level marketing
  • Not a bad price, compared to some of the other popular products out there. A bottle will last one person for three months, but our family of five goes through one bottle in a month, which costs $109.
  • it seals all the gaps in the intestines within 20 minutes of taking it, and lasts for five hours
  • It restores healthy bacteria in the gut, so it’s recommended not to take probiotics while on Restore. The best probiotics have five to seven strains of good bacteria, but we’re supposed to have 30,000 strains. Restore balances the body, and brings back a much higher variety of bacteria than a bottle of probiotics.
  • the science behind it is available on the website, including pictures of what cells look like before and after using Restore

Here’s a quick video if you want to hear more about it, and it can be ordered here, if you feel like giving it a try! No strings attached.;)

 

And finally, my recent favorite book:

Secrets of the Secret Place

This book is changing my devotions. It’s inspiring, practical, and really beautiful – like this gentle invitation to get away with Jesus on a daily basis. I love practical suggestions for how to bring about change, and this book is full of them. I’m about halfway through, so I’m sure I’ll have more to say once I’ve finished it! I’ve copied out many quotes, but here’s one of my recent favorites:

“The longer you’re in God’s presence, soaking in His word and basking in His love, the more power you’re ingesting into the very fiber of your being. The only way we change is when we come close to the Lord. His presence is the place of change.”

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Well, that’s a super random list of favorites! Let me know if you happen to give anything a try! Share the love.

 

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Stuff I Love

A few weeks ago, I was going through a box of keepsakes from high school, and found an old journal full of quotes, poems, and song lyrics that I used to love. It was interesting to read through it and remember how those words inspired and encouraged me. It also reminded me that my love for a good quote started a long time ago! Now I just save them differently.;)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a quote post, so here are a few of my recent favorites:

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Have you read any good quotes lately?