The Gold Polish

I got up not as early as I’d wanted, but early enough to paint my nails gold.  You see, I’d been counting down this day for a couple months. I had found Refit and after months of sporadically doing their YouTube videos at home, went to my first class–the master class they hosted back in March–and had been counting down until they were offering classes in Lex not far from my work.

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You see, back in 2012, I checked off my bucket list running a half marathon.  Less than two months later, my Mom had major back surgery in VA and the last three years have been up and down for her, a few other hospitalizations and operations, moving from Virginia (and all her family and friends) to Kentucky where she would be nearer to me, her only child, but also where she was away from all she had ever known. Additionally, in the last three years I’ve experienced a job change, nursing school and a complete career change (including night shift) for the Beau in addition to being the primary caretaker and advocate for Mom.

So my health got put on the back burner, to say the least.

I know my health is important. I know life is short. I know that I should want to make the most of what I’ve got. And I’ve tried. I’ve tried it all it seems.  Walking. Jogging. Yoga. Zumba. Fitness classes with friends. But commuting to work and church and to Doctor’s appointments, spending days in the hospital, phone calls with doctors and family, I could never stay consistent.

Until Refit.  What I could be consistent with was the inconsistency from which I would dance along to 5-10 YouTube videos. And I say that with everything in me–the freedom I found in the inconsistency was huge. No judgment. No hit to my bank account. No guilt. Just my TV and familiar faces that would greet me once a week.  Or once a month. Whenever I could show up. They were there. I started to love these gals. They were my company when the beau would head in to night shift. They were my stress relief on a rough day.

When they decided to come to Lexington for a Master Class in March, you better believe it I was there with a friend or two in tow.

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Jesse (who went to REFIT while in grad school at Baylor) and me

 

And then yesterday, the first day of class arrived.  And gold nails and all, I walked in to one challenging moment after the next. No parking on campus. Mom’s transport to her appointment was late. Seeing some issues arise at her appointment based on her pain and care she’s receiving where she lives. Standing in the corner sobbing, thankful for an aide who was willing to give a hug and a specialist and nurse who are so kind and compassionate. Realizing you left your wallet at home when you’re in the drive through picking up lunch for Mom (Thank you kind soul at Arby’s who accepted my grace offering of $3 I scrounged from my car Iced coffee fund).  One of those days for sure.

It’s really tough being 34 and seeing your mom who will soon be 63 live in a nursing home and have (most of) her wits about her yet be surrounded by folks old enough to be her Mom. It’s a hard reality to face and it’s placed a bit of a role reversal as I’ve been a caretaker for her. There are difficult decisions to be made alone. Mom will jokingly say “Okay Mother” sarcastically, but it’s tough to hear.

Mother’s Day is hard. For multiple reasons. Being 34 with no kids–some folks just don’t get it.  And while it’s our story, it’s still a stop on the journey I never thought I’d be.  I’d always imagined having a few kids by the time I turned 30, but here I am on the verge of 34 and childless. I know that God has a plan and I’m excited (most days) to trust him throughout the twists and turns.

So a rough day like yesterday in the days leading up to Mother’s Day–I just wanted to call it quits. Go home, binge on the Gilmore Girls and have a little pity party.

But instead, I head to lunch with a dear friend of 20 years and my spirits were lifted a bit.  I head back to the office briefly (as I’ve already made my mind up that the day will probably nose dive again and I’ll just head on home) and see a notification on Facebook from the Refit Gals.

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Did they know how crappy my 9:58 had been? Sheesh. So much for going home. I just couldn’t not go now! That right there friends is the reason I love REFIT. The reason I need to be brave and share this post. We all have our “stuff.” Maybe it’s not that Mother’s Day is hard for you. Maybe your struggle isn’t working out but creating margin in your schedule to be truly present with your family. Perhaps it’s struggling in a job or career that you hate.  Maybe your marriage isn’t where you want it to be.  Or you just wish you had a companion.

We have to be willing to share our stuff friends.  We are all struggling in one way or another.  And then we have to be willing to shake it off and move on. To say to a friend–“I need help”.  And to be willing to hear “okay, it’s time to move on from  your pity party”! I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages in Acts 2 about the early church

42 The disciples were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 A feeling of fear came over everyone as many amazing things and miraculous signs happened through the apostles. 44 All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. 45 From time to time, they sold their property and other possessions and distributed the money to anyone who needed it. 46 The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other’s homes and shared their food. 47 At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group.

The “sharing of our things together” in verse 44 isn’t just our physical possessions. It’s the good and bad days.
When everything goes wrong–at least we’re together. 
When things seem really crappy or you have a day that just won’t pull it together, remember this:
  1. You’re likely not the only one having a bad day.
  2. Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it.
  3. Take 60 seconds and reach out to someone else–you never know when one little text, facebook post or silly voxer message could turn someone’s day around just like those REFIT gals did for me.

Sometimes it’s just the simple act of putting on the gold polish.  What can you do to signify a reminder. What do you need to do–a physical expression of your “fake it til you make it?”

Now you know when you see the gold polish appear.

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And if you want a taste of Refit check out this workout–it’s sure to make you smile. (Or this one which brings tears to my eyes every time.)

Disclaimer: I know we all have our stuff and I’m sure mine pales in comparison to some of what I know my friends and family are going through.  Please feel free to comment and know that I’ll be praying for you whatever your stuff might be. 

My cup overfloweth

Walking to the car, it was a brisk Monday morning. The kind that bites when you get out of the car to walk into the office. My commute had been cluttered with thoughts of the preceding weekend, all the things on my to-do for the day, but nothing prepared me for the sharp air that took my breath when I opened the car door.

I gathered my work bag, made sure I had my keys and phone and slowly gathered my favorite ceramic mug from the console. The coffee steamed in the car, so once I  stepped onto the pavement, the steam was even more remarkable. However, the dance out of the car was quite tricky.

You see, I had my coffee in a travel mug when I had left for work. The one we purchased early one Sunday morning back in November at a CVS in Lexington. I was singing for our church’s 25th anniversary service and I had forgotten my travel mug. Knowing that I’d need a mug’s worth of coffee versus a small Styrofoam shooter, we acquired yet another travel mug.

But there’s something about a real mug. The way it fits in my hand. How I love drinking out of it sitting at my desk. So that brisk Monday, I transferred the hot contents of the travel mug into the Christmas mug I’ve made year round appropriate. Tricky task for a Monday.

So after I successfully made my way out of the car, looked around to see if any coworkers caught the sight of that jig, I began my trek into the office. Thankful to not have a big campus parking structure and short walk into the student center where my office lives, one foot in front of the other I began.

But I couldn’t take my normal stride. No, it wasn’t snowy or icy. My heels weren’t unreasonably high that day. So what was my trouble?

My cup was almost to the point of overflowing. Right up the the edge. I instantly recalled the work retreat years earlier when I became the joke each morning at breakfast–“When will she learn to not fill her cup so full!  There are refills, ya know, Faith.”

But I liked having a full cup. I liked the amount that was there. It was just right. It gave me just enough jolt I needed.

I just had to learn to slow down in the process of getting from point A to point B if I wanted my cup to be that full.  

Life is no different. My cup continues to be full. There are many things to juggle. When my cup gets a little less full and I feel I have a better handle, something else gets poured in.

But let me tell you a little secret–the flavor of this coffee is incredible with all these different things swirling around in there. I wouldn’t miss any bit of it for the world.  I’ve just got to learn to slow down a bit so I can enjoy every last drop.  

Happy 2013

I took a little blogging break in December and unintentionally, one followed in January.  But I’m back and that’s what matters, right?

Spent a lot of time with friends and family, enjoying the beau not being in school, lots of transitions at work and drinking in every moment life provided.

A quick review of things I’ve found so very interesting and inspiring over my break:

HelloMornings has really revolutionized my morning quiet times, workout times and planning times.  The accountability has been fantastic.

Absolutely love Jen Hatmaker’s 7 and reading it and implementing it with some women from church.  Simplified our meals in January and now simplifying my clothing in February.  Chose to only wear neutrals.  Amish style.  More on this to come for sure…

Learning lots and lots and lots about discipleship and the kingdom and what that looks like in real, everyday life.

Continuing to enjoy Sunday Sabbaths, cooking, trying new recipes and enjoying our new rowing machine.

Started using Plan to Eat and it has revolutionized meal planning, simplified grocery shopping and helped the beau be more apart of the team on both of those fronts.

To be perfectly honest, the past few weeks have been rough for a multitude of reasons, but I was reminded today as we did church at home (thanks technology) after an incredibly busy week and preceding another one, that I need some accountability in my life and I need to live into the callings God has placed on my life.  Enter the blog, providing “answers” to those two things.

I’m back and so glad to be here.

Be well,

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What I’ve learned: Life is Good

It’s been a few weeks.  Months really.  Life, as it always tends to do, has thrown some curve balls.  I’m finally getting back into a groove.  And life is good, friends.  So good.

For those of you who know me well, you know where I’ve been–physically and in my head–over these past weeks absence.

For those of you who follow my daily twitter/facebook posts–you see the scripture that I’ve been digging into to really find God in the center of this whirlwind.

For those on instagram, you’ve seen photos of good food, good memories and good travels.

For those of you who I’ve been privileged to sit across a table with a good cup of coffee or a meal, you have known my journey over these past months.

I’m excited to be back.  Excited and slowly navigating the curvy path I’ve been on.  I’ve got to stay focused so I don’t fall off the edge, but man, I’m pretty certain the view is going to be spectacular.

 Best,

House Renovations–Update #4/Who are we becoming?

Time was spent this weekend at the house in the 100 degree weather.

Thank the good lord for cold water bottles, electricity and fans.  Or fan.  It was so hot I’m not too sure it mattered.

I spent my day in our bedroom painting trim while the crew worked on finishing up the copper piping from the kitchen to the upstairs bathroom and then down to the basement where the water heater is and our laundry room will live.

Let’s just say, painting trim in a room with an unfinished floor is an interesting task.  There’s no sitting on cushiony carpet,  no getting on your knees to then get up and go on about your way to refill your paint cup or get more painters tape.  Nope.  None of that exists here.  It’s all about stretching out on a folded outdoor blanket, using your strength you’ve learned from your yoga classes over the past two years to help you get up off the floor, forward folds and side bends and all sorts of yogic terms came into play this weekend.

On Sunday, I could barely move.  But our trim is painted.  The back of one door painted.  All that is lacking is one more door and two windows (sanded and painted) and the painting of the walls in our bedroom will be finished.  It’s been a lengthy process as we’ve just been there during the weekends, but that should change soon as Lew’s class will be over and we’ll be itching to get things finished, to tie up at least one project, to call it a day.

All this house talk has also got me thinking about what we’ll do with our home.  We are putting a lot of time and effort into changing and transforming our home, but what will it do to change and transform us in the process?  My hope and prayer is that we will grow wiser and more open with our gift of a home.  It will teach us many lessons–I have no doubt.  We’ll continue to learn patience, fortitue, budgeting, skills & knowledge and the like.  I am excited to see what the “finished” product will look like, but also see the people we are when we’re celebrating this finished product.  To see what character traits have begun to take root, what things in our life we used to have a tight grip on that have since been loosened a little bit.  To see the joy and pride (used loosely) we’ll have once we’re standing on floors we’ve sanded, rooms we’ve painted, antique or family decor we’ve chosen with a story, a quote that symbolizes who we are as a family.  Who will we be then?

I have a feeling that as excited as I am to see the finished product, there will always be a feeling of incompleteness.  A feeling a bit how our bedroom feels with it’s painted trim, unsanded windows and closet door only with primer.  There’s progress and you can see it.  But nothing is complete.

Now, if you know me at all, you are aware that I’m a little OCD so things being unfinished drive me insane.

But that’s where I feel that our lives will end up.  That’s what God has been trying to slowly and graciously get into my head and heart over the years.  Nothing is complete.  With the house–the constant list of “honey-do’s” and projects that need to be done, as well as with our heart and where we are in our growth–it is never finished.  There will always need to be pride shot down, selfishness addressed, patience fortified.

I’m not quite sure why these three things came to the surface so quickly.

I hope that you can take some time this week to sit back and look at the areas in your life that still need addressed.  Be warned, you might be sore after it’s all said and done and those areas might not be as pretty as the freshly painted trim, but unless we press through and get them in tip-top shape, the room in our heart will just not be as pretty.  Then you’re finished.

Until you walk around the corner and take one look at that reading room. 

You’ll never finish.  And that’s the way it was intended. We do not get to finish here…

Best,