Why Wait for the New Year!

Friends, it occurred to me on this first day of October…there are only three more months until the New Year! How did that happen?!?

I’ve been in a funky headspace the past couple of days. Maybe it’s the drastic transition into fall that killed my summer buzz, perhaps an overdose of fake, sensationalized social media…who knows, but it stirred up a bunch of yuck in my mind that has taken me days to clear…I keep thinking I’m beyond this, and yet, here I am again.

See, I made a few drastic lifestyle changes back in June that I thought would make significant progress toward my long-term wellness goals. I thought I had given them a fairly decent shot, but real life seemed to pull the proverbial rug out from under me again and again, leaving me with no measurable results. It would be easy to declare defeat…something I defaulted to over and over again in the past. Compelled to avoid the old habit of backslide, I dug up a tangible reminder why I won’t do that again.

I pulled this photo out of the vault for some valuable perspective. I can’t believe I’m sharing it!

This was my exhausted reality eleven years ago. I yearned to be active outdoors, had strong desire to be well but was crushed in a number of suffocating ways. I was struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and great sorrow knowing my dad’s cancer journey was nearly over by then. I look into the eyes and heart of that girl, knowing she felt about 80 years old back then on any given day.

When I revisit that image, I’m so grateful for the perspective! I’m reminded that although I didn’t get to where I was hoping to be by Oct 1st, my summer looked very different from that 2007 version.

My body allowed me to continue exploring new fitness modalities.

Despite coping with some chronic injury pain, I was able to move forward in ways that recharged my spirit!

 

I was able to embrace and celebrate special days I wasn’t completely sure I’d be around to witness.

I was able to tackle new adventures in a way that old body would never have allowed.

   

This newest version of me, despite not hitting that latest health target was able to play every inch of the way!

And so I may not be exactly where I’d hoped to be…I’m far from feeling as sick, tired and broken as my 2007 version. As a matter of fact, in ways, I am more driven, more balanced than ever before…

Friends, as we head into these last three months of 2018, I can choose to forget my routine notion of that past…that the upcoming holidays are a big giant train chugging closer and closer to derailment. That it will be time again to care for myself as the festivities wind down and the New Year reminds me to start trying again. Well, I could. And I used to. But why would I do that now?

There is no need to give up hope! We have such a great opportunity to be your best you, to start again today! Wherever we may be right now, we can make some loving, caring changes for ourselves one day at a time. Why wait until January?

I forgave myself for not hitting that bullseye I was aiming for these past few months. As I look back, I realize I didn’t miss the target altogether…I just need to slightly readjust, refocus my aim and give it my best shot. One more way to put my Best Foot Forward…and you can too!

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Stronger Than Ever!

Friends, I began my day the same way I always do. I reached for my very broken-in copy of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I’ve read this daily bit of encouragement for many years now. It’s uncanny just how closely each excerpt resembles what I encounter throughout any given day…the perfect dosage of exactly what I need! Some days are downright intense with resonance and realization. Today’s entry was an extreme example; one I was not expecting! It was Jesus telling me he is my strength and my shield, not to wonder what is on the road ahead, or waste energy worrying…when I’m afraid, I should remember he is my shield. And the big kicker…”My Presence watches over you continually, protecting you from both known and unknown dangers.”

The strong reverberation echoed clear to my soul; I remembered why this passage struck me so. Today is an odd anniversary for me. Four years ago tonight, that protection was perfectly demonstrated…

Those of you who’ve been with me for a while recall how Eric and I got up close and personal with a pickup truck, and you might remember the evidence of some heavenly protection buffering the impact…

If you missed this part of my journey, you can catch up with a post from 2016 and 2017 that demonstrate how my healing has ventured far beyond the physical!

I’ve made some great progress in how I remember January 31, 2014. I know I must have read the same Jesus Calling passage that morning, I just never expected to be on the receiving end of such immense protection that evening. As I read it again this morning, I understand more and more what that night was all about. My perspective has continued to shift from the challenges and struggles that night imparted toward what profound gifts were bestowed…blessings of survival, gratitude, a fresh new journey toward more strength than I ever thought I could embody, a deep appreciation for a good samaritan and rockstar paramedics (my son will officially be one in May). Yeah, thinking about it now hits me straight in the feels all over again!

Another gift I’ve been granted from that evening is the return visit of chronic pain each time the clouds bring forth a new storm. I can seriously forecast the weather with it! I no longer associate this pain with self-pity; my fresher perspective reminds me that pain is proof that I’m still here and I have important work to do!

Friends, if you are struggling with something tough right now, I’m really sorry! But I encourage you to look at what the bigger picture is telling you. Can you adopt a wider, more positive perspective on what is actually going on?

I keep coming back to this quote I swiped off Facebook. I was not ready to understand its truth the first weeks, months, years following that night of trauma, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

Thanks for having our backs and helping me be prove this true, JC!

 

Mended More Than a Shirt!

Friends, I made a breakthrough of epic proportions last night which I’m feeling led to share. I don’t even know if it will make sense to anyone else…but here’s hoping!

My epiphany began when I lifted the remnants of a sweatshirt, my favorite sweatshirt from it’s resting place.

It had been balled up in my mending basket for quite some time. I messed with it every so often, but each time it left me feeling broken. It still held heavy memories that I continued to stuff down, feelings I thought had been dealt with long ago. But as I picked it up again last evening, that heaviness bubbled right back up. I knew that if I didn’t face this baggage, release and set it free, it would continue to resurface again and again. It was time.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you may know I was injured in a serious car accident a while back. If you need a refresher, here’s a post about it from last year.

Maybe if I’d thrown the sweatshirt away like the rest of my clothes from that night, there would have been no reminder. But I had a plan for that thing that involved healing. I knew at some point, when it was stitched back together, I’d likely be whole again too. Here’s what its shreds looked like after being cut off me in the ER.

Only one cut-length remained last night when I was determined to finish it. As I began stitching, my body tensed up something fierce; it’s like I was reliving the pain of my healed injuries. See, I thought I’d fully recovered from it, but my mind continued to present me with notions I hadn’t considered earlier. This past year had been filled with a ridiculous amount of training runs and events…marathon, half marathons, Ragnar.

And, mile after mile of training rides in prep for RAGBRAI, the little 420 mile bike ride across Iowa.

On several occasions throughout that busyness, people asked why I was pushing myself to that degree. Upon much soul searching, I didn’t have an answer. I simply didn’t have a clue. I mean, I thought maybe I continued to push the limits to see how far I could go. But as physical breakdown soon replaced the fun and adventure, I continued to push through the pain, as if forced to continue.  I didn’t know why, until last night!

The closer I came to completing the mending, it became clearer and clearer. I’d relentlessly pushed this past year to prove the accident had no hold on me. How ironic, because in working that hard, it became clear it had a stronger hold on me than ever. And there it was, I was face to face with the baggage!

The realization hit me in the feels…HARD! With only a couple inches left to stitch, the tears rolled down as I let it all out. I can’t tell you how freeing that was. How crazy to think it took this long to figure out. I couldn’t help wonder if I’d finished mending the sweatshirt much earlier, would I have reached the same, important closure then? Who knows. The important thing is that it happened.

I’m relieved to have finally figured out what I was running and biking from. I’m ready to do things now because I want to, not because I had something to prove. As I placed the last few stitches, in that moment of clarity, came peace…and my fully mended proof that I not only survived, I THRIVE!

I’m looking back at that night three years ago, one more time. When I consider how differently things could have turned out, gratitude completely washes over the entire experience. My husband and I still have each other. Our boys still have their parents. My body has attempted and pretty successfully proved nearly unstoppable. I still have my favorite part of the car! And my sweatshirt, although noticably scarred, is whole again, and still my favorite!

It’s become a work of art, really. I’ve entitled it What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, and I intend to wear it and feel its/my strength for years to come!

Life is good, Friends…damn GOOD!