Thursday, March 6, 2014

THE PULL

Don't you love the tug on your heart? In those wee hours when it just cracks open the door and you hear the line "Your voice is the light shining in the doorway of my heart" and, my friends, that is no accident. There are no accidents.

Let's recap.

I sort of lost my mind and started Crossfit about a year ago. And, as it does for many, it became an obsession. I mean, yes, it satisfied the completely competitive and obsessive tendencies of my soul, but it also surfaced something else: a desire to encourage. A desire to be an example. A desire to motivate and cheer others on, a culture that is so prevalent in Crossfit.


I was, and continue to be completely fascinated by this journey. Your body is a miracle - a living, breathing miracle that responds when you move. When you feed it - good and bad. When you rest it. Stretch it. Meld and mold it by fostering habits. By pushing it to do things you didn't think you could make it do.

Then I REALLY lost my mind.

Last October, I was meeting with one of my coaches who plans my meals for me. This coach also trains for physique competition. My goals last Fall were to put on monster amount of muscle and get really, super, duper strong. This involved me eating insane amounts of protein and not running. Yes, NOT running. For a girl who was clocking 40+ miles a week and basically had been running races for years and years. It was all I knew. But I digress.

"Why don't you train for a figure competition?" she asks.

I nearly fell over.

"There's no way my body will ever look like figure bodies" was my EXACT. RETORT.

"If I promise you I can get you there, would you consider it?"

And so I considered it. FOR TWO MONTHS.

Crossfit is functional. It's performance based: you can lift it, you can't lift it. You are faster, you are slower. Do you want to do pull-ups? Then do them every time you walk into the box. Work on your skills. It's a never ending fitness journey that not only makes you an athlete, it makes you fitter for life. To pick up your kids, to mop the floor, to rake leaves without a back injury. It makes you better, faster, stronger.



Figure is different. Because at the end of the day, you can train and prep and do everything right and you still have THIS FRAME, and maybe someone likes it and maybe someone doesn't. Erin Stern, Figure Olympia A Gazillion Times Over? Yeah, they like her frame:



Why, oh WHY would I do something like this? Because I love a challenge? Because I'm 35 freaking years old and probably will never have another opportunity to do this? Because if NOTHING ELSE, my body would be improved for Spring Break 2014, like I'm in high school headed to Cancun again MTV style? Yeah. NO.

And then I realized it, the crown jewel of lessons, the bonk-your-head message that we all overlook: the journey is the reward.

While you strive for the podium, if you can't be present in the journey and enjoy it, learn from it, laugh about it, then you really shouldn't be doing it. Sirloin and green beans for breakfast is sort of hilarious, so is being orange tan, so is sparkle spandex, so is frequent Amazon.com orders for waist cinchers and lucite stripper heels. Welcome to my life.



Preparation, practice, passion. You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. I promise. HE promised.

You don't step on a figure stage without weeks and weeks (13 to be exact) of specific training and steps. For me, there is no room for error. There is no cheating or deviation. It is commitment like I have never experienced and it has drawn me closer to Christ. And tupperware:



Ya'll, I joke about it but truly, I do not know how anyone preps for this without Jesus Christ and Lil' Wayne. You're welcome.

.......................................

I have been praying about how to use this. God has blessed me with so many gifts and abilities and the talents to do things like eat really obnoxious amounts of asparagus and the willpower to not drink at Tillman's San Luis Salute Mardi Gras Ball (NOT KIDDING, water. And KC and the Sunshine Band. That helped.) Plus, I love to write and talk and inspire and motivate and encourage and hug people, even when it's somewhat inappropriate. I am a champion of the ill-timed, inappropriate hug.


Two things happened:

One: I received an email about a conference for aspiring writers, bloggers and public speakers. And it got me thinking. What's stopping me? I have been writing this blog for years and ya'll have stood by and witnessed the ridiculousness that is my life and, while I hope you find it funny, I can at least say that it's like the best train wreck you couldn't ever take your eyes off of.

I threatened to pick back up at the start of the year. I miss writing, I miss taking pictures and thinking of how I would work it into my writing, being sparked by a topic or a situation and thrilled to share and write it. So maybe, perhaps, now is the time.

Two: fasted cardio. What in h-e-double-hockey-sticks is fasted cardio? Well, folks, her name is Betty the Bike and she and I are 5 AM morning besties during this figure competition prep. Nothing screams "deep reflection" like 45 minutes of low to moderate state cardio every morning of your life for 12 weeks. When I started, I decided this would be an excellent time to listen to some sermons on podcast, rock it out on an alternating schedule of my Bethel and Drake Pandora stations (seriously, ya'll think I'm kidding when I say I live and die by the cross and Wayne), and spend some time in prayer. And Sportscenter. Balance, folks.

This morning I was thinking about this crossover, this possible bridge between faith and fitness. And it just FLOODED me. The complaints are the same: I don't have time. For faith. For Bible study. For Church. For prayer. I don't have time. To workout. To go to the gym. To go on a walk. Faith - and fitness - are about finding strength in weakness. In learning perseverance. In daily practice and habit, making beautiful things. Out of us.

You make beautiful things out of us. Christ makes beautiful things. Out of US.

The notes and scribbles and pouring forth has been so overwhelming and fun this morning and I just couldn't wait to share it. More thoughts need to go down on paper. But lemme tell you what, I am back and I am a bad B. Just for my hittas!

Monday, February 3, 2014

MY CIRCUS, MY MONKEYS

Oh, how I've missed you. How numerous the journeys and paths that have unfolded since we have spoken...and I feel ever so guilty for taking such a long break.

It's time to start writing again. To pick up the reins and resume the sharing and laughter and outpouring of emotion that I'm so certain you appreciate (and by "appreciate," I mean that you shake your head and thank your lucky heavenly stars that you've got it together and don't have chickens in your yard or currently own stock in tupperware - more to come on that).


Those of you who know me, know my incessant, stubborn, ridiculous personality. My addiction to all things challenging and quirky, my appreciation for Stevie Wonder Fridays, my undying devotion to gansta rap and my five year old. Not in that order. Ahem. So...enter Crossfit. Makes perfect sense, right? Because I needed another outlet to obsess over.

Life brings the challenges you need. It lays them at your feet and says "so, yeah, what about this?" and then it steps back. And waits. And watches. And it quickly changes its name from "challenge" to "opportunity" and this is what separates. I believe this.

I look at the priorities in my life: Faith, IV, Family, Career, Friends. In that order they fall, the cards of life, trumping each other as they lie. Without each other, they fall. So we add this in and agree that being sound of mind, sound of body, sound of soul, they all fit.

There is nothing, I mean, NOTHING in the world like the strength that comes from these pieces fitting together. Since you saw me last? Strong, my friends. So much stronger.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SLAVE FOR YOU

Me to IV: can you please let Eli in?
IV: Mom, when are you going to learn that I'm not your SLAVE.
Me: ...blank stare...

I have been WAITING, WAAAAAAIIITING for the opportunity to have the TEAM TALK. Five long years and finally, FINALLY, I can tell him about this circus runs on a full tank of gas and that tank is full of teamwork.

This is our circus. These are OUR monkeys. AMEN.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Perfect Listener


Losing My Sight
by Lisel Mueller

I never knew that by August
the birds are practically silent,
only a twitter here and there.
Now I notice. Last spring
their noisiness taught me the difference
between screamers and whistlers and cooers
and O, the coloraturas.
I have already mastered
the subtlest pitches in our cat's
elegant Chinese. As the river
turns muddier before my eyes,
its sighs and little smacks
grow louder. Like a spy,
I pick up things indiscriminately:
the long approach of a truck,
car doors slammed in the dark,
the night life of animals—shrieks and hisses,
sex and plunder in the garage.
Tonight the crickets spread static
across the air, a continuous rope
of sound extended to me,
the perfect listener. 
.................................................

The perfect listener.

Don't we all long to be better at listening? Friends, I can't tell you how this message has been on repeat in my heart recently as I have been thinking and praying on listening and obedience. A sermon recently said that when we train our ear to listen to the "little leanings" from God, we are diligently preparing to be able to hear the big answers that we will certainly ask for in the future. 

When we listen, when we practice listening for the little things, we sharpen our instruments and skills in so many ways. We rely less on sight, on smell, on other senses...we become adept at interpretation and understanding.  I think I often complain about my shortcomings in the other senses, inability to see something or a situation coming, inability to have felt something I should have be aware of.

Perhaps what I really should be doing is listening for instruction.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

PIN-TEST

Pretty sure that when your Pinterest boards show more gardening and chicken coops than weddings, you're winning.

Win:










Winner:

















Still winning:














Dang...well, had to get one in there:


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

MC EMCEE B

Life has involved a LOT of opportunities to be on a microphone lately and boy, howdy, has that been fun. I LOVE a mic. LOVE. People say "how do you do that?" and I think, well, I love to talk.

Why would I not LOVE my talking projected to way more people than possible without a microphone?

Some mornings you wake up and something reminds you of someone you miss, someone who made you sad and probably doesn't deserve the space in your mind that morning. And, boo, cheering section stares at their feet and shuffles.

My friends, the answer is always, ALWAYS Beyonce.

Beyonce will tell you that he "showed his ass and baby, you saw the real him." She will remind you that he is most certainly NOT "irreplaceable" and she will also wag a finger, give a spin and raise an eyebrow. Because you? YOU are AMAZING. And fierce. And him? He sucks. He is dumb. Remember? He showed his ass! He did NOT "put a ring on it" - and thank God, because you dodged a bullet. Some men are "soldiers". You need those. The others? Not so much.

Beyonce will remind you of these things anywhere you like. In the kitchen in your sweatpants (you look athletic and strong). When applying makeup (you don't really need it, you're "feelin' so crazy right now"). Also, when cooking ravioli for 4 year olds. Which needs no explanation about your awesomeness, right?

I'm not sure Beyonce realizes the scope of her reach on the modern day breakup but, then again, she probably doesn't need to be told. Because she is teaching you to "put your love on top".

Thursday, March 21, 2013

TIENDITA

Whether it's committing to emcee a fashion show, organizing a Zydeco dance contest or going out with someone that I find out is actually married (#wishiwaskidding), I will say this: I DO IT RIGHT.

The accomplishments run the gamut, but one thing is clear: I am the queen of embarrassing myself, usually in public, usually in front of people that I admire, usually when I'm trying to DO THE OPPOSITE OF MAKE AN ASS OF MYSELF.

Recovery, my friends, is the key. Redirection. Trust me, I know.

Someday I'm going to look back and laugh. Someday will probably be tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

AS IF

So, because I'm amazing, I almost passed out in Church yesterday and I don't know WHY that is such a remarkable thing for me but...

First, it would be remarkably embarassing.

Second, there is something really remarkable to me about being out of control of something - a situation, a comment, a newspaper article, my own flawed body. The same body that I'm fairly certain was trying to smack me across the head and say "SLOW DOWN" and like, maybe get some sleep and eat something because humans require those things to function.

I sat in the pew, panting and trying to breathe and control the steamroller of weakness that was plowing over me and it totally. DID. NOT. WORK.

Thank you sweet Jesus I made it out of mass and the second I stepped into the air, I felt immediately better. But absolutely shaken.

..........................................

We are inherently weak people. We give in. We give up. We get mad. I do, anyway.

Recently, I made myself completely weak and vulnerable, for someone else.

And guess what? It failed MISERABLY. I mean, completely nosedived.

But rather than give in, give up...I set the phone down, had a good 15 minute sob, deleted the evidence and MOVED. THE EFF. ON. Because you know what? That sure didn't work. But there's one more winding road that didn't lead somewhere. Try, try again.

So IV and I took the afternoon yesterday to nap and paint pictures and dance around the kitchen to "40 Day Dream" courtesy of the sweetest friend in the world who made us a killer kitchen dance mix. And we loved, LOVED, loved being weak. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

IF_____, THEN __________

Why are we so tempted to fill in the blanks?

So eager to fill those spaces with every worry in the world, every instance of conditional belief and test?

So willing to deliver that list to our enemy to use against us?

So what happens when the blanks are filled?

I go on. I get mad. I fall down. I want to bang a Bible against my head a few hundred times. Repeat. 

And then...the magic. I am OK.

I listened this week to a statement about what IF? What IF I actually take the courage God is handing me? Is it possible that I might be one decision away from the biggest game changer on my life's map? The biggest bend in the road? 

If ______? Then GOD. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

LEAN IN

1. Sit at the table.
2. Make your partner a REAL partner.
3. Don't leave before you leave.

Lean in, sisters...

http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html