Tuesday, September 02, 2014


I have two sisters and the span between the three of us is less than five years.  So when I was approaching motherhood, I didn't have some of the advantages that friends from larger families had of helping feed and change diapers of younger siblings.

I remember through my pregnancy with Emma day dreaming what it would be like when she arrived: dressing her in cute clothes, holding her while she slept, snuggling. It was going to be awesome.

When she finally arrived some 8 days past her due date, I was so delighted.  But things didn't really turn out how I pictured them.  It was easy for the yellow, liquidy, newborn poop to leak out her diaper and ruin the cute outfits.  Even after thorough burping, she would spit up later, ruining her clothes.  And after the first few weeks, she never slept.  She cat-napped throughout the day in 30 minute increments and even slept fitfully at night until I learned that it was critical to keep her warm during the wee hours.

Nursing, which I had thought would be both easy and intuitive was not and I developed a fierce case of mastitis that I thought would never end.

One day shopping while I was at the grocery store an old woman peeked in my carseat to admire Emma.  "Isn't this wonderful?" she asked me.

"This," I said, pointing to Emma, "is a lot of work."

"Oh, yes!" she agreed sagely. "But isn't it wonderful?"

In the trenches of motherhood, so shocked by what was actual, I had not stopped to think of whether or not it was wonderful.  I supposed it was.  I vaguely remember agreeing with the old woman.

Motherhood is a divine calling, a special responsibility God gives us as He entrusts us with His children.  In saying so, it is also critical to honor the bone-wearying work that motherhood is.  With my youngest now six and the challenging new-baby and chasing-toddler stages behind me, I can agree whole heartedly with the old woman--it is wonderful.  So wonderful! But I haven't forgotten that it's also darn hard.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Personal Victory

A little over a year ago my dad had had it.  His knee hurt too much and it was time to actually get better.  He had a date set in June to have knee replacement surgery, but by the end of April, he knew something else was wrong.  Through May he was in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals until he finally had surgery.

Turns out my dad had experienced multiple small heart attacks.  He ended up with three stents, instructions to follow a new heart-healthy diet and requirements for daily exercise.  Meanwhile, Dad's orthopedic surgeon took knee replacement surgery off the table for a year.  (I guess surgeon's don't like operating on people with heart problems. Something about risk-of-death and all that.)

But with my dad's knee still really needing an overhaul, how could he meet the exercise requirements? Turns out cardiologists are really creative and also know all kinds of ways to get a rigorous cardio workout regardless of what body parts aren't working.

And it made me realize something.  That not working out is an excuse and when it's a big enough priority, you fit it in.

It would be awesome to say that this stopped me in my tracks and I immediate changed and started exercising.  But that would be a complete lie.  Still, it's been percolating in the back of my mind ever since.

This year Dad got his knee replacement.  His recovery was impressively fast.  All because of a year of consistent exercise.

So when I set some goals recently, one of the goals I set was to exercise daily.  I didn't set a specific amount of time or speed or distance, just to be at the gym 6 times a week.

Week one is in the books and I did it!  Today, for some reason was so hard to talk myself into going.  I did it anyway.  I'm not sure how long it's been or if I've ever been to the gym six times in a week.  But I know this, I have two more weeks to make this a habit.

As Clayton Christensen put it, "100 percent of the time is easier than 98 percent of the time."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good Time for Goals

Photo credit: Dumblittleman.com

As fall rolls around and the school year starts again, it seems like a great time for setting goals.  For me, realistically, my life revolves on a August to August basis much more than it does January to January.

I listened to an amazing podcast today on goal setting and with all of the planning and working I've been doing to structure my days with the kids all in school all day, it seemed like a really good time to look at the goals I set in January and see what needs to be fixed, updated or improved.  So, I looked back and discovered...that I didn't set any goals for the year.

I did set a few goals to accomplish by the end of February and I accomplished three of the four.

This is kind of a shock.

Still, it seems like now is as good a time as any to set some goals--not just for 2014, per se, but for the 2014-2015 school year.  Then we'll have a few summer goals and it will begin again.

I just have to stop right here and say how freeing it is to not feel a need to set goals in January!  I feel liberated!  (You can be, too!)

As I'm thinking about goals, I have to share some of the amazing tips from today's podcast, though you really ought to listen to the whole thing.

1. Don't set a ba-zillion goals.

I'm getting better at this as time goes on, but author, Kat Lee, insists that you cap your goals at 4.  And don't be ashamed if you just do one goal at a time.  She made an awesome point that once you've accomplished that goal, you can totally set another.

2. Be prayerful. 

She suggests reading, journalling, praying, assessing the past year for a week to solidify goals.  And even then, as directed by the Spirit, you can totally change, remove or improve your goal.

3. Set up SMART goals.  

I can't say that I was familiar with the acronym, but I was with the concepts.  Goals should be...

(You can see these and get a cool free printable for Goal Setting here.)

4. Write your goal as an affirmation. 

I have long know that goals need to be positive and written in the present tense. But writing your goals as an affirmation?  This was a paradigm shift for me and perhaps the most exciting thing about goal setting that I learned in Kat's podcast.

5. Write the your goal-affirmation regularly.

I think Kat said that she rewrites her goals once a week. You could totally do it daily. The cool thing is, not only will writing the goal keep it at the forefront of your mind, but it also allows you to evaluate the goal and change it as needed.  This way, the goal serves you instead of you feeling beaten by the goal.

(I think this tip came from Kat's podcast on goals Part 2. Don't yell at me if it's not in Part 1.)

I'm ready now!  Off to write two goals.  I think that's a good place to start.