Lisa Morrow wrote a great post on BlogHer about a “mirror moment” in her life. Reading it reminded me of the moment below, and my comment became this post.

My firstborn daughter was just an infant, not more than a few weeks old. I remember looking at her one day, and my heart swelled to bursting with love for this little creature. She was so BEAUTIFUL…and she looked just like me. Everyone said so.

Wait.

So that means…I am beautiful?

Me? Lovable?

What about my thighs? My utter lack of perfection? My house is a mess. I haven’t showered today. I can’t get anything RIGHT! How could anyone possibly love ME?

“Like this,” God seemed to be saying to me. He was smiling.

For just the briefest moment, I had a glimpse of what it must feel like to truly love myself. It felt like my world exploded into color. Choirs of angels sang in my soul. I felt wrapped in a blanket of love.

I looked down at that baby, and she gazed up at me. She was me, and I was her, and now I knew the only reason we have been put on this earth is to love one another…just like that.

I’ve never quite looked at myself—or anyone else—the same way again.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” -John 13:34 (New International Version)

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I finally have it figured out.

My morning walk is my Prozac.

My walk is routine now. If I miss my walk, I MISS it.

And that’s not all. I’ve figured out through trial and error that when I don’t walk, I have a shorter fuse. I’m sadder. I question everything, from how I choose to spend my time to whether life is worth living.

And that’s just emotional pain. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve developed a lower backache. I figured out the hard way yesterday that it hurts much more on the days I don’t walk. I’ve diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis, and my feet hurt more on days I don’t walk.

Walking is therapeutic for me. Rather than get sucked into the black hole of my house, where piles of laundry and clutter haunt me, or into the twin black hole of my mother’s terminal illness, I spend time in nature. I breathe fresh clean air and feel the recently-risen sun on my face, the promise of a new day…of God’s love.

Plus, the walk is just a pleasant experience. I’m especially enjoying it now that it’s fall: the quality of light as it plays through what leaves are left on the trees, this morning’s sting of a frosty breeze on my cheek.

When I get home, my head is clear and I’m ready to tackle my issues instead of running from them.

How about you? Finish this statement: “Life is better when I…”


“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.” –Psalm 89:15

I posted this at my other blog this morning; I was debating where to post it, so I decided to cross-post it here, too. Wow, God.

When I was at the bus stop yesterday morning, I was chatting it up with the neighbors. Eventually all but one drifted away to start their days. We chatted for a moment more, then drifted off ourselves.

“You know,” he called as he walked away, “the truth will set you free.”

I nodded, and smiled politely. A statement that I generally accept as true, but it didn’t really have anything to do with what we’d been talking about.

Then he paused and shook his head. “I don’t know why I said that, but it’s been in my head all morning.”

•  •  •

Flash forward to this morning at the bus stop. I’d been filling folks in on the suckiness of yesterday, and how Mom shouldn’t have had to hear that she has stage 4 lung cancer from her daughter over the phone from 500 miles away.

We finished the conversation, and as we drifted apart, the same neighbor looked at me and said, “Maybe THAT’S why I said that the truth will set you free.”

I looked back at him. I remembered.

I got goosebumps.

•  •  •

As I was laying awake last night, waiting for sleep to take me, I prayed. I realized that as sucky as my day had been, not once had I paused to give it up to God. I didn’t stop to ask Him for peace, strength, or wisdom; I didn’t praise Him or thank Him once all day.

I had forgotten Him for a while yesterday. But he most definitely had NOT forgotten me.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:32

So…here we go again. Another Monday, another week.

Last night, I was surfing the web on my iPod Touch, and came across this article about how to stop diabetes before it starts. As I may have mentioned, my favorite aunt died of complications from diabetes in her late 50s. My mom is a diabetic and in kidney failure. I am over 100 pounds overweight, and probably at great risk for diabetes.

As I read through the article, it came to me that there were a couple of suggestions there that I could easily follow, and in fact, HAD followed in the past. It suggested that I “Focus on fiber,” “Count on coffee,” and “Get moving.” So I got up out of bed and went downstairs. I put steel cut oatmeal in the crock pot and set the coffeemaker to brew at 7:00 am.

My very favorite healthy breakfast

It worked. I had a healthy breakfast of steel cut oatmeal topped with maple syrup, walnuts and wild blueberries and a cup of coffee with french vanilla creamer by 8:00 am. Then I took the kids to the bus stop and embarked on an hour-long dog walk while listening to one of my favorite podcasts.

And the best part was that it was PAINLESS. I love oatmeal. I love coffee. I love walking my dog, especially on cool fall mornings, when the leaves flash brilliant orange, golden yellow and scarlet red.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” —Hebrews 10:36

Fitblog-Badge

I’ve spent a couple of Tuesday nights recently on Twitter. I kept noticing that all my favorite healthy living tweeps kept using this hashtag: #fitblog.

After lurking for a while and reading along, I decided to jump in. These folks aren’t scary…and they’re talking about some topics near and dear to my heart.

Each week’s #fitblog chat will be Tuesday at 9:00 pm eastern time. This week, they’re starting a half-hour hearly at 8:30 pm eastern to discuss this week’s hot topic: the Marie Claire magazine article.

If you stop by, look me up: @sohelpmekath.

See you there!

I slipped a bit. Monday morning I woke up with a head cold and terrible sore throat, so I gave myself a pass on the walk. If it had been a nice day, I might have pushed through, but it was rainy and miserable. I couldn’t bring myself to get on the elliptical, either.

Ditto Tuesday.

By Tuesday night, I was back to feeling awful. It had been four days (the weekend, plus Monday & Tuesday) without a walk, and I was already feeling more depressed and achy (especially my back).

This morning, I grabbed the dog and the leash, and went for it. A shorter walk, but it helped. My neighbor joined me, so we played therapist for each other. I unloaded about the stress of putting my mom into a nursing home yesterday, and he told me that he was going to put his 14-year-old dog down today.

Free therapy totally works for me.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

So as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been walking lately. I’m proud to say that I’m on my third week of walking my dog for an hour every weekday morning after I put the kids on the school bus.

I’ve been taking my iPod along. I have a lot of great music on there, but lately I’ve been gravitating toward podcasts. Here are a few of my favorites…and they’re all FREE through iTunes!

My Thought Coach: These are like guided meditations with affirmations. It’s been really great to start my walk and my day with a big dose of positive energy. It really helps combat some of the negative thoughts I’ve been struggling with. A favorite is “Think Like A Clean and Organized Person,” which really helped change the way I feel about housework. Well, a little, anyway!

Meditation Station is put on by the same person who records My Thought Coach. My Thought Coach has 12 episodes; Meditation Station has 10. Stin also has a website where you can subscribe and download her recordings as mp3s. There are also a number of free recordings available.

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing: These are short podcasts (under 10 minutes) that each highlight a grammar or punctuation rule. Short, sweet, and oddly fascinating. It makes me feel like I’m “working,” since I signed up to attempt NaNoWriMo this November. Plus, it’s way more fun than English class!

Joel Osteen Audio Podcast and Joyce Meyer Radio Podcast: These are a nice way to sneak some good preaching into my walks. Joel’s podcasts are about half an hour, and Joyce’s last about 15 minutes.

mikeroweWORKS: There’s only about 4 episodes of this podcast available, but they’re good. They’re put on by Mike Rowe, who does Dirty Jobs. His voice is AMAZING; I’d listen to that guy read the phone book.  My favorite episode of his is “Mike Rowe’s Father’s Day Memories.”

And I’ve saved my favorite for last: Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone. Shauna and Carla chat about various healthy living topics, usually with a guest. One of my favorite parts is Blogger News (which as they’ve acknowledged is a misnomer, because they accept news from anyone, blogger or not), where they give shoutouts to anyone who has good news to share about reaching their healthy goals. As I mentioned to them one day on Twitter, it’s like having two angels on my shoulder while I walk. Here’s how much I love the podcast: There has been a new episode out for a week, but I haven’t listened to it yet because I’m SAVING it. It’s a delayed gratification thing. 🙂

I know there are a LOT more podcasts out there. Which are your favorites?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by We Are THAT Family.

Today I began my second week of walking.

It’s a new routine for me. I put the kids on the school bus, bring along my dog and my iPod, and walk. For about an hour.

Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much. But for me, it’s been life-changing.

I’ve spent the past couple of years beating myself up for not going to the gym, or for not working hard enough when I got there. There’s a voice in the back of my head that belongs to the trainer I hired a few years ago. That voice is quick to point out that I’m not working up to my full potential.

While that worked in my favor for a good long while, it has also worked AGAINST me. Ultimately it resulted in my twisted all-or-nothing thinking that kept me out of the gym, if I couldn’t do things HIS way.

But with the start of a new school year came a fresh start for me, as well. I knew I had to find an activity that I liked, one that I could do for the rest of my life. It sounded so cliche, and my trainer-voice berated me, telling me that walking was for wussies, that I should be LIFTING HARD and almost puking…but I learned the had way that his was was not sustainable. Not for me, anyway.

But I knew I needed to start a new, sustainable habit. So I decided to follow Martha Beck’s advice from The Four Day Win:

Step 1: Pick a Goal (in my case, walking for 2 hours a day; that should shut up the trainer-voice)

Step 2: Play Halvsies until your goal is ridiculously easy to attain (2 hours down to one hour down to half an hour down to 15 minutes down to 10 minutes: THAT’S ridiculously easy)

I haven’t done the rest of the steps yet; maybe I should:

Step 3: Identify a Reward

Step 4: Identify a 4-Day Reward

Step 5: Make Sure the Action and the Reward are Linked

Any ideas for a great reward? What works for you?

It’s amazing the benefits that come from a simple walk each morning. Check it out:

  • Fresh air and sunshine
  • Fewer aches and pains
  • Opportunity to listen to my favorite podcasts
  • A well-exercised dog
  • Beautiful views from a few great spots in my neighborhood
  • A feeling of accomplishment
  • A clear head
  • Stress relief
  • More patience with my mom and kids
  • A sense of hope, of taking my own life back (something I’d lost caring for Mom this past summer)

What’s your favorite workout, and why?

I’m behind in reading the Bible in 90 days along with Mom’s Toolbox.

Life caught up to me, and I fell behind. I’m on Day 40 today, but today’s really supposed to be Day 50.

Oh well…if I double up on my reading, I can be caught up by Day 60, right? School started today, so I’m hoping to get a little breathing room between Mom’s doctor appointments (she has 2 this week).

I remember reading the book of Job in the car on one of our road trips…boy, was THAT a downer! Now I’m slogging through the Psalms.

If you’re interested in joining me, you can read this week’s post here to get caught up.