A Time For Healing

Rest

Spring is right around the corner and with it I am praying for warmer temperatures, sunshine and restored health. We have had some difficult health challenges in our family over the past few months. As you read in an earlier post, Jules has been battling some issues with her heart. Prayers for her speedy recovery are appreciated. Our Mom has also had some health concerns that have been challenging to work through, but things seem to be moving in a better direction, Praise God!

I have not experienced anything as serious as their conditions, but have been battling a foot injury that has required me to reduce my normal activity level by about 90%. I injured my foot during our travels to Germany last summer, by doing too much uphill walking in the wrong shoes and developed tendonitis (an overuse injury). Instead of going to the doctor right away, I thought it would eventually get better, so I didn’t see a medical professional until last November when the pain became unbearable. The doctor has tried several things to cure the pain but nothing has worked so far. A month ago, he sent me home in a walking cast with orders to rest.

Mt. Zugspitze

(We saw some awesome scenery this summer, but every sight seemed to be at the top of a very high mountain/hill! It makes my foot hurt just looking at this picture, but it was totally worth it! This was taken at Mt. Zugspitze-Germany’s highest peak.)

This whole ordeal has been so frustrating and has tested my patience.   As much as I thought I hated exercising, I really miss it. I realized how much I counted on it for my mental sanity and stress control. I also realized how hard it is for me to just sit, rest and let others help me. The Mister and the girls have been great helping out with the cooking, shopping and cleaning. Little One has made about a hundred trips up the stairs fetching things for me. I have struggled with feelings of guilt and frustration because I am not able to do things I usually do. I realized that, as with any situation, there are lessons to be learned. Jules said to me the other day that she wondered if her health challenge was a message from God to slow down. I have definitely found some advantages to slowing down and resting.

I’m not as tired as I was when I was running every day and I really don’t miss those 5:30 am wake ups. I have even discovered some different ways to work out that I might not have tried before the injury. I have had more time to just hang out with my family, since I am not running around like a crazy person trying to get everything done. Jules and I have even had time to start scheming together on a new project, which has been loads of fun! I have also learned I don’t have to take on everything myself, I have people willing to help me which is so comforting. I just have to be willing to accept the help. Oh, and one side note I really can get a lot of things done via the Internet! The Mister opened the front door the other day and commented that every time he opened the door, there was another package on our front porch! I’ve become a bit of an Amazon addict!  Finally, I have learned to let some things go. Things might not get done the way I would do them or on my timeline, but they are getting done and if they aren’t, it isn’t the end of the world.

Now, do I wish I didn’t have to experience this injury to learn these lessons? You bet! Would I have learned them without being forced to? Probably not! So as I continue to heal from this injury, I will focus on being thankful for the blessings in my life and the lessons I am continually learning. I thank God for always being by my side, especially during the challenging times. I know I can always bring my troubles and cares to Him and He will provide comfort, peace and rest.

How about you? Do you need to slow down and take some time to rest? Have you been struggling with an injury or illness? I encourage to you find a way to slow down, accept help when you need it and say no to some things, so you can say yes to others. We would love to hear your stories or tips in the comments.

Blessings,

Jen

Acceptance

AcceptanceAcceptance………seems like such a simple word doesn’t it. I guess when you think about acceptance it can mean a few different things. The acceptance I want to talk about today is perfectly illustrated in this cartoon. Sometimes we just have to accept things as they are. I have been going to physical therapy for my back for the last 3 weeks. I love therapy. I love having someone train me and help me get stronger. In my heart, I am an athlete. Yes, in my heart I am an athlete….in reality, I have fibromyalgia which causes debilitating aches and pains. This means that while my heart may be willing, my body is not always able to do what I want. This brings me to acceptance. I have to accept that I can’t do everything that may come natural to some people. My therapist will tell you I work hard when I’m there. I do everything he says and do it perfectly. What he doesn’t know is that I suffer for that later. Why would I do that you may ask? Well, I guess it is because I don’t want to “accept” that things are the way they are. I have had many an addict react in anger that they suffer from this terrible disease and wonder why they can’t be like “normal people.” And I tell them, because you can’t, and you aren’t…you must accept that this is your reality. So……….. I guess it is time to practice what I preach!!! Yeah, sometimes I need to look in the mirror and give myself a little therapy!! Acceptance – it can cover a lot of things….addiction, illness, a disability, and death. Life will become easier I believe when we just accept that it is what it is. I think that will bring a more peaceful state of mind….what do you think? Anything you are struggling with trying to accept?

Have a great weekend!

Julie

P.S. Today I told my physical therapist that I just can’t keep up the pace he has set for me. He was very understanding and made adjustments!! So…there is hope for me yet!!

The Scale – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

the scaleAnybody else feel this way when they step on the scale? I have been a member of Weight Watchers for a little over 3 years now. Trust me, that scale has been a huge part of my life for a long time, actually way way longer than just 3 years. Some days it makes me happy, some days it makes me sad, some days it makes me angry, and some days, well frankly, some days I just pretend it isn’t there!! I use the scale for accountability. Apparently I need this electronic object to tell me how I’m doing or what I should change. It can evoke joy, hope and failure.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. While the scale can be a useful tool, does it really say anything about who I am? Does it register when I’ve been a good wife, mother, grandmother, employee or friend? Does it tell me when I’ve been kind and helpful? Can it see into my heart and see a love for Jesus, my family, friends and my dogs??

You see, my friends. The scale is giving us a number, it says nothing about our character or who we really are, so why are we buying into it so much. I think we would much better serve ourselves if we focused on feeding our bodies the best quality and healthiest food we can. Because we want to care for ourselves, we want to give ourselves good food. And exercise…should it be torture? Or should it be a good brisk walk in the sunshine and fresh air, maybe with a friend or your dog. Or how about hiking, kayaking, swimming, playing sports, just having fun moving the bodies God gave us. Why must we make it all seem so hard. I think if we really start to value ourselves as wonderful human beings and practice good self care, maybe that number on the scale will just take care of itself. I for one don’t want it to have such an affect on me. I want to make changes because I like feeling better, healthier, stronger and more energetic. Don’t get me wrong, I also love the smaller clothes, the complements and the sense of accomplishment! I’ve made some great friends at Weight Watchers and I will never stop attending meetings. That’s just who I am. I need their feedback, their pep talks and the encouragement of friends. I like sharing their successes and them sharing mine. But the scales…I’m ready to stop letting them stress me out and start practicing what I preach….self care, being nice to ourselves and doing things we love. Now that will bring success!! Good luck on whatever path you take!

Peace,

Julie

5 Simple Exercises

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As I was going through some things in my exercise room the other day, I came across a paper with these exercises written on it.  I can’t remember exactly what I copied it from, but I decided to give it a try because it looked quick and easy.

Do 20 reps 6 times each:

  • squats
  • sit-ups
  • push-ups
  • couch dips (tricep)
  • planks (20 seconds)

It wasn’t quite as “easy” as I thought, especially the tricep dips!  I made it through 3 out of 6 sets and it took me about 12 minutes.  You can modify these exercises to meet your current fitness level, such as doing traditional push-ups or on your knees, adjusting how low you go for squats or dips or varying the sit-up position .  Also, I think this would be a great set of exercises for travel since there is no need for any special equipment.  To compensate for my poor memory skills, I moved 6 little rocks  from one pile to another to count down my 6 sets. (or 3 sets! :))

What do you think?  Why not download some tunes from this list of Christian work-out songs, crank up the music and give it a try!   Do you have any quick and easy exercise routines you enjoy?  As always, we would love to hear any feedback in the comments section!

Wishing you a happy, healthy weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

Fitness App

 

I stumbled upon this fitness app and wanted to share it with you.  It is called POPSUGAR Active.  You can search for this name in the App Store on your phone or Ipad, or you can check it out on by following this link.  This app has choices for strength training, running, yoga or cardio workouts.

The workout choices include videos or exercise guides to choose from.  I like the videos, which give you 10 minute or 40 minute options.  Each area of fitness has a variety of choices from total body workouts or specific body part focus such as arms, abs or legs. One of the main instructors, Anna Renderer, is upbeat and motivating and the videos are easy to follow.  I love the 10 minute videos because they are easy to fit into my busy day.

Below is one of the videos for abs:

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy, blessed day!

~Blessings,

Jen

Be Inspired To Listen

jump-for-joy

” Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  

                                                                                                           1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

I have been dealing with a back injury since February of this year.  At the time of the injury, I thought I could just work through it and it would go away, but it didn’t.  Ten months later I am finally starting to feel better.  This journey to healing has been a frustrating one, but I have learned a lot about listening to my body.  I have had to learn to be patient with myself and give my body time to heal.

Up until this injury, I was pretty active and ran five days a week.  After the injury, I kept running for four months despite the pain.  I kept thinking it would get better and I could just run through the pain.  The old adage of “no pain, no gain” was not working for me. I finally decided to seek some help, trying a few different options, until I eventually ended up with a prescription for physical therapy. One of the first directions my physical therapist gave me was to stop running.  This was a tough one to follow,  I had never had an injury that kept me from doing the things I wanted to do.  For me, running is not only a great form of exercise but it is also helps me to stay mentally fit!

Over the course of my treatment, my physical therapist taught me exercises that would help strengthen my back and improve my pain level.  I had a few setbacks during the course of treatment, when I would try to run and then realize my body wasn’t ready for that type of exercise yet. (I can be a slow learner sometimes!)  Over the weeks, I learned to really stop and listen to my body.  If I was in pain, I would try to listen to my body and  if  it was telling me I needed a  more gentle exercise or even rest, then that was what I needed to do!  It was a very hard lesson for me, to slow down and listen, but it was definitely one I needed to learn!

I started thinking about how listening to our body is something that often gets lost in this busy, fast-paced world.  I know I am guilty of rushing through my day, not always getting enough sleep or nourishing my body with healthy food.  When I really stopped to think about it, why wouldn’t I listen and care for myself?  Why would I take for granted this most precious gift of life from God?  I started thinking about how intricately God designed us, all that goes on inside our bodies each day from our beating hearts to the gift of sight and sound and all of the other many systems within that allow us to live each day.  This motivates me to want to take better care of myself.  In doing so, I can honor God and live my best life, a life of service to the One who created me.

I am human and I know I won’t always listen like I should, but I am going to try.  If I am tired, I will get some rest, if I am in pain, I will slow down and care for myself .  When I am feeling stressed, I will take a deep breath and try to manage it better.  If I feel like jumping for joy, I think I will do that too!  These are just a few of the things I can do to listen and take care of myself.  In a month where we focus on thankfulness, I can’t help but reflect on and be so very  thankful for this beautiful gift of life God has given me!

~Blessings,

Jen