Pray As You Go

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Pray As You Go

I’ve been searching for a way to improve my flexibility. I’ve also been searching for a way to improve my meditation/devotional life. I know that might sound odd but during the school year, I have a great routine: staff devotions/Bible study before school, prayers and devotions to start the day with my students, teaching religion as a class, then prayers before the meal, and prayers before dismissal at the end of the day. I go to Bible study with other women, I play music for my church. I’m just immersed in a routine that surrounds me with quiet prayer and fellowship with other believers.

Once school is out, things change. We pray before meals and do bedtime devotions and prayers. But I’ve just been missing out on something.

One of my favorite memories was working at camp in the early-mid 1990s. I was a counselor and every morning, before my camper girls would wake up, I’d go outside my cabin and sit on the ground. The sun would be rising over the lake and I would say Luther’s morning prayer and do a devotion. The peace and calm was awesome and it helped me through a very, very crazy (but wonderful) summer.

I don’t know how to recreate that, all these years later. Hustle and bustle seems to always seep in. A mentor recommended Pray As You Go (see link) and I’ve really enjoyed that, but I’m still missing something.

As for the physical flexibility. I’ve had people recommend Yoga and Pilates to me. I tried a Yoga/Pilates dvd and some early morning workouts on tv. I wasn’t a big fan of yoga because the poses seemed too hard and I didn’t like the Hindu chant/meditation/feel of it. Pilates just seemed REALLY hard on my back/neck. Didn’t seem like something I could really see myself doing for the long term. One workout that I found that I really DO enjoy is from Teresa Tapp. See her link — she’s shared incredible information, enthusiasm, inspiration, and encouragement with me and many others over the 12+ years since I first ordered her T-Tapp system. One important element of T-Tapp, though, is the need to focus and concentrate on how you are moving your body. I love that because it gets results. I hate that because sometimes I get SO focused on trying to do it perfectly that it really stresses me out…half the time I don’t realize that I’m stressing out about it!

What’s a girl to do? I recently found a website called “Praise Moves” (see the link). Using stretches that are similar to yoga but with Christian Bible verses and meditation, these DVDs seemed promising to me. I ordered one of the new DVDs and it was backordered, so they were nice enough to send me the AM/PM Praise Moves as a free gift. I love it. My little girl and I do the PM workout before her bedtime routine. She is SO flexible and I am SO not… but it’s a great chance to bond and stretch and meditate. Sure, I’d probably get more out of the meditation part if she WASN’T right next to me, but I don’t care. It’s demonstrating that taking care of our body and souls is important. And, I hope, it’s a good memory that she’ll always have to take with her as she grows.


Dr. Oz’s “Faturday”

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Dr. Oz’s “Faturday”

OK, call me Crazy (like that’s hard to do!) but I was wasting time researching ways to get healthier, online, and found out about something called calorie zig-zag. Have you ever heard of it? Yeah, I don’t know what it was either.

It works this way: instead of eating the same amount of calories every single day of the week, you eat the same amount of calories for three days (Sun-Tues), then increase your calories by 20% on one day (Wed), back to the regular amount for two days (Thurs-Fri), and then increase your calories by 10% on the last day of the week (Sat). The theory, from the way I understand it, is that your body won’t know what to expect and will be getting enough calories to be active and lose weight but will also get a little ‘boost’ of calories (and energy??) on those two “zag” days. This is so foreign to me.

I did watch the “Dr. Oz” show a week or two or several ago (because it’s summer and I’ve actually GOT that kind of time now!) about “Faturday”. The concept there is that you give yourself ONE day a week to ‘pig out’ or ‘fall off’ the diet wagon; by allowing yourself to do that, you will stick to the lower calorie days and won’t be as tempted to cheat. See the link to check it out for yourself…

The thing is, for me anyway, I don’t know that I can really just ‘pig out’ for one day and then be perfect the rest of the week. That’s asking too much for me. I have to admit that since I cut wheat out of my diet (OK, I confess, not 100% out but I’m working on it…), I find that my mood swings and cravings have gotten much better. But I don’t want to risk getting off track from a schedule one day and then… knowing myself as I do… NOT getting back on the schedule again for days, weeks, months, years. Sigh.

So I think that a calorie zig-zag will be a better option. For me. It’s worth a try. I joined a website and downloaded an App so that I can map and track my activity and my food/water. I like that I can track my calories and how much protein, carbs, fats, etc. I’m hoping that it won’t take too long before I’m in the ‘groove’ and know how many calories are in my go-to meals from home so that I can plan accordingly.

Here’s to good health! Salud!

I’ve got a Map and I MIGHT know how to use it…

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For weeks, OK maybe months, I’ve been thinking about this blog. Wondering if/when I should start writing. Why I should bother to put it all down. I realized that if I’m struggling with something, chances are that others are too. Or they’ve been there, done that, and what to help others through the rough times.

I’ve felt stuck in a rut for the last 3 years. I’m not kidding. THREE years. I felt like I was forced to give up my dream job, move away from some of the most awesome friends I’ve ever made, move back to a place that never has felt like ‘home’ to me, and go back into a job that has never felt 100% my best fit. And even less so now, I guess. The one advantage…the only good thing… about the move was that I was reunited with my husband. We didn’t have to live apart anymore. I didn’t have to be a ‘single parent’ to our young child anymore. No more missing out on milestones; no more sleepless nights filled with endless anxiety for me. THAT part has been awesome. The whole giving up my dream job and wonderful friends part has sucked. Big time.

I appreciate that I WAS able to get the job that I currently have; and I’ve made new friends, so that’s been a huge blessing too. Don’t get me wrong; I stepped into a job at the WORST possible time and somehow I’ve managed to enjoy myself at times. But I’ve also had a lot of stress and anxiety. I’m a broken record about those things. One step forward, two steps back… seems to be the dance moves of my life.

One other thing I’ve missed in the past 3 years — flexibility and time to work out. I used to drop my child off at daycare, go to work, leave work right on time, go to do my workout, pick up my child, and go back to my office to get some more work done in the evenings. When it was just the two of us, we could have supper whenever we wanted to; we didn’t have cable or internet at our home, so we spent a LOT of time at my office. But I had the chance to work out. I would walk/run on the treadmill and then sit in the outdoor hottub, which was open 365 days/year, even in the winter. I was do arm bends, squats, etc in the warm water. Sounds crazy but it really did help my muscles. And it felt SO good.

Part of being back home is that 1) it doesn’t feel like ‘home’, and 2) we live in a terrible area for walking/running/biking. Lots of train tracks and not a lot of trails or paths for riding bikes. I grew up riding my bike on the sidewalks and always felt very safe doing that. Here, you’re supposed to ride your bike on the street. The traffic FREAKS me out. So, sadly, I shy away from biking. I used to ride on the streets about 10 years ago but that was only until I could get to the trails around the lakes in Minneapolis. That made the stress of biking on streets worth it. And I’d get up VERY early so that there wouldn’t be as much traffic. That helped.

As I was debating about starting this blog, I was searching the internet and stumbled upon an App for my iphone that would log my bike rides, walks, runs, etc. As much as people may hate technology, I love it. Love it. Love anything that can make life easier and more fulfilling for me. Anyhow, I realized that if I could map out what I WANT to ride and then record what I DO ride, that might be some good motivation for me!

I also have struggled with what I’m eating and not eating. Since cutting out (OK, not completely, but definitely cutting DOWN) wheat from my diet, I find myself overeating other types of food. I’m just stuck for ideas of what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, etc. I found a website to tell me how many calories I SHOULD be eating… and how I can switch up the number of calories that I eat each day to help my body burn more calories. Well, I finally feel like THAT is some sort of ‘mental map’ for me to work with! Now I just need to start tracking calories (the best that I can) to figure out what I can eat/how much in order to stay in that calorie range. FINALLY, some direction! Will it work?

Only time will tell.

Which, by the way, is why I keep going back to my job, year after year. No two days are ever the same so while I can feel like a complete failure one day… the next day may have me laughing and enjoying myself so much that I can’t believe I get paid for this.

Why a MENTAL lunch box?

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I grew up in the late 1970s, and the 1980s…when metal lunch boxes were popular. I had a Holly Hobbie lunch box, with the thermos. Then I had a Strawberry Shortcake lunch box, with the flip-top spout on the Thermos. AWE-SOME. Those were METAL lunchboxes. They don’t even MAKE lunch boxes like those these days. You can find something similar to it at places like Old Navy… but they don’t come with a thermos and they’re made in China instead of in Tennessee, like the “good ol’ days”.

I spent $30 — on clearance — to buy a bagpack and lunchbox with my child’s name on it last year for Christmas. What did this child want to take lunch in almost every day once the special lunch box was here? Yeah, you guessed it — mom’s old metal lunch boxes. You know why? Because they’re still awesome. AWE-SOME! You can stick magnets on them. You can bang them around and they’ll survive. Spill something? Easy to clean up — no need to throw it in the washing machine. Practical. Well built. Withstood the test of time.

So… when creating a blog, why would I call it my MENTAL lunch box? I wanted to call it “Cheaper Than Therapy” because I figured that my rantings, ravings, and web-land journalings would prove to be much cheaper than therapy, but someone else already has that clever name for her blog. Shucks. Missed out. Then it struck me… if I can be proud to share my kick-butt 1970s/80s metal lunch boxes with my child… I guess I can share all the practical, well built, test-of-time things from my own life with anyone who is interested. A mental lunch box indeed.