Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Woman of Noble Character.

I had to stop everything I was doing to write this post because I was so moved by the love I received this morning. I was so moved by the woman who chose to grace me with her sweet presence and serve me today. I was so moved by her loving acts of service and my heart is so full I could burst. So I had to share.

You see, every thursday morning for the past four weeks I drive thirty minutes to calligraphy class at ten in the morning. The past four weeks my family has come to the rescue by being here to take care of Rebekah. I am so grateful to each of them, for driving from out of town and sacrificing their time to sit at our home. I laugh at the chaos of these mornings, but I am so elated to know that my thirteen month old can have her morning nap and spend some special time with people who adore her. Thursday mornings have been a very special time for this stay at home mom to say the least. 

Today my Luli (my Mom's Mom) took a turn to come help me. Correction, she arrived last night to Virginia (forty five minutes) after she worked to spend the night so she could babysit. Again, babysitting in of itself is a big deal! My Grandmother is 83! She is going to  kill me for telling you her age, but it speaks VOLUMES about who she is. She isn't old and fragile. She is strong and mighty and one of the most youthful people I know. 

So what stopped me in my tracks was when I got home, we had lunch, I cut her hair and I put the baby back down and Luli and I said our goodbyes. I was hanging up about eight shirts of my husbands that Luli had ironed. Before I left she saw the laundry in our breakfast nook and just simply said - "Do you need those ironed? I can do that." I immediately said yes to the offer but it wasn't until she left and I was hanging up his shirts that the flood of love hit me. 

What love she has. I was awestruck, and I immediately began to think of the verse Titus 2:3-4 
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
So often I have thought to myself, "Where are these women?" "I want to BE that women!" There is  a dilemma in many churches, and in our culture in general in which we aren't finding this type of community. Young women, especially mothers, are very isolated. And when they are not their community mostly consists of women in their same life stage. That is wonderful for friendship, but it is killing us. We keep trying to reinvent the wheel on parenting, multi-tasking, you name it. And we are barely getting by (this is true if you stay at home or work). There are so many young women who do not know how to take care of themselves, their families or a home. We are a generation that barely learned to cook, clean a bathroom properly, or press linen shirts. I know a handful of young women who don't even do their own laundry or weren't taught till they were in their twenties. Now this isn't about what people might think it's about! This isn't about women's "place". This isn't about going back to the fifties. It's about the care and nurturing of one another and training women receive from other women. It's also about attitude and heart. It is also about the VALUE of this particular "role" (though I am not arguing, or going to argue, that it is the only valuable role).

The reason why this verse came to my heart is because, I realized, my grandmother is the women in the verse. She not only ironed my husbands shirts, but she saw something that needed to be done in my home and she did it. Without question, or making me feel guilty. I didn't have to ask. And she didn't rebuff when I accepted her offer. She knows what it is like to run a home, and so on top of everything else she did for me, she loved me MORE. Her offer was filled with so much grace and sacrificial christ like love, I can only HOPE I can emulate that one day.

I shouldn't be surprised by this realization. Looking back on my life I can see the great blessing she has been over me. Growing up she is the women who urged me on, taught me sew, taught me to bake and how to wear a sunday hat and high heels. She taught me to drink coffee, and how to sit and "chat" for hours. All my good fashion sense is from her. But there is so much more than that. Yes she taught me a lot about domestic life, but she has taught me what Christ like love and service is.

Christ said if you want to be first you must be last. Man, that is a hard concept for me. I often resent serving others, I get tired of it quickly and move on to what will best serve me. I have my own opinions  and judgements of myself and others that often overshadow loving myself and others. But here, amidst me now is my sweet Luli. She loves all her children, like Jesus does.

Seriously, if you only knew our family. We are ALL so different and imperfect, and she has loved us all. Joyful, sad, gay, straight, tattooed, pierced, loud, emotional, angry, hard, poor, rich, sorrowful, hurt, healed... she has shown Christ. She is a great example of what a GODLY Christian woman is. So often Christians get a bad, and deserved reputation, for being judgmental and hateful - especially to those who don't share their beliefs and are different from them. But here is a woman who stands in her convictions, does not waiver, but still LOVES. And it's not phony or polite or fake. It's not, "okay, 'so and so' is gone now so lets talk about how messed up they are." She is honest about her story, but she is slow to speak and doesn't slander others.

When I came home from college with multiple piercings did she gossip about me? Did she say it was ugly? Did she REBUKE me? Did she condemn me? Did she give me her opinion? Did she "share" about what the bible says?  NOPE. She didn't shout for joy and say GOOD JOB! But she loved me just as I was. And she still loves me the same today. Did the look and the love in her eyes ever change? No, and that does not make her great that makes Christ in her great. That makes the love of God so evident because that kind of love is beyond human capacity. To love people so earnest and true, caring about their heart, and taking compassion on them time and time again. I am grateful to have her example. I am grateful for the love she has given to me. I hope I can be more like Christ in this way.

As I hang up the final shirt today in the closet I am moved to tears and gratitude. Thank you Luli. Thank you for being a woman that I can model myself after. Thank you for teaching me how to bake the best apple pie and host a party, but most of all thank you for showing me that Jesus' love is real, even in imperfect people who make mistakes, He can redeem us with His great and unending love.

Luli & I sharing coffee... one of our favorite past times together.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Progress not Perfection.

I have had a good amount of questions about this 90 day challenge I am participating in, and I am sorry I have not had a chance to answer these questions. My intention was to write a blog post about it, but alas I am RARELY on my computer anymore because I have a rambunctious 13 month old running around. Between playing, dancing, trying to workout, and trying to WORK while being a stay at home  mom, I haven't had a chance to blog. But that's okay. "You can do anything but not EVERYTHING." So I choose to scoop my dear little one up, take walks when we can, attempt an art class (haha- "Rebekah DON'T EAT THE TISSUE PAPER!") - or heck, since I get up many mornings at 5am, take a nap.

So what exactly is the 90 day challenge?

Simple answer: It's a weight-loss/ transformation challenge my gym LIFETIME FITNESS hosts twice a year.

Long answer: It was my challenge to myself to lose the last of my baby-weight and to improve my body fat, by eating clean and also getting my BUTT KICKED at the 6am bootcamp I started to attend at the end of January.

So some of you may have read about my weight-loss journey on my blog before. I like to talk about it here because I KNOW how hard it is after you have a baby to feel good about your body. I was in great shape before I had my daughter, and I didn't expect to feel so horrible about my body. Looking back I realize I was borderline depressed because of the SHOCK of how my body looked. It was the only thing I had an issue with. I felt HOPELESS. I started at a healthy weight and I only gained 35 lbs, and yet after I had my daughter it didn't just fall off for me.

I found myself constantly comparing myself to these Mom's who had lost the weight in 3 months, 6 months, 9 months. And who not only lost the weight but had six packs to boot! Sometimes it motivated me - sometimes it was a depression obsession.

But things are different now. So here is an update! I was up to 159 after the holidays, (I had got down to 151 but stayed there for MONTHS - like 4 or 5 months!!!!!) So with the INSANE plateau, the stress of training for a half marathon (November) I was DONE. I had kind of given up, but also knew I just needed a mental break. I knew after the holidays, and weaning my daughter I could begin again.

And so I did.

I am now down to 147 after A LOT of hard work. Not perfect eating. Not perfect routines. But also NOT finished. Just consistently putting one foot in front of the other. My new year resolution wasn't about weight loss but instead bodyfat and also how many times I work out a week. Being someone who was already working out, my goal is to work out 5 times a week at minimum. I am finally starting to feel like myself again. I can see some definition in my arms, and legs again. My clothes are getting loose, and I can fit my pre-preger jeans over my hips and butt (they don't fasten just yet but I can see that happening in the next couple weeks).

As much as I would like to say I have done it all on my own, that would be a lie. I have to give credit to my trainer Bryan at Lifetime, and my FitFam (6 am bootcampers at Lifetime). I joined the 6 am bootcamp class mid January (with my amazing sister in law) to start the new year off right. I had two "free" weeks of bootcamp, and I honestly told myself I was just going to do the two weeks because 1.) It was at SIX IN THE MORNING and that meant waking up at 5!!! 2.) I didn't want to pay for it, but it would be a great jump start. No I am not cheap, but I don't have an endless budget like a lot of people who work out at our gym. But alas, I did the two weeks, almost passed out and puked the first class, but now I am addicted. I love getting up, getting my workout it, sitting in the steam room at 7:15am and getting showered, home and ready for the day by 8:30. It's a great feeling. I am getting stronger and stronger. I am doing things I NEVER thought I could do nor did I even know existed.

The energy of our bootcamp class is amazing. We are truly a little family. Competitive but encouraging. We push each other, we show up and we work. And it's something that I didn't really know existed for adults - it's the same feeling you have when you are part of a sports team - your teammates depend on you, and you grow a fondness for each other, realizing one another's strengths and weaknesses. I know a lot of people don't think they need or can't afford these types of things, I was one of those people. But it isn't even a matter of cost anymore. I have basically cut out my clothing budget, and some other things, to pay for the additional expense of the class. Why would I want to by more clothes that I don't really feel like my best self in? That's a small example but my point is... it's worth the investment and the sacrifice.

Seriously... "Love your body it's all you have".

That's what I am trying to do. Love my body. Take care of myself because no one else will. YES people will love you, and care ABOUT you. But you must make the most of this life by treating your vessel with the care it deserves. It won't change overnight. I have a long long way to go, but I am on the road. I am in the way of going. I am walking. And I encourage you to just keep walking. I was reminded today after an awesome workout, that tested my confidence and also my strength, that failure is okay... it is PART of becoming successful. Perfection is not a requirement. In fact it can't be. We have to fall, and fail so we can learn, get stronger and be better.

Cheers! Have a great rest of the weekend! Hope this encouraged you!