Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shout out to Miss Sarie

Prepare yourself because this blog is going to be served with a whole lot o cheese!

Sarie Fischer Norval. Wife to Mike. Mother to Graham and Scarlett. Daughter of Diane. Friend to Many. Inspiration to ME!  If you know her, you love her. If you don't, you wish you did. She is the kind of friend that everyone wants.  Open, honest, REAL!  Sarie's blog mommy used to be so pretty is raw, insightful, appealing to all kinds of women and so well written, you want more the minute you finish. Yes, I am biased, but not mistaken.

I was reading Sarie's "What's wrong with YOU?" post and felt it warranted more than a comment. I mean we're talking about one of my closest friends, someone I would stop time to have coffee and visit with for an hour. There is a certain comfort in knowing that other women experience the same day to day trials, but also that they react to life in the same way.

Dreams. When we are really young our mind knows no limit, we can be literally anything. For instance, my always keeps me on my toes Chloe wants to be a Musketeer. Yes, as in the 3 Musketeers, well Barbie and the Three Musketeers to be exact. Here is a sample conversation with Chloe about her dreams:

C: Can I go to Paris when I am 16?
M: Yeah, I think that would be fun if we all went to Paris.
C: NO! When you become a Musketeer you have to leave your family behind.
M: Well nowadays you don't leave your family behind until your 18.
Brandon to Chloe: Maybe you could study abroad.
M to B: (scowling face)
M: We can all go together for your 16th birthday and then you can go by yourself later.
C: Okay, then I can become a Musketeer.

I realize that her dream of becoming a Musketeer is based on a Barbie movie where they sing and dance and wear pretty clothes. However I cannot ignore that my baby girl has no walls built around her possibilities. She wants to go out into the world, headstrong and full bore into whatever is waiting for her. I love that, I want to nurture that fire, I want to keep society's idea of 'reality' at a distance because who are THEY to say what we can accomplish with our lives, especially if we are living it without boundaries.

Sarie's honest commentary on life left me thinking about dreams. For two full weeks I have been thinking about my dreams. If we choose to let go of particular dreams, does this mean we have given up on a part of ourselves or has our focus simply changed?

The older I get, the less self absorbed I consider myself to be. I had big dreams when I was young; become a flight attendant so I could travel all the time and see a variety of wonderful places. Now, I cannot imagine seeing those places alone, I want to experience new and exciting things with those most important in my life.

Honestly the thoughts that surfaced the most in the past two weeks are a combination of Motherhood and Dreams.

All my dreams lie within one little girl. I dream of her talents. I dream of her lessons learned. I dream of a scar-free life. I dream of her realizing true love and sacrifice. I dream of her being a mother. I dream for her in detail, in the abstract, out of fear, but I dream nonetheless. For she just may be my biggest contribution to this world.

So then, it would be safe to say that I am one of my mother's dreams. When I think that MY life is part of another person's dream, I feel a sense of responsibility to strive forward. I don't feel obligated to pin down anything specific because I know that what my mother dreams for me is a full and happy life. She dreams more for me than I could ever hope for myself.

I have decided that while the future looms and the unknown abounds I will continue to live my dreams while striving to attain all my Mother dreamed for me.

Thank you Sarie for pushing me to think beyond what I consider within my day-to-day routine. I hope you follow your dreams, I hope they unfold before your eyes and most of all I hope you are surprised by life's twists and turns.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, I should be sleeping...

After dropping Chloe off to school it was my plan to come home and take a nap. I know, napping in the morning, sounds a bit crazy. However, I was up most the night hanging out with this annoying cough. Just when i was about to nod off to wonderland, cough - CoUgH - COUGH!! This cough is like a used car salesman who cannot stop talking, a telemarketer calling at super time and a snoring husband all wrapped up in one! It doesn't know when to stop, comes out of nowhere and bothers me the most at night! Plus it is interfering with my P90X

I don't need any more excuses to quit - I have enough of my own. I mean why can't working out everyday just be easy - I am not gonna lie, I was getting to where I enjoyed the "me time". Yesterday I did Plyometrics - the jumping one - by choice! Oh yeah, I chose to jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up, and get down. Sorry a little throw back to old school rap. I like this workout because in addition to the nauseating amount of squats, we do moves like the Heisman, Jump Shots, Rock-n-roll jump and Monster tires. Interesting fun moves like these are what make P90X bearable and kinda fun. No, I am jumping aboard the exercise bandwagon - I am not a groupie yet - just curiously intrigued by what I don't mind doing in the workouts. 

So, I have been thinking about Chloe and her view of health at 5 years old. I love the fact that she knows the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy snack. I am glad that she doesn't feel the need to ask to get an apple or a cheese stick but will always ask before eating junk food. There have been many instances when she chooses healthy over sweets. She also knows what fat is, she knows I am fat. I know the word FAT sounds harsh and some may think I should teach her to say overweight but really what are we carrying around? what are we trying to replace with muscle? what do we want to lose pounds of? fat - Fat - FAT! So I let her say fat. Do I let her call people fat in public? No, I am not going to sacrifice politeness.  One day she told me she didn't want to be like me, she wanted to be healthy when she grows up and not fat. Initially this hurt my feelings, I don't know why because I don't want her to be like me either, I want her to love being active and to strive to be fit and healthy.

My favorite thing about doing P90X is when Chloe joins in when I am doing a workout. She is also a bit of an accountability partner, even though she doesn't realize. Yesterday we stopped at the donut shop and I made some poor choices, two to be exact; one jelly filled and one chocolate iced with bavarian cream. I did eat them at different times in the day but it was Chloe that reminded me, "Mom, you will have to do your exercise if you eat that donut". She was right, I really did need that workout but the workout did not need that jelly donut! Combined with the cough it was the hardest workout I have had yet. 

Advice from various people (including my Mom) have encouraged taking a few days off to allow my body to fight off whatever is attacking it and heal properly. Buuuuuut, if I stop for a couple days there is very little chance I will get back on track. So I will continue to do my best one day at a time and take extra care of my body in hopes of ridding myself of this cough. 

What about you?  Any low impact workout ideas? Any remedies for a cough that doesn't know when it has overstayed its welcome? It's hard to rest when you cannot get any sleep. But I will continue to work against these obstacles so that I might someday actually be...

The Incredible Shrinking Bride.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day....Schmo Day

Another snow day? yes, thank you! Even Brandon got a snow day since the negative temperatures kept the car from starting this morning! It's kinda nice, we each take a room and relax in our own way. I can hear Chloe playing with her Pet Shop toys, a big elaborate plot is unfolding and her use of different voices cracks me up!  Brandon is upstairs enjoying his PlayStation and iPod;  thank God he has earphones on so as not to hear me laughing at his off key rendition of Breaking Benjamin's I Will Not Bow. Me? Well, I must confess that I am writing this blog as I drain a couple water bottles after completing the CardioX workout from P90X. I am sweaty and stinky. Really really stinky. But I just had to sit down with you before I shower so all these thoughts are not lost. 

Snow day. It is what every child, no matter how old, hopes for when they see snow falling outside. As grown ups we start to realize some of the hassles that come along with a snow day. I have mixed feelings about these snow days; relief, frustration, worry, and a little comfort. 

Snow Day 1:  It was nice not to have to get up and run around town dropping people off at school and work. I love not showering until noon! We also got all the Christmas decor down, organized and packed away in the closet. (Brandon just belted out, "I don't really want to be the Queen, I-i-i-i." Hilarious!) Brandon cleaned the entire living room, wait for it...without being asked! Chloe got the bug and cleaned her room, even made the bed! It felt good to have no responsibilities to pull us away from our neat and tidy abode. Unfortunately for me, I could not connect to Blackboard; the system UNK uses for instructors to provide class information to students. I cannot  figure out if it is my computer or the actual system and since UNK is shutdown, I have no one to contact for help...argh! So when the news came that UNK had another snow day today, I did feel relieved. Probably the worse part of Snow Day 1 is that I did not get  the P90X DVD to do my workout...oh but I will not let that stop me form completing my 90 workouts in 90 days!

Snow Day 2: Chloe and I were bundled up head to toe ready to drive Brandon out to Cabela's for work when he came back up to tell us that the car wouldn't start. I do drive a 1990 Buick Le Sabre so I wasn't too surprised since it was -7 without the windchill. Good thing the temperature got above zero, because I was not going another day with no P90X! I ate a great breakfast; ham and egg white scramble with one slice of double fiber toast with PB - so yummy! I was ready to workout. So when we finally get the car started, I trek over to Tricia's to get the DVD. This is where success met failure. I thought I would be a good sister and use my car to pack down some snow in front of the house but my car is a bit of a low rider so I got us stuck! Oh what fun we had getting the car out. Thank God Josh came over and helped direct and dig us out, didn't hurt that he could push the car much better than us! (Brandon; "welcome to the hotel California!")

So Snow Day, Schmo Day! I will not be kept from my P90X! Now though I have CardioX done, I will still have to do today's workout so I am caught up and ready for Yoga tomorrow. I find comfort in my drive to meet my goal but this week has been hard. I like working out in our group. Being with other people is fun, but knowing that I will do it no matter what is a necessity in my life too. I am ready for the snow days to be over and to be able to get into the rhythm of this semester's schedule. 

Confession time: I don't think it is any help to read about everything being peachy. so here go the rose colored glasses. P90X is hard. For me, any exercise is hard and sticking with something everyday feels impossible. Last night at dinner I was so stressed about failing, worrying about other people being disappointed but not surprised if I failed.  I was a mess, a huge rubber band ball bouncing around in my gut. Then today, I cried in the middle of the workout, not because it hurt - well it hurt - but because I felt so worthless, like even my best was not gonna be enough to complete this journey. I didn't stop. I kept going, tears streaming down my face. It's not pretty but its real. At some point this process has to become all about me. I am doing this for me. I am not looking to loose a certain number of pounds or inches. I am doing this to prove to myself that I am worthy. I am worthy of my attention, my love and my time. I love my family and would do anything for them. I just want to feel that way about myself.  Its a difficult road. I don't know my way, I guess at every turn, but if I stay focused on taking one step at a time I will get where I want to be...I might just become...

The Incredible Shrinking Bride.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fear & Love

After completing our first week of P90X and preparing to go make one the biggest purchases of my life (a wedding dress) I have been contemplating what motivates us as individuals to take action.  I have come to the conclusion that the two major motivators in life are some form of fear or love. As a communication instructor I teach my students that we are constantly being bombarded by persuasive messages. I also teach them that even the most effective argument can fail if an audience member does feel an internal flex to make a change in their beliefs or behavior. In the past January has been a month full of guilt for all the unhealthy choices I had made in the months prior. It's about this time that a multitude of "motivating" media voices begin telling me where to put my money in order to finally get the weight off and become a healthier version of myself. What will I allow to motivate me in 2011?
Fear. We all fear something, most of us fear many things. Aside from the innate parental fear of losing my child, the fear I have struggled with the most throughout my life is worthiness. What makes me worthy? Worthy of God's grace, His mercy, love, health, wealth or happiness? It is difficult to overcome even the smallest of things when I do not feel worthy. I took a step toward overcoming this fear in 2010 when I took hold of a lesson given to me by my youngest brother. He told me that you cannot simply say, "I do not have the spirit of fear, but the power of love and a sound mind.", but rather you must declare it with the authority given to us as heirs to the throne of Christ. This Truth has helped me deal with the day to day fears but the subtle fear that keeps under the radar is hard to pin down...by myself, so I look to God for help. My eyes have been opened to the powerful role fear plays in our every day existence. I no longer wanted to base my decisions on my fear of worthiness. I am worthy of love, of happiness, to feel whole. I must take hold of the promise that I was wonderfully and beautifully made for a specific purpose and I DO DESERVE greatness in my life!

Love. I choose to take hold of the love around me and not only listen but believe when love whispers in my ear, "you are worthy." Love comes in so many motivating forms. When I really think about the big changes I have made throughout my life, most were motivated by love. Love for others, love for self, or even love of an activity. Its funny to think of now, but when Chloe was 2 or 3 years old she used to "loooove" everything and everyone. I had such a hard time with her overuse of the word love. I felt like if she continued she would never truly understand the meaning of the word. Then she would be like all these young adults that surrounded me at UNK who had deep rooted misconceptions on what love is and when you truly love someone. So I started teaching her the difference between like and love. It was a fun to listen to her gain an understanding of not just a word but of the meaning behind the word. Even now she will correct herself if she feels like she misused the word love. Given my fear of worthiness, it is of no surprise that I have always found it easier to love others instead of myself and to put others needs before my own. This past year has awoken the truth that I can do both. I can love others and still love myself. I can meet my own needs and still come through for those closest to me. Perhaps the greatest nugget of truth is that those who I love the most WANT me to love myself and meet my goals in life. 

Fear or Love, whatever the motivator I hope it continues nudging me in the right direction. Closer to God, stronger in love and more confident in who I am as an individual. The year 2011 is a monumental year for me as a woman. I am beginning to see myself as God intended for me to be rather than the lie that Satan has been selling me for years.

I know that everyone who reads this may not share my faith, but it is my hope that you can find your own truth nugget from my experience strength and hope.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

P90X: Survival Mode

DAY 1: Chest & Back   
DAY 2: Plyometrics
DAY 3: Shoulders & Arms
DAY 4: Yoga
DAY 5: Legs & Back
DAY 6: Kenpo                                                                                                                              
DAY 7: Rest or StretchX

after passing the FIT test (kinda) it was time to get on with the show.  above is the break down for the next three weeks, we started on a sunday so our rest/stretch day would be saturday. praise Jesus for a rest day! i am not gonna lie, a program like P90X is not really my style. well i think it has been established that exercise is not really my style. hence the lack of goals other than to just get through it! as my SIL Tricia puts it, right now we are in survival mode. i guess i shouldn't say that i have no goals. i want to do my best in every workout everyday and hopefully each week i will improve.

one thing i do like about how the P90X program is set up is that you are working on building lean muscle so you can burn more fat when doing the cardio workouts. so every other day you are focusing on a specific muscle group, allowing only one section of your body to be very sore while others are only kinda sore. i mean lets face it, when you wake muscles from a deep deep hibernation you are bound to have repercussions.

first, we must talk about DAY 2: Plyometrics. i was surprised how many people already knew what this was...me? no clue. well not until Tony (the lead trainer on P90X) told me it was the science of jumping. just in case you have forgotten, jumping is not one of my better skills so finding out in the first few moments of day 2's workout that the next 60 minutes would be focused on jumping - let's just say the excitement was oozing out of me. but i was pleasantly surprised. Tony offered modifications on how to do certain moves and some were quite entertaining like the heisman, rock-hops and monster truck leaps. one benefit of mooching off of my SIL's motivation is that i get to work out in a group. this offers accountability and a few laughs. its a good thing Josh and Tricia have a sturdy house because even though Tony asked us...repeatedly...to jump quietly, the house was shaking like a 9.0 on the richter scale!

finally, there is DAY 4: Yoga. oh that was today, gosh this morning seems so long ago. haha. i have done yoga a few times and am a huge fan of the breathing, the calm feeling that overcomes you as you stretch out those muscles and relax. well this isn't your tree huggin', bike riddin', hippie lovin' grandma's yoga! this is Xtreme yoga, so at about 35 of 96 minutes i was ready to throw in the towel. i felt like Tony was going too fast and not letting me breath long enough in each pose, where was my calm? why wasn't the zen setting in? well the two toddlers playing trucks and throwing various balls around the room had taken it hostage. it was up to me to retrieve the focus. again, i am thankful for the group approach to this challenge because otherwise i would have given up, instead i listened when Tricia cattle prodded me into finishing the full yoga workout. SO WORTH IT!! the final pose is the corpse pose...amazing! i will use it every night as i fall asleep. i came into yoga feeling tired, tight and sore. afterward i felt good, physically and mentally. if nothing else shrinks, it seems my fear of the unknown will dwindle bit by bit.

hmmmm...seems i just might be
The Incredible Shrinking Bride

(one way or another)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

P90X : Pre-tests suck!

the journey has begun! i used the exclamation point as an attempt to appear enthusiastic about this endeavor, let's hope it works. to start you should know that i have always viewed exercise as a task that was better suited for other people. when i see someone jogging on the side of the road, i feel a bit envious but mostly just thankful that it's not me. over the years no matter what i tried, i could not find an activity that i found enticing enough to do on a day-to-day basis. so now i am motivated by curiosity. i am done being afraid that there will be no results for my hard work. i am done looking at the scale everyday in search of some number to make me happy. the only number that matters is 90. i will no longer fear what i don't know about exercise. i will exercise daily for 90 days and when i am done we will find out if curiosity killed the cat.


now P90X doesn't let just anyone play. in order to even do the 90 workouts in 90 days i had to first pass the FIT test. i probably could have done the fit test everyday for two weeks and gotten a decent workout. while there were many steps in the fit test, the only ones worthy of discussion are the wall sits and jumping jacks. wall sits. you know, when you have to sit against a wall with your legs at a 90 degree angel without moving. now some may be surprised to know that i played basketball in high school. well play is a loose term. i didn't play much and why i went to practice over and over is beyond my understanding. when i heard we had to do wall sits, all i could think of was the torture of high school basketball practice.  P90X expects participants to be able to do a wall sit for 1 minute. i failed. i failed 3 times before finally i was able to do the wall sit correctly for the whole time.
the final task of the fit test was the jumping jacks. the task was to do jumping jacks for 2 minutes, at a regular pace for the first 1:30 and as fast as possible for the last 30 seconds. jumping jacks? of course i can do jumping jacks. okay maybe not. when i tried out to be a cheer leader my senior year in high school, i nearly didn't make it because i scored so low on jumping. i don't seem to have improved in the last decade. if only i had video of us doing the jumping jacks, we could win America's Funniest Videos and i could pay off my student loans. oh such wishful thinking. well with the fit test completed its time to take this challenge one day at a time. hold on to your hats. here we go.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


i know. 2 posts. 1 day. but i want to keep them organized. Hahaha...me organized. you should be warned i am a bit scattered, not so much organized and give my own unique meaning to digress and tangent. some have compared my thought patterns to that of a sprinkler system; but hey i figure as long as i circle back and get it all covered!

its been established that i am getting married on June 25, 2011. for those who have planned or are planning a wedding you understand my challenges, joys, woes and motivation. i would not consider motivation to be one of my close personal friends so when i find myself particularly focused on a goal it gets my attention. in the spring of '06 i was told by my AA sponsor that i needed to do 90 meetings in 90 days. i said it was impossible with a 4 month old baby in a brand new town with no babysitter, but found a mysterious motivation that pushed me toward meeting that goal. i think back to that experience and know that there were day to day struggles within the challenge but i also know that what i remember is the feeling of accomplishment. the lessons taken from that experience, the knowledge imparted, the friendships made and the mending of my personal relationship with God are the results of following that mysterious motivation.

i have encountered a new mysterious motivation, also surrounding a 90 day experience. first you should know, i don't like exercise. i like to swim, walk and explore nature but have never found day-to-day workouts to be appealing. i know. call me crazy! but then someone close to me asked me, "so are you gonna do a crash diet for the wedding, or just be yourself?". i kept coming back to this question, wondering what it means to show up to your wedding as 'just yourself'. am i the number on the scale, the size of my dress or the breadth of my hips? how much of who i am is what i look like? i don't know.

what i do know is that although i am not a fan of sweatin' to the oldies, i am a fan of being healthy and have been searching for a push, for just a sliver of motivation. Since going on the Biggest Loser before the wedding is not an option, i have found another challenge: P90X (disclaimer: i did not think of this on my own and will probably not be a fan). my mind tells me its impossible, my body screams 'you are crazy!' but there is something deeper that is whispering to my heart, 'why not give it a shot?'.

so people this is what we will be working through, P90X. its not a program designed for me, but i am willing to put myself out there and try. my goal is to make this blog a reality and actually become the...

Incredible Shrinking Bride