The Words I Would Say

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My sweet Aiden accepted Jesus as his personal savior this week. I’m thrilled, proud, and excited for him. I’m also worried. There are so many things I want to tell him. So, I thought I would start here.

When I was pregnant with him, I read, heard, and found a lot of advice that said I should write a letter to my unborn child. I should tell him things I wanted him to know. I tried. It didn’t work. As I have said before, I love writing, but I was at a loss for words when it came to this experience. There are so many things I want my children to know. There are a lot of things I want to teach them, shield them from, guide them through, but they are all pretty situational. I couldn’t give blanket advice to a child I did not know yet.

Fast forward seven years to when I was driving home from a day out with my boy. He was quietly sipping his chocolate malt, and I was driving, thinking of many things. Sweetly, I heard his voice say, “Momma? When can I get baptized?” I smiled and said, “Let’s talk about this when we get home.” Mainly I wanted to gather my thoughts, and not totally botch it. I mean, this only happens once. So, we got home, sat on the couch, and had a conversation. At the end of this conversation, he convinced me he understood what this meant, he understood the life he was claiming, and he was ready for this step. We held hands, prayed, I cried, and then we called his dad at work.

As we approach his baptism, there are so many things I want him to know about this decision. While I know he understands what he is saying and claiming for his life, he doesn’t know the magnitude of this life. I want him to know, that this doesn’t make his life easy. He’s going to face trials, tribulations, and pain. He will be mocked because of his faith. He will be called weak. He will be told he has pinned his beliefs on a “fiction book” and a “silly theory.” He will be told it’s foolish. He will be told his God is not real. Sometimes, these words will get into his head. He will doubt, question, and wonder, and that’s ok. It doesn’t make him weak. It doesn’t make him a fool. Doubt doesn’t make him less of a Christian. It makes him human, which is what he is.

I want him to know not to follow “religion.” Religion is flawed, because religion is of man, and man is flawed. I want him to know that the human faces of religion will fail him. A lot of awful people have done a lot of ungodly things in the name of religion. People will use the guise of religion to hate, discriminate, and harm others. Religion is not what we follow. Our faith is in God. Our truth lies in the Bible, in God’s Word. Our faith does not lie in religion. It does not matter if he is Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopalian, or Non-Denominational. What matters is that his faith is in God. That he knows Who is guiding his path and leading him through life. Don’t look to religion, son, look to Jesus.

I want him to know, he doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not possible. The only perfect man who has ever walked this Earth was Christ, and he is not Christ. He is Aiden, a man, who will fail. He will have faults, flaws, and imperfections. It’s ok that he is not perfect. He needs to strive to live in the image of Christ, but he does not have to be perfect to be a Christian. If he’s anything like me as an adult, which I am certain he will be, he will be immensely flawed. Accept it. Love who you are, and constantly seek God. If you ever meet someone along the way who tells you that you are not a Christian because of _______ (fill in the blank) run away from them. They do not speak the truth.  The only thing that is required to be a Christian is the faith that Jesus is your savior.

There is a song by the Sidewalk Prophets entitled, “The Words I Would Say” (where I got the title for this blog. Thank you, Sidewalk Prophets). When I hear this song, I imagine a scenario. It is one that is much like a moment I had when I was in college. I called my mom late at night, drowning in stress, certain I couldn’t continue. When I hear this song, I picture myself 15 years from now, awake in the middle of the night, worrying about my sons. I’m sure it will happen. When this scenario occurs in real life, I hope I can say these words. This is the only advice my boys need in life, and I want to repeat it to them as much as possible:

“Be strong in the Lord, and never give up hope. You’re going to do great things, I already know. God’s got his hand on you, so don’t live life in fear. Forgive and forget, but don’t forget why you’re here. Take your time and pray. These are the words I would say.”

Aiden, I love you. You have always been a treasure, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this path you’re on is going to lead to amazing things. Keep your sweet, little, chubby hand in God’s and you will be just fine. I already know.

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Size Doesn’t Matter

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From the time I was 10 years old I have been aware of my size. I have always known how much I weigh and what size I am wearing. Sometimes it has been a bit of obsessive (read: all of the time it has been a bit obsessive). I have always worked out, watched what I ate (or at the very least was aware of what I was eating). I can tell you the caloric content of almost anything. Go on, test me… bag of M&Ms? 250 calories. Arby’s Roast Beef… 350 calories. A piece of wheat bread… 60 calories. I’ll stop. It’s annoying. 

It was this obsession that led me to CrossFit. I have done about every other workout regimen. A friend of mine dabbled in it a bit, and her in-laws opened a box. Sure, why not. I’ll bite. So, I’ve already talked about that first workout. I won’t go down that path again. But, I will say again, CrossFit has changed my life. One of the main ways it has changed my life is how I view food. I LOVE to eat. Seriously, it is my favorite thing to do, but I do not let it control me. I am not obsessed with the caloric content of anything. I eat real food. I stay away from some things, have some glorious cheat meals, and indulge from time to time. I’m in the best shape of my life. Here’s the issue: while I am  the same size as far as measurements, I am the heaviest I have ever been (excepting my two pregnancies, of course).

The inner obsessive girl struggles with this. I went to the doctor today to have my back readjusted after the hellish 5 weeks that was the CrossFit Open, but of course, before I could go into the room, they had to weigh me. Lovely. I stared at the number in disbelief. It’s tough to see, but my inner dialogue immediately began the diatribe of “it’s mostly muscle,” and “think about your body fat percentage not your weight.” And I did, but as you see from this blog, it still bothers me. I have 32 years of thinking this way, and have been wrestling the last two with changing this. I think this is a common struggle with a lot of CrossFit girls. Some of us have spent years in search of the thigh gap and a protruding collar bone. Now we are combating quads for days, a big butt from squats, and the shoulders that would make the shoulder pad fad of the 80’s really easy. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with what my body can do. I can squat thirty pounds more than my body weight, deadlift my body weight and a half, and can ALMOST clean my body weight (I need to work on that). I have not reached my goals yet, but I’m getting closer. But, I digress. I’m strong and I love it, but with that strength comes a mass I’m not used to, and that society is not used to. We talk about being “bulky” and “manly” and worry about how other’s view us. We need to start focusing on what our bodies can do, not how well our bodies fit with society.

If we began to do this, we would stop worrying about the size of the clothes we wear, because frankly no one has any idea what size your clothes are. Once they are on we can no longer see the tag, so wear what fits, right? It’s much better to wear  clothes that fit our bodies, than squeeze into clothes that don’t, simply so we can say, “I’m a size X”. Pointless, right? Not to mention it’s not cute. Psst, you actually look bigger in close that are too small. Again, I digress. If you live in a world where you have to tell people what size you wear, you need to find a new place to live. Sometimes you have to size up because your quads are too big, or you have to size down because your chest is too small. It doesn’t matter if  you are in a size 2 or a size 10, if your thighs touch or your cleavage doesn’t. What matters is what your body can accomplish. How well you perform at the tasks you wish to perform.

So, let’s embrace our quads, hams, glutes, biceps, triceps, and lats. Let’s enjoy what we do, and look good coming and going, no matter what size your shorts are, or which way the scale tips. Be happy with who you are and what you can do, and go kick some ass.

Photo Credit: Olivia Fortin Crossfit girl. Via Lorri Anne

Thoughts at the Core

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I have been a part of public education for a very long time. I attended public school, I attended public university, and I taught public school. Public education is a great idea, but as you know, currently it is hurting. The world is exploding over Common Core Standards. I will state my disclaimer here: I am no longer working in a public high school, and I do not have a child in public school, but I do have years of experience on the inside, and I have some thoughts to share.

Parents, know what you are fighting for. I have seen a lot of articles and petitions being passed around on Facebook. That is wonderful. Knowledge is power, and I LOVE finally seeing parents become involved in school. My problem is, a lot of people are in outrage about Common Core, but don’t really know what the standards are. Have you read them? Have you studied them? I’m not saying you should love them, I’m saying you need to know what you are fighting against. If you know, GREAT, you don’t need to tell me. My point is only that you need to know!

Testing. We have WAY too much. I’m with you. I in NO way think that a student’s pass/fail should be based SOLEY on test scores. Should they play a part? Yes. Should they be the only benchmark? No. I have seen the aforementioned articles, heard the cries of parents talking about stressed out children. That makes me really sad. BUT, it also makes me ask, why are they stressed out? What do they know? High School kids need to know the weight of these tests. They can handle the pressure. Third graders cannot. My question is, why do they know? Who has told them? Teachers, I know you are WAY overworked, overstressed, and underpaid. I’ve been there. I get it. But, surely you are not telling these third graders they have to pass the test to move to the fourth grade. Parents, I know you are worried. Reading is tough, and especially if you have a student who struggles at reading, it can be stressful, but surely you haven’t told your third grader the weight of this test. Will it make a difference? Will they perform better? These tiny students cannot handle that pressure. Work with them, get them remediation if needed, but don’t tell them what this test could do to them. It will not help them take the test, it will only hurt them.

Kindness. First, be kind to your teachers. They are more stressed than you are. Second, be kind to your children. They don’t need to know the political side to education. That is your job. Protect them from the things they can’t handle or process. Third, fight the good fight. Don’t complain on Facebook, or organize riot sessions in your living room. Talk to those who can do something about it. While we are working on changing things, your job is to support your child. Don’t let them hear you talk about it. They simply need to go to school, know it is safe, and that their teachers are doing the best for them, and know that they are capable of learning anything. The more they hear you complain about school, the less they will feel comfortable or capable there. Taking pictures of your child crying doing homework is helping no one. It may make your point to your friends, but it is not helping your child. Your child should walk through the double doors every day and know they can do anything that is asked of them, even if it is difficult.

Change is hard. I get it. This is not how we learned. They are changing the game on us, but please know what you are dealing with. This will not last. It will go away at some point. If you look back on educational legislation you will see a long line of things that have come and gone. Do what you can to be an advocate for your children and your students. Tell them only what they need to know and can handle. I understand having stressed out teachers and parents, but we don’t need stressed out kids.

Well, That’s a Pretty Picture

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and decided instead of thinking I should just write it here, right?

I’ve pretty much given up on Pintrest. I will peruse it occasionally if I am bored, or need some motivation to cook, clean, laugh, or such. Let me explain why. As we have heard about from many other stressed out, over worked, trying to compete mothers, Pintrest makes us feel inadequate. We, uh, I mean my kids, don’t have the best Valentine’s Box at school. I didn’t make the best dinner ever for my family. My kids have not read all the books on the “25 Books your Kids Should Read by Kindergarten” list. Also, I do not look like that in that outfit, nor do I want to spend $105 on a cotton tank top. I’ll get some ideas occasionally, but I have found it to be just another way to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Please note, I’m not knocking Pinterest. If it is your thing, that is great, but don’t let it suck you in. Life doesn’t look like that.

I have seen several young mothers pin things recently, and it got me thinking. We are trying to hard to create moments in our life. I see people pin “pictures to take at the birth of the second baby” and “candid shots to take of your family.” The sweetest pictures I have of my boys are the ones that just happened. I didn’t place my youngest son in my oldest’s arms and ask him to kiss him, so I could take a picture. He wanted to hold him, he leaned down and kissed him, and my mother was quick enough to take a picture. We are so worried about what the picture will look like that we forget to have moments. To enjoy the time we are given.

I’m not simply talking about pictures. We have everything planned. Our college career: I’m going to go to this school, major in this, find my future spouse during this year, and live happily ever after. Our weddings: We will be engaged for this long, our wedding will look like this,  at some point in the ceremony I will look down and my spouse will kiss my head, perfection. Our children’s births: I want this music playing, I want to labor this way, in this position, I will not have any preventative actions taken, and I will not have a C-Section. Our children’s childhood: My children will eat at this time, nap at this time, cry at this time. They will not be rowdy; they will listen when I tell them to, or they will be punished. I will never negotiate, or spank, or bribe. It will be perfect….. This is not life. It’s good to have a plan, but plans change. You take an English class and your world changes in college; you start talking to your spouse through the entire unity candle song and it makes the best memories; you labor for 24 hours and don’t care how the baby comes out, as long as he comes out; you bribe, beg, and steal to get your child to eat or stop crying. It’s life. It’s not how the picture looks from the outside. It’s how it looks from the inside.

Be honest about life, who you are, who your spouse is, who your kids are. The only way to improve is to be honest, but sometimes things don’t need improving. Sometimes your 5 year old has the manual dexterity of a 4 year old, and has to work really hard to catch up to his peers. Sometimes this effects more than holding scissors, it effects his demeanor, his personality, his behavior. Sometimes you get to celebrate the victories of watching him do a sit up by himself, or cut in a straight line, or sit still in a chair for longer than five minutes. To act like we aren’t dealing with this gives the impression there is something wrong with him. There isn’t. Sometimes your kids act up at the grocery store, or the birthday party, or the play date. Sometimes other kids do. There is no need for the “my kid doesn’t act that way” speech. We all know differently.

You don’t need to create the perfect picture, because that’s not life. It doesn’t matter what other’s see. It matters what you see. If you are miserable on the inside, but it looks pretty from the outside, what’s the point? When you are honest with yourself and others about what you are seeing, that is when real life begins. That is when the picture is the prettiest.

Open For Business

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As many of you may know, last week was the beginning of the CrossFit Open. The Open is a 5 week worldwide competition. Anyone who does CrossFit, no matter where you do CrossFit, can compete in the open. The workouts are posted online, in quite a dramatic fashion, and then you have about 5 days to complete the workout, scored by a certified judge. I saw an infographic yesterday stating that over 209,000 people participated last week in the competition. All of these people are vying for 20 spots in the CrossFit Games, held this summer. It’s really pretty amazing.

So, I’ve been CrossFitting for a couple of years. I started as a 31 year old who thought she was in shape, and I am now a 34 year old who is in better shape, but is very aware of her weaknesses! My gym, the amazing 918 Crossfit, has about 50 people competing in the Open. I am one of them. I’m not last, but I’m certainly not first.

The day our gym had chosen to complete the open workout came, and it was snowing and icing. My family came first that day. I couldn’t make it to the gym. So, I went in on Monday and completed it that day. I grabbed a friend to score (not judge) me, grabbed my rope, and set up my barbell. One of the elements of this workout is certainly one of my weaknesses. Double Unders…. they hate me. Honestly, it’s mutual. So, for those who may not know, a double under is jumping rope. Basically, you are swinging the rope twice and jumping once. It involves a lot of cardio. Not one of my strongest aspects. So, 3, 2 1… Go. I’m in. Double unders all the way to 25. Sweet! I can’t breathe, but I got there. Four more, done. Now on to the barbell. This part is good. I can do this. 15 snatches done. I went slowly, trying to strategize. Fail. Round 2 came, 30 more double unders. I tripped over the rope 750 times, and finally got my 30 reps. Crap. Barbell, faster this time. Better. Round 3 and 30 more double unders. Slow, but we got there. Barbell, again. Wait, I only have 30 seconds left. Ok. Fast. Last rep completed as the time expired. Done. Sweet.

Those of you who do CrossFit understand that moment the workout ends. Exhaustion and pain flow through your body. So tired you don’t know what to do with your legs or your arms. So, as I laid on the ground, trying to breathe, the doubt began to come. Crap, I only got 135 reps. That’s not great. It’s not awful, but it’s not great. I begin to ask some of the other competitors around me what their scores were. 200’s and 300’s. Super. Defeat. More pain. But, wait. I did it. Not everyone did. I’m not great, no. I’m never, ever, ever going to make it to the games. This is know. For a fact. So, I’m going to bask in the glory of completing the workout.

That’s the beauty of the Open. As I stated earlier, I saw that over 209,000 people participated. Only .1 percent actually get in the games. The average reps for women who entered scores worldwide was 180. The girl who won the event got 472. We are comparing ourselves to superhuman athletes. These people who do nothing but train for the games, all the time. That’s not what I do, nor is it what I want to do. It’s great for them, not for me.

So, now what? We move on to 14.2. Chest to bar pull ups (pull ups where your chest touches the bar instead of simply getting your chin over the bar) and overhead squats. Overhead squats, sure! Chest to bar pull ups, nope. If anyone has some big boobs I could borrow, I would greatly appreciate it. I may as well be a man. True story. Unfortunately, I don’t have the arm strength they do. So, boo. But, I’ll do it. As many as I can. That’s the point of the Open. Only a handful of people will achieve the goal of the games. I am cheering so loudly for them. My goal is to do the best I can, and work on my weaknesses (there is a LONG list). I’m going to complete 14.2, be happy with the minimal reps I get, and cheer on my friends, one of who is ranked 9th in our region!

This is the beauty of the Open. It’s not to win, not even to win in your gym, it’s to push yourself past your comfort zone. Hell, let’s face it, that’s the point of CrossFit.

Those Were The Days

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My sister and I got a chance to go up to Stillwater this weekend to watch a little Oklahoma State basketball. This has been an event that hasn’t brought us much happiness lately, but when we get the opportunity to go do anything with OSU, we do it. No question. So, we grabbed the tickets, handed the kids to my husband, and headed down the turnpike. We made the very familiar drive West to our happy place, Stillwater.

As we pulled into town, we discussed the best way through town to reach historic Gallagher-Iba Arena, remarking on the landmarks as we passed. Usually what houses we had been in over our span of years in this humble town. You see, my sister and I are very proud alumni of Oklahoma State University. We spent 4 and 5 years in this beautiful place, respectively. At the time, I don’t think we thought of it as beautiful. I’m certain we were clawing to get out. No more school! We were going to be adults! Finally! We want to go back…. desperately.

We watched our Cowboys break their horrific losing streak on Saturday! In our elation, my sister looked at me and said, “A beer at Joe’s?” With a laugh I replied I was certain that wasn’t a question, because if she knew me but at all, she already knew the answer. Duh. So we walked down the short street and turned the corner, went to the bar, ordered two Joe’s cups of Bud Light, remarked how wonderful it was to have a choice (in our years it was Coors Light or nothing… ahhhh Stillwater), and headed to the outdoor seating (also new). We walked up to the rail, and immediately began to reminisce. The question we discussed most is why. Why do we love this place so much? It’s a quaint town in North Central Oklahoma. The only things there are the college, a few manufacturing plants, and plenty of farmers. Why is this our happy place when we have the whole world to choose from? The answer is simple. Because it’s where we grew up.

No, our family did not live there, and we were not birthed there. We both rolled into town at the ripe old age of 18. But, this is where we grew up. Those city limits are where we were shaped into the women we are today. We learned so much. Not just in the classes we attended (occasionally) and the papers we wrote (last minute) but the life experiences and COUNTLESS mistakes we made respectively. We both earned a world-class education, and two very solid bachelor’s degrees, but we learned from our peers, our mistakes, and ourselves.

As we stood on the deck on Saturday, I thought about my boys. I am dying for them to go there. Not just because it’s my school, but because I know what awaits them there. The mistakes they will make, the friends they will learn from, and the life they will form in those buildings and streets. The tears, the laughter, the sweat, and the blood that will make them proud, strong, kind men. My husband and I will lay the foundation, but through trial and error, lots of error, they will find their way.

I think that’s what college is all about. (Believe it or not, it is NOT about finding the one you are going to marry your first week at school, so stop trying. You are ruining your first semester.) Sure, we want our kids to get an education. A real actual degree so they can get a real actual job, and become real actual adults; but, we want them to be adults who know who they are and who have made monstrous mistakes. Who know they never want to do THAT again. The years between 18 and 23 are awful. If you really sit down and think about it, they are. When I think about the person who walked into Drummond Hall for Rush Week 1997 I feel sad for her. She was so lost. Quickly in her journey at OSU she ran into some pretty big walls, and knocked herself down something awful. But, she kept standing up.

I will never forget my years in Stillwater, and if someone would let me, I would return. However, I am sure I could not live in the conditions I did! Sharing rooms, apartments, dishes, rides, food, and time are things I can barely muster with my own family in my “old” age sometimes. But, cheap beer, penny beer, “pre parties”, laughter, “party pants”, house parties, Joes cup lighting, game days, game nights, “our song”, true love, not so true love, crappy jobs, amazing friends, and early classes are things I will never forget. I’m thankful for my friends, my roommates, and my time in Stillwater. Ride ’em Cowboys.

The List

I’ve been thinking all week about writing. The problem is I don’t really have one specific thing on my mind. That, and the fact that I had one really big, heavy post last week, I’m trying to be light this week! One thing I do well is make lists. I generally have a to do list wherever I go. It’s just the way my brain works. If I don’t have a list, things don’t get done. True story. So, today you get a list of all the marvelous things that are on my mind. Enjoy!

1. Cleaning.

Fun, right? I used to LOVE cleaning the house. That was back when we had a 1400 square foot house and no children. There was really nothing to clean then. A little wiping of dust and toothpaste and we were good. Then I gave birth to two destroyers of all things clean. Since I started working part time this year, I had planned on spending my time cleaning during the week so I didn’t have to spend 4 hours on a Saturday. That was the plan. You know what happened? There is stuff on TV! No need to worry! Thanks to the handy-dandy invention, Pintrest, I found a schedule! (How did we ever live without Pintrest? I mean, what did we eat?) It’s cleaning in a list! Right up my alley. I’m halfway through the first week. It’s like I’m a veteran at this… So far it has been successful. Let’s hope this continues.

2. OSU Basketball.

Depressing right now. No fun at all. First, let me say this: I am a fan. Always have been and I always will be. No fair weather here. I cheer through the good seasons and the nasty, dirty, ugly ones. This year would be the latter. We had such high hopes. We were killing it until the end of December. Apparently, all of our talent was wrapped up in Michael Cobbins’s achilles. All of that said, a wonderful person, whom you may follow here, gave my family tickets to Bedlam this weekend. The boys were pumped. We donned our orange, our pride, and headed out the door. The team played well. It’s was great. Until it wasn’t. We’ve lost so many. Most of them by just a few points. It’s heart breaking. Adding salt in the wounds, the 2004 Final Four team was honored at the game. All those glorious highlights reminded us of how great it could be. The elation of winning. They joy of hope. The happiness of championships. Then it all came crashing down. I donned my orange again on Monday, and will again on Saturday. It’s what we do. We are loyal.

3. The Next Big Idea

After our heartbreaking loss on Saturday, my husband and I drowned our sorrows in cheese fries. Too full to do anything else, we rented a movie and tried to let the food digest. We finally watched The Social Network (yes, we are behind the times). Good flick, but it has haunted me. Yes, he’s a very smart man, no doubt, but just one simple idea and he’s a billionaire. BILLION. With a B! For months, really years if I am honest, I have been searching for a story to write. My goal is to write a book. Fiction, as I am not that interesting to write nonfiction. I want a character who is average. As  you know, that’s kind of a theme for me. It seems though that all of the average people that often frequent the protagonist role do these really extraordinary things. Katniss grabs a bow and starts a rebellion. Harry Potter grabs a wand and takes down a dark lord. Bella Swan, well, does nothing, but I haven’t had any dreams of sparkly vampires like Stephanie Meyer did, so I’m out. I have no idea what I want my seemingly average protagonist to do. Mark Zuckerburg was drunk and came up with his idea. Me, not so much. The best idea I have had while under the influence was to make Mac and Cheese. Again, true story. So, I’m waiting for inspiration to strike. Any day now.

So, while I wait, I will clean my house, cheer on my Cowboys, and write this blog. Lucky you! If you have an idea for me to write about, send it to me. I’ll share my profits with you. It seemed to work well for that Eduardo guy that helped found Facebook.

Love You

Ok, so this one scares me. Mama always said not to talk about religion and politics, and I’m going to do both. It is something that weighs heavy on my heart. If you don’t like what I said, that’s fine. Ignore me. It won’t hurt by feelings. I will go back to talking about kids and CrossFit next week. Oh, Jesus take the wheel. We will see where this goes!

I am a Christian. I have been since I was 8 years old. I accepted Christ and was baptized on Easter Sunday by a man named Jack Johnson. Not the singer, although that would have been awesome! Through this journey of religion I have had my ups, downs, doubts, and triumphs. If anyone tells you to become a Christian because it is an easy life, they are full of it. Seriously. I have doubted my faith daily sometimes. It’s ok. It happens. I am nowhere near perfect. No way, no how. It can’t be done. I screw up daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute. I drink wine, I cuss like a sailor, I yell at my family, and many other egregious errors (all of those today, except the wine as it is 10:00 in the morning). Anyone who tells you these things not a Christian make, is lying. Sorry.

Let me let those of you who do not believe in Christ, and some of you who do believe, in on a little secret. EVERYONE screws up. No one does it right. Romans 3:23 states, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Did you get that? All. No one is exempt. We like to walk around and say things like, “Well, I haven’t killed anyone,” or “At least I didn’t do THAT.” It doesn’t matter. We all live in our own mess of crap. Does God know this? You bet He does. Does it change His love? You bet it doesn’t.

So now what? We need to realize that every single person on this Earth is dealing with their own stuff. The Bible also states in Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Phew. Let’s let that sink in a little bit. If I start screaming at you that what you are doing is awful, nasty, and dirty, you can do it to me? Hmmm. I don’t want any part of that. But, we do it. Don’t we.

There are a lot of articles and blogs and opinions about homosexuality. The Bible states it is a sin. It does. I’ve read it. You know what it also states is a sin? Divorce, adultery, greed, working on Sunday, eating pork, and a multitude of other things. Are you shifting in your seat? You should be. We look over those, right? I mean, after church one day where I didn’t tithe because I was redoing my kitchen and needed the money, I went to Rib Crib (where people were working on a Sunday) and ate pulled pork. I mean. I should be shot dead. But, it’s ok. Right?

We can’t pick and chose what we scream and shout about. Hang on, I can hear you screaming, “But it’s our job as Christians to help the lost along the way.” You are right. It is. To help. Not to scream, protest, hurt, slander, deny, and maim. To help. To love. You have told everyone your point. They heard you. Now stop. You know what, homosexuality is not any different from me eating the pork tenderloin that is in the freezer, or screaming obscenities at CrossFit (I do it, those around me know), and you don’t write articles about that. You are not lobbying against that. You are not putting out legislation against that. So stop. Put down your picket signs and your hatred. Don’t deny someone the right to love because it is different from what you do. Homosexuality is simply a label. Behind those labels are people. Real human beings with feelings, and desires, and goals. How would you feel with a label strapped around your neck? If people yelled in your face, “Don’t let her have the right to eat whatever she wants because she’s a glutton.” How about this, “He shouldn’t get a paycheck because he’s greedy and just going to build a ridiculously big house and make my house look bad.” Wouldn’t be a lot of fun, would it?

I have read the Ten Commandments. I have read the Golden Rule. I have read the Great Commission. There are two lines of scripture about homosexuality and there are a million more about loving everyone. The Bible talks more about greed than homosexuality. Yes, I’m talking to you in your big house, reading this on your smart phone or tablet, wearing your über expensive clothes (that’s me as well). So shut up. Stop hurting people and denying people rights. That is not your job. Ever. God did not say “put an end to homosexuality.” He said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We ALL fall short. No one is perfect. Stop fighting and start loving.

For Those Who Crossfit, and Those Who Don’t.

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I wrote this with CrossFit in mind, but can certainly be applied to any workout, or life situation you have. Now, if someone will tattoo this on my hand, I’d appreciate it.             

   We all have that story. You know, the one of your first day of CrossFit. How you walked in feeling relatively in shape, and learned by the end of the warm up you were doomed. Yep, my story is just the same as yours. It’s full of tears and pain and desperation. I’m sure our endings are the same as well, that by the time you peeled yourself off the floor, gathered up your jacket and water bottle, and found your ability to drive home, you were hooked. Resolved that you could do better. Certain that you could beat that time.

                I had committed myself to two workouts a week. I was sure that would be plenty to get in the shape that I had desired. You know, I just wanted to look good in a bathing suit. After three months of twice a week workouts, I stepped up to three times a week. A few months later, I was going every chance I got. While I have family, work, and life commitments, just like the rest of us, I still maintain that schedule. Every chance I get, I’m there. That was two years ago. So, my times should be rocking… right? I should be posting some crazy fast Fran, Diane, and Elizabeth times… right? Nope. My times are average. My body is average. That’s me; I’m just your average CrossFitter.

                Life for an average CrossFit girl can be quite frustrating. I have my “rabbit” girls. You know, those that I am continually chasing and am certain I will never catch. I have those I can beat, those that I can hang with, and those that I will never measure up to, for now.  My times have improved tremendously. My body has changed drastically. The amount I can lift, swing, and kip has grown leaps and bounds from that first fateful workout. I’m proud of my accomplishments and what my body can do, but I’m average, and that’s ok. Or is it?

                I find myself looking at the workout, seeing other’s times, and deciding what a “good time for me” would be, and then I try to hit that goal. I mean, I certainly don’t want to set myself up for failure… but what if I am? By deciding where I should be I am not allowing myself to see where I can be. We average CrossFit girls can fall into a trap. We know we aren’t always going to finish last, but we seriously doubt we can finish first. We stand in our own way. I would be so frustrated if I listened to someone else try to figure out what was “good enough,” so why should I do it to myself? The reason I find myself in the gym as much as possible is because CrossFit awakened this desire in me. This intense craving to be strong, not just toned; to have an excellent body fat percentage, not just a size 4; to explode past limits I had unwittingly put on myself, not just be good enough. So, why is it that I now find myself setting mediocre standards? It’s just not ok anymore.

                So, how do I do it? How do I stop this vicious cycle of weakness? I will walk into the gym, look at the workout, and not set a goal time, but just see what happens. A lot of times, when I am setting my “good enough” time I find myself slowing down, or allowing myself more rest times, because I was a little ahead of where I should be. How ridiculous is that? What if we average girls walked into a workout without any preconceived notions. Instead of finding where we should fit, we should walk into our favorite box, garage gym, or your favorite place to WOD, and simply kill it. We should push ourselves three more reps when we feel like we are going to stop. We break for only 5 seconds instead of looking at the clock during our breaks to make sure we are “on track.” The only way to break the “average” cycle is to push yourself further than you thought possible.

                One of my favorite ways to push through the average stereotype I place on myself is to up the ante. Not only should we push ourselves during the workout, blasting through the breaks and the rests, but grab a heavier weight than our comfort zone and see what happens. When we are comfortable with a weight, and it begins to feel “easy” or becomes one of our favorite things to do, we should push it further.  If the prescribed weight for a kettlebell swing is 35lbs, I will pick up a 45lbs kettlebell and deal with being last (if that is the outcome) because I know it is forcing me to be stronger.  I will add ten pounds to my lifts, and see what happens. I will spend time before and after the WOD working on my weaknesses, and stay on the pull up bar three more reps than I normally do. I will push myself harder and farther. I mean, how do you think those “rabbit” girls got there?

                It’s time for we average CrossFitters to stop should-ing all over ourselves. When we put ourselves where we thing we should be, we are not allowing ourselves to see where we could be. It’s time for us to face our weaknesses, push through the pain, and explore the world of the above average. Don’t be happy with good enough. Stop using the phrase “that’s good for me.” Throw yourself out of the comfort zone and into the bad-a** zone.

 

Very Superstitious

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 I’m a bit neurotic. Gasp! Shocking, I know, but it’s true. I like to think it’s one of my most endearing qualities. I’m sure other’s would disagree. With this “endearing” neurosis comes a lot of strange activities. Some may call it OCD…  I call it quirks.

Mainly, let’s talk about sports. I have this irrational belief that I can change or control the outcome of a sporting event by following a few steps. During OSU football season I wake every Saturday morning and head straight to Facebook. I post the same comment. Every. Single. Saturday. It works. The only time I did not do this was when we played West Virginia, and we all remember how lovely that turned out. I can hear you now, “But we lost two other games after that.” You are right, there is more to the equation than the Facebook post. Next is the clothes. I wear the same OSU shirt. I can mix up the pants, but the shirt has to be Pistol Pete. The same goes for my family. They have their game day attire as well. It is imperative that they wear it.  Still not convinced? My husband had to change his clothes during the OU game to go to a funeral, and I wore a new coat to the Cotton Bowl. Case closed. I’ve been known to “watch” a game from the kitchen because our luck changed when I left the room. I am certain I am not the only one who behaves this way. As the Bud Light commercial goes, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.” It works. Every time.

Here is the problem I am having now. I have not figured out my mojo for basketball season. I hadn’t been posting my Facebook status, because one, we were winning without it, and two, there are a lot of basketball games, and I was certain I would be defriended if this continued. I also cannot wear the same shirt that many times a week. I don’t like to do laundry that much. So there is my issue. I tried to remedy it and completed all of my steps for Saturday’s game, and we lost, at home. Not cool. We are losing games and it is all my fault! This is so much pressure! I also cannot figure out how to sit during the games. I used the phrase, “I don’t know what to do with my hands” about five times against Baylor the other day. This is bleeding into other teams as well. I mean, I was cheering for the Broncos yesterday, and look what happened. I am killing people’s dreams over here, all because I cannot figure out how to sit. It’s a rough problem.

So, we will see tonight. I have posted my game day post on Facebook. We are not wearing our game day attire, but mainly because it’s laundry day. If someone could tell me what to do with my hands I would appreciate it. I mean, it’s Big Monday again. I just hope I’ve done my part. Go Pokes, beat Iowa State.