Browsing "Health"
May 30, 2014 - Health    2 Comments

Forced Stillness

I’m sick.

My voice sounds both sultry and squeaky with varying frequencies. I feel like Phoebe from Friends singing Smelly Cat with her raspy, mucous-coated vocal cords.

It’s no fun.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished over the past two days:

Disney Movies Watch

Illness is one of the few things that makes me stop. Really pause and rest. I have such an insatiable inner drive to constantly be doing. I am thankful that this helps me do more than I sometimes should be able to, but it is also exhausting. I cannot tell you how often people ask me, “When did you have time to do all this?” Truly, I don’t know. I play an ongoing game of Time Tetris trying to shift my obligations and squeeze a little more out of each day.

Until I’m forced to be still.

Whether its a sore throat, or snotty nose, or aching knee, or pounding headache, it often takes an intense force to make me rest.

But I don’t want to live with such pressure. I’ve been learning about the importance of rest. Of Sabbath rest for my soul. And as much as I enjoy Disney movies, the rest I’m searching for is way deeper than Sleeping Beauty’s snoozing.

I’m going to find stillness and rest without being forced by my squeaky-sultry sound. God used my cold to remind me of my need to rest. And for that I am thankful.

Apr 12, 2014 - Health, Running, Uncategorized    No Comments

Celebrating Problem Solving

Have I mentioned that I love MacGyver?

MacGyver

It may have come up once or twice.

MacGyver is my hero. I love his creativity and quick thinking and ability to problem solve in the face of trial.

Here’s my latest MacGyver moment.

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I ran a five mile race last weekend (and set a personal record of 56:05!), but that’s not even the crux of this story. After races there are often booths with sponsors and lots of free giveaways. Pens, pins, and Post-Its galore! When I see this I want to sing, “These are a few of my favorite things!” I walked through the tents after just running five miles– spandex-clad, breathing heavily, and attempting to rehydrate — picking up loot until my fingers could hold no more. Items kept slipping through my sweaty grasp and I got tired of it. Often times one of the sponsors gives out bags to hold all the loot in, but alas, at this race that was not in the cards.

MacGyver to the rescue!

I didn’t want to return to my car or miss the award ceremony (because my friend, Jenn, won the race and I wanted to hoop and holler for her!) So I MacGyvered it. I found a discarded NutriGrain box in the trash pile left over from the mound of food set out for the runners and began pooling all of my items into it. Pens were clustered in a coozie followed by paper products and granola bars. It fit perfectly. So I walked around with a NutriGrain box on my hip, thinking nothing of it until my friend, Jenn, who incidentally was the race winner, noticed it and said, “Kelly, you’re amazing! Where did you find that box and how did you think of that?” She glanced in to see just how much stuff I had packed into my container (I am not shy when it comes to free pens!) and then said, “Please blog about this!”

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Today I celebrate problem solving, creativity, and mental flexibility. But even more than that I celebrate friends who notice and laugh at my quirks and encourage me the small victories in life.

 

Mar 18, 2014 - Health, Humor    No Comments

Workout Secrets

Want the secret to the best work out secret ever?

I’ve got it right here!

Ninety seconds of core strengthening, planking, trunk rotation, scapular stability and the cutest work out partner ever.

A four month old.

One dad recorded working out with his daughter and it makes my heart happy. Not only to see a playful baby girl, but to see her adoring father right alongside her, engaging in what she found important and making it playful.

I nearly tear up when daddy tells daughter he loves her and Lilly Ann reaches out to touch his face lovingly. What a beautiful moment which exhibits their relationship. I love that this dad is obviously gushing with delight in his little girl. I love that I know what that feels like. I have a great dad who, had you tube existed when I was little, may have made a similar video!

If you have a great parent, thank them for their “thereness” and time spent with you. If your parental relationships left something wanting, seek to be such a parent to your own children. Or, if you don’t have your own children like me, seek to be a surrogate parent to a friend’s kids and pour your love, attention and delight on them. Be willing to get on the floor and do the Lilly Ann workout.

Your abs and your spirit will thank you.

Mar 10, 2014 - Health    3 Comments

The Hanging of a Milestone

I’m proud of my hanger. Not just for functioning to keep clothes off of my floor or preventing wrinkles from setting in. I’m proud of my hanger for changing my life.

This ordinary looking hanger changed my life. It was far more than plastic and convenient anti-slip notches. For me, it represented a milestone that I had been working toward for more than two years.

Hanger

 

 

Let me give you a closer look at the milestone. That’s right, the letter M. Gone are the days of XXL labels on my hangers.

hanger close up

 

I bought a shirt with an “M” sticker and an “M” hanger because it was a medium!

This hanger represents years of labor, hours of meal planning, hundreds of miles trodden, and millions of small decisions that have added up to this gigantic change. The size of the importance is inversely related to the size of the garment.

This is no ordinary hanger. It is far from the fanciest. I got it for free (with shirt purchase!) But the weightiness of its importance in my life cannot be overstated. I’m proud of my hanger.

What have you done that you can be proud of? What small marker can help you celebrate your accomplishment?

Oct 29, 2013 - Health, Uncategorized    3 Comments

Restorative Niches

These two words have revolutionized my world.

They come from a delightful book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

Quiet

I am an introvert. I need downtime. I am often drained by large groups, small talk, and over stimulation. I am energized by small groups, deep talking, and time alone. Sometimes I have control over my schedule, but often I don’t. I do not want to be angry when I feel drained of energy. I want to combat such feelings through the use of restorative niches.

Cain understands feelings of anxiety leading up to large group activities and fatigue that can follow. Her solution is to find small slivers of time and space to recharge — which she calls restorative niches. This can be just about anything. Eating lunch alone. Walking outside. Listening to your favorite song. Even hiding from others in a bathroom stall (yes, this really happened!)

I’m experiencing a restorative niche right now. I’m sitting in a corner of Washington Dulles Airport, people watching, and writing this post. Travel can be stressful and the early mornings and uncertainty of schedules can leave me drained. My second leg of this flight was delayed, but instead of stressing, I’m reveling in this carved out block of time which I can claim, be purposeful in its use, and let it restore my soul.

Cain was careful (and accurate) to say that we all have some introvertedness and some extrovertedness in us. No one is solely one or the other. So, I ask you, friend — introvert or extrovert– what is your favorite restorative niche? What is the most surprising restorative niche you’ve ever experienced?

Aug 30, 2013 - Health, Humor    1 Comment

A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

I met R2D2 at work today.

No joke. See?

r2d2 Florida Hospital for Children

He came delivering an important message to some kids I was working with. He brought a storm trooper and Darth Vader with him (who incidentally had foreign accents… which made me giggle!)

It was a delightful pause in a hectic day. I loved seeing the looks on children’s faces who were stuck in a hospital room. Many sat up, smiled, and summoned all the energy they had to take a picture with these famous heroes and villains. I was also surprised to see how excited I got! I wanted my picture taken with them just as much as my kiddos did. It was a sweet moment of laughter and reprieve in the midst of hard situations. I work with sick kids. They are fighting for oxygen, strength, and endurance much of the time. But, even for just a moment, they got to be kids, forget they were ill, and shake hands with Darth Vader … without getting their arm cut off! It just might be that laughter and joy are our portals to a galaxy far, far away.

Aug 28, 2013 - Health, Humor    6 Comments

Adult Cereal?

Until this week I had no idea there were different classes of cereals. I knew some were healthier, some more vibrantly colored, but I found an inarguable distinction in the store.

adult cereal

 

The adultness is present in the very names of these cereals. What kid would whine for Fiber Flakes or Colon Blow Clusters given the choice? What age is it when we transition from sugary rainbow cereal to good-for-you-fiber-filled cereals? Is it a physiologic need for increased fiber intake? Is it a social construct? A rite of passage? In my quest into adulthood I wasn’t aware that my cereal choices would be forced to change as well. But in adulthood, so much is different. I have to delay gratification and value my “future self”, in many ways, more than I value my “present self.” This is true in financial decisions, health choices, and apparently even breakfast intake! I’m still learning about this adulthood thing and I’m not sure why I fought so hard for it as a kid. It seems like I have an earlier bedtime now than ever! This trip to Target just provided me with one more reminder that I’m not a kid anymore. But as an act of rebellion, I bought Frosted Cheerios. Keeping the kid in me alive one bowl at a time!

How do you balance the “kid” and “adult” in your life?

Aug 19, 2013 - Devotional, Exegesis, Health    No Comments

Running and Asceticism

I’ve never experience the runner’s high, endorphine-flooded, goofy-this-feels-like-walking-only-faster-I-could-run-forever state of being. I feel every foot-pouding step, every muscle contraction, every oxygen-drenched breath when I run.

I run for two reasons:

1. The sense of accomplishment is addicting.

2. To tell myself, “no.”

When I completed my first 5K, I was totally pumped. Not by runner’s high endorphines, but by the sense of immense accomplishment. I started off running thirty seconds at a time and sucking air after each interval. I had just run 35 minutes without stopping. I crossed the finish line, fists in the air, thrilled at what I had just accomplished. It felt like I was walking on a cloud for weeks. Any tough problem that I encountered  seemed to soften in comparison to finishing that race. I’m addicted to accomplishment. That’s why I run.

Jingle Jungle 5K

Secondly, I run for self-discipline. It is good for me to endure through trials. It is good for me to push a little bit harder when my legs want to quit. My body wants certain things: sleep, rest, comfort, ease. Although there’s nothing wrong with those desires inherently, there are times the body and the flesh must be told, “No.”

Self-discipline is a constant training process.

There is a reason I understand much more than I did two years ago why Paul consistently talks about running and spirituality in the Bible. He entreats his readers to train, run, not run in vain, to finish the race. One of my favorite passages: Hebrews 12:1-2 reads: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Life is a marathon; we must train to run well. Even Jesus denied his bodily desires and ran the race set before Him until he crossed the finish line. He is still celebrating the completion of His race. And so am I.

Jun 27, 2013 - Health, My Story, Quotes    1 Comment

Beauty and Frenzy

Sometimes I feel so ugly.

My feelings of ugliness have nothing to do with my wardrobe they have everything to do with my spirit. I did not have the best week last week. I worked some extra hours and had lots of evening commitments. I was tired. I was spent. I was grouchy.

I was ugly.

I felt like I had no room in my life for anyone else. I came home from another meeting and went straight to bed, fuming that something had stolen my precious free time. And I couldn’t concentrate in my evening meetings because my mind was busy thinking of all the things that were not getting done while I sat here. The chores spanned from the mundane to the compassionate: Laundry, cooking, bills, reading, writing that thank you card, calling that friend who was hurting. I complained about these feelings to a friend of mine who simply replied, “Beauty is not frenzy.”

It was then that I snatched out my Moleskine and wrote that truth down.

That’s what was making me ugly. I was frenzied, rushed, harried, unable to sit, to be present in any situation or talk to the person in front of me because I was always focused on what needed to be done next. My life was inhospitable. My spirit knew it. I need to listen to myself better. I need to prevent, as much as possible, this feeling of frenzy because it wrings out all the things I like about myself leaving me a limp rag without direction. I’ve had enough of that feeling, thank you very much.

I’m done with overcommitting myself. I’m done with feeling frenzied. I’m done with feeling ugly.

Beauty and peacefulness… here I come!

happiness card

What makes you feel ugly or frenzied? Do you think they’re linked?

May 23, 2013 - Health, My Story    1 Comment

Everest Challenge

“I’m just going to do an easy mile and a half tonight to get ready for the race.”

Yes, that string of words escaped my mouth last week and I never thought I would be able to say them. I spent decades avoiding the run with the following misguided logic, “We are finite creatures. Therefore, we have a finite amount of run allotted to us in our lifetimes. There exists the possibility that I will one day be chased by an aggressor with a knife or an angry dog and I will need to run at that point. To succeed in that task, I should save up as much run as possible to be sufficiently prepared in the event of such an occurrence.”

I saved up all my run.

But now I’m using it!

A year ago this week I started running. I literally ran 30 seconds at a time and then would walk for two minutes. After each set of 30 seconds, I’d be winded and sweaty and need a break.  I built up the running time slowly, but surely and shortened the walking time in the same fashion. Every week was a new challengeA few weeks ago I competed in the Everest Challenge, a 5K (3.1 miles) with obstacles and a scavenger hunt along the same course. So I’d estimate the entire race was about five miles. I’m pleased with my performance. I made it through, no injuries, in a solid time. I’ve never achieved the “runner’s high” where people describe some sort of euphoria where they forget that they’re even running. No euphoria for me — I feel every step hit the pavement.

But I’m totally addicted to the sense of accomplishment!

Everest Challenge

 I enjoy the training. Seeing the difference in my time and my energy level and seeing months of preparation pay off. I enjoy the anticipation of standing with several thousand compadres in the starting chute, all of us wondering if there is time for one more bathroom run. I enjoy the first mile, where my legs feel strong and my lungs untaxed. I enjoy the second mile where I’ve hit a rhythm and the running playlist on my iPod helps me keep the pace. I enjoy the third mile where it is a head game. My legs and lungs are strained and I plod along, one step at a time knowing that my training is paying off. And I really enjoy the last .1 miles. It is a magical place. The last straight away to the finish line where I gather the last of my energy and sprint, fists thrust over my head in victory as I cross the finish line.

Every race is a victory for me. It doesn’t matter if I beat anyone. The victory is in a battle against myself to know that I am strong. That I can do it. That I no longer have to save the run. I’ve gotta go run an easy mile and a half now.

 See you at the finish line.

Everest Medal

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