Monthly Archives

November 2017

Wellness

Do you really need to lose weight?

It’s a question I grapple with when I speak to my own reflection. And yes, I do speak to myself. I haven’t had my BMI tested in quite some time, so from a medical standpoint, I don’t know if I need to lose weight.

But if we’re honest, women have been less concerned about the medical commentary no matter what end of the spectrum we fall. The desire to lose weight, maintain weight loss or be complacent when it comes to the scale rarely pertains to our BMI.

How we emotionally feel about the way to look or physically feel in our own skin is really the crux of this question. And sometimes it is also the cause of the weight gain.

From the outside looking in, I am content with how I look. From the inside out, I feel a little more bloated in how I feel in my body. And from the inside, I am a bigger mess than is reflected on my dress size.

And this is what makes this question so deceptive. And dangerous. And judgmental.

It’s far easier for us to look around at the waistline of others and decide what they need or think we know what they are doing wrong than it is for us to examine our own inner self and assess our own needs.

Currently, I am having a resurgence of hormonal imbalance issues. Last time I detoxed from sugar and did a strict nutritional cleanse with consistent use of herbal products, I was able to reset my body and achieve balance. At the same time, visceral fat melted away.

Would I love to lose 10 pounds? Sure. But mostly I want to lose weight as a reflection of the work I’ve done on the inside — discipline and nutrition that leads to healthy balance and feeling the best in my skin.

If I do the work and don’t lose 10 pounds but feel incredible, I can honestly say I will be content in my skin. Again, if we are honest, we must put the number on the scale in a context that doesn’t reflect the outer person but the inner one.

Are there real risks and scary health issues associated with weight? Of course. But thinking there is a body size that lowers risk anymore than there’s an ideal female form is misleading.

As a woman, it’s a relief for me to know that what I see when I look in the mirror is only a very small picture of my overall health. Though somedays it’s a burden, too. Skinny is NOT healthy. I can choose to let go and love my reflection more deeply daily when my focus is on the inside me.

Do you need to lose weight? Many of you replied last month that you want help with that and I would LOVE to help you. And maybe you do need the weight loss. Maybe your doctor said to lose weight. Maybe your doctor is right. But maybe not. Either way, I still want to help because the journey isn’t just about weight.

ymc0_bigthumb_Isagenix-Weight-Loss-ProgramDo you want to work on the inside issues that may or may not be related to your weight? Those are harder to tackle but have much more far-reaching consequences on your life.

Whatever your reason and no matter your motivation, I am here to offer you some real tools for helping. I absolutely love coming alongside people who are ready to change! Call or text me 217.801-7464 to schedule a time to talk about your goals and how I can connect you with resources that can work to help you reach them!

Faith

Am I too busy for God?

On the list of questions I don’t want to ask myself, this one ranks pretty high.

I admit I am not living the life I want. I wonder: Are you?

I have this vision of a slower life, a simple pace and a schedule that allows me to cook homemade dinners for my family, tend to a garden, pray, finish the books I’ve been reading all year, study my Bible more intently, read endlessly with my toddler (well, until her attention wanes), create art and laugh with my older children, go on long leisurely dates with my husband, write to my heart’s content and earn enough money in a job where I get to help other people that I have time for all of this.

This is fantasy, of course. But I think it would make God smile, because it’s my heart’s desire. I think He wants me to have it, too, but I am not sure how.

But here are the thoughts that immediately come to mind:

Live with less. That’s a possibility and a distinct reality I’ve lived. Using Financial Peace University, we changed our spending (and borrowing) habits before. There’s almost always something that can be cut from our budget. If only I can find the time to sit down and discover what that is! Since the teens are sucking the most out of our budget, it’s a great opportunity to sit down with them and teach them about money, too. Of course, I can’t help but think it’s time for my middle child to experience a mission trip where he can see up close and personal poverty that he could not even imagine. But that costs money.

Faith. A mission trip, while frugal-sounding, requires a lot of faith. I’ve been there before. Many times. And God has been faithful. So I don’t want to be so practical, so black-and-white, so rigid with rules that I miss the opportunity to be part of something God wants me to experience.

Relationship with Jesus. So often, I try to do all the heavy lifting in life. If only we had a bit more money almost certainly means I should work more. This is a mindset that I constantly struggle with. I am again feeling God calling me out into mission work — not just any mission work but the kind that involves serving those who cannot afford to pay for my help. That means finding supporters and sponsors, and it’s the least favorite part of this for me. The only way I can even manage this is to draw close to Christ, even as I resist. He has the answers, and I doubt it involves taking on a minimum wage job so I can offer trauma sensitive Holy Yoga to those survivors of trauma who want to reclaim their body and mind.

Where does this leave me?

Instead of being busy doing, it’s time to get busy being. I want my life to reflect my heart: slow, simple, caring, coaching, encouraging, leaving behind fingerprints of God’s work and the miracle that it’s done through His people with skeptical, busy, hurting hearts.

In one of my Holy Yoga classes last week, we meditated on this scripture:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139: 23

It has me really doing some down-on-my-knees work. Clearing space — if not in my schedule, in my mind and heart — to let God be God and do what I can’t do. In my anxiety, I don’t have all the answers. But knowing I’m not supposed to have all the 12072529_10153058742986035_4444701999120639061_nanswers can be quite freeing.

What if what I am searching for isn’t really about what’s “out there,” the external stuff, but what’s inside. How I seize every opportunity to be alive in all my emotions, to love bigger, to serve more, to empathize more deeply, to take every opportunity to live inside the moments I’m given — no matter what I’m doing in those moments. The good thing about God is that even in the seasons when I KNOW I’m not making the time for Him that I should, He isn’t the one who makes a fuss out of it. He’s always grateful for when and how I show up. The good news is that “praying without ceasing” and staying connected to the branch don’t come with a long set of rules. In fact, there are no rules at all. Just His love and grace, always present no matter what I’ve done or haven’t done.

Let me leave you with these words, written by Omid Safi, a columnist for the website publication, On Being. This was written three years ago and continues to circulate social media, so powerful the imagery.

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

“What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, ‘How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?’ When I ask, ‘How are you?’ that is really what I want to know.

“I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

“Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

“Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.”

To read the entirety of his column, click HERE.

 

Faith

Talk about your blessings…always

A few years ago, I decided I would do an Advent or Lent challenge. Honestly, I don’t remember which. But it was pretty involved. I loved it, but on top of everything else on my plate, I could not keep up. I remember a very strong sense from the Lord saying to me, “Who said you HAD to do this?”

We are JUSTIFIED in our faith through the free gift of grace. It requires absolutely nothing of us. We can’t keep enough rules and laws, do enough good deeds, pray more or attend church regularly to change our salvation. It comes only via Christ, who invites us into relationship with the most light and easy yoke.

When Nov. 1 hit and seemingly all my friends were doing gratitude challenges on social media, I paused. I am a Holy Yoga teacher and a personal (health) coach, so maybe I SHOULD be doing this daily post of gratitude. IMG_0389

That was all it took. Instantly I realized that with a very full plate, a husband leaving town for a week, finishing up my trauma-sensitive certification, tech week for a theater program in our house and my daughter’s birthday plus Thanksgiving…I didn’t want a burden.

Hear me clearly. Being thankful isn’t the burden. Feeling like you HAVE to do something can be burdensome. And just because I’m not posting on social media does not mean I am NOT practicing gratitude. In fact, sometimes a private practice can be far more rewarding.

For instance, one year I set aside $20 in my monthly budget to do a gratitude gift or gifts. I can’t remember if I was “perfect” about doing it every month, but I do recall some great opportunities to personally let people know how much I think of them with a small gift or gift card.

Another year, we prayed on the way to school for two things we were thankful for every single morning. We also prayed for two people the Holy Spirit brought to mind in that very moment. Some very neat things transpired from that.

While the Facebook challenge is great for people who appreciate words of affirmation, that’s not everyone’s love language. So perhaps a small gift or act of service would actually speak more clearly about how you value them.

My point is this: If you are feeling “less than” for not doing what everyone else is doing, please don’t. Find a way to practice gratitude that works for you. All that matters is that you allow yourself to explore the art (and science) of thanksgiving.

If you are doing the social media thing and you’re tempted to be offended (maybe you even stopped reading due to your offensiveness), I’m certainly NOT criticizing you! Some of the best mindset shifts come from having a discipline, even for a short period of time. This challenge can have a profound impact on you and on the lives of people you are lifting up. Way to go!

Do me a favor, whatever it is you’re doing, don’t stop when November has ended. Gratitude is a practice. It actually doesn’t come naturally for most people. And it’s not modeled well in our culture. But it’s super powerful.

Mommy stuff, Yoga

Look what happens when my toddler decides to do yoga with me while I’m videotaping it!

Tatum was preoccupied in another room playing, and I was settling in to do some at-home yoga. I decided I would work on practicing my own flow, and that I would record a video of it. I have been thinking about doing a Holy Yoga Advent calendar, and I wasn’t sure if I would add flows or postures for daily challenges. So I wanted to see if I could do a flow in under five minutes that could be repeated. Also, I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a critique of my cues, tone of voice, etc. as I prepare for my trauma-sensitive practicum.

I was about halfway in when Tatum, who LOVES yoga on most days, came wandering in the room. Usually she’ll get a “mat,” um a blanket or towel, and do a down dog or a bridge posture and move on. What transpired on this day, however, was too precious not to share! Here are a few of my favorite screenshots! My family was in stitches, so I hope it brings you joy, too. Please pardon the nudity. She’s a toddler, and it’s their preferred state of being.

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As I cued to lift the left arm high to the sky, she followed suit in her own special way. (We barely knows shapes and colors so left and right is not in her practice!) I didn’t realize until after I watched the video that she was in fact actually following the verbal cue. This is the heart of yoga…doing what you hear not what you see. Evidence I need to work on my cue perhaps!

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Next, that left arm slides along the mat under the right. Clearly she’s now copying what she sees, and that can often get a young yogi into trouble.

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To open the heart, I cued the option of bringing that right hand around to the hip crease. Tatum found her own heart opener. Frankly, it looks far more relaxing.

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As usual, the attention span of a young yogi, especially for postures outside her practice, can become quite short. To keep moving her body, she created this burrito posture. It should only be attempted if your mat is wide enough to wrap around your body. Otherwise, get a blanket, roll yourself up like a burrito and breathe. This is yoga. And it’s why I love yoga so very much!

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Just be careful not to attempt burrito posture when sharing your mat as you may injure your workout partner. Thankfully she doesn’t weigh enough to pull the mat out from under me…yet!

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This is the exact moment Miss Tatum discovered she was being filmed. Unlike a normal yoga class, this was a delightful discovery for her.

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So she ran up to the camera to see herself more clearly. (Pardon the yogurt face. She’s not as fond at cleaning up after she eats, and some days, it’s not a battle I care to have. This is why I do yoga.)

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She decided to go to the back of the mat and make a run for the camera. This is a cardio interval much like a HIIT, high intensity interval training, class. We can do this sort of workout in yoga, too, but it rarely involves actual running. Thank goodness!

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We ended the class in a relaxing version of child’s pose. If you aren’t familiar with it, this version involves an actual child walking and climbing on your back. Much like the popular goat yoga, toddler yoga has many joyful and soothing benefits. Really, it does. I promise.