October 26, 2012

Sometimes I'm My Most Ambitious at Night

When the house is quiet, and as I listen to the Santa Ana's toss around the leaves outside our open bedroom window, my mind swirls with desires, goals, and dreams. Tonight is one of those nights. I know that lying down is futile at this point, so I'm going to let my thoughts run out onto this page...
I'm wondering tonight why I haven't spoken more on my blog in the past about exercising, when it plays as central of a role in my life as it does. Since graduating college, learning to juggle a full time job, and becoming a mother in the last 4 years, I've come to establish a personal exercise philosophy if you will. Silly as it may be, using the word "exercise" instead of "working out" in my mind became an important distinction. I love to move my body. I love to develop and tone muscle. I love to exert myself physically in ways that challenge me. But personally, I have found that the "gym" environment can be a toxic place for me. When I'm at the gym I spend a lot of time comparing, a lot of time judging wrongly, and so often am floundering for variation. When I am outside, or at home, or in a class environment however, I feel much more calm mentally, and even have quiet spiritual moments that are treasured memories to me. I've also found that when I'm exercising in a way that I love, I don't feel like I'm being punished like I used to every time I walked through the doors at Gold's Gym. When I exercise in this way, I can accomodate my routine every day to suit the time I have, and also the amount of energy I'm running on. I can listen to conference talks when I exercise, and I also love that my baby sees me taking care of my body. Walking, bodyrock, dancing, yoga, pilates, and stretching are my favorite ways to move and even though they are lower impact, I told BJ recently that I feel like I may be in the best shape of our married life.
When I was in college I tried harder than ever to eat as healthfully as I possibly could. I tried to limit my fat, sugar, sodium, processed, and animal food intake as much as possible, and never in my life have I been as heavy as I was those 3 years. One piece of advice I loved in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is to not tell yourself "no" when you crave or want something that's not good for you, but to try and figure out some way to add a little nutritional value to what you're eating, so you're not essentially wasting calories. I think this is such a wise principal. For instance, last night I made some apple cobbler. It was very sugary, and didn't have a lot of substance and I've been thinking ever since that the cobbler would have been much better if I had left the peels on the apples, added more oats and less sugar to the crumble, and given the crust more texture, substance, and health benefit by adding chopped nuts as well. Reconsidering the toppings on frozen yogurt to maybe include a little fruit, or adding arugula to the top of my pizza are both great ways to add some benefit to the calories I'm consuming. I want to make this a new goal. I want to be a little more careful about eating for good health, and paying attention to the way the food I'm taking in really improves, or inhibits the way I feel.
Being a mom isn't quite the way I imagined it would be... at least not all the time. There are sacred, breathtaking moments, no doubt, but there are a lot of minutes in the day when I am selfish, time when I want to do what I want, and not have to continually meet Ellie's minute to minute needs and desires. That, for me, has been the single most challenging aspect of motherhood- learning to be unselfish with my time. Being the youngest child in my family, I had so much independent time. I spent so many hours by myself or with just my mom, or just one friend. All day every day was essentially about me. I know this is how it is for most people before they become a mother, but I feel that I in particular, am a fairly independent person. I love my baby. I love to cuddle her and kiss her and love on her. I love to bathe her and dress her and take her places with me. But there were a lot of years spent doing just what I wanted, and I guess I'm surprised how challenging it has been to happily turn my time to someone else's desires every moment of every day. (Maybe that's why I love the evenings when I can be all alone, thinking and breathing, and dreaming all by myself.)
Our hearts are broken for a few of our loved rights now- friends and family members who are facing such harrowing challenges. All I can say is... our hearts are full and heavy with our love and sympathy for you. I don't know what we'd all do without the Savior. He is the only way any of this works out. How blessed we are to know Him.
I can't wait to decorate my own home. I'm hoping I'll have the opportunity sooner, rather than later. My perma-nesting has been in hibernation for the last year and two months and I'm about ready to burst. I hope I even remember how to do this! There are too many places to turn for inspiration. Oh, and did I mention we will have our own yard?! A yard!!! I think I see a garden in my future!
At this time of year I LOOOOOOOVE to cook. I love to be in the kitchen. I could read a thousand cook book, and I could literally kiss Ina Garten right now.
I just got called to be the Beehive advisor in our ward. I am thrilled about my calling, about the girls I get to teach, and about the women I will be serving with. I am especially excited about the new curriculum the church has developed to teach the youth. Now, we as teachers, are urged to make the lessons about the youth. There is much, much more flexibility in the "lesson" you present each week. You study a unit and select what points you feel are relevant and important for the youth at that given time, and then you basically treat the teaching time as much more of a discussion time. You ask questions, you listen to answers and experiences, and you let the children guide you, with the Spirit, so you can cover what needs to be taught. This is how the Savior taught. How appropriate. How inspired. And what a challenge. I always say that I love to speak more than I love to teach. When you speak YOU are in control. If you prepare well, all you have to do is clearly present the information, and you're as good as gold- a perfectly manageable situation. Teaching like Christ, however, is not about control, nor power. It is about love. It is about listening, and understanding. That seems to make a lot more sense.
I am grateful also for the opportunity I have to teach dance. It blesses me. It brings me a lot of happiness. I hope that I not only will make my dancers better at dance, but that I will teach them in a Christlike way, and that they will loved and the desire to be better. Today my Stake President shared a thought at our training meeting,
"The wolf that wants the sheep wants the shepherd more."
That is a call to duty for me as a mother and teacher. I am happy to have that call.

1 comment:

  1. Ellery. I don't know if you knew, but I follow your blog :) I just wanted to tell you what a poetic writer you are. Thank you for sharing your honesty and beautiful testimony. I love to read your words and draw strength from them. Ellie is getting so big! I hope I can see her and your beautiful family soon!