Sunday, January 29, 2017


One of the things I've been learning this pregnancy--

Wait. Hold on. Quick side note.

Yes, I am still pregnant. You can address any questions, comments, or concerns at the non-existent link on the right labelled "My Sanity Is Already Walking a Fine Line."

Moving on.

One of the things I've been learning this pregnancy is that what's true at the microcosm is true at the macrocosm and vice versa. What does this mean? Essentially, that if it's true for my one small life then it's probably true on the universal stage. And if it's a grand theological truth that applies to the whole world then it probably also applies to my immediate circumstances.

For instance, this morning I woke up--still pregnant--and my news feed was full of the new restrictions towards refugees. I then proceeded to read Psalm 121 which says, "The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." At the macrocosm, my heart is breaking for the many refugees who had a hope of a new life, a safe haven in the US for their families. At the microcosm, I am discouraged by the fact that I have not yet given birth and am stuck waddling around the neighborhood like a straight-jacketed penguin while I try to Get. Her. Out. When I remember that God keeps our going out and our coming in, I know that God is no less in control of US policy and the sojourners in our midst than he is in control of when our Bonus Baby puts in an appearance. He keeps the coming in of refugees; he keeps the going out of one small baby.

Macrocosm. Microcosm. It's still true.

Sometimes we think that there is a huge divide between what is true for us and what is true for everybody. Surely, we think, a small truth doesn't necessarily apply to big grand happenings, and the big grand happenings have nothing to teach us in our little lives. But here's my new secret: truth is truth, big or small. And if I can work it out on the small scale, maybe it will start to be reflected in the big things as well. If I can see it in the small things, maybe the big ones won't be as scary.

So, from my microcosm to the world stage: may we remember that God is keeping our going out and our coming in. And may we watch in wonder as he works good--in the little and the big--while we simply remember the truth of who he is.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

For the Love of the Run

I'm 39 weeks pregnant today, so I thought it was about time to finally write that post about how to love running. You know, timing-wise, it just seems appropriate. I went for a walk with the kids today in an attempt to get things rolling on the labor front. No luck, but I did have fun racing the boys home (I was pushing the twins in the stroller) while Bee laughed maniacally and Bruiser yelled for me to run faster. And...I can still beat the five year old. But barely. And only over very short distances. Still: small victories.

My last official run attempt this pregnancy on Christmas Eve.
It was not pretty. Trigger may have laughed at me.

But here are the things you need to know about learning to love running. I will bullet point for three reasons: 1) I'm really hoping that the Man will get home soon and I want to finish this blog before he does, 2) I'd really rather be in labor than writing right now, and 3) no one really wants to experience the beauty of me writing while simultaneously bouncing on a very large exercise ball. So, without further ado:

  • Take a partner. Accountability is key. This pregnancy, I've had a friend meet me every Thursday night. Sure, these last few weeks she's mainly entertained me while I waddle and occasionally pretend to wog (that's walk/jog to you), but it still counts. Normally though, my running partner is Trigger. He looks so pathetic when I miss our runs that it's highly motivating. Also, he has this incredible ability to mock me with a single glance if I slow down. Running with a partner means you bail on your runs less often and quit less early.
  • Make it something you get to do. To me, running is time without the kids. It's time that's just for me. When I'm running with someone else, it's time to enjoy adult company. It's something I get to do that makes my life happier. Seriously.
  • Switch it up. This last year, the Man built me a running plan that gave me one day of interval training (speed work! yay!), one day with a timed run, and one day with a long run. Because each day was something different and each week the times and distances changed, I was much less apt to get bored or burnt out.
  • Reward yourself. Sometimes this looks like "When I've run this many miles, I get to buy a new pair of running shoes." Sometimes it's more like, "Today I'm going to humble brag on Facebook about my run and people will pat me on the back." Other times, it's knowing that you get to come home from your run to a nice glass of ice cold chocolate milk. Do not reward yourself with an entire sheet cake. You will hate yourself afterward. Just saying.
  • Give yourself a goal. Pick a race, any race. Sign up for it. Better yet, sign up with a friend. Train with or without said friend. Show up for said race. Feel awesome.
  • Figure out what you like about running. If you start every run thinking about how much you hate running, you will never learn to love it. This is true about most things in life. Maybe the only thing you ever learn to like about running is finishing a run. This is fine. When you start each run, you'll say to yourself, "I'm going to feel so great when this is over." That's legit. Personally, there are many things I like about running (and a few that I really dislike--such as the fact that it's really hard to do when you're 39 weeks pregnant and your baby dropped 3 weeks ago). You just have to pick one.
  • Find a cheerleader. Maybe the humble brag on Facebook is beneath you. I have a former running partner that I text with about my runs, and the Man is excellent about high-fiving me  and telling me I'm awesome when I get back to the house. My middle sister also does a great job cheering me on (and she's run a marathon so she always gives me something to live up to). We all need cheerleaders in our lives. If you don't have one, I'd love to be that for you. Cheering others on is one of my favorite things.
Here's my last piece of advice though, if you really want to love running and you just don't, find something else that you can love. It doesn't have to be running. Really, it doesn't. There are lots of other great options out there. Swim. Cycle. Do yoga. Try out Zumba. Be purposeful to go race around the yard with your kids more often. Running isn't for everyone. And sometimes it's just not for every season. I am not running right now. Well, not more than 25 very awkward yards at a time. And that's okay. 

Anyway, I repeat: running isn't for everyone, but you know what should be for everyone? Joi de vivre and feeling good in your own skin. So find something that helps you do that. Even if it's just frequent dance parties in your socks while you cook dinner in the evening. Because God did a really good job on you, and I think we should always celebrate that. With or without a side of running.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Purposefully Present

We're closing out birthday week today, and I am finishing up prep for our number 5 as she should arrive at some point within the next three to four weeks. It's been an interesting end of pregnancy as I've found that I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to "have it together". I'm not quite sure if it's the fact that it's number 5, so really, I should know what I'm doing at this point, or the fact that we have four other kids, so in order to decrease the chaos, I want to have things squared away, or just my typical type A tendencies, but the need to whittle down my To Do list and my ensuing inevitable frustration (because you take one item off the list only to add three more) have resulted in a fascinating study of the state of my soul.

You see: I have trouble letting go of control, which is ironic considering the fact that I'm pregnant at all this time. I want to have it all together at all times. I want my expectations to consistently line up with reality. And I forget, so very easily, that the point is not to impress others with my ability to be awesome but to bless them for God's glory.

So today, before  I try to work (again) on the homeschool planning that may or may not get finished,  before I go make Littles his apple pie, before I even manage to get out of pajamas, I'm taking time to write down what matters. Because sure, there will be days when I have to choose between meeting one child's emotional needs and two other's physical needs (and I pray to God I make the right choice), sure there will be days when the laundry just does not get finished (and, thank goodness, I married another capable adult), sure there will be days when I'm frustrated by what hasn't gotten done instead of satisfied with what has, but:

We do the best we can...and try to eagerly anticipate whatever adventure comes next.

We remember that this is not our story--it's God's--and we just get to come along and enjoy the ride.

We remind ourselves that the best way to bless others is never personal perfection but rather our purposeful presence. And sometimes in order to be purposefully present when I'm nine months pregnant, I need to stretch out on the couch with the Man's baseball cap covering my face and take a short nap. Hear, hear. Oh, yeah, and remind myself of what is true: that present always trumps perfect and that it's better to bless than impress.