motherhoodfaithfitness

sharing the joys, triumphs and struggles of faith, family and fitness!

Part 2, A day in the life of a school chaplain, Lunchtimes.

Lunchtime for me depends on the day, on Mondays I set up beading and loom banding in the library. This is a great warm place in the winter months and both girls and boys enjoy creating bracelets, necklaces and key rings for friends, parents and themselves. I have done beading with the children all the years I have worked at the school, I find it is very soothing and relaxing for the students and helps with hand eye coordination as well as being a quick project that can be taken home to show to the family. Beading was always popular with the girls but  this term I have seen lots of boys coming in since I brought the loom bands and boards in. I love seeing the bigger students helping the younger ones thread beads, knot the elastic and show them how to use a loom. 
 On Friday lunchtimes I meet a couple of girls for a session based around grief and loss and anxiety. We do relaxation exercises, breathing techniques, chat through stuff and play “Operation” and “Tummy ache” board games. We often use Strengths cards to identify their areas of difficulty and most of all, where they excel and are thriving.

  
One lunchtime a month I celebrate the children’s birthdays who were born that month. This is best lunchtime activity ever! We have fairy bread, chocolate, chips, lollies and a home made cake. The children wait eagerly for the invitation to come out to them the week before. We play pin the nose on the clown, musical statues and find out how they are celebrating their birthday or what they hoped to get for a present. The food is kindly donated by the local church and Foodbank. I make the cake as for some kids it’s the only cake they have for their birthday, so chocolate butter icing and sprinkles are very necessary! At the end of the party the children each get a present from the party box, again donated from lovely members of my church, little cars, bracelets, hair ties, pencils and erasers, small gifts that the children love and are grateful for. I am blessed to have a number of faithful ladies who make birthday cards for the children too. Many children tell me years later they have kept their cards, the power of something made with love and care is tremendous, and the children feel valued and celebrated. The birthday parties have to be one of my favourite roles as a pastoral care worker. I am constantly blown away by how such a simple and easy 40 minute party can bring so much joy and excitement to a child, whether they are 5 or 13!   

The role of a pastoral care worker is to celebrate each life, and help the children find their value, purpose and hope. A party is a perfect opportunity to show every student they are important and worth throwing a party for! 

Roll on Friday…it’s the June party!!! 

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Daughters of Sarah update

A little group of women have been meeting in a chilly church office the last few weeks. We have laughed, we have cried, we have been silent and we have talked incessantly (until the timer goes off!) This is Daughters of Sarah, a course that helps relationships, with yourself, with your Hubby and with Father God. 

So much to learn, so many stories to hear and share. I am finding it both challenging and rewarding, (they kind of go together don’t they?) The daily devotions, the worksheets, the homework, the conversations with loved ones, they all add up to a lot of investment, of time, energy and focus. But with investment comes reward, with labour comes birth, with growing pains comes an enlargement, a development. I am learning so much about not only the brave women who are open and vulnerable about their lives, their families, their marriages, but I’m learning about myself, my life, my family and my marriage. We are all on a journey to deepen those relationships, but most of all to draw closer to the giver of life, family and marriage, Father God. 

My verse in thinking about for this week is:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭1‬ NIV)

 
So many of my conflicts and hostile interactions with others could have been spared if only I had lived by these words. But the past is gone, a new day is ahead, so I’m praying for gentleness and patience. 

If you are interested in this course you can find details at Nina Roesner’s page or at Greater Impact Ministries

 
 

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Gym success and first veggies! 

Just a quick one tonight, managed to get to the gym sans enfant! Outcome = splits training in quiet room surrounded by mirrors to check form, plus a little flex n twerk when no ones around! Ahhhh no interruptions, no dog hair, no toddler pouring milk over your hair or giving you snotty kisses, bliss! (Though I do love those adoring little smooches too!)

Came home to whip up homemade beefburgers, potato, bacon and pumpkin cheesey bake and picked spinach and lettuce from my garden! The lettuce was so sweet and crunchy, I can’t wait for my herbs and other veggies to be ready, it’s really quite exciting being a gardener. 

Spinach is a great veggie, for smoothies, salads and I like using it in lasagne too. 

And I couldn’t link the gym and veggies in a finer way than to finish with this gem! Popeye the sailor man, with his super strength biceps after eating a can of spinach! 

 

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Flirtations with ditching the carbs! 

For the last couple of months I have flirted with cutting down on my sugar and wheat intake, exchanging my toast for yoghurt and nuts, sandwiches for omelettes and rice for cauliflower. I say flirting with this way of eating, because I know it’s better for me on the inside and out, but the lure of chocolate and pizza can sometime be very strong! 

However I found this amazing recipe which helps me with the chocolate cravings and very filling!

 Low carb choccy cookies  

 

I’ve made these cookies a few times and my grain free/paleo friends have given them a big thumbs up too! And shock horror..the other half and my children like them too!

I got the recipe and lots of info from the website Ditch the Carbs. There are some amazing recipes, sweet, savoury, snacks and meals. 

Next shopping day I’m going to stock up on some of the ingredients for these meals and try to incorporate these into our weekly menu. Ham and egg cups, lamb kebabs, fat head pizza….mmmmm sounds delicious! 

I love the idea of exchanging one meal for a healthier version rather than changing everything and depriving yourself. If I eat good wholesome meals most of the time, I’m onto a winner. 

  

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Our veggie patch, outside time and caterpillar squishing! 

In an attempt to eat more fruit and veggies (number 3 on the 20 things list ), this year we planted a small veggie patch. I dug over a small patch outside our front door (where I couldn’t forget it) added chicken poo from a friend with chooks and waited a day before planting the little green seedlings. 

I took my little boys over to the supermarket, where they were selling veggie seedlings. We chose cauliflower, broccoli, baby spinach, lettuce and some flowers to break up the green and confuse the bugs (I’m told that’s companion planting). Here is our before shot. 

 

The boys loved planting up the veggies and flowers and take great joy in seeing the plants grow, squishing hungry caterpillars, watering and picking  the tasty spinach and lettuce leaves for tea. Since my 2 year old became the chief caterpillar squisher, the ending of Eric Carle’s children’s masterpiece “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” can sometimes become a tragedy..he doesn’t get fat and become a butterfly, because he gets squished after eating the nice green leaf! It’s an awesome book though, I remember reading it when I went to playgroup 40 years ago! So many teaching opportunities, colours, numbers, healthy eating, metamorphosis and art! Totally recommended 🙂 

  
However, I digress… caterpillars are not friends in my veggie patch, they get squished! 

Our patch is now looking great, we’ve added coriander, rosemary, pansies and a couple of tomato and bean plants have appeared from the chicken poo no doubt. 

  
The little patch enjoying some morning sun a few weeks later. 

Here is what it looks like now,holey cauliflowers and brocolli, but beautiful lettuces, spinach and flowers growing. This is the first time I’ve actually had any success in growing veggies, but having it outside the front door is a definite plus, I can’t forget to weed or water it, and I can pick the produce coming in from the car if I like! 

  

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Sleep, free but a mum’s luxury! 

Back in November I posted a list of 20 things that would be beneficial for me to start or continue doing. 

Here’s the picture if you missed it last time.  

 

A fine list to endeavour to follow.

Today I am focussing on number 6. “go to bed earlier” 

My 2 year old son is awake and firing on all cyclinders anytime between 5-5.30am. I have found myself longing to go back to bed mid morning, and if that works and daddy is about, I can do that, but when it’s a work day, or I have several errands, appointments or play dates organised I have to trudge on, wearily. Now I don’t know about you but my mood is severely affected by lack of sleep (or food). Sleep is a great luxury as a mummy, but often at bedtime I’m still bustling about, watching tv, checking facebook, texting friends. So again I’m challenged to get to bed early, switching off the phone and spend that time in a bedtime devotion or writing in my journal. I then wake up a little less irritable and more willing to play cars, pack lunches and stack the dishwasher at 5.30am. I am still using this time to stretch, read my Bible, eat a healthy breakfast and prepare for the day ahead, this is all so much easier when you don’t feel like death! 

  
When I have “enough sleep” (that’s an oxymoron right there) I have energy, I have enthusiasm, I’m positive, I recover from sickness of mind and body much quicker, sleep is awesome! I just wish I remembered that on an evening! Get sleep and the whole world is a better place! 

  

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The Respect Dare, Daughters of Sarah and my new Gym buddy! 

Last year I completed a book called The Respect Dare. The 40 days of “dares” are based on research that both men and women need mutual love and respect to have a happy healthy relationship (Gottman).  As a woman who’s been married a long time, (23 years) I find it pretty difficult to be respectful at times, there are habits that annoy me, tendencies that frustrate me and general niggles that all couples face. The Respect Dare helps you focus on the positive, look for ways to encourage your hubby, and work upon your own “issues”, be they childhood, learned behaviors, cultural expectations, or simple pigheadedness! Our relationship with each other and my self awareness and walk with God deepened and grew over the 40 days. So when Nina released a 14 week course to build women and grow relationships both marital and with God, I jumped at the chance to lead a small group. This course is called Daughters of Sarah.

Last week 4 women and I met together in a church office, huddled around a lap top and eagerly anticipating what we could learn and how we would develop. It is a privilege to journey with women of faith, flawed but hopeful, with dreams and visions of the future, with hearts full of love for God and looking to be transformed and become more like Christ. Our relationships with our husbands will be changed forever, our self awareness will be piqued, our faith journey will be nourished as we walk the path together. We’re on week 2, and I’m blown away by the conversations and discussion so far! Here’s looking forward to the next 12 weeks! To find out more information on The Respect Dare or the Daughters of Sarah course, have a look at the Greater Impact website or Nina Roesner’s blog. I can sincerely recommend it. John Gottman‘s research and website is really interesting and helpful too. 

 As for hubs and I, today we joined the gym together, I’m so excited! I have a gym buddy again. Going back to the gym after an almost 2 year hiatus was like coming home! So many hours spent here, friendships and fun memories have been made, as well as kgs gone and iron pumped. I’ve realised that stretching and working out at home isn’t always productive with a dog or 2 year old jumping on your back or licking your face, so back to the gym it is, and I couldn’t be more pumped! 

  

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Morning routines, a time for renewal and refreshing! 

I have a little boy, who doesn’t like to sleep! I’m writing this as I’m patting his back whilst playing piano lullaby music on spotify. Not only does he not like to go to bed, he doesn’t like to stay in bed either. With daylight savings, his new wake time is 5am. When I say wake time I mean full on, jumping around, telling me hilarious stories, and demanding “I want to eat!”. My mornings have been mostly bleary eyed, in ugg boots and my daggy dressing gown, watching episode after episode of “Paw Patrol” and counting the moments until daddy gets up so I can crawl back into bed. Not a great way to start the day! 

This is what I’m told by society I should look like…ready to face the day, fit, fantastic and fabulous! 

  
In reality, I look like this… 

 
And I bet if you’re a mum of a preschooler you do too most mornings! 

Anyway because I’m such a busy beaver, working studying loving worshipping poling cooking crazy lady, I decided if I couldn’t change my wake time, I could change what I did in it, watching Paw patrol is not on my bucket list, though it entertains my bairn for a little while. 

Then I found a blog post: http://blog.paleohacks.com/the-perfect-morning-routine/ and it is amazing, a little on the hippy dippy side for me but hey, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and check out the ideas for starting your day right. 

So the night before, I squeezed my lemon juice, prepared my chia yoghurt, found a morning devotional, a journal and got my yoga mat out, ready for the morning, I even prepared the weetbix and sippy cup for little mister! 

 
The next day…5am start, I sipped my warm lemon water, I read my 5 minute devotion and journaled 3 things I am grateful for, (how do I stop at 3? I have SOOOOO much I am thankful for!) I stretched on my yoga mat for a few minutes and then went outside.it was still dark, and cold! I took my uggys off and walked in the cold wet grass for a minute. It was a bit chilly, but quite a pleasant experience, not sure if I “discharged all my negative energy into the Earth” but it felt ok, and certainly woke me up! Meanwhile my son was still watching Paw Patrol and was oblivious to the writing, stretching, sipping and walking in wet grass Mummy was doing. All up it was probably about 20-30 minutes. It felt really great to do something productive, meaningful and intentional with the first few minutes of my day, and it certainly set me up to have a more positive and healthful day. I had nourished my mind, body and soul and all before 5.30am.

This week I have tried to continue this routine and it has been great. As long as my son has his breakfast and tv, and knows mummy is there to answer his funny questions and cuddle him whilst I write, he is happy too. 

Multi tasking, ‘finding the time where there is no time’ is an art, and I’m not there yet, but I’m working towards it. As for being tired…yes i am exhausted, but I try to sneak a nanna nap or an early night in most days. I’ve realised that sleep is a beautiful gift I can give myself, and I should grab it whenever I can, and if not…

 
This is my prayer, Now I’m off to squeeze a lemon and get my chia seed yoghurt ready! 

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Take my life and let it be….

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12 v 1 (The Message)

Today is Sunday, for many of us that means church, family, rest, recreation. A time to organise and prepare for the week ahead and reflect on the week that was.
I’m singing in church today and one of the songs I have chose is:
“Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee”
It’s an oldie but goodie and the message is clear, take my body, take my time, take my mind, take my love, take my all and let it be used for good, for a kinder world, for Gods work.
Whatever your belief system, I think this is a valid and useful exercise. I commit my life into Gods care and try to be the best that I can be, with His help and grace. You may interpret that as living the best life you can, for others, for the good of your community, for your health and family.

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Presenting my body for Gods purpose and pleasure means, looking after it, keeping it healthy and working efficiently, this includes medicine, exercise, nutrition and how I treat it. Where I take it and what I do with it is important too. Our bodies and lives are amazing gifts to us, whether you believe in God or not. The clichéd “you only get one body, treat it well” is true, as is “we only get one life, live it well!”
So use this day wisely,
with family, with friends,
in reflection, in hope,
with kindness, with gratitude,
for others, for your soul,
Preparing, reflecting,
Offering and receiving,
Loving and living out your identity and purpose.
Have a blessed Sunday!

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New year, new goals 2015

I love lists, preparing, organising, dreaming, planning. So it should come as no surprise to hear I’ve set a few goals for this year.
I will be attempting to focus on at least 2 a day. I’ve tried to design the goals so that the overall bigger picture is a holistic,balanced one.

1. Read through the Bible in a year.
(Spiritual)
I have signed up for a daily reading plan through youversion which is a free app that offers lots of free reading plans, the bible in heaps of versions, a kids Bible story app, and lots more.
The plan I’m following is The Bible in one year with a commentary by Nicky Gumbel, the pioneer of the popular Alpha course.
I’m looking forward to discovering new truths and insight in this amazing book.

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2. Complete 7 units of my counseling degree
(Academic)
I started study last semester and have really enjoyed the whole experience so far. I study most of the units online which works well for me as a busy mum. I’m hoping to finish the degree in 4 years and will then be a fully qualified counsellor. At the moment I’m not sure which area I’m going to specialise in, but children and families are close to my heart.

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3. Middle splits (Flexibility)
Last year I worked hard and got my left and right front splits. With regular stretching and using Cleo the Hurricane dvd “Rockin legs n abs” I was able to not only get my splits but start to over split too.

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This year my goal is to get my middles. I’m quite close but the last bit is always the hardest.
Here is a picture after last nights stretch class.

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When you have your middle splits, there’s a whole new range of pole moves you can achieve, and how cool is it to be a flexy mama!

4. Run a half marathon (mental/physical)
I’ve run 3 half marathons and a full marathon in the last 4 years, but running has taken a back seat lately as my knee has been sore after running. I’ve discovered that using a knee brace helps tremendously, so I’m back pounding the pavement!
I am aiming for a May half marathon which gives me plenty of training time, so it looks like the Barossa or Greenbelt half. I haven’t done either of these so it will be a bit more exciting. I have a lot of training to do as I’m only managing 5km at the moment, but I know I will build up those kms bit by bit.

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Here is the 2015 events calendar for South Australian Road Runners Club
I’m spoilt for choice aren’t I?

Anyway these are my 4 main goals of the year, but I also have work, tween girls study group, Daughters of Sarah training group and a large family to care for, so I will be kind to myself, encourage myself and reward my progress..(not sure what with yet, I might have to plan that too!)
What are your goals? How are you going to reach them?

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