motherhoodfaithfitness

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

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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Lord, I want to be a cheerleader! 

if you’ve been following my blog or know me personally, you’ll know I want it all! I’m not talking money or possessions (unless it’s Black Milk goodies) but I want to live to the fullest, achieve whatever I can in the short years I have on this planet. I want to make a difference, push my boundaries whether it is physical mental or spiritual, see it all, feel it all, do it all! 

 Ahhh here are my favourite Disney twins, singing “I want it all!” (Happy happy place!) 

I get told constantly “you do too much” and I wearily agree, but how do you decide what dreams, passions, commitments need to go, or be put on hold? Obviously my family, home life and work commitments are non negotiables (and I wouldn’t change that for the world). But where does social justice, community involvement, exercise, study, friends and hobbies come into the equation?

My last post was about maximizing my early mornings with my sweet toddler, who gets me up super early and won’t let me out of his sight for at least an hour. This is going really well, my devotions, journaling, Bible reading and stretching are happening. It’s the best way to start the day, along with a hot lemon drink and healthy breakfast. Feeding the body, soul and spirit first thing is awesome! 

  
Still, I want more…

This week I went to a seminar by Melinda Tankard Reist (activist, founder of Collective Shout, Women’s and girls advocate, etc etc) about the sexualisation of young people, called “Too much, too soon”. What can I say? I was blown away! The industries that prey upon the children and adolescents of today need to be brought to reckoning. (I’m going to write another blog on this as it deserves as much attention as possible.) Anyway I came away thinking “What can I do?” “How can I be part of the solution instead of turning a blind eye?” This is my dilemma, so much to do, so many valuable causes and battles to fight, but I am one woman, and I have my limitations. I am surrounded by beautiful amazing women who visit brothels, rescue animals, home school their children, run businesses from home, represent child sponsorship, cook from scratch, represent Australia in ultra marathons, run an organic farm, raise big beautiful families, run soup kitchens, welcome new arrivals to Australia, and the list goes on… women I am privileged to do life with. So I guess my role is to encourage, pray for and support these legends while walking the path and following the destiny set out for me and me alone…..

However i can be a cheerleader! 

I can sign petitions, I can send a note of encouragement or even a text to say I value them and their work, I can donate money or supplies, I can cheer on my girls and help them reach their goals and full potential. I can speak about the great causes and works they are doing. Let’s encourage one another and build each other up! We can’t do everything alone, but we can work together to help our husbands, our children, our extended families, our neighbourhood, our suburb, our country and even the ends of the Earth! Goooooooo Team!!!!! 

 

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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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New dance studio news! 

Starting somewhere new is always daunting, will I fit in? Will I be the oldest/biggest/clumsiest girl in the class? What will I wear? Where do I park? 

Yes I’m a worry wart, sometimes known as a control freak, but I needn’t have been concerned, the new studio is welcoming, inclusive and sooooo much fun! 

We dance in heels, I have the most amazing metallic purple pole shoes, that are in my “gym bag”. As much as I love running shoes, these shoes are the ultimate in fitness wear! 

  

Try dancing in these babies, more over try going upside down!  Yes that extra weight on your feet makes every move harder, but so much prettier I think! 
Every week we learn new moves and then a routine. This term our class is dancing to The White Stripes “Seven nation army”. At the end of the class I am exhausted, sweaty and feel great! The next day I have been barely able to lift a cup of tea, or get out of bed! Nothing better than that DOMS feeling, you KNOW you’ve worked hard! 

  

That post pole grin, Can’t wait to go back next week and do it all again! 

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Progress for 2015

It’s almost May…4 months of the year gone already.
So how am I tracking?
Goal 1 – reading my bible daily, ✔️
Going well, sometimes I don’t complete all the readings but generally I am reading everyday! Nicky Gumbel’s devotions are funny, warm and challenging and I’m really enjoying his insight and wisdom as I open my Bible. 

Goal 2 – complete 7 units of my degree this year. ✔️
Again, I’m on target. I passed my positive psychology unit with a distinction and am now studying Counselling Skills and Health and Wellness. I’ve just submitted two assignments and am keeping everything crossed I get a good pass on each.

Goal 3 – Middle splits, I’m at the last few inches, so will need to get the blocks out soon and start oversplitting. I’m working on my back flexibility too, which is shocking at present.  

Goal 4 – practice pole regularly, well not as regularly as I would hope, and my only tiny excuse is that I’m so sore from my Tuesday pole class that I can’t physically move much until at least Friday! 😥

   

 

I’ve started at a new pole studio, and I am enjoying learning routines, wearing heels and dancing! But I’ll write about that next time! 

Until then I’ll keep plodding along with my goals, one chapter, one unit, one stretch, one dance at a time! 

  

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Shifting the goal posts a little!

Sometimes you just have to take stock of your goals, consider life commitments, family, study, etc and readjust your original plan!
I’m crossing out the running a half marathon goal! Not because I don’t love it or don’t enjoy the thrill of a long run but because of my time constraints, a squeaky knee, and the fact that it hinders my other goal of middle splits training. I also have some other exciting things in the pipeline which will be taking up a fair bit of my time and energy, which I will share at a later date.
As I’ve already done 3 half marathons and a full one, I’m not too fussed at changing this goal. So my alternate goal is another physical challenge, which will complement my flexibility training and will increase both my cardio capacity and strength. Pole practice!
I can practice at home and can sneak in a 20 minute session more easily than building up running kilometres and needing a babysitter to boot.
I will be practicing fundamental moves, building up my upper body and core strength, developing my balance and flexibility.
Here are the current moves I’ll be practicing.

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I’ll probably change these every few weeks and hopefully get stronger, more flexible and confident in learning new tricks!
My dream move is the “Jade” and although I don’t think I’m anywhere near ready to attempt it yet, it’s one I am looking forward to trying when the time comes! (Crash mats, lots of spotters and a very grippy pole, perhaps a helmet too!)

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Current nemesis moves that I have been trying for ages are:
Brass monkey, Pencil and Ayesha!
They will be on my practice list over the next few months too.

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The dreaded Brass Monkey

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Pencil problems!

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Tricky Aysha pole move!
Yep they’re all inverts, and require balance grip and strength..
I’m working on it, 20 minutes at a time!
But by bit, little by little, step by step, our dreams and goals may become reality!
A changed goal is not a fail, it is not a dead end. It can be a sensible and necessary step to take, and one that can lead you to new pursuits.

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My Black Milk obsession!

It started with an eBay purchase. A pair of shiny colourful nylon leggings. A pair of leggings inspired by art, a stained glass window in France. Clothing that is a hybrid of art, design, story and history, that makes me smile!
Here they are, my beautiful Cathedral leggings:

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Then I entered the Black Milk website! Oooh the colours, the pretty designs, the funky patterns! And bought these dragon scales leggings, the kids at work love them, a pastoral care worker with dragon legs, pretty awesome hey!

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eBay has been a way of getting rare or discontinued designs like my Star Wars montage ones.

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I greeted my hubby who is a huge Star Wars fan at the airport wearing these! One way to show someone you love them hey?
As well as these lovely pieces I’ve got shiny silver and black ones, plain black ones, black and white beetle juice ones….and my top favourite, the aurora sky green leggings!

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I once posted a picture of 20 things to do daily, one of these was to wear clothes that make you happy…Black Milk clothing is my colourful stretchy pick me up in the morning, and throughout the day. Some may say I’m too old, too lumpy, I’m crazy etc for wearing them, but who cares, they make me happy, and that’s that!
They’re good for relaxing in, stretching in, walking in, partying in (with heels). They are the total package!

Today was a happy parcel day….my birthday present from my mum and sister came…
Mucha leggings! From the 1898 painting by Alohonse Mucha, “Woman with daisies” (which just happen to be my favourite flower)

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And then there are the skater skirts, the dresses, the shooters….aah so many to love!

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Take 2, maybe 3!

Goals are mystical things, they move, they grow, they disappear sometimes. They have the power to overwhelm or motivate. The secret is to set sensible achievable goals.
My four goals for the year are:

1. Read through the Bible in a year
2. Study 7 units of my degree
3. Get middle splits
4. Run another half marathon

How am I going? I’m a month into the year 1/12 of the way through. Am I progressing?
Yes, and no!
These are all long term goals so I haven’t achieved or been able to tick anything off yet.
But…I have completed a month of my daily reading plan. the bible in one year and am up to date! Win!

My second goal of study has been going well too. I am currently doing summer school and the unit is on Positive Psychology. I am absolutely loving the subject, it is so close to my heart and I definitely want to implement these theories into my everyday life. My first assignment on Happiness received a distinction which I’m so delighted with.

My third goal is a long term one, I’m about 6 inches off the floor in middle splits and I know those last few inches are the hardest and most painful…but I’m not giving up, I watched the tennis last night while stretching, my poor hubby had to endure me rolling around on the floor while he was trying to watch the game!

My last goal of running has fallen a little behind schedule, the combination of squeaky knees, hot weather, exhaustion from a 5am riser aka my son has impacted on my training.

Rather than be discouraged I have come up with a plan that will rein in my goals and keep them under my control rather than overwhelming me,
Work on at least two a day, the Bible reading is always on the list, and then pick one or two of the others. On work days two is all I can manage, but other days I can often manage three, depending on family commitments, assignments due and physical health.

Breaking goals into bite size chunks really helps me focus and not get disheartened. If I’m working on two I’m doing well, if I get three done I’m overjoyed! But no matter how I do today or yesterday, tomorrow is a brand new day!

P.S Today I read my Bible, studied for a couple of hours and plan on stretching while the men’s tennis is on!

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Middle splits progress

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Bible reading progress

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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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You’re never to old to start…..

Complete the above sentence.

What do you wish you had learnt/done/said when you were younger? Played a sport?
Read Shakespeare? Learnt a language?
For me I have wanted to get my splits for about 15 years, but was told by my gym instructor I was too old and my joints would suffer. So I didn’t bother. I realised at body balance classes I had natural flexibility but never knew I could increase it so dramatically at an older age.
My splits journey has been a lot of hard work, pain, time and persistence (and it’s ongoing) it is something I’m proud of, even if others say “but why?” I say “why not?”

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Last term I began my degree in Counselling,
I love learning about stuff, the more practical the better, so when hubby suggested I finally do a degree, it didn’t take me long to search all the options and enrol into an online course to study counselling.
I have 7 years to complete the degree, but hope to finish it within 4 or 5 years.
I am one of the youngest in my course, with a few 60 year olds to study alongside. The benefit of studying a subject like counselling at a more mature age is the wisdom and life experience we have hopefully gained over the years.

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Pole dancing and running are not just for spring chickens either. My dear friend who introduced me to pole is 50+, and I attend a class where we’re all over 40. We are affectionately dubbed “the cougars”!
Here we are in action, learning a move called the “martini.”

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So whether you’re young or older, you can always start something new.
You’re never to old to start doing what you love, or to learn new things.
Don’t worry about what others say, we only get one life to follow our hearts, make the world a happier and more loving place, and fulfil our potential.

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