Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Buds of Hope (and a YOLO update)

***YOLO and the Games Update***
To much soreness and strife, I completed the 3rd and 4th workouts of 5. The 3rd (14.3) had my name written on it. A combo of deadlifts with increasing weight and number and box jumps. I called this "the strong girl" race. I will not win a 5K...ever...but I can pick something off of the ground. Finished with 107 reps. However, I had a hard time walking vertically for several days post-workout. The 4th (14.4) was tough. Rowing, toes to bar, wall balls, cleans, then muscles-ups (which I only dreamt about attempting). Toes to bar were terrible on my left wrist and forearm for some reason. Didn't do as well as I would have liked, but finished with a score of 125. But to keep it into perspective, when I started CF at 6.5 weeks post partum, core strength was non-existent. I could barely lift my knees to my elbows. Now I can kip 5 toes to bar in a row (on a good day). Progress, right? If I never would have tried, I wouldn't have been able to see the improvement. 

(I totally should be doing insurance paperwork filing claims from 2013 and finishing laundry while my kids are at pre-school and I wasn't scheduled to work. But this is way more fun and fulfilling.)

As I was pulling into my driveway this morning, I noticed that some of our trees are starting to bloom. I wasn't sure if that would be the case this year since Wichita Falls is in a terrible drought. Trees are dying. Plants are dying. We can't do any outdoor watering. I think our lakes are at 29% capacity (but don't quote me on that number even though my husband is on city council). I don't know if our grass is going to sprout this year. So I was kind of surprised to see little pink buds on our two Oklahoma Red Bud trees. 

Springtime is my favorite.

A "typical" spring usually includes April showers that bring May flowers. Thunderstorms with drenching rainfall. Puddles and mud. Rain that washes the air clean and clear.

And then there are "atypical" springs. Like the ones we've had for the last 3 years. (Maybe this is our new "typical?") Gusty, dust-filled windstorms. Promising skies that don't deliver. Just enough sprinkles to get your car muddy. Dry, crunchy yards. 

Yet, apparently we've been given just enough rainfall this year to bring forth some new life. I see those pink buds as little whispers of hope. Of new creation. Of what's to come.

And so it is with life I think. Some seasons are plentiful. There's an abundance of water...both literally and figuratively. It's easy to pay the bills. You and your mate are on the same team. Friendships are fulfilling. New growth and opportunities are around every corner. It's pretty easy to find hope, joy, and peace because there isn't much to capture your attention but goodness. And some seasons are dry. Money's hard. Marriage is even harder. Day to day becomes mundane and there are roadblocks at every turn. All you feel is dryness and heat bearing down on you.

But in the midst of the drought, when we look close enough, I know Jesus gives us little buds of promise. Whispers of hope that give us just enough to move forward with confident expectation of what is to come. Maybe it is a new friendship. Or an unexpected laugh with your spouse. Or somehow, your bank account has some leftover for the month. And in the dry seasons, we don't expect to find new growth...so we have to look for it...because I can assure you that those buds, though not abundant, are still there. The "God of hope" (Romans 15:13) gives us these things to get us to the next day. And ultimately, to point us to the beautiful hope we can have in His death and resurrection, and the promise of an undefiled eternity with Jesus. 

Seasons are cyclical. This drought won't last forever. But I sure am thankful for a few pink buds to remind me of the promise of better days ahead.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I HATE my Phone (and a YOLO update)

***YOLO and the Games Update***
So, I did it. The first workout (14.1) was two Saturdays ago. Double-unders are not my BFF but I killed the snatches at 55 lbs. 124 reps in 10 minutes. Those darn double-unders. In front of a LARGE gym full of people. And I was so glad I did it. The second workout (14.2) was two days ago. You had 3 minutes to complete 2 rounds of 10 overhead squats at 65 lbs, then 10 chest to bars. I completed 10 overhead squats in 20-30 seconds, then had 2-2.5 minutes to complete 10 chest to bars (more than just a pull-up. Your chest has to hit the bar under your collar bone.) I got 7. A total of 17 reps. Again, so glad I did it. I year ago, I dreamed about doing chest to bars while watching other competitors do it. And look at that...it was my turn. The best competitors in the world blow my numbers to pieces (by like 300 reps), but that's fine. I'm still proud of myself for laying it on the line and thankful for the opportunity to do something challenging and fun. We'll see what 14.3 has in store for this Saturday.

And on a completely different topic...

I have a weird relationship with my phone. When I look at it's teal green case with a white plastic back, I have mixed emotions. It's cute. It's convenient. It's entertaining. Yet, I HATE IT. The fact that it's a silver iPhone 5S with AT&T service has nothing to do with the fact that I hate it. It works just fine. It's the concept of it that is beginning to drive me slowly insane. (Wait, maybe a husband of 8 years and 2 children under 4 are helping drive the insanity concurrently.)

I cannot escape it's dings. 11 new texts. Ring. Phone call. Buzz (bc now it's on silent.) Reply from group text. Buzz. A reminder to ...take mail...in 15 minutes. Because somehow I have Ben's office calendar on my phone, too. Even though I've tried to remove it 50 kajillion times.

And then I pick it up. Because I'm oddly addicted to it. I'm drawn to a blue icon with an F on it. So I scroll through a newsfeed full of people I haven't seen in 15 years, many of which I wasn't very close to 15 years ago. Then I respond to a group message. Then I click on a link to a story that I don't really care about, that takes me to another story that I don't really care about, and then yet again, another story that I don't care about. But I digress. Yet, since I've ventured on to social media, I then scan Instagram, like a few pictures while wishing my kids were hugging sweetly while peering out the back window when in reality, one is screaming at the other because she is following him too closely and may take one of his toys. And you can't see through the back window because there are hand prints, spider webs, and dog slobber covering the window. Then I close Instagram and head over to Pinterest. I see 12 new ways to cook kale, the 14,598 ways to use essential oils, and am bombarded with Elf on the Shelf pictures even though it's freaking March. And then I check e-mail and delete 14 ads. So I close Pinterest feeling like I'm not crafty or creative, close Instagram feeling like our lives are mundane, close Facebook feeling annoyed that I even looked at it in the first place, and close my e-mail vowing to unsubscribe to the ad sites.

And I don't get on Twitter because when it first became big, I thought that'd be a waste of my time. (Haha. Like the above is not.)

Again, my phone drives me nuts.

Don't get me wrong. Technology is awesome. I love change. I'm probably a moderate on some issues in the red state of Texas. I'm thankful for medical advancement. Without them, I'd have been dead at age 8. But I want to throw back the clock to 1950 when it comes to cellular gadgets and social media.

Why? Because I'm letting a stupid phone interfere with being present with my children. Sometimes my kids drive me nuts, but that's what a 3 year old and 1 year old are supposed to do to their mother. Because more often than not, a phone rings in the middle of dinner and even if we don't answer it, our conversations are interrupted. Because instead of spending 20 minutes talking to my husband before we go to bed, we are staring mindlessly at an iPhone and iPad with 0% interaction between us. Because without thinking and out of habit, I pick up my phone when I am having lunch with someone and they leave the table to go to the bathroom. Since when could I not sit by myself for 2 minutes in a restaurant?!

You know what one of the craziest things is? I don't even have an addictive personality.

Have I said it yet? MY PHONE DRIVES ME NUTS.

I love to talk and blog about Jesus. About His peace and spending time with Him. It's amazing...and absolutely heartbreaking...how I am allowing a phone to even dictate how often I hang with Him. It really shouldn't surprise me that His voice is a lot harder to hear when I'm killing time pinning crafts I will never attempt.

So you know what I'm going to do about it? I'm going to start turning my phone OFF. No, not just on silent. O-F-F OFF. For 3-4 hours A DAY. We have a land line for our alarm system. If Ben really needs to get ahold of us, he can call that number. If someone needs us that badly, they will FIND A WAY to track us down. Back in the day, if someone was desperate to get ahold of you, they drove to your house and left a note on the door. So, if I don't get or respond to a text for 4 hours, life will go on. So please do not be offended if I don't respond quickly. (For starters, I don't know how that unsaid rule of "everyone should respond to texts quickly" ever became a rule in the first place.) My response will come in an appropriate time frame, when my priorities of Jesus, husband, children, and refueling have been met to the best of my abilities for the day.

I KNOW I am not the only person who feels like this. I KNOW I'm not the only mother who reaches for a cell phone when she walks from room to room. I KNOW we are not the only couple who sits 1 foot apart in bed but are 100 miles apart, lost in an iPhone.

Today, I feel like I'm launching an official, unofficial campaign to turn off your phone a few hours a day, disconnect with social media and texting, and live life with a little more freedom while you're disconnected. So I can be fully engaged with my children, with my husband, and with my Jesus. Who wants to join me?

P.S. My beloved phone "dinged" 16 times while I typed this blog post over the course of 1.5 hours.

(Please note: if you and I communicate through cell phone via text, voice, Facebook, you are not personally responsible for my rant. I love communicating with you. I just can't stand our society's expectation of being constantly online and "connected.")