My Body is a Temple & Our Family Health Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I was flat on my back.  My muscle pain and fatigue had taken over and I was functioning at my minimum capacity for 4 days.  Part of this I know was due to climate change and my body adjusting to our new location, but I also know there are things I have not done to take care of my body.  In order for me to be the mother I desire to be I have to take better care of that which I've been allotted.

Nobody has been given a perfect body!  A friend and I were chatting and she started talking about physical features she'd like to change.  I commented, "I just wish I could fix my insides."  And it's true!  I hate that some mornings I wake up with pain and need to lessen my workload.  I wish I could sit on the floor and play with my kids without feeling like an old woman when I stand up.  I love ice cream and want to eat it every day....but I can't.

We each have a challenge that comes with having a mortal body. We each need to discover what the Lord is trying to teach us with that particular challenge.  I have to partner with Him when I struggle, because I physically cannot manage on my own.  I am learning to be humble, to slow down and to need help (none of which come easily for me at all!).

Saturday was Family Health and Fitness Day!  My hubby and I took this opportunity to create a family challenge (I need help in getting back on track, and I could see my kids struggle with similar weaknesses as J and I, so I am dragging my whole family along!).  We started, actually, on Monday night.

Family Night at our house was focused on the Word of Wisdom.  We basically each took three verses to read silently and then summarize for the family.  We watched a snippet from a talk by Elder Jorg Klebingot  who said, "Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem."  Rather than telling my kids to stop eating junk and nagging them to "get out and do something" I wanted them to see the principle behind the action.  Approaching them with these ideas first and then telling them about the challenge was so great!  They fully participated in helping to create the plan and were eager to get started as a family (of course, the whole week they ate plenty candy knowing this might be their last week of it).

Saturday we took a family bike ride to kick off our challenge. We stopped and played at the river, wading in and skipping rocks.  And then TODAY begins The Challenge!

How does our challenge work? It's quite simple:

Each week we are to keep track of our sugar (treats) intake and our physical activity. 

We each get 10 points a day for food.  Each time we eat sugar we get -3 points.  

We expect to have 20 minutes of physical activity, three times each week.  20 pts will be awarded for each 20 minute period.  

At the end of the week we tally the points.  Whoever gets over 100 points gets a dollar.  Whoever gets the most points or the full 130 possible points will get $2 extra.  

That's it!

The main idea for me is that I want our family to work together to be healthier.  Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should "regard our body as a temple of our very own." The wording of that phrase hit me so much harder than any other on the subject.  This is my very own temple!  What am I doing to take care of it?  I used to think if you take care of the spiritual your body will just take care of itself. I  know now this is not true.  The body and the spirit make up the soul.  It is my soul I want to eventually be reunited with my God.  So, here's to a healthier and happier body!  ;-)

 - - - 

Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Savior, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman.   
- - Elder Jorg Klebingot


Hope is the Function of Struggle

E & JL at the BYU-Idaho Ropes Course - - Meant for Struggle!
Last week was exhausting!  In the transition period with the kids and school (and my own) tensions were high and I felt like I was putting out one fire after the next.  With everything new I wanted to be sure all of my kids were happy.  If they had a complaint, I decided to fight their battles with for them.  I complained about the things that were making my kids sad, emailed a few teachers, and went to bed every night wondering what stress the next day would bring! 

And then my husband made this comment: "It's like everyone expects life to be easy all the time or something."  Well, at first I was offended by this.  I was just helping my kids be successful, wasn't I? No!  I was only enabling them to need me for every little thing.  That is not what I signed up for as a mother.  I told J. I needed to reread I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better so I could remember my vision of raising self-reliant children. 

"We are hard-wired to struggle," says Brene Brown, renowned author and research-storyteller.  "Hope is the function of struggle.  If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle (italics added)."


Okay.  So, putting out my children's fires for them leads to a lack of hopefulness on their part?  I'd never thought of it that way!  As our kids learn to speak up for themselves and solve their own problems, they learn to have HOPE!

In a presentation on cognitive brain development of college students we learn, "Desire exists on one hand to learn and on the other to escape from struggle.  Struggle with ambiguous challenges for a time seems  necessary before further development is possible...Moving from one phase to the next is not painless."  So, in order to grow and become better we must have the struggle.  As we persevere through the struggle, we gain hopefulness.  

Here's how the scriptures describe it: 

Mosiah 23:21Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith (emphasis added).

Mosiah 24:15And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. 

The Lord tests our patience and our faith.  As we struggle through the challenges and look to Him, the Lord will lighten our loads giving us hope that we can "do all things through Christ, which strengthens [us]."

With these thoughts in mind, I will no longer enable my children when they struggle (at least I will try).  Sure, I can give them counsel and advice, I can wrap my arm around them and empathize;  but keeping them from struggle is not my purpose as a mother.  If I want them to have hope and to ultimately be confident in themselves, I've got to let them get bruised.
For some reason this was so much easier when they were littler - - just learning to walk or ride a bike.  


Relearning How to be a Stay-at-Home Mom

The first two to start me on my motherhood journey
A few weeks after my oldest was born, we moved to a new town.  I'd just graduated from college.  My son was premature so he slept pretty much all the time (for the first four months of his life!).  I was so happy to just be home with my baby.  I was working from my home, but for the most part I had the whole day to myself.  I knew nobody.  But I don't remember that bothering me so much.  I read...a lot  (we're talking 13 books in 2 months!).  I was content. I was doing just what I'd always dreamed of doing...being a mother.

Fast forward almost sixteen years (ack!) and here I am in another transition mode.  And it feels different.  It's not that I'm not content, but these past several days I've discovered I don't know many people, I'm not homeschooling, I only have one child at home, I don't have any local hobbies or "social groups" in which I'm participating...Again, I've got the whole day to myself.  It's not that I'm not content, I've just been feeling a little displaced, I guess (normal with any transition, I think).

A couple of days ago it dawned on me that I am having to RE-learn how to be a stay-at-home mom.  I have gotten so used the busy-busy, rush-rush-rush pace of life, I don't know what to do with quietness.  It's daunting to realize I am completely in control of how I spend my time (with no deadlines & no real accountability to anyone else ).  With that emptiness  my mind gets filled with thoughts like, "I should do this...but I don't want to" and "I could do that...but what if I'm supposed to do something else?"

As a homeschooling mother, I was doing my "best mom" role (for me, not compared to anyone else).  No longer wearing that hat, I'm figuring out what my new "best mom" role looks like.  And I'm learning all over again that being a stay-at-home mom is tough.

The list:
Scrubbing toilets
making beds
Making meals
reading stories
playing Candyland/doctor/Uno...
doing laundry
signing papers
waking up the kids and getting them in bed
squeezing in a few minutes for my own reading
family home evening, prayers and scripture study
park days
homework time
grocery shopping!!
listening (or trying to, anyway)

Even without external activities, being a mother truly is a FULL TIME JOB!  Am I content?
After making that list I can say, YES!  I am content.  It's not easy or fun all the time (I hate laundry!), but I can look back on those days when I was first a mother, no longer just dreaming about my dream but actually living it.  And here I am...still living it.

I'm so grateful for the chance to be more aware of the stillness, the quiet.  I'm sure my schedule will not remain this empty as I meet  new people and get more involved in the kids' schools and activities, so I will take this moment to pause and remember to "be still," to remind myself that this is really all I want (and need) to be right now.

 - - - - - 

"It’s beautiful to watch one of God’s creations just doing what it was made to do.  Ya’ll spend so much time beating yourselves up.  I doubt the good Lord made a mistake giving your kiddos the mom he did." 
- - from Mom's Night Out - -  
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