My regular exercise regimine includes double unders. You know, where you jump rope and swing the rope twice around for every one jump. I kind of like it when they show up in a workout. That's probably because they took awhile for me to master, but I did it. I watched videos and got advice and finally got it. At first, stringing two together, then three, and now up to forty at a time. But, they aren't interesting. I don't talk about them with my friends. I don't blog about them (usually), and I don't list them on the "hobbies" section of any paperwork I fill out. They are functional, raising my heart rate, working on my balance and coordination and toning my arms.
A couple of months ago, I got a Double Under Wonder (www.doubleunderwonder.com). It's a jumprope specifically designed for doing double unders, that you customize yourself, with colors and designs. I got a bright turquoise rope and yellow handles with black polka dots. I didn't need one with colors and designs. I could have gotten black or gray. You know, something more hard core. But I didn't. The colorful one makes me happy when I see it swinging around and around. It adds a little flavor to the function of double unders and for that, I am grateful.
This week, as we say goodbye to the carefree schedule of summer, all days by the pool and relaxed bedtimes and any day of the week sleepovers for the kids, I am reminded that so much of my life is functional. Get the kids up, get them to school or practice, do homework, make meals, and on and on and on. And even though it takes up the bulk of my time during the day, it's not really that interesting. I don't put those things on the "hobbies" section of paperwork either. But functional doesn't have to mean dreadful. I know that when I look for ways to see the happy in the mundane, I can always find them. And I know that when I spend time reflecting on the gift of this life that the Lord has blessed me with, even the mundane parts are a picture of his goodness.
I won't lie, if someone markets a customizable vacuum cleaner with designs and flashy colors that plays music instead of the weird vacuum sucking sound, I'm probably gonna buy it. But even if they don't, the hum of the vacuum can remind me to be grateful for this house, for this dog who sheds, but also makes us laugh when he howls at sirens and is the best pillow, and for these kids, who are obsessed with glitter and eating crackers in the living room, but who are also some of the best gifts we have ever received from the Lord. All is grace.
But seriously...someone should make that vacuum.
If I tried to explain this picture it would make no sense. Let's just say Debbie and I are Wonder Woman and leave it at that. But, like all super heros, you really need a cool jumprope like the one seen in the picture. Go get yours at www.doubleunderwonder.com
Monday, April 13, 2015
I had to look at this picture three times before I could see the joy in it. First, I saw my stomach. Then, my weird posture and the odd cut of my swimsuit. And then, finally, I saw my smile. Bella had just body surfed in California, after a little persuasion. She was bold and she was brave and she did it. The first one of my girls to try it. But, she had been caught off guard by that last wave. You know the one that sweeps over you just as you are coming up for air. If you’ve swam in the ocean, you’ve been caught by that one before. So, I ran to her to help her up and give her a big hug. I was so proud of her! That was such a fun moment. All that laughing and coughing and making sure she was okay, squeezing her tight and congratulating her on her awesome ride. And I was so grateful to look up and see that Loren had picked that moment to pick up the camera and take pictures. I’m usually the picture-taker in our family. And as a result, I’m not usually in a lot of pictures. But he had picked up the camera and was snapping away, capturing this precious moment.
Later, as I looked through the pictures of the day I came upon this one. And I’m sure if you had been looking at me as I looked at the camera, you would have seen my face shift from eyes bright with joy, to eyes clouded with uncertainty. Eyebrows knitted together in my telltale dissatisfied look. I may have even made an audible, “ugh…” sound before quickly moving on. I wanted to erase it. That’s the beauty of digital cameras, right? Instead, I went back and looked at it again. I noticed still other imperfections, and yet, I was drawn to that momma with her arms wide. Oh her arms…the sagging. “Ugh…” Later, I looked at it again, trying to decide, finally, if I would erase it. This time, when I looked at it, my smile took center stage. I remembered with absolute clarity what a great moment it was. I remembered the feeling of gathering her close to me and squealing, “You did it! Good job, Bella!” as she laughed and sputtered.
So I kept it. Why should I allow this great memory to be tainted by thoughts of how I look in this one second, and if I look like that all the time, to everyone? The truth is that my body is giving itself over to age. That doesn’t mean I’ve taken it lying down. On the contrary, I feel stronger than I ever have. I work out at a crossfit gym…which means that I run and lift weights and do real pull ups and double unders and lots of other crazy things. My aging body can do all of those things. But, little by little, gravity is still winning. It’s not my friend. Never has been, actually. Things are not where they used to be. And lines have started to appear. I ache more than I used to. And honestly, I’m just not willing to do what it would take to make my body look a lot different than it does right now. I’m not sure if that makes me lazy or confident, and I’m not really sure I care. What I do care about is seeing a picture and being able to recall a sweet memory, not because I can’t see all of my little flaws – but because, even though I see them, I know they don’t really matter.
This body does what I need it to do. I’m grateful for health and for the strength to do the things I want to do and I don’t want to take that for granted, even though I am sure that I do on most days. But here are some of the much deeper truths about me. Things you might also see if you look closely at this picture. I am my children’s biggest fan. I laugh and I make memories. I love well and I am loved.
I love well. I am loved.
And those things are worth a second glance.
And her second attempt at body surfing was even better than the first. :)