Tag Archives: Environment

Why Monday Matters

Monday has long been the bane of human existence. If you follow the generally accepted calendar, Monday is day one of the “work week”, and thus the perceived dreaded bearer of bad news. Those who are more optimistic try to convince themselves that Monday has magical fairy powers to motivate the otherwise immobile sacks of human flesh that we all have felt like at some point.

From the Garfield comic strips, which tell a tale of Monday woe, to the the ever present social media memes declaring Monday to be anything from the day for Motivation and fresh starts to the 24 hour time period in which we should all retreat into an apocalyptic style shelter and pray for survival.

Whether you cheer and “rah, rah, rah” on Mondays because this is your week, your time, your chance, your moment to shine, or rather choose to pull your blankets over your head in anxiety ridden sorrow, Monday seems to carry with it a certain mystique.

For better or worse, Monday is not going anywhere anytime soon, and the call to responsibility and action has been sounded from deep within its cavernous expanse. Monday matters because to manage Monday means to manage yourself. To prioritize your time, tasks, and energy on day 1 of the week, means to produce and move forward with the behaviors that become accomplished actions, which in turn result in accomplishment and accolades.

I will be the first to admit that this Monday, February 6, 2017, tried to kick my tail. This Monday truly played its role as the playground bully quite well. You see, this isn’t just any ol’ Monday, it is the Monday after the Super Bowl. When my alarm went off at 5:45 AM, which is actually later than the optimal for me 5:15 AM needed to squeeze things in, I forgot that it was Monday. I actually thought it was Sunday. Once I realized that “Groundhog Day” had already passed (ancient movie reference which makes me seem old, but wise), I was faced with a choice.

  • I could get up, dress up, show up, and never give up, or
  • I could reenter my carb, fat, and sugar induced coma that I justified due to it being Super Bowl Sunday. The good news is that I do not drink alcohol. The bad news is, studies have proven that unhealthy eating, habits, and patterns can knock you for a loop and produce a legitimate state of “hangover”.

I am happy to report that I chose the former. I got my sorry tail out of bed and went about my usual running and strength training routine. I then caffeinated myself, put on business clothes, and went to live out my calling and purpose ( I said I don’t drink alcohol. I never once mentioned my drug habit. If it’s from a bean (coffee) or a leaf (tea) and produces hyper focus and productivity, I’m all about it.)

The moral of this story is that Monday Matters.

  • Monday provides us with 24 hours to make progress on our goals.
  • Monday offers up the balance that need to in order to discover and live out purpose.A drum that plays at random and with no rhythm is a cacophony of noise, not the beat maker and dance director that it was created to be.
  • Monday reminds us that we can’t eat like a 897 pound gorilla and expect to jump out of bed with pep in our step.
  • Monday mentors us into making choices that benefit our future selves, verses always living in the sweet siren call of present self.
  • Monday means we are alive to live another glorious day on this planet.
  • Mondays that require an alarm mean we are either gainfully employed, or have people in our lives that are counting on us to provide diligent care. It reminds us that we are not alone.

So, on this Monday, remember that self-care means living in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow. If you cast off restraint on the weekends, know that Monday is your personal trainer, chef, guide, assistant, and friend to make sure the entirety of your life doesn’t go off the rails.

 

Advertisements

Who knew?

This week my husband and I attended the Parent Teacher Conferences of both of our sons. Of course, we basked in the triumph of hearing about:

  • How respectful and well-behaved, albeit sometimes chatty, that they both are.
  • How talented and gifted they both are (the words of the educators and the results of arbitrary testing).
  • How both of our sons truly give 120% to everything.
  • How foreign it is for parents that have no giant issues to communicate to the teacher about (or vice versa) are actually engaged enough to make a conference appointment and still believe that the education of their children is ultimately their responsibility. Sorry world, their education is not a throne I’m willing to abdicate.

(Please don’t run away, this will not be a post filled with shameless parenting braggadocio.)

The above moment of Mom pride was brought to you just as an appetizer for my observations from modern middle school:

  • Who knew that it was off-limits in the United States of America to discuss the American political system and process during social studies and civics? Who knew that the inauguration ceremony was such a terrible thing to expose our children to?

As an advocate of personal responsibility, we discuss the election cycle, politics, the constitution and the structure of our government at home with our children. Sure, we shelter them from the extremes of  the current harsh realities, as they are not fully equipped to process this information right now, but I am teaching them critical thinking, logic, and how to handle people who have opinions and views different from the opinions and views that they are personally currently forming, and that their parents hold.

Differences do not have to divide.

We have taught our children that politics are just that. They are politics. They are part of our lives, but they are not the sum total of our lives. We love and respect people regardless of how they vote and how they see the world. People are people. Politics are politics. It is possible to do life with everyone in our community, not just those that share every single random opinion that we do. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed for me to agree blindly with any one leader. I’m able to logically see faults and favor in every administration.

Like any educated person would, we inquired as to why there was no mention of the inauguration at school. No discussion on the constitution. No celebration of what makes America unique to all the other high functioning, beautiful western nations in the world. No evidence as to the peaceful transition of power that occurred and the displays of respect that happened between the former and current president, even though their leadership and politics are diametrically opposed to each other.

It is my belief that what is observed every 4 years is a sacred ceremony.  I have watched every inauguration since the 1988 elections regardless of whether the victor was the choice of my parents, and later myself.

Who knew being informed was such a terrible thing?

If you look hard enough, my second observation is right along the lines of this “forbidden” inauguration:

Who knew that the hardest scientific concept for middle school aged humans to grasp is the subject of Mass, Volume, and Density?

This factoid came up in discussion and so I immediately tried to recall when I was taught these scientific principles and instead, came up with how I have currently been working with these ideas and just didn’t know it. I spent my whole life thinking I had thin hair until some wonderful stylist actually showed me looks that were good for me and how to actually do my hair. (I will sadly admit to you that I was in my 30’s before I knew how to fix my hair like a well functioning working woman). The stylist told me that my hair wasn’t thin, but that it was in fact just fine. It wasn’t the mass, or amount of my hair, it was the density of my hair that was causing the volume to look low. powder-play

Armed with this newfound information, I still wasn’t satisfied until one angel friend mentioned to me, in passing this past summer, that they know someone with my same “problem” who told her that “Powder Play” was a game changer. So, I went and bought powder play and my life was forever changed. (Unfortunately I wasn’t offered any free product of sponsorship to say that, I’m just a good American citizen that wants to see the rights of women to have volume and “Texas Sized” hair fulfilled.)

trumps-hair

Now, I’m no scientist, and I’m certainly not a middle school teacher, but wouldn’t the most famous hair on the planet right now have been a good object lesson?

Perhaps in the future, instead of writing off times of political unrest and pretending that they don’t exist, we can highlight the diversity of this country, learn to laugh when you want to cry, and maybe even add a little humor to the middle school classroom.

 

Is February the new January?

I am noticing a new trend emerging on social media and throughout the internet where people are shouting from the rooftops the magic of February 1. Many of these people are declaring that their New Year’s resolutions are just now beginning, and their slates are wiped clean from this day forward. We are already on day number 32 of the new year, and it appears that a majority of people have just now shaken the carbohydrate induced coma of celebration.

Is February the new January, or are February 1, March 1, April 1, and beyond just the ameatuer happy hour? Are they the new excuses du jour?

Is February the new January, or have the “resistance” and monster of “self sabotage” just gotten dressed up as grandmother, and all of us Little Red Riding Hoods can’t even recognize that the wolf pack is in the corner laughing?

The truth is, professionals have a bias for action, and results eventually follow action. Success and progress are attracted to motion.

Amateurs, however, spend a lot of time planning, tweaking, dreaming, over analyzing, debating, lollygagging, justifying, and bellyaching, all while expecting results to find them. After all, they deserve results, “likes”, accolades, trophies, and cheers just because they intended to do something and talked about it for a while.

Don’t get me wrong, my life is a series of fresh starts, new mercies, and big vats of grace piled upon grace. I love nothing more than a fresh month, a clean slate, a new virgin monthly calendar just waiting to be devoured and discovered. Calendars and new days are my thing. I have a phone calendar, a wall calendar, a work calendar, and a personal 3 ring binder of calendars, to-do lists, and productivity hacks. All of these are linked together, and all of these track every member of my family, our whereabouts, and the plethora of things that need managed, juggled, and overseen to make our home, church, jobs,  little league sports leagues/extracurriculars, and marathon training plans stay on the rails and moving in the right direction.

The problem I’ve discovered with juggling all of these things is that it is easy to convince myself that the most important things can wait because the urgent is crying out. I am an expert of what I have identified as positive procrastination. It is not procrastination in the traditional sense of putting off work, but positive procrastination is its own animal. Positive procrastination is where you put off your purpose, your destiny, and the most important life changing tasks and habits in favor of something that brings a more immediate gratification or diversion in the short term, but actually robs you of the gains and growth of just diving into the hard stuff head first.

For example, how many of you have already faded out on your January fitness resolutions because you had laundry to do? When it’s cold outside, it’s easier to fold warm laundry, even if you hate it, then to go out into the cold and log some miles. Laundry keeps you in the comfortable confines of your home (if you are so blessed to own the machinery) and away from the cruel world. In the face of getting a college education, working out, going to the grocery store to buy healthy fresh ingredients so you don’t eat Little Caesars one more night,  laundry sounds like the equivilient of a carnival cruise. After all, those who keep up on laudnry are in the running for sainthood. It appears to be the crowning achievement of the working mother.

We relish in the “how does she do it?” narritive. She works from sun up to sun down and yet her family is robed in luxurious, soft, clean and fragrant linens ornately folded and stacked in color coded piles waiting with eager anticipation for their return to the dressers and closets.

Now, laundry, in and of itself is necessary, and of course evil, thus a necessary evil. Should you keep up on your laundry? By all means. I shudder to think of this household of 4 sweaty humans and all of their piles upon piles of clothes if I decided to abdicate that responsibility. In fact, I just had an argument with my 11-year-old who is now wearing up to 4 different outfits a day. If you thought having boys would preclude you from this nonsense, think again. The desire for swag is real!

However, laundry (or insert other appropriate form of positive procrastination that makes you feel angelic and accomplished and loved and worthy) is not the single most important part of your day.  Taking care of you is. Spending time in prayer and devotion is. Taking care of your loved ones is. Discovering and living out your purpose is. You must prioritize destiny over doldrums, your daydreams will become realities.

You are the missing link between the person you WANT to be and WISH you could be and the person that you are frustrated with right now. What would your future self want you to do today?

What do you want to have accomplished by February 28 so that on March 1 you don’t have to post cute meme’s and selfies of March 1 being when resolutions really start. March 1 is the new January, you’ll be tempted to say.

So, whatever you call them, intentions, resolutions, goals, one words, focus points, targets, etc (See, even the SEMANTICS of life change will distract some of us enough to keep us from actually doing anything. We will just argue in a comment section about why we do or do not set resolutions and why they do or do not work, all the while we are slipping further and further behind in the journey to become our highest and best selves.)

Whatever it is that you want to term them or define them as, just start moving towards destiny today. Make a month-long streak of something you want to do. Try to form a new habit to replace an old habit. Try to visualize yourself on February 28 celebrating whatever accomplishment you have set out for and don’t let month after month after month in 2017 slip by. (Hopefully said celebration will be done with clean clothes on because laundry, although a distraction when inappropriately prioritized, is at some point a necessity. You win some. You lose some.)

Create a vision. Make it plain. Write it down. Do something right this second to move on it. Ready….Set….Go!

Early morning date with myself, some amazing podcasts, the stair master, and my weight/strength training routine. Wednesdays are for cross training. The resolution crowds have dwindled too, giving me my pick of weight benches. When it comes to working out, sometimes the early bird doesn’t get the worm because there are swarms of others looking for their piece too.

Climate Change

Fact: Every run counts. Every bit of junk food hurts. It’s not a game. It’s your life and health.

20130501-134419.jpg20130501-134434.jpg

The weather here in the Cleveland Metro Area has finally started to meet my standard of approval. I am not one to complain of the weather, because if you wanted paradise in terms of temperature and weather patterns, you probably shouldn’t live in North East Ohio. However, there comes a point at which when snow is falling in April that you throw your hands up in the air like a child and start trying to call fire down from heaven like Elijah. Thankfully, global climate change caught up with us and we are enjoying pure heaven on earth this week. I took the kids on a bike ride to the park to play with about a hundred of our closest friends. I am doing my best to instill good food and fitness principles into them without making an issue of it. Like in other areas of my life, I am striving to lead by example. I think eating disorders and an odd relationship with food are born by people obsessing too much about the weight of their kids or making certain foods forbidden (Notice my theory in practice in the above photo. Gentry rode his bike two miles round trip and that necessitated the ingestion of the leftover Easter peeps. He needed to boost those glycogen stores). Model good habits and patterns and get your kids off the couch and outside. Since the weather has been nice my children, and just about ever kid in the neighborhood, have been playing in our yard for hours.

On this bike ride, Reese informed me of all of the good things he is learning at school, like how the fact that we own 2 cars is killing the environment. He told me that we need to get rid of our vehicles and ride our bikes or walk everywhere so that we can stop destroying the earth. He was sent on a mission with his classmates to tell their parents all of the horrible things they are doing on a daily basis to ensure our planet is annihilated. These tidbits of knowledge will serve him well. Who needs math and language arts skills anyway when you are armed with these inconvenient “truths”? I told Reese that I will take him up on that next time we have to go somewhere that is beyond the 2 mile radius of our home and see how his little legs keep up.

20130501-134429.jpg 20130501-183721.jpg

Vegetarian can be delicious. To the left is a HUGE pan of Oven Roasted Vegetables I made seasoned only with a little Mrs. Dash. To the right is Organic Brown Rice (Bought in a 987 pound package at Costco) and Stir Fried vegetables. I really do enjoy eating like this as long as I'm not within 3 miles of smelling a Five Guy's Burgers and Fries.

In other news did you know that eating meat is also destroying the planet. Who knew? It’s a good thing that Meatless Monday was turned into Meatless Tuesday and Meatless Wednesday this week. At the end of one month and beginning of another month, Jonathan and I do at least a 3 day vegetarian regime commonly referred to as a Daniel’s Fast. I will write more on this later, but in short, we like to “tithe” a segment of time of our month in a season of more intense focus.(Most months are 30 days, hence a 3 day fast.)  This is for renewal physically, spiritually, and mentally. As mind, body, and spirit, we can’t ignore the fact that life has a way of adding pollutants, a Spiritual climate change if you will, and the only way to break through the fog is for your body to feel healthy and renewed, your mind to be focused on things outside of yourself, and your Spirit to be in tune with God. It sure did not hurt that our end of April/beginning of May vegetarian spree occurred right as I was detoxing from the birthday celebrations. These short little fasts every month always make me feel so energetic in both Spirit and body. I encourage you to read up on this and start implementing it. I will be blogging much more about it in the future. Science has also proven that seasons of fasting can prolong your life, so even if you don’t care about Spiritual renewal and mental focus, your health will thank you.

What do you implement in your life to reset your mind, body, and Spirit?

What is your favorite vegetable?

How do you hand the “Inconvenient Truth” of climate change?

I recycle. I try to be a good steward of the earth. I do not litter. I do, however, like having a car.