Why Not Taking Care of Yourself Is Selfish

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I am a Recovering Mother. For years, I was Everyone Else’s Mom, but I never took care of myself. I thought this was noble. I assumed this meant I sacrificed more than others. I believed having my phone on 24/7 sent the message I cared more for others than I did myself.

It was so bad that during the safety message on a flight, when the flight attendant reminded all of us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we help our seatmates. I thought, How selfish. I wish I was joking.

In my mind, I was such a good person. But why was I so tired and resentful?

It’s because I was a mother to everyone else but myself. Instead of nurturing myself first so I could care for others with true altruism, no strings attached, I sought to heal others so they might turn and help me.

It was a transactional love, a love that hoped for something in return. A neglected soul cannot love unconditionally, even if she wanted to.

This unmet need grew into an addiction, my illness. The more I helped others, the sicker I got. My soul in chaos and disarray, I frantically wondered when someone would come take care of me the way I cared for others.

I grew bitter. I felt no one saw me. But still I served. Because someone would come eventually, right?

It took me 32 years to learn no one was coming.

Driving home from work one afternoon, I silently griped to myself about all the work I was doing and how no one else worked as hard as me. I am so tired, I thought, as the long list of my many contributions to the world unfurled before me for the millionth time. This list was my proof that I was more loving and sacrificial than most people. But this list was also the reason I was one of the angriest people I knew.

I wondered when someone was going to pay attention to me and give me what I need since I take care of everyone else.

Out of nowhere, a disconcerting thought occurred to me. “Sarah, no one is going to take care of you. There is no mother coming with chicken soup. If you don’t take care of you, no one will.”

Ouch. 

The truth stung, forcing me to reckon with it. I replayed the words again. “If you don’t take care of you, no one will.” The message was not that I was alone in the big, cruel world. It was a reminder to be responsible for myself. My faux selflessness was getting called out as selfishness. And it hurt.

After all, as a therapist, my training taught me I am in control of and responsible for myself. I aim to model life as a self-controlled person who knows when to say “Yes” and “No” to others by taking ownership of the state of my soul. Yet this habit of caring for others before I cared for myself flew beneath the radar of my awareness for years.

That day I learned a person who is not in control of herself, who compulsively says “Yes”, and believes sacrifice without self-care is noble, this person is imprisoned by her own unmet needs.

So to all you Recovering Mothers out there, the ones who say “Yes” when they mean “No” and are waiting for someone to take care of you, put on your oxygen mask first because it is impossible to care for others with pure generosity, seeking nothing in return, if you have not first met the needs of your own body, mind and soul.

As mothers, the best we can do is mother ourselves first. Yes, you first. If you need something, say something. Allow a trusted partner, friend or mentor access to encourage and support you, but don’t make them guess what you need. Be responsible for the state of your body, mind and soul, your whole self, because, dear Mother, no one else will be.

 

 

 

 

I am the opposite of me

I am a paradox. And so are you.

We are clean and shiny in some areas of ourselves, yet disheveled disasters in others. The real estate of our souls and our yards is impeccable from one angle, and painfully unkempt from another.

How is it that we can live with coexisting brilliance and ignorance, with generous nobility and glaring narcissism?

Sometimes, I feel I’m an imposter, like the real me is the messy version, and the times I act right are just glitches, some kind of cosmic error where the light fell just right, and now the world thinks good of me.

But it feels like a balancing act, until I wreck it again.

So who am I? Can I be the bad and the good, at the same time?

Am I summed up in my moments of fear, panic and rejection or in my faith and courage?

Am I a scared, helpless child, wordless with shame, or a ferociously brave teacher who lives to inspire?

Am I all the times I hate to be alone, or the times I am frantic to get away?

Am I the girl who can’t find her keys or the idea-generating leader bent on improving her environment?

Am I the friend you can count on for everything, or the friend who will let you down?

Am I the blessings and encouragement I bestow, or the curses I hiss beneath my breath?

Am I the rage and anger I release on my very last nerve with my child, or am I the patient nurturer, singing this same child to sleep?

Am I the forgiveness I extend or the grudges I feed?

Am I all the times I disappoint or the times I keep my word?

Am I the girl who finds showers annoying or the girl who can’t stand dirty feet?

Am I everything I do right or everything I do wrong?

Am I the desperate woman wanting children I don’t have yet or the grateful mother to the one I do have?

It doesn’t seem possible, but I am all these things. It’s the conundrum of me. I can stop covering it up now, stop holding my breath so people will think of me as cleaned up and together.

The truth is, I am holy and I am full of sin. I am a work in progress. But at this exact moment, I am the good and the bad. 

I am all the things I’ve screwed up irreparably, the words I want back, and the genius and generosity in between. I am everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I’m going. I am my failure and my success. I am what I know and what I don’t know. It’s part of me. 

I just need to hit “Accept” on all this stuff, on the easy to love and the impossible to love parts of me. Cause it’s all me, and I’m not going anywhere.

Anger management: how it’s going out here

Two weeks ago, I took a crazy challenge. But it was about time.

Inspired by the brave mom at The Orange Rhino, I committed not to yell at my son for 365 days. With certain caveats, like safety and distance, of course. That was 14 days ago.

no-yelling

So now it’s confession time, right? How have I actually been doing? Well, let’s just say I’m only 10 days in to this thing. May I defend myself? Well, I’m going to.

On Saturday, July 6th, we were visiting my family. My son, in true toddler form, turned into quite a mess from an afternoon of play. So into the tub he went. Being an opportunist, I decided to also wash my hair under the faucet while he took his bath. And what do you think I saw floating toward me as I rinsed my hair? Poo. That’s right. A small, but definitely-there piece of poo. In the bathtub. Where you’re supposed to get clean!

I was upset, disgruntled, flustered, not quite yelling, but I was close. Out went the toddler and down went the water. My hair was now sopping wet so I sat the tot down on the potty so he could finish his business and tried to complete my hair washing, this time in the sink, which is a less likely place to find poo. I peered around the corner to check on him, and at just that moment, he plunged his foot into the toilet. Just to spite me, I’m sure of it.

And then I lost it. I yelled. It was a violent act of regression, and I knew I was going to have to come out here and tell you I did it. But I did.

So the next day I started over. There have been two poo-in-tub incidents since that day, which makes three since I’m counting, but guess what? I’ve responded well to both, no yelling, just redirecting. And whining. Because eewwwww, gross.

I hope you don’t leave my alone on my commitment, but I also promise to keep you updated every couple week so you know I’m not faking it over here. I’m a mom who needs help, but I’m sure trying.

Here’s to more days and years of self-control! And kids who don’t poop in tubs.

Anger Management for Moms: the 365 Day Challenge

I can relate.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about anger. My anger. The kind that fills me up with sadness and regret. The kind I dive into in the moment and feel I’m drowning in the next.

Since I wrote about it, read about anger from other moms and started paying attention to my volume and emotion, I’ve been doing better.

It’s amazing what a little awareness can do.

About a year and a half ago, a mom blogger at Orange Rhino got caught yelling at her kids. (I can’t remember when but I feel like I’ve been there. It’s not pretty.) She decided enough was enough, and committed not to tell at her kids for a year. If she yelled, the 365 days started over.

That’s quite a challenge. And a brave woman.

She outlines the varying levels of volume in our voice as we move from a whisper to a raging scream. Her cut-off is level 4, the “oopsie snap”, the moment when “your blood pressure is building” and maybe you’re overreacting a little. That’s nice. She gives herself some grace.

Crazy, wild-eyed yelling is out. No matter how tired she is. No matter how bad the kids are.

It’s parental self-control at its finest. I love this commitment, and I am going to make it as well.

365 sounds like a long time, but when do I want to start yelling at my kids again? I don’t. Ever. So setting the deadline far away improves my chances of forming new habits. I will either sail through the year with perfect performance, which means the light has come on, or I will be required to start over by bad behavior. Either way, I win because I am forced to learn alternate ways to deal with anger.

So here is my commitment. 365 of no yelling, no nasty snaps or raging screams. I think I know what these are, but I may have to define them more as I go. Orange Rhino’s rule of thumb: If you think you yelled, you did.

So what do I want from parenting? I want relationship. Not zombie, docile, obedient children…

Why yelling or not yelling really matters? Two big reasons:

1. Because proving parents can control themselves as a higher priority over controlling their kids is something we must demonstrate to our children. I must not try to control them or they will learn that people can be controlled. It’s only a matter of figuring out how to do it. I want my children to demonstrate self-control, not others-control.

2. Protecting my children from my sinful responses is essential if I want to guard their hearts. I want to keep the relationship open between us and “not provoke them to anger”, as Paul challenges fathers, and I believe all parents, to avoid doing. I provoke anger when I am angry and out of control. I am powerful enough to mold a tender heart into an angry, defensive heart with my words and expectations. I have to use my power to build and not destroy.

So what do I want from parenting? I want relationship. Not zombie, docile, obedient children without opinions who only want to please me to avoid my rage. Or the opposite, raging hearts who only have their parents to model the handling of their emotions, children without self-control who feel rejected and unsure of their boundaries.

Dear God, help me avoid that fate. It’s painful even to imagine what my children could grow to be if I don’t truly learn this.

I will continue to discuss these emotions and handling them better as I discover new ways, or as I run into challenges. I know now I will need to outline specific ways of dealing with anger so I can be prepared, not surprised.

Until then, here are a few excellent posts on doing motherhood well from some of my favorite bloggers:
Sarah Bessey
Ann Voskamp
Lisa Jo Baker

May you respond with love and self-control, and may you live without regret every day of your life.

Do you have skills or suggestions on how to manage mommy madness? Please share them below. I would love to learn. Thank you.

I am Jesus’ awkward friend

In college, it was getting easy. I finally figured out how to make friends, not talk too much or make people feel uncomfortable around me. And aside from the tumultuous relationships and the general self-loathing, my relationship with God felt relatively sturdy too.

In the mornings, I propped up my pillow behind my head, then read, wrote, prayed, sang. I poured my dirty, little heart out. And Someone always welcomed me.

Fast forward a few years to a dream come true. I met a man, we dated for a year and a day, and then we married. I love marriage. But God and I aren’t friends like we used to be.

After we married, I went back to school. Then he took a pastoring job. Then we bought a house, birthed a kid, and flung ourselves into the modern whirlwind. I’m studying to be a pastor myself. And I am a working mother and writer.

I just haven’t figured out where God fits into all this ministry I’m doing.

Ironic, isn’t it?

I am so busy saving people from suicide and trying to stitch together failing marriages and regretting nights where I choose anything over playing with my son.

I stay up late and arise early. I pray for people on Sundays and throughout the week. I listen to God for total strangers and encourage them with the proof that he sees them. I use God’s word to guide my life. My life feels busy, quite spiritual, yet strangely empty.

It’s hard to find time to be with God himself. 

It’s easy to coast, to look the part, to impress people with stuff I know. But growing up in a Christian home, the kind where people spoke in tongues and prayed Scripture for prayers, I have an unfair advantage. I know exactly how to sound like I have my crap together.

But I don’t.

Some Sundays, I want to stand on the platform and apologize to everyone for being a fraud. But instead I go home and apologize to God. I tell him I want it to be different. But not much has changed.

The last time I remember feeling anxiously earnest for God and his presence, for Jesus himself, was May 2010. I was a few months pregnant. I was alone and suddenly felt this heavy fear I would burn out on Jesus if I didn’t get some fire around me, the hunger of other people who wanted God too. So I got a group of girls together and told them I needed women to burn with me. We called our meetings Burn Night, and that’s been the name ever since.

I have one friend here who loves God and wants him like I do. But we are both struggling with motherhood and life and where to schedule in time with a Guy who exists everywhere all the time, who knew what I would be thinking about last week, before I even thought it.

How does one be friends with Jesus?

I woke up this morning and realized that I feel awkward around Jesus now because I talk to him often, but it’s small talk, often about other people. It’s not good, quality time. Our friendship just isn’t what it used to be, and it’s my fault.

There is a wall of condemnation guarding heaven, and I just haven’t learned to push through. But I have to.

So today, I sat down and wrote. I told him I feel naked and vulnerable, and I’m worried he’s going to remind me of all my failure, and I will just sit here looking down and then try to leave and act right.

Weird. He has never done that before.

Then I reminded myself what Jesus said a long time ago: “No one can come to the Father unless the Father calls for her.”

I have no right to be here. No right to talk to him. No right to be his friend.

I may be attractive and well-spoken, and that usually works for me when I need someone to think I know what I’m talking about. But that doesn’t impress God. He sees right through the extra make up and the confident posture.

Drat.

So what impresses God? Some might say nothing. Some might say, “Being a good person”. But Jesus said we can’t come to God unless God calls us first. So we are pretty much screwed unless he initiates the conversation.

But has he? Will he? Does he?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. And suddenly, he’s coming to me. I’m not the sad, little orphan outside of heaven. He’s the one at my door.

And the tables turn. I feel I’ve been discovered. But not in a rock star way. In a “I am so going to jail for this” way. I want to hide, but I’m getting called. He’s at my door! It’s what I wanted, right?

Hello, awkward.

I feel deeply uncomfortable because I so want to qualify myself. I want to earn love, to prove my worth with my talent and labor. I want God to be impressed with me. But he just doesn’t care about that because he’s not looking for good deeds.

He’s looking for people who just want to be with him. I mean, he has everything he needs. And if he needs some work done, the angels are more reliable.

He doesn’t want a work force. He wants friends.

I feel really awkward, like I’m going to start playing with my phone and not making eye contact, because I am not bringing anything to this dinner. All the stuff that I normally bring to a relationship doesn’t matter here.

And yet, I am pretty sure the level of my personal contentment and happiness come with making peace with the fact that I am not really bringing anything except myself. And that is good enough.

By showing up, I am saying, “I want to be here”, and it’s all I can offer God since the only thing he won’t touch is our free will. It’s my will saying “Yes” to him, to all the forgiveness and love and future he hands out, and the humility and love it takes for me to receive it is worth a lot to him. 

Well, that’s a relief. Cause that’s all I have.

How to feel like a good mom when you tuck yourself in

Motherhood is teaching me a lot about my human-hood. And it hurts.

I face off against the frayed and tasseled ends of my patience and goodness every time my voice shouts too loud, or when my son’s unexplainable need to fish in the toilet stirs up my ugly, unreasonable side.

I don’t like that girl I hear yelling at the barely three foot, tiny, blond with giant Precious Moment eyes. Who is that crazy, angry lady, and why does she yell at children? She sounds like someone I never wanted to be.

It’s so counter-intuitive because I work in social work, and as a result, my biggest mom fear is that I will put my son in therapy. But what is really crazy is that it is precisely my unfettered, out-of-control fear that causes my strongest, scariest reactions. The kind that could land him on the psychologists couch. If they still used them.

Sometimes my son’s childish ignorance or disrespect on repeat just push a button and suddenly, I’m terrified. Or furious. And there he is, my little baby who still wets his Pull-ups, taking 31+ years of anxiety and anger.

I feel so crappy that I am trying out my uneducated mothering on him. Surely all the rest of my kids, whenever they get here, will get a wiser version of me. But he gets this tired, cranky, impatient lady who forgets who she’s dealing with.

It’s not fair, to him or to me. And my heart can’t take many more nights of the ache and regret. As I tuck him in under his glow-in-the-dark stars, I’m desperate to make the most of those last moments of the day. Trying to make good memories for him so maybe he won’t remember me only with angry eyes.

It’s just that Mom Guilt, and the general sense that I suck at this mom gig, haunting me all the time. So when I came across Sarah Bessey’s practices of mothering the other day, it was like a life jolt. I realized I could intentionally parent, with help, and I could not only stop sucking at parenthood, I could actually enjoy it.

Because let’s be honest: it’s hard to enjoy something you’re bad at.

For the record, my like or dislike of parenting was never, ever about not liking my son. I’m wild about him. I just was not at all wild about my skills. It just felt like hopeless most days.

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My personal parenting goal is: to enjoy motherhood and say with confidence, “I am a good mom”.

But I needed hope. And some structure.

And thanks to two of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Bessey, and Lisa Jo Baker, I have some of both.

Tonight I am sharing Sarah Bessey’s practices of mothering, which I plan to intentionally fold into my living as a parent to my son. I will share some awesome insight from Lisa Jo about not yelling anymore, which I am so very excited to stop doing. That will come in a few days. (And if you can’t wait, you can visit her site and find the article early, if you must. But I will get to it. Promise.)

Here are Sarah’s mothering practices, which I love-love-love, and I think they will enlighten any parent, mom or dad. I have three here, and then I will redirect you to her site to read them all. So good.

The practice of speaking life.

I can’t get away from the truth that is this: Words Matter. The words that we speak about ourselves, about our children, about our life matter.

The practice of attachment.

Here’s why it helps me love mothering: attachment parenting works. … See, I want their hearts. I want their hearts so connected to mine and to my husband’s that the love between us will be stronger than any thing else that comes along. So, I do these “things” not because they make me a good mother but because they help me to capture their hearts. And once I have their hearts – and I do – I can lead and direct and train them with their full trust and confidence.

The practice of routine.

Sure, a routine makes sure that I can get done what I need to get done for myself and for my family, but it also helps me find room for those things that are truly life-giving like prayer, meditation, reading, being outside, writing, reaching out to friends and neighbours, helping others, advocating for others, being present in our community and so on. By establishing a loose routine, I enjoy motherhood more because it feels intentional and restful, simplified and life-giving for all of us.

Read the rest of Sarah’s inspired practices of mothering here.

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.”

-Annie Dillard, retrieved from the weekly newsletter from brainpickings.org

Good For All Your Parts Chicken Broth (AKA Medicinal Chicken Broth)

I’ve been working out the kinks on my own version of medicinal chicken broth – or bone broth soup- since my naturopath suggested it to improve gut health a few weeks ago. And it’s an uncomfortable and painstaking process for many reasons, one that really surprised me.

Every weekend, I get a whole chicken at the store, something I’ve really never done before, and cut it up, boil it, simmer it and add in veggies and spices. Depending on the recipe you use – and I will include the three versions I’ve tried – it can simmer for up to 24 hours. Not that you have to babysit it, or sleep in the kitchen, but it’s definitely no 30-minute meal.

The second, most surprising discomfort of the whole thing is the close connection with my food. If you’ve cut up a chicken, you know it’s a bit of a wrestling match cutting meat off the bones when it’s raw. The chicken comes to me whole, and I can see where the head was cut off.

Eeewww, right?

But the most intense part for me is cutting through the bones. It’s so bizarre. In order to extract all the medicinal qualities from the chicken, you have to slice the bones open length-wise and expose the bone marrow while it cooks. It feels a little violent, a little grotesque to be handling my food with such aggression. Especially when my usual interaction with chicken is throwing a few floppy, boneless chicken breasts on the grill. No blood or guts to touch. Just meat, which I’ve dissociated from being connected to a once-living thing. I have to keep reminding myself that God gave us animals for various forms of food, and this is one of the chicken’s life purposes. (My husband is going to make so much fun of me.)

So this is just a warning, I guess, or maybe I’m the only one who feels so out of place so close to my food. This is what growing up in the burbs, away from the true life cycles people experience on a farm, will do to you.

But in true Portlander fashion, I said “thank you” to the chicken who gave up his or her life so I could have medicinal broth with his or her bone marrow.

Go ahead and laugh. I can’t hear you cause I’m outside hugging a tree.

Here are the recipes I’ve tried from my main, go-to sites for health and holistic living. The full recipe from Living Awareness, which I used last weekend, is printed in full below. I like her explanation, and she uses rosemary in her recipe, which I have a huge cooking crush on.

Look how delicious!* If only it cooked faster. I want some now.

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Let me know if you try one, or if you have your own recipe. Love to hear more tips.

Bone Broth Soup Recipes:
1 . Bone Broth Soup – Spirit of Health KC

2. Homemade Bone Broth – Wellness Mama

3. How to Make Medicinal Chicken Soup By Kami McBride Printed Below.

From Living Awareness:
Everybody knows that soup is the cure for when you are down. Making soup with bone marrow stock is more than a mood cure; it enhances your immune system and provides you with easy to assimilate minerals. The marrow inside the bones contains nutrients that feed your bone marrow. When your bone marrow is nourished, you create healthier immune cells and can better fight off colds and flu.

The bones in the soup also contain lots of great minerals that support regeneration and optimum health. When you add an acidic ingredient to your stock it helps to leech the minerals from the bones. That is why most bone marrow soup recipes have wine, vinegar or lemon juice added to them.

The following recipe is for a medicinal chicken bone marrow soup filled with herbs. When making your soup stock, I recommend making a double batch so you can freeze some of it to have on hand for the next soup you make.

Soup Stock
1 whole organic chicken carcass (after you have cooked the chicken and eaten most of the meat) with some of the meat left on it and the legs cut up
Or
Cut up 3 raw chicken legs and thighs
12 cups water
1 entire bulb of garlic (not just individual pieces, but the whole bulb) 5 sticks astragalus
3 medium slices of fresh ginger
3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh or dried thyme
Juice of 2 lemons

1) If you are using raw chicken bones instead of the carcass, cut the chicken leg bones into three pieces. Make these cuts through the bones; the idea is to expose the marrow inside the leg bones.
2) Put the cut up leg pieces and or the chicken carcass into the water. Add all ingredients, bring this to a boil then turn down and let simmer for four to eight hours.
3) Let cool a little, skim off some of the hardened fat
4) Strain everything out of the liquid through a strainer except for large bones if you are going to make a fresh soup now. If you are going to freeze the stock, remove everything, including the large bones. The liquid is your bone marrow soup stock.

Final soup
4 tablespoons olive oil 5 cloves garlic
3 slices of fresh ginger 2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons of savory herbs (rosemary, thyme or basil) 1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon paprika
2 onions or leeks
2 carrots
2 celery stocks
1 turnip
1⁄2 cup rice or 2 potatoes Strained soup stock

1) Sautee all of the herbs and vegetables in a pot. When vegetables are a little soft, add the rice and soup stock. At this point you could also add a few fresh pieces of chicken, cut up breasts are good. Let everything simmer on low for one hour and then enjoy! Right before eating add fresh greens such as chopped chard, beet greens parsley or kale.

*(Photo credit: http://www.nomnompaleo.com)

All the Little Things

[Today I’m writing at Start Marriage Right about how the little things all stack up in our relationships, and how that impacts our dynamics for good and bad.]

I was already going to be late, and I knew it. Skimming through the house, I tried to piece together all my essential parts before running out the door: purse, phone, coffee…

And then I saw them. The dishes, stacked carefully in the sink, looking aged and forlorn, waiting patiently.

I glanced at the time, remembering I promised my husband I would clean them the night before.

I briefly argued with myself. Something about the priorities of being on time, or keeping my word to my husband.

Within moments, I set down my belongings and opened the dishwasher. He’s my husband. My word to him matters more, I encouraged myself, as cups and plates landed in place along the racks.

It Will Cost You
I wish I could say I always choose my reputation with my husband over my reputation with others. But I don’t. Too often I take him for granted, assuming I can keep my word or make a marriage-centered choice later.

So this moment was a win for me. I chose my word, my character in my marriage, over a few seconds of being in another place. Keeping my word cost me something that morning, and it costs me something every time.

This scenario poses the obvious problem: if I were better organized, perhaps I wouldn’t have to make this particular choice. And I can’t argue with that. But that wouldn’t prevent me from making a hundred other choices, all day, every day.

Read the rest at Start Marriage Right.

Getting Around to It

I’ve been threatening my friends I would start running again for months now. All year, the weather has been cantankerous and volatile for months, and summer just wouldn’t start. Until now. I was running out of excuses.

In my girls’ group, we’ve talking about the story of our lives and how to move towards our ambitions and purpose with momentum, rather than stalling out and wasting our lives. Ultimately, we are working out together how to live a better story.

Donald Miller, in his Storyline workbook, calls these actions “Inciting Incidents” because they are controlled by you and me, and they move us further toward our dreams, our climatic moments.

Goals and vision are essential for me when I’m trying to change my routine. I just don’t wake up awesome, fulfilled and successful every day, believe it or not. I have to work and fail and try. And when I don’t make or follow through with my plans, when I don’t get accountability from friends and life veterans, I feel pretty bad.

I just plain live bad.

And that’s been true for months now. I’ve been bogged down in details and coordinating projects I didn’t love, and it sucked the life out of me. I got disconnected from God and myself and other people, and that always makes it hard to love myself, God and others well. Which is what I want most from my life.

So I started inciting some incidents, which I will write more on later. But one of my goals, although I was too chicken to write it down and commit, was being in shape instead of whining about not being in shape. Annoying, right?

So I did it! I signed up for a race this summer, and got a friend to run with me. She’s already in shape – meh. :/

So now I have two kinds of accountability because there’s a date on the calendar and a friend to run with me. And the date of the race serves as a goal as well, along with fitting back into the smaller, more fit half of my wardrobe.

I can’t wait for that.

Because I am a sharing junkie, I am posting my training plan for the race I’m running. I got this one from Hal Higdon, the much beloved running coach. (And did you know he is also an artist? I had no idea. Quite talented.) I have fond memories of Hal and his training programs from at least one other race I’ve run.

This will be the second longest race I’ve done. (The longest was a 10k/6.2 miles.) This one is just five miles. So for me, this is my “Couch to 5-mile Program”.

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I will post updates every so often on my progress. But if I whiff and mess around and never start training, you can be sure you’ll hear about that too. I’m more honest than determined, probably.