Monday, August 13, 2018

20 Minute Run {and more!}

:: wildflower along the trail ::
I admit it. When I peeked ahead on Thursday evening and saw that I had to do a twenty minute outdoor run with no walking for the last day of my running training last week I actually cried for a minute. No way, I thought. I am not ready for it, I was pretty sure. It's hot and I was feeling plumb tuckered out.

Twenty consecutive minutes of outdoor running sounded a bit beyond my current capabilities.

But my dear hubby and one of our sweet girls were there to encourage me to give it a go. "You can always walk a bit if you need to. Just do your best." Okay... all I could do was try. And I have already given myself permission to repeat a week of my running training if I don't feel ready to move on.

When the time came to do the Friday run I was feeling much stronger than the previous evening, very determined, and even a bit excited. I knew I could run for eight minutes and that is almost halfway to twenty minutes. So, off I went. And even though my pace was quite slow - who cares, right?! - I didn't walk even once during my twenty minute trail run.

My run ended with tired feet and a minor case of chub rub and a very enthusiastic happy dance that included some jumping up-and-down. And the tears that flowed when the timer went off after those twenty minutes of running were tears of joy and amazement! I felt so proud of myself. 😎

Sheesh, I shed a lot of tears for just about any reason (or no reason at all) sometimes... must be my nearly fifty-year-old hormones talking. {smile} My dog and running buddy Jack must've wondered what was up... nah, I'm sure he is used to the way I roll by now. Ha! The wee hummingbird that was perched upon the fence seemed undisturbed by my display, too.

So I finished week five of my running training and am pretty pleased about that. I am glad I decided to do a structured eight week program. It is giving me something to aim for and get excited about it my running, and I *love* the trail running in the out-of-doors during these waning days of summer.

And often, it has been working out for me to indulge in a longish post-run stretch session and then some meditation. All-in-all it is a pretty awesome chunk of my day... I am grateful for it!

Here are all of my intentional body positive activities from last week~

Monday: 7 minute total body strength training + Week 5 Day 1 running (18:55 min/mile) + stretching. A 1.5 mile brisk yard-walk with my daughter. Hooping.

Tuesday: Yoga, dance class + hoop flow time. 2 mile yard-walk with my daughter.

Wednesday: Total body strength training + Week 5 Day 2 running + stretching. 45 minute yard-walk with my daughter. Hooping - on body level change drills.

Thursday: Cardio dance class + deep stretch yoga. 1 mile yard-walk with my daughter.

Friday: 7 minute total body strength training + Week 5 Day 3 running (20 minute run!) + stretching. 1 mile yard-walk with my daughter.

Weekend: Brisk walking. Lots of hooping. 💛 Favorite things, those!

I am not really tracking the afternoon walks with Jack or romps about the pasture with my many children or the numerous times I grab my hoops throughout the day for a few minutes of flow time or my leisurely evening bike rides or bedtime yoga sessions as "exercise" anymore. Those things are just usually spontaneous activities done for fun.

And I don't count my homesteading chores or homemaking tasks as exercise either, although they certainly can be vigorous. Those are just aspects of my overall active lifestyle. I used to count and track *all* of my movement and steps. I don't do that anymore. Such freedom!

These days, I like to note the block of time that I am blessed with most days to devote to self-care as my "workout"... often it is a run or a brisk walk, or a dance class, or a yoga session, or some hoop flow time. Occasionally, I like to do a structured program or participate in a fitness challenge just for fun. But it is so different than it used to be when I was fitness obsessed, I never track calories burned or think about "improving" my figure or even consider doing a workout that doesn't look like a ton of fun to me. I love how taking care of myself and enjoying the body I have just as it is has become such a natural and joyful part of my life.

Wishing you a lovely day, friends.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Happiness 8.10.18

A recent moment that made me happy... just a small thing, a snippet of the week. But it is these lovely ordinary moments that I want to remember, savor, and hold close to my heart.

I love the late summer evenings when supper is finished and chores are done and the end-of-day coolness beckons us outdoors to play or work on projects or simply sit and enjoy the view.

Earlier this week I decided to grab two of my dance hoops for some fun while the rest of my large tribe did their own thing nearby and Jack kept me company, as usual.

Togetherness... yet each of us putting our own spin on it. *wink*

Wishing you much happiness where you are, friends.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Body Positive {ED} Conqueror :: 9 Months

:: 9 wonderful months without disordered food and fitness behaviors! ::
:: my thrifty style ::
Nine months is enough time to grow a whole new person. And as a mama of eight, I have been blessed to experience firsthand the miracle of a brand new person growing and developing from its tiniest form at conception and along the way of the ensuing nine or so months that pass until the baby is born.

The wee baby surely does change a lot in those nine months of womb time.

So I shouldn't be all that surprised that I myself have in many ways become a new person and changed so much in the nine months that have passed since I began my eating disorder recovery journey on November 9, 2017.

If God can grow a baby in nine months, He can surely accomplish a wondrous work in my heart and attitude and life in that same amount of time. And He most certainly has!

I don't want to share the specifics of my once disordered habits... but I want to say that I once felt so trapped in those habits, they were such an ingrained part of my daily life, that I didn't think it would ever be possible to shake them completely. At the lowest point of my eating disorder I truly felt that I would always be stuck there... too afraid to change, too afraid not to.

My own eating disorder was always such a paradox. I was so thin but always felt just a couple pounds away from where I wanted to be. Food was the enemy. Exercise was a taskmaster. I felt even worse than I looked and I was exhausted. I thought I was authentic and confident but now I can see I was actually rather afraid and in need of letting some things go. But yet I felt in control?

These days, I can mentally explore those disordered days and feelings without being tempted or triggered and sometimes I do. I wonder if God will one day give me an opportunity to use that dreadful experience to help someone who needs it... But mostly, I am just grateful my eating disorder is behind me and I am indeed a conqueror. I intend to - by God's grace - keep it that way.

Here are some thoughts from this past month...

I feel better *not* being vegan. It's true, I do. Food is more satisfying and cozy to me. My energy is improved. And it is freedom to just eat food, any food. To cook and bake and eat and enjoy.

I really did relish my nearly three-year vegan adventure but I am honestly very glad to be done with it for good. It simplifies my life so much to be a girl who eats literally whatever... and I thank you for your kindness and understanding as I walk the best and right path for me and my amazing family and our budget and homesteading life. 💕 If you are vegan, I do really admire that about you.

I am truly transformed. How do I know? Well... I took my measurements recently because I was looking at dress patterns and wanted to be sure of what size I needed. And my measurements are *exactly* what they were before I ever looked in the mirror that day a dozen or so years ago at the hospital where our daughter was having surgery and told myself I was disgusting.

That moment is one I wish I could change, for sure. I must have been pretty stressed out that day as I jumped into diet culture. I certainly was not disgusting. Anyway...

I wore an extra-large or a size 1x back then. And guess what? That is the size I am again today. I actually prefer an extra-extra large in some things, or to make my own clothing, because I am very very particular about how my clothes fit and it is rare to find the kinds of skirts and jumpers that I love in my size (or any size!) second-hand. Plus I am pretty tall. And super picky about my style. True, true.

The outward difference? Nothing... except perhaps a few more stretch marks (we have been blessed with two more babies since that day!) and wrinkles and gray hair. And I fell in love with cute piercings, so I have a few more holes in my head. Ha!

The inward difference? Everything... I have lost the critical eye and voice I once used on myself. It is truly gone. Completely silenced! Someone commented negatively about my size recently and it didn't bother me at all... not one bit.

I see myself now as fat-and-happy. Plus-sized and quite pleased about it. Glorious because God made me and I am His. Too emerged in the joy and blessings of my life to even care about my appearance in a harshly judgmental way. And it just tickles my heart that my hubby loves my curves... he is the one person whom I believe should have a say about my figure.

I believe that a crucial key to happiness as a married woman is to obey the Lord and care and heed what my own husband thinks and wants, and to basically ignore all other opinions. Just saying.

It took so many years for me to learn my worth in Christ. To feel the amazing and unwavering love of my dear hubby and our precious babies. To be strong enough to let go of what needed to be released and lose my fear of people and their opinions. To believe with all my heart that my imperfect life and imperfect self with all of the flaws and foibles is absolutely beautiful.

Thankfully God is patient. I can be a slow learner sometimes. And a fierce eating disorder crusher, I have proven to myself.

And now I am heading into month ten, fully recovered. A genuine body positive fitness enthusiast who eats everything. How exciting is that!

Monday, August 6, 2018


It was a good feeling when I finished my trail run on Friday to receive the congratulations for being halfway through the eight week training program. And last week's training was admittedly kinda difficult for me to get through... early in the week I was considering repeating week four rather than moving on.

But Friday's trail run - which was Week 4, Run 3 - went well. The intervals weren't so difficult to push through, and my minutes per mile pace was 17:29 which was a reflection of how much better I was feeling than I was during the 21:13 pace I had earlier in the week.

I wonder if the niggling thoughts to stop being vegan had been weighing me down mentally and that perhaps affected my energy level? I do feel better and lighter and happier since making the decision to quit veganism and implementing the lifestyle change rather than just letting those thoughts tumble around in my head. I am at peace with my choice to end the vegan chapter of my journey.

My pace isn't that important to me but since my phone tracks it I find it interesting to note. I don't have a pace goal in mind. Running for the fun of it is good enough for me. {smile} And I love love love running in the fresh air and sunshine!

Now that I am past the halfway mark, I really do want to move forward to week five. I would like to finish the eight week program while it is still a fairly easy activity to find time for in the rhythm of my day. And before too long I will be moving my running indoors for the winter, mostly!

Here are all of my intentional body positive fitness endeavors from last week~

Monday: 7 minute total body strength, Week 4 Day 1 running training, stretching + 2 mile yard-walk

Tuesday: 1 mile indoor walk, a quick boxing class, ballet artistry/stretch class + hooping hand trick drills + 1.7 mile yard-walk

Wednesday: 7 minute total body strength, Week 4 Day 2 running training, stretch + 1 mile yard-walk

Thursday: Ballet barre class (very fun!) + hoopdance flow + 50 minute outdoor walk

Friday: 7 minute total body strength, Week 4 Day 3 running training (halfway done!), stretch + 30 minute outdoor walk

Saturday: hooping! How lovely to take several of my hoops outdoors and work on tricks and transitions and simply enjoy some playtime. I am *so close* to getting the kick-up start from the floor to my knees. So close! And I am working on some fun choreography to praise music, too.

:: Jack :: My boisterously happy best friend ::
Sunday: One of our girls and my buddy Jack and I enjoyed a walkabout in the back pasture. So fall like it suddenly seems! The wildflowers are dwindling and some of the leaves are turning and there is a definite shift in the air. How exciting - I *love* autumn!


Friday, August 3, 2018

Happiness 8.3.18

A recent moment that made me happy... just a small thing, a snippet of the week. But it is these lovely ordinary moments that I want to remember, savor, and hold close to my heart.

I reached all the way back to last weekend for today's featured moment of happiness... it truly was bliss to simply sit on the picnic quilt at the park and savor the sunshine while our tribe fished and played and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Wishing you much happiness where you are, friends.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Big Encouragement, Big Change

First, the big encouragement I received.

I could hardly believe it the other day... one of the online personalities that I often dance with reached out to encourage me in my hooping! Oh my, how thrilled and surprised I was!

Isn't it amazing how much a small act such as that can have such a wonderful and encouraging impact on someone? She did indeed make my day and it gave me such a boost to know that my hoop dancing prompted her to take the time to bless me with kindness. So thankful I am!

Next, the big change I made.

I have decided to quit veganism. Without fanfare or excuses, I am simply choosing the path that I believe to be the best one for me, my ed recovery, my family, and our homesteading endeavors. Y'all know how committed I am to living a life of joyful authenticity and this is where I am now.

I love animals and I dearly enjoyed my nearly three year vegan journey. And I am abundantly happy, relieved, and peaceful with the prayerful decision I made for my vegan story to come to its final end. I share a wee bit more about it on my homesteading blog's one year anniversary post today, if you are interested. {smile}

So today I feel pretty good. Quite strong. Very brave. Thankful. Amazingly encouraged. And oh-so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me next! Onward...


Monday, July 30, 2018

Week 3, Done {and more!}

:: a patch of happy looking wildflowers ::
Howdy friends, thanks for joining me for my review of last week's body positive fitness activities and dancing progress and such. I can hardly believe I am already finished with week three of my running training program. Time really does fly, I think!

And since time - including summer! - tends to pass oh-so-quickly in this happy-busy season of my life, I have been focusing on fitness activities in the out-of-doors while the sunshiney days are abundant and the daylight hours long.

Here is what I did last week ~

Monday: 7 minute total body strength (I am getting more reps of the various exercises within this routine than I was at the beginning of week 1 - woot!) + Week 3, Day 1 running + 2 mile yard-walk with my daughter + hooping

Tuesday: Dance class (belly dance and hooping focus) + yoga for flexibility + 1.5 mile yard-walk

Wednesday: 7 minute total body strength + Week 3, Day 2 running (my pace was 17:11 minutes per mile) + 10 minutes post-run yoga + 1 mile yard-walk with my daughter

Thursday: lots of fitness walking and some basic waist hooping

Friday: 7 minute total body strength + Week 3, Day 3 running (while listening to an amazing sermon) + hooping + a walk with my daughter

Weekend: the usual fitness walking and lots of hooping - basic waist hooping, off body, and flow

Lots of running and hooping last week. My favorites! Obviously (see blog name... ha!).

This is one of the traditional times of the year that I help my children sort through all of their clothes and shoes and coats and things to discard or donate or pass along whatever they have in their wardrobes that no longer suits them or fits them. This is quite an undertaking with six of our blessings yet at home!

And I am oh-so-excited to join in with another go-through of my own dresser and closet contents. It seems as though my shape has stabilized and landed where it is meant to be. How exciting! I do love it and could not be happier to be in this place.

For so long, whenever I have purchased or thrifted or made clothes for myself it has always been with the thought that the clothes were temporary... until my body changed according to whatever I was putting it through at the time as I went up-and-down the scale.

So the thought of ridding myself of the items that are a bit snug or just not my style and replacing them with exactly what I love to wear in exactly the size I am right now makes me quite happy. My love for body positive fitness and commitment to veganism and eating whatever I want have blessed me with a rather ample shape that I am quite pleased with, I admit.

And at the same time, I couldn't care less about it. My body is not the subject of many of my thoughts at all anymore, except the positive feelings I have about it. I am so much more than the size of my strong and soft and capable thighs and squishy tummy.

Self-acceptance is awesome, my sweet friends. If you haven't found it yet, I do pray that you will one day!

I remember how sad I was to rid myself of clothing way back at the beginning of my ed recovery... clothes that were triggering to my disorder, especially. I even cried about it. Oh my, have I ever come a long way since then. I am indeed changed in so many areas, inside and out. To God be the glory!

I wish you a wonderful start to your week...💚

Friday, July 27, 2018

Happiness 7.27.18

A recent moment that made me happy... just a small thing, a snippet of the week. But it is these lovely ordinary moments that I want to remember, savor, and hold close to my heart.

We are a close knit bunch, this large family of ours... yet many of our personal interests are as wide and eclectic and varied and unique as each of the ten individuals of our tribe. Every now and then, though, one of my children will begin to show a special interest in one of my passions and what a thrill it is!

I love sharing my bliss with my babies.

So the other night, as I was returning to the yard after a bit of barnyard puttering and my cuddle with the chickens and my chat with Matilda, I was pretty excited to see my little boy getting his hoop flow on with his own dance hoop. Woot!

Happiness it was, for sure. For the both of us! My young flow artist was quite thrilled that Mama asked to capture the moment to share on the blog before fetching one of my own hoops to join him in the fun. {smile}

I wish you bunches of happiness where you are, my friends. 🌸

Thursday, July 26, 2018

This is Me

Do you know the blessing and freedom of simply being yourself in your own life? Oh, how the courage to let our true personalities and preferences and strengths and weaknesses shine through can elude us sometimes. Yes? We care too much about what other people think... about putting forth a certain image... about being popular.

In this space, as in my life, I am whole-heartedly committed to simply being me. Perhaps this is a gift of growing older? Taking off the masks, sharing the vulnerabilities, celebrating the victories without pretense or shame or overweening pride.

And then just leaving it there without another thought. What other people think of us is their deal, anyway... right?

This past year-or-so, especially, has been such a fun time of getting to know myself as I have forged ahead through the ed recovery process and dug into my own thoughts a bit. As an exercise in bravery and confidence I want to share some of that here.

Y'all already know that I am a born-again follower of Jesus Christ and a wife and a mama of eight and a gentle homesteader and a hoopdancer... but I have come to realize that it is the quirky little details that add the glittery sparkles to who I am. The special combination of traits that mix together and make me... Me. {smile}

So - as of today, at this particular moment - This is Me.

* My spiritual gift is encouragement. I often pray for opportunities to use this gift... and it is one of the primary reasons that I have my blogs.

* My superpower is authenticity. Indeed.

* My loves are my amazing hubby and our precious family, our homestead farm sanctuary and its land and inhabitants, and Jesus. 💖

* My belief is that happiness really is homemade. In every way.

* My style is dresses and skirts only, no makeup or hair coloring, several piercings in my ears and two in my nose, and I wear a Christian headcovering. And I do love to paint my toenails my favoritest color orange in the summertime. And I am not a bit trendy or concerned about such things.

* My goal is to become all that God created me to be.

* My tastes and hobbies and interests are quite varied and eclectic. So. many. fun. things.

* My greatest joy - my purpose and calling and delight - is being a wife and mama. *This* is my bliss.

* My personality type is INFJ-T. How interesting I find this discovery!

* My quirky obsession is New York City... and Broadway. So obsessed and I have no idea where that fascination comes from since I am content-as-can-be way over here on a homestead in Montana. Ha!

* My mission is to spread sunshine and kindness. I really hope I am at least moderately successful at this.

* My other languages are Hebrew and American Sign Language. I am still learning!

* My desire is to glorify the Lord. Every day and in every way. He alone is worthy.

I am so enjoying this season of life that I am in right now. Nearly fifty, for me, is a wonderful place to be. {smile}

Wishing you a sunshiney day. 🌞

Monday, July 23, 2018

Running and Hooping Bliss

:: weekend hike in the mountains ::
Hello, my friends! Thank you for joining me for another look back at my recent body positive fitness endeavors and hoopdancing. {smile} Week two of my get-back-into-running program is behind me and I am beginning to feel like a runner again... love it!

Here are last week's activities~

Monday: 7 minute total body strength + Week 2, Day 1 running training + 2 miles yard-walking

Tuesday: Dance class (Belly Dance focus) + yoga + 2 miles yard-walking

Wednesday: 7 minute total body strength + Week 2, Day 2 running training + hoopflow (outdoors)

Thursday: a lovely long session of hooptrick practice & flowtime + 3 mile outdoor walk

Friday: 7 minute total body strength + Week 2, Day 3 running training + 2 miles yard-walking

Weekend: lots of hooping plus a lovely hike in the mountains {smile}

I have been focusing on regular strength training - short but thorough sessions - and getting some running endurance built back up again. On Monday, I did the run / walk intervals of my training regime without music and had a 19:13 minutes per mile pace. On Wednesday, I listened to music while I ran and had a 17:38 minutes per mile pace. Wow! Quite a difference, yes?

Hoopdancing continues to bring me much joy! I am still working on the kick start from the floor to the knees (I am sooo close to getting it!) and practicing my lifts and combinations. Sometimes, just a good session of waist hooping is bliss. Although these days, my *very* favorite thing is a flow session in the out-of-doors.

Something joyfully unexpected is coming from my hooping, too. Two things, really...

The first would be that several of my children love to hoop with me! How wonderful it is to share this passion of mine with some of my kids. They can waist hoop and a couple of the little ones have the interest to experiment with off-body hooping and flow. We have tons of fun with it!

The second joy would be the smiles it brings to others. People seem to be drawn to hooping in such a friendly way. And I am so thrilled by the people that stop and chat with me about it, often sharing their own memories of waist hooping as a child... often surprised to discover that hoop dancing is even more fun (I think!) as an adult.

Sometimes the encouragement comes from someone speeding by on a bike and shouting back to me... "Nice hula-hoop!" as they give me a friendly wave. Ha!

Purchasing a child's hoop for myself at our local discount store a year-and-some-months-ago is just what sparked my journey as a hoop flow artist. I had no idea that indulging a happy childhood memory would lead me into flow artistry and hoop tricks and a pile of dance hoops and beautiful moments like this one, but I am oh-so glad it did!

Oh, the peace that I find within that spinning circle. What a gift to be able to share it.

It is quite a surprise to bring joy to others with a simple dance hoop. And I would have never thought this homesteading mama would be a runner *and* a hoop dancer! I guess you just never know what the Lord will use in your life, right? He truly doesn't waste anything. I am thankful.