Mother’s Day

I have childhood memories of the Sunday morning of Mother’s Day when my dad and brothers brought me breakfast in bed. I may have only been 7 or 8 years old, but that sweet gesture made me feel honored as a young woman, and excited to be a future mother. I have thought about what this day with my own child might be like for many years.

2 years ago on Mother’s Day, I was miscarrying our first baby. We decided to still go to church, but at a different location and time than our own. The church we happened to be visiting asked all mothers to stand and be recognized. Tears burst forth for the millionth time that day. My womb and my hands were empty. My husband nudged me to stand, but I couldn’t muster up the strength. I sat and hung my head.

I was a mother on this particular Mother’s Day, but not how I had hoped I would be.

Last year on Mother’s Day, my husband and I had just found out we were expecting for the second time. We were nervous with this pregnancy after our loss, but were overjoyed nonetheless, and it seemed like God’s perfect timing. It was a happy Mother’s Day for our family to have the hope of a healthy baby to come, and a nice distraction from focusing on last year’s experience. We traveled down to spend the day celebrating with my mom, dad, and Grandma Rosemary. We shared the exciting news with my grandma, who was elated to hear she would have another great-grandchild. She was in her 90’s and her memory was starting to go. Several times through the first half of my pregnancy, she didn’t remember that I was pregnant. It was very sweet how thrilled she was about the news each time, reacting as if hearing it for the first time every time I told her. When I think of this pregnancy and that Mother’s Day, I will always remember my grandmother (my son bares her maiden name as his middle name).

This Mother’s Day is bittersweet. It is extra special for my husband and me, as we are able to hold a precious baby boy in our arms. Oh what joy fills our souls to be gifted this little life! I think about how my life has changed already, and how I am learning more each day about what it means to live out my maternal vocation in my family and in the world. Yet, this Mother’s Day is still a reminder that my grandma passed a week after my son was born this year. She was an incredible mother and grandmother, and I know my mom and I miss her very much.

And also, many others weigh heavy on my heart… It is a reminder of a friend who lost her newborn son last year, a friend who isn’t able to have children but longs to be a mother, a friend who’s mother was absent growing up and she still has wounds, a friend whose mother passed away when she was young, a friend whose son is struggling and rejects her as mother. My heart goes out to all of these women and the ache they may feel on this “holiday”.

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It’s okay to feel incredibly grateful for the mom(s) in your life who have been your role models, while simultaneously feeling anger or sorrow about your own circumstances. It’s okay not to feel like posting something happy on social media, and it’s okay if you do! It’s more than okay to be thrilled about the special relationship you have with the mother God gave you and want to shower her with praise. And it’s okay to not know what to feel on this day. This day brings out many different emotions, and may bring out different emotions each year that it rolls around.

There is no denying– Mom’s are heroes. And Mother’s Day is a beautiful day, one that lifts up this unique and nurturing role we are given as women. We shouldn’t take this day away! But if there is a woman in your life you know who may be struggling on this day or just deserves a little extra encouragement, remember to reach out to acknowledge her. Offer a hug, a card, a text.

This Mother’s Day, let us rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn. Let’s celebrate the women in our lives who have lived out this motherly role, no matter the number of earthy children they may have.

Thank you to all mothers for your service, your courage, your compassion, your fidelity to your family, and for making the world more honest and life-giving. Happy Mother’s Day to ALL moms… We honor you.

Click here to read more about the movement to #honorallmoms.

 

Surviving the Holiday Season

People gain anywhere between 2-16 lbs over November and December. This is typically because of mindless eating, binging, lots of parties, busyness, traveling, and maybe even laziness. If you DRIFT into the holiday,  you won’t come out any healthier or you may come out worse. You have control over what you do with your body & what you feed it. No one is more in control of your health than YOU.

Don’t let the holidays just happen. Don’t be the victim of your circumstance. This requires a little bit of thinking ahead so you don’t feel crummy and fall into a Turkey-Coma afterwards.

How to survive the holidays

 

1.Set a goal for yourself for the next month. Get specific! Ie. I will exercise 5 days a week, lose 5lbs, lose body fat 4 percent, I will get two hours more sleep each night. It doesn’t have to be weight loss! Have a strategy that includes accountability. We are quick to let down ourselves, but we won’t flake on someone else. If someone else is involved, you won’t let them down and they won’t let you off the hook if you tell them not to!

2. Don’t skip your workouts. If you’re out of town, it may require getting up earlier, using your laptop in your guest room, or talking to your host about the best running path nearby. Decide upon the most effective exercise plan. This is the one you’ll ACTUALLY DO! Find something that you hate but love! Tabata is good for using body weight and when you’re on the go and need a quick effective workout. Look into what options you have and stick to it!

3. Decide in advance what you will sacrifice. Maybe that’s not baking as much or not say yes to every party invite! Everything revolves around food & sugar & butter & carbs. Sacrifice feeling bad about hurting feelings. You don’t have to tell them why, you have every right to say no. Maybe sacrifice that 3rd or 4th plate, and stick to ONE plate, savoring every bite. Sacrifice the generic pie so you can have a Grandma’s homemade cookies.

4. Bring your own dish so YOU have options and you help other people that are looking for a healthy side. I’ve arrived at a party and realized they are only offering pizza and mozzarella sticks. Then ONE person showed up with a veggie tray. Of course, with limited options, I had some pizza, but I didn’t eat as much as I would have because I had the veggie tray. Be someone’s saving grace (and your own!)

5. Eat before your event so you won’t fall for anything. If you made a plan to avoid the stuffing, but you are STARVING, when it’s time to eat you may just start thinking with your stomach. If you need to pack some nuts or some fruit to have on hand, do so!

6. Drink a ton of water. It will keep you full and hydrated. It will give you something to do if you feel awkward about not doing the continual munch on snacks and alcohol. Alcohol in moderation, but alternating with water will keep you from going into full “stuff your face” mode.

7. Start with the vegetable. Fill half of your plate with these so at least you’re filling up first on the good stuff. Then think protein… choose LIGHT meat, not dark. Then there is only a little room left for the carbs 🙂 Choose wisely with your carb! Pick your one favorite and save room for a little dessert. If you’re having cranberry sauce, skip the gravy, and vice versa. You don’t have complete control over what’s offered, except what you put on your plate and how MUCH.

And finally, remember, if something is a priority, you do it. If you’re serious about sticking to your healthy habits over the next month and a half, make it happen. You may not always be the most popular person in the room, but don’t be afraid to be genuinely YOU and live the kind of life with the kind of choices you want.

Food is fun, but so is conversation, taking pictures, playing board games, going on a walk etc. FOCUS on time together more than just the food.

Have a wonderful time with loved ones! ENJOY and have fun!