I have definitely had moments here in Michigan where this, and other, labels apply. It is amazing what happens to a person when their comfort zone is removed. In many ways it has been great....it has exposed areas of my sinful nature that would not have been exposed otherwise. But in some ways, it has just led to some very embarrassing moments.
It seems that everywhere I turn lately, I am hearing about the importance of 1) a healthy body image and 2) taking care of our bodies. I don't mean in a vain sort of way, but in a godly way, to make us more able to serve Him. When Alyssa, Emilie, and I went to Secret Keeper Girls there was a lot of teaching about the labels we put on ourselves (or allow Satan to put on us) that make us feel like we are, well, what those labels say....fat, ugly, loud, insignificant.....insert your own labels. They stressed to the girls (and the Moms) how important it was to remove those labels with scripture, and gave us a number of scriptures that countered those labels. The bottom line was that we all should realize that God is enthralled with our beauty, He created us, and we need to understand how very much He loves us. To add to that, the little girls have been watching the Veggie Tales movie, "Sweet Pea Beauty", which has that same message. (BTW, if you have young girls and you have not seen that one, I highly recommend it.)
Last week in Bible study, as part of her teaching, Beth Moore did this big, long thing about how when we accept Christ as Savior, He puts a stamp on our head, marks us as His own, and we should live our lives like we are daughters of the King. (Okay, greatly paraphrased, but trying not to preach a sermon here....I have a story to tell!) But basically, we should treat our bodies as if we are temples of the Most High God, because we are.
If you know me at all, you know I have always been very self-conscious about my weight...even when I shouldn't have been. I wish I had known 20 years ago that true beauty had nothing to do with how much I weighed or what size clothes I wore. There have been times in my life when I was very thin and fit (and still thought I wasn't), and then there are times, like now, when I know my weight has gotten out of control, and while I know that "thin" does not always equal "beautiful", for me, "thin" would certainly equal "a better quality of life". I just think about how much better I could serve Him and my family if I felt better and all this weight wasn't putting so much extra pressure on my body. So now that I have made completely public something is very private, and embarrassing, to me, what I really want to share is how I have gotten my family into something that I am not quite sure how we are going to complete it.
In the midst of this work that God has been doing in me, I was at the chiropractor two weeks ago when he mentioned to me something that was coming up in the community on Labor Day. (My thoughts will be in parenthesis)
He handed me a brochure and said, "A lot of my patients are signing up for this triathlon on Labor Day."
(That's nice. I wonder what I am going to cook for supper?)
"Last year I got a bunch of us to all sign up so we could do it together."
(Why is he telling me this? Does he always wear those pants? Oooh, look! Sunshine outside the window.)
It's really not that hard. It's a 200 meter swim, an 8 mile bike ride, and a 1 1/2 mile run."
(Has this man taken one look at me, and doesn't he know I couldn't run a mile and a half if Freddy Kruger was chasing me? I wonder if my cute capris from last summer still fit me? I think it's almost time to change the oil in the van.)
"So this year, I thought we could all do it together and I 'll give everyone a T-Shirt and we'll come here after it's over and have a big cookout."
I said, "Ooooh....that sounds fun. Sign us up!!"
It's funny how a social gathering changes everything. :-)
Instantly, I thought it would be such a fun thing for our family to do together. We have all been wanting to get into better physical health, and maybe we need a goal!
So, that night when Jeff got home, I said, "Honey, what would you think about doing a triathlon?" (Notice how I kind of got this all out of order. Unfortunately, that's pretty common for me.)
He said, "Ummmm yeah, Dr. Bolton mentioned something about that to me."
"Doesn't that sound fun??!!??"
Well, he kind of looked at me strange and said, "Ummm....I don't know if 'fun' is the right word, but we can do it if you want to."
After thinking about it a little, I said, "Ummm, Jeff, I guess I am going to need some decent running shoes if we are going to train for a triathlon...and so will you. Come to think of it, Alyssa and Emilie don't have any either. Wait a minute...how are we going to train for a triathlon? We don't even own a bicycle? And, don't you have to know how to swim to do a triathlon? I don't swim very well."
By this time I was laughing hysterically.
Jeff got his sly grin on his face and said, "Umm, Baby, that's why you don't READY, FIRE, AIM." (Oh, but I soooo do that so often) He added, "I think all you heard when you were talking to Dr. Bolton was 'blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah cookout and a free t-shirt."
Well, now I was really laughing hysterically. He was RIGHT!!!
So days went by and I kept thinking how we needed to go work out if we were going to get ready for this thing. Finally, a few days ago, we took the plunge. We were all just hanging around the house and I said, "Alright kids, get dressed. We are going to the 'Y'" . (Speaking of READY, FIRE, AIM......)
So once we were there and had the babies settled in "daycare" (as they like to call it), we headed up to the track. It was then that I actually looked at my children... I mean, really looked. Alyssa was dressed like she knew where she was going, but Emilie? Oh, Emilie. Fashion is what matters to her.She might have a rat's nest the size of a baseball in the back of her hair, and she may have pulled her clothes out of the bottom of the hamper, by by George, she'll look cute! She had on a cute shirt, black leggings, a hat, her yellow purse with sequin accents and zebra-striped flip flops with a big rhinestone on the toe. I wish I had a picture. I started walking around the track when out of the blue I hear, "FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP FLAP" VERY loudly. I turn around to see Emilie, running like crazy to catch up with me, her arm bent up to hold her purse, hitting everyone she passed with her purse and grinning ear-to-ear.
It didn't help that I had to keep stopping to get Alyssa to help me figure out her MP3 player that she, so generously, let me borrow. And then my feet were KILLING me, so I kept having to stop to ride the bikes to give my feet a rest. During one of my stops, Emilie came over to ask me a question, and not paying attention to her surroundings (as usual) the pedal of my bike hit her knee. About that time Alyssa came around, just as I was asking Emilie, "Are you okay?" Alyssa turned a bright shade of three colors of red, black , and purple, and I said, "What's wrong with you?" She said,....well, I couldn't hear what she said...I could only see her mouth moving, so I said, "Alyssa, what is wrong with you? Emilie, are you okay." Alyssa responded, "MOM' YOU DON'T HAVE TO TALK SO LOUD!" oh. Whoops. Ear buds still in my ears.
So, at this point, Emilie is screaming wildly...and I do mean wildly. (She doesn't have the best control over her emotions.) Not only is Alyssa embarrassed to be with us, but now, her sister is making a scene, her mother is talking really loudly, and not only that, she is saying her name, with a southern accent, over and over, VERY LOUDLY! Needless to say, we drew a little attention to ourselves.
So after a grueling 7 minute workout, we left feeling a little defeated. Village People? Hillbillies? Rednecks? Just add any old label. I am sure the people around us thought all of those people had moved to town. :-) We just needed our Indian and construction worker costumes.
That's okay. We came with costumes of our own. :-)
Just to be clear, we are actually going to do the "sprint" type of triathlon (I think that's what it's called.) We did consider backing out because, to be honest, I am so out of shape, I don't see how I will ever get it together in time. Honestly, I am scared I am going to have a heart attack training for it. However, my brother assures me that since I was in such good shape at one time (between the Army and years of marching band) that my body will remember and it will be possible to do it. To throw in an extra incentive, he is going to try to be here for it. If you know me, you know how much I love my siblings, so to get to see one of them would be the greatest motivator ever! AND...apparently, they are going to have life guards and divers at the swim, so I won't drown. Comforting, don't you think?
So why do I tell you all this? To help me be accountable. Feel free to heckle me everyday about whether or not I am eating healthy and exercising. If you don't, I have my very own first-born right here in my house to crack the whip on us all.