Monday, December 30, 2013

twenty.thirteen: looking back.

2013 was a different sort of year.
It was a year of changing and stretching, readjusting and redefining.
It was a year of growing up and letting go.
It was hard year. It was an unexpected year.
It was a good year.

I've always been a memory-keeping, record-writing, photo-capturing sort of girl. This yearly blog post is one of the ways I like to remember, reflect,
and say good-bye to another year. 

Something new: Project 52.
We made a fresh set of memories in a familiar place.
I chose my one word (or perhaps more accurately, it chose me).
We wrapped up our mudroom and basement projects.
We ran out of eggs.

We became acquainted with Brene.
We set out to potty train #3.
We narrowly survived a very snowy, very grey sort of winter.
I finished the 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge.

Dylan fell in love with card collecting.
I discovered Downton.
Bunko is back!

Mady strode through her first bike race.
We assembled a basketball hoop.
Ella was featured in her first art show.

Our garage sale went viral.
We welcomed baby Jensen to the fam!
Matt started his new position as used car manager at Grand.
I fell in love with Teavana.

We tried to figure out how to survive summer.
Ella finished up another year of 'nastics.
We became a bunch of bike riding fools.
I cleaned out the pantry.
We enjoyed Nana and Papa's new neighborhood pool.

We welcomed Mason James.
We channeled our inner Shauna.
The kids completed swimming lessons (including Mady!)
We rode a camel.

We ventured back up the North Woods.
I completed Year 3 of my picture-a-day project.
My dear friends ran into Year 34 alongside me.
Ella learned to text.
We got away from it all during Cottage Week '13.

Dylan played his first season of football.
Ella cheered her first game.
Mady started preschool!
I co-chaired my first school committee.

Ella shopped her way through her first Birch Run weekend.
We welcomed our third new baby cousin this year, Evelyn Lynae.
Dylan and Ella finished their first Turkey Trot.
We got close enough to see Needtobreathe's socks.

We cheered on our Spartans towards a Rose Bowl berth.
We celebrated nine, seven, and four.
Ella got her ears pierced!
We hosted our first 'friend' birthday party.

My boys started their first basketball season together.
We continued to work it out.
We celebrated a healthy holiday season.
We said farewell to 2013!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Working it out.

Three years ago, on a cold winter night, some friends and I made a decision to workout regularly, five times a week, 15 minutes minimum.

We were done with the dormant, exhausted by the idle, over the blah.

We set up a secret Facebook page called "just because our husbands think we can't...". We logged in, and workout by workout, recorded the days, posted our activities, checked off the weeks.

(Our husbands are actually quite supportive folk, but at the time, even we couldn't imagine keeping this up for more than 3 weeks, much less 3 years.)

This week marks the end of Week 154. (Somewhere along the way, we lost two weeks...probably, I'm guessing, to the Christmas Flu of 2012.)

770 workouts. Swims, runs, walks, bike rides, yoga classes, living room sweatfests, along with the slightly more obscure paddleboarding, snow shoeing, water aerobics, rock climbing.

Yes, this is a story of physical health -- of muscles and sweat -- and a story of girl power -- of accountability and accomplishment.

But that's just the beginning.

We are fully engaged in the middle of the story now -- and it's getting good. The challenge continues on, but the rules are less rigid, the options are more accessible, the invitation is always on the table.

This story, this middle is about finding rest and seeking balance. It's about community and belonging and showing up. It's about health -- not the way the world defines health (i.e., by the way your pants fit) -- it's about the way your heart feels, the way your mind eases, the way your spirit soars...and calms.

And grace, it's about grace. For you, and for me. It's about asking and extending and receiving and accepting.

For three years, we've been working it out. We've practiced and participated, experienced and engaged. We've used all the parts that have been given to us: mind, body, heart.

From our laps in the pool, we've learned to breathe.

From our runs, both long and short, we've learned to put one foot in front of the other.

From the hills, we've learned to take short, steady steps.

From our long bike rides down country roads, we've learned what it means to be a kid again.

From our workout DVD's in our living rooms, we've learned it isn't always glamorous, sometimes you simply buckle down and do the work.

From our walks, we've learned to slow down and take in the scenery. We've learned there's beauty all around us if we take the time to look.

From spinning our wheels in spin class, we've learned that we can, in fact, do very, very hard things.

From our time on our yoga mats, we've learned to listen to and honor our bodies. (We've learned to be kind.)

From all the times we've walked into a new class, a new activity, a new situation, we've learned that's it OK to try, (and OK to fail), OK to say yes...and OK to say no.

So to the friends and family, instructors and acquaintances, and to the 84 year old woman who stubbornly, yet freely, swims lap after early morning lap in Lane One, thank you for the encouragement, the teaching, the inspiration, and the countless hours logged working it out alongside us.

We recently changed the name of our Facebook group.

Just keep swimming.

Appropriate, wouldn't you say?

We can't wait to see where this story takes us next.

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