Faith Health and Wellness Marriage

So Much To Be Thankful For

2020 has been quite a year and now we’ve reached Thanksgiving. Pretty sure we thought life would be back to normal, but as I write this things all around me in my state are shutting down again because of the COVID. As mentioned in my previous blog post, there is always a way to find gratitude through the hard. In fact, gratitude is good for your health and helps with stress levels, etc.! So, I’m choosing to find gratitude in everything. Here’s what I’m grateful for this year:

-When everything shut down in March, we got so much more time with our family…and realized how busy we had become with all of our sporting events. The time allowed us to re-evaluate what we wanted to do as a family.

-I got a new job as the P.E. teacher at Covenant Classical School! The interview process started right before the shelter-at-home began, so we had to get creative with interviews and I was finally hired in June. The job allows me to teach at my kids school and only work during their hours. In October, I left my coaching position at Orangetheory Fitness so that I could continue to be here for my family and stay focused on my new job. It has saved my sanity!

-I’m thankful for our school — the amazing education my kids are getting, the awesome friends and faculty, and that we are IN school full-time!

-My son broke his elbow the beginning of July and needed to have surgery to put three pins in it. That’s not the positive. 😉 Honestly, there was a lot of it that sucked and we called it his “bummer summer”. He missed out on A LOT of stuff. However, so many people were dealing with disappointments in 2020, so he wasn’t alone and the only one doing life differently. My son and I still talk about the sweetness of hanging out in my room and watching movies while he recovered. And again, we were forced to slow down.

-I’m thankful for my son’s baseball team and the amazing boys on the team. They have all become the best of friends and are incredibly encouraging and supportive of each other. Their support when Edmund broke his elbow was HUGE.

-Today, as I celebrate my son’s 11th birthday and the day I became a mother, I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the gift of my children. Every day with them is a blessing and I’m humbled and thankful that God chose me to be their mom.

-I’m thankful for the gift of my marriage that continues to grow stronger day by day. Again, the pandemic has allowed us to have more time to spend together and not rush around…although we have had to learn to be more intentional with our time. 😉 I’m thankful that I’m totally content just hanging around with my husband all day and talking with him. He makes me laugh and smile and is my safe space. 

Every time I look back on my life, I can see the obvious ways that God has been working and continues to work in my life. He has used every situation and event to mold me and prepare me for the future. I’m overwhelmingly thankful for his guidance, provision, sacrifice, and love for me — for sending Jesus to die on the cross and take the penalty of sin for me; for the assurance of salvation and an eternity in heaven; that nothing is out of his control; and that, even though I am sinful and fail, I am loved.

What are you thankful for?

Health and Wellness Stress Relief

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the U.S. in March and we went into shelter-in-place, I remember feeling an overwhelming tiredness that didn’t make sense to me. I felt I was getting more sleep, we had nowhere to rush to, and I was grateful for the extra time with my family. Why the fatigue? As I talked to my friends, I learned that we were all experiencing similar feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

About a month later, I read an article that talked about how we are experiencing a “fight or flight” response to the pandemic. The “fight or flight” response causes our cortisol levels to rise which can be helpful when needing to escape a situation, however, with no way to do anything during COVID, those responses continue to rise and can cause restlessness, trouble sleeping, GI issues, etc. 

Obviously, we are unable to fight or flee the pandemic, so for some people, the body goes into a freeze response – low energy, difficulty concentrating, avoidance of all news, and feeling exhausted are some of the symptoms.

I realized that my body was falling into the freeze response and that I needed to find strategies to cope with the stress. For me, creating a schedule and continuing to accomplish things while at home was important. I woke up to my alarm, set aside time for my business and workouts, made schedules for my children, and spent time walking, praying, and singing. And it worked!

We’ve started to find our new normal. My kids are fortunate to be in school all day, five days a week and I teach at their school two days per week. We have slowly brought some activities back into our schedule too. Things have been feeling good.

Fast forward to last week…the cases are rising in my state and someone I was in close contact with (although always more than six feet away) tested positive for COVID. I was late in finding out about the person’s symptoms and worried that I might have passed it unknowingly to someone else. I had a COVID test done on Friday, just to be safe and it took multiple days to get the results (negative). While I waited I found myself shutting down as I thought of all the ramifications if I was positive (kids e-learning, not working, canceling kids’ birthday events, etc.). When I finally got the results back, I could feel my energy increase, however, I was still feeling unrested in the morning…and then I remembered the “fight or flight” response. My body is still responding to the stress even as I get back to normal. And it’s not over — things are starting to shut down in our state again. So how will I cope with it? Same as last time — movement, prayer, schedules, and natural supplements to keep me calm and at peace.

How about you? How has COVID effected you? What strategies have you put in place to conquer the stress and anxiety? If you haven’t created any, now would be a good time. Figure out where you are struggling — write it down — and make a plan. Don’t let the stress overtake you again like it did when it first started last March. 

And if you’re looking for some great natural stress relief, these products have worked amazingly for me:

Finally, I leave you with this encouragement from Philippians 4:5b-7: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Praying for you to stay safe and have a peace that exceeds anything you can understand!


Gratitude Not Attitude

“Gratitude not attitude” became my mantra during the beginning of COVID-19. During that time, I would go for long walks — listening to music and spending time in prayer. Sounds fine, however, often during my “talks with God” I would find myself complaining about something someone said and how it hurt me or some other situation. I realized that I could continue down that road or end the negative thoughts. So, I would stop myself in the middle of my pity party and say “Gratitude not attitude.” I would then think of all the things I am grateful for about that person and/or situation. Was it always easy? No. Worth it? Yes.

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, are you needing to switch your negative attitude to one of gratitude? Where are the blessings in e-learning? In this political climate, where do your thoughts go when thinking about Democrats or Republicans? One party is not all positive and one all negative. BOTH parties have positives and negatives. Find the good in both. You’ll be a much happier person and more able to trust God, when you can see the positives. 

How about the Holidays? One of the blessings of COVID is that we are all a lot less busy with parties and gatherings. Maybe this is a chance to focus on your family and the real meaning of Christmas that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle.

It’s not always easy to be grateful…especially in the really hard times. But if you start practicing gratitude now, finding things you are grateful for every day, it’ll become easier and natural to spot the negative attitude and turn it to gratitude. Where do you need to find gratitude today?


Trust Through All My Fears

The world is a crazy place right now and trust has been on my heart and mind. Whom do I trust? Do I really trust God as much as I say I do? See, with the political climate and divisiveness going on in our country, here’s what I’ve learned: no matter who become President and what is decided, God is in control. He already knows who the next President will be — it’s all a part of His plan for the world. Do I trust Him? 

When I am overwhelmed with the arguing around me…I remember that He is in control. When I see the divisiveness on social media, I remember that He is sovereign. When I put my trust in Him, the weight is lifted from my chest and I can rest. I’m thankful that my God is in control and I don’t have to be. That even as I vote, He is determining the next steps for our country and what will bring revival in the hearts of His people. God has not given up on His people and He has not given up on me.
This time has also forced me to look at how I trust other people. How many times am I grasping for control of a situation instead of trusting the people around me?

Do I trust God with my kids? Do I trust that my kids will be okay and grow up to love Jesus, even when my husband and I mess up or feel we are lacking? Do I trust that my family will love me when I fail to be the person I desire to be or when I let my emotions get the most of me? Will my friends still want to be my friends when I say or do something stupid?

And I realize that this lack of trust is at the heart of my fears — fear of letting people down because I don’t trust that they will still be there/support me/care for me if I’m less then perfect; fear for my children because I don’t trust that God loves and cares for them even more that I do; fear for the future, because I don’t trust that God is sovereign over all. But God is in control and I can trust him.

On this election day, I find myself at peace, no matter what the outcome. Did I vote? Yes. Do I care about people and our country? Yes. But, I am choosing to trust God and His sovereignty — knowing that nothing is out of His hands. And I am at peace.