a story of weight

Dear friends,

Time for a flash back story.  The last time I was into regular exercise (not physical education at school!) was back in 1991. And that was sea swimming!  As a teen and into my university student days, I never really paid attention to my weight or fitness – I could run for a bus, I walked or cycled all the time, buy clothes in a medium size and I ate what I wanted – reasonably healthy. But then I had to do 12 months work experience and that’s when it all changed.

I was blessed to find work in the Caribbean, my mother’s home land of Barbados was my home for a year. It was the first time that I had been to her island home (and I’ve not been back since, but one day… maybe our 20th wedding anniversary… ). My dear mother persuaded me to grow up and wear a dress for the flight out – I bought a long cotton peach colour dress, flowy, quite country style, worn with heeled sandals – that was a big deal for me since as a student I constantly wore Doc Marten’s shoes!  I felt quite grown up as I boarded the British Airways flight.
I met two of my aunts, who still live on the island but as they met me at the airport one of their first comments was that I was all “skin ‘n’ bone.” Within a few weeks, making new friends through work and church I realised, well, I was told, that I really didn’t look Caribbean (despite my skin colour) or my age, my physique lacking curves. This didn’t bother but what did bother me was that after a few months of Bajan food (yummy!!), not walking anywhere (too warm) and sedentary work (at a drawing desk), my clothes were getting tight!! Something had to be done – I was no longer comfortable with my body 😦

So, the Atlantic Coast was on my doorstep, literally, and I’d always loved swimming so that was it. Before work and on Saturdays I would head down to the beach, swim to the next one and back again, usually back stroke, even in rain.  Looking back I was truly protected.  It was as if even the rougher locals who walked around with cutlasses  (cutting coconuts) never bothered me. My stuff was never stolen and even though the beach was through a small ‘gap’, I was never hassled.

Back in the UK, late in 1991 and I reverted back to my student lifestyle and was around 65kg when we married six years later.

We all go through phases and I accepted my increasing dress sizes as the children were born and tipped the scales at about 90kg. I’m taller than your average woman so felt (and was told) I could get away with this… but I knew. After our youngest was born and returning gradually to full time work I made some small decisions about my health that I could readily manage: always eat vegetarian when not at home, always use stairs at work (we’re on the third floor), and regularly take the bus. 78kg has been my stable weight for a few years now.

My dear husband has encouraged me to go back to swimming. I tried lunch time swims when my hair was in braids. It is definitely my thing but the costs, pool opening times and the chlorine affect on my hair (yes, I know that sounds pathetic, but I’m being honest) are all factors I need to consider.

What finally motivated me was a candid talk during October 2014 (#LDSconf) General Conference by a man I’d never heard of, will probably never meet and whose name I can’t pronounce. Jörg Klebingat of the Seventy said (listen to or read full talk here), in the context of increasing our spiritual confidence before God:

Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it! …
President Boyd K. Packer has taught “that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character” … If you are physically able, decide today to be the master of your own house and begin a regular, long-term exercise program, suited to your abilities, combined with a healthier diet. Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Saviour, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman.

There were other aspects of the talk that touched my spirit but this section caused me to think that maybe I had been making excuses for too long and my physical body needed some nurturing, with effort. When our daughter expressed she really wanted to do more exercise my husband began jogging with her but his own commitments disrupted establishing a routine. I knew I had to be the one to support her. We enjoy similar activities, are similar stature, enjoy starting the day early (at dawn). We’ve agreed a simple route, round the big block, jogging and, on occasion, we’ll take the bikes.

So that is my story of where I am now. We do not have a scale at home but we’re using dress sizes – 2 sizes down is my target – that will get me to my marriage size. I know everyone will have a different story and reasons which I respect – I hope you can respect mine.

I’ve never really run before – not since coming last in the 1500m at sports day during my first year at secondary school! – but I’ve always loved how joggers,  runners,  seem to enjoy a total freedom.  Time for themselves, within the world, but not quite part of it, doing their own thing.  I started doing this for my dear daughter but now I’m genuinely enjoying it for me.  It suits my budget, my time availability, and my hair 😉

prefer running!

Dear friends
I didn’t think I’d find myself saying this but I’m liking the running (jogging).
Yesterday was early morning seminary for our eldest children so I didn’t go. Today I was up and ready before our eldest daughter. I knew it had rained and since we have no rain gear for running we decided to stay home. We started jumping jacks and sit ups but seeing dear daughter losing interest, I suggested she find a 20 minute YouTube workout…
I was the one to not make it to the end, I’d had enough of very slim lady saying “awesome” every 10 leg lifts and I don’t think my thighs need an intense workout like that…
By the end dear daughter declared, “I prefer jogging!” Yeah! So do I, even if it’s raining! 
So that’s it. Even if it’s raining – what do you wear in the rain? – we go for 30 minutes and it is great.  There’s only one other time in my adult life that I’ve been into exercise, that was many years ago and was sea swimming – another time!
I’m enjoying it because I am thankful to God for my body. I feel I am giving back to my body which has done me good for nearly half a century, so I think I can look after me a little bit better and maybe it will keep going for another half century! 🙂

a little trouble

Dear friends

His attitude to learning needs improvement

That was what the teacher said and, of course, she is totally correct. Our youngest didn’t want to go back to school after the Easter break and his actions last week showed it.  “He kept saying I can’t do it” Miss X told me and I mentioned how he struggled with the ‘man in the moon’ (language) work.  Miss X looked over her glasses at me and replied “this was maths!!”

I’ve always felt primary school, particularly here in UK, is so difficult for boys. It’s dominated by female teachers and girls often develop sooner the social skills which help learning. It seems the work place is so much more the reverse!

my way, Thy way

Dear friends
This past month in our youth Sunday school class we’ve been looking at the Apostasy (falling away from truth after the original apostles were killed) and the Restoration of truth (in these last days).
Today’s lesson was on why it’s important to teach true doctrine and to explore this we looked first at what it is not. One of the class gave this example to demonstrate what it’s like if you think you know better than God.
When they began the GCSE maths course, one student always tried to find his own way to solve the problems, rather than relying on the tried and tested methods that the teacher explained to the class. The other students just laughed as their fellow student worked on ‘Joe’s way.’ However, Joe’s way did not always give the right answer but Joe kept trying to perfect his alternative methodology.  Now it is a few weeks to the final GCSE exams and Joe has struggled, failing mock exams as his way is not correct and he does not know the correct method.   
A great analogy of why we need to rely on the source of truth and why, from Alma 31 verse 5:

the word [of God] had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else

up & down …

Dear friends
I feel like I’ve had an emotionally hilly day.
Up – it’s Saturday, no work, no early morning run 🙂

Down – the news, earthquake in Nepal  😦

Up – our local football  (soccer) team draws, after losing the lead, twice! A relief 🙂

Down – our youngest sonteacher wants to see us, parents; his sister forgot to pass that message on yesterday.  Is he in trouble?  😦

Down – as I settle to finalise lesson preparations for tomorrow,  I discover the ‘gospel library’ app has had it’s data cleared!  (Youngest son needs to stay out of my way…)! 😦

Up – I remember that Gospel Library app was synchronised with my LDS account and so… yeah!… annotations restored!! Phew!!! 🙂

Up – children work well together on cleaning chores and homework 🙂

Down – I review two log books (it’s a part time work at home job for a local universit) – only 4 more to go… 😦

Up – it’s bed time!! 🙂

“Uptown Funk”

Dear friends,
What is this music phenomenon?
This evening my dear husband called me from the kitchen to hear our dear children “serenade” him with this song (Mark Robson ft. Bruno Mars)!! I still can’t work out how our youngest (son), at seven years old knows the lyrics – they play it at school in dance club!
I first heard this song on the radio a few months back when our eldest son stated:

It’s from this century!

or words to that effect, to which I thought, oh, very clever!  I have no idea what the lyrics are, I can only pick up some words when I hear the children sing them.  I’m sure there’s something not good about it and our eldest son has said there’s at least one swear word and he didn’t think it would be played at the dance at the church youth convention in the summer.  Mmmm…

And it continues on, both Obama’s on YT singing, dancing, and then our youngest daughter found this… Alex Boye cover version. Alex used to be in London when we first got married so we know him a little – he’s LDS, so we noted how ‘liquor’ became ‘cool aid’ (forgive me if I’ve spelt that wrong).  So, I expect that this piece of music will continue for a long time.

We’re now wondering how many of the wards (church units) will use it in the road shows later this year!!  And this is where we need to make good, better and best choices! I’m not going to say to behave all self righteous and say I won’t listen to it because I like the tune, I like to dance, I’ve not heard the Lord’s name in vain, and, quite frankly, I have no idea what the lyrics mean.  However, I’m not silly – I’ve never been able to listen to Ricky Martin’s La Vida Loca once our Primary Music Leader picked apart the lyrics for the children to see and learn one Sunday in music time many years ago! – so I will endeavour to discover the meaning of the lyrics, if there’s any, and if I discover it’s all about dodgy stuff – drugs, being unchaste etc – then I will have to explain to the children why they shouldn’t really embrace it!! I’ve got to do it!!

happily tired

Dear friends
When our eldest daughter woke me up to go running this morning, it was from the strangest dream. One of my incisors fell out and the leader of the opposition (well, before parliament was dissolved ahead the election in two weeks) was visiting a school project that I’d worked on.  It was embarrassing, trying to stay unseen and toothless.
So when our youngest son said he’d also had a strange dream but he didn’t want to talk about it, I can respect that!
The run/ walk was great and it’s great to see buildings in a different daylight, the sun not so high in the sky, different reflections of different building faces, than we usually see during working hours. 
And although I usually start my days with some scripture readings to feed my spirit; the run was also a great start as I know I am taking care of my body. I did do scripture reading this evening – and I am very grateful for our Heavenly Father who loves all of us and allows us to all be different.
I know I’m rambling a bit, I’m tired, maybe that’s what I’ll title this post, but it’s a good tired, and I’m sure to sleep well 🙂

reflections

Dear friends
It has been a busy few days getting ready for school starting – exams and tests this term.  I’ve spent time with our children – cutting hair, laughing, exercising and shopping. The following has been on my mind.

When I look in the mirror, I see my four children in front of me 🙂 Does that make sense?

When I was much younger, I saw a girl with desires and dreams – do I look like one of my grandmothers, I often wondered?  I remember this one time seeing much more, I was about 11 years old; I saw that what was me, was more than the body reflected in the mirror, there was something deeper inside, behind my eyes.  I admit this freaked me out somewhat and I started crying, not quite understanding what I was feeling; I was almost inconsolable as I cried I don’t want to die! !   Somehow, my dear mother calmed me and I went to school late that day.

As I’ve grown, I’ve come to learn and understand that we do have our own spirit and body – me, I’ve always been me, regardless of my physical body, it’s age or condition.  I suppose that’s why we feel younger (or older) than our physical age! 

But now when I look in the mirror, I see our eldest son, his pioneering spirit; our eldest daughter, her wit; our youngest daughter, her creativity; our youngest son, his passion 🙂 Plus all the physical similarities though everyone sees the children’s resemblance to their father. 

This fills me with peace and joy, knowing that we are a part of each other.  As we’re all part of our loved ones.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?