Last month, when I wrote the original post about learning to cook without recipes, I thought I’d have time to get all three articles written before we left on vacation. Life had other plans, however, and I haven’t had a chance to finish what I started. I keep thinking I should be writing, but my heart has led me to just live, instead of push so hard, as our summer draws to a close.
I promise I will finish the cooking series soon. But, in the meantime, I wanted to share a few cool things that have happened since I wrote the last post.
My New “Job”
The big thing going on for me right now is that I am chairing the Wellness Committee for our daughters’ school this year. It’s not really a job, but it feels like one. It’s keeping me super busy.
I am creating a new educational program that will empower parent volunteers to teach their children’s classes about the fundamentals of wellness. We will have a dedicated “Wellness Ambassador” for every classroom (i.e. parent volunteer), who will be responsible for leading short, but powerful, classroom lessons about what it means to be healthy. The time commitment for volunteers is less than ten ho
urs for the whole year. The idea is to ask for a small commitment from a lot of parents, and create an army of mentors, to show our students that our community values good health.
School starts tomorrow, so I have been feeling a bit crunched to get the lessons completed, and recruit volunteers. I’m also a little nervous about how it will be received. So far, the feedback has been good, and I have a dozen parent volunteers signed up, but I still need another 40. It’s a good problem to have, though, because it gives me a reason to talk about health and wellness within our community.
Another thing that has kept me busy the past few weeks is trying to just BE with my family before summer draws to a close. We took one last vacation to our new favorite getaway, Vero Beach, FL, last week. It was a much needed break from our routine, that allowed us to stop doing, and just play as a family. We visited with friends who live in the area, built sandcastles, played frisbee, and took day trips to some of the parks in the area. I tried to see it all through our girls’ eyes, and play with them, rather than observing.
And, as I always do when we travel to beautiful places, I took some new yoga pictures.
I started taking yoga pictures while on vacation two years ago, when we were in Moab, UT. Taking pictures of poses might seem unyogic, because poses really aren’t the point (uniting the mind, body and spirit is the point, for those who are new to yoga), but the truth is that they have helped me enhance my practice.
At the time of the first photos, I needed them for my business, and Moab seemed like the prefect place to take them. I was right…the pictures helped me build credibility and attract new clients. Surprisingly, though, the photos also became a way of benchmarking my practice.
For the first time, I could see how far I had come in my yoga practice, as well as how far I had to go. Looking at the photos afterward helped me identify imbalances and weakness in my body, which is important because physical imbalance often correlates with emotional and spiritual imbalance. This is why we often feel better mentally after asana practice.
By focusing on improving my poses, other parts of my practice improved as well. I was able to breathe deeper and meditate longer, as I got stronger and more flexible.
Here are some photos to illustrate my point. This photo was taken in Moab in September 2011. After I saw it, I started working on lifting my leg higher in the backbend.
And this photo was taken in March 2012. It’s easy to see that the pose is much more open than before.
Six months later, in July 2012, I was able to go even deeper into the backbend, drop to my elbows, and lift my leg much further.
See what I mean? This is why I always try to take yoga pictures whenever we travel. It doesn’t take very long, the pictures remind me of how it felt to be on vacation, and they inspire me to be more deliberate and organized in my yoga practice. I also think it’s good to have these keepsakes for my children–I hope it will inspire them to work hard to stay healthy throughout their life.
I’m telling you this because, while we were on vacation, my husband got some great shots of poses I have been working on. Here’s my favorite. The rest are on the Facebook page for My Crazy Healthy Life–check them out when you get a minute!
Keeping The Faith
The last thing I wanted to share with you is about the importance of faith in this crazy healthy life. For me, sustainable wellness is created through a combination of nutrition, exercise, and faith. I’ve tried getting healthy with just nutrition and exercise, many times, and it never lasted very long. It was only when I started believing that anything was possible, trusting my struggles, and seeking God in my yoga practice, that it all finally clicked.
One of the many ways my family cultivates our faith is through service to the homeless. We believe that by serving others, we draw closer to God. Our favorite way to serve Him is to set aside an afternoon to buy food, make sack lunches, and deliver them to a park downtown, where Atlanta’s homeless congregate during the day.
Watching our healthy, blessed children share treats with our homeless neighbors always humbles me, and reminds me that, in God’s eyes, we are all equal. That how He sees us is more important than how the rest of the world sees us.
I know it’s true, because every time we feed the homeless, God shows up in big ways. Like the time I decided to take the girls down to the park by myself. I was afraid of managing food delivery and my three young girls without hubby’s help, but I decided to trust the struggle and do it anyway. I was glad I did. Because, as we drove away from the park, we saw this man, carrying an enormous cross up a hill. next to a ONE WAY sign, pointing up hill. A picture worth a thousand words.
I don’t know about you, but I had never actually seen a man carrying a cross up a city street until that day. Watching him struggle put so much into perspective.
God showed up again, this past Sunday, when we took ice cream and waters to that same park downtown. When we arrived, everyone lined up, and our girlies handed out the ice cream and waters. We served approximately 50 people (2 ice cream treats each and a bottle of water), and it cost less than $50.
As we were handing out the last of the ice cream, we met a man named Jerald, who had the name “Amber” tatooed on his his arm. I’ve never seen my name tatooed on someone before–it caught me by surprise! Jerald said God must have sent me, because his beloved daughter’s name is Amber as well. He told us he is proud of her, because she is in college in Savannah, and she’s making something of herself. He also shared his good news–he just got a job as a cook at Georgia Tech, and is slowly getting back on his feet.
Johann (pictured below on the right) quoted scripture beautifully, and his love of God was infectious. He was joyful to the core. Our girls told him that they had read Jeremiah that morning during home church (another family tradition, when we can’t get out the door on Sunday mornings), and wouldn’t you know it–Jerald and Johann had also studied Jeremiah that morning! My girls thought that was really cool, and have prayed for Jerald and Johann each night since we left them.
This feels more like a journal entry, than one of my blog posts, but I felt called to explain my absence, and share these thoughts with you today. I think the point is that it’s good and right to make plans, but it’s also important to loosen the reigns sometimes. Amazing things happen when we allow ourselves to just live.
Today marks a new chapter for our family, as all three of our girls are in school for a full day for the first time. I think it is also the beginning of something big for me, in this crazy healthy life. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like yet, but I am grateful that I can share the journey with you here. Thank you for reading, and look for more about cooking without recipes soon!