Day 736: Get Your Rear In There

I know that I’ve addressed this time and time and time again… buuuuuuuuut I’m going to harp on it again because of an article I read this week that totally matched up with some of my non-scientific observations.

People: we have GOT to sleep more!

We have just got to get our rears. in. bed.

I mean, just look at this infographic from the Huffington Post! Two of their major points are connected with weight gain and eating! Obviously that’s going to get our attention, but… well, maybe it SHOULD get our attention! {Don’t worry, I have a few tips below it to help us!}

So, can we just agree to do whatever it takes to get our rears in bed tonight in time to fall asleep?

And I’m not saying get your rear in bed at bedtime… I’m saying that we need to put a system in place that gets our bodies in bed, relaxed, and

get ready for sleep before bedtime!

So, here are a few of my little “tricks” for getting my rear in there!

  1. GET UP: No one likes this one so I’m just going to get it out of the way: get your body out of bed at the same time, every day and don’t get more than 8 hours of sleep. (Okay, okay, sleep in on Saturday if you want!) If you are trying to get your body into a habit of getting to sleep at night, waking up in the morning is THE most important thing to do. It might mean a few days of dragging yourself out of bed and just muddling through the day but eventually this can really help you to get to sleep at night because… well, because you’ll be exhausted! But that exhaustion will wear off when you start falling asleep easily (or easier, at least) at night.
  2. DO THE MATH: Figure out what time you need to go to sleep (as in “lights out”) in order to get 8 hours of sleep… even if this means that you need turn the lights out at 9:30, give it a go for a few weeks and see how it makes you feel. Then, plan backwards: 15-30 minutes before “lights out”, you need to be in bed with tech off. I have read the research that supports that your mind can’t “chill out” with the lights of tech in it. And that includes the phone, the laptop, the TV, etc. Now, go backwards more:. 15 minutes before being in bed you need to start getting ready for bed: brushing teeth, washing your face, PJs on, etc. If you look at the “math” this really needs to be happening 45 minutes before “lights out”.
  3. HEAT IT UP: One of my favorite tricks for helping me go to sleep is the heating pad. Lay the heating pad down so that it aligns with your spine (to clarify: so that the bottom of the heating pad is just above your rear and the top of the heating pad is on your shoulders). Put it at whatever temperature you are comfortable with and turn out the lights. The heat will relax all of your extremities and your core making it easier to drift off.
  4. COUNT DOWN: I actually learned this little trick in my high school psychology class from a video that the coach popped in one day, but I have used it time and time again! Lights out, on your back, start with your toes. Make yourself very aware of relaxing your toes (it sounds funny but give it a try) and countdown from 10 with each number relaxing your toes more. Next, move to the balls of your feet and countdown from 10, then move to the arches counting down from 10, then your heels, your ankles, calves, knees, etc. {Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to my knees before falling asleep.}
  5. THINK ABOUT BED AT 2PM: I know I’m gonna have some haters over this one, but really… if you have trouble sleeping at night, make sure that you are cutting off all caffeine by 2pm. You might have trouble even making it to bed the first few days if you have some withdrawal. For some people this can be a huge key to falling asleep easier.

I actually got into being very deliberate about going to sleep when I realized that I am one of those people that simply MUST meet with Jesus every morning before the day starts if I want to be a good person and to help me focus my mind on Him instead of food. And in order for me to meet with Jesus, I just have to get to sleep on time or I canNOT drag my rear out of bed. So, honestly… this whole sleep thing. It might just help out more than just your weight.

Okay, so there are my five (and I think I might have crammed several into number 2 up there), but I knwo that there are other tricks of the trade: let’s help each other out! What are your non-medication tricks for falling asleep at night?

 

Day 410: Overlooking Neglect

On Day 406 I wrote about our blow up pool. Hmmmm, never thought that I’d write about a blow up pool on my blog about covenants and dieting. Ha!

Anyway, that morning before the post went “live”, I was doing my hair and I was wondering what caused the hole to get into the little rainforesty part of the pool (which has since been cut off of the pool cause it got a little too bothersome). I guess it could have been one of the boys jumping on it. Or maybe driving a Hot Wheel across it. Or maybe it was when I was dragging it out of the little shed. Perhaps it was when we left it out back, empty of water, during a huge wind storm and watched it as it flew back and forth through our backyard like a pinball (that was actually kind of fun to watch).

Not sure what did caused the hole, but I do know this. Whatever did it was a result of neglect.

The word neglect immediately makes me think of sad-faced puppies on TV with Sarah McLachlan’s voice hovering around us.

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But I’m not talking about that level of neglect. I’m talking about a far more dangerous level of neglect: the kind you don’t even realize is happening.

Okay, yes, so watching the pool bounce around the backyard was an obvious neglect.

But a lot of the other things… the basic “use” of the pool… didn’t seem like neglect. When it boils down to it, I didn’t take super awesome good amazing care of the pool, and it got a hole in it.

As I thought through this while I globbed gel on another section of my hair, I was like, “Oh, well, I won’t put this little thought process in my “Patched Up” post because it’s not like me neglecting my pool relates to me and my faith. I mean… it’s not like my faith was struggling because of neglect.”

{Picture me sorta freezing my hands mid curl-twirl as a wave of Holy Spirit goose bumps slid over me while I realized how wrong I was about what I had just said to myself.}

Honestly, that is exactly what had caused my faith to just sorta want to puff out slowly through a little hole. I neglected it. I mean, I went to church for women’s bible study, and I went to Sunday School, and I taught lessons in the youth department, but I was neglecting my own personal study, meditation, and prayer at home. I was neglecting God.

You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth. Deuteronomy 32:18

It was parental neglect… only I was the one neglecting… I neglected My Parent. My Father. My Rock. My Maker. And I had been overlooking it for so. very. long.

Sure, I had little verses here and there, but I was not taking much time for Him. I was too busy. too tired. too busy. too tired. And that led to me being too unmotivated. You know how it is, you skip a day, then another, and then another, and then, well, you’re just so behind… why keep it up? Take a few more days off while you’re at it.

And as much as I hate to say it… I know exactly what happened.

  1. I became a vegetarian after being a meat eater for 33 years, and my vitamin B12 levels got realllllly low (although I didn’t know it at the time).
  2. When my vitamin B12 levels got low, I got realllllllly tired.
  3. When I got reallllllly tired, I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning.
  4. When I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning, then I missed the chance to read or pray in peace and quiet before my sons got up and demanded all my attention.
  5. When I missed the chance to read or pray in peace and quiet before my sons got up, then I never got another chance until bedtime.
  6. When I didn’t get a chance until bedtime to read and pray, then I would fall asleep on my bible because my vitamin B12 levels were low.
  7. Rinse, and repeat.

So, like I said on Day 406, I was still getting in little snippits of God, but I wasn’t following the example of Christ and going up on the mountain away from everyone else to take an extended amount of time to focus on My Lord and what He wanted to say to me.

Essentially, if we jump back to the pool = faith analogy, and my pool got a hole in it that needed a patch = my faith got a hole in it that needed a patch. So, God = the patch for my faith. And before going to God, I kept having to blow up that dadgum faith pool because the patch wasn’t sticking. Well, it’s just like any patch… you have to give it enough TIME to stick. If you fill the pool back up with water before the patch is ready then it’ll just float on off.

And that’s what I have been doing for months. Going to God for only a few moments a day when I need to be going away to find Him and seek Him and allow Him plenty of time to apply a patch to my ever deflating faith, so that He could breathe in His Spirit. But now I know how to keep my faith aired up. Not that I won’t do the exact same thing again, but I can alsways remember…

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Day 404: Rally Tally

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Lately, I have been taking a study at church over The Patriarchs by Beth Moore, and in one of the videos she mentions that God isn’t in Heaven tallying up every time we sin; He is up in Heaven tallying up every time that we take an opportunity and do something that honors Him.

(Note: that is a TOTAL paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly what she said! And also, I have no idea if that statement is biblically sound… yet. I’m going to look into it; however, Beth Moore is a biblical scholar, so I tend to default that most of what she says is accurate.)

And I only have like two more minutes to post (cause I’m trying to get to sleep by 10:00 or 10:30 since I’m doing this whole up early thing for Lent), but I really wanted to post this.

Think about the last time you messed up and…

ate a bag of Oreos (or Girl Scout Cookies, since that’s “in season” right now!)
devoured your lunch leftovers even though you weren’t hungry.
hid some food from your husband or roomie so that you could sneak-eat it later.
ate someone else’s food because you couldn’t resist it.

And just remember that as BAD or HORRIBLE or GUILTY or SAD or DEPRESSED that you felt at that moment, God. isn’t. tracking. that.

What He IS looking to mark down is the time that you…

stopped by and visited a widow in the nursing home whose family lives across the country.
defended someone that was being picked on.
told someone that they were important and loved by you.
sent your kid to a less-than-desirable school so that you could reach more people.

It’s just cool to think that God is up there looking, watching, waiting for you to do GOOD. WE are keeping that tally of ourselves that marks down every time that we do BAD. But He IS tallying every time that you do choose to drink a glass of water instead of eating a handful of Thin Mints because you want to honor God by taking care of the body He has given you here on Earth. He IS tallying every time that you think of Him and take a deep breath instead of chewing out your son, your brother, your neighbor, your parents, your boss.

So rally up… be freed of all of those nasty marks of “BAD” and “WRONG”. Instead, start to think, “How can I get a “good-mark” for God? So that I can take that and get a jewel for my crown so that I can offer that crown with lots of jewels to God when I am at the judgment seat in Heaven.”

Day 402: Food, UNglorious Food!

You know, if ever Food had a theme song… then I don’t think that there is any doubting that it was the scene from Oliver where the boys all serenade… well, food. Okay, I can’t help it… if you haven’t seen the movie, then you can at least watch this song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly7PONiKGUs?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

And especially the part near the end of the song. Here are the lyrics (just in case you aren’t as big a nerd as me and don’t have them memorized) for the very end:

Food, glorious food! Don’t care what it looks like — Burned! Underdone! Crude! Don’t care what the cook’s like.
Just thinking of growing fat — Our senses go reeling One moment of knowing that Full-up feeling! Food, glorious food!
What wouldn’t we give for That extra bit more — That’s all that we live for Why should we be fated to Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,
[OLIVER] Beautiful food,
[BOYS] Glorious food.
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Oh, how I identify with that song.
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But for ALL the wrong reasons! The boys in this video obviously dream and sing about food because they get slop to eat. Is that why I dream and sing about food (okay, so I don’t really actually SING about food)? No… I dream and obsess over it, not because I don’t have good quality food to eat, but because I have always had SO MUCH stuff to eat!
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But lately, I’ve been becoming extremely disenchanted with food. I know that should have happened long ago, but I’m almost going to the pantry or the fridge every time and thinking, “Nothing in here is going to taste the way I want it to taste.” But then when it doesn’t taste the way I want it to taste, I dwell on it even more while I long for some kind of wonderful flavor to hit my tastebuds. Not sure if this insatiable desire is a result of having had so much sugar cross my lips over the years or if so much sugar crossing my lips was a result of this insatiable desire. Either way, I’m having to fight it back now.
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So, a couple of nights ago I just found myself saying to God, “I don’t want to think about food anymore.”
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That was it. That was my prayer. And then I realized that saying that a) out loud b) to myself, and c) to God already started to help. So I said it again. And then when I woke up the next morning, I said it again. And again. And again.
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I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:3
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And I don’t think that it was a coincidence that this new prayer of mine has come about right at the beginning of Lent. Not that I’m changing anything with my eating, but it is 40 Days of Focus on Jesus. I did give up Facebook for Lent which has already been such a relief for me, and although ironically enough I did add a twitter “activity” to do during Lent, I’m cool with that because twitter for me is all about Jesus, so it’s been a great refocus for me to be on there. But I’m also giving up “sleep” for Lent, and I think that this will be the game-changer for me.
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No, I’m not not-sleeping for 40 Days… that’d be cuh.ray.zay. But I am waking up at 5:30am every morning to make sure that I get in a shower (so that I’m fully awake) and some bible study/reading/meditating time on Christ. I used to get up early all the time like that, but somewhere in the midst of my toddler becoming a frequent night-waker, I started to sleep in until juuuuuust before my boys woke up in the mornings, so this is a big deal for me.
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Not only is it a big deal because I am missing out on sleep so that there is the element of “sacrifice” for Lent, but also because if I am getting up every morning (including Sundays) for the 46 days of Lent to commune with God… well, that is gonna have a pretty big effect on me.
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And that is so what I hope for! I want my soul to be getting thinner and thinner (got this concept from that guy over at Fat Pastor) as it sheds off this desire to appease my worldly desires. And I want to lose all of this desire and obsession over food. I know that the only way for that to happen is for me to replace those thoughts with the thoughts of God and let Him take it from there.
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You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
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Day 171: Honor God Tomorrow

First of all, a note: Sorry for dropping off the planet for a while there. I think I’m about a week behind on my posts, and if you’re new… this happens every once in a while to me. I lose all motivation to share, discuss, write, etc. Annnnnnd that was this past week. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been struggling with the covenant as a whole the past week (I’ll write about my getting past it on day 174). So, anyway… I’m going to try to catch up over the next few days, but we’ll see how that goes!

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I know that I keep on talking about how going to sleep is a huge thing for me, and so… well, I’m going to talk about it again! Summer time is the most difficult time for me to go to bed on time because my ironclad routine that I have during the school year just goes out the window. I mean… I keep some of the same schedule like lunch time and nap times are almost always the same, but pretty much the rest of the stuff goes out the window. Soooo, the boys might wake up at 7:30 (instead of 7:00 that it is during the 180 days of school), and if we go to the mall or something to play then nap time might be around12:30 or 1:00 instead of 12:00, and the worst… if we are outside playing in the sprinkler late in the evening, then I might be too content to let a bed time interrupt us and the boys will stay up until 8:30 or even 9:00 if I’m being really risky.

And so when one of those late bedtimes gets factored into the equation or if I just did a bad job of keeping up with my chores during the day hours (and yes… I call them chores still because cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking, etc… all of that is a chore to me) then I go to bed later. Necessary for me to go to bed later? No, of course not. It’s just that when the boys are both down by 8:00 or 8:15 then I get a good two hours of “me” time before hitting the sack at 10:00. If they go to bed closer to 9:00 then that means I only have one hour left, but my mind and heart and soul still want a full two hours, sooooo I stay up until 11:00. And of course those nights that I stay up until 11:00 are guaranteed to have one of the boys either teething or having growing pains, or one of them will decide that a 6:00 or 6:30 wake up time is more in order throwing off my entire morning “me” time.

Yes. I’m rambling.

But a few nights ago I was really into reading this book for my book club (One Amazing Thing) and I just did not want to put it down. And then I had the good ol spiritual battle conversation:

I should really go to bed.

Nahhhhhhhh… no reason. It’s just sleep. You can get some more tomorrow night, or take a nap tomorrow.

But that never works. And I need to go to bed early enough so that I can honor God.

You can honor God tomorrow… this is “YOU” time!

But that’s it… if I go to bed on time and get enough rest then I will be able to honor God… tomorrow. If I don’t go to sleep now, then I will be too exhausted to properly honor God tomorrow. I’ll be cranky and I’ll want to eat everything.

So, in not-so-typical January form, I put the book down and went to bed at 10:00.

And ya know what? I woke up well rested (despite having to wake up twice in the night for my teething toddler who is still getting in his vampire teeth). I wasn’t cranky. I wasn’t hungry. I actually only needed one cup of coffee (that is a big deal for your non-coffee addicts). It was a good day.

And it was easy to honor God.

Because I chose the night before to honor Him.

And look… we even get a promise about going to bed!

When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

But we have to take action first… we have to lie down (and I don’t think this means lie down in your bed with your iPhone on…).

And although this is “all about” going to bed in order to honor God (because you’ll be less hungry if you do), there are a gillion ways for us to think of how to honor God tomorrow: if it’s food related then get out your covenant-friendly breakfast tonight so that it is ready for you tomorrow. if it’s bible related then get your bible and journal out tonight (and if you’re like me, prep the coffee pot… or even better… program it) so that you can sit down right to reading the Word and sippin on a cup of joe. if it’s child related, then get their clothes out and ready or their breakfasts or plan out the days activities.

But figure out how you’ll honor Him tomorrow and then do it tonight (if you need motivation… my husband taught me this… picture yourself tomorrow going through the steps of easily honoring God… picture yourself walking out of your room into the kitchen and seeing that banana and some granola in a bowl ready for you. picture walking over to the coffee pot and switching it on and then sitting down at your pre-prepared bible spot. picture yourself busting out a June Cleaver moment walking into your children’s bedrooms and effortlessly switching out their PJs for their day clothes.

But try to honor Him tonight for tomorrow (if that makes any sense). Just try it for one time. Maybe just once a week try to honor Him this way. And maybe, just maybe, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Day 166: Thor, Table For Two

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I know. I know.

A picture of pizza and Thor?!!? What am I thinking? But there is method to my madness…

You see, my five-year old is on this cheese pizza kick, and he is sooooooo not an eater. Not a healthy eater. Not a bad eater. He’s just not much of an eater.  I think it comes from the days when I was nursing him and realized, a bit later than I should have, that he was in the 4th percentile (which is an indication that either a kid is starving or has something seriously wrong with them) and in our case… he was starving… my milk was not so much milk as it was… water. Yeah, as if nursing isn’t already the most difficult part of motherhood, add the guilt of starving your first child.

That was a rough time for me… we’ll leave it at that! Haha!

Anyway, so when he likes a food… I pretty much jump on it. Unfortunately the effect of this is that he then almost ODs on whatever food he likes and then never wants it again. But until I choose to learn from that mistake, when the kid asks for a cheese pizza (which is really only like every other week or so… I’m being over dramatic about it simply because he almost never requests food), well… then I give him a cheese pizza.

And this one time in particular, he asked for a cheese pizza on a Friday and I was exhausted from being up really late the night before, so I conceded reallllllllly easily to his request. And then when he came across this pizza at Target and it had a picture of Thor on it… well, whatever defenses were left completely crumbled! (I’m sort of an Avengers nut thanks to my kid… and my favorite is either Thor or Iron Man… wow. irrelevant information yet again!)

Oh wow… ANYWAYYYYY all of this to say, he ate about half of the pizza. And so what was left? Yep… the other half of a cheese pizza. A cheese pizza that’d had Thor’s picture on it.

I was doomed.

Sure, I had already eaten my dinner. No, of course I wasn’t hungry. And I already mentioned that I was tired.

This is a bad combo… pizza + tired = fail.

And I ate his left over piece and two more pieces.

Shame. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Resolve. Shame. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief. Resolve.

You know the cycle.

But one thing that I have started to add in to that cycle whenever I eat when I shouldn’t or eat something I shouldn’t or eat in a way that is not honoring God because it’s eating for a reason other than eating to live… then I add in the step of evaluating WHY I ate when I wasn’t hungry. or what I shouldn’t have. or too much.

And a lot of times it is because I am tired.

My revelations on the importance of sleep are going to come up more in another post, but in essence, if at all possible… I need to get enough sleep. Sure, I have a toddler, so this is not always possible. But when I can get enough sleep, I need to shut down facebook, shut down my bible even, shut down the dishes and go. to. bed.

Otherwise, I’m asking for it the next day. And why set myself up for a struggle… doesn’t Satan do that enough as it is? Why should I make it harder on myself!??!

And I love The Message’s version of these verses… encouragement to do what we can, or as my husband has taught our son to say, “Do my best and trust God to do the rest!”…

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3