Photo credit: Cynthia Miller
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.” Psalm 37:23
When I was 6 or 7 years old, our family took a vacation at the beach. We gathered our rainbow colored towels, red plastic Coleman cooler, our “been there, done that” t-shirts and coconut Jamaican Island sun block and started marching across the road near the beach, which waved like a golden welcoming hand in the heat. In my exuberance, because I have always loved the outdoors and get positively giddy when I see waves, I tore ahead of my family, across the empty blacktop towards the glorious cobalt water with the sound of waves rushing in my ears. The next thing I knew, my Dad’s voice bellowed out, authoritative and strong, “Stoooooop!” Without understanding why or having time to even process it, I screeched to an immediate halt and a motorcycle slammed from 45 to a stop at the same moment, maybe a foot from the end of my toes. My Dad, with his quirky sense of humor, jet black hair, brilliant mind and deep love…. had saved me.
July 5th, 2015: Today, as we drive, heading out on summer vacation through the invigorating wilds of New Mexico (haha), where the dead dogs, stripped off rubber tires on the side of the road and Kachina Doll stands are as numerous as long faces on a Monday morning, I’m pondering what my first few blogs back post-summer should say.
You know, a friend of mine said to me recently that she often struggles to just do life, let alone exercise. It made me think, I possibly come off in this blog like this is all as easy for me as the sacrifice of being a pie judge at an Amish country fair. I do love life but it isn’t all unicorns and fairy lands, where birds mimic the melody I initiate. When I turned 40, like clockwork, I started having 1 day a month of feeling very low. I am actually grateful because I know it’s very limited and hormone related. Some dear people feel that way every day of their lives!
While I don’t struggle with depression, when I started running 1.5 years ago, I was in a very stormy, difficult season of life. It’s not unusual really; we often think storms are something bad that happens to us but, just like the dark, charcoal roll tide of clouds that deepens and threatens across the sky on a late summer afternoon, storms are just a part of life. I cannot tell you how loudly other lives called to me during that time, “Wouldn’t a small house on the beach be nice? What about the Amish countryside? A new life?” I had to fight for joy. What does that mean exactly? Well, I had to choose to get up, to keep going, to show up, to pray for help and joy, to continue to make memories with our kids even though I wanted to crawl into a hole, had to constantly speak truth over myself, we held each other each night without speaking and our knees were scuffed and scabbed from living on them, uttering highly articulate prayers, “help!”
And, I had to fight to run. Beyond the physical challenge of it all, due to 7 babies and a lifetime of very little in the way of workouts, I would literally drag myself to the gym, while the somber clouds filled my head. Here’s the dirty little secret those other lives don’t tell you, like liverwurst dipped in a shiny red, hard shell candy coating – every situation has something hard. I believe God himself gave me a compulsion to run. Three things about it rescued me out of my pit- the focus, the physical exertion lifted my stress and the time with him alone, where I was putting one foot in front of the other and praying my heartache away.
Nowadays, I am better because of that storm. I have fallen in love with the discipline of fitness. Actually, to be more accurate, I have found peace in God honoring life – disciplines in general. Don’t get me wrong, I had a day just this week when I didn’t feel like it and had to prod myself the whole run, like a stubborn oxen that doesn’t want to plow the field but would rather sit in the shade of a maple tree, working away on a salt lick all day. The second thing that happened through that storm is I’m at peace with who I am and where I am. Through that time, I’ve resolved many big questions, such as what I will do, be and stand for, that it’s not just a platitude but it just works better to choose to be faithful rather than fearful and that if I don’t live to please God first, I am compromising something that is core and essential inside of me for people. I am still on this journey but, certainly, God has done something enormous in me regarding where I look for identity and affirmation. And, finally, I’ve learned, in a new and deeper way, to copy the behavioral patterns of God, even if I don’t understand them, like a little boy who picks clothes to be just like his father, or a daughter who halts when her Dad shouts a protective, “Stop.”
Enough serious… On to some fun 🙂 I have had a couple summer drinks recently (as my weekly treats) that have left me feeling terrible because they are full of high fructose corn syrup. I decided to concoct a delicious summer drink that uses natural ingredients and alcohol, to keep it better for you, as you enjoy the last golden rays of summer. And, fellow Coloradans, we grasp at those, don’t we? 🙂
Frozen Fresh Mango Margarita
If you want to fill a margarita glass, you will need to at least double this recipe. Please excuse me; we are a bit hick around here. All I had available was a small wine glass. 🙂
- 1 cup frozen organic mangos
- 1 shot of tequila (clear is best in terms of calories), slowly add more to taste if you prefer stronger
- The juice of one sweet orange
- The juice of one regular sized lime
- 2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup (the real stuff)
Blend together until smooth. Serve with lime juice and salt on the rim (if you like it saltier) or without anything if you like it sweeter.
So, I’ve mentioned before that possibly as high as 85% of weight loss and good health happens in the kitchen. I know I’ve had more slips than normal lately, as I’ve enjoyed summertime foods an awful lot. 🙂 I have a challenge for you. Who wants to commit to eat well and strictly, starting this week and going through to Thanksgiving with me? Additionally, I’m challenging us to walk for 30 minutes a day at a decent clip. If you want to do more than walk, feel free! My recommendation is if you’re doing nothing consistent at present, start by focusing on your eating and feeding your cells with living foods and lean meats. Who’s in? For daily “check ins,” follow me on Twitter, Laurie Rolfe @LaurieARolfe. Next week, I will include an easy, printable way to track the quality and amount of your calories. Are you in?