Bouncing Back After the Holidays

The holidays are over and I’ve got a few extra pounds to shed. I think I’ve put on my ‘winter weight’. Am I alone? Probably not.

To begin 2013, I made it my goal to get some regular exercise.  The obstacles (excuses)?  I’m not motivated to go outdoors to work out in the winter. I don’t have the money to go to a gym. I’ve never really enjoyed exercising to a ‘video’ all by myself. I work full-time (and am on-call 24/7… as all Moms are!).  How many more should I share?

What I really wanted was a free, at-home program for wellness that was easy and fun yet had incredible benefits. Sound unlikely? It’s not, cuz’ I found it! It’s rebounding.

Rebounding is using a portable mini-trampoline to jog, jump, hop, twist, or step-walk in place. Rebounder2

Just read this! Dr. Morton Walker and Albert E. Carter say that “regular rebounding can reduce your body fat, firm your arms, benefit the shape of your legs, hips and abdomen, improve your balance, stimulate your lymphatic system, protect your joints, strengthen your muscles and bones without the trauma of hitting a hard surface, provide an aerobic effect for your cardiopulmonary systems, revitalize your body when it’s tired, and generally put you in a state of mental and physical wellness!” Sounds amazing, huh?!

A few days into the New Year, I pulled our mini-trampoline up from the basement and set it in the corner of the living room. My plan was to start out by jumping for 5 minutes at a time, 2 or more times a day. An easy way to begin, right? The first few days, I DID rebound a couple of times each day and I DID enjoy it. No immediate noticeable improvements, mind you… but I was pleased with my jump start.

I’m sorry to say, however, that it is now almost the end of February and I still have no noticeable improvements. Never fear… the research I did seems to be backed up by countless testimonies. When you commit to rebounding as a fitness plan – and stick with it! – the results are fabulous.  The problem my reality!!! I didn’t make it a priority. I simply failed to hop-to-it most days.

James Whilte, Ph.D., director of research and rehabilitation in the physical education department of UCSD, says that using a rebounder device “you can exercise for hours without getting tired…and it’s a good way to burn off calories and lose weight”.  He also believes it is more effective for fitness and weight loss than cycling, running or jogging… and it produces fewer injuries. OKAY. OKAY. I get it!!! I just need to DO it.

I almost didn’t blog on rebounding because I can’t tell you from experience how incredible this form of exercise is… I can only tell you that from what I learned, it is something I would certainly recommend! (In fact, I’m recommending this to myself – again.) Join me as I try to bounce back after the holidays. Or shall I say get ready for Spring by springing into action! Rebounder1

Jump, jump, jump on your mini-trampoline!  And let me know how it goes for YOU. According to my research, you’ll keep burning calories for hours even after you’ve finished rebounding!

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For more information, go to http://rebound-air.com/best_rebounding_33_ways.htm.

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P.S. So far, I think I’ve made use of the rebounder more for my children than myself! During our school days, I find it helpful to send one at a time over to jump off some energy.

P.P.S. Wait a minute… what was it that Walker and Carter (above) said? The rebounder is supposed to ‘revitalize’, right? Maybe I should be sending MYSELF over to the trampoline so I can better keep up with the kiddos!

Live It

A while back I read about a very busy man who was a prolific writer and speaker. He also had a high-profile, government profession and a family. But “when asked of the work he was most proud to have published, he declared that it was his letters to his children.”  It was the time he had invested in communicating with his boys.

“Blessed Kermit: I need not tell you to do your best to cultivate ability for concentrating your thought on whatever work you are given to do…”troosevelt2

“Darling Archie: Do you recollect how we all of us used to play hide-and-go-seek? And have obstacle races down the hall when you brought in your friends?”

“Dear Ted: Character counts for a great deal more than either intellect or body in winning success in life.”

“Dearest Quentin: I miss you all dreadfully, and the house feels big and lonely and full of echoes with nobody but me in it… I love you very much.”

This man was one of the greatest figures in our nation’s history. He had many admirers, but none he considered as important as his four boys. He was quick to scrap his responsibilities and “focus on what lesser men would consider the trivial and unimportant duties of fatherhood…finding lizards with his sons, scrambling over rocks with them, or rejoicing in the smallest of their youthful victories and conquests.” He lived out what he believed… that fathering well was essential to meaningful existence. This heroic man was Teddy Roosevelt.

President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February and is usually recognized as a day to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. These two presidents are certainly worthy of remembrance. But today I want to focus on President Theodore Roosevelt.

As a father who saw it as his mission “to raise sturdy boys”, I found T.R.’s essay “The American Boy,” first published in May of 1900, very interesting, worth reading again today.

                “Of course what we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. Now, the chances are strong that he won’t be much of a man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean-lived, and able to hold his own under all circumstances and against all comers. It is only on these conditions that he will grow into the kind of American man of whom America can be really proud….

                A boy needs both physical and moral courage. Neither can take the place of the other…

                Ridicule is one of the favorite weapons of wickedness, and it is sometimes incomprehensible how good and brave boys will be influenced for evil by the jeers of associates who have no one quality that calls for respect, but who affect to laugh at the very traits which ought to be peculiarly the cause for pride…

                He cannot do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice, and fair dealing…”troosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt understood the relationship “between boyhood, masculinity, leadership, strenuous living, and the future success of the American people.” As you watch the ads announcing President’s Day Sales this year, think of something besides dollars and cents. Think of President Roosevelt who “believed that right was right and that wrong was wrong, and that men can know the difference.” Now that makes real sense! Think of Teddy, who boldly rejoiced in family and above all else wanted to be remembered as a father. Think of how he lived it as a leader and playmate and friend to his children.

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How about you?

How do you want to be remembered?

Do what Teddy did. Name it.  And live it!

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Quotes taken from The Letters and Lessons of Theodore Roosevelt for His Sons, compiled and edited by Doug Phillips

Kids Weigh in on Love

Over the years, thousands of kids have been asked to weigh in on the subject of LOVE. And they’ve given some interesting responses…sometimes cute, sometimes funny, and often-times  downright TRUE!  Here are a few kidisms on love.

Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.

Love is hugging. Love is kissing. And love is saying no sometimes.

Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.

Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad… but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings.love2

When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.

When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more.

Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken.

Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.

Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.

See what I mean? Cute. Funny. And true!

At this time of year, when people feel compelled to communicate their love to one another in tangible ways, see if you can put words to the subject of love (as those 5 – 10 year olds did). Reflect on how you express love throughout the rest of the year. In day to day living. How do those around you know that you love them?

I’ll leave you with one last quote from an insightful young child.

You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it.  But if you mean it, people will know it by how you live.

Cancer, The Dreaded Monster

water“As I sit here thinking about cancer and wondering how I ever got to this place of losing my son to this dreaded epidemic, my heart freezes for a moment.”

Cancer. It’s a word we hear every day of our lives. Chances are good that you know at least one person who has faced this dreaded monster. It is the cause of chaos and confusion in so many homes today. According to some statistics, about 3,400 people are diagnosed with cancer each day in the United States.

“For me, the reality of cancer isn’t a kid hooked to chemo or passing through the radiation machine for the last time. The reality is a little boy that once ran through the grass in his bare feet, played dress-up with his friends and made farting noises on purpose became a little boy who had seizures and lost the ability to speak, hear, move and see the last month of his life …”

Today, February 4, World Cancer Day, I’m sharing with you the words of a dear friend who lost her precious son, Johnny, to the dreaded monster of cancer.

“If I reflect on how cancer has impacted my family, I lose the ability to think and my breath catches and my heart stops, remembering all the details of Johnny’s eleven month battle. If I think about the people that have impacted me because of the cancer journey, my heart lightens as if with wings.”

There is so much to learn about cancer… so much we could focus on. But here’s what I want to consider today. Cancer is a friend to no one, but YOU can be.

Relationships with people can ease the burden of cancer. When there is a crisis, when someone is hurting, deep, honest, caring relationships with people ease the pain. In the midst of grief, sorrow, heartache, anguish, angst, pain, misery, woe… be a friend. Don’t numb yourself to their reality. Enter into the suffering, the grief and pain of life. Walk the path together.

Many have suffered over the course of history. Cancer is a form of suffering for some. It was for me. And cancer, for me, became about relationships. There is always something good to be found in the pain. Search until you find it! When all hope is lost, this becomes the hope.” Knowing that you aren’t walking through the dark valley alone. Living life together in community.

“Cancer is painful for anyone willing to allow it to impact their heart. Many will guard themselves against it. I appreciated something our pastor said at Johnny’s memorial service. Their son, who was ten, was asking hard questions and wrestling with why someone his age would die. His dad allowed the family to wrestle and feel the tension of Johnny’s death. He let the uncomfortable cloud their home.”

You don’t have to have answers. You don’t need to make things appear sunny and bright. Life is hard. Things happen that we don’t understand, that we can’t explain, that we don’t like. The uncomfortable is uncomfortable… but not unbearable when you’re in relationships.

“This last year and a half since Johnny died has been a search for hope as I have pressed into the relationships around me. My first relationship is to Jesus. Richard Foster, in his book Prayer, puts it this way, “Through all of this, paradoxically, God is purifying our faith by threatening to destroy it.” This is undeniably the process that follows the loss of a child.cancer2

My marriage has been stretched and bent in every possible direction. Ninety percent of marriages end in divorce at the loss of a child. While the toll on a marriage is intense, my husband and I have used every speck of knowledge about each other and ourselves to keep our marriage full of love and care for each other and our children. Setting aside past hurts and embracing the pain of our present has taken intentional effort. Grief is hard work and harder when you grieve differently than your spouse. Emotional distancing will dissolve a marriage over time, but emotional teamwork with strengthen a family.

Being a friend of a cancer family is a difficult task…Cancer has ultimately changed many relationships – cementing some, destroying others. Grief work is ugly.”

The diagnosis alone is scary and immediately brings the emotion of grief, both to the patient and to those who care for him. No matter the ultimate outcome, whether the patient becomes cancer free or loses the battle with this terrible disease, the process of grief is one that each will go through. And “grief work is ugly.” Ugly, repulsive, hideous work. Unpleasant, horrible, dreadful. Just like the dreaded monster itself.

“I often look for others who have suffered to grasp for hope that one day I will feel less broken.” Maybe that’s supposed to be part of each of our stories… being willing to share in the suffering with others and then to use the suffering we’ve endured to walk with empathy beside someone else in pain. “Cancer is a form of suffering for some. It was for me. And cancer, for me, became about relationships.”

I once read that “you can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.” The past is past. It cannot be changed. But as you move into today, learn from my friend who has endured suffering of her own and has been willing to share a piece of her heart with us. “Grief is hard work.” “Grief is ugly.” “Grief leaves us grasping for hope.” But “if I think about the people that have imrogue ipacted me because of the cancer journey, my heart lightens as if with wings.”

Be a friend. Enter into the suffering, the grief and pain of life, and walk the path together.

I love you, Amanda.