Lessons from Mother Duck

There she sits—-day after day.  She has decided to build her nest and raise her little ones in our mulch lot. 

Oh, how I admire Mother Duck. 

No, she is not a beauty queen- she’s just a plain brown duck.  Most wouldn’t give her a second glance, but she doesn’t let that stop her.  She pours her entire heart into what she has been called to do, knowing that she may not make a difference to others but she eventually will to her ducklings. 

She may not always be the smartest (really, one probably shouldn’t build a nest in the middle of a busy mulch lot around big tractors), but that makes her all the more in common with us human beings.  I sure know about making mistakes, but do I make the best of them like she does? 

I think about her all the more as I work out in the blazing sun, taking breaks once in awhile to cool off and grab a drink of water.  I can’t begin to imagine how hot it must be for her as she patiently sits upon her eggs. 

If she was a human mother, she would have all the reasons in the world not to hatch those little ducklings. 

She could be enjoying life, swimming around and eating and drinking to her heart’s content; but she is sitting there surrounded by heat and noise and discomfort. 

What if the ducklings are deformed?  What if the father doesn’t come around anymore?  What if the eggs never hatch? – I wonder if she ever asks those questions. 

Even if she did, I really don’t think she cares about any of that.  She loves those lil’ guys so much and the job that God has given her to do that she is willing to sacrifice absolutely all of herself for them.  Kinda makes you stop and think when you see all the women today who are so ready to abort their unborn child because of their countless excuses and reasons.

Just a plain duck.  But she’s a duck that has poured all of her love into being a mother—- no matter what may happen. 

Jumping Jacks and Jump Rope: An ode to a 1yr. Anniversary

 It’s a one year anniversary!  Twelve months of grueling exercises.  A year ago, I thought I would never make it; but now, it seems like the time has flown.  A year ago, I rolled my eyes at the people that said that exercise is fun; they can’t live without it; everyone should be doing it; it’s so healthy for you; blah, blah, blah!  I used to think that there isn’t too much a person can do about their weight if they are naturally big built or have weight problems in their genes.  I used to think that I could eat whatever I wanted because other people could while staying skinny.  I used to think that losing weight is all about looking good.  My, my, a year has changed my thinking DRASTICALLY. 

These are some things that I have learned through a year-long journey:

1.  By making myself devote 30 minutes a day to exercise for five days a week, I have become so much more disciplined in other areas of my life.  I know it sounds strange- but it’s true!

2.  Exercise can be lots of fun….just do something you enjoy (but make sure the activity has your heart rate sky high=)

3.  I actually can feel a difference in my body when I go for a day or two without exercise.  I become much more lethargic, prone to headaches, and irritable.

4.  Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health!  Forget the old-fashioned idea of dieting- how does that tone muscle, boost metabolism, and increase heart and lung strength?  All that dieting serves to do is make a hungry, unenergetic, skinny person.  (Don’t get me wrong; diet is very important and detrimental to health.  A proper diet should walk hand in hand with exercise; but it usually doesn’t do too well on its own.)  I am living proof that exercise has kept me from diabetes.  I had all the symptoms of diabetes before I started, but now have none of them.

5.  God has created people with different body builds and shapes.  I will never be as slender as some people; but that doesn’t give me an excuse to not maintain the body that God has given me.  I know that weight problems run in both sides of my family trees.  (We’re not those wimpy lil’ birches; we are some strong and mighty oaks.lol.)  So instead of just sitting back and figuring that there is no hope, I am trying to do something to keep myself from becoming another obese, cholesterol-packed, diabetes-filled statistic.

6.  Some people have different speeds on their metabolism.  Whereas some can eat a hamburger, fries, and milkshake and stay thin, I can eat lettuce, grilled fish, and yogart and gain weight.  So I have just learned to find my body’s healthy balance of calorie input and energy output.  No use whining and griping about it.

7.  Making a lifestyle change that includes healthy diet and vigorous exercise is not just to try to make yourself slender or look good.  To exercise just so you can look great and wear a size 4 dress is not going to keep you going when you don’t get immediate weight loss results or when you hit a plateau.  I started with such shallow intentions, but soon found out that exercise is about more than looks.  It’s about how you feel inside and out.  I have finally reached the conclusion that even if I wouldn’t have lost 40 pounds and a crazy amount of inches, I would still be exercising because of the way it has changed my health.

8.  If you ask, God will give you all the strength you need to persevere and endure until you reach that goal of better health!  Nope, it’s not easy.  My goodness, there has been times when I almost gave up and sat down in a puddle of sweat and cried; but God’s strength is all-sufficient to keep you going (whether it’s in exercise or any other area of life.)

Yeah, you probably think this is really lame…hello…who writes an ode to exercising?  But I am living proof that an overweight person can actually lose weight and feel great=)

The Travel Bug

It bit me once again. 

That tiny bug that flies around this world and attacks its innocent victims decided to cast me under its spell.

It reminds me of the way a spider paralyzes his prey before entwining them in his silken web to save and eat for a midnight snack—-

Except instead of insects, this little bug preys upon homebodies that seldom exit their house.  He keeps his beady eyes open for his chance to sneak in and sink his fangs into their protective bubble of routine life. 

Oh the agony that goes along with that bite. 

 

 At one moment, you are content with the small world around you; but then after that fateful bite, the small world seems as if it closes in tighter and tighter by the day. 

The symptoms of the travel bug are easy to identify. His victims gaze wistfully at maps, stare for countless hours at globes, daydream of English tea shoppes, French umbrellas, Swiss mountaintops, and Irish highlands.  They pack suitcases and live out of them even when at home, they obtain cookbooks of different ethnic foods and try to follow the recipes for some new cuisine, they read travelers’ blogs, view travel agency websites, and pretend to buy tickets from Delta airlines.  They can imagine how thrilling it would be to backpack through the Rocky mountains, travel by train to Prince Edward Island, visit and help orphanages in Africa, travel by sled to the outermost regions of Alaska, see the ruins of the Berlin Wall in Germany, walk beside the Great Wall of China, traverse the deep jungles of Peru, canoe the bayous of Louisiana, enjoy the perils of the rugged Russia, soak in the sun on some remote, uninhabited island, and soar the rolling oceans while the wind whips through their hair.

Oh, that bite.  All it takes is a one-time attack, and the symptoms will last for a lifetime; watch out if you get bit more than once.  My body bears the marks of countless bites from the nasty travel bug.  Each bite worsens the symptoms double fold. 

So what is the anecdote?  How can one at least partially relieve these terrible effects from the travel bug? 

The only way that I have found relief is by self-will alone. That commitment to staying where God puts me and living within the means of my finances.  Perhaps one day when I am old and ancient, walking with a cane, and crippled with arthritis, I will inherit some money from a distant relative and be able to finally put the travel bug to rest.  One never knows!  But till then, I will pretend my house is an enchanted villa and my windows look out upon rolling hills filled with broken-down castles.  Every day will be a new day to allow my imagination to carry me away to the worlds I will probably never visit. 

All due to that stupid little bug….. 

Spell Check?spel ceck?spell chek?

Wouldn’t it be nice if life had the spell check option?  That one little button would correct all our mistakes before anyone could see our weaknesses. 

Perhaps, though, that idea isn’t so far out there.  Perhaps we already have our own little form of spell check all figured out.  You know what I mean….how often do we let people see the true us?

Maybe I should ask- how often do I let people see the true me?  Am I so afraid to be myself (weaknesses and all); because it might make others think less of me? 

So often, I struggle all alone because I don’t want anyone to know that I actually have struggles!  Imagine, me with problems!  Ha, I scoff at the idea in public; but realize it all too well when I am alone. 

When you stop to think about it, it really is quite sad.  Are not we, as Christians, supposed to take each other’s burdens, confess our faults, ask prayer for our struggles?  Would not the body of believers be strengthened by such unity? 
Oh yes, without a doubt. 

So then why have we stopped being ourselves around others?  Why do we try to make ourselves something we are not, or become someone we were not meant to be?  Why do we hold all our emotions inside of ourselves until we nearly explode from all the drama and chaos?

Maybe it is because we have been ourselves with others in the past; but then were mocked because we were not “cool enough” or “rich enough” or “intelligent enough”.  Maybe it is because we tried to share with our church family; but then someone went and used it to belittle or ridicule us.

 Maybe that is why we started turning on the spell check before we can say anything or do anything. 

So yes, spell check for life would be a great thing to download into ourselves—- if we never want people to see our mistakes. 

But, on the other hand, maybe we should try to just do our best and be who God wants us to be.  Really, we are human; (believe it or not) – everyone makes mistakes. 

Mistakes and failures will happen, but then we need to learn from them.  If my computer’s spell check automatically corrects all my misspellings, I would never learn how to spell the words properly. 

So today, I think I’m gonna turn my spell check off and just be myself- No pretending I’m perfect, No wearing a mask of perfection.  I’m pretty sure that it will be a nice plunge into freedom; because, no matter what God calls me to do and no matter how stupid I may feel at times when I take a blind leap of faith….
I can realize that I am finally living life to its fullest instead of stifling it behind the fear of failure and spell checks.