Friday, July 11, 2014

Vacation on a Bumper Sticker

I'm happily out of the mountains and breathing easier again.  We made it home last night from our vacation to Kansas and Colorado.  For me, leaving and coming home again after a day, or nine in this case, always seems to clarify and spark a greater resolve to live life better.  

First, I love the mountains, but I love to be able to see "down the road" more. 

Secondly, I need more (and some is more) discipline in my life.  

I need to:
1.  Exercise (again)
2.  Stop drinking soda (again)
3.  Get up earlier (again)
4.  Plan better for meals (again)
People are running and biking up mountains.  I should be able to walk a few laps around a flat park.  People are getting up at 2:00 in.the.morning so they can summit by noon and be off the mountain again before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in.  I should be able to walk a few laps around a flat park.
My brother and sister-in-law work out hard 4 (sometimes 5!  Gasp!) days a week at this little-known place called Cross Fit, at 6 in.the.morning.  I should be able to walk a few laps around a flat park.  During our time in KS, they showed us their gym and some of the things they do there.  Goodness.  No wonder they look like that!  And just because they look good doesn't mean they spend a lot of time looking at themselves - it's just an awesome side effect of something called  DISCIPLINE...That big "D" word I need to shake hands with, once again.

Last summer, I did Couch to 5K, which gets you from zero to 30 minutes of non-stop jogging in 8 weeks.  I much-too-quicky dismissed my personal trainer friend when she cautioned me about persevering beyond my goal.  Me?  No way.  I worked way too hard to get there.  Ha. I never jogged for 30 minutes again.  Not even once.  My internal dialogue went something like this:
Day 1 (after 15 minutes of jogging):  Hey! I can walk if I want to.  I met my goal.
Day 2 (after 10 minutes jog-walking):  Hey!  I can jog some, walk some if I want.  It's better for you anyway - letting your heart rate come down and pushing it back up again.  It's called interval training.
Day 3 (walking only):  I hate running!  The important thing is to be moving.  30 minutes of walking daily really is the very best thing, and it's not so hard on your joints.

And just like that, I talked myself out of the whole exercise bit in three measly days.  I'm hoping it works just as effectively talking myself into it (again).

Then there's the idea that people who walk every day walk three miles.  You ever notice that?  Maybe three miles is to walking what eight hours is to sleeping.  But, whenever I think about walking three miles, I think about my 96-year-old friend who says, "If I would have known walking three miles every day would have made me live this long, I wouldn't have done it!"  I'm just saying, there are risks, and it's better if we acknowledge them.

In trying to do anything, we must ask for God's help.  Even when you have done so it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given.  Never mind.  After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again...It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God.  We learn on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven.  The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.  -C.S. Lewis

Finally, I'm taking a page out of the simplicity book of the people who are going before me.  They have years and they have money, and they desire less instead of more.  They're going from bigger to smaller, or to not at all.  You name it.  Campers, boats, dream homes...I think my aunt and uncle are the best example of this lately.  They have a dream place with three floors, a gorgeous yard, garden, flowers, pool, and creek running behind - all for sale - to live somewhere that isn't so much work.  He said he'd leave everything in the house, too, except for his guitars and underwear.  I'm glad for the underwear part...

This is a good thing for me to reflect on.  Twenty-five years down the road, I could be off-loading everything I'm tempted to acquire now.  And for what?  More and bigger isn't better.  It isn't.  It's just bigger and more.  More stuff, less room.  Bigger houses, bigger campers, bigger headaches.  And this is one of the reasons I left the cute Colorado hoodie in the overpriced gift shop; the other reason is I'm cheap.  Instead, I brought home lots of pictures and memories, and none of them will end up in an estate sale.     

So, here are my vacation epiphanies on a bumper sticker... I'm a hills and plains girl.  I need to get moving - in the morning, outside, and in the kitchen.  And less is more.

What does yours say?

Dear God of Mountains, Hills, and Plains,

Thank you for the majesty of Your mountains and the comfort of Your plains.  Thank you for my family and their "Yes" to You, which allows my boys to live in a world where gathering is joy, aided by unseen forgiveness, offered and received.  Thank you for living reminders that laziness needs to be thwarted by discipline.

Please bless all who can't fathom leaving the city or state they live in for lack of time, transportation, desire, money, or health.  Please bless all who leave with a safe return, contented hearts, and a greater desire to reflect Your Glory.  Amen.