What I’d tell my 15 year old self….

Guess what? Turns out, I’m an athlete!

That’s what I would tell the teenage version of myself. Chances are, she’d laugh her ass off. But only if she could do it without putting down her book. The teenage me would never imagine she could be good at exercise

Musician Willie Nelson Gets Promoted To 5th Degree Black Belt Gong Kwon Yu SulBut, hang on a minute, because there’s someone else I’d like to say that too also. I’d say it to the nine year old me also. Because that’s when I got that idea. The idea that I wasn’t an athlete.

I remember the moment clearly. I was about nine, in maybe the third grade. We were playing something in P.E. Softball, I think, but it might have been kickball. It was one of those bases-loaded moments. I was in the hot seat. I buggered it. I humiliated myself (in my own eyes) and the team lost. I went home in tears. And that’s when it happened. My mom, trying to comfort me, said, “It’s okay, honey, Beierles just aren’t good at sports. We just aren’t very coordinated.” (Beierle is my maiden name.)

I internalized that phrase, “Beierles aren’t good at sports.” it became part of my identity. Not good at sports. Not an athlete. Not coordinated.

It was okay. I was smart. I loved reading. (And that’s a subject of another post, probably one I already wrote.) I didn’t mind not being good at sports. I mean, I minded every day in P.E. when I was picked last. When I always fumbled the ball. When I stood in the wrong spot on the volleyball court and got hit in the face with the ball. I totally cried that time, because, damn, that hurt. But I was okay with my identity of not being an athlete.

For most of my life–as that teenagers and as an adult–I really struggled with exercise. I know I need exercise to be healthy. I wanted to find something I could force myself to do, but I just never found it.

Until yoga. Which I love. But the Iyengar yoga I do is slow and methodical. I’m good at it, but it’s yoga. It’s not exactly the stuff of athletes.

And then, a year ago, my son said he wanted to take Tae Kwon Do. So I found a place to take him. And then my daughter started going. And I did.

It made sense. I write action, so it’s technically research. I could get help choreographing fight scenes. Plus, it turns out, it’s just fun. No. Really.

Yeah. That’s me saying that. It’s exercise and it’s fun. I look forward to it. And now here’s the really weird thing: I’m good at it. There are two other women in my class who are at the same level as me. I don’t carry them, but they don’t carry me either. We are equals. One of them jogs every morning. One of them was a star basketball player in high school. And I’m their equal.

That’s amazing to me!

And here’s the thing that I never understood about what it means to be athletic: I didn’t know that even lazy, uncoordinated people could be athletes.

Oh, any number of P.E. teachers and coaches said, “Well, you just need to practice. You’ll get better at softball/kickball/tennis/basketball/volleyball/etc.”

I had absolutely no faith that I would get better. I was a naturally uncoordinated person. How could practice help that? I couldn’t imagine that any amount of practice would make me not a clumsy lunk. I never understood that practice would build muscles. That having muscles would mean I’d have better control over my limbs. That using my muscles regularly would help me develop muscle memory. That I would totally feel like an athlete!

Yeah, I’m still uncoordinated. Yeah, I still cringe at the thought of playing a team sport. Yeah, I’d still probably be the last one picked to play kickball. And, yeah, I’d probably still get the volley ball to the face. But guess what? Now, I could totally drop kick the guy who did it. (Not that I would do that. That would be rude.)

(By the way, I had all kinds of cool pictures of my getting my red belt, but now I can’t find them. I don’t think I understand how my phone works with the new update. So instead, I included pictures of Master Um, my instructor, with his far more impressive student, WIllie Nelson!)

My face is falling.

When my daughter was about four years old, she looked at me very seriously, tapped my cheek and said in the saddest voice, “Oh, mommy. Your face is falling.” I don’t know if I had frowned or if she noticed the fine wrinkles that had started to show up around my eyes and cheeks. Whatever the case, at that time I thought what she said was funny! Aw! So cute. After all, I wasn’t “old”! And pshaw! I certainly wasn’t vain.

But she’s twelve now, and her prophetic words have started to come true. My. Face. Is. Falling. I have to admit, for years I felt kind of…hopeful. Smug, even. That maybe I’d age astoundingly better than other women of my age. Oh, it was all a delightful fantasy! One day about eight months ago…I woke up and shuffled down the hallway to get my morning coffee and thought…what’s up with my eyes? They feel so weird. My eyelids were smushing my eyelashes. Were my eyes just swollen from a bad case of allergies?

No, my friends. At some point in the night, just like that (**snap!**) my upper eyelids had done a little landslide down the mountain and now rested against my lower eyelids. Worse yet, they STAYED there. It’s changed the way I look, even causing a little crease at the corner of my eyes. This change, added to my neck, that’s decided to start doing the limbo (LOWER!) and my hair that is now (Boing! Boing! Boing! turning gray and wiry, has forced me to face reality and acknowledge that yes—apparently I’m at least a little vain, because these changes, if I have to be completely honest, bother me.

Mind you, when I talk about vanity, I don’t mean I spend a lot of time in front of the mirror admiring myself and obsessing over my appearance, I just mean the idea of saying goodbye to my younger self is a little unsettling. It means…changes. A graduation of sorts, to “the next part” of life. It’s normal to feel this way, isn’t it?
I’ve always been determined to age gracefully. So…how to do that. I’m not sure, I’m still working through that part. Here are some of my current strategies:

1. I wear sunscreen. Sun damage is the cause of a lot of my aging issues. I’ve got sunspots and wrinkles from spending days at the lake and several years living in Panama, before anyone cared about sunscreen. I used to have the best tan. Now I’m paying for it. No need to compound the damage with more.
2. Makeup. I’ve realized: LESS IS BETTER! And that frosty, shimmery eye shadow is NOT my friend.
3. I indulge in skin care/cosmetic products that work for me. For example, I love products with argan oil in them.
4. I’m more careful of my diet. I’ve gone really heavy on the veggies, and have started working more organic, clean foods into my diet. It’s not about counting calories or losing weight, but about feeling better.
5. I drink a lot of water. I’ve also replaced diet sodas with LaCroix sparkling water.
6. I’ve become more active. I just FEEL better when I’m outside and moving and doing something.
7. Most importantly, I look at the beautiful women I admire so much. My mom, my grandmother, my aunt and mother-in-law, and so many other lovely women who are part of my life every day. They are gorgeous and smart, and have shown that age is something to be proud of—not concealed or ashamed of. Each year of our lives is a blessing. It’s important to measure them by the meaningful relationships we enjoy with the people we love, and our accomplishments, big and small. Not by the lines on our faces.

How about you? Do you have any strategies to share for aging gracefully? Is it something that troubles you—or not at all?

The problem with being an introverted mom

MjAxMy02MWE2NjQzMWI4NmNjZTgx

You’ve probably heard of the Myers-Brigg personality assessment. If you’re a writer, I know you have. In any case there are 16 types and you can take a test, there are a slew of online ones and they tell you about your personality type. It’s just components, certainly not all inclusive. Now I say as a writer I know you’ve heard about it because us writers are pros when it comes to personality tests and we’re on a first-name basis with all our baggage. For example, I know I’m a total control-freak (also very common among writers, well and moms), I’m reluctant to try new things because I’m not sure I’ll be able to do them right (AKA perfectionist), I have serious body-image issues, and I’m bossy as hell (is that the same thing as being a control freak?) One of the other things I know about myself, and to bring us back to the subject matter and the Myers-Brigg assessment is that I am an introvert. Now I don’t know if there are levels of introverts, but if there are, I’d think I was a Class 4 (on a scale from 1-5), nearly as introverted as one can get. This doesn’t mean I can’t function socially, but I do need my space. Which brings us to the problem with being an introverted mom.

Okay so there’s probably not just one problem, but there is a significant one. There are days when I wake up and though I might not recognize it immediately, it is a day when I need to be alone. Not simply because I need to recharge, but because if I’m around other people I tend to get snippy. I’m not in the mood to talk. At all. I just want to be inside my head and have quiet. These are the days when I’m the worst sort of mom. Most of the time I won’t even notice it until mid-afternoon and I realize I’ve been grumpy with my girls all day. I’ll try to stop and reassess the situation, think of ways I can either (a) be more patient or (b) occupy them without having to engage too much. It’s not that I want to ignore them, but as an introvert, I crave, I need, alone, quiet time in order to function properly. And sleeping doesn’t count. I need awake time to be quiet and alone.

It’s not so much that I don’t like people (though there are days…) it really just has to do with my energy level. The stuff I need to be the best me, that stuff only gets refilled during those alone moments. They’re few and far between these days. And this week, which marks the third year we’ve had our girls, I’m so thankful for my children and the family we’ve become. But I also believing knowing this about myself and taking action to make sure they aren’t the butt of my grumps, makes me a better mom.

So how about you? Do you know where you are on the spectrum? Do you think your personality brings challenges to your parenting?

 

The Big 4-0

vision page in my health planner

vision page in my health planner

So it’s almost March which means we’re getting pretty close to May which is when I become an official adult. I realize I’ve technically been an adult for years, but 40 just seems adult in a big way.

Needless to say when January hit and I recognized this was the big year I decided it was time to make some significant changed. I’ve put us on a budget, it’s time to pay off some debt. I’ve been working pretty diligently at my health – trying to eat right and exercise. I get it right some, but I’m still a work in progress.

I’m trying to simplify our lives to some extent – putting the girls on a toy rotation (for another blog), cleaning out closets and getting rid of a ton of stuff. In other words, I’m trying to take control and be responsible and all that adult-like behavior.

How about you? Have you ever made any big changes before a significant birthday? 


I’m Robyn DeHart, AKA Basket-Case Mama, but not because I’m crazy (though really, what mom isn’t?) but because I have a slight obsession with baskets, well containers really. I’m a bit of an organization nut and I love to containerize stuff. And yes, I’m authorized to use words like that because I am also a writer. But back to the kids, so I’m mom to two ridiculously beautiful little girls and I can say that without bragging because I didn’t actually make them. The Professor and I adopted said little lovelies from the foster-care system here in Texas and now we’re a big happy forever family. Busybee is five and so full of joy it just oozes from her. Babybee is a three and is too smart for her own good.  www.robyndehart.com

The big 4-0

100_2299I’m not there yet, I just turned 39 in May, but that big birthday is looming. It’s funny how certain numbers can freak us out. I remember 25, in particular was difficult for me. I’d had everything planned out that I would meet my would-be husband in college and I’d be married by 24. Yeah, that didn’t happen and when that 25th birthday rolled around, I was in a funk. Silly when you think about it now, but then it was difficult. In any case, with that big 4-0 looming I’m doing what most people (women? do you think men do it too?) do before a “big” birthday, I’m planning all the ways I want things to be different. You know like before 40 I’ll be the new and improved Robyn.

Come on, I know y’all do that too. So here’s my list.

Spiritual – I want to be better about making my spiritual life more integrated into my daily life and not just a church day thing.

scale_upload-lHealth – this is probably the biggest for me and well the same damn thing I was struggling with at 29 before that big 3-0 birthday. (oops, but in my defense I got married when I was 30 and then, well, fertility treatments made me gain all the weight I’d lost in that 29th year…let’s pretend I’m not still carrying that 60+ lb gain around today, ten years later!) It’s not just about the weight though. I’m an inconsistent exerciser. Always have been. Once I find something I like I can stick with it for a while, but if something changes to shift that around, I have a hard time getting back on track. I’m currently in one of the “find something I like to stick with” phase. I need to just get up on my treadmill and get it over with. Also, in this category is my family’s health – I’m responsible for feeding most of the people in my family so it’s up to me to make sure I plan and make healthy meals. I’ve gotten lazy with that the past two years and I need to get back to my meals planning and cooking, it just works better for all of us.

Personal – I’m frump girl. Remember that from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? I love that movie! But man, I could so relate to her when she said that. Being a work-at-home mom means I don’t have to really fix myself up much. I mean I get dressed (most days) and even put on shoes and brush my teeth, but my hair ends up in a wad on top of my head and make-up only gets put on if we’re heading to church or I’m going to a writer function. I don’t even really fix myself up most of the time on the rare occasions The Professor and I have a date. Often because it’s a last minute – my mom offers to watch the girls so we can go see a movie kind of thing. But I would like to make a bit more of an effort with myself, try to look my best or at least look groomed.

Parenting – I think this will probably be an ongoing to-do for me, for all of us, I’d wager. Most parents (the non meth-making in the bathtub variety) strive to be better. We want to be gentler, kinder, more nurturing. I want those things. I think most of the time I do an okay job, but lots of times I could do better. It’s those moments, I want fewer of. I know I’ll never be perfect at it, but I’ll know I’m successful if my girls feel about me the way I do about my own mom.

100_0282The lazy factor – okay I don’t know if it’s just laziness or if there’s more to it, but damn somedays I just don’t even want to get up off hte couch. Granted I sit for my job so there’s that. I’m used to sitting. I like sitting. And some days dealing with the girls is enough to make me want to just get horizontal. But its those days that become a problem – I don’t exercise, I don’t do dishes, I don’t cook, I’m so wrapped up in how exhausted (and stressed) I am that I just sit and let life zoom past me all the while my house is falling apart around me and laundry is eating the bedrooms. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration, but I’m sure you know what I mean. I hope you do, at least, otherwise, I’m a slug and I just admitted that to all of you.

So there you go, my would-be, personal to-do list before I turn 40. Do you make such lists before your birthdays? 

And I have to do a little self-promo because I have a new book out. So let’s all look at the pretty cover together and we can ooh and ahh. You can go here to find out more about the book.

Image

The Modesty Fashion Trend: What Do YOU Think of It?

Is modesty about being ashamed of your body? Does modesty mean hiding yourself away and looking like a grandma at age 16 or 25? Or is modesty about revealing your dignity? Letting your true feminine beauty shine?

Those are the questions posed by this articulate young woman in the video below. She used her MBA to create a bathing suit line with Audrey Hepburn as her inspiration.

I think moms everywhere eventually grapple with this issue when it comes to clothing their daughters. How much is too much when it comes to sexy outfits? Should Little Suzy wear that leopard-spotted underwear set when she’s five or six? I remember how hard it was to find my daughter dresses with hemlines below her thighs when she was 13 and I just wanted to get her something I thought would be appropriate for church or a wedding.

All over the internet modesty fashion sites are popping up not just for kids but for adult women, too. Some reference the Bible as their inspiration, but not everyone is into modesty based on religious principle. Some people are simply shy. Or not interested in sexualizing themselves for public consumption.

I myself have the goal of getting back into a bikini. Why? It will be my reward for exercising and eating right. And I like feeling free to bask in the sun–as much of me as possible–when on the beach. If and when I wear that bikini again, it will be for me. I can’t imagine that I’ll be torturing any man, LOL!

But hey, getting serious again: Are we women to be responsible for men’s reactions to us in bikinis or any other skimpy outfits? Or should men work on that themselves? Can they? 

I offer this video, “The Evolution of the Bikini,” as a springboard for discussion. Go to it, ladies!

Who’s That Girl? By Sara Humphreys

sara

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t worried about my weight or self-conscious about the size of my body.  I can, however, remember when it all started. Those two statements may seem to contradict one another but they don’t and I’ll explain why.

Like many people, my struggles with the scale began as a child. The summer before fourth grade, my family moved and I started at a new school. I’d never had trouble making friends or fitting in before but for whatever reason, I became a target with my new peers. Going to school quickly became a daily exercise in misery.

So what did I do to ease the pain? I ate. I ate a lot.

Thus began years of emotional eating.

Of course, doing that  was less than helpful because I only got bigger which gave my tormentors more fuel for their fire and being heavier made me feel badly about myself. It was a vicious cycle and I lived in it for years. It wasn’t until I got to college that I really started to break the pattern. I found the theater, some of my dearest friends, I met my husband there and ultimately I found myself.

I realized the other day that I don’t remember much about my life prior to that big move when I was ten. It dawned on me that I have no recollection of feeling free from the weight of weight.  I look at pictures of myself, even just a few months before that time, and I see a different girl.

She was happy, carefree and confident…she was weightless.

I wish I could remember how that felt because maybe if I could recall the feeling, then it would be easier to embrace it now.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m happy with my life and with myself and while there are days that I still struggle, overall I’m content.

Admittedly, there are moments when the “fat-attack” lurks and threatens to drag me back to a place of self-doubt. However, instead of reaching for the nearest cookie or another emotion numbing concoction, I head for my keyboard or out for a walk.  These coping skills are better for my mind and body but to be quite honest, I don’t always use them. There are days when the cookies win.

So, I keep walking, writing, laughing, and loving because no matter what size I am…my children love me. It’s in their eyes, smiles and hugs that I find the most strength and my four boys are the best reason to be healthy and take care of myself. They aren’t concerned about the size of my clothes or how many stretch marks run the length of my butt. They want to know when dinner will be ready, if there are any clean socks and if there’s room in the bed for a quick morning snuggle. There’s no food on earth that can compete with that.

So, how about you? What do you do to keep the cookies from winning?

Sara is married to her college sweetheart, Will. They live in Bronxville, New York with their 4 boys and 2 insanely loud dogs. Life is busy but never dull. her latest release is UNDONE. Check out all her books on her website.

UNDONE-arc-cover

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead: The Documentary

fatsicknearlydeadOn Netflix I just watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, the documentary about the Australian man, Joe Cross, who had chronic hives and was overweight and got better by going on a 60-day juicing fast. I’ve heard so much about this film, and I’ve always rolled my eyes because of the title. It’s so melodramatic (the movie poster doesn’t win me over, either). I decided not to watch it. Almost nothing annoys me more than quick fix fad diets, general food quackery, and the people who try to sell you on these outrageous “nutrition plans.” It’s personal–when you have someone in your family who’s gone through an eating disorder, you get protective. I don’t like the word “fast.” I don’t like anything involving food that is extreme.

So anyway, I only watched the movie because yesterday, our youngest son Dragon, a teen, was diagnosed with hives that may or may not be recurrent. The whole idea scares me…he already has a dangerous tree nut allergy and mild asthma, and now, it seems, when Dragon’s core body temperature heats up, his brain gets his histamine levels going and he responds with hives. This is my beloved athlete son. I hate that health issues could stand between him and his soccer dreams in any way. Already his other dream of going to the Naval Academy, where his dad and grandfather went, has pretty much bitten the dust. They don’t let anyone in with asthma or food allergies (we’re still hoping he can get a medical waiver, but chances are slim to none).

When I got home from the allergist, I started reading about other people with this recurrent hive problem that Dragon may have, and it wasn’t pretty. It got me more and more worried. I have to stay grounded and believe that Dragon’s case won’t go that far. You know how the internet can scare you. But one thing leaped out at me in my research: someone recommended the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.

It was a sign. I had to watch it, even though when my own beloved sister asked me to watch it last month, I said no. I had no idea that Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead had anything to do with hives until yesterday’s perusal of the internet after the allergy doctor visit. I thought it was only about weight loss. I downloaded it immediately and watched it avidly because let me tell you–it’s fascinating. It’s also uplifting and inspiring.

It’s not just hives that may get better when you consume a lot of micronutrients through juicing vegetables and fruits: many illnesses can essentially be cured or alleviated. Think diabetes, heart disease, chronic migraines, and a host of other health problems.

The content of this documentary is grounded in good science, too. Dr. Joel Fuhrman was on it–he’s the guy who wrote the national bestseller Eat To Live, which Elise has talked about before. I read that book a year ago and decided that I couldn’t go as far as what Dr. Fuhrman recommends, which is an all-plant diet, basically. But he’s right, and everyone in the medical world agrees: a plant-based diet is the healthiest diet. It’s just that many of us don’t want to commit to that lifestyle.

So, back to the movie, it’s really given me hope that maybe if we incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet–in a major, semi-extreme way–that Dragon’s hive symptoms might be seriously alleviated. Plus, going from 5% of our diet being fruits and veggies to anything higher can only help. That statistic applies to almost every American: only 5% of what we consume is fruits and vegetables. Sixty percent of what we eat is processed foods.

I never realized it, but I am living an extreme life already–an unhealthy one. I want to flip flop those percentages. I want 60% of my diet to be fruits and vegetables and only 5% processed foods!

As I begin this journey, which will start with purchasing a juicer today–an inexpensive one under $100–I’m a little scared. It’s costly, juicing. But the farmers’ market opens this weekend. I should be able to buy huge bundles of kale and spinach at a reasonable price. And as the documentary points out, we spend much more money on prescription pills and getting better from horrible things like heart attacks than we would if we’d only try to prevent these diseases from happening. And I especially like that Mr. Cross makes very clear that we need to move our bodies. At the end of the movie, he says it’s about so much more than juicing and/or fasting–good health is about balance.

Watch the movie. I think you’ll enjoy it. One thing that struck me was how every single overweight person on it admitted that it’s his or her own fault that they keep choosing to eat fast food and chicken fried steak. Some wanted to change their habits but were afraid or didn’t know how. Others decided that they’d rather die young and happy, so they planned to keep eating themselves to an early grave, consuming truly unhealthy foods because it brought them pleasure. Everyone has to decided for themselves how they want to live. This documentary reminds us that it’s not about the food–it’s really about us, what we believe, and what we want from this one, precious life we’re given.

Do you juice? Have you seen this documentary? What percentage of your diet is fruits and vegetables?


Hi, I’m Kieran. My family loves music and anything that makes us laugh out loud. Along with Chuck, my husband of 23 years, I try to teach our kids that we have to actively choose happiness–and if I accomplish nothing else as a mom but pass that one lesson along to them, then I think I’ve done my job.

My oldest guy, Nighthawk, was diagnosed in kindergarten with Asperger’s syndrome, and now he’s a junior in college; his sister Indie Girl, who’s younger by 16 months, is a college sophomore; and my youngest, Dragon, is in ninth grade. For our family, it’s about managing your weaknesses and wringing everything you can get out of your strengths. And along the way, finding joy.

www.kierankramerbooks.com

20 Things More Beautiful Than Super Model Perfection

Your Sexiest Summer EVER! Crazy-Easy WEIGHT LOSS, Frizz-Free Hairstyles, 60 Products You’ll LOVE, and Summer Beauty 911!!!  Those are the headlines I found when sitting down with magazines tonight. I’ll confess. It’s a magazine I like to flip through. But I also like to flip through Yoga Journal, which greeted me with this: HOW TO FIND THE COURAGE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I’ve been thinking a lot since last week’s blog on the Pursuit of Perfect, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got two or three more follow-ups in me, but this is something that’s been burning a hole in me: the truth about beauty. We, as a society, spend gobs of money and time and effort and frustration on the (never-ending) pursuit, but at the end of the day, that which is most beautiful,  sustaining, soul-nourishing, most capable of turning your life around,  will never come in a bottle….

Smiles

Laughter

Hugs

Holding hands

Love

Friendship

Grace

Faith

Hope

Imagination

Creativity

Passion

Inner-Peace

Confidence

Courage

Sense of self

Humility

Compassion

Acceptance

Forgiveness

If we spent as much (money and time and effort) on pursuing from this list…can you even imagine???

I can.