19 October 2011

"run and not be weary" part 4

In the past month or so, I've had an intense dilemma as to what my goals should be. Should I find a way to have more energy? Lose the blues? Kick off those few extra pounds? Eat more vegetables? Eat only vegetables?

It's quite confusing, really, and concentrating on those little details pulls me down quite a bit. So to close this segment of "Run and Not Be Weary," I'd like to quote part of a sermon from one of the leaders of the church I belong to:

"In the beloved children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the mysterious candy maker Willy Wonka hides a golden ticket in five of his candy bars and announces that whoever finds one of the tickets wins a tour of his factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Written on each golden ticket is this message: “Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket … ! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you! … Mystic and marvelous surprises … will … delight, … astonish, and perplex you.”

In this classic children’s story, people all over the world desperately yearn to find a golden ticket. Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a golden ticket falls into their hands. In their anxiousness, people begin to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket.

So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket—the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry.

There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings—we hope and seek after things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event—our golden ticket—to appear.

... The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy."

- President Dieter F. Uchdorf, Forget Me Not

On our journey to optimum health, let us not forget to savor the everyday moments. These are the moments that make life worth living-- healthy bodies and minds just enhance the experience even more!

To read past posts on this topic, click here.

17 October 2011

Thoughts on a Monday

Today I am up for a post. I have some ideas of what to write about but to be honest with you, this week has been a bit draining for many reasons. One of those reason is a new responsibility I have been asked to take on at church. It will be a big change and a new experience for me and to be completely honest, I have been feeling a little... intimidated. But I know that I can do it. And I know that it will push me and pull me and make me stretch.

So, until I actually get something written, here are a few essays and articles that have impressed me as of late.

Did you hear about the three women who won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011? It was awarded to them for their work for gender equality, peace, and democracy.

Though I personally have not experienced it, Reachel's essay on her journey through infertility touched my heart. AND they just found out that they have permission to adopt their foster child Coco. Oh happy day!

Some people wonder why get an education if you are just going to "waste" it by staying home with your children. While there are many reasons why I feel passionately that it is important for everyone to get as much education as possible, I believe it greatly affects our children and their future. This article reaffirmed that belief.

12 October 2011

"run and not be weary" part 3

For the 3rd part of the "run and not be weary" series, we have a guest post by my dear friend Jessica P., from the good ol' state of Kentucky! I just love her sweet, active family, and I know you will, too! -Allison

I was faced with a tough choice mid-afternoon today.  I could let my little boy sit down and watch some T.V. when he got home from school or I could have him go outside and play.  T.V. would have been much easier.  He and his siblings would have been jazzed out of their gourds to be given the go ahead to open their eyes wide, drop their chins a little, and settle into the deep parts of the couch.  I could’ve done whatever I wanted to…by myself…with no interruptions...alone...solo mio...you get my point. 

But then I thought about how Allie asked me to write a post about having an active family.  And I figured I better live up to the jive.  So I told my little boy that before he could watch a show he had to go outside and jump on the trampoline and play on the swing set with his siblings.  And then I sighed and realized that if I was going to do this whole “active family” thing I better go whole hog and head outside to play with them too. 

We had so much fun we all kind of threw a fit when it was time to come in for dinner.  We pretended the swing was a train and told the conductor where to take us.  We were all pirates – well except me, I had to walk the plank.  And we showed-off our mad trampoline skills.  I can bounce back up to my feet off my back folks...don’t feel like you have to save your applause.

So what did I learn this afternoon?  That being active is fun.  It can be creative.  It can be bonding.  And it is mighty good for the heart and trimming the chubs that do like to hug my mid-section.  How’s that for efficient? 

The alone hour I could have had?  Didn’t miss it at all.

Allie wanted me to include a few things that my family does to stay active.  Here are a few “active family” good memories of mine from growing up as well as things my family is doing now to try to keep moving.

Racing.  My brother, sisters and I did a kids’ triathlon annually for a few years growing up.  My parents would help us train by timing us running around the block.  I felt so speedy and proud.
Taking Walks.  There are particular walks from my childhood that are still warm in my memory, except for the one where we had to walk through a field of tall weeds to get back on course.  I screamed like I was walking over fiery flames because I was afraid I was going to step on a snake.
Camping.  I don’t care if it’s in your backyard, frontyard, a campground with toilets, or under a tree sleeping with bears.  If you make yourself live outside for a night or two you’re going to start moving actively.  There’s something about nature that does that.  And you’ll like it.  My grins are awfully wide in the pictures of me storming the wilderness as a chubby six year old.
Playing in Your Backyard.  You don’t have to sign up for a soccer team or baseball team to play sports.  You can actually play sports in your own yard with your own family.  Crazy!  I know, but so fun.  And it’s so much better to be tackled in the snow by your own brother than by a stranger.
Tricks for Treats.  Here’s one that I didn’t do growing up, but that my husband will throw out every now and again.  My kids will do anything for a gummy bear.  Ten toe touches – aye, aye.  Ten push ups – you bet.  Five sit ups – okie dokie.  So maybe the sugar counterbalances the benefit of the activity.  But I figure it can’t hurt to develop a Pavlovian love of exercise.
Investing in activity.  We bought a small house with a big backyard.  We added a small gym to the back of our house and threw some climbing holds up on the roof and walls.  We want to be active and we're willing to put our money where our muscles are.

I’d love to grab up a few more good ideas for being active as a family from readers of this blog.  I’ll come back and read the comments to find out your good ideas.  I like this sharing stuff.  I bet you do too.  We are women you know.

10 October 2011

My Introduction to Motherhood

I have a friend that I have only recently come back into contact with. We were closer when we were younger but as life shifted, our contact slipped. Thanks to social networks and blogging, we have been able to see what each others lives have become so far. I really admire her for her strength and faith and courage, for it took great courage to share her experience with us. She wishes to remain anonymous but I know that you can also see her kind heart and strength of character as you read about her experience.

When I was introduced to this blog, I was quickly drawn to the “We Are Women” book’s beneficiaries. Let me tell you why.


My water brakes - our baby boy is coming! We head to the hospital and are so excited to meet our infant. I can almost feel what it will be like to hold him for the first time.


No. No. No. Tears start to well up - this isn’t how my story is supposed to go. Where is the doctor? Why are there so many nurses in here? Where are they taking my baby? I tell my husband to not let him out of his sight. My thoughts are with my boys but my body is not, I feel myself start to get dizzy.

14 Hours Later

I still haven’t held my baby. I tried to visit him in the NICU, but I got nauseous and almost fainted while they were wheeling me in. I am losing a lot of blood and sometimes feel gushes of horrible-smelling air when I try to sit up or walk.

Peace in the Storm

Finally - I hold my baby for the first time at 4:00 A.M the next day. My body hurts so badly I can barely sit down, but I don’t care, I take in the moment. My baby is in my arms.


The air thing is getting worse. I can barely move anywhere without it flowing out. This can’t be normal. I call my doctor. He tells me that in his 30 years of delivering babies he’s never seen something like this first hand. He apologizes and tells me this can sometimes happen with 4th degree episiotomies. He can’t help me. He tells me to wait the weekend and see a specialist on Monday. Wait the weekend? Like this? How? I need to be seen now. I go to the E.R., but my body is too sore and my wounds too fresh to examine. I’m given antibiotics. Pray. Wait. Pray again. Monday can’t come soon enough.

Some Answers

The colorectal specialist can see the problem: the beginning of a fistula. He tells me that this is common in Africa and can also happen to women who have 4th degree episiotomies. Deep breath. He tells me to wait it out. There is a chance that I can avoid surgery and that my body can heal on its own.


I wait weeks. I can’t go anywhere without a foul odor accompanying me. Uncontrollable gas and who knows what else flows randomly throughout the day. My body is out of control. I ache constantly. My mind is consumed with fear and worries. More deep breaths. I long to be happy and wish I was enjoying this time of my life. My heart is heavy. My husband’s love, my son’s countenance, and my faith in God and His Son push me to keep going.

Hope Comes with Healing

Second appointment with the specialist: it’s getting smaller! I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m not out of the dark yet, but there is light. There will be more follow up appointments. Life begins to be a little more normal each day. I continue to have appointments. I hold my breath after each exam as I wait for the report. Good news is followed by better news. My body is healing on its own - I don’t need surgery. Prayers are answered. I am relieved.


Putting my thoughts down has been painful and healing at the same time. My experience with the fistula has been one of the most frightening and traumatizing things I’ve experienced. My compassion and respect for women who are affected by fistulas have increased. I recognize that many women have not had as happy an ending as I have. I am grateful to share my story and hope that it can raise awareness about this worldwide issue.

If you would like to learn more about Fistula, you can see a brief explanation here or visit the website for the Campaign to End Fistula here. Also, all the proceeds from the We Are Women book go to the Campaign to End Fistula, to help train doctors in prevention and care of women who experience it and it goes toward the $300 treatment for those who have it.

Obstetric Fistula is something that affects women everywhere. Thank you, dear friend, for sharing your experience and making this issue more personal and real for us.

04 October 2011

Look who's rockin' Cardigan Empire!

Dear Alicia is featured on Cardigan Empire's Beauty-Full Tuesday today! Check it out!

03 October 2011

"run and not be weary" part 2

One summer day I decided to run a 5k-- a 5k that started at 9am, when the sun was fully committed to being as bright and warm as it could be. Additionally, I decided to run despite the fact that I was experiencing very painful shin splints. By the end of the 5k I was near tears, trying to massage or stretch or soothe my shins in any way. It was like someone was continuously stabbing a knife into my legs. And that feeling continued for quite a while, and was revived everytime I tried to run for months after that.

And that is how I developed a fear of running. Because who wants to be stabbed in the shin?

And then my running shoes got too small (Do I have a different shoe size in the South? Was it from when they got sogging wet then dried for 3 days straight when I helped sandbag a town a few months back?), and 6:30am was just way too early to think about aerobic exercise, etc.

And now here we are. Sister Koford and I, running despite my fear of shin splints and her concern about side aches. If you wake up at 6:30am and live in our little town, you may see us slowly "jogging" down the street. Of course, I'm in my Keds, and there's a good chance that we both slept in the clothes that we are running around in. When it's 6:30am, you do what you can.

I love this video about the physical and spiritual benefits of eating well and taking care of our bodies. It references the Word of Wisdom, the health code for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but is of course applicable to any healthy lifestyle.