Laps for Little Ones

I am using transformation Tuesday as an opportunity to share about my next run. It’s a great opportunity to make a difference.

Before I came home to teach my kids, I taught at the best school in the world, the Little Light House in Tulsa, OK. I am blessed to remain on staff and help coordinate a monthly class for children on the waiting list. Because of the unique opportunities at LLH, there are more children needing services than we have space available. The current wait averages two and a half years. That time is critical as early intervention is so important for these precious kids.

The Little Light House provides state of the art educational and therapeutic services for infants and children with special needs. Dedicated teachers, therapists & associate teachers spend their days enriching the lives of students & families. And then, the two especially unique qualities of LLH? It’s a private, Christian school. It’s tuition-free. There is no government funding and it is not a United Way agency. Every dollar needed for operating expenses (including salaries, utilities, special equipment, building repairs, etc) is donated. There are big corporate and foundation donors. But really, the heart of the funding comes from dedicated individuals who are faithful to support the mission. Every day checks arrive in the mail, some from individuals who have supported LLH since is beginning over 40 years ago.

The Little Light House also holds four annual fundraisers. This Saturday, my 5 kids and I will participate in Laps for Little Ones. Runners (and walkers) will spend an hour doing laps around the track at Cascia Hall, raising money for little ones at LLH. Would you consider supporting us? Honestly, no amount is too small. It has been the faithful $5, $10, $25 checks arriving in the mail for the past 40 years that have kept the doors open. Please consider giving what you can.

My friends and family have been so great to support my work at LLH and now I am happy to include my children in that example of giving. They also watch what I do to stay healthy and I’m excited to have them out on the track with me. They’ve been a great team of cheerleaders for my past races and we’d love for you to be a part of our special event on Saturday. More information about LLH (fundraising, volunteering, building expansion, etc) can be found at www.littlelighthouse.org

Click here to donate to our Laps fund.

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Transformation Tuesday

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I just posted this before/after picture on my facebook account.  It’s a pretty dramatic “Transformation Tuesday” I think.  You can tell that I am super happy in both pictures.  I don’t think I was ever really depressed about my weight, so I haven’t had that kind of a transformation.  Obviously there is a significant transformation in my physical appearance, but there are some other transformations, too.

I keep joking that I’m not a runner.  But I think I’m just holding on to the old me who hated running and never, ever would have chosen that particular exercise. A year ago I had a goal to run one mile without stopping. Now I’m training for a half marathon.  So, maybe there’s a bit of a transformation there.  Running is still not my favorite exercise.  That became evident this summer when I really needed to wake early to run.  I can somehow drag myself out of bed every morning at 4:15 to go to the gym for boot camp.  But I had great difficulty getting out of bed to RUN.  Ugh.  I know it’s good for me to run.  It helps me burn extra calories, I feel good when I accomplish a new goal, and I really think running builds confidence.  Ok, not the terrible 2 mile runs on a treadmill, those just make this snow-loving girl long for warm weather.  But the good 6 mile run on a surprisingly nice winter day, or the 7 mile run that makes me think I can do an 8 miler the next weekend, and the 15K that made me realize I can go ahead and do that half.  This summer my gym coordinated a running challenge that ended with a 5K run.  It was the first time I have ever run an entire 5K without stopping to walk.  That morning before the race I felt nervous and queasy.  So silly.  It rained, I was slow, but I finished and had a blast.  Now, I can go run a 5K in my neighborhood without much thought.  So yep, transformation.

And then there’s the mornings.  Since November 2012 I have consistently attended a boot camp at 5:00 am…with very few exceptions.  People, I used to have to be at work at 7:30 and that was torture.  That one fabulous year that I worked and parented five little people, we had to get them up at 5:45 so we could be out the door by 7:00. Seemed soooooo early!  I am not a morning person.  I am very much a late night person. And so for a year, I went to bed around 11:00 and got up around 4:00.  And now I’m working (still reluctantly, I’ll admit) on getting to bed earlier.  I honestly need to be in bed around 8:00, lights off at 8:45 and asleep by 9:00 to get 7 hours of sleep on nights that I’m going to work out at 5:00.  I think it’s tricky for me mostly because late night can be my alone time or time with my husband.  It’s hard to give that up.  I do enjoy the moments of quiet when I get home from the gym each morning.  I wouldn’t absolutely have to work out at 5:00 for my husband to get to work on time.  However, I enjoy being home by 6:00 and having coffee and some quiet time before our day gets started.

Let’s just pause and address the fact that my pre-transformation self would have thrown up in her mouth a little at the fact that I’m writing about the benefits of running AND the fact that I choose to wake at 4:15 every morning.  To work out.  Ahem.

Moving on…

While I wouldn’t say I was ever depressed about my weight, there were lots of things that weren’t very fun.  Shopping for clothes isn’t a whole lot of fun.  It’s harder to find clothes that are comfortable and flattering.  There are fewer selections, and contrary to what some stores may think…not every plus size woman is an old lady.  For real.  Trendy and flattering were not that available.  Also, I was (am?) not comfortable with certain styles.  Belt, no thanks. Above the knee, no way. Sleeveless? Strappy? Nope. (That might always be a thing for me because I have numerous scars on my shoulders and back.  But if my arm muscles keep on showing their stuff, I might have to show them off regardless of scarring.) 

However, in December my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a kid-free weekend in Dallas and plenty of shopping. : ) I had been saving money to get a few new things for my wardrobe. It basically consists of workout clothes and a couple of church outfits.  I decided maybe I needed some new things…even though I’m sure they won’t fit for long! ; ) So this was the first time that I really ever went clothes shopping with my husband.  I’m still not small by any means, but at least I feel better in my clothes and it’s easier to find fun things to wear.  He suggested I try on a sweater dress (hits just above the knee and needs a wide belt at the waist!) and I went for it.  I would have NEVER done that on my own.  He liked it, I bought it (and some lovely leggings!) and I feel comfortable and pretty wearing the first outfit that my husband ever picked out for me.  Transformation, people.

Besides the “getting more sleep” transformation, the other major and constant transformation is about food.  I am so thankful that working out every day is a habit for me.  I do not dread going, I don’t make excuses…I just do it every day.  Food is a bigger deal, though. I gained about 10 pounds during the holidays (ya know, that holiday starts in November and doesn’t end until January..oh wait, maybe I took three one-day holidays and made them last 6 weeks!) anyway…I didn’t gain wait because I ate too much vegan food, that’s for sure.  I went back to a lot of my old habits, stopped journaling and counting calories, and hardly attempted portion control.  Oh how lovely it would be to have every day habits of eating healthy foods.  Every.  Single. Day.  Don’t get me wrong, I have made major progress here.  I mean just last night I used my last can of black beans to make bean burgers for the first time ever.  That right there is something.  But also…I was reluctant to use that can because we were on the eve of a snowstorm and what if I couldn’t get more beans for a few days?! Yeah, that’s weird, I know. I also eat things like quinoa and bread and tortillas made from sprouted grains.  I haven’t had artificial sweetener (no Diet Coke!) in a year and a half.  I drink black coffee.  I have not eaten a donut at church in more than a year. So not totally transformed here, but definitely on the right track.

It’s definitely a process, of course.  And my journey is not complete, but it is good and healthy to look back and see the progress.  And nice to write about the unseen transformation as well.

Happy Tuesday, friends!