Simply Noel: December 17 – A Season of Self-Care

Simply Noel:

December 17 – A Season of Self-Care

Last night, I shut my computer down just before midnight. We returned home late, after an early Christmas celebration with my husband’s side of the family. I bathed the littlest ones, we put the kids to bed, and I opened my laptop to write this post with heavy eyelids. As I typed the title that was on my heart all day, I realized that the most important thing about this devotional project wasn’t the deadline each day or being able to choose the most eloquent words…it is its authenticity. Am I practicing what I am preaching? Am I taking each day’s message and honestly applying it to myself first, before I expect anyone else to follow suit?

Self-Care.

Sleep.

I made the better choice, and went to bed.

Isn’t it true for so many of us that the holiday season is the one in which we usually practice self-care the least? We are running around, finishing errands, attending parties and events, stressing over tasks and purchases, taking care of sick babies and overexerting ourselves physically to decorate the house, staying up too late baking and cleaning… Christmas, at least for me, has been a time of great sacrifice in regards to my own health, sanity, and needs.

Do you remember a certain set of sisters in Luke, chapter 10, that had to choose between busyness and rest?

Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha – “worried and bothered about so many things…”

Mary – “seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word…”

One chose work; one chose rest. And just one of those choices was the necessary one.

You see, there are times in our lives and in our days in which it is necessary to choose between what we think we should do and what we should actually be doing.

God in the flesh was sitting in her home – Martha should have chosen to sit with Him.

Worried and Bothered about So Many Things?

There are times to clean and cook and work, and there are times to rest, relax, and sleep. There are times to run errands, and there are times to say, “No, that can wait,” or, “That’s really not a necessity.” There are times to visit and attend gatherings, and there are times in which you should give yourself permission to stay home and focus on yourself and your family.

It’s ok to respond to all of those e-mails on Monday and enjoy your kids instead on the weekends. It’s ok to put the kids to bed 30 minutes earlier and take a long bath. It’s ok to let the dishes wait until morning, so you can turn in early.

Especially if you are under the weather right now, which so many of us are, self-care couldn’t be more important. How can you be your best you and enjoy this season if you continue to ruin your mind and body in the process?

Choose time with Him. Choose time for your family. Choose time to take care of YOU. The rest can wait and can be taken in stride.

Your family doesn’t need a perfect home. It needs your love.

Your friends don’t need lavish gifts and parties. They need your laughter.

The world doesn’t need a rundown mind and body walking around. It needs your smile.

And it’s hard to smile, laugh, and love well, when you’re deprived and just wishing for a long winter’s nap, right?

So, take care of you – your mind, body, and soul, and sit at His feet first and foremost this season. Handle the rest after you’re rested.

xo,

Kristi

care

Klover House Christmas:

Eight sleeps (counting last night, since I’m late posting this), until Christmas morning. If you are like me, can you do me a favor? Commit with me to go to bed early each night leading up to Christmas. My normal bedtime is 2AM. Seriously. It’s terrible. My husband’s bedtime is 10PM. Much more sane, right? So, this week, I am committing to my husband’s bedtime and no later than 11PM, if he stays up a little longer to watch a movie, etc. This is a very practical way that I can take care of myself this week.

What is a practical way that you can take care of yourself this week? Can you say “no” to extra plans and just rest a little more? Can you say “no” to extra errands, and just be ok with what you have already? Can you say “no” to scrubbing a floor and sit down with Jesus for 20 minutes instead?

Let’s take practical, intentional steps this week to make the choices that matter, that are necessary, and the ones that have results that “cannot be taken away” from us. Time spent cannot be taken away. Let’s spend that time well.

Lord, please touch those of us sick in body today. Father, I pray for my friends’ healing and peace this Christmas. May their homes become sanctuaries for themselves and their loved ones. May they feel Your presence there. God, we love you and we want your peace to reign in our homes. Be near to us today and always, Holy Spirit. Guide our hearts and minds to make the best choices today, tomorrow, and each day to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

Alive Again: An Honest Look at Healthy

Here comes Big Mama!

Big. Mama.

That’s the honest introduction I received from my five-year-old as I entered the pool.  I smiled, trying not to reveal that beneath my skin, my soul was crushed, mortified.  Big. Mama.  Not Pretty Mama, or Sweet Mama, or even just Mama.  Big Mama.

I know, you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal?  She’s five.  She might be talking about your height or that you are just a “big” person in her little eyes that view the world much larger than it is.”  And you may be right, but what you haven’t heard over the past five months are the other comments.  The “when is the next baby coming out of your belly, Mommy?”  “Is there a brother in there?”  “Why is your belly so big, Mom?”  “I think you need to exercise.”

Thank you, Sesame Street and preschool for teaching my daughter all about physical health, because what she is retaining, she is kindly sharing with her big-bellied-mama.

The four-year-old taps on my stomach incessantly like it’s homebase or a bass drum.  I don’t know which, but neither feels pleasant.  Their small hands hurt my tender tissues, and their innocent words hurt my bruised ego.

I know, child.  I know your mama is big.  Your mama doesn’t want to be.  

But you can’t tell your growing daughters that.  I mean you can talk about health and self-control and dedication to a positive lifestyle, but you can’t express what you are really struggling with.

I feel fat, honey.  I don’t know how your dad is attracted to this hot mess.  I feel strangers’ eyes on my stomach.  I can’t button my pants and it ticks me off.  

You can’t really say those things when you’re raising four beautiful, healthy, innocent daughters who haven’t been tainted by a negative self-image.  I will never introduce them to self-loathing.  I will fight that fight to the end.  

I got on the scale the next morning.  We have one of those fancy-schmancy ones… And it gave me an honest look at myself and my health.  I had gained just over six pounds in two weeks and was teetering back into my pregnancy weight high.  Yep, I was weighing as much as I did when I had a human inside of me (and all that comes with it)!

Again, you may be struggling with weight too and look at me thinking, “She has no idea what it really looks or feels like to be heavy. (smh)”  You may be right, but I am heavy for me, and I am trying my very best to raise four daughters in a home that aims for well-being, not a number on a scale, so, while I know that number doesn’t define me, I also know that the way I feel isn’t healthy.  I feel the sluggishness in my muscles…  I feel the heaviness in my legs when I walk…  I feel and see the extra rolls that I am trying to hide under my shirts…  It doesn’t feel good, and I refuse to settle for less than my best.  (And I refuse to buy a new wardrobe!)  If my best was this at just a month or two postpartum, then fine, but Miriam is six months old now, and I know that I can do better.  Truthfully, up until this point, I haven’t been doing anything at all.

I had let diastasis recti get into my head.  It put a fear in me.  “Don’t do that, you may make things worse.”  But after seeing that disheartening number on the scale that morning, I knew I had to do something, because not doing anything is what has made things feel worse.

The other night, I waited until the kids were in bed and sleeping.  I changed my clothes and donned my running shoes, which hadn’t even been worn since I mowed the lawn for my hubby a month ago!  I left our quiet house and started a brisk walk beneath a peaceful, pastel sky.  There wasn’t a whole lot of running, and I honestly felt like I was on the verge of shin-splints about ten steps in, but as I completed my first lap around our neighborhood (three makes a mile), cresting a small hill, I was even with the horizon and I felt it.

Alive.

I felt alive again.

All of this time, I have been staying indoors feeling sluggish and worthless and anxious…  This girl that used to ask for and receive gym memberships for her birthday.  I had tried an intense workout video at home during my second pregnancy and miscarried the following day, and it scarred me.  I never touched another form of exercise since.  I’m recognizing these unhealthy choices now.  I’m recognizing not just the physical issues, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual ones too.  I took that first lap and felt free for the first time in a long time.  The smell of fresh air, the healthy burn in the quads I thought were long gone…  It felt so good to feel again, to catch my breath again, to believe in myself again.

I will succeed, not because I need to, but because I want to.  I want to feel that way every day for the rest of my life.  I will be that little bitty (God-willing) still walking those laps around the flower bed when my hair is white, because it’s worth it.

I felt my spirit having a chance to connect with God.  I was able to pray for my neighbors as I ran past unfamiliar porches.  I added about sixteen projects to my “Honey-Do” list, because some of those folks have killer landscaping!  😉  This is what I was longing for, and I didn’t even realize it.

I left my cell phone on the bed and the music with it.  I kept glancing at my new “live hands free” bracelet from Rachel Macy Stafford, the wise and amazing Hands Free Mama, and I kept thinking, Yes!  This is living.  This is what it’s all about – getting back to life…to my health…the outside world…the sound of trees in the wind and birds and rocks crunching beneath my feet…  This is living…being my best self, so I can be the best wife and mother for them.  This is what I’ve been missing over the past five years…

live hands free

 

I went for my second run/jog/walk yesterday evening.  I have a long way to go in order to jog that mile without walking breaks, but I’m confident that I’ll get there.  I drove my girls around “Mommy’s exercise path” yesterday afternoon, and we talked about being healthy and working our bodies, so they are strong and useful.  My oldest shouted from behind, “Exercise is good, Mama.  I think your belly is getting smaller!”  Her words didn’t sting this time.  Even if my belly hadn’t changed a bit in three days, my heart has, and my mind has.  I am becoming a better version of me for me and for them.  I’m proud to be their “Big Mama”, and I’m proud that they will get to witness my healthy, prayerful, and patient transformation for themselves.

And so why am I sharing this with you?  Because I know I’m not alone.  I’m not alone in desiring change.  I’m not alone in diastasis recti.  I’m not alone in miscarriage.  I’m not alone in marital issues.  I’m not alone in low self-esteem.  I’m not alone in motherhood.  I’m not alone in fear.  I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed.  I know I’m not alone in eating well, yet never seeing the scale move.  I’m not alone in feeling alone!  I’m not alone.  Neither are you.  I’m here.  I’m struggling, but I’ve decided to step into the ring and fight back.  I’m done with the pity parties.  I’m ready to be accountable to my community of sisters here and see where this new path leads.  Let’s take our lives back, friends.  Are you on this life-changing journey with me?

xoxo

Follow my journey on IG @kristi_kloverhouse.  See you there, friend!

alive again

Standard disclaimer: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe in wholeheartedly.

Heavy Heart. Heavier Hands.

Hands.

I wish I could just get rid of you.

If I ignore you long enough, maybe you’ll just go away. *Backspace. Backspace. Delete. Hit the spacebar like I’m playing ‘whack-a-mole.’*

You stink, hands.

hands

You used to be my friends. You could curl around a softball and whip it from the fence to home plate in seconds flat. You could braid the finest hair and tie a ponytail before I even finished a sentence. Come on. What the heck is happening to you?! *Backspace. Delete. Delete.*

You are heavy.

You can’t bend right. Your fingers are weird. They snap and pop and curl. They’re lazy. They’re sleeping. They’re weird. You are numb. You fall on the keyboard like Frankenstein walking. You stomp the keys like each knuckle is weighted. You’re swollen. You are ugly. Your skin is cracked and dry, And it hurts to make a fist, because your skin doesn’t even fit you anymore. Squeezing you tightly is like trying to stretch a rubber glove around a basketball.

You stink, hands.

You stink.

If i just fight past it and pretend you’re not failing me, I think you’ll go away. you’ll stop this ickiness and wake up again. You have to wake up again. I have things to do.

I am tired of you. I don’t want to wedge you under my leg anymore, trying to lay you flat – trying to make you feel well again. I don’t want to stretch you out all day and night, hoping that this will be the last time before something miraculous happens.

You stink, hand. You just stink.

I think back to when I’d ‘hit the gym’. How you were simple tools in executing my agenda. You just did whatever I wanted – whatever I needed. You were mine, and you worked. You are no longer mine. You hate me and don’t work for me anymore. But maybe if I just pretend that you do, you will, and we’ll be a team again. I keep thinking that I’ll fix you. I’ll start running again. I’ll do push-ups and jumping jacks. I’ll pick up a paintbrush or ride a bike, and somehow all of that ‘normal’ stuff will pump a whole lot of ‘normal’ back into your veins.

I know I can’t just get rid of you, but I sure wish that I could. I know I can’t fix you, but I sure want to. As much as I can’t stand you, I could cry over you. I miss you. If you get better, then it’ll be a miracle, and you know what?

I believe in those.

I believe I will have my hands again.

Praying for all of you struggling with sjogrens/rheumatoid arthritis/autoimmune disease symptoms. They’re not normal. They’re not of God or from God, but their healing will be for His glory.

And these dysfunctional hands type, “Amen.”

video009 from Kristi D Klover House on Vimeo.
 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg