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The Year I Chose "Healthy"

Well, it looks like my grand plans to blog regularly this year failed miserably. (Happy, September, everyone! Eesh!)

I suppose, though, that 2020 has been the year of unfulfilled plans, so maybe it's fitting.

When I chose "Healthy" as my word for the year, I had no idea of the irony of my choice. But who could have guessed what sort of year 2020 would be? A year of a global pandemic that shut down our entire country. Countless events, trips, and vacations cancelled. A year of protests, riots, and political and racial tensions. Fires throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.

So, in the middle of all the crazy, how has my focus on health been this year?

Like everything else in 2020, a bit of a mixed bag. ;)

After my initial emotional eating through the first month or so of the pandemic, I started following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan and have found it to be a great fit for my lifestyle. It's also been easy to incorporate that healthy eating in the meals I make for the family. And like many of us, I have much more time at home for cooking.

I still have the occasional week-long slips into fast food hamburgers or bowls of sugary cereal, but my general trajectory is headed in the right direction. ;)

Exercise, however, took a backseat in June when I started experiencing a lot of pain in my left heel. The doctor I visited suspected I might have tendonitis and referred me to a podiatrist. I'm finally scheduling that appointment this week. Since I've had to be careful not to overdo my foot, exercise has been a challenge.

Translation: almost nonexistent.

That's something I hope to change in the next few months, especially once I understand what's going on with my foot and how I need to work around it.

I've grown a lot spiritually this year, but not for the reasons I'd imagined. My two older girls have been struggling with deep questions about faith, God, and the Bible, and how all of that relates to the unrest and other things we see happening around our world right now. I've come to the realization that many of the things I believe about theology, I believe because they were what I was always taught, or because of traditions in my church, not because I personally searched the Scriptures and believed them for myself. I didn't question most things. If our pastor taught it, it must be right.

Funny thing, that's not a good enough answer for my girls. ;)

It's been a humbling and stretching experience to admit that to myself and them, and also a reminder of how much I need Jesus.

For most of my life, I've been a follower, looking around for someone I could agree with %100 and just going along with whatever they said or believed, either spiritually or politically. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task, and it would cause me a lot of unnecessary stress when I discovered people I admired believed something I couldn't agree with. Or worse, when two people I loved couldn't agree with each other. I've found such freedom this year in allowing myself to believe what I believe from doing my own research. Allowing myself to see two sides to an issue, to agree with some of what one person is saying and some of what another person is saying and reaching my own conclusions, always falling back on the foundation of God's Word. I know that's just common sense for most people, but as a life-long people-pleaser who hates confrontations and fears the negative opinions of others above almost anything else, it's been a real journey for me.

I was always afraid to share my faith growing up because I was worried I wouldn't know the answer to something. Well, God's been working on that heart issue, too, because over the past few months I think the thing I've said to my girls the most is, "You know what? I don't know the answer to that, but I'll look into it and get back to you."

And guess what? I've survived! ;)

I think one of the most important things we can do for our teens is to admit when we don't have the answers. But rather than stopping there, to pursue the answers for ourselves, present the evidence, and then allow our teens the space to come to their own conclusions. Which is terrifying, but, I believe, necessary for their growth.

And, as you can imagine, this season of intense questioning has led to me spending more time reading and studying the Bible. Still not as much as I would like to be, but I'm giving myself grace and taking one day at a time.

My idea to work on my "electronic health" has been a bit of a challenge in a time when most of our contact has been online. ;) I've definitely had weeks of Netflix binges or Instagram rabbit trails. But I'm also making strides to put limits to my time online, and have backed down from some commitments in order to spend more time with my girls and Hubby.

My book is still in the WIP stage. I'm enjoying letting it simmer and stew, though. I've also had the privilege of reading chapters out loud to my girls and getting their feedback. They're the best beta reader team ever, and they'll be completely honest when something isn't working in the story.

Note: do not hire teens and preteens to be your test audience if you don't have a thick skin. ;)

And although I missed out on going to Mount Hermon this year, the unique circumstances of the pandemic have led to several incredible online conference opportunities for me. I feel like I've grown as a writer and learned so much this year.

As for the rest of the stuff I was going to tackle in 2020, our finances are better overall, but I still need to work on my impulse spending. And we STILL don't have kitchen cabinet doors, but that should change in the next month or so!

So, moving forward into the remainder of this crazy, complex year, I want to choose joy.

I want to continue to ask God for the grace to seek a healthy lifestyle in all areas of my life.

I want to find the little things every day to be thankful for.

To give grace to others, even when they don't deserve it. That's what God did for me, after all.

To allow myself and others to have days where we just need to mourn.

To be a light in a dark, hurting world.

Really, to live the life I've always been called to live, whether we're in the middle of a pandemic, political unrest, or a beautiful Utopian society.

And maybe, just maybe, come out of this year stronger and wiser than I was before it began.

Oh, and perhaps get a few more blog posts out into the blogosphere while I'm at it. ;)

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