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Turns out I’m not perfect. Despite all my efforts, I still stumble and sometimes I even fall. Here is actual footage of me trying to figure out this whole working from home with a baby thing…

I’ve always been really great at time management. Back when my life had neat little categories, I worked 8 hours a day and in between those hours, I could do whatever I wanted. Owning a business is not like that at all. Add a newborn in there and yikes! It’s consuming. Every day is different which I love, but also I hate it. So while I’ve been trying to juggle everything, I pretty much dropped the ball labeled “Take Care of Lindsay”. The other day I had coffee for breakfast and lunch. Alone time and exercise are nearly nonexistent. Ya’ll, I own a gym and I’m lucky to get one workout a week. (Not counting all my nightly trips back and forth between our bedroom and Elora’s.)

Last fall when I was on maternity leave, I felt free. I got to be with Elora every day and spend time with Josh up at the gym in the afternoons. Even though I was still working the business, it felt like a vacation. It was a really great season of my life.

Now that I’m actually marking the “self-employed” box, it’s different. My expectations suddenly changed. I think I allowed myself to feel guilty that Josh was gone working all day. So I put all this pressure on myself to perform. I started basing my self-worth off of the number of tasks I completed in a day. (Which is unpredictable when you have a baby in your home office.) If I didn’t accomplish all the things, I felt like I was “less than”. But even if I did all the tasks, I didn’t feel great because I would just invent more things to do. Before Elora was born, I did so much work learning to be grateful, focus on the present, and breathe out anxiety. I was feeling the best I’ve ever felt. But during the last couple of months I accidentally forgot to do that and let myself fall into the rabbit hole of self doubt and worry.

It’s been bad. A lot of freak outs, crying, and heavy breathing. So since wine isn’t a great long term coping skill…

I decided I should really do something about how I’ve been feeling. First things first…

I’m terrible at this! I allowed guilt and pride to consume me. But that obviously wasn’t serving me very well. So I’ve started letting people help me with Elora. HUGE difference! Second, I’ve been working through my negative thought patterns. THANK GOODNESS for my friend and business coach who reminds me how to be a better me. In our conversation this week, she helped me realize that I am in overwhelm. I need to press Control, Alt, Delete and see how many processes I’m running in the background. (TOO MANY!) They all basically boil down to guilt, anxiety, and fear. =Waste of time! I need to go through and End Task on all those unnecessary processes.

One day, I’ll be sitting in an auditorium watching Elora graduate from high school. She’ll be radiant with all the possibilities her life holds. I’ll be so happy for her. But I’ll also be sad because it will mean that she won’t need me as much anymore. On that day, I can guarantee I won’t be thinking “gosh, I’m so glad I kept the house clean and filed all that paperwork back when Elora was a baby”. I won’t remember anything about the annoying day to day tasks of running a business and home. But I will definitely remember these moments.

Holding my sweet, precious angel and letting her snuggle me. Listening to her little breaths and soft sighs as she falls asleep. Inhaling the captivating scent that is unique to my little girl.

LOVE. That is all there is. It is the only process I need running. Everything else follows.

 

 

 

The testing of your faith

When Josh and I were newlyweds we didn’t have a whole lot of money. I mean, we had a home and plenty of food (as you can tell from pictures). But we sacrified quite a bit too. We shared a car and lived in a tiny duplex in a shady neighborhood. We didn’t run the heat our first winter together because it was too expensive so we just wore sweats and jackets and bundled up under a blanket on the couch in the evenings.

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We didn’t have cable television or internet for several months because we couldn’t afford it. I had to keep track of everything I put in our grocery basket and add it all up at the end to make sure we had enough money for it, otherwise, I’d have to put some things back. Our parents helped us a lot. We argued so much that first year struggling to figure out how to live together and share everything.

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It was a very frustrating time and one of the hardest years of our marriage. I was very depressed and hopeless. It wasn’t that I questioned my decision to marry Josh, I knew that was good. It was just so hard and we were so young. We didn’t have enough life experience to realize that it was just a season. A passing time.

I often look back at that period and thank God for where we are now. I never imagined we’d be so blessed. And now we are living through another tough season. A newborn and a new business is a lot of stress on a marriage.

Josh and I spent 14 years with just the two of us. And while work got in the way sometimes, we always found time to spend together. After the first few years of figuring out how to live together, we hardly fought at all. We were comfortable with each other and our life. Things ran smoothly.

Now, every extra cent, minute, and thought goes to running our gym. It seems we bicker every other day about some thing or another related to the business. We both feel tired all the time and a constant pressure to make this work. We’ve taken a huge risk and it is absolutely terrifying. It’s so easy to look at other business owners and be jealous or expect the same outcome. We live in a world of highlight reels without ever seeing the behind the scenes.

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My favorite time with Elora is first thing in the morning. She is so happy to be awake and she smiles a huge smile when I come into her room. I love playing with her and making her laugh while I get her dressed for the day. She gives me pure JOY!

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But sometimes I simultaneously  feel immense doubt. What if this gym totally fails and we lose everything? What if a decision we make causes her to have no home? What if she grows up and resents us forever for ruining her life? (you all know I can be dramatic) But still, it is enough to paralyze me with fear.

In those moments I wonder why on earth we chose this path. All the late nights and early mornings. The arguing and constant pressure. It seems there is always a decision to be discussed and finalized. Never enough money in the account. Always a lesson to be learned. Running a business with your spouse is a true test of love and faith.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, THIS IS THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF OUR LIVES. Just when we start doubting what we’re doing, we get heartfelt comments from our members who tell us what we are doing is good. They appreciate the time we give. They share their stories of success and growth. We see them meet their goals and beam with pride. THEY are the reason we do this.

So I think back to our first years of marriage and how hard they were. How we thought it would never be any different. But things did change. We did survive and became better because of it. So in those moments of doubt, I turn away from the fear that strives to pull me down. Focusing on the negative will only perpetuate negative. So I turn to the positive and focus on the things I’m grateful for, and there are many. This is only a season that we will one day look back on with the understanding that only comes from passing time.

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Sorry for being a jerk

Josh will probably agree when me when I say that I can be a butt sometimes. I think I’m pretty good at managing my emotions…most of the time. Now that we’ve been married so long, we rarely get in big fights because we’ve learned how to recognize each other’s triggers.

But lately I’ve been super overwhelmed with everything on my plate. So when Josh came home late from coaching at the gym the other night and said “what can I do?” instead of being sooo grateful for a husband that helps, I snapped at him like a jerk. He walked in and saw me furiously preparing for the next day like a madwoman. I still had so much left to do that evening and it was already past 7 so when he asked me how he could help I just clipped out “LAUNDRY, DINNER, DOGS!”

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Because he is such a good man, he did not get mad and yell back. That sweet man hugged me. Oh my…things could have gone so differently. I think life really is a lot like those books we used to read as kids where you could choose your own ending. To spend the evening yelling and arguing about who does more around the house go to page 93. To hug your wife and tell her you are there to help go to page 54.

Thank goodness Josh chose page 54.  He took care of it all, laundry, dinner, and the dogs. And I thanked him for helping me.

But later that night I was still just really irritated. I appreciated that Josh asked me what he could do but I was still angry that he didn’t just KNOW what to do. The dogs have to eat every night. Just feed them. The laundry is in the basket in the middle of the floor. Just put it away. It’s 7:30 and we haven’t eaten. Just fix something.

Which then got me wondering why I feel the need to thank him every time he does that stuff anyway. It’s just another thing on my never ending to-do list. Thank husband for helping around the house or he might not do it anymore.

But it’s his house too. Elora is his daughter too. It’s not all my responsibility. I don’t say thanks for brushing your teeth today, babe! He does it because it’s what you do. Just like the laundry.

All of this was going through my head when I sat down to nurse Elora before bed. I pulled out my phone and the first thing I see in my facebook newsfeed is this blog a friend shared called something like “why you should stop being an asshole wife”.

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Noted. I was totally being an asshole wife.

I cannot find that article anywhere now. I would love to share it because it was such a good read but I guess it was meant for just me, I don’t know. Our purpose on this planet is to love each other. And a really good way for me to do that is to tell Josh thank you when he does stuff regardless of what it is or how he did it.

So today is Josh’s 30th birthday. We’ve spent nearly half our lives together. When I’m not being an asshole wife, I am in complete awe of the man he has become. While I was searching the internet for that article, I came across a lot of weird things…I don’t recommend typing “asshole wife” into your browser…

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But most of the results were articles and forums about asshole husbands. I am so grateful that I am not searching the internet for advice on what to do about my jerk husband because I don’t have one. I do spend it trying to figure out how to get poop stains out of onesies, signs your baby is teething, and how to quit your Starbucks addiction, though.

Josh is up at 4:45 every morning to provide for us. He works hard all day to build the life we’ve imagined for ourselves. And when he finally gets home 14 hours later he still finds the energy to cook dinner and do the laundry. I have absolutely nothing to be upset about.

So, I’m sorry again, Josh, for being an asshole wife. But thank you for loving me anyway. Thank you for working hard, thank you for cooking, and thank you for killing all the bugs around our house. But most of all, thank you for being born so that we can share this life together.

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“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make — not just on your wedding day, but over and over again — and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.”-Barbara De Angelis 

Dream giver

So here I am again…transitioning to a new season of life. Years ago, I sort of fell into my career in higher education and I’ve truly loved my work. I learned so many skills and met a lot of amazing people. But I’ve dreamed of owning my own business for a very long time. When Josh and I started CrossFit Backward Arrow, I knew things were changing for us. We had no idea where this adventure was taking us but we knew it was the right path.

And now we’ve hit a fork in the road…

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This is how I envision it in my mind. One way is flat and at first glance, seems easier. But I have a strong feeling that way is muddy and I’m pretty sure my feet would drag and get stuck in the thick ground. I wouldn’t make much progress.

The other way is uphill and seems daunting. I can’t see what’s waiting on the other side and that’s unsettling.

Neither of these options is easy, they’re just hard in their own way.

So I’ve been staring at this fork for months now, trying to decide which way to go. As ya’ll know, I believe in intuition. I always ask God to guide me in my life decisions and He almost always answers me in various ways. But He’s been silent. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to hear. So I have been sitting and waiting. That is until last week when I got my answer.

I was trying to decide if I should keep my job at the university and run the business on the side (the flat path) or leave my job and go full time with the gym (the uphill path).

One night last week I was leaving the gym after a long and taxing day. I got in the car and sat there quietly praying for a few minutes and taking deep breaths trying to make the decision. Feeling frustrated, I just suddenly said out loud “God, I don’t know what you want. What is it you want me to do?” I sat there in silence for a few minutes before turning on the car. I almost never listen to the radio, but for some reason I felt compelled to turn it on to Airone.

Here is the song that played at that moment:

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

So there it was. My answer. Scary as it may be, it’s time to close the door.

When I left my job back in 2012 to move to St. Louis with Josh, I had no idea what was going to happen. We were moving there with no money, no jobs, no insurance, nothing. Just us and our clothes. Even though it made no sense and I was utterly terrified, I knew it was supposed to happen.  And guess what? The money came and we were taken care of. And when we got back to Texas, things fell into place again.

And here I am in almost the exact same position. Leaving the security of my full time job and trusting that it will all work out.

In the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson he tells the story of Ordinary who lives in a town called Familiar. Ordinary has a big dream but he has to leave his comfort zone to go after it. And he has to entrust his dream in the hands of the One who gave it to him.

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So even though it’s uncomfortable, I am prepared to leave the town of Familiar and climb the hill to my dream. And I don’t have to know what’s on the other side of the hill because The Dream Giver has this under control.

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Hard things

A couple of years ago, my sister and I were having lunch at a burger place with her kids. My nephew ordered a hot dog and tater tots. When the food came out the tots were steaming hot. So we tell him, buddy, those tots are pretty hot so you’re gonna want to blow on them before you eat them.

Because he is fearless, he says “I LOVE hot things!”

Ookaay…

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He spit the tot out…

Starting a business with Josh is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done. Marriage is hard. Having a baby is hard. Maintaining your marriage with a new baby and a new business is just excessive. But we started down this path and we’re too far in to go back now. Nothing worth having comes easy.

I do a lot of research and reading about resilience and grit. It’s what I plan to write my dissertation on. So I am a huge proponent of doing the hard things in life. Ironically, struggling through the hard in life is the underlying motto of our gym. I guess you could say that I LOVE hard things.

Until I’m doing the hard things. Then I’m ready to spit…

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Being a mom is simultaneously the absolute best thing and the absolute worst thing. It’s a constant state of conflicting emotion. I am head over heels in love. I never get anything done because all I want to do is sit and stare at this beautiful face.

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Yet I feel the heavy weight of the responsibility of caring for this child’s every need. She is with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I look at that sweet baby sleeping in my arms and I feel completely inadequate. She depends on us completely for everything. She trusts us to take care of her and provide all that she needs to be healthy and happy. And I am so grateful that we get to do that.

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But it’s overwhelming sometimes. When Josh does have a free moment to take her for me (in between feedings of course) I feel lighter, and somewhat relieved. And then instantly guilty for thinking of the beautiful soul God gave us as a weight jacket.

It’s like that feeling you get on a windy day at the pool. The sun is shining and you’re hot so you get in the water. But when you get out the wind blows over your skin and you’re cold. But the sun is still shining so you get that prickly feeling from the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze happening at the same time. Like having a fever.

Parenting is an emotional fever.

 

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No question

Pregnancy  is just another way that life is teaching me to keep calm and realize I’m not the one in control. No matter how much I told myself I wouldn’t spend the last weeks agonizing over when this baby would come, I can’t stop agonizing over when this baby will come.

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Our official due date is September 24th but we all know that babies do what they want. Which makes planning a little difficult.

Between work, school, and our gym, I’ve got a lot of things going on and it’s hard for me to just be ok not knowing when baby girl is going to make her arrival. So far, I’ve been focusing on not going down the worry road. When I feel overwhelmed, I stop, take a deep breath, and tell God that whatever He has planned is fine with me.

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But when I started having regular contractions this past Saturday I freaked. A month early is just a little too soon.

Labor class 101…I was probably just moving around too much or too hot. So I sat down in a chair and drank a bunch of water. The app on my phone was timing the contractions at about a minute each and only 3 minutes apart, which is kind of serious. After a little bit of this, the app told us it was time to have a baby and we should make our way to the hospital.
And I was like

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But I kept timing, because it was just too early. Surely this would go away. I was probably overreacting. But two hours later, contractions were not slowing and the app got a little more forceful

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So we called the on-call doctor, who just happened to be my doctor, and checked in at the hospital. One of the longest, most annoying days of my life ensued. Long story short, we finally got the contractions stopped and I went home that night. I’m on activity restrictions until I hit 37 weeks this weekend. After that, I have the choice to keep patiently waiting or push things along. But then my doctor is going to Haiti for a week.

So now that relaxed, ‘oh it will happen when it happens’ feeling is gone. Saturday was a total surprise and I’m a little sad that we had to stop the labor. Though, I’m grateful that Elora will stay and grow a little longer. My heart is so ready to hold this sweet baby, but my mind keeps worrying about the logistics of her arrival. What if my water breaks in the middle of class this weekend? What if she comes while my doctor is away? What if now she doesn’t come until the end of September?

It feels like when you’re waiting on news to come. Your mind is consumed with all the possible scenarios, good and bad. You over-analyze every little thing as a potential sign.

But it’s a waste of time. This baby is coming. It’s not like there’s a chance I won’t go into labor, it’s going to happen. I don’t know when, where, or how, but I do know that it will all be ok. So rather than spend these days fretting and pacing, I am trying to relax, spend time with Josh, and sleep as much as I can. Because worrying won’t make it happen any faster…or slower…

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Hands free

I was driving in my neighborhood a few weeks ago and passed by this front yard where I saw something that, at first glance, made me sad.

There was a man watering his front garden, the water hose in his left hand and his cell phone in his right. Which wasn’t that odd I guess, except that he was totally focused on his phone, not paying attention to anything else going on, including his little son riding his tricycle in the front yard.

Now, it took me probably 5 seconds to drive by this scene. I do not presume to say that this man was not watching his son, or is a bad father, or whatever other conclusions someone could jump to. I simply noticed it and it made me feel sad.

I guess it made me think about myself and my own struggle with trying to live a more hands-free life. I really dislike being attached to my phone. If I’m always sucked in to the screen, I’m not experiencing the life around me. At the same time, that screen connects me to so many people who I would otherwise lose touch with. So I’ve been working really hard to balance this in my life, even deleting my facebook account for a little while.

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But now that Josh and I own a business, I feel like I am CONSTANTLY on my phone. I’m checking our facebook engagement, or responding to messages from potential members, uploading a photo to instagram, talking to current members, or adding the next day’s workout to our website. There is no such thing as 9-5 when you own the joint.

These tasks are necessary for our business. But I do not want our daughter to grow up remembering me with my face down at my hands.

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I’ve got to find a way to deal with this. A really wise woman told me to think of life as a bunch of plates we have to balance. When I try to worry about all the plates at once it’s too much. I have to take it one plate at a time. And remember that not all the plates are of the same importance.

This is a daily battle for me. I feel like I have to be everything to everyone all the time. But I don’t. I just don’t. It’s ok to do it one plate at a time.

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Slowing down

I like to be the one in control. I like keeping the house clean, the laundry folded, the bills paid, and the dinner on the table. I’m good at it and I’m happy to do these things for Josh so he can spend time doing what he loves.

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But this year has been hard. When I first started my doctorate back in 2014, I asked Josh to help me with some things. I warned him that he might need to take over some of my usual chores every once in a while. But instead of allowing him to help me, I just figured out a way to handle it all.

And then when we started our business, I still figured out a way to handle it all.

It’s not because he isn’t willing, he definitely is. It’s because I feel guilty any time I have to ask him to do something for me. I’ve been slowly working on this but pregnancy is hurrying the process along.

I haven’t allowed myself to slow down at all. And since I always push past my limits (that’s why I’m a good distance runner) my body has been forced to step up and take over. Growing a baby is making me tired. I hurt and I can’t seem to find the energy to do anything that isn’t necessary.

So while Josh was coaching the late class at our gym the other night, I was supposed to be at home taking care of the dogs and cooking dinner. Instead, this is the text I sent him:

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Josh came home to find me, pants-less on the couch, doing my best to keep my eyes open. And because he is a good man, he cooked me a burger.

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It was delicious. It always tastes so much better when someone else cooks it.

Pregnancy has slowed me down a lot. We’ve both had to adjust to this new level I’m on. It reminds me of that Oregon Trail game that we used to play in computer class back in elementary school.

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I’m not sure how to operate on anything other than a grueling pace. But I am figuring it out.

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I’m being forced to evaluate what’s important. I’m learning to let go. It’s ok if the guest bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in 3 months. It’s ok if I can’t remember the last time I mopped the floor. It’s ok if I have to ask for help. The fact that there is giant spider village living in the corner of my dining room is minor in the bigger picture of this life. And I am no less of a person because of it.

“Do not be a harsh judge of yourself, without kindness toward ourselves, we cannot love the world.”-Buddha

Love potion #9

We have a home video of me at about age 4 or 5 using a little toy microphone to sing Love Potion #9, one of my favorite songs that my dad used to sing to me. I had no idea what it was about and I barely understood the lyrics but I sang my heart out anyway.

I’ve been thinking about that song this week because of how good I’ve been feeling. Ya’ll know I love running, it’s the whole reason I started this blog way back when. And I’ve had my ups and downs with it. Recently, I’ve been down because of all the SI pain I’ve had with this pregnancy. After about week 10, my few attempts at running looked something like this

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and didn’t last very long. It just wasn’t working.

But something weird happened…the pain disappeared a few weeks ago. Since I’d been feeling better, I was out walking and decided I’d take a few quick steps just to see how my back felt. When it didn’t hurt at all I just kept going and I’ve been doing 2 walk/jogs a week ever since.

I feel awesome! So much more energy throughout the day and better self esteem overall. I even lost 2 pounds which put me back in the healthy weight gain window.

But where I’ve noticed the most improvement is my mood. Especially on the days I run. Things that normally annoy me aren’t so bad. A jaywalker is just a friendly pedestrian. A long red light is just time for me to sing along to the music. And I am overly sweet to everyone I come in contact with. It’s like I’ve taken a love potion.

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I guess it’s just that famous runner’s high. But I’m pretty sure running doesn’t have the same effect on everyone…

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So maybe we each have our own love potion number…

“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”-Wayne Dyer