July 21, 2012

Be You, Bravely

I really like the direction that this blog has taken in the past month.

I feel as though focusing on small and large blessings made my blog a more pleasant place to visit and a more positive writing space for me.  

I picked the above picture because I feel as though I am trying to be authentic but at the same time I am looking- seeking- to find more good than not good.  I think looking for good things in my life is an act of bravery, even though it may be subtle and the only person it really impacts is myself.  I continue to struggle with feelings of being enough but the more I focus on good things the more I feel as though there is something more genuine in me that is rising to the surface.  

Today I am grateful for sleeping late, push-ups, red lipstick, sharing secrets, double dates with friends, ladies that give me advice when I ask and hug me when I do not, singing at church, whispered prayers, and light bulbs in the kitchen that work.

July 19, 2012

A Public Plea

CrossFit is awesome.  No surprise that I love it.  They love to take pictures there to document different athletes' progress.  Now, for some reason I seem to be struggling to get a good picture of myself.  Charlie, Pop Tart, Hercules... they all get great pictures, but me?  No.  And no, this is not just negative self-talk.  I decided to show some proof and make a public plea to get some better pictures of myself.

The below pictures were all taken on the same day, from the same WOD.  I do not fault the photographer because other people at CF take pictures of me and they also turn out poorly.

Check out this awesome picture of Hercules. Noticed his look of determination and the blurred foreground.  Really, it's kind of artful.

This is a great picture of Pop Tart.  She has good form, her face looks focused.  Great picture.  I'm in the background, probably contemplating exactly how many days it is until the next Step Up movie, waiting to work in because Pop Tart and I lift similar weights.  That's only 115 pounds by the way.

Now here's a picture of me:

Man, do I look angry.  Strong, determined, but also angry.  I also look mean.  Here's the next picture:

Eyes closed and less-than awesome form.

But the next picture.... it is my personal favorite, really, it is awesome.  B loves it too.

All butt.  All the time.

The worst part?  All of these pictures are online.  

So this is my public plea for better pictures!  Make me look powerful.  Make me look strong.  Make me look kick-ass.  But(t) also please make me look awesome!  Let's start a campaign.  Make t-shirts, banners, signs, etc., whatever it takes to get some better picture of me.

July 18, 2012

Positive and awesome things happening lately...

I am trying to actively look for things that delight me and here's a short list of what tickles my fancy lately....

  • B's beard.  Really, I cannot get enough.  I didn't know how much I liked it until I started dating someone with one.
  • Fun.'s new album.  It's poppy and happy and I like to dance around the living room while I listen to it.
  • My prayer life is much better lately.  It's gotten painfully specific and feel like I'm progressing towards something more genuine.
  • Hair tutorials on pinterest.  My hair has never looked so good since I've discovered sock buns and the gibson tuck.
  • My sister's having a baby boy and that's exciting.
  • School starts soon and I'm ready to get back to work.
  • Physical therapy is really helping my foot to feel better.  I cannot wait for running season.

July 15, 2012

I am enough.

Sometimes it is really hard for me to believe that I am enough.  That I, Elizabeth, can and will be enough. 

It's a challenge because the humanity (sin?) in us wants us to see ourselves as constantly lacking, as never truly deserving of love, trust, connection, respect, or truth.  It seems to be an incessant battle that I face and I know that I am not alone, that most people struggle with self-doubt or fear of rejection; fear of vulnerability and the ridicule of others.

This weeken I met B's parents, members of his family, and some of his coworkers.  Parts of it were stressful because I made it so.  I worried that I wouldn't be enough.  Somewhere around Thursday I was able, through lots of prayer and the encouragement of a stronger friend than myself, to let most of this go because I realized there wasn't anything I could do.

I am who I am.

I worried his parents or friends would see something in me that B had overlooked and point at the cracks or the flaws.  What would happen then?

But you know what?  Nothing happened.  Not because they didn't see something I was trying to hide... they may have, I don't think I care that much.  I decided that if they saw something B wasn't yet aware of then it was better he see them now. 

What a freeing feeling.  Really, I just had to let it go because there was nothing I could do about it. 

I am who I am. 

And I want to be known.  I want to be seen.  I want to let myself be vulnerable and take the risks that need to be taken so that I can search out happiness and joy for myself. 

I am who I am and I am enough. 

July 12, 2012

One mile fun run.

Sometimes at races they have what is called a 'one mile fun run.'  It's meant to attract people who may not think they are able to run 6.2 miles or for families who want to do something athletic with their kids.  I've never done one because I didn't think it was for me.

This morning I went back to physical therapy.  If you've ever been to PT you can relate that it is hard.  Really hard.  And painful too.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to be someone with a long-term PT plan, mine is only for a few weeks.  Today the therapist 'massaged' my leg (I'm pretty sure that I'll be bruised from it in the morning), taped up my foot, and put in some inserts.  She wanted me to run one mile just to see how it compared to some running I did earlier in the week. 

I waited until it was dark.  I used to love to run in the dark because of the anonymity but as I got older I felt more inhibited and vulnerable at night.  I just did one mile.  No Garmin.  No watch.  Just my iPod and shoes.  It immediately felt good.  In fact, it felt great.  My foot loosened up after about a quarter of a mile and I did some fartleks (speed work/sprints).  I felt like I was flying.  I picked my feet up high, pumped my arms and ran just because I could. 

It was awesome.  I'm so grateful for this amazing, strong, fast, powerful, beautiful body.  It can do incredible things.  Sometimes I get frustrated because it doesn't look like the way I think it should on any given day, but most days I realize that the feats I can accomplish are ot average but they are wonderful.

I am wonderful.

July 11, 2012

Pushing past the wall

Distance runners have a phrase for a point in any race where you just don't have anything left.  Your glycogen stores are depleted, your joints and muscles ache, and you're only a breath from falling over onto the path.  Runners call this the wall.  Your body is done and you just have to will it to go forward or quit. 

Today I hit the wall at CrossFit.  The WOD was hard and it was a partner WOD meaning that someone else was depending on me to hold up my end of the work.  I was feeling that panicky sensation I get when I can't control my breathing or my heart rate and I feel really, really close to crying.  But I was feeling all of that while I carried 55 lbs on my back and did lunges.

But I made it.  I made it mostly because Nizar was waiting on me to do my work and because Jon was yelling at me.  Somewhere I dug it out the power to do as much as I could.  This work out was really hard- it wasn't like Nizar was just sitting there waiting for me, he was struggling too. 

We are capable of more than we think and it's a mental issue over anything physical.  I am stronger than I thought.  I don't know if year-ago me would recognize present-day me.  I know that I've come a long way and it's scary how much a person can progress in one year. 

So today's positivity thought it about change and finding something strong within myself, something that I saw in today's WOD but I know it's more than that.  The fact that I even looked within myself says a lot about where I am now. 

It's awesome.

July 10, 2012

She-Ra, Princess of Power

At CrossFit everyone gets a nickname.  Mine is She-Ra, Princess of Power.  A guy named Geoff gave it to me one night because he and I constantly traded 80s related quips.  I also like to think it has to do with the fact that during the school year, after teaching night classes, I would do the WOD in lipstick.  Something about the juxtaposition of a fully-made lady backsquating, box jumping, and doing push-ups really made the 'Princess of Power' nickname stick. 

She-Ra, she's awesome.  She was He-Man's twin sister and rode around on a unicorn-pegasus creature named Swift Wind.  Swift Wind also talks.  I love her.  Her and Rainbow Brite are the two cartoon characters I remember best from my childhood. 

Firstly, I am thinking I will consider dressing as her for Halloween. 

Secondly, I think this may be the best nickname I've ever been given.

July 9, 2012

Little bits of positive

There are a lot of little things going on here lately.  This week will be weird in that my schedule is being changed because of some appointments with a physical therapist (a running related injury).  But I did want to take some time to write down the smaller things that I've seen and really enjoyed.

  • My cat, Simon, is systematically carrying a complete set of eight coasters from my living room to my bedroom.  He may be plotting to kill me....
  • There's a wedding this Saturday and I'm looking forward to it.
  • CrossFit games start this weekend and the crew is getting together at the box to watch them this Sunday.
  • Sunday afternoon yoga classes really make me feel happy.
  • I'm pretty sure I'm going to get crafty between now and Saturday.
  • In the summertime things are just slower down South... and I love that.
  • Paleo is more enjoyable when I include dark chocolate and do not take it too seriously.
  • I can deadlift 200 lbs and back squat 185.  That's pretty awesome.
There's a lot of great things happening right.

July 8, 2012

Feeling almost like at home

This morning I got to church and discovered that most of my Sunday school class was sitting together.  I think this was all accidental and organic but I really needed it.  I'm a single person and I don't have any family at the church I attend in Tallahassee.  Worshipping in Tallahassee is a very different experience then what I wrote about last week where this one place feels like my whole past.  At the church I attend in Tallahassee I often sit by myself.  I sit near or around the same place every week and people always ask me the vague question of how I'm doing and often they ask if I'll graduate soon (no, I won't). 

But this morning I had a place to sit.  A place that I made my own with a group of people who, even though I'm not close with them, made me feel as close to belonging as possible.  They knew my name and visited with me. 

It meant so much to me that I actually went back tonight for evening worship services, or what I call 'round two.'  I hadn't been to evening services in ages.  For months I'd been going to small group Bible study but that's on hiatus for the summer.  Before that I went to Sunday night yoga classes which I believed were as edifying as evening service (they were then, but I don't think I'd find them that way now).  The evening service was 90% singing and I really needed that.  I told the minister, half-jokingly, that if every evening service was singing I would never, ever miss. 

I've been praying a lot lately for a more personal relationship with God and been asking a lot if God actually knew me, if he knew what I was doing and if he thought about me.  If he cared in the very intimate details of my life, not just the love and the salvation and the heaven, which are all grace-filled gifts, but I wanted to know if he actually knew what I was doing on any given day.  And what's more, I wanted to know if it mattered to him, if I mattered to him a daily basis. 

Today I felt like some parts of those questions were answered.  In the yoga studio there is a quote about how the spring bud blooms in stages, how it unfolds in its exact moment and not a moment before.  And it doesn't just burst open, it opens with purpose and timing.  Today I felt like some of my own petals were being opened, even if it was just a little bit.

I'm grateful for that.

July 7, 2012

Catch-up post

What day are we on now?  11, 12, 13, 14?  So I'm behind on my posts but that's only because I've been having such a good time this week. 

On the fourth a bunch of us from CF Tally got together at the box and celebrated with beer and WODs.  We grilled elk burgers and there was plenty of great food.  We blew up a lot of stuff in the back and eventually watched the fireworks at Tom Brown Park.  Really, I can't remember the last time I had that much fun on the fourth of July. 

On Thursday Brandon and I went to see Tab Benoit, a blues musician, at a venue here in town.  Neither of us knew anything about him before we went to the show but we both enjoyed it.  Benoit is from Louisiana and kind of had this whole 'Creole I eat crawfish for breakfast and I'm extra awesome and you will dance to my sultry music' kind of vibe. 

Friday night really deserves it own post.  Let's just say that I'm being treated very well.

So, all of this kind of comes down to a post about fun and friends.  Spending time with people you care about, people who make you laugh, people you want to be around, well those things are renewing.  They're not just a breath of fresh air, they're like dunking yourself in a cool mountain stream: a jolt to the soul.

I'm grateful for this week.

July 4, 2012

Day 10

Yesterday I drove up to a part of southwest Georgia to spend some time with B.  I hadn't seen him for more than a week because of a commitment he had.  The plan was that I would cook dinner for us (macaroni and cheese and it was incredible) and then we would see a movie.  It was a great date and we both had a lot of fun.  But one of the things I was most excited about, because I'm sentimental, is that I made a point to show him this tiny little ol' blog of mine.

You see, he has his own blog which I found very early on when we first started to date.  I found it and read it without his permission, not that he minded.  It was a blog, online for everyone to see. 

Just like mine is supposed to be.

Well, I was reading his blog and there were little bits and pieces of stuff that I didn't know or hadn't heard about- yet.  Nothing big, all average stuff.  But part of me felt left out and that hurt my feelings.  Then I had a bit of an epiphany: what if I was letting B feel left out and hurt too, but my decision was purposeful because I had excluded him from the blog.

Well, I hated that he might be feeling as hurt as I was (turns out he wasn't) and that had to stop.

So yesterday while I was cooking dinner I gave him the link and let him read until he fell asleep to his heart's content.

Turns out it was no big deal.  Also, now I don't feel like I'm being secretive.

So yesterday's positivity post is that now the blog really is truly and purposefully public.  I'm grateful  for that, it needed to happen, and I feel a bit silly for postponing it.

July 2, 2012

Days 8 and 9, University City coC

After yoga class on Saturday I packed my car with all my dirty clothes, my adorable dog, and headed home.  I hadn't been home since before my pilgramage up north and really missed my parents.

The home my parents live in now is not the home(s) I grew up in as a child.  It feels like home because my parents are there but one of the most significant reasons it feels like home is because I get to go to what I consider my home church- University City church of Christ

There is something like going to your home church that is very restorative.  I feel like I did my more of my 'growing in the spirit' at University City than anywhere else.  I love it not because the sermons are great (they are) or the singing is amazing (sometimes it is, sometimes it's just average).  I go because somewhere inside University City is my history. 

My parents met at UC, got married there, I was brought there as a child.  Those people there know me.  They knew me as Betsy Dean, most of the older men and women still call me that.  They know me as an adult.  They went to my sister's wedding, my grandfather was baptized there.  It's probably the place that knows me best.  Those people have seen me at my weakest moments, they care for me, they love me.  They have known me through all of my life there is something about that intimacy that makes going back there renewing to my spirit. 

If there is a place where my history lives, where it lives that is beyond my parents' hearts, it is inside University City church of Christ.