More Than Meets the Eye…

While this is a prompt from a travel blog site I am going to use it more as a journaling session. This one speaks to my heart in many ways. I didn’t date in high school, I had a few guys ask nonchalantly but I made myself VERY unavailable. Swimming was the priority and why would you even bother dating in high school, it rarely works anyway said my overly rational brain. My dating life and ebb’d and flowed through college, but in one moment right after I graduated my mom said something that struck me and I’ve taken with me all these years, “You intimidate guys”. I felt hopeless in the moment, but she was right. My rigidity kept me in a lock step pattern with the scheduled task list of the every day. When I set my mind to something I went after it with 120%, I wanted a career, to still be an athlete, to serve and live with my church and in my city. In essence I wanted it all, but.

Inside was this scared girl, this girl that carried so much so she didn’t miss it. One who hid a lot of days behind the vibe of not caring about what anyone did or said. There were so many layers, and she couldn’t go one below the skin.

If you’ve been reading for awhile you know how this turned out. This rigid girls who boasted a tough exterior has slowly dropped her guard, not completely but in enough moments for people to be welcomed in. This independence thing we are so proud of in this country isn’t always what meets the eye. People are not only skin deep.

Complete and Utter Chaos

*Another prompt from my friends at Pink Pangea

We closed the curtains of the van as we drove deeper into the city. The roads went in every direction, how one could possibly navigate it all I did not know. Our driver made one thing clear: keep the windows closed if you can and keep purses and valuables out of arm’s reach. We had been in a rural part of the country for the past week, and on those quiet dirt roads it became serene; the kids laughing and playing as we went, the women outside their small strip of stores, the men back and forth in their daily routines. You could see the heaviness of drought, but you could also see the beauty of hope across their sun-kissed cheeks. There are friendships that have lasted beyond distance, beyond communication barriers, beyond pandemic. Here, though, in the city the hustle of the everyday grew as we went, the weary of trying to get ahead in a barely treading economy was evident.

We pulled up to a market, where you were supposed to barter for the intricately made goods. But how could I? These people very well knew they could take advantage of the young, blonde white girl, but why wouldn’t I give them what they were asking? We spent a couple hours browsing in what seemed to be an escape from the hundreds of people along each street and the drivers honking just to move an inch. And then we got to leave. We got to head out from the masses of people just trying to survive, and towards our comfortability of the everyday.

I sat on the plane a few hours later, the scenes like a constant loop of a song in my head. You can’t unsee moments like that, but you can lean in and believe for better. Right now Uganda stays in crisis as their governmental stability has faltered through recent elections, not unlike our own situation here. It’s just another reminder we aren’t that different, and loving people well regardless will always win. It’s been a long five years away from my friends turned family that have seen an amass of hard times, but I’m believing near and far the best is yet to come.

Without a Care in the World…

There is an excellent travel blog site called Pink Pangea; they give writing prompts and I wanted to share a little bit of my heart onto these blog pages.

I see his tiny blue eyes gazing at something other than the toys on his play mat or the neighbors dog for the first time. He’s trying to focus on everything, while grasping onto that one thing at the same time. The colors are more vivid, the space so much bigger than what he had in his first year of life. It’s hard to believe we are actually here, having first visited this spot in 2006 I was 16 and mesmerized, the colors, the vastness, the never-ending canyon where people gazed down from above and up from below. The river rushes between the giant pillars of rock extending beyond the horizon. I’m hoping he gets a hint of just how majestic this scene is, latching onto the trees lining the rim, the colors marking their way in layers down the rocks and the crashing of water against the rocks they are oh so familiar with. Hearing people laughing close by and the journey that got us here, one we couldn’t have fathomed a year ago. But we are here breathing it all in, the beauty, together. Cheers to your first National park little man, and here’s to a lifetime of adventure near and far.

Jordan

Fueling for the New Year and Beyond

I found myself typing this out in the last few hours of 2020, the week had been a whirlwind. For all the hard moments of the past year there have also been the best, as a new mom of a now 9 month old and learning how to navigate this sweeter yet harder version of life. Now we are here at the beginning of 2021 and things seem different, but they don’t, you know what I mean? We see hope, but there is hesitancy. We have dreams, alongside drinking a nice long sip of reality. One of my favorite parts of entering a new year is resolutions, as in I don’t take myself too seriously but I love chasing a new goal or setting a number of books I hope to read, if it doesn’t happen I am not crushed but it is a fun way to track through the year. I also love the wellness arena (you probably already guessed that) and so this year I thought one of those goals could be to simply focus a few more of my blogs in that space, maybe just maybe. So here’s a little intro into what could focus more specifically on through the next 365 days.

Food. More specifically: breakfast.

Maybe I should put a trigger warning right there. We are just coming out of the holiday season when, for people of all shapes and sizes and wellness, we think about food just a little extra. For me, someone who has dealt with eating disorders (you can go back and read a little bit of my journey with Over-exercise and Orthorexia in previous blog posts), it already makes you feel the slightest tinge of discomfort. That’s okay. If you can keep reading I hope this encourages you, if you aren’t there yet let me say this: just keep doing the work. Surrender to the Lord, find a nutritionist and therapist, have a great support team around you. You are beautiful, made intricately unique and perfectly you, keep going.

So here we are in a new year, some people are creating both inwardly and outwardly goals towards health and some are just trying to get back “on track” from the reality of the holiday season and the copious amounts of sugar available to us. Let’s think about this though: maybe we all do need a reset? I am a firm believer of taking periodic accounts of the present and taking moments to reset. Absolutely not in an exercise 5 hours a day and restrict calories or food groups kind of way, that is never going to be the answer, but if you need to lose or gain weight there is more than just a calorie surplus or deficit, and for people that just want to detox it’s more than just two days of vegetable juice. So how can we all take a moment to reset and keep in normal rhythms?

So this brings us to breakfast! It’s the way we start the day, it’s the way we give our body the energy and nutrition to live life on purpose, and it helps kick start our metabolism to keep our bodily systems healthy. I could break out each of those three into separate blog posts, but that’s for another day (if you do want specific coaching I am a certified nutrition coach so feel free to reach out via my contact form). Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring if you want to healthy, but sometimes it does need to be quick. For many of you it is probably a combination of both. So here are three suggestions for ways to fuel your day, that are not only healthy but compatible to whatever lifestyle you have!

  1. Grab a cookbook and challenge yourself to create a new breakfast once a week or once a month.
  • The Runners Kitchen by Emma Coburn – this was just released at the end of 2020. Emma is a professional runner in Colorado who has long done food stories and posts on the side. She has come up with some healthy and colorful dishes!
  • Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan – this cookbook was the sequel to their first Run Fast. Eat Slow. these recipes are all delicious full of Whole Foods that can fit any nutrition plan. They are flexible not overly time consuming and well-balanced.
  • Search the Internet for what you might be looking for specifically. Remember a consistent effort to include all food groups with whole foods is what you are aiming for.

2. You can never go wrong with the basics. Here is a general look at what a well rounded plate has to offer:

  • A carbohydrate – whether it’s a piece of whole grain toast w/ your favorite jam, half a bagel w/ a nut butter, or granola for a nutritious yogurt parfait your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Don’t leave these guys out!
  • A protein – breakfast has so many options here but eggs are probably the fan favorite! Try an egg scramble and throw in a few veggies (spinach, pepper, etc) for an extra kick of nutrition – OR – a healthy serving of greek yogurt added to the granola above. If you want to skip the hearty bacon, turkey bacon, chicken sausage or Canadian bacon are all other ways to get some protein into your morning. Vegan/Vegetarian? Chickpeas, quinoa, and chia are all great sources of protein.
  • Fruits – fruits aren’t always what they appear. Try to make sure you have different fruit options around the house. While we love bananas, snacking on them throughout the day isn’t a great idea so we keep some berries on hand as well. Add them to your parfait, slice up a banana for your nut butter toast, or just make a quick fruit mix in a bowl.

3. Some healthy grab and go options!

  • Rx AM Oats – I’ve always been a big oatmeal fan and RxBar has long been a staple for training because of their dense bars with whole ingredients. The Oats are no different, they give you protein, healthy fats, and a nice portion of carbohydrates all with clean ingredients to jump start your day! Chocolate and Maple are my favorite flavors but you can pick from four. Just add the suggested amount of hot water, let it sit for 2 minutes and you are on our way.
  • Premake some breakfast muffins – while I don’t recommend an extra large double chocolate muffin to start your every day, popping some muffins that have a great mix of clean carbs, fruits, and even some hidden vegetables are great way to get you out the door. Try this recipe.
  • Here is another idea that takes a little bit of prep but allows you to quickly get out the door in the morning. Egg muffins are higher in protein and low in carbs so be careful to make this your sole breakfast depending on your own health goals. You can pretty much add whatever ingredients you please, but they are best with some bacon or sausage, cheese, and chopped veggies.

So welcome to 2021, welcome to fresh starts. I hope this helps you wake up well in the morning and get an energizing start to your day! If you have any other ideas or thoughts on the suggestions above I’d love to hear them in the comments 🙂

Jordan

9 Months Postpartum

At the end of pregnancy and the beginning of Elijah’s life I can honestly say I couldn’t envision the day he had been alive longer than I was pregnant. Yet, here we are, just a few days shy of him being 9 months old. Ever since I was little there were some moments in life I could + wanted to envision, and some that just seemed blurry (even though God usually changes even our best laid plans + dreams), but I’m learning to love stepping into the unknown to find what lies ahead. Now, the following might be a little detailed for some and if that’s you, no hard feelings if you stop after this next sentence. Moments can be simple and moments can be hard and a lot of times it’s a combo that makes something beautiful. This is true whether you are 8 or 80, and remembering the faithfulness of God in your life makes the hills and valley so worth it.

Right now this is where I, we are at. We made it 8 months of breastfeeding, and I still have a supply of frozen milk he gets supplemented with a couple times a week, and I am so grateful for that season. My original goal was 6 months, and then he wasn’t ready and honestly neither was I. Then, we crossed the 7.5 month mark and as simply as I am typing it he decided it was time and so did my body. It felt worn out and in every milestone thus far he has firmly told me when he was ready, it’s so reassuring to me as a mom. It’s also reassuring to me as a person, when we talk about God’s faithfulness so much and a lot of times choices and viewpoints are clear as mud, so when you do get the opportunity to have 100% clarity – TAKE IT.

So, has there been mom guilt for stopping? Absolutely. There are so many voices in my ear that tell me I should have / could have gone longer, my body would have adapted. It’s a struggle when I let those opinions have too much weight, and then I look at that thriving boy and the way I am able to show up for him so much better than I was the last few weeks of nursing and it’s a God-whisper it was all in His timing and His plan. Can anyone relate, in general life?

Now a few days shy of 9 months this little boy is doing everything. Talking NONSTOP, so playful, curious, now has 3.5 teeth (all on the bottom), and thinks he can stand/walk without falling. It makes the helmet that much more of a safety net. And speaking of the helmet we are on the home stretch. In full disclosure this feels similar to breastfeeding, he’s always fidgeting, his scalp is itchy, it’s uncomfortable to sleep in, we have to clean it and his head every day, and it was EXPENSIVE. However, every uncomfortable for him, emotional for me moment has been worth it even though I’m exhausted and I can only imagine he is as well. The noticeable difference we have been able to see, the confidence that if he has to wear glasses or a sports helmet one day the level of comfortability he will have, and hopefully a decrease in opportunities for bullying makes the hardest of moments worth it. But hooray for tests passed and a change of season!

There are further chapters that are about to close, the end of this remarkable, and markable year 2020 – the best and hardest year. Other than the end of a 3 month helmet journey and breastfeeding, we now have the addition of a school day. A day away from me, a breath of independence for both of us. It’s scary putting him with people I do not know yet especially in COVID season, but I am also excited for him to get to experience new things and Jon and I both felt this was the right timing and the right place to try some separation + new stimulation/learning. Work from home has been rewarding, but there are also times for milestones and this step is right for us. I’ve gotten comfortable in our 2020 bubble, we have wonderful neighbors, a great neighborhood, we’ve been able to refresh our house a little and since my parents both 100% work from home we can see them easily and it’s nice and cozy, but 2021is a time for renewal and I want to step into that with eyes, heart open walking in obedience to what God has for me and us.

Now, so far we’ve mostly talked about Elijah and of course he is the star of the show, but this past month has also showed me what my body can do and how healthy rhythms help me show up better as a mom + wife. When it comes to running I not only love and am passionate about it, but they wake me up, help me focus, and give me energy. I get to walk in afterwards to the cutest toothy grin smiling at me and as the breastfeeding weight shed my body felt lighter. I was enjoying it more and started hitting my target paces again, I am competitive so it gives me a lot more energy then it does exhaustion to go out and crush a workout (if you aren’t that way it’s okay too). And because of the pregnancy journey I have been able to have a healthier relationship with food because I need it for me and him. That doesn’t mean I have it all figured out and I still have plenty of hard days, but there is a motivation on multiple levels as well as the training I have spurring me on to healthy training. God always knows what you need when you need it and like my back injury in college helped gut punch my pride issues the same goes with a timely pregnancy to truly show me the value of food in healthy ways.

And there are days I feel guilty for going out for a long run, but I remember the gift I have been given and the flexibility of time I have in so many other ways to care for my family, and it makes me a better mom/wife/coworker/etc. Don’t feel guilty for taking the time for you, I do not know if I am fully on the – do whatever you need to for you – train but I do think taking care of ourselves is Biblical and important so we can serve and give towards others, it’s what we are called to.

So what is next in racing and in life? I wish I could tell you, my races continually get cancelled or moved to virtual and it’s starting to wear on me. I want to be able to test my fitness, but for right now I will train in the shadows until next time – summer 2021?!? I will keep working in the job I am doing which I feel has purpose until I have a new opportunity that is God-called, and I will hopefully keep jotting down some words here and there to encourage moms, friends, and athletes alike.

Elijah doesn’t define who I am, I don’t put my identity in my child or marriage, but rather what God says about me and who I am as a child of God. And THROUGH trusting in those truths it calls me up to more in taking care of Elijah, Kada, Kali… Jon. And if there is one thing I have learned in this season, I have said it over and over, it’s that God gives you exactly what you need for the day. I usually don’t have any or much extra but God is faithful to help me step into ANY situation with enough energy, patience, compassion, etc as I need. Whether it motherhood, dog motherhood because those days are still very much a thing – see Kada’s great escape of October 2020, wife, teammate, and even daughter, sibling, running partner and so on and so on.

There are so many words I could say about being 9 months in, Elijah and my independence and our togetherness, six months now of working form home with a babe, how I am gearing up to run competitively again, but simply it is this: God gives you what you need. His trustworthiness is steadfast in EVERY season.

Hard Days, Good Days, Typical Days

I love being a mom and wife, I love being a teammate in my career, I love being an athlete, but the exhaustion is real and sometimes I truly wonder if anyone out there can relate. Especially in this season when my insomnia is running fierce. It seems like those nights that E sleeps 11 hours are the worst. I know you guys are out there, but sometimes I feel a lone. So here is a typical day the timeline, the frustrated, the fun, and the way Jesus is in every single moment of every single day.

2am: The insomnia rears its ugly head, Jon and babe are still asleep and I’m staring into the silence and I pop a melatonin to see if it will help my drift quickly. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does’t and sometimes I feel like crying because I know the morning comes all too soon and I can feel my body still craving sleep.

5am: I start to stir, babe starts to stir. I hop up to grab a sweatshirt, flip on the coffee, and open up my computer to see what our team has been up to as their day is halfway through and my attention is needed. Diapers changed, bottle out and a few morning cuddles begin the day. Then I answer the morning updates, try to get in 20 minutes of quiet time, and watch little play.

6:30am: Jon get’s up, let’s me take off for a run and/or get my workout in. It’s quiet, my neighborhood is safe but sleepy and its therapeutic around every turn.

7:30am: I’m home and showered hopping in to make breakfast for the boys, and get back to problem solving with my team. and a second cup of coffee.

8-12pm: Meetings, work grind, and hopeful little man get’s at least an hour nap somewhere in there.

12pm: Lunch for all 3 of us, a family walk around our park, and a decompression for the day that has already been. It starts to hit me that I’m tired, but you force it down and don’t give in to that afternoon cup calling your name, rather settling for decaf or tea.

2pm: I’m regularly wrapped up with any lingering issues that have come from our US team. Ready for a nap, but usually trying to get anything house wise taken care of while little man attempts to take a second nap (this does not always happen)

4pm: It’s time for babe’s dinner, the girls dinner, and for me to start prepping ours, I usually turn on jams at this part of the day to get me hype – sometimes works, sometimes not.

5pm: Night time routine begins, we eat dinner, talk down our days, go for an evening walk usually stopping to chat with 1 or 2 neighbors who are out and about as well. In this season we are cleaning the helmet, washing and brushing hair to keep everything Kosher every single night, cleaning baby toys, cleaning baby’s and enjoying some family moments before bed.

7pm: Bed time bottle and off to dreamland.

8:30pm: I’m usually asleep but not always, sometimes there is just life, work that didn’t get finished, house work that needs attention, or my mind is simply spinning to fast to get me there. But I know the insomnia is only hours away so I take deep breaths and settle into my sheets and just hope sleep embraces me tonight.

If you struggle like me, there is almost a fear associated with insomnia. It can be unpredictable, medication is hit or miss and the dread of the day after a long night can easily creep in. And I don’t have a ton of wisdom or experience, but I do know that God sees you in those quiet, hard and lonely moments and likewise He is faithful to give you exactly what you need for the day that follows I have learned that time and time again in this season. I also know that most of the time it is seasonal and you will come out of the valley and head towards the hillside. Take heart my friend, have faith, walk with confidence that God will always lead you through.

Rest well friends,

Jordan