I have always been drawn to the arts but I am a scientist by nature. The art world is unsettling for me because the rules are loose, ever evolving and growing. I fell in love with photography at a young age ad it was a good medium for me. I got to be surrounded by artists and scientists. At 15, I was dual enrolling in the local college's photography department and the technical aspect of the camera and film development came very naturally to me, but I longed to have the artistic eye that so many of my classmates possessed. It never ceased to amaze me how we could be photographing the same subject and they would see something completely different than I did or make something so mundane beautiful. During the course of my photography degree, I had to pick an elective and Drawing 101 was an option. Even looking at it filled me with dread and I realized that I was terrified of doing something when I knew I would never be good at it. I could hide among the photo students but I would be exposed in a drawing class. Disgusted with myself, I signed up. It was one the most terrifying things I have done to this day. It was severely humbling to be in the presence of people who were very talented while I was barely getting by, but they respected my effort and I learned a lot. I learned that I am much more capable than I give myself credit for and though I will never be as great an artist as any of my classmates, the very fact that I desired to learn meant there was an artist in there trying to push her way out. That class has stayed with me, and every now and then I glean some more.
Fast forward a few years later, I find love, get married, have a baby and quit my job. The first year was a breeze! Scarlett slept 12 hours a night and 3 hours in the afternoon. I was swimming in free time! My house was spotless and i could do anything I wanted to do. I had this down. Ha! Juliet was born 19 months later and all that changed. She screamed all the time, never slept more than 2 hours at a stretch. If you are LOST fans, I knew what Desmond was feeling pressing the button every 90 minutes. One month after Juliet was born, Scarlett abruptly stopped napping. 3 hrs to nothing. Overnight. WORST EVER. Suddenly, I was drowning. I had no free time and no matter how diligent I was the work was never done. I loved my children and I loved being home with them but I felt like a failure. I longed to have that sense of accomplishment in motherhood like I did in the workforce or at school, The scientist in me just wanted a formula, if I could just figure out what I was doing wrong than things would get better.
During that time, my wonderful mother came to visit me and I was SO excited to get her feedback because she had raised 7 children and I wanted her to point out my error so I could fix it. After only 3 nights in my home she said, " This is worse than all seven of you combined!" Not what I expected but it was freeing. She assured me that I was wasn't doing anything wrong and that my circumstances were just hard. ( Que tears) There was no formula. I really want you all to hear that! Sometimes circumstances are just hard! Or maybe what is easy for someone else is hard for you and that's ok!
After that, I was able to reconcile the fact that I couldn't get to everything and I was just going to have to set priorities for myself and that those priorities might change daily or even hourly. This was hard for me! I wanted to have a list and check it off and feel successful but instead I had to let the day morph into what my family needed it to be and I had to let go of that need to feel like a success. I realized that my job in life was about making my journey beautiful with the talents and circumstances I had been given. You can't measure it and you can't compare your life to another person's life. It made me uneasy in the same way taking Drawing 101 did. Life is not a science, it's an art. And so my journey as a life artist began.
Shortly after these events, I was invited to a bookclub that was being started by a new acquaintance and my husband encouraged me to do it. I loved to read but rarely had time for it anymore. I was mainly doing it to pursue friendships in this new place. However, it ended up being the catalyst for massive change in my life. The commitment I made to the ladies in this group to read a book made me carve out time to get it done. I didn't feel guilty about doing it even though I enjoyed it immensely because I needed to do it. Somehow, in the process of becoming a mom, I got the idea that I couldn't have free time or do anything for myself. Not that I would have said that in so many words but I felt guilty if I was doing things for myself. I can't tell you where this came from. My husband certainly never expected that of me. Maybe it's the age of social media where we have everyone's highlight reels going all the time or maybe all the mom wars weighed me down because I couldn't add up to it all, but some where along the way I accepted this false notion and was living by it.
As I freely indulged in my book clubs books, the hunger to learn came suddenly and fully back to life and I was reading more and more. I wasn't ignoring my children, I read during naps, while they were playing, or when they went to sleep at night. Memories started coming back to me of my own mother perched in a chair or on her bed reading. Anytime we entered the room, the book would get set down, she made eye contact, and if we needed anything she was available. I never got the sense that I was bothering her or that I was less important than the book she was reading. My own mother set a beautiful example of being a woman with interests and outside-the-home activities but I lost sight of that somehow when I became a mom. As I began to rediscover myself, other interests began to return as well. I started writing again, I started exercising again, the fearless girl in me reemerged and I started tackling weak areas in my life like organization and cooking. I found that I missed that girl. She is the example that I want to be to my kids, not the tired, bored, overworked woman that I was choosing to be.
Even Scripture describes the wife of noble character as a woman of many talents and interests, who even contributes financially. My favorite verse
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
I feel that now. I am clothed with strength and dignity and I am full of faith and excitement for my future. I was born for adventure and discovery, my marriage and family is only a part of that. Someday, my kids will be grown and won't need me like they do now. I want to have been building a life of my own while I teach them to build theirs BY EXAMPLE!
Ladies, if you are feeling burdened, tired, and that excitement for living is dim, be encouraged! You are still the girl with big dreams and endless potential! Exhaustion steals your motivation but choose something small and rekindle it. Read a new book, or go to a craft store ( alone) and start a new project, pick up a paint brush, write a poem, train to run a 5K, take a class, pick up a camera, plant a small garden, anything that speaks to your soul that is specifically for you. If nothing comes to mind, spend some time thinking about what you enjoyed as a child or young adult It's not selfish. It's sustaining. Even as I write this, there are dishes piled in the sink and a load of clothes that need to be folded. Today, the girls needed me more than usual, they wanted me to sit and play and watch a show at one point. I chose to do that today instead of the long list of chores that will need to be redone everyday. We went out with our homegroup tonight so the girls went to bed late with toys still strewn across the floor. Now, it's on my heart to pass these things I am learning onto others and so I write instead of clean. It makes me no better or worse than the mom that goes to bed with a spotless house tonight. If we go to sleep with our souls fed, we are both successful women.
The art of creating personal time begins with you recognizing it's necessary. In the beginning, I struggled with the fear that my pursuits would negatively affect my family and there are times I have taken too much liberty and had to repent and put it in its place but eventually I found balance. You too will find a balance and in that balance you will delight more in your family, find more joy in the mundane, and make your life a truly amazing place!
My fitness journey is a little different than most that I have found as I scan the internet. I had the advantage of having a mother that was a personal trainer before she had 7 children ( yes, you read that correctly) and I got to watch her work out and lose the baby weight after each of my siblings. I was also exposed to tons of healthy food and learned to love veggies at a young age. By the time I was 13, I was working out with her and by 17 I had a gym membership and I went 4-5 days a week for an hour or more. This continued through my twenties. I got married at 28 and at 31 I had my first baby. I did all the "right" things and only gained 35 lbs but even so the things that happen to your body when you're pregnant will quickly leave you discouraged! I was able to lose the weight just through healthy eating but my stomach muscles were stretched and I never did regain my before pregnancy shape. When Scarlett was 11 months old, I found out that I was pregnant again! I was 8 weeks pregnant, lying on the floor of Scarlett's room cradling a trashcan when Phillip came in to tell me we were moving to Georgia. It was a whirlwind of events, leaving Florida where all my friends and family lived to Georgia, with a 14 month old and one on the way. I opted to still use my midwife in Florida and was making monthly trips back to Florida for my appointments which resulted in eating more Chik-fil-a than I care to admit! The quality of food that I ate that year went down as we moved around and traveled like crazy. It wasn't that I gained a lot of weight but I slowly started making less healthy choices than I used to out of convenience.
Our sweet Juliet was born on September 17 2012 and unlike our easy quiet Scarlett, she screamed from the moment she left the womb until...wait she's still screaming! The child wouldn't sleep and I still had a 19 month old that needed me as well. Then, one week after she was born, I came down with bronchitis which lasted a month. Phillip got it next, followed by pleurisy. Scarlett had two rounds of rotovirus, and in between all those things we had colds several times all within six months. Away from our network of family and friends, we were eating premade meals and take-out almost every night just to get by. I didn't gain weight but I couldn't lose it. We were living in a two bedroom apartment off a main road and there was no where to walk like I did after Scarlett was born. Even on the rare days when we weren't sick and actually got out of the apartment, Juliet would only last about 10 minutes in a stroller, She hated being worn in snuggly wraps and it was honestly too difficult. I gave up for awhile. I say all this because I want you to know that I, who had every advantage and all the nutritional knowledge I needed to know better, still wound up in circumstances that enveloped me. I couldn't find a way out. Nothing was working. I was exhausted. Over a period of two years, I kept plugging along and I'd lose a pound here or a pound there but I plateaued and the last 10 lbs refused to come off.
In June 2014, i started hearing a lot about the 21 Day Fix. I had been a big fan of P90X before I got pregnant with Scarlett, so the thought of a Beachbody workout that was only 30 minutes a day peaked my interest. I started the 21 Day Fix in August and it was exactly what I needed! The nutrition plan is easy to follow and I realized how far off the mark I had gotten. I started making calculated food choices and pushing play everyday and in three weeks I was looking like my pre-pregnant self.
I wish that I had documented my journey better. Honestly, I didn't want to be in pictures during that time and even when I started the 21 Day Fix I didn't think I would become this inspired. I was hesitant to show my results simply because I know compared to many others, they really aren't that impressive. However, this program got me to a place in three weeks I had not been able to get myself in two years! The Beachbody system works!!! If you're tired of fads and diets and failing, this is for you! No tricks, no gimmicks. 30 minute work outs and nutritious meals, delicious shakeology, plus a challenge group to help you stay on track.
I have done several rounds now and every time I am more excited about the program than the last time. I am also excited to start trying some of Beachbody's other amazing work outs, but most of all I really have developed a passion and desire to start helping others. I feel so blessed to be comfortable in my clothes again and comfortable in my own skin again. I want to help others get to this place! If the desire for change is rising within you and you dont know where to start or failed attempts in the past have left you feeling discouraged, there is hope! You can do this! Don't let the negative thoughts leave you resigned to being less than you want to be. No,its not easy to bounce back from having babies, but can you do it? YES! No, you can't lose in a week weight that took years to gain but can you do it? YES!! We can exchange our bad habits for good ones and transform into the strong healthy people we were meant to be. If this is you, PLEASE message me! Even if you're not ready to jump in with both feet, I'd love to help you on your health journey in anyway I can. We all get those inklings, those uncanny moments when something you've been thinking seriously about keeps resurfacing in odd ways. Trust your journey, follow your instincts, and take risks! Without courageously exploring the unknown, we live boring and mundane lives. I want more. Don't you?
"And Aubrey was her name. A not so very ordinary girl or name."(Or so says David Gates ;) I'm a wife to Phillip, a mother to Scarlett and Juliet. We live in the beautiful city of Thornton, Co. I'm a recovering red bull addict. I love to read. I hate to cook. I seek to be inspired and also to inspire others. I am a Beachbody Coach on a quest to be truly healthy mind, soul, and body and challenge others to do the same.