Monday, April 07, 2008

Clean Heart Part Fifteen

Does the way I physically care for myself reflect a clean heart?

God's Word reminds me that my body is a temple where His Holy Spirit dwells. Therefore, it is important to God that I take care of myself and in turn do what I can to encourage this in my family too.

* Physical Activity: I've never really been one who likes to exercise. I do love to take walks though. What about my children? Am I allowing them to languish in front of the TV rather than encouraging them to play outside? I hardly sit down before lunch most days and I confess that I do consider this a form of my exercise. Housework and running after two energetic ladies should definitely qualify as exercise right now!

* I'd like to start walking at least once a week with all three littles. And, after making that a routine - add in another day and so on as it is manageable. So far, it has not seemed manageable to start this!
* Encourage activity for the girls - go to the park, do jumping jacks in the living room, dance together, do our ballet DVD together, play outside. Be diligent about our 30 minute TV time limit in the mornings.

* Grooming: I'm not as strict as the Fly Lady suggests in this area since I rarely wear shoes around the house, but I am a practicer and believer in getting dressed and presentable every day. Yes - if I'm not feeling well, I make an exception. And, lately - I've spent a great deal of time in pj's (bed rest, new baby, etc...) I have found that I am significantly more productive when I'm clean, wearing clean clothes that I feel good in and with a little bit of makeup on and my hair fixed. I generally accomplish this every morning before I get the girls up. I feel that it teaches them also, the importance of caring for ourselves and it is a blessing to my husband as well. If I were out working all day every day and came home consistently to a spouse in pj's who looked like they just rolled out of bed - I'd probably wonder what they really do all day. I know, though, that in spite of my goal - there are a couple of things I need to work on in this area.

* Establish routines for known areas of weakness.
* Take Emily to get her hair cut (I have been putting this off and putting this off because I don't know what I want them to do or where to go. Suggestions?)
* Assess clothing and acquire needed new items. Be watching for a post on clothing later this week.

* Eating Habits: Ouch - this one is harder for me. I love the *idea* of eating healthier, choosing organic when possible and cultivating better habits in this area. But, I must admit that I'm aware of the real costs of eating healthier, the challenge to find good products that are readily available, the challenge of getting my children to eat these healthier things, compromising taste and the knowledge that by God's grace we don't struggle with our weight or health and the caution to be aware of this. Living in a smaller community, it is harder to come by the quality and quantity of healthier foods. We don't have Wild Oats, Whole Foods or Trader Joe's! I also find it somewhat overwhelming to realize how many things there are to steer clear of and how many foods those ingredients appear in. A few things I think we're doing right: cook and bake from scratch; eat at home; start introducing organic as we can - milk is very well established in this area; we don't snack between meals either.

* Continue to increase fresh produce in our menus.
* Actively work at reducing undesirable ingredients in foods we eat. Look for easy switches to start off with. (For example: instead of buying regular ketchup with high fructose corn syrup - I recently bought organic which did not have HFCS in it. A small switch - but baby steps...)
* I recently found out about a local organic farm that delivers fresh produce to a store in my area twice a month. I'm considering signing up to receive a box. If I do this I'll be posting what I get and how we ate it for accountability!
* Plant a garden and use organic fertilizer. Done!
* Make Granola. Done!
* Become a label reader. Working on this...

* Rest: Another hard one for me. I am a driven and very hard worker, always pushing to get one more thing done before I sit down. But, if I refuse to take time to rest, I will have less and less to give. Nap time is my refuge. Crafting, reading, watching a movie, catching up with a friend, blogging, etc...

* Continue to invest in fun outlets for myself - do a craft or work on my blog during nap time.
* Choose to rest so that I have more to give my family.

Ok, let's hear your thoughts on all this!


*carrie* said...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and goals in this area. Having a walking "plan" has really helped me, since Sara and I walk every MWF morning.

I think baby steps are important. I know when I try to do make too big of a leap, I often end up falling back to where I was.

Joy @ Joy in the Journey said...

Thanks for sharing your struggles and you goals with us! I am with you on the nap time thing...hard to do, but so important!


Katy said... similar women we are Monica!! I too plan on walking with my small ones....(as soon as we get this nasty strep throat bug away from our home) and I also feel much more rejuvinated and able to go on with my day if i am showered and presentable!! I admire your honesty and sharing all this stuff with us!!! thank you!

Edi said...

I think you've said it well.

We need to find a balance between our physical and spiritual health.

This is the only body we have and we ought to take care of it, as best as we can. I think it's a poor example to the rest of the world if everyone knows I'm a Christian but I look dirty, sloppy or terribly unfit.

If you try to change everything at once you are going to get burned out. Better to concentrate on one area that needs to change and once the change has become habit, you can move along to the next thing you need to change.

In the same way that you make time for your spiritual health (going to church, personal Bible studies/devotions or whatever) - you have to make time and place high importance on your physical health too.

Angela said...

Wow, this one especially hit me hard, I struggle in this area a great deal. Thanks for sharing some ideas. I going to shower and dress completely right now, your right-I get so much more done when I'm not in my pjs.


Anonymous said...

Hey Monica,
Thanks for sharin your heart and thoughts on these matters. I do wish i were better about the getting dressed (shoes on(?)) first thing. As for the nap time thing--you need that time to recharge your batteries for the rest of the day, it is a good thing for you as long as it does not become an idol. I also found that walking helps me function better-clears my muddled head and actually gives me energy-good therapy for me ;^)! Do ya'll have a costco near you. They have a really good selection of healthy or organic choices. The prices on these things are good too!!! Monica i want to encourage you in your job. You are so far ahead of these things than i was when my children where little. Thank you for wantin to help us think about different areas of our hearts. The Scripture says in whatever you do-do all to the glory of God. YOu are helpin us think about that.tammyp

Ginger said...

I am with you on the eating habits! I WANT to, but it seems so much more expensive and my family doesn't always enjoy the new, healthy foods. What's a girl on a budget to do??

I love how you break down your goals for us! Thank you!!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...


Thank you for sharing this. It is sometimes hard to put yourself out like this.

I would encourage you to take it one thing at a time. (A great reminder for myself since I want the changes now.) Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work out the way you think it should. Remember... if first you don't suceed try, try again.

MyBigMouth said...

About 3 months ago I decided(while listening to a sermon) to work harder on my "temple"(body).I realized slowly thru the years I went from a health nut to a junk nut.So,this post is the encouragement I need to keep going.I quite my 20 yrs of smoking on feb 2nd(still hard),I cut my soda can intake from 1-2 a day to 4 or 5 a week and started exercising regularly.I have many others I'm working on,but still struggling on them.Thanks for the post!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Baby steps is sometimes the best way to go!

Mary Ann said...

I love how you break things down in such practical ways!

I've been thinking along these same lines and will be posting about some of those things on my blog soon!

As the weather warms up, your littles will really enjoy going on short walks with you. :-)

Jen said...

Wow! God has been speaking to me about this VERY strongly lately. I have never had to worry about my weight but as I get older (I just turned 40), things aren't the same as they used to be! :-)

Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one!

Lia's Mom said...

I love how you are constantly challenging yourself! What an awesome example for your kids!

I have been challenged to watch my eating during the day (no more snacking on a bag of chips all afternoon!!!) Here is my daily diet:

breakfast - whole grain PB toast
snack - fresh fruit
lunch - salad with some kind of protein (chicken, steak, etc)
snack - natural granola bar
dinner - regular meal with family
drinks - water and unsweet decaf ice tea only

I am loving my salad lunches!! I bought 3 different kinds of salad for some variety, and I top it with a different meat each day. And I feel wonderful!

Oh, and weekends I eat whatever I want :)

Thanks for sharing your heart with us!