So much has happened in ten years.
My husband adopted my daughter.
I was pregnant with my son.
We were and still are shifting to gentler, more respectful parenting, constantly reevaluating methods and learning.
I’ve homeschooled our four kids for over fifteen years now. I’ve come full circle in my educational and religious beliefs after exploring so many options, many of which were very harmful to me and my family.
Looking back over the last decade, I realize there are few photos of me since I’m usually the one behind the camera.
I rarely take selfies. We rarely get family photos. My kids don’t have a record of me in pictures.
This picture was taken in fall 2016.
Here’s a photo of me in the same outfit in May 2019.
It’s a bit of a glow up. I feel more confident and healthy.
It’s been an adventure for sure.
I’m trying to do better to ask my family to snap photos of me, preferably when I don’t have my mouth full.
I’ve changed quite a bit in the last decade, especially the last couple years. I think I’ve improved. I’m never content with a status quo. I’m constantly growing.
If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.Alain de Botton
I lost 20+ pounds the last couple years.
I’m not concerned with weight as a number. I’m not concerned with aging gracefully. I just want to be healthy.
The first picture is the heaviest I ever was, not pregnant. I weighed in at about 175. I didn’t feel good. My knees hurt. I felt tired all the time. I was too sedentary. I didn’t eat well. I didn’t exercise enough or correctly. I was depressed. I needed to jumpstart my metabolism.
I have no medical complications or issues. Thank God.
I massage castor oil into my hands, scalp, and thighs probably weekly.
I drink lots of water.
I only have 2-3 cups of caffeine each day. I have found I do better with tea than coffee.
I pray and meditate every day.
I try to go outside every day.
I don’t have social media on my smartphone or iPad.
I will say that I seldom have joint pain now and I feel happier and more energetic.
I try to eat real foods.
I happen to really like almost all foods. I have no allergies or sensitivities.
Food has no morality.
I splurge and sometimes get takeout from Raising Cane’s. I actually seldom eat out. I drink a beer or glass of wine with dinners on weekends.
I don’t like this idea of “cheat days” or “being good” by eating more veggies or the idea that veganism will save the world.
I know sugar isn’t good for me and causes health problems, so I do try to limit my refined sugar intake.
I really like bread.
I eat mostly what I want, what I like, when I’m hungry. Sometimes, that means coffee at brunchtime and a sensible dinner. I suppose it’s intermittent fasting, but I just eat when I want to, not when society tells me to.
I teach my kids that balance and moderation is key.
I do HIIT workouts about three times a week.
Here’s how I maintain my health. It’s not all about exercise and eating!
Everyone is different. I’m not competing with anyone but myself.
I try to walk outside 1-3 miles every evening after dinner. If I don’t get my walk in, I don’t feel well and I don’t sleep well. This is my down time to destress and listen to the birds and wind. It calms me. I get to think and work through problems or issues or conversations.
Rest is so, so, so important.
I try to not be too busy. I like being peaceful and not rushed.
Even good stress can affect us physically and mentally.
When I’m stressed, I get bloated. I don’t sleep well. I feel anxious. It’s a vicious cycle.
Moving every 3 or so years is stressful. Cats get sick. Finances get wonky. Car accidents or repairs that can’t be avoided. I take extra care during stressful life events.
I try not to overschedule the kids so we don’t have to hurry and we can almost always have dinner together.
We have leisurely mornings over breakfast. We do reading. I do work while they complete their lessons. We watch shows or run errands. Evenings are for sports, dinner, walking, more reading, prayers.
I am constantly reading. I love to read books about parenting, education, religion, psychology, politics, history, historical and speculative fiction.
I have stacks of books on my shelves and tables and oodles of Kindle editions. I get books from the library if I can.
I like to read articles about my many topics of interest. These often lead to more books from their bibliography and source notes and quotations.
Learning is very important to me. I want to keep up with everything. I want to fill in the gaps in my lackluster Georgia public school education.
My aunt and several elderly female cousins had Alzheimer’s and I worry about my parents and my husband and myself.
I am learning about anti-racism and how to counter prejudice and stereotypes. What can we do to improve our society and eliminate the wealth and class gaps?
I dream of a better future for all of us.
I’m constantly reevaluating my priorities as my family and I grow and change.
I don’t have a Word for the year. I don’t really do resolutions. I constantly try to improve and become who I am supposed to be. I want to exude love and kindness and teach my family what that should look like.