Putting God first in the Age of Narcissism

The Enneagram (“Ennea” is Greek for nine… Enneagram= 9 gram) teaches that we each possess certain tendencies that shape our personalities.  These personalities are categorized into 9 Types: Perfectionist, Helper, Performer, Individualist/Romantic, Investigator/Observer, Loyal Skeptic, Enthusiast/Epicure, Leader/Challenger, and Peacemaker.

I am a performer.  As Lady Gaga, says “I live for the applause.”  Performing gives me great joy and allows me to touch lives every day.  What’s important for me to remember is that this skills set empowers me to lead performances that show the character of Jesus Christ.  I am a disciple for Christ, cleverly disguised as a fitness professional.  I am a mortal being, one step closer to dirt every day.  The only way my short life will make any difference in the world is if I use every performance, every time to reveal the goodness of the Holy Spirit that lives within me.  That’s not to say that it behooves me to preach.  An effective witness is sometimes simply a kind, compassionate, caring performer.  The world tells me to be a narcissist.  The world tells me that I should join Instagram and take a “selfie” every time I feel thin and pretty.  The world tells me that people love my amazing performances.  Truth tells me that every good and perfect gift is a gift from God (James 1:17).  Any great performance I give is a reflection of the His greatness, not mine.  There is a DC Talk song, titled “What If I Stumble.”  It asks the question: “Is this one for the people, or is this one for the Lord.”  When I pray before my performances, when I pray- by name, when possible- for my participants and fellow presenters/teachers, and when I devote my utmost to His highest- those are the performances that are worthy of the gift.

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To determine your personality type, you can take an assessment at www.enneagraminstitute.com.  A quick Google search for “Enneagram” will also reveal several other Enneagram-relates websites.  Whatever your gifts are, they are not yours.  They do not belong to you.  They are gifts.  Thank the Giver and use them with a grateful heart.

 

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Independence from the Selfie

It has been the year of the selfie. It’s a phenomenon that could snowball bigger and bigger until we live in a culture of self-adulation. I’m tired of Keeping up with the Kardashians. I’m tired of mirror pictures in our skivvies. I’m tired of fueling our youth with the notion that you’re more important seen than heard. Choose Twitter over Instagram. Choose to comment on other people’s posts on Facebook, not just refreshing your own wall. Choose to experience life, instead of just clicking it on camera. Take one last selfie. Make it as obnoxious as possible. Then put it in your scrapbook to explain to your grandchildren one day what selfie syndrome was. God help us if they already know.photo-28

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Skinny Pop

They say never to grocery shop when you’re hungry. You’ll buy things you don’t need. Yep, I guess it’s true, because I’m frequently the woman who grabs something, opens it up right there in the store, and feeds my hunger as I shop for groceries. When hunger struck as I was shopping at Sam’s Club a few weeks ago, I was not sure what to grab. The containers of food there are large enough to survive a brief famine. I saw a huge bag of popcorn labeled “Skinny Pop.” As a nutritionist, I was skeptical. I flipped the bag over to read the ingredients. There were only three ingredients: popcorn, sunflower oil, and salt. Sold! I popped as I shopped, as did my child. Man, this stuff was seriously delicious. Not overly oily or salty. Just perfect!! Within a week, we had killed the bag. I now load up on every Sam’s trip. Skinny Pop is a fantastic whole grain, low-cal snack. I’m addicted. I hope you try it and love it as much as my family does.

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Secrets of Slim Folks

I feel there there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what it takes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. More people talk about wanting to get in shape than ever actually get in shape. Is that because it’s hard? I don’t think so. I would argue that it’s harder to be overweight than it is to do what it takes to get in shape. I think the reason more people don’t get fit is that they don’t understand what they should and should not do. The media says: take this pill; cleanse; avoid gluten; do CrossFit. Educated fitness professionals tell you eat real food; no need to “cleanse” if you’re eating plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains; only omit gluten if a blood test shows Celiac’s disease, or if, by an elimination diet, you have noticed that your gluten sensitivity is strong enough that it disrupts comfortable digestion (not everyone with gluten sensitivity has Celiac’s disease. But hear me on this: eliminating gluten is a health need for those with sensitivities; it is not for weight loss. In fact, unless you pay close attention, your daily fiber intake can drop from adhering to a gluten-free diet). And, as for CrossFit, sure- jump on that bandwagon, but not straight from the couch. You should begin with light activities, such as power walking, moderate weight training, and gentle stretching. Eventually, you may progress to jogging, cycling, heavier weight training, and Pilates. Down the line, you may run, power lift, and do areal yoga. The “down the line” phase is where CrossFit may become a suitable part of your life and fitness regiment. It’s easy to see why a person would be confused. I just directly contradicted the messages you get from the media. And yet, this only scratches the surface of the problem. The media- television, magazines, “celebrity” trainers, Facebook, and Twitter- give you a flood of cow manure every day and call it fitness advice. To help simplify the process of getting in shape, let me give you a few things that the National Weight Control Registry (the largest investigation on long-term successful weight-loss maintenance) has found consistent among 10,000+ people who have lost, on average, 66-pounds, and kept it off for 5.5 years. They:
1. EXERCISE (90% exercise approximately 1-hour/day)*
2. EAT BREAKFAST (78% eat breakfast every day)**
3. WEIGH THEMSELVES (75% weight themselves at least once a week)***
4. AVOID EXCESSIVE TELEVISION (62% watch less than 1.5 hours of television per day)****

*Exercising helps to create a caloric deficit. It boosts the metabolism and burns off some of the calories that you consumed through food! That’s not even to mention the favorable changes regular exercise makes on your blood pressure and cholesterol.
**Eating breakfast helps to jump-start your metabolism. It also helps you to avoid cravings and overeating later in the day. Many people who skip breakfast overeat late at night, the worst time to over-endulge!
***Weighing regularly keeps you in check. It’s true that some factors, such as water retention, menstrual cycle, and other factors may affect the scale 1-3 pounds. Nonetheless, weighing oneself at least once a week seems to be a common thread. It keeps people from gaining a lot of weight, unbeknownst to them!
****If you are going to lay dormant, you might as well make it count by taking a nap or going to bed. At least those things are beneficial in restoring your energy. Television zaps your energy and leaves you with nothing. Watch less family TV, and go on more family walks! Walking gets you talking, keeps you connected, and benefits the entire family- including your pets!

In one blog post, I cannot debunk all of the myths out there. But clear up a few things, and pass along a few secrets of slim folks, that I can do. Hope it helps you in your journey towards getting in great physical shape- the kind that you are tired of talking about and ready to attain!

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10 Reasons You Can’t Seem to Get in Shape

 

apple and weight picture

1. You bite the infomercial bait.
Infomercials average a 500% markup ratio. It is not uncommon for pharmaceuticals to markup 1600%. The diet industry is a 40 billion dollar business in America, alone. You’re vulnerable and marketers salivate on that. They want to hit every point on your emotional compass, from sadness with your current body to hope with what you could look like to joy as you pull out your wallet and buy their product. It’s just like that- hook, line, and sinker. Be leery of any marketing that makes you feel badly about yourself then switches you to thinking you will be happy if only you had their product. Happiness is intrinsic. It comes from getting comfortable with yourself, not from getting comfortable in your skinny jeans.

2. You use ailments as an excuse not to workout.
Your knee hurts, you have a bad back, you have arthritis, your big toe hurts some of the time, you’re over 55 with one or more risk factors on a PAR-Q. Fit pros recommend you get doctor’s clearance before you begin an exercise program. Do it. Talk to your doctor, but he’s probably going to tell you it’s a good idea to get off your rump. Quit using your setbacks as road blocks. Educated personal trainers can work with your limitations. You may not be able to think of things you can safely do, pain-free, but that’s what we went to school for. Complaining makes you complacent, which makes you depressed and keeps you unhealthy. Get moving past your ailments. That’s not to say to push through pain; find options that work with your capabilities. You’re body is not all a wreck. Work the parts that work!

3. You Cannot Tell When Someone’s Trying to Sell You Something.
There are nutrition and fitness experts out there who truly want to help you. But there are also salesmen out there that just want to take your money. One cares about your health, nutrition, and physique; the other doesn’t. We all have to make a living, so don’t expect the legitimate pros to work pro-bono. Our education came at a price- a steep price- and we have bills to pay, too. When we quote you for our services, we’re not trying to rip you off; we’re wanting to help you! But you have been taken for a ride by uneducated trainers or false claims in the past, so you’re skeptical. Look, there are people in every industry that are slippery as slime. It’s not just in the weight-loss field, but there are an abundance of them here. It’s your responsibility to dig deeper, do research, and make sure you’re buying professional help and quality products/training, not quackery.

4. You’re Staying Up Too Late.
Is late night TV making you fat?  Staying up too late makes weight loss and weight maintenance difficult. Many hormones are affected by sleep. Leptin and ghrelin influence appetite. Ghrelin, produced in the GI tract, is the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry. Leptin, produced in the fat cells, is the hormone that signals to the brain that you’re full. Insufficient amounts of sleep result in lower amounts of leptin. Because of the ghrelin/leptin hormonal imbalance, you eat but don’t feel full or satisfied. Sleep deprivation also stimulates higher releases of cortisol. Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, is a stress hormone. The highest concentration of cortisol receptors are in the abdominal area. When you are under stress, cortisol levels rise and they bind to the areas with the most receptors: your belly.

5. You’re Over-committed.
“I don’t have time” is the #1 excuse people give for why they don’t exercise. You have 24-hours in the day, just like everyone else. Take your health into your own hands and reprioritize.

6. You Believe What Worked Once in your Life is the Best Way to Get in Shape Now.
You have a picture of yourself on your fridge from 2004 when you lost a bunch of weight on the Atkins diet. Because of that, you convince yourself that Atkins is all that works for you. Your body will respond to other programs, healthier programs. Explore them.

7. You surround yourself with haters.
It’s hard to be an advocate for yourself when your team is throwing garbage at you. If your family berates you, it may be time to make friends with positive people and consider them family. If your spouse brings you down, ask that you both recommit to honoring and uplifting one another. Be sure that you, yourself, are lifting up other people. Goodness inspires goodness. Give frequent and genuine compliments. If it’s returned as spitfire, make less space in your life for the haters and open up more for your pips.
(Pips: Gladys Knight’s backup singers. Also see Season 1, episode 18 Ally McBeal).

8. You Aren’t Exercising Hard Enough.
There are some people in Zumba shaking it like there’s no tomorrow. There are others barely moving. Person A may burn 500 calories in the hour. Person B may burn 150. Person B will not get in shape unless she starts putting more effort into the workouts. If Zumba’s not really her thing, she should replace it with something that inspires her to work harder. If you devote time to workout, work!

9. You think you’re the exception.
You really don’t believe that eating portion-controlled, healthy food and moderately exercising will get you thin and fit. So you explore all sorts of other hocus pocus options. You end up wasting time, money, and hope on things that don’t work. You aren’t the exception; you’re the rule.

10. You do the same thing over and over.
The same old cracker gets stale. So does the same old workout. Diversify your program. Mix it up by altering the frequency, intensity, time, and type in order to shock your body and start seeing results.
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Mind Gym

“90% of the game is half mental”  Yoga Berra

One of my all-time favorite books is Mind Gym by Gary Mack.  That’s largely because one of my all-time favorite things to do in life is exercise.  I am captivated with bettering my best.  The competition, in sports and in life, really is against yourself.  To beat what my mind tells me I am capable of doing, I have to change my mind.  I have to believe that my legs are swifter than they’re currently running and my heart is capable of keeping calm under pressure.  If I let one iota of negativity, doubt, or distraction cloud my head, it’s over.  One distraction I used to have was checking my heart rate monitor to gauge how many beats-per-minute my ticker was tocking when I was working at high intensities.  That not only hurt my time to look down at the watch, but also instilled fear in my head.  Now, I confidently press on, trusting my heart and lungs will rise to the challenge.  I collect my heart rate data from the training files on the monitor AFTER the work is done.  During the work phase, I have to commit my mind and body to five simple things: harder, better, faster, stronger, and remember that you love this!

So, this was today’s workout:
2-mile max run.  400M rest.  1-mile max run.  400M rest.  800M max run.  400M rest.  800M max run.  200M rest.  200M sprint.

That was the workout that happened; it was not the intended workout.  The workout I had planned to do was: 2-mile max run.  Rest.  2-mile max run.  I hadn’t completely decided what “rest” was going to mean.  I though maybe it’d be a 400M walk around the track, then thought nah, maybe I’ll wander over to the playground and let baby boy (whom I would be pushing in the jogging stroller during the run) play for a while, then return for the second 2-mile max run.  My poor planning for the rest phase was quite a blow to my mind gym.  I ultimately decided that if I left and went to the playground, it would be very hard to refocus and run my second 2-mile stretch under goal time.  So, the winner idea was a 400M walk.  After a 400M walk, I set out to begin the second 2-miles and my mind said “forget this.”  I stopped about 25M into it.  I considered throwing in the towel.  Hey, I made the first 2-mile max under goal time (<14:00), so maybe that was enough.  NO!  I told myself: you came here to run 4-miles.  You’ve run 2.  You must run 2 more.  But my mind and body were not prepared for a whole daunting nother 2-miles at max pace.  Here started the negotiations: 1-mile then a break, I could wrap my mind around that.  I was willing to commit to giving it all if it was only for 1-mile, not 2.  So, that’s what I did.  Hit the goal time (<7:00).  Knowing that I still had another mile before I’d logged the distance that I wanted from today’s run, I easily decided I liked the feel of the decreasing distance, and decided upon the remaining splits (800M, 800M, then added a “bonus” 200M).  I even let myself have a little fun with the 800M dashes.  For the first one, I found the song “It Happens” on my iTunes library and blasted that at top volume.  Love that song!  Made goal time.  For the second 800, I played “Liberty Walk.”  Ooooohwee!  That song gets these gams going!  My favorite part is where {pre-eccentric era} Miley Cyrus sings “Don’t listen to all the people who hate, ’cause all they do is help make your mistakes for ya.  But they don’t own ya!”  Music truly is such a motivator.  Blew the pants off of the first 800M dash time!  So, it could have been over here.  4-miles done, never dropping below 7m/m pace.  Why did I add the extra 200M dash at the end?  Well, there was a fast man out at the track, all decked out in tiny running shorts and all the garb.  I couldn’t resist the urge to play rabbit with him.  Annoying as it may have been to runner man, I trampled hot on his heels, stroller, baby, and all.  0:38 200M.  Great finish.  Thanks, dude!

Don’t worry: Hayes still got to get out of the jog stroller and play at the playground after mama’s workout was over.  There, he found his own passion and peace. :)

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Workout for When I Don’t have time to Workout

Happy Mother’s Day! I get it: being a mom is busy work! As I type this blog post, I’m simultaneously playing horsey with the baby, petting the dog, and doing crunches. No joke. Here’s an express strength workout that targets full upper body in a series of three exercises. It’s my go-to “workout for when I don’t have time to workout.” If you’re a mom, that makes sense.
All you need is a kettlebell. For those new to pressing, you’ll need a 12kg kettlebell (26.4 pounds). For more advanced lifters, you’ll need a 16kg kettlebell (35.2 pounds).

EXPRESS UPPER BODY STRENGTH: DESCENDING LADDER WORKOUT
20 push-ups (Start on your toes. Transition to knees if and when necessary. Try to get through at least the first 10 on your toes. Maybe that’s not possible right now, but work towards it!)
Clean the kettlebell RIGHT. *5 Strict Shoulder Presses (no knee dip; keep torso erect- no leaning).
Clean the kettlebell LEFT. *5 Strict Shoulder Presses
5 Chin-ups (at a pull-up bar)

Repeat. On the second set, reduce shoulder presses and chin-ups to 4…. Third set, 3… Fourth set, 2… Fifth set, 1.
Keep the push-ups at 20 reps each set. YEP, at five sets, that’s 100 push-ups in this workout. WOOHOO!!

*If you lose the strength to get the bell up, re-clean it and try again!
Enjoy!

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Strangers, Stalkers, & Social Media

I’ve never really understood the caution certain people take with social media. That changed yesterday.
I was at the Orlando airport, waiting at a coffee shop to kill time before my return flight to Austin. My luggage toppled over and the stranger at the barstool next to me was kind enough to pick it up. I thanked him and turned back to my laptop, where I was busy returning emails. About 15-minutes later when I unglued my eyes from the screen and took a swig of coffee, that same gentleman asked me if I was in Orlando for work or pleasure. I told him work; that I was presenting at a conference. “A fitness conference?” He asked. “Yes,” I said, skeptically. (This wouldn’t have been unusual had I been romping around in spandex, as I usually do, but I was in street clothes). “You work with that ball thing, right?” And he cupped his hands like a kettlebell. “Yes,” I said, “Did you attend my sessions?” I asked. “No,” he said. “You just look like you do that.” “O-kay.” I said. Next- and this is the weird part- he said, “I bet you’re ready to get home to that 1-year-old baby, right? Well, actually 13-months.” “Yes.” I replied. “And his father… name starts with a D. His actually does, too. They have the same name. But he doesn’t go by that, he goes by something else.” After stuttering and sounding out different things, he came to “Daniel” and “Hayes.” Then, he knew that we have a big black dog. And that she was in our Christmas picture. He thought that I was Catholic. When I said that I was not, he said, “well, you have an affinity for the Pope.” I said that’s right, but asked how he knew these things. He said it’s something he’s done all his life. I asked what he did for a living, and he said he’s a dentist in New York. He gave me his card. I mean, he gave me a business card for a dentist in New York. Maybe it was his. With a little bit of effort, I could find out but I wouldn’t bother. What did bother me and would continue to bother me was how someone could possibly know all of this. I don’t believe it was a gift of clairvoyance. I believe it was a case of “Facestalking.”
After I took my seat on the airplane (not the same plane as the NY dentist), I wrote down all of the things that he knew about me. One by one, I realized that he could have found every observation he made on Facebook. He could have seen my name from my luggage tag when he picked up my suitcase then did a Facebook search. I have tried to be careful about hiding Hayes’s first name from FB. I am a public figure and thought it may be prudent to only refer to my son by his middle name. I believe I have only ever written one post ever that gave his full name. With as frequently as I take to Facebook, it seems that it would take some digging to find that isolated post. This guy only had 15-minutes, max, from the time he picked up my suitcase to the time we talked, and he found out every significant thing about me. I don’t think this was a psychotic person; I think it’s probably someone who enjoys pulling pranks. He knew I’d be thinking about the things he said for hours, maybe days to come. I think he strategically picked the points he did so that I’d eventually figure out it was all from Facebook. Maybe he was doing me a favor, opening my eyes to how lucid my life is to the world via the “world wide web.” What a lesson I learned! I don’t intend on hiding every significant thing from FB, converting to that annoying person who makes posts like: “It’s laundry day. Boooo. Sad face.” And I don’t intend on changing my privacy settings. Most of the people who ‘friend’ me are people who take my workouts or do my videos. I don’t know them, but they know me. It would be contradictory to put up privacy walls. I want to share my life with those of you who share your workouts with me. Up until now, I’ve thought that people who don’t know you really won’t care enough to look up or memorize you on Facebook. Evidently, some do.
facebook-symbols-for-status

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Embrace your calling

I love the book “The Defining Decade” by Meg Jay, PhD. It talks about how your 20s are an important time to be deliberate about career and family. We all probably had wild ideas of moving to Timbuktu, flying by the seat of our pants, and working a “what-ev” job (barista, babysitting, etc) just to get by as we let the good times roll. But, if we were wise, we tweezed that crazy hair. Instead of wasting our early adulthood on mindless fun, we should spend our 20s investing time and energy into a career that will grow into greater opportunities as our years of experience lengthen. Same goes for love. According to the book, we shouldn’t date just to date in our 20s. We should date, intentionally, knowing that there is an expiration date for finding “the one,” having as many children as you desire (read: “biological clock”), then getting them out of the house before your retirement. The rest of your life dangles in limbo by the choices you make in your 20s. That’s not to say that you can’t sew your wild oats in your 20s and still get it together in your 30s and have a perfectly fulfilling life. There will just be consequences. While you were pouring out shots of Jose Cuervo at the corner bar, your fellow college classmate was using her degree. She may very well be the person you call “boss” when you decide to throw in the bartender towel and get a job in the field you studied. You’ll spend your years trying to work harder to trump her up the corporate ladder, but harder may not beat longer. Anyway, it’s a fantastic book and certainly a worthwhile read.
I look back on my life and have to consider it a God thing that I found my calling in fitness. At one point, I seemed like the least likely person for this career. No one who knew me when I was younger would have thought I would grow up to be a fitness star. I was an extremely shy child. I was diagnosed as having an avoidance disorder. The psychiatrist believed it rooted from an inferiority complex. I was clumsy in athletics, unfocused in academics, disproportionate with my long limbs and short torso, and had frizzy hair from a home perm gone wrong. I would look (stare) at other girls, wishing that I could be them. I believed myself to be “less than” other people. Then, I found baton twirling. I was able to channel my energy into something that, with a hellofalot of practice, I was quite good at. I came out of my shell, and found joy in performing for crowds. They were only seeing a glimpse of me; I could hide behind my baton performance. When I started teaching aerobics at 17, it was an extension of those halftime performances. I would put on a show while I was teaching Step Aerobics to a cassette tape and rev up energy to and from the crowd. But when it was over, I wanted out as quickly as possible. It was in 2003 when I started personal training that I actually had to vulnerably connect with the clients that I was training. I learned that we’re all insecure about something. I would train college professors, knowing good and well that they were smarter than I was. They would arrive to sessions in oversized clothes, hiding that were heavier than they ought to or wanted to be. We are alllllll insecure about something.
Now, okay, I’ll talk about love. I thought I met the person that I was going to marry when I was 16. I dated the same person from high school in to college, and thought that this was “it.” It wasn’t. I really tried to force that shoe to fit, but it didn’t and it wasn’t supposed to. If life had played out the way I so desperately wanted it to back then, I wouldn’t have realized my calling in education, vocation, or the spouse God truly intended me to be with. I learned a lot about partnership from this person and don’t regret the relationship that we had, however, I never lament not having the future that we planned.
In 2005, after completing my Master’s Degree, I moved to Dallas, TX to begin my first full-time job: Fitness Coordinator at Southern Methodist University. I started a jogging and conditioning class as part of the group fitness schedule. It was in that class that I met Daniel. The class didn’t make it, but we became running partners. After a year of running together, we had become very close friends. We started spending more time together: eating dinner after runs, watching tv; he hung up my Christmas lights; eventually, we became boyfriend/girlfriend. Falling in love with him was easy. I dated Daniel for a two and a half years before we got married. After five years of enjoying just being together, vacationing, moving to Austin, and creating our first home, we welcomed our first child, Hayes. I loved Daniel with all my heart before we had Hayes, but after witnessing what an amazing father he is, I admire and adore him even more. I miss him when we’re not together and I look forward to returning to him when I’ve been gone.
Right now, I’m leading educational workshops for fitness professionals at a conference in Florida. I love doing this! I love the awesome feedback from fellow fit pros, the positive energy we all share, and the endorphin rush that comes with a pant-kicking workout. This work is very rewarding, but I also cannot wait to get back home to my family. I was called to be a fitness professional in 1999, a wife in 2008, and a mother in 2014. I hope that my service in these areas will change the world. I aspire to use my gifts to spread love, joy, and happiness that knows no bounds.

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From Infant to Toddler: Baby & Mom Growing Up

My baby turned 1-year-old on Thursday.  At this moment, he’s napping… I’m drinking wine- from an Olivia Pope-like glass.  So much changes at a year.  No longer is he considered an infant; he’s a toddler.  No longer does he require an advanced infant registration for admission into the childcare center at the gym; just bring him in, drop him off, and hope that he finds something to play with and pray that no one steps on him. No longer is it socially permissible to nurse in public; furthermore, it’s judged when I announce that I still nurse in private.  I know I’m not alone when I say I’M STRUGGLING WITH THIS!  As wonderful as it is to reflect on the sweet day that I gave birth to my sweet angel baby boy, it’s also sad.  Very sad.  I feel like my purpose in life is to be this child’s mother.  Now that he sleeps through the night, speaks, crawls, walks, and drinks from a sippy cup, my arms to carry him around, breasts to provide him nourishment, and presence to make him feel safe no longer seem needed.  Preferred, from time to time, yes, but not needed.  It’s a good thing, I think, logically.  He is developing as he should and growing into a dashing little boy. Emotionally and hormonally, it’s hard to take.  Any nursing mother knows the changes with your milk supply when the baby starts sleeping through the night.  You’re finally feeling rested!  YAY!  The feeling of engorged breasts passes with the passing of nighttime feedings.  And that makes mom feel a little melancholy.  Then he gets proficient at drinking from a cup, and turns to that more often than to you for feedings.  A nursing mother’s hormones alter in response to the less frequent feedings.  Prolactin levels decline and estrogen spikes.  With those changes, at least for me, have come breakouts, cravings, lethargy, and feelings of loss and sadness.  This is nature running its course. I get it.  It is just the start of the many separations a mom must face along the way.  The fact that he’s growing up and will continue to grow up is not lost on me.  It just hits me, in a way I never could understand before I was a mom, how precious each passing day is.  Before becoming a mother, I would train clients who would come to sessions upset when it was their kid’s first day of kindergarten, etc.  I had no idea what the big deal was about.  I loathe to think of the day that I must face my own child starting school.  I may have to enroll myself with him!!  I’m kidding. Kind of.  When God gave me Hayes on 3-13-13, he revealed to me His goodness and grace.  Beauty, love, innocence, perfection.  Every day since then, I’ve been in a divine love that captivates my very existence.  The gift of this child is far more precious than anything else I’ll ever know.  I’m happy that Hayes is thriving, and I will soon adjust to his newfound independence.  In the words of Darryl Worley: I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful beautiful life.

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