Saturday, March 26, 2016

Slow, slow, quick, quick

Nate and I started taking ballroom lessons this week. He is such a trooper. He has a horrible cold but sucked it up to go to the first class with me.

We weren't sure what to expect, because the class description didn't entail much, but we were told during class that we would learn three basic dances in the six-week course --- the foxtrot, swing and waltz.

We began with the foxtrot --- slow, slow, quick, quick.

So, I kind of figured that it would be simple enough for us to pick up on. I mean, I teach dance and Nate enjoys dancing. It shouldn't be hard for us to learn a few steps, right?

But it was a bit more difficult than I imagined for one major reason. Nate is completely in charge during the foxtrot, and I simply have to follow his silent directions.

If you haven't taken ballroom before, the basic foxtrot is the man guides the direction through hand pressure. The female is going backward the entire time, so the man uses pressure to tell her when they will turn at the end of the dance floor, to turn when he wants to promenade, to tighten up when they need to dance in place in order to not hit someone, to turn her. He does everything silently, and she is to follow his direction without knowing what is coming.

My instinct in dance is to take control. I anticipate where we are going and try to accommodate those changes. It's easy for me to pick up on the footwork, and then it makes me want to lead so that even if he messes up I can keep us going.

The teacher also explained that it is hard for the man to lead because men have a one-track mind. Women can multitask, and that means ballroom dancing is easier for them. Men have to learn to do multiple things at once --- keep their feet moving, guide their partner, anticipate, signal.

Ballroom dancing is so much like marriage. Nate and I have down pretty well that the man leads, but I know it is natural for women to slip into the leadership role when they don't see their man controlling the way things are heading. We anticipate, and men sometimes don't, so we take the lead when we anticipate more than they do. However, it is their God-given job to lead us. We need to allow that.

Yes, sometimes our feet might get twisted. We might bungle over each other. But that doesn't mean that the woman can just take control. She is to trust her husband and let him guide her, because she doesn't always see what's going on.

During ballroom, when I would try to take control, Nate had to regain that control, because I was going backward and even though I thought I knew what was best, he could see that we were about to bump into someone and had to steer me. He had to use that upperhand and bring us back in line as a couple.

We messed our feet up at one point and started cracking up. The teacher commented, "At least you are laughing about it."

I actually said to Nate later, "Do you think that he sees couples who don't laugh when they mess up?"

"Yeah, I'm sure that some people get mad at each other."

"Why would you get mad about it?"

"I don't know. Maybe they get frustrated that they're doing something wrong."

I think that is a huge issue in marriage as well. When you mess up together, sometimes you just have to laugh it off. You can't always fault the other person for a making a mistake. You take what happened and you start again. It only makes situations worse when you aren't sure you can count on your spouse to support you through failures. It makes things so much easier when you know you can mess up and move on together without a fight.

I'm excited to continue our dance lessons together. Slow, slow, quick, quick. That's the way life works. Some moves are slow, some are fast. But through it all, you're together. Just don't lose hold on each other and you can keep dancing through life with a smile on.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Good-bye cellulite?

The no-sugar diet has been quite successful. It hasn't been easy, and I'm amazed by what sounds good right now (pancakes, Oreos ---- I've never been huge on Oreos), but it has been successful.

The latest result I have noticed has been a lack of cellulite. Now, as I mentioned before, I didn't try this to lose weight. I had been noticing that my legs were taking on a bulgy appearance. Even though I was lifting and gaining muscle tone, that muscle seemed to be pushing out and tightening a layer of fat under my skin, and it was bumpy.

I was not happy to see that happen, and I was shocked at the places that it was. I mean, yes, my thighs and butt. That's not weird to have cellulite there. But my calves? If I moved just right, I could see that even my muscular calves were starting to take on a dented appearance when the skin was pulled tight, like when I would sit back on my heels.

Then, this week, I started to notice that my legs were looking smoother. I tried sitting a few ways that usually horrifically showed off the cellulite, and I tried squishing my calf skin, and the bulges were noticeably less than they had been just a few weeks ago.

I have always known sugar isn't good for me. I have quite an addiction to it when it is around though. In the past the way I have gotten over my addiction is not by eating "just a little bit," because that often turned into "just a little more," but to give it up completely. Giving it up gave me a reason to say "No."

When this experiment/sacrifice ends, I'm going to have to make some actual changes in life. I'm coming to the age that what I put inside my body really does affect me, and I guess this is as good a time as any to get into better habits.

So you'll probably be hearing more about this in the future!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Worry wart

Ugh. Leave it to Satan to torment you for no particular reason.

I have found in years past that the moment I look down on someone for doing something I would never do, I end up doing it. Or the moment I take pride in how far I have come, I fall off the wagon. I know it's Satan that is tempting me in my weak spots, even if I think those spots are strong.

Throughout my life, I've struggled with worry. I've worried about everything, from throwing away things I thought I might need in the future to what summer job to take to what college to go to. I've worried about the big things and the little things, to the point of making myself sick.

I was talking with someone the other day and seeing how much this person struggled with worry over things that I know shouldn't be worried about, and I vividly remember thinking, "I'm glad that I don't struggle with anxiety anymore."

It was like opening a door.

This past week or two, I have felt knots in my stomach over the most random things. I've stressed out entirely about my dance classes, worrying that I didn't hand out the right costumes months ago and that for picture day on Sunday that the kids would show up without costumes and it would be my fault.

I will admit, there are times that I haven't prioritized my classes like I should have, and when these worries come it's hard to combat them with "I've done my best, and I know everything will work out. If it doesn't, it won't be my fault." That's often how I combat my worried feelings. But when I don't have that, I don't know what to combat it with.

I've tried to become more organized this past week, and done my best to e-mail my students' parents to tell them to check all their stuff and let me know if something is missing, and I haven't received anything back. So I guess I just have to be content with that.

And then there's the next moment when I get a pit in my stomach for no reason. And then I start to worry that I shouldn't have that feeling, that I shouldn't get those pits in my stomach anymore.

So I'm worrying about worrying? I'm worrying about how to get rid of my worry?

It's a vicious cycle.

And it's somewhere I've been before. It's somewhere I used to live. And I got out of it, and I have loved my life without worry. I've gotten so much better at trusting God to take care of what is beyond my control, and I guess I have to trust him that even if I do mess up, and something truly is my fault, that he will help me work it out for the best.

I'm never going to be perfect, so if my only way to combat worry is to tell myself I've done my best, then that won't work. I can't always do my best. I will fail. I will falter. And those moments, I have to know that God is in control and he is bigger than my mistakes.

Plus, I know I have to live beyond my feelings. That's another thing I was talking to this same person about, that they can't just go by how they feel. Sometimes we feel crappy. When I feel worrisome and have those pits in my stomach for no reason, then I need to turn everything over to God and go about my day.

So, thank you Lord that you are in control. Forgive me for falling into a trap that I have many times in the future. I'm sorry for the areas that I have slacked, and I'm sorry for not always doing my best. Please use me, and even my failures, for good.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The no-sugar update

I would love some ice cream.

Or that coffee cake I saw on "Pioneer Woman."

The cupcakes they're eating on "Fixer Upper" look good too.

So, yeah, I miss sugar.

Only three more weeks though.

I have been doing alright with my Lenten decision, although it has taken down a lot of my food options. I've eaten a lot of homemade bread, natural peanut butter, peanuts, bananas and smoothies. But that has made me eat quite a bit healthier than I usually do which is a good thing.

I would normally think that this would help boost my immune system, but I did end up catching a pretty good cold from someone at work. Maybe my sugar intake doesn't impede my immune system as much as I thought it would have.

I have lost a couple of pounds. That is not super unusual for me. I'm not one of those people that stays at one set weight. I usually fluctuate within three-four pounds. We have also been consistently going to the gym, so that might have something to do with it.

I guess the biggest update with my sugar diet is I'm not dead. Who would have guessed you could give up all sugar and still live?