Monday, December 26, 2011


"If you had nothing today that you didn't thank God for yesterday, what would you have?"
-Fr. Scott Mansfield.

Over the last several months, I've myself feeling especially grateful, sometimes teemingly grateful.
It's such a wonderful place to be - I want to savor it... because it's too easy to forget and get negative and forgetful about the blessings in my life.

What better way than to make a list and publish it?  So later, when I think I am lost and miserable and alone, I can come back here and start making a new list.

Also it may be significant to note that almost all of these things are things I complain and suffer over frequently, but today I choose to see the good.

2011's Top TEN of my life ROCKS -

1)  Sick of hearing about Crossfit yet?  If so you may want to skip ahead a few paragraphs.
So. About Crossfit, There has been nothing else, since the decision to give my heart to Christ, that has had such an incredible and transforming effect on my life - and I am so immensely grateful for it.
Crossfit is my happy place, my thing. It grounds me. It holds me accountable for my actions. It is relentless on pity parties and excuses. It doesn't care what kind of day I'm having, and it always gives me the opportunity for bigger and greater feats than I have done before.  Performance is the standard and measure of all things, not appearances.  I can't lie to myself about who I am in crossfit.  Illusions don't last long. AND I love it.  I thrive there. I skip, I dance, I laugh. But I also grunt and kick things, and cry.  And that's okay.  We all have those days. It's beautiful.

2) And It keeps giving.  It's more than just my own journey. There's a family to it. I loved my crossfit family in New Mexico - we bonded in the gym, we sweat, suffered, and rejoiced together, supporting one another to succeed. Leaving was so sad, and scary.
But moving has been a story of giving God my yes, letting go of something, and then him giving me back so much more.  I love my new crossfit family - on a whole new level.  I have been blessed abundantly in stepping out and opening my heart to my teammates.  I have found beautiful friends and support both within and beyond the box.

3) Then there's My Living Situation - sometimes I complain about my current scenario; I think my life would be better or more complete in some way if I lived in a thriving young professional community.  Pacific Beach, Downtown, Some where with more social life built in, or just blocks from the beach.  But the truth is I get tired and overwhelmed pretty easily and my situation now is peaceful. It's safe. It's far nicer than anything I could afford moving out.  I don't have to worry about roommates that I may or may not get along with, and yet I'm still not alone.  I have a family life almost built in and cute little ones to come keep me company from time to time and play as I cook. It's precious.  So what if I'm pretty much being taken care of with a deal too good to be true. Why is that a bad thing? Does it really make me irresponsible and childish, or is it just an incredible blessing for this time in my life that I should accept!? I'm voting for the latter.

4) My boss -  I have often suffered all sorts of anxiety over his lack of loquaciousness, and my inability to ask for what I need.  However, I have recently begun to see how much my boss really cares about and values me. He really tries, and I see that he goes out of his way to make sure I'm taken care of in anything I need.  He's more like a big brother or a dad than a boss, and an incredibly humble man of integrity. How many people can say that?

5) My Job - completely unconventional.  I have agonized over this one quite often as well.  I think I don't deserve my job, and yet I also think that I'm not a grown up because I don't have a 'real job'.  I think all sorts of things about how terrible it is because I'm not good at it and I get bored. I'm not inspired or motivated on a daily basis.  And while that is true sometimes, my job is something of a sanctuary, and that is not a bad thing to have.  It keeps me closely tied to something that I believe in passionately - pilgrimage.
I am involved in creating opportunities that will change lives as youth encounter Christ in a way they never have.  That's awesome.  I believe in what we do. That is more important perhaps than "feeling passionately" about it everyday.  Feelings change all the time.  My job is tied to my core beliefs, and I am so grateful.  Instead of waiting for the bottom to fall out and creating excuses for why I don't deserve it or  anxiously wondering how I will survive with any other job, today I am happy to relax and just say, 'thank you'

6) I wish everyone had their own fellowship.  You know.  Like Frodo had the fellowship of the rings. I have a fellowship.  I have a possy of girl power like I have never seen before.  We call it FLAG - fight like a girl - and fight we do.  We pray for and fight for one another every day.  We fight the battles for one another that go unseen, but the results are tangible.  I really don't have words for this here.  But they are rising on the list of powerful forces changing my life and freeing my heart to thrive.  Because really, none of us were meant to face life alone.

7) This is my blogging debut of my struggle with bipolar disorder. I've never mentioned it, and really I don't intend to talk about it now, except to share my gratitude for my Emotional Health - medication helps, but all these things in my gratitude list have worked together to foster a great level of emotional health -  I am grateful for the strength and balance to face my triggers and brokenness and find true healing.  Problems aren't really problems when you have the emotional health and fortitude to face them. Priceless.

8) Surprise!  I am so grateful for Being Single.  This time in life has allowed me to do some serious work on myself - and boy have I been working!  If I had a husband or kids right now, I wouldn't have had the freedom of time and finances to take such serious care of myself and really work on addressing the things that trip me up in life and relationships. I might not have the time to invest in crossfit and training and recovery the way I can now or TRAVEL.
 I also LOVE that I get to keep sleeping when I hear the kids playing early in the morning, because they aren't mine!  The last thing about being single right now that thrills me is looking back on the guys in my past and being able to honestly say, "I'm glad that didn't work out; they really aren't what I'm looking for."

9) Family - oh my family. I am so grateful that my parents are still together. I am grateful for that stability and for the testimony to a big part of what love is - transformation through unconditional commitment.  My family wears out the words, "I love you" - we shower one another with encouragement and affection, even though many of us are vastly different and can't agree on anything other than that we love each other.  I am so grateful to be a Carey.

10) And the source of every good thing - FAITH. If everything else were taken away, I still have my Faith.  Nothing makes sense without it.  Without Christ, I don't make sense.  And I am so grateful for this relationship - to be so loved, so priceless, so precious, and to have such a powerful ally - I've only barely scratched the surface of how much He wants to do in and for me.

2011 has seen some great work in my life, and no matter what 2012 holds I know I have been so blessed. And I am grateful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is it REALLY a treat?

A whole cheesecake showed up in my fridge today - the real deal, cheesecake factory sublimity.  I made a narrow escape, by sprinting out to the gym for my lunch break.  This gave me enough distance to break the trance luring me closer and closer, fork in hand, arm outstretched.... sort of like Aurora drawn to prick her finger on a spindle in Sleeping Beauty.

As I sped along frantically, I thought about why not eat that cheesecake.  I thought about my goals.
In and of itself what's so bad about treating myself to some cheesecake?  Nothing. 
Nothing except I have already 'treated' myself quite a bit in the last week, 'celebrating' the conclusion of the NLI series.  There's a voice that says, "you deserve it!"  but you know what? I deserve BETTER than what the cheesecake has to offer me.

I really want to heal.  I want my body to truly recover from all the work I've put it through the last few months, so that it can come back stronger.  Nutrition is essential to that process.

A small treat every now and then is ok, but it has to stay exactly that, a small treat every now and then. 

Otherwise those cheats add up  "like a thief in the night" and the next thing you know my goals are riding off into the sunset, along with all the hard work I've put in to earn my successes.  I know what my goals are.  I know what my body needs to reach them.  Every choice paves the way closer or farther from them.

It's Christmas. I'm taking two weeks vacation.  That's wonderful!!  But the way I take that vacation is critical to my ability to heal and recover during this rest time, to rebuild and be ready for the training ahead, and to be the happiest about the time I took.  I want to be grateful and pleased with the time I had with my family, not angry at myself and blaming them for derailing me.  I am the master of my choices.

I know (with a little distance between us) that cheesecake is my gateway.  It sets the stage for how I will handle every opportunity and temptation of this holiday season.  If I approach them with the carefree attitude of  "It's my vacation.  It's not a big deal. I've worked hard so I can indulge."  I will be taking rapid steps away from my goals. 

Last year, the rum cake won.  Here it is.  I didn't mention that I ate the WHOLE THING. and that bottle of bailey's, and more. I've been training myself to be prepared to face that rum cake this year and win.  I think that little bastard knew I was ready for him so he sent his cousin the cheesecake to trip me up and weaken my will.  I'm not having it.  No, I'm drawing a line.  To help, I made this sign to keep the cheesecake company until I find the right party to donate it to.

Inflammation and Weight gain do not equal HSPU's and Muscle Ups.
Those are two big goals I have, which I can't really practice until my bicep tendonitis is healed.

I'm also going to put this on my phone background.  As I face choice after choice this holiday - I want to make my decisions empowered by my goals. Will I make a few indulgent choices?  Probably, but I want to make them will full awareness of what I'm saying yes and no to.

Saying NO takes having a bigger YES :) 

How are you approaching the holidays this year?

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Confessions of Vainaholic

A vainaholic.  I googled it just to see if it could be a word, and a brilliant girl already had the same idea :)
However, I have a little different interpretation of the word.  Not limiting vanity to appearance, but to concern over others' opinions in general.  I feel like this blog often looks like the confessions of a vainaholic - confessions of how much undue emphasis I put on what others think of me and my journey to break free.
So here we go.

Fierce Right?

Fierce and Beautiful.
Some think so.  I know it because they said it! and others...
the others are less documented but I'm sure they are present.  They don't think "fierce and beautiful."  They don't think, "wow.  There is an amazing woman." 

Instead, they think,
"I'm a little scared right now."
"So much muscle isn't feminine."
"That's not pretty."
or heaven forbid, "She looks fat"

All debatable, but wounding nonetheless.  It's hurtful, because most women don't want to be scary.  They want to be nurturing and life giving; we want to be encouragement and hope.  We want to be feminine -BEAUTIFUL.

If I were already married, if I had already found some one that thinks I'm wonderful and beautiful and amazing, that I feel the same way about, maybe I would be less sensitive.  But probably not.  We all need to find our peace with ourselves without needing the opinions of anyone else to dictate it - because people are changing and fickle (frankly they are just not God) and therefore, they will always fall short or disappoint at some point.  They can't help it; they are human.

Some one once advised me, regarding the search for my soulmate, "Don't appeal to a man's baser nature. Appeal to his nobility."
I think I understand more what he meant.  But he followed it with the encouragement that I focus on "grace, beauty, elegance, and modesty."

While it was a good pep talk... I was frustrated and discouraged.  I felt he was telling me to change, to be a whitewashed version of the feminine genius. To be something I am not. I was discouraged because I spent years with my only ambition in life to be a wife and mother of a large family (6. 7. 8. the more the merrier.) Because I held that up as the standard of a beautiful, worthy, and virtuous woman. 
And that never happened. And so I began to think about me.  Who am I?  What was I created for? What are my gifts and contributions?  Maybe I wasn't meant to be a mother of a large family?  Maybe I have other joys and delights in this world, and maybe that is good too?
In fact, I am grateful for my life!

I was discouraged because I've been shedding my stereotype of who I 'should be' and on so many levels I feel more alive, more truly myself than ever before - and yet In the pictures above - grace, beauty, elegance, and modesty are not the dominent messages. 

I see strength, sacrifice, victory, endurance, hope.

And well, if that is not enough to win the love and respect of a good and noble man, then I guess I will live a life alone.
With this, very sad, but clear conviction - I rejoice in the deliverance from vainaholic land - from man pleasing land.
The part of me that is strong to resist lies, discrimination, scrutiny, and the ever changing opinon of the world is growing.  I feel poweful - like the martyrs were powerful, lke the saints have been powerful, like we are all called to be powerful over our own domain.  Faithful stewards of the gifts we've been given.
So at the end, we stand, empty, naked, transparent - and unashamed, because we know we've been true.  We've been real. 
And real is beautiful.

Next Level Invitational Series... and such

The coolest part of pressing through a 3 part competition series = TShirts!
 This autumn was a big benchmark for me.  It was the first time I set out as an individual competitor.  Translation - I was accountable to myself to deal with my own sh*t :)  The journey of this series has been deeply meaningful to me.  I tend to want to look at stats and scores and outcomes - of course. That's exciting, but it's not the whole point. A person that is only looking at the result misses the true beauty of the apparent victory or failure. It's so sad how much they miss.

So what's the real beauty?  The whole picture.
Nothing great ever happens without opposition.

It's almost Christmas - so I'll use that example. Mary faced great opposition to say Yes to be the Mother of God Incarnate.  She was an unmarried teenager.  Her fiance was ready to dismiss her quietly - though he could have had her stoned.  She risked ridicule, judgement, public shame, and even death to say yes to the glory God wanted to bring through her.  And then there's JC, just trying to be born, and who has room for him in their inn?  Herod was so pissed about him even coming into the world that he slaughtered every male child under the age of 2, just to stomp out the threat to his own glory that was made by this "newborn king".  The family had to flee into Egypt, etc. etc. The life of Christ is filled with opposition, judgement from others, rejection, and wrong expectations.  If he had lived worrying about living up to the expectations of people, he would have never accomplished what he did - but he changed the world forever.

My dear friend Karen shared this with me
It's on my phone wall paper until it's written
on my heart.
There is so much in me that is flustered, that places my worth on things outside myself, instead I need to turn into my heart where the Lord speaks what is true and listen. 

It's not about me and them.  It's not about my coach or my team or my opponents. It's not about whether they will consider me worthy, whether they will be proud or disappointed. It's not about whether I will measure up and be enough, because whose standards are those anyway? and how often do they change? 

I want something eternal.  I want to live up to my own calling in this epic story.  To be the person I was created to be and so fill the unique place in this world that only I can fill. And that's about the journey, the fight, the day in day out determination and fortitude - The humility not to get swept up with any victory of the moment & the humility not to get beat down and discouraged by any disappointment of the moment.  It requires taking a longer view, a more grounded and focused view, pulling all the elements into the balance before casting judgement.  Because beneath it all it comes down to the Who that created me - what I am to Him, what He thinks and says about me.

The other day, I started to feel some judgement, some scrutiny - whether it was in my head or real.  It came at church, of course, from the people you expect to lift you up to whom God made you to be, but all too often tear you down instead, (because that's just what our enemy wants to see).  In that moment, I took a deep breath, looked to heaven, and closed my eyes. Do you know what I heard?  "I've got your back, Kath."

Act justly, love tenderly, repent of wrong doing and wrong thinking, leave it behind, and walk humbly with your God.

He's got your back!
In the overwhelming gratitude of that moment - it made me want to be better, to be holier.  He's got my back.  I don't need to get ugly, I don't need to be defensive.  I want to be patient. I want to be humble. I want to be kind and confident in goodness. I want to be generous in thought and deed - because I have been given so much. That's what it's all about. He's got my back.

So Next level Invitational series - Here's how it played out.

1) Sign up - I chose intermediate over advanced division since... a) I'm stumped on some necessary skillz, and b) I'm a head case at competing and never competed as an individual before.  This was going to be my test of competitor grit.
2) Beginning of August = Qualifiers. I'd been training hard for ages. I got 3rd. AWESOME.
3) For work and fun I took 3 weeks off training... working 20 hr days, eating all sorts of less than optimally nutritious choices and enjoying the best of Italy, i.e. Gelato, Wine, Pasta, Capaccino... you get the idea.

Another treasure from Karen!

4) Sep 10, 2011 = 1st event. I had 3 days in the gym, after my hiadas.  Then a hailstorm threw a wrench in the programming and gave me unexpected wod's that I was definitely not conditioned for. Result = 31st place.
5) I was fired up to regain my conditioning and get back on track -> too much too fast -> Back injury.  I was out for nearly 3 weeks resting  then rehabbing, but came back stronger.
6) Nov 12th = 2nd event.  It was all strongman type events.  I was pumped.  The confidence and joy fueled my performance.  This was the turning point for me.  I had so many mental victories this day.  So much prayer power behind me.  This is where the switch flipped. I experience freedom to rejoice in my own victories and not be ruled by the leaderboard.  As a competitor I realized I have to fight for it. No one is going to show me any mercy out there or do me any favors.  I am worth fighting to do my best.   Result = 11th place
7) I had 10 days of travel in the 28 days between competitions.  This will throw any one off.  But I also started to experience some problems with my shoulder and ankle/foot.  I worked to train smart and carefully.  Testing and gratefully seeing what my body will take, what it can do when I tell it to, and when to respect it's limits.
8)  Dec 10th = 3rd and final event.  I just knew it would be a great day.  The weather would be sunny and nice.  The workouts were varied and a decent broad range of capacity, and there was a chipper.  I love chippers. Despite this hope, I just didn't feel well all day. 
It was super exciting to have new competititors representing our box (as in November too).  I love it!  It's so exciting and inspiring to be fighting for your best beside your buddies fighting for their best.  To share one another's journey, agonies, and triumphs, is one of my absolute FAVORITE things about crossfit.  Result = 7th place

Overall standings for the whole seires - TBA