Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ashes & Aspirations

Today is a big day!

It's Ash Wednesday. Coincidentally, it is also the beginning of the crossfit open.

The Open kicks off the Games Season, and the test of my training.
Ash Wednesday ushers us into Lent, and the 40 day journey to strip away the unnecessary and unhelpful.

It's pretty cool actually that they arrive at the same time.

Lent means "spring time" literally.  It's a time for new growth, new life, but spring is always preceded by the starkness of winter. 
In the paraphrased words of my Facebook Friend, "Lent comes as an intense penitential time where Christians spiritually follow Christ into the desert and spend 40 days with Him there. We ramp up our prayers, penance and alms to mortify our senses and bring our flesh under subjection to the higher power of the soul, the will. We do these things for love of God and to be reminded that we do not live on meat and veggies alone* but our good God. Everything culminates on Holy week, the week preceding Easter... where Christ suffers His Passion... then Easter Vigil when we await Easter... then Easter!!! The greatest feast day of the church calendar!
I personally always come out of Lent, more disciplined, grateful and realizing how many superfluous things I add to my life."

*because since when have crossfitting Christians eaten bread?

Coming into the Crossfit Open, I have a high goal.  Top 60.
Only the top 60 each of men and women will go onto the regional competition. 
Top 60. 
Last year I was 89th. 
But it didn't matter last year, because I got to go as part of a team onto the next level.
But it didn't matter last year, because I had never competed EVER and had no idea where I would fall as absolutely emotionally bananas as I was... I didn't have a reference point.  

This year there are twice as many people participating and at least half are likely to have been training as hard as I have this year.... or harder. That pretty much translates into I have to have improved more than 60% since last year to reach my goal.
I just crunch numbers. Not so good at knowing if they actually mean what I think they mean :)

We wear ashes on our foreheads today to remember what happened to the human race with sin...
"Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return"
It's humbling.  This isn't what we were created for, but there's such a beauty and a simplicity in wearing it.
It says,  "I know you are bigger than me, God.  I know on my own I go off all kinds of crazy ways.
Everything in this world will end in ash and dust.
But I know if I trust in You and walk with You through this desert.
I will be with You.
In the end there will be life."

I discipline my body daily.  I train diligently.  I eat mindfully.
When I'm not in the gym, I seek chiropractic adjustments, pilates for strength and alignment, massage for release and recovery, mobility, contrast showers, ice, stretching, compression, and SLEEP.
please more sleep!
And still it too often feels like its not enough. I'm not making the progress I want at the pace I think I need.
Southern California is pretty undebatably the toughest region for women.
I don't even have hand stand pushups or muscle ups yet.
My propensity to freak out is great.

But... Seeing so many people compete in the open, so many just giving it a go,
Is beautiful. and simple. and humbling.

It brings back the big picture of why we all do this - because we love it.  because we want to push that much harder to find our new best each day. because we are a community, encouraging one another to grow.

I love lent. I love the austerity.  I love the simplicity.  The focus.  I love that it lasts 40 days, because you know it takes me nearly that long to "get it".

I love that it lands right along side something that would tempt me to pride and vanity and self depricating insanity, with the fear of "not making it".

Because with these two things together I feel like life balances out...
The daily cross and the hope.

I'm ready!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading Projects

I'm the kind of girl that gets into a novel and has to finish it as fast as possible... when it's Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or Kristin Lavransdatter...oooh or the Fairy Tale series by Regina Doman.   You know mostly teeny bopper books.
But then there are so many other books that take me FOR. EVER. to get through.   I always have a list of books I'm working on, when an occassional super novel will make it on the list and remind me that I can be productive ;)

Here's what I have in the works
Goal: finish 80% by June

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
really good stuff, but takes a lot of prayer and reflection time

Healing Life's Hurts by Edward Smith
doing this one with a group, so I've got to finish it right?

Count of Monte Cristo by A. Dumas
This one's been in the works for at least a year, need to come back to that.

The Brothers Karamozov by Dostoevsky
Recommended because I loved Kristin Lavransdatter, and well it's a classic,
 but I never made it through the 1st chapter.

The Paleo Answer by Loren Cordain
Follow up reading from the Paleo Solution, but unfortunately Cordain isn't as engaging a writer as Robb Wolf

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
recommended and gifted from a friend - great message, but I get so annoyed with his paraphrasing and interpretation of scripture it's hard get the good messages out of it. 

How to Find your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul by Jason & Crystalina Evert
Yes, I'm reading this. Yes, that's kind of embarassing.  BUT it's got a lot of good stuff and good reminders. A lot about growing a backbone, and being the woman to desrve the kind of man I would want and pretty much a lot about why I might be single forever. 
Maybe I'll post more on this one when I finish it.

Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly
Thought it looked dumb, but it's actually really good stuff. It's simple.  I like simple. Basically breaks it down to the point of our Faith is that we become holy, and what is holiness other than being the best version of yourself and most truly who God made you to be.  I recommend it.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
was supposed to read it for a book club that I never attended.  Still it looks like it could be good, and I bought it so I better go ahead and read it.

Desire by John Eldredge
I started this one after "Waking the Dead", which was awesome.  I didn't make it that far though because I think it just made me cry.  I may come back to it on a stronger day when I'm ready to face up to what the true desires of my heart are and what's keeping me from them.  For now though I think I'm still weeding through what I THINK I want and separating out what's really me and what's been planted.

AND I don't have them yet, but I want to read...
CS Lewis's Space Trilogy.
somehow I think I've read them before, but don't remember.

Any recommendations for a novel a just won't be able to put down?... there's too much heavy on this list!