“Every journey begins with a small step…”

“… every race has a starting line.”

So begins one of our Year 6 songs this summer, as they prepare to leave primary school.

What journey are you starting out on? Or rather, what journey do you have to start out on, but haven’t yet made that small step?

For me, I’ve been in a seemingly endless cycle of mistreating my body and my health: drinking excessively; smoking; late nights and early rises; over eating; under eating; exercise regimes that never quite last.

The journey I am on at the moment is a difficult one. I am a mother, and a wife, a daughter and a sister. I want to be healthy, to live a long life. I want to be physically strong, so my own daughter will have an example of what it is to live well. And yet, when I snatch a glimpse of myself in the mirror before bed, it all comes back down to weight and aesthetics once more.

As I said in my previous post, I did not start running earlier in the year because I wanted to lose weight. My journey began because I wanted to be fit, both mentally and physically. And that’s still true. What’s changed is that I have come to realise that it isn’t enough to simply run 5K 3 times a week, nor play a bit of netball. I need to get serious about how I fuel my body.

Over the last 10 days or so, I have felt exhausted. Clearly, I am not getting enough sleep and my body isn’t getting the right sort of energy from the food I am putting in. (Seriously, any tips would be gratefully received!!)

So I am stood at the starting line, waiting to take that small step. As with much of my life, I’ll be winging it and seeing what works well. Let’s see what this body of mine can do when it is fuelled correctly.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honour God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20)


A Very Merry 1st Christmas

“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… not even a mouse…”

And so the famous poem starts. Last Christmas I was very pregnant and, when I left work for the final time, my ex-colleagues put together a bumper baby box for me. In this box was this Christmas book, and so it has sat on my bookshelf for a year… waiting for our baby’s first Christmas.

So the story has been read, and our little girl is tucked up in her bed, ready for her first Christmas Day. Each year at this time we enjoy baked Camembert, good red wine, chocolate and a Christmas film. This year is no different, but with our beautiful addition’s arrival, I thought I’d start a new tradition.

The Christmas Eve Hamper

I am sure that, as our little one gets older, the tradition will evolve to include different items. This year, however, it was more a surprise for my husband. I included: new matching(ish) pyjamas; Santa slippers; Christmas Eve book; white Lindor (hubby’s favourites), and normal Lindor; and a bottle of Merlot.

We enjoyed getting some shots of us in our matching pjs before story and bed time. 

It has been a wonderful year filled with firsts, and new traditions: first smile, first tooth, first holiday and first Christmas. Soon it will be her first birthday and, in time, we will see more firsts and more traditions. For now though, I’m not looking at the future. I’m just going to enjoy the here and now. Because here and now is pretty wonderful!

Merry Christmas!

Hands Off My Body!

Yesterday I received a text from a really close friend, upset because people have been remarking that she looks ‘big’ for 4 months pregnant. I mean, really? Why do people feel they can do this? The fact that she’s actually carrying very tidily and looks amazing, that isn’t even the point.

Why do people, when you’re pregnant, feel they have some sort of right to say things about your body? Why do people, when you’re pregnant, feel they have some sort of right to touch you?

Some women find pregnancy hard, not least because of the sickness and tiredness, but also because of feeling fat… I mean, there’s something about not being able to see your feet, that makes you feel like a small hippopotamus. Personally, I loved it. I loved my bump, I loved how it grew: the bigger, the better. But that’s not how it is for a lot of us ladies. Many of us feel self conscious at the best of times, but when you’re tired, hormonal, possibly nauseous and working really hard to grow another human being inside of yourself, it’s hard to take comments on the chin.

I know that, when people comment, or touch your bump, they’re not being intentionally mean. I get it! They’re just interested. But your comments, or your uninvited physical touch, are not welcome. Here are the top do nots…

1) “You look tired.”

2) “Your bump is quite big isn’t it?”

3) “You’re large for *insert number of weeks*!”

4) “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”

5) Touching a bump uninvited.

These things are hard to hear from friends and acquaintances, so don’t even think about saying these things to someone you don’t know. Do not touch a stranger’s stomach. Ever. It’s weird.

Here are some more appropriate things to say…

1) “When are you due?” followed by, “You look great!”

2) “You look great!”

3) “Can I help you carry your heavy bags?”

4) “You look great!”

5) “Would you like some chocolate / cake / both?”

That’s it!  They’re my always acceptable things you can say to a noticeably pregnant lady. Notice how touching their bump isn’t on that list. Don’t touch someone unless they say you can. Also notice how the only comment about looks is positive. Nobody wants to hear how they look fat and/or tired. Nobody.

So, there you go. Be kind to these super women who have literally grown another organ, in order to grow a human being inside of their own bodies. It’s really quite incredible! Marvel at them, love them, and respect them!

Hands off their body! It isn’t yours to touch, or comment on.

First of Many

I promised myself that when my new sports bra arrived I would go for a run, regardless of the weather. Today was that day. Thankfully, by the time my husband was home, the sun was shining. Perfect weather for the first postnatal run!

I’m following the Couch to 5K app on my phone, but also hoping to clock up 26.2 miles by the end of September – raising awareness for British Heart Foundation. They do such valuable work, supporting those with heart conditions, as well as their loved ones. If you want to sponsor me, you can do so here. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy my progress!

Go on, get out there!

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

It is really hard. We are told that what we look like doesn’t really matter. After all, our identity is in Christ and the cross. But still, we want to look nice. Well, I do!

Up until about the age of 23 I could eat absolutely anything, in large quantities, and not expand my waistline. Since then my weight has yo-yoed, as I’ve gone through phases of jogging and watching what I eat before slipping back into my old crisp-loving ways. But when I was pregnant everything changed.

I loved my pregnant body. I mean, there were days in the early stages where I just felt plump, but as I grew bigger I loved my body more. I was in awe of what my body was doing and how it was sustaining new life. I was tired, and achey, but loved my bump… especially once I could see my little one’s movements as well as feeling them.

Since my bump has gone, I’ve felt a little uneasy and have lost confidence again. I actually lost weight during pregnancy, so I’m making sure I don’t put it back on. When I put on clothes I loved pre-pregnancy, I can’t help but feel they look all wrong. Why am I so bothered about how I look to other people?

Let’s look at what the Bible says. It says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; it says God knitted me together in my mother’s womb; it says that beauty comes from within, from my spirit. 

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I’m glad my beholder is God. He looks at me, and he says:

“You are beautiful.”