Well, it supposedly happened. Spring sprung. Up here, near to the Arctic Circle, things happen a little slower. But truly, our winter was so very mild, in comparison to friends on the East Coast of the USA, in the “lower 48,” as they call it. We are all happy to see longer days and more sunshine. I find it so humorous that because we now are getting longer days, that people assume it’s acceptable to whip out their shorts and flip-flops. I did have to wear sunglasses, because the sun was so bright, but it was only 10-degrees outside. Still, I saw a man wearing his shorts and flip-flops as he ran into the store. Determined that it was Spring! Ha-Ha!
We were told to not get too excited with the sunshine, and that the weather pattern is changing, again. Two weeks ago we all got blizzard warnings on our phones, warning of 15″ – 17″ of snow overnight. We barely got a covering of frost. So people don’t trust the TV weather people too much. Over the next 10 days, we are supposed to see a change from our 20s and sunshine to 40s, clouds, and rain. Oh bother – just when I wanted to take down my Christmas lights! Ha-Ha! They are some days not frozen to the roof, but most days they have been. It’s interesting, living in the Last Frontier… weather is certainly never dull.
I am blessed to live in one of those places where honestly, I think God stood on the 7th Day and said, “It is good.” The views here are truly breath-taking. The sun moves in a cycle that we can actually watch. It is so different than anywhere else, it is hard to explain. I can watch the trail of the sun as it rises on the east side of my house, is over the hills to the south around noon or so, and goes down to the west of us. It is never over my house, regardless of the time of year, nor is it ever in our front yard. Ever. Which, growing up in SoCal with the sun over your head all day, is a little disconcerting. We can actually watch the moon move across the skies, too. It is pretty amazing. Up here, we can see the curvature of the earth. What a blessing.
In this environment, it is not a good thing to be unhealthy or out of shape. In fact, for people who are heavy, there are very few places to buy winter gear. I guess the manufacturers just assume fat people (a) don’t live here, or (b) don’t get cold. It cracks me up. I love Amazon Prime! So many of us live with Amazon because the shopping selection for some things is not the same as the Lower 48. And with winter gear for us “fluffy” people, that is the case. And I also have a hard time finding jeans. Just jeans. I mean, come on! All of this was starting to really annoy me. When we lived in WA, this feeling was started. Not because I could not find fat-lady clothes there, but because I wanted to be out and about, moving in the beauty that surrounded me. And I tried and totally blew out a knee. The doctor told me I needed to loose weight before he could recommend knee surgery. Then I had heart palpitations. Went to the ER and then was sent to a cardiologist. All sorts of expensive tests were run. I am, and seem to always be, healthy as a horse…. I am just overweight. The cardiologist told me I would die of complications from being overweight before my heart gave out on me. And those experiences began an internal nagging. One I am finally listening to.
My family and I were introduced to Essential Oils. I cannot fully express to you what a change that has wrought for all of us. My son now uses a special blend on his forehead when he does school. It is really helping him. My husband had a bad shoulder, he is now able to hold his grandchildren. I was having recurring chest colds and bronchitis… and I am now cough-free. We diffuse them in our home, we apply them to our skin, we ingest them with carrier oils, we drink a drop or two in our water. I even cook with them (the basil oil made amazing spaghetti sauce). They have become an integral part of our lives. And through the exposure to EO’s we have been introduced to a more natural, healthy way of living. We are slowly replacing cleaning products with natural ones. We are now using natural deodorants (that truly work) and I am using a natural face cream. Slowly but surely we are detoxing our bodies and our home. And it feels so good.
We have finally made the ultimate step. Our family has changed from one that reads, to one that now works out. We joined a family health club. I have worked out twice and I can honestly say I am excited to keep doing this. I was not at all intimidated because the staff was so very nice. Even though I am clinically obese (sounds horrid, doesn’t it?) I wore my sweats and a t-shirt and tried all the machines. I found several that I really liked. I could feel my spine stretching and it was awesome. To be honest, I feel like I am waking my body up from permanent couch potato status. And after a couple of times of working out that induced sweat, I am a little achy. Okay, it hurts. “But it’ a good hurt,” right? Ha-Ha. Who are we kidding? It flat out hurts. But because it does, I am feeling; I am getting in touch with my body after a 30-year lag. It took me that long to get this way, so I know it will take time and effort to improve. The secret for me to want to keep going back is that I am doing it with my entire family, including my married son and his wife. She and I work out together and quite honestly we have laughed so much, it has made the pain and sweat not so bad. For example, on our first attempt at working out using an automated leg press machine: “You want me to put these legs up there, in that machine?” And then we tried. Oh my goodness, we laughed so hard. A very nice gentleman was across the way and was laughing so much his head was red. He walked over and kindly showed us how to move the seat, so getting my legs up there was actually possible! Leg presses used to be so different in the 1970s when I last used them! Ha-Ha! My married son met my husband and our 16-year old at the club this morning at 5:00 am. They all worked out together. And my son actually started school by 8:00 am. You have no idea what a victory that is (try homeschooling a night-owl teen boy and getting him up and moving before 10:00 am!!).
In addition to all of that, we are trying to eat better. We are making better choices with our food. We are adding more smoothies. We are eating fewer carbs and more protein and vegetables. We feel better for it. Stimulating our bodies to move, adding in better nutrition, helping to stay healthy with oils, and preparing for Pascha – it all fits in with our Lenten journey. For our family, this Lent has been life-changing. We have not attended an over-abundance of Pre-Sanctified Liturgies. We have not added many extra hours of prayer. We have not fasted as strictly as we have in the past. But we have gone through a reformation that we are mostly not even aware of. As I type, my shoulders ache, but I am in touch of where that ache comes from. I am diffusing Citrus Blend and the air is alive with scent, and it gladdens my heart. I am reading a stimulating book entitled, “The Oola Life” and it is spurring me on to get my 7 F’s of Oola in order (check it out online under Oola Life or on Facebook). Simple ways to get your life aligned in 7 areas that affect us all. And Fitness and Faith, Family and Friends are right in there. And it seems to fit.
And so we wait, here in the North, for the Springtime to actually bloom. This year, we are actively preparing for the warmer weather by getting ourselves and our house in order. We are actively waiting for Holy Week. I cannot believe it is just two weeks away! So many eggs to prepare, bread to bake, and baskets to get ready! Ha-Ha! But I am smiling. I am feeling so good about how we are looking forward to the Resurrection of Our Lord, and the promise of Eternity in Christ. We are first preparing our hearts, then our bodies and minds, and finally our homes. It will be so wonderful to have an open window again – which reminds me that much Spring Cleaning awaits me!
Prayers for a holy and happy, healthy and uplifting remainder of Lent. And for a gorgeous Spring!