Rhythms of Life

As each moment passes, each day, each week…. the weeks turn into months and the months into another year. I realize that life keeps marching on, some days pass quickly and others I just want to push fast forward, the next day I am looking for the pause button but through it all life keeps moving. Each day has a rhythm of its own, sometimes fast, sometimes slow but those rhythms flow together to make the song my life is playing.

I realize I want to make the most of these days, the kids are growing quickly and yet seem to last forever in that stage in which we are struggling. There are days when I wish for a circle of moms to give evening awards….. “good job for you, you made 3 meals today;, “mom of the day for realizing your child’s snow boots are 3 sizes too small”; “wife of the moment, you were actually ready for bed the same time he was”; “teacher of the week, you got 2 pages of math finished”; “lady of the day, you got out of bed and made it through the day”…… that circle of friends that realizes and appreciates what an effort something was and rejoices with you in the large and small victories of the day. A circle of friends to encourage and spur on to another day, another step toward living with intention, cherishing each moment, loving always and speaking with grace and kindness. 

I love to read and I have read many encouraging books. In fact, its a rare moment I am not in the middle of at least one “mama, encouraging, wife, parent” style book….. {currently I am reading Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George and Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller and The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson} But there are a couple books I will re-read each year. Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming is one of them. It’s one I like to read this time of year as we begin another calendar year and remind myself of the need to live with intention, regardless of the season of life I am in. Jean Fleming is an author I have read many times over the last 12 years, her “A Mother’s Heart” book being one of the first books on mothering I ever read and another one I have read numerous times.

To start out this year, I have decided I’d like to read through this book with some of you. Perhaps its a book that sounds interesting to you. Maybe you just need some accountability to be building God’s Word and good truths into your life, maybe you need a circle around you to encourage you on a daily basis….. this is for you. Because it is the easiest format for many people, I have created a small group, a private forum on Facebook for this group. I have quite a variety of ideas of what we could do in this group and while I am still meshing some things together in my brain, this is something I have been mulling over for awhile already, I decided I just need to start somewhere and see what may come together. 

My plan is to post daily, Monday through Friday, a short something on each chapter in the book. Conveniently there are 31 chapters, however, in order to give some room to catch up and with the weekends, we will take a little longer to go through the book. I have a Bible reading to go with each chapter with the intention of being in the Word on a daily basis as well as gleaning truth and encouragement from the words of this book, Pursue the Intentional Life. My plan right now is to start Monday, January 9th.  In addition, I hope to use this space as a place for us to encourage each other, get ideas for struggles in our daily life, bring some joy to each day and accountability to build habits into our lives. I hope to read through some other good books through the year, as well as e a place for habit building in the areas of menu planning, exercise or other areas the habits need built up in.

If you are interested in joining us, go HERE and request to join the group. You can also email me at jen@claffs.com for more information. And if you would like to join in and aren’t on Facebook often, you can download an app for Facebook that is just for groups, you do need a Facebook account but then you can access just our group from this app and not the rest of Facebook if that is something that works better for you.  Access Google Play store HERE or the iTunes store HERE, it’s a free app on both!

You will need to purchase this book that we will be reading through, but trust me, it is well worth the money and is a wonderful read! Click here for the best Amazon price currently, plus it’s my affiliate link, so I get a little tiny kickback though your price won’t change!  {Oh and look, look….. it’s available in an audio format too if this is an easier way for you to read!}  Once you are in the group, I will make sure you have the daily Bible reading plan that you can download or print and of course, there will be the daily posted encouragement and thoughts for each day.

I’ll be using the #rhythmsoflife and #rhythmsoflifemama hashtags in other social media venues and blog posts, if you would like to use as well you may!

So…. who’s in? 😉

 

an open thank you note

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Dear Beth and the Fit 2 B team,

As you are celebrating your 5th anniversary of launching the online workout site of Fit2B, I wanted to take a minute and say thank you. I first met you over 2 1/2 years ago thanks to an Ultimate Homemaker bundle and another blogger. As I read a post about that dreaded “mommy tummy”, I related to her quite well. You see, at that time, I was about 4 months postpartum with my 6th child, I had a newborn, a 1 1/2 year old, a 2 1/2 yr old, a 4 year old, a 6 year old and an almost 8 year old. As a stay at home mom, homeschooling and helping my self-employed husband, my life was busy to say the least! While I love each and every one of my babies, 6 babies in under 8 years had left me with bulges and pounds that were discouraging to me. I was ready to “get back in to shape”. The problem was I had no idea where to start. I didn’t even know what was wrong with me. I just knew I had to do something. Now, I have never been an “exercise chick”, you know, one of those gals jogging down the street, being a proud card carrying member of a gym, really, doing anything ‘athletic’, just wasn’t ‘my thing’. Even growing up in a large family and going to soccer games, baseball practice and swim team with my siblings, I always said “spectator was my sport” 😉

So, here I was, about to change my life. I started reading on the Fit2B website articles like “do you have a diastasis?” and “129 times to turn on your transverse abs” – I didn’t know what my transverse was or how to pronounce diastasis!  After being able to talk to you, Beth, via a phone call I was encouraged to get going. The support and encouragement I found in the private Facebook forum was incredible. All those silly little questions were answered and I found other ladies with similar struggles and we encouraged each other.

I started my journey doing what is now known as the Foundational 5 workouts. I also purchased a splint and began wearing it. My diastasis when I started measured easily 8 fingers, probably closer to 10. That’s really big! As I began doing 2-3 workouts a week and wearing the splint as much as I could slowly but surely I began to see progress. I was so happy I had taken photos when I started and continued through the months as being able to look back I could see progress being made. Within about 4-6 weeks I had taken my gigantic diastasis down to about a 4-5. I continued splinting and doing just a couple workouts a week. I would love to tell you I did at least a workout a day, but to be honest, I didn’t. As much as I tried, with all the kids and things I had going on, it just didn’t happen. But as I did just those foundational workouts, I started seeing how I use my core in day to day life. How I needed to support my core well as I picked up toys off the floor, got the baby out of the crib, washed the dishes and all the other little things through my day. For me, this was one of the biggest realizations, learning and training my body and core to move right. As I made those changes, adjusted my body, it was healing. Over the course of 16 weeks, I took that 8+ diastasis down to just under a 3. I stopped splinting and over the next 3 months I kept doing workouts 2-3 times a week and most importantly paying attention to how I move and function in my everyday life. Around the time my baby turned 1, my diastasis measured about a 1.

Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I had gone from not knowing what to do, what my body needed to healing my core. And more that just healing my core, because as my core healed, I found my emotional and mental health being uplifted and in a more positive state. As I learned what my core was and how it is suppose to function and it’s incredible ability to heal, it was truly a healing in every aspect of life.

As I have continued increasing the cardio aspect of my workouts and focusing on building strength in my core, I continue to be inspired and encouraged by you Beth, and your team. I love the variety in the workouts, the new ones added regularly to expand my horizons and continue this path of strengthening my body by focusing on good and true core safety in my workouts. Beth, you are truly one of the most encouraging ladies I have ever ‘met’, your heart and love for the core, tummy safe fitness and more than that, each lady that comes across your path. No one is insignificant, no one too broken to heal, no one too healed to not be strengthened. belly 1 yrYou see, Fit2B is your business but it’s also a huge ministry. As you teach, demonstrate and encourage me, you show God’s heart and His love and His healing power to all those around you. This, this aspect, has blessed me beyond measure and I say thank you, thank you from the bottom of heart and core, for caring enough to take the time to teach, to answer questions over and over, to tell again the proper way to move, to remind good alignment and posture.

I cannot wait to see what the next 5 years hold, I am so looking forward to going through the new Foundational Five e-course in the next couple months, refreshing myself again on the basics and moving my self forward.

May you and your family and the other families on your team be blessed and encouraged today and every day as you continue on!

With love and appreciation, Jen

P.S. to my readers, for more information You can read more about Fit2B on their website. Be sure and look for the free workout in red on the list HERE and I also highly recommend the e-courses as well, you cannot but help come away encouraged and smiling and ready to move forward! (and if you want to try it for yourself, don’t miss my coupon code on our resource page!!!!)

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And right now Fit2B is running a rare sale – and the last one of this year!everything in the store is on sale except yearly memberships & membership start up fees are waived, sale runs NOW till October 15, 2015.

USE COUPON CODE ‘fit2b5’ for 20% off!

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Be sure and check out the Fit2B On Your Skin line as well. I absolutely love her stuff, I have tried the tummy cremeyou can read more about it here. And the Balance spray is still one of my all time favorite scents and sprays of all time. And yes, it really helps me keep my hormones in balance. I have also made our yearly “keep the bugs away” spray from her Away blend and it has worked beautifully. Karyn is wonderful lady and so willing to answer my questions and work with me on getting me what I am wanting. This is a great time to check out her shop as well. The same coupon code above will work on these products as well!

Fit2B

Fit2B and Me……

Join Fit2b.us

***Update….. I still love this post…. it’s all so true and is my story…… I am going on 4 years now with Fit2B and still am growing, learning and healing my core further…… Continue to read and share, all the links are active and will take you to the most updated information! ***
This is a post a long time coming. It’s seriously something I have been wanting to share and absolutely LOVE!

I first heard about Fit 2 B and Diastasis 2 years ago this month. It was from another blogger and a post she wrote about it. I linked through and took advantage of a 3 month special deal and was hooked.

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At the time I was about 4 months postpartum with my 6th baby….my 6th full term pregnancy in just over 8 years. I had been pregnant or nursing or both for 8 years straight. To say that my body wasn’t quite the same as it had been 8 years earlier is probably an understatement but it wasn’t an all bad thing either. I mean seriously, I had 6 of the cutest kids around thanks to my body! But “taking care of mama” while totally important is really hard to do with a house full of little ones 😉

Compare 3 months in

But as I read about diastasis and listened to Beth and her foundational, gentle workouts, it all connected. It made sense. I did the “self check” for diastasis and had a really hard time feeling anything but squishy belly. I had my sister check me, figured with her beginning massage therapy schooling she might have a better feel for finding muscles and all. We finally found the “inner” edge of my TVA way over by my hip bones…yeah, seriously. My diastasis was 2 hands laid horizontally fingertips together wide – this translates to an 8+ gap, honestly more like a 10-12 finger gap. At the time I had virtually no core strength, a belly that looked perpetually pregnant and I had never heard the word diastasis before. I am pretty well educated. I was very familiar with all things natural in birthing, pregnancy, babies – I had googled and researched all aspects of mama and baby well-care and had never even come across this topic. The more I listened and learned and became familiar with my core and how the core is made, made to stretch and accommodate pregnancies, even multiple pregnancies close together; it is also designed to heal and be strong.

I didn’t have to “live with” the havoc that pregnancy can wreck on my belly. It is there, it is ok. My body has done great and mighty things and I can heal my body. God designed my body to do this. Through Beth and Fit2B I have learned how to take better care of me and my body so that I can be the wife, mama and women I am created to be.

Eat well move well
Eat well move well

As I shared above, I started with a 8+ gap in March 2013. In May 2013 I began splinting as well as working on the Foundational 5 and Basic/beginning workouts. As one who has never “worked out” regularly, never joined a gym, my idea of exercising was parking a bit further and walking into the store and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I fully considered grocery shopping with all the kids full blown aerobic exercise (honestly, I still do!). I had never really struggled with weight issues before pregnancy, but was also never physically strong either. I now knew I needed to start with healing my core. I splinted for a good 12 week period. Mostly wearing the splint all day and not at night. (I know, it is recommended differently, but this is what worked for me and my family and lifestyle and that’s ok! The splinting period may have been longer then if I had splintered more 24/7…..but it’s ok!) By late July 2013 I had closed my gap from an 8+ down to about a 3 finger gap! It’s was at this point I began weaning off the splint and continuing the workouts and core control without the support of the splint and continuing to strengthen my core. It was around my baby’s 1st birthday in November 2013 that my gap was closed top and bottom and had about a 1 finger gap at the belly button. That one finger seemed a little deep but was considered closed. At this point my goals changed to core strengthening. As I continued to learn about my core and how it all works, I knew just closing it was a start. That muscle was still thin and weak. Over the last year, strengthening my core and building that muscle has been more my goal. Fit2B’s workout’s are so great for this. All of the workouts are “tummy safe” and Beth is great about reminding and giving good cues and keys for watching your core, exercising in such a way that it helps the core while providing a good workout.

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A huge part of the healing process was not just splinting and was not just the workouts – those are wonderful, great and oh so highly recommended – but for me, learning to engage my core and do this in my everyday life was incredibly key. It was the biggest part of the healing process – to realize when I bent over and lifted a toddler, to engage my TVA first. When I got down to get a bowl out of the bottom shelves, to either bend properly or squat to reach it. As I walked, I started aligning my shoulders, hips, neck and “zipping” my core. As I sat nursing in a chair, I paid attention to HOW I was sitting, getting off my tailbone and onto the sitz bones – and finding that “sweet spot” for my body was wonderful. I can still remember the day I realized I was picking up toddlers and babies and laying sleeping ones down in cribs and engaging my TVA without actually thinking about it. I was training my body to strengthen and heal and it was working. As my body healed I also found that my chronic back pain was virtually gone. And it’s stayed gone, in fact, the only times it really bothers me now is when I have had lazy days and I ‘know’ I have not been sitting properly or lifting well, etc. Once I can realign myself – a good stretching or relaxing workout – or just some floor time in specific stretches and it feels much better again. And like many things, so much is connected from our core. While major pelvic floor complaints had never been an issue for me, the training and understanding of how it all connects and works together has been invaluable for me.

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I love this quote and Beth has made just a difference in my life!

As I started writing this post, and part of my delay in actually getting it written 😉 – was in that I wasn’t sure how to write all this. I finally decided just writing as if I were talking to a friend might be the best way. So, sorry if this is getting long, but this is how Fit2B has helped me, helped me heal and given me strength. I love being able to support small family businesses, Beth has such an incredible heart for women and diastasis it just shows in all she does. Although I have never met her personally – and hope to do that someday! – I do consider her a wonderful friend and encouragement in my life.

Right now – through March 20th – Fit 2 B is having one of their {very rare} sales on memberships! While normally around $10 a month {updated 2/2016, even after a long-over due price increase monthly prices range from $10.75-$15 a month, and that includes access to the new mobile app as well!} – a great deal for what you get; a huge list of online workouts, unlimited access and the ability to workout without having to get the kids either out of the house or having someone watch them, etc but you can also workout at your convenience and that can vary each day as to when you can squeeze it in!

 

Nov2013 bellybelly 1 yr
Join Fit2b.us

 

 

You can use the coupon code, link below and find out current membership prices HERE!

(my coupon code, listed HERE on our resource page is good all the time!)

Plus there are other great resources and products available as well – you can check them all out here!
Shop the Fit2B Online Store

If you want more information or have questions – please email me or ask in the comments below, I am more than happy to chat more about this – as you can see from the length of this post, it’s something I really love 😉    #corestory #strongbeauty #fit2bmama #fit2b

 

Plus, included in the membership is access to one of the greatest private forums you can get in, a support groups of other ladies, encouraging and asking questions, giving accountability and learning from each other. It truly is a great support system.

You sweet mama are worth this! Your body is worth healing. You are created to heal, to be strong and to be the mama you need to be for your husband and children.

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My Fit2B affiliate links are used in this post, I appreciate your support of both Claffs and Fit2B 😉 All “belly” photos are actual photos of me and my progress through the last couple years!