Monthly Archives

September 2017

Pain at the dentist

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Who ever likes to go to the dentist?  Not many of us.  But who likes to take their kids to the dentist when they are having a tooth problem?  Not many of us at all!

Well, that was today for me.  My 8 year old had a cavity that I probably waited a little too long to deal with, yes you can insert “mother of the year” here.  🙂  So here we go.  I load up the 4 kids to drive the 45 minutes to the city to go to the dentist.  Geared up for a long visit, I pack the snacks, books, and games and mentally prepare myself for sitting in the office awhile!

Sure enough, the x-rays come back and they are going to have to do some work – some intense work on my little 8 year old’s mouth.  This pediatric dentist is an awesome place…they have kid stuff everywhere!  So, as she is taken back to get the laughing gas mask on to start the procedure, she starts crying.  They haven’t done any work yet, but real big tears are rolling down her little cheeks.

She is worried, she is scared, she is unsure, and when she lays down in the dentist chair, she sure isn’t too certain about the mask they place over her nose.  That was a bit much for her.  How do you explain to a 8 year old that these crazy contraptions on their mouth and tubes, and noises, are all actually there to help her?!  All she can see and hear is new things that may or may not cause her pain.

As I sat there holding her hand, I thought about the simplicity of this visit and the irony of how it applies to our lives.  We have something that is maybe causing us pain, but to fix it and get rid of the pain, there are many uncertainties on that pathway.  Maybe it’s a change we need to make in a relationship.   Maybe it’s a change we need to make at work.  Maybe it’s a new habit we need to adopt.  But all we can see is the uncertainty of the current situation, and we often would just rather stay where we are….even in pain.

So as I held her, I kept saying to her – “it’s going to be okay”.  I know it’s hard to believe right now, but it’s all going to be okay!  Only 35 short minutes later, the dentist had fixed her problem areas, and here she was walking out with a balloon, a new bouncy ball, and a half smile on her face.  The best smile you can make when your face is half numb 🙂

Then the dentist gives her a coupon for ice cream and all is right with the world again!  No more pain, no more issues in her little mouth, but it took going through some uncertain circumstances to get there.  She had to trust in that dentist and in what we were asking her to do, in order to come out better on the other side.

What in our lives can we trust God with…knowing that it may mean going through some tough times first, but that in the end it will actually bring us to a better place?  What can we do today that may hurt a bit, but that will lead us to a more pain free situation tomorrow?  What can we eliminate from our lives that may be hurting us, but if we will let it go, can actually bring us peace?

I’ve not enjoyed the pain of these life “dentist” lessons I have had to go through.  None of us do.  But I do know that I wouldn’t trade one painful lesson for anything because it has brought me to a better place spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.  The bad tooth aches I have faced in life (whether in relationships, work situations, or just plain hard times) have made me into who I am today and they have equipped me to handle the next bad “tooth” that comes along!  And the best part of it all, is the ice cream we can enjoy after the pain of the dental work!!

–Rachel Curtis

Founder, P31 Fitness

Chicken fingers and Joy

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Chicken fingers.  Yummy!  Especially with gravy! Monday night, we went to the good ol’ Dairy Queen in our small town, and ordered the kids’ favorite….the chicken finger basket.  You know, the one that comes with a Styrofoam cup of gravy, big Texas toast, french fries, and chicken fingers….all tucked in that nice box.

Thankfully since the kids are still little, the kids and I can all share just one of those boxes and be just fine!  So, I divvied out everyone’s chicken and fries, and split the toast between all 4 kids, lastly dumping some gravy in each person’s tray.  Somehow, the 2 year old ended up with the gravy cup!   As we were sitting there, I started watching her with this gravy.  She first dipped her pinky in it, then went 2 fingers, and soon her whole little fist was in the gravy.  Once I showed her that she can dip her chicken in there, she got a big smile, grabbed up that chicken finger and dipped it about half way in.

Then, the funniest thing happened, after she dipped her chicken, she took a bite, but she didn’t even eat the side of the chicken that she had dipped!! She ate from the other side and held the part that was covered in gravy in her gravy covered hands.

When I watched this, I thought about our focus of JOY.  Why?  Because we often miss joy in our lives because we eat from the wrong end of the chicken.  We have joyful situations all around us, but we either choose not to see them or we don’t know how to get away from negative situations that pull us down.  For me, this was getting rid of some things in my life that weren’t bringing joy to my heart.  For me, it was slowing down a learning to look for joy and engage in that area of my life.  Because if you are like me, you often see those negative things in your life, and you focus your attention there.  In other words, we eat the end of the chicken that wasn’t even dipped in the gravy!!  While just at the other end of the chicken strip is a yummy bite of joy waiting for us to enjoy.

As silly as this all may sound  – let’s all think about ways in our life that we can engage in the joy that is already around us.  Maybe that is our family, some good friends, a positive situation at work, or anything that produces joy in our lives…and focus in THERE…on the JOY..not the negativity.

The less we will focus on the bad things in our lives, the less they will consume us.  Let’s all work to focus UP on the positive, focus UP on Him, focus UP on what He has placed in our lives today….and the chicken with gravy will always taste better than plain chicken!!  Go dip that chicken and enjoy!

 

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness Founder

It’s not that far!!

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The kids were playing at a park.  This was a new park we hadn’t been to before, and so that is always exciting!  This park had the normal playground, but then to the side – we spotted it.  It was the COOLEST tree ever!! It was huge, but not huge in the up direction – instead the massive limbs spread out wide and low.  The kind of tree that every kid dreams to climb on because of the thick branches, and the ease of getting up quickly, and most importantly, the ability to JUMP from branch to branch!!  It was truly a cool tree!!

The two older kids got right on it, while the younger two stayed down to watch.  But it didn’t take long before all 4 kids were climbing around, swinging from the branches, calling for help, and having a great time.  The 2 year old showed no fear once she started going.  In fact, I needed to climb up there at one point because she was going higher and higher with no hesitation.  She had no worries that she could fall and fall pretty far at that.  Why didn’t she have fear?  Because she had never experienced the pain of a fall.  Isn’t it amazing to think back in our lives the enthusiasm we used to carry before we knew we could get hurt?  Or the way we would love before we knew we could get hurt?  Pain changes us!

Anyhow, while I watched the kids, I listened to them encourage each other, make up fun pirate games, and laugh with pure joy.  At one point, the oldest showed some hesitation.  When I started to see why, it was because she was watching her brother jump from one branch to another, and although she joined in on the fun, she got to where it was a pretty far jump and she stopped.  He kept going, but she looked at me, looked at him, and said, “I’m not sure I can do that one”.  I asked her why, and she said because it’s farther than the others.  All the while, her fearless brother looked at her, and said, “Madison- it’s not that far away, and besides, if you do fall, the ground isn’t rocky…it won’t hurt that bad.”.

Usually my kids teach me lessons, and the lessons come at the perfect time as I am facing some things in my life.  If I will listen and learn from these experiences, I see God working powerfully to nudge me in one way or another.  This time, it was about taking some steps of faith.  It was about learning from past pain.  It was about trusting in God even when I had some fear of falling.  What I sat there and realized is that I often won’t jump from branch to branch because I fear the pain I experienced before….maybe a few months before, a few years before, or even back to college days!   Those sort of pains that stick with us and change us.  But what I also realized while sitting there that day in the warm sun, under the tree branches and giggles of my kids, was that it’s usually not that far to jump when jumping in faith.  Plus, if I do “fall” in my life, as long as I am trusting in God for the jump, it probably won’t hurt as bad as I anticipate.  He always has a way of teaching us lessons and helping us to see the best in every situation, even if we don’t quite land on the branch we were aiming for when we originally jumped.

So today, wherever you may be in life…whether you are standing on the ground deciding if you should climb a tree, or if you are all the way at the top of the tree, or if you are contemplating jumping to a new “branch” in your life through a leap of faith, just know that every choice and every time we take action while trusting in Him – we will make it through.  He will help us, show us, teach us, and pick us up when we fall.  Because as we walk in Him, in all reality…any leap is really “not that far” as my little boy would say!

Happy climbing and happy jumping!!

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness, Founder

Following, even when we can’t see

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We were in Colorado, and came across a big, “fun” mountain.  We were not in the best hiking gear, in fact – both my daughter and I had flip flops on.  We didn’t know that the terrain was full of cactus plants until we were about half way up the mountain.   The four kids did pretty good going up the first part of the hike.  It was fairly flat and grassy.  We were all laughing, and racing, and jumping from rock to rock.  But then we hit that point in every hike with kids, that gets tough.  You know the time when the complaining begins.  The tired factor kicks in, and all of the sudden everything is wrong with everything.

Tired, hot, thirsty, legs hurt….just about anything that feels wrong will be vocalized.  Because I want my kids to be tough and non-complainers(ha) – I tell them, we are almost there, keep going!!!  Even though the mountain still looms in front of us.  They get a new sense of energy and enthusiasm, and we trudge on.   The oldest looks up, and says – “It doesn’t LOOK like we are close”.  I tell her – well, maybe our destination isn’t the very top after all, and maybe we are closer than we think!!  There was a clearing up about 15 more feet that I knew if we could just get there, it would feel like we had climbed a mountain to them!

So, with one child on my back, and holding the hand of the other, my husband and I look identical and we look at each other and just smile.  It wasn’t as “fun” as it seemed looking at it from the car in the eyes of our kids – but to us, we knew some life lessons were being learned!  Keep on, don’t give up, help each other, and be tough even when things aren’t easy… good lessons.

The picture isn’t us, but cool picture!

Once we arrive at our top, we are able to look down and see how far we have come!    Everyone is pleased with themselves.  Then, we start heading down.  We all realize there were a lot more cactus plants than we realized, and soon the ouch factor kicks in!  The little ones are being carried, and my son and husband have good hiking shoes on, but here my daughter and I are in our flimsy $1 flip flops!  She starts to really break down.  My normal tough 8 year old fell apart.  At one point, she just stood on a rock and started crying.  She said, “mommy, I can’t go anymore.  There are pokey plants everywhere!”.  At first I just tell her to keep walking – that it will be okay!  To watch where she is stepping and to avoid them!

But when that doesn’t work, I soon realize that she doesn’t know what direction to go because she doesn’t want to get hurt again.  She doesn’t want to step one more step and get that jab through the flip flop.  I sure don’t blame her!!  So, I turn around and decide she just needs to know WHERE to step.   I tell her to not panic, and instead to just follow directly in my footsteps.  That I will walk ahead of her, and she can step where I am stepping.

As soon as I said those words out loud, I immediately thought about FAITH.  I pictured myself on that rock in my own life, panicked by whatever tough situation I was facing, crying, and unsure of what steps to take next.  Fear of getting hurt, or taking the wrong path, how many times have I just stalled out in life and wanted to quit?  How many times have I thrown my hands up in defeat, and said I just don’t know what to do or where to go?

We don’t want to get hurt as humans.  We don’t like pain.  We typically run from it.  However, pain happens.  The key is learning how to not keep walking straight into that pain each time.  To learn form our past and hopefully avoid painful situations when we have a choice!!

So as I am “leading” my daughter to walk in my footsteps down the cactus filled mountain, I related it to my own life.  God is walking in front of me each day.  He is giving me the footprints to follow.  If and when I will follow those footsteps, He will lead me in a way that brings peace.  His ways.  But when I walk outside of those footprints, I experience more self-inflicted pain and trials.  Now, I don’t believe we can always escape pain, as sometimes the “obstacles” we face are what bring us closer to Him.  But, I do believe that more often than not, if we will follow in the path He has laid out for us, we will find that we can experience a life that is defined differently than when we do it on our own.  God never walks to fast for us, and He always is walking in a way that leads us closer to Him.

So, even when we can’t see what is ahead of us, we need to TRUST in His ways and His steps and walk in them.  A focus this year for me has been to “focus up”.  If you are like me, we get easily distracted by the things around us.  Whether that be situations at work, home, in our relationships…or just day to day life pings.  I call the things that poke at us all day and get to us emotionally – “life pings”.  We  don’t realize it, but these pings can start to really impact us!!  Maybe it is a comment from someone that we keep replaying in our heads, or a post we saw, or a look that we didn’t quite know how to read.  Whatever those pings are in our life, tend to distract us from the main focus we should carry daily.

Focusing up requires our trust in HIM to know that where He is leading us is up to Him.  That when we step in those footprints He has made, that we can rest in full confidence that He is in charge.  He will never lead us astray!

May we all follow, trust, and focus up today – even when we can’t see!

–Rachel Curtis

Founder, P31 Fitness