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Lessons from the Puzzle….focus UP!

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I was doing a puzzle with my 4 year old – you know, the kind that doesn’t really have “notches” and is just where you have to place them together and hope no one bumps your table!!  As we were doing this puzzle, I sat back and realized how many life lessons were being brought to my mind:

Lesson 1 – Strong foundation:   As with any puzzle, it’s important that we do the outside boarders first.  That represents our foundation in life.  We need to set a strong foundation on the Lord, or the rest of the puzzle (of life) just won’t make much sense.  There will be nothing to hold us together if our boarders aren’t set.

Lesson 2 – Turn them over:  If we can’t see the pieces, it can be very difficult to know what we have to work with.  This goes for our lives as well. We have to have a good perspective on things and have a clear picture of everything in order to know how to best deal with situations.  Good and bad.

Lesson 3 – Look at the box:  This was the recurring theme of doing this puzzle.  Because there are not really “notches” it was a HARD puzzle.  The only way a 4 year old would know where the states belong is to look at a guide.  To have a plan in front of her and to follow that plan.  As much as she wanted to put California over on the East coast – I had to remind her to look at the box, and see where it belonged!  Isn’t that life?  We often want to put our plans where WE think they should go instead of looking to God and His word for the clear placement.  Or we think we know better, or we guess at how things should go  – but if we would simply FOCUS up and “look at the box” – look to HIM – we will be able to work in our lives with less frustration!

Lesson 4 – Support matters:  I felt my role during this puzzle putting activity was to redirect her, but more importantly to support her and cheer her on with every piece she got correct!  When we are surrounded by people who cheer us on and support us in life – we are much more apt to continue on our path and feel confident in our journey!  Support matters!

Lesson 5 – The missing piece:  As with most puzzles at our house, we got to the end and there was ONE piece missing.  One.  Yes, that can be a bit frustrating!!  Especially when you are 4 years old and you have worked really hard on the puzzle!  We looked in the box, we looked on the ground, and it was no where to be found!  At that moment by 8 year old came in and said – oh, I know where that piece is!  And she looks in the drawer to pull it out!! Yippiee!!  It had been found.  Isn’t that like our lives?  We can have it nearly all together, but sometimes still feel like we are missing something!!  Usually that is our focus on the Lord – when we feel like something is missing….let’s focus UP!

Lesson 6 – Destroying the puzzle:  So, my 2 year old felt the need to jump on the finished puzzle!!  As you can imagine – that didn’t go well with my 4 year old.  But it also brought me to realize that sometimes our lives are rocking along just fine and here comes something bad, or hard, or difficult and it feels like someone is jumping on our puzzle of life!!  Satan likes to work in these situations and he wants to destroy the good things that are built in our lives.  We have a choice – we can either give up and stall out.  Or we can decide to rebuild the puzzle of our lives by “looking at the box” and focusing UP on the Lord to help us through!!

So, wherever you are in the building of your puzzle of life, I pray that these lessons bless you as they did me as I applied them to my own life!!  Keep building, keep focusing UP, keep remembering that YOU are worth it!

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness Founder

First…put on your mask

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Have you been on an airplane ride?

You know how it goes – before the flight can take off – the stewardess stands in the front and walks you through the safety procedures.  From how to put on your seatbelt, to how to do the life vest, and finally she talks about the air mask.

What do you notice about this part of the talk?

What does she say?  “If you are traveling with a child, FIRST secure YOUR mask, and then assist the child”.

Well as a mom – that always feels wrong.  When I hear that I think – no way!! I need to help them first!!   THEN I can help myself.

We do that in our lives, don’t we?  Often we find that we feed our kids first before serving our own plate, we let them go before us, and in general, we take care of their needs first!  That’s just what we do.  And serving is something we enjoy!

However, it is so very interesting to think about the air mask.   WHY should we do our mask first?  Here is the truth – if we don’t, and we end up not getting air and then there is no possible way we can then take care of those we love.  Without self preservation on that air plane first, we won’t be of any good to others.

Yes, we should serve others, and yes we should look out for the needs of others.  We should be self-less and love with our whole heart, and find out others’ needs and help them, etc.

But it is very tough to do that if we are not okay ourselves. 

We can’t serve and love others well if we have no air.  We can’t be much good to those around us if we are grasping for our own breath. Truth!

Have you ever been at a place where you have given and given, and you are just worn out?  And then what often happens at that point?  We don’t take care of ourselves.  We are too tired.  Again – I am not saying not to serve others.  I am not saying we should be selfish.

A huge premise of P31 Fitness is that we need to take care of our selves as women, so that we can be the best for those in our lives.  We need to take care of all 4 parts of our health – yes, our physical by working out and eating healthy foods, but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  I am sure we have all been in a place where we were emotionally unstable, or maybe our spiritual life wasn’t where we know it can be with the Lord.  Maybe we feel scattered mentally and unable to focus.  We have all been there.  And when we are at that point in our lives, we find it difficult to function, much less take care of others!!  We need to know this…..

It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself ladies – in fact – it is selfish if we don’t.  When we are not operating at our optimal health – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical – we may also find ourselves struggling in taking care of those in our lives that we love.

As a mother of 4 small kids, I get it.  Between the diapers, and sippy cups, and bedtime, and the awesome (and sometimes messy) things we get to do daily for our kids, you may think there just isn’t time in the day to also take care of ourselves.  However ladies…it is a must.  I know from my own experience, if I don’t find the things that bring me joy, and if I don’t take a few minutes to journal my thoughts, or go for a run, pray, or even just sit for a moment with my coffee – my day and my service to others looks different than when I do.

Stop for a moment and think on this concept.

Put on your mask.  Get some air.

So, I encourage you today – to take some time to reflect, journal, rest, do healthy actions that allow you to be your best YOU.

When you are at your best, you can serve best!!

Put on that mask and get some air today – YOU are worth it!!

Rachel Curtis

Founder, P31 Fitness

Hold my hand

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We were out walking and climbing on some rocks last week south of Fort Worth, TX last week.  No – this picture is not us and the rocks weren’t that big….although that would have been fun!!

Here we were – 4 kids with wide eyes, ready to jump, slide, and get really wet in the river running through the huge boulders.  My older kids took off with confidence, but the younger two were a bit more cautious.  I let my 4 year old experiment a bit and I could sense there was some panic in her. She tried to take a step, but she looked down and soon wanted me to hold her hand again.  She eventually realized she could do it without falling, and she gained some serious confidence!!  My 2 year old didn’t even want to climb up or walk on the rocks, until she had my hand grasped tightly in mine.   She only wanted to walk with my help.

As simple as this is, I couldn’t help but realize God was teaching me a very important lesson that day.  Each of the ways in which my kids reacted to the rocks,  was a clear picture of how I often react to life.

Sometimes I just jump right in – not really sure of the danger or blessings….I just jump all in.

Sometimes I experiment a little bit to see the level of danger. I may try it on my own, and soon realize that I really do need help!

But how I WANT to live my life is more like my 2 year old.  I want to know that I can’t make it through this life without God’s help in holding my hand.  Being aware that He can and will guide me steps  – every step.  Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t ever slip, or even fall, but it does mean that when I do, His hand will be there holding me.  Helping me.  Guiding me.

I wonder why I often still try to do “life” without fully holding on to Him?  How many times do I need to learn my lessons before changing how I operate?  That’s a question and a blog for another day.

But for now – I will do my best to cling to HIS hand and HIS ways, and not try to do things on my own!!   The “rocks” we are climbing on and walking on can be a challenge, but also a huge blessing as long as we are holding the hand of the ONE who knows the twists and turns of the rocks better than we ever will.    You with me?!?

–Rachel

Feeling a bit worth-less

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This week something happened in my life that made me feel worth-less, completely broken, and rejected.   Have you ever felt that? 
The words spoken to me and the difficult situation made me want to throw my hands up and say – “That’s enough!  I am tired, I am giving my all, and that still is being criticized. I’m done.”  Been there?   Maybe you have felt this in your life?  In your relationships?  In your job?  You may have felt broken, rejected, lost, hurt or you have felt worth-less.  
Guess what?… This is big….don’t miss it….
The CORE statement in P31 Fitness when we founded this company 10+ years ago is:   “YOU ARE WORTH IT.”   It’s a statement we have trademarked and we all say to to women everywhere daily.    WHY?  
 
Because I know that EVERY woman feels the very things that I am feeling this week from time to time.  Every woman that walks this Earth may often feel worth-less, not good enough, and may just want to give up.  “Broken, rejected, lost.”   And in our program – we GET to hear that message that we aren’t those things…that instead – – that WE ARE worth it!!! 
 
At times when we feel worth-less (I am speaking to myself this week too), we have to remember that our worth comes from CHRIST alone.  Our worth isn’t dependent on what we do or what we have.  It isn’t dependent on our achievements, our looks, our weight, or anything we can DO.  Our worth is dependent on who GOD is.  
 
That is where we need to find our worth.  When we seek our worth from HIM and we understand He has called us WORTHY…the hard times in this life won’t knock us down quite as far.  I didn’t do a good job of remembering where my worth is found this week….thankful for HIS grace, as I learn lessons daily.  
 
 
So,  when criticisms come at you, disappointments or the feeling of rejection strikes you deep, remember YOU ARE WORTH IT and remember just how true those words are to you. THAT is the purpose of P31 Fitness!!

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