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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Letter To My Children- How a LIVING a HEALTHY Life Will Make You a Better Person

Baby Corbyn
My 1 year old nephew, Corbyn, passed away two weeks ago.  We traveled up to Utah for the funeral and to be with family.  I was inspired by how many lives this little boy had touched.  It was so inspiring to hear people talk about this sweet spirit.  As events like this usually do, this all made me reflect on my own life, and the life of my boys.  Do they know how much I love them?  What am I doing to SHOW them this love? One of the many things that came to me was that I am doing my best to live a healthier life so that I can be with my kids on this earth for LONGER than I would have been had I continued on the road that I was on.

Corby and his mommy, Krystle

Both of Corbyn's parents are quite active.  Facebook shows loads of photos of half marathons, triathlons, and various activities that they shared together.  Just last Saturday, three days before the funeral of their son, both of his parents ran in a half marathon (something they had signed up for months earlier,) in Corbyn's name.  Being active is a part of their life, a part of their family. It is inspiring.

This year, after all the events that October brought, I pondered my thoughts and feelings for my boys (their birthdays are 3 weeks apart.) I found myself wanting to talk a lot more to them about HEALTH and LIFE. Although their letters aren't quite finished, and I DID say "my two bits,"  I thought that this would be a good place to share those thoughts.  So, on a perhaps more...tender... note, I am taking the time to share what "we" have learned over the past 5 months... well about healthy living, that is.  And, surprisingly, these same thoughts can be applied to most anything in life.

Every year since they were born, I write a letter to my sons.  It started out as a way to purge my fears of parenting, desires and dreams for them, and an open "pre-apology" for the many, MANY mistakes that I will make as a parent. Every year since, I have taken the time to write down little stories about that year, insert pictures, tell them my favorite things about them, and again, apologize for the mistakes.  I take the time to tell them that even though they have told me that I am "the WORST mom- EVER." I take that as proof that I MUST be doing SOMETHING right. So, here we go.  What I want my kids to know.

Minion 1 and Minion 2.  I know he looks drunk.  Just go with it.

1. Enough is Enough!!  I mean it!!  Don't use outside forces to tell you when you are finished with your food.  You're body will tell you when you are hungry and when you are full.  Although I don't care if you finish everything on your plate, please try to save it for another time (and actually eat it.)  I would LOVE it if you became the king of leftovers! Just... know when to stop, or not even start at all because you aren't hungry. Listen to your body.  If it won't help you, it will hurt you.

The same applies to real life.  Know when to stop.... or to not even start.  You have a little voice inside of you that tells you when you should and shouldn't do something.  LISTEN TO IT!  Listen when it tells you to walk away from friends, or when you feel like someone has been teased just a little too much.  It's O.K. to argue a point.  In fact, I prefer that you stand for what you believe in.  But listen to that voice when it tells you that your point was made or that it's not the right time to argue.  People would be a lot happier if they stopped talking instead of kept arguing. Again, if it won't help you, it will hurt you.

2. Failure is Not An Option Because It Doesn't Exist. I don't want you to go through life worrying about your weight or your body build or whatever diet you need to "be on."  If you diet, you will fail.  Therefore, my advice to you is to NOT diet!  Eat what you want to eat.  Eat food that brings you to life! Stop eating when you are full.  There is no failure at this!  You will have ups, you will have downs, and it's ok.  It's life. But as long as you are doing what is good for you, you CANNOT fail!

I would be lying if I said that I didn't have dreams for you.  You are my children.  I believe that you are the most amazing thing that ever walked this earth!  But, if I told you what I thought was the best thing for your life, I would not be any different than those that tell us what "diet" is best for us!  (We all know how well the world does with that!)  Now, having said that, it is my JOB, my CALLING, to teach you what I KNOW to be true and good.  And, if I had my way, I would FORCE you to do EXACTLY what I tell you to do because, well, like I said, I KNOW it to be good and true.  BUT, I know that life doesn't work that way.  You will eat lots of sugar, and you will get sick.  You will make bad decisions and you will suffer the consequences from those decisions.  All that I ask is that you take the time to LEARN from your decisions: the good and the bad.  Then, and only then, will failure not exist.

3. Learn between WANTS and NEEDS. Look, I like a good dessert just as much as the next "eating chocolate in the closet" mother, but I also understand that it is a WANT..... ok, sometimes it's a NEED.  You will understand that when you are older.  When it comes to health, our bodies NEED certain things to help us sustain our lives. A man named Maslow came up with a whole entire hierarchy of these needs.  We need air, water, food, shelter, something to believe in. But what he fails to mention is that we also NEED a certain TYPE of these things.  The air we breathe needs to be clean. The shelter needs to protect us. And, the food needs to give our bodies nutrients.  So, as long as you are fulfilling those needs, I don't care if you throw in a few wants.  In fact, I encourage it.  Nothing is better than enjoying your favorite treat after a long day! EXPERIENCE that, don't just CONSUME it!

Fulfilling your needs before your wants is a great way to live your life.  If you live life based upon your wants, you will not be happy.  I know that sounds funny, but our desires often leave us feeling empty.  Please, don't try to fulfill your life with THINGS.  Family, friends, hobbies, things that make you smile.  THAT is what life is about.  Fill it with GOOD, with SUNSHINE, with CHARITY.  You will find that at the base of all of your "wants" what you really want are these things.  You don't want the big house, you want a house big enough to hold your family.  You don't want a ton of money, you want enough money for your needs and then a little to create experiences. You really don't want the fast sports car (that will probably bring heart ache through speeding tickets and possibly a spinning death- just sayin) but you want a vehicle that will take you where you will experience life! You will be happy when your needs are fulfilled in the best way possible.

4. The Purpose of Temptations. I wish that I could say that it is going to be an easy ride.  But the fact is that eating healthy really doesn't include doughnuts.  But LIVING healthy DOES!  That doesn't mean that you should give in to the temptation to eat two, three, or more of those yummy, fried, sugar filled dreams.  You WILL be tempted to "bite off more than you can chew."  That is NEVER a good thing.

Throughout your life, you will be tempted to make wrong decisions.  As much as I want to control every single move that you make, I know that I need to trust that I have taught you well. As you grow, you will learn right from wrong.  It's easy to say "YES."  It's hard to say "no."  It's even HARDER to say no when you know that it's something that you should ALWAYS say no to. Things like, drugs, smoking, pre-marital sex (yes, I DO believe that you should wait until you are married,) and other things of this sort will be hard to say NO to.  It's funny, for me, food temptations are very often just as strong as the temptation to do things that I know I shouldn't be doing. I cannot stress to you the importance of controlling your physical appetites and desires.  You will be a better person and a healthier person for doing so.

5. The Real Deal.  REAL is SO much better than "fake" for SO MANY things!  From food, to faces, to diamonds, fake is NOT good.  We need to be so careful about what we put in our bodies.  Processed foods have so many bad things in them that can do harm to our bodies.  We try to keep our diet focused on whole foods.  I can't explain to you how much better you will feel if keep your body fueled with REAL food. You can always tell if it's real by how it feels!

When it comes to other things in life, this concept is no different.  Real is better in so many ways.  I want to take the time to tell you about REAL love.  I mean, love that you would literally DIE for.  This love comes in different forms. You will first feel love from your parents.  We love you so much it literally hurts sometimes. You might not think it, but EVERYTHING that we do is so that YOU can have a better life. Right now, you feel warm, cuddly feelings when we hug and kiss you, read you a story, or tuck you in at night. This is just the first step of love. It's real.

The next time you will feel real love is when you meet and know your spouse.  This love will be intense.  It will literally draw you closer to this person until it hurts to be without them. Your heart will feel like it has wings and you will ache for their touch.  You will smile constantly and, even though you will have only known them for a short time, you will walk the world over to get a single blade of grass that they wanted.

After this, you will experience the love of BEING a parent. This love is different. No one told me that when I held you in my arms for the first time that I would feel a love so intense that I wouldn't understand it.  Until that point, I had only only felt wonderful, tingly, feelings.  Now, I felt a love so strong that it made me cry... a lot. I wanted  so much to guide you and direct your every thought and move from the time you were born until you left this earth just to make sure that we would be together again as an eternal family. The thought that I was going to have to let you make your own decisions only scared and frustrated me!  This love was so real that the only thing that would completely satisfy it would be to make it un-breakable, to seal it forever. Yup, I KNEW that I NEEDED you forever.  YOU are a part of me.

Now,  I know that I sound like an overbearing, crazy, psycho mom.  But, I said that I only FELT this way. Just be glad that I haven't ACTUALLY acted upon those feelings!  I know that I can't protect you from everything.  Ultimately, you are not just my child, but a Child of God. When your time comes to go home, I want HIM to be proud of the way that I took care of you.  I KNOW that He is proud of Corbyn's parents. He is proud of the way they love him and cared for him. They were such great examples of living life to it's fullest!  That is what I want for myself as a parent, and for you as my child. I saw REAL love this past week as we celebrated baby Corbyn's 411 days on this earth.  I saw the importance of family, love, and strength.

Ok, now I know that I went off on that a little bit.  I promise you that you will know REAL when it happens, and believe me when I say that it's the REAL things in life that make life worth living. 

These 5 principles will make you a healthier person, both inside and out. The same principles that we use to take care of our bodies also can take care of our lives!

I'm sure that I missed so many principles and ideas.  Anyone reading this is more than welcome to add their words of advice as takes a village.... ;)


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