A Reflection at 30

It’s official, my 20s are over and a new decade has begun.  If you know, me holidays and milestones are big deals in my world.  There have been so many life changes in the last ten years: graduate from college, earn a teaching credential, get married, start my teaching career, buy a house, have a couple of kids, and transition to job where I could be with my kids full time.  It has been exhausting and awesome all at the same time…but what really matters in my opinion, is how have these life events changed me for the better? I pray that each success and blessing will result in gratitude instead of pride and with each failure and difficult situation that God would soften and humble my heart instead me choosing to grow bitter.  And since I like lists and traditions here is my first “birthday life inventory” as an adult:

What I am thankful for:

  1. A Savior who loves me unconditionally
  2. My husband and growing family…couldn’t feel more blessed in this department
  3. The overall health of my family. I am so thankful to have all of my Grandparents still here with us.  One of my grandpas spent the first half of this year in hospitals and rehabilitation centers and he is now back at home with my grandma, such an answer to prayer! The other set of grandparents felt well enough recently to even travel up to see us here in Sacramento, such a special weekend. I have plans to create a “Family Heroes Series” of books for my kids and future generations, more to come on this…
  4. The ability to be with my kids full time and a husband who supports my friendships and fitness goals, seriously the best of both worlds!
  5. New friendships and old friendships with new common experiences shared.
  6. So many wonderful family memories made this year from trips to Southern California, Tahoe, Arizona, and the fact that Mel and I got TWO kid free weekend getaways this year!

Difficult experiences with lessons learned:

  1.  Losing Blessing #3 this year has by far been the hardest situation to walk through.  I have learned that God can sustain me even through the most difficult times, that being vulnerable with others in my struggles is not something to be feared, and a new found empathy for those who also experience losses.
  2. My few months with morning sickness was also a trying time.  I felt Iike I was always in a bad mood and so close to snapping at those I love at any moment.  I want to remember this feeling and show extra grace to those who are battling health issues.

New concepts learned this year:

  1.  I need to be more determined and disciplined in things that are right instead of giving in to my really good excuses. 😉
  2. God’s design for my family is better than my own.
  3. I feel like I am learning how to be a better friend this year…beginning to learn the art of TRULY listening to others and what that looks like.

How my priorities have changed and why:

  1.  This is the most peaceful I have felt with my house being less tidy and clean.  I simply don’t want to miss out on relationships with the special people God has placed in my life.

Goals for learning in the future:

  1. Trusting God more completely with things that are out of my control
  2.  I look forward to learning how to run and live a healthy lifestyle consistently with three kids
  3. I want to learn how to take even better pictures of those three kids
  4. I look forward to intentionally working on my marriage before issues arise
  5. Being even more responsible with my spending tendencies (This is going to be hard with having a new baby girl in the house this year!)

Here’s a glimpse at the start and end of my 20s: Mel and I had been dating for less than a year on the left and now we are married with another baby on the way.

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Dreaming of Winter

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We aren’t even a week into summer, and I am already dreaming of what, God willing, winter will bring.  Without further ado, I’m pregnant!!! Mel, the boys, and I got to see the newest member of our family in an ultrasound today.  Words can’t express the joy I felt seeing our little miracle. I may be battling waves of nausea around the clock and ready to take a two hour nap at any moment, but I am so grateful.

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From Weight Loss to Healthy Living

Before too much time passed I decided to record my journey from weight loss to something so much more. There is a lot I could include, but for the sake of your time and mine, I will touch on the milestones and lessons learned. First, a brief history of my relationship with weight loss: for most of my life it was pretty simple, if I watched what I ate and exercised, I lost weight. Besides one other frustrating weight loss attempt in my life, I would usually see results within the first week of changing my lifestyle. After Joel, right around 5 months I just started losing weight after not changing my activity level and or what I ate, and by the time he was 9 months old, I was down to my wedding weight (which seems to always be my ultimate goal). After Micah, I assumed the same would happen, but as that 5 month mark approached I found myself gaining weight instead of losing it—I knew something needed to change. So, I started running several times a week, twice a week with some amazing running mamas. Also, after the first week, I began eating much better (For the sake of clarity, eating healthy to me = more salads and organic fruits and veggis, less processed foods, and refined sugar and flour).

August 2012

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This picture was taken in July, shortly before I started my weight loss challenge at the beginning of August.

Lost 1 pound in the month of August…feeling a little frustrated (One pound after all of this effort?!!!!)

September 2012

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I decided I needed to make some additional changes. I ran/walked a 5k, pushing the boys in the stroller, in around 40 minutes. I went gluten free for 4 weeks. I lost another pound in the first week and then one more pound that month, bringing my grand total to 3 pounds. This was a turning point for me, It had now been two months of running multiple times a week and eating healthier and had only lost 3 pounds!!! I wanted to give up, why work so hard and deny myself delicious food if I would only struggle to lose weight? Running with kids is not easy in many ways, it would be so much easier to just stop working so hard. Here is what I decided:
1. Going back to what I was doing before is not an option, I was only getting more unhealthy
2. I want my kids to grow up with two active and healthy parents, if I was going to stop running what activity was I going to do to replace it?
3. Life lesson: Do the right thing even if you don’t receive immediate gratification. There’s something to be said about doing the right thing “wrong,” but, I was not going to stop eating healthy and exercising, something I knew was right.

October 2012

I started running a little closer to home with a dear friend and her kids one day a week. I set the goal to run a 10K the next month and started longer runs (5-6 miles) on the weekends. I lost three more pounds! I was up to 6 pounds total, never thought I would be so excited about 6lbs lost after three months of hard work.

November 2012

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10k

I completed a 10K with a time of 1:04. Lost 3 more pounds!

December 2012

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Ran 8 miles on my 29th birthday, it felt so good to hit that new milestone. Lost another 3 pounds! Signed up for my first half marathon on St. Patrick’s Day, I was going to have to step up my long runs!

January 2013

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When I found out I was pregnant I readjusted my running goals, and listened to my body. I ran a lot slower and didn’t reach any new running milestones, but I was happy. I was perfectly content to jog/walk the half marathon or cheer on my friends from the sidelines in March. When I miscarried I took a week off to heal, then I started training again. I lost 4 pounds this month.

February 2013

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This is a picture taken with my baby sister, who is all grown up now!
This month I began to really feel good about my improvements in running. The challenge of training for a half marathon was keeping me motivated to set goals and reach them! This month I lost 5 pounds!

March 2013

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By Micah’s first birthday, I had beaten my prepregnancy weight by 1 pound and decided to keep working toward my wedding weight (8 more pounds). I also stopped breastfeeding Micah, and found that my appetite decreased a lot. Finished my first half marathon in 2:06! What a milestone to reach!

April 2013

I set my new running goal: maintain running two 4 mile runs with the kids during the week and run one long (6-8 mile) run on the weekend. I lost 2 pounds this month.

May 2013

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I started this month by going on a three day detox where I consumed four meals of just fruits, veggis, and healthy fats and vitamins every day. It was a CHALLENGE to complete, I never really felt hungry, just nauseated and had a huge headache from what I hope was toxins being released and flushed from my body. Mel did this with me and we found it to be a huge bonding experience. The second night I struggled mentally and physically and he was strong enough to keep our household running. He also suggested that we memorize scripture during this process. We started memorizing Ephesians 4, a chapter about unity and maturity in the body of Christ. I lost 6 pounds this month! WEDDING DAY WEIGHT!

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May 2012/May 2013 (yes this is the dress I wore to my wedding shower six years ago!)
At this point, I realize that there is one way I have been measuring success—losing weight and getting down to a number that I weighed in my “prime.” Recently, I’ve seen this concept of mine challenged, and it’s made me think. My new goals include running several times a week, but also incorporating some type of resistance training in the weekly rotation. It’s possible I could even gain a little weight doing this, but that’s ok; it will be the right kind of weight. I’m trying to retrain my brain to not equate “healthy” to the lowest weight I have been in my adult life.

Here are my greatest lessons learned/ goals for healthy living, beyond weight loss, continue :
1. I need to do the right thing even when I don’t see immediate results
2. I want to be more intentional in how I treat my body, what I put into it (mostly organic minimally processed food, but ice cream Sundays are ok sometimes 🙂 ), and what cleaning products and personal care items I am using (going a little crunchy here). My goal with this is to set a good example for my kids and others, and to have a body that is healthy and able to serve others for the Glory of God.

Baby Judah

Once I passed the milestone of when our gender reveal ultrasound would have been, I thought ahead about the other potentially tough milestones in my future. I have learned that praying, before and during these events, has helped me process my emotions and not feel as burdened during the toughest times. So, after March 26th had passed, I began to realize another tough hurdle ahead.

 
There are only a handful of moments that have been seared into my memory with intense emotion behind them. Meeting my boys for the first time are two of those instances. It’s hard for me to describe with words how the anticipation while pregnant and intensity of labor culminate at the very second my babies left my body and were placed in my arms. Tears well in my eyes just thinking back to those special and intimate first minutes with them. I am so thankful that they were both able to spend their first hour of life so close to me; Micah was lying on my chest the whole first hour. I was able to kiss, talk to, keep them warm and comfortable all while I was falling even more in love. I grieve not being able to do the same with my third baby. Just thought of this made me sob. In this life I would never get to hold or kiss my baby, or gaze into my little one’s eyes telling him or her how much I love them.

 
I began thinking about some friends that were due around the time that I was, how would I be able to hold their babies and not become a crying mess? In that moment would I truly be able to feel joy for them or would I be missing my little one so much that I couldn’t enjoy the sweetness of holding a newborn? I began asking God to prepare my heart for these special times in my friends’ lives, that I would be able to share in their joy without feeling such strong sorrow about my loss.

 
April 13, 2013, baby Judah Saunders entered this world. For those of you who don’t know, this is the baby brother of Gloria Ruth Saunders, more about her story here. The Saunders family has always been special to us Sattlers, but I didn’t know that God would use this youngest little Saunders boy to demonstrate God’s healing in my life. As soon as we found out he was here, Mel and I found a way, with Micah being sick and Mel working all day, that we could visit the Saunders family in the hospital. Joel and I went into the hospital room first and saw that many other friends had the same idea. This family is loved for good reason. The others in the room were gracious enough to let me have a turn holding sweet little Judah. There is something so special about a newborn, their tininess, innocence, and dependence on others to meet every need that just melts me. I held him, probably a little too selfishly, for a good fifteen minutes until a nurse walked in to check on him. Soon it was time to go and get my kids to bed, but as I was walking out to my car with a smile on my face it hit me—God had answered my prayer that I started praying not even three weeks ago. While I did get a little teary-eyed in the room, it was because I was so thankful he was here, that God had blessed the Saunders family with a healthy baby boy, and that I had the privilege to be able to hold him in my arms.

 

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Mel and I didn’t get enough of the Saunders family that night, so they were gracious enough to let us come back. Here is a candid photo on the second night in the hospital we went to visit them.

Happy First Birthday in Heaven Gloria Ruth

There is a special little girl who has changed my life, and I haven’t gotten to meet her yet.  You can read more about her story here, from her mom’s perspective.  Be prepared with a full box of tissues if you do decide to read this heart wrenching account.

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Last year I had the privilege of being pregnant with three other dear college friends at the same time.  We were all due within two months of each other, which was pretty special—what are the chances of that?! Micah was born first in March, then another boy in April; mystery baby “S” was next, then another baby boy in May.  Three out of the four of us friends were actually celebrating at the last baby boy’s baby shower the morning of Gloria’s Ruth’s birthday (we learned that morning what baby “S’s” name was in an urgent request for prayer).

The story of this little one day old baby shook me to my core. Her memorial service was filled so many friends and family that also had been impacted by her life and the faithfulness of her parents.  I was reminded that life is precious and can be so fragile. I was taught what faithfulness to God looks like in the midst of utter devastation.  I learned the power of vulnerability with others during life’s most difficult trials. I was reminded to turn to God and His scriptures during times of desperation.   I saw how God could be glorified with a life that only lasted a day.

Our name, Gloria, means “glory to God.” I had to ask myself…am I living up to the meaning of our name? It will be my lifelong mission.

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One year later, she is still loved and missed.  The rest of us college friends have already/are going to celebrate our boys’ first birthdays, it seems only fitting to celebrate her birthday too.  Happy one year in Heaven Gloria Ruth!

We All Have A Story To Tell

I love hearing the life stories of others.  Our experiences in life and how we react/respond to them is what makes up our story. Social media and blogging have allowed so many to share their thoughts, beliefs, and hobbies with ease.  I have been challenged, entertained, and encouraged by so many that take the time to share pieces of their lives. The last few years I been convicted….how intentional am I with my life? What are my goals, and how much does my everyday life reflect the importance of my goals? I feel the need to live intentionally, yet I often fall into the traps of “too busy, too tired, don’t want to, etc.” My prayer is that I will grow in maturity in this area and “run the race with perseverance.”  The purpose of this blog is to share the joyous moments, personal breakthroughs, and heart wrenching trials on this journey. My hope is that what I share will encourage and challenge, in a God glorifying-manner, those who read.

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1