Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hopelessly Devoted…

At the beginning of this year I took the one little word challenge… deciding to concentrate on a word to keep me focused throughout the year rather than a resolution I would inevitably break within the first week. I chose the word “devotion” and so far it has proven itself to be a good fit for me.

In some areas.

When I thought of the word, I was focusing on things that included my spiritual growth and relationships. I ended up ordering a chronological bible that separates into 365 daily readings to keep me on track, and I’m happy to report that so far so good… I’ve been doing my daily readings and assume by the end of the year I will have the bible completely read. If that has ever been a goal of yours, and you’re like me and need someone else to tell you how to achieve it, I would absolutely recommend this version to follow along.

As far as relationships… the fact that I still need to write thank you notes from Christmas might mean I’m failing in that department. But I also realize devotion has to be tempered with what I am able to do physically, so I’m hoping thank you notes three months late will still be just as fun to get. :)

The problem with having one word keeping me focused every day is that it brings up issues I’d never considered. Having a word like devotion can be applied to so many areas of life, and it can even be applied to areas I would just as soon ignore.

Physical therapy, for example.

I used to be so devoted to it. Whether I was feeling good or not, with the exception of pneumonia or a migraine, I did a routine. I might alter it here or there if the pain was too much, but I at least gave it the old college try. And then somewhere along the line I realized I wasn’t in college anymore and the idea of trying started feeling awfully tedious.

“When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.” 
                                               ~ Sir Alexander Paterson

Now, you would think I would be properly motivated to do stretches and strengthening. Something as simple as wanting to be able to move and function should really be enough. Back in the day, when I thought there was no way I would ever slack on this, the therapy caused pain… but I am coming to realize that pain doesn’t seem to have limits. Neither does loss of mobility and energy, because all of the above seem to be increasing rather than reaching their limits.

But in the last six months or so I seem to have reached mine.

Now my thinking is:
Reaching down to pick up Riley’s water bowl: physical therapy.
Climbing into bed: physical therapy.
Climbing out of bed: physical therapy.
Throwing Riley’s toy: definitely physical therapy.


The only problem is that my doctor may disagree with me. And the idea that I could lose mobility because of my own lack of devotion is infuriating. But the reality that I’m going to lose that mobility either way, as has been proven over the last few years, is discouraging.

All of this is to say: be careful what word you pick to keep you on track throughout the year. It may reveal things to you that you’d rather have left alone.

Take it from me and the exercise ball I’m about to inflate.


  1. Did I send you that exercise ball on fb? If not, SHOOT! I had it all picked out and I think I got sidetracked. It's coming your way. Watch for it.

    You are always an inspiration to me not just because of the way you battle the disease and the natural desire we all have to take it lying down...you have this tenacity (in so many areas of life) that just won't quit. :)

    Reading about Riley's bowl made me laugh out loud. It reminded me, too, of an article I read about Kim Kardashian using a deck of cards (My brother also learned this from some trainer) to do lunges and squats. I'm thinking you were on the right track, just needed a few more reps.

    I didn't pick a word yet this year. I haven't nailed down my s.t. goals either. I think now that I'm heading out of Feb. I might find the courage to pick this up. See? What did I tell you. You are always inspiring, Gitz.

    (I did get to have a conversation with a health guru. Interview post to follow soon!)

  2. I'm redesigning my blog and going nuts trying to find a three column template. Would you be so kind as to tell me where you found yours?

  3. When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.”
    ~ Sir Alexander Paterson

    This is exactly what I commented about on Sarah's site about motivation. This man says it so much better. Thanks.

  4. Eek! is all I want to say, but... what i need to say is... have you ever read the book, "Celebration of Discipline" By Richard Foster. It was one of my favorite books in College. Not an easy subject or practice, but... Totally Worth it in the light of eternity and for bettering my relationship with Jesus. So... just thought i would mention it. :-)

  5. I love how honest you are with all of us. It makes me feel like we are oldest and dearest friends who just love each other deeply. Thank you for opening your life to all of us in blogworld.

    Keep up your hope, you are an inspiration to me. You are strong in mind, spiritual, and physical things. Yes, I think you are strong physical too, you are still taking care of yourself and your beloved Riley. You get up out of bed and challenge the day. I admire how easily you are able to talk of your faith and religion, something that I feel as strongly about but have not found an easy way to convey that.

    Take care.

  6. Funny how hard it is to be devoted to yourself, isn't it? For some reason, the devotion part is easier when it comes to family, friends, job, house, etc. Even harder when said devotion leaves you in more pain, and even harder than that knowing that the devotion isn't going to make things all better.
    I admire you for many, many reasons, but if you do inflate and get on that exercise ball, I'll have a whole 'nother reason to be impressed : )

  7. A year ago March I stopped running. I had run for over 3 years on a very regular and consistent basis. I have both exercise induced asthma and hives. (My skin turns bright splotchy red and I itch like I've been eaten alive by mosquitoes) So I have to work up to a level of fitness and sustain it or suffer with symptoms when I don't. Last March I was struggling with that balance and it was such a burden that I stopped.

    I was just thinking its almost March again. I know in my heart it was a worthy battle. I know I need to go back to it... but its gonna cost me.

    I think you provided me with extra motivation :) If you can find it within... I so can too!

    Stay tuned... there is a Five K in my future! OHHHH I am itching just thinking about it!!!!

  8. Way to go and get "on the ball". Horrible pun...so sorry for the lame humor Sara, on a very serious subject. I am so proud that you CHOSE to grab that ball and start being disciplined about your PT. It will make Riley happy, even if it makes you hurt. I will pray for your discipline every day, since you've shared that is a goal of yours this year. I commit to doing it for the rest of 2009. I am sorry, dear one, that it hurts. I do a workout every day as well to stay limber (also known as being able to get myself off of the floor when I bend down for something)and it usually doesn't feel "good". Most people, when excercising, feel great afterward. Stinks when you don't. The loss of ability over time is the rocks, it's discouraging, and can bring you down in other areas. Remember that I am praying for you EVERY day from now on in this area. Your heart? Well, it is incredibly flexible and large, and hasn't lost one iota of ability to grow and stretch. For this we are all thankful.

  9. Devotion...such a loaded word.
    As you know my "thing" for 2009 was Tickled by Joy...I might as well have put a bulls-eye on my head and begged God for patience...It's just been the most not-so-joyful start to my year.
    So reading this today reminded me not to give up. I suppose God has a sense of humor huh?
    love to you and I think inflating the exercise ball counts for PT today :)
    smooches to Riley

  10. I'm with Robin - I think inflating the ball counts for one day of exercise! :) You know I've been trying to get into an exercise routine the past few weeks - you are such an inspiration b/c each time I make an excuse in my head of why I don't want to exercise, I'm going to thank God that I can exercise and get my butt moving! And while I'm exercising I will pray for you! That's definitely motivation for me! Love ya lots - I just don't want you to be too hard on yourself - wish I could do all the stretching for you... Love ya!

  11. I'm feeling the same way with the word I chose...give.

    It can affect so many areas I didn't even come close to imagining! But the challenge has been a good one.

    As for physical therapy...YIKES!

  12. You chose a good word but your right it affects so many areas. I am sure you find it quite humbling!

    The more I see pictures of your cute doggie the more I want to stroke him and take him for a walk =] xxx.

  13. As long as Riley is running after the ball at least one of you is getting enough exercise. :

    I have too much exercise equipment gathering dust to say anything about anyone else's lack of discipline.

  14. Your third to the last paragraph ...

    Devotion versus discouragement.

    Keeping breaking the rock into stepping stones and you will keep moving along the path.

  15. oh, i so agree.

    and...working on the whole motivation thing right now. =)

  16. Sara,
    As a therapist, please push yourself. I know you hurt. And I know you're feeling frustrated.
    And I hear you on the future mobility loss. But until then, push through it as much as you can. You will be much stronger and loose and at ease later on the more you do now.
    If I lived closer I would come over and help you.
    But since I don't, my prayers will be sent. And a hope that you continue despite all else.

  17. My daughter is in Deb's class. Today Deb sent home your blog address. I enjoy reading your blog. My Dad has AS and never talks about how painful or difficult things are for him-as a side note-he exercises on a gazelle type machine and that keeps his legs working (sometimes more, sometimes less). He says he keeps moving because the day he stops is the day he won't be able to move again. He has the greatest work ethic of anyone I have ever known, probably because he has to work so hard to stay mobile. Reading through your blog has given me some understanding of some of the things he is dealing with. I admire your attitude so much. I appreciate your honesty (and the cute pictures of your puppy) and your joy. My daughter really enjoys making cards and writing poems for you. Thank you for sharing your life with these kids.

  18. Thanks for the encouragement, guys... yes, the ball is inflated and I totally considered that physical therapy for today (thanks for the out, Suz and Robin!). But tomorrow starts actually trying to work on it. Thanks for the support and prayers... I knew if I didn't say it out loud to you all I'd never do anything about it :)

    @Kate: I so know you're right... these past few months are the first time in all of the time of being sick I just took a break from it... I wish I could say I notice a difference, but I know I'm not necessarily doing it to improve my life now as much as have it better in the future.

    @amy: You have no idea what those little ones do for my spirits. You're raising great kids at that school. Which one is your daughter? And thanks for the info. about your dad. I have an elliptical that I think has absolutely kept me able to move my hips and walk as much as I do. There's just so much more I should be (and will be) doing. Great reminder.

  19. This post reminds me that I need to do a little reflection on my word this year. My word is DO and is biting me in the butt...

    Keep on keeping on! :)

  20. This post made my brain hurt... But I think you're right - we have to choose how we label things in life. dang.

    Recent blog post: If Jerry Calls, Don’t Answer

  21. that quote. wrecked me. as in...CONVICTION!

    mmmm. chewing on this.

    Recent blog post: give me your best

  22. would it hurt too much if i hugged you right now? because i want to.

    Recent blog post: everything’s right

  23. I think I'd take the risk :)