31 Days of De-Stressed Living, Day 14: Jiggle a Little

If you’ve been following along, you’ll notice that we skipped “I.”*

In retrospect, it was probably naïve of me to type “jiggle” into my web browser and expect to find some ideas about mature body image. Instead of what I did get: a lot of smut. How embarrassing.

Turns out “jiggling” is a dirty word, not just in the self-conscious post-forty sense. Of course, I don’t mind so much when my daughter enthusiastically tackles me for a hug, declaring, “You’re not fat, Mommy … you jiggle! You’re squishy!”


Or when I catch a glimpse of my husband jiggling with her at the July 4th celebration at the Grand Hotel.


We all need a little more jiggling in our lives, tossing back our heads and heels and dancing “like no one’s watching.” And if someone is watching, instead of dancing, well . . . they deserve what they get.

If dancing isn’t your thing, pick something else that will get the blood flowing. Climb a hill. Swim a lap. Go rollerblading. Take a zumba class. Do something that will tire you out, and burn a few calories.

Of course you may not feel like it, if you’re feeling stressed out. Sitting in front of the television sipping grown-up drinks is much easier. But you won’t feel as good the next day, promise.

So what are you going to do today? Go out and jiggle. Extra points if you do it with your family, and make a memory. Be sure to take pictures. You’ll be glad you did.

How do you like to jiggle?

*Note: It’s not that I couldn’t think of a word: imagination, inspiration, individuality. On the other hand, so much stress stems from either a hyper-awareness of self (“What will people say if I don’t ___?”) or inattentiveness (another “i”) to legitimate needs, it required this whole series to address. So let’s just move along to “J,” shall we?


31 Days to De-Stessed Living, Day 7: Be Thankful

vegetable lasagneWhen was the last time you were thankful for the body God gave you? Now that I’m staring fifty squarely in the path ahead, I can see the wisdom of teen fiction author Melody Carlson, who laments:

Instead of thanking God for my two strong legs that are able to run and jump and climb, I whined about my ‘thunder thighs’ and ‘thick’ ankles. Instead of rejoicing that I have two capable arms that can lift and carry and balance my body, I complained about the flab that hung beneath them.

I have been totally and unbelievably ungrateful for everything. Like a completely spoiled brat, I took my healthy body for granted. I criticized it and despised it. With crystal clarity, I know that I do not deserve the good health that God has mysteriously blessed me with. Not only have I been unappreciative of my body and its amazing working parts, I tortured it by over-exercising, and I put my entire health at serious risk by starving myself.

What on earth was wrong with me? As I watch these kids with their less-than-perfect bodies, I feel so thoroughly ashamed of myself. I mean, how could I have been so stupid and shallow and self-centered?

Melody Carlson in Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped

Okay, so if the truth were known, I tend toward the opposite end of the “starve myself and over-exercise” spectrum. Stress eating and vegging in front of the television at night, when I’m feeling depleted from the day (with a Supersized glass of wine for good measure) is one of my guiltiest pleasures. (Especially when I watch the physically-fit au pair head to the basement for a session with the treadmill.)

So starting today, I choose thankfulness. Thank you, God, for my strong body and active mind. Thank you even for the flab and puckers, the treadmarks of the soul that remind me of the goodness you have poured into my life every single day. Amen.

Photo: “Veggie Lasagna,” which I make for our vegetarian au pair. This year I’ve eaten more vegetables, thanks to her, than in the previous fifty years of my life. Sadly, this does not impress the love handles, who stay firmly entrenched.

Prevent Child Abuse: Tips to Help Parents Cope

carriecraftCarrie Craft at AboutAdoption.com has lots of great information for parents looking for tips on a particular aspect of foster or adoptive parenting. Today she sent this link to an article to help parents cope with stress, especially when kids seem to be doing all they can to push your buttons.

Children who have been exposed to physical or emotional abuse will sometimes push the boundaries of reasonable behavior, often (but not always) to test your resolve to parent him or her. By responding with self-control, we teach them valuable lessons about love … and responsible adult behavior. Check it out!