1. What causes you to want to balance being a wife, mother and athlete whereas, each of those things are hard enough on their own?
As a human being, I am a body, mind, and spirit all wrapped up into one. I have learned over time that if I put too much weight on any one of these three or ignore one or the other, I am not being fully human or fully who I was made to be as a Woman. In other words, I become imbalanced and inevitably fall if I do not keep all of these in check.
2. What do the days look like where you best accomplish this?
I used to be able to compartmentalize all of these three aspects and would be able to more concisely answer this, but with my 2 new little girls, I have to be more flexible and spontaneous. So, I would say the days it looks the best are when I wake up early, offer my day up to God and Mary through a morning offering of reaching, stretching, bowing and praying for others and offering up my mind, body and spirit for His glory over my own. By starting the day with these 5 minutes, it sets my day on course to be heavenly bounded and when I meet Jesus in this way each morning, my day may not be perfect but I can see it as a beautiful mess regardless. And it sets my body moving. After offering my day up and inviting God to be present, I get my family moving too with a healthy breakfast (like watermelon, fruit and veggie smoothie, yogurt,plantain muffins, eggs, or bacon)and my husband and I with a pot of bullet proof coffee, then we usually have story time and we love to play music and sing and dance together for a minute before really getting on with our day. Weather permitting, I saddle on my running shoes, strap down the girls in the double Bob and my son grabs his scooter or bike, all for a run with mom around town. On our runs, I use this opportunity to quiz my 8 year old on the Catechism, memorized poetry, skip counting, and just about anything oral. We get back home with all our review complete. Usually, I try to squeeze in the gospel reading for the day and the meditation from the Magnifcat during copywork. After dinner, we do a family rosary before bed, most nights and though we are usually dosing through it, we dose in the arms of our Mother. This is an imperfect, perfect day, when I'm ever mindful of my morning offering.
3. What are the greatest challenges to keeping physically fit and spiritually fit at this phase in your life?
I think the greatest challenge is my children who need me 24\7. I am a nurturer by nature and have a tendency to feel guilty when I try to take time out for my own formation. But I have learned that if I just take that time for myself whenever it's available and do what we women do best, multitask with these two areas, I am more devoted than when I try to compartmentalize them. I use my running as a time to pray a Rosary or just be quiet and listen to the Holy Spirit. Often as I run intervals around the track I may offer a lap up for people in my life who need prayer or pray Hail Marys or repeat a simple Jesus I Trust in You or Jesus, Have Mercy on me a Sinner prayer. And lately I often find myself offering up the suffering of an injury to God for some bigger purpose. So, there is much less distinction in my life between prayer and my activity. As Ryan Hall and Eric Little said in so many words, "It's when I am pouring my heart out on the track that I feel like I am most pleasing God. I feel him smiling down on me for doing what he created me to do." What better way must there be to worship?
4. If you could enhance your routine in any way what would that be?
My trainer knows this about me:), but if I could be a big girl and go to bed early and wake up by 5 a.m., I think I could maybe get my things out of the way before I am needed by the crew. That said, for now, due to still nursing and near exhaustion and wanting that extra time with my husband after the kids go to bed at night, I think God is using this imperfection for good in that my family is a big part of my integration of body, mind and spirit throughout the day.
5. What advice would you give women in any stage of life who wants to up keep their temple fit within the proper Catholic perspective?
I have had to push reset a few times with frequent relocating as a Army wife, prenatal conditions, postnatal conditions, and just schedule changes. New norms will be needed at different stages. And the best way to not become stressed out, overwhelmed and obsessed about your physical fitness and to put it in its right, Catholic perspective and priority (and it is okay if it's up there on your priorities, by the way) is to frame your fitness in the realms of your faith. First seek God's guidance and ask for his presence and help in this pursuit. Realize that the best version of yourself physically, as well as mentally and spiritually, is the version where you put God's Will in the forefront of your goals. He wants you to be healthy, strong, and an inspiration of beauty for your children and all those watching. He wants others to see what it really means to be Catholic in body through your example and physical discipline. Check your reason and retrain it if need be to be for God's purposes, not your own flattery. God needs us as mothers and wives to be strong and healthy to serve others the best we can. I for one can fulfill my purpose of mother and wife a bit better when I am healthy in body. That's good. It's okay to want a fit temple. God needs fit temples. Others are watching how we act and look physically as Catholics. And our fitness will attract others to Him.
6. With diet playing a huge role in energy and outlook, can you tell us more about your recent food discovery or your ‘adult diet’ as you once called it.
Ha! Yes, my "adult diet" is much more intentional than my diet was in my teens and twenties. I have always been somewhat conscious of what I take in, but I often thought before that I could eat whatever I want because I am training for a marathon. Well, I have traded quantity for quality. My overly processed American cheese slices have been succulently replaced with grassfed Dublaner, coffee creamer with rich coconut oil and butter, and bready snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables. You guessed it. I have become a foodie. With a little experience and wisdom about the way my body responds, I have learned what foods energize me and which ones are like toxins to my system. My husband and I started a version of the Paleo Diet in early January this year, and it has revolutionized our view on food. We stick to as much fresh meat and produce as possible with the least amount of preservatives. This has shot our energy levels up to higher than they have been in years even with increased physical training and we have not had the common colds that plague us each spring. And once we removed the offenders from the pantry, I kids are quickly following suite. It seems that once your taste for quality foods is acquired, you just want more of the good stuff.
7. What are the top three reasons you are going to climb out of bed joyfully to be the best wife, mother and athlete again tomorrow and forever?
1. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ( I guess that's 3 in 1) but because of their sacrifice, I am here to even be a wife, mother and athlete, and to have the ability to live a supernatural life this side of Heaven
2. My husband Edward and 3 children (Cole, Miriam and Anna)
3. Pursuit of Holiness- each day becoming closer to what God created me to be for His purposes
8. Anything else you’d like us to know about you, your family or your routines for health, happiness and holiness?
God gave me a purpose years ago for a life that is pure and simple wherever I am in my life. And as I grow up more each day, I learn what this really means. It means to simplify everything I am and do down to holiness. We are in a busy time in our lives, and because of that I have been forced to simplify and minimize. The accessories of our life were just put on a crate last week, to cross the Atlantic ocean AGAIN! And it was nice to really be intentional about what we value and kept versus what we chose to let go. I have had to do this same thing in my person with body, mind and spirit. With my body, through intentional, purposeful exercising and not excessive exercise, and through my mind and spirit, through prayer and the Sacraments of the Catholic church. Pure and Simple...