Family and feasting, pure and simple.
And what always follows the feasting in our culture?
The fasting--or at this time of year, the new year's resolutions. Many which typically center around fitness, exercise, and weight.
I'm not against them, and have made plenty in years past. (I have a word each year, too. For 2015 it is: MYSELF.)
But for a long time I haven't been completely at peace with my exercising status. There's that inevitable niggling voice in the head that says "You aren't doing enough. You should be _______________ (insert whatever your voice in the head condemns with!)"
Instead of trying to shush the voice, I've been sitting with it to figure out what it has to teach me. And a few weeks ago I had my epiphany: I don't like exercising; I like purposeful movement.
My model for this type of physical activity? Caroline Ingalls from Little House.
We never see Ma tell Pa and the girls, "I'll be right back after my two mile run."
Of course not! Their lives flooded over with purposeful movement--a kind that made sense to their lives, a kind that contributed to their lives. Making cheese, milking cows, walking to pick berries, kneading bread.
Purposeful movement. It fits into a busy mama's life when nothing else does.
Usually at this point someone will mention how our lives are so sedentary these days. I have no cows waiting for milking out back, after all.
That's true, but instead of looking at what I don't have, I'm looking at what I do: freedom to set my own schedule, two flights of stairs in this old farmhouse, five acres of land out back, and three children who are anything but sedentary.
I've been searching for ways to fill my days with more purposeful movement, and I've enjoyed it. I used to pile stuff on the stairs to "take up later." Instead I've been taking each thing up when I first notice it (with the added benefit of tidying up this place).
Instead of asking the kids to take the compost out or put a letter in the mailbox, I've been doing it myself. I also like taking walks--when I want to, not when the nagging voice tells me I should.
We've been taught that exercise must involve suffering. No pain, no gain. But what if looking for joyful movement can lead us to a lifelong place of health and fitness?
I turn 39 this year. I'm no longer trying to impress anyone. I am trying to give my absolute best to those whose care I steward.
And so I'm excited to have stumbled upon one new year's resolution I can actually keep up with.
"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."