Boaz the Psoas

Have you ever heard of it?

 

The Psoas…… Have you ever heard of it?

 I had never heard of it.  I really didn’t even know it existed.  But, one day I had excruciating back pain.  Not lower back pain, but mid back pain.  This pain, it would be there one minute and then feel as if it disappeared, until I moved just right again…  I wondered what in the world could be causing it.  I blamed the pain on my jelly belly (ie lack of core muscles), my chair (no support), my huge and heavy bag that I whipped over my shoulder on a daily basis, could it be the stress of my Master’s program, possibly the fact that I’m on my feet for a majority of my day (teacher-itis) and I figured that if I stretched my back enough, it would go away.  It didn’t. Maybe if I cracked my back, it would go away.  It didn’t.  In fact, the pain just grew.  I looked like a 130 year old person getting out of my van every day.  Nothing I did improved it.

 

My family was headed on vacation and I thought to myself, if I don’t have a miracle occur I am going to have a complete “cannot move, get me to the hospital” type of experience and that was not in my vacation plans.  I prayed and begged God to remove the pain, but no relief.  I bargained with God… (have you ever done that?) I said “God, if you could please remove this pain…. I know I have neglected my body.  I know this is my fault.  I need to take care of the body you gave me.  I will Lord!  Just please remove the pain!”  The next morning, the pain was still there, but the name Jess was in my brain.  Jess is an amazing masseuse and work out guru, she’s a friend that I met through LAUGH….  “Jess, I’m desperate.  I can’t move and I’m leaving in two days.” She welcomed me in and it was then that she  introduced me to “Boaz, my Psoas.”  (No, she didn’t call it that, but I have belovingly referred to it that way since the day we met).   Jess pushed here and there and applied some direct (felt like finger-poking-through-my-body when she was actually only gently touching a very angry Psoas) pressure.  She kindly but straightforward explained that she could tell Boaz was unhappy and that I needed to take better care of Boaz through preventative stretching and yes, core work, not carrying my heavy bag on my shoulder, etc, etc…..  Jess explained to me that the Psoas muscle, though rarely thought about, can cause immense pain and do a lot of damage to the rest of the body if not taken care of.

 

Hmmmmm.  Jess was talking about my psoas, but in my heart, I felt a much deeper stirring.  Job 38:7-8 says “My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.”  I knew I had not been paying attention to the health of my body.  If I’m completely honest, I had been relying on my own strength to balance my crazy life.  God had opened amazing doors for me over this last year, opportunities that were beyond my wildest imagination and experiences that He had ordained and that were bigger than any human should attempt to handle on their own…… and in gratitude, I said “Thank you, Lord.  I’ve got it!”  And I did, I had it… until Boaz, my psoas, let me now that I had been neglecting important things. I had been neglecting my time with God and I had been relying on my own strength to accomplish things that were beyond my capabilities.  Things that God created me for, but not things that I could do without Him.  Thus, the need to meet up with Boaz.  Boaz, my psoas, is my personal reminder that if I’m not purposeful and intentional about my priorities – it will fester and it will cause me pain and it can do damage to the rest of my body.  Painful, harmful damage.

Philippians 4:13 says that “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.”  It’s not my strength.  Boaz proved that.  It’s God.  I plan to rely on Him….(Sorry Boaz).   How ‘bout you?  Who will you rely on?       

I Want My Mommy!

“I want my mommy!”  There, I said it!

I’m 47 years old, and the ache in my heart for my mom is still so raw, just like it was on the day we said goodbye 13 ½ years ago.

I was pregnant with our first born daughter, Izzy when my mom received the diagnosis of stage four metastatic breast cancer.

For many years after my mom’s death, I would avoid being in public on Mother’s Day. If someone happened to tell me happy Mother’s Day. I would say thank you, but that was NOT what I was thinking in my head. The loss for me was so big, I couldn’t see past my own grief to celebrate being a mom myself.

I would have these conversations with God, asking how He could leave me motherless when I was a young mother myself. I was so caught up in grief I couldn’t see what he had given me in return.

Slowly, over the years I have started to see the blessings he has given me in the women he has placed in my life.

When we moved to Kalamazoo just as my mom was diagnosed with cancer I met this wonderful woman and next door neighbor. Over the last 17 years, that neighbor named Leone became way more than a neighbor. She is one of my most cherished friends. I’m not sure if she would appreciate being called a motherly figure to me because she is only a few years older, but she is the one I call when I have a sick kid, I need extra help with my kids and she even stayed in my home when I had surgery. She is also Godmother to my son Max.

17 years ago we also found an amazing church family and over the years I have developed a very special relationship with Pastor Becky. She now plays the role of my spiritual mentor. She pushes me out of my comfort zone, continually prays over my family, taught me to bake bread and mentored both of my daughters.

I’m not certain where or when our relationship started, but her name is Linda. She has the biggest servant heart of anyone I know.  When she called me on the phone last fall and said, “I have these hostas that need splitting, do you want them?”  I thought I heard my mom’s voice as she said it. When we spend time together in her garden splitting plants I can easily go back to when my mom and I shared this same activity.

My sister has stepped in with my kiddos. Just like my mom, she has this amazing ability to purchase the perfect gift. My mom would often call me and say, “I bought ya something!”  Whatever the gift was it was always perfect. I often tell my daughter Tori, she has inherited this same gift giving ability.

I have this crazy cousin Tina that lives in San Clemente, California. Tina’s dad and my mom were siblings. My mom was the baby of eight kids so I have a bunch of first cousins on my mom’s side of the family. Growing up Tina and I didn’t spend much time together. On a spring break trip to Southern California 7 years ago, Tina and I spent a considerable amount of time together. Our relationship has never been the same (but in a good way). She taught me how to make my Grandma Baugher’s sweet tea and shared family stories that I have never heard. Spending time with her is just comfortable.


It’s been 14 years since I have celebrated an earthly Mother’s Day with my mom. But in the midst of a loss, you can have an unexpected gain. It may have taken 5 women to only slightly fill the void of losing my mother but, the Lord did not leave me, he did not forsake me. If this Mother’s Day finds you with an ache in your heart, lean on your Heavenly Father who wants more for you than you could ever ask or imagine and when the time is right, accept the love, help, and support of a motherly role model. 

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Let’s get physical

to get all the benefits

When I started running in high school, the physical benefits were the last thing on my mind.

My parents were forcing me to participate in a sport, and I didn’t know anywhere else where I would be able to see boys running without their shirts every day. Plus my neighbors ran, so it gave me a ride home other than the big yellow bus 🙂 I quickly learned that, while the boys did run with their shirts off, and I was getting physically more fit, running was about so much more than that.

I had a little bit of clarity in my life – I was more focused in school, I slept better at night, and I had a strong peace of mind throughout the day. Most importantly, I also found some of my best friends once I joined the team. Not those casual friends that you talk with at practice and forget about when you leave, but those friends that you can call crying at 2 am, or that you can show up unannounced on a Friday afternoon. These are people who challenge me, inspire me, and help me stick to my goals. My teammates and their families became an extension of my own family- they are the first ones I call when I succeed, and the ones who are there to pick me up when I fall.

When I continued running through college, I experienced the same external benefits from running. After college, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere where I would be able to find those types of friendships. And while I still had my college and high school friends, they have all scattered around the country to live their own lives. I felt stuck being back so close to my hometown, and I was not sure what I was going to do to find new friends, or how to get my life back in order. I tried running on my own, but I could never really get it to stick. Work would get in the way, or I would get sad and stop. Plus, it was difficult to challenge myself to continue to get better, when I had fallen so far behind in my training.

That is where LAUGH came into my life. I realized that many of those same crucial parts of my life didn’t have to disappear – I just needed to go back to the beginning. When I first started to find order and clarity in my life, it was as part of a team. When I joined LAUGH, I realized it was another team, for the new stage of life I was in. I had something to look forward to, blossoming friendships, and a newfound sense of confidence – all were sorely lacking at the time. So now I post the question, what about you? What non-physical benefits have you gained from being part of LAUGH?