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December Self-Portrait 2012: Back to the gym

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Shortly after Dean’s birth, I subscribed to a parenting devotional (I use the YouVersion app on my phone if you’re curious or interested) and smiled to myself at God’s timing for the scripture above. Because not two days after I’d renewed my membership to our local YMCA, here I was reading a devotional that spoke to my earnest efforts in getting back to the gym:

“Sometimes we have to give up the good for the better. Passing up an extra helping and spending some time in the gym may be the types of activities that can make you a better parent and better witness for Christ. With the popularity of video games and the proliferation of TV channels, your kids could use a little time being active — how much better if you train yourself to go with them.”

Having a baby is the perfect excuse to keep away from working out. So is wintertime (when being outside and running in 17 degree weather is not exactly ideal conditions). But I was determined not to let those obstacles stand in the way of my desire to stay active—Nick too.

I’d quit the gym back in March, when I passed my first trimester and felt more comfortable staying at home with a few tapes and spending my summer nights walking with that baby belly of mine. So I had no idea how much I missed it until I stepped back on that treadmill again. With Rihanna crooning about finding love in my ears, I pounded out three miles and felt a runner’s high I hadn’t known in months. (When you’ve carried around the weight of a bowling ball for the latter part of a year, feeling your feet fly beneath you once more is kind of like being a filly free in a pasture.)

The next day? More sore than I’d been in years. But it was worth it to feel that release of endorphins I’d been missing. To remember what it is I love so much about being in that gym in the first place. As I left with my confidence renewed and a set of sore abs under my sweatshirt, I watched a group of little boys and girls playing Y-basketball on my way out. Then I stopped to think, “How awesome is it I get to share this with Dean someday too?”

Here we go again, you guys—an annual recap of my 2012 self-portraits. And what a BIG year it’s been! It’s amazing to me this is my third year (2010, 2011) of keeping up with this series. What a wonderful snapshot of my life it’s been and with these 36 portraits behind me, these photographs are what motivates me to keep this going for another year. Also, because so many of you have started self portrait series of your own, don’t forget to link up to yours (from the past year or for this coming month) in the comments section below!

From left to right, top to bottom: 01.12 The Beauty in the Break / 02.12 A Few Thoughts on Turning 30 / 03.12 Me and the Bean / 04.12 Oh Boy (or Girl!) Are We Excited for Fall 05.12 We’re Having a Boy! / 06.12 The Recipe for Staying Cool / 07.12 A Few Thoughts on Baby Registries and Best Friends / 08.12 Pregnancy Sleep and Pillow Fortresses / 09. 12 The Home Stretch / 10.12 40 Weeks and Still Waiting / 11.12 Carrying this New Title of Motherhood / 12.12 Back to the Gym