Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finding Balance


cc image credit: Noah Bulgaria, flickr

Worn out.

Bone tired.


It has been a very long week at the Valca home. I've been in the middle of a very large telecom system deployment.

Need to finish out the "punch-list" but we made our target.


Lavie has been under the weather in a bad way.

Fibromyalgia sucks.

But that's a rant for another day.

So we have been rallying our wagons and trying to re-discover and master finding some emotional, spiritual, and physical balance in our family for the last few weeks; and turbo-charging it over the weekend.

Eating and Exercise

I've tossed out my usual rotation of dinner menu items and have increased the protein (white meat). I've been creating lighter and more oriental-like plates. While I haven't cut all the carbs, I have moved away from potatoes and big-bowls of white rice.

Lots, lots more fruit and vegetables.

Lavie has almost entirely cut of the caffeinated soft-drinks from her morning routine and is now enjoying low-acid orange juice. I usually am making everyone eggs for breakfast.

Even Alvis has abandoned the Eggo's and french-toast sticks for English muffins with a slice of cheese and fruit.

I've been hitting some heavy hand-weights every other day (or so) and using some of those elastic resistance bands you can stand on to do upper body work. As the weather cools I hope to move outside on alternate days and start my jump-rope work again for cardio-work.

Lavie is doing good walking around our small block once or twice on a really good day. I picked up a dance-tape workout to do with her as well, but Alvis screams when we mention getting ready to use it together.

Alvis walks with us and is getting where she wants to start jogging now. I used to run cross-country in high-school (well, I ran with the cross-country team in high-school...but that's another story...) and once my cardio and legwork improves, I really hope to join her slow jogging.

I've been fortunate to not really need to pay too much care on my diet. I metabolize pretty well. But the IT support lifestyle means one of moments of heavy lifting and movement followed by long periods of sedentary desk sitting. Couple that with lots of fast-food and it's a danger I have to be aware of. Luckily, while I like burgers and tacos, I am pretty self disciplined and have gotten to eating one fast food meal a week.

This renewed health-awareness has really made me more attentive to posts and articles regarding healthy cooking and foods.

I found these helpful food/nutrition pages recently.

All via Lifehacker

Home and Spirit

Of course, just caring for the body isn't enough. Health also comprises mental and spiritual components.

Lavie and I try hard to live a simpler lifestyle. We don't tend to accumulate "stuff" though we still have more clutter than I am comfortable with.

I will go on quarterly "purges" and sweep the house looking for things that we haven't used or needed in the past six months, and they go into the donation bin, the "maybe another family member could use this" pile, or sometimes just the trash bin.

We don't buy very many "luxury" items. Lavie and I love books and movies. So we still tend to pick up manga, novels, and DVDs (mainstream/anime) but have really slowed down the pace of these purchases. I don't even pick up many technology toys anymore. Last thing I can think of was the new hard-drive when the old one failed.

Having a simplified home lifestyle (I believe) contributes to a more simplified mind. We don't have to keep our thoughts full of all the stuff we have to keep track of. It is easier to be appreciative and responsible for what we have with fewer things.

Sure, if we had a bazillion dollars I'm sure our choices in some purchase areas and style would change a bit, but I don't think it would do so too radically.

We are working harder on spending more family time as well together.

I've promised Lavie that I would work off the laptop more in the family room (using a nice simple TV-tray) so I can spend time interacting with her while she watches her TV shows. In fact, we've starting to find new series on TV that appeal to both of us to bring some fresh material to discuss together, and that is more positive in its content.

Alvis and I are getting back into playing our video games together. At bed-time I turn off the TV for the extra hour or two I am up past Lavie and Alvis's bed time, and just lay in bed listing to iPod tunes and podcasts.

We've started to work harder at bringing back the spiritual element to our lives as well. We spend more time as a family in meditation and prayer than we have for many, many years. It's a nice feeling to be coming together again this way.


It is very easy to take your spouse and children, heck even your own health, for granted in the rush and pressure of today's world. The "outside" seems so pressing and important and demanding for our limited attention. It is all to easy to fall into the trap of taking care of ourselves and our family with "stuff" and not really give them the thing most precious...our time, our thoughts, our presence, our attention.

I've got a long way to go, and even more mountains to conquer, but hopefully, together, we are on a good path.

Here are some inspirational posts from Zen Habits that have really encouraged me in this outer/inner refocusing:

Be balanced, be graceful.


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