Come Follow Me: Week #19, What I Learned at the Smithsonian Institute When My Toenails Were About to Fall Off

Sorry for being so long in blogging. I went on this amazingly epic trip with some of my homeschool mom friends, one homeschool dad friend, and their kids to Washington D.C. recently. Hence the blogging hiatus. Getting ready for such a trip, doing the trip, and then recovering from the trip took all my time and brain space for the past three weeks, haha. Pictures and descriptions will be coming soon! None of my kids wanted to go, sadly, (can you believe it?) but that certainly made it easier (translate: cheaper) for me. So even though I was sad they didn’t want to come, I was not-so-secretly-relieved too, because then I didn’t have to help them raise money. Less stress for me. More on all that later, but for now, just know…my trip was so wonderful!



I don’t know what number I am on for blogging about what I’m learning about Jesus Christ from the Come, Follow Me Study Guide. We’ll go with Week #19. I don’t even know if that’s the week that has the Parable of the Ten Virgins. but I’m feeling too lazy to look it up. I’m blogging about that today, regardless. One thing I learned from my DC trip is how important it is to exercise regularly, not to lose or even maintain weight, but to feel good and to be able to keep up with the physical demands on my body. I had just read the Parable of the Ten Virgins that Jesus gave in the Come, Follow Me readings, or maybe I read it in the middle of the week-long trip, or right when I came back?


Anyway, back when January of 2019 started I had, like many people do every year, gloriously planned on making this year the year I am consistent in exercise. I don’t really care about weight loss, if I can just tone my muscles and shape up (translate: lose inches). I planned on exercising at least four times a week, 20 minutes a time. It sounds doable right? Doing the Trim Healthy Mama Workins was part of the plan. I love that the Workins routines get my heart rate up and my breathing heavy after only 20  minutes. I really want to complete my self-challenge of doing the Workins  for six weeks consistently! Some days I wasn’t up for the intensity of a Workins routine so I would do my healthy posture DVD instead, which is Pilates-based (those stretches feel sooooo good!), or I would do stepping for 20 minutes with my arm bands. With those three things for variety (not to mention all the variety of all the DVDs in the THM Workins’ package) this all seemed very achievable.


Well, here’s what happened: I would go for about four weeks being consistent (at least four times a week), then I would let it slide, then I would get another four weeks in or so of four times a week. Then when May hit, I completely let exercising slide because of all the other pressures I was under. I realize now more than ever that exercise is much more a wellness tool than a weight loss tool. After exercising for one of those chunks of time I just described I weighed more than I started. That was really discouraging. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t also feel that my pants felt tighter on me. I wasn’t losing inches! I can’t say I was developing muscle and feeling leaner when my pants are fitting tighter. So that’s when I stopped the last round, that, combined with all the end of school year pressures, including finishing the Quest year and my kids’ Shakespeare play. (It’s such a joke that Mother’s Day is in May! How about we honor all mothers in May by everyone agreeing not to hold any end of year stuff in May?!)


On the D.C. trip, one of my mom friends, Ms. K,  was like the Energizer bunny. She’s short, cute, cheery, and kept going when part of the group, including me, was flagging around 3 PM. One the second day of the D.C. tour, my feet felt so sore and swollen I thought my toenails were going to fall off! On the first day,  when I felt my back was going to melt into the floor, I stopped for a rest at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, to just sit against one of the walls. It had been a very full day and my body, eyes, and brain needed a break after seeing Julia Child’s kitchen, Dorothy of Oz’s ruby red slippers, and a million bits of miscellany of Americana, like the real Star-Spangled Banner (for reals, the original one that hung at Fort McHenry, it’s huge!), a fragment of Plymouth Rock,  the inaugural ball gowns and all of the china of the First Ladies.



Ms. K just kept pressing forward for another round, as if she was doing laps around the rest of us. She came back to all of us slackers and reported on the treasures we were missing out on: Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, the original Swedish Chef Muppet, a Nauvoo Temple sunstone, and a copy of the Liberty Bell. I asked her if she was even tired and she said “No, not at all!” I remembered I had learned her secret two days earlier on the way to the airport. This woman, a busy mother of 8, is a triathlete! Yes, she has completed a handful of triathlons and is used to regular exercise. Her regular trips to Disneyland help her endurance as well, not to mention being the mom of 8 kids, :-).



So how does all this relate to the Parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25? Some conditions, like being physically able to walk on a tour in D.C. all day, and being spiritually prepared for the Savior’s Second Coming, can’t be done at the last minute. I have to prepare for them a little bit every day, just like the virgins added to their oil in their lamps, a few drops every day. Not only that, but some conditions can’t be shared. My cute Ms. K couldn’t share her robust physical condition with me, much as I wish she could, just like the virgins couldn’t share their supply of oil. I can’t give my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to  you, but I can encourage you to gain one and nourish it daily.

My homeschool group is gearing up for a repeat of this trip (with improvements of course) in the fall of 2020. You can be sure I’m going to be a lot more in shape for that trip! I want to be just like Ms. K the Energizer Bunny!  I’m also taking at least two of my kids with me, without dragging them but by inspiring them. I’m shooting for at least four times a week of exercise (at least 20 minutes a time) from now until then, and I’m determined to see and feel the difference in my stamina when I tour D.C. that fall.

P.S. The next day after feeling like my toenails were going to pop off I found out from Ms. K, through her FitBit, that we had walked 13 miles in one day! My body is not used to that! We did that every day for 5 days. No wonder I had to recover from the trip!

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1 Response to Come Follow Me: Week #19, What I Learned at the Smithsonian Institute When My Toenails Were About to Fall Off

  1. Pingback: Out of the Best Books: Classics We Studied in April and May 2019 | Tree of Life Mothering

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