Lindsay Torry

About Lindsay Torry

Lindsay lives in Roanoke, Virginia with her husband and three young children. She works as a high school Spanish teacher. Inspired by references to the language and culture of her father’s childhood in Costa Rica and Bolivia, Lindsay values diversity and strives to teach her students cultural tolerance and respect. She enjoys traveling, reading, bible studies, relaxing on the beach, and dancing with her children. Always awestruck by the capabilities of the human body, today Lindsay has a passion for health and fitness thanks to her husband, Ché, who is completing his doctorate in exercise physiology and owns and operates LifeWise Fitness, Inc. Together, Lindsay and Ché try to make health and fitness a lifestyle not only for themselves, but for their children as well.

Can You Hear Me Now?

About a year ago, I was considering a significant change in my professional world. I teach in a public high school and had been approached by a private, religiously affiliated school in my area to consider teaching there. To say that I was torn is an understatement. I was blessed to be working in a school often referred to as the “best kept secret” in our county because of its small size and close-knit community with a big heart. However, in case you’re not involved in education or have missed the headlines, public education is a mess right now. For teachers, the demands keep on piling up and the funds keep on getting cut in a climate defined by teaching to tests with very little accountability placed on students. The private school seemed to be an easy fix to those problems. More importantly though, the prospect of being able to express my spirituality freely in the process of mentoring youth was quite tempting. Still, I was content where I was, no need to fix what wasn’t broken. As I struggled with whether to entertain the idea of a switch, I prayed over and over again to God, asking for a sign of what I should do.

He gave it to me. As I drove to school the morning after my first incessant series of requests to Him, I saw a rainbow. Not just any rainbow, a rainbow right over the school I currently teach at. I would like to say I recognized the sign and listened right away, but I can be rather, well, slow at times. A good friend whom I taught with had just been diagnosed with cancer and she lived right by the school, so when someone pointed out that God had sent her a rainbow, I quickly dismissed the notion that God could be speaking to ME through that rainbow.

A week and two more rainbows directly over the school later, I still didn’t get it. I struggled through my decision on my own, deciding to stay put after countless hours of back and forth, pros and cons, worries, guilt and strife. As soon as I made the decision, though, I felt this immediate sense of peace and finally acknowledged that maybe just maybe, God really had been trying to speak to me all along. I simply wasn’t listening. I can just picture Him sitting back and chuckling at me, like what I do when my Little Miss Independent 3-yr-old insists on doing something “all by herself”. I find it slightly comical to witness the irony of her kicking and crying, “I can’t do it,” because she can’t accomplish a task on her own, but boy do those cries escalate to wails if I offer assistance. “No! I do it my own!!!” Yes, I feel sure that I know exactly how He felt watching me stumble through that week. Fine, do it yourself. But it would be so much easier if you would just let me help a little. If only you would LISTEN!

Double rainbow

My Sign

Since that time I have seen countless rainbows. Honestly, I am sure that I have seen more rainbows in the past year than in all of my previous 35 years combined. Is it just because I’m paying attention? Maybe, but I believe it’s much more than that. Rainbows aside, this has been one of the most difficult years of my life but also one of tremendous spiritual growth. I refuse to believe that it’s all coincidence. You see, I’ve not only seen regular rainbows, but a couple of double rainbows and even a triple rainbow! The first double rainbow I had ever seen appeared on my husband’s birthday in June! I saw rainbows on my brother-in-law’s birthday (March), my son’s birthday (November), and most recently my oldest nephew’s birthday in December. I also saw one over my sister and brother-in-law’s house as we went to visit them just after their son’s birthday (August).  I have seen so many rainbows that I stopped snapping pictures of them months ago!

Looking back at the cumulative sum of these rainbows is astounding, but I have to admit that it took me months along the way to really truly accept that there might be a message in them for ME. Confirmation came to me in the most unlikely way. My family and I belong to a small church full of true believers who ooze faith and love. Through a series of events that only God could orchestrate, our pastors reconnected with some distant relatives of theirs who are also involved in ministry. They were invited to come to our church one Sunday in August, and after the service they stuck around to pray with people on a personal level. My husband and I introduced ourselves to them only by name, yet as we began, they prayed over us for things that no stranger possibly could have ever known. I will never forget the moment when the wife leaned in to me and said “God wants you to know that it’s Him. He’s been talking to you and you want to believe that it’s Him but you doubt. Don’t doubt, because that feeling that you have that it’s really Him is right. It is.” WHOA!

Are you like me? Are you ignoring a voice that’s whispering to you? Are signs being laid out that you’re missing? Is your soul crying out but being muted by the chaos of the world around you? Is God speaking to you but being drowned out by all the other noises?

Over-consumption

Goodbye, Spongebob!

Hiking to Cascade Falls

Hiking to Cascade Falls

When my husband first suggested that we get rid of cable television, I thought that something must be seriously wrong with him. I mean, our lives didn’t revolve around the TV schedule, but we enjoyed the occasional weekend marathon of reruns or old movies. We both work full time, my husband sometimes chalking up over 70 hours in a week, and we are raising three young children. Solid, reliable “TV time” was limited to a handful of shows we watched faithfully and the fall football season. In recent years we had gotten in the habit of turning on the TV as a means of escape, to distract us from the trials and tribulations of real life. So what in the world had provoked this ESPN-loving fan of teen flicks to not just willingly but voluntarily recommend dropping 90% of our channels? The kids! Our children had become over-consumers of television, turning it on first thing in the morning and returning to it any chance they had. It was causing countless arguments, contributing to bad attitudes, distracting them from their daily responsibilities, and essentially ruling their worlds. So we got rid of it! And to be honest, we don’t miss it at all! Well, except for when a Virginia Tech football game isn’t aired on local networks nor streaming online. The bigger, more important results we see are kids with better attitudes, more active time, enhanced creativity, and fewer power struggles. My husband and I find ourselves getting more done, spending more quality time with each other and with our kids, and being more purposeful about our TV time. You see, almost every show on cable is available online, if not immediately then within a few days. Now, rather than turning on the TV and browsing the stations purely out of habit, we have to get online and search purposefully for a specific show to watch. There are surprisingly few shows that are worth this effort! We have learned that when we consume, whether it be TV, food, or anything else, we must do it with purpose!

Defining the problem

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the prefix “over-” is defined as “so as to exceed or surpass; excessive; to an excessive degree” and the definition of “consume” includes “to do away with completely; to spend wastefully; to eat or drink especially in great quantity; to engage fully; to waste or burn away”. Together these sound dreadful! So it’s no surprise that over-consumption leaves us feeling empty, alone, and wasted away. Yet as Americans, we are the champions of over-consumption, both collectively and as individuals.

What are you over-consuming?

Ask yourself, “What am I over-consuming?”, and if you are a parent, “What are my children over-consuming?” Then be honest in answering. Some probable areas:

  • Food – According to the CDC, 33.8% of adults in the US are obese. Even worse, 17% of children ages 2-19 are obese.
  • Alcohol – Most doctors and health experts recommend 2 or fewer alcoholic beverages per day. What many ignore is that these numbers are based on suggested serving sizes of 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, and 1.5 oz of liquor.
  • Screen Time – The American Association of Pediatrics recommends 2 hours or less of total screen time a day for children and teens. Yet with the increased popularity of TV, the Internet and video games, our youth are spending astonishing amounts of time in front of a screen. I was dumbfounded when some of the high school students I teach started comparing their screen times on various video games. On one popular game, many had logged 15-30 days within 6-9 months. Keep in mind that a “day” is a complete 24 hours of usage. I quickly began to research, suspecting exaggeration, but found that surveys show that the average gamer on each of the most popular games logs around 20 hours per week. On one game. Not including television or social networking time. WOW!
  • Material Goods – It only takes one episode of a reality show about hoarding to make us think twice about all of the “stuff” we have!
Examining the Creek

Examining the Creek

Why?

The finger can be pointed in many directions: capitalism, technology, the breakdown of the family unit, the need for instant gratification, just plain old bad habits…the list goes on. No matter the reason, the root is the same. We are trying to fill our souls with things that cannot fill them. Thus, the need to consume more and more, yet never feel satisfied.

Consuming with Purpose

Swimming at Cascade Falls

Swimming at Cascade Falls

Once you identify areas of over-consumption in your own life, think about alternatives. What could you be consuming, or perhaps doing, that would bring you greater fulfillment and deeper satisfaction? Make a list of ideas that will actually nurture your spirit and strengthen your relationships, and then use the list! In my family, we have opted to fill our former TV time with things such as reading, prayer, playing board games and family outings. Spongebob and Dora just can’t compare to hiking along a creek through a lush forest to swim beneath a 69 ft. waterfall!

What is your soul crying out for? Consume with purpose and you will reap abundant rewards!

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls

Our Bodies are the Homes to our Souls

“Watch this!” Steve exclaimed with sheer delight, “I haven’t been able to do this in years!”

I had met Steve less than an hour before when I offered him assistance with a treadmill in the fitness center that my husband owns and operates. As a head custodian in a local public school, Steve was participating in a program geared towards helping at-risk students, faculty, and staff make healthy lifestyle changes. He had told me upon our initial greetings that he was so thankful for what my husband, Ché, was doing for him and the other participants. Now, after having completed his work on the treadmill, he was bubbling with the joy of meeting a couple of his top goals. His first: to walk a mile “without stopping”. He quickly let me know that not only had he achieved this, but was now jogging a little “here and there” throughout his mile so that he could eventually run the whole thing. His second, which he proudly and promptly demonstrated: to bend over to pick something up off the floor. “Two weeks ago I would have had to put a knee on the ground and then do some work to stand myself back upright, but now, look, I can do this all day long,” he went on, beaming with pleasure, as he repeatedly squatted to pick up some imaginary object from the floor. “It might not seem like much to some people, but believe me, it makes a big difference in my line of work!”

The Ultimate Homespace

With the newfound abilities and functionalities of his body, Steve had experienced a sense of accomplishment that is incomparable. Our bodies are the homes to our souls. Throughout our time on this Earth they are our primary and permanent homespaces, if you will. It is disheartening that in this age of obesity and innumerable other life-threatening illnesses we focus so little on the cultivation and maintenance of our health. Don’t get me wrong, we are overly concerned, some even obsessed, with the outward appearance of fitness and wellness. How many people do we know whose goal every New Year is to get back in shape to look good in a bathing suit for the upcoming warm season? I admit, the thought of prancing around half-naked in front of family, friends, and strangers alike is enough to motivate anyone to cut out some sweets and give the gym a few visits! The disappointing part is that we are often setting ourselves up for failure. When we focus on the superficial aspects of fitness… looking good in a bathing suit, losing just 5 more lbs., we inevitably set immeasurable goals and choose methods to reach them that we know we can’t maintain for any substantial length of time. Are we really going to eliminate all carbs for the rest of our lives? Never again eat sugar? Is it reasonable to commit to several hours a day in the gym? Forever? Not likely. So why do we continue to do this to ourselves? What if we begin to see the maintenance of our ultimate homespace, our body, as an outward expression of our soul?

walking on trail

Photo credit: Lindsay Torry

When we focus on the spiritual and profound implications of a healthy body, we experience changes that are indescribable. If we approach nutrition and exercise from our inner selves and focus on the functions of our bodies, health and fitness become authentically integrated into our lifestyles. Ask the 80-yr-old man who just walked up a flight of steps for the first time in ten years, the 50-yr-old physician whose exercise halted her menopausal symptoms, or the 25-yr-old who was just taken off of medication for high blood pressure. Setting and reaching fitness goals will inevitably change your physique for the better, but the real change in your appearance will be in your spirit. It will light up your face with joy, you will radiate positive energy, you will approach life with determination, you will exude confidence. And you won’t quit! How many people do you know who train for one 5k and then never do another one again? Not many, because when the motivation is from the inside, it grows and multiplies. As you approach meeting one goal, like Steve, you will already be planning your next goal!

What’s your goal?

Young girl climber

Photo credit: Lindsay Torry

So the question is, where do you want to start? Swim 100 meters? Walk a mile? Run 3 miles? Bike 10 miles? Set a goal for yourself! Make nutritional changes to help fuel your body to reach it. What if you replace 1 soda a day with a glass of water? What if you add an extra fruit or vegetable to one meal a day? Yes, your body will change, but MOST importantly, your life will change!

Happy training!

 

Toddler on excercise equipment

Photo credit: Kelly Walsh