Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I'm asking God for in 2017

I love new beginnings!  It's almost a new year, and you know what that means...a new planner! Have I mentioned I'm getting a new planner? And a new journal too...both filled with crisp, bright white blank pages just waiting for ideas and plans and goals and prayers to make their way from my mind and heart onto paper. I love writing, I love everything about it. I don't mind typing out my thoughts like I do on this blog, but there is something about holding paper in my hands, turning actual pages, and writing out my life and thoughts in my own handwriting on sheets of real paper spread out before me. I find it refreshing and inspiring and it gets my creative juices pumping!  I may have mentioned that my 2017 planner is on it's way (I ended up ordering a different one than the one I had last year and wrote about here).  I'm just a wee bit excited about it.

It's New Year's Eve and as I am sitting on the couch reclining next to my husband, half paying attention to the black & white movie he's watching, I am contemplating the new year.  I'm wondering what 2017 has in store for us and praying that it is mostly good things.  I know that if God allows trials into my life, that He will have a purpose in it, and I pray that I remember that when they come.  Even so, I am asking God to bless this year. For myself, my husband, and our kids.  Here is what I'm asking Him for, for all of us...

Deeper Faith
Unconditional Trust
Complete Surrender.





A new year means a chance to start over.  

Refocus. 

Prioritize.  

And for me, this new year means resurrecting old passions that have gone stale, like writing, playing piano, photography, women's ministry, time with friends, believing for good things.  It is surprising to me that I have let these passions fall by the wayside, but what's even more surprising is that I haven't really even missed them.  But there is an emptiness that remains in their absence that is becoming obvious to me now and I'm beginning to long for them again. Especially the believing for good things.  I've gone kind of numb to that. Not cynical exactly, I just haven't been expecting good things to happen and I don't like that feeling.  That's not who I want to be, and it's certainly not who God wants me to be.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

So, it's a great time for a new year to happen!  My hope is renewed and I just know that 2017 is going to be a great year because God is good,  my husband started blogging again, and my new planner will be here in a couple weeks! Cha!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When your kids are hurting

It's hard.  To see them struggle.  Life is full of struggles, I know, and sometimes they are strung together one after another and one on top of the other even.  That's life...part of it anyway.  I know this, but it's so much easier to accept when it's my struggle...not theirs.  When it's theirs....hoooo, man that's hard.

My 47 year old mind has learned a thing or two.  Such as, don't look at your face in your car mirror on a sunny day.  No matter how tempting it is, don't do it.  All the facial hair and pores the size of craters...you won't be able to unsee that.  And also, I have learned that it is in life's struggles that we find growth.  We build strength and learn lessons and (hopefully) learn to turn to God when the things of this world fail us.  I know this, and I want my kids to know this too, but my mamma heart aches to see my babies hurting. Not just disappointed or sad or mad, but really, truly hurting.

That's hard.

I want to hold them and make it better.  Like I could when they were little.  I don't care how big they are, that is still what I want to do. My mamma heart wants so badly to help, to protect them...but not too much. They are teens and adults now and I know that they need to go through things, just as I have gone through things. I don't necessarily want to protect them from all their struggles, even if I could, because in doing so I would cheat them out of the opportunity to learn to fail and try again.  To face rejection and keep going. To be lost enough to look to our Savior to be led.

I've been in all of those places...I've failed, I've been rejected, I've been lost, I've looked in the mirror. Sometimes I handled it well and many times I didn't, but with each trip around those mountains I learned a little - even if what I learned was how NOT to handle things!  I know I can't protect my kids from struggles - I just want to protect them from the really bad ones. The ones that result in broken hearts, heavy burdens, and especially the ones that suck the hope out of them.  But even if I could protect them I don't think they would let me.  Sigh.  That's the thing.  All of my warning and (unsolicited) advice can't change a mind made up. It just ends up pushing away the very ones I am trying to hold close, and I really don't want to make that mistake.  You can only guide someone who is willing to be guided.

And so, it's hard. Parenting babies and toddlers and tweens was a breeze.  Seriously.  I didn't think so at the time, of course, but I see now that things were so much simpler.  I knew what to do (usually) and what I did helped (again, usually).  Now, I too often find myself feeling lost, feeling rejected, and feeling like a failure as a mom because, you know, if I had done things right they wouldn't be going down these paths and needing to learn these hard lessons.  Sigh.

Oh dear.  I thought I was writing about what my kids are going through and learning, but apparently I am writing about me. GAH!

Thunk (head hits table).



Ok fine.  I suppose I should figure out what it is I'm supposed to be learning here.  Maybe it's this...that it's time for me to stop holding on so tightly and let go just a little more. To trust God a lot more.  To stop feeling guilty that I have failed them somehow and that's why they are going through these hard things - and just be there. Even when they tell me to go away (ouch). To offer guidance and love and open arms.  To do what I can, what they will allow me to do, and what God leads me to do.

And wait.

And cover them in prayer.

And trust.

I guess this is another opportunity for me to fail, and try again. To face rejection, and keep going. To be lost enough in this whole "parenting kids who are going through hard things"  to look to my Savior...and let myself be led.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Things I am obsessed with right now, including but not limited to my planner

Vince and I watched our first Hallmark Christmas movie last night and I AM NOW OBSESSED WITH HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES.  It was so good!  Cheesey and sweet and made me think about Christmas and love and cozy blankets and good feels.  Hallmark Christmas movies might now be the only thing I want to watch until January.  Well, except for "This is Us"...which is SO MUCH AWESOME!!!  Oh, and of course, "Criminal Minds".  Ok, fine...also "Married at First Sight" even though the last three seasons have been disappointing and somewhat annoying.  Only the first season was really good (I binge watched the entire first season on Netflix all in one single day, it was that good). but I keep watching each season because I can't NOT watch it.

And in much more exciting news about my life...I have ordered my new 2017 planner!!!  It is important that my people know how obsessed I am with my planner.   I am literally in love with it.  I look at it multiple times a day, and write all my lists and plans and important things in it.  Every year I get super excited when it's time to start looking for one for the next year, which for me starts sometime around August.  I have been on the search for the perfect planner for years now, and it's not easy to find.  Much like the most perfect purse, it is important to find the just right planner.  It has to have a cute font, large squares for every day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays (why do calendar people think that we have less going on on the weekends?)  Well, after years of searching and trying different ones, last year I found it.  The perfect planner...


They are called "Bloom Daily Planners" and I love everything about them...the fonts, the size, the colors, the layout...everything.  






As I said, I ordered my 2017 one this week and when it comes I will hug it and hold it up to my cheek and sit down and admire it and fill in all the birthdays and anniversaries and anything else I know about for next year.

Pentatonix singing "Jolene" at the CMA Awards this week was pretty awesome.


Now I might need to break out the Christmas music because.......Pentatonix!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Empty Wells

Sometimes I surprise myself.  That can be a good thing, but this time I'm surprised at how long it can take me to learn something that I already know.  

We have a note on our refrigerator.  I made it myself and we've had it on our frig, in one form or another, for years now.



It is the five most important things that I (we) need to do everyday.  Five things to be healthy and live well. Five things. Everyday.

Simple, right?

And yet as simple as it is, it so often eludes me.  All too often I allow myself to get distracted from these five simple things and when I do that for very long I inevitably start to feel overwhelmed and empty.  Thirsty. And that's when I start looking for water in empty wells.


Empty wells like my iPad, my phone, my computer, TV, food...things that I think will fill the void that I feel in the moment.  But they never do.  Not really. 

But the thing is, I know where the water is!  I KNOW.  Jesus sat at a well that must have looked similar to this one.  He sat there and explained to the woman who came there for water, that He was the source of Living Water, the water that we all thirst for...

John 4:13-14

13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst for God] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.”
I know this.  So why do I keep going to empty wells?  WHY? They distract me for a time, and then they leave me wanting for more.  They don't satisfy. Not for long anyway. They only make me thirstier. 

So, about a week ago I decided to listen to the sign on my frig, specifically, the last one on the list. "Rest". I hadn't been sleeping well for some time which led me to feeling exhausted, which led me to feeling unmotivated, which led me to staying up too late and reaching for something to fill my water bucket.  So, I decided to do two things...go to bed by 10pm, every night, and no technology after going to bed or in the mornings before work.  (Except to play Pandora or read the bible or my book on my Nook app.)  No Facebook, no Fox News, no Wikipedia, no Google. 

No empty wells.

And guess what....I have been sleeping SO much better!  I've been less anxious, better rested.  More present.  I'm not rushing so much in the mornings and usually have time to pack my lunch before work (#3). I'm more focused on praying while I get ready in the mornings instead of checking Facebook (#1), I'm reading my bible before bed (#2), and doing my "not-yoga"  more regularly (#4).

Wow.  I didn't realize until I typed that all out that just making that one change has affected all the other things!  Now, to just keep this going.  That's why it's on my frig, to remind me everyday (because goodness knows that I'm in the frig everyday!)  

I got some confirmation from my son about this recently too.  His phone was damaged several weeks ago, and even though we have insurance on it he was close enough to qualify for an upgrade, which was actually cheaper than paying the insurance deductible and replace his current phone (thanks, rip-off cell phone insurance people).  Anyway, he decided he wanted to wait for the new iPhone 7 Plus which is on back order until November (which he will be paying for 100% himself, btw).  As we were driving the other day, he told me that he has actually felt happier being without his phone.  He is more relaxed, and I have noticed him spending more time with us, talking face to face

Imagine that?!  I'm almost glad that he wrecked his phone!  (Almost.)

So...listening to Pandora this morning and this song came on.  It was just what I needed to hear today.


Thursday, October 06, 2016

I'm tired and some good ideas

I need a do over.  Not a major do over like I have made the wrong choices in life and now I'm going to go all Thelma and Louise.  No, I've just been feeling like in certain areas of my life I'm stuck in a rut, spinning my wheels...

I SO don't want to be that girl that lives my life hearing all the good advice and reading all the books and going through one bible study after another and having all the big ideas and making all the plans.......but never truly making any real, lasting changes.  Consuming but never digesting.  Taking things in, but not applying them to my life.

What in the world am I talking about?

Top on my list is, and has been for a couple decades now...I want to be healthy.  Truly healthy.  Physically. Spiritually.  Financially.  I want to have an organized house that is clean and well maintained.  We aren't hoarders or anything, and our house isn't in complete disarray.  But it could use some help.  I want our home to be warm and inviting and comfortable.  One that I feel good about having people over without notice.  It doesn't have to be perfect, and likely never will be, that's ok with me. I just want it to be the place where our family can't wait to be.  A place that is "come on in" ready so if someone stops by I don't feel embarrassed about the walls that need painting, the windows that need cleaning, and the carpets that need shampooing (replacing, really). Basically I want our home to feel like a coffee shop.  Warm atmosphere, good smells, music...a place where we can relax without all the distractions of things undone.  (And I suppose without all the strangers on their laptops drinking coffee, that would be weird.) (People making mochas for me whenever I wanted, that would be ok).





I know it's totally do-able.  We can do all the things it would take to create our oasis.  We know how to paint and clean and update fixtures and such, and contrary to (my) popular belief, we can make the time. So, what's stopping us?  Well that's where the other areas come into play.  Specifically, my health.  To be brutally honest,  I don't have the energy.  I'm tired.  And I'm tired of being tired.  We've been eating out too much for some time now, so in an effort to be healthier and also in a better place financially, I've been cooking at home more.  It's been great and I've made some yummy new things (don't you just love those "Tasty" videos on Facebook?  I've made a few of those recipes so far and they have all been awesome!).  But it comes at a price...for the past few nights of my home-cooking adventures I have stopped at the grocery store after work for essential ingredients, gone home and got to cooking (with a glass of wine in hand) and really enjoyed the process!  Garlic and onion saute'd in olive oil and butter smells like heaven.  But by the time we ate and cleaned up it was literally 8pm.  And after a poor night's sleep the night before, which has unfortunately become a regular thing for me lately, I have no more energy to do anything around the house.  Combined with running into town, or waiting in town to pick up the kids from their highschooly things, we get to bed too late most nights and by the time the weekend hits, we just want to relax, or get away, or both.

So.

I need a plan.  I know that the first step to accomplish any goal is to make a plan.

Well, the thing is I have made the plans.  I have read the books and the blogs, and coveted friends and Pinterest strangers who seem to have it together better than I do.  And I have repeated my mantra that "every choice, every step, every bite, every hour and every dollar counts".  I have believed this and committed myself to living this way...over and over...and then before I know it I find myself in my recliner scrolling through Facebook and eating Ben &  Jerry's out of the carton.

I find myself there...as if I didn't put myself there.

It's all about choices.  I know this.  But I think if I just wasn't so tired I would make better choices.  So that is where I need to start I guess...make myself not so tired.  Which brings me back to my health.  It seems to always come back to my health.

Funny that.

So.

I think my plan needs to include doing some prep work on the weekends so that my weeks aren't so overwhelming and exhausting.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  Ok.

Good idea #1.  Get grocery shopping done on the weekends and plan (healthy) meals ahead of time so I'm not stopping at the grocery store after work. (Or just saying "screw it" and getting takeout).

Good idea #2.  Make myself start getting ready for bed by 9pm.  I always sleep better if I get to bed earlier.

Good idea #3.  Exercise.  That seems to be the tough thing to work into my days.  Partly because my days are so packed with other things, and also because I don't want to.  But I need to get over myself and make the time.  And do my "Not-Yoga" routine in the evenings (it's like Yoga, but not Yoga because I don't do Yoga), and also walking the dog and doing my elliptical at least a few times a week.  I can do these things.

Good idea #4.  Be consistent in taking my Plexus supplements...a post for another day, but this I have discovered is HUGE in improving and maintaining my health and energy.  (But I have to cooperate with the healthy eating and exercise and rest, it's not a magic pill).  (Wouldn't it be nice if there was a magic pill?) (Sigh).

Good idea #5.  Hire someone to do some cleaning and painting in our house.  Seriously.  I'll have to talk to Vince about that one.

Good idea #6.  Pray about all of this and rely on God's help, every day.  Because I can't do this on my own.

There.

That, kids, is how I make a plan!  Which, as I have already said, I have done many times before...but the thing about making plans is that you apparently have to DO the plans in order for them to work.

Funny that.

I'll let you know how this one goes.  Prayers welcome.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's about time we talk about my driving

I'm a bit of a distracted driver.  Oh, I keep my eyes on the road and I don't run into things, and I NEVER text while driving.  But I do miss turns and take wrong streets, and as I like to say, take "interesting" routes to get places.  The people in my circles know this about me...the ones in my close circles anyway (aka anyone who has actually ridden in a vehicle with me ever).  They like to say "Where are you going, hon?"  Or "mom...Mom...MOM!"  Or just sit there politely wondering what's wrong with me.

Like the other day when I was taking Hope downtown and we ended up in Wisconsin.

But I always get us where we need to be, yes I do.  This interesting way that I like to drive was easier to pull off before my kids were old enough to know where we were going...when they weren't really paying attention to all the turns and kept themselves occupied with other things. Things other than the turns we were making or the scenery out the windows.  Things like iPods and arguing.

But now that our youngest two have their driver's permits, it's a whole new game.  They pay attention to everything now and so does my husband, by the way.  This he has always done.  He is a silent road rager...I mean "driving expert"...and he makes comments in the car about other drivers (most of whom don't know how to drive and are in his way).  He can spot someone three cars ahead of us who doesn't use their blinker and will be all "oh nice, yea let's ALL not use our blinkers I mean really the rest of us don't need to know where you are going.  Wow. Have fun in driving school." This I don't understand. I keep saying to him "why do you care about that?  It doesn't affect us at all." And I shake my head with superiority, because I don't freak out over such things. Even when something major happens, like someone cuts us off and nearly causes an accident, I might say "oopsie, that was close" while Vince has a mini stroke.

So.

As I mentioned, our youngest two have their permits now.  Which means that in less than a year they will both have their licenses and their own cars and won't need us to drive them around anymore.

Sigh.

This is both cause for happy dances and sadness for me, because I actually do enjoy our car time.  I drive them to school everyday and pick them up most days too, and our car time is often when we have the best talks and laughs.  We connect and talk about our days and have each other's full attention (which may have something to do with the interesting routes I take). And we listen to music together - hello Sirius Radio my new best friend!  We listen to real music on stations like The Blend, Y2Country, Classics Rewind, 80's on 8, 70's on 7, and HAIR NATION!!  Cha!  Sometimes I let them choose but usually not.  Mama's car, Mama's choice.  And there are so many teachable moments, I mean how can we call ourselves parents if we don't teach our kids about Kansas and Elton John and Queen and Billy Joel and Guns N' Roses and Cyndi Lauper???  I mean honestly.  If our kids launch without knowing the words to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Carry on Wayward Son" and "Sweet Child o' Mine" then we have failed as 80's parents.  That's all I'm saying.