Flabby Arms and Taco Salad

Ok, truth here. My first couple weeks of 2017 were not my favorite. I felt tired, impatient, was dragging my feet to start school with the kids, and feeling a general malaise.

There was non-stop rain. Kids and pups had been underfoot 24/7. My patience wore thin.

And then people started to get sick. Blurg!

The whole family, but especially The Hubs and I, had started a plan to eat better. We’d begun to cut out sugar, carbs and soda (Soda gets it’s own category because we are kind of addicted to Pepsi and Mountain Dew.) So my body pretty much revolted against me because I refused to give it all the things it was craving.

I had not been crushing my New Year’s goals like I envisioned. (Good thing it’s only January. There’s time to turn things around, right?)

I wish I was a glass half- full kind of girl. I tend to lean towards the half-empty crowd. I’m working on that. As I said in my previous post, God and I are working on the Worrier that is me!

As you can see, I was already in a funk. I was a prime candidate for negative thoughts and worry to take root.

But one night, a couple of weeks into the new year, God taught me a great lesson about Worry and how our thoughts are so powerful. And it all happened during the 5 minutes it took to brown hamburger meat for a taco salad.

I usually crave a quiet house because I hardly ever have one. Completing thoughts just isn’t a regular occurrence these days. I’m often grasping for simple words like “knife” and “shoe.” I just end up calling everything a “thingie” and somehow the kids and The Hubs know what I’m talking about.

But sometimes, when I do get those quiets moments, they lead to no good. You know those moments. The ones in the shower (That’s where all my most brilliant and worst thoughts occur.) or while I’m folding clothes in the garage. (And no one has figured out where I am yet.) That night my quiet moment happened while I was browning meat for taco salad.

Everyone was occupied (H had fallen asleep on the couch.) and I was happily standing at the stove browning away. As I vigorously whisked my wooden spoon, I noticed how much my arm flesh jiggled. I was taken aback and little disgusted.

“Geeze, my arms are jiggly. I really need to work on that.” Note to Self. “I’m just barely getting started on this healthy eating thing and now I have to work in an arm workout?!?  I can’t even remember the last time I walked around the block. Ugh…. I have so much to do to get healthier!! I’m never going to be able to do this.”

See what I did there? My thoughts spiraled into that deep, dark, defeated place in about 30 seconds.

I then whispered to myself, “Take it one day at a time. One meal at a time. Forget the jiggly arms, for now.”

But it didn’t end with the Jiggly Arms. Then my mind jumped to Little H.

He’d been having a tough time in Sunday School the past couple of weeks. This is not our first rodeo in having “tough days”. We’ve  had lots of “tough days” at Sunday School, Awanas, Target, you name it. But he’d been doing so much better at church. Our first week back at our church’s weekly club for kids (Awanas) was that night.

Inner monologue number two.

“What is going on now? Why won’t he just listen? We are going back to Awanas for the first time after a long break. Maybe I should talk to his teacher and let her know he’s been struggling. He’s been so tired and taking extra naps lately. Is he growing? Is he coming down with something? Should I give the teachers a heads up?”

This is 4 min. and 30 seconds into browning the meat.

I had a choice at that moment: To let the worry take over and try to fix things myself (Just like I had a choice to let the negative thoughts about my arm flesh discourage me from my eating plan.) or to not worry and take things as they came.

Don’t borrow tomorrow’s worry.

Don’t go down that road of “The Worst Is Bound To Happen.”

Maybe H will have a bad night. But maybe he won’t!

I commanded my thoughts to not assume the worst. Yes, I said Commanded. I told the Worrier in me to not try to fix something that hadn’t even broken yet.

I decided to not jump in and talk to his teacher. I just prayed that God would give him a great night or give The Hubs and I wisdom if he didn’t.

The meat was browned at this point and I was adding in the seasoning. I began to set the table and The Hubs gently woke up H and called Lily to dinner.

My mind and my thoughts are the most unruly part of me. They take me from  zero to  freaking out in about 30 seconds.

God has been challenging me to not let worry control me and take me down paths I have no business traveling.

I’m doing a Bible study called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. She talks about taking our thoughts captive. This is a proactive word- Captive. I am going after  and chasing down those unruly thoughts and putting them in their place. It takes effort. It takes work. And more often than not, I fail. But God is so good and His Word is so powerful.  It tells me to focus on what is true.

Philippians 4:8 Finally Brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

When I read this verse and then actually started to do what it said, I began to experience little victories in this struggle with worry. Most of what I fret over is not true and it’s definitely not lovely. And it wasn’t until I started doing this Bible study and really started to pay attention to my thoughts that I realized how much worry overwhelmed me. I’m an internalizer- big time. It so easy for me to pack those fears quietly down within me without even realizing I am doing it. I know I have so far to go; so I have to read and meditate on this verse often.

But that is how powerful God’s Word is. It sheds light on the dark places and gives us a way to be victorious, to make the right choices.

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You may ask, you got all this while standing at your stove for 5 minutes?? Well, the mind is a powerful thing!

And while my arms are still jiggling away, H did just fine that night at Awanas. He’s still five and  can give Tigger a run for his money. But he did just fine.

 

 

31 Days To My Best Yes:: Day 31 I Don’t Want To Be Wonder Woman

Did you hear that? It’s me squealing with a little bit of crying thrown in.

Why?

I did it! I wrote for 31 days straight during the month of October and posted every single day. I. Can’t. Believe. I. Did. It.

Thank you, Lord. You gave me the words to say. You gave me good health this month. You gave me peace in my heart about participating in this writing challenge. Thank you.

Thank you, Hubs and family. You have been so understanding. I’ve disappeared into the bedroom for hours and you’ve never complained. Thank you.

How do I wrap up my 31 Days To My Best Yes and hopefully encourage you?  Here are some final thoughts.

( pg. 38 in My Best Yes) “We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers not scatters.”

I am so very convinced that my Bestest Yes is cultivating my relationship with Christ. With out that,  none of my other Best Yes choices really matter.

I truly believe that God does not want women to be overcommited, scattered and overwhelmed. I don’t feel the need to be Wonder Woman. I just want to do a few things wonderfully. Therefore, I can’t say yes to everything that crosses my path and I shouldn’t.

Young confident woman in red cape and mask

People have different levels of juggling capacity. For some it’s one or two activities at a time. For some it’s more. There are so many factors into what we can manage, our personalities, our family size, our health, our abilities, our work situations. That’s why my Best Yes cannot be me comparing myself to others.

So, was this 31 Day Challenge a Best Yes For Me? YES!! (But please don’t look at the piles of laundry in my garage right now!)

Not only did  I get terribly behind in my laundry or any other kind of household responsibility this month, we decided to tear up our floors and have laminate flooring put in. Rignt now I’m writing this post in my pjs on my bed with all of our dining room and kitchen furniture crammed into our smallish living room. Disaster or not, I write on!

I did reflect on the blessings of this challenge and what I’ve learned. Here goes:

1.) I did not think I had the discipline to write everyday. This has been so  good for me. I still can’t believe I did it.

2.) This challenge confirmed an answer to a  question I’ve  had deep down for some time. Should I be writing? Yes!! Is it a waste of my time? No!! This has reignited my love for writing. I have  a real joy when I write, when I string my words together and they make sense, paint a picture or evoke a feeling. That realization alone, made this challenge worth it.

3.) I now know that I am not meant to be a daily blogger. That is not a best yes in this season of my life. This is not a bad thing! I don’t have the time to give to that amount of writing. Saying yes to posting every day or giving too much time to my blog would be saying no other things and people in my life that need me. Also,  I cannot  keep up with my house or homeschooling and post daily.

4.) On the flip side, I do want to establish a regular posting schedule on the blog. I do want to write most days because that consistency was good for me. Finding the balance is what comes next.

5.) Finally, the mission of my blog is becoming clearer to me. I would call it a mission statement in progress. I do know that I want to encourage women to find value in who they are – right now. Whether you are old or young, wise or just starting out. Whether you have kids or not, whether you are married or single. Know that you are important. Know that what you do and your contribution to this world and in the body of Christ is important.

And there you have it. I’ve written all the words!! Thanks to this challenge I have many more  words rattling up there in my brain. I hope to share them with you in the posts to come

You can read posts #1-#30 of My Best Yes series here.

 

 

31 Days To My Best Yes:: Day 27 Why Book Club Rocks!

Once a month, I do something just for me and it’s amazing. It’s the highlight of my month. It’s my Me Time. It’s my girl’s night out. It’s Book Club.

Yup, I read just for the fun of it and then talk about it for hours with other women. Ok, we don’t talk about the book the whole time. Not even half the time. We do talk about it, though.

Three years ago, my friend Rachael and I, decided to start this book club. It was something I’ve always wanted to do, being a book nerd and all. I just never thought anyone else would be interested.

We put it out there and I sent an email to friends and people I thought might be into it. We started with 5 girls and it was glorious. It was  how I imagined book club to be. We had dinner and we discussed , what is to this day, one of my favorite books, Cutting For Stone. Then we talked and got to know each other. We all had young kids and very much needed this time with other women. For me (and I think I can speak for them), I wanted to talk intelligently about a book that wasn’t about being a mom,  a wife or a hungry little caterpillar .

I wanted to talk about literature and plots and characters I loved (and sometimes loathed). Remember Serena, girls? I don’t think any of us liked her.  Not only did I get that, I got the opportunity to share in these other women’s lives. We have such different personalities in our group, that is now 10 ladies, and we just fit together. They are my little book club family and I just love them. When the group started, we weren’t all mamas. That has recently changed. So, we do have babies join us and we don’t mind one single bit.

The only downside is that my co-founder, Rachael, moved away with her sweet family not long after book club started. That has always made me a little sad. I’m so glad she wanted to start this adventure with me, though. Thank you, Rachael.

I may wait until three days before book club to read my book and therefore, ignore my family for a day or two each month. I may even, every once in awhile, skip ahead to see how the story ends. (The girls give me a hard time for that one.) But unless someone is dying or has lost a limb, nothing keeps me from book club. My family know this and make it work for me.

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Of course the night I take a picture, half the girls were out of town. This is just half of us.

I’m so thankful for this unexpected blessing in my life, three years running. I’ve read wonderful books, some I would have never picked up on my own. I’ve laughed so hard. We have at least one inside joke each time we meet. (Anyone made their magnet out of their children’s baby teeth yet?) Mostly, I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing friends.

If you’ve ever wanted to start your own book club, I have a “How To Start Your Very Own Book Club” post in the works. I’ll be posting that in the near future.

Check all my other 31 Days posts here.

31 Days To My Best Yes:: Day 19 A Tale of Two Sisters

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At the home of Mary and Martha

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

Who do you relate more to, Mary or Martha? There are times when I shine like a Mary; but my fall back is Martha. I strive to be like Mary; but how do I function in the role of wife, mother, caretaker, nurturer and not be a Martha?

First off, I feel like Martha gets a bad rap sometimes. Martha wasn’t bad. Being hospitable and creating an inviting home, with food to eat so others feel welcomed is really good. But Mary chose the better of the two good things. The Best Yes in this scenario was to sit at Jesus’ feet.

So many times the choices we have to make aren’t between “the wonderful and the horrible”. It’s between “the great and “the awesome”, the “needed and the necessary”. Many times our Best Yes, isn’t so black and white.

Notice, though, that Jesus described Martha as distracted, upset and worried. 

It wasn’t so much what she was doing as how she was doing it.  It’s okay to be the worker bee, to be the list maker and goal achiever. It’s okay to have a busy life; but are we distracted,  upset and worried while we go about our lives? Are those things so loud and important that they drown out the voice of Jesus? His leading, His nudging, His calling us?

Getting the house ready for guests….. important. Listening to Jesus undistracted……….more important.

Here’s to a week of not just choosing the good or great; but the very best.
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A Month Of Being Intentional:: When in doubt, Just Do It!

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My Month of Being Intentional is actually over. I don’t want to quit writing about this subject because it’s kind of a life goal for me now:  To be more intentional in my well, everything! So, my Month of Being Intentional posts will continue maybe under a slightly different title. Okay, back to the post……….

I know, I know. I’m stealing Nike’s famous logo. Nike knew what they were doing, though. People have been borrowing this famous phrase for years.  But hey, when it’s all said and done, all the to-do lists and well meaning wishes don’t mean a thing if you don’t Just Do It. Am I right?

I’m not writing about getting things done today, though. I’m actually writing about friendships. Women friendships.

By the way, I googled Women Frienships and most of the pictures looked something like this:

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You know, after my friends and I drop off our kids at school, we usually go find a nice, pretty green field to lay down in and talk about our busy weeks. Our toddlers are in the background making daisy chains…………

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Instead of meeting for coffee or catching up for 45 minutes while our girls do ballet together, we find an empty field at dusk, hold hands and run and run and run. The husbands are making dinner and giving the children baths.

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Remember when we got those matching Hello Kitty tattoos ?

I guess these scenarios don’t apply to us more mature women, with a family, or busy (sometimes overwhelming) lives, jobs, ministries and whatnot.

I thought it would be easier making friends and maintaining friendships as I’ve gotten older; but it’s actually harder.

Before I delve into this topic and where I’m coming from, you have to know this about me: I’m not an introvert. I have this ability to talk, to just about anyone. I could talk to a fence post for half an hour. It’s a blessing and a curse! In fact, when there is a lull in conversation (with actual people, not a fence post), you can count on me to fill the silence. Not always with anything worthwhile, mind you.

I love meeting new people and really enjoy making new friends; I also like the comfort and safety net of my peeps, the people I’ve known forever.  I’m not a wall flower. I love to get in there and mingle; but I’m not the life of the party either. I don’t need to be the center of attention.  Being with people kind of energizes me. Yet, I don’t mind spending the weekend at home or spending my nights tapping away at the computer, being holed up in my house for a couple of days. I won’t plan the party; but I will sure come and keep the conversation going.

So, even though I’m a pretty outgoing person and am blessed to have some very special friends, I find it challenging sometimes to have that quality time with friends that I used to. I have found myself being a little more apprehensive when it comes to making new friends. I’ve been feeling not so confident.

Nowadays my circle of friends are so busy. We have young, needy families and husbands with busy jobs. Some of us moms have busy jobs. Some of us moms home school. Some of us have toddler…….boys…….enough said. Some of us have sick parents, who are getting older.  Our days are exhausting. I know. Sometimes, it’s just hard to step out and to make a new friend or to keep that old friendship going.  We can feel vulnerable. We can feel like it’s just too much work. We start to say to ourselves, “Maybe, they just don’t need another friend.” Maybe we feel like we’re putting more into a relationship than we are getting out of it. Maybe, we are just having a hard time connecting.

Remember when making friends was as easy as this……….

Friendship

I’ve made two new friends recently. Both scenarios took me stepping out of my comfort zone. The first friend, I initiated a get together. Putting yourself out there isn’t always easy or comfortable. I’m so glad I did, though. We had such a great time. Our kids had a great time. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.  Circumstances put the second friend and I together.  We had a chance to sit, drink coffee and get to know each other better. (I knew her a little bit already.) She is such an interesting person! I know we will get together again and have coffee soon. I can’t wait.

All I’m saying is, “Just do it, mamas. ” Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make a new friend. You are someone worth knowing. Friendships take time and effort; but they are so worth it.  You may feel like your friendship plate is full; but your friendship may be what someone else needs. Your friendship plate may feel a bit empty. Even more of a reason to Just Do It.