Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Edge of a New Year

In a little over two hours, we will be bidding farewell to 2012.  My initial reaction when thinking back on this past year was to dwell on everything I didn't accomplish.  The book will be closing on another year, and there is still so much left incomplete and undone.

And yet, when I truly think about it, 2012 turned out to be a fabulous year.  It was a year of positive change and excitement.  A few highlights:

~ Alexandra Elise made her grand entrance into the world.
~ Bianca instantly turned into a loving Big Sister.
~ Harry became one of the area's most popular basketball coaches.  He led his team to a State Championship, and was chosen to coach one of the teams participating in the Capital Classic.
~ I was promoted at work, and simultaneously received a huge peace, instant stress relief, and a pay increase.  God is so good!
~ I was able to upgrade to an SUV.
~ I saw my muse Alanis Morissette in concert.
~ I experienced the excitement of being a Dance Mom for a few precious weeks.
~ After two years, I finally made a commitment to CCC and to MOPS.  As a result, I made so many new friends.
~ I also reunited with friends from my past.
~ We had our girls dedicated in front of our church family.  The day was even more special because Aria and Lilly were dedicated at the same time.
~ 212 helped to turn up the heat in my life.
~ I reconnected with family I hadn't seen in quite a while.
~ I was exposed to the world of green juices and smoothies and whole foods.
~ Stephanie and I started a wellness journey.
~ An old friend died and harsh reality set in regarding my greener grass.
~ But I fell even more in love with Harry because of it.

Looking forward to 2013, there is so much I want to accomplish.

~ I want to draw closer to God.  I hope to be exposed to the Word daily.  I hope to spend more quiet time with Him.  I hope to fully engage with MOPS and my small group.
~ I want to be a better wife.  I hope to give Harry the support he needs to be the best version of himself.  I hope to take better care of him and our house.
~ I want to be a better mother.  I hope to be more present when I'm home.  I hope to give more hugs and kisses.  I hope to laugh and play more.  I want to give my girls the love and attention they need to be happy and healthy.
~ I want to take care of myself physically.  I hope to exercise daily.  I hope to drink more green juice and smoothies.  I hope to eat a vegetable at every meal.  I hope to eat more locally grown and organic foods. I want to cut back (or stop) my coffee consumption.  I hope to drink more water.  I want to get a massage monthly.  I want to stretch more and sleep better.  I want my natural beauty to shine from the inside out.
~ I want to help get our family out of debt.  I hope to think before making unnecessary purchases.  I hope to cut out large expenses, like my daily $5 mocha lattes.

A lot of these goals look similar to the ones I made last year.  But this year, I am confident that I will be victorious.  I have a wonderful support system in my husband, my friends, and my family.  I have been exposed to so many new educational and inspirational resources.  And most importantly, I am raising a banner over this year.  Jehovah Nissi will be my ultimate source of strength and victory.

2013 will be my Proverbs 31 year.  I will use the Proverbs 31 Woman as a role-model and an inspiration to emulate.  In the end, I hope to be my husband's crown.  I hope my children will call me blessed.  And ultimately, I hope all of my actions are pleasing to the Lord.  By growing into a better version of myself, I hope to be able to serve Him better. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Word Filled Wednesday: Drunk and Naked

After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard.  One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.  Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers.  Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father.  As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.
~ Genesis 9:20 - 23

Many people have heard the story of Noah.  You probably know about the Flood, the ark, and the animals coming two by two.  You've probably heard about the dove and the rainbow.

But after most of the story is over, this little piece about Noah getting drunk and naked - well, it's not the stuff of children's Sunday School!  Maybe Noah just went off the rails a bit after being cooped up with all those animals.  Or maybe the anguish of seeing all those people drowning finally caught up with him.

Whatever the case, this very strange scene reveals a couple things.  First, it shows us, as we see over and over in Scripture, that the people God uses are not perfect.  They're messed up, just like you and I.  That means that, however messed up you are, you can still serve God and be part of His unfolding story.

Noah, drunk and naked, points to a second thing: The Bible is true.  Who would fake a story about the only righteous guy alive, and then add this offbeat paragraph?  In a wonderfully strange way, Noah's embarrassing misstep shows us that the Bible is an honest book.  Yes, this is a story you can believe because it doesn't whitewash the truth, even when it's not admirable.

Excerpted from The Way New Living Translation Bible

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sick and Tired

I used to blame my pregnancy on being tired and achy all the time.  But here I am four months postpartum and I still feel tired and achy pretty much every day.  I experience fatigue, bloating, cramping, nausea, headaches, itchy skin and eyes, and joint and muscle aches on a daily basis.  Frankly, I'm tired of living like this.  I'm only in my early 30s; I should be feeling vibrant and alive, not the complete opposite.

When I brought up my concerns with my doctor a few years ago, she pretty much just said I feel so miserable because I'm overweight.  She encouraged me to exercise and eat better and sent me on my way.

Believe me - I am well aware that I am carrying extra baggage.  And I have definitely tried to lose the excess weight.  Before my wedding, I was exercising and eating right, and I only lost a total of 6 pounds in a 6-month period.  Last year, I was working out with a personal trainer and eating better, and I only lost 7 pounds in a 4-month period.  No matter how much effort I put into it, I can't seem to lose the many pounds I desperately need to shed.

At that last doctor's visit, I was really hoping that she would run some tests, like checking my thyroid or searching for any food sensitivities.  Instead she made me feel like I was nothing but a fat, tired, achy hypochondriac.  So I ignored my symptoms and went on with life.

Now that I have ventured out on my wellness journey, however, I know I can't ignore my body's cries for help anymore.  So I've decided to search for a new primary care doctor.  One who will actually listen to my concerns and help me figure out what's wrong with me.  (At least physically!  lol)  Then we can make a plan to address any issues, and I will be well on my way to a healthier version of myself. 

My initial reaction is to seek out a naturopathic doctor, but unfortunately, my health insurance only covers conventional medicine interventions.  My friend Chelle recommended I see a D.O. instead of an M.D. because their approach is more holistic.  I think I'm leaning that way, but I need to find one with good recommendations first.

No matter what, it's my goal to get a physical - with a complete blood workup - by February 1st.  I owe it to myself.  And I so desperately want to feel better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Wishes

In celebration of 12/12/12, Jamie Ridler asked the question What 12 Wishes Will You Wish For?

Today, I wish....

1.  To know God intimately
2.  To be a stay-at-home mom
3.  To become a massage therapist
4.  To move my body freely and often
5.  To indulge in a healthy diet
6.  To live in a beach cottage
7.  To have a marriage centered on God, full of laughter and fun
8.  To be back on stage
9.  For my girls to be abundantly happy and healthy
10. For a flattering, comfortable wardrobe
11. To glow from the inside out
12. To have more children, biological and adopted

What wishes are tucked in your heart?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Me and the Mozart Myth

Upon suggestion from UM’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Facebook page, I read an article from Experience Life Magazine called “The Creative Habit.” After reading the section titled “Active Body, Creative Mind,” I immediately thought of my journey partner Steph because she is an artist. My initial thought was, “wow…with regular exercise, Steph’s creativity will go through the roof!” I shared the article with her and that was that.

…Until my car ride home. With traffic, I have about an hour commute each way, so I have a good amount of time to think. Last night, this article was on the forefront of my mind. I kept pondering the Mozart Myth and realized that it really pertained to my life. In particular, I considered this paragraph:

Sure, some people might be predisposed to certain skills and talents, but all our natural predispositions need time, practice and dedication to become real genius. As another artistic genius, the Renaissance painter Michelangelo, once said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”

I kept thinking of my singing talent. At one point in my life, I was a really good singer. In fact, if I had tried out for American Idol in 2002, I would have had a pretty good shot at going far in the competition. (Yep – it would have totally been me and Justin there at the finale!) I definitely had a voice that could rival Kelly Clarkson’s. But also at that time, I was singing constantly. I had been singing in class and in concerts 5 days a week for eight years straight. I sang constantly in my car. I had a karaoke machine and a keyboard in my bedroom that were constantly being used. I performed in musical theater. I sang practically every Sunday at church. I was hired to sing for weddings. I did a few funerals. My mother would even scold me for singing at the dinner table. (My sister hated it when I did!) The point is: I sang. ALL. THE. TIME. I had mastered my talent.

For whatever reason, when I joined AmeriCorps in the fall of 2002, I stopped singing. Completely. And I suppose a part of me died at that time because singing was my true love, my joy, my constant companion.

Today, I have an average, so-so voice. My talent has gone extremely downhill. I really would love to sing on the Worship Team at my church, but if I’m being honest, I’m not good enough anymore.

But, alas, there is hope! That’s the beauty of the Mozart Myth! He worked extremely hard to master his compositions. He needed “time, practice and dedication to become real genius.” I know that with enough time, practice and dedication, I could be really good again.

One of my intentions for my wellness journey is to sing more. By doing so, I think I can start to come back to life again in a whole new, healthy way.

Good Day!

Well, I'm proud to say that my day is definitely off to a great start.  I did manage to get up at 4:30 this morning to get on the treadmill.  (Ok....so it was more like 4:33....I had a hard time getting out of my warm, comfy bed!)  Honestly, it would have been so lovely to get in that extra hour of sleep, but after remembering the picture by my alarm clock, I asked God to give me strength me and to help me step out of my comfort zone.  One hour later, I had walked 3.2 miles and burned 452 calories!  Woo hoo!

I think it helped that I slept in my workout clothes.  I had heard this tip in the past, but I was never fond of it.  After all, how comfortable could it to be to sleep in two bras?  It wasn't that bad, though, so I think I'll try it again tonight.  It saved me a good 5-10 minutes this morning.  (Yes, I tend to do things on the slow side.)  I think I'll also fill up my water bottle tonight and leave it in the refrigerator to save an additional step in the morning.

As I was on the treadmill, MercyMe's "So Long Self" kept repeating in my head.  It made me realize that exercising to music is probably better than doing it in silence.  (Although I have so much stuff running through my head at any given minute, so it's not really silent!)  I would just need to build a killer playlist first.  Does anyone have any suggestions of songs that get them moving?  I immediately think of "Shine" by Newsboys, "Move" by MercyMe, and "Get Back Up" by Toby Mac.

My breakfast consisted of two eggs and spinach.  My morning snack consisted of a couple of cheese cubes and an apple.  For lunch, I'm eating my chili with a side of spinach.  I'm not sure what dinner will be, as my refrigerator is a bit bare, but I'm proud of the choices I've made so far.  I just have to keep it up!

One half-day of positive choices down; a lifetme to go!! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hard Truth

One of the tools I had planned to use on my wellness journey was a food journal.  I once watched an episode of Dr. Oz where he said that people who keep a food diary lose 50% more weight than those who don't.  The theory is that we tend to underestimate the exact amount of our caloric intake each day.

I originally planned to write everything down in a physical journal.  Two problems emerged with that tactic: 1) my purse was getting weighed down by carrying yet another book and 2) I really wasn't sure how many calories were in the food I was eating.

In comes Aunt Theresa to the rescue.  She recommended that I use a tool called My Fitness Pal.  Here, I can record my daily food intake and the system records my calories for me.  I can also record my exercise.  (If only I had any activity to record!)  The best part is when you are finished recording for the day, the system gives you immediate feedback.  For instance, yesterday's feedback informed me that I would GAIN 2 pounds in 5 weeks if I continue with my same food consumption and lack of exercise.

It is kind of a wake-up call.  I guess I am one of those people who underestimated my calorie intake.  It's only 3:15 PM, and I've already consumed 76 extra calories.  I suppose I could make up for tonight's dinner by spending an hour on the treadmill.  Sadly, my reality is that when I get home from work, all I want to do is cuddle and play with my girls.  I only get to see them an average of 3 hours a day.  I really don't want to decrease that precious time to 2 hours.  Guess I'll have to try to wake up at 4:30 tomorrow morning and get in some cardio while they're still asleep.  (Wish me luck; I have a hard enough time getting up at 5:30!)

My friend Maggie shared an awesome picture on her Facebook page today.  I think I am going to print out a couple of copies and put one by my alarm clock and one on my treadmill.  Hopefully it will help me to get motivated.  It is a simple yet perfect prayer when things seem too tough.  Only with God's help will I have a true and lasting breakthrough when it comes to my health.

 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The First Few Days

I am sad to say that my wellness journey has not started off on the best foot. December 1st was not only our kickoff to pursuing a healthier lifestyle, but it was also my beautiful Mommy’s birthday. While I did manage to start my Saturday with a green juice, my food choices quickly went downhill from there. My weekend was full of pizza, cookies, ice cream, deep fried chicken, French fries, and hot chocolate. Not exactly healthy.

This morning wasn’t much better. I was running late and not feeling great, so instead of making a green juice, I ate a bowl of chocolate Cheerios. For lunch I am eating a homemade chili that in retrospect should have been made with more vegetables. I have a terrible headache and I just can’t wait to go home.

This isn’t the way I had hoped to be behaving or feeling once Steph and I officially crossed the starting line to wellness.

I once read a quote that said, “When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” The fact of the matter is my bad habits run deep. It is going to take a lot of energy, planning, and action to make a positive lifestyle change. I have to give my health 100%. I have to be all in. Otherwise, we are going to be having a very similar conversation a few months down the line. It’s one thing to be well-intentioned. But intention with no action leaves you stuck in exactly the same place.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

All I Want for Christmas....

I know I'm not getting any presents for Christmas this year.  My hubby and I agreed not to exchange.  My parents have told me I'm not getting anything from them.  My extended family has decided not to exchange names this year.  So I'm at the mercy of Dear Santa for this one. 

The only thing on my wish list this year is a Blendtec.


Isn't it lovely?  Making green smoothies would be so much easier in this powerful machine than in my little Magic Bullet.  Unfortunately, since my hubby has created a plan to get us out of debt in four years and a high-end blender wasn't considered a necessity, I can't purchase one for myself.  So I'm really hoping to hear the lovely sound of jingle bells on my roof on Christmas Eve!

Our Wellness Journey

As I mentioned previously, my BFF Steph and I are embarking on a wellness journey that will begin on December 1st. Yes, both of us are starting out needing to lose some weight, and while weight loss is an end result we both hope to achieve, this journey embraces so much more. Ultimately, we want to be healthy – in body, mind and spirit.

We have decided to walk this path of wellness together because we know there is strength in numbers. We will be here to encourage and support each other. We will share our resources. We will hold each other accountable. And in the end, we hope to make a lasting change.

Of course, we are both of the same mind that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If there was, we would have already implemented it! Instead, while some elements may look the same (we will check in with each other at least once a week, we will make changes to our diets, etc.), each of the paths we walk will be slightly different.

The details of my plan may change along the way, but here are my current intentions:

~ I will partake of a 10-day juice feast.
~ I will cut out most sugar and caffeine from my diet.
~ I will eat a majority of whole foods.
~ I will keep a food journal.
~ I will gain more energy to exercise on a regular basis.
~ I will blog or journal regularly to keep my mind clear and focused.
~ I will to meditate on God’s Word daily.
~ I will take better care of my skin.
~ I will floss my teeth daily.
~ I will serve my husband and my children better.
~ I will leave work on time.
~ I will sing more.
~ I will find ways to get closer to my ideal career and lifestyle.

My goals are:

~ Fit back into my pre-pregnancy pants. (Yes, it’s been three months since I gave birth, and I am still wearing maternity pants!)
~ Lose at least 40 pounds.
~ Be able to run a 5K.
~ Be a better wife and mother.
~ Be able to think more clearly and strategically.
~ Radiate light from the inside out.
~ Be at peace no matter my circumstances.

I couldn’t be more excited about this journey. I’m ready to embrace a holistically healthy life once and for all so that I can eventually start helping others to do the same.

My Blog

I am grateful that Chelle recently challenged her readers to take part in 21 days of gratitude. Not only did it lift my spirits and serve as a reminder to praise and thank God for the many blessings in my life, but the exercise also encouraged me to visit my blog on a daily basis – which is something I haven’t done in a long time.

I have alluded to it in a couple of previous posts, but earlier this year, I really felt like God was prompting me take a break from my blog for a while. I didn’t contemplate the reason too much, but I know it was a heart issue. What was the purpose of my blog? What was it becoming? Who was it really bringing glory to? Ultimately, I want my whole life to be used to bring people closer to God. I want people to get to know and love Jesus simply by knowing me. But I don’t think that was happening. I was gaining a sense of arrogance and pride. I was only glorifying myself. I didn’t want to write anything unless I thought the post might be profound. I was afraid of being judged. I was writing for all the wrong reasons.

Stephanie and I will be embarking on our wellness journey in a few days. I want to use this blog as part of that. I want it to be a catalyst for getting healthy - which is one of the main reasons I started it to begin with. I want to write and reflect as I muddle my way through life. I want to record my successes and struggles. I want to clear out the junk that has a tendency to gather in my head. I don’t want to worry about how many followers I have. I don’t want to worry about whether or not my content will please them. I don’t want to worry about portraying a perfect image of a person. Because in the end she doesn’t exist. And frankly, this is my blog and my life. Writing or living the way I think someone else wants me to really isn’t serving anyone well. And ultimately, trying to be a people pleaser is how I ended up in my current circumstances in the first place.

With that off my chest, I am looking forward to becoming an active member of the blogosphere again. When all is said and done, I really do love to write. And I’ve missed it. (And yes, fellow editors, I do know that I shouldn’t begin my sentences with conjunctions. But this is my blog, and that’s my prerogative!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful I have the authority to close our office early today.

2. I am grateful for the homeless man who helped to get my morning off to a great start.

3. I am grateful for the housekeeping staff at work.  They are just so considerate and wonderful to be around.  I wish more people would take the time to chat with them every day.

And Bonus - I am grateful for my mom and my sister who host a wonderful Thanksgiving feast every year!  I cannot wait to partake of the deliciousness!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that I finally finished one of the annual reports I was working on.

2. I am grateful for LeSchell, who is always here to offer support, guidance and friendship when I need it.

3. I am grateful for the wonderful ladies I have met through MOPS, especially my small group - Amy, Jeannie, Jen and Melanie.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for a shortened work week!

2. I am grateful for my new planner that is on its way to me.  (I thrive off of my to-do lists and calendars, so I can't wait for it to get here!)

3. I am grateful for my dreams that only get stronger as time goes by.  (That means they will come true one day!)

Weekend Gratitude

Saturday
1. I am grateful that Harry let me have a cuddle day with the girls while he took care of cleaning.
2. I am grateful that Bianca decided she didn't want to dance anymore before I ordered her costumes.
3. I am grateful for finally letting go of something I had been holding onto for way too many years.

Sunday
1. I am grateful that I was able to see the Bent Family while they are in town.
2. I am grateful for the tiny fingers that grip mine and the big smiles that melt my heart.
3. I am grateful that Bianca was able to have so much fun this weekend.  (I'm also thankful that she slept great last night because of it!!)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that I had a sister to go through life with and who is now one of my closest friends.

2. I am grateful that Bianca and Alex have each other.

3.  I am grateful that I am starting to better understand my body and its needs.  Today, I need to drink extra water and stretch.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that Melissa and Ryan will be with their son soon.

2. I am grateful for the beautiful example of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

3. I am grateful that with Angi's help, I may be able to fit into my pants again soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for getting to spend time with Susan last night.

2. I am grateful that Bianca packed my lunch this morning.  Peanut butter, goldfish, and fruit snacks - her favorites!

3. I am grateful for Tera Warner and Body Enlightenment.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13 of Gratitude

1. On this cold, rainy morning I am grateful for my umbrella and coffee.

2.  I am grateful for Kim, who helps me on so many levels.  She is not only my cousin, but my mentor and friend.  She was my original American Idol!

3. I am grateful that if I decide to pursue a doctorate degree, I can do it for free.  The best perk of working at UM!


 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that I was able to see Damian score a goal during his last soccer game of the season.

2. I am grateful that because of today's gorgeous weather Bianca gets one more day to play at the park.

3.  I am grateful for Erin who literally slapped me in the face on the one day I truly needed it.  I've never acknowledged it before, but she saved my life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11 of Gratitude

1.  I am grateful that amidst the sadness of death, there is a gentle reminder to fully enjoy life and the ones we love while we still can.

2.  I am grateful that a soul's passing can cause relationships to be rekindled and restored.

3.  I am grateful for our Veterans and activity-duty military who have fought for the freedom and protection of our country.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10 Gratitiude

1.  I am grateful that Harry made it home safely from NYC this morning.

2. I am grateful that I don't seem to be affected by PPD this time.

3. I am grateful for my educational experience, from preschool to grad school.  All along the way, I learned way more than what was being taught in the classroom.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9 of Gratitude

1.  I am grateful that Alex slept through the night last night!!

2.  I am grateful to be living in a safe neighborhood surrounded by pretty awesome neighbors.

3. I am grateful for Amanda who is always checking on me to make sure I'm doing well.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that my high school best friend received the diagnosis of no cancer.

2.  I am grateful that God gave me the ability to complete assignments quickly and correctly.

3.  I am grateful that I have such a close extended family.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for the police officers who patrol our campus and make walking downtown in the dark a little safer.

2. I am grateful for my car that not only provides me with transportation, but also with heat, music, directions, and comfort.

3. I am grateful for my arms that allow me to throw Bianca up in the air as she squeals with delight, cradle Alex as she drifts peacefully to sleep, wrap Harry in love and affection, and fully embrace my wonderful family and friends.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for the fact that I live in America and have the right to vote.

2. I am grateful for the heat, coat, gloves and hat that kept me warm this morning and will continue to do so all winter long.

3. I am grateful for 95.1 Shine FM.  I love having a Christian radio station in Baltimore that helps me have church in my car every day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Days 4 & 5 of Gratitude

Sunday
1. I am grateful for my BFF Stephanie, who is a wonderful source of support in my life.  She is one of my soulmates and one of the few people I know I could call at 3 AM.
2. I am grateful that my mom is able to watch my girls while I'm at work.  It gives me a sense of peace I might not have otherwise.
3. I am grateful for second, third, fourth, etc.... chances.  It's never too late to pick yourself up and start over again.

Monday
1. I am grateful for my boss, who makes coming to work a little easier.
2. I am grateful for my staff, who work hard and feel comfortable enough to share their personal stories with me.
3. I am grateful for purple office supplies, which just make me happy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for our home that is filled with love, laughter, and mess from a happy toddler.  It provides us with comfort, warmth, security and keeps us safe from the storms outside.

2. I am grateful for my church whose mission is to help people find their way back to God in a loving, hospitable, approchable way. 

3. I am grateful for the wonderful children's ministry at CCC that follows the Orange cirriculum and helps me better minister to my girls.  Hopefully they will come to know Jesus and have a fulfilling walk with Him because of this strong foundation.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2 of Gratitude

1. As I sit at work with a grumbling tummy, I am grateful for the fact that I don't know what true hunger feels like.

2. I am so grateful that Father God hears me and allows me to have a relationship with Him even though I don't deserve it.  I am grateful for my Savior Jesus who makes that relationship possible.  I am grateful for the Holy Spirit who continues to live in and among us.

3. I am grateful for the Word.  With it, I will never be lost.  I will always have hope.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

With a Grateful Heart

In this post, my friend Chelle challenged her readers to join her in 21 Days of Gratitude.  Taking the idea from Chance Scoggins, she will be following three simple rules:

1) For 21 straight days, name three things you're grateful for.
2) You can't repeat yourself in that time.
3) You must be specific. (Rather than saying, "I'm thankful for my health," say something like, "I'm thankful I was able to run around with my kids today.")

I love this idea, so I will be joining her in giving thanks over the next 21 days.

Today, I am grateful for:

~ The fact that our state escaped fairly unscathed from Hurricane Sandy.
~ My beautiful daughters who add more joy to my life than they'll ever realize.
~ My loving husband who is a great father and the rock of our family.

What are you thankful for today?

Starting Over Again

My status on Facebook today reads, "It's a new month.  Perfect time for a fresh start!"

I can't give proper credit for this image because I found it on several websites.  Apologies to the artist!!

I feel like I am heading into a new season in my life.  First, I am now a mother of two.  I am still figuring out what the perfect dynamic should be - how to split my attention and affection in a way that meets both of my girls' needs, as well as those of my husband.  It will be even more challenging now that I am back to work.

I am finally vested in my church's MOPS group.  I have been a member since 2010, but up until now I haven't been fully committed.  After evaluating all the activities and friendships in my life and pruning as a result, I realized that the relationships with these amazing Godly women I am surrounded by need to be nurtured and made more of a priority.

I am also finally committed to my church.  I loved it the moment I first visited two years ago, but I was emotionally torn by some conflicting guilt I had regarding my religious upbringing.  Earlier this year I felt compelled to go back to the church of my youth, mainly to explore the feelings I was struggling with.  After a few months, I realized my decision to move on from there was the right one for both me and my family.  Without a doubt, CCC is my church home now, and I look forward to growing in Christ there.

I will be discovering what work feels like for me now.  When I earned my promotion, I was already 6 months pregnant.  I admittedly wasn't truly focused and didn't give 100% to my new position.  Now that my leave is over, I need to concentrate on being a great manager and reassure my boss that she didn't make a mistake by hiring me.  But I need to do this with care and balance, knowing that I have workaholic tendancies.   

My BFF Steph and I will be venturing out on a new wellness journey next month.  We are working out the details now, but I am very excited about it.  I saw a quote on a friend's Facebook page that said, "There are 9 months until summer.  A new person is born in 9 months."  What a great sentiment!!  I can't wait to celebrate the birth of the new me.  (Of course, fitting back into my pre-pregnancy pants is my first goal!)

After a brief bumpy period with my hubby, I feel us coming back together again - our relationship stronger than ever.  He is truly a wonderful man, and I am so grateful that he puts up with me!  I am falling in love with him all over again and am committed to taking better care of our marriage.

I also hope to be better about writing.  I've neglected this blog and my journals for far too long.  (I know, I know - I always say that and never follow through!)  But it really does help to keep me balanced.  As my friend Chelle puts it, writing is free therapy!

So here's to a new season and a fresh start.  Isn't it wonderful to know that it is never too late to start over again?        

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cravings

Yesterday, I started craving pizza around 9:30 AM.  No matter what I ate throughout the day or how hard I tried to distract myself from this desire, I found myself simply insatiable.  It wasn't until I ordered and ate some pizza for dinner last night that I could feel once again at peace.



Our ladies' small group has just started delving into a new book called "Desperate: Seeking Simplicity...Finding the Cross" by Cindi Wood.  The chapter I read today - "Addicted to Comfort?" - really struck a chord inside of my soul, especially considering the large craving I had yesterday.

The author reminds us that we were created with a hungering in our spirits.  God put it there.  He is a jealous God (Deut. 4:24) and wants us to want Him more than we want anybody or anything else.  Deep inside of us is a craving that cannot and will not be satisfied with any earthly thing.  Eating that pizza feels (extremely!) gratifying for the moment, but soon leaves us pining again. 

From now on, I will pay closer attention to my cravings - whether they be food or shopping or TV or vacation related.  It is my hope that I can first turn to God when my appetite is out of control and say, "Lord, right now I am turning to you with this desire, instead of to the pizza I so desperately want.  Fill me with you."

The whole point of the lesson is that we should find ultimate comfort in Jesus.  Cindi sums it up well when she writes: By all means, savor that piece of chocolate and cup of coffee.  But instead of turning to them for comfort, let them be an opportunity to praise the Giver. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4).  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Coming Back

A friend of mine recently decided to say goodbye to the blog she has been writing the past 7 years.  For whatever reason, the sign off made me quite emotional and a bit sad.  I find myself running back to my own neglected blog for solace. 

I'm still not totally sure why, but I felt God tugging at my heart this spring.  I needed to step away from blogging for a period of time.  I needed to simplify my life a bit.  I needed to focus on more important things.  Now that the summer is coming to a close, perhaps I can open this door once again.

So many thoughts are swirling in my head.  So many updates and changes to be shared.  And yet as frantic as the ideas are spinning, I hear a small voice saying to be still.  And so, for now, still is how I will remain. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nervous Energy




The past two days I have been thinking about the miliatry coup in Mali. Two of our field sites in Africa are in this country, one of which happens to be on the same mountain as the presidential palace. One of our students is over there, and it fell in my lap to help bring him home. With the country borders being closed, it didn't look promising. Everything fell into place today, though. We have him on a flight out of Bamako on Tuesday. He will be safe on U.S. soil on Wednesday afternoon if all goes well.

The adreneline hasn't stopped, though. I can feel it flowing through my veins. I wonder if it will continue until I know he's home safely. And to think that I'm practically a stranger; I can only imagine how his parents are feeling. I now have a small appreciation of what military families must go through. I will be saying an extra prayer tonight for all our troops and their loved ones anxiously awaiting their return.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday: Spring



I haven't participated in Jamie Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday meme in quite awhile, but today's festive prompt made me want to play along!

What do you wish would spring into your life?

I wish the answer to where I ultimately belong when it comes to my career would leap into my life. I have been struggling with this issue for years and years. Deep in my heart, I know I am supposed to be a holistic health provider - no matter what form it ends up taking. Yet the closer I get, the further I seem to be.

Take for instance massage school. I took PSYC 101 this winter and am taking HLTH 101 this spring with the intention of having all classes except the core ones finished prior to beginning the massage program this fall. Well, after trying for almost a year to conceive with no luck, we were finally successful at the perfect time for me NOT to start massage classes in the fall. Seems a bit ironic.

Honestly, at this point, I have no idea what the future holds for me in this area. All I can do is trust that The One who made the universe has everything under His perfect control.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!



The first day of Spring is upon us. Just as the earth is thawing out and bringing forth new life, I thought it would be appropriate to gently wake this sleeping blog from its winter slumber.

This morning my heart is light and full of hope and joy. I have so many rich blessings to be grateful for:

~ My amazing Savior and His unending love and forgiveness
~ My wonderful husband
~ Our beautiful daughter
~ Our Little One on his/her way
~ Our comfortable home
~ My loving, supportive family
~ My life-giving Church
~ My sweet small group
~ My awesome hospitality team
~ My circle of dear friends
~ Great neighbors
~ The opportunity to sing again
~ The possibility of a new job well within reach
~ A new-found peace that's made its way into my soul the past few weeks

With all of this on the forefront of my mind, I happily welcome a new season of love, laughter and precious memories waiting to be made. I can't wait to see what wonderful surprises are waiting around the bend....

Happy Spring, Everyone!