Friday, December 28, 2012

You know the nights when you remove all your make up (or the days you never even bothered to put any on), change into your jammies so your tummy can expand a little more, put on your glasses, and veg on the couch? And then you stop and do a double-take in the full length mirror when you pass by because you don't quite recognize yourself?

Yup, that's me!

And enjoying every comfy minute of it :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Slender. Skinny. Tiny. Slim.

No matter how you put it, the thing that I want above all else is to be thin.

And I'm ashamed to admit that.

There are lots of things I want. Take, for instance, the new light fixture I found for my dining room. I saw it, I knew instantly that I loved it, I really wanted it, and I got it for Christmas. Sometimes the things I want can't be qualified, like peace or love.

But, sometimes I think that in my heart, the thing that I want, like really, really want, is something that is risky for me to have. Risky because it's the basket I put all my eggs into. It's the thing that trips me up every single time, the thing that makes me change my diet over and over again, the thing that I think about the most, the thing that drives me to exercise, the thing that pushes me to count calories in excruciating detail, to examine my body in front of the mirror from every angle, to compare myself to the unrealistic, to set elusive goals--this is the thing I want the most. This is what I think must define me, what other people see when they look at me. This is how I define myself.

Thin.

A small word. A nearly insurmountable mountain that glares at me with accusing eyes yet beckons me with it's Cheshire cat grin.

Skinny.

It's what everyone says you need to be. It's what experts say is healthy. It's what magazines say is pretty.

Slender.

It's what I want to be. It takes my thoughts away from a fun dinner and puts them on fat and carb content.

It takes time. Dedication. Determination. Grit. Willpower.

But when is this much too much?

When it takes up all my thoughts? When it's the first thing I think about when I wake and the last before I go to sleep? When I cave from the pressure I put on myself? When life becomes one big calorie-counting funfest?

Trust.

Five. Little. Letters.

Huge implication.

To trust Him means to let go of that basket of eggs. Nearly a year has gone by since I began this journey of exploring what trusting God is all about.

Sometimes, it's like two steps forward.

Sometimes, it's like three steps back. Or three hundred.

Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.
{Zechariah 1:3}

I'm never too far gone that I can't return to Him.

Monday, December 24, 2012


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah,
the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
{Luke 2:8-12}

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hope

I was expressing what a difficult time I've been having trying to process the unspeakable tragedy that happened in Connecticut on Friday to a friend of mine. She listened intently to my words as I talked about my fears, my sadness and my doubt.

The only thing I could think of was those parents who had to go home and face the bedroom that belonged to their slain son or daughter. Who had to go home to face the Christmas gifts they had already bought. The booster seat they had to take out of their car. The art work that still hangs on the wall. It's gut wrenching to think about. And selfishly, I can't think of these things without thinking about my own son and daughter, and how I would feel if they were taken from me.

This particular disaster has also caused me to wonder where God is in all of this. Where was He? Why didn't He stop it? Why didn't He do something? Anything?

My friend looked at me and said this: God was there.

 I'm sure my face reflected what I was thinking: Really? Doesn't seem like it.

She went on to explain herself. Simply put, God was there. For every minute of chaos that was happening at that school, God was there.  She said that people are not puppets on a string but rather human beings with a free will and the ability to exercise it as such. A free will to make choices. Even bad ones. He will not force people to do exactly what He wants. We have to make that choice on our own.

I've mulled over her words since yesterday. I still have more questions than I do answers. In my world, God should give free will to the people He knows will make good choices and take it away from those who will not. But, that would be putting God into a box that He doesn't fit into, and taking away His ability to work in people's lives in a personal and unexpected way, redeeming them out of the pit of despair that we find ourselves in when we cannot seem to find Hope.

I should know. I've been in that pit myself.

Hope.

He is the source of Hope.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Please join me today in saying a prayer for those families affected by the tragedy in Connecticut.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The twinkling lights of a Christmas tree.


The spontaneous, joyous laugh of a good friend.



The soft cheek of your child resting against you after a long day.



A hug from your true love.



The sparkling stars in the sky.


The excitment in the face of children as they count down the days left til the big day.

 
 


Even though this is an exceptionally busy time of year, I hope that you'll take a few minutes with me and just take in the sweetness of life. The joy of Christmas can be ours--we just have to know where to look for it :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Lack of Perspective

"Young man, you see only the sand at your feet and what you are eating that you wish was something else. I don't tell you this as a rebuke; you are very ordinary in your views. Most people are just like you, disgusted with themselves for what they are and what they eat and what they drive. Most of us never stop to think that there are quite literally millions in this world who lack our blessings and opportunities, have no food to eat at all, and no hope of ever owning a car. The situation in which you find yourself is fraught with difficulty, yes. It is also piled high with benefits...a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person's life."
--Andy Andrews, The Noticer


On page 13 of the book The Noticer by Andy Andrews, I read the above quote, then read it again, and then again. It's not like I've never thought of these things before. It's common knowledge that people are literally starving because they can't afford to put food on the table. We've all seen the devastating pictures of sick children and the parents who can't afford to treat them, and we are well aware that many of us who live in this country are much better off than those who do not. So I couldn't figure out why I found this particular passage so fascinating until I sat down here to pray and write. And then it dawned on me: I know all these things, but I still have an ungrateful heart.

Don't get me wrong. I am thankful for many things. I say a blessing before I eat, I bow my head in prayer at church, and I mind my P's and Q's. I'm doing the "right" things, but the heart behind it is in need of some perspective.

I am very ordinary in my views.

There are many times in life where I choose to look for the negative instead of the positive. Where I stop at the "fraught with difficulty" and don't see to the "piled high with benefits".


There are several things that I've always wanted from life: peace, happiness, and love. I always thought those things just kind of...happened to a lucky few who seemed happy and at peace with life.

I've rarely stopped to consider that I have a part in getting from life what I want.

My own unhappiness and discontentment has always been someone else's fault. I've even blamed God for not filling me up. I've argued with Him, pleaded with Him, and resolved to work harder for this elusive thing called Happiness. I suppose I could even say I've asked Him on an occasion or two to just zap me with Happiness so I could move on. But, it seems, God is not in the business of zapping people, and I am no exception. He is, however, in the business of refining His children, using even the most difficult of circumstances to create in them a grateful and content heart.



This makes the passage that I've heard a thousand times mean so much more to me: "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength." {Philippians 4:11-13}.

The strength is Christ's. The perspective is mine.

No, I'm not saying I have found all the secrets. There are mysteries that people will search for forever and never find. But I do know this: the secret of being content in any and every situation begins with a grateful heart.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beautiful For Me

There are no words to describe the following song. Just listen with an open heart and soak it in...

Beautiful For Me by Nichole Nordeman

Friday, December 7, 2012

Faith Builder by Lynn Cowell

I got the following message in my inbox this morning, and after some thought, I came to the conclusion that it was just too relevant not to share. So read, enjoy, and share with someone else who may be struggling in this area :)

Website banner


 
Faith Builder: Day 3
Priceless
I paid a huge price for you...that's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you! I'd sell of the whole world to
get you back, trade the creation just for you.
-Isaiah 43:1, 4 (The Message)
devotionsforarevolutionaryyear
When Prince William and Kate got married, it was like watching a Disney fairy tale movie in real life.
Except, perhaps, for all the press. Reporters commented on the price tag of everything-Kate's gown, shoes, ring, flowers, etc. Until they came to the tiara.
"Priceless."
That's how they described her gorgeous headpiece. Given to Queen Elizabeth as a gift for her eighteenth birthday, this diamond tiara was on loan to the princess-to-be.
No price tag could be put on the brilliant crown; it was impossible to replace. If it should somehow disappear, Scotland Yard would be all over London in a heartbeat.
In the end though, the tiara is still just a super fancy hat. A thing that can be lost or stolen.
That's so very different from you.
Why?
Because Jesus gave his everything, his very life, to
make you his.
The girl who understands just how much she is wanted is a girl who can be fully confident-empowered to make every decision a wise one, because she knows her decisions matter. A girl who knows that she is priceless is a girl who will never settle for anything short of the best from the one who loves her the most. A girl who is sure
that she is cherished and adored is a girl who no longer worries about herself; her focus is on sharing this radical love with all those she comes in contact with.
You can be that girl.
Jesus, I love the sound of being a confident girl. I know it doesn't come easy like popping something in a microwave. Help me do what it takes to grasp hold of the confidence that comes through getting just how much you love me! Amen.
The Bible says we are the bride of Christ. Think we'll wear wedding gowns in heaven? If so, what would your perfect gown look like?
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I was watching E! News while I folded the laundry yesterday (no one answered my FaceBook plea for a laundry fairy), and the newest, most exciting up-and-coming news, besides Marissa Miller's pregnancy, was the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I can tell everyone reading this is thrilled beyond words at this arresting news.

The thing that bothered me the most about the upcoming Angels Fashion Show was, well, not the fact that women are being paraded out in their underthings for the entire world to ogle over. The thing that bothered me the most about this particular show is that Justin Bieber will be performing. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably know who Justin Bieber is. And if you have a girl between the ages of 5 and 15, you definitely know who Justin Bieber is.

And if Justin Bieber mainly appeals to girls between the ages of roughly 5 to 15, and he is scheduled to perform at one of the most celebrated and sensual fashion shows of the year...then what exactly are the targeted audiences for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show?

This bothers me. A lot.

I know that on the surface, it would be frowned upon for this company to directly market their products to little girls. They are, however, looking for ratings and money. And if Justin Bieber brings ratings, and ratings bring money, then so be it. I suppose our impressionable little girls are just collateral damage.

And to take it a step further, I may not be a little girl anymore, but I am still an impressionable woman who (even though I know better) sees these images of perfection as something to attain, some sort of unachievable goal to constantly strive for, knowing all the while that I will never measure up. Which leaves me feeling a little less confident. A little less secure. A little less beautiful.

Victoria's Secret will probably never stop putting on a fashion show, because the world embraces this as the ultimate prize. The absolute definition of beauty. But I can stop myself from believing the lie that beauty is only in what a person looks like and how sensuous they can be.

And I can begin telling my daughter the truth about who she is and what true beauty really means by looking to God for the real story.

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
{1 Peter 3:4}


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday is finding me slightly stressed over several (inconsequential) things. However, I am still anxiously spinning my wheels as I try to accomplish 10 things all at the same time. I'll leave this thought with you before I run back to my chores:

Beware. This is what stress will do to you.

"I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once."

-Jennifer Yane

Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Queen of the World!

It's always something, isn't it?

First, it's the duvet cover. Then it's the gingerbread cookies.

I'll tell you something, if people don't start listening to me, I'm going to have one royal fit...



I sweetly suggested to my husband that he use my method for using the blankets on our bed at night. Why, pray tell, should he use my method? Well, for starters, because it works for me. We have a duvet cover (which I love) on our bed, and yes, of course it's filled with the fluffiest down alternative (real down makes me sneeze) blanket I could find. It just also happens to be the hottest down alternative blanket I could have possibly chosen for our bed. And for two people who don't like to sleep when it's hot, it's not really the best choice. But my husband knows me well enough to know that often times this girl chooses form over function, much to the dismay of the people who appreciate function. (Just as an aside, I used to hide the alarm clock under the bed or behind a plant on the bedside table because I couldn't find a suitable way to display it. I cannot justify my actions, since having an alarm clock that you cannot actually see isn't very beneficial.) So, my solution is to only cover my feet and lower legs with the blanket so I don't get too hot. It actually works pretty well, and the added bonus is that the covers don't get too messed up so that making the bed in the morning is not so bad. 

He, on the other hand, completely folds said blankets over on my side so that not only are they not touching him, but they are doubled up on me. This does not make me especially happy. This does not stop him.

{Sigh}

I think it's because he's not doing it my way.

I'm sorry to have to admit that. But it's the cold, hard truth.

It happened again while we were baking gingerbread cookies. This time it wasn't my husband who was offended by my bossy-ness, but my daughter, who isn't afraid to tell her mother to step off. (No, it's not always respectful. Yes, we are addressing this lack of respect. No, it doesn't always stop her.)

Photo

{Deep sigh.}

The thing is, I like to be in control. I like to do things my way. I think everyone should do things my way, and when they don't, I tend to get a little...miffed. {ahem}

Oh, if only the world did things my way, then...

Then what? I don't suppose I'm the only one out there who has the audacity to presume that the world would be a better place if people would only do things my way...(maybe I am, and in that case, it would make me feel better if no one reading this pointed that out to me).

Okay, so I admit it. I have a control problem. I think at the center of this little issue of mine is an issue with perfectionism and self-centerness. When I take the time to step out of myself and see the world from another point of view, then I'm able to understand that my perspective isn't the only one that is, nor is it the only one that counts.

Even more than that, though, I'm able to see that the relationship I have and can be building is much more important than getting my way. When I'm in the moment, I can't see that as clearly...but with a little lot of prayer and recognizing my own selfish habits, I am able to start focusing on the relationship rather than the habits of the other person. I love my husband. I do want him to be comfortable at night and get a good night's rest. I love my daughter, and want her to learn how to read a recipe and bake. And I want them to love me and enjoy spending time with me. I want us to enjoy spending time together. I don't want to be seen as someone who is constantly telling other people what to do and how to do it.

The Queen is officially resigning from her Control-It-All Duties. Effective tomorrow today :)

 
Photo: Baking gingerbread men :)