Monday, July 8, 2019

It's Not Too Late...

A few months ago, I was feeling like I was so organized! I had printed out a great Christian planner, scheduled a few blog posts every week, stayed on top of new youth kids joining my non-profit organization, scheduled cleaning days for every area of my house, and had regular work hours for my blog and non-profit! But then...

Then, life changed a little when my second oldest son decided to enlist in the Army. We are so proud of him, his wife, and their two sons while he is gone at Basic. My husband and I and some of our children stepped up to help my daughter-in-law with the boys since she works full-time which meant some of the things we had been doing in life had to take a temporary backseat to my son's family. If you remember way back to May, you know that I had an attitude here and there about some things, too. All that changed when the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that, as with my own children, these days, weeks, and months with my grandsons will not last forever. My son will be sent to a base, potentially farther away from us, and we will not be able to see the boys everyday as we do now. It's not too late to stop and focus on them and their learning and fun times together!

One of the things that I allowed to take a backseat during this time was my health and fitness. I have sadly become easily tired and lack energy to play with my grandsons because of that choice. A year ago, I was working out six days a week, drinking my superfood shake, and felt so full of life! Now, I often feel as though the days get away from me with little fruit to show for the days and weeks. But just as it's not too late to stop and focus on my grandsons and our time together, it's not too late to stop and focus on my health and fitness first, and then on the boys!

You see, if we stuff too many things into our days, nothing will get done well. It may get done, but without prioritizing tasks, things will be completed in a rush and be done poorly or we'll end up exhausted and lacking the proper sleep necessary to do it all!

Today, I want to encourage you to write down all that you have to do in the coming weeks. Maybe it's caring for your children/grandchildren, writing a book, helping with Vacation Bible School, cleaning the house, working out, etc. Then, I want you to prioritize each thing. Those things with higher priority are things that are not debatable! You will complete them every day. Those things with lower priority, they can wait a day or two or three before being completed.

What do your priorities look like? I'd love for you to share!

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Truth About my Health and Fitness Journey...

When I was in middle school, I remember thinking I was "fat" because most of the cool girls my age were still wearing a girl's size 14 or 16 jeans and I was wearing a size 1 or 3. I weighed all of 104 pounds back then at 12 years old. Oh, how I wish I could tell my 12 year old self that it didn't matter what I weighed as long as I was healthy and eating right. The fear of weighing "too much" would follow me into adulthood when, as an 8 month pregnant woman with a 2 year old, all I could think was, "As long as I don't gain weight so that I weigh over 150 pounds, I'll be okay." The truth was, that I would have had just a 12 pound weight gain for that pregnancy, and that was not healthy for me or my baby. I had struggled with my overall perception of how I looked if I weighed a certain amount until I crossed a mental line and ended up thinking, "I don't care what I weigh," and I gained more weight, not even post-pregnancy weight!

About three years ago, I began working with a wonderful personal trainer! He knew I could do more, but didn't push me to the point of feeling defeated, just challenged, which I really needed to build my confidence. Unfortunately, the cost of a personal trainer caught up with me, and I had to leave my good friend. Soon after, though, another friend began posting videos of her workouts and this awesome shake she drank once a day. Well, I loved watching her working out, and she was very motivating to me (I've known her for over 20 years!), so I joined her team. I lost about 20 pounds and felt the best I had felt in years! She was my workout buddy, support, coach, and friend. But then, she quit the business, and I never felt more alone. She is still there for me, but as a great friend and encouragement. My motivation, however, waned. The weight crept back up, and my poor food choices and habits soon returned. It wasn't that I didn't want to eat more healthier, it was that the emotional eating that I had succumbed to years before was never dealt with, so I fell back into my old habits. What you keep in front of you, what you talk about, what you're focused on, that is what you will eventually lead yourself into--good or bad!

But I made the choice to start back on the health and fitness journey I had begun with my sweet friend. I'm choosing life, a healthier life, and I'm choosing to not make poor food choices. Just as I'm choosing this healthier lifestyle, we must also choose life in Jesus.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the weight of yourself, your relationships, your health, your life, I encourage you to read the Word and find Scriptures that support a healthy lifestyle. Just as I said on Monday, we are the ones who are in control of what we decide to do. No one can make the choice for you just as no one can workout for you or eat healthy for you and then you see the weight loss. Our decisions need actions to be successful!

What will you choose to breathe life into? I'd love for you to share!

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Got Attitude?

I try to be fairly transparent with you all, and today is not going to be any different. In the past, I might have made this one of my "Friday 'Fess Up" posts. But I feel it worth putting out there today!

This past week, I've had a bad attitude. Some events transpired, and I felt as though I deserved more than what I was getting. Anyone else ever feel that way? 
"How come he gets this and I don't?" or "It's not fair! I'm in a higher position! I should be the one getting that!" or my own personal whine, "I'm the mom! I deserve to get that!" Can anyone relate?

Well, the Lord began speaking to me in my bad attitude. He said, "You have a choice. You can sit there with your 'attitude pants' on OR you can change your attitude and the way you're thinking!" What if I were to look at things differently? What if instead of being jealous that I wasn't getting something I thought I should be getting, I turned my attitude around and thanked the Lord for what He is doing in those people through those events?

You see, each of us are responsible for our own actions, thoughts, and feelings. 
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul tells us that our weapons in warfare are not physical, but mighty in the Lord to pull down strongholds, arguments, anything that is against the knowledge of God, and for bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

And finally, in Philippians 2:5, it says that "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." WOW! He was in a similar situation that I was and worse! But Jesus never said, "It's not fair!" or "I'm the Savior Jesus! I deserve to get better!" No, Jesus simply did what the Father asked of Him. 

We are the only ones who can decide what we do with our thoughts and our attitudes! We can sit and sulk and have a pity party and stop focusing on the Word, or we can take our thoughts captive, pray for good things for those who are getting what we think we are owed, and we can start agreeing with what God  and the Scriptures say!

Have you been in a similar situation with similar feelings and thoughts? I'd love for you to share!

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Hear the Word again...for the first time!

This past week, I was feeling overwhelmed by upcoming events. A big formal banquet with the youth organization I work with, my mom's knee replacement surgery, caring for her post-op, vet visits for my pups, my middle son's induction into the honor society at his college, a big praise and worship night at church, caring for some of my grandchildren, and ending with next Monday when my second oldest son will be heading to Boot Camp in Georgia! Just glancing over all of that, I feel those same overwhelming thoughts creeping back in...
But yesterday during our discipleship classes at church, I was reminded of a verse I have read, recited, and meditated on several times in the past. It was the perfect verse for ALL that is coming up for me this week!

That verse just popped right out at me! And then, it made me stop and think. Why am I worrying about what is coming up?! I've got enough to think about for today. As a matter of fact, I forgot something I was supposed to do yesterday because I was so focused on the rest of the week and not living in the moment of TODAY!

You may have read a particular Scripture over and over and over again. But when the Lord wants to teach you or show you something in that verse, it's like you're seeing it with new eyes, hearing it again for the first time!

What's a verse that you've heard and one moment it made a world of difference or you saw or heard it differently? I'd love for you to share!!

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Distractions--How to Avoid Common Pitfalls and Finish Your Tasks

Staying the Course and Finishing the Task at Hand

One of my favorite books to read to the kids was "If You Give a Mouse A Cookie."  It was the perfect example of how a simple task can lead to distractions, and, before we know it, we've done everything except the one thing we had set out to do in the first place.
There was recently one on Facebook that described a mom's life almost perfectly.

If you give a mom a muffin, she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.  So she’ll pour herself some. 
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old. She’ll wipe it up. 
Wiping up the floor, she will find some dirty socks. She’ll remember she has to do some laundry. 
When she puts the laundry in the washer, she’ll trip over some boots and bump into the freezer. 
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight. She will get out a pound of hamburger. 
She’ll look for her cookbook. The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. 
She’ll see the phone bill which is due tomorrow. 
She will look for the checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old. 
She’ll smell something funny. She’ll change the two year old. 
While she is changing the two year old, the phone will ring. 
Her five year old will answer it and hang up. 
She’ll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on Friday. 
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. 
She will pour herself another cup. And notice that someone has eaten the muffin.

(C) 2012 Parenting Is Funny
Does this sound familiar to you?  I know it does to me!  It could almost be my daily routine and one reason I lose such valuable time throughout my day.  These sorts of distractions are all around us, but there are ways of avoiding them.  
As I said yesterday, we can make schedules.  Whether you use a smartphone, tablet or hard copy calendar, I encourage you to write things down.  This allows us to see our day at a glance.  And with everything we have going on in our busy lives, we are not likely to remember all these things no matter what we tell ourselves.  I am a list maker and I enjoy checking things off throughout the day.
Since I'm a writer, I like to do that, but maybe you need something printed out or visual examples work better for you.  Then I would encourage you to create a pictorial task list or chore list.  Laminate it so it can be reused.
When taking on more tasks, such as helping at church, community involvement, and children's activities, ask yourself if you can do it and then ask God if you should do it!  Service is such a great opportunity to reach out to others, but not at the expense of our own families.  This can be a distraction that keeps us from accomplishing daily goals and tasks.  
It is also a pitfall for us if we fear letting others down or how we might look if we choose to turn down the request for help.  This is a pride issue.  A lot of distractions, not wanting to let others down, how we might come across to others, wanting to seem as though we can "do it all" are all pride things, and we need to know and accept our own limitations. 

We don't have to live with an immediacy expectation either!  We can work to finish our tasks knowing that we have done them well and for the glory of the Lord.

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Doing What You're Called to Do

Have you ever felt a sense of urgency to do something? Like you just feel like you have to get out there and paint or help people in some way or you feel like you want to run, drive, or just go? (Am I the only one?) 

Several years ago, I had that feeling. I thought it was because I was watching a lot of MacGyver episodes, so at first, I chalked it up to the fact that I needed to watch less television! But the feeling persisted, so I did what any rational thirty-something adult with 8 children would do: I enrolled in a rock climbing course at the recreation center...and enrolled in the community college's Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) course! I know, it's not exactly a rational sounding path to trod, but nonetheless, I began to walk down that road.

I really enjoyed the rock climbing and EMT classes! I did great in both and on the national registry exam, too. But as a 35 year old mother of 8 kids from 15 to 1 year old, I just couldn't justify paying for daycare or working nights to fulfill this career. So I worked in a lab instead. 

A few years later, I felt that same sense of urgency again! But now, we were living in Florida, and I knew working in the medical field was not the path to take not to mention that rock climbing was a joke in that sea level terrain. It was then that this blog, "Super Mom the Illusion," was born! I began to write about my grown children going through so many changes as young adults and my mother's heart to want to keep them small so I could protect them. I wrote about every day activities we were doing, places we had gone, and what life was like living in a travel trailer and homeschooling 5 children. The more I wrote, the more I knew...I really knew...THIS is what that sense of urgency was all about!

Even now, as I'm sitting at the computer, pouring my heart and feelings out, it's like I'm running and feeling a release, like I'm doing what I was called to do! I think I've always known this is what I'm supposed to be doing, but sometimes there are other things that I'm good at that I think, "I'm called to do this!" When really, I'm not. Does this sound familiar?

The fact is, if you search your heart and mind, you probably already know what you're called to do. But for one reason or another, you aren't doing it. It's time to stop making excuses (I don't have the money, the time, the patience, the talent, the strength, the brains), stop doubting what God wants you to do (Is God really asking me to go, to do, to create, to be), and it's high time you get started doing it!

That sense of urgency is not going to go away by you filling your day with other busy activities and events! You will only feel that sweet release when you finally tell the Lord, "I'll go where you send me and do what you've called me to do!"

I'd love for you to share your story of doing what you've been called to do!

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Breathe Life Back Into Your Dreams

If you don't know already, I love to write! I'll write anything (almost!). Quippy responses to social media comments, fun questions, poetry, short stories, novels, even a blog! What you may or may not know is that I wrote and published a novel over 5 years ago. And still another little secret is that I wrote two more novels after that! Those last two, however, have yet to be published. 

Editing is tough and raw and revealing and emotional and so many other things. But, to be honest, I was afraid to publish these next two books. They are the final components in a 3-part series of fiction stories based in Dissonance, Wyoming, my fictional town just north of Cheyenne. Creating scenes is easy for me. I can clearly see the action playing out as though I'm watching a movie! But to get all the details just right so my readers can follow through? That can be difficult. 

This month, though, I'm dusting off those two stories and looking over them again! I'm tired of being afraid of what others might think! I'm done with wondering if I'm a good enough writer, if my stories are interesting, or if critics will tear my characters apart finding inconsistencies and an elementary level reading at best. 

I know God gave me a desire and talent to write creative, fun, engaging, action-packed stories, and I don't want to stand at the end of my life and know that I quit because I didn't trust God to know what He was doing with me and through me! And I'm done listening to the lies Satan has been telling me about my writing! 

I am creative. I have a talent for writing. I can say things in a way that was meant to reach even one person, and I'm not going to sit on my talent like an old cushion on a couch! NO! I'm taking my dreams back starting TODAY!

Can you relate to these feelings? Have you pushed a dream back because you listened to the lies that you couldn't possibly do that thing you've always dreamed of or that you wouldn't amount to a hill of beans? Just stop! 

What dreams are you ready to breathe life back into? I'd love for you to share!

Come for the journey, stay for the friendship!