Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Beginnings

Do you ever wake up one morning and just decide that you want things to be different than they are?  Right now?!  That's how I felt yesterday morning. When I woke up, I knew a change needed to happen and happen quickly. For me.  A change in my head and in my heart.

So, I hopped out of bed, threw on some workout clothes, put on the headphones, and walked out the door.  I started running again.  Oh, mind you, I am not at the point of doing much actual running, I usually do more walking.  But I started it up again.  I'm using the Couch to 5K phone app. 

And when I got home, I felt great.  So I decided to go a step further and stop eating grains.  All grains.  I did that a year ago and felt so good.  My body just seemed to function better overall.  So I made the change.  Without much forethought or premeditation.  I just did it. And today I added 50 crunches to the mix. And I feel really great about pushing myself.

Change can be scary, but we live in a world of change, especially if we have children.  I have 3 teenagers now, and I know that big changes are just around the corner for our family. While it frightens me a bit, I'm excited as well.  Excited for them.  They have their whole lives ahead of them, and it's my job to make sure they're ready!  Wow!  What an awesome responsibility.

So I'm changing.  For today and for the future.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Light In The Tunnel

I have had what I consider to be a pretty "normal" week.  I haven't had one of those in a long time.  I mean that I felt like me.  Maybe you can't understand that, but I'm ecstatic about it!  I'm beginning to see the light.  I have had an extremely tough year.  It started in about June of last year.  But if I'm going to be honest, it started quite a few years prior to that and came to a head in June.  I've struggled.  I've been depressed.  I've been angry.  I just haven't felt like me.  But I didn't give up.  That's the important thing.

And I didn't try to fake it, either.  During my college years, I often heard the teaching, "Fake it 'til you make it!"  And I, like probably most of the other girls, thought it sounded like a good idea.  Now I'm not so sure that it IS a good idea.  If I fake it, am I trying to tell myself that there really isn't a problem when there clearly is?  Am I trying to look to others like there isn't a problem and I don't need help, when I clearly do?  I'm not sure what the point or purpose of faking it is, but even if I thought it was a good idea, I couldn't have done it.  Not this time.  This time the problems were just too big.  

You see, sometimes we just need the support of others.  They don't have to know the specifics of anything, but our vulnerability allows others to love us in a way that they couldn't if we were pretending, or faking.  It's okay to show our weaknesses sometimes.  We just shouldn't wallow in them.  We shouldn't allow our weaknesses and trials to define who we are.  We should turn to God and allow Him to grow us through our trial.  That's what I did.

I listened to music almost non-stop for months on end.  I read my Bible constantly.  I read a book over and over that helped me.  And I prayed.  I prayed for the situation.  I'm still praying for the situation.  It's a problem that won't be just disappearing.  But that's okay because God is helping me through it.  And I am growing.  And this week, I finally felt like myself again.

The Best Week Ever!

We have had one of the best weeks that I can ever remember as a family!  It was hot here.  Well, hot for Northern  Michigan, anyway.  We had several days in the high 80's.  We have no air conditioning in the house and no pool, so we met Daddy and the boys at the lake 3 days in a row.  What fun!  We played and rode the jet ski and just had loads of fun.

Then, our little town has a festival every year downtown.  Our kids wanted to go, but we have never taken them because of the sheer cost of paying for so many children to ride rides, so we told the girls we didn't have the money to go.  Next thing I know, they are out on the corner selling lemonade and water bottles to passersby.  And they made $80.  Enough money to pay for 5 children to get wrist bands and ride rides for 5 hours at Alpenfest.  Boy did they have fun!  I love their determined attitude that says, "I can figure out a way to make this happen!"

The wind blew or something, and that elephant ear attacked him!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Good Read

Don't you just love cuddling up with a good story?  I do!  But that's not the kind of book I'm reading right now.  Instead I'm reading a self-help book of sorts.  

Product Details

I'm only about 1/6 of the way through the book, but it is really helping me to be able to see myself in a new light.  My friend has been recommending this book to me for several weeks now, and I didn't want to listen.  Who knows why.  Sometimes we don't want to admit that we have a problem in a certain area or areas.  But often others can see our problems much more clearly than we can.  The key is being open in our spirits enough to allow someone else to point out those problems without getting "prickly."  

I don't want to be unapproachable.  Someone recently told me that I was, and I didn't like it one bit.  (Here's me being completely transparent with whoever wants to read about it! ;)  And, to be honest, I don't think they were completely accurate, but I did think about what they said.  I thought about it, tried to discern if there were any truth in it, and then decided that there was at least a smidgen of truth in there.  When I feel hurt, I tend to be unapproachable.  That's not a good thing, but I don't know how to fix it just yet.  I'm working on it.

And this book is one of the ways I'm working on it.  I think that we all need certain boundaries in our lives. 

So, if you're up for a good read, and you have relationships that need some help, this book just might be for you!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect

I am a perfectionist.  And I'm an only child.  So, basically, I like for everything to be done right.  Which really means that I want it to be done my way. Haha!  Right.  I have 9 children.  And a very busy husband.  So...

I have learned to just "let it go."

If you have a large family you have to learn to do that.  At least to a certain degree.

When I wake up in the morning I like to walk through a perfectly clean house.  Everything in its place.  It gives a fresh start to my day.  It makes me feel like I can conquer the world.  But the truth is that rarely happens.  And I'm okay with that.  Now.

But, I still hang on to the fact that certain things in my life have to be "perfect" in order for me to feel good about life.  This idea isn't right either.  It's not true.

I woke up this morning.  All of my children were healthy.  My husband was hard at work.  I had food to eat.  God blessed me.  Again.  And I didn't even ask for it.

My world does not have to be perfect because He is.

I can breathe easy.

Enjoy your imperfect world today!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Is it Happiness? OR Is it Joy?

I am in love with words.  I always have been.  From the time I was a little girl, I loved to read.  To this day, once I start reading a book, I have a hard time doing anything else until that book has been devoured.  (This can be a pretty bad thing when there are 10 other people plus numerous animals in the house who need taking care of while I am lost in another world!)  As a lover of words, I often desire to know the exact definition of a word, or at least the closest definition to the original as I can get, so I love to reference Webster's 1828 Dictionary.  

So, according to Webster's 1828, happiness is "the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good; that state of a being in which his desires are gratified by the enjoyment of pleasure without pain.  Happiness expresses less than felicity, and felicity less than bliss.  Happiness is comparative.  To a person distressed with pain, relief from that pain affords happiness; positive pleasure; agreeable sensations.  Happiness admits of indefinite degrees of increase of enjoyment, or gratification of desires."

Joy is "the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire.  A delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present, or assured approaching possession of a good.  Gayety; myrth; festivity.  Happiness; felicity.  A glorious or triumphant state.  The cause of joy or happiness."

I have kind of been taught my entire life that happiness is a bad thing while joyfulness is a good thing.  I don't think I believe that to be true.  I think that both are equally as good, just in different ways.  Maybe joy is a little harder to attain.  We have to work at it a bit more.  Have a bit of the Pollyanna spirit about us.  The word happy is found only 25 times in the Bible while the word joy (or any variation like joyful) is found 187 times.  Neither one carries a negative connotation.  So, I think that happiness is enjoying something good in the present, while joy is the anticipation of something good in the future.

In other words, I can overcome the miserable circumstances of right now by looking forward to the blissful circumstances of the future.  

Think about that for a minute.  I am only child who now has nine children of my own.  I never have any time alone.  My house is never clean.  My laundry is never done.  My floors are usually dirty.  My dishes are rarely done.  My yard is always a mess.  But that's okay.  It's temporary.  I can look forward to better circumstances in the future -- namely, my children being grown-up, good Christian people rearing their own families for the Lord.  My seemingly miserable circumstances right now are temporary.

However, in my day-to-day life, there are also many happy times.  Like when the misery of childbirth is immediately replaced by a squeaking, chubby, red-faced baby.  Like a bike ride on July 4th with family and great friends.  Like my 5 year old grabbing my face and telling me I'm beautiful (even though I'm 20 pounds heavier than I would like, my breath stinks, I haven't showered, and I look like I just crawled out from under a hole) and actually meaning it!  Like sitting on the front swing with the sun beaming down on me looking at my beautiful flowers!  Like sweet snuggles and kisses from the most adorable 5 month old in the world!  Like hugs from my adorable 3 year old.  Like roses picked (maybe illegally?!) and put in my hair by my ever-growing, nearly 15 year old son.  These things are priceless.  These things are easy to enjoy most of the time (we'll talk about when they aren't another day.).

But then there are the crummy times.  The times when the laundry is overwhelming.  When every. single. room in the house looks like a tornado tore through it.  When I forgot (again!) to plan dinner and it's 6 o'clock.  When my husband has been working 16-18 hours a day for the last two months.  When every child in the house wants to exercise his independence at the same time.  When the baby won't sleep.  When the dog strews garbage through the whole living room.  You get the idea.  At these times, I want to feel sorry for myself.  There's no happiness in sight.  At these times, though, I can have joy.  I can look forward to the hugs, the sweet words, the smiles, the snuggles, the flowers.  

The key is figuring out a way to remind myself that these circumstances are temporary and will pass.  I'll be honest:  I don't have it figured out yet.  I fail more often than I succeed, but the secret is to keep trying to succeed.  Don't give up!  You can do it!  This too shall pass.  You will make it to the other side.  

The "older women" that I have been fortunate enough to have at various stages in my life always told me, "Enjoy your children while they are little.  They grow so quickly." and "It's easier when your children are all young.  It gets harder as they get older."  I have to admit that I didn't really believe them.  But now that my oldest is 16 I think I'm beginning to understand.  Life passes by so very quickly.  We only have these wonderful blessings for a few moments in the grand scheme of life.  Certainly we can learn to endure and maybe even enjoy the "crummy" moments (and when we have little ones, they are often "crumby"!) in anticipation of the joy these little ones will bring us later -- sometimes just 5 minutes later!