Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hello 2018!

I have managed to go on an almost two-year hiatus with this blog and I apologize. I just read my last post and can remember those feelings well!  I would like to think I sit here typing a changed woman, a woman who has gotten it all together since then, but I haven't.  I am no longer on the brink of emotional breakdown, but I still have problems with managing everything.  However, I have learned to take it day by day, say no when necessary, and try to find the joy somewhere along the way. 

With that being said, it's a new year. I time for starting over.  I can honestly say I am EXCITED about 2018!  I'm not really sure why, but I just am.  I love the feeling of a fresh start, of renewed focus.  I used to make resolutions for each new year...and not ever follow through.  This year I have decided to adopt a theme for the year that encompasses many aspects of my life that need some tweaking. 

This year, my theme is Save & Savor.  I prayed and feel as if this is what the Lord has laid on my heart for 2018.  Here are my initial thoughts, however they may change/adapt as the year progresses:

I want to save time and plan ahead to eliminate stress.  This can be with cooking, cleaning, errand-running, meal-planning...really anything.

I want to save money.  I want to make a budget and STICK TO IT.  I have started being intentional with saving, but want to cut out some frivolous spending and save it.  If I make more money by working more hours during busy times at work, I want to save that extra.  I want to use the money to take meaningful vacations with my family, weekend trips, activities, etc.

I want to savor my time with the Lord.  I want to spend time with Him daily and savor it, not just check it off my to-do list.

I want to savor my time with family.  Sometimes I find myself saying that I'm spending time with my family, yet I never sit down.  I'm always doing something.  Sometimes I just need to stop and savor the moments.  This also means giving my kids and husband my undivided attention when they are talking to me.

I want to save time in my schedule for nurturing friendships.  I have found that I need friends in my life for encouragement and refreshment.

I also want to save time in my schedule for regular date nights with my husband. 

I want to savor my food and start eating healthier.  This means sitting down at the table to eat meals with my family.

I want to save my health and take better care of my body.  I have slacked off on exercise and it shows in the way my clothes fit AND in my energy levels.  If I don't get proactive, it will lead to future health problems.

So, can you tell I'm a list girl?  I could probably list more things, however I am going to save myself some undue stress by not getting overwhelmed by a list that is too long. 

Have you made a resolution for the new year?  Or a theme perhaps?  I would love to hear about it if you have!

Here's to an awesome 2018!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Keepin' It Real

I going to just come out and say it:  I am struggling with my life right now.  In so many areas of my life, I am tired, discouraged and just plain stressed.  And, although I have noticed it for awhile, I feel like it's all sort of come to a head this week for some reason.  It was an extra busy week at work with having to fill in for a coworker who was on vacation, and an extra busy week with evening activities to go to.  We had a 4-H meeting, volleyball game, a band concert, sleepovers, a birthday dinner, volleyball practice, a birthday cookout for a friend, bringing home 4-H pigs, a small group meeting, youth group, and working on the barn that will house our pigs this summer (they are currently living in short-term housing across the street in our neighbor's barn). With that being said, I'm pooped and emotionally unstable.  The house is a mess.  The groceries need bought. The laundry needs done.  And I all I feel like doing is cry.  Out of exhaustion.  Frustration.  Depression. 

I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist by any means, but I do like to be productive.  And ever since we sold our house and moved (twice) last summer, I'm on an ever-present battle to get unpacked, settled in, and organized.  And weeks like this frustrate me because I can't even take baby steps towards that goal.  There's just no time.  And I feel like a failure.  I hate the constant rush my life is in right now.  Rushing to work after trying to rush to get everyone off to work and school. Rushing home from work to get something that resembles dinner on the table at the right time and get the dishes loaded into the dishwasher before rushing on to the next thing that evening.  Rushing to bed at night because my brain can no longer function and I just need quiet and no one to expect anything from me.  And while all this rushing is going on, my mental list of things that need accomplished continues to grow.  And the rushing continues so that I just might have a few minutes of margin in my life to be able to accomplish something on that ever-growing list. 

To top it off, I am at my heaviest weight since having kids.  I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin right now.  I'm frustrated because there is absolutely no time to workout.  And if I do have time, I'm too exhausted or depressed to actually make it happen.  It took me a couple of years and logging in lots of running miles to lose the weight I gained back and the task at hand seems insurmountable right now.  I hate the way my clothes fit.  I hate the way I look in them.  I shudder at the thought of putting on shorts or a bathing suit in just a few short weeks.  The stress over the past year has resulted in 25 lbs gained, a ton more gray hair, and wrinkles where there used to be none.  My confidence is gone.

In addition to everything else, I am raising a teen and 2 would-be teens, it seems.  One is experiencing their first heart-break and it's killing me.  I don't know how to help because they won't talk to me.  One is searching desperately for someone to love them; to find acceptance.  And the other is struggling with the need to fine-tune their God-given strengths and the process is grueling. I feel so helpless with each of them and, as the years pass by, I can only pray that I've taught them the skills, and built up the character they need to be successful adults.  Only time will tell, I guess.

All of this is affecting my marriage, my parenting, the relationships closest to me.  I have come to the realization:  I've lost my joy.  Depression is setting in and I don't like it, yet I'm not sure how to counteract it.  Life is moving at a crazy-fast pace right now and I feel like I can't even catch my breath to savor the moments.  The sermon at church last week was about not complaining.  To counteract our desire to complain my pastor said we should focus on being thank for what we DO have instead of what we don't have.  We also need to process the information in order to find a solution to the problem at hand (as opposed to complaining about it and doing nothing). I have really been trying to remember this this week.  So this blog post is me processing and trying to find a solution. I need a do-over; a fresh start.  And Mondays are a good day for that, right?  So I guess I am thankful for Mondays. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Was Blind (Dating) But Now I See by Stephanie Rische

Although I am married and don't need any dating advice, I love reading about people changing their lives and losing weight, fixing their marriage, or, in this case, accepting being single and searching for a mate.  This book was more than that, though, and also includes much spiritual insight.  The author tells of her journey of being set up on 8 blind dates and even gives each one a nickname such as "Uber-Fundamentalist Boy" and "The Connecticut Yankee". Throughout the book she writes of her feeling of being single and her frustration with not being able to find a husband.  She also grows spiritually along the way.

I really enjoyed this book and helped me to view singleness in a different way.  I now have compassion for people who are single and searching for a mate.  I have been married since I was 20 and had dated my husband for 4 years prior to that, so I have never had to experience singleness in adulthood.  In one story, the author shares about hearing a sermon at church about marriage and the pastor concluding the message while having all the married couples pray together for a few minutes at the end of the service.  Since she was single, she felt awkward and somewhat depressed about her singleness.  This made me have empathy for singles, and to realize that there are people who are single, but don't want to be and are searching for their soul mate with all they have. 

This is a great book for any women whether they are single or married!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for this honest review.