Saturday, June 26, 2010

Let the Summer Fun Begin!

So what do you think of the new blog colors? Thought it was time to play around with the look of it. Maybe with all this pink I need to stick to black for my font color though. Kind of gives it a very hip look, don't you think?

I am currently enjoying some time at home alone. Alone! I'm so happy. I had thoughts of doing some housework and even taking a nap, but blogging sounded like a better idea at the moment. Maybe I can actually have an insightful thought without anyone interrupting me! Well, there is the dog, but he's currently napping under my chair. Oh, and I have the garage door closed, so maybe the neighborhood kids won't think we're home either. Aaahhh...

Well, yesterday we did something we hardly ever do as a family: go to the beach. I've never been much of a beach fan, but I put "going to the beach at least monthly" on my summer goals list. I just decided that it is silly to live this close to beautiful Lake Michigan and not take advantage of it! I think especially with homeschooling now, and having the kids around me so often (which I'm normally perfectly fine with)...I've decided that this summer we need to be purposeful about doing certain things. And in particular, certain things that are outdoors and appreciating the beauty of this state we live in. Michigan IS a gorgeous state. Yes, I do hate living here from about January 2nd through March 31st. But the rest of the time I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. So, yes, we hit the beach yesterday.

I must say, it was actually quite enjoyable! I've gotten over the bathing suit hang-up (because I found one that has surfer shorts for the bottoms, so I don't have to be self-conscious wearing it), but I'm still not a huge fan of the sand. Oh, the sand. It goes everywhere. Literally. Nothing like taking a bite of our sandwiches and gritting the sand in my teeth. Or getting it stuck in places on the kids that only a bath would help wash off. I guess, though, if the sand is the worst of our problems, then that's OK. And, I'd say that was the worst of it.

Now that the twins can swim and Hannah has her life vest on, I was able to relax a fair amount yesterday. Of course it helped that Daddy was in the water with them most of the time. But Lake Michigan still scares me. It's a big lake and the conditions can change in a flash.  If it weren't for Dave being there, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the time nearly as much. Thankfully everyone was safe and tons of fun was had by all. The funniest was when we got out our big inflatable sea monster. I got lots of laughs watching the kids (and sometimes Daddy too) floating around on that thing. Hannah most enjoyed using it as her personal beach bed. But we left the beach with lots of color on our skin, smiles on our faces, and sand in our...well, sand everywhere. Pictures will come on Facebook soon.

I guess it's about time to get off the computer and start packing Luke up for camp. Camp, you say?! Yep. My little boy decided he wanted to go to Bible camp for 5 days with a friend. I really don't think I'm ready for this! He leaves tomorrow after church and will be home on Friday. The twins both went to this camp with friends for 2 days a couple summers ago. Somehow knowing that they had each other there made that experience seem easier to handle. Plus, it was only for 2 days. I have to do a lot of praying between now and tomorrow afternoon to be ready for this one. Leaving my baby boy for 5 days?! Oh heaven help me. I hope I can hold it together when we drop him off.  I'm sure he'll have tons of fun and be perfectly fine. It's just a whole new road we're taking here. I guess it comes with the job (parenting, that is). If he has the confidence to spread his wings and go to summer camp for 5 days, then we must be doing something right. The girls and I will do some special things together while he's gone. I'm thankful that the camp posts pictures of the campers during the week. You know I'll be checking that website several times a day!

Before I go, let me be accountable (per my previous post): I have been doing a smidge better. I still have a hard time getting enough of the veggies and getting in enough exercise. Although my trips up the dune yesterday at the beach sure wore me out! I think I've only lost a 1/2 a pound so far though. I hope to kick it into high gear and start to see those results accumulate quickly. I need some encouragement for this long road ahead! You can pray for me as I continue to change my thinking on this topic. That's all where the problem is, for sure. Still trying to convince myself that I really can do this. Too many failed attempts make me leery of even trying again.

Well, until next time...enjoy your blessings!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Time to Switch on My Brain Again!

Well, I did it again. I lost focus of my goal. And it wasn't a temporary loss of focus, it was like a month (or more). How do I do this? I feel like the fish, Dorie, in Finding Nemo. She's so easily taken off track on their journey to find Nemo. It's pretty funny all the clueless things she does...until you see how upset Nemo's Dad is and how much he just wants to stay focused on finding his missing son. And, after all, who can blame him? But poor Dorie just can't keep it all together. That's how I feel.

The goals I have in life (like most everyone, I suppose) are many. But this one goal that keeps slipping from my eyesight is in the area of my personal health journey. This weight that has plagued me since grade school. This weight loss goal that has changed dates so many times, I hate to even put a date on it anymore. I have a very BIG weight loss goal in mind for my 40th birthday (in 15 months). But a mini weight loss goal in mind for my 39th. I've had this goal for quite a while now (at least since New Year's Day). So why is it the end of June and the goal is no closer (and may even be farther away)? Because I can't keep my eyes on the finish line. I'm reminded of this verse today:

I Corinthians 9:24 ~ Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I want to get the prize! In this case, it would finally (after over 30 years of struggle) be winning the battle of the scale. It would be feeling younger in my 40's than I have in my 30's. It would be finally slamming the door on this stronghold in my life, and telling Satan he did NOT win this fight. Take THAT Satan. Oh, how I can't wait to say that!

So why do I keep losing focus on the goal? Part of it is lack of faith that I can even succeed. Apparently somewhere in my brain, it feels less painful to "give up" than to "fail trying." Why do I think I'm going to fail? Because that's all I've ever done in this fight. Lose. And not lose weight. Lose confidence in myself. Lose faith in the science of "move more, eat less." Lose the will to fight the fight. Lose hope. Lose...well, you get the idea.

And another reason for taking my eye off the goal is all the other "goals" I have my eye on. There's the goal of being a good homeschooling Mom, of being a good housekeeper, of being financially smart, of being a good Christian, of being a good wife/friend/whatever else I am. Sometimes it just gets to be too much! I often feel that I can only do one thing really well. Well, that's probably a huge lie from the enemy, but if it's even remotely true...I know that I need to make that "one" thing focused on me this summer. Yes, I said it. I need to be a bit selfish with my goals right now! I need a huge jump start into this weight loss journey before fall. This summer is the time to do it. Has to be. I can't keep losing focus and NOT losing weight.

So what am I waiting for? I know it's not easy, but it should be simple. Move more. Eat less. Drink more water. Stop eating after 8PM. Eat more vegetables. Eat less refined carbs. Eat healthy protein. I know the drill! This journey is SUCH a head issue for me. An emotional roller coaster. I've allowed (yes, allowed...I choose what I think about) this issue to grow so big in my brain, that it's ugly weeds are killing all the healthy thoughts. Do you have such an issue? I have a book & some DVD's by Dr. Caroline Leaf called "Who Switched Off My Brain?". She does a great job of showing how negative thoughts literally grow thorns in our mind. Whereas healthy thoughts look like healthy trees. We CAN control what we think about. The enemy might try to throw some ideas into our heads, but we have the choice of whether to continue dwelling on those negative thoughts or whether to discount them as false and move onto something else. Well, I need to stop dwelling on negative thoughts! That is true of all areas in my life, but ESPECIALLY in areas related to the topic of weight loss.

I think I'm going to re-watch those Caroline Leaf DVD's and refresh my knowledge on how to re-train my brain. I promise to be accountable to this blog in regards to my weight loss journey. Accountability is kind of a scary thing! I know what to do though. It's time to just do it. Keep that goal in my mind and pray about how to daily make wise choices to get me successfully across the finish line. Time to take daily, purposeful actions towards success in this area. The mountain I have to climb seems WAY too big. But the reward is great. Probably greater than I can even imagine.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Enough with all the Worry!!

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I've been sucked into the land of worry. I know it is a waste of my time and I know God commands us NOT to worry. I also know that worry/fear are the exact opposite of faith. Yet, here I am fighting this worry bug so strongly that I wish they sold "worry bug spray." I thought if I took a few minutes to write about this, I'd get some clarity and peace of mind.

Here are some great verses on the topic:

Proverbs 12:25 ~ An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:27-30 ~ Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

I Peter 5:7 ~ Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

I guess these verses say it clearly enough, don't they?! Stop worrying. Trust God enough to let go of all the frets and fears. Does God care about me? Of course. Does He know exactly what I need? Of course. Then Who should I be taking my fears to? Duh.

I think perhaps my issue with the current list of things that have me so bothered, is the guilt and shame and anger behind their existence. We're talking financial worries here. As much as I have tried to forgive myself for the stupidity that caused these things, I keep coming back to them over and over again. And what is it that causes me to keep beating myself up over the same issues? When I start comparing myself to others. I see others who are able to do the things that we should be able to do if we hadn't been so stupid in the past. Things that we now have to postpone for who knows how long while we dig ourselves out of the hole we created. It's downright maddening. Sickening. Frustrating beyond belief. Once I start to get caught up into that mindset, it's all downhill from there. That's where I am now. I guess it's kind of a pity party for myself. Not helping too much, now is it?! Time to change my mindset and get back to my happy place!

The person who gave the sermon on Sunday night said something that really struck me: "Stop blaming the enemy for where you're at. Most of us aren't doing enough for God for the enemy to bother attacking us. We sabotage ourselves so well, we don't need the enemy's help!" Wow. So true, isn't it?! I have a lot of great lies that I continue to believe and to feed myself. I don't need the enemy to feed them to me. He has me trained well enough to do it all on my own. Or maybe I've just been a foolish Christian long enough to have trained myself to do such things. I love the verse above that says we should "thank God for all He's done." That is one easy way to find peace in the midst of any worry...particularly a financial one. I can look back and see the debts we've paid off. I can see the period of unemployment that He got us through. I can see that He always takes care of us. All of His past provisions ought to be enough to ease the worries today. But instead I succumb to looking at the whole big scary picture and start to throw out those "what ifs." That's a killer. A big no-no.

I want a quick and easy fix. Well, that's not going to happen. I need to pray for endurance and contentment along the way. Pray for continued knowledge and discipline in the area of our budget. Trust that God is going to supply what we need when we need it. Plan enough for future expenses, but don't focus on all the things that will be heading our way down the road. That's just too much to take in. Find that balance between budgeting and planning, but not dwelling and worrying. It is certainly a fine line at times, isn't it?!

Because, guess what...in the midst of our monthly budget is this big thing called LIVING! Sometimes, I can get so caught up in the bottom line of where our progress is, that I forget to enjoy the daily moments God blesses us with. Living in fear of what the future brings to us financially, is sucking my enjoyment out of the daily life I have been given to live. After all, this life is a gift! Every second of it. God gave us every blessing. He didn't give them to us so we could sit around and worry about how everything is going to pan out. He gave us these blessings to treasure every moment. It is time to learn how to separate my daily living from my Quicken program. Sounds dumb, I know. But I truly find that my peace only comes on the days/weeks where Quicken is showing we're doing OK. Life's not any fun at all on those weeks where Quicken shows we're in the "struggling side of the month." (We have that, do you? Where one half of the month is always much easier to get through financially then the other one? Can you tell which side of the month we're on right now?!)

Goodness knows this life is going to continue to throw a lot of "worry-able" moments at us. It is time to get this worry bug under control! I must be purposeful. I must change my thoughts on this topic. I must bathe myself in prayer and Scriptures on the topic. Enough is enough. Worrying is just no fun at all!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gettin' a Grip!

I have to start out by saying how blessed I am for the amazing friends I have in my life. It was so awesome last night to share the evening (all of it...'til midnight!) with two of our favorite families. Our kids all have a blast and the adults do too. It's just so nice to be able to "chill" with some great friends. No pressure. No hype. No expectations. Just fun. Love that!

Well, if you read this &/or my facebook page lately, you may have noticed me venting and being very stressed/overwhelmed. Can I take a second to vent about my venting? I process things often by writing or talking them out with my husband or venting on my FB page. I was told by someone on Friday to basically get over it and shut up. Well, in time, I always do "get over it". But can I just say...if you don't want to hear me venting, no one is making you read my posts! Please don't tell me to stop venting on my own FB page or blog. It's my personal therapy at times. If you find me annoying, then feel free to ignore my posts. I won't mind. But I will try to limit my venting to places not quite so public from now on. Oh, and I think the biggest thing I need when I'm feeling like that is someone to pray for me or with me or call me up and hear the whole scoop. Thanks to those people in my life who do that.

Whew. I feel better now.

So, on Friday I literally thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I haven't been that beside myself in a long time. I think it was a combination of PMS, stress of current life situations, and even some pre-menopause hormones. I mean...I was just a mess. Thankfully I woke up Saturday feeling more normal, but for a while on Friday night I didn't think I was ever going to get it together. I know that I let my emotional tank get to the point of breathing fumes, and that's never a good thing. Friday night after I took a 10PM walk around the neighborhood to pull myself together (after crying uncontrollably in Dave's arms as he stood there speechless), I watched a DVD by the guy who wrote "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus." He wrote a new book all about hormones and stress and how men and women process it differently. Boy was that the perfect night for me to watch this! His new book is called "Venus on Fire and Mars on Ice" and I highly recommend it to all my pre-menopause friends out there. This whole thing with hormones is something that I know I need to pay more attention to. It's only just beginning I'm afraid. I'm all about treating the cause and not the symptoms, and about doing things as naturally as possible. It's time to study up on hormones. Joy.

I just wanted to post a quick update on here just to let you know (if you care) where I was coming from the last few days. I told Dave today that I think I had a mini-nervous breakdown on Friday night...although I don't know how mini it felt at the time. Praise God for some clarity of thought and the ability to put everything into perspective. I think, though, that I need to put my personal well-being much higher on my priority list this summer. Especially with homeschooling now, I need to use my summers to get a grip and perspective. I have a personal health goal for my 40th birthday (which is coming up in 15 months). I have a lot of actions to take to accomplish this goal! I need to get a huge start on it this summer. I think Friday's meltdown may have been the wake-up call I needed to start taking better care of myself.

Thanks for caring enough to read this. I promise I'll try not to be such a downer from now on. :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Vant to Be Alone!!

I am in desperate need of a personal battery recharging. How do you recharge your batteries? For me, it begins by having time alone. Well, no wonder I feel so emotionally empty...I haven't had alone time in so long I don't even remember the last time it was! I'm either homeschooling or working at the bank or attending kids/Dave's sports activities or taking care of other personal/family matters. Alone? What's that?!  I'm having one of those days today (the last couple have been leading up to it, but today is the worst) where I feel like my nerves are going to jump right out of my skin. The anxiety and stress that is within me can't seem to be calmed. I tried doing Bible study, but the kids were right there in the room with me listening to the Go Fish Guys and dancing around (normally not a problem, but today...not so great). Then I tried my usual "quiet time with God in the shower" trick...but I was interrupted by Hannah barging in asking if she could have something and the jolt of her breaking into my "quiet zone" completely ruined the whole experience for me. I feel like a bomb ready to explode at the next loud noise or child's demand. I'm just spent. That's all there is to it.

Like most women, these feelings can't be pinpointed to just one thing. It's a combination of about 5 different things that are now so intertwined in my mind, I can't begin to process any of them individually. That's why "Women are Like Spaghetti, and Men are Like Waffles." (I don't own the book, but I heard the authors speak at a Mom's conference last year...and it's all great stuff.)

Tomorrow morning Dave is participating in a neighborhood mini triathlon. I think he's going to take the kids with him and give me a couple hours of complete solitude. At this point though, I'm just wondering how I'm going to make it that long. There are still at least 4 more hours before Dave gets home from work. Thankfully the rain has stopped and the kids are now playing outside. But you know how that works: in and out, "Mom..." this, and "Mom..." that. They're outside for the time being, but this certainly does NOT count as alone time. If I can hear them, I'm not alone. And believe me, I can hear them.

It's obvious that I need to keep better tabs on my emotional tank. I can't wait for it to be on "empty" before I try to start filling it up again. I mean, at this point, I'm just spitting fumes here. I need to get myself filled back up again and work on improving the balance in my life. All I can think about right now is just making it until Dave gets home. I think I can, I think I can,...Calgon take me away!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Give me this day, my daily bread..."

Boy, has it been a rather stressful couple of weeks! I've been feeling the past couple of days like running away from home...just for a chance to be alone and not be needed for a bit. Not that I would, but I kind of want to. I'm sitting here pondering why I'm responding this way, and I think I've already come up with the answer. What is it? I know I have been neglecting my quiet time with God. I've been trying to have my "quiet" time with God amidst the oh-so-crazy moments of my daily life. Rather than taking special time for God, I've been trying to squeeze Him into my already filled-up time. No wonder I'm sitting here feeling a bit empty and on-edge.

I guess this post could be a quick one, since I've already found the cause for my stress. But, really, the "causes" were more like these things: my Mom's hip replacement surgery, then the things that followed her surgery like: visiting her at the hospital and seeing her SO not her usual self, regularly checking in on both her and my Dad while she was in the hospital, the time spent picking out her rehab spot/getting her moved there/and then her checking herself out 3 hours after she arrived because the conditions at the Laurels were HORRENDOUS (and not an appropriate place for a rehab patient). Then since she's been home (8 days ago), there have been other things to check in about, as well as taking her and my Dad to the hospital one night last week for an ultrasound on her leg (to check for a blood clot...which there was none, praise the Lord). So that's just one aspect of my stress. Then there's been the usual stressors: homeschooling, housework, softball/baseball schedules, Hannah's dance recital, tight finances, etc. Never mind that I've been having a mini pity-party for myself for having to miss out on the night away that Dave and I were going to have over Memorial weekend (which never happened, of course). Oh, and add in the stress of family (certain un-named ones in particular), and my nerves are about frayed.

So, yes, these have all added to my stress level lately. But, the fact is, if I hadn't been neglecting my quiet time with God...He would have equipped me to better handle all of this.

The praises and blessings of the last couple weeks are many though too. Mom's surgery was a success, overall her recovery has gone splendidly, June is here and our school schedule is winding down (although we aren't taking the whole summer off...but we are scaling back for sure), and Dave did take me on a date the weekend before Mom's surgery. He even picked out a romantic comedy for us to watch!

I can choose to focus on all the things that haven't gone the way I'd hoped, and I can choose to be frustrated with certain issues I have to deal with that get really old, OR...I can choose to lay it all at the foot of the cross and ask God for the daily wisdom and strength to get through the day. And not just "get through" it. Conquer it. Live it with passion and purpose. All it takes is getting my daily bread from God. Every day, busy or not. Duh.