Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Resolutions!

I am an all in or nothing kind of gal. Mainly because I have no self control. So, if I choose to do something, I have to go all in or I have a hard time completing my goal. For example, when I decided to quit drinking Dr.Pepper I couldn't just say I would stop for a short time and then just drink a bit here and there. I had to stop drinking it....forever! I know for some that might seem crazy, but that is the only way for me. For now.

I also speak in definites. For example: I will never ever do that or I hate that. It is not a "I will try to not do that, or I will think about it, or I don't really care for that". Not really sure why I am wired this way but I like to speak the truth. "Maybes" are hard for me. That means there is a chance for a different outcome and I like to know right away what is going to happen. This may make no sense to some but those of you who are crazy  similar to me will get it.

So, when writing my 2014 resolutions, I like to make resolutions of things I will completely give up. It is hard for my brain to keep to something that will allow my lack of self-control to mess up. The ever so popular losing weight always makes my list. My losing weight resolution usually consists of completely eliminating something like sugar or bread. However, that usually has a very short run. Eliminating Dr.Pepper is the only thing I have conquered(so far it has been 1.5 years). Which is huge for me. It was my happy juice. I realized this "all in" mentality is not necessary a good thing. I became so depressed when I kept failing at not meeting my goals. Some lasted months and others only hours(like the sugar one). This year my resolutions are pretty lofty goals, but not too many require me to completely give up something.

I love the New Year. It means a fresh start. For me right after Christmas I start on the mission of getting my house organized during my usual Christmas vacation. This year I tackled Shane's room first and it took two days. TWO DAYS! After completing that mission I added another resolution to my list : stop buying so much stuff(particularly kid's over all those little toys that seem to find their way to the bottom of the toy box). But in all seriousness, I really want to focus on only bringing things into my home that I really need. I again found myself thinking about never buying anything that isn't necessary, but that would just be no fun! I definitely want to get a hold on the amount of stuff that comes into our home.

Another resolution was to get off Facebook. GASP!!! I know crazy, right. How will I go on not knowing everything someone did in a day or wonder what exactly someone's vague post meant!!! I love Facebook. I love reading everyone's posts. Seeing their pictures. Keeping up with old friends or those who have moved. I love all the pages I follow. But...there are a few things that have caused me to really dislike people. That made me sad. When people over share or you see a little more into someones life that you never really saw before, it can cause some dislike(hate) towards those people. So, it is not a "I am better than everyone and I am so righteous" decision, but a decision based on some bad thoughts on my part of some people. Also, people say things on social media or through email that they would not say to your face. Once that email is sent or that comment is posted you can't delete it(well you can but usually that other person already saw it). Sooooo, yeah, taking a break from FB. It is the best for my sanity and family.

I will however be trying to step up my blogging game. There are so many features that I do not know how to use. I would love to post more. I also want to learn how to write better. I have written about that so many times. It was on my 2013 resolution list. I am not the best at sentence structure and punctuation. It drives me crazy. I need to work on it. As I have mentioned before I love writing and it is my therapy. I can't write every day like some bloggers. I have to be inspired. I am excited to write more in 2014!

I always like to throw in a few Wild Card Resolutions:). They usually consist of learning something new. So this year I threw in: Sharpening my Culinary Skills and Learning a little French. Learning French will actually help with my Culinary Skills. There are so many great French Chefs and I love learning from them. I think they do the whole Culinary thing right! So, I don't expect to fluently learn French although that would be amazing...but I would love to be able to read some French and pick up some French cookbooks. Now, this has me wanting to go to France! Travel is always on my to do list and just never happens. We do have a few trips planned already for 2014, so maybe a trip to France will have to wait until 2015:) Au revoir!

What are your 2014 resolutions/goals? I would love to know!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grace Abounding

Don't you love grace? I sure do! I need it daily. From others and God. It is something I don't give too freely though. I think the Christmas season brings the worst out of some and the best out of others. Just try going shopping any time after Thanksgiving. The Christmas spirit fills many. From the music to being able to enjoy a hot beverage, it fills many up with joy. Others do not have the joy inside of them, but rather the devil!  For example, Black Friday...need I say more.

I have to admit I have not had much grace to give this year. I have become a bit of a Scrooge. I went to a Christmas Party recently and I was so irritated with everyone...for no reason. I can not give you one(except I was taking some new herb that is suppose to help regulate my hormones...but instead it turned me into a fire breathing she-devil) so...there's that. I do have very bad mood swings. All hormonal. One day I love you and the next I would cut you...dead. I hate blaming it on hormones though. It is a part of it..but I think it is also a heart issue. More specific a grace issue. I found myself not giving grace, but wanting it in return. How selfish and hypocritical. 

I love the song that has the line: "If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking". The song is talking about how much God loves us.His grace is overflowing. There is never a lack of grace. In my life though my grace bank was empty. I was being stingy. I was looking for a grace handout, but not willing to return the favor. When I pray I always end it with: "Thank you for your love, grace and mercy". Love, grace and mercy are my favorite things to receive. Being the Christmas season I started to reflect on all the gifts God has given me.I truly am blessed. I have received so much and have not handed out too many gifts back in return.

Each new year I try to take a look at the past year and see what I need to work on. So, for 2014 I am working on showing more grace. I recently was able to put grace to work. I was going to an event where I had to see someone I have had no grace for. In fact I hated that person and they had no idea! It was just minutes before I had to leave for the event and I was hit by a thought(love when God does this). I decided to pour grace on this person. Not in a condescending way, but real grace. I decided that I had held onto the hate I felt toward this person and it was only effecting me. There was no reason for it. I arrived at the event and guess what I was sitting right next to this person(God, you are hilarious). This person was so sweet and guess was I. I asked God to take away the bad thoughts about this person. This person had grown up and  I am sure not proud of the person they were. We caught up and had a great conversation. Grace abounding!

Another example of grace abounding in my life happened around the time of the previous story. Do you have a person in your life that you have be praying for...for years? I have one. Every time my Pastor asks if there is a person that needs prayer, this person pops up every time. I have a soft spot for this person, even though they fail time after time and make immature decisions. I pray for this persons' salvation. For God is the only one who is going to change them. I recently gave up praying for them though. We had a few arguments and I was just done! I became so angry. I had no grace to give this person. Finally, I had another thought, similar to the one before, that I just needed to let go. Not to let go of praying for this person, but to let go of the anger. This person needs to be shown love. They need to know that someone has their back. That despite all their faults and mistakes that someone loves them. This is what grace looks like. This is what God's love looks like. I have to say I am more joyful than ever. I love the Christmas season. I love it because it is a time of reflection about God's greatest gift, Jesus. At church we recently read through the Fruits of the Spirit...but before that we read through some qualities that were the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit (Vegetables of the Spirit?? sorry that was horrible). Actually they were acts of our flesh. They included:sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.(Galatians 5:19-21). Wow...this sounds like an episode of The Real Housewives! When we react to these acts of the flesh there is never a good outcome. But when we respond in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control we get a much better outcome!

Last week at church we also talked about The Ministry of Reconciliation. As my Pastor spoke I was like wow...this is for me! It was exactly what I was struggling with. The Ministry of Reconciliation, found in, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, talks a lot about grace and humility. I liked that correlation between grace and humility. Because that is really what grace is all about. Being humble in front of someone who you may not feel deserved it. But in that humbleness you will receive grace and give it. It may not be immediate or it may never be given, but God sees and his grace is upon you.  I encourage you to think of someone who may have hurt you or you have any ill feelings toward and pray that God shows you a way to reconcile with them. Maybe it is a family member you will be seeing this Christmas. Show them grace. It may be the only time they see it. It is so hard to forgive someone, but the burden and ill thoughts you carry around are so much greater. I like being a cheerful person, far more than being a bitter, angry person.  Be in The Ministry of Reconciliation. Show abounding grace. After all, God sent His son, Jesus, to be born and then to die for our that we may have everlasting life. This is His greatest gift and one that was meant to be shared. When we share the love of Christ with others they take note and hopefully they too want that gift. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

3:Our perfect Number

I have always wanted two kids. Seemed like a sensible number. I come from a family with three children. The Hubs from two. I think it is awesome that people have large families. A big family was never something I desired though. Once I saw how awesome it was to have our son, how could I just want one? Well truth is that is what God had planned for our little family. Sometimes, it doesn't make sense and other days I am totally at peace with it.

I am at the age in my life where all my friends are having babies. I can name about 10 friends who have had babies just in the last month. Babies are everywhere! My sister is due in a little less than two months. Which is good. I will get to love on a baby girl and then hand her back when she cries or poops. It is a glorious thing!

I think we all get that question after we get married of :"when are you going to have a baby?" Then once you have the baby it is: "when are you having your next child?" I am not the type to get upset with that question. It is only natural to expect a couple to have another child. What gets me going is the response back when I say we are only having one child. Here are just a few:

"What? But Shane will be so lonely"
"Only children are spoiled brats usually"
"Don't you like kids?"
"No, you have to have will regret it"

I understand... really, I do. I would think some of these things too. But, that is the key..I would think them...LOL. People like to express their thoughts about how they think you should live your life. I hear it with people with multiple children. I have a friend with 3 boys and someone had to nerve to say to her: "oh, so were you trying for a girl". As if she just kept popping kids out hoping one would be a girl!

I came across this picture once and thought it was so funny and true

Each family is unique in their own ways. I have prayed and prayed about having only one child. Thankfully, God has given me a peace. Do I still question it? Yes. It is hard. I do think about Shane being lonely...not having siblings. I am very aware of him being spoiled. I try to make sure we do our best to not make him spoiled and to be a thankful child. It is easy to do though when you can give all of your attention to one child and you can spend all your money on one child. It is something I will always have to be aware of.

I have talked to many "only child" adults. Some say they loved it! Others hated it. So we take the risk. We make sure he has plenty of friends and family around that he never feels lonely. I think about when we are gone...who will he have? Sometimes, brothers and sisters never get along. They have their differences and probably wish they were an only child! It is a hard thing to decide but, for so many reasons...we will be a family of three,

What are those reasons??? I know you probably want to know. I am writing this also to be encouraging to those who only have one child and are struggling with it. I have searched high and low for some encouragement and it is not easy to come by. As I mentioned before, we always wanted two children and that was the plan before I had to spend my last month or two of my pregnancy in and out of the hospital. My doctor told me that if I wanted any more that I would have to lose weight. Well, yeah......that did not happen. In fact, I did the opposite. If I were to get pregnant at the weight I am now, I could risk the life of my baby and my own. I had such high blood pressure with Shane. I would most likely be put on bed rest and would not be able to care for Shane, as I should. I feel very guilty about not losing the weight and therefore not being able to have another child. It is my fault. But, I love my little family and am blessed to have one child. Some are not able to even have one and that is how I look at it. I was able to have a child with just a few hiccups at the end. I am blessed. Even though it isn't the "norm" is our norm.