We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, Toto!

snowSo much to write about. So much going on in my mind. I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps with small talk… you know, like the WEATHER!

Can I just say, “I HATE WINTER!!!”? And that, folks, is an understatement. This winter is straight from Antarctica.

When our temperatures are an even keel with Barrow, Alaska and even dipping lower than theirs, there’s something wrong. So wrong. (I live in Fort Wayne, IN)

temps1

I now understand why the suicide stats are so high in Alaska. This much cold, this much snow, this much wind, this much staying inside with cooped up kids. It leads to some serious mental degradation.

Can I move back to Kansas now? At least there, they get above 30 every so often.

In other news, I started this year off with a resolve to love my body with the same grace God pours out on it. I will treat it with respect and nurture it as a prize for the King of Glory.

For the month of January, that meant following the Whole 30 diet… well, mostly following it. I fudged a little on the dairy issue, since I couldn’t seem to keep up a good level of healthy fats. I just drank 8 oz. each morning.

But this was a big issue for me… my normal diet has a solid foundation of dairy and grains with protein and fruits and veggies as garnishes. So my goal for this diet was to break that habit flip my diet triangle upside down… mostly protein, fruits, and veggies with dairy and grains as garnishes. And sugary treats as just that… A treat. Not a norm.

I have a few days left, but I am 100% sure that I am going to hit that “lost 10 lbs.” mark. I’m so excited. I didn’t count calories or measure servings… just ate what was “approved”.

I don’t know what February’s focus will be. I should find some sort of plan before it starts though, or I’ll end up with Dr. Pepper washing down my cereal breakfast, sandwich lunch, and pizza dinner all over again.

Another goal I had for this year was to find a source of income that was immediate and easy and fun. I had many ideas, but all them involved a lot of up front time or money.

So when a friend told me about an opportunity to become a Jamberry consultant, I hopped on it like a cat pouncing on a grasshopper. It was easy to fit the start up into the budget. There’s no creating a product. And let me tell you, it’s the most fun I’ve had in a loooooong time. I’m pretty sure I’m part of the most awesome team ever.

We’re back at homeschooling again after a two week holiday break. We have fun days and struggle days. I’m glad though that we’re not forced to take the same number of snow days as the public schools. We’ll be finishing up the last Friday of May, and the neighborhood kids will still be going to school long into June.

Well, that’s what’s up here. Now that I’ve got you all caught up, I’ve got to get back to writing for the love of writing. It’s been a long break, and I’m ready to hit it more often.

When a Blogger Gets Vulnerable About Blogging

forgivenI kinda feel like an idiot admitting this out loud.

I don’t know if I can do this blogging thing. I began this blog with a nice, steady line of five dead blogs behind me. I tend to pour myself into a project and then wane off. I guess it’s just what I do. Start and never finish.

But I guess I feel like this blog is different. It’s not just any old blog filled with randomness that occasionally hits the mom blog world in a buzz for a few days (or years as the busy bag craze did). This is me. This is my passion. It’s what I’ve done (unknowingly) all my life.

Think deep. Write. Reach out to those who need some deepness. Hide from the crowd, but single out one person whom I can inspire.

I want to be this, live this, on a large scale. I want to impact a scattered community across the world.

I want to be what I write. I want to write what I am. And I want what I write to inspire women everywhere to love who they are.

Then why would I slack off? Why would both quantity and quality go downhill so fast on a project I embrace with my whole heart?

The same reason I have yet to reach my health goals. The same reason I reach for frozen pizza at times. The same reason I drive a dented, starting to rust minivan. The same reason I just now looked at my clock and sighed.

The reality of the moment screams louder than dreams and ambitions.

Kids wake up too early. Breakfast needs served. Morning chores need done. School needs taught. Preschoolers have melt downs. Morning snack time is demanded by little hungry bellies who woke up too soon and ate breakfast too early. More school needs taught.

Lunch needs served. Someone spills their water all over the schoolbooks. More school needs taught. Kids need non-school attention. The dishes need done. The laundry needs rotated. There’s ants crawling under the dining room table. Close friends and family need to be called, texted, chatted with. Kids fight.

Dinner needs cooked. Husband works late. Dinner needs served. Dinner needs cleaned up. Kids need prepped for bed. Bills need paid. There’s not enough money to go around. Brain free relaxation with the husband is beyond needed. Sleep calls your name.

Where does passion and life ambition fit in there?

(Yes, I know. We could talk about finding passion in the calling to motherhood. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.)

We’re trying to get our finances in order right now… you know, the good ol’ student loans, groceries, fuel, everyday needs, mortgage stuff. It’s quite apparent that, without a raise in income, it’s just not going to work.

Christmas this year will be significantly less materially than the past ones (not a bad thing, by any means). But that means most gifts will be homemade. T.I.M.E

I’ve been searching for ways to bring in an income. That’s another thing on the plate. Gotta research. Gotta do the actual work. Gotta market. T.I.M.E.

Well why not just make money blogging? The top, number one reason is: I never want the goal of this blog to be for financial gain. If it happens, that’s fine. But that’s not its purpose. But also, making money off blogging (especially with this type of blog) takes many months, sometimes years. That’s not soon enough.

So if I’ve got the everyday realities of existence and motherhood… plus Christmas gifts to make… plus income to create… how does my piddly little “impact the world” dream even begin to matter? In the right now, it doesn’t even fit.

There are so many women out there who run tremendous blogs and shout “you can too!” There are a bagzillion ebooks on the steps to successful blogging with promises of great success. But I’m here to say…

In the daily realities of life, blogging is just a computer sitting on a desk. In the daily realities of life, dreams are just lofty thoughts in the sky.

And this… this is why I wonder if I should even be blogging.

 

*photo credit (recycling a photo from a previous post because there’s no time for a new one)

Three Benefits of a Recovered Identity

Our idnetity is something we investigate.“To thine own self be true,” said Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

But why? Why should we know and embrace who we are?

Why not just follow the masses? It’s more popular that way.

Why not just live the average Joe life with a white picket fence and money in the bank? Is the American dream, after all.

A knowledge of our identity is not something we’re born with. It’s also not something we just know by the time we’re grown up. It’s something that must be learned, in the same way that we learn how to walk, how to read, how to add, how to tie out shoes, how to cook, and how to drive.

We research. We investigate. We experiment. We review. We repeat the truths over and over again until it is mastered.

Quite frankly, it’s a lot of work, and we’re constantly bombarded by things that try to distract us or confuse us or outright lie to us. But it’s worth every minute of effort.

Three Benefits of a Recovered Identity

1. It gives clarity and purpose to your days. From our first breath, the average human being possesses 28,835 days on this earth. Days to be spent.

Like money, these days can be spent on anything from “cheap crap” to investing in great riches.

You can buy a cheap plastic toy from the dollar store and it’s only a dollar, but it will break by the end of the week. True. it was only a dollar, but it’s a dollar you will never get back. In the same way, you can give a day to a mediocre life (or even a life of “hell”). But chances are, it will break down or dissatisfy you. And while it may only be a day, you’ll never get it back. The more days you spend this way, the fewer you have left.

Would you not rather spend every day you have on a life lived to its fullest, embracing your place in this world…in history.. in this thing we call life?

Be sure to check out Robert D.’s video for a visual of our days.

2. It proves that we own nothing and are owned by nothing. When we realize we have a reason to live, it gives us a sense of purpose, and only one thing becomes important… that purpose.

There are beautiful gifts that we enjoy along the way, such as family, a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep on. And while they may enhance or compliment our purpose, they are only gifts. We do not own them. They are not part of who we are. And they could be taken away at anytime without any warning.

In the same way, nothing owns us. Not our possessions. Not our money (or lack of it). Not any other person. Not any difficult circumstance or situation. If we are here for a purpose, than we belong solely to that purpose and nothing or no one can keep us from that.

3. It gives both confidence and humility. Like super heroes just discovering their secret powers, we see our abilities and strengths in a brand new way. We see them as assets to success… ways to reach our goals and to accomplish our purpose in life.

At the same time, it opens our eyes to the individuality of those around us… our spouse, our children, our brothers, sisters, co-workers, friends, the common stranger. And we realize we’re all super heroes. We all have abilities.

And suddenly we’re consumed with a confident, humble desire to somehow convince the earth’s inhabitants just how incredible they are.

Nothing you’ve learned in life came without some amount of effort. Most of us have never completely mastered a skill overnight. You will bleed, sweat, and cry your way through this journey to finding yourself, but I promise it will be worth every drop of blood, every drop of perspiration, and every tear.

 

*photo credit

Two Blog Posts You absolutely MUST Read

balloons

Lately, while I’ve been loving the process of discovering my own “youness”, I’ve also been feeling a bit lacking. I can’t seem to manage to do everything that “everyone else” seems to be able to do. I’m not as skinny and in shape as other moms. I’m not as social as other moms manage to be. I’m not as on top of this blogging thing as other bloggers seem to be.

Today, an email from a blog I subscribe to set me back on track, reminding me that I’m not them. I’m not perfect. And that’s the beauty of it all. I’m me, and comparing myself to others only steals my you-ness.

Crystal from Money Saving Mom told the story of her envy of another blogger, only to find out that same woman envied her. At the end of her story, she also linked to a great post by Amy about not comparing everyone else’s outsides with your insides.

Read them both. You’ll be glad you did.

 

*photo credit

 

Five From Semptember

cFive things from my life this September…

1.   With the arrival of September came the end of our weekly swimming with my husband’s Aunt Cathy. She has an in ground pool in her backyard. She is absolutely amazing and generous. Cherith (8) learned to swim this summer. I can confidently say she’s probably a better swimmer than I am now. And at the beginning of the summer, she would hardly put her head under. I’m proud of her.

2.   My husband and I surprised the kids with a camping trip one weekend… you know, the first super cold weekend. Eeeeeks. Brrrrrr. I think we’ll choose a warmer one next time.

3.   Did you know John Chapman (Appleseed) is buried just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana? They have a gravesite in a park here in town. (If I’m wrong on his burial site, someone correct me.) Anyway, this past weekend was the big Johnny Appleseed Festival… colonial dressed people, a blacksmith, a potter, real kettle corn popped over a fire, apple everything you can think of, fun old fashioned wood toys… lots of things to spend your life’s savings on. We took the kids there for a couple hours. We did not, however, spend any of our life’s savings. The older kids have a plan to save up $2 a week for a year so that we can have some real fun next year. haha. We’ll see.

4.   I fell in love with Aldi this month. I started shopping there in an effort to cut the budget. It did more than that for me. It cut my shopping time into a tiny sliver. I cannot believe how quickly I can shop now… It’s just turned my shopping chore into a very manageable, non-dreadable project.

5.   Somewhere near the beginning of September, it was hot enough to swim… like in the 90s. So I put the collapsible pool up for the kids. Did you know it’s better to dump it and put it away right away? You probably did. It’s so slimy with huge wolf spider swimming around it. There’s no way I’m going to tread into the water just to grab the side and walk backward to dump it. I’m just not. Aaron was smart. He just slit the liner in a couple places so it will drain. I’m hoping he’ll also wad it up and throw it away for me. Crossing my fingers.

Beauty Standards of Grace

scaleSeveral weeks ago, I wrote of my decision to stop trying to lose weight. I was tired of feeling so fat and ugly and trying so hard only to lose absolutely nothing, which in turn made me feel even more fat and ugly, as well as a complete failure. It was a vicious cycle.

I just wanted to be ok with me. I didn’t want to feel like I was a sinner for being fat. I didn’t want to feel like I was trash for being fat. I didn’t want to feel like every bite of food or sip of drink was a choice between good and evil, because inevitably most times I chose evil. That makes me evil, right?

Well, I’m back at the losing weight thing again. But this time it’s different.

This time, I’m working at it because I love me. I am loved by my Creator. I am loved by my family. They love me because I am me. There is no reason for me to hate myself because of my body.

In fact, the truth is, if my worth were measured by my body, I’d never amount to anything, because I could be skinny as possible and my hips will always be too wide, my belly always and forever marked with irreversible stretch marks, and chances are my teeth will still remain crooked. My body will never measure up to my standards of beauty.

If my body can never measure up to my standards of beauty, it’s not time to hate my body; it’s time to change my standards.

And so I have.

My Beauty Standards:

  1. I will be a woman of confidence.
  2. I will be a woman of joy.
  3. I will be a woman of love.
  4. I will be a woman of strength.

Caring for my body should only be a reflection of my confidence, joy, love, and strength. If I lose weight because I am caring for my body, that is great. I’ll take that. But if caring for my body does not produce weight loss, you know what… so be it. I’m ok with that. I won’t let it steal my confidence, joy, love, or strength.

And just for the record, this grace filled way of thinking is changing things. The numbers on the scale are dropping for the first time in over three years, and I’m happy… not deprived and depressed.

So maybe there truly is something to this grace.

 

*photo credit