Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weight loss challenge

First off, you have to read this post by Tasha!! Ummm, timely? I think so! It coincides so nicely with my post a couple of weeks ago about joy and depression.

I started a new challenge on Tuesday.
A friend posted a friendly weight-loss competition on facebook.
We all send in our weight each week and at the end of the 4th week, whoever's lost the most percentage of weight will get a $25 gift card from each person competing in the challenge. There are 10 other people in this challenge. That's $250 for those of you who don't want to do the math.
I decided this was a great motivator and just the jumpstart I need. :)

What am I doing to lose weight? Nothing new. It's the same old stuff we know works. I'm exercising and eating healthily. That's it. No new-fangled diet. I know this works, folks. I've done it before and I've seen others do it before and I've seen it work.
Why don't I do it all the time? I will let Paul's words in Romans 7 explain this:
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

And that explains that.
I can only live a healthy lifestyle when my eyes are focused on the Lord.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

I might as well just repost this from earlier in the year. Funny how I've come full circle...

If you're looking for ideas on how to lose weight or how to be healthier, I wanted to share some foods I try to incorporate daily for weight loss. I hope this is helpful to you.
Lemon water
Green tea
Green smoothies
Small amounts of bread (some days none at all)
Keep these foods in mind and on hand

As for exercise, I'm pretty boring. I like the treadmill. It's climate-controlled. It's convenient. It's in my home, which is a must right now as getting to a gym takes much more time and work to plan out. I can set up an iPad and watch (or listen) to a TV show. I can push myself as hard as I want and no one's watching me :). Plus I can wear my ratty old workout clothes and no one sees them but me.
At the start of the year my family is getting a YMCA membership. I'm excited about this because I want to start incorporating other types of exercise - group fitness, swim and weight lifting. They have childcare options, so I won't have to worry about what to do with my kiddos. They also have options of classes for my kids at reduced member rates: gymnastics, dance, soccer, basketball, etc.

And let me add this as an aside:
I know I've only been doing this for three days, but I already feel better. My mind is clearer. My body is less sluggish. My heart is happier.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life change

A lot's been going on this week. But before I delve into all that, let me share this with you.
Check out my friend Rachael's blog. This post was so moving to me. I'm so thankful for her words. They spoke to me today.

I've been hurting lately. Not exactly sure why. But somewhere along the way I've been grieving. A life that I could've had, maybe? Circumstances that might have been different. Time lost in my own selfishness and pride. Time that I'll never have back.

But now is the time to move on. Sure there are things I wish I could change. There are times in my life in which I wish I had done things differently.

So now is the time to do those things differently.

My hope is that I will care less about a clean and orderly house and care more about a clean and orderly spirit.

I will choose to spend more time honoring my husband.

I will spend more time loving my kids.

I will spend more time in the Word.

And more time taking care of me in a way that truly glorifies God.

The series we're doing at church right now is called FREE - take a peek and let me know what you think. It's been life-changing for me, honestly.

And life change? I think I've been in need of some of that for a long time.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Welcome home

I read this post a few weeks ago and I thought to myself how lovely it would be if I could manage to pull off a happy household when David comes home. I tried at first. We moved into the new house and everything was disorganized enough that it felt like an impossible task, but I was determined. So after the house got some sense of order to it and I was feeling up to the challenge, I decided to try it out.
Now I'm a fairly reasonable and realistic person. I know I'm no Martha Stewart. I wasn't going to have a three course meal, all made from scratch, waiting on my husband. The house is never going to be spotless with two little ones running around.
But I thought I could control the environment to some degree.
I lit a candle.
I attempted to have dinner, however humble, on the table when he walked in the door.
I wanted to have the house straightened up so he at least wouldn't trip over toys as he walked in the door.

Do you know what happened?

That particular day both kids were out of sorts, crying and whining all afternoon.
Which meant I had very little time to cook and even less time to clean.
I had good intentions of having a fairly nice dinner, but it ended up being mostly thrown together.
David was 30 minutes late due to an unforeseen project at work.

He walked in the door and I know he was not met with a calm and gentle wife who lovingly greeted him at the door with kisses.
He was more or less greeted before he even got in the door with shrieks and screams. From both kids. And me.

And that has been the scene in our house more often than not lately.
I'm tired of it.
My husband's tired of it.
And whether they know it or not, the kids are tired of it.

I'm learning.

It's okay if I stop what I'm doing and pay attention to my kids. Even if I have to spend the majority of the afternoon playing with legos and pretending to bake a cake in the kids' kitchen. I obviously can't do that all the time. But I'm learning that if I can give the kids some of my attention then they're more satisfied than if I try to get my stuff done first.

Oh, I have so much to learn.

One goal I have that I hope will help is to have a more positive spirit and fill my mind with more Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I know this will bring me joy.
And it will bring my family joy, too.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Joy and Depression

I've been depressed over the past few months. There's no way around it. I think I've been hiding it. Not intentionally, really, but I just didn't know what to do with it. Or the why of it. I would love to tell you why I've been depressed, but I just can't. There's not one major life event that happened and "depressed" me. It's a culmination of things really...

We moved in July. With any move comes stress. The whole process was fairly smooth as far as these things go, but it was still stressful. I think anytime you have to pack up a house and move it all, sign away your life through a mountain of paperwork, emails and phone calls, figure out new schedules, new routes, new takes a toll.

Add to that the stresses of renting out our old house, which has been fairly simple yet we still had a lot of responsibility, phone calls, paperwork, etc. It's been fairly smooth, but I still feel the weight of that responsibility heavily. I like to think that I'm flexible and easygoing, but in reality I like things to stay predictable and uncomplicated. There is nothing uncomplicated about moving or renting out a house.

The new school year started up. I typically love the start of fall and the beginnings of routines and schedules. However, this year I had a hard time figuring it all out. I'll be honest and say I still don't have it figured out and I'm not necessarily sold on the schedule we have. But it's ours for now. David and I have discussed this schedule and will most likely make some changes, either very soon or at least by next year.

I feel that I must include the job of motherhood in this category. Don't get me wrong. I love being a mother and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Most days. (I'm not gonna lie here, there are times that I just might trade it for a cup of coffee and a good book...By.My.Self.)
There are those days when I absolutely have no idea what to do. I don't know how to discipline. I don't know how to create activities. I don't know how to have an imagination. I don't know how to figure out everyone's schedule. I don't know how to love well. And there are some days that I don't know my children at all.

I'm learning. I'm figuring some of this out and on the days that I can't figure it out, I'm allowing God's grace to fill in the gaps, to pour out over me and my children and everything that I don't know or understand.

And that's where joy comes in. It's something I will choose each day. I keep reminding myself that it's new every morning. It's there, I just have to find it.

Psalm 30

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,[d]
    if I go down to the pit?[e]
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Today I choose joy!!

Don't worry

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Funnies from the little man - Part 7 + a bonus from baby girl

You can read the most recent funnies here.

(After I cut a windshield and doors into a cardboard box to make a car for him)
X: Mommy, let's play in my box car.
(Technically he's right, but it just struck me as funny.)

One day Xander and I were having a conversation about family members. He said this about my Aunt Karen:
X: I just call her KTG because she's so special.
(KTG stands for Karen the Great...because she is)

(After the floor had been mopped and I had asked him to stay off the floor)
X: Mommy! How can I get to my car? The floor got clean and now I can never get to it again!

(Talking to Grandma on the phone after we went to the pumpkin patch.)
X: My pumpkin is soooo heavy!
Grandma: It is?
X: Yeah, but it's okay because I've got my big man muscles on.

Me: Did you show Mimi and Papa a toy?
X: Yes. I showed them my potato head and it was the best time of their life.

X: Why aren't you snoring?
Me: Why? Do I snore when I lay with you sometimes?
X: Yeah.
(Me laughing.)
X: Nah, I'm just kidding.
(I know he's not!)

(Xander on the phone with Amelia Jayne while she was spending the night with Mimi)
X: Hi baby girl! It's me, Xander! I love you. Oh, you're so sweet. You can't see me because I'm on the phone, but I'll see you tomorrow.

And here's a bonus from the little girl:
(Said to David as he walked in the door from work)
AJ: Hi, my daddy! Hi, baby daddy!
(I'm assuming she said this because she calls herself baby. Funny, nonetheless.)

Here's more cuteness from the baby girl.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sibling love

My sweet babies :)


And here's a shout-out to my dear sister today.
Happy birthday!
So thankful that I get to share a birthday month with that chica...and with my baby girl, too. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The wheels on the bus...

Amelia Jayne can sing this whole song herself. I wasn't able to get a great video of her since Xander was distracting her and they were both acting pretty silly. But I still love it...and I love seeing them interact with each other. They love each other so much. :)

Tesser well

I finished A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle last week. Why in the world did I not read that book as a kid??
It's one of my favorite books. Of all time. I think I will have to read it again.
Thank you to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (who alludes to Wrinkle in her story). I didn't LOVE When You Reach Me. I mainly read it because there was a long thread of emails about it by some co-workers and it interested me. But I'm so glad I did as it introduced me to the classic by Ms. L'engle.
I don't even know where to begin with this book. In fact, I sat down to write this post last week when I had finished, but I felt that I needed some time to process it before I could put my thoughts and feelings into words. I absolutely love so many things about this book.

At the end when Mrs. Whatsit compares life to a sonnet - that is one of the most beautiful things I have read in a long time. It makes so much sense to me. Read it for yourself:

 "[A sonnet] is a very strict form of poetry, is it not?"
"There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?"
"Yes." Calvin nodded.
"And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?"
"But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn't he?"
"Yes." Calvin nodded again.
"So," Mrs Whatsit said.
"So what?"
"Oh, do not be stupid, boy!" Mrs Whatsit scolded. "You know perfectly well what I am driving at!"
"You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?"
"Yes," Mrs Whatsit said. "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

What you say is completely up to you.
What you do with your life is completely up to you.
Fantastic words to remember.

And not to ruin the book or anything, but LOVE WINS.

I love, love, love how it comes full circle to the mantra of my life.
Love wins.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How David and I are different

Just a few ways David and I are different:

He likes salted caramel.
I prefer good ol' dark chocolate.

I'm, what you might call, a control freak.
He's pretty good at letting go.

He prefers cold drinks.
I prefer hot beverages.

He likes butterfingers.
I like York peppermint patties.

I like to read.
He doesn't. Just kidding. He'd prefer to do about a hundred other things first, is all.

He likes sci-fi.
I need any genre to have a good relationship in that plot to hook me.

He likes to be alone.
I like it more and more each day. :)

I talk all the time.

My mind is constantly in motion, always thinking about the next thing.
His...isn't. :)

I'm somewhat impulsive.
He's more cautious and considers things first.

I love wine.
He tries to like wine, but he just doesn't.

He loves crab cakes.
I try to like crab cakes, but I just don't.

He's very focused.
I'm very scattered.

He points out buildings and structures.
I point out flowers and sunsets.

We have a lot of differences, but we seem to be pretty compatible. :)
I have to say that I love that man more and more each day, despite our differences.
And maybe because of them.

Thanks to the Pioneer Woman for yet another blog idea. Love ya, P'Dub!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Birthday week

I had a fantastic birthday - honestly, one of my favorites. I guess getting older isn't so bad :).
We had a long weekend full of celebrations. David took Monday off so that we could extend the fun.
We did everything from riding the train, to eating frozen yogurt, to enjoying an Ikea extravaganza, to having a date night at Chima, to enjoying a new park (that David's firm helped design!), to having a shopping trip (by myself! Hallelujah!).
It was an incredibly busy and full three days, but I honestly enjoyed every bit of it.
Here are some pictures and videos from our adventures :)

Romare Bearden park has some really fun waterfalls that the kids ran through.

There's a cool musical component to the park. There were chimes you could play with mallets and this musical pad that my kids really enjoyed.

We always have to stop at the typewriter stepping stones in front of ImaginOn on our way back to the car.

We enjoyed frozen yogurt at Cherry Berry before we went home.

Date night with my love :)

Small group ladies

I love the ladies in my small group!! We went out last week to celebrate a friend of ours who was supposed to have her baby in a couple of weeks. She ended up having her baby that day! We decided to go out without her. Haha!
Melissa on the far left will be having her first baby, a little girl, in December.
The three of us in the middle all had our girls within 6 weeks of each other.
And Jess, on the far right, has three girls of her own.
(Poor Xander. He's destined to be a man among women!)
I'm so thankful for these amazing ladies in my life!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Someone else can do it better.

I read an article this morning. Emily Freeman is my hero lots of days of the week. Today is no exception.

Because of her I'm starting to think of myself as an artist. Not the musician kind. Not the paints on canvas kind. Not the cool hipster, tattooed, toms wearing kind. But the human kind. We're all artists in our own way. And even if I don't write moving poems or sing with the voice of angels, what I do is art. I was created to create. I was created to love well.

From that earlier article mentioned above, Emily writes about 3 paralyzing statements that keep us from our best work. The first statement is

"Someone else can do this better."

This is true. And that's her point. Agree with this statement. 
As she says - 
"You don’t have to be the best one saying or living something true. You just have to be yourself."
And I will add that you have to accept yourself for who you are. Love yourself. Pick yourself.

As I write these words I hear my little loves downstairs helping their daddy make me a birthday breakfast. (My birthday was yesterday, but my husband knew he wouldn't have to time to make me breakfast on a Sunday, especially with the kids' help.)
And something hits me. 
I don't feel like a great mom most of the time. Most days I feel like I yell and chastise and discipline all day long.
I realize someone could do this job better. But I also realize that I was the one given this gift - these two little people.
And I have peace and take comfort in knowing that God knew what he was doing. He was the one who gave me these beautiful gifts. I will do my best and with His grace, they will be okay. And so will I. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Incompleteness of the present


Thank you, The Nester. I needed this quote today.

Life will never be complete, will it? I mean, we don't really want it to be because then what would we live for? What would we do? Yet I often find myself longing to "arrive" or reach an endpoint. Most things in life just aren't like that. They overlap and intersect and rarely do we realize we've reached the end of something because something else has taken our time or attention. Then those things that we long to be over or finished with are but distant memories and fleeting thoughts.
I want my son to end his whiny phase. Chances are one day I'll look back and wonder when he stopped. Will I even notice? It'll probably be months down the road and I'll look back and think, "He has really grown. He's come a long way. I haven't heard him whine in weeks!" But there won't be a celebration. He's not going to wake up one morning and decide not to whine anymore (though I wouldn't put it past that boy. When he sets his mind to something, he does it).
But chances are that stage will be replaced with a "talking back" stage or "annoying his sister" stage...oh, wait. Are we already there? See what I mean by overlapping?
So I think instead of trying to see the end or getting through a certain period of time, it's best to focus on "the goodness of what is" as Ms. Breedlove says above.
And perhaps that isn't at all what she intended when she said these words, but this is what I've received from it today. And it's given my heart peace.
There is so much "goodness of what is" right in front of me.
My son's curiosity and tenacity.
My daughter's imagination and independence.
My husband's willingness and calm spirit.
My friend's loving heart and sweet words.
My co-workers' fortitude and support.
My mom's consistency and wisdom.
My God is strong and unchanging.
Isaiah 40
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Hebrews 13
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.