New Location for a While

I’ve been super slack posting here. Things in life and ministry have been busy, and in a good way :).

As mentioned in a previous post, there is a brand spankin’ new marriage ministry at my church that I have been very involved in. This ministry has become such an amazing thing and I feel tremendously blessed to be a part of it. After the trials of my own marriage it is uplifting to be working intentionally to help other marriages be healthy and strong. So far, hundreds of couples have been touched by this ministry and I pray that there are many more to come.

In the meantime, I’ve begun a new blog just for married couples (and those looking to get married). The address is wcmarriedpeople.wordpress.com and I hope you will check it out. I am the author of the posts right now and I’m looking for “guest bloggers” to offer their wisdom and reflections on marriage. If you are interested, comment below and let me know!

I will try to continue posting here as well, but please be patient with me.  I do have a post that I’d love your feedback on so be on the lookout for that!

Prayers for our marriage ministry would be greatly appreciated :).

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Hurry Up!

hurry-up-and-wait-1I can’t believe I’m about to type this . . . or that this is even my reality . . . but my daughter will be taking drivers ed this summer . I know, I know. I’m simply not old enough to have an offspring ready to handle a 2 ton vehicle. Unfortunately, though, I am and I do.

I was sharing that disbelief with a friend recently who has a son in the same boat. She asked if I had gone to the DMV to get her eyes checked yet. My response was that we’d simply do that when we take her in to actually take the permit test. “Oh, no,” she said. “State law says that we have to have their eyes checked at the DMV before they can pass drivers ed.” Um, what? We just had her eyes checked at the ophthalmologist office. Does that count? Of course it doesn’t. Wait, so I have to wait in line at the DMV with half of the population of my town just to have her eyes checked? Then I get to wait again, after drivers ed, for her to take her permit test? Yes. That is correct.

I thought of that scenario as I read this blog post from Craig Jutila (see #2 on his list).  I am the queen of (HURRY UP!). I have little to no patience most of the time because I’ve gotten so used to scurrying about on almost every level of my life. Waiting anywhere – the DMV, grocery store, in traffic – makes me crazy.  Craig’s post doesn’t really tell me how to be more patient, but I love that piece of scripture. I do need to stop. I do need to breathe. I actually do breathing techniques in the car when I’m in traffic. I remind myself that getting frustrated is not going to speed my situation up any. And, I need to be a better example for my kids!

So, this DMV thing. I’ve decided to take her to get her eyes checked like a good little mommy. And, I will make it a mother/daughter date day so we can plan to do girl stuff after! I’m determined to have a better attitude about things like that. Hopefully if I have a better attitude then it will rub off on my kids. I just have to get rid of the “hurry up” mantra and adopt a “slow down and relax” mantra. I know what you are thinking – “good luck with that!” I know it will be hard, but if I do it for one thing and see the positive result things just have to keep getting better from there, right?

Here’s to slowing down <cheers!>! Want to try to slow down with me?

 

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Try Harder

try harderOne of the neat parts of leading a marriage ministry in my church is having access to several cool blogs and marriage tidbits from the “experts” in the field. I’ve enjoyed reading their posts and this particular one really hit me:

http://marriedpeople.org/couples/2014/03/parenthood-the-marriage-fight/

You have to read the post before what I’m about to say makes any sense, so I’ll wait while you click  . . .

Okay. If you know me personally, then you know why that hit me. I would have given my right arm to have someone say that to my husband – “Well then, try harder.” I felt like I was giving this marriage all that I had and all I wanted was for him to do the same. Yes, I know that I can’t speak for what my husband was or was not giving to our marriage because I’m not him. And, I don’t want to paint him in a negative light. All I’m saying is that I relate to the frustration this father felt and I honestly think I’d do the same thing down the road if it were my son or daughter whose marriage was on the line. I’d say, “Try harder!”

From personal experience I can safely say that I gave everything I could to this marriage. I don’t regret a second of it. Nor do I regret reconciling with my husband. Having the attitude of tenacity and determination is always a good thing, in my book. It seems so easy today to just quit – whether it be quitting your job, your marriage, your exercise or diet regime, or whatever. We make excuses and just give up. Why do we do that?

So often we miss the blessings that can come from determination and hard work. Looking at my family today I can literally not imagine a second without them. The hard work was worth it. I felt the same way when I lost a bunch of weight. The hard work was worth it. When I finished my first 5K . . .  yep, you guessed it, all worth it! Maybe we need to keep our eye on the prize instead of dwelling on how hard things are for us right this very second. Keeping the possible blessings out front will give us a target to aim for. And if we never reach that target or see those blessings? Well, would we really regret working hard for something when we know it’s the right thing to do? Of course not. Even if my marriage falls apart down the road, I don’t regret a thing. I can look my kids in the face and tell them, without a doubt, that mom did all she could do to save her marriage. And that would be the truth of it. No regrets.

So, today, let’s try harder to (you fill in the blank). I’m sure we all have those things we feel the temptation to give up on. But, is it important enough to try harder? I bet it is.

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Unhealthy Comparisons

Comparison-quote_snowflakeMy delay in posting was due to a good thing. A really good thing, actually. My husband and I spent a week in Las Vegas and renewed our vows while there. It was wonderful! As with any trip such as this, my Facebook profile was lit up with tons of photos and plenty of “check ins” at places such as the Bellagio or the Stratosphere (that’s where we renewed our vows!). One of my posts received a whopping 100+ likes! I think that was a record for one of my posts!

The only down side to our trip was the red-eye flight home last Saturday night. We boarded a plane at 10:50 pm and arrived back home at 10:30 the following morning. Yea, it was not fun. Both of us spent a lot of time on our smart phones surfing social media and playing games as we sat around waiting for our flight. I realized, in my exhausted stupor during the red-eye, that I spend a lot of time on Facebook reading other people’s posts. I mean a LOT of time. I don’t post nearly as much as I read. It’s my way to catch up with others, see what everyone is up to, and sometimes find an inspirational something or another.

That night, in the wee hours of the morning, I saw a post from a friend that lives out west.  They were responding to comment someone posted on their profile. In a nutshell, this friend of mine is one of those super happy people who is always posting about how great life is, what a great day they are having, etc. I actually enjoy his posts because he really does try to enjoy life and encourage the rest of us to do the same. I guess someone got fed up with the “happy happy joy joy” posts and commented something like, “It must be nice to have a perfect life when others are suffering.” To that, my friend posted a long list of the junk he has to deal with every day – it’s just that he chooses not to complain about it on Facebook.

I’ve had those moments, so I sympathize with the person who commented. I’ve been guilty of reading these “my kids/husband/life are/is perfect” posts that friends post daily and feeling that twinge of “ick” in my gut as I wonder why I can’t have that perfect life too. When my marriage was struggling it was especially hard to read those “my husband did this amazing thing for me” types of posts. It’s difficult not to compare our lives to others when we have such easy access to everyone’s private moments via social media. What used to be private is now for public consumption so we are inundated with everyone’s joy, sadness, and every other emotion 24/7. Comparison to others can chip away at the joy we could choose to have – like my “happy” friend chooses every day. Just choose to be happy and enjoy life!

As I continue exploring a better attitude in my life, I write this encouraging us all to have the attitude of appreciation for who we each are individually. One thing I can say for certain is that we may think this person or that has a perfect life/marriage/family/job/etc., but nothing is ever perfect. Everyone has junk – it just looks different from person to person. Take social media with a grain of salt and remember that most people won’t post the bad, only the good, so you’re only getting half the story. And, if you’re like me you have some friends who post mostly bad . . . that, too, is only half the story.

My goal is to have an attitude of appreciating who I am and not dwelling on what I’m not. How about you? Do you compare too much?

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Healing

healing_of_the_blind_manMy mother-in-law has been diagnosed with a cancer that will continuously pop up in her body. Therefore, she will undergo chemo treatments for the rest of her life (she is in her mid-fifties). This saddens me so much, and yet when we talk she has the most amazing attitude about the whole thing. She is determined to fight – even though she will endure chemo forever. I’m in awe of her, quite frankly. She is a living example of how one’s attitude can really make all the difference in the face of difficulty.

On the other side of this is the pain I feel this very moment as a dear friend and neighbor left us to live with the Lord early this morning.  His attitude all through the surgeries and cancer treatments was that of a fighter. He was determined to live. When the realization came that his life was ending quickly, he struggled with that. But, although he was afraid of what death would be like, he embraced his end and let go.

In both of these cases, their attitudes got them through (or is getting them through) a huge trial in their lives. Disease and death are two things that we all fear and dread. These are among the hardest to tackle with a good attitude when all we want to do is grieve, worry, and fear. I commend them both for their strong will and bravery – and for their beautiful attitudes.

I titled this post “healing” because I have found that healing, both physically and emotionally, can come from ones positive attitude. In many ways, how we see our situation can determine how well we can cope with the situation. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been in the midst of a painful situation and then realized that one thing in the middle of it all that isn’t so bad. Once I focused on the blessing in the midst of the heartache, then my attitude shift to a better place. That can, literally, change everything for a person.

I really don’t know what I’d do if these situations were my own circumstances. Therefore, I won’t say that I would have a good attitude, myself. But, I can say, with all hope and trust in God, that I WANT to have that attitude through my trials. I WANT to have an attitude of hope and peace. I WANT to wear that beautiful attitude of healing and wholeness no matter what life throws my way. May God grant that to each of us who call out to him and ask to receive it. May God be with my neighbors family as they grieve. May God continue to lift my mother-in-law’s strength. And, may God embrace my neighbor in his loving arms. Healing has come for him. Healing has come.

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You Already Have the Tool

successI can always tell when my kids are not looking forward to doing something. They start out normal. Then I remind them that we have to go here or there, or they need to get dressed and ready to do A or B. Then they look at me with eyes that say, “Do I have to?” But, they know me well, so they don’t even bother to ask. Then they stalk upstairs, shoulders hunched, moving slower than molassas. Later they come downstairs equipped with safer questions for me like, “How long with this take?” and “When will you pick me up?” or “Will it end early?” If I give answers that they like, they perk up a little. If I don’t their shoulders drop down to their knees and the look as if their lives are completely over.

My daughter, who is 14, does this sometimes when she has committed to babysitting and when the time arrives she has “better” plans for the evening. Obviously, I won’t let her cancel because she needs to learn responsibility and a good work ethic. But, she still bombards me with a million questions trying to find some good out of this thing she committed to. Usually telling her that she is going to make lots of money does the trick. However, I usually end up having to explain to her that this babysitting gig will go very well and very fast if she only chooses a better attitude. Stop looking at the gig as something you are dreading and look at it as something you are excited to do. Even if that means focusing on the money you’ll make – just do it!

I love this little ditty from Seth Godin because it really does say it all. We all have the same ability to get beyond an issue or a feeling of dread when a not-so-fun thing we have to do is looming. We may not be able to change the circumstances, but we always have the ability to change our attitude. Seth says . . .

When everyone has access to the same tools

…then having a tool isn’t much of an advantage.

The industrial age, the age of scarcity, depended in part on the advantages that came with owning tools others didn’t own.

Time for a new advantage. It might be your network, the connections that trust you. And it might be your expertise. But most of all, I’m betting it’s your attitude.

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Actions Reflect Attitude

love verbLast night’s Ash Wednesday service was wonderful. The message left me feeling ready for this 40-day journey of reflection and action through prayer, helping others, and sacrificial giving. It also led me to consider my attitude further and how a better attitude could lead me to pray more/deeper, truly help others in need, and happily giving sacrificially from my financial resources. How does one gear their attitude in such a way that they gleefully  and excitedly do those things (i.e., do those things with a great attitude)?

Last Sunday our first “Staying in Love” DVD lesson from Andy Stanley led us married couples to remember that “love” is not a noun . . . it’s a verb. This means that we choose to demonstrate love to others (especially our spouses). Love is something we do. So, if that is the case, then choosing to love could very well mean choosing to look beyond frustrations, fears, worries, distrust, etc. That would, in turn, create a better attitude for someone, say, like me who worries, gets frustrated, and is afraid of bad things happening, or has trust issues. Choosing to love through all of that could literally be the best attitude adjustment on the planet.

Mind . . . blown . . .

As simple as all that sounds, it’s not as easy as I wish it could be. Just try to love a person who has hurt you and then get past that hurt. Try to love a group of people at church who are constantly complaining and having damaging “parking lot meetings” about an issue instead of working through things constructively. Try loving someone who has broken a trust with you and get past the fear that they will betray you again. Yea, exactly. It is a simple solution that could be one of the most difficult things we every try to do.

However, making a choice to love is an intentional action. I do believe that if we make that choice, the “feeling” of love will follow (and the better attitude). I hate this phrase, but it’s like the whole, “fake it ’til you make it” concept. I don’t think we fake loving someone, but many times the warm fuzzies of loving a person or a concept or a situation comes after you make a conscious choice to love. Your brain leads, your heart follows.

So, today kids, our action of the day is LOVE. Make the choice and watch your good attitude follow!

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