Tuesday, April 19, 2016

choosing gratitude. again.

as you can probably tell from my latest posts, my thinking has encompassed a lot of really heavy things recently. big, heavy things. and i'm still thinking about those things, but i'm trying not to get carried away by them. i'm trying to recognize that there are a lot of tough things in the world. there are things i should pay attention to, and there are things about my life that need to change in light of those things.

but my life shouldn't end up void of joy because i recognize these things. i don't want to end up so focused there that i forget how to appreciate what's right in front of me.

i've struggled a bit lately with the big things i've written about, and i've struggled with the small, everyday things - like my whole life feeling like an exercise in futility at times.

another meal to prepare. another load of laundry. another picking up of the toys. and tomorrow we'll do all of it again.

sigh. but. those are not the only pieces of my life. all around me i can find a whole heckuva lot to be grateful for. i can get sucked into complaining, or i can be grateful.

it's a choice. a choice that i make daily.

this morning i'm choosing gratitude. i choose gratitude for the coffee in my mug. i choose gratitude for my kids' sleepy heads. i choose gratitude for the time i got to spend getting my mind in the right place this morning. i choose gratitude for the progress we're making in the kitchen - and i want to keep choosing gratitude even after we finish it.

here are a couple photos from during last weekend, and at the end of last weekend:

sans sink & counters

apparently this was the original floor in our house
ie: it could be worse.

sink in place. counters still need to be attached,
but look how pretty!

yes, we still have a ways to go, but this one was a big step. the next steps are finishing the drywall on the other side, cutting and staining the "backsplash", and painting. oh, and closing up that hole under the sink.

we're actually talking about what we want to do for the shelves, and i'm thinking about how i want to arrange things on them {which may be a little early, but that's how i roll}.

despite the fact that i'd have much preferred to have a fully put-together kitchen in a few weeks versus this long, drawn-out process, i do think it has made me more grateful for each advancement.

but i don't want to lose that. i don't want to finish it, and be a few months in, and forget what it used to look like. i want to remember where it was when we moved in. i want to remember how horribly ugly it was before because i don't want to get grumpy about it. in some senses it will probably never be my dream kitchen because it's an odd shape, and not completely open to the dining room and family room, but we do have an open floor plan, so i can't complain too much at the end of the day.

anyway... i think i need to shift my expectations a bit. the goal is to keep moving forward. keep on moving in the right direction regardless of the pace.

sometimes the sooner the better. there are things that tend to be all or nothing. you do them quickly, or not at all. but. a lot of things take incremental change. most things change incrementally whether you want them to or not. it's best to dictate the change instead of letting it dictate you.

it'll happen either way, right?

so today. today i'm choosing gratitude. today i'm making wise decisions about how i spend my time. i'm making wise decisions about the food i choose to eat, and how i live my life.

i'll start today.

and i'll start again tomorrow. hopefully in a slightly better place.

xoxo

Thursday, April 7, 2016

anne frank was wrong.

{found via pinterest from flickr}


don't worry, i'll get to anne frank. just stick with me for a minute.

yesterday my thought patterns were all over the place. from gratitude for my husband and the years we've spent together, to gratitude for a good and tiring morning with my two little miracles, to ruminating on a book i recently finished about what's next for me vocationally, to thinking i don't have enough of anything i need to actually make a business venture work.

i spent most of the day grateful, but by the end of it i felt defeated. defeated over stupid things that may or may not be true. i felt defeated, and like i'm nowhere close to enough.

i'm really sick of the felt need we have in our culture to feel and act superior to other people. i know life is not a competition. and more than that, i feel like a fraud when i treat it like it is because i know how much i fall short.

i like to think that my blind spots and weaknesses aren't as big of a deal as other people's blind spots and weaknesses. but they are. they are, and in some ways they're worse because i have a lot more control over mine than anyone else's.

but it all feels like a competition. and despite my crazy-competitive nature, i don't want life to be a competition.

competition can be a good thing. it can be a very good thing, but one person winning in life doesn't mean everyone {or anyone} else necessarily has to lose. we live like it matters whether we "win" in our little tiny definition of that word. we say we can all win, but we live like we don't care about the rest of the poor schmucks in the world.

if i'm being honest then i'll tell you that sometimes when other people have really good news i'm not fully happy for them because it makes me feel like less than enough. but that's on me. that's my failing.

and if you didn't already notice, that means i need a whole lot of grace.

as humans we can be poor in a whole host of different ways. too often we focus on money. we focus on it if we have an abundance, we focus on it if we don't have enough. we even focus on how to get more of it in order to keep up with all the people around us. we can fall prey to the trappings of this world no matter where we live in it. and i do. i do all the time.

i do even though i don't want to, and i actively push back against it in many areas of life.
blind spots. i'm telling you.


last night when i was saying goodnight to keane he grabbed me around the neck when i leaned down to kiss him goodnight, and he said "mommy you're stuck, you can't get out." so i just lay my head next to him for a minute and told him how much i love him. at one point he just said "you're my mommy." and i told him - "yep. i'm your mommy and adele's mommy, and i wouldn't change that for the world."

in that moment i felt like i was doing okay. but many moments of many days, i don't.

this world will pass away. there's no sense in staking much of anything on the things of this world. but the souls of this world will find rest with God at the end of it, or they will live eternally without him.

i have been realizing more and more how much of a mess everything is in this world.

i've recently seen the deeper reality of some of the lies that the world and our culture feed to us every single day. i've understood some of them at another level than before.

this isn't to say that i don't have any blind spots. i know they're still there. but this world is so messed up.

we watched "the big short" a few nights ago, and it threw me for a loop. it made me realize the depth of our selfishness. power corrupts. and the insidious thing we don't really allow ourselves to get is that anyone can fall into that pit. i like to think i'm immune to that, but i'm not. {if you don't believe me just google "stanford prison experiment"}

i'm incredibly selfish, and if i don't have anyone to check me, i can start getting really entitled. ahem. i DO start getting really entitled. i start talking about what i deserve, and how come this, that, and the other thing are not about me.

and this is where anne frank {finally} comes in. there's a quote from the diary of anne frank that gets thrown around a lot. a quote that says: "despite everything, i believe people are really good at heart."

we cling to that quote because we want it to be true. and i think she really did believe it, and she really did want it to be true.

but she was wrong.

we are broken and messed up. we are incredibly incredibly selfish. we are not really good at heart. we are really broken. and you may not want to believe that. you may flat-out reject it. but i think deep down we each know it to be true of ourselves. we know that we are the chief of the selfish people in this world, and we are each in need of a savior.

we've been taught that we can save ourselves. and we keep trying. we keep striving, and striving, and striving, and we keep falling short. we keep thinking "if only i could do this"; "if only i could get there"; "if only...". but the people that have gotten there will tell you that it's not all they imagined it to be.

if nothing in this world can satisfy, then we must have been made for another world. {c.s. lewis said something like this. probably not verbatim, but also not my original idea.}

anne frank was wrong. we are not really good at heart. and we were made for more than this.
both. simultaneously.
because our shortcomings are covered by our creator. our hearts can be changed.
we need only to ask to be transformed.


hear me though - this is not an easy fix. because it will not be easy to be live differently. our selfishness will continue to pull us. our brokenness will not be fully healed. scars and struggles will remain.

we were made for another world.
and until we get there we will still have struggles.

but our savior has overcome the world.
we don't have to strive for what the world says we need.
it will not satisfy.

we can be free from the rat race.
we can be free to be thankful for what we've been given, all while recognizing that we will all return to dust at the end of the day.

the things of this world will not satisfy.
we can be grateful for what they are, but we have to keep them in their proper place.

anne frank was wrong. people are not really good at heart. but God is good. we don't have to believe in the goodness of our fellow man to trust that God is good, and that he is in control of his creation.

we don't have to believe in the goodness of our humankind to have a reason to hope. when we hope in man we will be disappointed every. single. time.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. they will rise up on wings like eagles. they will run and not grow weary. they will walk and not grow faint. {isaiah 40:31}


please forgive the long-windedness today.
xoxo

Thursday, March 31, 2016

money talks

this is a sad but true fact, and one i've struggled with for a whole host of reasons. in our world, money talks. our economy is consumer-driven and all about consumption.

our economy impacts much of the world's economy in part because we really do live in a global economy.

but. the thing that has really been gnawing at me as of late is this: how do my purchases impact people?

this question gets really complicated really quickly. because there are  whole host of arguments and things to consider. and i have not looked at all sides of the argument yet. it's really hard to come down on one side or the other with this. i've been looking and thinking mostly about clothes and shoes and wearable things, but there are also questions about food, and technology, and modern "necessities" which are still luxuries in many parts of the world.

so, who knows, maybe this will end up as a series of posts. {i haven't even figured out where this one is going yet, so we'll see.}

i've been mulling over these things for a while now, and the more i do the more i think that things need to change. as nice as it would be to go to the store and just buy what we need and not worry about the implications that our purchases have for other people in the supply chain, our world does not currently have that kind of transparency. and many companies out there care about one thing only - the almighty dollar.

yes, in order for a business to stay in business it needs to make money, but when money is the driver of everything, and the well-being of people in one part of the world is sacrificed so some other people can have some stuff that they want, but won't actually make them any happier - we have a problem.

i'm being harsh on this subject because for too long i've sort of paid attention to the facts of where my clothes come from, but it's so much easier to ignore it in favor of buying what i want when i want it. recently i've started to realize more and more what the realities are about how my life and lifestyle impact those in different parts of the world.

i used to walk into a store, see something i liked or wanted, and throw it in the bag or cart without really thinking about how it got there. i'm definitely not one of those people who have a high horse to sit on when it comes to this subject. i have actively tried not to think about these things. i've thought about how little of a difference one person can make in this. i've been all over the map and back again. but i do think i need to pay more attention. my conscience is no longer clear when i make purchases based only on price or convenience.

what are the business practices of different companies? if i'm only paying $7 for a shirt, and the company is still making a profit, what does that mean for the people who are actually making the clothes?

this subject is extremely complicated because some companies say they pay fairly, and have plenty of oversight in their factories, but factories can subcontract to other factories. some of the rules in place are not honored by those running the factories.

there are so many factors to this. people are not honest. companies say one thing because it's something that people want to hear, but they don't actually have the necessary oversight in place to ensure those practices are followed.

the short answer to a very complicated question is this: it's best to avoid companies driven completely by money. if they don't buy into a larger story, but are driven mostly by maximizing their profits they will likely end up condoning some morally reprehensible things because people matter less than money in their view {not that most of them would express it that way.}

that is where i've come down at this stage in the game, but this question is far from answered in my mind. i'd love to hear about thoughts and ideas you have on this subject! where do you come down? have you come across any helpful resources?

xoxo

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

sometimes

{found via pinterest from fox on the run}


sometimes i sit for a while and stare at my blank computer screen in the morning. i just stare at it waiting for my thoughts to mesh into coherent words. this morning my thoughts are all over the place. they span from all of the many people we saw and visited with this weekend, to planning soccer practice this afternoon, to what i should move toward next vocationally and what we should move toward as a family in general, to the people we have running for the highest office in this land - which tells you something about the state of our country in general, to an acquaintance of mine who lost her 7 month old son on sunday.

you guys this list is crazy. and some of it completely breaks my heart. some of it i just want to move away from and not think about. i want to distract myself with other things because dealing with some parts of life as they actually are just hurt.

i'm a bit at a loss for words, which makes writing a little bit tough. i let myself get lost for a minute {or twelve} on pinterest, but at the end of the day looking at some beautiful things only helps but so much.

some things in life are hard. some are excruciating, and some are just grating like a blister you know is coming, but you can't prevent.

i want to live my life purposefully and intentionally. we want to model that for our kids. sometimes things in life happen that you can't control, yes. but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be intentional about how you live. you can happen to life, or life can happen to you.

and there are so many applications that we miss by just going with the flow of the culture around us. there are so many applications that we miss by not taking the time to think about what we're really called to, and what the bible really means when it says certain things. we say we believe the bible wholly and completely, but we don't live that way.

i can sit here and pat myself on the back for the things i'm doing well, and turn a blind eye to the things i wish it didn't say in there. and quite often i do. we all have our blind spots.

i've struggled lately with the whole political everything in this country. {i think the reasons are pretty obvious as to why, but if you're not sure feel free to comment below and i'll get in touch with you.} there are plenty of reasons to give up on it. plenty. the names on the ballot this year are only a few of them.

my struggle is more in the places where government has stepped in in the past where they shouldn't have needed to step in. because i recognize that there are a lot of social justice areas where the government should not have needed to step in and take over {and largely make a mess of it}. but they did need to because it needed to be done.

and that is the part i struggle with now.

even though the government shouldn't have needed to take over in many of these areas, they did. and now that they have it'll be fairly impossible to take them back.

so in one sense the fact that the church has largely abdicated its role when it comes to social justices doesn't matter since the church probably won't have the opportunity to take it back. but we're still called to those things. it doesn't mean that we should continue to abdicate that role. so what does that look like now? what does our calling look like now?

in many ways i think too small about such things. or maybe it's just that i forget how big God is. i "know" a lot of things about God, but i forget how big he really is. i try to take too many things on my tiny shoulders, and don't pay attention to what he's doing, or what he'd have me do. i too easily forget that he holds the whole world in his hands, and no one is too far gone for him. {not even mr. drumpf.}

thinking about everything all at once can easily become overwhelming. because how do we actually make a difference? we cannot affect everything. as individuals we will never be able to touch all of the problems in this world. God is the only one who can give us a new heaven and a new earth. and he will, in his timing.

but we are still called to affect change. we are still called to affect those around us. we are called to something. not everything, but something.

sometimes that is something big, and sometimes it's not. but the biggest driver of our lives should not be our comfort.

there are far too many days when i want to just live inside of my comfort zone, but i don't make much of a difference in this world when i stay there.

i like the idea of challenging myself, and stepping outside of my comfort zone, and doing something everyday that scares me. i like the idea of those things because that is where the big things happen. but in practice i seem to find an excuse not to do them. because they're hard. the things that make life really worth it are rarely easy. and we all know that, but somehow that doesn't help us do the hard things.

so many things to ponder... how do you affect change? is it really just about starting somewhere? where are you going to start?

xoxo

Sunday, March 13, 2016

{over}analyzer

{found via pinterest from curiano}

i'm an analyzer. an over-analyzer to be more precise.

there was something that happened this past week that i handled poorly, and i haven't been able to fully let go of it. but there's nothing i can do about it now. it wasn't even that big of a deal at the end of the day, but i should've done better and i hate that i didn't.

the only thing i can do about it is let go and move on, and do better if a similar situation comes up again.

i just hate when i muck it up. especially when i can't go back and fix it. because those are the situations i dwell on. it doesn't matter that i know dwelling on them doesn't actually fix anything or help anything or do any good whatsoever. i've prayed about it and thought through it from every angle possible. and now i need to let go.

that's what i'm praying for this morning. the ability to let go. and trusting that grace abounds.

it has me thinking back to the personality study i did in the fall. i'm reminded that to every strength there is a weakness. there are some great things that come with each different personality, and there are some pitfalls.

about half of my personality is the analyzer side. and man am i feeling the weaknesses associated with it right now.

but i can't live in light of the weaknesses. i go to dark places when i focus on the weaknesses, and let them take over. there's part of me that thinks - i just need to trust that "when i am weak then i am strong." but this isn't really the context of that verse. in reality i need to trust that God is still in control even when i mess up and can't do anything about it.

i need to trust that i have been forgiven, and live in light of his grace instead of in light of my mistakes.

both are abundant. but his grace is more abundant.
and {thankfully} i'm not going to use it up.


xoxo

Thursday, March 10, 2016

almond overkill

{found via pinterest from me & the mountains}


i realized yesterday that i forgot to share this story. i even went back this morning and double-checked because i really thought i would have, but not so much.

this story kind of starts way back after keane was first born. i was on three different kinds of meds to help me heal from the emergency c-section, and one of them was 800 mg ibuprofen. keane was probably two weeks old when i started breaking out in hives all over the place. it happened slowly, over the course of a few days. at first i was just a little itchy. it slowly spread, and i ended up in urgent care with a slightly baffled PA who told me to just stop taking everything i was taking. she thought it was probably the ibuprofen, even though i had never had a reaction before. she said ibuprofen was one of those things that can build up in your system.

after adele was born i figured it had been long enough since i had a reaction to it, and had taken smaller doses in the meantime with no reaction whatsoever. so i went ahead and took some of the ibuprofen prescribed after my c-section with her {gotta love those tiny non-child-bearing hips}. after a week or two my lips swelled up.

therefore, 800 mg ibuprofen is not exactly my friend.

well. apparently almonds can build up in my system too.

this is particularly heartbreaking because i really like almonds. i have never had any kind of reaction to them either. ever. but while we were doing our cleanse i ate a lot of almonds for the first week or so. we bought a huge bag of them since they were one of the few snack foods we could eat. we used a bunch of those almonds to make almond butter, and i proceeded to have plain almonds for a snack, and to slather almond butter all over celery {and sometimes carrots and other crudités too} to add taste and calories to the veggies. they were my constant go-to.

for the first few days of my legs being super itchy i really didn't think much of it. it was fairly cold outside, i like taking hot showers, hence i had dry skin. not a big deal.

the day they turned into hives, and ended up all over my legs, and started spreading to my stomach i realized there might be a bigger problem than dry winter skin.

i took some benadryl and stopped eating almonds, and over the course of a couple days the hives went down.

i've only had a couple of almonds since, and i'm rather afraid to drink any of the kids' almond milk.

i told peter i think this explains why i like to mix it up and vary my diet so much. i've never liked to eat the same thing back to back to back day after day for more than a couple days at a time. i like trying new things, and i get sick of things rather quickly. the only thing that i have every single day is coffee.

anyway, our cleanse has now been over for a while and i'm back to eating sugar. i've cut back on certain foods that i now realize have sugar {or more sugar than i thought} and still add in more vegetables to my everyday eating. and stay away from having as many carbs as i was before. i have made some subtle changes, but i still have a wicked sweet tooth.

and i'm probably about to overdo it on peanut butter because i've been rather obsessed with a combination of peanut butter, honey, and graham cracker crumbs for the last two weeks or so. sometimes i add in some cheerios, sometimes oats, but man is it good.

so good that i need to stop eating it.

have you ever had an out-of-nowhere reaction to food? or is it just me?
{i'm getting itchy just thinking about this again...}

happy thursday!

xoxo

Monday, March 7, 2016

compartmentalized

the last few weeks or so i've realized just how much i compartmentalize everything in my life. it seems like it's part of our culture to pretend that every piece of our lives can be separated out from the rest. but that's not how we're made.

how i sleep and how i eat and how much i exercise affect how i feel and how i behave. we attribute a lot of our tiredness just to sleep - we don't pay attention to how different food affects our body. i say this because i'm still trying to remember to interpret how my body reacts to different food. but by and large, unless there's a major problem, i don't attribute my sluggishness or discomfort to food. for a long time i also gave no credence to how hangry i could get.

for me exercise also plays a huge role in my overall contentment. if i don't exercise for more than a couple of days i get really grouchy and unpleasant.

but i've also been convicted lately about how much i compartmentalize the other pieces of my life.

i sort of pay attention to where my food comes from, but it has been a while since i really delved into research. and even though i know i should pay attention to where my clothes come from - how they're made, what the company practices are, where materials are sourced from, etc. - by and large i don't. and it's not because i don't care, it's because it's really difficult to find out for sure, and i don't want to take the time to filter through all of it.

but lately i've been feeling more and more like i should. because everything is connected.
there are repercussions for the everyday choices that we make.

here are a couple videos that have really reminded me of this lately:

{via youtube}


{via youtube}

{via youtube}
[this one is long, and has some language,
but worth the time!]


so much of my life is about convenience. so much of my life is just about what's right in front of my face at any given moment. but my life reverberates. just like the amount of sleep i get, the food i put in my body, and how much i've exercised affect my emotional and physical well-being; the choices i make do not just simply and only affect me.

but honestly, the one thing that really sucks about it is how hard it is to change my habits in these areas. it's so much easier not to care.

if i care that means i need to do some research, and look into things before i buy more crap that i don't really need. i need to make purposeful decisions, and take the time to really pay attention. sometimes that may mean putting off purchases, or not purchasing something at all, even if i want it.

i know i've barely scratched the surface of this subject, and there's a lot to think about and a lot to unpack, but what do you think? where are our blind spots when it comes to our consumerism?

do we really pay attention to whether our lives are doing more harm than good?
i'd love to hear your thoughts.

xoxo