Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Six

1. I woke up with a pounding headache this morning. I have myself to blame. I let my husband talk me into watching The Family Stone last night. It's one of our favorite Christmas movies but it always ends with me doing the ugly cry. That explains the headache. It also explains why my eyes are swollen to about five times their normal size, making me look as haggard as I feel. Awe. some.

2. Coffee is helping though. Coffee always helps.

3. I was in Arkansas most of last week. My mom's husband lost his battle with lung cancer and I went for the funeral and to spend a couple days with my mom. My sister and brother were there too and I think/hope we helped her get some things in order.

4. I stayed at my brother's house while there. There's nothing like being awakened first thing in the morning by a 3-year old singing "Let It Go" from Frozen. Trust me, it's angelic.

5. I am trying not to think of all that didn't get done last week in my absence. My to-do list is frightening. I see some late nights in my future. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

6. It's snowing here right now. Big, fluffy flakes. We haven't had a lot of snow this season so I'm happy to see it falling today. I really want to stay in bed and read and watch movies and nap, but that frightening list is taunting me. Happy Sunday, folks!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

December Currents

Current Read: Well, guess what? I'm so happy to tell you that I've read not one, not two, but THREE books since my last post! Orphan Train was excellent. So was Freefall to Fly. And The Dinner? Eh. It was dark, but it kept my interest and that is huge. Earlier this week I started reading Touching Wonder, an Advent book that my husband wrote a few years ago. It's my favorite!

Current Playlist: Christmas music! Sometimes I start listening before Thanksgiving, but this year I waited. I have a good mix of old, new, traditional, and non-traditional stuff. I love it all!

Current Color(s): Gray, black, and brown. I actually like them all mixed together but I like them separate too!

Current Food: I can't get enough roasted spaghetti squash. Have you ever roasted one? It's SO easy. My favorite way to enjoy it is to heat about a cup of roasted spaghetti squash with a Tbsp or so of pesto and then add some rotisserie chicken and a sprinkle of feta on top. So delicious. It's been my go-to lunch almost every day this week.

Current Favorite Favorite: Not Your Daughter's Jeans. I've heard about these jeans for years but have never tried them on until two weeks ago. We were at the mall and I was determined to leave with a pair of great-fitting jeans and boy did I find them. These jeans are the BEST. So comfy, so well-made, and so flattering--especially for women of a certain age. Their tagline is: Look and feel a size smaller. I gotta tell you it's true. I got a lot of compliments this week when I wore them. They're pricey but I was grateful to find them on sale. I'd be willing to save up and pay full price though--I love them that much.

Current Addiction: Sweet & Spicy tea from Good Earth.

Current Wish List: I want some hiking poles, snowshoes, and a FlipBelt. Santa has been informed. I even went so far as to load up his cart on I'm helpful like that.

Current Need: I NEED to clean my house. I haven't been home this much and it's insane how quickly a house can get cluttered and dirty when you're on the go! Desperately need to find some time this weekend to get it shaped up. It's going to be a family affair. We all pitch in around here!

Current Triumph: I hiked the Incline yesterday. It's an insane workout (2000 foot vertical gain in just under 1 mile) and you better believe I'm counting that as a triumph! The Incline has been closed for repairs for a few months and yesterday was the official re-opening. It was crowded but fun! There were news crews and photographers everywhere and I found this pic on one of the photographer's sites. I have no idea what I'm doing with my mouth but it cracks me up!

Current Annoyance: Rude people! I think this time of year either brings out the best in people or the worst. Sad to say that this week I saw more of the latter. Ugh. Another annoyance? Paying for 2-3 priority shipping only to have your items still not arrive 5 days later. Not cool USPS, not cool.

Current Blessing(s): Time with friends this week, receiving Christmas cards in the mail, and just simplifying some things this season that have brought calm and peace.

Current Outfit: Skinny jeans (never thought I'd love them but I do), boots, long sweaters and scarves have been my go-to's this week. 

Current Excitement: We have some of our favorite holiday parties coming up! This time of year is so fun!!! I'm also excited about seeing the movie "Wild" with my friend who got me to read the book. It released yesterday just not in Colorado Springs! We're waiting patiently for local movie times to be posted.

Current Project(s): Ironing out details for a church event in February and working on getting 100+ gifts packaged and mailed for work. Both are big (but fun) projects on my plate right now!

Current plans for the day: Find time to clean this house, do some meal planning, take a nap (I have goals, people!), finish up some online shopping, and hopefully squeeze a date night in since all three of our kiddos have plans this evening! 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

SMP 12.3.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Good morning, dear neglected blog.

I've got exactly seven minutes before I need to jump in the shower and get ready for this day. I sometimes tell John, "Hey, I'm jumping the shower" and he always always always replies, "Hey, why don't you just step in the shower; jumping is hazardous". He's a funny one.

My day today is full of errands and meetings and some Christmas shopping thrown in. I like Christmas shopping! I'm getting close to finishing all that up--hooray!

We still don't have our Christmas tree up. We carved out a block of time last weekend and it was the most frustrating experience. Exactly one dozen lights on our pre-lit tree were working. We decided to re-string the tree with lights (too much work to cut the old ones off) and I sent John out three times ro buy lights...lights...and more lights. After stringing 1500 lights, I plugged in the last strand to finish the top and they ALL went out. I was MAD. And I was FINISHED. We took the whole tree down and returned the lights and went the other night to buy a new pre-lit tree. Which is still sitting in the box in my entryway.

That's how we roll.

I cancelled some stuff we had going on tonight so we could put that ding-dang tree up as a family! In between kid activities and Christmas parties we just haven't had a night we were all home and that's an activity that we do as a family!

So...that's not all I intended to write about this morning but my seven minutes are up and I must shower and get my day going. Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Six on Sat

{I really need help with catchy blog post titles.}

1. This was one of the most productive weeks I've had in ages. I crossed so many things off of my to-do list at work and I even found myself with a few rare hours at home one day which I used to clean and scrub. I love the feeling of having a clean home and an empty to-do list going into a holiday week!

2. We all have next week off for Thanksgiving! Nine whole days of togetherness = heaven for this mama. I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner and we plan to do a lot of sleeping in, a little shopping, and some movie-going. We have some time with friends mixed in and we also plan to do some Christmas decorating, but that will wait until after Thanksgiving. One holiday at a time, people. I will say that Advent snuck up on me this year. It begins next Sunday which is still November! I like it when we have that extra week in between Thanksgiving and Advent.

3. John was out of town for part of last week. I've never loved him traveling for work and am grateful that it's pretty infrequent. I've seen a huge, huge answer to prayer in regard to my fear when he's gone. I used to get so worked up at night when he was away. I'd put chairs in front of every door, "sleep" with lights on, and "sleep" on the couch so I could hear and identify noises better from the front of the house. I don't think I ever really slept when he was away and the minute he'd arrive home, I'd head to bed for a looooong nap. After years of asking God to take my fear away, that spirit of fear is completely and totally gone! And I mean GONE. I am beyond grateful. I still don't like it when John is away, but at least I'm able to get a good night's rest!

4. Will is the mountains this weekend at Snow Camp (Young Life) and Abbey is going to the same camp with her Wyldlife group in a couple of weeks. It will be her first camp experience but she's excited so that makes me happy. Sarah has chosen our church youth group over YL and that's a-ok with us. She's very connected there and I just think that as long as they're each plugged in somewhere and growing that's what matters.

5. Have you started Christmas shopping? I've done a tiny bit. I have so many ideas and am ready to get started and I hope to knock some shopping out this week, mostly online. I am NOT a start-on-Thanksgiving-night-fight-the-crowds-for-the-best-deals shopper any longer. Been there, done that. Not my thing. I will however be doing some Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my cozy couch, with slippers on my feet and coffee in hand. Click and done!

6. I have procrastinated all week on making my menu plan and grocery list. I knew that since John was out of town part of the week I could get by with some easy meals using stuff I had on hand, but now my pantry pickings are slim and I'm out of staples so I must tackle that list and also plan my Thanksgiving Day menu. I do have a turkey but that's about it. So I'm signing off to do some planning and then trek to the grocery store. On a Saturday. Blech. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SMP 11.12.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Good morning from c-c-cold Colorado. An arctic front blew in on Monday and is giving us a taste of winter! School is delayed this morning due to extreme cold because wind chills are about -15. I wouldn't be sad if they'd just cancel school for the day but I don't think that will happen.
 John and I ran to Costco on Saturday for a few things and I picked up this heated throw blanket. Oh my gosh. Heaven. It is wonderful. My friend calls it the "Nap-maker" or something like that, and it's true. I took a short nap under it both Saturday and Sunday and I almost did last night. 

I'd love to stay snuggled under it today and read this book.

I went last week to find a book that was suggested to me and my local bookstore didn't have it so I walked out with this one instead. I love it so far! I have a couple of your suggestions on hold at the library so I need to finish this quickly.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Straight Talk: Relationships

I had a comment on a post I wrote last month and in it, a long-time reader asked me if I would share more about moving in the direction of relational health. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and decided to answer her questions here on the the blog. This is not a "how-to" post; it’s simply a peek into some parts of my journey.

How do you go about making progress in this area?

For me, I really began to take a long, prayerful look at the relationships in my life that felt hard. What was hard? What was good? What did I wish was different? Where was I at fault? What was I willing to invest? What did I really want? I’ve written about this before but sometimes knowing what you don’t want leads you into knowing what you DO want. Through my evaluation process, I realized that some of the relationships I was holding on to were not ones I wanted to keep investing in. I realize that sounds harsh, but in order to be kind to myself I had to cut some ties.

I also invested in some counseling. My husband loves me dearly but he isn’t objective when it comes to me and things that hurt me, so it didn’t feel fair to make him listen/process this stuff with me. Counseling was a logical next step, and as is always the case, was a journey into deeper self-revelation. I was able to clearly identify relational patterns and triggers in my life, and because my counseling was faith-based, I was able to invite Jesus into my process of healing—a process that is still ongoing. I don’t feel led to share the nitty gritty here; I’m sure you understand.

How do you prune relationships that are not healthy? It just seems so awkward, but I know I need to. As a people pleaser, I just don’t know how.

Let me first say that YOU get to define what unhealthy relationships mean in regard to you and your life. Not every hard relationship is unhealthy. Some are definitely worth fighting for. 

I chose to completely cut ties. Maybe you can limit your involvement with those who pull you down, or retreat a bit, but for me, it was a complete break. Cutting ties isn’t clean or easy; I’m still wading through some emotional residue, awkwardness, and lingering hurt. As much as I hate it, I don’t know any way around this. I do know that the peace I feel from stepping away is confirmation that I did the right thing.

It’s easy to play a blame-game when you’re evaluating difficult relationships but it’s important (and difficult) to stay away from that emotional pull. Rarely are things completely one-sided. Owning my fault and and my role in the demise of certain relationships was hard, but necessary.

One big thing I realized during this process is that I have a pretty significant flight response. The minute things get hard or weird, I flee and convince myself I’m better off without that person in my life. There are times that is true but flight shouldn’t be the first/only response and it is completely unfair to emotionally abandon a person.

In regard to being a people pleaser and it being awkward to navigate unhealthy relationships: YES. It is completely awkward. I’m a people pleaser too. I want everyone to like me. The hard truth is that everyone doesn’t. Haters is a strong word, but I have a few in my life, and I’m trying to take Taylor Swift’s advice and Shake It Off. It’s hard to do; harder still if that pleaser mentality is deeply ingrained in every fiber of your being.

I’m also slowly learning to get up every morning and let ONE VOICE define me. God’s voice. He is the one who truly knows my heart and my motives and my needs and my fears and His opinion of me is the one that matters most. It’s the key to freedom in this area.

Can you suggest any books that helped you in this area?

Friendships Don’t Just Happen by Shasta Nelson was a book I loved because it gave me a system to evaluate and categorize my relationships. She explains her system in this video. I think this book also validated my decision to “cut ties” yet didn’t let me off the hook for my flight response and the ways I emotionally check out of relationships. It challenged me to change the way I threw around words like “toxic” and it challenged me to push through difficult relationship challenges. While the book is not overtly Christian, the writer is and I thought she approached things in a balanced way.

I haven’t read Boundaries in a number of years but I still practice some of the things I learned from this book and would suggest it as a resource in navigating relational wellness.

Couple of things to add:
1. All of my "hard" relationships were female friendships. This is an area where I've personally struggled for the past several years. 
2. I'm happy to answer questions in the comments section. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

November Currents

Current Read: Help! Please, please help me find a good work of fiction to read. I do not like non-fiction and I don't want to let another month pass without reading something. Suggestions?

Current Playlist: Taylor Swift, New Life Worship, David Crowder, Coldplay.

Current Color(s): Navy and camel (I like them separate and together) and I'm also digging eggplant. The color, not the veggie. I'll eat just about anything but eggplant and beets. Yucko.

Current Food: I am kind of addicted to kale and sweet potatoes and this paleo bread right now. I'm not Paleo because I like carbs too much, but this recipe is gluten-free and it's fast and I usually have the ingredients on hand so I'm LOVING it.

Current Favorite Favorite: I hinted at an awesome beauty product last month and never gave you the info. It's this eyebrow serum. Over the past few years my eyebrows have basically quit growing--I blame age and over-plucking in my 20s. My aunt told me about this serum (and gave me a tube) when I was in St Louis at the end of August. I've been using it faithfully and I HAVE EYEBROWS again. It's crazy awesome!

Current Addiction: According to my hair stylist I have an addiction to highlights. She went really dark with my hair last time and I did not like it at all. I didn't hate it enough to go back, but I didn't like how dark it was. I went yesterday for a cut/highlights and told her I needed it lighter and brighter and she laughed and told me I'm addicted to highlights. I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to.

Current Wish List: I really really really want a warm hat with an opening for my ponytail! And I also want a set of silicone baking cups.

Current Need: Abbey and I had a good discussion the other day about wants/needs and right now I feel grateful that all of my needs are met.

Current Triumph: I made it to Wednesday afternoon...does that count? It's been a really full week already so I'm totally counting it.

Current Annoyance: I can't figure out how to keep my computer connected to my Wi-Fi at home. UGH. It's something in my settings, I guess, because it's only affecting my computer (no one else's computer and no phones) and it is super duper annoying. I'm techy but I can't seem to figure this out!

Current Blessing(s): I'm feeling grateful for my kids' friends. They each have an exceptional peer group and those friends keep them accountable and out of trouble. It's a big blessing in their lives.

Current Outfit: Jeans, boots, purple sweater (eggplant!) and earrings I've had since like 1990. They're so old they've come back into style.

Current Excitement: I have a couple of fun things on my calendar in the next week that I'm looking forward to including a dinner with friends and a date with my husband.

Current Project(s): I need to finish painting my kitchen table and chairs. I'm also helping out a bit with the Young Life Fundraising Banquet next week so I need to get my ducks in a row with that, and I'm working on some content for my Healthy Holiday accountability group. There's still space in my group--message me if you're interested in more info.

Current plans for the day: The day is winding down but I'm going to pick up my youngest in a bit and wait for John to get home. It's a rare night that we're all at home and he asked if I'd like to get something for dinner. I don't have to think about that. Yes! Let's go. So we're going out to dinner and then I hope to come home, put on my pjs, and watch some mindless television!