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! 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Quick Ketchup

Yes, I know it's catch up and not ketchup, but ketchup is more fun to type.

1. Our Halloween was quite different this year. We had NO kids at home that night. One was working, one was at a football game, and one had a sleepover at a friend's house and trick-or-treated there. We'd decided last month that we weren't going to give out candy this year and instead donate what we'd normally spend to good cause, but John caved at the last minute and bought some enormous bags of candy from Costco. He's a big softie and loves giving out candy to our trick-or-treaters. I suppose I kind of like it too. My friend sent me this picture of Abbey and company before they headed out...she was a cat and she made her cat ears and tulle tutu (which you can barely see) all by herself.
2. Last week my sweet friend came over and we started painting my kitchen table and chairs. Well, I painted and she tackled the upholstery on my chairs. We didn't get finished and I haven't had time to work on it since then but it's looking good so far! I'll post pictures once it's all finished up.
3. It's cold here this morning. The older I get the less I like winter. I've been spoiled by our very, very mild October. Not ready for frigid temps, but I am very much liking our daytime highs this week!
4. Are you voting today? I'm going to my polling place on my way to get my hair cut later. I filled out my ballot a few weeks ago and had it all ready to mail and then I threw it away. On purpose. I was apathetic about the whole thing. Not because I didn't know who/what I wanted to vote for but because I sometimes wonder if it matters, ya know? Conviction won out though and I will vote later today with confidence in the people/things I believe in. It matters, people, and it's a very important privilege that we have in this country! GO VOTE!

5. I'm hosting a Healthy Holiday online accountability group beginning next Monday, 11/10. If that sounds like something you'd like to be a part of or if you'd like more information about it, message me at: and I'll give you the 411.
Alrighty...signing off to wrap up some work this morning and head out for a hair appointment! SO excited to get rid of my gray. It's popping up faster and faster these days. UGH.