Week 28, Day 1
Heart: I was reading an interesting article last week about parenting. One of things the author suggested was that perhaps our nagging is to our kids as their whining is to us. That made me do a double take… There is nothing that I, as an adult, do that is as annoying and aggravating as my kids’ whining. Right? Right?! So, then I had to reread it to see what exactly was meant by ‘nagging’. In the case of this article, it referred to repeatedly asking for obedience. ‘Put your shoes on. Hey, put your shoes on. Ugh, go put your shoes on! Please go put your shoes on, now! Get your shoes on!’ How annoying would it be as a kid to be asked and asked and asked? But, as a parent, why don’t they just do it the first time?! Maybe it’s because in doing this (asking repeatedly) time and time again, we’re teaching them to tune us out. Kind of like we tune out their whining. It’s annoying, aggravating, and sometimes we just ignore it. So, I began asking myself how I can get my kids to obey without having to ask several times and I think, maybe, it boils down to this… maybe I need to ask them once and if they choose disobedience, there needs to be a consequence. Not a huge, life-altering consequence, but a natural consequence. ‘You didn’t put your shoes on and it’s time to go, so you’re going to walk to the car barefoot.’ I’ve done this in the past and it works remarkably well, but I’ve gotten away from it. In this particular case, I threw a pair of shoes in my purse, and when Bubby complained about his feet being cold, we talked about choosing to be disobedient and I asked if he wanted to make a better choice next time. He said, “Yes, I will put them on next time you ask Mom!” Once he had felt the consequence and we had talked about a better choice, I pulled out his shoes and he put them on. The article was a great reminder for me that it’s ok to expect obedience from my kids the first time I ask. In fact, maybe letting obedience slide three or four times is actually teaching our children to disobey! That is definitely not what I want to be teaching my kiddos, I want them to obey the first time with a joyful heart!
Soul: I’ve blogged a few times about struggling to trust God with our finances lately. Or, at least, trying to overcome my anxious feelings by choosing what I know to be true, that He provides. I was reminded this weekend that trusting God to provide doesn’t mean sitting on my tush and waiting for Him to do all of the work. I was feeling anxious partly because I hadn’t run numbers or adjusted our budget. I was unclear about exactly where we were at financially. So, this weekend, I spent some time running some numbers and taking a good look at our situation. I guess, maybe, I was worried that if I tried to look at or adjust our budget it would mean I wasn’t trusting God with it, but that just isn’t true! Looking at our budget lifted such a weight off of my shoulders! I have a clear picture of where we’re at and now we can spend some time in prayer about the direction God has for us!
Strength: I was very inspired by my husband this morning. He didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but it was his ordinary that was so inspiring! He got up super early so he could go to the gym before work. After the week and weekend that we had, I would guess he didn’t feel much like getting up long before the sun, but he did it anyway. He got up in the dark, drove through the ice and snow to the gym, got into his swim trunks (brrr), and trained for Ironman. Then, upon realizing he had extra time, rather than taking a 15-minute power nap in the car (which is totally what I would have done), he decided to spin for those 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I had hit the snooze button and turned over to go back to sleep, but then I started thinking about his morning, how productive he was, and how proud it makes me. It was exactly what I needed this morning! It gave me the push I needed to get out of bed and do my little work out. Plus, I officially exceeded my January work out goal this morning (I hit 11 workouts)!
Week 25, Day 5
Heart: The new year is upon us again, seems like it happens faster every year! I decided to forego ‘resolutions’ again this year for small monthly changes like last year. Each month, I make one small change in each of the following areas: financial, spiritual, and physical. I found that it was much easier for me to keep them for only a month and I felt less discouraged if one didn’t work out because I got a new start come the turn of the month! I did find, however, that I kept up some of the changes long-term. For instance, one vegetarian meal per week led to cutting out beef and pork from my diet completely. I feel so much better since making that change! Driving only one car for a month led to the realization that we didn’t really need both, so we sold one of them! This year, for January, our one small financial change is to increase the amount applied to the 401k. Not much I need to do in the way of making changes, but it does result in a slight change to the budget. Despite not necessarily being a difficult change, it seems like a wise one.
Soul: My spiritual change this month is spending 5 minutes with Jesus every day. A few years ago, I realized that I don’t bat an eyelash to give 10% of my money for God’s use, but I hoard my time like I own it. While 10% of my day might be a bit much to try all of a sudden (over an hour and a half), 5 minutes is entirely doable! Especially if I get up before the kids! One of the most wonderful feelings is getting to spend 5 minutes with Jesus, do a quick workout, take a shower, and have a few sips of coffee before the first “Mom!” rings through the house. It’s shocking how much more I love the pitter-pattering and shouting when I’ve had a solid start to the day!
Strength: Finally, my physical change for January is working out 10 times this month. Seems almost laughable when I write it down. My goal for this month, though, was to pick something totally achievable. I can certainly use the feeling of accomplishment to jump-start the rest of the year. So, I picked something entirely doable that, hopefully, sticks around much longer than just the month of January. So, here’s to a fabulous 2017 full of small, positive, and productive changes!
Week 16, Day 5
Heart: Halloween was this week and it was awesome! My kiddos were so adorable! Donald Duck was a fan favorite for sure, Banayner was so proud! And Bubby charmed his way into nearly twice as much candy as the other kids! Baby girl hung out with Daddy, but she was a precious little pumpkin! They’re already brainstorming what they want to be next year for Halloween! Banayner’s thinking some sort of angry bird and I’m trying to convince Bubby to be a UPS man. Can you imagine a 3-year-old UPS man knocking on the door with a box to collect his candy?! So sweet! I don’t know what baby girl will be, but I’m sure it’ll be something way girly, maybe with a tutu? (I’m so loving having a girl!) Now my focus can transition from Halloween costumes to Christmas presents. I’m sewing mermaid and shark tail blankets for the kiddos. They’ll get them wrapped up with new books this year- they’re going to love it, I’m so excited!
Soul: For my discipleship class, we were asked to write a paper about being the presence of God’s grace and truth in the world. It got me thinking a lot about justice, mercy, and the verse Micah 6:8, which I’ve always loved but have found confusing. It seems so Christianese, “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God”. However, at a Bible study a few years ago the verbs really hit me: act, love, walk. Though all technically stemming from me, they seem to have different focuses. Act: this is entirely about me and the way I act. I need to make sure that the things I say and do are just. Love: this one seems to be focused on how I love others. While I seek justice for my own actions, I need to be merciful in my dealings with others. I need to treat them with love and mercy. Walk: seems to refer to an active role in my relationship with Jesus. Ant not in a know-it-all, holier-than-thou sort of way, but in a humble, serving and awe-filled way. This has been awesome in that I have high expectations of myself (act justly), while being kind and generous to others (love mercy) and honest and genuine in my relationship with Christ (walk humbly). I think the only way others will see God’s grace and truth in us is if we can show them grace in the way we treat others and truth in the way we act and walk with Christ.
Strength: Well, I haven’t lost any more weight since I last logged in, but I’ve lost more inches (I’m down ten now)! Halloween is the start of the worst time of year for trying to lose weight. There’s enough candy to last through Thanksgiving, then there’s enough pies and cookies to get far enough into advent season for those cookies, pies, and desserts to show up. Ugh, there’s no letting up until January! I have found myself struggling with having chocolate around! However, I have also found that I’m doing better than in years past because this blog keeps popping into my head! Plus, I’m still getting up and exercising virtually every day and I don’t want to have spent that time in vain. What’s been the most helpful, however, are a few articles I’ve found about women who have gone through very healthy and sustainable weight loss. One of them lost over one hundred pounds, but it took her three years. Immediately I found myself thinking, “Geez, was it even worth it if it took that long” but I caught myself and realized that’s got to be a huge reason I struggle with weight loss. You can tell just looking at her that it was worth it, her pride radiates from her! But, for some reason, in my mind it seems like it’s only worth it if it’s quick. It won’t be quick if I want it to last. It can’t be… it’s going to take a complete re-haul of the way I see myself. So, I got up this morning, exercised and got out my tape measure for some much-needed encouragement! Ten inches is definitely encouraging! Now I just need to keep telling that voice in my head who says I’m not worthy to shut up.
Week 10, Day 2
Heart: Being a mom is tough. Having decided that we’re done having children, everything that baby girl accomplishes is a last at the same time it’s a first. She’s had a rough few nights, lately. She’s normally a phenomenal sleeper, so we’ve been going through the checklist of what could be going on. Gas, sickness, teething, etc. This morning she gave me a big ol’ grin and I noticed a little tooth poking through her gums. At the same time that I felt a swell of pride that my baby girl got her first tooth, my heart broke at the realization that her big gummy grin is a thing of the past. In fact, all big gummy grins are a thing of the past at our house. That tiny little tooth represents the end of an entire stage of my life. It’s a reminder that she’s not an infant anymore… she’s a baby. I will never have an infant again (unless God decides to have a sense of humor). While that is totally where we want to be, it’s a very real marker of time passing. Then I look at my other two ‘babies’ and am just blown away by how fast it all goes. It’s a good reminder that I want to be home with my kiddos. I want to be very intentional and present in this moment of their lives because, before I know it, it’ll be little more than pictures and memories.
Soul: With school starting I’ve been getting asked pretty frequently about staying home. I love that my friends and family know me and get that this is not an easy transition for me. It’s actually quite bittersweet. I shared with a friend just this morning the realization that much of my self-worth and value has been based on my accomplishments as a teacher. I love teaching math (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before), but more than that, I was good at it. I’m not trying to be arrogant, I was certainly not the best, but I was and still am proud of my role as math teacher. I had great relationships with my students, colleagues and supervisors. I was regularly affirmed and openly valued as a teacher. Now I’m at home focusing on my roles of wife, mommy, daughter of Christ and am finding that, though infinitely more important, they are also outrageously more difficult. There is very little affirmation and when there is, it seems as though it comes months or years down the road. Ultimately, though tough, I believe these are good things because Christ gets the glory. It’s easy to unknowingly claim the glory for things when we’re affirmed too often. We can get caught in a web of ‘I accomplished that’ and forget that it was done by the blessing and power of Christ. I’m excited about this journey at home, though I expect it will take patience and a lot of faith!
Strength: I’m finding myself torn by the desire to be healthy conflicting with the very real societal preference of being thin. I desperately want to seek health for the sake of my children and myself, but there’s an undeniable longing to be thin, toned, and beautiful purely for the sake of being thin, toned, and beautiful. Then, in the midst of this struggle, I find myself wanting to say ‘forget it altogether’ because I’m tired of the fight in my head. I’m having the hardest time feeling good about where I’m at because I haven’t really decided where I want to go. Out loud, I’ll readily admit to wanting to be healthy and not concerned with being thin because this is the ‘right’ answer. But, I’m getting so sick of fighting the voice in my head that says, “That isn’t entirely true, Christi. You want to be thin. You want to be and feel beautiful. You want people to look at you and think, ‘Wow! Her husband is a lucky guy!’” Ugh… I do want those things. But I want them for selfish reasons… I want them for what are, ultimately, false reasons. Being thin and beautiful won’t guarantee that my marriage will work out, it won’t guarantee that my children will never be embarrassed by me, it won’t even guarantee that I wake up every morning loving myself. In fact, none of those are guarantees. The only thing that seems guaranteed is that this inner struggle is all too real and, to be honest, it sucks…