My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions…

Hey all!

I’m hoping by sharing my resolutions this will help to keep me accountable to them.  I encourage you all to do the same in the comments below.

  1. Give up sugar by 50% or more.  This one will be my biggest challenge.
  2. Serve my community in a larger capacity.
  3. Continue daily to strive towards my CrossFit goals and crush the Open in my age group.
  4. Grow this blog as God directs.
  5. Pray more for others.
  6. Read Bible during the summer.
  7. Go on more family vacations.
  8. Read more.
  9. Remember God in everything I do.

New Year’s Resolutions!

Hey all!

Welcome to 2018!

I wanted to write about something we all think about come January 1st:  New Year’s Resolutions.

For many, it’s lose weight and eat healthier.

For some, it’s find the right career path.

Others, it’s grow closer to God.

Many have multiple goals/resolutions.

Resolution is by definition:  “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”

It is an act of will power.

This explains why so many people fall off the wagon after only 6 weeks and the New Year is long forgotten.

Our will power is limited.  We have to have help.  That’s where God comes in.

You also have to help yourself.

So here’s my suggestions for sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions year-long:

  1. Find an accountability partner.  Someone who will call you out when you cheat or take one step off the wagon.
  2. Enlist God’s help especially if it’s spiritual.  Only He can help you change.
  3. Help yourself i.e. quit sabotaging yourself.  For example, throw away all of your temptation food AND DON’T BUY IT!!!
  4. You have to want it.  You have to crave it.  You have to work towards it.  You have to have micro-goals within your macro-goals.  Every day you take one step towards your goals.  Over time, this will add up to change.
  5. Reward yourself for your progress.  Starbucks, chocolate (a small amount if you’re it’s a diet goal!), a new book, a trip to the mountains or the ocean–somewhere that’s nearby that will inspire you to keep at it.
  6. Don’t give up!  If you fall, pick yourself up the next day.  Don’t beat yourself up either.  Same principle.  We are not perfect.  Allow wiggle-room.

New Year’s Resolutions (like Mother’s Day) should occur more than once a year.  Slow and steady does win the race when it’s a marathon.  And that’s what you’re running.  So breathe.  Prepare.  And take off!  Good luck!!

New Features to My Blog!

Hey all!

I just wanted to highlight a few new features to my blog.

1) Please sign up to receive email notifications of my postings.  It’s a great way to keep abreast of my posts and the easiest way to find them.

2)  I have added a donation button in my sidebar.  If you’ve been helped by what you read here and you feel led by God to contribute, please use the donation button on the sidebar.  It helps to support my writings and spend more time on this blog.

3)  The sidebar also has all the BSF questions from this year and the past year easily accessible by clicking on the study of your choice.  All the questions appear in reverse order since everything on a blog is top posted.

I hope you all have a wonderful break and I’ll see ya in the Fall!!

God bless one and all!

Why Is It We NEVER Give Ourselves Enough Credit?

I just applied for a homeschool writing position with another blog.  They asked for a brief list of credentials and three writing samples related to homeschooling.  They offer a bit of compensation so I thought “Why not?”

So I list my resume per se:  I am almost done with my YA edit.  I write novels.  I wrote a newspaper column.  I blog.  I homeschool my kids.  Used to be a public school teacher.

Then I begin a search for my writings on homeschool.  I have a few here on this blog but they are old.  Then I suddenly remembered my newspaper columns I wrote.  I wrote a ton of homeschool stuff then.  So I drag all those up and copy and paste.

While I am copying and pasting, I am reading them.  I think, “Wow, these are pretty good!”  Then I think, “Actually, these are REALLY good.”

It made me realize:  I can write.  I am good at something in this world besides changing diapers and chauffeuring kids to soccer practice, music classes, swim lessons, etc.  I do have something to say that’s not kid-related.  And I have something important to say that doesn’t begin with a negative i.e. “No!” or “Don’t!” or “Stop!”

I think we as women and moms get so caught up in the outside world validating us that we forget that we don’t need validation from the outside world.  We forget God has stamped us as His from the moment we were born.  We forget we have everything if we have Him.  And we forget that we are enough; we are good; we are important.

God knows this.  So why don’t we?

Easy:  It all comes back to Him.

I forget this every day of my life.  I have to constantly remind myself of Him and the Cross.  And when I do, when I acknowledge Him in my mind, then I can acknowledge myself in my mind and it becomes a little easier to believe I am important after all.  I stand a bit taller.  I believe in myself a bit more.  And I give myself credit where credit is due.

Whether or not the outside world ever recognizes me is unimportant.  It would be nice, don’t get me wrong.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  All that does matter is Him.  I work for Him, through Him, and by Him.  Period.

Is This SERIOUSLY Worth It?

I ask myself this all the time when I spend hours writing my novel.

After you’ve written half a dozen or so, you lose count.

And after you lose count you are left wondering was it worth it since it is doing absolutely nothing for you but taking up memory on your computer.

And as I write my new novel this question is perpetually in my mind.

For I think this one is going nowhere as well.

I hate going to bookstores and seeing all the books that got published that shouldn’t have been published just because they are written by someone famous or some “expert” in their field.  It makes me angry because that is part of the reason I can’t get mine published.

Yet, here I sit.  Driven by something deep inside of me that won’t allow me to quit.  Even when none of it is fun or exciting or even remotely interesting.

It will be worth it–IF–and that’s a big IF–I ever get published.

But it’s a dream I have and unfortunately dreams die hard.

Like teaching that I am still holding on to by a thread.

Owning a home with a barb-wired fence.

Watching my kids grow to adults.

Training my hound to be a therapy dog.

Finishing reading a novel I first picked up two years ago but keep putting down in order to write.

But the fact that dreams do come true motivates me as well.  Keeps me going at all hours of the night.  For who among us hasn’t had some part of a dream at least come true?

And that, my friends, is what life is all about.

Just When You Think You Have It All Figured Out, God Slams You and Says, “Not Just Yet!”

Ever notice a pattern in life where things are going good and smooth.  Your job is great. Kids are growing.  Bills are paid.  Vacation was nice.  Bought a house.  Painted a fence.

Then, it all changes in what seems a matter of days and you are thrown in limbo again.

Maybe it’s just me who notices this.

I’m anxious again.  I find myself aimlessly trolling the Internet for no reason at all.  For about 10 minutes.  Then I close my computer and do it all over again.

I’m looking for nothing in particular.  When in truth I am seeking something.  Solace. Serenity.  Peace.  Knowledge.  Him.

It’s that time of year again where we may move houses.  Our landlords have the house up for sale and we’re getting a ton of showings.  I think it’s only a matter of time.

We’re praying to buy a house–a permanent home–but our chances are not looking good.

Husband’s job always seems to be in flux for some reason.  Call it the economy.

My pup had to have emergency surgery today.  She should be okay, but it was completely unexpected.  And very, VERY worrisome for her mama who couldn’t stand to lose her so quick.

Still waiting on teacher applications.  You think with school right around the corner, they’d hurry up.  But alas…

My novel has stalled at 30,000 words.  Put that down for a bit.

Trying to read books.  Have no desire.

I feel like I’m following God’s path for my life but, again, His timing is not mine.  I’d just wish He’d hurry up sometimes!

So I pray.  I just apologized to God for man’s tendency to pray in crises and not to pray in the good times.  Then again, He created us so I’m assuming He understands.

Then I pray some more.

Then I sit.  Trying to calm myself.  Occupy myself (my house is very clean!).  And not stay up late at night typing blog posts because my mind cannot rest.

And wait….on others….on Him….to answer prayers….or not answer them (which is an answer as well).

I focus on breathing and picturing God’s wonders in Nature (waterfalls, etc) that calm me.

Inevitably, peace will come.  It just won’t be on my time.

Patience, I whisper to myself.

Then I hear God whisper that as well.

And all is as it should be.

I Want to Be a Novelist, Not a Columnist…

Let’s face it: none of us are getting any younger.

I have come to realize lately as my 3 year old is rapidly approaching 4 that I no longer have any “babies” in terms of needing constant care.  Which means I am getting older too.

My dream has been for a while now to be a novelist.  It is what drives me every day to do what I do.

This columnist gig was great but it takes up a lot of my writing time.  Instead of writing on my novel (which gives me an insane amount of joy), I spend time writing my column (which lately has given me little joy).

I put a lot of effort into my columns (like I do here) and the ones I think are good I get no response from the public.  I wrote a really great piece on Thanksgiving basically relating the history of Thanksgiving and how it was originally meant to thank GOD and no one else and how it has all been secularized.

Nothing.  No emails.  No on-line responses.

I write opinion pieces on laws and I get told to go back to where I come from.

I feel I am not impacting anyone.  And I feel God has called me to make an impact.

I have felt this way since the end of September but I pushed forward.  However, I can’t ignore my gut any longer.

With only so much time in the day that is actually mine, I must make cuts.  And this is the first one on the chopping block.

I want to spend as much time with my kids as possible while still pursuing my dreams. Right now, I only have one dream.  And it has nothing to do with a career in newspaper land.

NOTE OF CLARIFICATION:  I am speaking about the column I am writing in my local newspaper, NOT THIS BLOG!  This is a blog, not a column.  Sorry for any confusion!!!

Will I EVER Learn to Play the Guitar?

It’s been six months now since I really started playing the guitar and I’m just frustrated.  I still haven’t mastered the major chords yet and the barr chords are driving me nuts! They sound horrible!

Yet at the same time playing gives me great joy.

I always wanted to play an instrument ever since I was a little girl.  But I was raised by a single mom who didn’t have the time nor money to provide such luxuries.

Thankfully and gratefully, I have both now so I’m trying to live out a dream of mine being late rather than never.

I see this as part of who I am now.  A beginning guitar player.

Frustrating?  Yes.  Challenging?  Yes.  But oh so rewarding.  Especially once the dream is accomplished (how ever many years that takes!).

This Time I Mean It…

Ever since we’ve moved, I’ve indulged myself more than I used to.  I buy more coffee treats.  I eat more sweets.  And more processed food.

Well, I feel like it’s caught up with me.  I think I’ve got a bit of a roll going on around my stomach.  The thing is:  I don’t weigh any more than I used to.

It’s not like I’m fat or anything.  I’m 5’7″ and weigh 125 lbs.  I work out 2-4 times a week and am toned.  But I feel jiggly lately.

So, starting today I’m cutting the sugar I can:  no more Coke.  No more convenience foods (Tostinos and Hot Pockets are two of my favorites).  No more coffee drinks from Wal-Mart.  And I’m cutting the occasional beer I indulge in.

So that leaves water and my morning coffee (hey, I have to keep something!).  And coffee is really just flavored water.  I don’t use any sugar.  And I use FF creamer.

I’ve tried this before but never fully committed.  But this time I am.  And I intend to succeed.

I’ve been feeling tired lately and just overall yucky.  And I think it’s due in part to my diet.  So more fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

We’ll see how this goes.  After a month, I’ll re-evaluate.  See if the coffee does need to go.  Or maybe switch to drinking it plain.

But at least I got a plan together.  To feel better overall, better about myself and my aging body, and save some money in the process.  (Have you noticed how much a 24-pack of Coke costs these days?)

My Love Affair with the Guitar…

I’ve been down again lately.  For whatever reason.  Not wanting to be here.  Husband gone again.  Dirty house.  Etc.

So I cleaned the house.  Still didn’t feel better.  Read books with the kids.  Moped basically.

Then the girls and I practiced the guitar.

Now I feel much better.

I have made this one of my goals: to learn to play along with my children.

This is my new passion to be honest.  It’s become an obsession really.  I played the other day until my wrist hurt that’s how bad I want this.  And I’m very pain adverse.  I practice until my fingers hurt (building calluses, ya know).

I didn’t think someone as old as I am could learn (not that I’m old but I’m definitely not 10 anymore).  But it’s slowly taking shape.

I am determined to learn how to play My Savior My God by Aaron Shust, one of my favorite songs.  The first time I heard it I remember thinking, That Intro would be cool to play.

Sometimes I think this new hobby is the only thing that is sustaining me.  When I’m mopey, I get my guitar out and tinker around.  I watch lessons online.  Just to distract myself.

I’ve always wanted to play an instrument but since I grew up with a single mom I never had the opportunity.  Now I do.  And I intend to succeed this time around.

Not that it’ll be easy.  Especially for someone as musically-challenged as I am.  But I will give it my all and see how good I can get.

I have this new dream of being a worship leader or something crazy like that.

One never knows, do they?  Not until you try.