Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Coffee Showers

Someone told me recently that if we close our fists, hold them to our chests and cling too tightly to what we have, we won't have open arms to receive what God wants to give us. I made a commitment a little over a month ago to give up lattes in order to support a young boy named Steven who lives in Uganda. The first couple of weeks were pretty hard. I drove by the local coffee stand every morning and salivated over the thought of a hot beverage in my hands. I felt like I couldn't function for a while without my "morning crack" or "consciousness in a cup" as one of my friends so fondly referred to it. I kept making my boring drip coffee every morning, and slowly I began to realize that I was going to live - without lattes!

On my birthday, which was just over a week ago, I stopped at the coffee cart down the street from my house, knowing they gave out free drinks for birthdays. I figured it would probably be the most amazing tasting beverage I had ever consumed, since I had been so terribly deprived for the last month. It was okay. Strange, I thought.

Over the last 10 days I have found it comical at how often I have been given free coffee. My husband and one of my friends bought me coffee shop gift cards for my birthday; just about every one of my friends took me out for birthday coffee; my clients started showing up at my office with lattes; a new shop opened and was giving away free got to the point that someone showed up at my house today with a drink for me and my stomach churned. It would've been my 3rd day in a row of 2 lattes in one day! I thought of this verse in Proverbs:

"One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry, even what is bitter tastes sweet."

Then, I thought of this verse:

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and poor out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:10

It is so incredibly humbling when God reminds me that HE IS BIG ENOUGH! He doesn't need me, but when I obey, He LOVES to bless me. And oh, He has a sense of humor! I have almost literally been showered in coffee! He opened the floodgates of latte!

Today is my one-year anniversary of starting this blog. It is so cool to see the journey I have traveled over the last year. I don't ever want to stop discovering God. He has never let me down, and I know He never will. Wherever you are today - whether you have a close connection with God, or aren't really sure if you even believe in Him - God wants our trust. Trust him to prove Himself real to you. Trust Him with the little things that are hard to let go of. See for yourself how He wants to "throw open the floodgates of heaven and poor out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Just be prepared for the downpour!

Seriously caffeinated,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just Do It!

I've always wanted to be a part of something big. Don't ask me exactly what that means, because I don't have a specific definition. I'm not talking about being a part of making the Guiness Book of World Records largest rice crispy treat, because that would be big - and tasty too - but slightly meaningless. What I mean is I want to be a part of a lot of people that got together and did something really cool (like make a giant BROWNIE instead!) AND made a difference in people's lives. At some point in time, people figured out that if everyone did just a little bit, resources could go a long way. I've seen it a few times. It's amazing to witness, but I really want to get in on the action!

So, now that you're wondering what I'm trying to sell, let me explain. About a month ago, I went to a free concert by Shaun Groves. It rocked my world a little bit. I was reminded that I live a pretty cush life here in Suburbia, America. I started looking at things a little differently, and began to realize that my morning latte was a luxury; that Pier 1 velvet pillows which coordinate with my cinnamon apple-colored walls that are adjacent to my leather couch are somewhat immaterial when it comes to things that matter. Before you think I'm a rich kid, let me point out that my income falls well below average. That was the point for me though. COMPARED to other people - even in my neighborhood - I felt a little deprived. And then I realized I was comparing myself to the wrong people. God asked me to give til it hurt and go without my trip through Starbucks in the morning to support a little boy in Uganda. (It literally hurts - I have headaches in the morning - & it hurts my poor husband too - I can be grumpy without coffee!)

I wish I could support 100 children, but I just don't have the resources! The cool thing is - I know someone who does! Shaun Groves has given up what could be a very financially rewarding career in the music industry to partner with Compassion International, and puts on free concerts to help promote what they are doing. Each time he does a concert, more & more children are sponsored. Just the other day, I was dinking around on Facebook (who does that?) when I found out he was trying to raise money to make a new CD. Everyone who contributes gets a PRIZE! Obviously, Shaun knows we all still have an inner-child that salivates over that word!

So follow me here: if all 12 of you who read this (thank you "followers"! LOL) go to Shaun's kickstart page -

and donate something (PRIZE! PRIZE! PRIZE!) we can help him to keep reminding other people that we are blessed & we have room in our lives to share our blessings! Even the smallest donations will receive copies of his new CD. Pretty cool.

Tonight in our life group, we read the story of Gideon. For those of you who aren't familiar with the story, the Cliff's Notes are basically this: Gideon defeated an army of thousands and thousands of men with his army of only 300 & they were armed with nothing more than ram's horns and clay pots over some torches. Crazy stuff - but a good example of what can happen when we come to God with what we have. [Insert moving Braveheart speech] Who's with me?!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just a Short Note...

If I believed in Santa Claus, which I don't (because I'm not 4), I'd write him a letter something like this:

"Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas are Starbucks gift cards.

Thank you,


I'm not going to lie, giving up lattes has been tough! Aside from one minor melt-down, where Adam was out of town for work overnight and I was up every hour with children and/or puppy and I woke up the next morning and realized that life was much, much easier with Adam around, and I called him crying and asked if it was okay if I bought a coffee, because I didn't think I could possibly make it through the day without one (poor me!), I have actually survived with just my Keurig. This challenge really came at a perfect time for me since Thanksgiving is this month. I've found over the past few weeks that when I make a concerted effort to dwell on what I HAVE, I forget about what I don't have. Turns out - I have A LOT! It's funny, because, materially, I probably have less than I've had in years. Good thing I married a pretty amazing man that takes care of me. And, thankfully, life isn't all about our bank accounts - or about the Vikings making the playoffs, because I've had to let go of that too.

It really is true that the best things in life are free. Over the last two months, I have been overwhelmed at all of the good things in my life, and I have been challenged to keep spending my time and energy on things that last: my relationships - with my husband, my children, my family and friends.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Morning Crack

I can't function without coffee. I'm not just talking about the kind that drips out of a pot you can buy at Goodwill for $1.50 either. I'm talking about freshly ground espresso beans sent through a machine that costs more than my car and topped off with some skim milked steamed to a perfect 145 degrees and a crown of silky foam. I love my "mocha-frappe-spresso-cino" as my husband calls it. It doesn't seem like such a bad thing - it's not illegal, the only alteration to my behavior is mostly positive - if you don't count the withdrawal headaches I get when I don't have any - and I get more work done when I drink it. So, what's the big deal, right?

Lately, I've been trying to cut back on my trips through the latte lines for one simple reason - it's too stinkin expensive!

Speaking of money, the last month has definitely been a little trying on my faith. I have an accountant brain. I like everything to add up and have a positive balance at the end of the month. I like to have a certain amount of money in my account at all times that I can spend however I want. For the most part, things worked that way the entire 3 years I was a single mom. I always had plenty to cover everything I had to pay for, I don't have any debt, and I even started a college fund for my oldest son. But, we've been through a lot of changes in the last few months, including getting full custody of my boys after their dad moved to Texas, getting married, and letting go of a job that had provided me some pretty steady income for the last 4 years. I have to say here that it is because of my husband's wise stewardship with his money that we live in a very nice house, have two cars that are paid for and plenty of money in the bank. There just isn't any money in MY account. So, I've had to rely on my husband and God to provide - AND let go of control.

Back to the coffee...

While I was holding my freshly steamed latte this morning in church, Shaun Groves led worship, and then talked to us about how he had cut back on a lot of things in his life to partner with Compassion International. I was moved by the precious little faces that were flashing on the screen in front of me, yet overwhelmed at the same time by the responsibility of providing for my own precious little faces, while their own father lives responsibility-free. I let it go for the moment.

Later in the evening, I returned to church for a free concert by Shaun, and once again found myself heartbroken by the thought of children living in poverty. I started a dialog with God, telling him how badly I wanted to sponsor a child, but that I didn't want to put any additional burdens on my hard-working husband that had already sacrificed so much for me. It suddenly ocurred to me (by no random chance) that the amount of money I spent on coffee every month would easily cover the cost of sponsoring a child.

"Are you seriously asking me to give up coffee?", I asked God.
You have a coffee maker.
"True, but it doesn't taste the same."

Just as soon as the thought crossed my mind, I realized what a spoiled, rich American I was. I cried as I thought of all the wonderful things God has blessed me with, and how I desperately wanted to raise children who loved to share their blessings and are content with what they have. I walked out of the concert with a picture of a boy named Steven from Uganda. He is the same age as one of my boys, and I'm pretty sure he'd thank me for his month of food I traded for some sugar-infused-over-priced-caffeine.

We really have SO much. Even with a poor economy, we are BLESSED. My prayer this week is that I have a heart that is satisfied with what God has given me, and some taste buds that are satisfied with drip coffee :-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shan vs. the Rock(s)

It has now been six months since I started this blog. It's been over 2 months since I have written anything. It's not that it hasn't crossed my mind - it does almost daily - I just haven't felt INSPIRED (which seems to coincide with how often I actually have time alone with God). I kept thinking an analogy would come to me or some experience would hit me like a ton of bricks - and then it finally did - almost literally.

I was 2 miles in to an 8 mile run with a friend of mine. The path we were running on was mostly paved, but after a while it became gravel, and the farther we ran, the more gravel there seemed to be. All of a sudden, a giant rock leapt out of nowhere and tripped me!(Rocks in Montana are crazy) I did a Pete Rose slide into some nice sharp gravel. For the first time, I really did feel like time slowed down for me. As I was sprawled out with rocks stuck in my hands and knees, I realized I had multiple options: the first was imagining what one of my boys might do [insert screaming, crying & wanting a Superman bandaid], my second thought was maybe to just sit there for a few minutes and take a break from my run. Finally, I wondered "Did anyone see me? That must have looked ridiculous!" Even though only a couple of seconds had passed, I decided just to jump back up and keep on running. (Turns out, my friend was the only one who saw - I'm sure she was laughing on the inside.)

Anyway, back to the story, where I still have six miles to run and my hands and knees are bleeding and throbbing in pain...

I started to get really frustrated as we kept running. The weather wasn't that nice. Running was a hard enough task & now I had to do it in more pain. Rocks were still stuck in my hands. Man, I really felt sorry for myself! It felt a lot like life had felt to me lately!

Later that week, I finally picked up my Bible and started reading. The story was about Paul and how he had tried to share the gospel with some people, but ended up getting stoned. Suddenly, I didn't feel so sorry for myself. Imagine having boulders thrown at your head, in an attempt to kill you! The story says that they dumped Paul's body outside the city thinking he was dead. Then, it says, Paul "got up and went back into the city."

It took me weeks to wrap this story up into something meaningful. I kept looking for an inspiring thought, and I finally came to the conclusion that sometimes, even when I don't feel like it, I just have to GET BACK UP and keep on moving - inspiration or not. Paul was nearly killed - talk about disheartening! But, he got back up. He kept on going and doing what God had called him to.

I guess sometimes you just can't avoid falling down and getting hurt. You just have to get back up, brush yourself off, and keep on going. And, most importantly, you don't have to do it alone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 21 - Ben & Jerry's

I was dropping the boys off at school today when I heard on the news that it was "National Free Scoop Day" Ben & Jerry's. Well, that does me no good since the nearest Ben & Jerry's is probably in the Minneapolis airport. All it did was make me think about ice cream. All. Day.

When I got home from the gym (strategically planned so I could eat said craving) I realized, mid-client email, that I had a pint of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer! I was so impressed with my ability to anticipate my Half-Baked cookie dough/brownie cravings!

While I was digging into the ice cream (sans bowl - bachelor style straight out of the carton) I laughed thinking about how I eat ice cream. I love to pick through the ice cream & eat out all the good stuff - the pieces of cookie dough or brownie or girl scout drives most people that know me crazy! Especially one someone in particular. :-) Anyway, I started trying to craft some analogy in my head about only wanting the good things in life & trying to avoid the more difficult things. Then, I realized that the plain ice cream would have to represent the difficult things, and that just didn't make sense. I just REALLY wanted my excuse for eating ice cream to be that I had a brilliant analogy. Turns out, I just wanted chocolate!

I put a good dent in that pint, but later in the day, I did feel like God was speaking to me. There have been many times in my life, like yesterday, when something amazing happens to me and I wonder why. All I can think about is how much I've screwed up and how I don't deserve those things. It reminds me of a passage in the Bible: (which I just picked up & is covered with Cheeto finger prints - that one wasn't me!)

This passage is from Matthew 7 when Jesus is teaching. He says:

"Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Isn't it great to know that God loves us just because it is His nature?! It overwhelms me to the point of tears that God cares about me. I sure haven't done ANYTHING to deserve it. Maybe I don't have a spectacular analogy, but have you ever thought about why God gave us sugar or desserts? Our bodies don't benefit from them, except to bring us the pleasure of eating it. God chooses to show us His love, JUST BECAUSE. Not because we deserve it, but because it is who he is!

Tyler is learning the most popular verse in the whole Bible for school this week. Read it slowly today, and savor it like a bowl of Ben & Jerry's. :-)

For God SO LOVED the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 20 - The Triumph

I just found out today that Adam & I won wedding photography from the most amazing photographers based in Seattle, Washington. I had to write out our story for the contest, so I figured I'd share it. :-)

Adam & I met 5 years ago at a local YMCA gym while playing a game of pick-up basketball. There were no sparks, no love-at-first-sight, and there was no storybook romance. In fact, if we had known at that moment how much pain we would endure because of our future relationship, we might not have even spoken. But we did, and I am so thankful, because it changed my life.

I didn't exactly do things right the first time. I was young and foolish, but I got two beautiful boys out of the mess that was my previous relationship. I also figured out what I wanted in a man. I didn't see it in Adam right away. We were just friends, and he was in a relationship of his own. We saw each other a few times a week and went about our lives. It wasn't until both of us found ourselves in crises that we began developing a deeper relationship.

I always looked forward to our conversations. It was amazing to me that I found a man who was good at listening, and even better at challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and grow myself. He loved that I played sports with the guys, and wasn't afraid of a physical challenge. When I found out he was taking a job in another state, I was devastated. It was too soon for me to be in another relationship, and he needed to take the next step in his career. I didn't know if I'd ever see him again.

We kept in touch after he left. The frequency of our conversations on the phone became daily, and it wasn't long before I asked him to come back and visit. I initially assumed that after he left I would move on, but I found myself feeling like I couldn't live without him. It was an impossible situation. I had 2 kids and couldn't leave the state, and he was under contract for 2 years and worked in the media industry where getting to pick a job in a specific city almost never happened.

We spent the next 2 1/2 years travelling back and forth every 4-6 weeks to spend a few days with each other. We never knew if our relationship would work out. At times, it was overwhelming being away from each other, but we stayed committed. Our belief that our relationship was worth fighting for, and many, many prayers kept us hanging on.

From the outside, it might not seem like much. We didn't have to battle cancer, war didn't separate us, and being apart really was just the result of my own mistakes. But in a society where commitment is becoming a rarity, and love based on hard work and self-sacrifice isn't seen too often, we really did have something special and we knew it.

In July of last year, a job became available at the same news station he had previously worked at. Taking the job meant that we could finally be together, but it also meant a pay cut, and permanently stepping into the lives of 2 little boys that were not his own. It was asking a lot. I wasn't surprised when the man I had grown to love so much made the sacrifice to be with me and my boys. He proposed in February, in the middle of a game of pick-up basketball. The way we met became the beginning of the story of the rest of our lives together. We're ready for the long haul. We already know that good relationships are always worth fighting for. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 19 - Thank Yous

For some reason I decided to go back and re-read some of my blog entries today. Not because I amuse myself (although I still laugh thinking about the skinny jeans) but because I wanted to track my progress. I was overwhelmed by the realization that every concern or circumstance causing me stress had been so graciously taken care of by God. Now, I know there are people that believe in coincidence, but I just don't. I believe in a God that knows us intimately and cares about all the little details of our life, and He lavishes us with His love. God is so faithful.

On Saturday I ran a 5k in some pretty cold temperatures with the wind in my face most of the time. (I also had to run uphill in the snow - both ways!) I'm still trying to shake a bad chest cold that has been hanging on for quite some time now, so I was fairly uncomfortable most of the race. When I rounded the last corner toward the finish line, I was sure we still had a mile to go. I had been so busy being miserable that I had totally lost track of the course and how far I'd come!

Today when I was reading through my blog I realized that sometimes I get so busy that I forget to thank God for how far He's brought me. I don't have any profound thoughts today - just a thankful heart for a God that knows me and loves me anyway. It's easy to get stuck being overwhelmed by circumstances. Ask God to remind you today how much He has done for you. He gave up His son for us. Aren't you thankful? I am. :-)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 18 - Blues, Greens & Bunny Hills

Recently I took a trip to Big Sky, Montana for a couple days of skiing. It sounds fun - except I don't ski, or not well, anyway. I had one nightmare of an experience in high school where I had to be carried down the mountain, and I had successfully mastered a few hills (not a mountain) a couple years ago in the Midwest (aka the flat country). Other than those two times, I hadn't had any practice, so needless to say, I was a little nervous.

The first day went pretty well. I hit the bunny hill with kids that came up to my knees, eavesdropped on the instructor, and tried to look like I was coordinated. After a few attempts, we hit the chairlift, and it wasn't long before I didn't mind a little speed coming down some of the shorter green runs. I took the rest of the afternoon to catch up on some rest so I'd be fresh for the next day.

The following morning we went to the other side of the mountain, and I was really starting to feel comfortable on some of the easier hills. After one run, the girl working at the chair lift told me it was time to ride the "big kid chair" - that she had seen me skiing and I was ready for more of a challenge. I didn't mind the idea, so up we went. I just didn't realize how far up we were going - all the way to the top. (Did I mention we were in the MOUNTAINS?) There was one more chair for the crazy people that ski off cliffs, but essentially, we were at the top. I got off the lift and panicked. I could see forever. I felt like I was in the clouds - and then I looked down. I wanted to smack myself. Everyone knows not to look down!

We started down a short trail, came to a clearing, and I was faced with the steepest hill I had seen yet. I froze. My heart started racing and I felt the tears coming. I knew there was only one way down, and I felt trapped. I couldn't turn around, and I was too scared to go down.

In the middle of my panic, I cried out to God, and a sense of peace washed over me. I knew I wasn't alone. I made it down the hill just fine. In fact, by the afternoon I was going down the more difficult blue runs with no problems. I discovered something through the whole process: Even though it was a lot easier to ski down the little hills, it also brought less satisfaction. It was safe, but it wasn't as rewarding. It was harder work and more of an adrenaline rush with the more steep, longer runs, but it was also a bigger payoff. At the end of the day I was left wondering what else in my life was being inhibited by fear.

I can think of one thing in particular that I have been struggling with lately. I've been so afraid to let it go, and I've been taking the easy way out. This week God reminded me that it might be hard, but it is so worth it to let go and trust Him. Life with God is supposed to be exhilirating! I know I might even crash every now and then, but I'm starting to think I'd rather do that than sit on the sidelines, or hang out on the bunny hill. :-) Now I know what I was missing!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 17 - or Day 92, but who's counting?

Yes, I know - it's been well over a month since my last entry. Where do I even begin with the excuses? Wedding planning? Tax season? Being sick for an entire week? Do those things count?

When I was in grade school, every year the 4 fastest girls & boys in the class got to compete at a city-wide track meet at the end of the year. I made the team every year, and I always looked forward to running the races. My 5th grade year, I decided that, in addition to the relay, I was going to run the 400 meter race too. I started off pretty well. I was well ahead of the rest of the girls and felt like I should win the race...until I got about 200 meters in. I didn't know how to pace myself for a race that long and despite my father's encouragement to keep going, I walked right off the track and quit the race.

I feel like that A LOT in life. I am always excited to start projects, and I rarely think about the details or consequences of making certain choices. I get overwhelmed easily and find myself thinking back to the 11 year old on the track wanting to quit.

The good news is that this blog has been a success for me! It hasn't been what I thought it would be, but my relationship with God has certainly grown. Over the last 2 weeks I have been able to read my Bible every morning before getting the kids ready for school. I only have to set my alarm clock 20 minutes earlier, and the payoff has been huge. I'm still finding that things don't always go how I plan. Some mornings the kids still wake up before me, but God always seems to find a way to encourage me anyway.

The Bible study I started is called "Victoriously Frazzled". If that isn't a title that moms can relate to, I don't know what is! I would definitely recommend it for those that are finding it hard to keep up with the daily demands of life. Even if Bible reading isn't something you normally do, I promise you will find this helpful! It really only takes a few minutes every day.

Even though this process wasn't what I expected, it reminds me that God uses us despite our lack of ability. I'm also thankful for second, third, and 45,000th chances! :-) Keep plugging away at whatever God has called you to. He is faithful to help you complete it, even when you feel like you can't.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 16 - Potty-Training & Tax Season

Being a mom is soooooo glamorous. It's tough to say what makes it so. I'd say it's a toss-up between being constantly slimed with food and cleaning the pee off the wall from your son's newly-found weapon. Someone told me to put cheerios in the toilet to help him aim. No dice. Amusing, however.

When I started this blog, I desperately needed something to occupy my time. Now, I'm finding that I just need... TIME! It's tax season, and I got thrown in the water and I'm trying not to drown! I even feel almost a little guilty writing right now, because there are three mounds of papers on my desk that are screaming for my attention!

It's funny, because when I started this blog, I imagined so much! I titled it "A Single Mom's 30 day Journey to Rediscovering God", but it's been more like "A Single Mom's Journey to Discovering She is not Superwoman...Dangit!". I was so hopeful. I've learned a lot about my shortcomings through this process, and I've also learned a lot about God's grace. One thing that I've learned more than anything is that days add up really quickly. Time really does fly. All of a sudden months have gone by and those things we keep meaning to do just slip through the cracks.

I'm really worn out today. What's new? It seems like there are too many things left on my "to-do" list that just didn't get checked off, and then I feel like I have to "check-off" my time with God. I laughed when I read the title for the daily reading in My Utmost for His Highest : "Are you fresh for everything?" It amazes me how profound Oswald Chambers can be in so few words.

Freshness does not come from obedience but from the Holy Spirit; obedience keeps us in the light as God is in the light. Guard jealously your relationship to God. Keep all the life perennially open to Jesus Christ, don't pretend with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone. Being born of the Spirit means much more than we generally take it to mean. It gives us a new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything by the perennial supply of the life of God.

Wow. I don't know about you, but I need some of that freshness. I'm glad I can just ask for it. Maybe it will help with the pee smell too. :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 15 - Bible Bites

I would be disappointed in myself for going an entire week without posting a blog entry...but the fact that I survived this week was a feat in itself! I spent most of the week trying to adjust to working a lot more hours than I am used to. I was surprised to be reminded that I function so much more efficiently when I have no choice!

The week did take it's toll though. I spent most of the day today in bed after working on my feet for 8 hours last night with a fever. And, just so everyone knows that I really was sick, Macy's started their going out of business sale today, and I didn't even go! Clearance sales almost make me hyperventilate with excitement. I would probably buy just about anything when it's 60% off, plus an additional 25% off, plus a $10 off coupon!

Oddly enough, I still ended up being very productive today. I guess that's one of the benefits of working from home on a computer. It doesn't take a whole lot of energy, and I can wear my pajamas and leave my hair "scary", as my son would say. The only thing that I found disappointing this week was that I felt a little distant from God.

I was driving through Loose Caboose the other day for some coffee, because as usual, I felt that it was necessary to have caffeine to make up for my lack of sleep. I feel like that almost every day.(Loose Caboose knows my order when I pull up) Sleep is something I don't like to give up. If being in shape meant I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to exercise, I probably wouldn't be in shape. If I had to get up at 4 a.m. to work, I'd probably end up getting fired. Sleep is a precious commodity as a parent. I guess that's why it seems so challenging to ever have any "quiet time" as a single mom. The only time it's quiet is when they are sleeping, and then I want to sleep too!

I was reading a book written to mothers of preschoolers, and it encouraged parents to take "Bible bites". It was such a great word picture for me because I love to snack. In fact, anything that gets left out gets eaten. I certainly prescribe to the "see-food diet". Anyway, it made me realize that it's not impossible to spend little bits of time with God throughout the day. It doesn't have to be at 5 a.m. before the kids wake up or for hours after they go to bed. I really just want to work on being more aware of God's presence throughout my day. Maybe I can trade my facebook time to have a little Bible bite! Snack away!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 14 - Skinny Jeans are an Oxymoron

Well, I just have "jock thighs". I've come to appreciate them over the years, but I do still have bad days. It's one thing when I'm at the gym and the squat rack is loaded with 45s and I ask the guy if I can work in. It earns me a little respect. It's another thing when I'm hopping on one leg in the TJ Maxx dressing room trying to figure out how to get off the suctioned lycra blend that seems to be clinging to my ankles like a boa constrictor. I need to find some music to type this blog too..."My humps" maybe? (Btw...I settled on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamikawiwo'ole. Try saying that 5 times fast!)

Anyway, it's January and the gym is about to be overwhelmed with best-intentioned resolutioners. One of my friends posted on her facebook page today that she couldn't wait until everyone broke their resolution so she could get back to her own routine! LOL. I know how you feel- It gets so crowded! Even with the crowds, working out is great, and it's a wonderful outlet for me, but I haven't always been content with my body, and I still struggle with it occasionally. This morning in church the pastor talked about making resolutions this year that weren't "us-focused". It made me realize that a lot of the time I am too "me-focused".

I would really love to resolve to lose 10 pounds. It's not something I need to do for my health or anything, it's just vanity. Earlier, as I was trying to shimmy into my skinny jeans, I started laughing at the irony of what I was doing. I have always hated skinny jeans, but it's THE FAD! It's worn down on me so much that I caved and started shopping for some. I'll admit that I own a pair, but you will NEVER see me walking around in them without boots up to my knees (see jock thighs). Why do we run around trying to be thinner, more attractive, more in-style? I've been learning that it's really the heart of the matter that counts. I don't think there's anything wrong with being healthy or dressing attractively. But what is driving the resolution we're chasing? Is it too "me-focused"?

I feel like I'm starting to tune out anything anyone says about resolutions because it gets so old hearing about them. We all know only a very small percentage of people keep them anyway, right? Someone in church this morning gave me a great idea. I remember listening to a pastor last year say that every year he simply resolves to be more like Jesus. I like the idea of that because it seems a lot more likely that God can change me than that I will do it of my own determination. I decided that on the blank days of the beginning of my calendar, I'm going to write down a couple of areas that need work in my life. That way, at the end of the year I can look back and see how God has helped me grow. One of the things I've already written down is that I am going to do whatever I have to to make sure I tithe on all of my income. I'm excited to see God work.

Tomorrow when I'm at the gym, I'm can smile at the crowds. I'm going to keep my resolution, because it isn't "me-focused", and the Big Man is on my side! ;-) " After all, if God is for us, who can be against us?