A Little Tough Love

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I’m getting ready to kick off the new year with a four part series on time management/organizational strategies that have helped me get where I am, but I don’t think any of that has value without a little tough love.

You are exactly where you want to be.

Yes, that is exactly what I said. You are exactly where you want to be. You have chosen your life.

Now, I know some of you are thoroughly pissed at me at the moment and are thinking things like, “I wouldn’t be here if my ex…” or “I wouldn’t be here if my parents…” I’m sure all of that is true, but you made choices that put you where you are, and you continue to make choices that keep you where you are.

How can I say that? How can I be so harsh? Because I’ve been there, and now I’m not. I know how feels, and I know how it feels to break free.

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Holiday Reflections

ChristmasPresents

For the first time in three years, I’m actually getting commercials. In our new home, our Spectrum internet service comes with a TV app that has 25 channels. Now that the days are shorter, I can’t be outside until 8:30-9 o’clock, so I’ve been settling in for some Property Brothers on HGTV on Wednesday nights.

I’ve been surprised at the number of commercials versus actual show. I know the statistics, but to actually watch it… WOW.

What I find more troublesome though is the message behind all the advertisements. Your wife will only know you love her if you find the perfect piece of jewelry. Your kids won’t feel loved if you don’t by them the latest toy, cell phone, etc. Your husband won’t feel loved if he doesn’t get a new grill, toolbox, car kit, etc.

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To Santa or not to Santa?

HOT HOT HOT, HOT CHOCOLATE!There’s been a screenshot making the rounds on social media. I’ve included it below, so you can read it for yourself. It asks parents to stop giving their children expensive gifts from Santa, so poor children won’t think they’re less important or less valuable to Santa.

It seems innocent enough on face value, but if you dig in, it couldn’t be more political. It covers issues of religion, parenting, and socioeconomics all in one. A loaded bullet for sure!

As friends and family have shared the post, I’ve lurked, reading the arguments in the comments. Some parents think that children young enough to believe in Santa shouldn’t be getting iPhones and iPads. Some parents think other parents should stop coddling their kids. The list goes on and on.

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Winding Down 2018

annual-reviewOn Sunday, many Christians start a new liturgical year. I begin a new journal and a new planner. The reflection and preparation for the new year that most people start the last week of December or the first week of the new year I started last week and and will be winding down this week.

2018 has been up and down for me. There have been significant loses and struggles, but there have also been some positive changes that have set me up beautifully for 2019.

My word for 2018 was Shalom. I didn’t know everything that word meant when I started the year, but I came to understand that it was much more than peace. Shalom is the peace Christ has and spread. Shalom is a peace that passes understanding, a peace that springs from wholeness.

As I look back on the year, that is exactly what I found: wholeness.

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Struggling with my Inner Martha

Georg_Friedrich_Stettner_(attr)_Christus_im_Hause_der_MarthaLast week, one of the Gospel readings included Mary and Martha–a story that has always troubled me a little.  I want to be Mary at Jesus’s feet, but inside I’m Martha, as I think most Americans are.

Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When this Gospel reading comes up in the liturgical year, you can see people squirming in the pews a little. After all, we’re all about getting things done and to many of us, we want to complain just as Martha did that those around us aren’t pulling their weight.

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A New Direction

DivergingPaths

The last three years have been a bumpy journey of massive transformation in my life. In a way, I’ve come full circle, but I am not the same person who started this journey.

I started this journey with dreams of having a sustainable farm with rescue horses, donkeys, and dogs. I pictured building a spacious home, a guest house, and my ultimate dream barn complete with indoor arena.

In the process of pursuing that dream, my dear husband and I nearly lost ourselves and our marriage. We emptied our bank accounts and put everything in our lives on hold. Everything became stressful. There was no joy left in our lives or in our home.

I don’t regret the journey, but I’m glad that it’s coming to an end and that I have a clearer view of who I am and what I want. Continue reading

Giving Thanks

The weekend before Thanksgiving was an emotionally charged three days that I’m still emotionally processing.  Each event challenged me to count my blessings and give thanks to God for how very blessed I am.

The weekend started with shadowing my upline in Pampered Chef for an in-home party. I spent the evening with a wonderful group of women talking about one of my favorite subjects–cooking! I learned a ton from watching Wendy.  Despite getting home well past my normal bedtime, I arrived energized and excited about my Pampered Chef business.

On Saturday, Bear and I passed our Pet Partners team evaluation, which we’ve been working for almost a year. We failed our first evaluation, because I hadn’t counted on how excited he would get at meeting a new dog. I took the advice of the evaluator and spent the months in between our evaluations taking Bear to environments with a number of new dogs to train in the most distracting environments possible. Continue reading