Saturday, October 3, 2015

Allow Yourself to Fail

Photo Credit: Gareth Williams
Allow yourself to fail.

I have said those words multiple times in the last week. To myself and to others. It seems that there are several of us trying new things whether by force of circumstance or our own choice. New things are not easy. In fact the opposite is true. Doing a new thing is hard and there are so many times that you want to give up. But don't give up! 

Keep trying. Keep moving forward. And even if you fail, you will have started trying. No one ever gets it right the first time. The first time we do something we are breaking new ground. There will be many failures, but there will be done success too. Build on that success! Without that first time of trying you never would have found that success. So even though you will fail, be okay with that. Failure means you tried something new. And that is something to be proud of.

Not only that, but be proud of your failures. You found another way that it didn't work, but you had that idea to do it that way and you saw it through to the end. If you are trying something new, then you care about it. You care about the people you are serving with this new thing. You won't let them down because you hold yourself to a high standard. I know because you are doing a new thing even though it is hard. You are trying new things and thinking of new ideas all the time. You aren't just putting this in a box and hiding it waiting for some miracle to fix it. You have it out of the box working on it. You are growing it and tending it. You aren't waiting on a miracle. Your are the miracle! You are making it happen. Move forward with this new thing. Allow yourself to fail because at least then you are trying.

"You have brains in your head and shoes on your feet. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." So choose greatness even if there is a little failure along the way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Pretty Focus

So it seems as if I write a post every two weeks. I would really like it to be more, but it seems difficult to do more. I have had many thoughts of what to write, but sitting down to write it seems very difficult. Today I find myself with a snippet of time and no real ideas. A couple weeks ago it was my birthday and I had all kinds of deep thoughts about turning 35. Now all of those thoughts are gone or at least the timely-ness of the thoughts has gone. That post now feels stale and pointless. So what can I share today?

I'm tired of pain. I'm tired of hurt. I'm tired of ugliness in the world. So I'm going to focus on happier things. I'm not going to deny the hurt, pain, and ugliness, but I don't have to wallow in it either. I don't have to take into my heart and let it take root. I can feel the pain, share the hurt, and accept that there is ugliness. But I'm going to try to find happy things. I'm going to try to see pretty things. I'm going to see the blessings that are all around me.

So happy, pretty, and blessings...

I am in the middle of reading The Night Circus. It is a gorgeous novel. The writing makes you see the circus, smell the scents, and feel the wonder. I'm enjoying every page of this fabulous book. I don't want to read it too fast because I'm not ready to leave the circus just yet. I'm also in the middle of reading two cozy mysteries, Pain in the Tuchis and Death Before Decaf. I'm enjoying spending some time with Mrs. Kaplan in the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors. Java Jive is new to me, but it seems cozy and Juliet Langley is interesting as well. Reading has always been a great escape for me and right now it is no different. The 10 or 20 minutes a day that I can lose myself in a book are magical.

I've also been enjoying the time that I have with my family. Walking down the street, doing homework, and playing in the yard have all taken on a new shine and a new luster. Those moments with my husband and my kids are special. We all know that time goes too fast and kids get big before we know it. So I'm taking the time to slow down and focus on the moment I am in. There are still days when they are both fussy and I wish away an hour or two. But more often than not I'm realizing how very special these times really are.

My brother in law cleaned out some old boxes and my little family got some awesome new books, including one of my all time favorites, The House on Hackman's Hill. I reread it a couple weeks ago and it scared me all over again. It is good to know that some things never change. We also got some new bedding and DVD's. Free stuff is good, but good free stuff is better.

A few weeks ago we also bought two new chairs, so our dining room table is in use every day! We eat dinner together as a family at the table instead of on the couch. We are also getting a new garage door and new carpet for the basement. We are making some great improvements to our house. We are taking more time for us and our family. We are saying no to some stuff in order to say yes to better things.

There might be tough things going on all over, but there are good things going on too.

 Riding a 4wheeler

 Eating apple in the tub

Playing baseball

Pizza charm (b-day present)

 Fairtrade ice cream (b-day present)

  Free frappe and the one I paid for. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I don't understand

I suppose the silence of a couple weeks should indicate that I have been busy. I am super busy at school, but it is a good busy. I'm getting things accomplished and mostly staying on top of it. I'm finding time to read and getting books off my TBR list. I'm getting to spend time playing and hanging out with my family.

But I can't really say that things are going well.

I see so many people around me suffering the loss of a loved one. A sister, a daughter, a father, a grandpa, a couple great-grandmas, a couple stepdads, and a son. I see so many suffering with cancer, a mother, a father, a sister, a grandma, a granddaughter, a dear friend.


I just don't understand this all. How do we keep going forward with our lives when so many are hurting? Some of these are people I see every day. I go to church with some of them. They are friends of mine and I see them hurting. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say.

So I sit here on my computer with my heart hurting for all of these people. I try to cry out to God, but words fail me. I get out a phrase. If I'm lucky almost a sentence and then I get lost. I don't know what to pray for. I don't know how to pray for those in so much pain and doubt.

Why? Help.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday Meanderings

I have been thinking of several different blog posts I could make. However, none of those got written down. So this is going to be an abbreviated version of some of these ideas.

I think fantasy novels are on the rise and over the next few years we will find several fantasy novels entering the canon of modern literature.

I was reminded this week why second, third, or fourth hand information isn't accurate and shouldn't be trusted.

I do not trust easily. I expect people to let me down, so I hold them at a distance. Consequently, I don't make friends easily. I'm not sure if I should do anything about that or not.

My to be read list just keeps getting bigger. I can't seem to find enough time to read. This is a regular problem for me, but recently it has become a dire problem. I might start skimming some books to finish them and move on. Oh! The struggles of a bookworm.

The church as whole seems to be doing an epically bad job of loving people. Not just the general population, but the people within their buildings. We know the church is made up of people and therefore it is flawed. I know that, but it really doesn't excuse the selfishness that comes out so often. We can't keep getting this wrong.

Social media can be used for good or for bad. With filters and unfollowing, we would be able to arrange our accounts to help us be encouraged and to encourage others.

I might be back with a more elaborate post next week. Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ten days later.. I can do this

Several days ago I wrote about my cholesterol news, so I thought I would write a follow up.

I did have an appointment with the doctor and he was so encouraging! This is why I love our doctor.  He is encouraging and wants the best health for the whole family both physically and emotionally. I shared some of my food ideas and he thought they were good ideas. He thought my age was in my favor. He days he thought that if I corrected one meal a day my numbers should be fixed by next year. And that is the time he wanted to give me to fix it. He didn't want to give me medicine right away. Those were all the things I wanted to hear!

When I have been at home, I have been more careful about what I eat. I have been reading labels. Eating better carbs and better fats. Eating less processed foods and less in general. Drinking more water and less calories. We did go visit my family in Illinois and eating on the road isn't easy. I also didn't worry about it. I have a year to fix this, so I'm not going to let one or two meals stress me out.

This morning I am back to my oatmeal, honey, and fresh fruit for breakfast and Greek yogurt with honey and fresh fruit as a snack. Quinoa and black beans for lunch and an egg. I am glad to get back to eating this because they genuinely sound good to me.

So less fast food and more slow food. Less sitting on the couch and watching hours of Netflix. More walking around the neighborhood. Less wasting time and more enjoying time. I am still nervous about failing with food or Bible reading or any of the other things I have to do, but this is a good change. I can do this.

Friday, July 31, 2015

What the Doctor Said

I got a phone call from the lab tech at the doctor's office yesterday. It terrified me. I could let you guess why, but you probably wouldn't guess the what he said.

Photo caption: Eva Blue

My cholesterol is too high.

A part of me says, "Yeah, whose isn't?" I mean this a common thing that people deal with, so why did it terrify me? I'm not too sure. There is a history of heart disease in my family, so it is always something on my radar. I know I need to watch myself. However, that wasn't the entire issue. The lab tech also said something about a low fat diet. Diet? I can't do a diet. The second someone says you can't eat this, it is the only thing I want to eat. I refuse to go through life hating what I have to eat. Food should be enjoyed and I want to enjoy food as it should be. I don't want artificially enhanced or in some other way changed, like low fat chocolate or something else ridiculous. And maybe there was a little bit of self reflection that I wasn't ready for. Maybe I'm the unusual one or maybe there are others out there like me, but my emotional state has a drastic effect on my eating even when I don't realize it.

So I did what any self respecting person who needs information does, I googled it. I read a few articles about food that is good for cholesterol and I was encouraged. There are some easy fixes, like oats. I can have oatmeal for breakfast. It would be filling, good for cholesterol and something I don't have to think much about. Avocados, albacore tuna, olive oil, spinach, garlic, and black beans. I like those things too. I was encouraged. I can incorporate a few new recipes and they could make a difference. My husband has been thinking on some new dinner recipes as well. So it isn't just me trying to do this, we can do it.

Those recipes could also help me lose the weight I've been wanting to use. Of course that is a difficult proposition having hypothyroidism. Mine has been relatively well controlled for the last 5 years or so. I would like to think my consistently taking the medicine as it should be taken is a part of that. Even through my pregnancy with my daughter, it was fairly well controlled. I took it before bed because I was throwing up in the morning and my dosage had to be upped, but my numbers still stayed good. However after she was born, it was a different story. Those bleary eyed mornings meant lots of times that I forgot to take my medicine first thing. Like I've forgotten to take it probably once a week for the last 16 months. That's not really great. So I've moved the medicine bottle to my bedside table. So far (2 days), so good. Hopefully taking my medicine regularly will make the changes in diet useful. There is a small part of me that is afraid of a certain number on the scale. I have hit that number twice and had two kids. So it's kind of like a magic baby number, but I'm pretty happy with two babies. There is a much larger part that dreams of a number on the scale that makes me smile instead of shrugging and saying not bad. And maybe just maybe that number on the scale could be paired with food I really love on a regular basis.

I'm sure it doesn't seem like such a hard prospect for several of you out there who have taken your health seriously. But for me, I'm just not sure where to fit this new food into my schedule. Being a teacher is not your regular 9 to 5 job. Not to mention being a mother and wife. Making sure the homework gets done, and making sure each kid gets some mommy time after work, getting the dishes and laundry done, and making sure we get time with the larger family. Those are time consuming. Then you throw in church service, choir, youth leadership,etc. Blogging and reading are just for fun, but also terribly important for my own well being. My time is spoken for in many areas. The thought of adding in prep time for this new 'healthy' diet is overwhelming. I know there will be busy weeks and on those weeks, I wonder if I can find the time to make this new food. I doubt my ability to follow through and then there will be guilt to follow. To follow? I'm already feeling guilty about failing this new diet and I've hardly started. This isn't something I can fail at.

Of course I feel that everything I do is something that I can't fail at. Which leads me to the emotional issues tied to my eating and that will be another post.

Yesterday, I made a quinoa and black bean salad. It took me much longer than I expected because I used dried beans. However, I did and I learned a few things. I know how I can do it better next time. At the very least, I know I can have oatmeal,some black bean recipes, and salad. I am confident that I can get two of those things accomplished on a daily basis. Next week I have another appointment with the doctor. I'm assuming he will talk to me more about the specifics. I hope I'm prepared for that meeting. I will let you know next week.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What Are Christians Supposed To Do? (Part 2)

Last week I talked about my response to all of these 'issues' 'attacking' the Christian faith. And I have a few more ideas.

Primarily, I have had a revelation about relationships with Jesus. We claim that we want people to have a personal relationship with Jesus. However I think that is a misnomer. We don't want people to have a personal relationship with Jesus. We want them to have our relationship with Jesus. We want their faith to look like ours. We don't want them to have a personal relationship because their personal relationship doesn't include us. That makes us uncomfortable. We are so terribly worried that someone else might make a mistake that we attempt to insert ourselves into their faith. But that doesn't work. It really is a personal relationship. It is how they relate to Jesus and how He relates to them. It is a life long faith process that they walk through with Jesus beside them. I can't tell then how to be out how not to be. That is what Jesus does. I can't expect my experiences, opinions, and life to bring me to the same places that they are and vice versa. I have to let them live out their relationship with Jesus.

A related idea is that I often look at the temporal. I look at what is here and now. I look at what is right in front of me. However the God I serve is not temporal. He doesn't just look at what is right in front of me. He is eternal.  He is outside of time. He was, he is, and he will be. So I need look at the eternal as well. I need to understand there is a big picture. It doesn't all have to be fixed right now. God has a plan and the plan is longer than my attention span.

Trust his plan and his timing and his relationship with those other people. And focus on my relationship with Him, my reaction to His timing, and my involvement in His plan. Less me, more Jesus.