Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ready Or Not, Here Comes 2011

2010 was the year of the baby for us, as well as many others.  As  2011 is about to be upon us, I've been thinking about the past year and how things went.  What went well, what I could have done better, that kind of thing.  One of the things that pleased me the most about this year was of course Jude, but specifically that I was able to have him at home successfully without any complications.  It was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful for it!  And while none of it was possible without God's protection, we did plan and prepare for it almost the entire year.  

What do you want out of 2011?  Whatever it might be, how much effort, planning and thought are putting into it?  The reason that New Year's resolutions get a bad reputation is because we just will things to be different in our minds, but do very little to ensure success.  There was a lot to my 2010 - many changes, many failures, but some really significant victories.  My failures were from neglect - lack of attention, lack of effort.  My victories were from fierce commitment and prayer.

I'm convinced that you can do anything you truly desire, commit to and work at.  The problem we usually have is the follow through, which proves how important certain things really are.  How many hours last year did you spend working towards those goals you set last year at this time? And then how many hours did you spend playing video games or stalking on facebook? I'm as guilty as the next guy, but its a point we can't ignore.  If something is truly important and we really expect change or progress, we have to spend the time, work, and preparation for it.

Before the week is out I am going to sit down and think about what I want out of the coming year.  I hope you will too and I would LOVE to hear some of your thoughts.  Accountability is a fabulous thing!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: For Women Only

For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men
By: Shaunti Feldhahn

Back of the book summary:
What’s going on in a man’s mind? From their early days, every woman has struggled to understand why males behave the way they do. Even long-married women who think they understand men have only scratched the surface. Beneath a man’s rugged exterior is an even more rugged, unmapped terrain. What bestselling author Shaunti Feldhahn’s research reveals about the inner lives of men will open women’s eyes to what the men in their life—boyfriends, brothers, husbands, and sons—are really thinking and feeling. Men want to be understood, but they’re afraid to “freak out” the women they love by confessing what is happening inside their heads. This book will guide women in how to provide the loving support that modern men want and need. 

My experience:
A group of us read this book and went through the discussion guide together over a few months.  It is a VERY easy read, it is based on Biblical principles regarding marriage, but never gets into doctrine of any kind and seems pretty right on in her understanding/discoveries of the male psyche.   The book discusses 7 areas where women often misunderstand or just don't realize about men.  So, even though the reader may know some things, chances are there will be at least one or two areas that will help them understand their spouse better.

I always have great intentions when it comes to my relationships, especially with Randy, but I need lots of reminding and repetitions before I really get something.  This book taught me things I didn't really know before and reminded me of a LOT that I needed to make a priority.  It was a very encouraging read and motivated me to work harder and smarter in my marriage.

My personal tip: Get the Discussion Guide! In it is short recaps, talking points and such, which is great for a group.  However, the best gem in it doesn't even require a group! At the end of each corresponding chapter there are questions (homework, if you will) to ask your spouse.  It may sound a little goofy at first, but most of us agreed that in having these specific discussions with our husband, we gained a much greater  understanding of him, specifically.  Which is what it's all about anyway, right? :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Strong-Willed Secret

A popular post from the archives:

For those who are not strong-willed or have never dealt with a strong-willed child, you may not know what I'm talking about.  And if that is the case with you, be thankful.  Now those of you familiar with a strong-willed personality, here are a few confessions.

The 'will' that is so strong, at least in myself, is often misdirected because of my emotions. Reason gets blinded by the fierceness of how I feel at the moment of conflict. Instead of being a 'never quit' kind of will, it results in an escalating kind that desperately seeks the soothing of the emotional desire.  In other words, I tend to not stop until I get my way, which isn't a noble victory usually.

As any mother will tell you, the hormones flooding your body after giving birth can be overwhelming once the initial excitement dies down.  Adding hormones to an already emotional person can be destructive and especially difficult on those close by (like a spouse).  Adjusting to Jude has been pretty easy, but my dealings with myself have gotten a little out of hand.  The perfectionistic streak took hold pretty quickly, wanting to 'master' the new rhythm of having a baby in the house before I start teaching piano again in a few weeks.  Long story short, I was driving Randy crazy!

This last week Randy was sick and a man of even fewer words than normal.  Once he finally felt better this weekend, he let me know a few things.  Now, these conversations were not enjoyable by either one of us, least of all me.  I DESPISE being told what I'm doing wrong.  He called me on some emotional games I was playing and childish reactions that I wasn't and shouldn't be proud of.  This didn't just happen once either.  At least 2 or 3 different conversations over the course of 2 days were had.  Why am I even talking about this?

Even though my strong-will is like a tornado sometimes, when I have limits there is an amazing calm that replaces the storm.  The presence of rules and boundaries that are enforced and I am held to gives me peace.  As a result, I had a fabulous day yesterday and have already accomplished (with joy) so much today! Randy created and consistently enforced standards for my behavior (reactions, etc.) and even though it wasn't a fun experience for either of us, it has had amazing results.

Everybody's different, but from the heart of a very strong-willed child, let me tell you: Consistency, structure, limits, and boundaries brings peace, joy and security.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Are You Allergic To?

I have a pretty sensitive system, always have.  At various points in my life I've had several weird allergic reactions to certain chemicals and such.  So, I'm used to it, but my latest one just cracked me up and apparently I'm not the only one this time! Not even 12 hours after I'd read about being clumsy for a little while after having a baby I sliced my thumb cutting vegetables.  The last time I had needed a bandage I used one of the last ones. So, of course I got a new package from the store and until slicing my thumb, hadn't used any of the new package.  Normally I use BandAid brand, but this time I went cheap-o and bought Curad.  Anyway, I bandaged up my thumb and went about my business.  That night/next morning while I was up feeding Jude, I noticed my thumb itching pretty bad around the edge of the bandage, almost like poison ivy or something.  The next day it was worse and itching ravenously.  Finally, once it had made a ring around my finger just at the edge of the bandage, I got a clue and ripped it off.  Either I had poison ivy or I was allergic to the bandage!

To make a long story short, I showed my mom a day or two later and once I told her the brand, she too had experienced the same thing.  Funniest of all, unbeknownst to my mom, turns out dad's allergic too! And, googling it produced other people have had issues too!  It's the weirdest thing.  You just never know!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Have Patience, Don't Be in Such a Hurry...

Did you ever learn that song?    I may have sang it in public more than once.  Lately, I have been so impatient about EVERYTHING.  I was impatient about when Jude would get here.  I was impatient about my recovery, getting back in shape, finding the rhythm of day to day when it now includes Jude - you name it and I've been antsy about it!  It doesn't help that November is a blur and now December makes me feel behind already!  The silly part of my impatience is its all related to areas that are almost entirely out of my control!  Time and circumstance have taken over our lives and my little controlling heart can't do a thing about it!

This time of year its so easy to get our minds set on life going a certain way and grow impatient when the universe (our family, the cashier, the traffic, you name it)) doesn't comply.  And when we let that impatience rule everything, we ruin everything.  The joy of all we get to be a part of gets lost.  Faith and peace in God isn't demonstrated in our lives.  Most importantly, we try to take over God's job on the planning committee.  He's the planner, we're just the assistant, free to make suggestions but ultimately in charge of carrying out plans more than making them.

May we all have a patient day!  And here's some childhood inspiration!  Ignore the video and just listen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Musings

Welcome to December! I wonder what kind of a winter we're going to have this year.  Last year was definitely something to remember here in Oklahoma.  The winter wonderland we had created quite a bit of trouble for anyone trying to go anywhere! My brothers and sister-in-law spent way too many hours merely traveling here in the metro.  But, if you didn't have to be out in it, it provided a lot of fun!

It really is easy, as the Bible says, to love those that love you, but its quite a different story to love those that hate you.  I think being thankful is the same way.  It was easy for me to enjoy and be grateful for all the snow last year because I got to enjoy it.  The snow loved me, so to speak.  I didn't have to get out in it much and I certainly wasn't stuck anywhere.  On the other hand, I'm sure those that battled with the weather weren't thinking straightaway how thankful they were for wretched conditions that fouled up their holiday plans.  And yet, that's where true thankfulness and peace live.  As we all feasted (some multiple times) last week, it was really easy to be thankful, wasn't it?  But this week, where perhaps stress is greater, there's no days off and the end of the year looms, can you practice thankfulness just as abundantly? That's my personal challenge for this weekend - to see all of the things in my life that 'hate me' and find joy and gratitude for them.