Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Design Flaw or User Error?: Giving Up Too Easy

I woke up late, already behind on the needs of the day.  Then a chain reaction occurs where the priorities pile up, children demanding attention, deadlines come and go, and all I want to do is hide and cry.  The temptation is to instead invest too much time into a better plan or routine.  Perhaps I just haven't found the right approach or mindset.  So, google and pinterest become my best friend.  Or I decide that I need a new planner or labeler.  Suddenly, I HAVE to go to Target or Hobby Lobby.  Time has gotten away from me, but at least I have a new plan, right?

This scenario or some version of it has been part of my response for years, probably a couple of decades now.  I love January first because it's the ultimate do-over.  Start fresh with a new approach or at least new colors!  And there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a boost with new office supplies.  Seriously, it's fun and motivating so please don't mistake me as saying revamping your approach is a bad idea.  What I'm afraid of is the purpose it plays in my life.  Not as much of a helper as much as a distraction.

When there's too much to do and not enough time to do it, I want to say the system is broken.  Sitting down and doing as much as you can despite the sand running out feels icky and wrong.  In reality, it is called perfectionism.  I passionately desire things to go and work beautifully, as they were designed to do.  When they don't, it must be a design flaw, not a user error.  Getting a new 'design' might help a few things or perk up my mood, but it doesn't truly address the problem.  The problem of getting my hands dirty and working hard anyway, even when it doesn't suit my preference.

This is a real, daily struggle for me sometimes, just in balancing housework, children and showering!  But I think it may be a problem for us in bigger proportions.  When working with other people, in families, in congregations, in projects of just about any kind, how often do we get distracted and convicted that the only way to continue is to change the design, get new people or get everyone new office supplies, so to speak?  Working together with certain people who are so different than us is hard.  It takes patience, a lot of self-control, and more humility than we're typically willing to give.  So much more that we don't usually stick around long enough to try.  Get a new planner! Label things differently! Maybe that will make this easier, we think.  The truth for me is that I don't like it when things don't work perfectly.  I don't like having to adjust, accommodate or give up anything.  So, I blame the system or circumstances and try to make a different one.  That might not be so bad if it worked.  But here I am 20 years later and it still doesn't always get things done or prevent imperfect events.

We give up too easy.  It's really that simple.  If you find yourself frustrated with someone (a friend, a leader, a group of people, etc.) or a circumstance (health/weight, sin, debt, etc.), it is probably terribly tempting to blame the system or people out of your area of control or influence.  But they probably are not the problem.  We can argue about it, but in most situations, the problem is you.  I want it to be easy more than I want it to be.   After J was born, I struggled to lose my baby weight.  I struggled a lot.  And I blamed a lot of things for too long as the cause.  The truth was that I didn't want to work as hard as it took.

Whenever you decide to make a change toward something easier, consider that as a warning sign.  It might not mean the easier thing is bad, but you can count on it meaning you're trying to distract yourself from a deeper problem.  Even if you make a change, and it is a great change, it's foolish to ignore what brought you to make a change in the first place.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What You Do Matters

The life you are living today is so powerful and may have effects so lasting and far reaching that the direction of families will be changed for years and years to come.  In some ways, that might be a little daunting or overwhelming, but it's not meant to be.  There are a couple of families on my heart right now, one awesome kid in particular that is facing a big mountain to climb.  The struggle and anguish this world often gives us is heartbreaking and ugly some days, no way around it.  Personally, I hate it so much not to be able to heal a child or bind a marriage back together.  With God all things are possible, but His will sees farther than we can.

But no matter what the future days hold, we can change the world today.  Whether it is being diligent to get that trash out to the curb on time, staying away from a drink just one more week, or showing others why the life and death of Jesus matters, you can change the world for good.  And that's what it's all about.  It's easy and tempting to get caught in the lie that we are islands to ourselves or that carving out a picture perfect life is what's important.

The beauty of our world is that in so many ways, it is open-ended.  We have choices, opportunities and at least a little bit of time today.  Use today up for so much good.  Got mountains of paperwork?  Do it with a smiling attitude.  Kids driving you crazy (this is directed at me)?  Cherish the time you have with them.  Absolutely unhappy with your life and circumstances?  Make a plan to change your attitude or direction.  Here's the most important one: Do you see someone hurting and a way to help? Do something.

The life you live today will influence somebody.  They inturn will be more inclined to act or not.  They might conquer because they saw you do it.  Or they might never attempt that mountain because of something you said or never did.  We can't control the choices of others certainly not any more than we can control everything in our own life.  But we know this is true, in giving or receiving: What you do matters.  For good or bad, it's going to make a difference.

Lately I've been more easily consumed with other people's pain and struggles, especially where I could do nothing but pray.  I needed the reminder to live life and spread the good of Jesus in all circumstances I'm in, not just suffer away over the things I can't change.  Whether it is your own personal tragedy/struggle or the pain of others, let's glorify God in all things.  Without that option, what else is there?

Mark 12:29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Supporting My Herb Habit

I doubt it's news to you that herbs are a regular part of our lifestyle.  They're so versatile and nourishing that my kids have used them almost since birth.  I'm a true believer in their effectiveness when handled appropriately and am so grateful that herbs have always been an option for me.

That being said, it is not cheap to get quality supplements that you can trust.  And some argue that it doesn't really matter where you get your herbs and all that.  This is why I think it matters to some extent and why Nature's Sunshine Products are your best bet.

As my family grows, the quantity of herb consumption has a tendency to go up!  My poor herb budget has been in fits and it's time I did something about it.  So, in order to support my herb habit, I'd like to share with you my win-win solution!

For every amount of product I buy from NSP, I get a % of it back.  Similar to other direct-selling companies, if I sponsor you to become a member, whatever you order, I get a percentage of it as well.  Everyone has that same opportunity as a member.  No requirements on your membership, just specifications if you want to increase your rebate.  If you have any interest or curiosity about herbs or NSP, just ask.  If you'd like to explore on your own and decide to become a member, my member # is 1924968 (this would be your sponsor number).  If you would like to try some products (they sell over 500 products, including pure essential oils) but don't want to pay shipping for just a few things, I order twice a month and would be happy to order something for you (as long as you're local).

My little herb baby
My big herb baby!

I completely understand (and respect) that not everyone goes this route, but for me, I am so grateful for the wealth of options it provides, especially for my kids!  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at any time.