Each year a new set of resolutions. Am I going to make or break them? It's hard to say but it will be fun being honest about the wins and losses.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Mess Makes Me Massive

First, I feel I need to address the fact that all of my articles seem to deal with the same issues each year.  I don't know if that means I'm just like everyone else who struggles with the same things through out their life, or if it just means that I'm a mess.  Which leads me to my current topic.  My mess, and for that matter, the fact that I'm feeling pretty massive at the moment.  Cue the flashback to the moment I realized the core of my issue.  It was the mid 2000's (I think), and I was watching Oprah. Man did I love her show.  That particular day her guest was an author.  An author of a book called "Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?".  At the time I was disappointed because given a day off to watch my favorite talk show host, I was hoping for any major Hollywood guest.  I was even hoping for a Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz appearance to brighten my day.  BUT, it's Oprah and I stuck it out.  Basically to make a long episode short, the Author explained how there was a connection between the clutter we have in our life and our outward physique.  That there is a relationship between what we own and what we consume.  In essence, there is a connection between excess baggage in the house and well, excessive weight.  When our lives are cluttered and messy, it's an attitude. It's a thought process and we tend to bring that into our physical lives as well.  The message was 'Clean up your house and you'll lose the weight'.  So at the time, it was a great idea. I never bought the book (re-read previous article about lack of follow through).  I continue to battle losing and gaining weight every year (re-read articles about my weight loss goals).  I continue to hope to clean things up in my house, but the clutter keeps increasing (re-read...wait there are no articles-weird).  So here we are again, 2017, and I need to lose weight.  I need to make it a goal, but I'm actually starting to doubt myself.  I'm a liar.  I tell myself that it will stick every year and it NEVER does.  I've lied to myself so many years now that I can't even believe myself when I start to get back on track.  I also need to clean up the clutter in my life, and somehow, I know that they are connected. This author that wrote the book was completely right.  There is a connection.  It's a mentality.  I'm content to lose control and it needs to end.  So along with the weight loss goal, comes the cleaning goal.  I'm going to FINALLY try and follow through with cleaning everything up in my life. Truth be told, I started a little early on this one.  In December I started cleaning my basement which was an utter disaster.  I've been continuing to "clean house".  I've taken so much to Goodwill. Bins, and I mean, bins of clothes, dishes, home furnishings...gone!  Truthfully the basement is so clean, I could move.  My house is on the way to becoming organized, and I actually do feel the motivation to work towards my physical goals as well.  I do sense a change in the way I think about mess and mass.  Here are my goals for 2017 in regards to mess and mass.  Mess-Clean my storage/attic, and closets. Touch up walls with paint and buy new pictures.  Updating areas that have needed updating for years. Replace hardware in the kitchen, hallways and basement.  Mass-Lose 30lbs, by eating a low calorie diet, and going to the gym daily - Insisting on weekly weigh ins.  I plan on checking in more often to update how the goals are turning out.  I believe that if I can change my mentality, then I may actually be able tackle this for good.  When I turned 40 this past year (re-read past article), my Aunt Sis said "You're life is just about to start."  I actually believe her.  I'm looking forward to my final 5 months of '40'.  I believe them to be the best and just the start of a lifetime change. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Nobody is Thinking About You in the First Place"

I recently read this most humorous and somewhat depressing quote.  "When you're 20, you care what everyone thinks.  When you're 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks.  When you're 60, you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place."  I turned 40 in 2016 and when I read this, I thought wow, the part about the 20's and 40's was spot on. I cared so much what other people thought of me when I was younger and now it seems, I'm content to be me and let those that aren't, go by the wayside. Over the years I've had my share of personal growth, acceptance and quite frankly a fair amount of counseling. All leading me to the conclusion that 'I am who I am".  That's all great, so where does the depressing part kick in? Um..."nobody is thinking about me in the first place"?!  Am I going to realize someday that the things I say, do, or worse yet, post, don't mean anything to anyone.  As I pondered this idea, I realized that of course this wasn't true.  The things you do really do matter, like an act of kindness towards somebody, or showing love to others that need it.
Luke 6:38 says: "Be easy on people;  you'll find life a lot easier.  Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back-given back with bonus and blessing.  Giving, not getting, is the way.  Generosity begets generosity."
The acts of genuine kindness and love that you show ultimately matter to the people that you give to, but I don't think the quote is about those people or this verse.  I think what it really means, is that the things we thought mattered to others, really don't.  We think people are constantly considering us, or life somehow revolves around us.  It sounds more selfish than I want it to, but think about it?  We post our life away on social media, thinking that the more likes we get, the more people are thinking about us. Posting, following, doing whatever it takes to get more people to read, like and follow us. "165 likes?!  Awesome, so many people think about me." "look 365 people follow me on twitter, 160 people read my snap chat story." And for the irony of this article in the first place, "look how many people read my blog".  I think I'm slowly starting to get the concept that I've taken myself too seriously.  That people don't think about me in the "first place", they think about me in the 'second place'.  The place where generosity, kindness, and real relationship live.  The "first place" is phony, the "second place" is genuine.  So a goal of mine for this year, is to do things in the "second place",  to help someone in need, to build one more relationship, and to be kind.  And when I do post my life on social media, it will be to keep a record or log of my life.  A timeline for myself, and possibly my kids, A place to post my pictures and albums to look back on, A snap chat story that will make my friend Betty laugh, but never a place where I believe people can validate my life. With that said, I'm not 60, so truth be told, I may not get it at all. But I do know, I have much to learn, and much to work towards. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It's them, not us. Right?!

It's 2016 and I've really had to contemplate, what my resolutions would be this year.  As I think about what a crazy end of year 2015 was, and how 2016 is starting out, I've decided that I'm going to choose the subject that seems to resonate with me the most. To make it my goal, to become the best version of me, I can. This one, will be hard to measure, but it means the most to me, so I'm willing to do my best. My first goal of the year, is to give to others, to the best of my ability, with all my heart.  This means to stop making rash judgments of other people/situations, and to look inward and see how I can change. You know, judge less. Love more.
This is a voting year, and I think we all agree, that we have already seen some crazy politics and opinions. Just scroll down your news feed on Facebook, and it won't take you long to see what people's opinions and judgements are. Everyone has their opinions and thoughts about who the best candidate is. I do! What upsets me, is how angry and judgmental people can get, when others don't agree with them. Of course it's them, not us, right?!.  People become intolerant of others views, and instead of focusing on the issue at hand, and how we can make a difference, the focus is on how our opinions are right. I get angry when I read the posts and I start to judge people for their views, just as they are judging others.
Politics isn't the only area where judgements occur. In fact, most often it's in the small areas of our life. The friends, acquaintances, or people we run into on a daily basis.  Our judgments always seem to be the right ones. And everyone else is wrong. Sadly we like to justify the judgement with the phrase, "Not that I'm judging but...".  Have you ever been around someone who consistently judges people? It's so hard to be around that person. Ironically I keep including "our" and should really personalize this and say "me".  For the rest of the post, I will try. :) Mike Le Claire, my senior pastor recently gave a message about judging others. "If you find yourself judging someone else, start to judge yourself."  I've thought of that so many times since that message. It's amazing how often I've had to change my thoughts and look inward. Matthew 7-15 (MSG) says: "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults- unless of course, you want the same treatment.  That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.  It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on own.  Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor."
So that's it. That's my goal.  I want to become the person Jesus has called me to be. After all, this is how we know love, to love others. To give unto the least of these, and judge not.  This is what he commands of us. I want to be able to say, "It's not them, it's me."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What?! I'm codependent?!

I had quite a shock the other day when I met with Tracy Medd, the Christian Ed Pastor at my church. We were just visiting and I was explaining to her how the past year had gone for me. 2014 was an overall good year. I was able to meet many of my goals, including financial, physical and spiritual. But it was the spiritual goals that we were discussing most. In the last year I had completed the Beth Moore study, "Breaking Free".  That study single handedly changed the direction of my life.  In past articles I've discussed how my hope needs to be found in God, how I get upset when my relationships with people don't translate etc. etc.  The Breaking Free devotional helped me to realize that I can't please everyone, that not everyone will like me and that's ok. That I can't fix everyone and that my need to, to make myself feel better was really selfish.  That truly my hope does need to be found in Christ. BUT I was never able to give a word to that definition. A word that defined what it was exactly that I was breaking free from. As I was sharing this with Tracy, she walked over to her computer and pulled up her devotional for the day. The devotional was talking about why at times we need to listen to the voice of God and be careful about what the intent of others may be. This was the line that she read to me. "You are not responsible for others happiness. Your need to 'fix' others in order to feel good about yourself is called co-dependency..."  It hit me like a ton of bricks. There is my word. That was what I was 'breaking free' from.  I've heard many definitions of codependency, but never this one. I'm codependent! Well, 'breaking free' from codependency.  But I've found that this will be something that I will need to continue to work on. To make sure that I don't fall back to that which is so natural to me.  Codependency isn't genuine, its selfish. To think I could 'fix' someone anyway, is absurd. It brings me to my first of goal of 2015.
1. Be genuine
How? I've been told goals need to be quantified and measurable. This one is hard to measure but I know it starts with relationships.  I want to build relationships with those that are in my life. To be a true friend and encourager to those that God has placed in my life.  Meet a few new people, get to know acquaintances that can become friends, to reach out to those that are feeling lost and lonely. To those of you that are already my great friends, I plan to work on becoming a more genuine, selfless friend.  And lastly I need to say something about social media. Those of you that know me, know that I love it. I'm on it. Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. In fact I love the fact that Facebook connects you to people you would never talk to in a million years, Lets face it, pen pals never lasted. And to be honest if it wasn't for blogger, I'd be posting this on a bulletin board where nobody would read it.  I'm not tearing it down. I love it. But what it is not, is genuine. I find myself getting wrapped up in who likes my posts, what everyone else is doing, who doesn't like what I'm saying, how many people are following me versus how many people I follow.  It can be an untrue representation of what is really going on in peoples lives. A persons value is not based on followers, likes, and posts. In fact you can spend an eternity on it and never really have a true friend. So when I find myself getting too wrapped up, I'm going to take some needed breaks.  I'm going to actually reach out to a body and not a profile.  I find myself much happier when I do this. Here is video, that my good friend Tiffany Thompson showed at a youth retreat not so long ago.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Marathon Win...The Marathon Loss.

The alarm goes off at 6:00am and my first thought is "What did I get myself into?!" I know I've trained for months, drank tons of water, ate a massive plate of pasta the night before and got plenty of sleep, yet, a quick moment of fear passes over me. 7:00am Jill comes over and I feel a bit more calm. We eat some candy and then get dropped off at the race. 8:00am the race starts, music playing, ear buds in and we're off. Don't worry, I won't give the moment to moment recap but I will say we finished the race at 10:22am. A time of 2 hours, 20 minutes and 35 seconds.  Our goal had been to finish the race, running or walking and we made it running the whole way. We were very happy with this. It was so cool to run the last lap in Lambeau Field. When we crossed the finish line, I actually shed a fear tears.  It's been months of training and hard work and it was something I was never sure I'd be able to do. As cheesy as this may sound, crossing the finish line meant more than just finishing a race for me. It was a reminder that goals and dreams can be accomplished. 
Marathon Win

The other part of the story is that I was able to lose the 30lbs that had been my goal while training. I actually lost a total of 37lbs. It is so hard to lose weight. For everyone who is working on this, I commend you. It has been a long hard road that I will continue on. My super great friends have encouraged me to post my before and after, so I will take their advice.  As I emotionally conclude this resolution, I find myself ready to tackle the other areas of my life that need some focus. 
Marathon Loss

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forward Progress...

I thought it was about time for a little update on the goals.  I never really did share any of my other goals for 2014 and I haven't given any details about the progress on my previous goal.  So, for the previous goal of running and training for the half marathon, here's where I'm at:  I have signed up for the Cellcom, in Green Bay, at the end of May. I have been training since my last article. I was completely unaware of how fast the race booked up and found out they were sold out way back in February. Thankfully there are friends, and Craig's List and I was able to secure a spot in the race.
One of the many benefits of training for the marathon is that I've been able to lose 25lbs. Mostly through a beginners half marathon training schedule and also a low carb diet. My sister introduced me to this amazing workout in Howard called Bod-e Bootcamp. Wow!!! It's all about muscle confusion and some pretty intense workouts. I absolutely loved it! I went for a week and even in that short amount of time, I was able to see some amazing changes in my body and also with my endurance. The Monday after the week at Bod-e, I ran on the treadmill. My pace significantly increased. My plan is to sign up for Bod-e for the summer. Though the race is yet to come, I feel good about my accomplishments thus far.
Ok- Resolution #2-Break Free from my constant need of validation and approval.
At one point, I thought I had it beat. Truth be told, I don't. I know we all need relationships and each other. It's not that. It goes beyond what is a God given desire for relationship in all of us. I kind of freak if a relationship doesn't translate. I feel like it is the one area that I'm generally decent at. Being a friend, loving with all my heart, caring about others before myself. These are all traits that I sincerely feel and have. BUT if something goes wrong, somebody doesn't feel it, like me, or is not having the friendship, I start to do whatever it takes to manipulate or make that relationship work. Which then is no longer selfless and becomes selfish.  So, how do I "break free". Well I know I need to place God above everything in my life and that's not happening. I also read somewhere that you can only "break free" if you want to. Your prayer sometimes needs to be "help my want to". Then I know I need to surround myself with the people that really truly and honestly love me and want the best for me. This goal, I'm working on.  The progress is much slower. So "God, please help my want to."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Looking forward and not back.

My first thought when deciding what to write for my first blog of 2014, was to recap last years goals and group them into successes and failures. You know the popular phrase: "Think about how far you have gotten.  Not about how far you still have to go." That sounds so good and yet the the message of a new year, tells us that we are NOT supposed to think this way.  It's message really tells us to look forward by making resolutions, goals and life changes. To "keep your eye on the prize." To take your vision and dreams, making them attainable goals. And so, I will look forward not back. No recaps, no funny failure stories, only the new year, new beginnings and new resolutions.
With that I present my first goal of 2014:  1.  Run a half marathon. - My friend Jill and I were hoping to run a marathon in Florida this year. The race was already booked by the time we tried to sign up.  It has now become a goal of ours for the new year. So I am still going to get myself in shape and train to run a half marathon.  My first course of action is to sign up for a membership at Planet Fitness. Today is the day. I'm printing off a training schedule, signing up and knocking off day 1. In the process I am hoping to lose about 30lbs by the end of the year.  A pretty ambitious goal I know. I know I will need to stay motivated because as I've shared in previous articles, my personality tends to be all in or all out. I think if you could see my house you would laugh. I post up quotes, pictures, motto's, anything to keep me motivated. I hang them on the fridge, mirror, doors, or anyplace I can find and then end up frantically taking all of it down when I have people come to the house.  So I must conclude my first blog of the year: to look forward, to look ahead to the fit person I want to be, and also because it's time for me to hang up some more inspiration.