about New Year’s Resolutions

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Can we talk about them please? Every year for as long as I can remember, there was this big deal about making goals that we have to achieve.

Last year one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to get more fit, like not just doing pushups at home, but actually to get a gym membership and have a nice good workout. My whole family did the gym tour, signed up the babies for kid’s club and we were set. Each time I came, the babies couldn’t handle being without me for too long, especially my very very very much attached newborn. So after like 3 attempts I gave up. The gym placed a freeze on the account (so they’re still making $$$ while I’m not there; clever monkeys!) and once I return, the freeze will be over.

Well, let’s quickly fast forward all the way to this year. It’s now 2017, January, and on top of it, the very last day of January. And I resumed last year’s “New Year’s Resolutions”! It really was a little spontaneous, to be honest. It had been at the corner of my mind, nagging me, especially since being more financially responsible was another one of my goals, and the gym kept making those automatic withdrawals without me being there. So this morning, as soon as that nagging thought arrived, I jumped into my sweatpants & hustled the kiddos into the Subaru and sped over to the gym before I could come up with an excuse. They removed the freeze and I dropped the kiddos in the newly remodeled kid’s club area. It was probably wise to set some low expectations, so I did. Only 15 minutes. And by golly, it was successful! In fact, the cycling machine showed 15:37 before I raced to pick up my babies. One of them didn’t want to leave, so I told her not to worry, we’ll be back again!

It’s such a fantastic feeling to be working on New Year’s Resolutions. Even if it’s from last year. Even if it’s for 15 minutes. Baby steps I tell ya.

By the way, another goal is to be writing regularly in the amount of at least 300 words. So hold me accountable, will you?

 

I want to be a supermom

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Get yourself a cup of tea and crackers because this is a long post. 😄

Everybody’s situation is unique yet everybody goes through similar and common seasons in life (hardships, trials, easier times, happy times, etc.)

During hard times sometimes the only thing that can help is seeing what the Ultimate Book says. It helps to read these following verses out loud, write them out and post them all over your house. And read them constantly.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christʼs power may rest on me. That is why, for Christʼs sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When we rely on our own strength alone, we get terribly discouraged when we don’t rise up to our own expectations. When we admit we are weak and cannot deal the best way with _____ (insert whatever it is we are struggling with) then we are turning it over to God. “God, I cannot deal with my kids the way I should, I don’t have enough patience and I get angry and I’m frustrated. Please guide me and give me wisdom how to act.”

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7-8‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

We won’t get answers overnight, or at least, not all of them at once. 😭 But it will happen!

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Re-evaluate your expectations of yourself and your life. What is the end result you’re trying to achieve? Write it down. What steps do you need to take to achieve that? What things do you need to eliminate out of life to have TIME to do the steps that help reach your goal? 📱🤳🏻📺🍹🛍🗑 (Personal example – I want to be raising kids after God’s heart & having them behave appropriately. This means I need to get some knowledge about what God’s heart is like, and WHAT IS appropriate behavior & good manners. This means I need to read the Bible (quality, not quantity) and ask God to reveal himself & his wisdom to me. This means I need to start spending more PURPOSEFUL time with kiddos. Showing them how to behave in certain situations, etc. But since I spent so much time cleaning up messes, organizing, etc.- I needed to do a major decluttering project. Got rid of a bunch of toys, hid some more, put up purposeful things up to remind myself of my goals. Realized too much time was spent on social media which wastes time and sometimes has bad consequences where Comparison Monster shows up, so had to limit that. Voila! there’s a bit more free time to do what NEEDS to be done. {That’s just one part of my life, still many parts that I’m trying to figure out like meal planning, and being conscious of spending $, and how to do a quick manicure/pedicure at home that looks pro. So if anyone here has tips for that, I’m ALL EARS!})

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

If I declare I am a Christian and am filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s kind of a necessity to go about life showing those fruits. The Message explains it like this: “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”

“Fathers (or mothers, in this case), don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

Regarding fruits of the spirit, what things do I want to teach my kids from that? I have to model it. Ask how I can do _______ with kindness. Or patience. Or gentleness. And do it like that. Kids are observers like no other. Ellie was picking her nails and I told her “No! Don’t do that!” And she looks at me with a bewildered expression and ASKS (I kid you not), “but you can do it? You did it yesterday.” Ouch. Burn.

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Personal convictions can be instilled strongly when they’re kids. When I was a kid my family was very conservative and more legalistic than not. One absolute no-no was females wearing pants, especially jeans. So get this, in the 6th grade I had enough nerve to do a public service and told a girl in my class that because she’s wearing jeans, she’s a boy, and she might go to hell for it. Can you believe it? Yeah, she freaked out, cried, told the teacher, I got in trouble, the end. Obviously the goal is to teach kids to grow up and mature and eventually think for themselves. They SHOULD question whatever boundaries were set on them, and whatever personal convictions were instilled into their hearts, and determine how and why, and what’s the benefit of it. It seems a lot of people don’t question the traditions they grew up with, and end up adopting it the point where they won’t even exercise their mind to extend the possibility that other options are acceptable. This encourages me to teach values that withstand the test of time.

Life can be hard and this toddler/ baby season is harder. I rely on God’s grace and try to remember to extend this grace to myself and to those around me. The picture is me feeling like a supermama, usually when both girls wake up and I carry them downstairs. That’s when I feel I can tackle the world. 😄

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Ephesians 5:22

Easier said than done. It’s not enough that we say we are renewed or born again, and no longer do evil deeds. We need to actively demonstrate the fruits of the spirit. Joy is particularly challenging or even impossible during tough parts of life, yet there it is. Listed right there. I think it helps knowing we are created for a greater purpose than just self-gratification here on earth. Sometimes when I’m tied down with the daily hassles of life, I forget to practice being joyful, and instead I act like Ms. Grumpypants. It’s a mindset that can be trained, and I’m still working on it 🙂

When our thoughts are like raspberries

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So far in my life I’ve had over two dozen jobs. One of them was working in the fields over the summers. What kinds of fields, you ask? Berry fields! Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, even some extra work in potato & cucumber fields. Cucumbers are prickly… worst thing ever to pick. The raspberry  field was very special, because one had to be a certain age to work there. The summer when I turned 14, (or maybe 15) was quite something, because that meant I could apply, and hopefully work in those fancy-shmancy ginormous field machines.

It was as glorious as I’d imagined. The job consisted of sitting and sorting raspberries from the conveyor belt. It was constantly moving, and raspberries kept coming. As they fell into each box, I needed to rotate the box around so there wouldn’t be more than like an inch of raspberries over the whole bottom of the box. At the same time, I needed to catch all the bad raspberries and toss them out. If I didn’t, the box of good raspberries would get “contaminated” from the one bad moldy one. Sometimes there were bushes where a ton of bad raspberries came through at such a rate that my hands were a blur trying to toss them out. Other times it was a very slow relaxed row or day where one had time to actually think thoughts.

Anyway, I recently remembered this job when I was thinking how our thoughts work. We have so many thoughts on a regular basis and if the bad thoughts don’t get tossed out right away they contaminate a little section of our brain. If we let it go, it’s like allowing a poisonous area to accumulate. Then our thought process is messed up, we think incorrectly, we have a terrible attitude, we have a skewed perspective, etc. I’m not going to list off actual examples; there are too many.

“We … take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5

Instead of allowing our emotions, feelings, social media, culture, etc. define us, or dictate how or what we are to think, we need to make sure it’s aligned with the Word of God.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

I love me so much

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Ha, the title is a trick! But really though, we all love ourselves so much! The best coffee for ME, time to MYSELF, MY opinion, MY feelings, MY emotions, MY way or the highway, MY agenda, whatever is convenient to ME, and so on. What else did I miss? So much focus on me everywhere we look. Buy the best toys and trinkets for ME. Don’t care about other people, do what YOU want. Are we perhaps giving ourselves too much room for ME?

Of course we sometimes go through low self esteem issues where we don’t really like ourselves.

Or do we?

Could it be that we like ourselves SO MUCH that we ALLOW ourselves this pity party, and this way get MORE attention to ourselves?

Think about it. Somebody who’s always talking about going on a diet: “Oh, I’m so fat! I can’t eat that! I need to lose weight; just looking at that cupcake is making me expand! Oh stop it, you know I’m fat. No, you’re the skinny one! Ugh, this fat! No, I’ll watch you eat that cupcake. I brought my own celery sticks, thank you.”

How many “I’s” in that one-sided conversation? How much attention did that person gain from this low esteem crisis? And it can be like that for any other area or topic: kids are being brats, boss is weird, family is crazy, health issue, difficult class, so much homework, such a stressful life, and so on and on and on. Are you with me?

The Bible verse I’m writing about is found in Philippians 2:4:

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Whoa.

Well that changes it a bit around. I probably shouldn’t drink those two coffees, but go with a friend so WE can chat and each have a coffee. Interesting.

Recently a quote came up in my feed that said something along these lines: if you’re sharing your problem to more than 3 people, you just want attention. Bam! That hit home.

But, wait! you say. Isn’t it healthy to share with people what you’re going through in your life? To get advice, or just to let it out? It’s so bad to keep it inside! I’ll get depressed! Or explode!

OF COURSE talk it out. Females particularly are (probably) wired to socialize and talk more than males, so we find comfort in speaking. Or in this social media age, in typing. 🙂 BUT. Of course there’s a but. Find a solution. Do something about it. Change something about what you’ve been doing. Maybe the attitude needs to be adjusted (that’s usually me). But don’t keep talking about it over and over and over and over again. Ask how somebody is doing? What is their life like? Dig deep. People are hurting. People are vulnerable. Instead of talking about your day, ask somebody what’s positive that’s happening in their life. Be happy with them about it. Buy them a coffee.

Ok, sometimes you DO need to do what’s best for YOU, but that’s a kind of a different topic and that’s not what I’m trying to say here. I’m trying to spend less time always looking out for my interests but to take an interest in others too. 🙂

I went to the grocery store

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I had to go to Fred Meyers yesterday to finish my grocery shopping for the week. It was for five items: milk, bananas, beets, onion, and tea. That is more than one item so of course I need to write it down somewhere. I scanned my kitchen for a spare piece of paper or a sticky note. Aha! My eyes stopped on a piece of junk mail sticking out from the recycle pile. It was like a student in school waving his hand, pick me! Pick me! Perfect. There was enough white space on the envelope to write my list. Milk, bananas, beets, onion, tea. I squeezed in the last word. Should have used a smaller sized font.

 

E jumped out of the car and raced towards the entrance. I strapped in Baby in the baby seat of the grocery cart. She was a very wiggly one, I’d rather not take any chances of her falling halfway out. We jogged past the floral department and of course had to screech to a stop because E had to smell at least two bouquets. Grocery stores have fairly decent sized aisles, so I absolutely take advantage of that and get some exercise for E and myself. We were whizzing by the canned food aisle and this time I stopped because I saw some kidney beans. I glanced at my list: milk, bananas, beets, onion, tea. Hmm. Why didn’t I write down beans? My plan was to make a vinegret salad, which required beets, which were on the list, and also beans, which weren’t on the list. Oh well. I told E which can to take, she took it from the shelf and hurled it into the cart. A customer walking through that aisle shot me a disapproving look. Oops, must have been too loud.

 

“E, next time put the items into the cart gently; don’t throw, ok?”
“OK Mama!”

 

We arrived at the fridge section, E got the milk out, but it was too heavy to put into the cart gently. She could actually take a swing and drop it like it’s hot into the cart, but, nah, not this time. I helped her. Then we walked up the aisle where the tea was. None of the options looked appealing. I wanted something new, but not too weird, maybe a usual flavor that I like but a different brand. Yeah that’s what it was. Maybe the organic section will have some interesting teas. We had slowed down to a normal pace in the baking section and I saw flour. All of a sudden I remembered that I needed flour to make vareniki. I had had some at a party and realized the next time I’ll have some won’t be anytime soon unless I make them myself. With potatoes. I checked my list. Darn! Flour wasn’t on the list. Oops. Into the cart it went. E was looking at some stuff across the aisle and as soon as some elderly gentleman was close enough to pass, she jumped in front of his cart over to my side. I received an annoyed look.

 

I enjoy grocery shopping immensely. I imagined most people did too, but recently I’ve started becoming aware of the fact that not everything I enjoy other people enjoy as well. Can you imagine that? What a hoot. Anyways, I chased E to the organic section and discovered a wide array of brands and flavors of tea. It was a fun challenge to narrow down teas by flavor, then price, then brand. It’s like a game every time I go grocery shopping. Which item is the best brand or quality, how much in each pack/bundle, and bonus points if it’s on sale. A few mint tea possibilities presented themselves, but then I saw a positive energy tea. Something citrusy, and organic, on sale, and did I mention ENERGY! The baby got the tea pack. Hopefully that’ll entertain her for a few minutes while I decide on another tea pack. Nope, the cart standing still was not her idea of fun. She flailed her arms and naturally everything she had dropped to the ground. A woman maneuvered her cart past us to look at some natural medicine. E began pulling some medicinal tea from the shelves and asking if I wanted any of those. OK time to move on. I shoved the cart forward with one hand, my other arm busy holding Baby, picked up the junk mail grocery list from the floor, tossed another tea pack in, pushed E’s medicine teas back into the shelves and we were rolling. Felt like a ninja for two seconds.

 

The next aisle had a beautiful assortment of organic trail mix. I was comparing the nutritional benefits of two bags, E was selecting cookies, Baby was crumpling up my grocery list, and then she sauntered up. Ms. Marathon Lady. Tall, tan, in her yellow and black sports outfit. Pursed lips, as if coming to the grocery store was the most inconvenient thing that happened to her all day. Wait, we were in her way, so this was an even bigger problem. She sort of paused and grunted a sound, so I told E to move closer to me to make way for her. Her long cellulite-free legs almost jumped past us. The way she looked at me was extremely discerning. I became acutely aware of my chipped toe nail polish, stain on my leggings, and pulled back shower hair. What in the world was that? Did she just give me the judg-y look? Ugh. Whatever, I’m wearing my nice new trench coat so I’m good.

 

We finally made it to the bananas. E noticed the bunch I took was too green and called me out for it. But I already had a bright yellow bunch in the cart, so I used that moment to teach her a valuable life lesson about planning ahead a few days in advance once the yellow bananas are out.

 

Milk, bananas, beets, onion, tea. As I walked around the vegetable stands to find red beets, I noticed Marathon Lady again. You can’t miss somebody that tall, they are quite noticeable in a crowd. Maybe it was her yellow jacket? Red beets were out. Should I go to another grocery store just for red beets? Maybe make this salad another time? Be adventurous and buy yellow beets? I felt adventurous.

 

Fred Meyer’s has a lot of check out stands. The shortest line was the one where Marathon Lady just walked up to. Yeah, I’m not going to succumb to her opinions. I chose the check out stand right next to hers. I could feel her looking through the TicTacs and gums. I felt sorry for her. I really hope she finds her marathons and organic food satisfying, because in spite of my slightly ruffled appearance I’m absolutely delighted with my life. E wanted to put everything on the belt so I took each item out of the cart and handed it to her and she proceeded to put it on the belt. It was a meticulous process to say the least. When I was about to pay she presented a green pack of M&M’s and very softly asked “Mama, please?” My goodness this child has figured me out. I told her I’ll use her quarters if she wants to buy it. She agreed.

 

On the 7 minute drive home, E clutched her M&M’s pack and said “Thank you, E, for buying M&M’s”. I unloaded the trunk, took everybody out of the car, closed the garage door, and realized I lost this grocery store game.

 

I forgot the onion.

 

Ten coffees or a week of sleep?

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Sometimes bad days happen. When little babies are not sleeping much at night, these bad days happen more often. I very much dislike having bad days and being cranky.

After drinking a few cups of coffee and realizing my headache wasn’t going to go away, I tried a different approach. Everything is always about perspective, is it not? I’m upset that I didn’t get much sleep, but what about everything else I do have? Like what about the people who have terrible jobs? (Yes, that escalated quickly.) They have to deal with it every day.

I did a quick google search of worst jobs in the world, and here are the top 5 that stood out as the worst:

1. Mosquito researcher – hanging out with mosquitoes all day, the bites, the buzzing, ugh!
2. Odor tester – deodorant and armpit smeller anyone?
3. Honey bucket cleaner – yeah.
4. Road kill collector – is that a cat? Or a raccoon? Oh it’s a puppy.
5. Taco Bell janitor – especially on Taco Tuesday.

All of a sudden my headache and sleep deprivation don’t seem quite so bad anymore.

Of course I also had to check up what the Bible has to say about bad days. I love how The Message translates this verse:

“On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Good day, welcome!