Monthly Archives: December 2011

#FinishYear 2012

2012 is going to be a great year!

I am joining with a community of others to finish things this year. This year has been a good start, as I’ve made significant progress on several goals. I was able to do that through the support and encouragement of the communities around me.

My goals are pretty simple this year, as I am learning to simplify my life.  I also anticipate adding some new ones in the months to come.

2012 Goals

1. Continue on my healthy eating/exercising plan and drop two more sizes in 2012

2. Blog regularly (2 times per week minimum, with a goal of 100 posts in 2012)

3. Finish the Warrior Dash in June 2012

4. Journal 5 times per week

5. Finish the scrapbooking projects I’ve already started

Here’s to a great 2012!!

 

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Merry Christmas

1 Corinthians 13 – Christmas Style

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows,

strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do

not show love for my family, I am just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas

cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a

beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show

love to my family, I am just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home,

and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to

my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted

snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in

the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have

missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the

decorating to kiss the spouse. Love doesn’t envy another

home that has coordinated Christmas china and table

linens, Love doesn’t yell at the kids to “get out of my way.”

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in

return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t. Love bears

all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures

all things. Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl

necklaces will be lost;golf clubs will rust. But giving the

gift of love will endure!

May the miracle of Christmas

That we celebrate today

Fill your heart with inspiration

And bring happiness your way.

– Author Unknown

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!!! 

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What will you finish in 2012?

As you may have figured out from previous posts, Jon Acuff  has had a big influence on my life this past year. Reading his book, Quitter, and attending his Quitter conference, really impacted me. It somehow flipped a switch in me. Or helped ignite a flame that was dwindling.

It’s so weird when someone’s words and suggestions really resonate with you on a deep level. Especially when you don’t know them. I didn’t have the chance to meet him at the conference. Other than an email or comment or twitter exchange, we’ve never spoken. However, I believe God uses unexpected people to help speak things that you need to hear.

That has been the case with him over the last half of this year. His words and the experience of the conference have prompted me to make changes in my life. Of course, there are many others close to me that have helped encourage me as well. And I am so grateful for the communities of people that I have around me! I know I would not have been as open to this message had I not already been working towards making significant changes in my life through their help.

I recently came across a list that I wrote of my goals for 2011. It kind of shocked me, as I had forgotten that I wrote it. I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. I typically don’t follow through on them and I get frustrated with myself when I don’t.

That’s why in June of this year, I decided to do something different. I decided it was time to make some lifestyle changes. I decided to get healthier. The main goal was to lose weight, but it wasn’t the focus. I wanted to change the way that I approached it. I wanted to take it slow and improve a little bit every day, instead of trying to drop a huge amount of weight upfront and not be able to maintain it. I have done that plenty of times in the past! I wanted to be a healthier me. 

What surprised me most when I saw the list was that I had actually made significant progress on almost every item on the list. Wow! I don’t think that has ever happened before. And, remember, I had not been focusing specifically on the list.

So how did I do it? I made a commitment to do it. And, I had communities of people supporting me. When I decided to get healthier, I joined a kettlebell class. The relationships that I’ve formed with people who are getting stronger and healthier (and my incredible trainers) has had a huge impact on my desire to keep going. They support me and encourage me.

After I went to the Quitter conference, I have continued to stay in touch with other people who are also learning to follow their dream. While we don’t speak often, we have continued to support each other in our blog comments and given support through Twitter.

As I have walked through my faith journey over the last few years, I have been surrounded by a community of friends and leaders that have helped me learn to take steps towards becoming the person God wants me to be. This has helped me grow in my faith, and also helped me start figuring out what I think God wants me to do in this life.

These are just a few examples of things that I have done this year. Which is also a very long winded explanation for this post. Once again, Jon has challenged me. This time, it’s to be intentional about 2012.

He’s challenged me to commit to FINISHING my goals.

Not starting them.

Not just work on them.

But, to finish them.

As he so eloquently states, “Starting a project doesn’t change the world. Finishing a project changes the world.”

So, now I’m going to challenge you. Come along on the ride with me! Figure out what your goals are for 2012, and commit to finishing them.There will be a community of people supporting you and keeping you on track. I am willing to be one of them!

I am currently working on my list right now. Wow, it is tough to decide what the right balance is between pushing yourself and being somewhat realistic given your time constraints. But, I am committed to do it! And, Jon helps with that too.

I am so excited about the possibilites of approaching it from this angle. Last year was about learning to dream again and getting myself to commit to start things again. Now, I am going to work on finishing them!

I’d love to have you join me!

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Sunsets

I have always loved sunsets.

It’s an appreciation I learned from my Dad.

Sunset from the Space Needle

He taught me to see their beauty, and to stop and soak in the magnificence.

He took thousands of pictures of sunsets during his life.

From our house

Today would have been his 79th birthday.

So, in honor of you, Dad, here are some of my recent favorites, along with some that I found that remind me of you.

Wisconsin Dells

I can’t help but think of you and how much more beautiful these must be in Heaven. I’m sure we can’t even imagine.

We love you!!

 

A life touched by God always ends in touching others.

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Encouragement

I recently read a great series of posts on Encouragement for your spouse. You can read more on Stephanie’s blog here.

This is an area that I am continually working on. I am trying to be very intentional about encouraging my husband.

I am naturally a pretty encouraging person. Most people will say this about me. However, I find that sometimes the people who are closest to me often get the last of my encouraging attitude. Especially my husband.

I have found that this makes an amazing difference to my him, though. He appreciates it and wants me to tell him.

How do you encourage your spouse? Do you find that it makes a big difference? I’d love to hear from you.

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Do Something

I am reading Erwin McManus‘ book, ‘Chasing Daylight’, right now.

The person who lent it to me warned me that it was life changing.  I can already see why. I think I will be taking a book of notes throughout it!

Here are my favorite quotes so far.

“The most important moments rarely come at a convenient time.”

“The ironic part is that our schedules get packed with the mundane and ordinary, and we become irritated with God when He interrupts us with the miraculous and extraordinary.”

“Have you considered that God’s greatest gift to you is that He calls you to be a pioneer, explorer and even creator? There are things God does for you and things that God waits for you to do.”

“You cannot follow God in neutral. God has created you to do something!”

“What God makes clear is that when we’re committed to seizing his divine moments, He’ll make sure He gets us to the right place at the right time. What God can do through a person who’s willing to act is limitless.”

I think something amazing happens when we say yes to God.

We are no longer willing to give excuses anymore.

We realize that He wants us to do something.

Do we have it all figured out before we start? Rarely.

But the one thing I consistently know is: He wants us to DO SOMETHING!

Have you experienced this in your life? I’d love to hear what you said yes to and what you are doing to take the next steps to start. I will be posting more on this topic in the weeks to come.

Now, go DO SOMETHING!

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Lessons I learned from Jamie

I can’t stop thinking about all of the lessons I learned from my friend, Jamie.

I hate that I had to learn these lessons from her, as I wish she had never had to go through what she did. But, she continues to be an example to so many and is still bringing people together for a greater good, even after her death.

Her birthday seems like a fitting time to share them, as well as some pictures that touch my heart.

Speak from your heart. Always.

Smile. It’s infectious.

Take time to listen to others.

Blog.

Never give up on people.

Pay it forward.

Treasure every moment, every hour, every day.

Be thankful for everything, even if it’s hard.

Ask for prayer when you need it.

Give yourself completely to others.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Surround yourself with amazing people.

Tell your friends and family what you want.

Start on your bucket list.

Celebrate life. No matter what you are going through.

Much love.

Thank you, Jamie. For being a friend, an inspiration, and an encouragement to me and so many people. Your spirit lives on through Aaron, Kayden, your family and friends. I am blessed to have known you.

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It is never easy

It seems like this year has been a year of deaths for people around me. I’ve experienced several myself, and many others that I know have as well. There seem to be many more than usual. I know that’s not really the case. It’s just a fact of life and this is what we all experience at different times and different circumstances.

Most of my friends (including me) have lost one parent. Some have lost both. Many friends have lost siblings, some have lost children, and others, dear friends. Many people I know have had tragic circumstances that I can’t imagine.

Our pastor said something this weekend that continues to resonate with me. He spoke at two funerals this past week. One for a 65+ year old and one for a 16 year old that had taken his own life.  His words are so simple, yet profound.

Death never feels right.

I think we often figure that the death of an older person will feel differently than the death of a younger person. But, I agree with what he said. Regardless of the age or the circumstances, it just never feels right. Especially to those who loved that person.

When my Stepfather passed away earlier this year, I was expecting the process to be easier than what I’d experienced in the past. He was 93! He had lived an amazing life. It should have been easier, right? Well, it wasn’t. It just doesn’t feel good to lose someone you love. And in that case, helping my Mom sort through everything and start over was in many ways much harder than the first time she became a widow.

The other thing my Pastor said this weekend is so beautiful. He had said something similar to me during the time when my Stepfather passed and a dear friend lost her battle with cancer.

When people around us are hurting and going through loss, we feel like they expect us to say something profound. Like we should be able to give them a few words that are going to make all of the hurt go away.

Isn’t that crazy?

We know it’s not possible, but we feel the pressure to do it. In most situations, people just want to know that we care and that we are praying for them, and that we are there to help when needed. They just want us to sit and mourn with them.

In response to this, he offered this beautiful picture of comfort. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this.

Instead of telling you about a God who wraps tragedy in a tidy little box with no room for questions, I want to invite you to sit with a God who mourns with you.

This is based off of the story of Lazarus in John 11, specifically verse 35, “Jesus wept.”  It is absolutely beautiful.

I have experienced death, starting from a young age. I can tell you that had I understood this better then, I know it would have given me great comfort. It certainly did this past year during the losses I experienced.

It goes along with so many things I’ve realized about my faith and my relationship with God.

We don’t have to have it all figured out.

In fact, I don’t think we were ever meant to figure everything out. Sometimes, there are no words to explain why something so tragic happened. We will probably never understand it. And, trying to wrap everything into tidy boxes only leads people to frustration and anger. But, allowing ourselves to be true to the pain and sorrow that we feel, and wrapping ourselves in the arms of Jesus who mourns with us, is something that brings great comfort.

 

To listen to Scott’s message from this weekend (The Art of Advent), you can go here. It should be posted shortly.

 

 

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You can do so much more

Why do we limit ourselves?

Why do we think that we don’t have what it takes?

Why do we sabotage ourselves by telling our minds that we can’t do it, and what is the point in even starting?

Over the last five months, I have been realizing how often I did this. I started on a quest to get healthier before my 40th birthday, and it has been an amazing experience. In the past, I have used almost every excuse in the book for not getting healthy.

I had two kids!

I’m a busy working Mom!

I deserve to eat it! (Isn’t that the craziest thing we tell ourselves?)

It’s too hard!!

I don’t have time to work out!

Deep down, I have always known that I have potential to be in good shape and be healthy. I used to be! I was an athlete all the way through college. I was active! But, I got lazy. My priorities shifted and I stopped taking care of myself. I stopped committing time for me.

What I have realized over the last few months is that I am capable of so much more than I have allowed myself to imagine. It goes along with so many other things I’ve written about, like how I stopped dreaming, how I didn’t think I was creative, and how I didn’t think I needed to work at my marriage in order for it to be a happy one.

With the help of some amazing instructors, coaches, and workout buddies, I have pushed myself in my kettlebell workouts in ways that I haven’t since I was an athlete. I have lost weight, gotten healthier, and I am stronger!

With the help of some amazing leaders, I have pushed myself in the area of writing and blogging.

With the help of some amazing friends and mentors, I have pushed myself spiritually and am helping to coach others as well.

So what’s limiting you?

Whatever it is, take a step today and move towards something that you want. Remember, YOU CAN DO SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU CAN!!

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