Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I've lost that lovin' feeling

For the past several weeks -- maybe even months -- I've experienced a feeling of emptiness that I'm not sure I've ever experienced before. Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of heartache and loss in my (almost 40) years of life. But this time it's different, and it's a little difficult to describe. The only way I know to explain it is "lost." Have you been there? That place where your days and nights are spent trying to think of something, anything, that would make you feel better. But nothing does. A place of numbness where you find yourself judging all the wrongs of other people to make yourself feel better. You know, that mom who doesn't raise her children like you would, that friend who isn't always a good friend, that co-worker who seems to constantly say and do mean-hearted things.

There's no doubt this is why I spend so much time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. It's why I turn the radio up when I'm driving. It's why I want to sleep every chance I get (which isn't much), or immerse myself in my kids' activities. Because when there's silence, I'm required to think about where I am. When there's noise and distraction, I don't have to address what's going on in my head and heart.

But, it's time for quiet. It's time to take a look at the status of my heart. And when I do, clarity comes.

The fact is, I don't love people.

Aside from loving Him, it's God's greatest commandment. But I don't do it.

Sure, I love people who are easy to love. If you're kind, see things just like I do, and never do anything that's too far from how I would do it, chances are I'll reciprocate kindness and love. But, if you're difficult to love -- if your actions are questionable, you're not perfectly nice, or you rub me the wrong way -- I'll probably judge you. You may never know it, but I'll question your motives, and I'll wonder why you're not just like me. I may even complain about you to my husband, sister, and/or closest friends. I'll raise myself up, and place you where I've decided you belong -- beneath me.

Oh the ridiculousness. Oh the sin.

Have you ever noticed how many versus in the Bible talk about love? A lot.

"You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Leviticus 19:18
"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses." Proverbs 10:12
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Mathew 22: 37-39
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart," 1 Peter 1:22
"And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us." 1 John 3:23
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." 1 John 4: 7-12
"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother who he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4: 19-21

As I read these versus today, I'm even more convinced that loving people -- even if they don't act and think like me -- is a big deal to God. I'm also convinced that this "feeling" I've experienced is a direct result of being outside of God's will for my life. I'm not called to judge, I'm called to offer grace and to love.

So my prayer today is that I would begin love God with all my heart, and as a result of that love that I would offer grace and love to the people around me -- regardless of whether they meet my expectations.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Xmas Delima

Most of my life I’ve heard that I should never, ever use the word “Xmas” to refer to Christmas, lest I be guilty of leaving Christ out of the holiday.  I love Jesus and certainly don’t want to leave him out, so I’ve just always stuck with using “Christmas,” and assumed that people who don’t, well… they don’t.  

But then last year I saw my pastor refer to Christmas as Xmas in a Tweet… he loves Jesus (and only had 140 characters to make his point). Then, I saw a few other friends use Xmas in text messages, tweets and Facebook statuses… they love Jesus, too. So, it made me think that maybe, just maybe I was missing out on something. Maybe there was something more to the word Xmas.

So, I did some research, and guess what I found?

The use of the word Xmas was, in fact, not designed to leave Christ out of the holiday as the marquees, bumper stickers and Facebook posts say. I’m almost embarrassed that I’m just now doing the research (and if you’ve posted one of these posts, or have the bumper sticker, I’m not judging).  

The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, and is translated as “Christ.” The use of Xmas showed up in English in the 1500’s, pre printing press, when books were handwritten. Because it was so difficult and expensive to handwrite books, they used the word “X” to save time, space, and money. Pretty smart.

Of course, now days we don’t have much reason to abbreviate Christmas to Xmas (unless limited to 140 characters), but there’s a bit of a sense of relief that I no longer feel the need to question the motives of a person who does. I’ll just assume that they’re familiar with the origin and definition of the word, they need to abbreviate, or they’re in a hurry—regardless, I’ll choose to see Christ in it. And when my kids ask what Xmas means, I’ll explain the true origin of the word, so even if it is meant as an attempt to avoid including Christ (which no doubt happens a lot), they’ll still see Him in it.

Now, if you get a card from us (which may not happen until January the way things are going), I can guarantee that we'll say "Merry Christmas"; I just like the word (and I don’t want to run the risk of offending those who can’t get past it). But, if I’m sending a quick text or a tweet where I need to abbreviate, I may use Xmas. If that happens, you can rest easy knowing that I do love Jesus and the “X” isn’t replacing Christ, it’s just another way to say His name.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Almost Got this Starbucks Thing

The thing about being perpetually tired is that I’ve learned to like coffee. A couple of years ago (in the midst of really, really bad sleepless nights) we bought a Keurig. It’s now on my list of favorite things (so if you’re thinking about getting one for someone for Christmas—I say YES!) No one even has to know that I don’t know anything about coffee when I buy those little K-cups. 

By the way, I know absolutely nothing about coffee. Only that it keeps me from falling asleep at my desk. 

Since I’m pretty frugal (and paying $4+ for a drink gives me the shakes), I’ve just never gotten in to drinking coffee from coffee shops. That’s the story I’ll tell at least. Reality is, I’m a coffee shop dummy. And I’m intimidated. I’m afraid I’ll (a.) pay $5 for something I really don’t want, or (b.) say something stupid in my quest to order coffee and be embarrassed. Since I would rather neither of these things happen, I just don’t do it. 

But lately I’ve done some work travel with much more sophisticated and cultured co-workers, and I’ve learned a little. What I know is that both a Salted Carmel Mocha and a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks are yummo. That’s where it ends. I feel a little embarrassed to say “Grande,” instead of my typical “medium,”—do I say it like “grand-a” or “grand” without the “a” sound. A girl with an Arkansas accent saying something like “grand-a” doesn’t really shout SOPHISTICATION. 

I would like to roll the “r” just once. But I won’t.

This weekend, while out with Kerry (my sister) and Christina (my friend), we stopped by Starbucks, and I ordered a Grande Salted Carmel Mocha. It didn’t disappoint. Again today I went through the drive through and ordered this:

A Grande Peppermint Mocha. But this time threw in “skinny.” Almost like a professional. 

I may even do it again tomorrow. I think I’ve got this.

To those who are professional coffee drinkers/orderers, etc., feel free to send advice and tips. I'm trying to own the fact that I don't get out much. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Date With the Treadmill

I've struggled a little with whether to post this--I'm typically pretty guarded. But I'm confident my struggle is similar to that of a lot of other people, so here we are.

If you've known me long, you know that my weight has gone up and down my entire life. You probably even  know of my most recent weight loss. Two years ago I decided to try Metabolic Research Center. Within 4 months of eating almost nothing, and drinking lots of protein supplements, I lost around 40 lbs. I felt amazing. I was getting up at 4:30 a.m. to work out before work, running 5k's, and was very encouraged by the compliments of people who noticed the weight loss. I stopped going to MRC in February, knowing that I had things under control. And I did. I kept the weight off for several months. Then, in late October I injured my ankle running on the treadmill and had to stop running for 6 weeks. That 6 weeks turned into 6 months...and now a year. And the lack of exercise turned into eating anything I wanted. And no exercise and eating anything I wanted turned into no energy... and here we are, back to the girl who felt terrible.

This is a lack of self-discipline that I can't hide. It's totally visible to all who knew me then and know me now. I'm super disappointed in myself. Losing the weight initially was such hard work. Like really, really hard. And now that hard work was for not. Ugh.

I know for certain that in order to be at a healthy weight, I have to work hard every single day. I have to be disciplined in so many areas of my life (work, family, schedules, etc.) that in selfish childishness, I've been telling myself that in this area I'm going to do what I want to do, not what I need to do.

You know what? It stinks. But, it's life. And I know for sure that I'm not the only one with these struggles (though it feels like it some days). I also know a lot of people with amazing self-discipline, who have the same responsibilities and time constraints I have--so there's no doubt it's possible.

Though I lost weight with MRC, I'll never do anything like that again. It's not a reasonable way to live. I have to control my diet and find a way to get some serious activity back in my life. Likely that means going back to a 4:30 a.m. date with the treadmill; that doesn't sound fun at all.

More sleep, more exercise, a healthy diet--sounds like some big changes are about to happen around here.

Now...who wants to hold me accountable?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleepy Time

I covet sleep. Had you told me when I was a 19-year-old college student that I would be getting up at 5 a.m. to be at work at 7 a.m., (while going to bed at midnight) I would have told you that you were absolutely out of your mind. But alas, this is my reality. I’ve actually learned to live on very little sleep. Until it catches up with me. Then watch out—I’m a cranky mom (and wife, daughter, co-worker, etc., etc.). The good news is that I have a fabulous husband who knows when I’ve hit the wall and tells me to lay down. If I’m not trying to be a martyr/hero, I usually take him up on it.

Here’s what I know (because I’ve read about it). We need sleep—and lots of it.

The National Sleep Foundation (you know it’s important if there’s a foundation about it, right?) says that adults need eight hours of sleep a night.

Eight hours of sleep.  

Can I get an amen?

When I look back at my old posts, I can see exactly when the sleep deprivation began.

With this guy...

 My precious little silly, rambunctious Eli. 

Chris and I joke that we think we’ll be able to consistently sleep through the night in 2015. It’s good to have a goal.

Over the past four years we’ve gone through colic, night terrors and just plain old not wanting to sleep. We’ve prayed, read books, talked to his pediatrician, researched blogs and websites, but in the end, I think it’s just going to have to get better on its own. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve learned some tactics that definitely help, but I think he’s just a bad sleeper.  He’s getting better, though—most nights we just have to get up with him 1-2 times. We can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. This morning at about 4 a.m. he walked into our bedroom and whispered “mommy, tan I tet in your bed?” This is a HUGE improvement from lying in his bed screaming several times a night. And the night terrors are few and far between. They typically only happen when he’s had a very, very active day with no nap. For Eli, naps are good/over-stimulation is not.

Now that Eli is beginning to sleep better, I’m challenging myself to go to sleep earlier. Bedtime for C & E is designed to be at 8:30, but somehow it always turns into 9... 9:30... And then I feel like I’m missing out on life if I just fall asleep when I finally get in bed at 10/10:30 (though I’m usually so tired that I totally could). So I spend the next 2-3 hours talking to Chris, watching my DVR’d shows, reading blogs, catching up on Facebook and Twitter, etc.  Obviously I love sleep, so I’m not sure why I choose media over it... but I do.

The experts say that apathy, slowed speech, flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and the inability to multitask or be novel are signs of sleep deprivation. If you spoke with me today, that’s exactly what you would find.

Starting tonight I’m shooting for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at least 5 times a week. That means drinking a little of this (sleepytime tea is my fave),

sleepytime tea

then going to sleep by 10:00 without turning on the TV, laptop or iPhone.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm back!

Today I realized how long it's been since I've blogged (personally anyway). I write every single day of my life at work (and love it), but to go home and write while caring for an infant, a toddler and a husband was a little more than this sleep-deprived momma could handle back then. So I decided to take an indefinite hiatus.

But today something inspired me to pull this old blog up and take a look.

And surprise, surprise... I got a little (okay, maybe a lot) emotional. I had no memory of a lot of what I read, until I read it (thank goodness for my mother-in-law writing down everything my kids do and say or they would never know anything about themselves). I love that I can look back at the things going on in our lives back then and see how far we've come. In retrospect, I wish I had never stopped. 

Now that we've gotten through the no-sleep infant stage (though we took a long trip through the no-sleep toddler statge too), we're sailing throught the elementary and Pre-K stage with a whole new set of struggles and victories.

And this is when I start writing about them again. I can't wait.!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday blahs...

It's Saturday...and I'm at work. And, my sweet husband is at home taking care of my sweet children. Really. No one should have to work on Saturdays - especially when they work Monday through Friday too. I plan to make that rule when someone puts me in charge of something.