Life’s Not Always Fair

I may have mentioned before, but for the past two years I’ve been reading a daily devotion by Sarah Young called, “Jesus Calling.” A friend that I look up to very much recommended it to me, and since then I’ve found that many of the women in my life are reading this particular devotional each day. It’s that powerful. 
(Haha – I had to.)
I just have to share today’s message with you, because I bet that it’s been oh-so-relevant for us all at one time or another in our lives. 
Young writes, “Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you, things that you don’t deserve. When someone mistreats you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive the one who has wounded you. Don’t be concerned with setting the record straight. Instead of obsessing about other people’s opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately, it is My view of you that counts.”
While I’m not currently going through a situation like this, I can remember many times in my past that I have been. Whether you are a believer or not, I believe this message is so true. We can’t control what others say or think of us and, honestly, it is none of our business! What IS our business is to be true to ourselves, and to choose grace. 
Recently I was faced with a choice when exiting a situation. Encouraged by my dad to handle the challenge with grace, I did so, and I feel so great about it. I was able to walk away from a stressful situation with a smile on my face, a clear conscious and a peaceful heart. 
More on this to come…
Have a great Monday and choose grace!
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I have been inspired. 
Let me start out by giving you some background…
Cory started a new (and exciting!) job on Monday & therefore a new routine began in our household. He now goes to work early (between 6-7 a.m.), which makes it easy for me to get up w/him & hit the gym. Hallelujah! 
So after the earliest cycle class I have probably ever been to (beginning at at 5:15 a.m.), I came home to make myself a healthy breakfast of Greek yogurt, blueberries & almonds. Sitting down to eat, I opened up my daily devotional, Jesus Calling. Below was the beginning of the day’s message:
“Learn to laugh at yourself more freely. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances so seriously. Relax and know that I am God with you. When you desire My will above all else, life becomes much less threatening. Stop trying to monitor my responsibilities – things that are beyond your control. Find freedom by accepting the boundaries of your domain.”
This really hit home with me because I can be a pretty deep & serious person at times. I love to overanalyze life & plan it all out. So how freeing is it to know that it is my duty in life to be light-hearted and playful? What an amazing blessing. 
Therefore, my latest to do list looks like this:
Don’t take life so seriously.
Find the fun & good in everything & everyone.
Laugh. A lot.
Dido for smiling.
Stay in the moment – stop continually analyzing the past & anticipating the future.
Be happy. 
“Life must be lived as play.” – Plato
And you can count me in.

Boston Marathon Tragedy – How We Can Help

Yesterday’s tragedy is weighing heavy on all American (and beyond) hearts today. We have questions: 
How could this happen at a race?
Is no where safe anymore?
Who would do this?
While we don’t have answers yet, we can certainly pray for comfort for the vicitms, wounded survivors and emotionally-scarred bystanders, as well as asking for wisdom for the volunteers and medical staff still trying to save lives. 
In addition to prayer, here are a few more ways that we can help from afar:
1. Donate blood to the Red Cross. 
Thankfully, there is currently enough blood at this time, but you can continually check back on their Twitter page: @RedCross
2. Donate to the Salvation Army’s efforts.

The organization is currently providing food and counseling to first responders in Boston. 


“One of the bombs was reportedly detonated near a VIP area for families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT.” – Jonathan Harris of Participant Media
4. Wear a race shirt today.

Although this will not physically help the victims, we can show our support through this simple act.
5. Don’t stop running. In fact, sign up for your next race. 

One of my very oldest friends brought a tear to my eye last night as I was scanning Twitter. Her tweet was this, “I’d like to think my motivation to run the most I’ve ever ran tonight came from honoring the victims. “. 
We had already signed up to run the BoulderBoulder in May, but now we’re doing it for Boston.
During this time of tradegy, I believe that it is just as important to focus on the good that comes from the bad, as it is to mourn for those whose lives are lost or forever changed.
Well said, Mr. Rogers. Well said.

Being Thankful For What We Have

I got the idea for this post yesterday morning as I approached the stoplight into Centerra,  a stoplight that I turn at every morning going to work. Except this morning there was a seemingly homeless man on the meridian. I rolled down my window & shouted (since my music was up way too loud) that I was sorry that I didn’t have more cash on me.

I handed him the $2 I had & he looked me in the eyes with sincerity and thanked me. And then I started crying.

You see, earlier that morning Cory & I had been going over our budget. We love to travel, dine out, go to concerts & the mountains, etc. We also have some financial goals that we would like to accomplish and therefore, we really need to begin making some sacrifices in our lifestyle.

As much as Cory tried to cheer me up, I still left the house in a bad mood. It’s no fun to limit the things that I love – traveling, shopping, eating out & drinks with friends, even if I know it’s for the greater good of our financial future & family.

And after seeing the homeless man’s gratitude for my $2.00, I felt so ashamed of my attitude.

Things can always, always be worse. And while many people have more than we do, many more have less. A reminder every now & then is a blessing from God.

Lent – Throwing in the White Flag

If you know me or even sort of follow my blog, you know that I love to set goals for myself. For example, as a novice runner I set a goal of running a half marathon – and accomplished it last fall!

Sometimes though, these goals are a bit too lofty for my actual commitment level (ex. last Lent – no gossip).

This time, I got myself in a bind. I even tried to give myself some wiggle room (drinking six times in six weeks, regardless of the day), though to no avail.
Maybe it was because I decided on my Lent sacrifice after a glass (or two) of wine on Fat Tuesday. Maybe it was because my heart wasn’t really in the right place. Maybe it was just too freaking hard.

Regardless of the reason, I’m chalking Lent 2013 up to another FAIL.
When talking to my mom about this, she (the sweet, Christian woman that she is) told me that it is okay because I’m not perfect & that maybe I should just try to revise my sacrifical goal, like maybe only drinking on the weekends. My friend Rachel told me that I should just try to give up beer. My BF, Alex just said I told you so. Dammit.

So since I went all out in the blogosphere & publicly committed to a lofty Lent goal, I feel that I must also publicly admit that I bit off more than I can chew this time.

This is not a very fun blog to write.

Although I will say that I have been drinking MUCH less than normal, a habit that I plan to continue because it has actually helped me control my calories much better & feel more fresh.

I hope that Lent is going much better for you than it is for me. Happy (Fish) Friday!

Forgiveness

Everyone has someone in their life that has hurt them. Sometimes, we even have multiple someones. Just like we, ourselves have hurt one or many people over the course of our life, whether intentional or not. 
And while I think it’s important to fully process our anger, sadness and any other emotions that arise, I think the most important thing we can do for ourselves after being hurt is to forgive.
I went through a difficult time in 2010. Not only did the man who raised me as his daughter abandon me only months before my wedding, I was also dealing with the loss of my first job out of college, meeting my biological father and issue upon issue with the group of people Cory & I had called our friends since high school.
Now that three years have passed, I look back & see that this was all part of God’s plan for our life. Every single hardship Cory & I went through together that year made us stronger individuals. The problems that were in our life at that time made our marriage more solid than I could have hoped for & most importantly, gave us the courage to unapolegetically be ourselves.
What I learned from that year is that it may take years to process & forgive, and that’s okay. We may never get the apology we feel deserve, and that’s okay too. But for our souls, it’s important to forgive anyways.
A couple of months ago (gosh – maybe six now?) I heard through the grapevine about something new going on in a person’s life that had hurt me in the past. And you know what my first thought was? It was “good for her!” 
In shock, I tried to analyze why I had such a positive reaction to the good things happening in this person’s life. “Why am I happy for her?” I didn’t understand it at first because our friendship had ended & I truly was happier without her in my life. 
Then I realized that I had forgiven her. Not only that, but in my heart of hearts I wished well for her. And that felt really good.
On that note it’s important to know that just because you forgive does not mean that you are opening a door to let people who’ve hurt you back into your life. No, you’re actually doing the opposite. You’re taking a lesson from the relationship or situation & you’re moving on to be a better person, leaving your recurring thoughts of them behind.
I encourage you to try it. Forgive something that you’re holding on to and keep wittling it down until it’s gone, no matter how long it takes.  
I promise you, your life will be much fuller once you open up space by letting it go.

Life After Masectomy

For those of you following my mom’s progress, here is the latest update. 
Surgery went well. 
Recovery didn’t go as well as expected, as my mom was more in pain than she had anticiapted, but a masectomy is a pretty big deal. She took two weeks off of work after the surgery & I was able to visit her during that time. She had four tubes in for drainage purposes, and those were a bit uncomfortable, but she was a trooper. 
Occasionally she went a little stir-crazy and got out of the house, but those outings were very brief because they took a lot out of her. 
After two weeks the doctors took two of her tubs out & gave her the okay to head back to work, which proved more exhausting than she expected, as well. Luckily, she works for an awesome couple (and has been working for them most of my life) & they were very supportive of her working half days, every other day, so as not to put too much stress on her.
Two weeks later the doctors were able to take out her last two tubes, which was a relief for her because they were a major source of her pain. The spacers that she has in her chest now are uncomfortable, so she is looking forward to those being replaced by implants this spring.

I personally think she just can’t wait to have new, perky boobs to show off.
(If you know my mom –  you clearly know I am just kidding. Kind of.)

As for further recovery, we were hoping to find out yesterday if she would need radiation or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the tests came back mixed & we have to wait another two weeks to find out if we’re “in the clear.”

One thing I must mention, before I go, is how strongly my mom has felt God in this whole process. It’s the one thing she has been saying over & over & it has been amazing to see her calmness with her diagnosis & surgery. She has truly been the anchor keeping our familly together.

Thank you all so much for the prayers, food & support that you’ve given my family and please keep her in your prayers for another couple of weeks, while we wait to find out further treatment.