Marriage Monday- It’s Time to Start Dating Again!

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When we got married, my husband would still ask me on dates. I thought it was silly. Why should I date him when I’m married to him? 

Then one day I realized something. We have to be intentional with our marriages and dating couples should not be having more fun than us old married folk. Seriously! 

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The thing is – dating couples ARE intentional. When you were dating you went to dinner, the movies, on picnics, or to a local coffee shop. The point is, you found ways to have fun together. Once married we stop doing this. I mean why do I need to put my effort into planning time away with my partner when I live with them?  Planning goes out the window and life settles in.

What I found out was that daily life has a way of causing us to forget all the great things we love about each other. My husband is the most hilarious person I have ever met, but when I am cleaning the toilet, I am not thinking about his humor, I’m thinking about how much I wish ALL the men in my house would more carefully aim.

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And we are both huge talkers. We can talk for hours, laugh for days, and really cover a million topics in a matter of minutes. The thing is, we don’t do that as often as we used to because there are lunches to pack and bills to pay. We come home and we begin running around the house “trying to get things done” just so we can be ready for the next crazy day.

When we were dating, we talked on the phone for hours, we found any excuse to be together, went out of our way to please each other and gave up other things just to have some fun together.

Who has time for that these days?

It’s time we make time and here’s how we do that in the midst of the busy life we have today.

Twice a month my husband and I have a “date night” that works both as a time to reconnect as well as a time to cross some household items off the list. Dinner is a must for our date night, then we leave the rest open a bit. Usually we end up at the grocery store to grab what we need for the week ahead. I know, us crazy kids… The thing is we look so forward to this night because we try different restaurants and we take our time with dinner. This is an opportunity to reconnect, regroup, and release any of the stress of the last couple weeks. Some nights we do go to the movies, or out for ice cream, but the point is, this is a time for us to be us again. (and the grocery store is just a side note for us- we are in town, don’t want to go back to town, so we quickly get what we need- for us it’s a win win.)

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At least once a year we go away for a couple days, just the two of us. We love our trips to the wineries, we love heading to the city for a show, we love finding a nice place to stay and sleeping in and letting someone else clean the toilet for a change.

You married your spouse for a reason. Stay married for a reason. Remember the things you used to do that kept you excited to be together and start doing them again. And if money is tight, then find ways to be together that won’t cost a lot. When my husband and I started planning these dates, we literally kept an envelope of money that we would put a few extra dollars in anytime we could and when it added up to be enough to head out- we did. When there was no extra money, we took a long walk, found some free event happening near us or just had the grandparents watch the kids so we could sit on the back porch with a good cup of coffee and just be together for a bit. The point is we made time for each other.

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This week- We challenge you to be creative and ask your spouse on a date. Make it fun, make it something you both like to do, bring back an old memory that you shared. But no matter what you choose, let this be a night where you commit to just having a good time. Problems can be dealt with later and chores will still be there. For one night, just be you again.

 Laugh, eat, hold hands, and talk. It’s amazing how one night of fun can wash away days of stress and anxiety. Start dating again- it’s a great thing.

Scripture Reference:

Proverbs 17:22– A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Prayer:

Lord, today let us learn to have fun again. Remind us to have a cheerful heart and to remember to be just as intentional today with our relationships as we were in the beginning. Help us to see the importance of enjoying our time together and making fun a priority. In Jesus name, Amen.

I’ve got the BEST news!!!

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Guys, I’m soooooo excited!  I have the best news, seriously, just doesn’t get much better than this!  I admit, this writing isn’t like the rest, this one is pretty personal, but to be completely honest- it’s the reason we write.

Our Crazy Family

Our family, it’s what keeps us going, it’s what inspires us, drives us crazy, and makes us laugh. It’s why we have the material to write this blog and believe me, they provide an awesome amount of material.

Okay, so on to the amazing news- our family is GROWING! Woo Hoo!!!!  We are going to be GRANDPARENTS AGAIN! (I bet you can’t tell how excited we are can you?)

Our new little pumpkin

Our first little grand-baby has brought us such joy. His giggle, determination, and playful spirit lights up the room. I even love his little miserable frown when he has decided that he doesn’t like what you are saying. “No” brings it on quite quickly… (and often) (He is his father’s son)

Love this little drooly face!

So now we wonder, what will this new baby bring into our lives? Will it be another sweet boy that keeps us on our toes or a precious bundle of pink that is full of cuddles? As you can probably already guess- we really don’t care, but it’s so fun to think about!

I’ll let you know when we know and until then we just wanted to share our joy and excitement with you all!

Marriage Monday- 2 Simple Keys of Communication

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1. We have to watch our words.

Our words have power. They build up or they tear down. How we talk to and about our spouse will literally change the course of our relationship. Do we feel like speaking negatively at times? Sure, but that does not ever mean that we should.

Listen, the truth is- what comes out of our mouth is still a choice regardless of what the other person does or says. By changing what we say, we also change what we concentrate on. As we speak positively about our spouse to others, we start to appreciate the positive aspects of our spouse even more. By speaking kind words to each other we will find that our relationships will begin to improve as well.

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The reality is, even apart from marriage it’s just a truth that if you improve your words in a situation it always equals an improved attitude, which always moves us in a positive direction. So if this concept works outside of marriage, why wouldn’t it work inside our marriage as well?

2. We have to learn to listen

My husband and I are really great with words. We both have big opinions and ideas, and we like sharing them with each other. (good and bad) But to be honest, we struggle with listening to each other and since we both know that we are right, it’s hard to sit back and listen. I mean why waste the time listening when we can get right to “my” point and be done.

Anyone else struggle here?

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The thing is, most people need to be heard to feel cared about. If I don’t give my partner the chance to voice their own hopes, joys, ideas, concerns, irritations, and issues then I’ve ultimately told them that they don’t matter and I don’t care.

Harsh? Maybe, but full of truth too.

It’s time we sat down and allowed our spouse to talk, and I mean- really talk. It’s time to listen even when we don’t want to and especially when we don’t like what we are hearing. It’s just plain time. We need to let our spouses know that what they think matters and that even if we don’t agree with them, we still love them enough to hear them out.

Scripture Reference:

Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 1:19 – My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…

Prayer:

Dear Lord, We realize that our words have power. We ask your forgiveness for using words over our spouse that may have hurt them. Today we recommit to use our words to build our spouse up not only in our home but to those outside our home as well. We ask that you convict us of any unhealthy words that we are speaking and help us to do a better job of encouraging and loving our spouse with our words. We also ask you to help us listen to each other in a way that allows us to show love and respect to our spouse.

Thank you Jesus, Amen.

Marriage Monday- Week 1 The Foundation

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Thought for this week:

Let’s start our marriage journey today by reconnecting and reestablishing the foundation of our marriages.

You see, Marriage is meant to be a blessing from God. As we begin to reconnect in our marriage, it is also important to put our marriage back into God’s hands. By recommitting to God, we have given our marriage new life and new hope. Remember, apart from God we can do nothing, but with God all things are possible. If you have a great marriage today, that’s awesome, let’s make it even better, and if your marriage is struggling, that’s ok too; these weeks are designed to give you the tools you need to have the marriage you always wanted.

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How can we reconnect with God in our marriage?

Although we will be digging deeper into many of the topics we are about to mention- it’s important to start somewhere. Whether you are doing these weeks together (which is always best) or apart (gotta do what you gotta do)-

1. Start with prayer. Pray for God to become the center of your relationship again. Then pray for your spouse. Pray for healing in those places that have been damaged by life, by mistakes, misunderstandings, and challenges. Pray together and for each other.

2. Start doing a short devotion together. Maybe pick a book of the bible and read a verse or two in the evening and discuss it.  There are also some great apps out there that can do the hard work for you. In fact, this summer my husband and I used the “You Version Bible App”. Through this app there are short devotionals that are only a few days long up to many weeks. The topics they have for marriage are really awesome. At the end of each days devotion there is a question for you to answer that you both can see. For us it was awesome to be able to continue our devotional time together even while one of us was on the road somewhere. These devotions didn’t take a ton of time and really caused us to think about parts of our relationship we may have neglected (and that was a good thing!).

3. Finally and simply- just begin. This isn’t about being perfect, if you don’t pray or do a devotion every single day- it’s ok. The point is to begin somewhere. There are no “rules” to follow, only suggestions to get us back on the roadmap that God created for us.

Scripture reference:

Genesis 2:18 (NIV) The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:23-24 (NIV) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Prayer:

Lord, we release our marriage to you today. We ask that you become the center of our marriage, our family and our lives. We commit today to allow you to change us, teach us, and mold us into the people you have called us to be and to allow you to work in this marriage to improve it. We know that you created marriage; and it was you who gave each of us our needs and desires within our marriage relationships to bring us balance. We are no longer going to look at our spouses differences as a negative, but as a complement to our own unique personalities. We thank you for this fresh start in our marriage Lord and we look forward to the days ahead with you as the center of it. In Jesus name, Amen.

My Marriage & Yours

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 “I love you. You annoy me more than I ever thought possible, but I want to spend every irritating minute with you.”

  This is the message that my husband sent me on a random Wednesday morning just a few weeks ago. 

It’s apparent that he could use some work on his skills with the ladies, but after all these years I already knew that. (jk) (well sorta).

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Today is our anniversary and I have to say this sums up our marriage pretty perfectly. And yes, I do plan to irritate him every single minute of the day for the rest of his life- especially now that I know how much he loves it. 

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Seriously though, marriage can be super annoying, and fun, and frustrating, and full of so many different challenges and joys in life. It’s a chance to laugh together, cry together, and work through some of the best and worst of ourselves.

I frequently tell my husband that at this point, whether he wants to or not, he has seen far to much of my “worst” so he can never leave.

As much as I hope you know that I’m joking, I also really mean it. Listen, we all have those moments we’d like to forget and being married often means there’s a witness to our crazy.

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I love posting about the great days and putting the biggest smiles on social media but as for the skeletons in my closet, those need to stay locked up tightly.

A few years ago my husband and I were asked to lead a marriage conference. It was some of the hardest work we have ever done. I personally had no idea how writing, speaking, and planning together would cause us to really re-evaluate our own relationship. Now, if you’ve read this blog for long, you fully realize that we are not experts. However, you also know that life and all its challenges often causes us to grow and learn and change in ways we never thought we could.

And that’s what we have to give.

The tidbits we have learned over the years have taken us from that immature, selfish, ridiculous young couple to having a much more content, happy, and most of the time skeleton free life.

So that being said and in honor of our anniversary we have decided to share some of those tidbits with you. Each week we will post a little excerpt from the teaching we did and hopefully you will gain some great grains of wisdom for your own relationship.

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So, Happy Anniversary sweetheart, here’s to helping other couples irritate each other in the happiest way possible for the rest of their lives too.

See ya next week.

Our Journey Back to Health: It’s been a while!

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As summer has come and gone life has gotten extremely busy. We started off this summer by going on a cruise. Oh what a wonderful trip it was. We relaxed, we played hard, we enjoyed time with friends, and we ate. If you have ever been on a cruise then you know how easy it is to go way overboard with meals… and snacks… and buffets.

Our view from the ship.

I’m not going to lie. We loved every single minute of it and when we came back from the cruise we jumped right back into our healthy eating plan and all was going so well. I have to be honest, I was even a bit smug about it to myself. NOT GOOD.

Pride comes before the fall.

I admit I’m laughing while I type this because soon after my smug little attitude had me feeling like I had this whole healthy lifestyle thing in the bag, I took another trip. An amazing trip that was filled with family, food and tons of fun. Did I mention the food?  I ate at some really great restaurants, experienced some of the most amazing food trucks, and really just ate myself to utter bliss.

Delicious…

Honestly I don’t think that my couple weeks of gluttony really were the problem. After both of my trips, I came home and got back to business and began to eat right again. BUT, and it’s a big BUT (pun slightly intended) when I came home from the second trip, I started slipping back into my old ways. I ate good, then not so good, then good again. The scale wasn’t moving a ton and I wasn’t very concerned about it. My husband was also slipping so we weren’t holding each other accountable like we had in the past either. (I guess this is all his fault then right?)

Finally we began talking about getting back on our plan. We talked a lot. We would tell each other that after this next picnic we would get serious about it again. I never realized how many next picnics there are in one single summer.

Sooooooo good.

Do you know how fast the weeks fly when you’re making excuses?

Finally, we sat down and came up with a date and stuck to it and I’m so glad we did. Now I’m going to be completely honest with you- the thing that really made us realize how much we missed eating better was how we were beginning to feel. The weight loss was nice, but how we felt was so much better. By the end of a summer of bad food choices, all that extra energy was starting to diminish. I noticed that I was weighed down, tired, my stomach was off, I just wasn’t feeling like myself and neither was my husband.

We’ve been back on our healthy plan now for a couple weeks and I can’t believe the difference. Why did we ever go backwards in the first place?  As for a quick update- when summer started both my husband and I had lost approximately 23 pounds. As fall quickly approaches we have both gained back around 7 pounds. What I realize is this- we didn’t ruin what we started. We just had a setback.

It’s a long road but we will get there in the end.

Lesson learned.

Can we have a vacation and let loose a bit?  SURE. But there has to be accountability too. Our choices today really do affect our tomorrow and we need to not lose sight of that. I’m also very proud to say that those pounds didn’t upset me in the least. They are a reflection of some not so great choices but they are not any indication that our goals will not be met. In fact, they are motivation for me to get back on the wagon and start again. I’m making progress in this journey even if I take a wrong turn from time to time. You can do the same. Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep going. Sometimes the journey is more important than the results at the end anyway.

Our Journey Back To Health- Don’t Isolate Yourself

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One of the things I’ve learned on this journey to health is that trying to do this alone is not very effective. To be honest I don’t like to rely on people. I don’t like vulnerability or sharing my insecurities and I don’t think I’m alone in those feelings. When I began writing this blog I argued with God over every single post. I worried about being judged and critiqued by those I care about because believe me, no one wants to take the skeletons out of that neatly packaged closet.

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Oh but when we do.

When we admit the truth to the journey; when we admit more than the outcome and we share the struggles and the bruises along the way we find healing for more than ourselves. Instead we share our healing with the world around us. 

One of the things I love most about reading the bible is that when I do I find a group of people who the world would most certainly consider failures. Yet in the very midst of their mess they become world changers under the guidance, love, and forgiveness of our God. Imperfect people putting their lives out there for Christ, that’s exactly who I want us to be. Those who are scared, worried, stressed and even vulnerable- we all become powerful in the hands of Christ. What I also noticed is that none of those people did it alone. They needed Jesus and they most definitely needed each other and whether we want to admit it or not we do too.

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It’s not easy allowing others to see those damaged areas of our lives or asking for help when we feel down or are struggling, but if we just let people glimpse the pain then maybe we can all prevail together. Let’s all be honest for a minute. If Jesus did not walk this world alone then how do we expect to? He relied on God and spent time opening his heart to man. He talked with people about their struggles, he prayed, he was let down, he forgave, and he moved forward. Shouldn’t that be the blueprint of our life too? We spend so much time protecting ourselves from the possible pain that opening up might bring that we miss the joy that comes when we decide to finally come out of hiding.

Open up today. Talk to those around you, begin to trust again. Let your life be a beacon of hope instead of a perfectly wrapped package that feels empty inside. When we open up and let others into our situations we fill that gift with all the best things. Hope, endurance, trust, overcoming, friendship and so much more. Will we be let down at times?  Sure, but is that a reason to isolate ourselves? An excuse maybe but not a reason.

Never a reason.

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There is power in our time spent with others. Matthew 18:19 says 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Deuteronomy 32:30 says 30 How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight,” … Isn’t it amazing how much stronger and more effective we are when we join together?  Listen, life is hard enough, why not help each other carry the burdens rather than watch each other struggle through the heavy stuff. I think this verse in Ecclesiastes sums it all up perfectly.

4:9-12 (ESV)’Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

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How many times have you needed lifting up? How many times have you been desperate for someone to stand with you, but you haven’t reached out? What I’m finding is this- When I try to be strong on my own I tend to fall short, but when I rely on others and have people relying on me, I become stronger than I ever imagined I could be on my own.

Find someone to stand with you today. Follow Jesus’s example and surround yourself with people who will help you carry the burden and not heap added weight onto your shoulders. It just may make all the difference.

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It’s time for a little update on our Journey- at this point we are almost 3 months in and I have more energy than I have had in a long time and so does my husband. In fact, Ryan has had a lot less pain in his legs and feet as well. We are still eating as clean as we can and are honestly not craving sugar and processed carbs like we used to. I’m finding new foods that we both love and right before my son left for boot camp he told me that he was loving our new meals. That’s a compliment in itself. Who said eating healthy had to be boring? As for the scale, it’s still coming down. Ryan has lost a total of 18 pounds and I have lost 16. Our clothes are fitting so much better, Ryan has had to move some holes on his belt and I am starting to look for some smaller sizes. And this morning while we were getting around Ryan looked at me and he said the best part is that we CAN keep this up. It’s something we can easily live and not just do for a time. I think finding something that is manageable long term has been one of the most important lessons for us. If you are on this journey today or even thinking about starting a journey for your health too then this is something to consider. Don’t look for a quick fix, don’t find a short term solution to a long term problem. The easy road never leads to lasting change. Instead, be realistic and start with some small changes that can be maintained over time. And don’t try to do everything alone because the truth is we need each other and the best results happen when we have someone beside us along the way.

(As a side note before you begin any plan consult your doctor and be sure that it is the best fit for you.)

Our Journey Back to Health: Managing Stress

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If you read my blog about my son leaving for boot camp then you know this mommas heart has held so many emotions this month that it is about to burst. Stress is a major enemy in any healthy lifestyle change and although I’m glad to say that we stuck with our healthy eating plan, I struggled big time.

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Food has always been a huge comfort for me, it’s my go to when I have something awesome to celebrate. It’s my companion when I’ve had a rough day and my constant friend when I’m alone.

Watching my son prepare for this new season of his life was amazing, he was ready for it, I was not. I wanted to use food in all the ways I always had. Celebrate this new season, comfort my aching heart, remove the pain of loneliness, ease the reality of letting go. Without my usual go to treats, I was at a bit of a loss. Breaking old habits is hard, creating new ones in the midst of raw emotions… even harder.

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I know this new season will be incredible. I’m always amazed at how God works it all out, but there is pain in the process and I was wanting some sugar to ease it all. To top it off my husband was away at a conference and had no choice but to eat out for most of a week and the way our schedule worked we ended up eating out for 3 days after he got home. It’s a wonder we didn’t gain all the weight back.

But we didn’t.

He ended up only gaining a pound and I didn’t get on the scale. Ignorance is not bliss but I have to be honest here. With all the emotions I was dealing with, I didn’t think I could handle the scale at this moment so I made the decision to take a breath and stay off of it. I decided that instead I would celebrate the fact that we had both stuck to our plan completely. Food cooked at restaurants may not have the same healthy standards that we have at home, so no matter how hard we try weeks like this will come and I knew that I needed to make a decision to be proud of our progress and move forward.  

So how did I deal with the stress? I’ve compiled 5 things that helped me through.

1. I took a lot of hot baths. 

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I spent hours in that tub and when I say hot bath I mean that if I step out of the bath and I can’t see a difference in the parts that were in the water and the parts that were not- we have a problem. (Yes, I do know that scalding hot baths may not be the health choice of the season, but I like it that way and it was better than eating a whole cheesecake which was plan B.)

I needed those baths. This was a time for me to turn all the lights off, light some candles, (I especially love those fake battery operated ones that look real) and turn on some great worship music. As I lay there, praying, worshiping, and sometimes crying, I found some peace. I laced my bath with Epson salts and essential oils, set a nice glass of wine on the side of the tub and soaked until I wrinkled. Those sweet peaceful aromas and that relaxing atmosphere did not take the stress away completely, but it did give me a much-needed reprieve. 

2. A great book is a perfect getaway.

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I love to read, but I don’t take the time for it anymore. So this month I did. I had a couple books that were recommended to me by a ladies book club at my church and I decided to dive in. These books were in the Christian self-help genre and what I found was exactly what I needed. I found encouragement, laughter, tears, and motivation. They were not diet books, they were books for life that held so many nuggets of truth that I had to make more mental notes that I can hold. Currently I’m re-reading one of those books. If I can fill my mind with the good things, then there won’t be room for the bad right? 

3. Prayer works.

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I know that I already mentioned prayer in the bath part of this blog, but this topic needs a section all its own. Prayer gives hope, help and a way to let go of stress. I have always been a praying woman. Lately though, I’ve been distracted in prayer and realized it was time to really refocus. I started writing in my prayer journal again, and I began to truly get alone with God. I need Him always but life gets in the way more than I want to admit. The bible says to give God our cares because he cares for us. How can I give anything to God if I’m not praying. Each time I’d pray- there would be peace. Like most of you, once I was done praying, the peace would fade. Life has a way of doing that to us, so I prayed often and held on tight.

4. Understanding that Good Stress is still stress.

My son leaving was what I would consider good stress. This was his dream, something he fought for, something he had overcome many obstacles to accomplish. I was and am very proud of him and extremely excited for him, but I quickly realized that no matter how “good” this was, I couldn’t control the anxiety it caused. What would my new life look like without him in the day to day?  What was my purpose now that most of my kids were raised and gone?  Who am I without them?  These are not bad questions, but they are stressful ones. I needed to get to a place where asking them didn’t cut like a knife and seem like an ending to a season I adored. Instead I needed to ask them honestly and prayerfully and find a way to see this new season as the beginning of an amazing new chapter.

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5. I need something to look forward too.

I need something to be excited about. It doesn’t have to be expensive or outlandish, it just has to be on the calendar. Something I can shoot for, mark off the days for. My husband and I have “date nights” a couple times a month where we literally just go out to dinner and then get groceries. I know your jealous, (LOL) but hear me out. Just knowing that I have a night away, a night where we will have a quiet dinner, a time to talk, and a reset on our weeks- this gets me through the tough days. In a few weeks we have a whole night away planned and I’m super excited about that as well. It’s amazing how 1 night away can reset a weary soul. What about you?  What works for you?  What doesn’t?  Throughout this journey I’m realizing more and more how unique we all are and how incredibly cool that is. My husband handles stress very differently than I do, instead of a hot bath he sinks deeply into his recliner and gets his mind on a computer game or watches a movie. If life gets overwhelming for him, that’s where you’ll find him. He has been there a lot lately. Letting go is hard. Adjusting to new seasons filled with uncertainty and change- even harder. So we learn to lean into God, we manage our emotions to the best of our ability and we keep moving forward. One step today equals two tomorrow and after a while we look back and we realize how far we’ve come.

Letting Go When You Want To Hold On.

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I didn’t realize that letting go would hurt this much. Sure I knew that time would fly and that in the blink of an eye my sweet babies would be all grown up and moving on in this world. I knew that. I held on tight. I made a point to snuggle as much as I could, to read stories, and have family nights.  I made a point to enjoy every minute. I did all that and it still went by far too fast. I still want just one more day.

 I’ll always want one more.

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Many years ago on a family vacation to the beach, we passed a cute little street of shops that I really wanted to check out, but after a long day of sandcastles and waves my family was just too tired to join me, all except Zach. He and I headed out and shopped that day. We checked out the souvenir shops, we looked at t-shirts and stuffed animals, seashells, and salt water taffy, then we decided an ice cream break was in order.  We sat at a cute little outdoor table and enjoyed a sundae that was far too big for the little guy that he was and we talked. We talked and talked and talked. Zach and I are both gifted in that art. Now I don’t remember anything we talked about, but I do very clearly remember this- after all the days at the beach, the aquariums we visited, and the adventures we had- I asked the kids what they liked best.  “The ice cream” Zach replied.

Ice cream.

Hours from home, new experiences, and long fun days and it all came down to ice cream. I learned something that day that I will never forget. It isn’t the big things in life that really matter. Instead, it’s the tiniest of moments that come together to make life sweet. It’s laughing around the kitchen table, watching family movies, coloring outside the lines and giggling at inside jokes no one else would understand.

That little boy boarded a plane today. He is flying across the country to join our amazing military. He towers over me now, and I am more proud than I ever imagined possible.  The problem is I struggle not to see the little boy with ice cream all over his face.

Me letting go but wanting to hold on.
Photo credits to my husband on this one.

 I struggle letting go.

Gretchen Rubin says that “The days are long but the years are short.” Oh how right she is. My oldest son and his wife gave birth to their first little boy just a few short months ago. It’s funny how life comes full circle. I watched as one boarded a plane and the other held tight to a brand new life. What a reminder of the blessings each season has to offer.

I realized something else today too. I realized that this new season that is so uncomfortable in the process- will hold the same tremendous hope that the last one did. I know that in time I’ll want this new season to last forever too.  There is so much good mixed in with the tears.

I still have one more son at home with me and he is terrified. He too has realized something in all this.  He knows that he is the last of my babies and that his mom needs something to hold onto.   She needs someone to “mother”. He’s terrified that he will get ALL the mothering that I have to offer and to be honest he’s probably right. So please pray for him he’s going to need it.

If you are struggling with letting go today. I want you to know that you are not alone. We will get through this and we will look back and rejoice at all this new season has to offer, but in the process- if a few tears are necessary, that’s okay too.

Our Journey Back To Health- The Gain

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Just one week after I finished writing our month one health blog- I gain two pounds. Two pounds!! I didn’t go off plan once, not even once! Incidentally, I’ve learned a few things- #1. You can gain weight eating healthy foods.  #2. Delicious grapes dipped in straight cream cheese needs to be eaten within reason. Now, for those of you who have never tried this delight, don’t knock it till you give it a chance. Month 2 started out with me craving sugar, bread and every single thing we had eliminated from our diet. In order to fight these cravings I decided to have a little bit of the aforementioned treats. I love them, in hindsight though- you can’t tell yourself that you can eat the entire package of cream cheese over a 2 day period along with some extra fried chicken wings and think that you won’t gain a pound.

Photo Via Pixabay

I did know better, and although every item I ate was on the list of allowable foods, I fully realized that they were not the best choices. (Insert deep frustrated breath).

In my yo yo dieting days, I would feel wonderful as the weight was coming off, then the minute a pound came back on failure set in and giving up would follow. The old mantra would always begin with “I knew I couldn’t do this. It’s impossible”. “Look at all the people who have failed trying to lose weight and get healthy, if they can’t do it I certainly can’t”.

It never ends.

Today, I welcomed that garbage in like I welcome those Klondike bars in the freezer section of my supermarket. I chewed those thoughts up, swirled them around in my head and feasted on them. As I did, that old failure mentality came crushing back until I slapped it square in the face.

Sometimes you just have to take a stand.

Photo Via Pixabay

I stood. (And you may stop reading after you hear this, but in my head a battle raged that I needed to win) So, I pictured myself with a knockout punch to the head of that horrible hate filled monster that was hijacking my thoughts. Hey, I’m a pretty good fighter and I didn’t even know it. 

Seriously though, in the past this set back was my excuse to quit. Those thoughts dragged me right to the kitchen, where I would follow them with a binge like you have not experienced before. I can whip up a mug cake faster than you can read this paragraph and that’s just the appetizer. The chips and dip, the cookies, cheesecake, chocolate covered cherries, the Klondike bars- these are items straight from heaven itself. And because I had “failed” I would eat these things at first to comfort myself but that comfort would soon be replaced by an even greater failure and because I had failed again, I would begin to believe that I didn’t deserve success. (Insert more bad food choices here) Unchecked emotions always lead to another step in the wrong direction. Always.

Can I be honest? I’m embarrassed just reading this back to myself.

However, the truth is the truth, and how can we move forward if we are not honest with ourselves first and then others?

At this point, I needed to figure out how to move forward. One word came to mind and I tried to sucker punch it too but it wouldn’t go away. (Can you see my grumpy face in your head?)

Exercise.

Photo Via Pixabay

I don’t have time for this. There must be another way. We were already making time for Ryan to go in to work early a few days a week to exercise with a friend. So that meant me carrying the weight of the morning routine on my shoulders which made for an awesome excuse for me. I mean I didn’t need the exercise as much as him right? And It’s not that I hate it, I just don’t like it. I do on the other hand, hate sports bras, sweat, soar muscles and the time it takes on top of all of the other chores and mom duties that I have on my plate.

This time has to be different, this time I can’t commit to hard core cardio every day, I can’t commit to weight training for hours, I need something doable for me personally. Something that I can measure every day and work within my schedule. Just like fad diets don’t work for me, fad workouts don’t either.

Years ago, I had a cheap watch with a pedometer in it. I loved seeing how many steps I could get in a day.  It broke after about 6 months and I never replaced it. This is where I decided to start so I got on the internet and bought myself a new sports watch. Nothing fancy just something to allow me to monitor my steps each day and to set goals for myself. Will I add some other workouts to the mix?  Sure, but this would allow me to set daily goals that are attainable, can be worked right into my job (what’s an extra trip or two around the building if I am not making my step goal that day?), and it’s something I enjoy. I actually like setting those step goals and trying to see what it takes to beat them.  

Photo via Pixabay

I am winning, not because the scale is turning around, not because I look the way I want to, (neither of these is true at this moment) but I’m winning because today, I broke the pattern. Today I chose a different path, I chose to take the one less traveled, the one with a different script that leads to a different destination. Instead of the cake, I chose the stepper.

So goodbye embarrassment, I refuse to think twice about the crazy in my head. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the gold medal around my neck. The one that says that I am God’s girl, beautiful, redeemed, hopeful, and thankful.

2 Timothy Says “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.” That is my new mantra. That is my new script.

Tomorrow I’ll take another step forward and one day I will win this race.