Failures & Facebook

I write a lot of blogs about things that I know, lessons that I learn, and ideas and concepts that I’m pondering. The majority of these blog postings have conclusions. My thoughts, and then the conclusion I’ve come to on a specific matter. What I fear that I don’t write enough about is my failures, insecurities, and shortcomings. Not that you want to know what all of those are and just how screwed up that I am and not that I want to expose everything to the whole world. But I do believe it is necessary to exploit some of these as a writer and for you as a reader.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of pictures on facebook. Being a “young married couple”, we have a lot of other “young married couple” friends. Naturally, we are friends with all of these lovely folks on facebook and other social networks. Lately, I have gotten irritated with all of these sweet people that I love and enjoy being around. They’re lives are fantastic! They never fight, they smile a lot and do funs things, and they NEVER forget to take pictures of it and share it with the rest of the world.

Now, I’m sure you’ve read or discussed, or heard about this happy-moment-sharing epidemic that our generation gets to face unlike any other generation. I’m sure you have heard the argument that you cannot compare the bloopers and outtakes of your life to the highlight reel of someone else’s. And yet, how can we help but compare when you’ve just had a disagreement with someone and you turn to instagram and see other people who seem happy, thankful, and overall better-than-you all the time?

Well I’m not better than you. My husband and I annoy each other, we have disagreements, and some dates turn into grudge matches. I have my bouts with mood swings, discouragement, fears and worries. Some days, I have to stop and fill my car with gas, which is not my favorite thing to do and I do not advertise it to the world wide web. I dislike grocery shopping, my pantry is not perfectly stocked for the next 6 months and I absolutely refuse to coupon no matter how many pinterest posts tell me I can actually MAKE $10 by doing it.

These are just a few of my tidbits of reality. And while I just told you some of the unpleasant, unadvertised moments of my life, I’m happy to tell you that I have a really great life despite all of that.

My husband and I both admit that we are “bad at facebook”. By this we mean that we rarely post anything to social media. We often forget to take pictures when we are on cool dates or having a really great time with friends. Forgetting the picture means we didn’t post it but it does not mean we forgot the moment.

Today I encourage you to leave your phone at home or shut off your 4G network or wifi while you are enjoying a moment. Relish the moment, build a relationship. I’m not saying to never post anything again, but don’t miss out on anything either, by posting it.

But most of all I want you to know that I’m flawed and have a list of failures and annoyances a mile long. We all do. I have to remind myself that I’m not the only one like this as I scroll through a feed. And if you ever forget that, just come on back here, I’ll be here with all my STUFF and ready to remind you what reality looks like in this awful, beautiful mess.

Choose to FEEL Worthy

I do not remember a time in my life when my Dad did not tell me, “they can’t make you feel that way. You choose how you’re going to feel about it.” This statement of wisdom I remember most profoundly in my sophomore year of high school when I had a nasty spat with a couple girlfriends. While emotions, hormones and gossip were flying I went home everyday from volleyball practice feeling rejected, unwanted, and bruised to my core by these girls. And every time the conversation turned to that topic with the whole family my Dad would remind me that nobody can make me feel a certain way. The way I feel is a choice of my own. If somebody says something mean or hurtful, I get to choose to let it pierce me down deep or let it roll of my back.

I believe this is harder for women than for men. Or maybe it’s just certain women and men that I am relating that to. My Dad, being the tough guy Marine that he is doesn’t let things bother him. To this day I watch him run to Lowe’s on a Saturday in his grass-stained jean shorts, work boots and cowboy hat and he could care less who he runs into or what the cashier gal thinks of his outfit. While the outfit may not be the most stylish thing it is a symbol of my Father to me. It is a symbol and a reminder to me that he doesn’t care what others think and will not let their potential thoughts of him affect him or his day.

Now, this does not mean he let’s everything run off his back. Obviously, some things bother him too. But none-the-less, he has always been the encourager in our home that we always have the choice on how we will let others make us feel.

 

This morning during my quiet time, as I was journaling and praying and allowing my thoughts to run freely through my pen on the empty lined paper, I came to a small realization that reminded me of this simple but profound encouragement that my Dad has drilled into me. I’ve been dealing with some feelings of failure these past two weeks. Feelings of failure, primarily as a wife to my sweet husband. At no fault to him, but as an example; on a rare occasion he may say something about the dinner I have prepared, or am about to prepare, he may state that he wishes it were something else or that it won’t fill him up because today he is REALLY hungry, or something along those lines that is completely harmless and suddenly the words have hit my soul and I feel like an utter failure that my meal choice has not completely satisfied and delighted him. And these past two weeks I have been feeling that my meal choices, cooking, housekeeping, financial contribution, conversation etc… have been terribly unsatisfying to him. But that is a lie. He has gently told me that I am crazy to feel that way and that the feelings are entirely un-called for. I know this in my head, but I am still fighting the feelings.

As I journaled about this today I blamed the feelings on him. I noted that it’s things he’s done and said that make me feel this way and I’m just going to have to buck up and learn to get over it. But that simply is untrue and I was wrong to choose to feel that way. The truth of the matter is that I’m allowing these thoughts that I am a failure to creep into my mind and nest there. On top of allowing them in, my attempt to rid myself of them has been mild. I have been trying to push the thoughts aside rather than put them to death. The difference is that if I put them aside, they are welcome to try to come back to me. If I put them to death then I destroy them completely and they are no longer permitted in my mind to control my feelings of worth.

Rather than blame my husband for things he does that I dislike, it is my job to change my attitude and make sure that my thoughts, emotions, and worth are Christ centered. It is my job entirely to make sure that I do not let the enemy’s lies creep into my mind and make a little nest there in the corner somewhere.

My own shortcomings are all over my home. I can see them loud and clear on a daily basis. But it is my choice, through scripture-based prayer, how my failures are going to make me feel and direct my day. And that goes for something my husband does or says that makes those feelings come on me as well.

I believe the concept of “positive thinking” has been misconstrued. If our hearts are focused on God and our heads are focused on scripture then thinking positively is a side effect. It is a result of something being done, not a clench-your-fists-and-just-do-it thing. If I am constantly connecting with God emotionally through prayer and worship and intellectually by hiding His Word in my heart then there will be no room in my mind for lies to nest or feelings of failure to reside within me. I will know my worth as a daughter of the King and nothing will be able to deter me from that constant attitude and knowledge. My daily feelings will be based on the gratitude I have for God sending His Son to save me because despite anything else, HE thought I was worth it. No matter how much I fail in a day, or a week, no matter how emotional I am or how many simple or unhealthy meals I fix, no matter if I don’t finish the to-do list, no matter if I was not the very best I could be that day…HE still thinks I’m worth it. He still thinks I’m beautiful, and lovely. He still desires me.

 

I encourage you to begin memorizing scripture. The only way to kick those lies out of your thoughts is to know the Word of God and be able to fight lies with Truths.

2 Right Brains

My husband and I have been married a year and a half now. Yay! One thing we decided before even exchanging our vows is that continuing to date one another is, and will always be, important. We agreed that, for the time being, we need to strive for a date night every week. By that, we simply meant at least one evening each week where it’s just the two of us, no company and no appointments. Something we also know is important but aren’t very good at is dating outside the home.

We got married while we were both still in school. He had only one semester left to graduate with his bachelor’s and I had 2 semesters to finish up with my associates degree. The first 6 months we lived on a shoe string with a budget that we couldn’t figure out how to do together. We both had our own ideas of what the budget should look like and couldn’t figure out a compromise. Part of this problem was our sporadic income of both of us working for hourly wages at a hodge podge of jobs. But we survived those 6 months in newlywed bliss.

Since then we’ve gotten the budget under control, have our priorities and goals laid out for us and are working together to get where we want to be. All that is well and good, but in the tight months of our still hodge podge of an income our “outside dating” budget often gets swept off the budget first. But I’m not writing this to complain about how we choose not to budget for weekly adventures to the bowling alleys or full-price movie theater tickets and over priced pasta restaurants.

Another funny thing about me and my husband is that we are both right brained thinkers. As most know and understand, we tend to use one side of our brains more than the other. We call these left brain or right brain thinkers. For example, my mother and sister are extremely creative and can dream up possibilities of all shapes and sizes. While I, on the other hand, want to know the details, the to-do list, the steps to get to the dream before I’ll begin to fully comprehend what the big dream is. THAT is the difference between right brain and left brain.

With both of us being primarily right brain thinkers we have realize that we are greatly lacking in creativity in our household. And while we think it would be great to add some creativity to our home, we kind of fear that one day we will have a household full of left brained children that we have no idea what to do with! The perks of this 2 right brains bit is that we work well together. We adore spreadsheets and crossing items off lists and sitting and reading books together. Where this becomes a problem is when the “outside the home date” budget has been swept off the table for a month…or 2 or 3 and we have yet another evening together…at home. After dinner, read a book? Watch a movie? Play a game? Go for a walk? We love all of these things, but after a while it is necessary to do something different.

On Saturday night we found ourselves in this situation once again. The to-do list for the day was done, our right brains were shot, and our left brains seem to be too weak to function when we call on them. So as my husband flopped, face down on the bed, I grabbed a box in our room that says “Josh & Kylee’s Box of Dates.” A clever little idea that someone came up with for my wedding shower. Each guest was to write a creative date idea down and drop it into the box. Cute. But after going through all of the dates Josh said, “I have an idea, how about we spend all night trying to figure out what to do for a date!”

*Sigh*

I appreciate the sweet ideas the ladies closest to me shared on their little slips of paper, and I also appreciate the posts on pinterest that are titled “50 cheap date ideas” or “26 dates at home” but when it comes down to it, about 5% of these are actually do-able. Maybe I’m the one with the problem here. But none-the-less, we still need some spur of the moment, free date ideas.

So this is a shout out to share what we decided to do with other 2 right brained households as well as a plea for your ideas for cheap to free date ideas.

For our Saturday night date I made a deal with Josh. Because we could not come up with a single great idea and neither of us wanted to suggest anything we decided to take turns. I declared dinner to be on his shoulders. You take care of dinner, dishes, whatever, that will be our first activity and then I will choose an activity. We will take turns until we get too tired to continue.

He scrounched up about $15 and called and made a reservation at Macaroni Grill. I haven’t been there in 2 years and had no idea where he had called, so the surprise was delightful. We always drink water and split meals when we go out, thank goodness for amazing bread and olive oil at the Macaroni Grill! With our remaining $2 we stopped by Trader Joe’s for some fabulous $2 wine to take home with us.

My turn!

First, pour the wine! Josh loves a massage but I hate giving them about equally as much as he loves them. So I told him, alternating back massages to a song. We turned on the good ‘ole Frank Sinatra Pandora playlist and took turns giving 2.5 minute back massages to one another.

I opted to take the next activity as well since my first one was short. I found a list of “50 things to ask your spouse on a date” list off of pinterest. As I browsed through it the list looked petty, silly, like things we already knew about one another. But I figured it was worth a try. Over our wine we took turns choosing questions off the list that we both had to answer. Whether it was “What is your favorite color” or “What makes you feel the most fulfilled as a man/woman?” we had a wonderful time being completely honest and laughing over the questions we asked.

It turned out to be a wonderful evening full of honesty, discussion, fun & laughter and quite the workout for the left side of our brains. 😉

I am SO open to additional ideas and suggestions for at home date nights!!

Revolutions NOT Resolutions

I do not make resolutions.

Did you hear me?

I said, I DO NOT make resolutions.

A resolution gives a human being the feeling that the first of a new year means lot’s of good things. It means a changed life. It means that person will be more focused, will be better and do better than they did last year. It means they’ll get angry less, slow down more, stop worrying etc, etc, etc… Upon watching the New York ball drop this year one of our host’s asked someone in the crowd what her new year’s resolution was, her answer, “to make this year better than last year”…..

……really?

That is NOT a resolution. That is a hope. A wish. A fleeting thought.

Now any of my other fellow Type A folks out there are probably thinking, “Not me! I make resolutions but I made S.M.A.R.T. resolutions” which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Well good for you, you Type A-ers! But what are they? And how are you going to achieve them? Are you really RESOLVING to do this thing that you may have written down?

Resolve:

to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something)

This thing that you’ve decided on (whether you’re my Type-A friend or not) have you come to (which implies that you’ve toiled over this thought, you’ve wrestled with it, walked with it, thought about it, and after all of that you have come along with it to this end of the road) a definite (a clearly defined) or earnest decision (in all honesty to yourself and others)? Or have you merely listed a few things you wish would change themselves in this grand new year that will be like no year before it?

Obviously, there are some people who HAVE done this. They do have real resolutions and they actually do make changes in their lives, whether they be made in the first month or they take all year to accomplish. Kudos. It’s the other folks that claim resolutions for themselves that use such a serious word so flippantly that make me one ounce crazier.

I’m not against resolution making. Make resolutions! Wrestle with a topic, walk with it down the road of decision and make the hard choice that you will change or improve something this year. Then, set a plan in place, stay focused, keep the resolution in front of you constantly, and I earnestly hope you succeed!

For myself, I do not make resolutions. I choose to make revolutions. And I make revolutions on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. My husband and I keep a white board in our living room (so it is always in front of us) where we have listed our “Long-term”, “2014”, “Business”, and “Monthly” revolutions we are working towards. And while I prefer to make monthly revolutions I’ll admit that some of those just so happened to begin on January 1st, much to my frustration to start them with the rest of the “resolution” crowd in America.

Some of these revolutions will take me a year, but the key to my year is to begin with the first 30 days.

Here are some of my 2014 Revolutions:

I choose to revolutionize my vocabulary by having a “Word of the Week”

I choose to revolutionize my relationship with my Savior by reading through the entire Bible in the span of 12 months

I choose to revolutionize my handwriting by learning calligraphy this year

This is just a peek at a few of my revolutions. I hope you achieve all that you want to this year. But I also hope that you make lot’s of goals, that you write them down, and that you work towards achieving them every single day and that the accomplishment is as sweet as honey for you.

Good Luck!

Marriage Messes You Up

After returning to our home from lying poolside for a little over an hour I was admiring my slowly darkening skin and I thought to myself, “I feel so relaxed and refreshed.” It occurred to me, I love lying by the pool in the sunshine and reading. This isn’t a new revelation to me as much as it is something I needed to be reminded of.

Having been home schooled all through my life, I used to love the Pennsylvania months of May and September when all my friends were trapped within the confines of a building only left to admire the sunshine from inside while I was able to don my swimsuit and bask in the sunlight with my school book in hand. During high school this was a regular afternoon routine for me. In college, we got out of school in early May and my schedule was not so full in September that I needed to cut this part of my day out of my routine. For many years I enjoyed this luxury.

This year, I assumed I would have less time to lay beside the pool because of being married and having work and home responsibilities that were greater than when I was in school. I do have more responsibilities now than before, but not so many that the pool had to be cut from my schedule and I have been determined this week to make this relaxing activity a “must achieve” on my to-do list each day.

When it comes to spending time lying by the pool there are a few factors that have caused me to neglect making this a priority this summer. One would be my new responsibilities, and then the other reasons would be silly such as the pool is not right outside my door as it is at my parent’s and I have to share it with other people now. But these are silly reasons. What this whole thing has caused me to recognize today is how marriage kind of messes you up.

Now, for you non-Type-A people out there it may not be such a big deal. But for a routine-setting, schedule-organizing, to-do-list-fanatic, marriage kind of messes with you. Before marriage I did a number of positive things everyday: as stated before I would bask in the sunshine and read a good book, I had a daily quiet time without a time limit, I exercised 5-6 days a week with a program, I completed chores organized by specific days of the week, I had a bedtime that was not broken, I drank over 8 glasses of water each day, I read every day, and low and behold we had a date night set aside every week. Upon getting married, instead of simply incorporating my new, dearly loved husband into MY schedule it all just fell apart instead.

My new husband did not set out to destroy my schedules and routines and to-do lists. He actually, in one sense, married me because he loves my organization and discipline. But when you get married it is not simple fitting another person into YOUR schedule, it is completely re-configuring a brand new schedule that you have never seen before. Back to the drawing board if you will.

As I expressed this to some of my in-laws over dinner in a humorous manner a few nights ago, one of them said, “it takes a year to get back on track.” Why did no one say this to me at the beginning of marriage? Not that this re-configuring has caused any strife or turmoil, but it did cause some discouragement. Numerous times I have felt like a failure because I have not taken care of myself or our household as specifically and daily as I felt I did before marriage. And we are 367 days into our marriage and I am just now beginning to feel as though I am pulling things back together. Workouts, water intake, to-do lists completed, quiet times, poolside sunshine, etc…

For the newly-weds or those soon-to-be brides, take heed; your husband will not purposefully pull you away from the ways you currently take care of yourself, your spiritual life, your disciplined ways. He actually wants you to continue doing all of these things that are good for you and your soul, but he wants to be a part of it and he wants to spend time with you and he wants to do things together. It might take you only a few weeks or months for you two to figure out what things can be done together and what needs to be done apart, but don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. And you won’t be able to do EVERYTHING together, and that will be ok. But take your time figuring out what things go where and which ones will be done together. Prioritize, be patient, and communicate. And it might take a year. And that’s ok.