I was at the library with my kids yesterday and saw an old friend. Someone I haven't seen or spoken with in several months. Someone that used to be a good friend but situations in the past have caused us to grow apart.
I had two choices. (Isn't it interesting that we always have choices? And that it's the road we choose that determines whether we grow or stay the way we are...) The first was to avoid her and not say anything. The second was to approach her and say hello. (I got that "sick to my stomach" feeling, which I always get when I know that I should take a risk.) So, I swallowed my pride, turned my fear into excitement and approached her.
I was welcomed with open arms! We talked for a few minutes and then it was time for me to take the kids home. I told her that I would love to catch up and asked if she would be open to having coffee with me soon. We made a date for this coming week! I turned to leave and she hugged me...telling me that she is glad that I said hello and that she couldn't wait to reconnect.
I am completely blown away at what happens when I put my fear aside and embrace the unexpected risk, head on.
Honestly, today has been a difficult day for me. I struggled all day, not especially feeling great. It was tough for me to stick with my goal of drinking the water and exercising. I didn't want to do it. I totally wanted to quit. And then, I started making excuses to myself, trying to "release me" from my agreement with myself. Excuses like...
"You aren't feeling well."
"You are too tired."
"You're too busy."
"No one will know if you don't drink the water."
"I'll do it tomorrow."
"I can always start over."
And, I almost gave in to those thoughts. I almost quit. I chose to do something different. I sought support from a friend. In the midst of that conversation, I started thinking about the times that I break the agreements that I make with myself...thinking, "It's ok. It's just me." I will go out of my way to keep my agreements with others but when it comes to myself, I often just "toss" them aside. Let's face it...if I want to create better relationships around me, I have to start with those closest to me...and that includes me. I am learning that my relationship with myself is just as important as my relationship with others.
So, what did I do? I just kept swimming...pushing through the excuses...to keep the agreement with myself. I drank my water and I exercised. And, I'll do it again tomorrow.
That feels amazing.
I am a POWERFUL, JOYFUL, COURAGEOUS and WORTHY woman.
Today, I drank water. A lot of water. And I exercised.
I can hear what you are thinking...how is this a risk?
Well, as a woman who wears many hats (Mom, wife, daughter, friend, housekeeper, taxi driver, referee, etc), I don't make time to take care of myself. It takes a real effort for me to actually put myself first. I mean, let's face it...to even sit here, in the quiet, I struggle with even taking some time to write this blog. There are many things that I could be doing...but I am sitting here, loving myself.
Yes...I am loving myself by making time for myself. On this journey, I am learning that I can't truly love others until I take care of and love myself.
Today, I decided that I would put myself first and step into a healthier lifestyle, both physically and spiritually. With the help of a good friend, I am embarking on a journey...to lose 10 lbs., eat healthier and to tone my body. I will exercise every single day. I will eat a more healthy, balanced diet. I will drink more water!
But above that, I DO LOVE myself....so I am going to be kind to myself, by investing time and energy into myself.
And that journey started today...with drinking FOUR water bottles full of ice cold water.
I am a POWERFUL, JOYFUL, COURAGEOUS and WORTHY woman!
I’d say it’s been a LONG time since I have written on this blog. Over four months! Yikes!
I have been on such a wonderful journey and I wanted to share with you about my next step in this journey. I’m calling it….18 Days of Risking…
What does that mean? That means from today until Aug. 8, I will be doing one thing everyday that pushes me…gets my blood going….scares me to death….something I have been putting off…
I bet your asking yourself, “Why would you do that? Do something on PURPOSE that scares you?” I’ve learned that only by facing my fears and pushing myself do I grow.
So, here is DAY 1:
I told my husband that I am fighting for our marriage. It has been no secret that we have been having difficulties. There have been mistakes and pain on both sides. And honestly, there was a time in the last few months when I wasn’t sure if I wanted it anymore. In the last four months, I have been on a journey, to discover who I truly am and what I really want for my life. It lead me to discover that I don't want the type of relationship I had with John. I want a new, different, healthy relationship. Let’s face it. Marriage is hard. Really hard. But it took two people to create the marriage that I am in right now….and it’s going to take two people to create a different, better relationship.
And, today, I choose to love my husband. I choose to fight for my marriage. That means I show up…every single day by using my voice, standing in my power and holding my husband accountable…and asking him to do the same for me.
And I am in 100%.
And the other part of today’s risk….sharing this with you all.
I will be updating this blog daily, so tuned!!!!!
I am a POWERFUL, JOYFUL, COURAGEOUS and WORTHY woman!
Recently, Grace (my 6th grader) participated her music contest . This is her second year playing the trombone and this is her second music contest. She is becoming a really talented musician and her band teacher is noticing! :-) Last year, she got a Division I and got raving reviews from the judge! That totally inspired her to keep at it! Fast forward to October 2012. It was time again to sign up for music contest. She was struggling with adjusting to middle school....and everything that comes along with that. She decided to sign up for contest, anyway, because she loves to play. So, her band teacher picked out her music. It was a considerably harder piece than she played last year. Only one month into it, she came to me in tears. "Mom, I can't do this. It's too hard. The notes are too high. I just want to quit." My heart broke for her! I could tell that she was really struggling. But, I talked to her about how she made a commitment and how if she practiced that she would get better and better. I also told her that Mrs. H knows what she can do and wants to challenge her to do her best. She reluctantly agreed and she asked me to help support her. We set up extra practice times with Mrs. H. after school....we found the song online and let her play along with that....she practiced 30 minutes, every single day for MONTHS! Fast forward to last Saturday. She was so nervous but SO excited and relieved to be there. As she and I sat in the gym, waiting for her turn, she said to me, "Mom, thanks for always helping me and pushing me to be my best." Below is the video of my girls performance. Grace Playing "Cantilena" I am extremely proud of her for doing her very best! After we found out that Grace got a Division I (highest rating possible), I spoke with Mrs. H alone. I told her how Grace wanted to quit and how she was really discouraged in the beginning. Do you know what the Mrs. H said? She said that only three students had been assigned that piece. Two of them where eighth graders. And, Grace plays that as well as those two eighth graders. She told me that she believes that Grace could handle the challenge and that she will continue to push her to the best she can be. She went on to say that Grace's dedication and drive to NEVER give up, and to seek help when needed pushed her success. I walked away, in awe. Of my little girl. For not giving up. For Mrs. H. For pushing her to face her challenges. Then, I thought about the times that life has gotten challenging for me. When have I said "I can't do this. It's too hard. This journey is not worth it. I just want to quit." It's in those times, that I have a choice. I could quit. I could just walk away and not continue on this journey. I could....but I CHOOSE not to. I decide to seek out support from friends, who will challenge me to really look inside....who believe in me, even when I don't believe in myself. Who don't give up on me, even when I give up on myself. Who push me to be the best that I can be. And, even if I mess it up, I CHOOSE to pick up the pieces and I press onward, knowing that I am doing my very best. I CHOOSE to continue to work hard and to pray hard. So, thanks, friends for always challenging me to be the best mom, wife, sister, & friend that I can be. Who knew that a trombone could teach me so much?! Love, Julie
This past Thursday was Valentine's Day. I love Valentine's Day. The flowers, the cards, the chocolate....ok....I just really love the chocolate. I was at Target on Thursday and I was AMAZED that the number of people in the card, flower and the candy aisle. WOW!! Talk about last minute.... :) It really got me thinking about Valentine's Day. The whole point of the day is to show those around us how much we love them and how much we appreciate having them in our lives. Why do we need just one day to do this? I just wonder what my world would be like if I shared my love and appreciation, every single day of our lives. What kind of impact would that make? That doesn't mean buying big flower arrangements or fancy candy every day. I'm talking about simple gestures. A smile. An encouraging note. A hug. A prayer. Watching a tired mom's kids so she can have some time to herself. Bringing coffee to a discouraged friend. Bringing up your neighbors empty trash bins. Cleaning up the dinner dishes. Shoveling a neighbors snow. Calling a friend. These simple acts can that make a big difference in the life of those around you. Check out this video. You can see the impact that one simple act has on the world. Spread The Love What kind of difference COULD you make in the world if you just spread the love? What is one thing you can do today to share your love with the world?! Love, Julie
I had the honor of spending last weekend with some of my favorite people in the whole world....my family. Saturday and Sunday were PACKED full of family fun and just being together...something that doesn't happen very often for me, since I live SO far away from everyone!
Last weekend, I had to say "see ya later" to my little brother. See, he and his wife are moving to North Africa, tomorrow, to serve the people there. I am completely proud and humbled by my brother and his lovely wife. Their hearts are fully ready to jump in, even though they don't know what the future holds. God has asked them to leave their comfort zones...leave everything that they know....and trust FULLY in Him. All they know is that God is already there and He has ordained these things to happen for HIS glory. How do I feel about all of this? Honestly, while I am extremely proud of them, I am SO SAD. I am sad about the thought of not seeing my baby brother for two years. Plus, I think there is a small part of me that is fearful that something will happen to them, as the country they are going into is very volatile right now. But I choose to not let that fear control me! The fact is that no one is ever guaranteed our next breath. Every moment in our lives is ordained by God.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Fighting the sadness is just going to make it worse. A good friend suggested that I add the phrase, "I accept ____" to whatever you are feeling; it helps. "I accept that I feel sad/afraid/lonely." What is to be avoided is chiding yourself with such thoughts as "I should be ____" (for example "I should be over this by now, or fine, or whatever"). Emotions are not wrong; they just are. Is it easy? No, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
So, I'll miss my baby brother and Monica, but I know that I'll see them again soon! So, instead of saying goodbye, I say, "see you later"!
Today, I really have been thinking about the power of my words and actions. My words and actions have the power to tear down or build up those around me. Especially those who are closest to me. The ones that see me every day. My co-workers. My customers. My friends. My kids. My husband. It's easy to build someone up with positive words and actions, when the other person is loving and caring and receptive. But what about when the other person behavior is less than desirable. I know that I really struggle with keeping my words and actions in check during these times. But I'm learning that it's in those times when it is MOST important to really be aware and intentional about EVERYTHING I say or do. Because especially in those times, the other person needs to be built up and not teared down by what I say or do.
I've borrowed a list of attributes that can tear down or build up a relationship. (www.whitestoneresources.com)
Serving one another
Every day, I strive to build up those around me. I don't always get it right. Sometimes, I mess up. But I apologize and I keep striving to do better.
Lately, I have really been reflecting over the year and about the people who have come into my life. Every single person that has crossed my path has made an impact on me. I am thankful for each person. Friends who have there through the joys and laughter, along with the pain and tears. New friends. Old friends. Unexpected friends. I have learned so much from each of them. It is easy to be thankful for the friends who have been supportive. But, it's not always easy to be thankful for those that hurt me, for those who have walked away, for those whose hurtful words that pierce right into your heart . Do you find that true for you? It's so easy for me to get wrapped up in the hurt and pain from these types of relationships. For so long, I have let myself carry around this hurt. I let that hurt control my behavior. It wasn't until a GOOD friend (you know who you are) pointed out that I allowed myself to be continually hurt by these experiences...instead of forgiving, learning and growing. And, I am proud to say that I have done that & I am continuing to do that. And you know what I'm learning....that it is TRUE freedom. Freedom from that hurt. From that pain. From the past. So, I am thankful for each person that has crossed my path. Each one has taught me something about myself. I am learning that I am stronger and braver than I have ever thought. Each choice that I have made, each person that I come in contact with, each experience I have had, both good and bad, has been instrumental in shaping me into the person that God wants me to be. Thank you, friends. I will be forever grateful for you.
For Good--Kristin Chenoweth
"So much of me is made from what I learned from you.
You'll be with me, like a hand-print on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,I know you have re-written mine by being my friend."