How To Be Slightly Less of a Hot Mess

Alright guys, let’s be real. There’s really nothing in my life that qualifies me to write this. My life is messy and complicated and sometimes I raise my voice or give my kids permission on the tablet when I should be reading with them or I let them have cereal for dinner. I’m just doing the best that I know how and sometimes it works and sometimes not so much 🙂
So that’s my disclaimer. Please don’t think I’m saying that I have it all figured out or that I’m doing anything perfectly. If you judge me by that standard then I’m screwed.
All that to say that are a few things that I do…ok, *try* to do,  consistently that seem to make life easier. It’s really not about binders (yes, I love them, but they’re not magic…or are they?) or about meal prep (haha, yeah right). Here’s my super secret to sanity – it’s my soul.  Me on the inside.  When that part is healthy, other things follow. Like energy, sanity, clean laundry…not even kidding =D

I like lists so here are some healthy-soul snacks that fuel my life-
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1.  Be a good friend.
If you want to have good friends, be a good friend. So allow yourself to invest in those relationships. I know that it’s tough when your schedules are crazy, but I would really challenge you to find healthy friendships to intentionally build.  Set reminders (really!) to check in with them. Just because you don’t have hours to dedicate to coffee or girl’s nights doesn’t mean you can’t be close. One or two really great friendships will change your life. Surround yourself with people who are solid in areas that you would like to be.

2. Forgive quickly and completely. 
Whatever he/she/they did to you, it’s not worth your soul health. No matter how crappy it was, don’t drain your energy by talking about it or thinking about it for a second longer than you have to. Some things take longer than others to work through, I get that. But don’t spend years on something that could have been over in a matter of weeks (or hours!).  I highly recommend The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness as a tool for learning how to get in the habit of forgiveness and why it matters so much.

3. Ditch the guilt trip 
I really don’t have much to say about this, because I’m terrible at it. But I know one thing – when I do take authority over the guilt and shame and comparison that tries to keep me down it’s AMAZING. When I look around at my life and can say “yeah, there’s always room for improvement, but who I am is just fine” it brings so. much. freedom.

4. Attitude 
You already know this so I won’t prattle on. But dude. Get your attitude in check. Don’t let your emotions be boss. Tell yourself how to feel and then learn what it takes to get there. For me, I can say that 99% of the time that I’m a cranky butt it’s because I’m neglecting gratefulness.  It’s hard to be mad when you realize that no matter what the day or what is happening you really do have a ton going for you. Say it out loud. “I’m so thankful that I never have to wonder where my next meal is coming from”.  Text someone “Hey, I’m so thankful for your help on Tuesdays”, “that thing you posted was hilarious, just what I needed, thanks”, “seeing how messy your house is made me feel so much better, thanks for that” (just kidding, please don’t say that) 😉

You may think that with enough willpower you can do this stuff on your own.
And maybe you can.
But I can’t.
Jesus is my life source. Without His extravagant love for me I wouldn’t be able to love well, forgive quickly or walk in freedom. I need to hang out with Him a lot or I just can’t. Like. Can’t even adult. Can’t even be truly productive.  In the most white-girl, PSL, kind of way I can’t even.

These are the things that make it possible for me to do my life and circumstances well (most days).  Sure, getting enough sleep, staying active, attempting to keep my spaces clutter-free, planning ahead…all of those things make life so much easier. HOWEVER. I’ve done all those things during seasons when I was angry, stressed, hurt, and setting unrealistic standards for myself and nothing got done well during those times, binder or no.
I like to set personal goals, maybe it would be cool if we did it together? What is one thing that you’d like to create a new habit in this month? Wanna do it together?

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UV Fairy Dust

The school year is winding down and I am so excited for summer! Grilling out with friends, yard games on warm summer evenings, the smell of sunscreen as I try to get two squirmy, excited boys ready for the beach, sand in my car, on my floors, in the laundry…pretty much everywhere.
I breathe deeply in anticipation and can almost smell the fresh cut grass (and see it being tracked in as vacuuming goes from twice a week to twice a day!). Guys. For real. The only reason I’m even writing now is just to celebrate the magic that is summer time. Everything in life just seems to smile peacefully at me like “girl…go ahead…dance around the house and belt out that tune while you throw another load of beach towels in…get it done, we have a snow-less day to enjoy!”.
And evenings…I get butterflies just thinking about it. Smiling across the boat at Wes over something silly one of the boys said. Watching our family grow together. I’m amazed at the beauty of this life and I don’t want to take a second for granted. These moments…these memories in the making…they make my heart happy. And yet, it hasn’t even entered the heart of man what God has in store for those who love Him. How can that be possible?? I’m amazed. I hope you are, too.
What makes you want to celebrate?

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Thank Goodness I’m Not Like…

Them. Thank goodness I’m not like them. 

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

I woke up this morning after a short night of sleep, said good morning to my boys and started scrolling through Facebook. 

    It wasn’t long before tears began to run down my cheeks. People hurt by the outcome of the election. Scared for what it means for them and feeling like America is going to become something they’re ashamed of. So they lash out and say terrible things about conservatives, republicans and Christians. Their words hurt and I think how unfair it is to be dumped into a pile of vulgar adjectives along with people who picket funerals and harbor hate for anyone unlike themselves. “That’s not me!” I want to scream. But their hearts are angry right now and my words would only stir up more hate. So I bite my tongue and hope to live a life that speaks for itself. 

    I scroll on thinking that’s the worst of it.But no… I realize there’s something just as bad happening. Prideful, unloving, gloating from people are who are so over the moon about the outcome of the election you’d thing Jesus Christ himself just got elected. Their words are mean and bullying and so full of self righteous celebration I think to myself, there’s no love here. And if we’ll recognize Christians by their love, I wonder… I’m tempted to drop a zinger to make them think about how gross they sound to people outside of their cliques, but I bite my tongue again. It’s the Internet, after all. The value of words drops considerably. 

I close Facebook and stew for a while, making a mental case against the stone throwers and the stony hearted. Thinking of things I’d like to say. Then that phrase, or something eerily similar crosses my mind. “Thank goodness I’m not like those people”. 

Oh God, forgive me. 

While I was mourning how this election has brought out the worst in a lot of people, I was failing to see the worst that was coming out of my own heart. So I sit here, humbled by my own sinful heart.  I have so much to learn and I’m thankful for a God who calls me back and loves me enough to chastise me when I need it (which is often). And I’m thankful for friends who put up with me on this journey to be more like Jesus.  

 I’m still upset by what I’ve seen, but instead of asking God to help “them” I’m here asking God to help us. Give us wisdom, love, discernment and heal our broken hearts so we can take healing to the nations. If this has brought out the worst in us, it’s just an opportunity to see what was hidden all along. Now we see it and can deal with it. So let’s do that. 

Love you guys. I’m deeply sorry for my attitude, I hope you’ll forgive me. Let’s do better. 

The embarrassing fan

Close your eyes.
Nope, that won’t work.
Keep your eyes on the screen and imagine with me for a moment that one of the people you admire the most on the planet is coming to your neighborhood. Singer, actor, politician, athlete, pastor, anyone that you would be over the moon to see in person. Exciting, right? You’re in the crowd freaking out a little. Then they stop what they’re doing and say “hey, you- yes, you in the awesome shirt. Can we chat?” Your heart is racing as you head backstage. Then comes the gush. You have zero care for what anyone thinks, no shame. You’re going to say all the things you imagined if this moment ever happened. Tell them how talented they are, how you love their work, how you’ve followed them for years and been so impressed with everything they’ve done. Your face is animated, your gestures and body language all revealing your enthusiasm and sincerity.

So if you see me in church, in my car, in my home looking a little geeked out and nerdy, gushing over the One who has made my heart come alive, well…I just can’t help myself. Well, I guess I could. But I don’t want to. He’s offering far more than a meet and greet, far more than I could ever be worthy of and I’m not interested in being a spectator.

  There’s another side of this involving the ease of passing by someone worthy of praise because you don’t recognize them, but that’s a conversation for another day. 

 By the way, when it comes to humans I’d love to hang out with my list goes something like Paul Manwaring, Jenn Johnson, George W and Gerard Butler 😊 

   You are my one thing ❤️

6 Things About Fear vs Wisdom

The western world seems to be in a bit of an uproar right now over who gets to use which restrooms. I’ve been watching. Reading. Taking in a few choice articles and observing the comments of some friends who have some great insights.  This isn’t one of those. You make your own choices about whether to support Target or the train of businesses that will likely follow their example. I have nothing to say about that.
I do, however, have something to say to moms and dads and caregivers. And let’s be real- I’m saying all these things to myself because this is a journey I’ll be on until I’ve taken more steps than my Fitbit can track. It’s the journey of knowing the difference between fear and wisdom. I bring it up now because I’m hearing so many people talking about how they’re afraid for their little girls to be using the bathroom with men. Afraid for the what-ifs. Afraid because the media feeds on getting reactions and fear is a big one.
I just thought I’d take a few minutes to list a few things to help us work out whether we’re using wisdom to keep our kids safe or if we’re letting fear control our choices.

On the fear side we have…

 1.Fear focuses on the problem. It draws our attention to all the bad things that could possibly happen.

2. The fruit of fear is anxiety, sleeplessness, and a sense of helplessness

3. Fear steals our joy.

4. Fear based actions create a false sense of control over circumstances. We often think we can prevent bad things from happening when we let fear control our decisions.

5. Fear is putting our faith in the wrong things.

6. Fear reacts.
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On the other hand, wisdom – 

  1. Wisdom draws our attention to God-given solutions. It applies Biblical Truth to our circumstances.
  2. The fruit of wisdom is peace.
  3. When wisdom is applied to a situation it brings freedom and joy.
  4. Wisdom recognizes that we can only control our own choices, not the choices of others.
  5. Wisdom recognizes that ultimately God is our strength and our defender. Our faith is in Him alone.
  6. Wisdom observes and then responds.

So maybe those are some tools we can use to measure our choices. And the more we get wisdom, the more we’ll recognize her voice.  Remember, fear wants to hold us hostage, wisdom wants to see us free to grow and expand.

 

 

Were not our hearts burning?

For any of you who know my mom, you know she’s not much for small talk.  There’s this thing she used to do that kinda drove me crazy (sorry mom, love you!).  We’d get together and within what seemed like a few moments she’d drop the bomb – “so…whatcha reading in the Word lately?”  Sometimes it would lead into a wonderful, deep conversation about the things God was revealing to us and how we were applying it (which was the point of the question) and sometimes it led to me awkwardly squirming in my seat mumbling under my breath something about the Psalm that I read (and by read, I mean scanned quickly while I was getting my bulletin out to check the schedule for the week).

For her, it was as natural as asking what I had for breakfast. It wasn’t meant to put anyone on the spot, but to talk about something that should be as much a part of our day as organic fruit and whole grain oatmeal (*cough cough* lucky charms).

It’s so easy for “life” to crowd out that precious, life-giving, time leaning into God and listening for His voice in Scripture. But we have to make it a priority. Let me be frank, if season after season we’re not reading the Bible on a regular basis then I would question if we have any business calling ourselves Christians.   So I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in taking a 1-week challenge with me (we’ll start small 🙂 )? Anyone? Buhler? Larrrrrrrrrrrry?!?!  We’ll commit to making time in our day to read from the Bible (devotionals are good, but they are no substitute!!)  then hold one other accountable by asking the infamous question “what you are reading in the Word?” : )
Let’s fall in love with the Word again until we can’t go a day without it ❤

lips that bow down

As I was fiddling about the kitchen, making lunch and other daily tasks I was singing a line from my favorite worship song “Your praise will ever be on my lips”.  It was a sweet time of fellowship with my Savior, and I treasure those moments in my busy days. Eyes closed, hands lifted (hot pad in one hand, butter on my other) I heard that voice…the one that comforts, encourages, disciplines. In a split second it was as if Holy Spirit ran a play back of the conversations I have had in the last 24 hours. With other people, with myself (don’t judge lol) with my children and He asked me what my words were praising.  Not in the way that we usually think of praise, but just in that I was giving my energy and influence to talk about things, which is a form of praise. I won’t take you through the process that followed, I’m sure you can get there on your own. I just thought I would share the challenge to make sure that our words are giving honor to the one, true, God.  As we talk about the weather, the game, the latest news in vaccinations, our families…lets just be sure that our hearts are set on things above so that the words that come from our hearts are more than just a bow to lesser things.