Saturday, November 30, 2013

Old Habits Die Hard

The four of us at the Aragonlife are known for many things:

1. Being hard workers.  We require it from everyone.  And get REALLY frustrated when people around us don't share that belief  We have a saying- "Work isn't called fun for a reason.  It's called work.  If you have fun the process, you're lucky.  But it's not a requirement."  We love our jobs, don't get me wrong, but they're hard work.

2.  Being on time/annoyingly early.  TJ's saying- "I will not go if I'm going to be late."  And he's not joking.  We've been known to get places 30 minutes early just to drive around for 25 minutes.  It's frustrating, but not as frustrating as leaving late and hearing TJ be upset the whole way there.

3.  Being nerdy.  We are nerds.  We are rule followers.  We don't care anymore what people think about it.

4.  Having incredibly disorganized cabinets.  Seriously, y'all.  If you ever come over, take a peak inside ANY of my kitchen cabinets.  If you're still my friend after that, it was meant to be.  If you're OCD and still want to be my friend, don't look. JUST DON'T.

5. Being short with each other.  It is one of the worst traits we have.  We are almost always snappy, short, or snarky with each other.  It would be fine if it was still just me and TJ, but we have two kids that are learning some unkind behaviors from us.  Last week, my mom told me, "Now, I love Faith, but if she calls me a nitwit one more time, we're going to have a problem."  We tend not think before we speak and it's rearing it's ugly head in the form of our beautiful daughter.  So we talked and decided we were going to really work hard together to be better examples of kind words for Faith and Silas.  We talked with Faith about it last night at bedtime.  I told her we were all going to be so nice to each other, it was going to be like a game of outdoing each other with kindness.  Today she kept trying to tell me something unkind and so I told her she could either be kind or go to her room.  She walked out of our room to her room and I thought, "Wow.  That was easy."  Hahahahahaha. It's. NEVER. THAT. easy. She came back with this:

She knew she couldn't SAY anything unkind so she just wrote it.  And when I asked her what she was talking about she said, "No.  I don't want to play that kindness game you're doing."  
So old habits are dying hard around here.  For her and for me.  I've had to either stop myself or ask for forgiveness several times today. I've found some Pinterest printable Bible verses I'm hanging on my quote board.  I read them everyday while I'm doing my hair for work.  Now if only Faith could read...

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Journey to Thanksgiving- 3

I get the honor of reading the Bible story every night at bedtime.  A few nights ago we were reading with Faith out of Jesus Calling and we read the story of the Ten Lepers.   I try to take time to explain and really help her see these were real people that lived, not folk tales.  As we talked about the one leper that came back to thank Jesus, something new about that story hit me.

I don't fault the nine that didn't return, although Jesus was very concerned with their choice.  I cannot imagine the elation of knowing they were going to get to hold their babies again. Grab their wives by the face and feel their soft skin against their lips. Kiss their mother's cheeks and hug their fathers.  Maybe they were just as thankful as the one who paused, looked back, and just couldn't go on another step.  Turning back, he went and found Jesus and wept tears of thankfulnesses.  The first human contact he had in years were the feet of his Savior. And I think that's the real break though in offering daily thanks to Jesus.

We must pause, look back, and fully feel the heaviness what we've been given.  Weep tears of thankfulness.  Take time to put what we think is best aside and go to Jesus with a heartfelt thank you for- simply put- all of it.

The thing about the man that went back- he had an additional encounter with Jesus.  A man to man, man to God encounter.  And when we go back- voice thanks to Jesus- we are given encounters with Jesus that will come about in no other way.

Take time to thank Jesus today.  It might lead you on breathtaking journey.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Journey to Thanksgiving- 2

I like to replace.  If something has to leave, I want something new to come in.  If I banish one thing from the fridge, I welcome another.  If I can't chew on something sweet, I want to munch on potato chips.

So when I was first working on this cutting out negativity business, I had to find something replace it with.  I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  It was recommended to me by someone who could see I was falling into a trap of negativity that I couldn't get out of.  Please read this book.  Please read the chapters over and over and let them linger in your thoughts throughout the day and in your dreams at night and while you're driving and eating dinner and singing your babies to sleep at night.  Ann Voskamp captures the heart of being a human- how we want to be better, but it's hard to break through the everyday.  Every word resonated with me.  (Well, I take that back.  The last chapter wasn't my cup of tea, but I don't have to agree with every word she says.  She's not the Bible.) 

Within her book, she talks about documenting thankfulness everyday.  Starting that journal helped me see things in a completely new light.  It gave me something to replace my negative thoughts with.  When I would start to get bogged down, feeling justified in my sadness; I would stop and find something good in the situation.  As I started searching for God's goodness in my everyday life, I began to thank and praise Him more for who He is, what He does, and how He loves so incredibly well.  

It was a much needed paradigm shift for me.  For my family. For the innocent bystanders at Wal-Mart that got knocked upside the head with my annoyed looks, rants, and frustrations with people who park their cart in the middle of the aisle just to hack me off. 

Perfect at it everyday? Nope.  Not a chance.  Trying to change my mindset to Kingdom things and off myself? Totally trying.  

So read the book.  Let God show you some things. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Res Check- November

OK, y'all.  Do you do resolutions?  If not, you should.  It gives you good goals.  And if you make a bunch like me, it's okay to not do them all.

1- More thankful- YES.
2- Healthier- YES.
3- More Organized- Working on it.
4- More Adventurous- See #9.
5- Spending Less- YES.
6- Study Bible- KINDA.
7- Knitting- NOPE.
8- Guitaring - Playing more, not improving.
9- Driving a Standard. So here's where it gets a little hairy.  And scary.  I conned TJ into a date in his hotrod.  Then told him he was going to teach me to drive it.  His version (otherwise known as "the big fat lie") is that he SWEARS he could hear his precious Mustang crying and could smell the clutch burning up. Whatever, man. Whatever.  The truth is that it was super hard to take off and that I could drive it if I needed to now.  I'm confident that I could drive a new standard well, too.  The end result is that we were both so stressed out and sweaty (because of stress and no AC) by the end of the 20 MINUTE LESSON we had to go to a different restaurant because there was no way I was  going to a nice restaurant with pit stains! I wish I would've gotten a picture of me cruising in the car, though.  It would've totally added cool points to this post!  Plus, I got a nice date with TJ out of the deal so I'd call that a win.

I've already started mulling ideas over for 2014.  I know what I want to focus on.  I want to dream big for me and my family!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Journey to Thanksgiving- 1

click to link to video and song

It's no secret here that I've been a smidgen hugely negatively-focused in the past.  I've worked really  hard to change that negative mindset and I feel that I've improved in a lot of areas of my life. 
*I've worked hard to see the beauty in everyday.  
*To mentally list how blessed I am and to give God the glory for that as opposed to directing our blessings back to us and our hard work.  
*To Decrease the negative things I put into my life and increasing the good.  
* To use the gifts God's given me instead of continuing to let them shrivel.  
*To change my negative body image and seeing myself as successful and healthy.  
Those things have not been easy and they've taken a lot of uncomfortable introspection. There's nothing quite like looking at yourself and seeing a LONG unchecked to-do list. But over time, I've been able to check some off and move some to the "work in progress" list. 

But the one area where I cannot seem to shake the negativities is in my workplace.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job and I am thankful that working means making a difference in children's future.  But I get bogged down in the "have tos" and the mandates and the non-negotiables.  And I work with 50 women so there's always some sort of gossip I pull myself in to.  Honestly, when I reflect on the days sometimes I'm positively disgusted with myself.  I can see clearly when I chose darkness over light and it makes me frustrated with myself for not choosing the right over the wrong.  I am overtly christian and overtly negative. Which equals overtly hypocritical and annoying, if you're not familiar with that equation. 
But this week I saw a small light at the end of the tunnel.  I was on recess duty with a co-worker and she told me she looked forward to our duty days together.  Then she said--wait for it-- that it was because I always look at the positive and have good things to say. I started laughing (not even making that up) because I thought she was being sarcastic. But. she. wasn't.
Please know this is in NO WAY horn-tooting.  I'm just saying that God can make flowers grow out of cow patties.  I'm living proof.  And I think God is the best at taking our small sacrifices and work and turning it into greater good.  And I'm eternally thankful for his goodness and his willingness to change me.  He's never once looked at me in disgust and told me he's over trying with me.  And He knows I've needed it.  But He just continues to mold me into small likenesses of Him.  He makes beautiful things out of us.