Heart in the Clouds

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts on 2011 and 2012

So it’s New Year’s Eve and while I’m not big on making the new year into something bigger than it is…it’s really only a day on the calendar…I have some changes I want to make in my life. I guess the transition from one year to the next is as good a time to start as any, right?

2011 has been a really difficult year for me in so many ways. I lost “me” and I lost my focus. I’ve been trying to think of some changes I need to make in the coming year. Not resolutions so much, but ideas for making adjustments to the way I’ve been living.

I’m going to continue to cut drama from my life, including the people who create it. I don’t have time to allow people to put unrealistic expectations on me or on others. I don’t have the desire to please people who will never be pleased with anything.

If you’re with me, you’re with me. If you’re not, buh-bye.

Something you learn over time as a Christian is that you should love everyone, but you don’t have to like everyone or be friends with everyone. And sometimes loving people, especially toxic people, means letting them go. It’s just as important to love YOU as it is to love others. I plan to focus my energy and time on people who also want to live drama-free.

Forgiveness. I want to give it and ask for it more often.

New dreams. It’s easy to live in the past or to focus too much on the future. Living in regret is the easy way out of moving forward. I think it’s a good thing to sometimes let go of old dreams to take hold of new ones.

I’m SO ready for new ones.

Getting back to gratitude. Out of the last decade, the best years were the two years where I took time each day to think of the gifts in my life. Circumstances weren’t always peachy keen, but I felt more at peace and more content because I wasn’t directing all of my attention to the bad things.
For me, 2011 has been the year of losing focus, but I’ve learned some important lessons.

This whole “losing focus” thing has to change, and gratitude is going to be added back into my daily spiritual diet in many different forms.

I’m going to continue to work on my health. I have done well in the latter half of this year by changing my eating habits and my exercise goals. If nothing else, that’s one thing I’m proud of from this year.

I’m going to be asking God to direct my desires for meaningful living and deliberate giving. I went through a little crisis earlier this year where I had this weird, panicky feeling that I wasn’t participating in anything fulfilling or meaningful. 

Devoting my time to something that challenges me and makes me want to live life is what I need to do. We’ll see what happens.

Also, I want to spend more one-on-one time with each of the important people in my life. How that will look, I don’t know, but I do know that it’s a desire in my heart. My love language is quality time, so I need to take the time to get my “love tank” filled.

Last, at least for now, I want to get out into the world more. I want to take more family road trips, but also experience more things on my own.  I think I’ll wait less for people to do things with me because it’s often just as important to set out on my own once in a while.

Life’s too short. That’s my phrase for this year.

(Sunrise in the New Brunswick woods)

What are the tweaks you’re going to make in your life?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grateful

The week before Christmas is usually one of my favorite weeks of the year. But this time I have felt preoccupied with so many things. Today has been good, though, as I learn to make important choices.

Today I'm grateful for...

Well-behaved little boys. It doesn't happen all the time, but I'm thankful that it happens most of the time.

Knowing I can rest. I can let go of my fears and just trust. Today that was something God was speaking to me from the moment I woke up -- rest and trust.

Waiting for the Lord. He shows up at the right time, all the time.
(Psalm 27:14--"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.")

The flexibility of cyber school. It's made life easier in some ways because I don't have to worry about timing everything in the day, or making sure I'm here or there at a particular moment. As I've said, like every parent, I have days where I want to fork myself in the eye, but on most days I'm grateful for the opportunity to be an integral part of my children's education and to be the one to see the light in their eyes when they learn something new.

Friends and family who pray for me. It's comforting to know I have the thoughts and prayers of people who genuinely care about what happens to me. I feel the same way about them.

Reaching another little weight loss goal. I'm back in the 140s and I hope to stay here! When I returned to a more normal eating style after the veggie cleanse, I gained back some of the weight I had lost (as was expected and considered normal). Not much, but enough to make me want to continue making healthier choices. I don't want to ever get back to the place where going up a flight of stairs makes me breathless or I can't fit into last year's jeans.

My long-term goal--I want to be a healthy elderly woman. I don't want to be on a bunch of medications or to need constant care. I want to do my part in keeping myself in decent shape, so I'm trying to make deliberate choices to reach that goal. I can't say what will happen to me in the future, but I can say I'm training myself to do my part. (Not to say I won't eat the occasional chocolates or junk food, though. Nothing wrong with a little junk food now and then...)

I hope you're joining me in learning to make better choices. I don't just mean the way you eat or the way you look at life. Making better choices can be a TOTAL life makeover.

It's about learning to speak kindly (to yourself, as well as others).

It's about learning to be truly thankful (instead of focusing on your "First World Problems").

It's about learning to be content, no matter the circumstances.

It's about remembering that God is always good, and that you're totally and completely loved and held at all times.



In the doctor's office...AGAIN!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gratitude

And so it continues...there are always things I could let distract me from light and truth and God's love. Fear is one of those things. I am a person who struggles with fear. I'm not afraid of people. I'm not afraid of standing up for what I think or believe. But I have little fears that plague me sometimes. They are intended to distract me and they do. They preoccupy my thoughts. They snowball. They pop up whenever I have happy moments. Honestly, it's annoying.

I wish there were a way to rid myself of these fears completely. I wish I could just snap my fingers and *poof* they would disappear. The only ways I've found to really battle fear are to focus on God and to be thankful. So I'm doing that right now.

I'm going to tell you about my blessings.

1. Family. I have a great family made up of wonderful people. I know that I'm supported in love and in prayer.
2. Friends. I have so many people in my life whom I can consider friends. Not everyone can say that.
3. First world problems. Most of my so-called "problems" are what the ladies who write Rants from Mommyland would call "first world problems". Here's their hilarious blog post on that topic: http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/search?q=first+world+problems I have crises in my life. Don't we all? But aside from the occasional real crisis, the majority of my issues stem from my self-focused human nature and my inability to see my blessings for what they are.
4. Food. I have a friend who says that when she gets really down, sometimes the only thing she can do to battle it is focus on the little things. "I'm thankful for these dishes that I am washing in my kitchen sink. I'm thankful for the soap I have to clean them with. I'm thankful for the fact that I can have food on these dishes whenever I want it there. Etc." So I'm thankful that I have the ability to feed my family and to eat whenever I want to.
5. Fresh starts. I've had plenty of chances to start over--with people, with situations, with locations. Not everyone can say that.
6. Framework. I know that God is setting up the framework in my life. Around it, he's going to put together all the little pieces that seem to be floating, and the end product will look like something. Right now, it doesn't, but it will.
7. Freedom. Living a life without the constraint of "religion" (the bad connotation) is a goal I have. The only way I can do it is with God's help. He has nothing to do with religion, so I don't want to have anything to do with it, either.

That's enough for now. See? I'm already focusing on good things again. I know there are so many positive things going on in my life and I want to choose to keep my eyes on God and what he's doing in me. I hope you choose to do the same.

Psalm 145:8--"The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."

Check out this book!

Pagan Christianity is one of my favorite Christian books. I found the history in it very thought-provoking. Through this book, Frank Viola and George Barna made me stop and think about why I did what I did when it came to church. Good stuff and I highly recommend it!
http://www.paganchristianity.org/