Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thankful for stress-free moments

I blogged about how I was going to quit biting my nails, and for about a month I did really well. I slipped only two or three times, which for me, was quite the feat.

However, about two weeks ago, I had some stressful moments at work. Stuff was piling up, and my initial reaction was to take to my nails. I had six of 10 bitten off before I even realized it.

Around the turn of the new year, I had talked to a counselor about making new year's resolutions, and he suggested not making them because people see them as temporary and give up when they fail the first time. When I bit off my nails, I realized that, yes, I had messed up, but I wasn't going to give up.

I took a step back but got on track and have done really well since. I painted my growing nails pink last night.

When I started to contemplate what I'm thankful for today, what popped into my mind was how relaxed I'm feeling at the moment. I have been working ahead, and I have gotten a lot done at work. It has made this week go smoothly, and I'm so thankful for times like this when I'm not stressed.

I always have a to-do list, but this week's has been relatively easy to complete. The items have been checked off one by one, and I'm oh so appreciative of times like this when I can rejuvenate and just sit back and breathe for a moment.

You might not be feeling what I'm feeling right now. This might be one of those times when nothing seems to go right and you're insides are in knots because of all the stress in your life. But thankfully, one, God is in charge even in those moments, and, two, those moments will pass. There will come a time when you can sit back, relax and recoup.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No emotions in marriage

My husband and I are big "The O.C." nerds. I have watched the series more times than I can remember, but it is still fun to bring it out once in a while and go through it again.

I was watching an episode the other day where two characters were discussing their marriage. Less than a year in, the husband decides that he wants a divorce. However, when his wife starts crying, he said that he will give it a little more effort.

I looked at Nate and said, "I'm so glad our marriage isn't based on the day-to-day."

I can definitely see why there are so many divorces if people base their decision to be married on the day-to-day emotions and problems they encounter. On the good days, they are happy to be hitched, but on the rough ones they seek divorce.

That's not marriage, that's dating. Dating means that you have the option to break up, to come and go, to get out when you're not liking what the other person is doing.

Marriage is a commitment. It means that when things are rough, you don't get to just walk out. You have to work through the problem, even if you don't feel like it. It means biting your tongue when what you want to say isn't going to be productive, even if it will feel good in the moment. It means giving of yourself and not expecting anything in return. It means not testing your partner but always caring.

Marriage isn't based on the day-to-day. It's based on a lifelong vow that you will stick with that person no matter what happens.

And I'm not a newlywed anymore, I should know! Wink, wink.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thankful for memories

The other day, I could not find my work iPad anywhere.

It wasn't under the gobs of notebooks in my office. It wasn't plugged into the charger in the living room. It wasn't even in our bedroom like I thought. I went around the house five times, wondering where it could have gone to, because I there weren't that many hiding places in our small home.

It took about 10 minutes before I remembered the "safe place" I put it in our bedroom.

That happens to me every time I put something in a special place that I think I will remember. I remember putting in a special place, but I never remember where that special place is.

I think I have a pretty terrible memory, and I have to write down everything from my to-do lists to my grocery lists to remember what I need.

Thinking about it today, though, I realized I am extremely blessed with my memory. It might be a little lacking due to the amount of things I need to remember, but I have solid memories of the important stuff. I remember our wedding day, college fun with my friends, Christmases of my childhood.

There are many people with dementia who would give anything to be able to remember those big times, because they can't even remember that.

It was one of those times today that I wanted to complain, but then I realized there are people much worse off. So instead, I'm thankful. And thank you, Lord, that I have so many good things to remember.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Earth is just temporary

The bills are piling up, and the paycheck isn't going to cover them. Your child is in the hospital with cancer. You have to move out of your apartment, and there's no place else to go.

It sure doesn't feel like you're blessed.

However difficult life is on Earth, we've all been more than blessed already. There's really nothing else we even need. God sent us his son to take on all our sins, to die in our places, so we can live forever and have eternal life if we just accept him.

Life is all how we look at it. If we knew that soon we would have plenty of money, we wouldn't worry about the bills. If we knew our child would be fine eventually, we wouldn't worry much about cancer. If we knew that we would eventually have a place to live, we wouldn't worry about losing an apartment.

Christians already know that life is going to be fine. It might not be fine here on Earth, but that is just temporary. If we look at life as only our life on Earth, we'll worry and be scared and uneasy all the time. If we remember this is only temporary, and everything will soon be perfect, as God meant for it to be, in heaven, we have much less to be concerned about.

We are all blessed. God has given us everything, it's all in how we look at it. We have much to be thankful for.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A spirit of thankfulness

If you woke up today with only what you thanked God for yesterday, what would you have?

I heard this on the radio, and I thought about what I would have --- my husband and my dog, I think.

That's not every day that I would have them though. I just happened to say thank you for them that day. And in a life that's full of so much, it seems a bit ridiculous that I didn't show my gratefulness for more.

Sometimes we think there just isn't time to sit down and list all the things we're thankful for, but instead of taking a 10-minute time period, we should be constantly praying and thanking God throughout the day. That doesn't take any time at all.

You make it to work safely, while you're walking in thank the Lord for a new day and that you made it. You open up your bountiful lunch and say thank you for providing all that food that so many across the world don't have. You sit down to relax and watch TV, and you thank God for the money for cable television and time to relax.

It takes a half-second to shoot up a quick thought of thanks to God, it just takes the making of a new habit to remember to do it.

Today, I'm thankful for so much. One thing I have been thankful for recently is a warm home. I'm so thankful we have a place to stay toasty when the weather outside is as frightful as it has been, and I'm thankful that we have the money to pay for the high energy bills that the weather brings as well.

What are you especially thankful for today?

Monday, January 13, 2014

In a rush to get married?

I fell in love with my husband in high school, and my dream was to marry him by my sophomore year of college.

We talked about it; I brought it up often; I kept asking. He proposed when I was 23, and we got married seven months later.

We have a friend now, who's girlfriend is 22 and wants to marry him. He's not ready for it, but she is going to start pressuring him. It's what most girls do when they're convinced they're with the guy that they want to marry.

What women don't often consider is whether their man is ready to get married. There's a difference between wanting to get married someday, wanting to marry you and ready to get married to you.

My husband purchased my engagement ring two years before he proposed, and he asked my parents for permission to marry me then. However, he wasn't quit ready to pop the question. Just because he knew he wanted to marry me didn't mean he was ready to get married.

I thought that was stupid. I thought if he knew he wanted to marry me, why didn't we just get married?

Now that we're married, as frustrating as that time was for me, I'm glad that he waited until he was ready.

I told him the other night that he has changed since we started dating, and he didn't think so. I said he was much less selfish than he used to be, and he said that wasn't necessarily true either. When he got married, he just knew that he had to sometimes sacrifice his own desires for me, or for us. He had to start making decisions that were good for us as a couple instead of good for himself.

It really showed one morning when he got home and waited for me to unlock the door for him. We don't have a key for the door, and he calls me when he gets home so that I can unlock the door for him.

One day, I was asleep, and I didn't realize that my phone had died. Upstairs, I couldn't hear him knocking or the doorbell ringing. He stood outside in the winter's cold for a half hour, until he banged loudly enough on the house that I woke up.

I expected an angry husband. I would have been extremely upset. He wasn't angry at all.

He said when it happened, he made a conscious decision that he wasn't going to get mad, because that would not be helpful to our relationship. It was a selfless decision to do what was best for us instead of go with how he felt at the time.

If I could go back, I would tell myself to be patient when I was younger. I want to tell other young women to not rush their men. I am blessed to have a strong man that didn't give into my begging and pleading to get married. Other men might get married before they are ready just to please their women or to not lose them to an ultimatum.

However, even if you get your man to marry you, if it's before he's ready, you're in for a world of hurt. He won't be ready to make selfless decisions. You'll probably be hurting when he doesn't put you first.

God can still make these relationships work, but it sure is nice to be married to a man who was completely ready to take that step. I am blessed daily by this man and the responsible decisions he makes for me, for us.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Thankful for freedom

I think people need to read this article on Fox News and see just how blessed we are in this country.

A college friend posted on Facebook that in 2013, each day she wrote a note of something good that happened or something she was thankful for, and she kept them all in a jar. At the beginning of 2014, she took all the notes out of the jar and looked back on the wonderful moments from the previous year.

I think that we should all take time to be thankful. And after reading the article above, I am ever-so-thankful for the blessing of living in the United States.

This is not a perfect country. In fact, sometimes I wonder why God doesn't smite all the sin here, and I wonder how long the U.S. will last. However, when I look at other countries, I realize just how wonderful we have it.

Thank you God that we are free to worship in church, to have Bibles at home, to say that we are Christians without being thrown into prison camps. Thank you that we don't live with constant fear of being found out or of dying for our faith. Help those who are suffering and help us to know how to help them.

When you don't feel like reading your Bible, remember that some people around the world would do anything to have that book in their hands. Treasure it. Absorb it. You might not always have it in front of you, so it should be stored up in our hearts.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A new year brings changes

I wrote an article the last week in December on new year's resolutions, and how a local counselor doesn't recommend making them.

That's because most people don't make new years resolutions seriously, and the moment they fail, they just give up.

However, the new year is still a good time to reflect and realize that you need to make some changes in your life.

At the end of last year, I decided to stop biting my fingernails. I have actually been doing pretty well, and I have had several people comment that my nails are longer than they've ever seen. I will admit, this week was a little stressful and I broke down and bit four nails.

I realized I was doing it, and I knew that it was just a setback. I haven't given up.

Then, I also downloaded a Bible on my phone and wanted to try reading through it in a year. I missed two days this week, and I realized that I don't have to force myself to read it in a year. However, it's still good for me to make a new habit of reading some every day, even if it takes long than by next January.

Also, I need to make sure that I'm not just relying on myself to do these things. I have to pray when I start to feel stressed instead of turning to nail biting. I have to ask God for a hunger for his Word instead of forcing myself to read the Bible each day.

It's important not to just make changes at the beginning of the year, and then when you mess up to wait for the next Jan. 1 to make more changes. We have to constantly be willing to make changes and improve our lives, at any time of the year.