Tweaking.

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Here we are.

Standing on the heels of a new year.

There were moments in this year that I thought would kill or at least seriously damage me. There were other moments that stirred my heart to the point of overflowing joy.

This year I finally succumbed to the *nagging* of an acquaintance ( and I mean that with all due respect. She nagged me, incessantly. ) and began to teach voice lessons. Imagine my surprise when I realized not only was I good at it, I LOVED it.

Now that I’m accepting more students it’s time to go from good to great. I am a vocalist. Not only do I love to sing, but I love the art of music. This combined with my experience as a background vocalist, session singer, worship leader and classical/pop standard performer, made it easy for me to help others enhance their singing talents. However, it’s now time that I teach not because I’m a good singer, but because I’m a good teacher. I’ve got the passion and interactive parts down, now to be a good business woman who not only excels in teaching, but in administration.

I’m tweaking. (not to be confused with twerking…which I’m not doing.)

Fixing things up a bit.
Taking note of what works and what doesn’t.
Tuning up the parts that have gotten rusty or are running low on discipline, passion, or direction.
Filling up on truth, draining myself of lies.
Pulling the plug on dead, useless things, and plugging into things that will bring new energy and strength to my life.

I’ve noticed a trend lately.
Lots of people are getting rid of other people they claim *bring them down*. In a sense, I get that…I do. But in all of the relationships that matter to me (which if you think about it…EVERY relationship should matter to you. If you even consider a camaraderie with someone a *relationship*, than at some point it had value, and therefore, deserves your attention), I have made a conscious decision to stop looking so much at what they do or do not bring to our connection, and what I myself need to do more or less of to ensure that our connection is as healthy as it can be. In some cases, this may mean that our relationship *changes*, but it doesn’t have to *end*. Isn’t love enduring? long-suffering? patient? Love bears ALL things, right? We chalk this admonishment from scripture up to a pretty thing to say at weddings. But the truth is it is the very foundation for how we should nurture ALL of our relationships, not just marriages.

Take a moment.

Evaluate.

Reflect.

Be honest.

Then, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. (my mantra for this coming year)

Tweak.

Move Forward.
Here’s to a good year!

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Practical Tips for the Bad Day Blues

 

I’m having a bad day.

There….I said it. 

Nowadays it’s like saying you have the plague or interpreted as “I’m on the verge of a breakdown” if you admit you have a bad day. As a believer, I have come to understand that God is the God of all of me, and all of my life. He does not shy away from when I’m in a bad mood or overwhelmed. In fact, he left a promise for days like this….”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

Today is one of those days where everything seems to be waiting for me to wave my magic mommy wand and get ‘er done. Except, I”m fighting the flu, preparing for a play I’m in, getting my kiddos ready for their school Christmas program tonight, and trying to keep the house functioning (laundry, dishes, dinner, homework, discipline, mom I need boots, mom I need lunch money, mom can Brooke come over, mom can Eli come over) without my husband’s help since he’s working extra this week. 

Instead of pretending we don’t have bad days… I thought I’d share some of the ways I contend with one to make it the best it can be.

 

1. TELL SOMEONE

I find that if I’m honest enough to tell someone that I’m struggling to find the beauty in my day, they’re in turn willing to offer a listening ear, comic relief, or a word of prayer (all of which are helpful). If I just need to be distracted, I know who to call. If I need someone to stand in intercession for me and beseech the Lord on my behalf, I know who to call. If I need someone to just listen and offer sound advice, I know who to call. Surround yourself with individuals who are strong enough to allow you to be yourself without coddling you. 

 

2. MAKE A LIST

Whether it’s a list of things to do according to priority or a list of reasons to be grateful, I find that writing a list helps me to regain focus. Sometimes stepping back from whatever situation has overwhelmed you gives you just the right perspective to keep moving forward. When I list the things that need to be done according to priority, I find that some things can actually wait and some of the burden I’m carrying is lifted. 

 

3. FIND A FAVORITE SPOT 

This is my favorite spot in the fall & spring. 

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It’s special to me. We used to live in a condo right up the street from this park. When I was 12 weeks pregnant with our second child, I miscarried at home. For about 2 weeks I stayed holed up in our condo sleeping, reading books and trying to get over the grief. The first time I got up the strength and courage to come out of the house, I came to this park. I cried. I prayed. I lauded. And I let go. 

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In the winter it’s one of the saddest, most melancholy little parks. It’s tucked away in a village neighborhood and doesn’t see much traffic. But in the spring, it comes to life. The ducks swim, the trees bud & the trails are once again safe for walking. 

This is my spot. It always reminds me that no matter how long the winter is…spring is coming. There’s always a reason to hope. 

 

4. PRAY 

This really should be at the top of the list. If you’re like me you find yourself talking to God at various points throughout the day. But do yourself a favor…..stop talking….and pray. Pray God’s word. Remind yourself that HE IS A PRESENT HELP IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE. (Psalm 46:1) Be honest with Him. HIS YOKE IS EASY AND HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT. (Matthew 11:30) . You have access to God! COME BOLDLY BEFORE THE THRONE OF GRACE THAT YOU MAY OBTAIN MERCY IN YOUR TIME OF NEED (Hebrews 4:16)  You can go to Him knowing that He cares about you and everything that pertains to you. CAST ALL YOUR ANXIETY ON HIM BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU (1 Peter 5:7)  Whew!!! I feel better myself!! His word is alive!! God IS HIS word!!!

 

5. TAKE A BREAK

Lastly, give yourself 20 minutes to do nothing. Leave the dishes in the sink. Let the piles of laundry sit on the couch unfolded. Put the children in their room with some books or toys. Find a quiet spot. Grab some tea or coffee. Now….SIT. Take a break. Everything can wait. The most important thing right now is that you RESET. 

 

These are just a few of the things that work for me on a bad day. Feel free to share some of your tips. 

Now excuse me while I go save the world. My 20 minutes are up! 🙂 

Happy New Year to Me!!!!

I love Birthdays.

I always have. 

My mom used to tell me the story of my arrival into this world as if it were a fairy tale or legend passed down through various generations. 

I showed up 6 weeks early … barely 3 lbs, with jet black hair and brown skin with red undertones. They wrapped me in swaddling clothes. (No, really!) My mom says that on Christmas Eve the doctors let me come home with my parents. There was no car seat or baby carrier. I was carried around in a small laundry basket surrounded by soft blankets made by my Nana. 

What an entrance!

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with a portion of the people who mean the most to me. 

Here’s a few snapshots…

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My first gift was a 24 pack of sharpies !!! Since I have an abnormal affection for office supplies and paper goods, this practically brought me to tears. (Thanks, em!)

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My love took me to brunch at one of my favorite restaurants. He works so hard during the week and even on the weekends. It was so nice to have his conversation & attention for a few hours. I love my husband deeply, and the older I get the more I value his friendship & commitment to our family.

Later that evening, after a long day of rehearsal (Did I tell you? I’m in a play this weekend!!! Hard work & a new challenge, but incredibly rewarding. This has been such a great experience.) I was feeling a little discouraged. Amongst the Christmas hustle & bustle, my birthday is often forgot & overlooked. I know it’s not intentional, but it happens, and it hurts. 

I washed up for bed, and still wiping away tears I stepped out of the lavatory. 

There stood my husband and children with cards galore & a white bag.

They stood by with anticipation as I read each card aloud & then began to open the white bag. 

Inside was a brand new laptop. I screamed! I cried! I buckled to my knees! (Picture a 13 year old girl  being called on stage for a serenade at a Justin Bieber concert.) Not only was the laptop totally unexpected, it was on my “greatest desires but I have no idea how” list. God is just amazing like that. 

The following afternoon I headed out with my girls (minus 3…one who is first trimester pregnant <insert morning/noon/night sickness>, and 2 who live in my beloved California) . There aren’t words to describe how much fun I have with these gals. 

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My friend L just happens to have the snarkiest sense of humor of anyone I know. I. Love. it. 

See the photobomber? That’s A. She has the biggest heart for the Lord & a similar love for sharpies. 

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The food was DIVINE. 

We laughed. We talked about the book of James. We drove our waiter mad. It was fantastic. 

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I am in rich in friendship. 

 

I am a year and 3 days older and I’m excited about my new year. I’ve already started re arranging some things , re-commuting to things, and focusing on the beauty in each day. 

Every birthday is an opportunity to reflect, re-adjust & receive. 

I feel new….and I’m grateful.