Why I’m letting go of goals & resolutions…and only committing to ONE thing in 2017

Why I’m letting go of goals & resolutions…and only committing to ONE thing in 2017

Another year passed and I didn’t become a mother.

Another year passed and I didn’t lose those 10(+) pounds.

Another year passed and I didn’t grow my “platform” (i.e. social media stats) as much as I wanted to.

But…

Another year passed and I still have my family (and I settled back down in my hometown near them).

Another year passed and I still have good health and all of my needs met…every. single. day.

Another year passed and I still have a job I love (that even sent me to ISRAEL) with several professional accomplishments to boot.

Like every year, there were pros and cons in 2016, with the pros greatly outweighing the cons. But the year wasn’t good because of goals and resolutions I set 12 months ago. Rather, it was good because of God’s goodness. Regardless of what happens in any given year, it can only be good for that reason alone. So, I’ve decided to drop goals and resolutions for 2017. You see, friends, I will never fulfill all of my goals and resolutions. And it’s not so much that they are unrealistic or that they’re not from God…it’s more that I have spent too much time trying to force things in my own timing instead of His. I’ve focused more on what I don’t have or haven’t accomplished instead of what I do have and how God has blessed me. As I sat down and wrote out my list of goals and resolutions for 2017, it hit me that I don’t need to set goals and resolutions that I can’t control or may not fulfill. So, I deleted them. I decided to give them up. I will not end 2017 feeling like I failed. So, no, I will not have goals or resolutions in 2017. Instead…

I will keep praying for our adoption, for our adoption agencies, for the expectant mothers who place their children for adoption, and for adoptive families.

I will try my best to eat healthy and exercise (and am running a 5K in February so there’s some motivation) and will be grateful that I have more than enough food to eat.

I will keep writing and speaking as God calls me, but will not obsess over likes, shares, or retweets. (This is BIG since my first book comes out in 2017.)

Most importantly, I will continue to learn as much as possible about God and His word. I will spend more time with Him and less time with my own wandering (and not always helpful) thoughts. I will strive to stay focused on God’s plan for my life, and less tuned in to what I want for myself. So, for 2017, I’m letting go of goals and resolutions; instead, I simply have a renewed commitment to the words of John 3:30, “He must become greater, I must become less.” That’s it. That’s all I’m going to plan for 2017…and I would love to have some company if anyone wants to join me.

Until next year (I love that joke!), HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Read More

War and Dance

War and Dance

Do you recall where you were on January 16, 1991? I do. I was in a dance class at Palmer’s School of Dance. Ms. Patsy, the owner at the time, was instructing my class as Ms. Sandra managed the sound system for her. I’m not sure how Ms. Sandra heard the news, but after calling Ms. Patsy over, my dance teacher went over to speak to the parents. It was not uncommon for most parents to stay while their daughters danced in the one room studio, which was only a few miles from where I grew up. Being that it was small, despite the fact that Ms. Patsy was not speaking to us elementary school girls, we heard the news…the President had announced the launch of Operation Desert Storm.

Many years later, my sister gave birth to a baby boy on another January 16th. He is now the same age I was on that Wednesday in 1991 when I learned the news that America was at war. Before that day, I had no knowledge of world events or politics. While we had learned some state history, which included the Civil War, in 3rd grade, I didn’t know much about the current state of affairs. Alas, things have changed, and my nephew and his peers have learned a lot more a lot earlier, despite the best efforts of the adults in their lives, about the landscape of our nation during this past election cycle than I was even remotely aware of at 9 years old.

For many children, hearing bits and pieces about the presidential candidates and their positions led to confusion, questions, and fear. Too young to be given much information on topics ranging from abortion to war, there wasn’t much that could be done to assuage these concerns, other than to remind the kids that the adults are working hard to take care of them. But, as adults well know, being told not to be worry is easier said than done. While children should be given age appropriate information, adults should be cautious about what they share with their children and what they show them (or allow them to see) via media (especially social media, where misinformation and fear mongering is rampant). Parents should listen to their children in order to get a grasp on what they may be afraid of, in particular since anxiety is on the rise among children (google it for results from numerous research studies). These fears should be addressed and attempts made to ensure children feel safe and secure. Thankfully, my sister does this well. When I was in 4th grade, the same grade that my nephew is in now, it never even occurred to me that I might not be safe and secure. It’s saddening to know that many children of today don’t feel safe and secure at home or school…or dance.

That dance studio I loved was sold and closed a few years ago. Ms. Patsy has passed away. I’m sorry to say that I’m not sure what happened to Ms. Sandra. Yet, the memory of my first foray into adult matters lives on. I believe my childhood was good, in part, because I was allowed, and encouraged, to be a kid. I’d like to see a return to that, but it takes all of us. Maybe that’s part of how we can make America great again.

Read More

When Enough is Never Enough: Three Tips for Decreasing Desires and Generating Gratitude

When Enough is Never Enough: Three Tips for Decreasing Desires and Generating Gratitude

familyAnother Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’m left thinking about how blessed I am…and how little gratitude I show. If I were really thankful., I wouldn’t spend more time thinking about what I don’t have than I do being grateful for what I do have. I’m not necessarily referring to “stuff”…for me, it’s more about what I want to do that I haven’t yet done and what I am lacking in life (for me, it’s motherhood; perhaps it’s something different for you). If I’m honest, it’s also about feeling insecure. While I usually don’t feel jealous (because I truly rejoice with those who rejoice), I allow myself to play the comparison game which leads to this whole issue of enough never being enough…and not being content or satisfied what where I am now (despite knowing that the Lord has my entire future planned out for me and based on the past I know how faithful He is.) So, this Thanksgiving, I began to think about how I can decrease my desire for more and generate more gratitude for what I have. And while your desires may be different than mine, perhaps you can relate…and maybe these three tips will help you too.

1) Count your blessings. Consider your shelter (regardless of the size of your home), your clothing (regardless of the brands), and your transportation (regardless of the mode). Consider your health and healthcare. Consider your achievements (and don’t let the world define them for you…what have you accomplished that you wanted to?) Consider your education (no one can take it away…and this doesn’t only refer to degrees) and employment if you’re working (or retirement, opportunity to stay home with children full time, etc.) Consider your freedom and safety. Consider your community. Consider your family and friends. Consider your church and faith!

2) Help others. While we should not play the comparison game in reverse by helping those less fortunate so that we feel better about ourselves, one way to get beyond our own lives is to help other people. I have been amazed at times I have spoken with people, while “helping” them, who may have less “stuff” or “accomplishments” than I do but seem so much more grateful. Really, I wasn’t helping them…they were helping me! Spend some time volunteering. There is always a need, and I guarantee you will be blessed in return. God can fill those empty spaces in our hearts when we serve others in His name!

3) Pray for a thankful heart and thank God for your blessings. Not only do I ask the Lord to take away desires that are not from Him, I also pray for more humility and gratefulness. Being thankful is a choice…a state of the heart and mind. I can make the decision to be grateful for all things and in all things rather than constantly wonder “what’s next?” or “when’s it going to happen?” Spending time in prayer calms and comforts my heart when it’s feeling blue with desire. Praying generates gratitude for my many blessings!

Instead of thinking about what I haven’t done, instead of spending energy on being discouraged over what I don’t have, and instead of comparing myself to others, I can count my blessings, help others, and pray for a thankful heart. I can, should, and vow to thank God for my blessings more! I hope you’ll join me.

Read More