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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How's Your Radar?

While they were here visiting, my mother and had lots of time to talk.  One of the topics was about why I made decisions that I did during my early adult-hood and such.  Clearly my 'radar' wasn't working for disfunctional relationships and the red flags that may have saved me from pain and difficulty.  When I saw an article about "Filtering Relationships," I so wished I could have learn these things earlier in life. 

But it also got me thinking about what other kinds of people I have learned to filter out of close relationships.  The author, Donald Miller, identifies false victims, bullies and overly religious.  I would add
  • Takers and Overly Needy
  • Self-Centered and Indulgent
  • Mean Spirited
  • Controllers  

Miller continues with, "All of this may sound calloused, but as we get older, we realize there are people in the world who refuse to mature. Maturity means we are honest, safe and transparent. A mature person understands their faults and admits to them. An immature person is looking for power in some kind of game.  If you want to be mature, surround yourself by mature people.  Am I being unkind, leaving people behind? Perhaps. But being left behind was their decision. If a person wants to lie, make fun of others or not deal with their own depravity, they need to spend some time alone until they can learn to grow up."

He cites the book Safe People and I would add Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  Maturing to the place where I have freedom to determine the kind of people in my circle has been an important growth pattern of my last decade.  I hope that my filter continues to sharpen gracefully.

What types of people would you add to the list?  Do you find it challenging to intentionally eliminate people from your close circle?  I do sometimes, but I'm getting over that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Family Matters

My parents are in town visiting and I am so thankful for their ongoing relationship in our lives.  They are my greatest cheerleaders, my most ardent supporters and arrive to make life easier not more stressful.  What a gift that is!
We've got a few more days to enjoy the togetherness.  I'll be soaking up Downton Abbey on Netflix with my mother and enjoying the praise of my Father.  My daughter will churn out more artwork and crafts than usual as Nana feeds the muse within her.  The boys will laugh extra hard with Papa and we'll all have fun in the usual routine tasks made more meaningful because the extra people in our home.

I am so thankful for the family into which I was born.  The constant and consistent love, the generous encouragement and praise, the knowledge that they are always for me are themes which have made my life more abundant - even on the very worst days.   Thank you, Mother & Daddy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games: Situations that Require Action

Stock Image Source: Murray Close
At midnight last night (this morning?), Mr. Wonderful and I joined his youngest daughter and her cousin at the premier of The Hunger Games.  Yes, I'm paying for it as I sit at my desk this morning and I'll be catching up all weekend, but it was worth the excitement, the buzz and the fun of a late night.  I had fun making a memory with Mr. Wonderful's daughter, too!  I think this is called bonding.

I knew I wasn't going to have time to read the books prior to seeing the movie, so I read as much as I could about the plot and characters.  It was easy to root for the protagonist as she is forced to make choices she never wanted to make.  Life is that way - we all find ourselves in situations that leave us with choices we wish we never needed to make.  I think it is those very moments that often define us. 

Jennifer Lawrence did such an excellent job of conveying that mix of emotion and determination.  She allowed Katniss to be a mix of strength and vulnerability while retaining the optimism of youth and the grittiness of challenging times.  While watching, I could tell there were subplots not fully developed and so now I'm going to have to borrow the books and catch up.  I'm looking forward to it!

Do you enjoy any pop culture trends?  Are you going to see The Hunger Games?  Have you read the books?  Are there choices you have made even though you never wished to?  How have these choices defined your life?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Moody Monday: Spring Break Hangover!

Monday morning comes early after a week of relaxed schedule and spring time change.  Ours was a little rough.  All the "together" time was wonderful and we enjoyed a couple of days at a nearby waterpark, lots of outdoor play, walks at the park along with video games and general laziness.  The children also got to spend several days with Daddy, but after being together nonstop for several days, they are pushing each others' buttons and getting easily annoyed.  It's driving me a little crazy and I'm not sure how to be referee!  I've tried not stepping in, but then the conflicts seem to easy solution.

I'm thoroughly enjoying our early spring and waking to the sounds of birds chirping.  Getting outside energizes me and our tulips are already blooming - almost a month earlier than most years!

Mr. Wonderful and I have had some recent "Defining The Relationship" talks.  He remains my heart's desire and we are making plans for Easter and even a vacation this summer.

Later this week my parents will arrive and we're all excited about a bit of Nana & Papa time!  Spring is such a hopeful season and I've got a big dose of it this year.

May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You're Already Amazing

Stock Image
This delightful book by Holly Gerth begins with a dare to believe that, "You don't have to do more, be more, have more."  It's a tough premise to accept from the get-go, yet one that we each long to believe in our souls.  Our culture's demand of MORE constantly bombards the truth that you, that I am enough.

Readers will genuinely feel they have set down with a friend who will pour love and truth into hearts that may be a bit world weary.  With gentle, interactive  exercises her book offers insight for each of us to know ourselves while identifying our strengths and accept where we have room for growth.  Women of all ages and seasons of life will appreciate the encouraging words and sense the love of Christ as described by Gerth.

"The goal is not perfection.  It's simply to be in an intimate relationship with Christ each day, fully embrace who he created us to be, and seek to fulfill the purpose he has for us."  (page 29) This phrase echoes the principle on which I strive to live that perfection is not the goal of our life.  Pick up a copy today and be encouraged by the truth shared by Gerth.  It would make a wonderful gift or use the questions in back for a group study. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review. All views are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Movie Mojo

Recently, I was asked about my top ten movie list...and I didn't really have a quick answer!  So after thinking about it, here's what I decided:
  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Gone With The Wind
  3. Braveheart
  4. Shawshank Redemption
  5. Silence of the Lambs
  6. Life is Beautiful
  7. Titanic
  8. Princess Bride
  9. Out of Africa
  10. Up
Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare in Love, Never Been Kissed, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Grease, Young Victoria, King's Speech, Indiana Jones series, Bridget Jones Diary ~ These all deserve honorable mention and I'm sure I've missed some!  What's your favorite movie?  What will you always stop to watch if you catch it on?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Prayer and the Single Life

Being the only grown-up in a household can lend to some solitary times.  Some may call this loneliness, but I'm one who tends to enjoy a bit of alone time and so I try to frame these hours more positively - solitude.  Space to think.  Free time.  The truth is, those hours after the children are in bed and before I drift to sleep myself are lonely.  Often I call family or friends, work on household tasks, read. 

photo source:   
I noticed that I began talking out loud during my times of solitude, then I realized I was really talking to God.  To Jesus, actually.  It didn't even seem odd and since I was all by myself so I kept doing it.  I would talk to Him about everything: my budget, concerns with the chidlren, frustrations about ex, the discontent I sometimes feel...I began saying goodnight to Him as the last thing before I fall asleep and often talk to Him first thing in the morning.  When I describe it, it does sound sort of silly yet this ongoing conversation has meant so much to me. 

Recently I was in a discussion group about prayer and some were sharing how we could all use more time in prayer ... I genuinely thought, "I don't know if I could spend more time in prayer."  It wasn't a prideful thought, or thinking I had arrived.  The truth is I pray for my sanity, to sense someone is aware and hearing me in my ups and downs.  I know Christ is with me always, so I take advantage of that to speak to the only person available.

I don't often think about it, but the truth is single life has enhanced my prayer life by leaps and bounds!  How do you deal with loneliness?  Is your prayer life better or worse than a different season of life?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Moody Monday: Get Your Spring On!

I conquered a house full of chores this weekend and it feels so good to start the week fresh.  Granted, none of it was extra, clean-out-the-clutter, type of work.  Mostly just catch up on the things which need to be done.  I wore myself out and literally fell asleep between loads of laundry! 

I'm ready to tackle our week, which isn't overly busy, but does contain several goals for our little household: 
  • Complete thank you notes from recent birthday.
  • Wash van  - inside and out (neeeeeeds it!)
  • Sort seasonal clothing
  • Weed garden plots - yes, it's time!
I realize that my Mondays tend to start out well and I look forward to a fresh week and getting things accomplished.  Does anyone have more exciting plans than me?

Friday, March 2, 2012

March Madness

For the next two weeks, I will have no parenting breaks, except for the time that I'm at work.  While co-parenting brings lots of challenges, I also grateful for the breaks in time to regroup and reset.  So, I'm anticipating some challenges as I manage our busy lives.  But I've also learned that we do quite well with the consistency of staying in our home, with our schedule and routines.  The children seem to thrive with the 'sameness' and a sense of calm settles. 
More and more, I notice that X and I have the same patterns of repeated conflict.  I feel I can predict when a situation will escalate into conflict and it helps me remain calm and prepared.  There are triggers which almost always elicit a negative response from my former spouse.  I try not to push these buttons, but it can't always be avoided. 
We have a birthday party for baby boy this weekend.  Otherwise I will be found scrubbing and organizing our home from top to bottom.  Too many overscheduled weeks have left us in need of some deep cleaning.  The spring weather has given me the fever and it's time for a good spring cleaning -  I can't wait!

What are your plans - do share!