2018 Update. So Far.

I just read my Happy 2018 post and a) that was already 4 months ago. Wow. And b) it seemed like an update to that might be a good place to start with my renewed desire to blog. Which hopefully turns into something more than once every few months.

  1. Small shifts. I’ve seen the shifts begin to take root. Probably the biggest one is that I’m not going to just quit stuff because it doesn’t go well like I used to. My mindset is more along the lines of “just get back to it” when I make poor choices. In the past, I was far more likely to throw my hands up and give up. But I’m recognizing that whatever good changes I want to make in my life need to be for the duration of my life. It’s not a short sprint with a quick finish line. So I have to just keep coming back over and over and over again.
  2. Power Sheets – I rocked them in January. Not so much in February. Or March. Or April. And now that I think about it, May is in the not so much category as well. It was super helpful to use the Tending Sheet and maybe I’ll start that back up again. Or maybe not. Part of the mindset shift is figuring out what works and letting go of what doesn’t.
  3. While Flourish is the word, it’s kind of been sitting on the back burner. Maybe Perseverance is more appropriate. However, I also think that flourishing will happen as I persevere. So maybe they’re actually joined and the flourishing will begin to show up. I know I’ll be watching for it.
  4. The house. Well, I’ve been keeping it up a little better than in the past. Sometimes. I can still use some help here. I was recently thinking that instead of splitting all the chores up throughout the week that I might just take care of the entire house in one day. Then I don’t really have to think about it so much the other six days. Maybe that’s a better system for me. We’ll see. It’s also a good thing we paid some bills off since January – April was a much slower season with much smaller paychecks for my sweet husband.
  5. Cathy Zielske’s Fit 2018 course. I haven’t exactly followed along with the tracking and everything, although I still keep up a bit in the closed Facebook group. However, I have joined Weight Watchers (for the umpteenth time, but that’s not important). The Freestyle program is actually super easy to follow, especially with tracking via the app. In almost 3 months, I’ve lost 13 pounds and I’m really good with that. It’s nothing crazy fast, but I didn’t put the extra weight on crazy fast, either. My water intake has improved a lot. And I’m walking. A lot. So in relation to #1 above, when I choose things that aren’t the best for me (like the 41 point Salted Caramel Milkshake at Smashburger!), I just keep coming back to the program and the tracking. No matter how many times it takes.

There are plenty of other things going on, but this is good for now. And that will give me material for future posts. Posts in May. Of this year, even. What a concept.

And Smashburger’s Salted Caramel Milkshake with Haagen-Daaz ice cream? Dead to me.

long and short hair

Oh yeah. I also got my hair cut short again. Shorter than I really wanted, but that way I could donate it. And it grows fast, so it’ll be where I want it before long.

 

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Minor Irritants

Yep, a rant is in order. And I know, this is nothing of major importance in the whole scheme of life. Totally a first world problem. But it’s one of those stupid little thing that is super annoying and I often let this type of thing mess up my day and waste my time. Ugh.

I signed up with an online company  for a monthly club wherein I will get a box of paper crafting/journaling goodies each month. The first month was majorly discounted, so I thought it was a good opportunity. My package was in the hands of UPS on Wednesday. It showed an estimated arrival date of Tuesday, February 13th. Okay, cool.

I checked the tracking on Monday (yeah, a silly compulsion) only to discover that it had been handed off to the USPS (I hate that gig, btw. It never seems to go well!). Not only did the US Postal Service now have it, it was already out for delivery on Monday, February 12th – a whole entire day early! Shocker. Usually that transition means the package will be a day or two later than the original date. But it never arrived. Sigh. Fine. It’ll be here Tuesday, which was my originally anticipated date anyway.

Tuesday comes and no package.

IMG_8102 mailbox-xsm

So here we are on Wednesday (yes, it’s only ONE WHOLE DAY past the estimated arrival date) and the mail arrived early (yippee!) with NO PACKAGE. What the heck?

I go online to investigate a bit further and here is what the USPS website shows for tracking information.

February 12, 2018, 6:27 pm 
No Access
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80XXX
We attempted to deliver your item at 6:27 pm on February 12, 2018 in COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80XXX but could not complete the delivery because the employee did not have access to the delivery location. Your item will go out for delivery on the next business day.

What is that supposed to mean? We live in a house. We have a mailbox. We have a front door. At no time does the postal worker have NO ACCESS TO THE DELIVERY LOCATION. In fact, I was here at 6:27 pm and there was no attempted delivery, no ring of the doorbell, nothing. But that was Monday. It will be out for delivery on the next business day.

NOT.

And NOT the NEXT business day, either.

However, I can do nothing at all. Not a cotton-picking thing.

Unless my package has been missing for 30 days, the post office won’t even consider this an issue.

Since UPS handed it off to the USPS, they’ll be of no help.

And the company I ordered from? They won’t consider it missing for 30 days, either. And since it’s a monthly subscription kit, it’s not like these are regularly stocked items. And if they’re out of stock, they’ll refund my money. Well that pretty much bites. By the time 30 days passes, it’s very likely they won’t have any more of them. GRRR. So the reason I joined the club will be completely negated.

Happy 2018

There have been so many things flying around in my head as we move into 2018.

1. Biblically, the number seven represents completion. The number eight represents new beginnings. In many ways, I feel like 2018 is going to be different. During 2017 there were a number of small shifts in my life and I think they’ll impact my 2018.

One big shift that I am really enjoying is that I’ve been able to spend more time just being creative. Not always to a specific end, just creating. Some art journaling, a bit of mixed media, some fun memory keeping and journaling in my traveler’s notebooks, and hand lettering, to name a few. Of course, spending less time on social media has definitely contributed to this. As does having a cleaner room/studio/space. I never really know what to call this room. I do all the things in here. In fact, some days I pretty much live there, minus a few trips to the kitchen and bathroom.

2. I can’t say that I’ve been sad or in a bad place starting other years, but I think I’ve always felt like I’d made no progress in the previous year; that I was in the exact same place. It probably wasn’t always true, but as humans we’re so prone to notice the negative. This year, however, I’m much more hopeful and excited to see what God has in store.

I don’t like to set New Year’s resolutions as they’re usually just a big guilt-inducing bust. But I did buy Power Sheets for the 2016 year and only ended up doing the prep work. So I picked them back up in October and since not much had really changed in terms of goals and desires, I’m going with what I have along with a little tweaking.

3. In recent years, I’ve picked a word (or words) for the year. This year my word is Flourish and it’s turning up everywhere – in Scriptures, on my Starbucks cup ornament (long before I chose the word), and other places. Just one of many ways I see God’s Spirit weaving little details of my life together.

4. We finished 2017 with our house in better shape than it’s been probably since we moved in. We’ve gotten rid of a lot of things and there’s more to go, but it’s really great to have some breathing room at home. We also were able to get a few bills paid off and others paid down, so financially we’re in a better place. Neither the house nor the finances are completely where we’d like, but both got a boost, which further motivates me to keep pressing on to more progress.

5. I signed up for Cathy Zielske’s FIT 2018. While I didn’t accomplish a lot last year, the one thing that did change is that I actually drink water now. Not always as much as I should, but I do drink it regularly. For a girl whose veins flowed Dr Pepper for many years, that’s huge. No, the Dr Pepper isn’t gone, but it’s decreased quite a bit. So let’s see what I can accomplish this year.

Overall, I just feel more hopeful, purposeful, and motivated about the new year than I have in the past. It’s an exciting place to be.

 

Rant Turned to Gratitude

My husband has a tooth that is broken and needs to be addressed. He’s been using some temporary filling stuff and that’s worked. Until it didn’t. It started hurting a bit on Friday (always!) and wasn’t much fun through the weekend. By Monday, it was getting bad. He called our dentist, but they are scheduled three weeks out. So he toughed out another day, taking far too much Advil and Tylenol, eating very little, and sleeping horribly. Then this morning he called to get a referral to someone else.

I rescheduled my massage took him to the oral surgeon this afternoon to get this taken care of. It just kills me when he’s hurting. Following his appointment, he was in a LOT of pain because the dental chair wasn’t comfortable for his neck, so that morphed into a bad headache. I don’t even know how his mouth is because his head hurt so much. I got him home and settled, then went to get his prescriptions filled. No, they weren’t electronically submitted, because the powers that be won’t allow one of them to be filled that way any longer. Okay, fine. Obviously this will delay things a bit more. I couldn’t stop on the way home because he hurt too much and needed to lay down.

It would take 30-40 minutes to fill them, the pharmacist said. Did I want to wait? Yes. He really needs some pain relief. I wandered around the store for a bit, picked up a couple things, put one back, and went to sit in the waiting area. Naturally, I pulled out my phone, figuring I could catch up a little on email, Instagram, or Facebook. Or something. Well, wouldn’t you know, the pharmacy area has no cell signal. Which I understand. But the waiting area? Come on, people, move things around and at least let your customers have service in the only area of the store they actually have to hang out for awhile. Ugh.

So I walked to the front of the store, leaned on a display out of the way, and scrolled through Facebook. But apparently I looked like I might need help, as the girl working in the Photography Department asked if I needed anything. Nope. Just waiting. About that time, they paged hubby’s name. Yep, 30 minutes later.

I got his prescriptions (all 4 of them), paid for everything, and headed home. As I was riding home, feeling a little annoyed about the extra time while my husband was in pain, it occurred to me that even in this, we are incredibly blessed.

We live in a place where he could get helped today. I was able to take him to his appointment (I don’t think he could’ve gotten himself there with the pain he had). We have dental insurance which will cover the majority of today’s bill. He could get prescriptions today. He has a home to come to and a bedroom with a bed in which to rest. He also has a number of people praying for him. Without posting it on FB. And his pain will be gone before long. It won’t be chronic.

It’s that perspective thing. I run into it often. Or more likely the Holy Spirit is reminding me that things aren’t as bad as they could be, even when they’re difficult. And so I am grateful and praying as he’s resting in the next room.

p.s. – thank you, no REALLY, THANK YOU to the oral surgeon’s office music for leaving me with Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. {insert eye roll}

Small Shifts

In December I signed up for Cathy Zielske’s FIT 2017 class. I would say “again” but the last time I signed up, it was for 2016. Yeah, details. In typical Dianne fashion, I pretty much fell off the proverbial wagon about a week or two. Oh, I’d think about tracking that wagon down every so often, but not for long.

So I really debated about even trying again. Would this year be any different? Did I have any chance of actually sticking with it? I guess that remains to be seen, but I have noticed a small shift in my thinking this time. For one thing, I’m all about the baby steps. That’s a big change for me. I’m usually an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Which lasts for an extremely short period of time since once I’ve slipped up, I’ve missed the goal of ALL.

water-tracker-optIt started with water intake, which I’ve already written about here. It’s still going well. I’m fairly consistent in drinking 8-16 ounces first thing out in the morning, which helps a lot.

I also began walking, usually with one of the boys, but sometimes by myself. It helps that Colorado has had some unseasonably warm temps this year. After the first walk in January, I knew I really wanted another Fitbit since my Zip had died last year. So I picked up an Alta and that’s helping to increase my daily steps, especially since it’s kind enough to remind you if you haven’t met your hourly goals. I find myself walking circles in the house sometimes just to get those steps in.

img_5438One more area I’m often not good with is sleep. Fortunately, the Alta tracks that, too, I’m doing a little better there, too, as far as getting enough sleep. Now I just need to go to sleep a bit earlier.

I just seem to have a small shift in my perspective. Making changes feels like it’s less of a big deal, but more of a matter-of-fact, just do what I need to do. Drink more water. Walk a few more steps. Whatever.

Even though a very small shift may seem unnoticeable in the beginning, after awhile you’ll find that you’ve actually made a significant course change. My overarching goal for all of these changes is to just keep at it. Even when I stumble, fall, or completely bail, just get back to it as soon as I can and be merciful and kind to myself.

I’m hopeful that small shifts in perspective will result in some eventual big changes.

Seemingly Insignificant Choices, 33 Years Later

Tonight, John and I went out for Mexican food on a date night. I picked tonight specifically because July 20, 1983 was on a Wednesday and it was the night that we met. He worked at the Alpine Slide at Ski Broadmoor in the evenings and on weekends. My sister and I decided to go ride the slide that night, as I’d never been and she had gone the week before and said it was fun. John was the lift operator and the one who punched tickets and put people onto the lift. Our first conversation went like this:

John (to Susan and me): Did I punch your tickets?

Susan: No.

Me: Yes. (hides ticket behind back, flirts with cute guy in OP shorts and a polo shirt asking if he’d punched the tickets)

John: If you wanted a free ride, why didn’t you say so?

Me: Why didn’t you tell me?

John: Do I have to tell you everything?

Me: No, I guess you don’t.

broadmoor_alpineslideAnd there you have it. A seemingly random decision to go ride the Alpine Slide on a seemingly random Wednesday evening. A seemingly random and flirty conversation and 33 years later, here we are about ready to celebrate 30 years of marriage (next month) and still very much in love.

You never can tell where your choices will lead you. Some may truly be insignificant. Others might affect you forever.

Manna Living

When God provided the children of Israel with manna, it was a daily provision (except on the 6th day, when He gave them two days’ worth so they didn’t have to work on the day of rest, the Sabbath). But any more than just what they needed and it got wormy and stinky. The point was to trust God for His provision each and every day, knowing that He had already promised to provide for them.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:4-5

So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer (2 quarts or 3 1/2 quarts or 1/2 gallon dry measure) for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.'” Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16:15-20

Interesting – I never noticed this part until typing the verses out, but in verse 4 the Lord says,

Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them whether they will walk in My law or not.

Will they trust Him? Will they obey what He has said? God gave the promise and the provision. It seems that some did and some didn’t. Which I suppose is indicative of my own walk today. Do I trust Him? Well, let’s back up a moment. Do I know what He has said? Do I know His promises? And when I do learn of them, do I trust Him and His word? Does He provide situations in which He is testing me? No doubt. Not sure how well I do, though. I know of more times that I mess up, probably because my focus tends to be on the negative side of things.

Where I often struggle is that I want to hang onto today’s provision for tomorrow and the next week and next year, because it was so good and such a blessing. His Word today might’ve spoken volumes to me, so I want to hang onto that. A particular Bible study really ministers to me, so I must hang onto it, too. A teaching I listened to brought conviction and encouragement. So I need to hang onto it as well.

IMG_1547-wheat

But what if I could look at life through the lens of Manna Living? Yes, that was the word I needed to hear on that particular day – and certainly it can still speak to me the next day and the next. But it doesn’t mean that it has to be memorialized and preserved forever. Because tomorrow I will likely need a different word from God. While keeping records and journals can be good, and certainly it’s a blessing to go back and remember what God has done and the stories of our lives, it has to be balanced with living here and now, depending upon God for today’s manna, and trusting Him with tomorrow’s needs.

Even in the Lord’s prayer, we’re told to pray for daily provision – “Give us this day our daily bread.” Provide what we need today, Lord. Not looking to stockpile for next week or next year. Does that mean it’s wrong to plan ahead and make preparations? I don’t believe so. The same God also says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8

In Genesis 41, “And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.” Clearly He has them plan ahead and store food here. But I believe that there are a couple of issues at hand:

  1. We have to trust God to provide – in whatever way HE chooses to provide. It may be daily, it might be through storing up and planning ahead. But no matter HOW He chooses, we have to keep our focus and our trust in Him, and Him alone. We are not to begin to trust in the reserves that we have stored up.
  2. We can only know God’s desire for us as we spend time in our relationship with Him. We can’t know which He would have us each do if we don’t communicate with Him AND listen to His leading.

It always comes back to our relationship with Him and our faith and trust in Him and His word.