Its my birthday!

33 years I have been rotating around the sun. I don’t feel 33 years old. I am not sure what that is supposed to feel like. I don’t feel as old as the people I knew were this age when I was younger.

I am excited for 33. I pray that this year is truly my best year yet. I say that every year and then the end of that year comes and I don’t necessarily feel that way. I told someone the other day that even year birthdays have not be great for me, so I hope this year is better. My 30th birthday was not great. I didn’t do anything to celebrate and tried to through something together last minute that wasn’t representative of my awesome party throwing skills. I don’t have an issue getting older. I still look like I am in college and I know this to be true because I work with high school students and there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that someone is mistaking me for a student.

My biggest issue with birthdays is that they are a reminder of all the things that I still need to get done. I don’t feel that way so much this year. I finally have been obdienet to all the things God wanted me to do. That right there just takes a weight off my shoulders. I still don’t have a baby but for the most part I am ok with that. I am working on TRUST. That is what God wants me to do.

I have a great trip planned for my birthday this year which I am excited about. A girls trip and trip with my husband. Right now I am currently in Toronto living it up.

32 is was not as bad as I initially thought it was. I made a list in April of all things I wanted before the summer was over I had those things. I would have never imagined that it would happen so quickly and with little intervention from me. God set those things in motion. I grew a lot last year, not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I had too. It has made me better though. My blog has grown. My writing has gotten better and I have taken additional steps to grow in my craft. I am a creative. Who would have thought?!

 

Doing the work (23)

This summer is going by fast. I don’t feel like I have done as much partying as I did last summer. I had quite a breakthrough last summer in focusing on my self care and really doing the work to be a better person. I came out of that experience refreshed. I just start writing for my blog. I had good the goals or things I wanted to accomplish. God did all of them but one. You could probably guess which one that was. I was very pleased. I must admit though that list was pretty surfacey, superficial. It was mostly about partying and hanging out, having fun with my husband and my friends. I knew this year I would do the same thing. Make this list to God and ask him to help me do things that I wanted to accomplish. It was much harder for me to write it this time though.

I started this list in April, but every time I would sit down to write it, I just couldn’t do it. I would stumble and stutter and end up talking to God about random stuff, not what I really what I wanted to do. I couldn’t understand what was taking me so long why i just couldn’t spit it out. Part of that was because if I really asked God for something and worked on it and he didn’t do it I would be faced with disappointment yet again.

I just didn’t think that I could do that again. God’s track record is proven. So I decided to go for it. Knowing that I need to put the work in. I always thought that if I put the work in that I would be trying to help God.

That just isn’t true. He doesn’t need my help, he needs effort. Effort can be difficult when you aren’t seeing results, but that is where true perseverance comes in.

wish

I gave God my list and I started putting the work in. It has certainly been harder but also more rewarding. I am making long lasting changes. Changes that aren’t just a change in action but a change in thought process, with action to back it up. Its been a challenge but I feel good. I have definitely grown this summer and taken some steps back. Change is not a linear process. I couldn’t always say that.  Growth is also recognizing that things take time.

What-success-looks-like

Lessons from 100 posts (21)

  1. Blogging is more than writing. I have read this a few times from various places. Its not that I forget but writing is already so much that I don’t take as much time out for the other stuff. I’m not writing for money or anything like that. I do want people to read what I write though. I want a website that is pretty to the eye as well as the words being good. People certainly judge a book by its cover.
  2. You also need to consistently read other people’s work and comment on their posts. I have had so much going on that I haven’t been reading much on WordPress. I haven’t been engaging in my blog as much as I was earlier this year. I noticed the visible difference. I noticed that when I read other people posts it drives them to my blog. This sounds like common sense but until I did it myself, I didn’t take it seriously.
  3. Sometimes its better to start something and do research later. This sounds weird as I write it because it goes against the very person I am. I am a classic researcher. I love gathering information. I read a lot of posts about the top ten things to do to get your blog to grow. Lately I have been reading books on how to write, how to start, etc. That research was helpful but it also delayed me. It was a stall tactic and  I didn’t really “get it” though. It is much more clear now that I am in the midst actually engaging in what I am trying to do. I can see the actual real time happenings of this advice.

 

Bored with your prayer life? (2)

If you pray a couple times a day then you may feel like you are using the same prayers over and over. I know I do and I feel bad. I don’t want God to get annoyed because my prayers are routine and flat. I read online a few years ago that one way to add some variety to your prayer time was to use worship songs. It is much easier for me to remember the words to worship songs sometimes than it is to remember scripture. Lots of worship songs have scripture in them anyway. I went back and started copying the lyrics of my favorite worship songs and it has vastly improved my prayer life. I am not as bored doing it and I feel better giving God a little more as well. Sometimes when I am stressed and can’t recall a scripture I think back to those songs and those lyrics help calm me down.

I listen to a lot of worship music so there isn’t any one song or artist that I go too but I do try to find songs that describe how God is and talking about his character. I want God to know I recognize how awesome he is, even though I can’t always find the words to convey that.

These are just some examples if you click on the link the lyrics are scrolling across the screen.

 How Great is our God -Jonathan Nelson
Because of who you are-Vicki Yohe
Nobody Greater-Vashawn Mitchell
Holy is our God- James Fortune

Total Praise-Richard Smallwood

Oh Lord, How Excellent-New Jersey Mass Choir

 

 

Keep that same energy

I just got back from vacation and it was amazing. My husband knows how to show me a good time. It was exactly what we needed after having a rough winter. I love to travel, going places doing things, just being out of my house and doing something new. Research shows that it’s easier to get through your days if you are planning a vacation or have something to look forward to. Why is that? Shouldn’t we have joy in our day to day?

Keep that same energy is Teyana Taylor new album title. I haven’t listened to it but the title really got me thinking. How do you do that? Once you get back from vacation why is there such a plateau, such a crash? It literally has a name…post vacation blues. When you are on vacation there is such a high and when you get back home its like, uh, let me get back to the grind. I want to break that cycle.

When I got home I didn’t get all sad, like man my vacation is over. Instead I’m making the best of my time here. I’m taking that just go with the flow vacation vibe and carrying that into my work week. I dont want to be down and just waiting to leave again. I want to enjoy my time in my home and in my city, just like I do on vacation.

I want to keep that same energy. I want to be carefree and let the stress roll of my back.

How am I am going to do that?

1. Be here now- when I am vacation I’m not on my phone. I am just enjoying each moment. I will continue that philosophy when I am home, limiting my time on social media and group chats. This way I am in control of what I take in.

2. Quiet time- when I am on vacation I dont have to rush through my devotional. I really get good one on one time with God. It is harder to not rush my devotional at home but it can be done, I just have to be more intentional with my time.

3. Be active- if you can believe it, even though I did a lot of laying around on vacation I actually exercised every day too. Definitely not something I do at home nor will I necessarily be able to duplicate but I can get close. Being active puts me in a better mood than laying around. Instead of getting off work and trying to catch up on shows or social media and I am going to try to do some physical activity.

4. Try new things- best thing about vacation is trying stuff you wouldn’t normally do at home. That can be anything, new food, drinks or experiences. Why can’t we do that at home? I am lucky that I live in a city that I can find all kinds of new things. So once a month I am going to try and find something or someplace I have never been before.

I know none of these things are super hard but it is the small things that make vacation great. If I bring all the small things I like about vacation into my every day life then I can bring a little bit of vacation back with me.

Broken

 

Broken-
having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order 

(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.

I used to think I was broken using both definitions. That I was living a lie, that I was going out in the world and acting like everything was ok when it wasn’t. I felt like something inside of me was broken and could not be fixed. I had a hole in my heart that was irreparable. I tried a lot of this but nothing could fill it, not partying, not work, not my friends, not my husband, everything I was trying to do wasn’t working.

So in my last resort I turned to God. I’m glad I did. I learned I’m not broken. God made me this way. He has plans for me that are good. I didn’t always believe that or understand but I stayed in the word. It made a huge difference on my outlook in life. There is beauty in my brokenness. I wouldn’t have grown in my relationship with God if I wasn’t broken. Everyday is practice in reminding myself that I have to meet no one expectations but my own.

If you feel broken just know you don’t have to stay that way. There is a way out. You won’t be able to do it on your own, not long lasting. Getting out of your head and closer to God is the only long term solution and potentially seeing a therapist.

Updated: since I wrote the above words Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have both committed suicide. This has sparked debate about what role does prayer and God specifically play in mental health. I think that God is our first resource in working on our mental health. Getting into your bible, prayer, fasting, meditating, it’s all an important part of the healing process. We can’t do it on our own and believing you can may be a fatal mistake. You need tools to overcome things you have been through. Seek help if you need it.

Not in crisis

I felt like at the beginning of the year I was always talking to God about something and he was talking to me. I felt like there were some things he wanted me to work on and I was definitely going through a pruning phase. I do not feel like that now. I don’t know if the devil is messing with me because things are going really well. I have still been doing all the things I normally do for the most part. I was sick all last week, so I didn’t do much reading or writing because it physically hurt to do so. I have caught up on my Bible in a year plan. Thankfully I wasn’t too far behind. Something seems like its missing though. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is wrong just something seems off. Things on paper are great but I feel distant from God.

I know as always that is not him that moved but me. I know that I have to be intentional about keeping the fire in our relationship going. I know also not to trust my feelings because feelings will lead you astray. I don’t want my relationship with God to be me moving from crisis to another. I want to continually feel his presence. If I think hard enough I am sure there are some things I am supposed to be doing that I have not done. Not many though. Thank goodness! I have been down that road before and it can be a miserable one. I also know I have been spending a lot of scrolling through Instagram. It was the only thing I could really do on the internet while I was sick. It was mindless and took no effort. I am going to make some tweaks and see how I feel next. My creative juices don’t seem to be flowing as much either which is why I haven’t been writing. I am going to write a separate post about that.

Do you ever feel just a little off? If you do, how did you get over it?