Friday, July 31, 2009

Freedom Friday- The Elephant in the Room




We recently moved from a two bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome that had a big closet under the stairs, two hallway closets, and a small storage shed. We sized down to a one bedroom, one bath apartment with a HUGE walk-in closet, one tiny coat closet, and a laundry/storage closet. Essentially, we had to do some major downsizing. I was already pretty disorganized at the old house, but it was all hidden in our guest bedroom... Now this is what we are left with in what should be our dining room-

So, my goal for this next week is to get all of this in it's proper place. Most of it is going in our closet, but I'm not going to just throw it in there. I want to give everything it's own space. Quite a bit of this belongs in my filing cabinet which was moved over empty... That will be a project all in itself another week (or three). And some of that stuff is just plain not going to continue living with us.

This is our closet, which as you can see has a ton of possibilities and I'm trying to maximize our effective use of the space. If you have any suggestions, I need all the help I can get!


video

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday


* For family history- it's comforting knowing where you came from...
* for road trips with intense and honest coversations, something we really needed and so glad I understand now.
* for late nights of card games with the family
* for you being so close to my family, such a part of it- it's truly amazing and wonderful
* for having the gumption to say what needed to be said, even if I regret it later...
* for plans and goals... our future looks so bright
* for enough being enough, finally

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Winning Wednesday- Week 1

Awww, isn't he precious?

A girl I went to high school with is now a portrait photographer with a quite successful business in Lubbock. I know this because she has photographed most of my friend's children and families. You can check out her work HERE.

So what does this have to do with Winning Wednesday??? I want one. A baby. In ways that I don't even know how to express. My body just gravitates towards them and I'm left with a yearning that defies all logic. It's time, and I know it with every fiber of my being...

The rub is that I have to do some serious work on my health first. Of course that includes losing some weight, but more importantly it means making some serious lifestyle changes. I know what I need to do, but I've lacked the motivation... but not any more.

I am not even going to call it dieting- I'm not going to count calories or points or whatever. I am just going to eat what is good and in the right proportions. And I'm going to get some exercise. And I'm going to take vitamins. And I'm going to get enough sleep. And I'm going to do everything that I need to do to be healthy.

I will be posting every week with pictures and progress. But first, I need your help!

Please suggest your favorite workout tunes! Mine is Knights of Cydonia by Muse... I am trying to fill up my iPod with motivating music!

Random Tuesday- My husband, the poet

I googled my husband's name yesterday and after some scrolling, I came across some of his poetry. I had completely forgotten that he has about 6 poems that he's written for me on Poetry.com. Most of them are from when we were dating and they were a much needed reminder of how sweet he can be. So, here's one from the dating days- Oh and you can check out more of his work HERE (if you're interested).

Jade

With a beauty that rivals the greatest of paintings
To feel your love is worth all the waiting
To have and to hold with a kiss and touch
Have you ever thought that someone would love you this much
With a caressing touch that makes my heart melt
I want you to feel the love I have felt
I look into your soft green eyes
Thanking the angels that you are mine.. all mine
So with a kiss I bid you goodnight
I know now that a love like this is so right
So sleep with the comfort of loving arms around you
And wake up knowing I am glad to have found you
Xavier Ledesma

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rolling Out The New Lineup!

First of all, you have to check THIS out... You can pick any color and it find Flickr photos that match... You can even pick multiple colors... I LOVE technology!

So with The Love Dare over and done with- I am super excited to announce my new blog lineup! Check it out-

Marriage Mondays-
I am going to continue doing The Love Dare and reporting updates every Monday.

Random Tuesdays- pretty much speaks for itself.

Winning Wednesdays- I am starting a new initiative to get healthy which will include losing some weight, but I am putting a positive spin on it and calling it Winning!

Thankful Thursday- This will be my weekly gratitude list...

Freedom Fridays- Commence operation organization! I am focusing on getting some order in our lives! I will be sharing our changes and progress!

I will be taking the weekends off unless I have some burning desire! I hope that you will continue to read!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Okay, so I'm totally ripping off Grateful Wednesday, but I think this would make a great addition to my new lineup that I will be rolling out next week! So, here goes!

*For getting to opportunity to go home for the Watson family reunion when I thought of about a million reasons I couldn't first.

*For our little trips to the bookstore and you letting me read for hours on end.

*For plans, opportunities, and setbacks- they all come and go as needed

* For friends who are as comfortable as an old pair of pajamas.

*For hot running water and a powerful shower head.

*For a creative outlet that was much needed

* For feeling like myself and actually knowing what that means.

* For puppies who hog blankets and lick my nose when I'm sleeping.

And lastly,

* For being so full of love, I feel like I will burst with childish giddiness... all the time

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 40- Love is a covenant

Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. --Ruth 1:16

Today's Dare-

Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. Perhaps, if appropriate, you could make arrangements to formally renew your vows before a minister and with family present. Make it a living testament to the value of marriage in God's eyes and the high honor of being one with your mate.

What has God revealed to you during the Love Dare? How have your views of your marriage changed? How committed are you to God and to your spouse? Who can you share this with as a testimony?

"The time is now, man or woman of God, to renew your covenant of love in all sincerity and surrender. Love is too holy a treasure to trade in for another, and too powerful a bond to be broken without dire consequences. Fasten your love afresh on this one the Lord has given you to cherish, prize, and honor. Your life together is before you. Dare to take hold of it and never let go. We dare you."


What a ride.

I am a crier with any emotion, but today the tears are flowing from a deep sense of gratitude, relief, and love. I am afraid that this may all sound contrite, but my entire life has changed forever. Just since the beginning of the year, I have gone from the darkest days to a spiritual awakening, and now having the most light and hope I've ever had in my life.

Some of you reading this know the darkness that has filled my life- abuse, molestation, abandonment, depression, and attempts at suicide. Even with all of these terrible events in my life, I've had a strong and loving family to hold me together. I've had enough inner strength and a desperate need to protect myself. That's why not many people know about these things, and even my very best friends didn't know how deeply depressed I was at one point.

I say all of this because even in the darkest days, when I was angry with God and denied His existence, I knew in my heart that He was there. And now I know without a shadow of a doubt that God loves me beyond anything that I will ever be able to understand. I have had the kind of spiritual awakening that I've hoped and dreamed of. I can't begin to describe it beyond saying that I am full with the spirit.

So, my question would be- What hasn't God revealed to me during the Love Dare?

My view on marriage haven't changed. I've always thought of marriage this way, but I have changed my views on love. I now know how to love my husband in the way that was intended for marriage to work. I choose to love him unconditionally. I am completely committed to God and my husband. I will sacrifice and give my all to both. I will be a vessel to carry God's love to my husband. Until my death.

I have shared this with all of you as a testimony. I pray that you have been blessed. I will continue to share this message with anyone I can. If you know someone who is struggling in marriage, please refer them to this blog. Maybe they will be inspired to take the dare.

I hope that Havie and I will renew our vows. We were not originally married in the church, and now that we are members, I think it would be wonderful to re-commit ourselves to the marriage. I guess we will see!

I am going to pass on the book to Havie now. I don't know if he will read it or not. I am not going to worry about that. I hope that he does, not for my benefit, but because I know that it has changed my life. I pray that it would do the same for him.

This is not the last of the dare for me. I will continue to do the dare forever. I plan to continue writing a blog once a week about it. Please continue reading!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 39- Love endures

Love never fails. -- 1 Corinthians 13:8

Today's Dare-

Spend time in personal prayer, then write a letter of commitment and resolve to your spouse. Include why you are committing to this marriage until death, and that you have purposed to love them no matter what. Leave it in a place that your mate with find it.

What were some of the hesitations you had in writing this letter? How do you expect your spouse to respond to it? How did God help you in writing it, and what did the process teach you about yourself?

The chapter begins like this: Of all the things love dares to do, this is the ultimate. Though threatened, it keeps pursuing. Though challenged, it keeps moving forward. Though mistreated and rejected, it refuses to give up. Love never fails... Woah, that's powerful.

I didn't initially have any hesitations in writing the letter. I was actually really excited about it because I knew it was the perfect opportunity to communicate some things that I needed and wanted to say, but didn't want to just come out and say.

Communication is one of our greatest weaknesses because we are pretty much polar opposites in that area and we are both so stubborn that we think each other should change. Thanks to a conversation with my mentor, I realized that we are both going to have to come half way to make it work. So, I am doing my part.

Anyway, I did have some moments of hesitation while writing the letter. I could feel myself holding back, and I think that God helped me through those moments of fear. I asked him to help me make sure I said everything I needed to say and put it in a way that he would understand clearly.

My husband usually surprises me with his reactions. I pray that the letter will touch his heart and give him faith in me. I know that he may not respond in that manner. I told him in the letter that he may no believe what he is reading, but that was okay. I knew that I needed to prove myself to him. I just asked me to keep his eyes and heart open to receive my love.

I pray that this is the beginning of a new phase in our relationship.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 38- Love fulfills dreams

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. --Psalm 37:4

Today's Dare-

Ask yourself what your mate would want if it was obtainable. Commit this to prayer, and start mapping out a plan for meeting some (if not all) of their desires, to whatever level you possibly can.

What has made you resistant to fulfilling your mate's desires in the past? How would it change your relationship if they knew their dreams were a priority to you? What desires are you attempting to meet?

Havie is a man of simple desires. He wants a family, a career he can excel at and be proud of, and he wants to be well respected in his home and community. Of course there are other things that he desires, but nothing extravagant or unattainable. I am committed to doing everything I can to see those desires met.

I've always wanted my husband to have everything he desired, but there have been some desires I have refused to help him obtain. It is totally selfishness on my part. I am willing to admit it. I've watched a particular family member of mine give everything she has in her marriage of over 50 years- and still be totally unappreciated. I am so fearful of finding myself in a similar situation.

I know that he will be surprised to see me trying to make some of his desires come to fruition. He will probably be a little wary at first, but I imagine that it will make us closer. I hope he will see that I care and I am willing to do anything for his happiness.

Besides some of the things I've already talked about like putting him through college and starting a family- I am going to do a better job of showing him respect in our home. That is going to take on several different forms, but at the end of the day- just being a better wife.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 37- Love agrees in prayer

If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father. --Matthew 18:19

Today's Dare-

Ask your spouse if you can begin praying together. Talk about the best time to do this, whether it's in the morning, your lunch hour, or before bedtime. Use this time to commit your concerns, disagreements, and needs before the Lord. Don't forget to thank Him for His provision and blessing. Even if your spouse refuses to do this, resolve to spend this daily time in prayer yourself.

What can you do to help your mate be willing for the two of you to begin praying together? If you agreed to pray together, what was it like? What did you learn from it?

This chapter basically says that praying together can guarantee with near 100 percent assurance that our life together would significantly improve. It may be the "one thing" that can save a marriage. And I believe that it's true. If two people can come together in earnest prayer together it can move mountains.

The problem comes in when the two people can't seem to come together...

He just isn't there yet. He half-heartedly agreed to do it, but not because he wanted to. Because he thought that he had to. I am not going to push him to join me, but I am committed to praying every morning and evening. I am going to read my bible in the evening. I will always invite him to join me. Hopefully he will see something in me that speaks to his heart.

He will come around in his time. I have faith.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 36- Love is God's Word

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. --Psalm 119:105

Today's Dare:

Commit to reading the Bible every day. Find a devotional book or other resource that will give you some guidance. If your spouse is open to it, see if they will commit to daily Bible reading with you. Begin submitting each area of your life to its guidance and start building on the rock.

What parts of your life are in the greatest need of God's counsel? Where do you feel the most susceptible to failure? What are you asking God to show you through His Word?

What a difference a weekend can make.

Last week, I was sharing with a friend that I was going to have to find a new church. We didn't think we would feel comfortable going back after we thought we had been judged by the Pastor. By Friday, after speaking to another person from the church about it, I had decided that 1. I had overreacted, 2. It wasn't right for me to be so unforgiving and ready to quit.

I had been talking to God all weekend and trying to figure out what I really wanted and needed. I am thirsting knowledge. Right now, my house is built on the sand of my own logic, my best guesses, and my latest reasoning. I know that if I don't seek to understand God's will, that my house will eventually fall. I have a real need to study His word and to understand the fundamentals. What I want is to grow my spirituality. I want to cultivate and deepen what I already have just based on my limited experiences so far.

So, I went to church Sunday with these things weighing on my heart. And through my Pastor's sermon, I got a very clear message from God. What I needed and wanted were right here. I was being called to put everything I had into not only seeking these things that I need and want, but into building this church. I knew that with or without my husband, this is what "I" had to do. I've never been so sure about something in all my life.

I am committing to reading the Bible everyday. If you have any devotionals or guides to recommend, they would be greatly appreciated. Additionally, if you have a Bible to recommend, I need some help in that area. I have a student bible that I am going to start with. I hope that Havie will want to read the Bible with my every day, but I am not going to push it on him. I know that he will need to come to the Lord in his way and his time, just as I have. I will continue to pray for him and his relationship with God everyday. I hope that I can be a role model for him.

I have so much to work on and to tell you the truth, I don't even know where to begin. My number one concern is to ask Him to help me let go of the many masks that I've used my entire life for protection. I have much forgiving to do. I have even more loving to do. With God's guidance, I'm sure I will find my way.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 34- Love celebrates godliness

[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. --1 Corinthians 13:6

Today's Dare:

Find a specific, recent example when your spouse demonstrated Christian character in a noticeable way. Verbally commend them for this at some point today.

What example did you choose to recognize? How many other ways could you celebrate their growth in godliness? How could you encourage them to persevere in it?

I actually completed this dare back in May. I'm not sure how I managed to think that I had posted this blog without ever actually posting it... LOL

My husband is one of the most giving people that I know. He is very generous, almost to a fault at times. Even when he has nothing to give monetarily, he is the guy that you can rely on. He is constantly pulling over to help people on the side of the road. He gives rides, helps people find work, and is just an all around go-to guy. I absolutely love this about him. I have to admit that I've been protective when I feel someone is taking advantage of him, but I've learned to let him do what he feels is right.

I am always proud of him, but I realized that I had never actually told him. I had never told him that I admired his Christian characteristic of giving. It didn't take me long to have the opportunity to praise him. On his way home that day, he helped a lady and her teenage daughter take care of a blow-out. When they offered him cash, he refused. And he does stuff like this all the time...

So, I told him that I was so proud of him. I told him that I thought it was an amazingly Christian characteristic and that I've always been proud of him. I told him that I was sorry I had never told him so before. He talked about how it was important to him to help people who truly needed it and that he sometimes didn't think helping certain people was the right thing to do if he knew or could tell that they weren't doing the right thing. I could tell that he was touched.

I think the praise alone will be enough for him to persevere... He has persevered all this time without it, but I know it makes him feel good to be recognized. I am going to do a better job of praising him when I see him doing something good. I know that I would like the same!

If you have any ideas, I am open to suggestions!

Day 35- Love is accountable

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. --Proverbs 15:22 NIV

Today's Dare-

Find a marriage mentor-- someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and loving with you. If you feel that counseling is needed, then take the first step to set up an appointment. During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.

Who did you choose? Why did you select this person? What do you hope to learn from them?

Wow, it's taken me a while to complete this dare... Not so much because of the dare itself, but because life happened. I could have haphazardly finished up the dare, but I truly wanted to be intentional and focused. So, I waited until I could give it my all. I can't believe I'm almost done!

The chapter illustrated the need for support outside of the marriage with a great analogy. It talked about how might sequoia trees can withstand lightning, wind and forest fires because unlike many trees, they interlock their roots with other sequoia trees around them.

I know that this is of special importance to me because I don't like to open up to more than a select few. I know that seems strange because I have opened up a bunch in this blog, but it feels like I'm talking to myself when I'm writing. I am very introverted and tend to isolate when I need to reach out the most.

I knew that I needed to pick someone that I was already comfortable with in order to make sure that I could actually open up. It was pretty easy for me to determine that my marriage mentor should be a good friend of mine, Brandy. I knew that she would be completely and lovingly honest with me. I don't want anyone to get their feelings hurt because I didn't ask them. I thought about everyone, I promise, but God told me this was the person who had helped lay the way for my first spiritual awakening, and she was the right person for the job.

I hope that I am going to learn the truth from her, and I know that if anyone can do it- she will.

Counseling may be the next step, but not necessarily for us as a couple to begin with. We were in marriage counseling a few years ago, but it wasn't very successful because we both have so much to deal with personally. I am waiting for my new insurance to get settled before I jump into anything.

As I'm closing up this blog, I want to take the time to thank my friends. You know who you are and you are truly precious to me. The few people that are close to me, are amazing. I love the fact that no matter where life has taken us or how much time has passed, we can always pick right up. You mean the world to me even if I don't manage to show it like I should/want to. I love you and I thank you!

(I just realized that eventhough I completed day 34 a long time ago, somehow I never posted the blog! So, stay tuned!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So...

After looking back at the last two posts-

I guess all of that was said to say that maybe it's not changing that's to be done, maybe I just need to return to my true self.

I've done a lot of damage, but I believe it can be repaired. I'm starting with me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Know This Much is True

When I was a Sophomore at SWT (now Texas State), I started reading Oprah Book Club books. I would just pick one up from time to time if I came across one on sale or something. One Saturday, I happened across a big tent sale in the Wal-Mart parking lot and found this book.

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

The book changed my life. It started a revolution within me that was going to get worse before it got better. I was lost in a sea of depression. Hating myself for reasons that don't even belong in a blog. I wanted to "change" who I was to be someone I didn't hate. I've spent more years than I would like to admit trying to be something that I'm just not- that to be honest- I've had a hard time even knowing who I really am.

I've been on a journey of self-discovery for a while now, and while I still have questions, I Know This Much is True:

Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MTBI)
As a Communications student in college, I had to take this personality test a few different times. We had to work in small groups quite a bit and the thinking was that if we knew our own strengths and weaknesses, we could better find our role in the group. This test is widely considered the most accurate and scientific personality profile out there and is used by many Fortune 500 companies to determine job placement and or company fit. I have taken this test at least 5 times with the last time only a few weeks ago and my results have been the same:

INFJ (Idealist Temperment)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INFJ

INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear vision, which they then execute decisively to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.[14]

INFJs are quiet, private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Although very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner. [15]

INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life, which they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions, and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well-liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types. However, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and so tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily hurt, though they may not reveal this except to their closest companions. INFJs may "silently withdraw as a way of setting limits," rather than expressing their wounded feelings—a behavior that may leave others confused and upset.[16]

INFJs tend to be sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world, but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they could understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired.[17] Yet they may also do well in the sciences, aided by their intuition.[18]



I like the part that says "sometimes puzzling even to themselves." Amen! I don't want to bore you with anymore details because there is a wealth of them out there if you're interested. One thing that struck me is that my particular personality type makes up only 1-3% of the population. I always thought that something was really different about me from other people, but I just thought something was wrong with me. I thought that my differences were something terrible instead of something that made me unique. It makes me sad to think of all the time that I spent hating myself for something I couldn't control instead of loving the gifts that I do have.

If you are at all interested in seeing what your personality profile is, you can take the Kiersey personality sorter here: http://www.keirsey.com/sorter/register.aspx

Even if you feel like you know exactly who you are, this goes on to make suggestions for career and all kinds of aspects of life. It couldn't hurt, right?

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