Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reflections on Purpose: March

Ok... it's the middle of April and I'm just now writing this post about how my purposeful life is going so that should tell you something.
As in... it's not going well.
Except maybe it is going better than I think.
And maybe God has a different idea about purpose than I do.
You'd think I would have learned that through grace... where I had to learn to give it rather than just receive it (and I'm still learning).
Or about how it's not about doing... but being... but somehow I managed to make that into a checkbox type of thing, too.

I establish all these rules and then never accomplish anything.

But maybe life isn't about accomplishments.

My 16 for 2016:
1. Live with Purpose- intentionally. OK.  Here's the kicker. When you set out to live intentionally... you often lose your way. Because what, exactly is intentional living?
Thankfully I've still got the rest of this year to figure that out, good Lord's willing.
But I am using my planner. And I'm feeling pretty accomplished when I check off some to do lists. (Even if I have to write things down I've already done so I can check them off).
And I am learning about being in the moment more... sort of. I still worry about yesterday, and tomorrow, and still have my phone in my hand an awful lot...
but it's a crutch, y'all. And recognizing the problem is half the battle, right?
2. Exercise- Goal: At least five days a week, 30 minutes a day, and at least 10,000 steps 26/30 days or 27/31 days of each month (24/28 days in February). (Because nobody is perfect).

I still don't like to exercise. Some days I like it better than others. In March I almost averaged 11,000 steps a day- 10,981. I walked 10,000 steps 26/31 days, and exercised 26/31. Still not perfect... but ok. And I'm really trying not to kick myself over the numbers on the scale... even if it has gone up a couple of pounds.

3. 1,000 Gifts- Gratitude Journal
I've not been faithful about writing every day, but I'm over 400 gifts. Trying to keep things in perspective and look on the bright side. God is good, and He is the giver of good things. .

4. Scripture-
I'm a couple of days behind on writing every day but have been pretty consistent and I find that on the mornings when I don't take those few minutes and read His Word I struggle the rest of the day. I still haven't figured out what the focus of this month's scripture is... but it amazes me that it is usually something that I need to read

5. 365 Day Challenges- One picture a day and writing at least 10 minutes each day. One of my facebook friends developed a challenge and we even have our own hashtag- #write365.
Goal: This one has pretty much died... but April is another month. Except it's already half over, so new beginnings will have to start in May. And that's ok. Grace, y'all.

6. Reading Challenge-
I've only read about three books on this reading challenge sheet, but I finished 10 books in March so I'm on track to reach my overall goal. If only every goal was this easy...

7. Ok...Way behind. As in, two months or so. In this case, tomorrow is another day.

8. Look up one word a day from an online dictionary site. Because everybody needs to know a random word.I get an email a day and enjoy this. Like today... it was somaticize... and we just talked about somatoform disorders last week. It does make me wonder how they decide which word to email out...

9. Random/Unrandom Acts of Kindness- The need to encourage others has kept coming up in my thoughts lately. So much sadness in this world. Small words of hope can make a difference. I've enjoyed looking for ways to bless others, even if it is just holding a door open for them.

10. Presence- Last week I read a blog post about friendship... and again I've been reminded about the importance of just being present. Too often I have my nose stuck in my phone. Been trying to put it up... but too often it is a crutch for me when I'm uncomfortable, because it makes me feel like I have somebody listening... or makes me appear that way. It's a progress.

11. Cross something off of my bucket list. Nothing yet. Survey is done for my DNP research project and now I get to start the fun part of the paper and getting ready to defend. I feel clueless and paralyzed but I know that God's got this...  (Right, Lord?)

12. Be more organized. Procrastinate less. Fold the laundry as I get it out of the dryer and actually put it away =)
(I have a looonng way to go on this one... but that's why we have all year, right?)
Hmm... I'll just leave this one right here. Again. God bless Wallace Bates.

13. Laugh. Everyday.  Hard.
Because laughter is truly good for the soul.
Will Bates makes me laugh. So does Caleb. So does Melody. And movies. I need to definitely be more purposeful with this one.
14. Keep a Sabbath day of rest.
Yes. But... y'all.  I think I need to distinguish between rest and being lazy, because I can use this as an excuse.
Lord, help me put the focus on You and breathe You in on my Sabbath day.  

15. Make new friends. Make time for old ones.
I'm still struggling with this one. I feel like so much of our lives is spent online, without true community, and it is easy to be who you want to be online. I don't want to be like that. I desire to be a friend. I need some friends... some real-life friends.
I'm 36 years old and this is something I've always struggled with.

16. Continue to love. Love Jesus. Love myself. Love others.
Living out my values: Be Yourself. Laugh Often. Live well. Love long. Just breathe. Work it out. Finish Strong. Hope always. Give grace. Positive Thinking. Jeremiah 29:11. Romans 8
Trying. Not doing as well as I'd like... but that's life. Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield...
Thank God for His grace that is all sufficient!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

183 Times a Year

183 Times  a Year is a book about family.

A blended family, with two teenage daughters, which clued me in real quick that there would be lots of drama.

The mother states in the book that the average of teenagers fighting with their mothers 183 times a year must be wrong, because in her house it is more like 183 times a day.

I can remember being that teenage daughter, and I'm pretty sure that most of the arguments were my fault!

Jordan brings to life a true family, with ups and downs and relationship struggles, difficulties of everyday life, and then, just like that...

It changes.

They're left to adjust and figure out exactly who they are and how they fit together.

The characters are likeable and believable.

I'd rate it 3 stars, though, because the story line at times seemed to drag along, and while it is helpful to have different viewpoints as the narrator changes, it is sometimes difficult to remember who is talking... and the language of the teenage characters can be difficult at times to muddle through. (I recognize that the author was trying to throw in teenage slang, and it was suitable... but a little excessive for my own personal liking).

I would recommend this book to a fellow reader, especially one who likes family angst and who could relate to the teenage drama. Some colorful language, though!
I received free access to this book through and am posting this review on their website. This book is currently available for purchase.  I receive no compensation from Amazon for using their link with the book information.

Professional Reader

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Music Moves You

The air conditioning has been torn up in my car for about a month, and the dealership didn't have the parts to fix it last week.

For the most part, it's only been a slight inconvenience because the temps have been semi-cold, and an air conditioner wasn't really needed...

not that an air conditioner is ever really a true necessity, except, you know, first world problems...

Caleb and I like to open the sun roof anyway, except on days when I tell him the air conditioner is broken, and then it is a true travesty that we can't have cold air and have to have the wind-blown look...

But sunroof days just seem to make me happier in general. There's just something about the sun beating through that little hole in the ceiling, the wind rushing through my hair, the radio cranked really, really loud...

So, on the way back from Richmond on Saturday, Wallace and I cranked open the sunroof..

and then closed it, because it looked like it was going to rain.

But we opened it again because it got a little warm.

And then it was REALLY windy so we closed it again...

But, in the meantime, we turned up the music REALLY loud.

Our stand-bys are Pearl Jam, AC/DC, and Bon Jovi, but I also gave what I felt was a really good rendition of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, but he wasn't so impressed.

and I really wasn't impressed with his Hank Williams Jr. impersonation, either.

We did impress Caleb when I sent him a text showing that we were jamming down to "Does Your Mama Know You Dance Like That" and "Dessert".  I'm sure the people we drove by on the Mountain Parkway were only slightly concerned.

I thought, as I often do, how music defines whole time periods of our lives. As Kenny Loggin's Footloose came on the Shuffle, I thought back to a hot summer day where I stretched out a blanket next to the well box, overcome my fear of snakes crawling through the yard because I had just saw one headed toward Mom and Dad's porch steps the day before, filled my spray bottle with water, and rubbed BABY OIL on. The Footloose tape played in my Walkman and Teen magazines and Sweet Valley High books kept me company as I baked away in the hot sun.

It made me feel so good on that windy Saturday that I logged into the apple store that very minute, thinking about that, and purchased the rest of the Footloose album. Wallace was thrilled as I sang Hero, Hurts so Good, and Let's Hear it For the Boy at the top of my lungs.

Or maybe I was just imagining his enthusiasm.. but I sure enjoyed it.

Which made me think, again, how I can remember lyrics from songs 30 years ago but can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

I really am holding out for a hero...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Quarterly Newness


1/4 of the year is already passed by and I find myself wondering where it went.

Basketball season eats up a large portion of that, and then we find ourselves stumbling along trying to figure out what to do with ourselves.

We've done some riding.

Watched some movies on DVD.

Wallace has discovered Sons of Anarchy, so I'm ready to go back to basketball season.

I've been trying to do laundry, but I swear the stuff procreates.

I'm also looking ahead to summer and thinking of all the books I'll read...

and also the research article that I'll be writing.

Tonight, as I contemplated this first quarter of 2016, I found myself thinking of Lamentations 3.

For many of us, these first three months may have been a bust. We may have coasted along in oblivion, consumed by the mundane that is everyday life. Not really appreciating the moment.

I've been trying to do better about being present, but that little cell phone makes it all too easy to check out.

And people are living their lives on social media and I may miss something!!!

So... as I'm thinking of this next quarter of 2016, thinking about purpose and what it means to live a life of purpose...

I'm also thinking of how I'm going to try to put down the phone.

Oh, my heart just hurt!

But there really is no need for it to be an appendage to my hand...

so, that's what I'm going to do to make these next few months better.

What can you do?