Friday, September 6, 2013

9/30 Things - Influential People

        We are impacted by everyone we meet and every experience we have, in one way or another.  Sometimes we can be influenced by those we have never met, but have read about or know of.  Those influences can be either good, bad, or neutral.  Usually, those who make the biggest impact on our lives will be remembered for always.  I chose the people on this list because they have made an impact on my life in one way or another.  I honestly don't think of myself as a very easily influenced person, but I wanted to do this challenge, so I'm just going to go with what pops in my head!

  1. Jesus.  He died on the cross not just for me but for everyone, and has given us the gift of eternal life. 
  2. My husband.  He loves me unconditionally, and we have grown a lot together as a couple, as parents, and both in maturity and spirituality.  He is my life partner, and he has taught me so much.
  3. My pastor.  He has a hunger for God that I have not seen in many people.
  4. My mom. She's the most selfless person I know, she would do anything for anyone without thinking twice.
  5. My mother-in-law.  She's an extremely hard worker, and she's one of the most forgiving and loving people I've ever met.
  6. Gianna Jessen. While I haven't had the chance to meet her, she's been such an inspiration and has encouraged me to fight for the pro-life cause, and fight to end abortion.  She survived an abortion attempt in her mother's womb which left her disabled (but not defeated!), and now is a strong voice for the unborn.

        I struggled to think of more than 6 (the challenge was for 10) so I left it at that.  What does it take for someone to earn a spot on your list?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

8/30 Things - 5 Passions

        Fittingly enough, after just posting about Passion Monday, my blog challenge for the day is on 5 passions!  Passion describes an intense, and "barely controllable" emotion.  When we are passionate about something, we are obsessed with it and put our all into it.  Passion is aggressive, strong, and full of feeling.

  1. Pro-life - I am VERY passionate about being pro-life.  I believe that God put this on my heart, and it is a huge passion of mine.  I hope to be able to start a boarding house in the future to help mothers facing unplanned pregnancies.  I try to educate as many people as I can on the dangers and truths of abortion, and help both the babies AND the mothers/fathers/families involved.  All life is precious.
  2. Attachment Parenting - Cosleeping/bedsharing, breastfeeding, babywearing, gentle parenting, having a deep connection and open/honest relationship with one's children.
  3. My Marriage/Family - This kind of goes along with the attachment parenting theme... Being close and spending quality time together.  Making time for each other.
  4. Relationship with God - This is above all, the most important foundation for building any relationship.  I am passionate about seeking God.  To be completely honest, I had more passion when I was first saved, but I am striving towards getting that passion back.  I pray and ask God to give me a thirst for His word, and to help me spend more time seeking him and sharing the good news with others.
  5. Food - Well, I love baking and cooking, so this is a no-brainer.  I love finding new recipes, preparing my ingredients, and just the whole process!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

7/30 Things - Dream Job

        Some little girls dream about being princesses when they grow up. Some, however, are more realistic.  Usually, our ideal job / career is different than what we imagined it to be in our childhood.  Personally I've changed my mind several times over the years.  I recall reading somewhere that the part of our brains responsible for rational thinking and decision making don't even form until our mid-twenties.  That explains a lot - about a lot.

        As a youngin', I dreamt of being a veterinarian, oddly enough I don't even really like animals now.  I mean don't get me wrong, if I see a turtle crossing a highway I'll stop to help him, or if I see a cute kitten I'll oogle over it for about 70 seconds, but that's about it... After I realized what being a vet entailed, I moved on to bigger and better aspirations.  Next up was psychologist.  To this day, I'm still quite fascinated by psychology, and if I had the patience and determination to withstand the years of schooling - I don't- I might pursue this field!  Another fascination of mine was being a lawyer.  This is another one that, through the years, has stuck with me as an interesting and desirable field.  My only qualms about this (besides my father telling me I'd have to read a ton of books on law, and I'd never stop reading because there would always be something new to learn) is the concept that most lawyers "lie".  I don't like liars.  Point blank period exclamation point times infinity.  I mean, yeah I understand that you don't "have" to lie, but I've always been under the impression that they twist the truth at the least.

        Now, back to reality.  My dream "job" would be to own my own bakery. Whether that is from home, or a store-front is up for debate.  I am currently working on a business plan to sell baked goods and food from home for now, with the prospect of eventually making it "big".  That said, my true dream "job" wouldn't be considered a job in the sense that I wouldn't be getting paid.  One day I hope for us to be able to build an addition onto our house (probably not our current house, but who knows) and have boarding available for crisis pregnancies.  I would like to work with a local pregnancy center to help young / scared moms facing unplanned pregnancies have a place to stay, learn, and raise their babies until they are stable enough to be on their own.  I would want to help them in any way that I could including cooking for them, giving them rides, providing clothing, helping them find work while providing childcare while they work, etc...

        Ideally, I could run my bakery along with this boarding house, and the bakery would help fund this (non-profit) project.  I want us to be comfortable and happy, rich isn't the goal.  I mean, don't get me wrong, the occasional cruise / vacation would be great, and having the latest laptop wouldn't be too bad either (I love my internet), but a dream job should be your passion, not avenue to riches.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ignite the fire of your marriage - Passion

        Two of my favorite bloggers, Time-Warp Wife & Women Living Well have just released their newest Marriage Series, entitled: Ignite the fire.  It's a 3 week series, with a different sub-topic each Monday.  This week the hot topic is passion, and it truly is a hot topic!

        We're all familiar with that "butterflies in the tummy" feeling of young love, yes?  The feeling you get when he walks into the room, grabs your hand, or even when you just get a text ;) from your new beau?  Why doesn't he do that anymore? we ponder.  Why did he stop wooing me?  How did holding hands turn into walking single file down a grocery aisle?  When did passing love notes back and forth turn into a plastering a "honey-do list"a mile long on the fridge with an old raggedy magnet?  How did romantic evenings with a glass of wine and candlelight turn into Chinese take-out in front of the TV?

        I remember reading something awhile ago, and while I can't find the exact text, it went something like this:  
A woman was reflecting back on her relationship with her husband, and she noticed that over the years, little things they used to do together became less and less frequent.  One of the biggest changes she noticed from when they had started dating was in their car rides together.  The woman reminisced on how her husband used to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other around her shoulder.  A sign of pride that she was his girl, and he was hers.  They'd ride all through town, side by side, singing along to the radio.  One day, while taking a trip to the grocery store, she decided to confront her husband about this.  "Dear, I've noticed that over the years, you stopped putting your arm around my shoulder as we are traveling in the car, and honestly we're sitting too far apart now for it to be possible! What happened?"  Her husband simply replied, "My darling, the steering wheel didn't move, you did."
        The point of this story is that sometimes, while we think it's our spouse who is pulling away, it's really us.  In all honesty, it takes two to tango, but things have to start somewhere.  The biggest lesson here is that you can't fix your spouse, you can only work on YOUR side of the equation.  

        Passion seems to fade in even the strongest relationships over the years, unless that fire is constantly kindled.  We have to actively seek out our husbands, we have to pursue them like we did early in the relationship, show them that we are attracted to them both physically and emotionally.  Sometimes we get so into our routines, that we forget to do the little things that mean so much.  A simple back rub after a long day of work, or making a favorite treat for after dinner can mean so much.  

        Living with someone is a lot different than dating them, and seeing all of their little habits morning noon and night will bring some things to light that didn't "exist" in the dating world.  Snoring, passing gas, morning breath, leaving the toilet seat up, and other unattractive sides of your significant other will suddenly overshadow the way he smelled when he picked you up for dinner on your second date, or the perfectly groomed hair he seemed to always be sporting.  

        This video has been circling around the internet in the past few weeks, and has become somewhat "viral" in that so many people have watched & shared it.  Rightfully so, what a true testament of love... 75 years together and this couple was still madly in love.  So many moments shared and memories savored through the years.  I pray that God gives my husband and I at least that long together.

        While the chase for our spouse might be over, we should never stop chasing after his heart.  We need to find those things that brought us close early in the relationship and make time to share those moments together to rekindle that flame often.  Even with kids, jobs, school, and life keeping us busy, we cannot forget to make time for our partner.  Spending a life together means working through the good and bad, the sickness and the health, whether rich or poor, and making a real effort to stay in love.  Love isn't a feeling, it's a choice.  A choice that needs to be renewed every day.

        Here's the schedule for this marriage challenge:

September 2nd – Ignite Your Passion
September 9th – Ignite Your Kindness
September 16th – Ignite Your Dreams
            - Won't you follow along?

Week 1 Challenge:
Ignite passion in your marriage by investing into your husband joyfully. This may look different in every marriage, the challenge is to focus on an area of your marriage that is a little weak and pour time, energy and love into it.
Copy this button to your blog and join us!

6/30 Things - The Hardest Thing

        It's hard to pinpoint the hardest thing that I've ever experienced.  Having been a young mom in a unhealthy relationship at the time, that would probably be near the top of my list, except for the fact that I had the immense support of my mother and father to help me.  Although I was originally super apprehensive about them finding out about my pregnancy, they were very loving and supportive.  I thank God every day that my parents were pro-life and never even suggested abortion, although that would have been the "easy way out" at the time.

        I think back to a friend I had, the same age as me, earlier that same year, who found herself with an unplanned pregnancy.  Her child would have been mere months older than my son.  I still sometimes imagine what it would have been like.  Would we still be friends?  Would our children be friends?  It literally breaks my heart to think about, and I don't think I'll ever completely get over it.  Part of me hurts because, although I was 15/16 years old, I can't help but think that maybe there was something that I could have said to change her mind.  In the back of my mind, I know that there is nothing I could have done, but it still haunts me.

        Anyway, yes being a young mom was hard.  But I wouldn't change anything if I could.  My son is such an intelligent, funny, and caring kid.  He's also a big brother now, and he just loves his sister to pieces.  I wouldn't take back any of the difficult moments in my life, because I feel that during those moments is when we are shaped and molded into what we are today.  The difficulties we face define us, and how we deal with them empowers us to face what's ahead.

Monday, September 2, 2013

5/30 - 5 Things That Make Me Happy

        Happiness.  Feeling pleasure, satisfaction, or joy.  A state of well-being and contentment.  How many people today can say that they are truly happy?  I don't mean the kind of happy that you feel on those days when you wake up and manage to not stub your toe while heading to Wawa to find out that they have your favorite pumpkin spice coffee when you arrive, your work day goes smooth and quick, & before you know if you're home and the kids already have their homework finished and your husband decides to take you out to dinner and give you the night off.  No, not that kind.  That's superficial happiness.  Temporary bliss.  Tomorrow your dog might pee on your new Coach purse, or you might break a nail before you even leave the house, and then it's all downhill from there.  I'm talking about unshakable happiness.  Joy, actually.  The kind of happiness that doesn't come and go, it stays with you, it is you.  Joy that fills your heart, and although the storms may come, you will not be shaken, you will not be stirred.  Yes, you're allowed to pout, you can even cry, but at the end of the day you know where your joy comes from and you don't let life get you down.

        So, for this challenge, I'm asked to list 5 things that make me happy "right now".  I'm assuming that it's referring to superficial things and not asking me to get super deep here, but whatever, I'm as deep as an ocean baby, so deal.

  1. My husband - He makes me happy most of the time, except for those times when he doesn't. HA!  That's where love comes in!  Love is caring for each other even when you're angry.  We are genuinely happy with one another, so even when we have disagreements like every married couple does, we work through them and become stronger!
  2. My kids - They make me happy most of the time too!  Right now my daughter is too young to make me mad, and she's just too darn squishy cute too!  My son is at that age where he's testing boundaries, and learning to talk back, although he's mostly respectful and usually corrects himself quickly!  I love spending time with them and watching them learn, play, and grow!
  3. Being a stay at home mommy - I love being able to devote myself fully to my husband, children, and home. 
  4. Cooking/Baking - One of my favorite past times... I get such a thrill making stuff in the kitchen, and the best part is the faces of family & friends when they taste and love my creations!
  5. Blogging/Browsing Facebook/Pinterest/Internet in general - This is a given.  It's so relaxing and fun!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

4/30 Things - Letter to my 16 year old self

        I am switching this up a bit from 10 things you would tell your 16 year old self if you could to just writing a letter to my 16 year old self.  Reason being, I don't know if I can genuinely come up with 10 things.  Heck, there might be more or there might be less, I won't know until I start.  I think that a letter format would be much easier and more heartfelt anyhow, so feel free to improvise too if you are following along with your very own blog challenge.  This is about having fun, we're not being graded for following directions =)

        Dear 16 year old me,
     You are probably so thrilled right now, you're finally starting to blossom.  Most of your school years, you have felt like an outcast, or if I may be so blunt, an ugly duckling.  You finally learned how to correctly apply eyeliner, and your bra actually fits now too!  You still aren't happy with your body, because thanks to the music videos, magazines, and TV you've been exposed to, you believe that there's only one version of the "perfect girl/woman" and you aren't it.  You see, your generation is the start of a big change.  Yeah, Madonna liberated lots of women some 18ish years ago, but her ideas are nothing compared to what's coming.  I hope you're ready.  Actually, I know you're not.  But there's good news, you won't ever fit that mold of the "perfect girl/woman" that the media portrays - and that's a GOOD thing!!!!  You'll learn (in about 10 years, give or take) that the woman the media and society expect you to be, is far from God's idea for you.  She's NOTHING like the Proverbs 31 woman.  She doesn't have class, or values, she cares more for her appearance than her character.  She seeks to attract men from her physical attributes and assets rather than  her heart and reverence for the Lord.  She thinks that showcasing her flat stomach and long legs are the secret to getting the hottest guy in town.  She believes her breasts are for men to oogle at, rather then to feed future children.  And no I am not saying that breasts cannot be enjoyed visually (BY YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND, not random men), but that is not their main purpose.  And last of all, she is a fictitious and unattainable character.  Chasing after her image will only lead to heartache, heartbreak, and wasting countless hours of your life trying to achieve something that won't ever serve you in the "real world".  Sure, you might get some stares, or some whistles, but that's nothing compared to what you'll feel when you meet the love of your life and marry him on a beautiful February day in 2011.  Most of all though, don't change anything about yourself after reading this letter, because the storm you're going to pass though is necessary to mold you into the person you're going to be.  You are going to think your heart is breaking sometimes, but it's really not.  You are going to lose some friends, but they weren't really friends to begin with.  You're going to make some mistakes, but you will learn from them and be a better person from it.  You're going to have to deal with some really tough stuff in the next few years, but things are working together for the best.  You're going to be strong and happy, and you're going to make a difference in the world!  Hang in there kid =)