Friday, May 26, 2017

Merry Dublin

Traveling through Europe over the past three years has been an amazing experience.  My family and I experienced new cultures, tasted new foods, and learned new languages. Our adventures will be forever treasured and our memories forever cherished.

Last Friday, I shared a tidbit from our many adventures in Prague.  Today, we travel to Merry Dublin.  Dublin was a busy and upbeat city.  There was music and beer around every corner.  We had a wonderful time exploring the old churches, museums, the Guinness Storehouse, and the Jameson Distillery.

One of the churches we visited was Christ Church.  Founded in 1030, this church was located in the center of Medieval Dublin.  It has recently been used in television shows like, "Rein" and "The Tudors".  We were able to walk down into the crypts of the church where they had original costumes from the "The Tudors".  The main church had a passageway/bridge that leads to the former site of St. Michael.  Today, the bridge takes you to an interactive museum called Dublinia.  Dublinia teaches the history of Dublin from the Vikings to the Medieval period.  The girls had a blast will all the hands-on activities.












We also visited the beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Completed in 1191, St. Patrick Cathedral is the tallest church in Ireland.  As beautiful as this church was on the inside and out, we were a little disappointed that it had been turned into a money making museum.  As you walked around the church, there were numerous hand-on activities, artwork, and crypts.  Definitely not what we expected when we walked in.

The Guinness Storehouse was a fun, for the whole family, museum.  They allowed you to travel through their multi-level storehouse at your own pace.   Signs and videos throughout provided you with all the information you could ever want on how Guinness beer is made. The Storehouse was interactive and fun, even for the little ones who didn't get a chance to sample the famous Irish beer.  We learned how the beer was brewed and how the taste of the beer is changed depending on where the barley is
grown and even which water is used.   We experienced different sensory activities including feeling the barley, smelling the hops, and tasting the beer.   The kids were able to play around with different advertising characters and create their own advertisement. And when we reached the top to the multistory storehouse, we had a panoramic view of Dublin with a freshly pulled Guinness.

The Jameson's Distillery wasn't as child friendly.  It was interesting for my husband and I, but with
nothing interactive to do, it was a boring tour for the kids.  While Guinness is produced world wide, Jameson's is only made in Ireland, from a single distillery.  This is why Guinness can taste different depending on your location, but Jameson's tastes the same no matter where you drink it.

The girls were good sport throughout the trip, but their favorite spots were the wax museum and the leprechaun museum.   The wax museum began with famous Irish figures throughout history.  It continued with famous cartoons, movies, and athletes.  The leprechaun museum was an Irish story telling adventure.  We traveled through the magic Giant Causeway to become leprechaun size and heard tales that had been passed down through the ages.  Check out the pictures below.

Wax Museum

Wax Museum

Wax museum

Wax museum
Leprechaun Museum

Leprechaun museum

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Perspective

No two people see the same thing, the same way.   Our unique perceptions stem from our own life experiences.  Next time you are sure you are right, try looking from another point of view.  A new perspective may be eye opening.


 Point of view is an interesting thing.  Often we get stuck in a rut of our own doing.  We are certain that our way of thinking is right.  But sometimes, changing your perspective on things is all you need to change your life.  Although, dwelling on the negative is usually easier,  this allows the "what-ifs"  to pile up and take hold.  Let go of the "what-ifs".  Instead, ask your questions.  Find your answers.  Stop wondering, what if.

Last night, I had a conversation with my oldest daughter.  She is at the age where she is learning a great deal about the negative things of this world.  Our conversations usually start with, what if.  I usually try to show her different ways to think about things or facts that support why she doesn't need to worry.  She usually listens, but her point of view usually stays the same.

This morning, she saw a book I am reading on the table.  It is an autobiography by Helen Keller.  She picked up the book and flipped randomly to a page and started reading.  After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, "Wow.  This is really amazing.  I can't believe Helen Keller can write so beautifully when she was deaf and blind.  How did she learn all that?"  I explained that Helen Keller faced great challenges, but her perseverance and her understanding of how important knowledge was, helped her overcome all the obstacles that were placed in her life.

God has not promised us a world that is trouble free.  We will face countless trials and tribulations throughout our lives.  But if we can pause and look at those troubles from a new perspective, we too, may be able to overcome our obstacles.  (John 16:33 "In the world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the word.")

Do you find it hard to look from a new point of view?  What do you do when you are stuck in a negative rut and can't find a way out?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Power of a Word

Words hold great strength.  They have the power to encourage and motivate.  Words can bring joy in the darkest hour.  But words also have the power to hurt and destroy.  Words can bring sadness to the most joyful person.

As adults, we know the power of a word.  A simple word can effect a person positively or negatively.  (Proverbs 12:18 "Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of the wise people bring healing".)  Every day we get to choose the words we speak.  We are accountable for how those words help or hurt others.  A simple kindness to another may not seem important, but as Dale Carnegie said, "Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime".

For the last 39 years, I have worked on not being defined by what people say, or maybe more importantly, by what people don't say.  As an adult, it is still a hard concept to understand.  We all crave that encouragement and acceptance.  We all wait for acknowledgement of our accomplishments or progress.  But our children are having an even more difficult time.  They are not only trying to navigate where they belong, but they are also trying to learn to not let discouraging and hateful words bring them down. (Proverbs 15:4 "A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion crushes the spirit".

Every week I see how crushing those hateful words at school can be.  My heart breaks for my girls when they are faced with these situations.  My eyes fill with tears when I hear stories of nonacceptance.  And my spirit is crushed when I see my joyful, always smiling daughter resigned to having no one at school willing to have her back.

We need to remember to teach our children the importance of a kind word.  "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24)".  There are countless kids out there, that dread going to school each day.  A simple kindness can mean the world.  Let's spread this message throughout our neighborhoods, throughout our friend circles, throughout our social media outlets.  Challenge your kids to reach out to someone who is sitting alone.  Someone who is sitting quietly and usually keeps to themselves.  Someone they've never spoken to before.  Someone who may be just waiting for that kind word.

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Constant Worrier

Worrying can be a constant companion.  A companion who waits to steal your peace of mind.  It brings you anxiety and makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything else.  But why do we worry when it helps no one and fixes nothing?

Worrying has always been a part of me.  Is my family safe?  Will I get the job?  Is the upcoming call from the doctor going to be a bad one?  My husband constantly reminds me, that I don't need to worry.  Everything will work out the way it's suppose to.  Luke 12:25 reminds us that, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?".   In short, what is your worrying doing for you?

The simple answer is nothing.  But that doesn't make it easy for you to cast your worries aside. Despite our faith and trust in God, worrying is part of human nature.  However, if we try to remember that we aren't in control, we can begin to let God take our fears and anxiety (Peter 5:7).

As a mother, I struggle with worrying if I am raising my children the right way.  Will they grow up to be successful?  Will they be happy?  Will I leave them with a strong enough foundation?   Hundreds of questions have gone through my mind over the last 13 years.  Questions that can't be answered and can't be controlled.  Jesus said, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own". (Matthew 6:34)

As my faith continues to grow daily, my worrying continues to diminish.  That is not to say, I have managed to rid myself of all worry, but I no longer get anxious and worry myself sick.  Do you struggle with worry?  Does it ever get the better of you?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sir, Please Stay Still

Being still is an impossible task.  Our body and mind are always moving.  But if we slow down enough to feel still, our heart an our mind can absorb so much more. 


About 7 years ago, I needed an MRI for my wrist.  Like any typical doctor's office, I waited for about thirty minutes before they called me back.  I changed into a lovely green gown and then was directed to a seat right outside the MRI room.  The nurses must have assumed the appointment ahead of me would move quickly since they brought me back and had me change.  Unfortunately, they were terribly wrong.  As I sat and waited for an hour to get my MRI, I heard, "Sir, Please stay still!" repeated dozens of times. 

The more they told the man to stay still, the more he moved.  Of course, I wasn't watching this, but all of their conversation was on a loud speaker so the man could hear them.  And although I was  tired of waiting, I felt so bad for him.  I know how hard it is to stay still, especially when someone tells you to do so.  But being still is sometimes the only answer. (Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." God wants us to be still.  He wants us to trust him with our fears.  Sometimes giving up that worry, that control, seems impossible.  But if we remind ourselves God is in control, being still becomes easier and easier.

Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a big fan of small spaces.  I like to be able to move when I want to.  I like to feel in control of my own body.   So the more I listened to them say, "Sir, Please stay still!", the more I dreaded my turn.  However, when I finally did get in there, my silent prayers were answered and I managed to stay still for the entire 30 minutes.  My legs were tingling and asleep when they were done,  but at least I didn't have to redo any scans.

 Do you have a hard time being still?  Anyone have a similar experience where you discovered being still was the only answer?


Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

You Are Enough


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Modeling



Friday, May 19, 2017

Gorgeous Prague

Traveling through Europe over the past three years has been an amazing experience.  My family and I experienced new cultures, tasted new foods, and learned new languages. Our adventures will be forever treasured and our memories forever cherished.  


Last Friday, I shared a little about our Roman adventure.  Today I want to take you to the Czech Republic, to the gorgeous city of Prague.  Prague was one of our absolute favorite places to visit.  We visited for the first time in January.  And despite the snow, we loved it.  We actually enjoyed ourselves so much, we went back in October of the same year.

Our first stop was the Prague Castle. The Prague Castle, part of a
larger complex, dates back to the 9th century.  It currently is the residence of the president of the Czech Republic.  The castle holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest ancient castle of the world, at 750,000 square feet.  We took time to watch the changing of the guard and to explore the open rooms inside.

Within the Prague Castle complex, we also explored the St. Vitus Cathedral.  This cathedral is massive.  It is really hard to put into words how big it is.  The picture we managed to get on the right, is only the front view.  There was no way for us to capture the entire thing.  After admiring the countless details on the front of the cathedral, we decided to circle around it.  It took us a good ten minutes to make it completely around.  I encourage you to find a picture online that captures an aerial shot so you can get a better idea.  And while you are checking that picture out, look for the gorgeous one of the cathedral's interior.  The intricate stained glass windows, Gothic architecture, historical paintings and statues were enough to take your breath away.  Even our girls walked in and just paused in awe.

And speaking of pausing in awe, that is exactly what you do when you first wander into the Old
Town Square.  We could have just walked around for hours looking at all the buildings.  Right in the center of the Old Town, is Prague's Astronomical Clock.  This clock was first installed in 1410 and is currently the oldest of its kind still working.  Every hour between 9:00 am - 11:00 pm, you can see the 12 apostles appear and go for a spin.  By visiting the Old Town Hall, right next door, we were able to get a tour of the inside of the clock, as well as visit old government rooms filled with magnificent art.

Following our tour above ground, we journeyed below the Old Town Hall.  We discovered that there was an underground city.  Hundreds of years ago, the city of Prague actually sat at a lower elevation.  The problem was, it was continuously getting flooded.  As a result, they had tons of dirt brought in to raise the city's elevation.  It was such an amazing experience to explore such a well preserved historical site.  We could make out ancient roads, houses, wells and a prison.  If you ever get a chance to visit Prague, I would highly recommend this underground tour.

To avoid rambling on about how much we loved Prague, I will leave you with some pictures and captions of some of our favorite memories.
Church of Saint Ludmila

Church of Our Lady before Tyn



On the banks of the River Vltava


Old Town Square



Old Town Square


The Charles Bridge



View from the Charles Bridge




















Thursday, May 18, 2017

Patience

Patience with others is love.  Patience with self is hope.  Patience with God is faith. ~ Adel Bestavros


Patience doesn't always come easy.  Often times, we have to really dig deep to find some.  Maybe you have a coworker that gets on your nerves.  Or perhaps you have a child that is convinced they are smarter than you.  Maybe you are waiting to hear good news.  Or perhaps you feel bad news finds you too often.  Whatever tests your patience, you get to choose how you react. 

It is so easy to react negatively to a situation.  We blurt out hateful words in anger and frustration.  Our feelings, literally explode out of us.  But if we took a moment to pause, our word choice would be quite different.  (Proverbs  14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.)   By pausing and finding even a sliver of patience, we are showing wisdom and understanding.  We make it clear, that despite our anger, we care enough to speak respectfully.  When we neglect to pause, we find ourselves regretting our words and actions.

Unfortunately, we often find ourselves extending more patience to friends and acquaintances.  Our family, on the other hand, does not always get the same courtesy.  I believe that it is because we feel more comfortable around them and we drop our walls.  But these are the people we hold most dear to us.  They are the ones we would lay our life down for.  I don't know about you, but I definitely need to practice pausing with my family.  Sometimes my kids just push the right button and I get angry quickly.  But if I want to teach them the virtue of patience, I need to model it daily in our home. (Romans 15:5  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had).

Do struggle with being patient?  What tricks do you have to calm down before exploding?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!  



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happiness


This world we live in is sometimes unbearable.  It offers pain and hatred.  It promises sickness and death.  But this world also has great beauty and wonder.  And through Christ, there is love and acceptance. 


We all struggle to find happiness in our lives.  However, it sometimes seems almost impossible to obtain.  We continuously buy things we think we need.  Things that most certainly will bring us joy. We surround ourselves with family and friends. If we are surrounded by those who love us, we can't possibly be sad.   But often times the smallest of problems can strip us of our ability to feel content, and the larger problems completely consume us.

We must choose to find joy in the world...in our lives.  (Psalms 92:4  "For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.")   You are not finished in your journey.  God is not finish with you or this world.  Leave your ideas and plans behind.  Have faith that God's plans for you are perfect, even if you don't know the how or why. 

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses.  It is one that I come across often through reading books by Karen Kingsbury.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  When I find myself allowing my happiness slip away, I reread this verse and remember I am not in control.  When my chronic pain knocks me down and I'm not sure if I can get back up, I reread this verse and find new energy. As I struggle to find a new job and hopelessness sets in, I reread this verse and know there is in fact hope.  Do you struggle finding your happiness?  Are you feeling lost?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion! 




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Unknowingly Damaged

For many of us, a healthy lifestyle is something we strive for.   We may sometimes stray from our plan, but we somehow manage to steer ourselves back on track.  But what happens when what we thought was healthy, really isn't?

Everyday we come across an article or news report that informs us our favorite food or activity will cause us cancer.  Everything from eating the wrong kind of fish too talking to long on your cell phone is hazardous to your health.   In a time where science has opened our eyes to all the "danger" that exists right under our nose, it is difficult to feel confident in the most simple of choices.

I came across an article from WomensDay.com the other day that really made me stop and think.  It talked about certain habits of your day to day life that may actually do you more harm than good.   This article popped out at me because, of course, I have each and every one of these unknowingly damaging  habits.

The first habit they addressed I was already aware of the negative side effects, but still feel the need the do it.  Apparently, too much hand sanitizer will cause your body to build up a resistance against certain antibiotic medications.   I try to use soap when I can, but at times I just "need" to clean my hands immediately (I know, I know...don't judge me.).

Another one that really hit home was wearing flip flops.  What possible harm could flip flops do?  Well according to a Boston podiatrist flip flops don't provide you with the proper support your feet need.  The result is stress fractures or tendonitis (which I've experienced both).  And all along I've been wearing flip flops to give my feet a break from uncomfortable shoes.  Who knew?

It is a definite must read article if you tend to brush your teeth right after you eat, experiment with skin care products, drink bottled water, do only cardio when you work out, skip meals to save calories for later, clean with disinfecting products, or load up on vitamin supplements.  I do all the things on their list, do you?  Do you think we are unknowingly damaging our bodies or do you think it is just another thing being blown out of proportion?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Influence

What kind of life are you choosing to lead?  What type of mark do you want to leave behind on this earth?  Do your actions have a positive influence on those around you or a negative influence? 

Yesterday at church, the pastor's wife delivered an amazing sermon.  She spoke of how we are influenced and how we influence others around us everyday.  It is not necessarily intentional, but every action and word spoken will influence those you surround yourself with.  Whether in person or on social media,  "are you living to be followed?" (K. Miller)

This simple question touched so many of us in different ways.  Mothers, daughters, old, and young could all relate.  1 Corinthians 11:1 says, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ".  Our young children will follow our example without being told.  They learn our ways as they grow, just as they learn language.  But are our ways examples of living for Christ?   Are we teaching the lessons we want them to hold onto forever? (Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.")

My teenager struggles with wanting to fit in to a school where God is not a priority.  She sometimes makes questionable choices in order to feel like she belongs.  She left church today feeling that she can lead by example rather than compromising herself to be like others.  1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity".   You are never too young to be a positive influence in someone's  life.

So as I tell my 5th grader everyday before she gets on the bus, shine for Jesus today.  You never know when your positive energy will influence someone for the better.   "Are you living to be followed?"

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Breathtaking Rome

Traveling through Europe over the past three years has been an amazing experience.  My family and I experienced new cultures, tasted new foods, and learned new languages. Our adventures will be forever treasured and our memories forever cherished.   (John 1:3 "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.")


Our first major trip was to Rome, Italy.  It was absolutely breathtaking!   This iconic city's astounding architecture and history caught us off guard every turn we took.  From the elaborate churches to the historical ruins, we loved every minute of it.
With a single step out of our hotel door, our senses were awaken.  Fresh waffle cones baking in the neighboring gelato shops, church bells ringing a melodic tune, and weathered cobblestone paths darting in between buildings.  It was like stepping back in time (minus the men selling selfie sticks).

The first cobblestone path we took led us to the ancient Pantheon.  The Pantheon, dedicated in 126 AD,was originally a Roman Temple.  It later became a church in the 7th century.  This magnificently preserved  building stands as a circular dome on a beautiful plaza.  Despite the crowds, the plaza overlooking the Pantheon was a wonderful place to have lunch.   

Following the Pantheon, we headed up another path towards the Piazza Navona.  This plaza was a
huge space with street vendors, cafes, and beautiful fountains. Originally constructed in the first century, Romans used it as a space to watch "games".  It later became a market space and eventually the open public space it is today.  The buildings, churches, and fountains display examples of elaborate Baroque architecture and art.

The following day we explored Rome in the rain.  Not as comfortable, but no less memorable.  We passed a cute tea shop near the Spanish steps.  We discovered churches that we didn't even know
existed.  And we explored the Trajan's Market.

The rain was a great excuse to just wander the city.  Stumbling upon the Trajan's Market was a great discovery.  Possibly the world's oldest shopping
center, the Trajan Market, built around 100AD,  overlooks Rome.  From the upper levels, we could see Palantine Hill, the Imperial Forum, and the Colosseum. 

The Colosseum looks amazing in pictures, but when you see it in person, it just takes your breath away.  We were fortunate to book a tour that took us to all levels of the Colosseum.  Our tour guide was phenomenal and taught us so much about its history.  We explored the lower levels where the slaves and animals were kept.  From there, we could see how they raised and lowered the platforms to bring the animals and gladiators
to the center stage.  We later walked out onto center stage and were able to look at the seats and people surrounding us.  It was amazing at how small we felt.  Finally, we were taken to the top levels.  These higher seats were for the poorer citizens.  Funny thing is, they still had a great view but were out of reach from the wild
animals or swinging weapons.  From the top level, we could see out across the Imperial Forum, across to Julius Caesars' old stomping grounds, and even the famous balcony where Mussolini once stood.

Besides exploring the city of Rome, we also found our way to the Vatican.  Unfortunately, we traveled Easter weekend and the crowds
 were suffocating.  We did get some good pictures before making use of our skip the line tickets to get into the Vatican Museums and
the Sistine Chapel.  Michelangelo's art on the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel was detailed and mesmerizing.  Although many people were lucky enough to grab a photo of it, we followed the rules and refrained from taking a picture.

Rome was by far one of my favorite cities in Europe.  I have
hundreds of pictures and stories to tell, but I've probably rambled on enough.  Have you ever been to Rome?  What are your favorite memories?  Are you planning a trip to Rome?  If so, feel free to leave a comment with a question and I will be happy to help you out in any way I can.

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!






Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Gift of Balance

 Looking into our children's eyes, we often feel we just can't give enough.  We may even be willing to give up the things we need so that our babies can have what they want.  I think most parents feel this way about their children.  Love makes us generous.  Love makes us selfless.  Love makes us blind.


Parenting is the hardest job a person can be blessed with.  God has trusted you with life's most precious gift.  It is glorious and it is frightening.  Have you given enough love?  Have you made the right decisions?  Have you taught the right lessons?  These questions and million more are constantly crossing my mind.

Like many parents, I feel that over the years we may have unknowingly spoiled our children.  We love them and want them to want for nothing. So we shower them with gifts, treats, and fun outings.  We pick up their slack when they are behind in their chores and responsibilities.  It is easy to do because we love them and want them to feel loved.  But loving is more than giving.  It is more than spoiling.

If all we provided them with were things they desired, they would be lost in life.  Instead, we have given them the gift of balance.  A structured home with family rules has served us well over the years.  (Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.)  We have stayed consistent in our morals even when they learn new ways at school.  An open line of communication allows us to discuss the differences they see at school versus what they have learned at home.  And we continue to provide them with life lessons to prepare them for the real world.

While they are far from perfect, they are well mannered, smart, and kindhearted young ladies.  They still have their moments of selfishness and rebellious behaviors.  But at the end of the day, they have become children of God.  We still struggle with making the right parenting choices, but agree keeping them balanced is the way to go.

Have you found a way to give the gift of balance?   Do you find it tough not giving into your child's every desire?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Insecurities

I suppose the only real way to improve one's self is to take a step back and give yourself a good once over.  Where does the real problem lie?  Is it actually fixable or something you need to learn to accept?  

Insecurities plague us all.  If you think you don't have any, it is quite possible you are in denial.  We all wish and dream at some point that we could change something about ourselves.  Whether it be the way we look, the intelligence we possess, or our sense of humor, it is hard to be completely happy with who you are.  This simple statement in itself is very disheartening.  And while I know that I can never rid myself of all my insecurities, I am determined to find a way to be happier with myself starting with prayer. ( Philippians 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.)

Like many women in their thirties, I am extremely insecure with the way I look.  There are so many things about my appearance that I dream of bettering or changing altogether.   Of course, some things I need to learn to accept, but others I know I can change if I can just find the strength to persevere and not give in to temptation.  From a friends' and family point of view, I am perfect the way I am.  I am not medically overweight and they cannot understand why I would want to lose weight.  For me, it is about feeling comfortable in my own skin.  Many of my insecurities stem from that little extra weight I carry around my waist. I struggle with my clothes fitting right and that for some reason truly bothers me.  So for the last month, I have increased my daily workouts and have taken 300 calories from my diet.  I have seen such great progress and I hope that I can continue with this lifestyle so that I may maintain a healthy physique.

With my new physique, I think that I can eliminate some other insecurities that I have dealt with over the last ten years.  I have always been a bit of a tomboy but have wanted to dress better for my husband over the past few years.  Unfortunately, my poor body image has prevented me from splurging on the nicer clothes and accessories.   I think in another month I will have reach a comfort zone where I can start dressing the way I've wanted without feeling self conscious.   By dressing better, I may feel more secure that he still finds me attractive.  

As you read this post, you make think this sounds like a lot of whining.  But in my mind, I feel that I am addressing my issues to myself and making a plan to fix it.  Insecurities can consume us if we are not aware of them.   I encourage you to address your own insecurities and brainstorm a way that may help ease them.  I figure this is a small start to improving myself that is within my grasp.  If I can stick with it, I will not only better my mind, but my health as well.

What insecurities do you struggle with?  What steps are you taking in eliminating them?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Goals vs Dreams

New Year's Day is the time for resolutions to be made.  Monday is the time for diets to begin.  Today is when new goals are set.  And tomorrow is when those goals will be reached.  Every year the cycle of resolutions, diets, and goals continues.  But every year many of us fail.  Perhaps the problem is, we've been going about it all wrong.

A couple days ago, a friend posted something on Facebook that made me stop and think for a second.  She knew that she wanted to make some changes in her life, but she wanted to be realistic about it.  That's when it hit me.  So many of us create these goals for ourselves that may be a little farfetched.  We set expectations that are too high and when we don't see the expected results, we quit.  And by quitting, we ultimately fail.

That is when I realized there is a difference between goals and dreams.   A dream is usually just that.   Something that you wish for, but often it is a wish that goes unanswered.  A goal is a realistic finish line that with hard work and patience you can reach.  I can dream of having a body like a super model, but that obviously isn't going to happen regardless of the effort I put towards my workouts.  For starters, I am only five feet tall.  No matter how skinny I get, I will never look like Heidi Klum.  But I can set a goal that I lose five pounds and tone my abs and arms.  This is an achievable goal that will benefit my health.

I can also dream of running and completing a marathon, but again this is an out of reach dream.  For many of you, this is a very obtainable goal.  But for me, living with chronic pain, I need to be realistic and listen to my body.  I need to set smaller goals that keep me moving and out of bed.  Goals that won't get me discouraged to the point of throwing up my hands and giving up.  If working out is hard for you, start small and work your way up.  Reaching your goals shouldn't be a race, but instead a journey.  If you try to go too fast, you again set yourself up for failure.

I've always had the dream to be a published author.  I suppose this a possible dream, but one that comes with too much pressure.  Realistically, most aspiring authors never have their work read outside friends and family,   But they continue to write for the love of writing.  So instead, I have set a goal of editing my finished children's book and completing my YA fantasy novel.  Whether they ever get published or not, I will have reached my goal if I complete them.  This doesn't mean that I will stop dreaming big, but it does mean I will try to keep things in perspective.   (1 Chronicles 4:10. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.)

Do you think setting smaller goals is smarter or do you think we should continue to dream big?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Modesty Has Left the Building

Fashion has had its ups and downs throughout history.   When living in the moment, we may feel stylish and (dare I say) hip.  But more often than not, we look back on those "perfect" photos and just shake our heads.  However, despite our bright clothing and big hair, we can feel comfortable sharing our photos with our children and grandchildren.  Can this generation of kids say the same thing?

Finding appropriate clothes for my girls has become quite the challenge.  Not because they are getting older and pickier, but because it is hard to find clothing that actually contains enough material.  Shorts are getting shorter, dresses are getting skimpier, and shirts are getting sexier.  My kids are 13 and 10.  They don't need sexier and skimpier.  They need comfortable and durable. (Romans 12:2 "Do not allow this world to mold you into its own image.")

Unfortunately,  my opinion on the subject is definitely in the minority.   If it wasn't, then companies would change their styles and sell more age appropriate outfits.   If it wasn't, I wouldn't have spent our vacations at Disney World walking behind girls with their butt cheeks hanging out of their shorts and their bras showing from the side of their shirts.  If it wasn't, I wouldn't have gone swimming with little ones in bikinis that had less material then those of the Sport Illustrated swim suit models.  

Modesty has definitely left the building in most American households.  But thankfully it is here to stay in mine.  My girls may beg and plead to purchase an outfit that is in style, but as a parent I have the right to say no.   We will continue to have a clothing standard in our home and I will continue to teach my girls to respect their bodies and not flaunt in to the world.

Am I too old fashion?  What are your opinions on the latest tween/teen styles?

Grab a latte, put up our feet, and join the discussion!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Birthday M&M!

It is hard to believe that my baby girl is a teenager today.  It seems like yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital wondering how we were so blessed to become her parents.

My sweet Em's, we are so proud of the lady you are becoming.  We hope you have the happiest of birthdays and the best year ever!  Love you bunches😘😘😘😘😘


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pay it Forward

No doubt you have been blessed with a random act of kindness once or twice in your life.  Chances are you have even experienced this through the hand of a stranger.  Now is the time to repay that favor and pay it forward.

Our daily news coverage is continuously littered with the pain and suffering the people of our world must endure.  Each morning we wake up unsure of what new sadness has fallen upon some unsuspecting stranger, or worse someone we know or relate to.   With all the horrible things in the world, it is easy to just throw up your hands and give up.  But then through the darkness, you see a beacon of hope that renews your faith in humanity. (Romans 12:12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.)

There are so many ways that you can become that beacon of hope for someone.   You don't have to give millions like Angelina Jolie to make a difference in the world.  If you can touch just one life, you have made that difference.  Consider a local charity....soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Locks of Love, etc.  These are just a few that my family has participated in and though our actions are not recognized and splashed over the news, they still had a major impact on many lives.  

If we all continue to pay it forward, perhaps one day we can live in a world where the morning news will make a hearts lighter rather than heavier.  If you are having trouble of finding a good way to help out, just let me know and I will throw some more ideas out to you.  And if you have already found some ways that we can help one another, leave a comment and lets get the domino effect going.  How do you plan on paying it forward?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Change

Change is inevitable.  Just as the world continuously spins, it is continuously changing.  Flowers bloom.  Leaves fall.  Children grow.  Lives are altered.  Change is inevitable whether it is welcomed or not.

Dealing with change is sometimes unnerving.  Not because it is necessarily bad, but because it is different.   We are creatures of habit.  These habits and routines we create give us comfort.  They become our norm.  To some, sticking to the same routine may feel restricting.  To others, like myself, it may bring you peace.

But ultimately, whether you are ready or not, change will sneak up on you.  It may present itself in a conversation with a child.  It may surprise you in an unexpected compliment.   It may scare you in a new job opportunity.  It may excite you in a spontaneous action.  Or it may take you aback with an unexpected snub.

How ever change begins, it is up to us to deal with it the best we can.  We can moan and complain about how things use to be, but unfortunately, that won't stop the change.  We can also choose to accept it and move forward.  By embracing the change, we can find the positive within. 

Dealing with change has never been my forte`.  Moving to Europe three years ago was completely out of my comfort zone.  However, all the amazing experiences my family and I had will be treasured always.  We explored new countries, experienced new cultures, tasted new foods, and made amazing friends.  If I had hidden behind the familiar, I would have missed out on so much.

Sometimes life throws you that unexpected curve ball.  Catch the ball and run with it.  Whether it is a change of routine, location, or even people in your life, work to keep an open mind and embrace the change. (Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.)  Are you a creature of habit?  Or do you thrive on change?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Losing Control

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all want to feel like we are in control.  But complete control is merely an illusion.  A very unattainable illusion.  For we can only control our own actions and nothing else.  

For the last eight years, I have been trying to teach my children a lesson that I have yet to learn.  I understand the lesson in theory and I believe it to be true, but somehow I constantly find myself digressing.  We are responsible for our own actions and our own actions alone.  We cannot control what others do or how their actions effect those around them (even ourselves).  Regardless of your careful planning, ideas, or expectations,you are not in control of the outcome.  Things can always go another way depending on those you surround yourself with intentionally or by chance.  Trying to control the actions and behaviors of others is a loss cause.  And it is time for this lesson to actually sink in.  Time to stop, regroup, and be still.  (Psalm 46:10 Be Still and know I am God.)

When you get the sense that you have lost control, it usually stems from an expectation not being met.  If we expect a child to behave a certain way and they don't meet those expectation, we may sometimes describe it as losing control.  But we need to remind ourselves that our children are not puppets to control.  We can teach them right from wrong, but when it comes down to it, only they are in control of their own actions.  The sooner we can learn this lesson in life, the less disappointment we will have.

The same thing goes for our friends and spouses.  We often create unconscious expectations in our head about how they should act, what they should say, or what they should do.  These are ideas that we have created silently and I cannot understand why we are let down when those close to us do not meet the expectations they are unaware of.

So my new goal is to try to worry less about the negative actions of others and concentrate more on my  positive interaction with others.  While others cannot control my actions, I hope that I somehow measure up to their silent expectations and they never leave a conversation with me in disappointment. Do you ever feel like you are losing control?  Is there some part of your life that you just need to loosen control?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Optimistic Pessimist

Positive thinking is the key to happiness.  It effects your mood, behavior, and your relationships.  When negative thoughts creep into your head today, spin them around and discover your inner optimist.  

All of us are guilty of being pessimistic at some point in our lives.  I guess you could say, it's human nature.  It is easier to be sure of the worse than to hope for the best.  Therefore, we are optimistic pessimists.   Not sure if that really counts as positive thinking though.

Think back to the last real conversation you had with a friend or family member.  Was the majority of the conversation focused around negative things happening in your lives?  Negative things that you were certain were going to happen to you in the near future?   I have caught myself many times over that last few months leaving a conversation and just shaking my head.   Why did I waste all my time complaining?  Why didn't I share about the wonderful accomplishments of my girls?  Or talk about the great weekend I shared with my family?

I know that we often need to vent to those closest to us.  It helps us get out our frustrations as well as being able to solicit some much needed advice.   But when every conversation is focused around the negative, it tends to bring you down. (Philippians 2:13-14  For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.  Do everything without complaining or arguing.)

Starting today, I will give myself permission to vent, if so needed, for a maximum of five minutes.  After that, I am determine to live as an optimist.  I want to think positively about all the wonderful blessings that are in my life and not dwell on things that just can't be changed.   I have a feeling that it will improve my mood and therefore improve my daily interactions with others.  Are you guilty of being an optimistic pessimist?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Take Back Your Happiness

 We live in a world of procrastination.  Why take the time today to do what could be done tomorrow?  But what if tomorrow never comes?  What if tomorrow is always a day away?  Do what makes you happy today!  Enjoy your life in the present because you never know when tomorrow will eventually arrive.

Bills, work, meetings, chores, obligations, commuting...... Not everything in life is all fun and games, but some things should be.  We all have a single life to live and it is up to us to make the choice to live it.  It is very disheartening to look around and see how little joy is left in the world.  We all have so much in our lives that we should be thankful for, but we somehow focus only on the negative.

Maybe work sucked today, or maybe the kids drove you to a migraine. But the big picture is you have a job and kids you love more than anything.  I know it is hard to do, but try to leave work at work.  Try to play an extra game with your children.  Focus on what makes you happy and the hardships that were just weighing you down will be lifted away. (Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.)


It has been over 5 years since I've written for Between the Lines.  I use to love this blog because I loved writing.  I enjoyed sharing my favorite recipes and ideas for the kiddos and loved the feedback.  But then I allowed my blog to morph into something else.  At first, this new blog full of reviews, promotions, and advertising was fun.  It was new and exciting and I was making money from something I created.  But then I realized that I didn't have time anymore to include the things I liked on MY blog.  I didn't have time to write whatever I wanted (not even my book I was working on) because I had a calendar full of clients that I had to write for first.

That is why 5 years ago I stepped away from Between the Lines.  I fulfilled all my standing obligations and then I just let it go.  The problem was I was so frustrated with writing for other people that I stopped writing altogether.  My finished novel sat and collected dust.   My unfinished novel remained unfinished.  I stopped visiting other blogs that I use to enjoy.   I just disappeared from the writing world altogether.  But recently I started writing again and remembered how much I loved it.  I stopped thinking of the bad things and focused on what made me happy.  I often find myself procrastinating and saying I will work on it tomorrow.  I have too many things to take care of today.  But I am getting better.  The kids can play alone for a bit.  The dishes and the laundry aren't going anywhere.  And whoever is calling on the phone will leave a message. 

Don't get lost in the must-dos.  Do what makes you happy today.  Your happiness may be contagious and help others find their happiness again too.  Have you been putting off doing things that make you happy?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Anyone Still Out There??

  After a long break from blogging, an amazing three year European Adventure, and a little encouragement from a friend, I'm bringing my old friend, Between the Lines, back to life!

  I definitely took a longer break then I intended, but life happens and things get busy. And busy lives are usually happy lives.   I come back to my blog older, hopefully wiser, and definitely happier.   And best of all, I have many new stories to share.   So if you are still out there....

Grab a latte, put up your feet and join the discussion!!