Redeemer of my Heart

Just a very short post today, because I’ve got to be heading out the door soon.

Today, here’s where I am: aware of my need of redemption.

We sing about redemption a lot in church; it’s part of the Christian lexicon. This is as it should be, the word is important in the Christian faith…but man, sometimes I think the power of the term goes unrecognized and it takes some broken-heartedness to remember it.

Biblically speaking, the title of “redeemer” goes back to the Old Testament, referring to a “kinsman redeemer” who was able to act on behalf of another to save  them from trouble, whether this is making them good in the eyes of the law or literally rescuing them. The kinsman redeemer is kind of the white knight who brings things back where they need to be. In the New Testament, this term is fulfilled by Jesus, the ultimate kinsman redeemer.  I think a lot of times we accept this as a part of Christianity–that, in order to be saved, we need redemption from our sins.

We know that part is key, but I think we forget sometimes that it’s not a one-time deal. Our hearts wander constantly, and we’ll require this saving re-direction as long as we live. We are like kids who really, really want to touch the thing we’re not supposed to (I type before re-navigating Kora away from underneath the recliner).

The past week has been rough for me. Not rough on the outside, or in anything that happened particularly. The problem has been on the inside. I am struggling with myself–with my own unrealistic expectations (INFPs understand), over-sensitivity, doubt, worry, sadness, selfishness of perspective. I’ve felt lonely, with no one to share these private thoughts and feelings. There’s no one who can understand my soul, and no one can help resolve the troubles of myself (the Hebrew word for self, “nephesh”, is appropriate here, encompassing, body, mind, soul, self-ness…) Not even my husband can fully get me or fix me: as wonderful as he is, he is just a person, too.

The problem with trying to dump your heart’s brokenness on any other person is that we are all a bit broken-unable to carry the weight of our own problems, let alone understand or solve someone else’s. I’m not saying don’t rely on people, I’m just saying that ordinary people can’t offer real redemption of the heart. Ordinary people can’t keep bringing you back to a place of peace, no matter how far away you feel from it. Only God does that.

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“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”-Isaiah 41:13

My prayer today is that God will bring my brokeness back to Him and love me again. I don’t need saving once and for all–I’ve already received eternal salvation.

And yet….

I DO still need saving, each and every day. I need redemption every day. Please redeem my heart, today, Lord. Bring it back to where you want it to be.

“Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and friend
Who would have thought that a lamb could
Rescue the souls of men
Oh, You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way…”

-Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Hymn)

 

 

 

On the Baby Who Sleeps through the Night

Where am I? Currently at the booth in the kitchen, surrounded by printed out pages of scholarly articles, baby in my arms (originally in her Moby wrap, but she’s adamantly wrestled her way out of the confines, as she’s been doing often, lately). For now, I am giving up on trying to read this super heavy philosophical stuff (which requires some serious concentration under normal circumstances), and am adjusting said baby (very wiggly) back and forth….annd I thought I’d write a short blog instead.

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And now, I’m preparing for some people to be mad at me, but I’m just going to say it:

My baby has slept all the way through the night, 95% of the time, since she was two months old. She goes to bed about 10 p.m. and sleeps until 7:30, and that’s how it is, folks.

I’m incredibly grateful for this. I like my sleep. Some friends have jokingly called Kora a “bait baby” (because, you know, she’s bait to have another one).

As AWESOME as it is to get that sleep, I just recently realized that Kora is very unusual in another way, compared to most babies.

She doesn’t really nap.

Like, hardly at all.

I put her down for two naps. She usually sleep for about 10 minutes around 10:30 a.m. and about 20 minutes at 3 p.m. That’s all, unless her routine is thrown off or she’s not feeling well. The rest of the time, she’s super, super, super active, exploratory, wiggly and wants to be played with, which is also really sweet and awesome and everything, and I love it.

However, it does make getting things-particularly academic or work-like things- done during the day difficult.

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She really doesn’t ever stop moving and exploring. Who is this girl going to be? What is she going to do?  How did she come out like this?

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It’s crazy to me how people just come out, and they just ARE. They are already personalities. And we have to patiently wait until they start speaking so we can ask them all about it.

So, on babies who sleep through the night, like mine….

I wouldn’t trade my blissful nights of solid sleep…I’m TOTALLY grateful for it.  But I kind of wonder if the ones who sleep through the night are just preparing for a day of non-stop: NAPS? WHAT NAPS? IT’S GO TIME, MOM!

Also, she’s about to start crawling, like, right on the verge.

So there’s my workout program for 2016.

 

 

 

Good Morning! 10 Ways to Have One of Those.

Today, where I am is a bit of a grey space (but if I spell “grey” the British way, doesn’t that make it more romantic?)

It’s not like anything terrible happened. I’ve just been in a bit of a funk since last night, one of those rare nights (I usually sleep like a log), when I had trouble falling asleep. A lot of my negative emotions-worry, doubt, sad memories and feelings- started creeping up on me, so I decided to at least try to get some reading done, which was good. However, I had some pretty disturbing dreams and woke up feeling generally grumpy and overwhelmed with stuff to do and not very “Carpe Diem.” I think if wbook-nerdspiration_readbreatherelax5-500x330e’re honest, most of us have experienced a blah kind of morning like that. Anyway, I’m going to give myself some advice on how to get this day going the right direction. You are welcome to take it as advice for yourself, too.

Disclaimer: Not sure that everything on this list is applicable for dudes.

  1. Do 2 things right away: Get the coffee going and make your bed. Knowing that some fresh coffee is on it’s way is an immediately good start to a potentially chaotic morning, and if you make your bed first thing (while the coffee is brewing), you already feel like a somewhat put-together person. My aunt taught me this one. It works.
  2. Spend a few minutes getting your priorities straight for the day. I failed on this  today, but I’m about to start over by reading my devotional. I’ve been trying to read “Jesus Calling” in the mornings. It’s a short but powerful little devotional that’s become pretty popular in the last few years. It basically takes specific Scriptures for each day and merges them together in a format that makes it like a daily letter from Jesus to the reader, including the scriptural references so you can expand your daily study.  I also find I have a better morning when I make a to-do list for the day. I try to get something in there from each area of my life, and I also try to not make impossible lists.
  3. Look like an actor in a technicolor film. Wear bright colors. Go ahead and do your hair/makeup extra snazzy (snazzy?) if that makes you feel more human. There’s something to looking good=feeling good.
  4. Aromatherapy. Whether you diffuse some bright essential oils, light a candle, or spritz yourself with your favorite fragrance before heading out the door, aromatherapy makes you take deep breaths and, when you exhale, you feel encouraged.
  5. Do something you’ve been putting off. For me, that will be folding the laundry that has been in the dryer for two days. What did my last post say? Oh yeah, I SUCK at laundry. It’s true, guys. Next on my list…..writing a thingy about post-colonialism and Homi Bhabha…hmm.
  6. Plan something creative. Whether that’s cooking (which some days is the easiest way to get your creative in, because you’d probably have to do it anyway) or playing a musical instrument, writing, drawing, coloring, whatever.
  7. Plan something physical. Especially something that takes you outside or makes you be social, like a short walk outside or a group fitness type thing. Being outside of your normal state and/or hanging with people who just want to share the sheer joy of movement can be a game changer.
  8. Listen to music. What’s your jam? What makes you want to dance? That’s the kind of music I’m talking about.
  9. Change your posture and your expression. There are a lot of TED talks about this. Make yourself look confident, put a smile on your face. It will actually change how you feel (and how people treat you.)
  10. If all else fails, probably you should just watch “You’ve Got Mail,” and think about what Kathleen Kelly would do. I think she’d probably put up twinkle lights, go out and get some daisies and read a book. Or she’d go to the mattresses (also, btw, that’s what the Godfather would do).3991645_std

Write Where You Are: What does that mean?

First of all, I apologize that I haven’t been a good, consistent blogger lately. I’m going to re-commit to putting out something-even if it’s short, or not the best-several times a week. At this point, I’m also kind of wanting to refocus on the purpose of this journey in writing. While I’ll be looking for a little bit more of a cohesive feel to future posts in terms of format, at least, I still plan to write about whatever strikes me at the time. Here’s why.

My site is called “Write Where You Are,” for a reason. I know it seems like a cop-out—like—oh she can just write anything on here if she calls it that. And that is sort of the point. But it actually has always been very intentional, to the point of HEY, I am NOT one thing.  YOU aren’t either. For another good post on this topic, and just a good blog, check out my friend Corinne over at: https://owanderingfolk.wordpress.com/

Here’s the thing, for me anyway. I could write on my description that I’m a  “homemaker,  wife and mom,” which I am. But if that’s my “theme,” then that shapes the whole impression  people have of me, the way I look at myself, even. And I’m not really aspiring  to define myself only by those terms, as noble as they are (also I totally suck at laundry, among other household tasks). Or I could say, “I am an academic, a bookish old soul and introvert.” Also somewhat true, but that’s not me completely either (although that sounds like someone who would own a rockin’ tweed jacket, which is on my bucket list. Elbow patches please.)  There’s the good girl who never got grounded, never had a rebellious phase, did everything I was supposed to do, in the right order. Those are all ideals, categories I sort of aspire to fill, but not really me.

Hey, then there are my failures: there’s the flake that I can come across as a lot of times, who never knows what to say in person, who gets flustered easily in uncomfortable situations and breaks virtually any nearby technology with a single glance. There’s the temper most people don’t know I have. There’s the part of me that always feels like an imposter, not good enough. There’s the part of me that’s a selfish brat. The part of me that’s incapable of understanding certain concepts or remembering to do certain things.

 Or-to be a super-confusing person-I could label myself as happily, productively, ADD. I could reference the silly, extroverted  Zumba instructor that I am several nights a week, or I could place my identity in the fact that a lot of times I dance and sing like a crazy person in my house to Bollywood while being a multi-tasking hoodlum and caffeine junky. Did you know Gilmore Girls is my favorite show? Because it is. Oh yeah, I’m a health freak by the way….BUT I also love cheese and red velvet cake.

I could call this a “Christian blog,” but I feel that would be unnecessary, too (and maybe a let down for the theological blog-readers out there). Because my content is everywhere, and my faith infiltrates my perspectives– my hope would be that my faith is transparent here, regardless of topic.

You get the point? I feel as though any label I could choose would be, to some degree, counterfeit in its simplicity, it’s in-completeness. I feel like that’s unavoidable for social media like Facebook, but no, not on my blog.

Here’s the other thing–Really I started writing more when I was heavily grieving the loss of my mom in 2013. I guess I found it necessarily to somehow bring together the part of me that people saw on a daily basis (the one who could function and teach and smile) and the part of me that frequently screamed at the top of my lungs in empty parking lots because I couldn’t handle the stuff my heart was feeling. Writing became a way to discover about grief and love and the reality of the way that the world-and you-grows over these ugly wounds to make something new. I tried to be honest, and I shocked some people I think, because my voice is most real in these typed words….much more real than the little voice people hear when they speak with me.

So here’s my angle: We spend enough of our lives worrying about fitting into boxes and not enough of them finding our voice. Really, that’s what I want “Write Where You Are” to be about. It’s a one-woman stand against turning labels into restrictions…Because the temptation to fall into a category is very high-pressure. More than that, it’s my way of finding my voice, and maybe encouraging others to do the same.

Ultimately,  you not one thing; I am not one thing.   You can be smart and a flake. You can be hilarious, fun and depressed. You can be an introvert who’s good at fake extrovert-ing.  You can be the cool person who is a big nerd on the inside. Or the nerd who is a cool person on the inside. You can be a loving husband or wife and let down the person who cares about you the most. You can be a good friend who forgets to do the stuff good friends always do. You can doubt and have faith. You can be in pain and be full of joy.

You are much more than each category, or the sum of their parts, or even the differences between them. And that voice that represents the real you, when and if you can find it, is worth putting to paper. The best way to start is simply to write where you are.

 

17 Day Diet Cycle 1 Progress

Hey Everyone! I mentioned about a week and a half ago that I was going to try to complete the first cycle of the 17 day diet just in time for Thanksgiving, so I wanted to do a quick update on that.

Has it been hard to stick to this plan?

I’ve actually been following it pretty easily. It’s not too dissimilar to how I’d eat normally, with the main exceptions being no carbs at all after 2 p.m., less coffee (more green tea) and no late-night popcorn or wine (boo, I enjoy a glass of red wine at night to unwind). However, something about these small changes really seems to make a big difference to me!

I haven’t followed the plan perfectly either, there was some cheating going on last weekend—I had to shop at Sam’s Club on Saturday and so I ate several delicious samples of pie, etc. I also had Sunday brunch with my granny which consisted of soley refined carbs-pancakes, grits, biscuits. I did try some of everything but tried to use moderation. Finally, I’ve been craving molasses (anemic) so I’ve added an occasional teaspoon in my coffee. Still, these cheats aren’t too bad, all things considered.

Let me give you a sample menu plan here:

Breakfast: Green tea, two eggs-fried, one serving of sugar-free, low fat yogurt, one apple (as you can see, breakfast is none too shabby)

Snack: Another low sugar fruit such as an apple, orange or berries

Lunch: Lean ground turkey sauteed with cabbage, onion and seasonings. Delicious! Green tea to drink.

Snack: Yogurt (no sugar, lowfat-I love Triple Zero yogurt)

Dinner: Pan fried fish,roasted veggies, spinach salad with apple cider vinaigrette.

Night-time munchies: The biggest thing this has done for me has helped me to beat the night-time munchies. Now instead of getting some skinny popcorn or a glass red wine (neither of which are unhealthy choices actually, but the habit of late-night snacking is not the best)… I’ve found myself becoming addicted to a nightly cup of hot tea, instead.

Results?

Okay, so  it’s been 10 days and I just weighed myself. To be honest,  I wasn’t really expecting much. Like I said, I’ve been trying for a couple months with other methods and not an ounce was lost of that stubborn pregnancy weight.  HOWEVER, THIS MORNING I WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE I HAVE LOST 5 POUNDS IN 10 DAYS.  That might not sound huge but it is for me, especially considering the scale’s war against moving even a tiny bit. It’s also huge because it’s half of my first goal. At this point, I’m only about 5 pounds away from my regular (pre-preg) weight and around 13 away from my most fit weight. However, I also have a lot of muscle from dance/Zumba that I’m pretty sure I built on while doing Zumba through my pregnancy, so maybe I’ll be happy enough to not fret about it once I can get 5 more down.

What now?

Next week, Thanksgiving…. I’m planning to cook several things for not one, but two, Thanksgiving day feasts as well as two potlucks during the week. Also, we’ll have family staying with us and I’m obviously not going to expect them to follow the 17 day diet (my husband has been amazing doing this with me, btw).

If I can just maintain this week, I’ll be happy….If I gain those 5 pounds back in one week, I’m probably going to punch a turkey in the face….After I finish cycle 1, I’m a bit torn between going on to cycle 2 or trying Trim Healthy Mama again. THM is super healthy and is a bit more flexible, which makes it seem like an easier plan to stick to through the remainder of the holiday season. Though I didn’t really lose on it I think I eventually would, slowly, if I stuck it out long enough.

Anyone else out there trying to beat the holiday bulge?? What are you doing? What do your Thanksgiving meal plans look like?

 

The 17 Day Diet…A Battle Against the Bulge

Hey guys….so in case you didn’t know…it’s 17 days until Thanksgiving. That mean’s it’s 17 days until the kids are out of school, the crazy uncle is in town…17 days until some very important questions are answered: who is cooking what and who’s eating where and is everyone going to get along????

17 days until your kitchen is jam-packed with all the delicious foods of the season (if I’m being incredibly honest here, it’s really only about 14 days until that happens).

Along with all the comfort and joy and excitement of the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, there comes a fear….looming….like a stormcloud.

The fear is this: The scale. Continue reading “The 17 Day Diet…A Battle Against the Bulge”

Autumnal Bucket List

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”-F. Scott Fitzgerald42468017b7b0d0e9dd1cd729cf1820c1

Far be it from me to disagree with F. Scott Fitzgerald on anything, let alone the wonders of the fall.  I could probably write about 199,887 blog posts about why autumn is my very favorite season and how much I love it. I wouldn’t even know where to start, there’s so much autumn love in my heart. Instead, I’d like to share my autumnal bucket list. Continue reading “Autumnal Bucket List”

So You Think You’re Not a Feminist?

What do you think of when you hear the word, “feminist”? Come on. Be honest. If someone called you a feminist, how would you feel?  For a long time, it probably would have made me cringe a little bit. That word always conjured up impressions I’d been given by some of my super-liberal friends, ideas like: women shouldn’t shave their legs or wear makeup, abortion is a simple matter of women’s rights, and traditional female stereotypes should be protested, LOUDLY. I never identified with any of these ideas.  I’m a Christian. I’m politically conservative, soft-spoken and don’t like conflict. Frankly, I don’t take issue with Miss. America or Disney princesses.  I’m also a twenty-something wife who is happy to cook dinner most nights, I even wear an apron when I’m doing it (sometimes maybe red lipstick too, but only if I’m feeling sassy)! So most people would think I’m not a feminist, right? Continue reading “So You Think You’re Not a Feminist?”

My Mom, Motherhood, Moving through Grief

This is from about a year and a half ago, a few months after my mom died. I came across it today and realized how many of those things are still true, but also how I’ve grown around them as they have become part of my life.  Now I have Kora, and though the process of being pregnant and having a new baby has had many moments of grief without my mother, these have still been majorly joyful experiences. Reading this, I have realized that I am growing stronger than I ever would have expected in 18 months. I’m hurting, but I’m also okay. I didn’t feel ready to get pregnant when it happened, that wasn’t the plan….for many reasons, including the ones mentioned in my words below.  But it did happen, and I’m so glad it did. Maybe I never would have felt ready. Maybe I’ll always hurt, but I don’t mind. There are new loves ahead, but never the same love that was lost. Life keeps rolling along. As Kora grows up, I can only hope that my daughter will know her mom loves her as much as I always knew mine loved me. Continue reading “My Mom, Motherhood, Moving through Grief”

FREE Sam’s Membership….Calling all Money-Saving Mamas!

Babies sure are cute, but they sure ain’t cheap.  If yours is like many young families, you really have to know how to make a penny stretch. If this is the case for you, I’ve got some exciting news.  Sam’s Club, the place for all things bulk, has decided to offer a huge gift to new or expectant mothers to help pad that new-family budget! Continue reading “FREE Sam’s Membership….Calling all Money-Saving Mamas!”