Friday, October 31, 2014

New Experiences and Being Yourself


Before I met Zeke, I had never in my life been on a motorcycle.

Now I typically put on an average of five hundred miles a summer on the back of a Honda Shadow.

We already talked about how I changed myself to be the girl that my boyfriend-of-the-moment wanted me to be, and how I lost my true self in the process. So how is the motorcycle thing different?

Being true to yourself doesn't necessarily mean that you shirk all new experiences. Where's the fun in that? We need new and different experiences to keep us growing and learning and really enjoying life.

How do you find the balance between having a new adventure and still being yourself?

The trick is honesty. Honesty with yourself.

There's no harm in trying something new (well, something that's new and legal and moral and relatively safe, anyway), the issue comes in when we try to believe that we feel something we don't.

Take the motorcycle, for example. Zeke invited me to go for a ride way back when, and I tried it (legal, moral, relatively safe), and I liked it. I actually liked it. I was surprised, too.

Cut to Zeke and I, about two years later, when I tried out a dirtbike for the first time.


I told Zeke that I'd rather not go on one of those crazy things again.

I just didn't like it. And unlike several years before, I was able to honestly evaluate my feelings and express them. I was honest with myself, and with Zeke, too. I think he'd probably prefer it if I really enjoyed dirt bikes (because he does, and he'd like to be able to do that together), but I don't. And that's okay.

It's okay to be who I am. That's freedom, right there. I can choose the adventures I'd like to have, and no matter what I feel about the experience, it's okay.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Entryway- A PHFR

This post brought to you by a mid-week slump! You're excited, I can tell. 


There's just something so pretty about being greeted by a clean entryway first  thing in the morning. Ah. Feels like peace.


Zeke has this pair of moccasins that just make me so happy (more so when he's wearing them, but you catch my drift). He looks like a cute little boy in them... and he doesn't look like a little guy very often!


Hiding amidst the pile of Zeke-shoes are these...

 ... scuba flippers. I'm not really sure.


Just in case the clean-entryway picture made you feel fits of jealousy, here's some reality to set you straight. 

When we moved in to Peace (our house), I put up this curtain that's entirely too long for the window. I told myself that I'd go ahead and actually cut and sew the curtain to fit someday... it's been almost two years and my quick fold-and-hand-stitch job is still holding on well.

Linking up today with Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Comparison and Contentment

If we're being honest with ourselves, part of our problem, especially when it comes to appearance and the way we look, is the issue of comparison.

I touched on it quickly last week, but man. Comparison stretches over so much of our lives- from hair to houses, from jobs to jam-making... there's always someone who is doing something, being something, living something that you'd like to.

We point to things that rob us of joy- the mom who threw the elaborate party for her five-year-old, the couple with the impeccably perfect wedding pictures, Pinterest- and we blame them for the discontent in our lives.

"If it weren't for Pinterest..." we say.

If it weren't for Pinterest, what? We'd still find ways to measure ourselves against the people around us. It's what we do.

Of course, just like so many conflicts, the trouble with comparison is that it lies in our own hearts.

I'll be honest with you- back when I was a single gal, I compared myself to the women in relationships. How come she found someone, and I didn't, yet? What was so wrong with me? My dress size, my nose, my personality?

Of course, that led to a host of problems, including trying to be someone I'm not.

A little further down the road, I was dating a guy. A healthy, good relationship. Like I wanted. But instead of being filled with joy, instead of being content, I looked at the engaged couples. Tried to measure up to the girl who had that fabulous title- "fiancee."

When I was engaged? I compared myself to the married women. And now that I'm married? I'm fighting the battle against comparison to those who are blessed as mothers.

Where I am is never enough.

I think part of that can be good- it helps drive us forward, helps us keep moving, improving. Progressing.

But it also makes me feel as though my life isn't enough just the way it is.

As Ann Voskamp points out in her One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are,

Nothing. That means that instead of looking forward three years, we focus on this moment. On the joys now. The blessings now.

It doesn't do us any good to compare ourselves with other people. They're not living our lives. And most of the time, we only see the highlight reel, anyways*.

When we're focused on the blessings in our own lives, when we respond to life with an attitude of thanksgiving, we find joy in where we are. Right now. In the life we're living now. In who we are now.

I went to a seminar recently, and Jennifer Dukes Lee was the speaker.

One thing she said really stuck out to me-
 "God is saying to you, 'I didn't ask you to be her. I asked you to be you.'"
How true!

I think I need to remind myself, continually, of this fact. Because sometimes, I look at myself and think, "But.... are you sure, God? You really want me to be me?

And more so, I need to remind myself that this is true about my relationships, too-
God says, "I didn't ask you to have a life like hers. Your path is different, and that's okay."

God's plan is the right plan, and He knows what He's doing.

It's not my job to plan exactly how my future is supposed to go (although that's hard for me to step away from!).

My role is to trust, to find contentment and joy, and to believe that God's plan is best for me.

Even if it looks different from her plan.

*That couple who posted pictures of their perfect weekend with the perfect lighting and the holding hands? Maybe they had an argument right before. Maybe they haven't seen each other in months. You don't know. Because they're not you.

If you'd like to see more posts in this series, I'd invite you to go ahead and follow me on Facebook, or stay tuned- I'm working on putting all the posts in this series together so they're easier to find. Thanks!

Friday, October 24, 2014

October Update

Because, let's be honest, it's hard to keep up in the blogging world!

<> Work's going well- we're out of the fire and into the furnace- summer camp is over, but Fall youth retreats are starting up today. 75 middle schoolers say what?

("AAAAAH!" and "I just drank three Red Bulls on the bus ride here!" That's what they say.)

<> With all the transitions and stuff, I've been really relying on my planner. So, yeah, I've been posting about that a lot.

<> We went on a three-day vacation to the Black Hills last week, and it was awesome. And just what I needed.

<> I still need yo' tips on Fall fashion. Link.It.Up.

 <> Zeke's been making lots of dehydrator food (so, like, jerky and apple chips and dehydrated watermelon, which he really likes and I really hate), so there's that.

 <> Still not pregnant. I was hitting a wall with my regular family doctor about that (she wanted to put me back on birth control to "reset" my cycle, and yeah, no. No Pill for me.), so we decided that seeing a NaPro might be our best bet. We'll be on the same page as the doctor as far as no IVF and no birth control, at least.

We started using Creighton two weeks ago, went for our first follow up on Tuesday. I'm kind of loving the no-temping thing.

<> I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks last week, but I was completely underwhelmed. Zeke took a sip and said, "This doesn't taste like four dollars."

Anyway, I thought maybe I was out of the Pumpkin-Spice-loving stage of life, but then I got some Pumpkin Spice creamer, and yeah, it's pretty wonderful. Maybe the Starbucks guy was just a newbie?

This post is linked up with Jenna for tl;dr, and with Jen for 7QT! Because there were seven things!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

November Daily Pages {free printable!}

Just a quick-ety quick post today for my planner peeps. (I know, I've been a little "planner post" heavy this week. Gotta get ready for November, though!)

Because I was makin' 'em for myself anyway...

Download my 2014 November daily pages by clicking the link below, if you'd like.

A note about printing: These pages are 8.5 x 5.5 sized, so they should fit in Martha Stewart small format binders, A5 size binders, and Classic size binders. You may need to trim a little.

You will want to print these double sided, flipping on the short end of the paper (or top-to-bottom printing). They'll look a little crazy at first (i.e. the pages don't seem like they're in order) but it should work just fine. After printing, cut the pages in half, and three-hole punch the edge you cut.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Appearance and Beauty: You're Beautiful on the Outside

All right, so a couple of days ago, we started talking about appearance.

Cliff Notes: The way you look isn't the most important thing, but it does matter. The way you look can really affect how you feel about yourself, and that makes a big difference in your behavior, your attitude, and what you put up with. Being attractive, however, doesn't mean being perfect.

Now, back to the girl I was telling you about. The one who thinks she's not pretty/beautiful/cute/attractive/"hot" enough to be loved in a dating relationship. Maybe you know someone like her. Maybe you are her. Maybe you're dating or married and secretly still feel that way.


First of all, who told you that you're not beautiful? If it was your friends, the people you spend the most time with, well, maybe you shouldn't be spending time with them. A beauty tip here and there is one thing, but you should spend time with people who fill you up with truth, not people who drag you into self-doubt.

Maybe it was someone closer to you- a parent, a sibling, maybe even a spouse. Hear me- those words they spoke to you were lies. You're incredibly loved, were incredibly created, and are beautiful for who you are.

You've probably heard something like that, followed by the words, "on the inside." And yes, hopefully you truly believe that you're beautiful on the inside, because you are.

But you're also so beautiful on the outside.

Let's start believing that, too.

You Were Marvelously Created

"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."- Genesis 1:26-27

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." - Psalm 139:13-16

First of all, we need to remember this extremely important point. God made us in His image. In the very image of the most high God, the very definition of Beauty, we were created. We were formed by a God who loves us incredibly.

Hating my short toe (yes, I have a short toe) is the same as hating God's creation. Of looking at this gift of a body that He gave me and saying, "Well, I like some of it... but..."

It's a hard thing continually see ourselves through God's eyes- on my bad body-image days, I re-read these verses and try to rest in them.

Pinpoint the Issue(s)

Honestly, we all have parts of us that we're not thrilled about. Some of those "issues" will stick with us for life, and sometimes the things we don't like will change.

Seven years ago, my height was the biggest issue for me. I never really even thought about my belly (cuz I didn't have one) or my skin (which was great at the time). Now, I couldn't care less about my height, besides the fact that putting 30 extra pounds on five feet looks like a whole lot, and oh my goodness hormones and my face! Ugh!

What do you see as an "issue" with your body?

Generous love handles and break outs, while they're the "issues" right now, don't take away from the good. And on that note:

Emphasize the Good

There is something you like about your body. There is.

I like my eyes, and my ankles. (Random?)

The key is to emphasize the things I do like (we're talking more "eyes" than "ankles," here), which will detract from the things I don't like (my awesome adult acne.)

I would really suggest this book- Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty.  
(Full disclosure, this guy is an affiliate link. But at one cent per book? Just buy it.)

I know, it says "Teenage." But trust me, here. My mom bought me this book when I was in late high school, and I still read through it on occasion. If ya haven't heard of her, Bobbi Brown is a make up artist, and a darned inspiring one at that. I love this book for the "how to emphasize the good" tips- and since I don't like wearing a ton of makeup, the tips are good ones.

Discover What Makes You Feel Beautiful

We all do something or wear something that makes us feel beautiful.

Maybe it's a certain outfit, or playing a certain song on the piano. Maybe it's taking a long bubble
bath, or wearing fuzzy socks. Maybe you feel most beautiful when your toenails are painted, when you're taking pictures of sunsets, when you sing "Be Thou My Vision" at the top of your lungs while folding laundry. Whatever.

Just figure out what it is, and make time for doing it. Finding little moments of beauty in ordinary days helps to fill up your soul.

Take Care of Yourself

Sleep enough, drink enough water, eat good-for-you food, wash your face before bed, move around enough. The way your body feels can really make a difference in how you feel about your body, and taking good care of yourself may even help with some of those issues we talked about earlier (hello, extra 30 lbs). Some things may not really change, but your perspective will.

Avoid Comparison

This one's a doozy.

It's easy to compare my body with that model. Or heck, even with my friend Meri who is tall and lanky and built for running long distances. Short squat me ain't got nothin' on her.

But that girl whose curly hair you're envying? She's probably wishing it was straight like yours.

Because that's how we are. We often envy what we don't have, no matter what we do have. Human nature and all. It's hard, but try not to compare yourself to other people. (I'm talking beauty here, but we'll get into this topic more later on--- Update: More about Comparison in this post here). You are you. No one else can be you- and you can't be anyone else.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How I Use My Calendar Pages: Planning Binder {Free Printables!}

Well, I shared a bit a while back about how I use my daily planning pages in my planner.

I typically only print one month worth of daily pages to put in my planner at a time, otherwise my planner gets too thick. So how do I plan future stuff?

Well, in front of my daily pages, I have a section that I call "Calendar." I keep a calendar of the year, one month on two pages, to write down appointments or reminders or tasks that are more than a month out.

Typically, I check my calendar nightly when I plan for the next day, or at the very least, I'll check it weekly.

I originally tried to do a month-on-one-page format, but that just wasn't enough room to write stuff down. I don't have quite enough appointments, generally, to fill up my calendar, but I'd rather have a little too much room than not enough!

This was taken before I wrote everything in for October. Look how nice and clean the month looks! <Sigh> It's much messier now.

And, because I love you and I had to make calendar pages for myself anyway...

Free Printables!!

These pages include Calendar-on-Two pages for the 2015 Calendar Year. There are two styles to choose from- I messed around with both fonts before choosing one. 

A note about printing: I use a small format binder (or Desk size, or A5 size- it uses 5.5" x 8.5" pages).  I do not print these pages two-sided. I like having the back sides blank to add notes or doodles, to tape papers on, or just about anything. I then cut the pages in half down the middle and hole punch them. If you have a larger binder (a standard 8.5"x11"), you could still use these if you hole punch at the top of the page, but you'll have that gutter area in the middle.

 Here's the first style:

And here's the second style:

Click Here for the Style2 Monthly 2015 Calendar

Enjoy, and Happy Planning!