Thursday, January 23, 2014

how to be unhappy

I stumbled across this list from Elisabeth Elliott's Keep a Quiet Heart this morning on this sweet blog and just had to share.  It's amazing the lies that the world tells us about how to achieve "happiness": 
1. Count your troubles, name them one by one- at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.

2. Worry every day about something. Don’t let yourself get out of practice. It won’t add a cubit to your stature but it might burn a few calories.

3. Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.

4. Devise clever but decent ways to serve God and man. After all, a man’s gotta live.

5. Beat the Joneses.  Make it your business to find out what they are buying this year and where they’re going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.

6. Stay away from absolutes. It’s what’s right for you that matters. Be your own person and don’t allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you.

7. Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people’s. You have your life to live, they have theirs.

8. Don’t fall into any compassion traps – the sort of situation where people can walk all over you. If you get too involved in other people’s troubles, you may neglect your own.

9. Don’t let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what’s really relevant – things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You want to stick with the visible ones – they’re where it’s at now.

Do you struggle with believing any of these lies?  Honestly, I must admit that sometimes I do.  It's easy to be trapped in the world's view of happiness - that it's all about what you have in the here and the now, that you need to look out for #1, that you are only worth what you own.  Which is just a recipe for disappointment and heartache.  But take heart, my friends!  We are told in 2nd Corinthians to fix our eyes on the unseen/ eternal... and only then can we find true happiness in the glory of our unseen, eternal and all-powerful God!

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
-2nd Cor. 4:16 (esv)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

enough snow already and a giveaway!

Good morning friends!  Today I'm afraid I have a case of the Mondays... er, Tuesdays.  We got more snow and are facing some negative degree temperatures for the next couple of days.  I have to admit, I've had enough of this snow business already - come on, spring!  Until then, I'm going to take a chapter from Lyla's book:
Yep, this pup has the right idea for staying warm in this crazy weather.  Stay safe and warm, y'all!

PS - I'm co-hosting my very first giveaway with sweet Susannah and friends at Simple Moments Stick for a $50 Etsy gift card - you know you want to check it out!  You can earn entries below.  Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

community

We are all about the Indianapolis Colts in our house.  Since the boys in blue were going head-to-head with the Patriots (boo!) last weekend, we were stoked to watch the game.  We threw together a last-minute watching party for our small group, and had a blast.
As our small group friends filled our living room, catching up with each other and occasionally yelling at the TV (touchdown!), I thought about how close we have grown to these folks in the last year.  How they went from simply other members of our church to dear, precious friends.  And I thought that this is what small group is all about - community.

Yes, studying scripture together is important.  And praying for each other is crucial.  But when you really break it down, our small group truly thrives because we are all friends.  We share life together.  We laugh and cry and pray together.  Together, we created a christocentric community and we love each other as  brothers and sisters in Christ.  And we occasionally watch an exciting (albeit depressing) football game together. 
(photo courtesy of my friend abby)
Even though the Colts lost :(, it was a great evening.  And I am thankful to be in a community group (the "official" name for small groups at our church) that really is a true community. 

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
-Eccl. 4:9-12 (esv) 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

the cuddle bun

Being a dog owner has many perks.  One of my favorite parts of being Lyla's owner/mom is that she absolutely loves to cuddle.  No matter the place or time of day, if you call her she will come running to snuggle up next to you and plant a few tons of wet kisses on you.  It's a dream come true for her when she can smoosh her body between Steve and me, thereby maximizing cuddle space and loving on both of us simultaneously.  She's hilarious. 

Here's her, "Mom, can you stop what you're doing and cuddle me please?" face.
One of Lyla's favorite times to cuddle is when Steve and I are working out in the morning.  I'll be in the middle of a round of squats and next thing I know, she is between my legs begging for me to pick her up.  Which, oftentimes I do.  Between Steve and me, I'm clearly the sucker. 
 
Steve snapped these pictures while testing out my new camera over Christmas.  I was trying to mess around with the new camera software, but Lyla was having none of it.  To her, it was clearly time to cuddle.  And so cuddle we did.
Notice how she's on her back legs - that's to get more of her body closer to me.  Just a little ridiculous, but she is a sweet little cuddlebun.
You can tell just how affectionate she is - it warms my heart.  It's amazing how much love can be crammed into such a little body. 
 
There's not a day that goes by when I'm not thankful for this little pup.    

Saturday, January 11, 2014

january-ing

How is it January 11th already?  After surviving the Polar Vortex last weekend, I feel like this week has flown by.  It's a balmy 34 degrees here today, which feels great after the -40 degree windchill on Monday.
I'm a little behind the curve in setting some goals/hopes for this upcoming year.  Hopefully they will come together this weekend, but in the meantime, I leave you with my "happen-ings" of this month!  (here are the month-ings for October, November and December

reading:  I got The Power of a Praying Wife over the holidays from a sweet friend in our small group, so I am looking forward to getting started on that.  I'm also still working my way through One Thousand Gifts - it's a great book and I am taking my time, savoring each chapter.  Good stuff in there.
making: travel plans for the year.  We just booked a houseboat trip with my family in June and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm also hoping to arrange a girls' weekend sometime this spring.
cooking: Steve is on another round of his P90X program and this time I am jumping in with him... so we have been doing a lot of healthy cooking.  It's been a fun adventure.
drinking: lots and lots of hot chocolate, especially during the Polar Vortex.
wanting: to go line dancing.  I used to go all the time in college - such a Texan thing - and have really been missing it lately.  There's one country dance hall in town, but I don't know much about it.  Maybe it's time for me to look into it.
watching: Downton Abbey!  The season premiere was last weekend and I am re-hooked to that show already.  I'm also looking forward to the return of Sherlock next weekend.  I'm all about the BBC shows this year.
eating: please see cooking, above.  Lots of healthy food - with some cheats here and there :)
enjoying: getting back into the swing of things with work and routine after the holidays and snow storm.
deciding: to care for my body better this year.  That includes both how I work it out with exercise and what I put into it with food.
wishing: we could have spent more time with my family of Christmas.  We had a wonderful time - it was just way too short.
wondering: what God's plan is for us geographically-wise.  I've been feeling a tug back to Texas lately and am trying to sort out what God has in mind for us in the near and distant future.  I love Indy but I love Texas too.  It's confusing.
learning: how to use my new camera.  It's been so much fun!
hoping: that the rest of my little sister's residency interviews go well and that she gets her top choice of programs on Match Day in March.  I got to take her to a residency interview in Chicago last weekend before the snow storm and we had a great time.
marveling: at God's power through nature - and also how He can make beauty out of nothing.  One day, our back yard is just a bunch of dead grass... the next, it's a winter wonderland.  Pretty incredible.
smelling: do you think that snow has a smell?  I definitely do - before the snow storm, I could have sworn that I could smell the change in the weather.  Kind of like when it rains.
missing: Texas.
wearing: lots and lots of layers.
noticing: that I seem to struggle more and more with the cold each passing year.  Not a good sign.  This disease runs in my family and I'm pretty sure I have it.  Thus why I am wearing lots and lots of layers!
knowing: that He makes everything beautiful in its time.  (Eccl. 3:11).
thinking: that there's nothing better on a cold winter's night than drinking hot tea by a warm fire.
pinning: encouragement for making healthy lifestyle decisions.
feeling: cold.  I'll just leave it at that :)
praying: prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for carrying me through the past year.  Despite challenges and adversity, He blessed me in so many ways and I am especially thankful at the start of this new year for new beginnings and fresh starts.
looking forward to: seeing what God has in store for us this year.  I'm sure it's going to be good stuff.
loving: weekends with no plans.  After a busy holiday season, it's refreshing to wake up on a Saturday morning and have the entire weekend at our leisure.  I'm sure when spring rolls around we'll be traveling much more etc., but for now I'm enjoying the slower-paced weekends.

I hope you are having a great January so far!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

snowed in

I began 2014 with plans to post a big "New Year" post... but then life got in the way.  Well, more particularly, the Arctic Chill got in the way.  I returned early from a trip to Chicago this weekend (for my sister's residency interview) and was promptly snowed in by a foot of snow and sub-zero temperatures.  Brrrrr.  The storm itself was pretty brutal, but when it finally let up we were left with a beautiful winter wonderland.
{can you spot the cardinal in this picture?}
Steve and I both had work cancelled yesterday and are working from home today.  I'll be honest - it's been kind of nice to start of the New Year with extra relaxation time at home.  But I'm sure cabin fever will set in soon, and I'm ready to get back out into the world!  So is Lyla.
I've been enjoying my new camera while we have been stranded.  Don't be fooled though... it may look really tranquil and pretty out there, but it's -15 degrees with a brutal wind chill!  I'm content to sit inside with a cup of hot chocolate and take pictures, thank you very much.
Hope you are all staying safe and warm in this winter weather!