#Slow Down #Habits Take Time to Develop

FullSizeRender (1)Our lives today are obsessed with speed and instant gratification.  We all want that ‘quick fix’, to take the shortcut or the ‘on-the-spot’ solution.  We live in a world of crazy technology where we are available at all times and everyone expects instant feedback (I hate to admit it, but I have fallen into this trap too 😦 ).  We want an instant response to resolve all problems, to remove temptations and to free us of hurt. We question constantly why it takes SO LONG to transform, to grow up and to change.

I’ve had many times in my life where I’ve known I needed to grow up, change and break a bad habit, but one sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s one that shaped who I was for many years.  As a freshman at the University of Nebraska I was loving being a part of an amazing sorority where I met great women that were all in the same stage of their lives.  New atmospheres, new challenges, new temptations and really, a whole new world!  I loved every minute of college but I began to fall into societies standard of perfection and being skinny (something I NEVER thought I would have to deal with).  I sunk into stupid habits of minimizing what I ate (never not eating, but eating no fat, low calories and only what I wanted– a control issue to be honest). I avoided social interaction unless it was our fun night life of drinking– anywhere I knew there would be food, I avoided.  I had some great friends who were there for me and always tried to help me shake this stupidity I was dealing with.  Looking back more than 10 years later, I realize they knew what I was dealing with– I am very habitual and had created a habit I didn’t know how to dig myself out of.  Habits, as we all know, take time to form and even longer to break.

I stayed at UNL through my sophomore year and last minute, knowing I needed to be closer to my family, came back and completed my degree at Morningside. I have a very ‘OCD’, if you will, mindset and finished my degree early, in 3 1/2 years, found a great man (who I am now married to— everything seriously happens for a reason), started in on a great career, and worked through the tough road I had created.  Growth and getting through the ANNOYING mindset was painful– I feel like I lost some great friends because of it and how I isolated myself.  It was scary and I wanted to change, just didn’t know how to.

Within my Purpose Driven Life  reading, this stuck out— “There’s no growth without change, there’s no change without fears or loss and there’s no loss without pain.  Every change involves a loss of some kind.  You must let go of old ways to experience new.  We fear these losses, even if our old ways were self- defeating, because, like a worn out pair of shoes, they are at least comfortable and familiar.”

I knew I had to change and I had an amazing support system.  I was so stuck in my mind of what I should eat,drink and do or what I shouldn’t, that it was tough to change.  We identify ourselves by our defects and say “It’s just the way I am” and “If I let go of the habit, who will I be or HOW will I be?”  All I have to say is thank God for my husband and for my family!  They helped me realize what is truly important and they were there for me every step of the way.

What I have learned from what I briefly described of a 10 year struggle is that repetition is the mother of character and skill– both good and bad.   Did I want to deal with that mind set like I did, NO! But it’s a struggle God put me through that I had to work myself out of.  Do I still have an “OCD” type mindset and worry about foods I consume and exercise I get in? Of course I do (most people do), but now in a HEALTHY way!  I have created good habits and healthy habits.  I know my boundaries and know that being “skinny” isn’t the goal but being HEALTHY & HAPPY is. I workout because it makes me feel good and is a stress reliever (and honestly the only 60-90 minutes in the mornings where I don’t have my boys on top of me 🙂 )!

We are all in this hurry in life and get frustrated when progress seems slow– but looking back, I realize it was slow for a reason– I learned a ton in that time, both good and bad. I am slowly learning to be patient with the process and just live life to the fullest.  I have a wonderful husband who supports me and our two boys and I’m grateful for him every single day (although there are days where he probably doesn’t think I feel that way! 😉 ).

So take this, if anything, from what I have blabbered– if you’re stuck in a bad habit (one like mine mentioned above or maybe just the complete opposite), and you’re using the excuses “that’s just me” or “that’s how I have always been” or “I can’t change”– think again!  It’s a slow process, but we can all change a habit.  Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go! Remember you aren’t where you want to be, but you’re not where you used to be.

Practice these things.  Devote yourself and time to them so that others can see your progress too.

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED– God’s time table isn’t the same as ours– “These things I plan won’t happen right away, Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass.  Just be patient!  They will not be overdue a single day!

Habits can be broken.  Find your support system and realize that it will take time.  Don’t give up.  Do it for YOU!

#ALynn

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#What Matters Most

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We too often act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into our schedules.  We talk about finding time for our children, our family and our friends or making  time for people in our lives.  I too fall to this many times in my life.  There are too many days where I am concerned about MY agenda; cleaning, laundry, house projects and the list can sadly go on.  I forget that life is about relationships.  Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life.  When our schedules become overloaded with meaningless activities, we start skimming relationally, cutting back on giving the time, energy, and attention that loving relationships require.

In the past 4 years since becoming a mom, I have realized that life just continues getting more hectic and it’s going to continue getting worse– between kids events, working and just LIFE!  I’ve watched so many of my friends with older kids ‘go go go’ all the time! They go from one event to the next and just do it because that’s the ‘rat race’ of society.  Busyness is an enemy of relationships! We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life–They are not!

Love leaves a legacy.  How you treat other people, not wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on Earth.  1st place medals, record setting stats and materialistic belonging will mean nothing at the end of your life– it’s how you treated people and the relationships you built with the people around you.

The Griswalds
The Griswalds

Granted we all have a list of family members and friends that we want to have amazing relationships with, it’s tough to reach out to them all and make the time to spend with them. I know, even with my entire family in town, it’s tough to make time each week to spend time together.  Everyone has different schedules that conflict with each others, so when we finally SET a date with each other and spend TIME together, it’s amazing!!  Like this coming weekend for the 4th, we made it a point to all be together at the Lakes– I can’t wait!! The Griswald crew will all be together! 🙂

I need to take this next statement into consideration from Purpose Driven Life and focus on holding to it:  “It’s not enough just to say relationship are important; we must prove it by investing time in them.  Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.” ”

So my biggest take from my reading today that again, I need to focus on, is to not wait until I’m on my deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more than loving relationships.  We aren’t promised tomorrow.  Circumstances change.  People die.  Children grow up. If you want to express love, we need to do it now!

The bible stresses it repeatedly.  “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone. Use every chance you have for doing good.  Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.  Never tell your neighbor to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

I know this changed my outlook on my life and I hope it’s made you look at your different relationships and the daily agendas you set for yourself.

Are relationships your first priority?

#ALynn

#Encouragement #The Little Things 

 While reading Day 12 in Purpose Driven Life this morning, this quote stuck out to me: “Great opportunities may come once in a lifetime, but small opportunities surround us EVERY DAY. Even through such simple acts as telling the truth, being kind, and encouraging others, we bring a smile to God’s face.”

Those small acts of kindness and words that we think may not mean much to anyone, may actually impact someone more than you know! So go into this weekend with a positive attitude knowing that it may just be one word that could change someone’s outlook or encourage them to do something out of their comfort zone.

Happy Friday! 

#ALynn

#encouragement

#Before I Was A Mom

Before I was a Mom, I made and ate hot meals.  I had unstained clothing.  I had quiet conversations on the phone.  

Before I was a Mom I slept as late as I wanted and worked out when I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. 

Before I was a Mom I cleaned my house each day.  I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies.  

Before I was a Mom I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.  I never thought about immunizations. 

Before I was a Mom I had never been spit up on, pooped on, chewed on or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom I had complete control of my mind, my thoughts and my body.  I slept all night.

Before I was a a Mom I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests or give shots.  I never looked into teary eyes and cried.  I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.  I never sat up late at night watching a baby sleep.  

Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down.  I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt.  I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. 

Before I was a Mom I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.  I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.  I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child.  I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.  Before I was a Mom I’d never gottten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.  I had never known the warmth.  The joy.  The love.  The heartache.  The wonderfullness or the satisfaction of being a Mom.  

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.   I never knew that I could love someone so much.  I never knew I would LOVE being a Mom.

Our Boys!
Our Boys!

So many truths and now I am a Mom to my two beautiful boys.  There are days that I need to remember all of the above– the days where my two baby boys test my patience.  Being a Mom is the most amazing journey in life!

Some women, as did I, struggle with fertility and read this post and feel like it won’t ever be them– it will happen.  Infertility hits so many women and the one thing that we have to remember is that it’s out of our hands.  That is something I was told over and over again while we went through it and it was hard to hear.  It’s so true though– we all try to manipulate, force agendas and control situations but we need to let go and let God work– we don’t have to always be “in charge.”  Try less and TRUST more.

To mommas everywhere… PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!! 🙂

#ALynn

#WHAT Drives YOU? #PurposeDrivenLife

#Gottahavefaith

What drives you?  Guilt? Resentment and anger? Materialism? Need for approval? Fear?  These are the top 5 most common-“drive” meaning “to guide, to control or to direct”- I know I have been driven by fear!  It has overtaken my life in many incidents– fear to venture out and fear of judgement.  For the past 5 or so years (I think since I’ve gotten pregnant and had kids) I have had fear to fly!! I don’t understand why or how because growing up with a dad that’s a pilot, we traveled all over the place as a family– both commercial and on my dads Beechcraft.  I let this fear control me and lately determine if we will go on vacation because I don’t want to fly, but will drive there!! I know it’s completely out of my hands if that plane is going to go down but it’s a control issue with me— but it’s NOT IN MY CONTROL!! We have driven out to Utah the past 2 years and are going to again this summer to see Kip’s family.  I would actually fly out to Utah to see them when we do but my husband and I have grown to enjoy this trip- it’s a time to actually have a conversation (well when our 2 and 4 year old aren’t fighting or screaming!).  Does anyone else have this same fear?  I have talked to my older sister and even some friends and yes, they said they have felt this fear too– especially since having kids.  But I know it’s a fear I need to get over by just growing in my faith!!

My other fear, especially as of lately, has been this  blog– it is something I have wanted to do for quite a long time.  I read many blogs on my phone on a daily basis– family ones, faith ones, fitness ones, food ones– ones that I will share on this blog as well that hopefully you guys will find as entertaining.  It’s a place to voice our opinion, get ideas from other people or just a place to FEEL NORMAL and realize that LIFE HAPPENS and we all are in the same boat a lot of times in our lives!! Life isn’t easy!! It’s hard to let people into your life, especially your personal and spiritual life.  It’s a fear of BEING JUDGED. My sister and I had fear of starting our ‘Live, Love & Inspire’ Facebook page– would people like it, would people find it annoying, would people realize that we want to help motivate them?  Was it out of our comfort zone?!? OF COURSE it was!! But like I tell my high school students, and even have the quote on my wall, “You will never grow as a person until you step out of your comfort zone.”  We finally were able to overcome that fear and have realized that people enjoy reading REAL LIFE happenings and people need help being held accountable.   So with that being said, I hope my/our continued blogging is something you may be able to relate to, comment on and even learn from.  It’s not easy, but if it was easy, everyone would do it!

So what drives you?  How can you change what drives you so that it focuses you on a more ‘Purpose Driven Life’?  The greatest benefits of living a purpose-driven life: giving meaning to life, simplifying life, focusing life and motivating your life. “If you want your life to have impact, focus it.”

HAPPY SATURDAY!!

#ALynn

#PurposeDriven #Day2

YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT: Today talked about how we were made for a reason and our life has a profound meaning.  We discover that meaning and purpose ONLY when we make God the reference point of our lives.

We all struggle to find ourselves sometime in our life–this poem sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design,

Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,

And no mater how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.

An God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into his likeness you’d grow.

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.

You are who you are, beloved,

Because there is a God!

QUESTION TO CONSIDER TODAY:  What areas of your personality, background, and physical appearance are you struggling to accept?

#Day2

#ALynn

#Life #Attitude #Outcomes

Tonight my heart was happy. For the first time in over 7 months when my husband was prepping to go to Omaha, it was for something fun and something he loves to go to every summer— the College World Series.  As some of you that know our family, Omaha has been a dreaded word in our house.  October of 2014 my husband found out he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—a very curable cancer when detected early.  As a 31 year old, healthy man and his 30 year old wife and 2 young children, you can only imagine what was going through our heads when we heard the word CANCER—we all hear the word and think the worst case scenario (especially me—the world’s biggest worry wart—besides my sister!).  Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would have to get used to the ‘cancer lingo’.  Long story short, Kip found an amazing doctor in Omaha at Methodist Hospital and started his chemo treatments.  For 6 long months we traveled to Omaha where he received his treatment and as of May 2015, his cancer is GONE!!!

#cancerfree
#cancerfree

This isn’t about the cancer though and what Kip went through, it’s about LIFE, CIRCUMSTANCES, ATTITUDE and LOVE.  Without those 4 words mentioned, it would have been a lot harder to get through the last few months.  Kip taught me about all 4 of these words and made me a better and stronger person.   He made me realize what is truly important in life.  He made me realize that life circumstances are out of our control.  He made me realize that a positive attitude and how we react is how we push through the hard times.  This is KIP, my husband that was battling this disease that taught ME these things while he was the one dealing with everything.  Could he have just thrown a pity party when he was diagnosed and fall into a hole? Yes—but he didn’t.  He would always tell me that things could be so much worse and that maybe God was doing this to him so that nobody else that we loved had to go through it (like our boys).  He did however question a lot at the beginning as to WHY? Why would God do this to him and why right now at the young age of 31?  But Kip’s answer was always “God has a reason for everything.”  It’s so true and this too has pushed me to have more faith and see that everything in life is out of our hands.

What I have learned most about life and happiness in the last 7 months is without a positive attitude and love and support, we won’t make it far in life.  We are so very fortunate to have the friends and family that we do and going through this ‘bump in the road’ has made us realize who these people truly are and we thank them for being who they are—truly amazing!

What I want to get across most in this post is that we ALL struggle with different things in our lives, nobody has a picture perfect life (but if you do, would LOVE to meet you)—we all like to sometimes pretend, but it’s not realistic.  Finding the positive within those negative circumstance is what is important.  So make sure you reach out to people who are struggling.  Find a support system—whether you’re struggling with family issues, weight issues, personal insecurities, financial issues or whatever you may be dealing with—find someone to grasp on to and ride the waves. I know I couldn’t ask for a better partner to ride our waves— having him has made me a better and stronger person!

#RideWaves

#ALynn