Tuesday, January 30, 2018

No Social Media for a Month - 11 reasons

Except for Lily’s 10 month picture, I’m going to cut out all social media for the month of February.

Why? Here are a variety of reasons:

1) To help with physical pain: My right hand gets cramped, and this is now the second time that it’s happened where anything I do causes it pain. It’s not severe, but annoying enough to where I need to rest it.  And I know that it is due to using my phone too much (i.e. too much social media).

2) To help me focus on real life: It’s too easy to flip through a newsfeed looking at everyone else’s baby, or their family, when my baby is playing nearby and I could be spending those precious moments with her. #guilty #regret

3) To take away an escape from life: When I don’t want to do something, let’s say: cook a semi-involved dinner, or when I don’t want to engage with someone, let’s say: a hard discussion with Jason, it’s too easy to retreat to the semi-fake world of facebook for a while. This promotes running away, hiding, and basically not dealing with the real world. #faceit

4) To give me time to do other things: I’m curious to see just how much time is in my day when I cut social media out. Maybe it won’t be as much as I thought. Maybe it will be a lot - it’s hard to predict because typically social media is just minutes here and there. 

5) To provide a space to do something else more meaningful: I want to strategically choose to do something “instead” of checking facebook. What can I do in those moments standing in the grocery line when I might normally flip through instagram? 

6) To intentionally start my day my way: By removing the temptation to check on everyone else’s life first thing in the morning, I can choose to start my day however I want, without the distractions of everyone else’s joys or frustrations.

7) To intentionally end the day my way: I can now choose to read a book, or listen to music. Of course, I could do those things without completely removing social media from my life - but for me, it’s an “all or nothing” kind of thing, and the strictness of “nothing” will help me say no in the moment.

8) To reduce comparison: I don’t feel like I compare myself to others as a result of facebook or instagram, but how can you really measure this? It’s such a subtle thing, and I’m sure I do it more than I realize.  Someone else’s struggles can too easily make me feel better about myself than I should. Someone else’s joys can too easily make me feel worse about myself than I should. I can never fully avoid comparing myself to others, but removing social media will certainly reduce it significantly.

9) To reduce the need to impress: I'd like to think I post things simply to share my life with others, but if I’m honest, it’s basically to make myself look good in some way. How can it not be? While some posts may be intended as a harmless, ‘this is what I did today,’ all posts unintentionally, but loudly declare: “look at me.” 

10) To break the stress that my 2018 goals have already caused me! I wanted to take a picture every day in 2018, and post it. While this has been fun for the month of January, it has also been a source of stress. Getting that perfect picture takes forever. Thinking of something new to photograph is kind-of tiring, and it’s only been 30 days. Deciding which filter to use, if any, is mostly annoying. And then I have to write a witty caption?  I feel pressure (self-inflicted) to get it right (aka: perfect), and since I can’t, or at least I am never satisfied with it, I am letting it go, at least for now. I do plan to take a picture every day (this is pretty easy, thanks to Lily) - but these pictures will be just for personal enjoyment.

11) To reduce depression: I just found this link, so am leaving it here as the 11th reason I'm taking a break. (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/07/492871024/facebook-and-mortality-why-your-incessant-joy-gives-me-the-blues)  

So, those are my 11 reasons to cut it out of my life at least for a time.

But….I know that to deprive all of my followers (who are now really Lily’s followers primarily), of pictures of Lily, would be a grave offense.

So for now, I'll leave this 1 picture here, take a couple weeks ago.  It might be my favorite picture of Lily and me so far :-)

Also, I plan on jumping on social media around February 20th for her 10 month marker, to share with you all the ways Lily has grown and developed in the past month :)

Til then, thanks for your support, and understanding of my absence! See ya later!



Monday, January 22, 2018

Remembering who God is

I am in the midst of a season of anxiety. And okay, sure - let's lump in depression in there too -since they often to gather. It's not necessarily debilitating, but it is pervasive. It affects all areas of my life - and Lord knows it basically ruins my mood on any given day, no matter what is going on.

I’m trying to figure out how to be a Mommy to Lily, how to work my job, how to keep up with the house, the meals, and the laundry...to name a few mostly minor things that almost all people deal with all the time.

I know, I know - “just wait til you have another kid,” or “just wait until something really bad happens…” I realize that there are more challenges ahead (Lord willing!). And, I realize that comparatively speaking, my life is indeed spectacular. I get that.

Of course, the danger with comparison is that it either reinforces pride, or sharply stabs you with weighty guilt.

For me, right now, in the midst of my spectacular life, I’m still just trying to understand all the pieces of it and how I can get them to work together fluidly, which perhaps is futile.


Yes, I’ll admit, I’m struggling primarily because I am still resisting the fact that I am not in control, that I can’t do it all, that I do make mistakes, and therefore: I am not perfect.


UGH.


Growing up is hard because it is so continual. It is never done. It is never complete.


This truth was reinforced quite powerfully after I became a Mommy. And perhaps it is still only a gentle revealing of all I still have yet to realize...did I say yet that our growing up is never ever fully finished?


I am coming to understand that whatever is causing my unhappiness, my unsettledness, my constant state of anxiety is not Lily’s fault, it is not Jason’s fault, it is not because of the weather, and it is not because of the dog….well, at least not all the time.


Like Eve, in the Garden, I too look for someone or something to blame when I feel the consequences of my own failure to trust God’s good plans for me.


While there are serious clinical diagnosis for anxiety and depression, I am sure that 99% of the time, my own specific struggle with it is spiritual.


I don’t mean that the answer is as simple as: read your Bible more. Finding stability and peace is deeper than just checking something off a list in hopes that something you do will save your life.


The reality is that we are not capable of saving ourselves.


The root of my confusion in life, or uncertainty about my who I am, or the overall tight shoulder muscles because I'm not taking full breaths, is because I am looking to myself for the answer and in turn completely forgetting to remember who God is.


When I let myself think about God, just for a minute, I am no longer anxious. I am no longer upset. How can I be?


Still, I so often need help focusing on what is true and what is good, when the frustration, the anger, and the discontentment wells up inside me.


For now, for today, let me listen as someone else reflects on who God is and what He has done.


This is From 2 Samuel 22...David sang this to the Lord when the Lord delivered him from his enemies. David was as good as dead - most likely filled with anxiety. He reflects on God’s awesomeness and faithfulness. David cannot help but sing His praises because His deliverance so clearly could not have come from himself - it had to be the Lord.

David’s response to his salvation is a humble recognition that he is helpless, but he is not without the Help of the only One who can bring life from inevitable destruction. David’s dependence is not on himself, but on the Lord.


“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
  my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
   from violent people you save me.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
   and have been saved from my enemies.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
   I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came to his ears.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
   he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
   from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
   but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
   he rescued me because he delighted in me.
You, Lord, are my lamp;
   the Lord turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
   with my God I can scale a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect:
   The Lord’s word is flawless;
   he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
   And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
   and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
   he causes me to stand on the heights.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
   so that my ankles do not give way.
The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
   Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
   I will sing the praises of your name.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thankful for the time we have

I remember being single and my married friends telling me, “If you think you’re busy now, just wait til you’re married.”  After being married, I realized the truth of this statement.

After being married a short time, I remember my married-with-kids friends saying, “If you think you’re busy now, just wait til you have kids.

The truth of this statement miraculously became a reality seven months ago (today) when our daughter was born.

Lily has brought with her an untold number of reasons to almost instantly stop doing whatever I am doing, and give her my full attention.

Yes.

Adding another person to your life, whether through marriage or birth, definitely requires one to take time away from what one might want to do or even need to do, and truly devote time to that person.

But the truth is that we should never regret the time we spend with someone else.

My Aunt Gayle modeled this for me in how she spent time with her husband.

My Uncle Glenn would often go out to his workshop and work on something – using his hands and creative mind to build a toy for his kids or grandkids, using his knowledge and tools to fix something.

I remember several of my aunts gave me a charm bracelet before I left for S. Asia.  My Uncle Glenn soldered the charms together so they wouldn’t fall off.





At one point, he began carving Nativity scenes out of wood, to give as wedding gifts to his nieces and nephews. Later on his son and daughter worked together to make one for my Aunt Gayle. And then, after that my Aunt Gayle taught herself to make them - the one we have is one she made.

Whatever my Uncle Glenn was working on, I think it must have often been for others. He wanted to help, or wanted to bring joy in some way.

My Aunt Gayle told me that she would frequently go out into the workshop while he worked.

I asked her what she did out there.  She said for the most part she would go out, simply to be with Uncle Glenn.

My Uncle Glenn passed away 6 years ago, on November 21.  It was just a few days before Thanksgiving.  He had an aggressive cancer that took his life suddenly within about a month’s time.

I know that my Aunt Gayle cherishes those moments she followed the Lord’s leading to spend her time with her husband.

She didn’t just leave the dishes or laundry or other necessary tasks, but also left her own personal agenda of how she could spend her time, and was just there -- for her husband

This Thanksgiving week, I want to remember my Uncle Glenn, and how, even though he was a quiet man, his intentional actions communicated sincere love for his family and others.

I think about my Aunt Gayle, who must be missing Uncle Glenn so much today and this week especially - but of course she has missed him so much every single day for the past 6 years.

It is true, after having a baby, I am "more busy," relatively speaking, as Lily does honestly require so much of my time. Yet she fills my heart with joy that I didn't know existed.

My time may be shorter, but my life is fuller in so many incredibly wonderful ways because of her.

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for Lily, for my husband, Jason, and for our families and friends -- and the time that we have together.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Eat all the stuff, wear all the things

Growing up, I learned to “save the best for last.”

I believe it was in the context of eating, and thus I still apply this to just about every meal I eat.  Whatever part of my meal I am most looking forward to, I save til the end.

Of course, by then it is cold and probably not as good as it once could have been.  Still. It was the best and so it must be saved for last.

Lately, this concept has taken over. And is ruining my life.

For example, today. My husband decided to cook some soup/stew/goulash – actually I’m still not quite sure how to classify it. But that’s beside the point. He made it around 11:30am. Now, in my mind, if you get out pots and pans, you brown some meat, and you hand mince garlic, that means dinner. It should be saved for later. It definitely wouldn’t be eaten for a weekend lunch meal.

But of course Jason, and probably anyone else who had just invested a bit of time preparing a meal, wants to eat it now.

I proceed to argue, just a little, about how we should save that gourmet meal for dinner and find something else to eat for lunch. But a piece of me knows, of course, it would be more satisfying to eat it now.

It’s ready now; it’s fresh now; it would be good now. So why is it so hard for me to embrace the idea of eating it now?

Here’s another example. Recently I bought a couple new shirts. They’re different, they’re new, they’re going to be fun to wear. And yet, an internal voice chants, “save it for something special.”

Honestly, I have two other shirts in my closet I purchased over 3 years ago for “something special.” I have never worn them. Does this mean I never do anything special? Of course not!  My life is filled with all kinds of special things, for which to wear fun clothes.

But in those moments, I tend to drift towards outfits I have worn before, because, for some reason, I feel like I need to save my new clothes for something else. But for what, I couldn’t say.

Why is it so hard for me to enjoy wonderful things that are happening now?

Why do I feel the need to suffer first before I enjoy something?

Is it so wrong to have dessert first once in a while?


Saving the best for last does not automatically mean that whatever is 'right now" is of no value.

I painted a rock a couple years ago that reads: “The best is yet to come.” This is of course a comforting and hopeful thought when we think about our eternal home in Heaven.

What's ironic is at the same time, I painted another rock that reads: "Treasure the moment."

Yet, it wasn't until just now that I realize these statements are in complete opposition to each other. By dwelling on the thought that the best thing is coming sometime in the future, the current moment is actually unable to be treasured!  Good grief Elizabeth.

There are times when we are to be in the moment and treasure it.  In fact, as a mother, I'm learning that this should be most moments in life. It's really the only way. I admit I need to work on that.

There are other times, hard times, when the present moment is suffocating and sad.  In these situations, the future hope, joy and glory of being face-to-face with Jesus is perhaps the most comforting and best thought. Honestly, I need to work on that one too.

So, once again, it's a both/and.  It's a grey area. It's not a straightforward "only think about now," or "only think about the future." It is think about both all the time :)

But for now, for me, because I tend to error on the side of 'saving the best for last' and neglecting to savor what is in front of me, I'm going to go ahead and eat all the stuff, and wear all the things.  Because honestly, when the best does come, it will be a moment to treasure!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Just a little bit at a time

I’ve wanted to write so much since Lily was born about this and that, and all the things you encounter in the first months of motherhood.

Alas, Lily is almost 6 months old and this is only the second time I've sat down to write.

Still, it is representative of the topic I want to write about.

That is, the idea of how so much of my life now happens 'just a little bit at a time.'

To be honest, motherhood has severely threatened my black and white, all-or-nothing mindset.

You see, most of my world simply cannot function that way anymore.  Not that it was the best or ideal way to live before.  But it's just how it was.

The tasks I used to be able check off in one sitting now take 2 days, if I'm lucky.  Before, I feel like I wouldn't stop something until it was finsihed. Now, I feel I am constantly starting everything, and seemingly finishing nothing.

But, things can and will happen.
It just looks different than before.
It now happens just a little bit at a time.
  
I live in a new, wonderful world where everything I do is very likely to be interrupted by the most amazing gift God has given me (next to my husband of course).

And here is where I'll stop, because Lily is waking up...and I get to go get her!  My most favorite part of the day is just about to happen!

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Balance of All or Nothing

I thought that when I became a mother, my "hard-and-fast," "black-and-white," "all-or-nothing" personality will mellow out a little bit.

Perhaps there is still time, but so far, it seems to only have become more extreme.

Jason recently summarized it this way, "When we got married, you wanted to be the best wife you could be, and have the best marriage. That is a good thing, but your desire to have everything perfect was stealing your joy.  Eventually, you relaxed a little bit.  Now that you're a mom, you want to be the best mom you can be, and try to do everything right. That's a good thing.  But it is also stealing your joy in the moment. Eventually, you will settle down again."

I have a fear of failure, a fear of doing something wrong, a fear of imperfection.

Thus, I want to do all I can to prevent the inevitable.

I have failed, and will fail again.
I have done things wrong, and will do things wrong again.
I have never been perfect, and never will be, this side of Heaven.

Yet, I try to control. I try to manage. I try to organize.

So that things work out. So that things go right. So that things are perfect - that is, from my perspective.

But I am an imperfect human being - so everything I do has at least an ounce of imperfection in it.

Accepting and embracing my fallen state is humbling for me, and not something I do very well.  But it is something that marriage and now motherhood is slowly and painfully helping me figure out.

God is daily stripping down my stubborn, sinful, strong-willed attitude.

But He is doing it in such a gracious way.  He has given me a joyful little girl and an incredibly patient and happy husband.

I can't help but thank the Lord for his goodness to me.

So, while part of me often discontentedly wishes for more or less or something, the other part of me realizes I have exactly what I need, and am growing into exactly who God wants me to be.

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In the waiting

As I wait for our daughter to enter the world, I have to say it is the most surreal time of my life.

And the fact that we are now going on 41 weeks and 4 days (i.e. 11 days overdue so far), the waiting and unsteady emotions intensify the limbo feeling that I've been in for a while now.

All of the following thoughts have run through my mind the past week, most of them in the same day, within minutes of each other.  Then they repeat.

We are going to have a baby!!! - Said with nothing but pure joy and excitement.
We are going to have a baby! - Thought with fear and trepidation.
She's going to come at any minute.
She's never going to come.
At the same time, it is inevitable.  Unlike a final exam which you could just skip.  Or unlike a party or event, which you could walk out of, at this point, the labor and delivery of a baby is inevitable, unless, of course, Jesus comes back before then.
We shouldn't make any plans in case labor does start.
We should go ahead and make lots of plans so we have something to do while we wait!
But, still get lots of rest and sleep cause that's what everyone says we should do.
I might as well try castor oil.
I should definitely never try castor oil.
I should get done all the things I wanted to get done before she is born. - Somehow, there are still things to do, pretty sure there always will be.
I don't want to do anything.
I want to do everything.

2 weeks ago, I thought the big event in my life was labor.  Now, I feel like the big accomplishment in my life will be having survived waiting for 2 weeks.

But in reality, the 'bigger' event is still yet to come.  Labor, in whatever form it happens, is literally just around the corner.

I have two doctor's appointments today - a Non Stress Test to check everything with Baby Eno, and a check for me.

If anything is wrong, we'll do the induction right away, today.

Assuming everything is fine, a medical induction is scheduled for Saturday, which will be 41 weeks, 6 days.

At the end of the day, I will only sleep in my bed 2 more nights (max) before going to the hospital and Lord willing, coming home a few days later with our daughter.

At the end of the day, a week from now, by God's grace, we will have had our daughter already for a few days.

Even though I thought we would already be in that place by now, and even though we've had more than 9 months to think about it, it's still an insanely crazy and thrilling thought!

And the end of the day, the waiting is almost over.

She is almost here.

Could anything be more exciting!?





Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.  Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.


“O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!  But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.1 Chronicles 29:11-15

No Social Media for a Month - 11 reasons

Except for Lily’s 10 month picture, I’m going to cut out all social media for the month of February. Why? Here are a variety of reasons...