Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Always, Without Ceasing, In ALL Circumstances

Yesterday began with a feeling of anxiety.  You know, one of those days where you wake up, maxed out to your tolerance threshold for no apparent reason (this is the difference between a physical anxiety problem and worry/anxiety over circumstances).  It was just one of those days where I KNEW I was going to have to fight hard to stay focused on truth.

Then circumstances started playing a part into my angst and the day quickly began to unravel.

I knew that it was going to be more than just an anxious day to fight through, because once actual "things" start playing into the anxiety you've got yourself a whole other battle to fight.

I was so caught up in the seemingly hopeless situation(s) that I froze.
Well, everything froze but my mouth.
The poison just kept seeping out between the creases of my lips, leaving a wake of uneasiness around the entire house.

My anxiety quickly turned into anger, frustration, touchiness, and before I knew it, I was in the middle of a good ol' fashioned pity party, salted with anxiety and peppered with hopelessness and anything BUT joy.

I'm sure the Colony children could quickly begin to list off EVERY area that this affected yesterday. Let's just say that it wasn't pretty, and I will NOT be getting any "awesome mom" awards for the way I acted.

To top it all off, the kids were at each other.  Or maybe they were just being crazy and wild kids.
It didn't matter.
I was NOT having it and they needed to calm down.
I deserved a peaceful, quiet moment to gather my thoughts and regain control...
didn't I?

But being stressed out or anxious never excuses a sinful reaction, and this is the area I got stuck on.

I apologized more times than I can count, but the sin inside of me kept reclaiming ground.

Yes, yesterday was more than just a battle over my everyday anxiety that I deal with.  THAT cannot be helped.

But the way I respond to news like I heard yesterday, and the exhaustion from a busy weekend, and noisy kids playing around and having fun...THAT is a choice.

This morning I woke up to  have my time with the Lord and EVERY. THING. I read had to do with choosing JOY.  Giving THANKS.  Making WISE CHOICES.

NONE of which I accomplished yesterday!

I focused on everything else: the house that is literally falling apart beneath us, the volume of my kids (I'm pretty sure their decibel level clears the illegal threshold is some states!), the physical exhaustion from being busy (and sick) over the weekend, and all the other stuff that kept "going wrong".

When I should have just kept my eyes on Christ.
Because He is the hope.
He is the provider.
He is the interrupter of my perfectly laid out plans.
He is the author.
He is the one who gives JOY in the midst of seemingly rough unHAPPY news.

And He doesn't just ASK us to "rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in ALL circumstances".  1 Thessalonians says, "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

This focus on HIM isn't just for God's glory but for US!  It brings us the JOY in the midst of bad health, or thousands of dollars worth of house repairs, or lost jobs, or dwindling accounts, or struggling relationships, or broken promises, or overly-lively children;).

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

I'm claiming this today and I'm starting with thankfulness for HIS grace and HIS love and HIS patience for me, even when I get off track like I did yesterday.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Colony Mom Picks ~ Workout Faves

My parents used to call me "gnat" because I was so fast and would literally RUN everywhere!

I ran "track" in elementary school and really enjoyed it.

I tried my hand at basketball, but never really got the hang of it, because, well I could never remember which basket was my team's basket and then I found out that you can't technically be referred to as a basketball star with only 1 3-pointer under your belt in 2 years (and yes THAT basket was in MY own basket, ha!).

Then I found soccer.
Well actually, I found I guy I liked who was trying out for the soccer team in high school and he lived down the street from me and if I tried out for the girls team I could give him a ride home.  Yes, I was THAT girl!

Somehow I made the High School Varsity team as a freshman.
And the team was REALLY competitive and good.
Although I was NOT.

But I had speed in my favor, and the fact that I liked a good battle scar from slide tackles and snatching the ball away from the other team gave me a huge rush!

I moved my way up through the ranks on the team and actually got pretty good as my excellent teammates (and coach) rubbed off on me and I picked up on their techniques.

I even got a soccer scholarship which helped put me through college.
After college I played on a couple co-ed adult leagues until I found out I was pregnant with Rainy.

Josh and I also cultivated our young relationship through the hills and trails of Greenville, SC.  There is something to be said about a couple who can workout and sweat together.

All that to say, exercise and staying active have always been a pretty big part of our lives.

Now, more than ever, I use exercise as a way to manage my anxiety, but finding time can be really difficult.  That is why the way I workout is less about a "fit body" as it is to stay healthy and to release  endorphins.  I also believe that I can find time for the things that are important to me, and the times where I consistently lack exercise are the times I simply don't make it a priority.

I very frequently get asked what I do for my workouts, so I thought I'd share my workout faves.  I try to workout at least 4 times a week, if not more.

1 - Beachbody videos are my favorite.  Specifically T25 and 21 Day Fix Extreme.  I prefer Shaun T over Autumn any day, but I love both workouts.  They are only 25-30 minutes long and high intensity so you are getting a great workout in a manageable/realistic time.

2 - Jogging/running.  Going for a jog looks a lot different these days.  I typically have at least 1 kid with me at all times so having practical expectations is key.  I have it good though, because Jude LOVES to get on his scooter and go for a jog with me.  He clocked nearly 60 miles with me last month alone!  I can also get some miles in during nap time running laps around my house.  And Josh is really good about letting me get out for a run to escape clear my mind:)

3 - I also use yard work as a workout outlet.  Push mowing our yard will give me over 3 miles and if I jog while mowing it makes it even that much more effective;)

4 - I have tried LOTS of different protein shakes but my favorite is Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens.  It is safe for the whole family and it is packed with protein and veggies!  I buy it off of Amazon.  It is cheaper (which is a HUGE factor) and packed with more vitamins, minerals and protein than all of the other shakes I've tried.

5 - These hairbands are my favorite to keep the flyaways out of my face.

So there you have it.  Nothing fancy and I'm not paying a fortune for a gym membership, which also releases endorphins for me, ha!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Identity Of A Blog

When I first began blogging, the act of writing down my thoughts was merely an outlet to the outside world.  I had 2 small children at home, 15 months a part, and being a full-time musician on the road didn't leave much room for relationships.  I was pretty lonely and blogging helped me feel like I had a voice in a world outside of diaper changes, wiping noses, packing and unpacking in a town with no family and very few friends.

My blogs consisted of funny things the kids would do and say, navigating the rough terrain of friendships I was trying so hard to cultivate, fighting to find the joy and laughter in the endless demands of motherhood, ministry updates and opportunities God was allowing us to be a part of.

Then my eyes were opened to the world of extreme couponing and freebies.  Oh.My.Goodness.  The amount of things that I actually got PAID to "buy" at Harris Teeter and CVS almost made me feel like I was cheating some kind of system!  I quickly accumulated quite a following from fellow couponers and other friends and family trying to stay up with the latest free stuff and "rock bottom deals".

The posts during this era were sprinkled with the same content as before but it wasn't uncommon for me to have 2-3 posts A DAY littered with the hottest deals and free stuff you could get your hands on.

Sometimes I wonder WHY in the world I would posted some of that stuff, ha!

My extreme couponing days fizzled out as we began eating a little differently and the desire to get rid of unneeded, excess "stuff" overruled the rush of all the free stuff I was accumulating.

My blog returned back to family moments and ministry opportunities.  Since this time it has become densely populated with things I have learned as I grow in my relationship with Christ, my husband, my children and my friends.

The older I become the more I see just how much I still have to learn.
I'm learning that the choices I make are accompanied with consequences that weigh much heavier and effect more people than ever before.

The posts these days dive into what I am learning as I seek to follow Christ with my whole heart, albeit imperfectly, and the lessons I am learning as a friend/mom/wife as I realize just how lacking I am in each of these areas.

I suppose if I had it all together I wouldn't have anything to write about at all, because I never want to paint a picture of a perfect me with a perfect family.  That portrayal makes being a follower of Christ seem so unattainable, in my opinion.

Lately I have wondered if I even need to keep blogging.
I mean, it takes time, and that is a rarity around the Colony, and it makes me feel so vulnerable, which tends to make me feel VERY uncomfortable (and admittedly anxious sometimes).

But if my blog, or a particular post, has the potential to reach one person who is questioning how God could ever change their life or use them because of their past (or even current choices) then I will keep writing.

Because I want to show the world that the Christian life IS attainable.
Even when life events suffocating the very air we are breathing,
even when you have not-so-stellar mom moments (or days, ahem),
even when you had an argument with your spouse where you were clearly in the wrong,
even when you question the God that allowed __________ to happen,
even when...
even when...

because God is the one and only factor that changes us.
He is the only one that can help us turn from ourselves and see the LIGHT through the cracks of life's darkness.

So, I may no longer have the inside scoop to the hottest deals,
or even the most brilliant ideas to do when daddy is out of the country,
or even a life of ministry adventures to post about.

But I do have the TRUTH of His word, working through this average stay-at-home mom who desires to live a life for HIS glory...
even after apologizing to the kids AGAIN for another lost temper,
or finding myself agonizing over another missed opportunity that God clearly placed in front of me that I was too distracted or selfish to take.

I am grateful to be a sinner saved by His grace.
Because HIS GRACE is what saved me, and I'm having a hard time NOT sharing it with the world!