Greetings to my greatly neglected readers. I could apologize day and night for not writing, but the truth is, my life is very good right now, and all of the good has kept me very busy and preoccupied, and I’m not sorry for that.
I have been going through a lot of growth, as I suppose most newly-weds do, and I have longed to share what I’ve been through (little as it is) and also log my progress.
April 7th I married my best friend. Jonny has shown me so much grace in our 6+ months of marriage, simply by his unconditional love. I admire him so much, and seeing how he loves me is still overwhelming at times. In fact, now that we’ve been together half a year and I know he has seen these sinful sides of me, I can’t even convince myself that he’s in love with a fake version of me. He knows me better than anyone else could, and he still loves me. How amazing is that?
And I know God knows me deeper and more intimately than Jonny ever can, and yet Christ gave his life to redeem me. I can’t say enough about this, but I can’t find words to express this.
Aside from this spiritual walk, I have grown in life style changes. I’ve always been encouraged by my dad and my family to eat healthily, exercise, keep my space clean, and honestly, I didn’t follow their lead very well. But once I was married, in my own home, I realized Jonny wasn’t going to enforce this for me. Jonny is very kind and easy-going. He hasn’t asked me to change at all, and I love him for that. But I knew that I wanted to be better. I didn’t want to wake up at the last minute, throw a doughnut in my mouth, and dash out the door to work. I didn’t want to spend hours on my phone and not get my dishes done. I really didn’t want to feel tired all day, and believe me, a few months ago, I was SO tired ALL day.
1st – I cut out what was getting in my way. I wasted way too much time on my phone doing meaningless tasks. I ate foods that I didn’t really like, but they were convenient, and they didn’t give me energy or make me feel good. I examined activities, events, and habits that were hindering who I wanted to be.
(Disclaimer right here: don’t think I’m super self-willed. I still struggle with all of these things, but it did help to identify them. I haven’t made progress since last week, it’s true, but you bet I’ve made progress in the past few months! I’m in it for the long-haul, and having made this much progress, I am inspired not to lose it!)
2nd – I identified 4 areas I would especially like to work on.
- Health and Diet
- Time Management
3rd – I made goals. I needed goals that were EASY, just a step ahead of what I was doing at the time. Because I know myself too well. If the goals were daunting, they would never get done. At the same time, I needed goals that would show me some progress, because I knew that would give me motivation to continue.
- Learn a new healthy recipe each week and make it. One of my problems with eating healthy foods was not knowing how to make it, so this helps!
- Exercise 10 minutes 4 days a week. 10 minutes isn’t a lot. It’s hard to make excuses for not squeezing in 10 minutes of time. And I knew I’d increase the time later on.
- Write down 3 things every morning and have them done at the end of the day. (Jordan Peterson says the reason you can’t follow a schedule is because you make a schedule of a bunch of things you don’t want to do. Instead, make a schedule of your perfect day and you have a much higher chance of sticking to it. This has helped me so much, you wouldn’t believe it!)
- Examine spending at the end of every week. That’s it. I simply wanted to be more aware.
- Spend 30 minutes 4 days a week on self-growth and learning.
Those were my initial goals. Since then, I’ve had a much better idea about what’s most important, what was too hard or too easy, and I’ve modified these goals and done my best to turn them into habits.
I got emeals on my phone to help with meal planning and recipe finding.
I began working out to youtube videos in our basement or living room, and now, I enjoy running more than I ever have in my life. As soon as I get up in the morning, I run for about 5 minutes in the basement, just to wake myself up and it feels AWESOME.
I started listening to podcasts on a regular basis, getting better in touch with politics, philosophy, and life style improvement.
Honestly, the budgeting goal really dropped out. I don’t review my spending much, because I really don’t buy much anymore besides groceries, and I’ve gotten better and being frugal when it comes to food.
I try to be conscious of wasted time and I actually make schedules every few days because I feel like it, and I stick to schedules and routine better than I have ever in my life – because they’re schedules and routines of things I actually want to do.
Another disclaimer: As long as I have been alive, I have been the laziest person I know. And this is still partly true. I don’t have a lot of disciple and self-will. I still don’t. I still have a lot of days (more than I’d like) where I can’t make myself do anything productive and I spend wasted time in bed on pinterest. I still eat things I know I shouldn’t and later regret it. And saddest to me, I still struggle to spend time with God in the word and prayer on a regular basis. All that said, I am improving. Another thing Jordan Peterson has said that has changed my life, was his encouragement to make every week better than your last. If last week you met 20% of your goals, meet 21% of them this week. When I first heard that, I thought, “I can do that.” And I have. I’ve been getting better. I am not where I want to be, but I’m headed in the right direction.
So that’s where I am today. Way behind where I want to be, way ahead of where I was. And I’m thanking God daily for my husband. He’s very supportive. I’ve asked him several times to tell me what area of my life I need to work on, and he won’t. He says I don’t need to change, but when I have improved, he’s praised me and made me feel great for doing it. Is he perfect? We’ve been married half a year now…..Yeah, he’s perfect, at least perfect for me.
With great caffeinated well-wishes,
P.S. Are any of my readers doing NaNoWriMo this year. I really want to, but I’ve never won while I also had a job….And I haven’t had ANY time to plan….Sounds fun!
P.P.S. Just mentioning NaNoWriMo on my blog — I feel like I’m 18 again!
November 14th, 2015
A scene comes to mind, one I heard of years ago. Why does it come to haunt me now? It disturbs me even more than it did then. Is this the manifestation of the fear that comes from ISIS and hearing about their plans for global domination?
The scene was told by the mother. A cartel invaded their town and began ransacking homes, plundering them and killing everyone who was found in them. This mother gathered her children who were in the house and as five men broke down the front door, she fled with her children out the back door and into the woods, where they ran straight into another cartel that was lining up people to chop off their hands.
She stood in line with her children and her heart began to plead with God to save them somehow. Then her youngest, a little girl, began to cry. She tried to quiet the child, but she only wailed louder. The desperate mother could do nothing. They tore the little girl from her mother and held the screaming child as they dug a hole in the ground. The girl cried until the very end when they buried her alive, her wails silenced by the earth.
Oh God! How my heart inside me melts and my spirit is burdened with the weight of this pain and cruelty! How can people do this? The battle inside hurts, this never-ending struggle to know: is man totally evil, only doing good when it benefits ourselves? Is there any decency in a man left to himself? How can one human being do that to another? How can one ignore this instinct to love and protect children and murder one so small? Does their conscience tear them? Do their morals scream for attention? How can such atrocities be accepted anywhere by anyone?
What happened to her? Was she and her children saved? And how could she ever be happy again having seen such things?
And while men and women are being executed on the other side of the earth for their faith, we struggle to wake up in the morning to read our Bibles that are easy to access in whatever format we want. We read without any fear of arrest, but then toss it away like another box on the checklist. And then we complain that the weather is not to our liking. We whine about people who rub us the wrong way and think that we ought not be forced to put up with these kind of people. We wish the pay checks were higher and our time free to spend at leisure.
What ugly pigs we are. How foolish and shallow I am. Lord, if there is anything I can do, show me. And remind me again of the pricelessness of your word.
If I left Mexico right now I would already be full of God’s goodness and have so much to tell.
Our journey down was truly blessed. Though the forecast showed storms on both sides of our route, our path was all clear blue skies.
Friday morning we stopped by an indigenous coffee shop and when we talked with the owners we discovered that they were Christians! We prayed with them and they gave us a few Spanish/English Bibles to take with us. We were both very blessed, and these are just a couple of the blessing from the road trip. The fellowship and singing were very great and encouraging.
Friday afternoon we arrived at the church and had a family reunion. The hardest part of documenting this trip is trying to describe the atmosphere. Unless you have been here, it’s hard to understand that this is home away from home. People whom I can barely communicate with are truly my family in Christ. Even though I can’t understand Spanish, we greeted each other with hugs and kisses and large smiles, which are universally understood. We love each other because Christ loves us.
After we arrived and unpacked, some folks went shopping and the rest walked through town and invited people to the Medical Clinic, which we ran Saturday.
My favorite memory of Friday was as I was walking, preparing my sparse Spanish for my next encounter, I saw a face light up. A couple moments later and my little amiga was hugging me around the waist. I was so pleased that she remembered me! Not only remembered me, but remembered me enough to run up and give me a hug. It made my day!
Saturday we got up early and after a great time of devotion we set up the Medical Clinic.
We must have been good at inviting people, though I wouldn’t have guessed it while handing out the flyers.
While people waited in line to see “Dr. Stephanie,” I invited the kids to get their face painted and color fuzzy posters. We also played with water balloons, and just water in general. All morning I ran back and forth. (It was hard not to, I have having so much fun.) Draw on this kid, hug this one, ask for this name, throw a balloon at this one, play hide and seek with this one, play volleyball with this one, and from several I learned the words for “up” “down” “here” “there” and of course my colors. It was a good day!
Somehow these kids got me to kneel so they could take turns popping water balloons over my head. Then they wanted me to lie down and literally pinned me there. I had to wrestle my way out and then run around the field to get away.
After lunch, where I learned the Spanish word for “potato” “meat” and “rice” we went to the green area to play soccer. A crowd of young men were already gathered around and warming up for the big tournament. Not only are these guys super athletic and fast, they would sacrifice their neck to get the ball. So with some fast moving Mexicans and some Gringos thrown in, we had a good time. I didn’t sit and watch the whole time, I played a miniature game with the younger kids and a couple older ones who joined in.
We also gathered the kids around in a circle and Sarah told the story of the Prodigal Son and Ismael translated.
Before the very last game of the tournament, we fathered the young people around and gave them the gospel and prayed over them. Then after the last game, we awarded prizes to the winning teams.
I am constantly convicted by the people I am working with. They serve without complaining and volunteer without being asked. They take the initiative to say hello, and they love without condition.
Like I said at the beginning, I have been so blessed through it all, and I can’t wait for more. I think my eyes glow when I think about the rest of the week.
And if I keep learning Spanish this quickly, I’ll be Mexican in no time!
Signing off from Tamalipas Mexico,