Monday, May 19, 2014

redefining what a good day is

I would typically define a good day as a day that's gone my way. A day where things went according to plan or better than planned. A day without mood swings and when happiness abounds. Anything opposite that? A not-so-good, potentially bad day. My perspective has been challenged lately though.

When I say "lately", it's not like I haven't always known that what goes on in a day shouldn't necessarily define it as good or bad. When you grow up with verses like Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 (respectively, the Husband and I's favorite verses), it's hard to forget that no matter what, God is in control and has a plan and even "bad" works for believers' good to the ultimate glory of God. With that being said though, I don't think I can honestly say that I have been living like I believe those Scriptures. So often I allow fear and worry to consume my thoughts, and then after the fact I remember, oh yeah, God's got this.

The Bestest (aka my best friend, aka Nikki, but we'll just stick with the Bestest) gave me a book a while back. It's called 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I simply cannot give a description of the book that would do it justice; it was just that challenging and amazing. But one thing I really pulled from the book is this: "All is grace." That phrase is repeated all throughout the book, and my summary of it is basically you count EVERYTHING (good and bad) as joy because God is ALL good; therefore, ALL is grace and worth giving thanks for.

I love this verse from Isaiah 14:

"The LORD Almighty has sworn, 'Surely as I have planned it,
so it will be, and as I have purposed so it will happen.'"

Reading this, it's clear that nothing happens outside of the sovereign knowledge and power of the Lord, and all that happens is for the ultimate best, which is His glory and magnification.

So where am I going with this, you ask? Well I was reading my Bible one morning in Psalm 16. Verse 2 really stood out to me:

I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."

In the margins near the verse, at some point I had written these words: "My goodness is nothing apart from You!" and "God is more than good; He is the ULTIMATE good!!" When did I forget this? Somewhere along the line I once again began defining my days by what I thought was good, not on the God who defines good.

This is my challenge, to myself and you: when you come to the close of your day, or throughout your day as things arise, don't look at it and think, Because this happened/didn't happen, my day is good/bad. Instead, have the perspective that everything in my day happened in the knowledge of Almighty God and because it will work to my good and His glory, I count it as grace and thus praise Him for it! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

mother's day 2014

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms and mom-figures out there! I had such a wonderful 2nd Mother's Day. I am sooo blessed with an amazing mom. God was gracious to give me a mom who is in love with Him, and she is a great example of loving her husband (my daddy!) and children. It is such a blessing to have her as Naomi's Nana also! Annnnd, this Mother's day I'm happy to say that not only am I the mom to Naomi, but also to and another little one on the way!! I'll be 17 weeks on Wednesday. I know I keep saying that everything is a blessing, but really, it is a HUGE. BLESSING. to have another little one joining our family in October!
My little cub at about 8-9 weeks old.
The hubs got everything ready for church the night before (we should really do that more regularly...), and I got to sleep in a bit longer than usual. I woke up to a squeaky clean kitchen and living room (yes!). He had me come downstairs while he made me breakfast. I had mentioned the day before that I'd like a breakfast sandwich, so that is what he made! I wish I would have taken a picture! It turned out super yummy from someone who rarely makes breakfast. Hehe. I sooo enjoyed watching him make it for me. Love that man so much! He had some cards laid out for me on the living room table so I opened my first one while I ate.

Naomi wore a pretty yellow dress that I fell in love with a month or two ago. I saved it just for Mother's day I was happy to wear a new dress that the hubs got me a few weeks ago. Love it! Yay for maxi dresses and warm weather. While pregnant, maxi dresses are also called miracle dresses. When I wore it, you could actually see a little belly! Sometimes I show a lot, and other times I just look like I ate a big meal, not like I'm pregnant. Anyways. I felt lovely either way! Hubs looked handsome as usual, and while we didn't match, we kinda coordinated! 
Fast forward to church. Service was good, and I especially loved the hubs teaching in the adult Sunday School class, which he's doing for the whole month. After church my "leetle seester" Erin took some pictures of us on the grassy area behind the school where we meet for services. They turned out soooo amazing!! They were better than I thought they would turn out given the fact that Naomi wasn't too into the photo session lol. Once we left, we ran off to a couple stores to get some picture printed to give to my mom with her cards. She loved them so yay!
Three generations!
We ate some Chinese food at my parents' house, which was awesome because I'd been craving it for a while. The only Chinese food place in VA that I really like is by my parents' house, and the hubs and I live well out of delivery range. Since we're both pretty picky about our Chinese cuisine, it's super rare for us to eat it. Oh, and I also could have settled for some chicken fried rice from this Chinese place in Miami, but that wasn't exactly an option, hehe. Anyways, it was fun hanging out and eating with the fam, as well as opening cards. I got some very nice ones from everyone! Naomi was fun to watch as she interacted with her uncles and Nana and Grandpapa. Great time! (Again: why. did. I. not. take. PICTURES!!?! alas.)
The hubs and I stopped at home for about 30 minutes to relax and pick up a few things before heading to King Street. (Yet another place no pictures were taken...) Aside from heavy smoke in some areas as well as some...questionable things we saw, it was a really great time. Being there brought back so many memories of when we would hang out there while dating, and it was nice to go there with our growing family.

I truly had a great, GREAT day! It was an amazing start to the week. So blessed!

Monday, May 12, 2014

no facebook: day 1

I've known for a long while that I needed a Facebook break. I love having one and keeping up with people's lives and allowing them to keep up with mine. After a while though it can easily get out of hand and out of moderation. There have been times that I would click on Facebook as soon as I was on my phone when I got up in the morning. When I would go to make a call or send an email or check my calendar, I'd find myself on Facebook instead, and whatever I'd actually gotten on my phone for would be forgotten. Plus, there really is a such thing as seeing too much of people's lives. When something like social media isn't kept in proper place and priority (low), especially in relation to spiritual life, it's easy to find certain un-Christlike attitudes and habits slipping in. Jealousy, comparison, procrastination, laziness, and concern for things of the world that don't even have current, earthy value let alone eternal value are just a few of the things I found popping up in my own life with greater and greater frequency. My walk with the Lord was greatly diminished, and with my priorities all out of whack I found that my real, in-person relationships were being negatively affected.

So. That's why I'm taking a Facebook break. Props to those who have their lives in balance and don't have to do this. For me though, it's essential.  Simply telling myself and others that I won't get on Facebook wasn't an option. I just don't have that sort of discipline yet. I literally had to deactivate my Facebook, delete the app, and cancel any emails from being sent to me. I plan on taking it a week at a time, but I'm really going to push myself to go longer. I am seriously impressed by those who don't allow social media to consume their lives in this technological age. This is what I'm striving for:  self discipline, proper priorities, genuine relationships in life outside of the internet.
Blogging is a perfect outlet to go to instead of Facebook. Part of the reason I stopped blogging and not following through with my goals for this blog is because I'd be writing, pause to think or something,  and find myself on Facebook. All that got me is quite a few unfinished posts. I know writing is something I want to be doing long term so once again, priorities.

I don't plan to write every day or even frequently about my Facebook break. This is just my jump start back into the blog world. And I'm not doing it for anyone else but me. My Lord, my husband, and my daughter are the reasons I make these changes, and I know that doing so has the effect of benefiting me!

This will definitely be hard because, no doubt about it, I'm an addict!!! Lol. The first day hasn't ended yet, and I can't begin to count the amount of times I've found myself subconsciously clicking where my Facebook app was. My Pandora app has replaced that spot though, so...yeah. We'll see how this goes! I am definitely renewing my mind with Scripture about self-discipline, and I'm encouraged by 1 Timothy 4:7b-8: "Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

I'm excited to see how this goes! One thing I plan to start (once I get a new little notebook) is numbering daily blessings again. I used to carry a notebook around with with me everywhere, and I would count graces. It really made me more aware of the innumerable blessings God provides me with on a moment to moment basis. (Shout out to Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts! :-)

Have you ever had to take a break from social media? For what reasons, and did you find it beneficial?