Just wheat

Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday. It’s not as significant as turning 16, 21, or 30, at least not in the eyes of the average American, but this is a huge year for me, maybe my best year ever.

Many of you read and commented on my 2012 bucket list. Amazingly, it seems that I might just accomplish every item on the list this year. When I wrote the list, I hoped to cross off as many of those items as possible, but realistically, I didn’t expect to accomplish everything. Turns out, I have exceeded my own expectations.

Well, I guess I haven’t.

But God has.

I have grown to believe that God always goes ahead and plans in love. Notice that I said that I’ve grown to believe this; I have spent the majority of my life seriously doubting, questioning, or tentatively hoping this were true. I’ve discovered that…

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Living a Kit Kat life

Thankfully, I finished my first semester of graduate school with flying colors.

It reminds me of the way I felt as an undergrad during Christmas and summer breaks; I always felt like I’d just jumped off a train and couldn’t stop the forward momentum in my body. For the first few days, I had the eery sense that I should be doing something else–writing, reading, studying, something! But there was nothing else to do. So I finally rested.

Perhaps due to my pregnancy, or maybe as a result of age or maturity, I certainly have no problem jumping off the train now. The same night I finished my last final, it was an easy transition from desk to couch, popcorn in hand.

I remember many other times, when I was younger, driven to earn more money, and motivated by comparing myself to other people I graduated with, I frequently felt completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and tense because of the number of duties I’d willingly tossed onto my overflowing plate. But I kept saying “yes.” Volunteer for another fundraiser? Yes, please. Add one more social engagement to a calendar spilling over with obligations? Sure, no problem.

I’m grateful that today, I’m no longer motivated by the desire to earn more money, and I very rarely catch myself comparing Bethany to everyone else. I revel in the moments when I can do what I love. I live a Kit Kat kind of life, taking breaks when I need them and refusing to feel guilty for doing so. I create more of these moments by minimizing the number of times I say “yes,” making sure each of those times reflects not only a genuine desire to help but also is matched by a plentiful opening in my proverbial planner (I don’t even own a planner anymore, by the way).

It feels wonderful.

You should try it.

Keeping it simple

I have not read The Hunger Games, and I don’t intend to see the movie, either.

I don’t clip coupons, hunt for them online, or keep up with which business is offering freebies.

I don’t make my own laundry detergent, and  would not concern myself with properly sewing on a button unless my life depended on it.

I don’t have a Pinterest or Twitter account.

I’ve never been to a Zumba or spin class.

What in the world DO I do?

Only things I love.

Today is the only May 4, 2012, that will ever exist. Even as I type, seconds slip by that I can never regain. My itty bitty life will only last for a short period of time. I plan on spending that time doing only the things I love.

Unfortunately, part of living in reality is realizing that not everything I do will thrill my soul. In order to earn an income, maintain a sanitary and tidy living environment, and complete the never-ending list of other duties and chores necessary to function well, I know that sometimes, I will have to spend my time on less-than-thrilling subject matter. I must manage my bank account online. Occasionally, I am required to wait in line at the grocery store. I also have to scrub scum out of the bathtub periodically. During those times, I do my best to focus on the positive and maintain gratitude for the fact that I’m breathing and able to do those very things I tend to despise.

Aside from the necessary evils of life, I want to spend my time doing only what I love.

I love helping other people and find fulfillment in encouraging, serving, teaching, and sharing with others.

I love learning about things that interest me.

I love being outdoors regardless of what activity I’m engaged in.

I love God, and I love spending time learning about Him and getting closer to Him.

I love my family and friends. The more time I can spend with them, the better.

I’m really not a grumposaurus who hates all fads, trends, and fun things. I just don’t have time to do every single halfway appealing thing that comes my way. If I keep it simple, I’m able to devote myself to what matters to me. And if I’m focused on what matters, I’m one happy camper.

 

Good thought to consider for today!

Living and Giving

“We carry our weather around with us.” – Stephen Covey

What a wonderful encouragement from Stephen Covey.  No matter if our day seems cloudy or rainy, either from the outside weather or from tough news or a challenging day, we determine our weather.

We establish the climate outlook of our minds, conversations…We shape the weather pattern of our communications; we forecast the rain, sun or clouds of our expectations.   We are in charge of our own weather, and our weather determines our hopes for the future.

Thank you, Stephen, for your life devoted to one of encouragement and positivity.

Stephen Covey is a speaker and author, writer of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  His work focuses primarily on leadership, family and living with principle.  He is a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.  He and his wife, Sandra, have nine…

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Getting the morning back

Yesterday I had a relentless migraine that materialized before I ever got out of bed. My goal was to complete my last research paper for graduate school by bedtime yesterday; I finished six of eight pages, but I decided I’d be better off finishing it minus the nausea, pain, and throbbing which overwhelmed me. I went to bed last night after taking what little medication I’m allowed to take while pregnant and hoped–rather, prayed–for the best. Okay, let’s be honest–I BEGGED for relief!

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. (one of my many nightly breaks from sleeping) and ate a small snack, thinking a full belly would be more conducive to completing the six hours of sleep I had hoped for.

Fortunately, God had other plans. As I lay there attempting to get cozy enough to lull my exhausted self back to sleep, I found myself humming hymns to our baby, praying for people I hadn’t even thought of in months, and contemplating a potential plan to earn extra income after the birth of our baby. After making coffee and reheating my corn pillow heating pad, and realizing that attempting to fall back asleep for a mere 30 minutes was futile, I succumbed to my apparent refusal to sleep and got up out of bed.

Me in all my morning glory while camping with my family, 2010

As I poured my one tiny cup of coffee for the day, I found myself whispering, “Thank You!”

In that moment, I recognized that God did for me what I could not do for myself. He woke me up, without any nausea (which is no minor miracle for me these days), and gave me a reprieve from the unbearable pain I’d been feeling for over 36 hours. He wouldn’t let me go back to sleep, but in exchange for another hour of sleep, I gained valuable solace with Him and the opportunity to get my mornings back–even if only for today.

I wasn’t always a morning person, but the past two years, I’ve slowly evolved into one. Prior to pregnancy, I woke up every day, regardless of my plans or schedule, at least an hour prior to beginning my daily duties and routine. I spent this hour reading the Bible, meditating on Scripture, and blogging about the blessings in my life.

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve been plagued almost non-stop with a multitude of unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms forced me to adapt my schedule and sacrifice my precious morning time with God. I still found ways to sneak in time with Him, but for me, it hasn’t felt the same.

As I took my first sip of the one tiny cup of coffee I’ll have today, I literally almost cried. It actually tasted heavenly. Coffee, as many of you know, is one of the great loves of my life. Since becoming pregnant, I’ve often become nauseated at the smell of it brewing. The fact that I actually savored a sip of coffee this morning struck me as a gift from God.

Time to sing to my baby and pray for my friends. New ideas. A sense of physical well-being. Nuggets of wisdom from digging through God’s word. Enjoyment from a sip of coffee.

These are all gifts God has already given me today, and I haven’t even technically begun my day.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Thank You, God, for giving me the morning back.