Finding Balance

Since the holidays, I’ve been feeling off kilter. Not the normal post holiday blues. This one has been hitting a little more each day.

To say this month has had it’s twists and turns would be an understatement. Through all the things that seem to be coming this way, I realize that now is the best time to start implementing my best yes.

I knew there was a reason for that book.

The word I was given this year was self. Walking into it I thought I knew what it meant. In my mind, it meant getting in shape, eating better, getting into a better groove with my quiet time, rediscovering passions and hobbies. All good things.

I’m learning that this season is going to be one of evaluating. What have I said yes to that, while essentially good, isn’t a yes I need to follow. What things do I, at least for a season, need to give up. Where have I over committed myself? How does saying yes to _________ impact my well being? My family.

image

This season won’t be an easy one. I like to say yes to things that interest me, but I need to say no, or not now, to some things. That is okay. It’s more than okay, it’s great.

2015_self

This year, my word is self. The more I think about it, the more I discuss it with others, I need to focus as much on my family as I do myself. I need to learn to say no to things that will take too much time away from them.

While still focusing on becoming a healthier me, I also need to make an effort to be a healthier family. Spend time with the amazing husband I’ve been blessed with. Play with and teach our too-smart-for-his-age two year old. Family nights. Date nights. Me night. All these things play into rediscovering self.

How has your new year shaped up so far?

Welcoming in 2015

I shared a couple days ago about my one word for 2015. While mulling over exactly how rediscovering myself should look a couple things came to mind. The first was a song. A song I know I’ve shared here before. The lyrics of this song were once again brought to my attention on the 28th:

"The Real Me" by Natalie Grant. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bRGfId9quY

“The Real Me” by Natalie Grant. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bRGfId9quY

Even though this song was written to help the artist with a very real struggle with bulimia, I believe that so many of us can relate to the struggle of just wanting to find ourselves outside of our circumstance. That’s the beauty of music, the words can impact so many people in different ways.

Along with this song, there was something else that came into my mind. Scripture. One I’d become very much  familiar with several years back. In fact, it’s been the focus of several books I’ve read over the last several years. However, this time, it’s come to life so much more.

Prov31.25

These two tools, combined with the focus of rediscovering what self means to me, are sure to help. A few other steps I’m planning to take on this journey:

  • Set a consistent time to wake up each morning
    • enough time for breakfast and quiet time
  • Discover a way to become more active and stick to it
  • Write consistently. Either here or in a journal I received for Christmas
  • Read books. All the way to the end.
  • Take time monthly (more frequently if needed) and do something to refresh myself
  • Crochet again
  • Make girl time a must

Do you have any goals for this year? Any hopes and dreams that are beginning to take shape?

New Year, New me

The past several years I have participated in the One Word challenge. Having a focus for each year has helped in many ways. I started fully participating in it in 2012 with the word limitless. Boy did that year sure live up to it it too. In 2013 the central focus for the year was trust. With motherhood just beginning, trust was going to be essential for that first year. This year’s word came to me in the form of a gift from a coworker. The word in 2014 was magnificent.

This year has had it’s ups and downs. I can tell you that there were many times when it wasn’t feeling so magnificent. However, when I look back at where we were when the year started, I can see that it was indeed magnificent. From career changes, to parenthood, friendships and everything in between, it has most certainly been magnificent.

A few days ago, I was contemplating whether or not I was going to participate in the one word challenge again in 2015. I was leaning toward no. Then, as I’m sitting at home it hits me. In 2015 the one thing I need to focus on is self. With the baby phase behind us, it’s time to focus on getting myself healthier. In all areas of life. It’s time for me to buckle down more and get serious with my quiet time. I need to quit making excuses to get healthier, there is no better time than now to begin eating better and living a more active life.

2015_self

I really need to take a close look at how I’m spending my time. I want to become me again. I’m not just a wife, a mom, a friend, ect. There is more to it than just the things I do or the way I spend my time. I want to find my hobbies and passions again. I want to crochet again, to write here more often, to learn to love life all around again. I am going to make an effort this year to do just that.

How about you, friends, what is your word for 2015?

Off Kilter

around here lately, there has been SO much going on. too much some days.

Between a schedule change at work (finally), keeping up with a wee one, finding time to be a couple, being involved in a church plant (launch is SOOO close), finding ways to keep connected to friends, horribly failing to keep the apartment clean, and on and on, lets just say making time for the things I loved doing before all this (and still love and miss terribly) has been near impossible.

So here this place sits. Without a post. For days, weeks, sometimes months on end. Sadly. Lonely. Unfortunately. I so love sharing this space with all of you.

With this time of transition things have just been off. Like I’m kinda floating in space watching everything go on around me, and it’s all going so quickly. Some days I feel like I’m in a fog, that it’s all a dream.

I love being a mommy. Although, I don’t feel like it has come as naturally as I was hoping, it is a job I know I am privileged to be able to claim. The challenges that come with it have been more than I could imagine. Then again, so has all the laughter and the smiles.

Being a good friend has been set on the back burner, I feel. I am not quite as readily available for my friends as I once was. It’s not something I like, but it is something that I have learned to adapt to. Once I do have the time, I often lack the brain power to sustain meaningful, deepreal conversations.

A wife. That is another facet of who I am. Another area that, while it comes naturally and we finally have the same schedule, I tend to not have made this a priority. Again, wife, a title I wear proudly, confidently, humbly. However, it is a title I feel like I am lacking to live up to in none-the-less.

What do all these have in common? The way I love. 

Last weekend literally everything I heard, everywhere I went, every conversation was focused on LOVE. Not just any love but God’s love. Not just anything having to do with His love. But a question:

What is the message I am displaying when it comes to His love?
Are there people in my life that aren’t hearing the gospel of Jesus because of me?

Yeah…ouch. Then a challenge came about…what do I need to put on the back burner in order to show his love to those I encounter every day?

But for me, it wasn’t about putting something on the back burner. As we were sitting there I felt the conviction. I knew that I needed to share. The longer we talked, the more the Spirit pressed. It was then I realized that for me, it was all about taking something off the back burner and placing it back where it needed to be.

My job, as much as I love it, takes all I have. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and yes, even spiritually. It was becoming abundantly clear that giving my all at work has been shorting the people I love more than I am comfortable with. By the time I would get home I was exhausted, my brain was much, my patience was shot, my attention span was gone, I was done for the day.

All of this was lead me to being short, defensive, easily agitated, and snappy with the guys in my house. I was seeing snippets of the weeks prior of reactions, conversations and such that I’d displayed, and I found myself disgusted with myself. For me, the challenged boiled down to loving my family better.

Learning how to give my all at work, but still leave the best of me for my guys at home. I need not short them because of the demands of my job. The task seemed (and still seems) impossible but I know that there is One who will give me the strength to succeed. All I need to do is rely upon Him.

So I ask you friend, to look over these questions…these challenges…examine your heart and be honest with yourself about the answers.

beautiful

What is the message I am displaying when it comes to His love?
Are there people in my life that aren’t hearing the gospel of Jesus because of me?
What do I need to put on the back burner in order to show his love to those I encounter every day?

Liebster Award

Disclaimer: If you subscribe by e-mail and happened to get this post multiple times, I apologize. I hit publish once, but my internet was acting up and seems to have sent this to you multiple times.

Okay, Okay…I have now been nominated TWICE for a liebster award…so I guess now is the best time to accept…don’t ya think? Yeah, me too.

liebstergreen

First off…HUGE thanks go out to my BBC-Birth-Board-Blogging-Momma, Lina over at Eccentric Chai and also to Nikki over at Simply Striving (who nominated me WAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY back in August…slacker much?!)…so None the less Let’s get to this.

What is the Liebster Award?

The German word Liebster (pronounced LEEB-ster) means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

The Liebster Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

11 Random Facts about me

1) I have hazel eyes that are mood rings. If you know me well enough…my eyes will tell all…even things that I’m trying to hide.

2) I am a natural introvert. However, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you meet me. I work very hard to be outgoing and to connect with others, but i will be very exhausted by the time I get home.

3) I have an amazing family. Both the one I was born into and the one that my husband and I have just started building together.

4) My family may be dysfunctional, but we are ALWAYS there for each other.

5) The name of my blog comes from the meaning of my name (Amy=Beloved) and my desire for my life to be a constant pursuit after my Creator and what He has for me.

6) I have  dreams that I believe will one day come to fruition, but I have to do the work now in order for those things to become a reality in the future.

7) My life verse is Galatians 1:10 which says:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

8) The latest journey we are on (besides the biggie–parenting) is joining in on launching a church in a smaller town near us.

9) I love to read–but rarely have the time anymore.

10) My radio is almost always on Christian music…although we have a new station that plays strictly 90’s music that seems to be catching my ear from time to time.

11) I absolutely LOVE to being a mommy.  I absolutely struggle with the fact that I am a working mommy.

11 questions for me to answer (From Lina):

1. What made you start your blog?

I felt a pull to write. There were some things that I was working through and writing it…just getting it out helps me to decipher everything better. {Looking back} I believe that I was called to write in order to find a sanctuary with people who have the same heart for God and writing that I have.

2. Where’s your favorite place to “create”?

Usually on my couch…although I’ve found down times at work when I can physically write on paper does wonders for me as well.

3. What’s your favorite book? Why?

I love, love, love Francine Rivers Atonement Child. This was the first Christian Fiction that I read and I just loved how engrossed into the characters and the story line, feeling as though I was part of their lives and stories.

4. If you could meet anyone–dead or alive–who would it be?

My Grandpa on my dad’s side. Yes, I met him, but he passed away when I was very very young. I don’t remember him. I would love to sit and hear/see all the things I hear about from my aunts and uncles about him.

5. How do you spend a typical Saturday?

Cuddling with my husband and son. Grocery shopping. Cooking. Cleaning (although you couldn’t tell right now).

6. What’s your favorite animal? Why?

I have always loved Koala’s and I don’t even know why. They’ve just always fascinated me.

7. Who was your favorite grade school teacher? Why?

I loved my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Dively. He *finally* put an end to the bullying I experienced throughout my early years of schooling.

8. What do you want to be when you “grow up”?

I would LOVE to be nothing but a stay at home mom. This is a desire I didn’t even realize I had until little man came along.

9. What’s your greatest accomplishment so far?

It’s a tie:

My Marriage
My Son
They are the life God has given me thus far.

10. Who do you look up to the most? Why?

I cannot pin this down to just one person. I will say the Church. The one I grew up in, the one my husband and I have been attending, and now, the one that we are taking part of starting from day 1.

11. You go into a coffee shop, Edgar Allan Poe is sitting in there with a half caff Mocha with a shot of almond. You sit across from him. What is the first thing you say?

Nothing…I’m absolutely speechless…wouldn’t even know where to start.

** Rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs.

ANNNND If you read this blog and have less than 200 followers…you’re it! It’s time for you to get your name out there!

You get these questions:

What is your greatest fear?

Describe yourself in three words.

What is your favorite passage of Scripture (verse or book)?

Name something that’s on your bucket list.

Describe what a perfect day would look like to you.

What is your favorite color?

Share a brief testimony of how God is working in your life.

What is your favorite snack?

If you could live anywhere, where would that be?

Name five things that make you smile.

Why do you write?

AND GO!

RTW: Lifetime

I wake up today…well for the day…to celebrate. You see, it’s been four years since I vowed my life to the man I love. It’s been for years since I said forever and always. Four years ago I officially became Mrs. Kevin McCollister. This was us four years ago:

Weddingday

It’s been quite a journey over the past four years. We’ve laughed a lot. We’ve had our struggles and trials. Many of them being in the last 12-16 months. If I could go back in time, I’d do it all again. Including all the bad times because it has just made us stronger and given us perspective in the good times. The end of last year, our lives changed forever. This is the last picture of us as a childless couple in december:

lastcouplepic

The next day, we met our little boy. Our joy in life. If it hadn’t been for all those ups and downs we’ve experienced, I’m sure that we wouldn’t be where we are now and I know that we wouldn’t have him:

stroller

In four years we went from newlyweds to new parents. With hills along the way. I can honestly say, I would not change a thing.

I love you Kevin!
I love the life we have together.
I love watching you with our little Andrew.

As you said this morning:
That was a quick four years. Heres to many more…

smRTW

So friends. With all the brokenness in this world. In marriages. In families. I am running to honor God in this lifetime. To  keep my marriage and family whole. I’m running to spend a lifetime with my guys. These two and, God willing, another kiddo…maybe two. As well as being the best daughter, sister and friend that I can be. To live my lifetime glorifying God in all I do. With every choice I make. With every milestone we meet.

How are we doing? {CMA}

Last week, I posted about striving to be content in the circumstances I am in. As Satan loves to do, that is the area he’s slammed into that very area of my life. I’d love to be able to say I’ve been able to combat his attacks successfully, but I haven’t.

I have tried to steer my thoughts in directions that wouldn’t lead to a breakdown, but if I’m honest, I’ve broken down at least 3 times this week. Almost all of them surrounding work in general. That I have to work. The stress I get from my current position. Not liking the shift I’m working. Dreams that I have, that need to be placed on hold for a while. I could go on and on.

I have been able to slow down some. Enjoy the few mornings that Andrew is actually awake before I have to leave for work. I have made some time together with Kevin, not daily, but definitely over the weekend. As well as finding the time to physically rest on days following sleepless nights.

So, this week, I am continuing on this challenge for myself. While doing so, I will be taking the time to stop and pray when I feel overwhelmed. Seek for peace in His presence. Look for His direction and reassurances that I am on the right path.

Each morning, I will work towards living in the moment. To loving the life I have been given. To seeking shelter in the safest Place I can find. Writing out my thoughts, feelings, emotions to get them down and not allow them to run me down.

count-me-accountable

So friend, how are you doing on the goals and dreams you have for your life? I’d love to hear your heart as well.