Sunday, May 20, 2018

Thief of Joy

I sat at a table filled with sweet sweet ladies, that I don't know well, connected only by the lovely pregnant lady across from me.  I sat listening to them talk about their new homes or their time as stay-at-home-moms, a recent trip to somewhere exotic, or a new adventure with a future move.  I looked at their polished hair  and actual makeup.  And I started to compare.  I was feeling pretty good in my skinny jeans and cute top (handed down to me by my sister-in-law).  I had actually dried my hair and put on my tinted moisturizer before coming.  But, I had ignored the piles of both clean and dirty laundry all over the house.  My sink was full of dirty dishes, and it smelled bad.  And hearing about the nice things these ladies had made my stomach feel heavy.

Author Lara Casey says, "Comparison is the thief of joy."  This is so true.  When I focus on what I have, and not on what others have, I'm content (maybe not with the loads of laundry or the stinky sink, but you know what I mean).

My house tends to be a source of discontent.  Not because it isn't enough, but because I compare it with what it isn't. 

So, I have been trying to remember all the the things about my house that is really good.

My kids love our steep driveway and the adventure they have at the bottom.  I love that our bedroom is so close to my kids' rooms that I can practically hear when one of them rolls over in bed.  I love that our kitchen is large enough that we turned part of it into a little "office" when our spare bedroom was filled with a baby.  I love that our basement is HUGE and I can shove stuff down there when I simply can't deal with it in the house.  I love my hydrangea.  I love our quiet road where my family takes walks.  And most of all, I love that this is our home, the first place my husband and I lived together and where my babies came home from the hospital.

Gratitude= Contentment

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mother's Day and No Need for Stuff

An interesting thing happened this weekend.  Normally for Mother's Day, I like to go to our local farmer's market and look at all the crafts, eat some kettle corn (they have the BEST kettle corn), and I will often choose something that I like for my gift. My boys always make something for me in my Mommy Book (an idea I saw years ago in a Real Simple article). I say this is all I need, but my husband always wants me to have more. So we go to the market and I pick something I like. 

So a few days before Mother's Day, my sweet husband asked if I would like to go to the market and get one of my candles. I used up my favorite locally made candle, recently, and they sell them at the market.  But, the night before, I decided I didn't really want to go and look at all the stuff and deal with all the people (it's REALLY busy on Mother's Day).  I really just wanted to hang out with my kids and play. I decided I wanted to sleep in, go eat breakfast, play in the little pool and eat popsicles. Even if it meant I didn't get my candle.  

The next morning my boys surprised me with my Mommy Book and a song they wrote me (on their own with no prompting from their daddy).  Brandon had ordered me a shirt, but it hadn't arrived, so he made a little certificate that said it was on the way, but in the meantime I could use $X on whatever I wanted. 

Here's where the weird part comes in. I had no idea what to use it on. Normally, I have a huge list of things I want when I have extra money, or people ask for a gift list. But, I had no idea. And I still don't.  I've decided to order a cute decal for my Yeti knock off, but those are super inexpensive and barely uses any money from my allotted amount. And beyond that... I don't know what to get. 

I haven't been looking through the aisles at Target, and therefore don't know specific things I really want. I haven't been on social media.  I didn't realize how much that influences my purchasing behavior. Facebook has those ads all the time and they are so good at targeting people. I am careful about what I follow on Instagram, but I do specifically follow a couple of women who run businesses. They are really encouraging and I really enjoy their content. But, they are running businesses and they promote their products, and really make me want stuff that I wouldn't otherwise care as much about. 

It's a nice feeling to not have tons of stuff I'm yearning to have.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Contentment Challenge-April Wrap Up

I've finished my first month of the Contentment Challenge and I'm learning a few things. 
  • I don't buy a lot of extras for "me".  I tend to buy the extras for specific purposes, making them feel more like needs.  But, in the end, I think they are often just ways for me to feel in control when life feels overwhelming.  Instead, I should be turning to God and learning to surrender in times of overwhelm.
  • I DO buy food for myself as a source of comfort or contentment.  Same as above, I should be turning to God in times of stress, but this one is trickier as food is pretty necessary, and therefore, harder to moderate.  Clearly, I can't just stop eating for 3 months. 
  • Social media is a thief of presence and contentment.  Again, I think I'll need to write a full post about this, but being away from social media is a total breath of fresh air.
 I've found it tricky to work my Bible verses into everyday conversation with my kids.  Maybe this month, I'll write them out and leave them on the table.  The kids like to talk about stuff at dinner, so this may be a good opportunity to discuss scripture.

My verse for the next week (or maybe all month) is Matthew 6:34 (the first part).

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow..." (MSG).