A Resolution for You: A Revelation for Me

I was going to write about my displeasure of New Year’s resolutions. I still may. The year is young.

image courtesy of sscreations/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of sscreations/freedigitalphotos.net

Instead, this is my third attempt at sharing my New Year’s revelation. It has everything to do with you. Despite my computer’s thwarting efforts, I insist on being victorious this time around. If you are reading non-jibberish, then please raise your glass or coffee mug as I have in a rousing toast: To Beating Technology!

Ok, back to the revelation of the resolution. Have you ever had a moment when you looked around at life and just said, what in the world? Things are so bad! I just had that moment. Looking at a book marketed for teens, I was blindsided by the mature subject matter, the flippant attitude towards life, and the absurd notion that EVERYBODY lives this way so I should just get used to it. What kind of future is waiting for my kids? Then the realities of life hit. I am all too familiar with the oozing darkness that covers lives with despair.

Death. Heartbreak. Loss. Abuse. Addiction.

Jealousy. Rage. Cruelty. Loneliness. Prejudice.

Betrayal. Desperation. Entrapment. Confusion. Pain.

 Real life is NOT  a cool tv show. Real pain does not need to be poked. It hurts bad enough as it is.

This stuff just isn’t peachie. But it is happening right now.

That thought sends me to a very uneasy place. As a matter of fact, this is how I feel: Hyperventilating beginning…panic ensuing…NEED. CHOCOLATE. NOW! Sad to say though not even chocolate brings adequate aid. I usually try to avoid thinking about the horror someone is facing right in the same moment I get to sit here and write about it. I feel helpless not being able to switch out that person’s life to help them avoid such mind-blowing pain. And if i can’t help, then I would rather not think about it. I would like to start my day over, eating my banana bread and looking at dressy fashions, imaging how great I would look in them (if I were 2o pounds lighter and just a couple years younger. Just a couple I say!) But I can’t. I am forced today to deal with issues.

That’s when I had my revelation. A New Year’s Resolution for you. Ok, not for you exactly but exactly with you in mind. Though I may not be able to physically transform lives–my cash flow situation will not get you out of debt (I am struggling to get my own self out of that!), I have no task force at my disposal to run down and lock up creeps, I can’t make anyone fall in love with you, I can’t bring anyone back from the dead (I am starting to sound like Aladdin’s genie)–let me tell you what I can do.

I. CAN. PRAY. FOR. YOU.

image courtesy of tungphoto: freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of tungphoto: freedigitalphotos.net

Don’t give me that face. I am not talking about making a wish to the heavens or hoping that the luck of the universe will help someone out. I am talking about the generous opportunity I have every day to go before the God of all and ask for His help. I didn’t ask you if you think He can do it. I didn’t even say He would answer how I want Him to. What I am saying is that He can. And if He can, and I can ask Him, then there is HOPE. The smallest light still pierces the blackest dark. This HOPE is a light. This HOPE I can give.

And this HOPE you can have.

I resolve this year instead of flighting from the darkness to fight it whenever I encounter it with His light. I HOPE this changes things for ME {N} U. I know that for me, it already has.

image courtesy of ponsulak: freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of ponsulak: freedigitalphotos.net

Pass me the chocolate and with HOPE let’s stay,

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

Christmas Special for Me{N}U: The Same Old

This Holiday Season is full of what some call tradition…

I could call it the “same old thing”.

Image courtesy of kibsri/freegdigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of kibsri/freegdigitalphotos.net

I usually don’t do the “same old” very well.

My husband on the other hand is an expert. For example, he can eat the same meal FOREVER depending on the meal, of course. While he was in high school, my husband was dared by his father to eat only pizza (his favorite food) for a month, thinking hubby dear would surely fail. My husband, and the pizza company, triumphed gloriously in cheesy goodness.

I can hardly stand eating the same meal twice in ONE WEEK! Even the tastiest of morsels have a time limit on my palate. Leftovers make me feel like I’ve been there, ate that–new experience please. I need to trade in the same old thing.

I need something different.

I am guessing this buffet-style of living strikes a common chord with some of you. If not, humor the rest of us and read along anyway. AYCE (all-you-can-eat) chains can be found everywhere. Their appeal, besides the gorge factor, can be found in the tremendous variety that each restaurant offers. Channel surfing can now be deemed a national sport due to the multitudes of viewing options in the digital world (so how comes there’s never anything to watch?) Go ahead…add to this list of overindulgence aka things I often enjoy.

I enjoy variety because I tend to get–what’s that word?–oh yeah, “bored” with the same old things so I continue on with this endless, and admittedly tiring, search for the new, for the trendy, for the exciting. However, I continue to receive a lot of same ol’ –just repackaged.

Take a look at holiday specials for example.

PicMonkey Sample

picMonkey.com

Most of us celebrate “the holidays” in some way and we each have our favorite traditions and mine are typically found in music and movies. I love Christmas music and movies! Take a moment and sing your favorite Yuletide melody with me. (You know you want to spread Christmas cheer!) My husband, the pizza eater,—not so much. He gets tired of the, you guessed it, same old. Same old songs, same old movies, every year. He asks, “How many times can you listen to that song?” And I reply, “It’s not the same song. The last one was a ballad, this was one was sung polka style!” And one of my fave shows can be watched with the main character as a mouse, or as a digitally animated old man portrayed by an actor of many faces, or better yet a puppet! All three shows based on the same book with the same name, and same endings but because of my distaste of the same old, I can keep all three in my holiday watching rotation without boredom because even the smallest variation to me makes the show just a little different, just a bit new. My family and I can chug down cocoa and gobble up popcorn for each and every one of them (hubby joins in for the eating). Holiday traditions know extremely well how to repurpose the same old, which is why I love them.

I’m good with the same old in a different way. Because it seems new. Shallow? Perhaps, but at least I’m honest. And truth really be told, the same old things aren’t what bores me, it’s the same old feelings. I chase feelings.

This time of year is full of feelings. I reenact the same traditions so that I can recapture those peaceful, loving feelings and share them with my own children and the people I love. Those feelings never get tiring.

In my life, I often struggle to stay content with the same old. Just today I got upset as my house was  compared to someone else’s and it didn’t quite measure up. Not quite big enough. Not quite lavish enough. Does that have to equal not quite good enough? I get sucked in to the lie to buy more to feel full, to look over the fence to find the greener grass, to trade up to be better.

The same old game.

The same old lie.

My feelings need to be controlled. Easy to say but without help almost impossible to do. I have to be aware. I have to be on guard. And for me, I have to pray. I celebrate Christmas because my life center is Christ. I notice that as I am grateful and realize how much God has done and is doing for me, I can’t help but be ok with my present situation. There is a wise word from the Bible which says: in all things, be content. Such a small statement but such a huge task. Did you catch the small but massive word: ALL.

In ALL things?

Without enough money to pay bills? With sickness? With loneliness?

My Fridge with Thanksgiving LeftoversWith leftovers?

Be content. In ALL things.

The only way I have found to do this is to take a page from that carol of Christmas and repurpose my same old attitude into something new. I may not be able to change the story of my life, but through prayer and intentionality, I can change how I think and respond to it. It’s my choice. My attitude. My outlook. My response.

This holiday and in this new year, I am going to do something different. How about you? Settling for the same old? Searching for the feelings of newness? Why not trade it for just something different. And the difference starts with
Me …&…U. Check out this list from blogger Ruth at her site living well  spending less to get you started.

Always-in-Pursuit-7-Ways-to-Be-More-Content-Right-Now-contentment-faith-inspiration

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And let’s work this year on staying,

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

IMG_0542

MY BLOGGING STORY: GUEST POST AT CMB

I have a story to tell…

I’m sure you do, too, but today you can find mine at:

christian-mommy-blogger-125

Don’t you just love the coffee logo?

Leigh-Anne and Nikki have literally written the book on intentional blogging (for real…buy it on their site) and I am humbled and thrilled to partner with them.

Read it. Love it. Share it. And let me know what you think!

Hope you stay connected and I’ll stay

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

Between Me{N}U: Enough Grilling Already!

I don’t know about you, but for me…

This summer has taken my schedule, marinated it, grilled it up well done, chewed it up, and spit it back out at me! So much to do. So many places to be. Work piling. Kids tugging. Blogs forming. Time..flying.

ENOUGH ALREADY!

I have some great posts coming soon…but not today.

Lazzy Feet on a Blue Ocean Beach vacation

(Photo credit: epSos.de)

Today, I am going to vacation with my family without guilt and without my dreaded schedule. I will get back to blogging, working, running soon, but sometimes you gotta know when to just let go.

So take that summer! I am reclaiming you for fun in the sun. Give me back my schedule and that spatula. I will do my own grilling, thank you very much.

So I will see you in a bit blog world. Refreshed, renewed, relaxed, but still…

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

Summertime ME{N}U: Fake Corn with Real Butter

There are some words I love…

You look great, honey. And so slim!

Mom, you’re the best!

We won!

There’s chocolate for dessert.

And…MADE WITH REAL BUTTER!

Butter and a butter knife

I splurge on very few things. Ok, I tend to look for reasons to splurge on just about anything. But, there are a couple of things in this life for which I will pay top dollar. One of those things is REAL BUTTER, made with real cream. No other junk included. One of the other things is toilet paper. (I refuse to be caught with a cheap product that doesn’t go the distance if you know what I mean.)

I have my favorite brand of real butter and I stick with it whether I have a coupon or not. Why? The taste of course! Oh my goodness the taste! Real butter tastes better in almost everything.

I said almost everything.

Real and Fake Don’t Mix

Real butter does not do anything for fake corn. I know because I am a self-proclaimed popcorn expert.

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: digitalarts

I have learned from the best (my family). We are persnickety about our popcorn ingestion. Real butter is a no brainer. Good popcorn has to have real butter, but the butter can only go as far as the corn will take it. I have tried to cut costs supporting my real butter habit by buying the cheapie popcorn kernels with the fake brand to pop in my air popper (which pops the fluffiest corn). You usually do get what you pay for. Cheapie kernels don’t pop well, the burn easily, and just taste different. No good I say. Not even real butter can mask the nasty of a fake corn. And life is too short to eat bad popcorn.

My Popcorn = My Life

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: aopsan

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: aopsan

While snacking on the good stuff and thinking about my life, I see the same pattern as the popcorn. Real and fake don’t mix. With my life, I am constantly choosing whether I am going to invest in the real or try to get by with the cheapie instead. A relationship sprinkled with fake bonds will prove to be unstable and unreliable. An education that has taken shortcuts in order to receive a good grade loses the quality of learning which is the reason for the education in the first place. Parenting when it is convenient for me leaves children of low character and cheapens not only the family but our society as a whole. Keeping up appearances to impress others in my life often leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Being real with who I am, with all my imperfections, whether I impress you or not, never does. I do not want to live a fake popcorn life.

How about you?

Life involves Me & You. I want to let you know that you are better REAL.

We’re not that different and I can hear you telling me that I don’t have to be anyone else. I can be who I am. Leave all the judgers behind. I agree! And you should, too! There’s only One in my life who I care completely what He thinks of me. Only One who can forgive me 100% all the time so that I don’t have to be perfect. I can be REAL. I can be me. And you can, too.

Don’t forget this fact either: Real butter doesn’t just happen. It has to go through a process before it is ready to be used. I am still in process, too. So be patient with me and I will be patient with you. If we all did that maybe we could live a more genuine life.

So as you eat lots of popcorn with real butter remember real is good for you. Real tastes better. You deserve real. Go ahead and splurge on what matters…YOU.

Keeping it real and staying…

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

Summertime ME{N}U: Farmer’s Market Delights

I do admire farmers.

They are hard-working, self-sustaining, and take-pride-in-their-trade kind of people. I don’t ever want to be one, but I will shop at their markets! I first learned of farmers markets living in the grand city of Minneapolis. The whispers of freshness in the forms of produce and plants spoke poetically to this city gal who had very little time connecting to anything not store bought. I had to check to it out.

English: Copley Square Farmer's Market

English: Copley Square Farmer’s Market 

           I was a little disappointed.

I didn’t see any farmers.

Oh they were there. I was greatly impressed with the amount of affordable market delights that brought life to the normally dead concrete slabs full of similarly deadpan business people. Here folks were smiling, eating well, and smelling flowers. But I didn’t notice any farmers. At least not any of the kind I was looking for.

Why was I looking for farmers? Because I am an avid people watcher, and I, being the city girl I am, wanted to gawk at the overalls and flannels that one would suspect farmers selling their wares in the market would wear. A piece of hay sticking out of their mouths would also add a nice touch. But everyone I saw looked average, normal. No overalls. No hey straw cigarettes. No gawking.

I wonder if the farmers were expecting to see some city girl with lots of tattoos, babies with no daddies, and gang affiliated attire. I have no tats (except the ones my children draw on me when I’m distracted), all my babies have the same daddy (and I know where he is) and I am not knowingly affiliated with any sect of any gang. I probably disappointed them, too, at first. Then I bought their stuff. A relationship bloomed instantly.

Even though my predetermined expectations were wrong, I still left the market with more than I came in to it.

Correction can surprisingly934736_620006918026593_1354997685_n lead to delightful outcomes

Presently I have moved from the city and  live in more country than I ever thought I would, and I have learned that  even farmers bring markets to themselves (I live in a town with lots of farmers). At our local market, I was again struck with a sight I was not expecting. A nice man, 6’2″ with a good sized frame, was selling his wares…a table full of homemade knitted delights. At the table next to him was another “man’s man” selling…potted flowers. I had to double take at these gentlemen. Neither one looked like they should have been matched with their wares. Did this big guy really use those bear paws to knit? Was his friend really fascinated with purple poppies? (That’s all he was selling.) I expected little grannies and green thumbed homemakers doing that. Not these guys. Upon further detection I discovered that the goods they were pushing were in fact not theirs. The knits…his mother’s doing but she could not be there. He was the loving son stepping in. The flowers guy…selling plants as a fund raiser for a local school. I stood corrected. These men were not who they seemed but refreshingly different from what I had anticipated.

Isn’t it funny how life, if you let it, can surprise, even delight you when you take the time to connect?

Our worlds in a sense run like a farmer’s market. Everyone selling something or another. This one her blog. That one his book. The other one her recipe  his brand, his ideals, her business. I can’t help but bring my own prejudged thoughts and misgivings to each encounter. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Other times extremely disappointed. But every time, at least I am connecting with someone or something that is helping me to make a better me by interacting with a never to be duplicated, given life on purpose you.

I continue to struggle with classic by the cover book judgement and uneducated expectations, but I’m learning. I’m learning to ask questions much like kids do. Two of my most engaging inquiries: Why? and How come? Greatness usually follows in some simple form like: “Because I don’t grow hay.” That’s the answer from one farmer about the hay cigarette. Ok, not really, but it could be.

Imagine how delightful these life markets would be if we stopped gawking at the farmers and kept our focus on the delights they have to share. We could end up with a lot of new and edifying relationships..and farm fresh goodness!

Simon Howden: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Simon Howden: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Enjoy your summer and I hope you are pleasantly delighted at the connections life brings!

You keep connecting and I’ll stay,

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg

This Week’s Just Desserts: Let me eat birthday cake!

Let me eat cake!

This post greets me near my next birthday and that means…BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Image curtesy of Idea go/freedigitalphotos.com

Image courtesy of Idea go/freedigitalphotos.com

My birthday is one of my favorite holidays (yes I said holiday and yes you should be able to stay home from work) because I really enjoy eating cake. As a matter of fact, when I became an official adult my rite of passage was to devour cake for breakfast. That’s right! My birthday, my rules! My birthday is the only day in the year set aside where:

  • I celebrate another milestone that is my life
  • I eat cake first at every meal
  • I become the object of celebration for anyone touched by my life

See why I enjoy them? But does anyone else see the problem here? I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with the word one.

Why do I celebrate life only ONE day?

I mean, we are alive each one of those  365 days in that year, right? I believe a quirky character with a need for good counseling and a hat fetish had it right when he partied for every happy un-birthday. Why are birthdays the only time I celebrate life when in reality each day is a gift (like the quote says, “that’s why it’s called the present”.)

Image curtesy of master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

At least that’s what the clingy stuck to my wall says. I wake up to that saying each morning, but I do not live like it. Do you? Aren’t you worth celebrating?  How do we stop talking about living life to the fullest and actually start living it?

I'm glad you asked!

Let’s start by eating CAKE.

C–Choose to Celebrate each day by giving thanks.

A heart full of gratitude can make even the worst day a bit better. Someone, somewhere has it far worse than you. Thankfulness doesn’t change our situations, but it doesn’t hurt either.

A–Ask yourself how you can make this day memorable.

Every birthday, my mom stayed up late or got up early to make sure our birthday banners, balloons, and posters were plastered everywhere the minute we cracked open our eyes. That memory stays with me reminding me how I was special to someone, and now I do the same for my children and my husband.

K–Keep a theme song handy.

No, I’m not kidding. Birthdays, and most celebrations if you think about it, carry a tune with them. I enjoy going to a restaurant and hearing underpaid, overworked people wearily slur, I mean, sing to me, “Happy, happy birthday from all of us to you. We wish it was our birthday, so we could party, too!”  Theme songs make everything more celebratory. You don’t have to go around singing it but having a tune in your heart helps keep you positive and on the lookout for good things to happen. And a cheerful heart does your body good. Even the most ordinary day can surprise you with an extraordinary event so be on the lookout for it. And if it doesn’t come today, then maybe…”Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…” (I bet you finished singing that in your head didn’t you! Good theme song.)

E–EAT CAKE!

Don’t drop your diets or blame your next ten pounds on me, trust me baby #5 left enough jiggling poundage behind for ME {N} U. But take a moment in your day to treat yourself. Your “cake” may be a run in the park (which is fine, but please don’t look down on us cake eaters and we won’t trip you). Your “cake” may be..well…actual cake! Whatever it is, enjoy it and gather someone else around to enjoy it with you.

Birthday Cake was never meant to be eaten alone.

Image curtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Birthday celebrations are always better surrounded by friends and loved ones. Maybe those surrounding you are not ideal, but they are in your life, quite possibly for a good reason. Find ways to bring more CAKE into your life and find good quality people with whom you can share.

You were created on purpose, for a purpose, so celebrate today…and every day!

image curtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalimages.net

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalimages.net

God made you on purpose. Your life was not a mistake and neither was mine. Every breath we take gives  us one more chance to see and do something no one else can do because there is no other you and there is no other me. We can not ever be duplicated to the exact same person. And YOU and I have something to offer this world. Our birthdays and unbirthdays are events excellent enough to celebrate so eat that cake up!  And save me a slice!

A Very Happy Unbirthday to ME {N} U,

cropped-justpeachielogosimple1.jpeg