Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Fasting 2015

You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it. J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Every year for the past 5 years or so, I have, with my church, committed to a 21 day fast at the beginning of January as a way of seeking God for direction and intimacy and being intentional with where we want to go and what we want to do for the year.

As it draws to a close, I can’t help but think about sacrifice in a broader sense.  Giving up certain foods for any amount of time is a sacrifice and I’m embracing that feeling of emptiness and need–the longing for more.  I want to feel that way about Jesus–longing for more of His presence and more of His word.

Even more than that, fasting is practicing “dying to self” as per the bible.  If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up this cross daily. Luke 9:23 and if my verse of the year says to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends” John 15:13 that more than implies sacrifice, it demands it.

What does that mean for the rest of the year?  I don’t know. Choosing to put God and others before my self, my desires, means daily sacrifice. To what extreme? Is there an extreme? Is extreme what is asked for in John 15?

 

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Love one another

 ♥ LOVE  

It’s my word of the year for 2015.  Love. All things love.  Actions that show love.  Words that speak love.  Thoughts that lead to words and actions that love. Love when I don’t feel like it. Love when its not “deserved”. LOVE. Overflowing, unselfish, sacrificial LOVE.

love

 

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15: 12-13

Twenty Twelve in Review

The year 2012 in the life of CariKelley was the same as most…with its ups and its downs.   Here are some highlights and lowlights and firsts in no particular order of importance or occurrence.

  • Learned how to drink my coffee black–while this is not exactly a great feat in the grand scheme of things, it is notable in my life.  and to say that I “learned” is really not accurate–more like forced. Since I decided to “clean up” my food intake and because the creamers that I like and were using did not meet the minimum standards for health, they are out. Coffee, however, is necessary, so henceforth and hereafter, it is black.
  • Lost that last 10 pounds–finally. My weight loss/fitness progress had plateaued for about a year.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to make any forward progress.   In November I heard about the Whole30 and decided to give it a whirl (mostly to deal with a nagging neck pain that remains unresolved).  30 days of no sugar, no dairy, no legumes, and no grains (NONE!) and that did it.  Wow…it wasn’t easy but it was life changing.
  • Found out I live in a money pit…my house is broken.  Foundation, plumbing, and other random crap.  Approximately $25G’s to fix it to make it sellable.  So…I guess we’re stuck here for a little while longer….or a lot while longer.  I can think of 3, maybe 4, solutions to this “problem”–1. a $$ windfall, 2. a destructive house fire (not wishing for this, but if it were to happen…), 3. Jesus comes back, or 4. we borrow money to fix everything and then slowly, gradually pay it back over the next 10 years. Only options 1 and 3 sound attractive at the moment.
  • My oldest child left home at 18–with some time I’ve come to realize this really is a good thing…no matter how painful it is, it’s good for him and good for us.  Wow…really hard though.  But he needs to grow up and what better way than the “sink or swim” method?  I know he has a strong faith foundation and I believe in him.  I hate to see him go through rough times, but he’ll be stronger and wiser in the end.
  • Shot a gun for the first time–lots of different guns as a matter of fact…my dad has a collection and a passion to teach.  =)  Lucky me!  Rifles, automatics, revolvers of various shapes and sizes.   It was very, very fun and I was pretty darn good at hitting a stationary target. (not exactly real-world applicable 🙂 )
  • Had my first drink–I have some really really great friends that may or may not be a corrupting influence. 😉  They took me out for my first alcoholic drink, a frozen Margarita…and then my second, another frozen Margarita…and then a third, again with the frozen Margarita.  I can’t seem to venture out from that one yet.  I like ’em~they are very lime-y and very yummy.  Yes, yes, this is a fairly dramatic shift in attitude and belief for me.   I’ve NEVER been a drinker of anything alcoholic.   Just didn’t see the point.  and then my kid left home and I wondered what it would be like to use alcohol to “relax” and, dare I say it….numb the emotions.  Not exactly a healthy thought process, but I can definitely see why some people drink. That being said, I don’t plan on getting ridiculously drunk ever…if you need reason why, just look to Cassio in Othello “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
    my reputation!”   Need I say more?

I’ve already got a list of firsts I’m going to do in 2013.   Take a Zumba class.  Take a Yoga class.  Try a different alcoholic drink other than a Frozen Margarita. Get a tattoo (this one is another massive shift in attitudes and beliefs I should talk more about later).   Maybe I’ll do one brand new thing a month–wouldn’t that be something to type about!?

Emotions-Can You Fake ’em?

Use the corresponding face for the corresponding emotion.” Meg Ryan in that movie where she goes to Paris to chase after her ex-fiancé.

I’m one of those people who you can read like a book. If I’m happy, you’ll know it. If I’m confused, it’s written all over my face. If I’m mad, oh yeah, you’ll know it. That’s a good thing, right? I’m true. I’m real. I’m authentic. I’m transparent.

But I think it’s not always good. I know that sometimes when I’m angry–just for illustration purposes, let’s say I’m mad at my teenaged son–it does NOT help the situation for me to show anger. It communicates disapproval and disappointment. Which maybe I am, but my feelings are not the issue that needs to be dealt with or focused on. I read this several weeks ago and it stuck with me, even though I’m having trouble putting it into practice.

The anger of a parent confronted with a child’s poor choice shifts the focus from the child’s bad behavior to the parent’s angry response. Replace anger with empathy and see what happens. Responding to disobedience with empathy rather than anger is difficult, but the reward is great.

from Day 3 of the Parenting by Design devo on YouVersion.

Right. Empathy. Right. So….how exactly does that look?!

Mom: Well, hello, son. I see you are 20 minutes later than you said you’d be.

Son: Oh…sorry.

Mom (Option 1): Sorry?!? You’re sorry!?! You better be because I’ve been sitting here waiting and now I’m going to be really tired tomorrow! You bet you’re sorry, because now you’re grounded!!

Mom (Option 2): I can see that. I’m sorry that you couldn’t make it when we asked. Next time you go out you will have to make up that time. You’ll have to come home 20 minutes earlier than normal.

Yeah, I can see that would be a better response for parents who set firm rules and consequences (which we SUCK at). And also I know that…

human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:20 NIV)

Now I just have to figure out how to either not be mad–or hide it convincingly. Probably the former is more effective, although more difficult to achieve. Only complete reliance on God can bring about a miracle of this magnitude.

drop (to your knees) and give me 20…more!

I’ve now been married 20 years.  20. years.  That’s a really long time.  For me, it’s half my life.  And 20 years is a really long time to stay with the same person.  I mean, think of it, when else do you spend that long with one person–that close.  Besides family (which I haven’t ever LIVED with that long) it’s the longest close relationship I’ve ever had.  Friends come and go, and even the friends I’ve had for that long I don’t see EVERY day.

Marriage is a covenant, or promise, between a man and a woman to stay together no matter what.  For better, for worse.  On the very day you are married, you are acknowledging there will be good and bad times.  At 20 years old, I did not have a clue what that really meant.  I couldn’t comprehend that, at times, I’d get weary of dealing with the same issues, having the same arguments, or going ’round and ’round the same conflicts (or avoiding the same conflicts) for years.  Marriage is the place where you learn what it’s really like to accept someone and love them unconditionally.  It’s the place where you have to exercise true humility, giving up what you want for the sake of someone else.

Kevin and I both have divorced parents.  BUT, they divorced late in life.  My parents were married 30 years before they split up.  I was an adult with kids of my own.  and Kevin’s dad left when Kevin was in high school.   What this tells me is that after the first 20, the second 20 must be even more challenging.   And that makes sense…the new-ness wears off (ha!), kids have moved on out, you have to find a new rhythm.

So, here’s to the NEXT 20. and becoming more like my Savior  –>humble, accepting, serving, considering my spouse more than myself, and loving him unconditionally.

new stuff, somewhere else

I’m sorely disappointed in myself.  I go all BIG, guest posting on a leadership blog, getting a conversation going, receiving more hits on my blog in 2 days than I’d had in the last 6 months prior, then…. *crickets chirping*…nothing.

Oh well.  Now that the hubbub has died down and traffic has returned to normal, I thought I’d resurface.  and send you, my faithful reader, to another blog.  Yep.  I don’t have anything to say, but I have been thinking…and reading.  I’m working through a book called Sacred Marriage, based on the idea that the Lord designed marriage not to make you happy but to make you holy.  This requires a paradigm shift for many.

Which lead me to here, which is where I’m sending you.  Take a gander, then come on back.  I promise I’ll have something new soon. 🙂  and I don’t know why it keeps being in italics…won’t stop.  grrrrr…

Do You Do Hard Things? part 1

I’m reading a book called Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.  It was written by teens for teens.  But, it’s challenging me. and I’m not a teen.  Do I do hard things?  Or do I coast?

When I think of someone who does hard things, I think of my cousin who is raising 3 girls BY HER SELF, going to school, AND working full time.  and she is not just raising them, but she’s teaching them to value education, each other, a relationship with God…they have traditions, family identity, confidence.  They are loved, self-assured, beautiful, happy, goal-oriented.  They watch their mom work hard and pursue more, not for worldly success or money, but because she has goals.  That’s hard.

And I think of my sister who works full time at a job she’s not crazy about, just to pay the bills.  With her husband out of work, she has to leave her beautiful, precious toddlers (my niece and nephew who I’m crazy about!) and go to work every day to provide for her family.  Not only that, but she still runs the house, plans and prepares meals, and spends LOTS of time with the kids so they know that she loves them. She does all of this with a positive attitude and a thankful heart.   My friends, that’s hard.

My circumstances have been easy by comparison, allowing me to skate by doing the minimum.    So who’s better off?  I’m sure there is value to doing hard things. What is it?

I need a minute to think….let me get back to you on that.  In the meantime, give me your input.  What do you gain by doing hard things?