Sunday, September 29, 2013

How To Control Your Emotions - Review and Giveaway!

I'm no stranger to roller coaster emotions. Life is full of ups and downs, and my emotions have a way of changing as fast as the twists and turns.

I can pinpoint big events that made my emotions go crazy: seven moves in my first seven years of marriage; a big pregnancy scare and the premature birth of our second child; going back to school at 30 to finish my degree and launch a new career; and my parents marriage almost crumbling just as I returned to college.

Sometimes, though, it 's not the big things that put my emotions in overdrive - it's the little everyday stresses. I'm guessing it's the same for you. It's when you're running late for work, or the kids won't stop fighting, or you can't stretch your budget any more. Emotions can overwhelm you when you can't make the number on the scale change, or you don't like the reflection staring back at you from the mirror.

You may feel defenseless against your emotions - but you don't have to be.

I've been a fan of Brooke McGlothlin for several years, since the first time I read Warrior Prayers. I was so excited to have the chance to review her newest book, How To Control Your Emotions So They Don't Control You.

If you've ever struggled with your emotions, you need this book. Brooke outlines simple strategies to help you bring your emotions under control, along with Scriptures to help fight off the lies of the enemy. She also shares examples of her own struggles - and sometimes, all a mom needs to know is that she's not alone in her fight!

Best of all, you can WIN a free copy of it this week! Just leave a comment below to enter. The winner we be announces Sunday, October 6th.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Living and Active

I never thought I would struggle with my weight. As a kid, I was always skinny. When I started taking karate and horseback riding lessons in junior high, I built muscle and toned. In high school, my weight yo-yoed but never got above 135 pounds. My freshman year of college, I became a vegetarian and lost the "freshman 15" instead of gaining them. I spent my days in class and my evenings working out, riding horses, and taking ballet classes.

Then life happened. I gave up being a vegetarian and worked out less. I got married. I sold my horse. I had kids. I gained weight. I lost weight. I went back to school and gained a lot of weight. Now, I find myself hovering (a second time) on the edge of my heaviest weight ever. And I don't like it.

The Bible says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19
It says we are to do everything for the glory of God:

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. ~ Colossians 3:17
When it comes to my health, I'm not following those commands. Instead, I'm abusing my body. I fill it with unhealthy food. I overeat. I neglect my workouts. I have not glorified God with my physical health. And it's not okay.

Today marks a fresh start for me.

I'm starting the "Living and Active" challenge with Claire at Peak 313. For me, this challenge isn't about being supermodel skinny. It's not about getting six-pack abs or building big muscles. It's about giving God my best - spiritually, mentally, and physically.

My faith is everything to me. It's not just part of me - its all that I am. I know that if I skip my morning time with God, or if I don't have Christian music playing during the day, or if I skip church and feeding my soul - I can't do all that He calls me to do. I can't be a good wife and mom, be my best at work, or lead children's ministry if I'm not spending time with God. I can't give to others unless I fill up first.

Yet that's exactly what I've tried to do physically, and it's not working. I feel awful. So many days, instead of being at my best, I'm bloated, sluggish, and achy. I'm always exhausted. I'm stiff and sore in the mornings. I don't sleep well. I'll admit it - I don't want to live my life this way. I want something better.

I'm ready for changes, and this is the perfect place to start. I love this challenge because it's doable. This isn't extreme - and I have been to both extremes. I have eaten until I gorged myself, day after day, hiding my feelings behinds food. I have gotten scary skinny, hovering on the brink of an eating disorder. Extremes don't work. They don't last. I'm ready for consistent, healthy changes. I'm ready for to be living and active.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Me, Pinatas, and Epic Mom Fails

I've had my share of "epic mom fail" moments. Seriously. Like the time I sent email invites instead of real invitations to my oldest son's birthday party and no one showed up. Or the time forgot the big event my kids were desperately hoping to go to.

Or a few weeks ago, on a Sunday night, when I was working on a blog post. To make matters worse, I was working on a post about a verse I love in Psalms. I had started the post earlier in the day, and late that Sunday night, I was trying to edit it from my phone. (You can see how fast things are unraveling here.) My kids were both talking. They should have been in bed. I should have been in bed. But instead I was tapping my iPhone screen in a desperate attempt to finish a post that was already scheduled.

Then it happened. Distracted by my kids, I hit the wrong button and messed everything up. I yelled at my kids. I got mad at everything and everyone, including my phone, the Internet, and life in general. My oldest son walked away with a hurt look on his face. After all, he was in the middle of trying to tell me something funny he saw earlier that day, and not only was I not giving him my attention, I ended up yelling at him. Not my finest mommy moment. Sadly, it's just one in a long line of epic mommy fail moments.

I wish I could be a perfect mom. I really do. I wish I was a great homemaker (I'm not). I wish I could decorate elaborate birthday cakes, throw beautiful theme parties with the perfect decor and games and goody bags. (I'm doing good to hand out invitations at all, there are no party games, and I forgo goody bags for a piƱata. If you want a treat at our parties, you've got to fight for it.) {Click to Tweet that.} I wish I didn't yell at my kids. My mommy wish list goes on and on.

But my kids don't need to see Supermom - they need to see a momma clinging desperately to God's grace, knowing that's the only thing that can pull me through. They need to see my struggles so they see my victories. They need to see me striving to be better so they will know that it's never too late to change and be a better person.

I fail. A lot. But I hope my kids will see that I can't be perfect, and neither can they. But we serve a God who is perfect, and He gives plenty of grace to us, no matter how much we fail.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How To Be Brave

I'm close friends with fear - well, maybe "frienemies" is a better description. It's been a unwelcome part of my life for as long as I can remember. Worried, anxious fear. Mind-numbing, can't-breathe, panic attack fear. I know its many faces well.

When I was in junior high, I fell in love with the American West. The time period fascinated me, in part because these pioneers and early settlers knew a thing or two about fear. Families left everything behind for a chance to stake their claim on untamed land and start a new life. They faced droughts, storms, sickness, accidents, attacks, and more. For years, I read everything I could about this time period. During this time, I first read a quote from John Wayne:

I've used variations of this quote so many times with my kids, stressing to them that sometimes, you just have to face your fears. They aren't empty words. I've lived a lot of what I tell them. I fought a massive, decades long war against fear. While I overcame a lot, it's still a daily battle. Going back to college in 2010 brought up a whole new group of fears. Graduating silenced many of them - but not all. I still have big dreams beyond college, and big dreams bring bigger fears.

I'm trying really hard to be brave right now. Last week, I worked through the Blog Planning Boot Camp with Kat at How They Blog. Day One was exciting: writing down dreams of the legacy I want to leave behind. Day Two was scary: setting lifetime, five year, and ten year goals. By Day Three, I was in panic mode: breaking down my one year goals into small, doable steps and scheduling those steps on my calendar.

It's one thing to say I want to be a published, successful author and have a thriving blog. It's another thing to actually take steps toward that dream. The scariest part is the very simple act of admitting that I have the dream. (Click to Tweet) If no one knows my dream, and I never achieve it, it's no big deal. But if I admit it, if everyone knows my dream, and I never achieve it, then I feel like I've failed.

What if I tell everyone that I want to be a published author - but I never even get an article in a magazine? What if I share my dream of writing Christian fiction - but get only unfinished manuscripts or a stack of rejection letters to show for my work? What happens if I bare my soul to the world, letting them see the deepest desires of my heart - only to learn I'm not good enough to make it happen?

I've always been a dreamer - but now it's time to become a doer. It's time to push my fears aside and put my hopes into action. I'm shaking in my boots, but I'm saddling up anyway. I've dreamed it. I've planned it. Now it's time to dive in.