Thursday, April 19, 2012


I don't know about the rest of you, but I really struggle with joy. I get so caught up in my ever-lengthening to-do list, work related frustrations, and just wishing for "something better" that I tend to miss so many blessings right in front of me. I have real trouble with envy. I always want a bigger, nicer house on a bigger piece of land, a better job (or a job that I actually enjoy), money to decorate my house with, money to redo my craft room, money for new furniture, clothes...the list goes on and on.  Point is, there are always so many things that I want, that I fail to be thankful for the things I have.

I wake up in the morning dreading going to work. Then, I spend an hour driving to work, 8 hours waiting for work to be over, another hour+ driving home, then I spend the rest of the evening either being tired or being frustrated with all the things I need to get done in the measly 3-4 hours I get at home. THEN, I go to bed, anxious to get to sleep so I can do it all over again the next day.

I'm not sure why this is such a struggle for me. I wasn't raised "with money." And I certainly wasn't taught that money or things were important. I suppose it's just part of our culture.  Our worth in America is determined by how nice our house, cars, and clothes are, or by how many degrees we have, and how much income is listed on our Tax Returns. While I know this is absolutely wrong and ludicrous, I still fall prey to that mentality.

That being said, I've come up with a new goal for myself. That goal is simple: to find the joy in my journey. I want to be that person who is completely content and happy, no matter what my circumstances. I want to be a woman who is perfectly satisfied, no matter how "simple" my life is. I'm only 27, but I am so incredibly tired of feeling like I need a certain car or house, or that I need to look a certain way in order to fit in. The Bible actually tells us NOT to fit in!

No, I'm not planning to go live in an Amish community with no electricity where I use an outhouse. I just mean that I don't want to live my entire life waiting for something better. I want to WANT what I have. I want to simply be thankful and happy with all of the things that make me smile.  I don't want to allow traffic, rude people, the bad-mood-boss, or that lazy coworker to steal my joy! So, it's time for me to take hold of my own happiness and stop letting society tell me what I need to be happy. I'm not really sure what that entails yet, but I know it's a lifelong journey.

I have a perfect example of Joy. I have a little girl in my class on Wednesday nights at church. Lily. Now, if you've ever met Lily, you'll know what I am talking about. If not, it's hard to put her into words. Lily is a very active, happy, excited, and joyful 2-year-old. It doesn't take much to make her happy. She rarely throws a fit. She's just....HAPPY! She's happy to see you. She's happy when she says "I love your hair!" She will tell a random stranger "I like you!" She sees a baby and exclaims "Aw! How sweet! What a cute baby!" She sees a flower and gets really excited about it. She makes a joke and cracks herself up, bursting out in laughter. She's just plain happy.

I'm not sure when we move from that childlike joy to the adult-like stress and disappointment, but I want to be more like Lily. I want to find my joy in Christ, and find happiness in the simple things.

So, what makes you happy? :-)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break

This weekend was so wonderful. Brandon took Sunday off and I took Monday off so we could have a few days to spend together....sort of a Spring Break. On Saturday, I drove to Cookeville with April to pick up her dogs from her mother's house. It was a last minute trip, but I had a lot of fun. I hadn't seen her since New Years' so it was good to catch up.

Sunday we had an amazing day. My daddy preached at his church Sunday morning while their preacher was away. This was the first time I have ever heard him preach because I was just a baby when he left the ministry. He did such an amazing job, and I will say that he definitely doesn't sugarcoat anything! :-) There were a few times it took all my strength to choak back the tears. It was a day I won't forget.

Brandon and I gave ourselves a cheat day Sunday. We have been 95% ON since we started this over a month ago so we decided to relax and enjoy our day together. We went to Cracker Barrel before church for breakfast. I assumed I would get my old usual...Uncle Herschel's Favorite, complete with biscuits and gravy and hashbrown casserole. However, I ended up with multigrain pancakes, a glass of water, and 1 slice of bacon. Funny how the healthy stuff starts to become the most appealing options. For lunch we went to Firehouse Subs. I had half a cup of sweet tea (the 2nd time I've had even a sip of sweet tea). After lunch, we went out to the Avenue to do a little shopping. I actually splurged on some Redken shampoo at the Ulta store. It was my first time going in that store, and let me tell ya, it is dangerous!

After we finished shopping, we went home to relax for a bit. I read a little more of the Hunger Games and fell asleep for a little bit. Then that evening we went to the Cheesecake Factory. If we were going to cheat, we were going to make it worth our while! I had the four cheese pasta (my FAVE), and Brandon had a burger and fries, which he has been craving for a couple of weeks now. We each ate one little bite of bread and left the rest alone, and we drank water. It is just insane to me that we both used to be so incredibly opposed to drinking water with our food, but now that is all we ever drink. I ate probably 1/3 of my pasta and sent the rest back. I didn't even take the leftovers home. I have to learn that it is OK not to eat it all.

For dessert, we split a slice of the red velvet cheesecake. Oh. My. Gosh. Totally worth it :-)

What feels really good to me is that after an entire day of crappy food, I was totally ready for my new normal again. Usually one cheat leads to another, which inevitibly creates a chain reaction. But yesterday I was 100% on track and loving it. I did feel really tired yesterday. But I still say the cheesecake was worth it!

As of Friday, I was down 15.5 pounds (20 pounds since my highest weight) and my jeans officially are too big! They were literally falling down all day Saturday. Time to retire them! Brandon has now lost 19 pounds and bought a pair of pants 2 sizes smaller and has moved into his smaller belt, retiring his "fat belt" as he calls it. It feels AMAZING to feel the results, and even more amazing that we are SEEING the results! I can actually tell when I look in the mirror now! WOOHOO!