Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Laughter really is the best medicine!!!

My brothers....Tim (my twin on the left) and David on the right:)
I absolutely love to laugh!!  I especially love laughing till I can't breathe...you know what I'm talking about...those times that you're stomach muscles are sore and your mouth hurts the next day:)  This is what happened over the Thanksgiving weekend.  We rented a house on a lake about an hour West of St. Louis with my brothers and their families for the holiday.  It was perfect...it's about half way for us to all meet there and the place we stayed was absolutely amazing!!  The weather was beautiful and the kids (and adults) always had something to do with a full finished basement that had a pool table, foosball table, poker table, and a 110 inch projection TV with theater seats.  Watching football on it was awesome and, of course, the boys enjoyed playing video games on it as well:)   The kids would get up in the morning and head straight to the basement, only coming upstairs to eat and sleep it seems:)  We had the best time...as we always do when we get together!  It was so nice to just relax and spend time enjoying each others company...it was a much needed mini vacation!!    We're already planning another trip there:)

On the way home I noticed that my stomach muscles were actually sore and realized it had to be from laughing so much....unless all the food I consumed stretched my stomach out:)  I can't remember the last time I laughed so much...it was great!!  Between my brothers and Scott there was never a dull moment.  That's how it always is when we all get together.  I guess you could say that I'm easily entertained anyway, but they really are funny!!  It doesn't take much to get me laughing so, of course, they take every opportunity to do just that!  The fact that Scott makes me laugh like my brothers always have is a huge reason why I fell in love with him.  I love to be around people who are lighthearted and full of joy!

Sometimes I feel like life gets so busy and serious that I don't spend near enough time laughing like I used to.  I  think too often I become so distracted with things that I need to get done or circumstances in life that I allow it to consume me and keep me from finding joy in the little things.  I know that laughter is truly therapeutic for me...it makes me feel good!!  This past weekend was a great reminder that I need to not take life or myself too seriously.  Most people who know me would probably say that they don't see me that way, but I have come to see it in myself over the last several years and realize I like myself better when I'm laughing and enjoying life.

So the 7th thing on my countdown to 40 that I've learned is that laughter truly is the best medicine.   Laughing with others and at myself makes life so much more enjoyable!!  Laughter can turn a bad day into a great day...sadness to gladness...and tears into a smile.  I'm thankful for an amazing weekend with my family and the memories that will continue to bring a smile to my face for years to come:)  I feel blessed beyond what I deserve!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't worry about tomorrow....

Since I became a mom over 18 years ago my biggest source of worry has been my kids.  When they were babies I would go into their rooms while they were sleeping and put my hand on their backs and listen to make sure they were still breathing.  When they were toddlers I would worry about them falling down the stairs.  When they started school I would worry about them making friends and fitting in.  When they started playing sports I would worry that they would get hurt.  When they became teenagers I would worry that they would start hanging out with the wrong crowd and get into trouble.  When Cody started driving I would worry every time he left to go somewhere and would make him call me or text me as soon as he arrived somewhere....and if he forgot, you better believe I'd be calling so I could make sure he was ok.  And now with Cody getting ready to go away to college next year, I find myself already starting to worry.  As a mom, I don't think that I'll every quit worrying about my kids. 

Since I lost my mom at the age of 12, I have always worried about something happening to me and my kids being left without a mom because I know how hard that was for me.  It may sound weird, but it's been a very real struggle for me.  With every ache and pain I had, I could dream up something terrible that was wrong with me and that it was going to kill me....the invention of Google didn't help things because then I could diagnose myself based on my symptoms over the internet:)  When I fly somewhere I just know the plane might go down every time there is turbulence:)  I always hug on my kids before I leave to go out of town, even if just for a couple of days.  I also worry about something happening to Scott and being left a single mom.  It's silly I know, but true none the less.  I always tell him to be careful when he leaves to drive somewhere.  He's used to it and just laughs and shakes his head.  I guess I just know how life can change in an instant...it's happened to me.      

Sometimes I worry or stress about insignificant things that really aren't even that big of a deal.  I have to remind myself that there are much more important things to worry about.  I always tell Scott that it's a good thing he's not a worrier because I do it enough for the both of us:)  I actually am much better about this than I used to be...I even think my husband would agree.  We had something unexpected come up in the last few months that in the past would have made me sick with worry, but I really was at peace in the midst of it.  Scott even noticed and commented several times on how well and calmly I handled the situation.        

I have had to work and pray so often over the years for God to help me in this area of my life.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus talks about worry and there is a scripture I have had to go back to time and time again.  It says, "Seek first His Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."   (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV)  This scripture has been my constant prayer....that I would seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be taken care of....I'm so thankful for this promise.   I do believe I'm not the worrier I used to be and I know that a big part of that is because I've learned to lean on God for the peace that only He can bring.   

So the sixth thing I've learned in this countdown to my 40th birthday is that, "Worrying doesn't take away tomorrows troubles; it takes away todays peace"...author unknown.  I want to live in peace today and lean on God for all my tomorrows....   


Friday, November 4, 2011

From doctor's daughter....to pastor's wife: The dreaded "B" word!!

From doctor's daughter....to pastor's wife: The dreaded "B" word!!: I know it's not the "B" word you're probably thinking, but "Budgeting" is the word I'm talking about!! I just don't like it!! I like to ju...

The dreaded "B" word!!

I know it's not the "B" word you're probably thinking, but "Budgeting" is the word I'm talking about!! I just don't like it!!   I like to just spend on whatever I want to and not worry about next week or month or year and how much money we should be putting away.  I'm very much a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of gal.   Neither my husband nor I are real savvy when it comes to money, which makes it tough at times.  The good thing is he's definitely the practical one of the two of us and is not a spender like I am:)

I've been known to put a budget together, but after a couple of weeks and a fun shopping trip:), I usually blow it and give up.  I've decided though, that it's time to get serious about our finances and our future.  Now don't worry, we're paying all the bills just fine and we have a retirement plan, but I know there is so much more we could be doing better with our money.  I've really been convicted about being  better stewards with what we're blessed with and I know that without sticking closer to a budget, it won't happen.   I need the discipline of a budget or I'll blow it....I know myself too well:)  

It's crazy when I think back to when we were first married and wondered how we were ever going to survive financially, especially when we made the decision for me to stay home with our kids.  When I think about what Scott was making back then as a youth pastor in a small church, I can't believe we even had enough money to eat.  At the time I didn't like being what I considered to be poor, but I'm so glad we went through that now...it really makes me appreciate how far we've come.  I can remember my dad sitting me down after I got engaged to Scott and asking me if I realized how much money youth pastors make...I don't think I really did, but at that time I didn't care....I was just in love and that should have been enough...right??  I realized real fast that it was not!!  Those first years having to learn about money (or lack there of) was hard for me.  We still laugh about me crying one night early in our marriage about not having any money to spend shopping because that was my hobby (yes, I consider it a hobby:).  Being the compassionate, sensitive guy that he was, he told me that I needed to find a new hobby!!  I always tell him that he can never say I married him for his money (or his sensitivity)...it had to be love:)  We've come a loooonnnnnggggg way let me tell you.  We have way more than we need and live a great life...and shopping is still something I love to do....I've just learned how to bargain shop (most of the time:)!

So on Tuesday, the first day of November,  I went to the bank and took cash out for groceries, clothes, entertainment, etc. and put it in envelopes (yep, the old envelope system).  I'm more determined than ever to stick with it...and I feel like I'm ready for it!  For me, this means that my weekly (or bi-weekly) trips to Columbus to shop are not going to be happening as often, but I know that I don't need any more shoes or any more clothes though so it's ok!!  Believe it or not, I'm actually kind of excited about it!  We always talk about how we'd like to do more and give more and I really believe that in sticking closer to a budget it'll allow us the opportunity to do just that!  There are so many people in the world who have nothing....in fact,  I heard just a few weeks ago that if your family earns more than $50,000 a year, you're considered to be in the top 1% in the world....by the world's standards we are rich!!  For me though, I don't want it to be about being rich, but about giving back and helping others have a better quality of life.  I'm so thankful for all that has been given to me and my family....it's time for me to focus on giving back.

So another big step has been taken in my countdown to 40 and I'm growing so much in the process!  I love the accountability and encouragement I've received from so many that follow my blog!!  I appreciate the kind messages and dialogue that has come out of it.  I'm so thankful today for all of you!!