Drifting… #ShesStillThere #Pro31OBS Ch4-5

Even though the author of this book, Chrystal Evans Hurst, grew up as a preacher’s kid, she still struggled with all of the same things that I did growing up. She was a straight A student, teacher’s pet, a leader, in charge, sometimes bossy (no, not me ever haha!), etc. yet she fell into the trap of sex outside of marriage and single parenthood. Just. Like. Me.

In Chapters 4 and 5 she talks about drifting. How we can lose focus and fall into traps. How behaviors that used to be so clear-cut and obvious seem to become acceptable. Slowly and surely over time, we develop a sense of comfort with things that we used to consider wrong. Our mindsets, actions and attitudes incrementally shift over time, sometimes so slowly that we don’t even notice it (like slow weight gain). We become deceived.

The rule of navigation says that for every degree you are off in your direction now, you will be approximately one mile off sixty miles later. An unattended small drift now will, over time, make a HUGE impact on your final destination. I really appreciate some of the examples she gives about “drifting”. It’s not always sexual promiscuity (though that certainly has plagued me – if not crippled me – in the past ). It could be taking a break from school and never getting back into it, working towards financial goals but overtime becoming relaxed in your spending habits again, working towards a weight-loss journey but overindulging on a special occasion which derailed you long term.

Regardless of YOUR drift, guilt, shame, and self-condemnation tend to follow. And in turn, you learn to function from an insecure place. Rather than working towards your once planned goal, you begin to function from this new place of acceptance of where you find yourself. Y’all, I’ve so let this happen to me in the past and I never want to be comfortable in these “less than best” places in my life ever again. She says that…

Unintentional living does reach a dead end and you will be required to make a decision or a turn. The antidote for distraction is FOCUS. The choice to pay attention and live aware. Think about your drifts. You didn’t arrive there off of your path overnight and if there was a way in, there is a way out. It is not as insurmountable as it seems. As long as there is still life, there is still hope. Hope for getting back on track, hope for finding your way, hope for the girl who is still there.

P.S. Her challenge this chapter is to “share a chapter from your story with a trusted friend”. Y’all, this blog is about it. Well, that’s not true. I have several people in my small group and one neighbor that I have been extremely transparent and honest with. But I no longer trust people. The last person I really shared everything with – my very best friend – completely gutted me and I’m still trying to get the knife she lodged out of my back. Thankfully, this book addresses that too. She said, if you can’t share with a trusted friend, simply tell a friend that you’re working on owning your own story – drifts and all.

So friends, I am here to say that I am working to own my own story, drifts and all. I really hope you will buy this book and join me 🙂

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Own Your Story #Pro31OBS #ShesStillThere Ch 3

I was sitting at the auto shop having routine maintenance performed on my favorite car ever when I dove into Chapter 3. Again, I went highlight bananas. Chapter 3 is about the painful parts of your life and just OWNING them. Stop running from them. Stop hiding them. Stop pretending they aren’t there. In order to work through healing her heart and her scars, she had to acknowledge her predicament and own her own story. She said…

So many of us press through the pain without paying adequate attention to our brokenness… we convince ourselves that somehow we don’t need to deal with the distance between our expectations and our reality. We think that somehow, if we just keep going, the distance will simply close by itself.  It won’t. When you choose to own your story, you are not choosing to wallow in your mistakes, your pain, or your disappointments. You are simply choosing to be honest with yourself so that you can begin healing and move forward.

Her personal description reminded me of the Mommy Makeover I had surgically performed after giving birth to and nursing three children. As much as I loved those babies, they wrecked havoc on my body. It was bad. Real bad. I wasn’t sure which was worse. The handfuls of loose skin, the stretch marks, or the fact that parts of my body completely faced the wrong direction. I looked in the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself. So, I spent thousands of dollars and many weeks of pain working to correct the deformities. Even though the “after” pictures looked so much better, they still were not nearly as beautiful as the “before”, and now I had very large visible scars too. I was so thankful that it was better, but I was still devastated that it would never be as good as “before”.

That is so much of what this chapter – this book so far – has been showing me. We have these hopes, dreams and desires and REAL LIFE simply doesn’t measure up. We work diligently to make it better, but it feels like it’s never enough. As I read the paragraphs, it’s as if I could have written them myself. She feels EXACTLY like I do.

The same is true with our Blended Family situation. 7.5 years later we are so much better than we were but we are no where near where my hopes and dreams were for our family. The distance between my initial hopes and our actual reality has always left me with disappointment. I call it “the Plan B life”. And each new challenge and situation is another opportunity to feel that sting of hurt and sometimes regret or even resentment.

But I love the challenges, encouragements and reminders she gives and I’ve seen them work to help heal and restore that little faith girl that lives way deep down – really deep down – on the inside of my heart. She said that healing begins with telling the truth, acknowledging that things aren’t working, that parts of your life are disappointing (the things I’ve been sharing with my blended family small group). She said maybe you’ve had broken relationships [yup], have gained a few extra pounds each year waging a battle with your body [yup], have found yourself 20 years into a career that sucked the life out of you [yup], and you’ve finally decided to reset what’s broken, put together what’s been fractured, and give rest and restoration to your mind, heart and soul. Yes, please!!!

She said: Choose to take Step One. Choose to own your story. Be honest. Tell the truth. The good, the bad, the ugly. You’ve survived. You’re still here. The girl you want to be is depending on you.

Yes. Yes. Yes. And I am so glad I found this book. It’s the right book at just the right time and I’m thrilled to be working through it.

Hugs everyone!

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Worthy #Pro31OBS #ShesStillThere Ch2

Oooooh this girl so totally gets me. And I really needed this reminder today because step-mothering and co-parenting is driving me CRAZY!!! Absolutely CRAZY. Nothing has been as difficult in my life (since I was 15 years old) than marriage, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, step-parenting… and I’m on year 26 and sometimes find it all a bit exhausting. Some days I’m strong. Some days I’m a mess. Some days I just want to run. Which is exactly what Chyrstal did in Chapter 2.

She went for a run because she needed time to breathe.

In her situation, her husband had just lost his job due to his health condition was no longer able to carry the load as the financial provider of the home. She panicked. She felt powerless. This was HARD. She said that each person faces their own kind of hard. The kind of hard that even thinking about it overwhelms you mentally. Maybe your hard has nothing to do with money. Maybe it’s your marriage, health or relationships. BUT…

Where you are today is not where you have to be forever. You may not want to embrace where you are right now but embrace WHO you are. Every day you get the choice to honor YOU. If you choose to believe that you are defined only by your disappointments and disasters, you will abdicate your role in this world that only you can play. But if you choose to embrace your journey – even the parts that disappoint you, challenge you, or make you double over from the emotional weight of it all – you can one day look back and see your hard as a part of your life and not the definition of your life. The way your life looks today is not the way it will look forever. Believe that your present is not all that is possible. Believe that all you see is not all there is. Hold your head up and believe that where you find yourself right now does not define you.

Do you remember baby Jessica McClure who fell in the well years ago and was saved on national television? Her darkest moment was only a moment in time and she was WORTH the rescue. And so are you! Your life does not have to be the sum total of your hard and heavy. You are okay. That will not eliminate your real problems or pressure but it will allow you to offer yourself some hope.

You. Are. Okay.

You are worth the work. You are worth the rescue.

Iced coffee cheers your way (that hubs brought to me this morning before going to work). Yum Yum Yum.

 

 

 

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#ShesStillThere by Chrystal Evans Hurst #P31OBS

The R&R question is simple enough, right? What is happening in your life that makes you want to hit the reset button?

Last year I totally had a “break my legs, God” moment and just needed to get off of the Farris Wheel of life. Blended Family issues. Marriage issues. Kid issues. Work issues. The weekly grind. The rut. The move. The job change. The 10 hour per week commute. The overloaded family schedule. It piled and piled and piled until it crashed.

I was talking to Hubs about “the real me”, “the healthy me, “the happy me” and how long it had been since I saw that girl. Maybe since we blended our families. Maybe since the move to DFW. I just knew it had been awhile. I pulled up pictures of myself from back when I was happy and said “I just want to find her again”.  Then I read Chapter One of She’s Still There. Maybe I went a little highlight bananas, but there is so much that I want to remember and I could not have written it better myself. This girl gets me and is totally in my head. In no particular order she says:

I was driving down the tollway in Dallas, headed home from another day at work… I hated my job. I needed a break – time to assess where I’d gotten off track and to formulate a plan for making my life more like I’d imagined it would be. I hadn’t intended to end up in a job I didn’t love. I hadn’t intended to be a single parent. I hadn’t intended to have a heart still raw and exposed from the hurt imposed on it by other people. It had never been my dream to fight my way through the academic challenges and personal struggles of my college years only to end up on the other side of the so-called victory of graduation feeling deflated. [Before] I felt full of hope, promise, excitement. So I was taken by surprise to find I now spent most of my waking hours feeling resentful, hopeless, and miserably bored each and every day. Where had I gone? Where was the girl who once lived in anticipation of the beauty of her life? How did I lose her? And how would I ever get her back?

And that’s all on the first 2 pages of Chapter 1 y’all.

The Chapter ends up wrapped in encouragement and hope with the reminder that we are a masterpiece and that the key to living your beautiful life is to keep going (sounds like the #WINology mindset), don’t get hung up or stuck, know that you aren’t the only girl who’s felt lost in the middle of her life, and it’s not too late to make it a life you love.

I’m really looking forward to this Book Study.

Coffee cheers your way guys.

P.S. Here’s the link to the Book She’s Still There in case you are interested.

 

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WINology 101 #WINology #TenaciousEndurance

Good Morning Y’all 🙂

I have now completed Chapters 1-8 in Joel Scrivner’s book WINology and wanted to save more of my highlights as future reminders.  What good is reading a book if you don’t go back and try to apply it right? So, here goes …

Overview of WINology 101: Step 1 – Urgent Excellence; Step 2 – Positive Conviction; Step 3 – Decisive Action; Step 4 – Master Your Craft; Step 5 – Playing Inbounds; Step 6 – Tenacious Endurance

This most recent section was one of my most favorite topics ever in the history of forever. Tenacious Endurance. It so very much reminds me of the “persistent woman“. Playing Inbounds was probably the section that I needed the most for areas of weakness, but Tenacious Endurance was the section that made me feel like I could truly be 10 feet tall and bullet proof (in a good way LOL). As if maybe, just maybe, I can become a little wiser, control my reactions a little better (a lot better would be awesome), and kick some @$$ and take some names in the process. He is a world class martial arts athlete so there is definitely that fighter element mixed in there ya know.

He told the story of the camel and how they can go for thousands of miles. Even when it’s hot outside they are able to reduce their body temperature like an AC unit and can even cool their brain down separately from their body. They keep a cool head (p. 123).  Everyone has fallen victim to fatigue causing our emotions to begin to boil, causing us to lose control, and we get hot-headed (p. 124). He said “Whatever it takes for you to keep a cool head in heated situations, do it.” It would take a miracle Joel. An absolute miracle. But I’m working on it LOL.

He reminded me of the Sir Winston quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. That quote is actually the quote that inspired my blog name Blended Family Hell on Earth because even though it does feel like you’re going through hell sometimes, giving up is not the answer. Keep going. Isn’t that what Tenacious Endurance is all about?

Some people are great at starting things but are horrible finishers whereas world-class winners are the opposite. They refuse to be overwhelmed by what they can’t do and focus on what they can do. And they finish what they start. Thomas Edison created the phrase stick-to-it-iv-ness which basically means sticking it out when everything around you says to cut your losses and quit. (p. 132-133).

In Dr. Joseph Stowell’s book Fan the Flame, he said “The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit.” Isn’t that good y’all? Like crazy good? It reminds me to think long term. In order to “never give up and never quit”, I need to store some reserves to be able to go the distance and I need to stay hydrated along the way with positive encouragement, uplifting friends, mentors, and so forth.

This is such good stuff y’all.

Coffee Cheers Your Way 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Real Friendship 101

A few weeks ago a college-aged girl was talking to me about her relationships. Specifically, some of the issues with one of her best friends. Later, I mentioned that I really could not stand what one of my friends was dealing with and that I was “really upset” by it. The young girl made the comment that she doesn’t understand why people get upset about things that really have nothing to do with them. Unless it is dealing with you personally and directly, what is the problem?

I remember being that age. It can be a very selfish age. The “all about me, all about me, all about me” age. A little too self-centered, self-focused, and self-serving. That’s when many friendships exist to satisfy self and the needs of self.

But something happens as you age. Friendships become deeper, more personal and begin to matter in a different way. 6-7 years ago Hubs and I were visiting a church that was really pushing “life groups” (I guess that’s some new version of Sunday school but you meet in homes with virtual strangers to “do life together”. The whole Life Group thing never really worked out for me personally with all of the gossip going on, but I do think the concept is fantastic.)

Anyway… this preacher said that church family friendships should really fellowship on a deeper level than just attend church weekly together and that the concept of small groups is biblical. We are called to “share each other’s burdens… If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Gal 6:2-3. We are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Rom 12:15.

A few years ago I began journaling for my Blended Family Hell on Earth blog and this past year I created an online small group to test the waters of the concept.  Many of my close friends with whom I have a real friendship are in the group.  We started the group with a focused topic (blended family, divorce, single mom life, etc.) but over this past year so many things have happened to members in the group.  Some people have gotten divorced, one sweet friend lost her son, another friend has gone through a CPS case placing her stepchildren in her home virtually overnight. Life has happened.  And guess what? We are going through it together. Whether it’s good or bad, a high or low, rejoicing or mourning it’s happening. It’s become so much more than a topic-focused forum.

There is something truly beautiful that manifests when friendships turn from surface level only to truly personal, deep and real. Embrace it.

Coffee cheers your way guys.

 

 

 

 

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#WINology #Boundaries

I’m still plugging and chugging on the book Winology by Joel Scrivner and Chapter 7 has seriously killed my highlighter.  For real.  So, I’m going to go ahead and outline the things that I really want to try to remember before I get too far gone. And I NEED all of this information.  All. Of. It. The WHOLE chapter if you know what I mean.

Ch. 7 – Step 5: Playing Inbounds – Some of the greatest people in their field have fallen from the top because of major ethical scandals. They “fell from grace” not from a lack of talent, but from their lack of integrity.  In soccer you forfeit possession if the ball goes out of bounds. In football the play is dead if it goes out of bounds.  If you stray from the course in a marathon you are disqualified. You must stay inbounds. If you can’t play inbounds, you can’t win. Period.

Remaining a winner can prove to be a greater challenge than becoming a winner. Many “greats” have imploded their own future through infidelity, drug abuse, financial misconduct, criminal activity, or behavior unbefitting of their position.  Examine the patterns of their mistakes in order to learn from them.

Boundaries [the parameters established for your success] are beneficial to every part of our lives – our time, our money, our relationships, etc.  If you break the boundaries of your marriage, business, or financial responsibilities you could end up losing your family, filing for bankruptcy or in court.

What’s the secret to success? Activating self-control. No one is exempt from the destruction connected to a lack of self-control. No one. We have all painfully watched someone collapse due to severe self-indulgence or a basic lack of self-control. Failure to consistently practice and exude self-control in the private area of our lives can and will result in a loss of control in our public lives. Yet, we live in an age of justification for our poor judgment (mid-life crisis, never thought I’d get caught, etc.)

As expert martial artists, part of the mastery of the art form is to display utmost control and composure at all times.  Never show anger or loss of control.  Be able to stop on a dime if need be. The whole idea is to “own” your opponents while still honoring them and not intentionally causing debilitating bodily damage.

And that’s all of my highlights for now….

Being outspoken and a super ADHD type, self-control usually feels like an impossible challenge to me, and especially when it comes to my big mouth. So, I LOVE these reminders and definitely need them and am so thankful for this book.

Great and much needed advice and encouragement at this point in life.

Social media hugs to all. Have a GREAT week.

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