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Thoughts

Thoughts

Change Ain’t Easy

I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. Jeremy and I recently went to a weekend workshop where the focus was entirely on talking about change. Here’s the thing. Change is inevitable. We can either embrace it or dig our heels in and talk about “the way things were.”

I think the older you get, the harder change gets. You have a lot of life experiences. Technology is changing so much that it’s hard to keep up. Not only is it hard to “keep up with the times,” but it’s hard to change our ways and “how we’ve always done it.”

I recently read a devotional that referenced Matthew 3:2 where Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” I’ve always associated the word repent with shame and condemnation. I’ve done something wrong, so I need to repent. Did you know the Greek word here actually means to turn around, to change? That’s it. Just change. I can’t be so in love with my way of thinking and my way of doing that I’m not willing to turn away from myself and change. It doesn’t even have to mean that I’ve done something wrong. Maybe I just need to be brave enough to change the programs, thinking, and ways I’ve always relied on.

God calls us on a journey of faith to change, to let go. In Matthew 18:1-5, He even says that unless we change and become like little children, we won’t enter the kingdom of heaven. When I think of a child’s mind, they are open, curious, question askers. They are absorbing and learning, and their minds are so very impressionable. They aren’t closed to anything.

Change ain’t easy. I’m sure we can all agree on that. As I walk on this journey of faith, my goal is to keep that childlike open, pliable mind so that change doesn’t cause me to dig my heels in and live in the past. There’s freedom that comes from letting go. I’d rather use my energy experiencing what’s to come than dwelling on what was.

Thoughts

No Shoulds Allowed

Several months ago, Jeremy and I decided to eliminate the word “should’ from our vocabulary. It’s not until you try to omit something that you realize just how much you use it. We were doing a lot of shoulding, and we had no idea. You might be wondering why we suddenly ostracized this innocent six letter word. Well, here’s why.

It only seemed to bring feelings of guilt, shame, regret, and obligation.

“I should have done that.” “You should do this.”

Do you hear it? My personality is notorious for being hard on myself, especially if I made a decision that turned out to have negative consequences. Should has never helped matters. I can’t go back to the past and do it different. Yes, I can learn from mistakes, but should was creating a permanent home in the past and leaving me feeling regretful. There’s nothing redeeming about regret. And telling someone you should do this or that creates a sense of obligation for them by telling them what to do, especially if it conflicts with the direction they were going.

So should had to go.

We’ve tried to replace it with other words like could. Could indicates possibility which has a much more hopeful ring to it. We are recovering should-ers, but we’re getting there…

Kids Thoughts Travel

Celebrating Age Milestones

My husband had a brilliant idea when our kids were little. He suggested taking each kid on a special trip when they turned 13 and then at 18. I’m all about celebrating birthdays (especially when it’s my own) and was totally on board to celebrate these milestones in such a special way. Being the savvy jet setters that we are, our kids started dreaming big when we told them of this grand idea. We quickly realized that we had to set a few boundaries for these trips.

For the 13th, we had to stay in country. We were living in South Africa at the time so Joshua and Jeremy hiked the southernmost tip of Africa to celebrate Joshua’s. For Emma Grace’s she opted for a trip to Durban to enjoy the beach, hotel life, and a little pampering. 

For their 18th, we told them they could pick anywhere. At 13, Emma Grace chose Greece and never deviated from that decision. For five years, we planned and saved air miles until last Summer, just a couple of months before her eighteenth birthday when we boarded a plane to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

I will share our adventures in future posts, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from going on these trips, it’s this. The experience together is worth all the money you will spend to make this happen. It’s incredibly bonding and something your kids will remember forever. I have never once regretted spending money on a shared experience with someone. 

Celebrate life. Celebrate milestones. Celebrate people. You’ll be oh so glad you did.

Thoughts

The Dichotomy of Age

Recently I was buying wood stain at Walmart. If you’ve ever bought paint or stain or anything that has fumes and could be used to get high, then you know it triggers an age check at the checkout. Here’s how my age check went…

The Walmart clerk comes over to bypass the age restriction. As he’s typing a code into the system, I’m looking at the screen, and I can feel him staring at me. To break the awkwardness, I ask him,

“Do I look old enough?”

“To the question they are asking {referring to the pop up question of is the person over 21}, yes. How old are you?”

“45,” I say.

“But you have braces.”

Yes, yes, I do. He then proceeded to ask my expert opinion on whether or not he needed braces. That’s a story for another time.

The dichotomy of age.

In 2021, within the same month, I got braces and had my first colonoscopy. Maybe a little too old for one and a little too young for the other. Or was I? Sure, there’s something that happens sometime around your mid-40’s that no one tells you about. Your body starts working a little differently, food affects you differently, your eyes need a little extra help, your muscle strength starts to wane. These signs of age can easily make you attach the word “old” to your identity. I’m trying hard not to do that.

As I do my best to take care of my body that’s getting older each and every day (because we all are, right?), I’m purposing to live life to the fullest that I can, embracing new seasons with grace and positive anticipation. 

Moral of the story…it’s never too late to get braces, even and especially when you have a metal mouth like a thirteen year old.

Family Thoughts

Parenting Lessons

The first year that both kids were off to school we started a little tradition. Jeremy and I dropped them off for a day of learning and then skipped off to a brunch date. We absolutely love brunch, so it seemed fitting to celebrate this newfound freedom with one of our favorite things.

This year was a little different. It was our last first day of school. With a tinge of sadness, we decided to book end our tradition (over pancakes and eggs, of course) talking about all the fabulous memories and the things we’ve learned (so far) being parents to these two awesome human beings. In the moment, we each named one thing that we’ve learned.

Jen… “Love, respect, and value your kids. Listen to them. Learn from them. Have discussions with them. Elicit their opinions.”

Starting this when they’re young creates a great precedent for when they’re older. And if there’s one thing that teenagers want it’s that they want to be respected and valued. They don’t want to be treated like little kids anymore. Also, I find it fascinating (and a little scary sometimes) to hear what goes on in the mind of a teenager.

Jeremy… “Recognize the seasons.”

Parenting a five year old needs to look different than parenting a fifteen year old. That might sound like common sense, but’s it’s not easy to make those transitions in the midst of life. And just so you know, seventeen year olds don’t like to be talked to like they’re six.

I found it interesting how the one lesson we each named that day went hand-in-hand. Of course, there’s many more things we’ve learned, and if you asked us today what the one thing we’ve learned is, we might name something else. There’s so many things to learn when it comes to parenting!