Friday, October 30, 2009

Rise & Shine Conference

I'm in Cedar Falls, Iowa this weekend with my good friend Renee Swope. I work with Renee, at Proverbs 31 Ministries, as her assistant. One of the many special perks of my job is getting to travel with Renee to her speaking events.

We are here for the Rise and Shine Women's Conference at Orchard Hills Community Church. This is their very first women's event and I can say without a doubt that these Midwest girls know how to put on an event! Approximately 250 women attended and they all had big smiles on their faces. It was definitely an atmosphere of excitement and great anticipation.

During the closing session, the women were asked to write down their doubts and burdens on an index card, bring them up to the front, and lay them down at the foot of the cross. In place of their index card, they were given one of God's promises, which was a scripture verse, that they could take home with them. It was so wonderful to see these women respond to the promises they had received.

My heart is very full as I reminisce over the many special moments these last two days. I will really miss these sweet women. They are truly a group of girls that love Jesus with all their heart!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Now what do I do?

It was time to come to grips with my shopping addiction.

First, I had to realize that my decision to shop excessively was nothing shy of sin in my life. My wonderful husband was working so hard to put money into our checking account and I was spending it faster then he could make it. Deep down inside, I knew it was wrong but I continued to rationalize with every single purchase I made.

On September 15, 2009, I wrote in my bible the following words, "60 day shopping fast".

I had decided that the only way to beat this thing was to go cold turkey. That morning I made an oath to God that I would not purchase anything for myself or for my house (accept for food and cleaning products)during the next 60 days. I wrote it down in my bible as a way of holding myself accountable. I told my bible study friends about my 60 day plan and encouraged them to check out my shopping cart if they ever saw me in Target. I emailed my family and close friends and asked them to pray for me. I also told my husband and of course, he was thrilled!

It's been 42 days since I made that agreement with God. In all honesty, I'm totally shocked that I've gone this far. I truly didn't think I'd last 3 days!

Has it been easy? No way! It's been incredibly tough. I've had to pray my way past the clearance racks, shoe section, and accessory stands of my favorite stores. I've put away all my Ballard Design catalogs and haven't stepped foot in a Kirkland's Home store.

The good news is that I've stuck with it. How? It's totally been by the grace and strength of God. There is absolutely no way I could have done this without Him. Every time I think about cheating, He reminds me of the commitment I made on September 15, 2009 and it keeps me going.

What I'm realizing through all of this is that my desire to shop was my way of filling an empty place in my heart. I'd shop when I was angry or down about something. I'd shop when I was stressed because "I needed a little pick-me-up". I'd even shop when I was bored because it brought a little excitement to my day. Bringing home a new sweater or pair of earrings always put a smile on this girl's face. That was... until the guilt set in... and it always did.

Now, when I'm angry or stressed, instead of running to the store, I run to God. He's teaching me so much about myself. He's helping me with my struggles and showing me healthy ways to deal with my problems.

Through it all, I'm feeling more content with my life than ever before. I'm way more productive, now that I'm not wasting hours at the mall. Best of all, I'm not afraid to open up my credit card statements each month to see the balance due.

I'm learning that there's more to life than shopping.... way more!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Shopping Problem?

Do you remember last month, when I shared about my ah-ha moment? Maybe not or maybe your new to my blog so I'll quickly give a recap...

I was standing in the middle of our family's storage room. You know, the space where everything goes when you don't have a designated "place" for it? I had started the tumultuous job of packing up all our belongings as we prepared to move to our new home. I decided to start in the storage room because it was the most cluttered room in our house. I had procrastinated long enough and my plan was to clear out the entire room before my boys got home from school. Ha!! Ya, right :)

Well, it didn't take me all day to clear out our storage room. It took me days. Yes, days!

There were boxes, boxes, and more boxes. All filled with stuff, stuff, and more stuff.

What on earth was I thinking when I took all those pictures on our family vacation to Nevada? How many snapshots does a girl need of the same mountain? Besides, who has time to put family photos in pretty little memory albums, anyway?

What about that box of silver serving platters and bowls that my mom gave me. They had been in boxes for years. I couldn't stand the thought of giving them away but honestly, I couldn't see myself polishing off all that tarnish and actually using them either.

Oh, yes, then there were the three boxes of school yearbooks (K-12th grade). I had forgotten how dorky I looked back then... not to mention the other kids in my class!

Along with the real old stuff was much newer stuff.

The winter coat I had bought last season. The sofa table I purchased while shopping with friends. They said it would go great in my living room. All those silk flowers that I purchased to make a beautiful flower arrangement for my dining room table. Oops... I never got around to taking that flower decorating class last year.

Oh, I almost forgot... ah-ha moment. Sorry, I can get easily distracted at times.

My ah-ha moment came when I realized that my unhealthy love for shopping had grown into a super sized bad habit. Actually, I'll go as far to say an unhealthy addiction. O.K., I said it.

Unhealthy addition.

At first I thought my ah-ha moment was some crazy random thought. I really didn't have a shopping problem, did I?

As the days followed and I began to tackle the other rooms in my house, I would find a Target bag here and a Stein Mart bag there, filled with things I had bought and crammed into closets, dresser drawers and kitchen cabinets.

But wait a minute. Doesn't a girl have the right to do a little shopping every now an then?

A new top or a cool pair a shoes always seemed to make me feel good. You can never have enough decorative throw pillows, candle sticks, or area rugs to spruce up your house while you try to keep up with the latest HGTV designer shows.

Besides, Keith wasn't really complaining when I'd come home with something new from the mall. Well, actually that isn't completely true. Here's the honest truth... if I thought he may be a little upset, I'd just conveniently keep my bags in the trunk of my car then bring them inside when he wasn't home.

Oh, don't even say it! I know some of you have done the same thing too...right?

I knew my shopping had gotten a little out of control but an actual addiction? Could that be possible?

Yes, Mam. It could be possible and it was starting to look like I had a major problem on my hands and it had nothing to do with packing and moving.

O.k, it's time to share.

Have you ever had an ah-ha moment sort of like mine? It may have nothing to do with shopping but some other "thing" in your life that you recognized as an unhealthy habit?

Maybe something that you've been doing for so long that it feels completely natural and makes total sense to you.

Maybe something that you've known deep down inside, in your little soul wasn't right, but you rationalized it anyway, just like I did.

Maybe thoughts like "I deserve this" or "It's no big deal" have been part of your vocabulary lately.

Can you relate?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Drum Roll Please.......

Congratulations Doreen! You're the winner of my birthday give-away. I hope you enjoy the $10 gift card to Target.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your birthday stories. I really enjoyed reading each one of them and getting to know you better.

This give-away was so much fun! I'll definitely do it again.

Have a great weekend and please stop by next week. I'd love to visit again.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers: 4
Timestamp: 2009-10-17 14:21:33 UTC

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Give-Away

Today is my birthday and I've decided to celebrate by giving someone else a gift.

Here is how it works...

Please tell me what your absolute favorite birthday gift was from a previous birthday. If you can't think of a favorite gift, then tell me what your favorite birthday memory is? Be sure to share why this gift or memory is so special to you.

Leave me a comment with your full name and email address. That way if you win, I'll know how to get in touch with you.

Oh ya... I almost forgot! I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Starbucks.

That way you can invite a friend for coffee or buy something for yourself from their great gift stands. I just love their mugs and the handles don't get hot when you put them in the microwave.

If you're not a fan of Starbucks (which I can't even imagine), I'd be happy to give a $10 gift card to Target instead. Everyone loves Target!

I'll select a winner on Friday night (October 16) so you have plenty of time to leave me a comment and/or tell a friend about my give-away. The more the merrier.

I'm really looking forward to reading about your special birthday gift or memory!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Have You Been?

Last week, I really needed a break from unpacking boxes from our recent move. So, I convinced my husband to play some tennis before our boys got home from school. He was all on board with the idea (I think he needed a break too) so off we went.

When I walked into the tennis shop, I heard someone yell out "Where have you been?!?!" I turned around and saw one of the tennis pros who was standing behind the counter. I smiled and thought to myself, "Gee, how much time do you actually have for me to answer that question?". Instead, I said "I've been in therapy!" He responded by saying "for your head?" (now that sounds like something a man would say) My response... "No, for my foot!"

At that moment, I realized it had been exactly four months to the day that I limped off the tennis court, drove myself to the sports orthopedic doctor, and found out that I had Stage 3 ligament damage in my left foot (from rolling over a stray ball). This would be my very first day back on the courts since my accident.

In all honesty, I was a little nervous and anxious as I began to slowly maneuver run around the court. I kept looking down at my feet, searching for any sign of stay tennis balls that might be near me.

My husband throws a wicked serve and he was having no mercy at all :) After about thirty minutes, he had me pacing back an forth, totally out of breath, and sweating like a crazy woman.

The more I ran around the court, the more comfortable I began to feel. I was so excited to actually be playing tennis again after such a long break. By the end of the hour, I felt my confidence coming back.

As I sat down to write this morning, I thought maybe some of you might be asking, "Where Have You Been?". I just checked and my last blog post was almost a month ago. That is just unthinkable in the blogging world and I owe you all a huge apology.

I didn't plan to go this long without writing. In fact, I've thought about writing each day. So much has happened over the last few weeks and I can't wait to share some things I've learned through the process. This is our fourth move in four and a half years. A girl is bound to learn some things about moving when it becomes an annual event for her.

Even though I wanted to write, the busyness of our move kept getting in the way.
All those overloaded moving boxes kept staring at me every time I went in and out of our garage. My husband was also "encouraging" me along. He was chewing at the bit to park his dual cab truck in the garage and all those boxes with my nice little decorations were in his way. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I was more motivated by the idea of having everything unpacked and in its proper place or by the fact that Keith was driving me bananas about that doggone truck of his.

Now that we're all settled in, my goal is to blog 2-3 times a week. I wish I could blog more but quite honestly, writing doesn't come easy to me at all. I always thought that since I'm rarely at a lost for words when talking that writing would be super simple. That is surely not the case.

Just like stepping on that tennis court last week, I'm feeling a little apprehensive about writing. A little nervous and anxious about my content and choice of words. Hopefully, I'll become more comfortable with time and practice. Hopefully, I'll begin to enjoy it like so many of my friends who write regularly.

I'm curious about something. Does writing come easily for you? Do you have a blog of your own? If so, please send me your link as I'd love to check it out. How long have you been writing? Does writing get easier the more you do it? Everyone keeps telling me that I have to "find my own voice". Well, it's safe to say, that I haven't found it yet...I'm still looking.

Any of your suggestions about blogging would be great. I'd really love to get your feedback on this.