I want to be a brain surgeon when I grow up.

What happened to us? Like people in general? I remember a time when all I needed was a stick and some sand and I would draw out my dream house in the sand and pretend house. Now when I try to get creative, I just stare at the wall like I don’t even know what an imagination is.

I hate, hate and loathe how adults crush creativity. It makes me really realize that artists have some serious resolve to not let others get them down and they just continue to do what they do and let the negativity roll off their back. Or they use it as their muse.

Life is hard. Life is super hard sometimes. You lose people you love, you lose touch, they die, you or they move away, things are constantly going wrong (at least in my life, just when I peak one hill I can look and see the mountain I’ve still yet to scale on the other side), things break and you don’t have money to pay for it without selling your body (I’m talking about plasma donations people, get your crazy heads out of the gutters!) Life is so hard. But WHY, JUST WHY is it that we suck all of the childlike wonder out of people? I mean c’mon people, I feel like if we stopped with the defeatist attitudes all of the time, that maybe we would be able to weather life’s storms so much better.

Our society KILLS creativity, just zaps it dead. From taking away art and music classics out of schools, and forcing literature down kids throats because they HAVE to read it because it’s REQUIRED (there’s so many amazing works out there and it breaks my heart when people say they hate reading, HOW COULD YOU HATE READING? OH BECAUSE YOU WERE FORCED TO READ BOOKS INSTEAD OF BEING ALLOWED TO DISCOVER THEM ON YOUR OWN). The school systems in general just make me so angry, I can’t even go into it now or I’m going to end up giving you a 5,000 word dissertation and you just don’t have time to read that.

Why is it that we force feed the idea that being an adult is horrible? Yes, it is hard, but it does get easier as you go. So instead of discouraging kids and drowning them in negativity why can’t we work better on developing problem solving skills (I’m talking practical life problem solving skills, none of that algebra overly complicated stuff), so that when life hits you upside the head with something hard that you can adapt and handle it better? I wish I had learned that better, and my parents did a fantastic job of raising me.

Why do we discourage people into getting into non-lucrative career fields? We’ve already established that society kills creativity. I hate when people say “Oh, you want to be an actor? You and five million other people. You should really try and get into business or technology, those fields are much better than playing pretend all day.” I’m fairly sure that person who wants to be an actor has thought about how the odds are stacked against them, but they’re doing something JUST CRAZY. They’re following a dream. Heinous.

When was the last time you daydreamed? I don’t even remember the last time I just sat down and got lost in thought that wasn’t “What was it that I needed from the grocery store?” “I feel like I’m forgetting something.” “What’s next on my to-do list?” But I bet that if I stopped writing right now and just slipped into a daydream that it would mostly be positive and whatever problem I got into in my imagination, I could think of a way out. Yet, in real life we get stuck.

I blame the death of creativity. I blame society for snuffing out our dreams because they weren’t practical. I blame the heavy emphasis of making lots of money to be happy (although paying off my bills would be a HUGE load off of mine and my husband’s mind). I blame lack of faith, in ourselves and in a higher power. Without faith of any kind and with logic always ruling, you can’t trust yourself or God to put you into a better situation. I blame me, for falling into the trap of negativity. I blame myself for wanting to grow up so quickly and I blame society for in essence determining who I HAVE to be for me. I blame myself for listening.

But now, I am going to slip into a daydream for the last few minutes my son is asleep and see where it takes me. Because God gave us this wonderful brain for more than just staring at a computer screen and more than just a money making machine for the man. God wants us to not just to survive, but to THRIVE. It’s time for me to start thriving. So join me will you? Let’s make it like a meditation challenge, but instead of emptying your mind, fill it up. Pretend you’re an astronaut, a firefighter or a brain surgeon. No one will judge you, but if they do, who cares?

The first step

Have you taken a lot of first steps? Obviously your very first ones and I’m sure you were so proud when you figured out how to walk right? If you don’t remember, then let’s just assume that it is a yes. And the more you walked the more confident you got and the more confident you got the more things you wanted to try, like climbing, running, jumping and skipping and so on and so forth. For every skill you mastered, the more you wanted to learn and do. Isn’t that the way it should always be with everything?

Then somehow life shows its face and slaps you around a bit and you lose your passion. You start looking for things, anything to make yourself feel good. But you’re an adult now and you can’t have fun because you have responsibilities and children or jobs or both and how can you have passion when you’re so exhausted you can barely get yourself properly dressed in the mornings?

For some people, life smacks them around earlier on and they possibly develop unhealthy habits, like eating unhealthy, craving sex, doing drugs, smoking or anything else.

I started reading this book called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, and when I mean I started reading it, I mean I am only in Chapter Two. But during the first chapter I took my first step. And I’m actually kind of saddened by my realization, I feel I’ve betrayed myself and it’s because I’ve never confronted myself. I don’t like sitting there self-analyzing (I’d rather analyze others), I don’t like digging down and discovering unappealing things about myself. I have always sheltered myself from the deepest darkest parts of myself, so much so that when I look in the mirror, I don’t even know I’m overweight. It’s always when I see pictures that other people have taken that I am kind of jolted by this realization that hey, I’m like really a lot more overweight than I thought I was. This has become very dangerous for myself, because even that number on the scale doesn’t scare me the way it should. I’m just numb when it comes to my weight.

For so long, I have bragged about how I don’t have an addictive personality. I’m not an alcoholic, I don’t smoke, I’ve never done drugs and I am not addicted to gambling.

Hi, my name is Amanda and I am addicted to unhealthy food. I have a bad relationship with food. Though I do eat healthy most of the times, I have this little monster that follows me around and convinces me that I will not ever feel good until I eat that entire bag of frozen cookies, I won’t feel good until I have just ONE MORE brownie, I won’t feel good unless I have 5 glasses of chocolate milk, or 6 servings of peanut butter and jelly. I am trying to fill a void (I don’t quite know what that void is quite yet) by eating things that I shouldn’t to feel better about myself, to be given some sort of gratification. Even if I feel so horrible and I have a headache, my chest is pounding, my heart is racing a million miles an hour, I am shaking and have a stomach ache, I still feel better for just a few minutes.

I am Amanda and I have an addiction. I have a void. The first step to overcoming is to admit I have a problem. I have a problem. I guess I’ve always known I’ve had a problem, I always knew I was fat. I needed to lose weight and I didn’t feel good about myself, but today I feel like I took an actual first step (again but hopefully for good this time) and started by trying to figure out WHY I am fat. Maybe I can find passion again in something other than unhealthy eating habits. Talk soon!

Much love,

Homesteady Mama

Obedience is worship.

Obedience is worship. That seems to be my theme of the weekend. Ever since I read/watched it on the First 5 app from Proverbs31.org. It’s a wonderful little Bible Study tool that I am so glad I stumbled upon. It’s exactly what I was looking for in a Bible Study that I had been having a hard time finding. I also use the Bible app but when I try to do those devotionals, it’s basically me reading the Bible with little to no commentary. While its nice sometimes, I also am in a place where I need a little more guidance to connect the dots.

However, recently, I found a devotional called 60 to Start on my Bible app. It’s a 60 day plan designed to help you start (or restart) your relationship with Jesus. I love it so far. Today was the eye-opening day, especially when reading Matthew 7. And suddenly, I received an itch and an urge to start writing. Here is what poured out:

“But Mom, all of my other friends are doing it!”

“If all of your friends jumped off of a cliff, would you?”

How often have we heard this cliché? Often as a child, I used to think it was so silly that just because I wanted to do something that all of my other friends were doing, suddenly we were all jumping off cliffs. It seemed a tad bit dramatic. And no, I wouldn’t go jumping off a cliff, that’s dangerous. And yet as believers, we often jump off the cliff. I know I do, it’s so hard not to follow along with whatever the rest of the world is involved in.

In Matthew 7 verse 13 Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

On the Bible Study yesterday from the First 5 app, one of the ladies said this, “God calls his people to be separate. Separate is hard. Hard is good. But God is best.”

Separate is hard. Narrow is the road. But separate and narrow will lead us to eternal life.

Separate is so hard. I started thinking of how often I fall off the cliff, and how I could stop following everyone to that wide road that leads to destruction. But I would no longer be able to watch things like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones! Separate is so hard. The world offers so many exciting and shiny things! I mean, if I were truly separate wouldn’t I be no better than the Amish? (Not saying the Amish are bad, they just aren’t my cup of tea) I don’t think I could handle being in a dress for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I’m completely ready for separate. Separate is hard. Narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Obedience is worship. Only through obedience can we find the narrow gate. We need to release ourselves from the world. We are the sheep of Jesus. Not the sheep of the world.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord,  that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. Ephesians 4:17-19

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be life God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 22-24

You can read even more of the ways that we can become separate in Ephesians 4 and 5.

I started thinking after all of this how easy it is to be a sheep of the world. How every day we are bombarded with things that are not of God. How often I hear things against God and how often I just brush it off, because it happens so frequently that you almost become immune to it. So many shiny and wonderful things in the world offer us instant gratification that it is so hard to avoid those things in favor of eternal life. “I’ll have time to repent before I die.” I often think to myself, in order to have one moment of sin. Sin is so easy, it’s accessible more today than I think ever in history. How easy is it to just pop onto the internet and find things that are immoral? It’s so easy to follow the crowd, and follow others who seem to be good, but aren’t.

Another verse I read today was:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Matthew 7:15-16

Can you think of anyone who might be a false prophet in sheep’s clothing? Someone who is leading all of the sheep of the world and of Jesus away on a broad road that leads to destruction? There are many. There have always been false prophets that lead people off the cliff, but as believers we must watch out for them. We must be obedient to God, follow the narrow way and make our way to eternal life.

Obedience is worship. We can worship God during a church service. We can sing hymns and worship songs while doing housework or other things, we can read the Bible till we’re blue in the face. But until we actually practice what God is telling us through his word and until we listen with our hearts, souls, minds and ears, to what he is telling us we aren’t truly worshiping. We are playing a part. Follow his Word, listen to his voice and obey. Obedience will get us to that narrow road and to eternal life.

Being separate is so hard, but I’d rather do my best to be separate and enjoy eternal life than follow the pack and fall off the cliff into eternal hell.

 

May the Lord Bless you and keep you,

Homesteady Mama

Oh goodness…

I am just not good at following through with anything. Really. I am a lazy, distracted commitment-phobe of sorts. Or maybe I just don’t have it within me to actually follow through with anything. This is a problem I have had all of my life. I’m wishy-washy and I don’t follow through. I don’t know if it’s because I was never meant to have whatever I gave up on or if it is just because I am a lazy, wishy-washy procrastinator that never follows through. I have no clue. I am broken. I am so unbelievably human I can’t contain myself.

When I was younger there were so many things I wanted to do with myself. I wanted to be a heart surgeon, a brain surgeon, a singer, a fiddle-player, a nurse, an actress, a scientist and so much more. I would come up with a new life plan every week and be so excited about it! “I’m going to do it,” I would say “I’m going to be ( insert whatever interest held my attention that week)” and then inevitably I would either lose interest or some tiny or sometimes large stumbling block would throw me off track and then, nothing. I would not follow through, I gave up and moved on to another interest.

I hate to admit it but this wasn’t just me as a kid, this is still me.

My weight loss was going great recently, I was going every day and walking and doing yoga and I was loving it. And then my right knee started hurting so bad that I could barely walk. I went to my doctor and she took an x-ray and then sent me to physical therapy.

“You can’t be walking as a form of exercise, your knee is too torn up and the walking is going to make it worse.”

But it’s all I could afford, I told him and so he limited me to three times a week and only half an hour at a time. So begrudgingly I agreed and cut down on my walking. Physical therapy was going great and then, I got an, ahem, woman problem, missed some sessions and then life happened and I couldn’t continue. I also stopped walking. I couldn’t afford a gym, or anything else. I lost all of the work I had done.

It’s very frustrating being me sometimes. I have given myself so many pep talks, gotten myself excited for finally finding something for me to do with my life. I don’t really know who I am or who I am supposed to be.

I know I’m a stay at home mom, but sometimes I feel that I should be more (don’t get me wrong, I love being around my little boy.)

Recently, I’ve started getting the notion that perhaps that was my problem. See, I’ve started doing some Bible Studying, something that I have always struggled to do. I start every year saying that I’m finally going to read the whole Bible that year and fizzle out around Leviticus, every time. This year however, something has changed. I was able to make it through Leviticus, and further! I am in 1 Samuel right now. I am so amazed. I’m sticking with it, even if I miss a day, I come back the next day, or as soon as possible. I don’t do that as a rule. I normally give up. But I finally have something that is making sense. I’ve always believed in God, but I have been a believer of convenience (I’ll get into that later).

But it has occurred to me that maybe the reason I fail at everything I try or give up is because all I have been thinking about is me. I never have asked God what HE wants me to do, I just pray that he’ll help me get to whatever goal I have in mind for myself but it never happens. Maybe it’s because he’s steering me into the direction that he has in mind for me.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have no clue what my future holds or where I’ll end up. I know that right now I am such a child. I am a 31-year-old child, dealing with problems that most people have gotten straightened out by now. People younger than me have their lives together better than my husband and I do. I feel like a failure so often. I don’t want my son to hear about how his mother could never get it together.

I’m being molded for something. I think. But for now, I just needed to let that off of my chest. Maybe some day I will get it together and not feel like I let everyone down, including God. Good thing he still has my back, even when I’m down on myself. Thank you God for your unconditional love. And my parents for theirs.

I really am trying.

How to do yoga with a one year old and two cats.

Set out yoga mat and notice all of the cat clawing that has been done to it since your last session. Grumble to the cats about how you can’t have anything nice and all you want is ONE THING not shredded or eaten.

Sit down on mat and try to calm your mind, close your eyes and breathe. Notice the cat tail that has managed to tickle your nose, try to ignore it. Hear the baby squeal and open your eyes to see him charging after the cats.

Close your eyes and try to calm your mind again. As your breathe feel the little fingers of your son inch their way up your nostrils. Get up and try to distract your son with snacks and then turn back to the mat. Shoo the black devil cat off your mat and sit down to a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and try to calm your mind yet again.

Start working on your asanas. As you work your way through your poses, your son weaves in and out of your legs. Remind your son of his snacks. He’s only momentarily distracted.

Get down into Downward dog and your son comes up in front of you and mimics your pose. You notice he doesn’t smell so amazing, time to change a diaper.

Pause your session and go change his diaper. It wasn’t pretty.

Get back to mat to see cute black and white cat laying on the mat. Shoo him away and try to get back into your session.

Go into Warrior 1 and baby starts to cry. He won’t stop crying. Time to feed him.

After feeding baby, come back to mat and see both cats playing with it. Shoo them away for like the millionth time, get back into session and actually finish it.

Feel a sense of accomplishment, even if it did take almost 45 minutes to do a 20 minute session of yoga.

This is exactly what happened during my yoga session today. It’s a pain, but I couldn’t imagine any other way of life anymore. I love my little family so much!

Also, here is a before and after picture for my 2 month anniversary of working out. I’ve lost 10 pounds total. I don’t really see so much of a difference, but I just keep trying and plodding along.

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How does your workout go?

Let me know how you do it!

Much love,

Homesteady Mama

Defeatist attitude

If you have ever struggled with something in your life, you’ve probably had many moments where you defeated yourself before you began. I do that frequently. Especially with weight loss. Or anything really. It just seems so easy to not even try.

Today, I’m feeling a little defeatist.

I watched a recording of myself that I had done from earlier this month to see how my form was in some yoga poses. And I…

Well, I knew I was overweight but I didn’t really know I looked that overweight. I don’t know, I have a way of looking in the mirror and not really seeing how bad it is. Which is probably how I let myself gain so much weight. l know people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia can look in the mirror and see someone who is overweight (when they clearly are not) whereas I can do the opposite, I’m overweight and I see a skinnier person in the mirror. I’m not really complaining about it but it definitely makes it hard to see how very unhealthy I have become. It’s scary. I mean, I just really had no clue.

It’s been such a struggle so far too. You know, I’ve lost only five pounds since starting two months ago. Five. That’s it. I’ve been working out almost every day of those last two months with only breaks for my knee issues.

I’ve been eating healthier (which is a huge struggle) but I need to crack down more. I’ve been doing yoga and meditating and just trying everything I can, and it seems hopeless when all I’ve lost is five pounds.

But then, on Kino MacGregor’s periscope (check out the link on my last post for her website), I saw someone write that they had lost 300 pounds doing yoga. That’s so inspiring. I need to lose well over 100 pounds, so I can imagine that 300 pounds was no small feat.  And I realized that person probably had so many moments when all seemed lost and she would never lose the weight and I thought, well she still pushed through. Now, I don’t know if she had any help. I don’t know any of her story, which is good. Because I don’t need to know that she did it with any surgical help (not saying that’s bad, it’s right for some people) but I need to know that there are people out there losing weight the old-fashioned way. I need to know that they did it, so I can keep going.

I’m trying so hard to cut highly processed foods out of my diet which is killing me. Because I LOVE BREAD. I LOVE PASTA (whole wheat just doesn’t taste the same). I LOVE COOKIES. It’s just overwhelmingly difficult. I just need to do more.

But hey, I’ve lost five pounds and that is a start and already walking is easier for me and Surya Namaskara A is getting slightly easier too (Sun Salutation A).

It’s a journey and it could very well save my life. So go away defeatist attitude. I’ve accomplished a lot for two months worth of work. And that’s the opposite of defeat, that’s success.

So whether you’re trying to lose weight, kick an addiction, struggling with learning something or anything else, just remember; there are so many others out there struggling with you and it’s tough, we know. But don’t give up, just take a day at a time, like my dad says “you wake up every morning and think, how can I better my position in life today?”. Everyday that you do at least one small positive thing or take one small step in the direction you need to go is a day that you’ve succeeded and you should be proud of yourself. It’s not easy and sometimes it feels like climbing Mt. Everest, but when you get to your goal you will be so much stronger and better.

Is there anything you’ve been struggling with lately? Have you had any defeatist moments?

Tell us about it and how you dealt with it!

Much love,

Homesteady Mama

Life

I have had a heck of a time coming up with my next blog topic the last week or so. I have been sitting in front of my laptop trying to find something to say, whether it be inspiring, funny or educational and nothing. I suppose I’ve been in kind of a funk lately, and I couldn’t really tell you why.

Then yesterday, my family and I got news of a wonderful member of our family is in the hospital. Things aren’t looking good and it’s quite hard to deal with. This man is the closest thing to a grandfather I have ever had, he practically shaped my dad into the man he is today and he’s just so very loved by us. We aren’t able to make it to go see him which is even harder. I would love a bear hug and to support the other members of the family, but it’s just not something we can do right now.

So I want to talk about life. I think. Bear with me, I might be rambling a bit.

I have recently added yoga to my workouts. I was so inspired this last year by Kerri Verna (Here) and Kino MacGregor (Here). But I always watched what they did and would say “when I lose weight, I’ll try that”. I decided though, that maybe yoga could help me on my weight loss journey. I’m still struggling with losing weight even though I’ve been working out pretty solidly for the last month and a half, I’m just fluttering around near the weight from when I started, then I’ll lose some and it just comes back. Anyway, back to the topic.

Every morning I get outside and watch the sunrise, do some yoga (the 3 moves that I can do because my fat gets in the way) and I use that time to talk to God. Yesterday morning I was praying for guidance to get out of our financial turmoil, assistance with keeping to my diet, prayed for my family and husband, and I also prayed for God to show me my purpose. I’ve been so wishy-washy for so long in my life, because I love so many different things, but I’ve realized that none of them have stuck and I think that’s because I haven’t found my purpose, or more accurately God’s purpose for me.

Later that afternoon before getting the news of our family member, I was watching Kino’s Periscope and she was talking about purpose and it was like God wanted me to see it. I feel like he was giving me his answer. I’m still not 100% on what I should be doing or how I’m going to get there, but I will still pray and listen for what I’m to do.

The reason I bring any of this up, is because I feel like yesterday was one big message from God for me. The biggest purpose of any life is not to waste it. To always help others when you can, worry less about what people say or do, focus on God, and raise the next generation to be better. Life is short and people who you think are just so strong and tough can get sick and people who are perfectly healthy can get ill. Life is uncertain but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference while you’re here. Maybe it’s showing lost young people a better path to be on, maybe it’s helping raise money for children’s cancer research, maybe it’s pet rescue. It can be anything. But share God’s light, stop being so worried about celebrities and other things that won’t accompany you to the other side. If you are so worked up over a cause on Facebook and spend more time complaining in the comment threads than actually working to make a difference, maybe that’s your calling.

I’ve always had a servant’s heart. (I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, I promise). I’ve always loved helping people (and animals), medically, emotionally, spiritually or financially when I can. Yes, I’ve been burned plenty of times and I’m likely to be burned more as time goes on. I help anyone who needs help within my means. I can’t always do a lot, but I do what I can.

I’m also learning that putting things off “till I lose weight” or “I’ll start Monday” isn’t what I need to do anymore. Sometimes I just need to try new things. I need to live life to the fullest because I definitely am not getting any younger and I think like most people I don’t want to leave an empty legacy. I don’t want people to say when I pass “she was great at sitting on the couch”. I want to be able to know that I showed people the light of God without getting into their faces and preaching at them, I want to know that I helped people, I want to know that I did what God wanted me to and I was a good and faithful servant.
I don’t want to live a purpose-less life.

Life. It’s so fragile. So many wonderful people in my world have passed on and they all have left such a strong memory and influence.

So today, let’s celebrate life. L’chaim! Let’s focus on the positive instead of the negative and make the world a better place, even if it is just your little world. Any little thing can make a difference.

Have you found your purpose? I’d love to hear about it!

Much love,

Homesteady Mama