Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Extension of grace...to myself



Life can get crazy as I try to live responsibly.  Trying to create a balance between the “best” choice and the “best I can do right now” is hard to make.  I was struggling with this balance recently as I was unloading the car to get the boys and myself to school/work.  We arrived at the church and I decided that since my back had been hurting the week before I would not carry all five bags and William, but leave my stuff in the van.  In the time that I went inside to drop them off and then to the van it had been broken into and my purse stolen.   Nothing was permanently damaged, so all is well and that’s just part of life….well, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.  The hardest thing for me in this is learning to extend grace to myself. I’m trying to let it go, because I was trying to make the “best I could do right then”, but I guess it wasn’t such a great decision after all.  I mean I know better than to leave my purse in the car.  Maybe you have no problem with your hiccups and bad decisions, but I just can’t seem to shake them sometimes.  Sometimes I’m haunted by them because I can’t extend that grace to myself. 

I think this can parallel to what we do with parenting sometimes.  I mean we try to make the right decision, but sometimes fail so miserably.  I can forgive Steven for making a bad choice, right? I mean sometimes it takes a bit more than others, but I still extend grace…..then why can’t I do that to my own self in life and more specifically….parenting.  I mean we don’t make the worst decisions as parents, right?  We have bad days and better days, but how many times do I get so frustrated over the bad days that I can’t embrace the good ones?  In a seminar I heard that some research from the Fuller Youth Institute suggests that it’s not necessarily the mechanics of your parenting, but the warmth in your parenting that creates an environment that leads to a relationship that leads to talking about the ultimate extension of grace…the extension from God to us….so why can’t we extend grace to ourselves in our hiccups?!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

My last post was on August 9, 2011...my 8th wedding anniversary and the day I found I out I was pregnant for a second time.  I have ideas for blogs all the time, but by the time I sit down to  write them, they've left me.  I guess that's why most bloggers include blog ideas in their planners they post.  Hmmm.....I have a planner maybe that's what I should do.  Then the idea to blog became so overwhelming because it had been so long that I didn't know where to begin.  Well, for whatever reason I'm here writing another post and maybe I'll continue.  The main reason today is that I've finished up more than I had on my list of goals at work and have 28 minutes left in my work day.

I don't have anything in particular to say...this is one of those typical "I've been gone forever from blogging, but going to try and start back" post.

Well, here goes nothing.....

Life's been crazy, fun, sad, joyous, etc, etc.  I've changed jobs; Chad's changed positions at work...we've had another son, he turned 1 yesterday and our firstborn turned 4 two weeks ago.....

We still love God, love family, love life and try our best and living to the Max!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Receiving

Around my birthday each year I get frustrated because I begin reflecting on my life and how I wanted to be at a certain place in life by this point.  I’m not referring to physical things really, but mainly within myself.  So as I turned 30 I began thinking of how I’d really like to begin handling things differently. Through this (and cleaning out our house) I was reminded of a message by Jack Taylor  I have on Receiving and as I’m typing this I realize how much I probably should listen to it again and not just recall what in it.  It’s about receiving your partner whole-heartedly. At the time it hit me most about the need to receive myself.  I was extremely insecure and didn’t like much about myself.  I compensated by (and still do) trying to work hard at things to validate myself to others.  He speaks of how God received(s) Adam and Eve and me. He does this by embracing and loving even the imperfections in us (and Jack Taylor communicates this in such a better way than I can, so you should listen to it).  It was through this and Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace that I began to extend grace to myself.  I’ve got lots of issues as I’m sure many of us do and I’ve tried to embrace them, work through them, and/or dodge around them as much as possible.  I’m not saying I do a wonderful job at this but I have a whole lot more inner peace at the end of the day than before. 

I’ve been thinking of this because this summer has been a stressful one for us.  It seems everything we touch goes bad at least with cars and the house.  (Like spend 1,000 on a/c in my car for it to work a week and spend 900 on Chad’s for it the same thing and more to go wrong a week later)  Fortunately both of our jobs have needed us extra so we’ve been able to work overtime to have the money for all of these repairs. But this also means working around 50 hours a week for me and Chad’s working six or seven days and mainly 12 hour shifts this summer.  So much for only needing childcare three days this summer :-/  .  Well after several weeks of never seeming to have quality time together due to not being home together. Oh yeah, forgot to mention we’re carpooling even though he works 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and in the complete opposite direction from where I do.   We’ve really only had in the car time which just isn’t grand although we try to make it work.  To say the least it’s been stressful.  And after over two months of this it’s starting to take it’s toll on me.  Last weekend I was cleaning out things yet again and found the Receiving message and although I haven’t listened to it again it’s been on my mind that I should.  I’ve noticed I’m becoming that person whose not really positive towards her husband.  I don’t like it, but I’ve felt stuck. Today we were around a couple that definitely weren’t harmonious working together and tonight I pulled out a book Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande and opened it to the chapter on marriages.  These were kind of slap in the face convicting to me. So I’m thinking that there needs to be no excuses and I need to get on the ball of receiving Chad and striving to become a more positive person.  I don’t feel as though I’m terrible at gossiping in general or bad mouthing my husband behind his back, but I’m negative in my outlook on life at times.  Not that the last sentence would make sense of connecting it to you, but for me it completely goes together.  So I guess this is a confession of sorts, because I definitely haven’t been a great wife the past few weeks. I’m going to work harder at it because when the stress is gone we’re completely happy and committed to our marriage more than ever before.  It’s just this darn craziness in our life.  We just keep praying that some things will work out but I think it’s time to not use the stress as an excuse or reason or allow it to get to me.  Rather it’s time to acknowledge the stress and still be a positive and loving wife, mother, friend, colleague, office manager, etc. that I should always be because the things of this world truly aren’t worth ruining something great!

 

Deanna

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Turning 30

This week (well it was when I started writing this post) I turned 30 and as the months and days have drawn closer, I began to dread it more.  Turning 25 was horrible, so in my head the thought of turning 30 would be much worse.  I took the day off of work because I was at least going to spend it with Chad and Steven and try to enjoy it. I woke up at 6:45 wanting to start the day off right and did a 50 min Zumba workout and by the time Chad and Steven were up was refreshed and ready to enjoy the day.  Because I’m an adult now and need to be mature, responsible, etc., etc.  There’s nothing about 30 that is fun and carefree like your twenties (or so it goes in my head).  Not that I’m not looking forward to enjoying life, but just that it’s a different way of enjoying it. 

At work the day before my boss talked about how much further in life I was than he when he turned 30, he hadn’t bought a house, had any kids, and may have just found a job. It was at that point I realized I wasn’t going to dread the next day. 

Chad’s car overheated two days prior and we had to replace the radiator.  At 8:30 on my birthday we found out it was $840, which was going to bring our total for house and car expenses in the past 10 months to around $8,000.  After a few large gulps, I reflected on how blessed we are because we’ve been in a position to pay that $8,000 without going into debt (at least paying it all by the end of the month charged, which counts in my book).  I felt truly blessed to be in a position where our jobs are basically recession proof, both can qualify for overtime to pay for those expenses, we have a wonderful son who makes all of life more enjoyable and although we are trying to sell our house it’s still a good house, in a good location that we can afford.  (and I’m keeping this attitude even though since then we’re going to have to replace this car and go into debt for it).
I hope that this year I’m living a life that’s more pleasing to God than the last.  I’ve made some “resolutions” of how to live along the lines of New Year’s resolutions and I hope that they stick.  I’m trying to put my good ideas/intentions into action, take some time for me, stand up for myself more, try not to care TOO much what others’ think, enjoy the day at hand.And I look forward to the next 30 (and hopefully longer) years of growth, life and fun, while glorifying God all the while.


-Deanna

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Change/Growth…..Supporting a Mission

My alma mater changed its name 10 days ago.  When I first heard the announcement of the move and change, I was a little ruffled.  However that day I had the opportunity to have dinner with a trustee and an adjunct professor/soon-to-be-ft-professor and loved what I heard.  The following day I was given the opportunity to hear the president, Dean Collins, speak about the changes. Since then I’ve been excited to see Atlanta Christian College become Point University (although I don’t like the sound of P.U.). It’s traditional residential campus is moving to where my parents live has excited me as well, because they need the boost and ACC/PU can grow freely in West Point. 

I think I don’t like change very much, but I do like to see growth happen and this is how I look at the changes to ACC.  I’ve seen a lot of growth on campus there through my sisters’ experiences since I graduated and at times have almost been jealous of their experience and the sense of community that has happened.  I’ve seen one and soon-to-be another adult while working full time be able to complete their degrees with a Christian education, which would not have happened without the development and growth of the nontraditional program since I graduated in ‘03.  I’ve been excited about it all. 

The one thing I didn’t anticipate is what I’ve seen on Facebook this past week on the alumni page.  Now, I do think that the Point University Alumni Facebook Page should be a “ACC/PU Alumni” group, but people are not just outraged about that.  And it does feel as though they are outraged because the word Christian has been dropped from the name as well as the direction of the college changing.  One person even went on to say they or their church don’t agree with the mission of the school anymore.  I’m very perplexed by this because I am encouraged by the changes and growth happening, the ability to reach more people, etc, etc.  So, I went to the website and looked up the mission and here it is:

Mission

The mission of Point University is to educate students for Christ-centered service and leadership throughout the world.

 

Vision

Point University will be the college of choice for students seeking a Christian learning community that is academically challenging, spiritually vibrant and globally engaged.

Core Values

Christ-centered… focused on the needs of the church.
Kingdom-focused…
preparing students to direct their personal and professional energies toward impacting the world for Christ.
Personal responsibility and growth… encouraging students to live productive and fruitful lives.
Transforming community… maintaining a positive, affirming climate on campus that encourages personal and collective growth and improvement.
Integrity in the strategic stewardship of resources… establishing a clear culture of accountability and transparency in all dealings.
Global vision for ministry… preparing students for a culturally diverse and interconnected church and world.
Service to community… dedicated to modeling individual and institutional service to the communities in which we serve.

How as a Christian can you argue with these points?  It is my understanding that every student will still be required to have at least a minor in Bible taught by many of the same professors I had and the new professor is one I attended college with (at ACC) and go to church with now.  Many people on the group’s page were concerned about why the name was changed and had other questions, that I’ve found answers to on the school’s website.  Which raises a trend in our society that troubles me.  We go to social media sites to gain our information instead of the source.  It has been very clear in the past months by publications on the school’s website of what is going to happen and why.  Then why are were searching for answers from others that are not a part of the growth process.

Maybe I’m just na├»ve and think what I hear from people involved in this process and making the decisions are saying what they really mean.  I do have to say, though, I’m still pleased and excited about the changes and growth that, I believe, are going to facilitate many more students educated from a Christ-centered approach than if this change hadn’t occurred.  Just my two cents, but if you want to hear more, please visit here and not solely rely on people not actively involved in this process.

 

-Deanna

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Conflict and a Confession

What is a peacemaker? How do you peace with someone when you don’t know why there’s not peace?


I’ve been met with this dilemma for a while and inwardly been torn over how this is to be resolved. I’m not sure why this has happened. There was a conflict but I thought it was resolved and never thought that months later there would still be a rift or at least a perceived rift. I hate the idea of conflict and I hate the resolution process, but usually try to take it head on in order to work through it so as not to prolong it. This time I’ve felt that I was not in a position to confront it, but nevertheless have tried to work at every almost every encounter to be peaceful. I was feeling okay (not great) with how things were going until recently. Last weekend at church our Sunday School lesson was from Philippians 4. Now I usually don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the final salutations in letters and when it was first read in class I didn’t listen with intent. However the one part of salutations was all we were going to focus on, so I was forced to hear what it said. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with ...whose names are in the book of life.” So whoever Euodia and Syntyche were, they had such a conflict that they are being called out in front of the whole church at Philippi to resolve their conflict and others are being asked to step in. We discussed that it seems pride usually stands in our way from resolving conflict that goes on and so have felt compelled to examine myself in order to see if pride is getting in my way.
 
Now here’s where I will confess, I have recently started watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey (New York and Orange County). I have become very uncomfortable with New Jersey and am not watching it as dedicatedly as I would because of the rift between two family members and how nasty it has become. The season opener was just horrible. They were at a christening and a huge incident broke out stemming from the relationship between one of the housewives and her brother. I have watched one of the other episodes and it seems that pride is definitely getting in their way as neither one wants to really examine the cause and solely focuses on the other person. Now back to my reality, my situation is far from what is happening on this TV show and it is just a TV show, but it has caused me to really examine myself in my situation and I just want peace. And I mean restorative peace; the type of peace where everything is in harmony as God would have for his children. I’m not sure where to go from here. So do I continue to try and let time heal the rift? Or do I confront it? Or something else? Chad and I have discussed this at length and are not in agreement or at peace as to what should be done, so is the result: to do nothing? It seems almost silly at this point, but I’m really not sure where to go with it all. I guess the answer is to just continually seek God (because I certainly don’t want “reality TV” and TV ratings to assist me in resolving conflict). So until we feel compelled to action then stand still. I’m not really happy with that conclusion because I want it all to be over with, but even more I don’t want to run from the problem.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Potty Training

My plan, because I always have a plan, was to give Steven exposure to potty training during our beach trip with the family specifically my nephew Ace.  Then the following week take a full week not going anywhere to go.  Well, my plan didn’t work out as planned, but not surprisingly!
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This is how it started in sepia (see-pee-a).  This was actually controversial on my sister’s facebook, was reported, and removed! Steven and Ace truly became buddies and Steven began to think peeing in the bushes was cool.  According to John Rosemond you should just tell them that such is what they will do now, so I tried that with the peeing.  Everytime he peed in the bushes I’d tell him that he’d be peeing in the potty when we got home.  He’d so Okay, but I never thought it would go that smoothly!
It sort of did.  After a week he still hasn’t done #2 in the potty, but at least he’s not holding it in for days at a time :).  He tends to only have accidents when it’s time to do#2 as well, so on days he doesn’t go #2 then he has no accidents!!!  WOohooo!!!  Here’s some highlights from our journey this past week and just a few other cute ones :)
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He loves to flush the toilet as long as it’s not a public one!
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He’s just too cute in those little “big boy underwears”
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The storms last week created quite a mess, so Steven had to have gloves like mommy to help with the yard work.IMG00529-20110601-1925
Everything is about shooting these days….Shooting the pool
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