2016 Goals

On Friday I shared with you a recap of my 2015 goals and how I felt I did during the year at achieving them. Now it’s time to look forward to 2016 which will be here in (literally) the blink of an eye and see what I have planned. You know, things like creating a hover car and revolutionizing the way we do dishes. I wish. Instead, here is what I’m looking at:

1.) PR at any distance: I had this goal last year and I liked it, because it didn’t put pressure on a certain distance, just on me bettering myself as a runner in general. While I do have some more race specific goals in mind, I think with what I think will be a crazy and unpredictable 2016, this goal will suffice. Also, that was really good champagne.

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2.) Take Emma Kate to Walt Disney World: Everyone assumes because I book Disney travel I would have taken Emma Kate to Disney by now, but the truth is, there are several reasons she hasn’t gone, but I see many, many tips in her future! One reason is she is still taking two naps most days and will NOT sleep in her stroller, so I’m not even sure how we would go to the parks with her napping at 10:00 and 2:30 most days. She is in transition to one nap which I think will make Disney easier for this non-stroller sleeping little one. Soon young grasshopper, soon! Another thing stopping us is my parents really want to go when she goes for the first time, and they have had a crazy year and won’t be able to go until later in 2016. Lastly, we wanted to take her when she was a bit older and could recognize characters and walk around and play. So, we are thinking we will stay in a villa all together and make it a memorable first visit in the fall of 2016! It’s not set in stone hence why it’s a goal, but I’m pretty sure it will happen, it’s going to be so fun to see my favorite place through her eyes!

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3.) Finish writing a book: This is not something I have really talked a lot about here on THLG *gulp* but I have about four different book ideas partially started/in the works at the moment, but I just haven’t had time to pick one I want to really put my whole heart into and make into a book or e-book. BUT, this is a HUGE goal of mine for 2016, and it terrifies me to “put it out there”, because now I really have to get cracking since you all know about it. What have I done.

4.) Have a daily devotion: I am disappointed in myself for letting this slip on days I am home all day with Emma Kate. I think I am going to move my devotion to night time so there is no excuse of a tiny human taking up my time in the mornings. Good thing she’s cute.

5.) Monthly goals: I used to post small mini/monthly goals here on the blog, but I got away from it when I got pregnant and had Emma Kate since my monthly goals included things like “take a shower” and “keep the baby alive”, but I really enjoyed sharing them with yall when I had actual goals, and it helps keep me in check. They are coming back in 2016!

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So there you have it, A somewhat vague description on some I know, but still a list of things I want to accomplish in 2016. I can’t believe it will be here in nine days. Never too early to get started!

QOTD: Do you have a goal for 2016? Did you meet your 2015 goals?

6 Year Blogiversary

Oh friends. I did it again. Every year it seems that this sneaks up on me. As of Sunday, I have been blogging for SIX year! Every year I go back and read that first post. I want to edit it SO badly but I leave it alone on purpose just to show how far I have come.

If you have been reading for awhile, you know that originally this blog started as an accountability journal as I prepared for my very first half marathon. Back then I knew nothing about the blogging world, particularly because there just weren’t that many health and fitness blogs back then to go off of. Things have changed a lot in that department for sure!

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As I think back on my blogging journey, I am reminded of all the wonderful opportunities I have had, the amazing people I have met, and friends I have made. (Yes I say that every year I think, but it’s so true!) Blogging has had a lot to do with how I have been shaped as a person over the past few years. I have learned about about the world, about myself, and about being true to myself.

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I have changed names, changed headers, changed focus. There have been ebbs and flows, highs and lows, and lessons learned. Putting yourself out there on a daily basis can be tough at times, but it has also been very rewarding. Other than sharing my heart with whoever is willing to listen, my other goal has always been to encourage and inspire others. I hope over the years I have encouraged you all in one way or another, because that is truly what makes me happy. There are SO many more things that I want to do and accomplish, and I am sure my blog will continue to evolve and change as I do the same. It’s a scary but exciting prospect, and I hope you will stick with me and follow along!

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As always, a huge thanks to my wonderful readers. You guys make it all worth it! You emails, comments, shares, questions, advice, and inspiration keep me going. I love the conversations we have had, and laughs we have shared (mostly at my expense!) Thank you for giving me grace, and remembering that I make mistakes and am always learning, too. God has blessed me with some amazing encouraging folks through this blog, and I am so grateful.

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I hope to have the opportunity to meet more of you this year, laugh with you, learn with you, and grow with you. THANK YOU for making THLG a great place, and for hanging out with me over the years, you rock. Let’s keep going, I have so much left I want to do!

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<3 Heather

Dealing with Negative People Online (and taking my own advice)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Refresh Summit South on dealing with negativity on social media/blogging, whether it be someone being negative towards you, or falling into the comparison trap and having negative feelings about yourself. I have been meaning to blog about the two main points I discussed with the ladies in attendance, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about turning a talk into words, and due to an unpleasant exchange with a neighbor on Friday, I decided to use it as an example for a blog post on one of my two main points.

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Being real here. One thing that I struggle with is holding my tongue. It’s a constant battle, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging (I can go back and edit before hitting send.) Even with that filter of sorts in place, I still get myself in trouble from time to time for things that I say, that I really should just keep to myself. I can get angry in a hurry, and instead of giving myself time to think and cool down, I often spout off and it ends up leading to more damage. The Bible is clear on this, and says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19), but boy is this one tough for me!

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You can make fun of me for a lot of things and I will let it roll off my back, but to state something about my husband or my child as a fact that is NOT true, is something I have a hard time biting my tongue about. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here is my own learning moment:

Our neighborhood has it’s own private Facebook group, which in theory is awesome, but sometimes not so awesome because as of late it has turned into a huge gripe fest. People complaining about folks speeding, running stop signs, dogs pooping in their yard etc. All of these things are valid complaints, but really, blasting your neighbors online for speeding it’s well, very neighborly, and we have had some issues with some not so friendly folk posting negative things. Anyway, somehow, on Friday there was an assumption made about my husband that was NOT true, and it turned into a nasty argument between me and a lady in my neighborhood I don’t really know. Come to find out from other neighbors letting me know, this is not the first time this particular neighbor has been less than neighborly. Part of me felt good about it, knowing that other people were “on my side” in letting me know how difficult this person is in general, but then I realized that honestly, I probably just should have kept my mouth shut to begin with and not even engaged with her, and it could have avoided a long morning of frustration.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the kind of situation I spoke about at Refresh Summit (how to get through/avoid/act kindly in) and here I was doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. It all happened so fast I didn’t put two and two together and then realized I had messed up. If I had followed my own advice, maybe it would have had a different outcome, and hopefully I have learned from this and will be quick to listen and slow to speak next time. Instead of what I did, the following are things I should have done (things I shared at Refresh Summit for dealing with bullies/negative people online).

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1.) Realize you aren’t going to change them: I an usually spot someone pretty set in their ways from the beginning of a conversation, but my desire to defend myself can get in the way of realizing that no matter what I say or try to “prove”, people like this are just not going to change. It doesn’t matter if the facts are right in front of you, they will argue with you until the cows come home, so it’s wise to just save your breathe and realize nothing you say is going to change them.

2.) Don’t feed the animals: With a desire to be right and people please, this one can be tough. Not engaging or “feeding the animals” is a good tactic for keeping the peace. Sometimes it’s just best not to get involved. There have been so many times in my “blog life” where I have wanted to set the record straight or stand up for myself, but I knew that in doing so it would just add fuel to the fire, and I am glad I chose to ignore in the end. When I engage, I usually end up saying something I will regret later.

3.) Get some perspective: Perspective is a funny thing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being the victim we forget that a lot of people lash out because they themselves are or were at one time, victims. Hurt people hurt people. If you can take a step back and remember that simple statement, that those hurting themselves in turn hurt others, and instead of getting angry, feel sorry for the person, it will start to soften your heart towards them and help diffuse frustration.

4.) Forgive: There have been times in my blogging and social media life where people have really hurt my feelings. I still remember a very specific time where I was on a run replaying something someone had said to me online over and over in my head, trying to figure out why people are so mean to those they don’t really know, when I suddenly felt like I was supposed to forgive them. Through gritted teeth (because yall, I really didn’t WANT to forgive them) I said out loud “I forgive you, and Lord HELPE to really mean it”. I had such an overwhelming freeing feeling come after that prayer. it was SO hard to say and it took awhile to work up to, but once I let go of it, the anger and frustration had no power over me anymore. After all, the Bible calls us to forgive others, just as God forgave us (Mark 11:25).

5.) Move on: This one usually takes me a little bit of time, but moving on helps diffuse the anger that comes with seeing and hearing negative things about us. Remember that not everyone is going to think just like you, or be your BFF, and that’s ok. We are all so different, and some people just are going to flat out not get along with you. Move on, and as queen Elsa would say, LET IT GO! I know I know, so much easier said than done, but your heart will thank you if you can move past it and not dwell on it or let your thoughts constantly go back to a wrong done to you.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful, and please know that if you ever need to talk to anyone about any of these issues, I would be more than happy to oblige. Email me any time at heatherslookingglass@gmail.com Have a great Monday!

QOTD: Which of these 5 things do you struggle with most? Have you ever been the victim of online negativity?

5 Top Moments from Refresh Summit

Hello friends! I am back! I had every intention of having a blog post written Sunday night to go up Monday, but I did NOT intend to catch a bad cold and feel like crap when I got home Sunday night! I think I am getting better thankfully. What timing, huh? The sickness didn’t stop me form having a great time in Tennessee for Refresh Summit.

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We spent the weekend at the beautiful Deer Run retreat center just outside of Nashville.

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Instead of recapping everything we did, I just wanted to share my 5 favorite moments:

1.) 80’s glow in the dark Zumba party: OH MY GOSH so much fun. Zumba has never really been my “thing”, but this was a BLAST. Since it was Halloween, we had an 80’s theme. We turned out the lights, donned a ton of glow in the dark jewelry, and danced our booties off to 80’s music. It. was. amazing.

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2.) Sharing my heart in my workshop: I had the privilege of leading a workshop twice, sharing my heart about social media, the negative side of things, the comparison trap, and having a healthy view of social media. (I fully intend to make this into a blog post at some point, so hang tight.) I had forgotten how much I enjoyed speaking and sharing what God is and has done in my life, and it lit a fire in me to do it more often, so hopefully I will have the opportunity!

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3.) Chatting with friends: Old friends and new alike, I enjoyed each and every woman I met at the summit. Everyone had such a unique story, and I am so happy to have met them all. I will admit, at first I felt a bit like the odd man out since a large portion of the people there had attended last year and all knew each other, but it didn’t take long to jump right in and get to know everyone. That’s one thing I loved about this particular retreat, we got to have some down time to get to know each other instead of just GO GO GO non stop.

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4.) Meals: Ah, the food. We had some amazing meals at Deer Run put on by the staff, then we also had a breakfast sponsored by Love Grown, and a lunch sponsored by Chipotle! Both were delicious. So many good eats all weekend long.

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5.) Worship time: We have several times where we sat and sang/worshiped. and we had the privilege of being led by the wonderful Rhyan Shirley. She wrote the song “You Are” that you may have heard Colton Dixon sing on the radio. She did a great job and I truly enjoyed her music and guitar playing. unnamed (55)

All in All, Refresh Summit was amazing, and the hosts put in so much hard work to make sure it was a great experience for all, and I was grateful for their hard work, and blessed in so many different ways. If you have a chance to go next year I highly recommend it! There will also be one out in California in April if you live on the west coast.

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QOTD: have you ever gone on a fitness or women’s retreat?

Time to Refresh

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that not only do I have a passion for fitness and social media, but I also have a love for encouraging and helping others. At the end of October, I will be heading out on a solo road trip to Tennessee for a couple of days. I was presented with an amazing opportunity, and I hope to see some of you there (hurry only a handful of spots left!)

That’s right, I will be attending (and speaking at!) Refresh Summit South at the lodge at Deer Run!

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My friend Bobbi has done an amazing job with Refresh, and I am stoked to be a part of such an amazing weekend where I will get to learn, grow, speak, listen, be inspired, and hopefully inspire others. my faith is so important to me, and sometimes a weekend away to reconnect and listen to God speak is needed, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me and all the crazy things going on in my life!

I will be leading a workshop sharing from my personal experiences with social media, but not in the sense that you would think. I am going to be sharing my heart about the ups and downs social media can cause. The pitfalls, the comparisons, the haters, and how I handle it all. I by no means have it all figured out, but dealing with the damaging side of social media is something that has been on my heart for awhile now, and cannot wait to share what God has been teaching me.

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As I mentioned before, there are NINE spots remaining for the summit, and I hope you will consider going. We will be up in the beautiful mountains in Tennessee, working out together, eating together, learning and worshiping together, and having a lot of fun! Be sure to check out the website for all the important details. I hope if this is something that interests you that you will pray about it and consider coming!

QOTD: Have you ever been to a retreat similar to Refresh? Do you love the mountains?

Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Ago

This weekend marks the ten year anniversary of when hurricane Katrina slammed into the shores of the Mississippi gulf coast, effectively flooding many areas, destroying homes, lives, and property. All of my family lives in the New Orleans area, and I grew up about 30 minutes north of the city. This time ten years ago was a very scary and uncertain time for my family.

We had six people, a dog, and a cat in my one bedroom apartment at college in Jackson, Mississippi, and we had no idea if the business my parents owned in Kenner (right next to the New Orleans airport) was going to be there when they got back, or if their house would be standing. I have told my story here on the blog before, so instead of retelling, I am just going to share a couple of links with you at the bottom of this post.

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Trying to look happy and like we were having fun all hanging out together…but we were very scared of what was going to happen.

While New Orleans and the Mississippi gulf coast look much better now than they did right after the awful storm, I can assure you, that for the people that still live there, things are not “the same” or “back to normal” and probably never will be. We are so thankful that damage my family sustained was in property and not lost lives, but many were not so lucky. Let’s all keep those family members in our prayers this weekend as they are having to re-live this awful time during the 10 year anniversary.

My Katrina Story

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QOTD: Where were you during hurricane Katrina?

The Door of Opportunity

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting for an answer, a step forward, something to happen so you just “knew” it was what you were supposed to do? What happens when the door opens but then you are faced with opposition? Does this mean that you are supposed to stop because the road has become difficult, so it must not be the way you were supposed to take after all?

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My friends, this has happened to me SO many times over the years (and is currently happening right now!) On Sunday, my pastor spoke about this at church and it really hit home. Are there times when bad things happen that we should take it as a sign to NOT proceed, absolutely! But I feel like a LOT of times we simply give up too easily.

Just because God opens a door, does not mean it’s going to be smooth sailing all the way down the hallway.

There are so many things in life that take a lot of hard work and dedication, and you can’t quit just because things get tough. Those are usually the things that are worth fighting for the most and offer the greatest reward!

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When I am walking through what I believe to be an open door and reach resistance, I do pray for wisdom and guidance to make sure I am doing the right thing, despite the bumps in the road. I tend to second guess myself…this is too hard…maybe we aren’t supposed to be doing this….shouldn’t it be easy if it were meant to be? Not always! But I believe with great risk comes great reward, and so suffering through the rough patches is just part of the process sometimes.

Bobby and I are in the midst of a new business venture, and to say there have been bumps in the road would be the understatement of the century. We have been praying about it every step of the way, and slowly (VERY slowly, way more slowly than I would like…) been moving forward. We are taking a big financial risk and it’s very scary, but we think in the end it will be all worth it. I am *almost* to the point where I can share with you what is going on, but I just want to make sure a few final things are 100% in order first. (This is why I didn’t get a chance to blog yesterday, we have been up to our eyeballs in legal mumbo jumbo and paperwork.)

Please hang with me as I may be a bit MIA over the next 1.5 weeks as we try to get everything in order. I will try to blog as much as I can though. I love yall and appreciate your support!

QOTD: Have you ever taken a big risk? Was it worth it?

Stop the Hate

On Monday night, I watched the Bachelorette’s Men Tell All episode. (I also totally realize you may have officially lowered your opinion of me now that you know that I watch said show.) Anyway, it’s always one of my favorite episodes because you get to see the contestants get “real” about their season, ask questions, and hopefully get some closure. Monday’s episode took an interesting turn that I have never seen before, and it really struck a chord with me.

Midway through the show, the bachelorette Kaitlyn was brought out. Now, I will be honest and say she has made some decisions I personally wouldn’t make, but that’s her prerogative and she seems like a very nice (and pretty funny) person. Chris Harrison started talking to her about some of the decisions she has made on the show, and then the topic turned to how hateful some of the viewers have been. My ears immediately perked up when the began talking about remarks made to Kaitlyn on social media, and my heart immediately went out to her.

There were people tweeting to her calling her a whore, cursing at her, and telling her she needs to die. To DIE people! How AWFUL is that? I immediately got a pit in my stomach as I watched tears well up in this poor girls eyes. Kaitlyn went on to say that she has gotten death threats, and one of the most hateful of the messages read out came from a mother.  Kaitlyn was so shocked, and didn’t understand why someone would spread such hate that has a child….how is this mother any better for teaching her child how to hate with the way she was talking to Kaitlyn?

Oh my friends, this hits so, SO close to home for me. I have been blogging over five and a half years now, and have gotten my fair share of hateful comments, emails, tweets, and the like. I absolutely do not expect everyone to like me, read my blog, or agree with me, (it would be WEIRD if you did!) but I DO expect people (especially MOTHER’S for crying out loud!) to show some respect, kindness, and compassion. Saying something hurtful then disguising it as “I have a right to my opinion” isn’t nice either. Just because you CAN say something, doesn’t always mean you should.

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It seems like the majority of the hate I have gotten has come since having my baby, and is directed at my parenting style. Why? I am honestly wanting to know why? For some unknown to me reason, mothers have this way of directly or passive aggressively making other moms feel bad about their parenting decisions, and it’s really not cool.

Unfortunately, I feel like most of the hate comes from insecurity, jealousy, and anger in a mother’s own lives, and I really and truly just want to give you a big hug. I will admit, my initial reaction is often anger. What did I personally do to you to deserve this? Why are you wasting precious time you could be spending with your own kids, writing me hate mail? Do you honestly CARE about what I do and don’t do with my child, or does it just make you feel better about yourself to make me feel bad?

But once I get over that initial anger, I truly feel sorry for you. Sorry that you have so much anger in your life that you need to blow off steam on someone, and obviously don’t have that outlet. Sorry that your three kids being home with you all day drives you insane but you feel too guilty to admit you really need a break from them. Sorry that you wish you could afford to stay home with your kids and you feel guilty because you don’t get to spend enough time with them. Sorry that you don’t have any family nearby so you never get to go on date nights or vacations. Mostly, I am sorry that you feel so alone with no one to discuss this with in a healthy (aka not bashing people online) way.

I wish I could just talk to you over coffee, and find out what I could do to help. I want to find out why it bothers you so much that I formula fed my baby after a month of unsuccessful breastfeeding. I want to find out why the fact that I travel for work and leisure and leave her with her very capable grandparents for a few days makes you so angry that you leave passive aggressive comments about it on my blog. I want to find out what I have personally done to make you lash out, and get to the root of the problem.

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I so, so wish that moms would be more encouraging and compassionate. We know how HARD raising kids can be, so instead of pointing the finger and declaring that what someone else did as “wrong” why not be sympathetic? Aren’t we all trying to strive toward a common goal? To raise these tiny humans to be happy, healthy, and the best that they can be? I don’t know what is going on in your life behind closed doors just as you don’t know what is going on in mine. I am working really hard to never try to measure someone else’s pain. Just because I find a tough situation “not that bad”, doesn’t mean it’s easy for someone else to deal with. None of us really know what others are going through.

I know it’s so easy to read a blog or an Instagram profile and feel like someone else has it “easy”, or is “lucky”, but just remember, you may not know the whole story. You may not know that a mom who formula feeds her baby would love to breastfeed but can’t due to a medical issue. You may not know that a mom who puts her kids in full time daycare needed to do so because she struggles with postpartum depression. You may not know that frequently traveling out of town is part of the job, and bills have to be paid.

Everyone is going through their own stuff y’all. Trials will always come, and I thank the Lord that He is there with me every step of the way because I can’t do it on my own. I pray that every hard time that comes will turn into a learning experience and an opportunity for me to grow and be better. I have made many many mistakes in my life, some even involve being rude to people online, and I will totally own it. The key is in the learning. I have grown up and hopefully am making better, kinder decisions every day.

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If you don’t like my blog, that’s fine, and I am ok with that! No one is forcing you to read it (I hope!) I really don’t want you wasting your time reading something that you don’t like, what fun is that? I know what I have to say is not for everyone, and that’s ok, too. I do want one thing though, I want us to all step back, and take a deep breathe. Before you hit the “submit” button on a Facebook status, blog comment, or tweet, just think about what you are writing. Re-read it. Can anything you are saying come across wrong, rude, mean, or passive aggressive? Is your comment going to genuinely HELP the person or tear them down? Is what you are about to say something that you would want a stranger saying to your child online? (that one gets me to stop and think every time!) Just be careful. be kind.

If we all took the hate and anger and disagreements we have with people, and instead of commenting online about it would say something nice or beneficial, this world would be a better place and we could hopefully get a handle on cyber bullying.

In closing and thinking back to the show, I hope that Bachelorette Kaitlyn realizes she has worth and value aside from what the people on social media said about her, and I hope YOU realize that you have value, too. If you ever need to chat, vent or cry, my door is open fellow mom, blogger, woman, or reader. I’m here, and I won’t judge. Life is hard, and we all need a cheerleader sometimes.

Half Year Wrap Up

WOW, we are already halfway through 2015! Did you blink? It’s July my friends. JULY. I dug back through the depths of my archives and found my post about my 2015 goals and gave myself a good chuckle. Some areas I am doing great in, and some not so great. Let’s take a look at what I wrote back in January:

1.) Read my Bible every day: B+ On the days Emma Kate is at daycare and on the weekends, I do very well with this. But on the days I am home with her all day, I will admit it doesn’t always happen especially because she wakes up at unpredictable times in the morning. It’s kind of hard to focus when your nine month old is trying to eat your hair. I need to remember to read in the evenings on those days, or just you know…get off of Facebook and Instagram for a few minutes…

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I have been reading Jesus Calling along with my Bible in the mornings. Love it!

2.) PR in any race distance: A- DONE! I PR’ed at the LA marathon back in March. So why the A-? Because the only other marathons I have run were Disney marathons where I stopped to take photos along the way, so being that I ran this one straight through with no character stops, I figured a PR would happen. However, I have to give myself a little credit. When I was asked by ASICS to do the race, I was only up to about 5 miles and had less than 3 months to train post baby, so it was definitely still a challenge!

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3.) Foam roll and stretch: C+ I ended up at the physical therapist due to my hip and knee issues form running and not strength training after pregnancy (smart move Heather), but after some diligent work and lots of squats and lunges, I haven’t really had too much of an issue. Granted I am running really low mileage right now and will need to be careful as I ramp it up in the fall. I am happy to report I ran the LA marathon pain free!

4.) Find a good work/life balance: A- Bobby and I did a lot of talking about this at the beginning of the year after he saw that what we were doing just wasn’t working. I was working late into the night and all weekend and it was wearing me out. We decided when Mother’s Day Out ended at church in May to put Emma Kate in daycare part time, and it has been a lifesaver. I am able to get the majority of my work done on the days she is at daycare, so when she is home we can play and I can focus on her and just work during her naps. I love that her daycare has a webcam so I can check on her during the day. It makes me slightly less productive but oh well. Smile

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5.) Eat more healthy foods: B+ I am doing MUCH better at this, but it has been a very recent development. When I was marathon training, I was hungry all the time so just ate whatever. At the beginning of May I realized this wasn’t helping me lose the last of my baby weight, so I got serious about my eating habits. I have been drinking a lot of homemade smoothies and even eating a few salads (!!!).I am not buying junk food to have a home except for the rare occasion, and am trying to be MINDFUL of what I snack on mindlessly. (Think: am I really hungry? maybe thirsty? DRINK MORE WATER!)

So, now that we are stepping foot into the second half of 2015, I have a better idea of what I want to continue to do well at, and what I need to improve upon. Things change so quickly around here that sometimes it can be hard for me to keep up, but I’m doing my best! I have also run 300 miles the first half of the year, would love to run another 300 by Christmas!

QOTD: How are you doing with your 2015 goals? Want to share one?

Are you on Periscope? My name is @HeathersLG. 🙂

 

It’s Just Not Fair

The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed for the 20th time that day, and my eyes caught something that really hit home from Lysa TerKeurst:

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Read it again. Slower this time, then come back…I will wait.

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Ok, good. I just wanted to make sure it really sunk in, and I feel like I have to read something at least twice (and sometimes say it out loud) for it to really get down into my soul. Let’s unpack this status update piece by piece shall we?

Disappointment. I don’t know about you, but just that word gives me a sinking nauseating feeling in my stomach. I don’t like to disappoint other people (aka “people pleaser”) and I certainly don’t like to be disappointed in someone else, or in my life. Before I continue, can we please push aside any hostile feelings of “I’m sure what YOU are going through is NOTHING compared to what I am going through!” Let’s not play that game. Until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you cannot know how deep something hurts, or how difficult a season of life may be. Just wanted to clear that up. Moving on…..

I am a planner. No, not for a living (well, I AM a travel planner for a living but that’s not what I mean). I have plans for my life. When I was in college I had plans for my career. When I got married I had plans for our perfect little “married life”, and when I had a baby, well…we can all laugh at those plans now can’t we? Oh my friends there are many, MANY things “that I thought would be” that either have not happened yet, or happened in a totally different way then I anticipated. For this type-A planned out person, those realities really, REALLY have gotten my panties in a twist at times.

This leads to the next part…the unanswered questions…and the sensation that things just. aren’t. fair. Why did HER husband get that promotion? Why was I not picked for that project? Why was I plagued with this illness or injury? Why did they get that awesome opportunity, I could have don’t just a good of job if not better….

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(enter random beach photo to break up the text).

We have all said it, thought it, fumed about it. Jealousy is an ugly monster that can rule your life if not kept in check. You have heard it 100 times and threatened to deck the next person that says it to you…God has a plan…you can trust God. Not exactly what you want to hear when you lose your job, or your child is in the hospital, or you aren’t sure how you are going to afford your bills.

Pick a problem. Think of a time when you thought that life just was not fair. Let’s look at it from God’s point of view shall we. When thinking of that problem or situation, try to think…

– Maybe God allowed something to happen (or not happen) because He has a greater opportunity waiting for you that would not be possible if He gave you the thing you wanted so badly.

– Maybe if you got or did the thing that would make things “fair” in your mind, it would lead to your ruin. Maybe God is trying to protect you from something that you just can’t see yet, and not getting your way is for your well being on down the road.

– Maybe you have strayed away from God, and He is using this situation to bring you back to Him. I have heard it said that pain is God’s megaphone. You are not very likely to listen when things are going your way, and you don’t have a care in the world. I think sometimes God has to use drastic measures on us hardheaded folks to get our attention.

I can look back over the past several years at situations where I felt things were just not fair. There is a common thread through all of these situations, and no the commonality is NOT that everything ended up working out the way I wanted it to. I wish it were that easy! The thing that I can glean from looking at each of those not so fun circumstances it that God was with me through them all, (Deuteronomy 31:8) and each time I have had a struggle, it has been a little bit easier to deal with because based on past experiences, I knew God was going to bring me through it. Chew on that for awhile. If the more hard stuff you go through draws you closer to God and helps you to trust him more the NEXT time something comes up, then I would say it was a worthwhile experience.

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A friend of mine posted something very interesting on Facebook the other day that got me thinking. It said “no test = no testimony”. Such a simple phrase but it packs a powerful punch. If our faith is never tested, and if things are always “fair” in our little world, then how are we to relate to and help our friends and family and even strangers that are going through difficult times? Think about it. When you are going through something, do you want to pour your heart out to someone who has never gone through hard times, or the same types of hard times? I know I don’t! I want sage advice from those who have “been there done that” and made it out the other side. It gives me hope for my situation. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

I try to not get too philosophical here on my blog because big words confuse me and when I ask Siri what they mean, she laughs at me.However, from time to time I feel led to bring up certain things. I don’t share EVERYTHING from my life here, but I do want you to know I have gone through and am going through some hard stuff. It may look different from your hard stuff, but it’s all hard just the same. I still sometimes find myself with unanswered questions and asking God why He is allowing things to happen, but in the end I know I can trust Him and that He has a plan. Even if it ends up not looking like the life I envisioned, I certainly don’t want to shortchange myself when God may have something else really awesome and better planned than I can even imagine.

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QOTD: Have you ever felt like life just wasn’t fair? How did you respond?