Category Archives: Happiness Project

December Resolutions

Family: Pursue Peace

☐ Remember I love them and they are mine.
☐ Remember they love me.
☐ Show them my love.
☐ Let it go.
☐ Don’t harbor hurt feelings.
☐ Touch base once a week.
☐ Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11

Occasionally we have moments when we don’t want to claim our family. There is something they do that embarrasses us and we would rather not be associated with them. This month my resolution is to focus on the good qualities and attributes of my family, from my grandma all the way to my kids. Occasionally we need to remind ourselves why we love them. For this reason, my first resolution is to remember I love them and they are mine.

The people we love the most are the ones that hurt us most and vice versa. Not they we intentionally hurt each other, but when someone you love disappoints you, it hurts. If a friend or acquaintance disappoints us, it’s much easier to let it go because we don’t have as much invested in that relationship. When family members hurt us, it’s easy to feel unloved regardless of the fact that we KNOW they love us. My second resolution is to remember they love me.

Often we think of how we want others to treat us and have high expectations for others and yet don’t hold ourselves to the same standard. Resolution three is to show my love.

Resolutions four and five go hand in hand. Let it go and don’t harbor hurt feelings. This is not easy. When someone hurts you it’s hard to let it go and it’s even harder to leave it there. We tend to hold on to things. Even if we have apparently forgiven someone for hurting us, it’s easy down the road to pull that back out and dwell on it. This month I want to examine my heart and ensure that I am not harboring past hurts and that I really let them go for good.

I am embarrassed to say that I have gone months at a time without talking to my brothers or having any contact at all. To maintain my innocence I acknowledge that they don’t call me either, so I shouldn’t feel bad. In the end, I still end up feeling guilty. Touching base once a week will allow me to build stronger relationships with my family.

It’s easy to allow little things to hinder a relationship. It’s hard to let go of hurt feelings. This month my resolutions are meant to remind me to encourage and build up my family. Friends come and go, but your family is yours for life.

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Giving and Thanksgiving

This month I worked on having a grateful heart. I was blessed, during our family’s devotion time, by the children’s hearts of thanksgiving. This month has gone well and I have felt as though my resolutions were completed.

UNTIL…Yesterday we unexpectedly received a check in the mail. I was excited, thinking of how I could use it towards Christmas. It was not an extremely large amount, but would definitely help out. This morning I began thinking about the little things, or not so little, that God has done for our family this month. Providing when we needed it, allowing “issues” to fix themselves, and then giving us this money for Christmas. I was thinking about how awesome He is and how grateful I am for His provisions and His hand in our lives. The things that we tend to take for granted are truly God’s handiwork.

Just as quick as these thoughts arrived, new ones entered my mind. But these were more than just thoughts, this was a strong conviction that flooded my heart. “Give it away.” Are you kidding me!?! We need this! I need to think of my family! I don’t want to give it away! I struggled with God. I tried negotiating with Him, but the conviction continued to get stronger. So, what do I do? I try to reason with myself. “Give and you will receive.” If I give this away, God will give back to me. As if I am entitled to something in return.

One of my resolutions this month was to give without feeling prideful. This was not the problem today. Instead, I was fighting the act of giving altogether. I don’t want to give it away. I want it for myself, for my family. I called Hunter to get his insight and he said “Sounds like we need to give it away.” I was nearly in tears when I called him. I was struggling with it THAT much. Why was I feeling so selfish? Why would God ask me to do this? I know there are people who give to others, having faith that God will provide for them, but it’s not feeling like faith to me. I haven’t agreed to this with a willing heart. How can God possibly bless that?!?

After talking with Hunter and allowing the shock of this mission to wear off, I am feeling at peace with it. I’m sure it will greatly bless our hearts to give to others that are truly in need this Christmas season. That’s what it’s all about.

God, Thank you for softening my heart today and for opening my eyes to the desires of Your heart. I long to have a heart like Yours. Thank you for all You have done and continue to do for our family! Thank you for the gift of Your Son, it makes the gift we are giving seem insignificant. You gave Your Son for me and yet I struggle with this small task. Forgive me for my selfishness, and open my heart and my eyes to the peace and love found in You! You are the giver of life and everything we know and hold dear! Thank you, God, for the grace and mercy that You pour out on us! Your love is unfathomable.

November Resolutions

I am late posting this months resolutions, but it is none the less important in my heart.

Gratitude: Thankfulness and Giving

☐Thank God for everyday.
☐Give to others without feeling prideful.
☐Be content.
☐Teach the children to truly have thankful hearts.
☐Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Life doesn’t slow down. With all of the activities and responsibilities that we have, sometimes it’s hard to remember everything we have to be thankful for. A heart of gratitude is something we should carry always, but in the every day grind of life, sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle. This month I want to truly focus on having a grateful heart and giving to others.

This is a great song. It’s audio only.
watch?v=3K5rzgVt5iY

“Growing Love”

Do you ever feel like you have so much to do, you don’t know which way is up and the things you need to do aren’t the things you want to do and the things you want to do aren’t even things you REALLY want to do and the things you REALLY want to do always seem to get swept under the rug??

October was one of those months for me. I feel as though my month of “growing love” wasn’t very successful. Week one was good, but the following two weeks were tough. For no apparent reason, it was a difficult couple of weeks. I was feeling pretty discouraged. Week four was better and although I feel as though October was a bust, November has been a great month so far. So in the end, although I couldn’t see the progress at the time, maybe we did “grow love”.

It’s amazing how much smoother our lives run when we are on the same page. With all the demands of life, it’s hard to take time alone and invest in your marriage. There are other things in life that can take the back burner. Continue growing love and it will grow and strengthen your family. When mom and dad are connected and have the same goals, the family will reap the benefits.

I will move on keeping in mind my September and October goals and add my November resolutions. The journey continues.

September – Get Energized ✓
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5

October – Grow Love ✓
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

November – Gratitude
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Finding Pure Joy: Week 2

God has a way of getting your attention, doesn’t He? Just when you think you have it all figured out, He throws you a curve ball to let you know who is really in control. The true test of our faith, is how we handle these things.

Week one didn’t go as I had planned. I considered it to be a complete failure. When I looked closer, I realized that even though the week didn’t go the way I wanted it to, God had His hand in it. Although I didn’t complete everything on my agenda, He gave me a new agenda that I did complete.

Week two went pretty well. There were of course some unexpected events but, all in all, it was a good week. I managed to get up on time every morning. My goal is to be in bed by 10 p.m., and I’ve been getting there between 10 -10:30, which isn’t too bad. Hopefully this week I will conquer that.

Choosing healthy is proving to be a daunting task. This week, I plan to make an extra effort in this area.

The house has been kept tidy. You notice I use the word tidy and not clean. Our house is very seldom what I would call clean. Even though I am home all day, I still can’t seem to get that “clean house” thing down. But it is tidy.

I really started with the decluttering this week. I tackled the hall closet upstairs. Our upstairs consists of four bedrooms for the kids, and a closet. We haven’t really used it since we lived here, and we’ve been here over four years now. It has housed old paint and whatever else the kids have chosen to shove in there. The doors to the closet were in bad shape, they were slat doors and a good number of the slats were missing. In order to clean the closet, I took the doors off. After I got the doors off and looked at things a little, I thought, wow I should just use this as shelving, without the doors. But what should I put there? I got side tracked to help Garrett and Ryan clean their room. While doing this, I realized they have entirely too many books for their poor book shelf. I immediately knew what I was going to use that closet for. Now instead of a closet, I have built-in bookshelves. It’s a central location for all of the kids, so there’s no fussing over who’s book is who’s and why it’s in that room and not someone else’s. All of the books can be easily accessed by everyone. There is even enough shelving that I have room for games on the top shelf. It’s ridiculous how excited I am about this small change, but it feels great to have that cleaned out and functional!

My daily quiet time this week was eye opening. I tried to sit down and really dive into the Word, but it wasn’t working for me. I don’t think that’s what God had in store for me this week. Instead of reading and meditating on the Word, I was quiet before God. When I tried to pray, I couldn’t find the words, so I just let Him speak to me. He already knows my heart, I needed to be still and listen to what He was trying to say to me.

Yesterday in church, we had a guest speaker. He brought a great message. It was along the same lines that our Pastor preached on the week before. It was a message I needed to hear again. It’s amazing how God works it out.

I have always been involved in some type of ministry or another. Many times I have had my plate full and overflowing. For the past two years, I’ve pretty much just been going to church. We have been attending our church for nearly two years and yet we still are not connected. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why. Do we have something stamped across our heads that says “beware”. Why can’t we seem to fit in? Why can’t we build some relationships? This has really been bothering me. Why God? Why can’t we connect?

Over the past month, this has been weighing heavy on my heart. Recently, my eyes have been opened. We have been waiting for other people to take the initiative. Hunter and I are both quiet, (until we get to know people, then watch out!) and we are both uncomfortable in new situations. We aren’t bold and aggressive when it comes to new things, even little things. God is bigger than that! He’s bigger than my anxiety over how to dress for praise night or where to park at the church picnic. He’s bigger than my fear of what people think of me. I often have thoughts and ideas, but i’m afraid to speak up, because I don’t want to sound like an idiot. God is so much bigger than that. I can’t remember a time in my adult life when it has taken me this long to get connected.

Just last night Hunter and I were talking, and we’re done with this! We’re ready to take the initiative and be bold! We are trusting in God to give us new boldness for Him. Thank you so much, God, for quieting my heart, our hearts, to hear the things you have for us.

Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

It’s amazing the way God can speak to us, if we only quiet our heart enough to hear him. I encourage you in the coming week, to be still before God and really seek Him and listen to what He is trying to say to you. He was saying to me, “I am in control. You can’t do this on your own. Trust in me and I will make all things new.”

Gallery

Finding Pure Joy: The Journey Week 1

My “finding pure joy” journey is off to a not-so-good start. Often in life, there are times when things don’t go exactly how we planned. Originally, I thought I would begin my project on September 1, but then I decided … Continue reading

Finding Pure Joy – Resolution Overview

As promised, here is the overview of my resolutions for the next year.

September
Get Energized: Heart, Health, Home

October
Marriage: Growing Love ♥

November
Gratitude: Thankfulness and Giving

December
Family: Pursue Peace

January
Parenting: Manage the Chaos

February
Money: Save More, Spend Less, Give Much

March
Others: Friends and Strangers

April
Homemaking: Keep it Real

May
Get Organized: Home and Family

June
Edify: Personal Strength and Growth

July
Fun: Try It

August
Peace: Soul Searching

Finding Pure Joy

After some consideration, I have decided to rename my happiness project. So from here on, I will refer to it as “Finding Pure Joy”. The idea of being happy is great, but why settle for happiness when you can have joy. I am on a quest to find pure joy.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

How I long to have a heart that rejoices in the Lord even in the midst of calamity and chaos. To have a heart that is joyful in God through times of trials.

James 1:2-6 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

God, teach me to “consider it pure joy” when things get tough, that I might persevere when my faith is being tested. Guide me on this endeavor to find pure joy.

My Personal Commandments

1. God, Others, Self.
2. Let go and let God.
3. Be thankful everyday.
4. Take time for the things you love.
5. Treasure the little things.
6. Listen completely before responding.
7. Don’t assume anything.
8. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.
9. Always bring a sweater.
10. Smile often.
11. Just do it.
12. Breathe.

My Happiness Project

About a year ago I read the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.

It’s not a “Christian” book, but I enjoyed it and thought the concept of the book was great. I decided that I was going to do my own “happiness project”, but it only lasted a few weeks.

This year, I, once again, am feeling compelled to try. I’m hoping that in sharing this here, it will motivate me to stick with it.

The author started her project in January, but personally, September is a better fit for me. Summer has ended, and life gets back to normal routine. I used to dislike the idea of routine, but not anymore. I love routine!

The Happiness Project in a nut shell.

Before Gretchen began her project, she came up with twelve commandments. Here they are:

Twelve Commandments
1. Be Gretchen.
2. Let it go.
3. Act the way I want to feel.
4. Do it now.
5. Be polite and be fair.
6. Enjoy the process.
7. Spend out.
8. Identify the problem.
9. Lighten up.
10. Do what ought to be done.
11. No calculation.
12. There is only love.

Choose a resolution for each month.
These were Gretchen’s resolutions.

January
Vitality: Boost Energy
*Go to sleep earlier.
*Exercise Better.
*Toss, Restore, Organize.
*Tackle a nagging task.
*Act more energetic.

February
Marriage: Remember Love
*Quit nagging.
*Don’t expect praise or appreciation.
*Fight right.
*No dumping.
*Give proofs of love.

March
Work: Aim Higher
*Launch a blog.
*Enjoy the fun of failure.
*Ask for help.
*Work smart.
*Enjoy now.

April
Parenthood: Lighten Up.
*Sing in the morning.
*Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings.
*Be a treasure house of memories.
*Take time for projects.

May
Leisure: Be Serious About Play
*Find more fun.
*Take time to be silly.
*Go off the path.
*Start a collection.

June
Friendship: Make Time for Friends
*Remember birthdays.
*Be generous.
*Show up.
*Don’t gossip.
*Make three new friends.

July
Money: Buy Some Happiness
*Indulge in a modest splurge.
*Buy needful things.
*Spend out.
*Give something up.

August
Eternity: Contemplate the Heavens
*Read memoirs of catastrophe.
*Keep a gratitude notebook.
*Imitate a spiritual master.

September
Books: Pursue a Passion
*Write a novel.
*Make time.
*Forget about the results.
*Master a new technology.

October
Mindfulness: Pay Attention
*Meditate on koans.
*Examine True Rules.
*Stimulate the mind in new ways.
*Keep a food diary.

November
Attitude: Keep a Contented Heart
*Laugh out loud.
*Use good manners.
*Give positive reviews.
Find an area of refuge.

December
Happiness: Boot Camp Perfect
*Boot Camp Perfect

(Shared with permission from Gretchen Rubin.)

The goal for the first month is to keep only those resolutions. The next month, add those resolutions to the first month and so on.

I will be starting my Happiness Project one week from today, September 1st. Over the next week I will share with you my personal Twelve Commandments and resolutions. I encourage you to start your own Happiness Project and really live your life, not just let it pass you by.