30 January 2015

5 Ways Dave Ramsey is Ruining Me

I have always described myself as a spender and not a saver. Money seemed to go out my account as quick as it entered. When I got married, my husband and I basically just lived from paycheck to paycheck. If we felt like eating out, we did. If I felt like I deserved to go shopping, I did. We were not very responsible and it was starting to catch up with us.

I had heard a lot about Dave Ramsey from my good friend Mary when she and her husband paid of $80,000 in about two years. So last May, after reading this book and showing it to my husband, we decided to jump off the cliff and finally start to get our financial act together. June 2014 was our first month of radical change. Since then, we have paid off and no longer use credit cards, paid first two debts, and now use strictly use cash. Its amazing how much our relationship with money has changed. It is by no means perfect, but definitely a positive change for our family. So with that lovely little back story, here are the five ways following Dave Ramsey's money plan is changing my life.

1. This is God's money!
That concept can sound very odd in our materialistic culture today, but it really is true. One of the great things we both love about Dave Ramsey are the Biblical principles and mindset he has towards money. The money we make from our jobs does not belong to us to throw around whilly nilly. The money we earn is to take care of our own family, but also to bless others with who do not have as much as we do.

2. Learning to save for something I want makes me appreciate it more
My Mom always told me growing up that I would appreciate something more when I have saved and worked hard to get it. Paying with cash and not relying on credit cards, I have been amazed how much this is true!! With only a certain monthly amount for chump change, I have really learned to plan and prioritize certain purchases I want to make. For example, in the last few months I have begun to run and am training for a half marathon. Not owning a good pair of running shoes, I knew I would have to save for them. The day I went to Running Fit and paid for my shoes in cash felt SO GOOD. My Mom was right after all! I totally appreciated my new running shoes a lot more seeing the effort I put into saving so I could make the purchase without breaking the bank. This has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned so far.

3.  Having a budget makes you talk with your spouse about money
Before all of this, the only time Jim and I ever talked about money was when we had to figure out how to pay the bills. I HATED those conversations, it involved stress, anxiety, and sometimes raised voices. At the time we didn't have a budget, and we certainly never talked about how to handle money or was accountable to how we spent it. Now that we have a working budget, we have a budget meeting at least twice a month. Its amazing what happens when you start being accountable to yourself for where your money goes.

4. You tell your money where to go
One of the songs Dave always sings is you tell your money where to go, plan out every last dollar and where it goes before a new month starts. The problem with I used to handle money is I was constantly telling my money to go down the drain. I would make time and save for the things I wanted without any thought to how the bills later that month would get paid...not the brightest idea! In planning out where your money goes each month, you're less likely to get off track...as long as you stick to the budget!

5. I can now actually see a light at the end of the debt tunnel
Before starting this plan, I honestly thought I would be paying off my school debt forever AND that was a normal thing, to have debt. I always thought it was normal for Americans  to have credit card and school debt. With planning and strong follow-through, I see an actual time frame when we realistically will see ourselves debt free. That is exciting and definitely the encouragement I need when it sucks or I would rather give up....or if I wander into Target with no chump change money left to spend.
We won't have to be in debt forever as long as we both stick to it.

So yeah, thanks Dave for ruining my life...and teaching me how grow up financially. I wish I had done it sooner!

 What about y'all? What is your relationship with money like? Any tips or tricks that help you stick to a budget?

26 January 2015

In God's Eyes, We Are All Superheroes

Me personally I never played with action figures growing up...except only when my Barbie dolls needed my brother's GI Joe's for protection. And after the time one of the GI Joe's ripped off one of my Barbie doll's head, lets just say GI Joe was out of a stable job.

This weekend I finished one of the many new books I got for Christmas, and this particular one has become a new favorite of mine. Serenity is quickly becoming a theme for me in many ways. Many of the chapters in Fr. Jonathan's book were so insightful and enlightening for me, but one chapter particularly got me thinking.

If you ever dreamed of wanting to be a super hero, did you ever consider that's what God wants for you too? He just wants us to use those amazingly cool gifts and super-powers for Him and the kingdom. Jesus needs all of us: the writers, painters, dreamers inventors, stay-at-home mom's, teachers, etc. He needs all of us engaged and committed to the mission which is souls, the salvation of the world. The world can only become what God intends through the committed actions of believers. We are not called to a life mindless living and passivity but to being an active catalyst of change.

When Jesus ascended into Heaven, his last words to the disciples were not about hunkering down in a safe place twiddling their thumbs waiting for the second coming. The last words of Jesus were an enormous and daunting commission: "Go out to the whole world and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). And those words, they were addressed to all of us.
The world needs us who call ourselves a disciple of Jesus to use our gifts and talents out in the world, just like super hero's use their powers to protect and defend. Imagine if Super Man didn't use his potential to fly to swoop down and save the person drowning? Or if Spider-man tried using his web to jump between building but he fell splat on his face? Um, awkward?
Okay so you and I cannot fly or squirt an instant spider web out of our hands, but we are called to be superheroes. We are called to make a difference in this world...and at the end of the day, that is all a superhero really is.

The Church is not just a building, but a body of believers. The life of of the Church needs to extend beyond just the front doors of the church and especially beyond Sunday morning. We have to be flashlights in a world of darkness and salt to give flavor to those who find life not worth living. What is the purpose of things like leaven, flashlights, and salt? Their purpose is to radically change the world around them. And in our own unique way, each of us can do that too.

So go out and be a difference maker. Go be a superhero. Just be you.

22 January 2015

The greatest lesson I ever learned from pro-life work

I was in college: young, stupid, self-righteous, and thought I was always right.

I was spending the afternoon with a friend doing what I thought at the time was positive work in the pro-life movement.

We were standing outside of a local grocery store holding graphic images of aborted babies. I really believed and bought that mentality I had often heard from some people involved in pro-life work: "America will never end abortion, until they see abortion."

Lots of cars drove by us standing their on the public part of the sidewalk, some honked and gave thumbs up and some  were angry and yelled four letter words at us. I still remember that one Dad who came up to someone in our group. I didn't overhear the whole conversation but it was something to the effect this father was very angry his young daughter had to be exposed to something so graphic at such a young age.

At that time in my life, I would have thought something to the effect of: "Well that's too bad for you buddy. But sometimes the truth is ugly and it hurts! You gotta just deal with it." Looking back over the years, I am not proud of thinking that and regret it deeply.

One of the greatest lessons that has helped me mature and grow as a Christian woman is being aware of the self-righteous, better-than-you attitude that has often gotten me into trouble, or at the very least given a bad impression of Christians as a whole.

In my younger and less wise days, I have thought that the delivery of the truth doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter how I act or the words I use, because sometimes the truth hurts. And if someone doesn't like? Well, then that's their issue. I didn't like to admit when I was wrong, or the very least accept criticism on how I handled or responded to something.

Last year I wrote about why I personally am not crazy about the use of graphic abortion images in public. I'm really not trying to get into a debate on the use of graphic images, but rather reflecting on my own experience and why my self-righteous attitude at the time has changed how I look at this. I am not saying that all people who use graphic images of abortion are horrible people, but me personally I wonder at how effective that style is.

I have found when you're dealing with people who disagree with you on abortion, a graphic image forced in their face is hardly going to help having a respectful, peaceful dialogue on the issue. In some ways, it can further push people apart and be more polarizing.

One of the greatest lessons I ever learned when dealing with people who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, HOW we deliver the truth matters. Our words, attitudes, and yes I would the images we use matter. And sometimes the WAYS and HOW pro-life people can deliver that message sucks. Sorry but its true. Yes we speak the truth, but if love isn't in our attitude and actions, we have already lost the battle.

One thing I have struggled with in attending the March for Life are the many graphic, even horrific images that line a certain part of the walk. For me, its too much and I know one time seeing an aborted baby is plenty for me, those images I ever saw have never left me.

When my Mom first explained what abortion was as a young child, she was very gentle and chose her words very thoughtfully. She didn't just starting throwing at me pictures of dead babies, that would have been an awful lot for a little person to take in. And I think sometimes the way graphic images are just used is not necessarily helping the mission. 

I believe deeply in the cause of right to life issues; not just abortion, but the death penalty, euthanasia, infanticide, etc. I have raised money for crisis pregnancy centers and grown up spiritually adopting unborn babies. This is a cause I believe in. But I also deeply believe in having respectful, loving attitudes and interactions with those who disagree with me.

And at the end of the day, I wonder how much graphic images help or hurt the mission of pro-life work.

Please join me today in praying for the hundreds of thousands of American peacefully marching in the capitol to speak up for those who have no voice.

21 January 2015

5 Tips for Intentional Social Media Use

As I have started 2015, one thing I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon are the many ways I waste time in life,especially through constant and mindless social media usage. Now I am not gonna jump on the soap box that spews social media is evil, bad, and from the Devil. Because actually it isn't. On the contrary, it is a great good and powerful tool that can bring people together. But sometimes there can be to much of a good thing...

When whatever that good thing is becomes all-consuming or begins to take priority to other things, that's usually an indication that something needs to change. For me that has slowly become my relationship with social media. Sure I love Instagram or a good blog post like the next person, but I am seeing that is has too much power in my life. I waste a lot of time by seeing what's new on Facebook or how many likes an Instagram picture has.

I go on many times throughout the day, and sometimes I'm embarrassed to say it has been the first and last thing I do in my day. I realize it has a hold on me that is too intense and strong. So part of my moving from mindless to purposeful living, is really evaluating and being intentional with how and when I use social media. I know things need to change and having tangible goals on how to better use social media will help me live a more purposeful life.

Picture taken by Annie

1. Build into life media-free days/weekends
Think of this like a silent retreat, but only its from your favoritest social media apps. Choose one day a week or one weekend a month to fast entirely from social media. Nothing will show you much you rely on something until you fast from it for a period of time. For me, I am going to start with one weekend a month that I fast from social media. Now if you're anything like me, that's a nice idea in theory but it doesn't become real until I commit to follow through. For me writing it in my planner with loads of colorful highlighter marks helps me to make the commitment. January 30-February 1 commences my first weekend media fast...let the games begin!

2. Don't have your social media apps right up front on your phone
Such a simple, but very powerful tool! I can take the credit for this but was really inspired when I read it in Lara Casey's book. If you want your social media usage to be more intentional, you need to set yourself up for success! Lara encourages her readers to create a folder on the last page on phone apps. Make a catchy title like "Be Intentional" or "Use with Purpose" to remind yourself every time you enrage on social media to do so with purpose and intentionality.
I've already started doing this, and it certainly is making me take a second glance before I jump onto Facebook or Instagram for some "mindless browsing."

3. Write out a clear mission statement for social media usage
If you want to be intentional with social media, a clearly defined mission statement can help you see what is your purpose for using and engaging with a particular media. Another great tip from Lara is what she sums up so well here: "When I find myself wanting to quit the Internet or slipping back into using it as an escape, I go right back to that mission statement (to encourage other people to know God) to check my motive and get right back to giving. I'm certainly not perfect at this, but my social media usage has been more purposeful since I put this in place." When we clearly define and understand why we do something, it actually help us be more present and focused to the task at hand.

4. Don't constantly check it throughout the day
This one can be hard for me. But one definite way for me to be more intentional is have set times to go on. For me, what this looks like is two sweeps a day on all my favorites (Facebook, Instagram, and Bloglovin): one in the morning and once again late afternoon/early evening. This one has been a little tougher for me, but even trying it shows me how time I have wasted or not used to focus on what really matters.
Give it try, you might find yourself surprised!

5. Don't use past a certain time
I am sure you have heard of that healthy living tip? The one that encourages you to not eat late at night or eating past a certain time? Well implement the same idea with how often you use social media! Let's be honest here. Why really do we go on Facebook or scroll through Instagram at 11:15p on a work night? Are we afraid of missing something? Why is it so hard to give it a rest and put the phone down? That answer would probably be different for all of us, but I think its an important one to ask. Think on that one for awhile....good food for thought.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to add? How can you be more intentional in how you use social media? 

19 January 2015

It's the most Sheenazing time of the year!!

Um, what the heck am I talking about?! Glad you asked:)

This lovely lady named Bonnie started this awesome thing called the Sheenazing Awards. Every January, Bonnie organizes and hosts these blogging extraordinaire awards for all kinds of different blogs. Its an awesome way to build community in the blogosphere, find new blogs/vlogs/podcasts to follow, and vote for your favorites in a variety of themed categories!! 

The Sheenazing Blogger Awards get their unique name from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, a Catholic bishop who was amazing at using the media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic faith in a variety of ways. This guy was the real deal and he even had a live weekly TV show in the 1950's on prime-time television. Oh and did I mention he wore a sick cap too?! #evangelizationatitsfinest
Bonnie has a personal and deep devotion to the life/mission of Sheen and this is an awesome way to honor his life as well as celebrate the best and brightest in the world of Catholic blogging.

This year I got nominated for the Best Under-Appreciated Blog. Insert Tina Fey.

I'm thrilled to even just to be nominated! Be sure to take a few minutes to go and vote for your favorite blogs, I know I just cast my ballot and am excited to see who the winner's will be.
Here's a few of my personal favorites:

Funniest Blog:
Tough one to choose, but I am all about my girl Dwija. Its very common to leave her blog laughing so hard my sides hurt...and there was the one time I went to her house for lunch over the summer.

Best Looking Blog:
Olivia is one of my favorite blogs to read and I love her simple, fresh design. It is just so pretty to look at...good luck girl!!

Best Lifestyle Blog:
Really its crazy hard to choose one, but if I could pick three I would hands down say Nell, Jenna, and Britt.

Best Under-Appreciated Blog:
Some of my favorite reads here are most definitely Elise and Gina...and of course this is where I awkwardly self-promote, asking you to throw a vote in my direction. #noshame ;-)

15 Nominee SA
Eeekk!! {Squels in delight}
Best Podcast:
I love both Jennifer Fulwiler and Fountains of Carrots...good luck ladies!!

One of the bestest and most fun things about blogging are all the amazing people you get to meet and know through their blogs. It's like a virtual tour into a person's home and life in a way that makes me wish we could be real life forever friends. The Sheenazing Awards is another way to build community as well as celebrate all the awesome folks using their on-line life to mean something and make a difference.

So mosey on over and be sure to cast your ballots by Friday!!!
May the best blog win!

14 January 2015

Mindless living vs. Purposeful living

As I am working through my PowerSheets, dreaming and planning, a theme I notice that keeps coming up in my writing is craving a more purposeful life instead of just mindless living.

Photo taken by Annie
I am noticing more and more how I find myself wasting time in little ways that really add up over time. I find myself more distracted and not really good at entering into the present moment in front of me. You know its bad when you're watching an episode of "I Love Lucy" with your husband when you just "have" to scroll through Instagram real quick. Constant little things like this rob me the joy of just being present in life...not to mention the message that can send Jim while we're just relaxing together.

I often pride myself on being very good at multitasking, and yes it has a time and place in life. But when life starts to become only about getting as much done as possible, you actually miss out on life: an intentional life with purpose...you are just living life mindlessly. Its not about getting everything checked off my to-do list, but about doing things well rather than perfect. When my attention is constantly divided in multitasking, I am unable to focus and do the one task well that is currently in front of me.

Author and blogger Lara Casey sums it up very well here: "Busy is the enemy of peace...I don't want to move so fast that I miss my life." Our fast paced world places great value on being busy and getting lots of stuff done. I don't know about you, but I need to stop the glorification of busy. Sometimes its easy to act like my busy life is something to brag about or be proud of, like it's a merit badge or rite of passage to become one of those busy folks. A purposeful life doesn't just happen automatically. It takes time, intentionality, and changing things in life.

I don't want to live life as an emergency, always rushing from one task to the next without being able to be present to the moment in front of me. I want my life to be rich, full, beautiful, and led by God. I want to be able to do more of what fires me up. Mindless living to me is living life without purpose, without a focus on what really matters. And what really matters is when my life and God's purpose line up...then anything can happen! Mindless living looks like wasting time on things that really don't matter and worrying about the things I cannot control. When I am 80 years old someday I want to look back on it all with great gratitude. I want to see I lived my one life well: dripping with purpose, meaning, and joy. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter how many followers I have on Instagram or how many people read my blog. While those things are a piece of my life, they should not consume my life.

So what then, exactly does purposeful living look like for me?

  • Less wasting time excessively on social media, at work, negativity, gossip
  • More silence and quiet in prayer
  • Doing more of what fires me up, fills my tank up: good books, writing, running
  • Manage and use my time more effectively
  • More serenity and peace
  • Less comparing myself to others
  • Less clutter and excess...more simplicity 
  • More of living in the present moment well

What about you? Where do you need more purposeful living in your own life?

09 January 2015

Find Yo People

Community is a funny thing. We all need it and we all desperately crave it; a place to fit in and belong, a place where you're loved and accepted for who you are.  We crave it. And God knows all of this. We are made to be in community with Him and each other, its written into our very soul.

Over the past year or so I have been learning about friendship and intentional community. I have had to make difficult decisions realizing that certain people where no longer good friends to have in my life. And that's never fun to have to deal with. But I have also been blown away by the surprises God has led me to to find deeper more authentic friendships and a true sense of community.

Since I started writing for Blessed is She, I've been blown away by the many different women I have gotten to know through the inter-webs. Whether it is our own blogs, prayer requests on Facebook groups, or a particular daily meditation; we really have become a community built and centered around our faith...which by the way are the best kinds of communities.
I feel like I can a lot of these women friends, mentors, and even sisters! Community can be difficult and even tricky to find online sometimes

Working with teenagers is its own brand of something crazy. Awesome, but crazy nonetheless. Having a supportive community of youth ministry friends and mentors helps balance all that organized chaos. Two of my closest friends in high school and college are now youth ministers in the local area near me. I love being able to call them up for advice, prayer, or of course an occasional lunch "work meeting." I love being part of a church that creates support and networks for those who work and minister with the young church.

At our church, I have been so blessed to be a part of faith-sharing/support/prayer group. These ladies are salt of the earth and hands down some of the most faithful, courageous, and strong women I have ever met. They have taught me more about strength, growth, and surrender than any group of people I have ever met. These gals are my hero's.for many reasons. As 2015 begins, I am really looking forward to retreating away for the night today with them off for some peace, prayer, and quiet.

Being in community takes work and can often be messy. It is vulnerable and may feel a little scary at times...but when you find your people, the ones who pray with you, celebrate with you, challenge you, cry with you, and encourage you, cherish them deeply. Hold onto them with all you've got. Because that is THE best kind of community...people who love and accept you for who you are and where you are, no strings attached.

Maybe you're reading this and feel like you don't have such a place in your own life. Honestly, we've all been there. Be open and and ask God to lead you and send you the right people in your life. I know in my life I've had to do that too. Fear not, God has a community and people He wants you to be a part of.

So go out and find yo people. We all need each other.

Where have you found life-giving communities to be a part of? Who are your people?

07 January 2015

Stop Chasing Perfect.

I have some deep seated perfectionist tendencies in me. I want the apartment to look clean all the time, everybody to like me, more blog followers, and my marriage look like its put together all the time. If it doesn't look perfect, something is not right.

Chasing perfect has come in many different shapes and sizes throughout life: comparing myself to others, feeling I'm not good enough at certain things, wanting more likes/follows on social media, like I don't have enough friends, and honestly the list could go on. Over the years, chasing perfect has left me tired, unfulfilled, exhausted, frustrated, and at times not liking myself...because I couldn't meet exceptions that the world offered to me.

The world puts expectations on us. Some are good like paying taxes; nobody wants to go to prison for stealing from the government. And some are not so good; you have to look/act a certain way, money makes you happy, when you have the perfect house/job/marriage then you'll be set in life, etc.

I am really focusing on serenity this year. And as I kick off 2015, I have started reading this book and working with power sheets to strategically plan goals to make what matters in my life happen. Think dreaming, creativity, and goal setting X10 (I would highly recommend them!!). Both have got me thinking and dreaming...thinking about the goals I have for myself and how do they align with God's will for my life....dreaming about the things that fire me up and bring energy.joy.passion.to my life.

And all of this has got me thinking on how to go from "mindless living" to "purposeful living". For me, one of the ways I mindlessly go through my life is trying to be perfect or work to meet expectations that actually don't really amount to a hill of beans. When I give up on perfection, I can make room for more grace...God's grace, which is transforming. Constantly seeking after and striving for perfection never works. But living with purpose and on purpose helps me open up to God's will for my life. And that's what I want more of as I work through creating and setting goals that inspire/challenge me; more meaning and purpose...more living on purpose.

Guess what? Our apartment is a hot mess sometimes, some people don't and won't like me, I don't have a "big" blog, and our marriage is far from perfect and can be messy. But in the end that's okay.
Trying to juggle all those different things we think have to be perfect is exhausting, and eventually some will fall and hit the floor. Life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Life doesn't have to be perfect to be filled to the brim with meaning and purpose. There is purpose, meaning, and joy found even in the messiest of messes.

Knowing that is freeing. It gives us freedom to just be ourselves...freedom to make mistakes...and freedom to give up control and grab onto God.

Goodbye perfection! Hello purposeful living!

02 January 2015

7QT: Christmas insanity, books out the wazoo, and NYE pillow forts

Been a long time since I linked up, but I figured since being on vacation has given me more free time I would play along.

1. Christmas was perfect, just a blast. Jim and I went to church on Christmas Eve, where we happened to sit in front of a local news anchor from the Detroit area. I got distracted only a little bit. We came home to our tradition of breakfast food. And guess what? Turns out that chocolate chip orange ricotta pancakes are pretty darn good. Add some maple syrup and you'll be in a diabetic coma. Merry Christmas!
Jim got me some fun things which made me laugh: like a box of 100 hundred cookie cutters, complete with shapes, animals, and letters. I don't know which made me smile more that or the mini humidifier with a night light to help my bloody noses.
Christmas morning we went to the in-laws and then went to my folks in the afternoon. The best thing about when my family gets together is how loud we all become. My Mom drafted us all into playing a family game which involved lots of yelling and several of us near wetting ourselves. Then we just HAD to have a family photo, which resulted in this:
From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!
2. One of my favorite Christmas presents was all the new books I got. Reading is my drug of choice so when I got 8 new ones for Christmas I was in paradise. I'm half tempted to leave the tree up for a good long while so I can continue to have this view when I curl up with a good book...wonder what a Christmas tree would look like decorated for the 4th of July? hmmm....

3. I decided to pick a new word for 2015. I also picked two patron saints for the year and got St. Monica and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Looking forward to becoming friends with these two holy peeps!

4. Right after Christmas, we went up north for a few days with a friend. While we were there, Jim and I went to see the movie Unbroken. It was this small little theater in a small town that only plays two movies at a time in theater. The movie was great, and if you haven't read either of these   books on Louis Zamperini's life. It was great night out minus the part I accidentally walked into the men's room to use the bathroom. It must have been because I was all hyped out on Milk Duds.

5. New Year's Eve was very chill. We came home from dinner and watched Santa Claus is coming to town amid the crazy pillow fort Jim made in the living room. After the movie we proceeded to fall asleep until midnight, when we were awoken by our neighbors banging their pots and illegal fireworks. Then we fell back asleep until 1:30am and were awoken by myself having a nightmare that our apartment was on fire because we forgot to blow out the candles. On that happy note, we decided to go to bed for realz this time.

6. Today we're using one of our favorite Christmas gifts fr the afternoon! My aunt and uncle got Jim and I a year membership to Greenfield Village. This place pretty much sums much of good childhood memories. The village is actually closed now for winter, so we're heading to the museum for the afternoon.

7. Jim got bacon flavored floss in his stocking from my parents on Christmas. I deeply love bacon, but this floss smells nasty. And almost ruined my love for bacon. If you're looking for a stocking stuffer for the man in your life next year, don't get the bacon floss.Please.

Happy New Year and have a great weekend!!

01 January 2015

One Little Word {2015}

This past year I was amazed how the word I chose to challenge and grow me really did just that.

There were several area's I really needed to focus on in an intentional way. Looking back on 2014, I am blown away by all the lessons I have learned and insights along the journey.

Over the past week, I have been thinking a lot on what word I want to shape me in 2015.

The more I thought and prayed about it, the more I knew my word for 2015 was serenity.

Over the past year, I have really come to reflect a lot on what serenity means in my life.  Serenity is not just for people working the 12 steps but really for everybody. Serenity is about peace, calm, surrender, and stillness. In our crazy fast-paced world today, who doesn't need more of those in life?? Serenity is about being at peace with yourself and your place in this crazy, beautiful world. It is about accepting life on life's terms...and being at peace with that (or striving to) no matter where life takes you.

Serenity is about acceptance and surrender. Throughout 2014, I really began to pray from the heart the Serenity prayer. These words stretch me like a rubber band, and remind me that I am really not in control. Even to this day I still set alarms on my phone several times a day to stop and take a few minutes to really pray these words from the heart.

Serenity is teaching me to accept the many things/situations/people in life I cannot control (which at times are many!). As a recovering control freak, it is quite the reality check to accept the idea that I'm not in control.

The only person I have control over is me, and sometimes that can be hard enough. It takes a lot of courage to be aware of the things I can change and then to act on them in faith. However, it takes even more wisdom to discern and know the difference between the two.

And that's what I need more and more as 2015 starts: more peace, acceptance, surrender, courage, and wisdom...

2015 is all about serenity for me.

Are you choosing a word for 2015?

What will be the word to inspire you the coming year?

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