He Restores My Soul

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Because I overload my schedule,

Because I don’t know how to say “no”,

Because I keep everything to myself,

Because I believe asking for help is a sign of weakness,

Because I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders,

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He MAKES me.

He frees me of obligations.

He lightens my load.

He loosens my grip.

He reminds me that He is in control.

He quiets my heart and gives me rest.

He restores my soul.

Because He is the Good Shepherd and I –

I am his stubborn little sheep.

 

 

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Don’t Cry Over Uncooked Chicken

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Bad days. We all have them. Even me – the chick who’s always talking about happiness. And this past week has been filled with them. One, especially, was a doozy! It began badly and escalated into something even worse. By the time I made it home after work that day, all I wanted to do was vent to my husband and curl up in my bed. But one of my husband’s co-workers was at the house. Venting was out of the question. So I ended up in the kitchen with a new recipe in front of me and a determination to cook away my problems.

I’ve said this before: it is so very strange that I find solace in cooking since I have no idea what I’m doing! It could be that the challenge of learning (and conquering!) something new creates a distraction from the worries of life. Or the appeal may be the creativity involved – gathering all the separate ingredients and putting everything together to produce something wonderful in the end. No matter the reason, cooking has become my emotional outlet.

So with the weight of the day on my shoulders, I set out to cook a chicken, bacon and ranch casserole. I prepared the ingredients as instructed – cut up the chicken into cubes, cut up the broccoli, cooked and crumbled the bacon and mixed it all together with cream cheese, ranch dressing and shredded cheddar. Then I checked the last bit of instructions to see how long the casserole was to cook:

“Bake until hot about 35 minutes.”

Until hot? Wait. That seemed like very strange wording for cooking instructions. I scrolled back to the top of the recipe to see if I had missed something. And there it was – the very first ingredient on the list:

“1.5 lb. cooked chicken, cubed”

COOKED? Really?

I looked at my casserole dish filled with the gooey combination of raw cubes of chicken, ranch dressing, cream cheese and all the other fixings. I almost lost it. I had just spent over an hour thawing out the chicken (cause I never remember to take the meat out of the freezer), cutting the raw chicken into small chunks (which really grosses me out and almost causes me to never eat chicken again), thawing and cooking the bacon (cause I like crispy bacon) and figuring out if I could substitute ranch dressing for the mayo and spices the recipe called for (Why not just call for ranch dressing in a chicken, bacon and ranch casserole?). It was all I could do to hold back the tears.

This cooking therapy session was doing me no good at all!

My initial response was to throw the whole thing out and order a pizza. Actually, throwing it across the room was my first impulse but then I would’ve had to clean up the mess. I certainly didn’t want to do that! So I decided to fish out all the pieces of uncooked chicken and brown them in a skillet. (I may have been able to cook the casserole as it was but I didn’t want to take any chances with chicken.) After the chicken was cooked, I mixed up the casserole a second time and put it in the oven. The finished product was delicious.

We ate. The family was satisfied. My bad day still loomed.

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(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

It bothers me to stress over my bad days. I know that there are so many who have worse problems than I. But there are times when the bad seems to latch on and not let go. I went to bed troubled and praying.

The next morning I awoke with a song in my heart:

“Oh, my soul,
You are not alone.
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.
One more day, He will make a way.
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone.”¹

God is good, isn’t He? He is always with us, even on the bad days. He walks right beside us and He’ll even carry our burdens – if we let Him. He is big enough to handle every problem, every worry, every sorrow, every question, every fear, everything.

You see, God is pretty creative, too. And just like gathering all the ingredients of a recipe and combining them into something wonderfully delicious, He has no problem gathering all the pieces of our lives, the good days and bad, the triumphs and failures, the joys and sorrows, and fashioning these pieces into something wonderful. It may take some adjustments to the recipe – fishing out what is wrong, reworking it or even throwing it out altogether – but in the end, the results of God’s handiwork are always beyond compare.

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Have you found yourself crying over uncooked chicken lately? Have you experienced any bad days? Maybe you’re experiencing a string of bad days. If you are, please remember, you don’t walk through these bad days alone. God is with you and He is waiting for you to hand Him your burdens. So, go ahead, hand ’em over and watch God’s creativity at work.

¹”Oh, My Soul” by Casting Crowns

Happiness in Marriage

764D6E83-D815-46BB-9E71-F6B57F24328DThis week my husband and I celebrated twenty years of marriage. TWENTY YEARS! I feel as if I should be receiving an Olympic gold medal. Maybe two. I’ll settle for platinum, if available. 😉

I’m not a mushy, gushy kinda girl so I don’t want my husband to send me roses or buy me jewelry. That money could be applied elsewhere. And if he had presented me with the traditional 20th Anniversary gift of china, my first response would have been, “Do you still have the receipt?”

I know. I’m weird. Or maybe I’m simply practical. I don’t know. My husband thinks I’m awesome, though! (Hahaha!)

To celebrate my 20th, I thought I’d share a few of my secrets to happiness in marriage – twenty secrets to be exact. Now that I think about it, these may be more like things I wish I knew on Day 1 rather than secrets to success but valuable knowledge nonetheless.

So, here we go – my twenty “secrets” to happiness in marriage (in no specific order). I’ll try to keep them short.

20. Don’t buy into the whole “Wedded Bliss” idea.

Okay. I know this sounds horrible but hear me out. Nothing in life is perfect – especially a marriage. Although you’ll have times when you’re living on Cloud 9, you’re also going to have times when you feel your marriage is falling apart. It can get rough. So, if you’re expecting the Fairy Tale, you’re in for a shock. Remembering that you are two imperfect people striving to create a life together will do wonders for your wedded bliss!

19.  Don’t keep score.

Again, neither of you are perfect. You’ll both make mistakes. But marriage isn’t a game so don’t keep a record of each other’s wrongs. Forgive and forget!

18. Understand that marriage isn’t 50/50.

It’s 100/100. Marriage takes two people giving 100% of themselves to make it work. Sure, there will be times when you or your spouse cannot give 100%. We all have those times when we have to depend on the strength of others. So when your spouse doesn’t have 100% to give, take up the slack. Then on days when you are lacking, let your spouse take up the slack. Just remember – don’t keep score!

17.  Learn to say “I’m sorry”.

A LOT! Most of us hate to admit when we are wrong but those two little words go a long way – if you are sincere.

16. Always buy the bigger comforter!

Maybe you’ve been there. It’s the middle of the night. You wake up to find that your spouse has rolled over in bed and taken the blanket with him. All you’re left with is a tiny sliver of fabric to shield yourself from the arctic blast coming from the A/C vent. For newlyweds and cuddly-natured folk, this may not be a problem. For those of us who need a little leg room to get a good night’s sleep, having a larger sized comforter makes all the difference in the world. Separate blankets work great, too!

15. Respect your spouse.

Don’t undermine your spouse. Don’t contradict your spouse in front of your children. Don’t talk down to your spouse. Don’t argue in front of others. Don’t compare your spouse to the spouse of another. Treat your spouse exactly how you would like to be treated. This should be a no brainer but because of such closeness and familiarity, respect often gets thrown out the window. Don’t let it.

14. Never expect what you haven’t spoken.

This is a tough one, especially for wives, I think. We believe our husbands should know what we want or know what should be done without us having to tell them. It’s an unrealistic expectation and the cause of many arguments that could easily be avoided if we only learned to verbalize what we want or expect – even if we think our spouse should already know. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

13. Choose your battles wisely.

Not everything is worth an argument. Unfortunately, this is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. <SIGH>

12. Remember that your attitude sets the tone.

It’s easy to let the mood of your spouse affect your own. It’s actually natural but it can also be a disaster waiting to happen. If your spouse is in a fowl mood, don’t let it pull you down, as well. In fact, your positive mood could just as easily sway the attitude of your spouse. So, set the tone.

11. Give each other space.

If you can’t keep from being affected by your spouse’s negative mood, you may simply need to give your spouse (and yourself) some space. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you have to spend every waking moment together. You really do need time apart.

10. Little things make a big difference.

I say this so often but only because it’s true! Buy your spouse his/her favorite sweets. Write a hidden “I love you” on the bathroom mirror which is only revealed by the steam of the shower. Little gestures go a long way.

9. Serve each other.

Give of yourself. Have a tall glass of cold tea waiting on your husband when he gets home. Wash the sink full of dishes so your wife will have one less thing to do after work. When you serve each other, you’re strengthening your relationship, providing for your spouse’s needs and showing your spouse how much you love and respect him/her.

8. Learn to appreciate his/her love language.

How does your spouse show his/her love for you? Does he keep your car in perfect working condition? Does she prepare five course meals for you? Figure out your spouse’s love language, acknowledge it and show your appreciation for it.

7. Listen to your spouse.

Turn off your device. Put it out of reach. Turn your face toward your spouse and make eye contact. Listen with all of you.

6. Laugh together.

Laughter is not only beneficial to individually health but also to the health of your marriage. Find ways to laugh with your spouse every day.

5. Be honest.

ALWAYS. Don’t even lie about the little things. Lies lead to mistrust. And trust is so very difficult to regain.

4. Compromise.

You and your spouse are not always going to see eye-to-eye. At some point in your relationship, compromises will have to be made. Be willing to meet in the middle or even give up your desire or point of view altogether.

3. Support your spouse.

Be your spouse’s biggest fan. Praise him/her at home and in the presence of others. Stand beside your spouse when no one else will. Support his/her dreams. Help your spouse reach his/her goals. When you build up your spouse, you’re also building up your marriage. It’s a win/win situation.

2. Dream together.

Plan your future together. Talk about it. Pray about it and make it happen – together.

1. PRAY.

Without ceasing. The key to happiness in marriage is God. When we strive to build a marriage that honors the Lord, all the other mess falls by the wayside. Pray daily for God to strengthen your marriage. Pray daily for your spouse. Be specific and be consistent.

Whew! Marriage is hard! I guess that’s why the Apostle Paul said it was better to remain single! But when you find the one you were meant to build a life with, it makes all the difference in the world.

Twenty years! My dad (who celebrates 57 years of marriage with my mom this year) says 20 is a great start. My husband and I have a long way to go to catch up to my parents but I’m looking forward to every single moment of it!

What about you? What would you add to my list of secrets to a happy marriage?

Happiness in Imperfection

Wonderfully Made

She walked in the room and looked down at me. I wasn’t surprised by her serious expression nor was I surprised by her remarks.

“Your pics are bad,” she reported. She glanced over at my husband and reiterated, “They’re bad.”

I simply nodded my head in agreement for even though I had not seen what she had, I knew her assessment was correct. She was my doctor, after all.

No, the pics she was reviewing were not head shots for my blog (although I could use a new one of those!). The pictures to which my doctor was referring were x-rays of my spine.

When life gives you Lemons…

Lemons and Grace

My scoliosis was detected in my preteen years. I was no stranger to physical malady, however. I had been living with a genetic muscle disorder all of my life. Scoliosis was just another lemon to add to the pitcher. But I have to tell you, these lemons were pretty rotten. How do you make the best of a muscle disorder that prevents you from living a “normal” life and a spinal condition that disfigures your body and promises even greater complications in the future?

Grace. My only answer is Grace.

God’s sufficient Grace

The way I see it, my life has been one big miracle. From walking when the neurologists said it wasn’t possible to roller skating, bike riding and tree climbing, a diagnosis didn’t seem to stop me. The typical activities of children were challenges that I faced with the love and support of family and friends. Some activities were (and still are) more challenging than others, like climbing a flight of stairs (Check out my post about the stairs of life here.), but I did it. I pushed myself to live a “normal” life. None of it was normal, though. I had to learn to compensate my weaknesses with my strengths. I had to take advantage of railings or whatever was available (including people) to pull me along or assist in climbing or getting up after a frequent fall. I had to adapt to make it through life. It hasn’t been easy and I know that if it weren’t for God’s grace…

Well, I try not to think about that.

God’s Work on Display

My Weakness

So, here I am, a few decades down the road from its first detection, and I find myself facing the inevitable. The scoliosis has progressed along with all of its lovely side effects – deformity, labored mobility and pain. I’ve been ignoring it, telling myself that it’s my norm. The reality is I didn’t want to admit that I needed medical help. It’s discouraging to face my imperfections and dependence head on (Have I ever talked with you about my stubbornness? 😉 ) but I’m doing my best to keep it all in perspective. (Really, I am.)

You see, I don’t believe I was cursed. I don’t believe God gave these problems to me. None of us are perfect. We all have something in our lives that makes us feel abnormal whether we admit it or not. What I do believe is that God can use my medical issues to display His mighty works. In fact, as I look at all He has enabled me to accomplish, in my physical growth and in every area of my life, I realize His Grace has always been shining brightly in me, through me and around me as a miraculous beacon of hope – a hope that will carry me through all that is to come.

Finally, Lemonade!

Since I began this post, I have had my first visit (in 18 years) with a chiropractor. He showed me my x-rays and as I already mentioned, my doctor was right. It’s not good. (I’d show them to you but that’d be taking transparency a little bit too far, don’t you think? 😉 )

On the bright side, though, I have learned that I am the topic of conversation throughout the entire doctor’s office. It seems I’ve presented them with a case unlike they have ever seen. In the words of the chiropractor, “There is no textbook for [me].” Well, what d’ya know! I’m one of a kind.

Now how’s that for lemonade! 🙂

And Fortune Smiled

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From a pile of 8 or so fortune cookies, the “Eeyore” in my life picked up this one. How fortunate!

(Check out my post on the Eeyores of life here.)

Immediately, he placed the cookie’s secret message in front of me without saying a word. The reveal had nothing to do with my blog posts, though – my Eeyore doesn’t read them. I knew that bringing it to my attention meant he heard the message loud and clear.

It’s a little disconcerting to be overshadowed by a cookie. You see, I’ve been preaching this same message to him day in and day out. He appears to be listening and always responds in agreement.

“Yes, I know it’s how I look at things.”

“Yes, I know I control my own happiness.”

“Yes, yes. You’re right.”

But the message never seems to make it past his earlobes.

I suppose it takes something out of the ordinary to get our attention every now and then. However, those attention grabbers may not always turn out to be as yummy as a cookie. For many of us, it takes a hard knock or two to wake us up and prompt us to make a change. We’re so wonderfully headstrong, aren’t we!

However, for some of us, we only need the wake up call to be delivered in an unsuspected or unusual method – like a fortune cookie.

So, go ahead, my Eeyore. Ignore the encouragement I’ve been giving you for years and listen to the stinkin’ cookie!

I’m pretty sure whoever wrote that fortune has been reading my blog, anyway. 😉

 

 

Happiness in Uncertainty

We all have those moments of uncertainty in life. If you're like me, those moments are experienced daily! In this post, you will find the secret to being happy even in those uncertain times.

“I know one thing for sure,” my husband declared as he walked through our bedroom door with a tall glass of sweet tea in his hand. The statement came out of nowhere but was made as if the two of us had finished a long debate on some deep subject about which neither of us were able to come to any conclusion and the only way to end such a debate was to state a matter of certainty. It’s highly possible, though, that my husband had debated the matter all in his head prior to entering our room and felt the need to sum it up for me with his enlightened statement of truth.

No matter, I was curious and eagerly inquired of his certainty. “What’s that?” I asked.

He paused for a brief moment at the foot of our bed as if searching for the perfect words to express his great truth. Finally he replied, “Give me a minute. I’m trying to remember what I was going to tell you.” Then he lifted his glass and took a long drink of sweet tea as I laughed at his forgetfulness.

And I did laugh – not because I was mocking him (well, maybe just a little – okay! A lot!) but because that brief conversation with my husband pretty much sums up my life. When I think I have it all figured out, life always takes a surprising turn and everything I thought I knew for certain gets thrown out the window. I find myself stumped and perplexed around every bend and when called upon to take action or make a decision or simply respond, I hear myself saying, “Uhm. Give me a minute.”

Ah, but maybe that’s the certainty: Life is uncertain. And maybe that’s what makes life worth living. If I had all the answers, if I knew every situation I would face, what kind of life would that be? Sure, if I knew what problems await me tomorrow, I could take steps to avoid them. But what if by avoiding a problem, I miss a valuable lesson that could help me in the future or make me a better me? And wouldn’t knowing all the good that was coming my way take some of the joy out of the blessing?

I don’t know.

I do know that in my moments of uncertainty, I can always look to the One who knows it all. He holds my every moment in His hands and He is working them all for my good. That doesn’t mean I won’t face any problems or that I won’t have those times when all I want to do is run and hide because I don’t have any answers and can’t seem to figure anything out. But it does mean that I don’t have to face any of my moments of uncertainty alone.

Yes, life is uncertain. But there is one thing I know for sure…

You’ll have to give me a minute, though. I’m trying to remember. 😉

The Power of a Breakfast Casserole

Wouldn’t you know it! As soon as I write a “How To” on maintaining happiness (Check out Happiness Is… A Keeper), the devil begins his attack. (That’s his M.O., though.) My focus has been the target and as I mentioned in my previous post, focus has a huge effect on our happiness.

Focus, KJ. Focus.

So, what do we do when our focus becomes a little blurry? I find it helpful to spend time doing something I love. It gets my mind off the negativity and boosts my spirits which always helps me tune in to the important things of life. Oddly enough, cooking has become one of my go-to refocusing tools. (Yeah. Completely surprised me, too!)

Okay, devil! I’ve got a skillet and I know how to use it!

This morning, I hit the kitchen around 9:15. I had my heart set on a breakfast casserole but first, I had to find a recipe. That always takes some time. Pinterest has way too many choices. I finally settled on Fully Loaded Cheesy Breakfast Casserole from “The Slow Roasted Italian”. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that this recipe was my inspiration. I didn’t quite follow it. (It’s amazing I ended up with something edible. I really have no idea what I’m doing! 😉 )

 Breakfast Casserole by KJ

First, I gathered all the ingredients – well, almost all. I kinda grabbed stuff as I went along. But here is a list of the ingredients I used:

1 lb. ground mild sausage
Half bag of frozen diced hash brown potatoes (it’s all I had in the freezer)
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 green peppers
1 medium onion
2 cups of shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese (almost 2 cups – again, I used what I had)
1 tbsp. Minced garlic
Salt and Pepper

How to (and how not to, in some instances) prepare:

Preheat oven to 350º. The recipe called for a temp of 375º. I have no idea where I came up with 350º but it turned out fine.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking oil and set to the side.

Defrost ground sausage. So, I didn’t plan ahead and the sausage was in the freezer. On top of that, it turned out to be 2 pounds of sausage. I only needed one but had to defrost all of it. I guess I’ll find something to cook with the remaining sausage tomorrow.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee. This is going to take a while!

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While waiting for the sausage to defrost, chop the onion and peppers. One of my peppers was a hybrid – half green, half orange. (Genetic engineering? Hmmm…) I only chopped the orange side so really I only used one and a half peppers.

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Once sausage is defrosted, add to a skillet along with the chopped onions, peppers and minced garlic. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.

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Scoop out meat and vegetable mixture, allowing the grease to drain back into the skillet, and spread into the casserole dish. You can use a slotted spoon or one of these handy scoops: (I’m not gonna tell you what I think this scoop looks like. You may lose your appetite. But, I promise, I bought it in the kitchen department!)

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Drain some of the grease from the skillet until there is about 3 tablespoons remaining. (Just eyeball it, I guess. ??)

Return skillet to stove and add hash browns. Cook according to the package instructions: spread in single layer in pan, cover and allow to brown for 4 – 7 minutes on each side on medium-high heat.

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While hash browns are browning, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl. I repeat, LARGE bowl. It’s hard to whisk when you’re worried about sloshing egg all over your counter like I was!

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Switch to whisking with a fork because plastic whisk ain’t cuttin’ it. (Note to self: Find metal whisk! Where is that thing?)

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Check stove for cause of burning smell. Ugh! This is why I can’t do two things at once while cooking.

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Salvage the non-burnt potatoes and spread over the sausage and vegetables in the casserole dish. (Oops, I missed a burnt one or two!)

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Spend five minutes or more scraping out skillet while it’s still hot. (I learned that at the Japanese steak house where you not only get a fun show and great meal, you get a kitchen clean up lesson, as well!) Now, where was I… Oh, yeah.

Next, pour egg mixtu- – No, wait. That’s not right. I’m forgetting something. The cheese!

Next, sprinkle cheese on the casserole.

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Now pour the egg mixture as evenly as possible into the casserole.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean. (I actually knew that before I started all this cooking nonsense. 😉 )

Use baking time to clean up your mess.

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Reheat coffee for the third, maybe fourth, time and then wait.

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Beep, beep, beep. Look at this beautiful casserole! It was yummy, too!

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It took me 2 and a half hours to make (I told you I don’t know what I’m doing!) but by the time I was done, the thing that was stealing my attention no longer mattered. In fact, my only distraction at the moment was the rumbling of my tummy.

But that was quickly remedied. 🙂

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A Year of Smiles – Day 365

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Reason to SMILE #365: A NEW YEAR

It’s New Year’s Eve! The countdown to 2018 has begun. Many of you may be getting all gussied up and will soon be heading out to a New Year’s Eve celebration filled with music, laughter, excitement and fun. Others, like me, are getting all gussied down (Is that a thing?), cozying up on the couch in pajamas and looking forward to a quiet evening with the family. Well, at least, until the neighborhood fireworks begin.

Whatever your plans this New Year’s Eve, please be safe. And remember to look out for the SMILES. They really are all around – in the little moments, the connections with others, the quiet thoughts, the striking revelations, the selfless acts of kindness, the gentle tears, the rays of hope and all the many different gifts God allows in every minute of our lives in order to grow us, mature us, and bring us closer to Him.

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With the new year comes new opportunities for so many SMILES. So keep your eyes peeled. God is always doing something new.

Happy New Year!

A Year of Smiles – Day 364

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Reason to SMILE #364: LOOKING FORWARD

One more day, my friends, and we will be greeting the new year! Are you excited? Are you anxious for a new beginning? Or is it simply another day for you?

For me, New Year’s Day has always been “just another day” or a day off work. WooHoo! A day off work! That’s a SMILE in and of itself. And this year, New Year’s Day falls on a Monday so many of us get a three day weekend. That’s a DOUBLE SMILE! 😉 For many, though, New Year’s Day is the day to start diets and exercise regiments, to give up bad habits, to rid their houses of clutter and to begin their fulfillment of whatever resolutions they have made for the year to come.

Rarely have I made resolutions. I know myself well and I know that even if I have every intention to follow through on my personal commitments, I’ll never make it through the year. (What a sad reflection on my life! 😉 ) But my self-given challenge to find a SMILE for every day of 2017 has changed my attitude a bit. After tomorrow’s SMILE, I will have posted 365 SMILES in 2017 which means I did it. I followed through. And I have truly enjoyed seeking out SMILES this year.

After reflecting on all the SMILES of 2017 and even on the things in my life that didn’t bring a SMILE, as I endorsed in yesterday’s post (Day 363), what resolutions should I make for the year ahead? What can I do differently to better my life in 2018? I’ve come up with a few:

  1. Spend more time with God – I read my daily devotional and study God’s Word when writing on specific topics but I feel like I’m still drinking the milk as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:2. It’s time for the meat of God’s Word!
  2. Journal regularly – There are times I find myself with all kinds of emotions, thoughts and feelings built up inside of me. I don’t have an outlet or choose not to call on others to talk so I store it all up and end up having an emotional breakdown. That’s not healthy. If I’m not going to seek out a listening ear, I at least need to get it out on paper.
  3. Exercise regularly – You may remember that I have a muscle disorder. Running, jumping, climbing, sitting up, etc. are all difficult. I should be exercising daily. I don’t. Now I am struggling with just walking. Something has to be done!
  4. Follow a healthier diet – Earlier this year, I was told my cholesterol was a bit high. I was told to cut out fats. I did not listen. I LIKE FATS! This has to change. I want to live to see grandkids one day. Losing some weight will alleviate some of my walking difficulties, as well.
  5. Write less; write better – The daily posts have been a lot of fun but not every post has been my best work. As I look back, I cringe at some of my entries. Keeping up the habit of writing is important to me but taking the time to write something worthwhile and finishing projects are my writing goals for this year.

Wow! I may have gone a little overboard! How am I going to follow through on all of these resolutions? The same way you are going to follow through with yours – one small step at a time. The key is to begin small. There’s no way I can stop my bad eating habits all at once. I’d die! 😉 Or at least throw in the towel after the first week. No, I have to choose one bad habit, replace it with a healthier habit, then move on to the next.

Another help in keeping resolutions is accountability. Find someone to partner with you on your weight loss journey. Find someone with whom you can study God’s Word. Find someone who will pray with you through the year. I’m lucky. I have all of you to encourage me, cheer me on and keep me moving toward my goals. And by the way, you have me, too!

Remember, resolutions are important in looking toward the future. So, be sure your goals begin with the One who already knows what the future holds in store. He has a plan for you – not just for 2018 but for your entire life. You can trust Him with your goals and expectations. But you must be willing to let go of those things that weigh you down (sometimes that means reevaluating your goals!). And you must be willing to keep going even when the world, your friends, your family, your cravings! your weaknesses! tell you that you can’t.

Adobe Spark (74)

I’ll keep you posted on my sticktoitiveness this year. I’m not promising anything but if I can find the will power (but mostly God power) to follow through, I know I’ll have many more SMILES to share with you in 2018. And I hope you’ll have plenty to share with me, too!