Monday, December 12, 2011


I wish learning wasn't such a process. A slow, tedious process. I wish it came easier. I wish I didn't fight it as much.

I have this tendency to immediately assume the worst when there is a change in plans. I begin to list off all the reasons why I am justified in feeling upset with the change in plans and how it's not in my best interests. It's really all about me, isn't it?

Lately, I have been trying hard to change this attitude. To flex more, go with the flow, not be so insistent on doing everything my way. Have you ever tried to push a parked car? It feels a bit like that. I never really thought of myself as a stubborn person but it is a deeper problem than I realized. My mom probably laughed out loud just now.

The good news is that I am starting to recognize this more easily now. The bad news is that I still react the same way. So now, I am upset when things don't go my way and I am upset with myself for being upset. I know I will regret it later and yet, I still lick the wound and let myself feel the hurt or anger.

I think I am beginning to see glimmers of hope. Twice in the last week, I have recognized my incorrect attitude and apologized and realized what it cost me or almost cost me. I have admitted my self-centeredness and tried to see it from the other's point of view. I am really hoping that this becomes easier with time. Fighting with myself gets exhausting.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My beautiful family

These are some of the photos taken by Wendi, of Ordinary Miracles Photography. She is crazy talented and I think they turned out amazing.

My family

My boys - very comfortable in front of the camera

My girls - unpredictable but still adorable

And then there is us. So thankful to be sharing this journey with him!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More on contentment

I've been thinking about contentment a lot lately. We have been wanting to move out of our house for the past 5 years. The twins are 4 1/2 years old - you do the math. For various reasons, it has not happened yet. I go through phases - there are many things I love about this house - our yard, proximity to stores and restaurants, and our monthly payment. There are other things I don't love or even like that much - tiny bedrooms, one (very tiny) bathroom, a kitchen that also functions as a hallway (although I think I like that better than feeling like I'm stuck in a corner). Weeks will go by when I am perfectly content to live here. Usually after I clean out all the extra stuff and everything has a place.

Then something happens - maybe there is a line for the bathroom or something else needs to be fixed again. Or I bump my head when I'm tucking the girls into bed at night. Or my knees hurt when I get up after kissing Owen good-night from his bed on the floor. (He has a mattress - but still, it's on the floor.) And I think, "Enough! I'm tired of squeezing all 6 of us in this house! I'm ready for something more spacious, where we can entertain easier and have more room to spread out." I get motivated to fix it up and get it ready to list and then it hits me. I'm not content.

I know it's not wrong to sell a house and move to a different one. But I can't figure out how to do that and be content at the same time. When I'm truly content, truly thankful for all we have, I have no desire to move. I see the positives and am ready to overlook the negatives or at least find creative solutions to deal with those negatives. I have a better perspective of how good we have it compared to so many others and realize I have no right to complain.

Does all change spring from discontentment? Change isn't bad but contentment is good. How do you have one without the other? There was a phrase I learned in my intro to psych class in college called cognitive dissonance and I am experiencing a lot of that right now. The definition is "the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time." And no, that was not from memory.

I think I was wrong before about contentment being different than thankfulness. I think when you are truly thankful, then you are content. You don't ask for more.

Last month, I thanked God for the many good things in my life. But I never thanked Him for the hard things. The things that I would change if I could. This seems like a good place to start in my quest for contentment. To recognize and reaffirm that God is good, all the time, and I trust Him, all the time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The same but different

After writing about being thankful for things all month, I have come to a realization: being thankful and being content are two different ideas. They seem to be the same thing. You would think that if a person was thankful for what she had, she would also be content. But they're not exactly the same.

Being content seems to be a bit more of a process. It's like going the next step. It's saying, "Thank you for what I have." and also, "I don't want anything else."

I'm doing a lot better with the first area. I need a lot of work in the second. Because I do want more. I feel like Sally from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" when she says, "All I want is what I . . . I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share." I am thankful for what I have but at the same time, I want more and bigger and better. And often, I start to mistakenly think that I deserve more, that it's my fair share.

Maybe this month needs to be a month focused on contentment. To truly be thankful and not ask for anything else in return. To honestly mean, as Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:8, "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." Maybe I just need to read that every day for a month and see if it can start to take root in my heart. Get rid of Sally and listen to Paul more. That's a pretty good goal for December.