29 March 2011

Habits & Answered Prayers

You know I totally use this blog as a journal.  I've noticed over the past few years that when I get busy or stressed, the blog is the first thing to fall off my "to-do list."  Lately, it hasn't even made it almost on the list, but for a totally different reason.  I've been blogging/journaling about things I want to do...but not really taking the time I need to take to work on those things, if that makes sense.

I'm not sure what clicked in me, and it wasn't even right at the beginning of the new year, but I really have been convicted about changing my habits and living the life I want to live RIGHT NOW.  I told James this morning over breakfast, if I had the perfect body & perfect bank account...I wouldn't change a thing about how my day would go today.  That makes me happy--instead of waiting until the stars align, as I am wont to do--I am practicing the habits that will get me where I want to go, instead of just HOPING I'll magically get there.  Crazy, no?

Here are the habits I've been working on...if you read this blog, I've written/whined about each of these.  A LOT!  Bleh.

Habit 1:  Work Schedule

Balance is a constant battle for me.  This year I've found myself working more and more and more...but not necessarily billing more, just carrying the stress around.  Not a great combination, and certainly not good for my schedule.  So I'm really working on it.  We've been working on a big, stressful project all year, and it's been a struggle.  I'm working on getting that job back in the two days/week compartment I have carved out for it, instead of worrying all day every day and working all night in my sleep.  I'm having a big ol' rosacea flare-up right now, and I'm pretty sure this one is directly related to work and extended family stress.  (You won't see me writing about that one...nothing I can do about it but keep out of any drama!)  One thing I needed to work on, too, was my online work--I've gotten into some bad habits there, as far as being more reactive than proactive (i.e. waiting for instructors to come to me with issues, when some of them I could head off at the pass).  When the March cycle started, I restructured my days so that I get every single course twice a day, first thing and last thing.  It's made a huge difference in my work load, and I'm grateful for that.  Life/work balance, here I come!

Habit 2:  Food Choices

When I was sick leading up to my gall bladder surgery, one of the things we found that worked for me was cutting out meat.  It worked like a charm, and I felt great...and even started off my pregnancy as a vegetarian.  Then I started worrying about the baby getting enough protein, so I got really stressed about my diet and started counting protein grams--really--which wouldn't have been horrible, but then I started craving meat.  Should I say, the baby started craving meat...so about a month after I found out I was pregnant, I started eating meat.  And promptly became sick and stayed sick for several weeks.  At the time we thought it was just morning sickness (I wore bands for weeks...sigh...), but looking back, I was meat-sick.  For whatever reason, and I don't think this is true for everyone or that you should change your diet, meat doesn't work for me.  I just can't process it, so I end up feeling horrible.  I go meatless on and off, but it's not something I'd have my kids do, so I always end up falling off the wagon.  This year, my diet has really gone south--I have gained 10 pounds since school started!  I know it's due in big part to poor diet...I eat like a three-year old boy, including pizza every Thursday (it became a habit after we left church...time for Wittle Caesars!).  Desserts every day...snacks after school...cokes...beer...you name it, I was eating or drinking it.  I don't know why, because in my head I still thought I was practicing moderation...but nope, that was not the truth at all.  One day I woke up to this and decided that I'd use Lent to get back on track.  So far, so good--I have cut out the things that were the biggest problems for me (soda, meat, desserts--really!) and I feel better already.  My clothes definitely feel better.  :)  So, I'm working on a healthier diet, which is something previously I haven't been able to do well without appetite suppressants.  This is truly an answered prayer, because I know I couldn't do this alone!

Habit 3:  Quiet Time

I finally did it...I got back to starting my day with quiet time & Bible study.  I'm on week 3 of daily quiet time, which for me is pretty awesome--I lack "stickwithitness" when it comes to good habits, sadly.  My days go so much better, which means that everyone's days go much more smoothly.  When Mommy's patient, it's a whole different story around here...and I'm much more the Mommy & wife I'd like to be, instead of giving my family what I have left over after every other obligation.  I feel like ME again, and it's wonderful.  I didn't realize how much I wasn't talking to God until I started up the conversation again.  Luckily, we picked right up where we left off...He's cool like that.

Habit 5:  Gratitude

My personal gratitude journal had become hit-or-miss this winter, so I have worked that into my quiet time each morning.  I find it's a great place to start and lead into prayer.  We still do "thankful for's" as a family each day, which I absolutely love.  Someday, those books will be precious reminders of this season of life.

Habit 4:  Exercise!

I have a lot of time to think on Wednesdays when I drive back and forth from Houston.  This past week, I was thinking about the changes I've made over the past few weeks and giving thanks for the blessings...and then it struck me, I'm still missing a key piece:  exercise.  So I promised I'd talk to James about it and figure out a plan to start the next week (this week).  The next morning as I was leaving MOPS, a new friend asked me, "so when are we going to start walking?"  The week before, we'd had lunch together and realized we live fairly close to each other, and said in passing we ought to walk sometime.  When she asked me on Thursday, I didn't hesitate--I said, "tomorrow!"  So we did.  And again yesterday.  On Saturday, another friend called and said she needed to be better about going to the gym, wasn't I a member?  Um, yeah...so I'm going there in a few minutes with both of these girls to get started working out again.  Totally, totally answered prayers!

Isn't it amazing what a difference my attitude makes?  Truly, if this is as good as it ever gets, I'd die a happy Mommygirl.  :)

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