Saturday, July 28, 2012

All Together

There are a few women in my life who seem to think I have it all-together.  Or at least they did until my most recent blog posts.

The fact that I homeschool, cook, and don't have a filthy dirty house amazes them.  While I bask in their praise and envy, their awe of my daily grind also makes me very uncomfortable.  Because I know what they don't know.

I don't have it all-together. 


Almost two weeks ago, I started this "Journey to a Better Me".  In response to my self-inflicted pep talks, to-do lists and openly honest lack of accomplishment, I have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.

Thank you for that. 

I realize I've struck a chord with many women my age.  I'm putting in writing, for all the world to see, what most of us are only thinking in our heads.

I don't have it all together.

While many of us struggle with consistent reminders of our ever-present imperfections, I would like to comfort you with this fact.  That woman who you are idolizing as the perfect wife, or the talented homemaker, or the all-inspiring supermom...  She doesn't have it all together either.

I know this because many of the women in my life, who I have put on that pedestal of flawlessness, have willingly stepped down to admit my view of them is only a mirage.

For these women, I am so thankful...

  • the woman who told me that she has always felt insecure about the fact that she provides no financial contribution to her household
  • the woman who expressed feelings of inadequacy every time she steps in her friend's house
  • the woman who admitted she forgets to pray
  • the woman who confessed to a satisfying addiction to Coca-Cola  ;)
  • the woman who called to tell me she too has faltered in her walk with Jesus
  • the woman who texted me a picture of her Morning Prayer Routine
Thank you so much for your honesty.  You are such a blessing to me.  You have encouraged me more than you'll ever know.

I am especially thankful for the woman who, the day after my first "Journey" blog post, reassured me that every woman feels the way I feel.  I didn't believe her at first.  But now I do.  I hope you do too.

While we may not have it "all-together", we are all together in this journey.  I find comfort in knowing I am not walking alone.

I pray this knowledge is comforting to you as well.

God bless!

Phil 4:13
I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A bad case of loving...

Last Wednesday I created a to-do list ( to guide me on my path to betterness.  (My spell check keeps telling me "betterness" is not a word.  Like Webster is the only person who can make up a word!)

I printed this to-do list and review it almost everyday.  There's nothing I feel ready to "mark off", but I have made some steps in the right direction.  Yay! (Apparently Webster thinks "yay" is not a word either.  I'm sorry to digress, but these little red underlines drive me crazy.)


There is one item on my to-do list that is so monumental, I cringe at the idea of its completion.  For that very reason, I thought I should attempt it first...  Stop drinking Dr. Pepper.

So, on Wednesday of last week, inspired by my own blog post, I did not drink a soft drink all day long.  I was so proud of myself.  I went to bed on cloud nine, feeling like a superhero.  WooHoo! (Also not a word.)  Go me!!!!

Then I woke up on Thursday...

The only thing on my mind was Dr. Pepper.  It was all I could think about.

I once saw an episode of Raising Hope where all the dad could think about was the word "think".  He even visualized a little man inflating this huge "think" balloon until it exploded into a million little "thinks".

Well, that was me, only replace the "think balloon" with a huge can of Dr. Pepper.

I love Dr. Pepper.

I made it until 10:30 that morning.  Then I drank three Dr. Peppers.

Dr. Pepper makes me so happy.

Still, not wanting to fail, I attempted to abstain again on Sunday.  This time I replaced my Dr. Pepper with Caffeine-free Coke.  Again, I went to bed feeling like I'd accomplished something big.

Then I woke up on Monday...

Yeah...  That didn't really work out...

So, as I sit here typing this blog post and thoroughly enjoying my Dr. Pepper, I relinquish myself to the fact that Stop drinking Dr. Pepper will be the very last item to be crossed off my to-do list.  In fact, it may NEVER be crossed off my to-do list.

And I'm okay with that.

I know it's not good for me.  I know this.

I am conscious of when and how often I drink it.  And I am striving for improvement in this area.  But I have no desire to let go of my addiction to its famous 23 flavors.  At least not now.  I'm just not ready to give it up.

Dr. Pepper!  
Give me the news!  
I got a BAD CASE of loving you!  
No other taste gives me the thrill you do!  
I got a BAD CASE of loooving you!

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So when I am ready, He will give me the strength to follow through...  :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Good morning, God. It's me, Marci.

My husband, Keith, gets up every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed - eager to start the day.  

I am not this way.  

They say opposites attract.  I'm quite certain, if Keith had seen the morning version of Marci prior to our marriage, he might not have found me so attractive.  

I'm just not what you would call "a morning person".  I don't wake up with a smile on my face.  I don't jump out of bed.  I don't sing happy songs.  

I have to force my eyes open, and convince myself it is time to get up.  I give myself a little pep talk, hoping it will inspire me to pull the covers off and crawl out of bed.  It's time to get up.  It's after 8.  Look at all you have to do today.  You should get up, so you can get started.  At this point, I normally ignore myself, roll over and go back sleep.

Twenty minutes later, I try again.  It's 8:30.  You have to get up.  The boys are already up.  You should be up.  

Before I know it, it's 9am.  If you don't get up now, you are the worst mother in the world.

This works EVERY time.  I'm up.  I'm not fully awake, but I am up.  So I'm not the worst mother in the world, right?

My husband and kids are used to this by now.  It takes Mommy a good thirty minutes to wake up AFTER she gets out of bed.  

If any one speaks to me during that first half hour, they rarely receive an audible response.  It's more like a growl.  Thankfully, they find this amusing.  Also, thankfully, I'm too tired to actually bite their heads off.

As you might have guessed, this is an area of my life that I've determined needs improvement.

Sooooo....  for the last week, I've tried to think about God as soon as I wake up.  This helps me to remember to pray.  (I'm ashamed to admit that I have to remind myself to pray in the morning, but I do.)  Good morning, God.  It's me, Marci.  I'm so tired.  I don't want to get out of bed, but I know I should.  Please give me the strength to get out of bed.

On the days I've remembered to have this conversation with God as soon as I wake up, it's like I come to life quicker – in fact, almost immediately.  

Focusing on God the moment I open my eyes, (okay, maybe a few minutes after I open my eyes) helps me to greet the day ahead on a positive note.  

So I find myself actually awake as I start my morning routine - go to the bathroom, wash my hands, make the bed...  Because I am awake and able to think, then I take the time to sit down and spend a few more minutes in prayer.  

This is a new task on my morning routine to-do list.  I want to be sure I don't forget to thank God or to ask Him to be with me throughout my day.  So, with the help of Cindi Wood, author of Victoriously Frazzled: The Frazzled Female's Guide to Restoring Her Sanity  (I highly recommend this awesome Bible Study), I've adopted a Morning Prayer Checklist.  It looks like this...

1.  Recite Psalm 5:3 - My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

2.  Pray Psalm 143:8 - Cause me to hear they lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust:  cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

3.  Thank God - Thank you for saving me and for pursuing a love relationship with me.

4.  Ask God - Please intervene in the specifics of my day ahead.  I tell God what I have planned for the day, and ask Him to lead my feet and guide my heart as I do these things.

5.  Listen to the Good Morning song - I am a huge fan of Mandisa.  My absolute favorite song right now is her Good Morning song.  It's the perfect words and music to get me started on the right track.

I've inserted a link to Cindi Wood's Bible Study available at LifeWay Christian Stores...

 as well as a link to Mandisa's Good Morning song...

"I can feel the hope that's rising in me"

I hope you find this helpful.  

God bless!!!

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Think, Think, Think

The thing I love most about Winnie the Pooh is how he forces himself to sit down and think.  I just find it so adorable when he's sitting there next to the sign marked "Pooh's Thotful Spot" tapping his index finger to his forehead saying, "Think, think, think".  

I never really appreciated how much work Pooh puts into such a task.  How hard can it be sit down and think?  I'm learning now, it's harder than it looks.

As I've pondered my to-do list over the last couple days, I've realized that very few of the items I have listed are actually difficult.  In fact, most of them require little time or energy to be completed.  

What they do require is thought.  

Why have I not been praying when I wake up in the morning?  Why have I not consistently initiated a daily quiet time?  Why don't I take my medicine everyday?

The answer is embarrassing.

I just don't think about it.  

I didn't realize how much of my time I spend functioning on auto-pilot.  I'm walking through the motions of my day like a zombie, neither rightly conscious of the decisions I am making, nor the least bit concerned about the long-term effect of those decisions.

Until now.  

Now I'm trying to be more like Winnie-the-Pooh.  Think, think, think.  

I've found that there is quite an effort required to think, think, think.  Especially first thing in the morning.

I'm so used to crawling out of bed and following my current routine --- go to the bathroom, wash my hands, check on the boys, make sure they get breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, make sure boys are dressed, make sure boys have brushed their teeth, grab a Dr. Pepper, start a load of dishes, start a load of laundry...  yada, yada, yada...

Look how much time I've wasted NOT thinking.

Still, let's be honest.  My morning tasks are not rocket-science.  So what is there to think about?  

  1. God
  2. Prayer for my husband, my children, my family, my friends, for others and for myself
  3. Scripture
  4. Praise & Worship
  5. Healthy choices for breakfast
  6. Taking my medicine
  7. Drinking water
And this is just during the first hour of my day.  

Do you see how much more blessed my day could be to myself, to my God and to others, if only I would think, think, think?


I always viewed Winnie-the-Pooh as an icon of my childhood.  But now...

Now Winnie-the-Pooh is my hero.

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My To-Do List

I'm one of those weird people who loves a to-do list.

Well, let me clarify.  Lest my husband read this and come home with a to-do list for me.

I love to create my own to-do list.  It allows me to organize my thoughts.  It provides a visual aid of my progress.  And I get an immediate sense of accomplishment with each check mark applied.

Sometimes I am so desperate to feel I've been productive, that I will write a list of things I've already done, just so I can mark everything off.  (I know.  I'm a freak.)

So, you might see where I'm going with this...

I've created a to-do list for my Journey to a Better Me.  More specifically, these are the areas of my life which "need improvement", and the steps I plan to take to accomplish betterness (I know.  It's still not a word, but I like it.)

My Relationship with Jesus

  • Pray before starting my day.
  • Engage in quiet time on a daily basis.
  • Listen to God-centered music.
  • Don't miss church.
  • Pray more when I am alone.
  • Memorize scripture.
  • Pray as my day is ending.
Better Health
  • Remember to take my medicine EVERYDAY.
  • Take necessary vitamins as directed.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Stop drinking Dr. Pepper and other soft drinks.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eat out less.
  • Prepare healthy meals.
  • Engage in physical activity on a daily basis.
Better Housekeeping
  • Develop a cleaning schedule.
  • Assign chores.
  • Create chore checklists (for boys).
  • Set alarm clock.
  • Limit television viewing.
  • Spend more time at home.

I'm sure I'll add more to this list as I continue this adventure.  For now, I have an idea of where to begin.  

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My name is Marci. I am a perfectionist.

My name is Marci.  I am a perfectionist.

I have always been this way.  Wanting everything in it's place - all the i's dotted and all the t's crossed - everything to run smoothly - everyone to be happy.  When everything is not perfect, I take full responsibility.  I then evaluate the situation to determine what needs to be done in order for things to be perfect.  And I go about trying to make it so.

My mom called me yesterday wanting to know who had gotten in my head and convinced myself that I am a loser.  I told her that I don't think I am a loser (not everyday).  I just want my house to be in order.  I want my time to be well managed.  I want my finances to be secure.  I want husband to be content.  I want my children to be satisfied.  I want to wake up in the morning feeling good.  I just want things to be perfect.

She reminded me that there is only person who has ever walked this earth in perfection.

This helped me to realize that every time I've tried to improve myself in the past, my goal has been perfection.  And that is why I have always failed.  Perfection is an unattainable goal.

This time, I will go about it differently.

I've given myself a report card for my life, and many areas are marked "needs improvement".  So that is my goal - to improve.

Please know I am not unhappy with my life.  I am so blessed.  My life is good.  But I know I can be better.  That's what this journey is about.

It's not about achieving perfection.  My goal is not to be the best.  I just want to be better.

To God be the glory!

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The long road ahead

It's been a few days now since my "three days of pep talks".  I probably should have continued that trend of positive reinforcement because the last three days I've woken up in a really bad mood.  Mostly because I'm not a very patient person.  Accepting that this is a LONG journey to betterness (I know that's not a real word, but I'm using it anyway.  It's perfect for what I'm trying to do here.  And I'm still in a bad mood, so don't mess with me), is hard for me.

When I decide to make a change in any area of my life, I do it immediately.  For example, we recently decided to allow my sons to have their own rooms.  This required selling my husband's pool table.  Moving our homeschool room from a bedroom to our family room.  Taking apart the bunk beds.  Sorting out the toys.  And much, much more.  Within two days, my homeschool room was successfully relocated and my boys were sleeping in separate rooms.

As I said, when I decide to make a change, I do it immediately.

If I decide to rearrange my living room, I don't wait for my husband to get home to help me move our insanely heavy couch.  I use these hips God blessed me with, and I move that couch myself.

If I decide I'm going to make chicken pie for supper tonight, but I don't have any self-rising flour, then I'm going to leave for the store right then to buy some self-rising flour.

I wish this whole "becoming a better me" were that easy.  I wish I could use these hips to force the old me out and push the new me in.  Or go to the store and purchase an updated version of myself.  Unfortunately, it's not that simple.  This is going to take FOREVER!

This is the point in which I would have abandoned ship in the past. Just given up and said it's too hard.  Or it's not worth it.

But not this time.  I know better.  It's so incredibly hard, but it will be so worth it too.

Despite the long road ahead, I have already experienced some small successes.  Today I'm choosing to focus on those.

I'll share them with you later this week.

Until then, thank you for your encouraging words and prayers on my behalf.  May God bless you always.

Hugs & Smileys!

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another Pep Talk

As I pushed "publish" on yesterday's post, my husband walked through the front door.  His first words to me were, "So how long is this health kick going to last?  A week?"

I had JUST published a blog post on how comforting it was to have support in my "better me" journey, and this is what he says to me?

In his defense, I have not emailed him my most recent blogging entries.  So he had no idea of my newfound resolve to try again nor of my intention to not fail this time.

Explanation:  My husband loves me, but he hates this blog.  He does not understand why I would expose my weaknesses or give with the world insight into my vulnerabilities.  He fears it creates opportunity for unnecessary criticism.  

Little does he know, he was the first to speak out against me.  Or was he?

No, in fact, he wasn't.  The first person to negate my hopeful attitude lives inside my head.  As soon as I put myself out there, committing to make these changes in my life, she started to wonder if I can really do this.  She reminded me that I've failed so many times in the past.  And she almost immediately had no faith in what I can do.

Fortunately for me, I have supporters who speak louder than that voice in my head.  My friends and my family (Keith included, now that he knows I'm serious) believe in me.  More importantly, God is on my side, as He continually reminds me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Phil 4:13

I hope you're not getting tired of my self-inflicted pep talks.  I'm trying to overwhelm myself with positivity.  I plan to begin posting more useful information tomorrow.  :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

He who strengthens me..

I ended yesterday's post with the scripture from Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  I did this because I know that as I try to improve the person I am today, I can only become that "better me" I long to be with the help of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Of course, it helps to have the support of family and friends.  My sister called me this morning in response to the negative comments I said about myself yesterday.  She told me I need to be more positive, and understand that I am not the only woman who suffers from feelings of inadequacy.  She was hoping to jump start my self-esteem.  And she did just that.  Thank you, Jennifer!  

I was brutally honest yesterday, hoping the revelation of my previously-private struggle might encourage others who suffer the same.  I didn't realize what a comfort it would be for them to admit those same feelings back to me.  But what a relief when I received an unexpected text from a friend who I never would have suspected to be fighting this same battle.  Her text reads, " know that blog post you just posted -- I am right there with you!..."  Hallelujah!  I am not alone!  Thank you, friend.  You know who you are!  ;)

Still the greatest confidence booster I received came as I was driving home alone last night.  I was reflecting back on the events of the day, focusing on my blog post, my decision to try again to help myself, my friend's text.  I thought about how I really don't want to fail this time.  So I prayed, "Dear God, please help me in this journey.  Let me never forget You are here with me."  Within seconds "Waiting for Tomorrow" by Mandisa, began playing via K-LOVE on my radio.

The chorus says,

"Can't spend my whole life wastin'
Everything I know I've been given
'Cause you've made me for so much more than
Sittin' on the side lines
I don't wanna look back and wonder
If good enough could've been better
Everyday's a day to start over
So, why am I waiting for tomorrow"

I believe God used this song to remind me that He is my biggest cheerleader.  He knows I want to make some changes in my life that will make me a better Christian, a better wife, a better mother, a better person.  I believe He's telling me this is MY time.  Don't wait.  Let the journey begin.

I want what is best for me. God wants what is best for me.  Knowing we are on the same page... it makes the journey much less scary, and a lot more appealing.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Click on the link below to hear Mandisa's song - Waiting for Tomorrow

"Waiting For Tomorrow"

Maybe tomorrow we'll start over
Maybe tomorrow I will finally change my ways
Said the same things yesterday
Don't know why I'm so afraid
To let you in
To let you win
To let you have all of me

Can't spend my whole life wastin'
Everything I know I've been given
'Cause you've made me for so much more than
Sittin' on the side lines
I don't wanna look back and wonder
If good enough could've been better

Everyday's a day to start over
So, why am I waiting for tomorrow

Maybe today I'll start believing
That you're mercy is really
As real as you say it is
It doesn't matter who I used to be
It only matters that I've been set free
You rescued me, you're changing me
Jesus take everything

Can't spend my whole life wastin'
Everything I know I've been given
'Cause you've made me for so much more than
Sittin' on the side lines
I don't wanna look back and wonder
If good enough could've been better

Everyday's a day to start over
So, why am I waiting for tomorrow

Oh, I'm makin this my moment now
To grab the hand that's reachin down to save me You saved me
And I'm makin this my moment now
To grab the hand that's reachin down to save me You saved me

Can't spend my whole life wastin'
Everything I know I've been given
'Cause you've made me for so much more than
Sittin' on the side lines
I don't wanna look back and wonder
If good enough could've been better

Everyday's a day to start over
So, why am I waiting for tomorrow

I'm gonna grab the hand that's reachin down
And I'm not gonna wait until tomorrow
Oh, tomorrow

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Better me, here I come

There are so many journeys I would like to embark upon in this life.  A journey to Jesus, in which I might walk closer to Him.  A journey to better health, in which I wake up feeling good every morning.  A journey to inner peace, in which I am able to let go of all the turmoil that dwells deep inside me.

When I look closely at what each journey entails, I realize they are not three separate journeys with three separate outcomes.  They are all the same journey, with the same outcome...  a journey to a better me.

Right now I am not a fan of the person I see looking back at me in the mirror.  She seems so weak.  She gives up so easily.  Some days I even I hate her.  She's such a loser.  As I remind myself that person is me, I become disappointed in many qualities of who I am, and what I continually find myself unable to do.

I have started this journey so many times in the past.  And I have failed every time.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  Time, or lack thereof.  Priority, or lack thereof.  Motivation, or lack thereof.

I realize the key to my success is self-discipline.  I have my list of things I need to do to make this journey a reality.  Now if I would just stick to it.  In the famous words of Nike, Just Do It!

Why am I telling you this?  Why am I putting myself out there like this?

I guess I'm hoping for two things.

#1 - All of you who think I have it so "together" will realize I am not perfect.  Perhaps you will find comfort in knowing I have struggles of my own.

#2 - Knowing that you know I am struggling with this, will motivate me to do better than I've done in the past.

Maybe you are struggling too.  I invite you to go on this journey with me.  My plan is to blog about every aspect of this journey ~ what I plan to pack, how I plan to get there, what stops are involved along the way (all figuratively speaking).  Prayerfully, this will keep me accountable not only to God, and to myself, but also to you.

So, here I go.  Let the journey begin.  Better me, here I come.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.