On Making Resolutions: A Life Left on Autopilot will Eventually Crash and Burn

I have a love/hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions. Statistics say that only about 45% of Americans even bother to make New Year's Resolutions. We are quite the motivated bunch, ay?

In 2014, the top ten resolutions were:

Lose Weight
Getting Organized
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Quit Smoking
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family

Of those 45%, only 8% actually succeed in achieving their resolution. Clearly, the deck is stacked against me, so the "hate" side says why even bother. I'm not likely to be among the few, the proud, and the brave who actually achieve it anyways. They must be cut from a different cloth--a sturdier, more resilient cloth. Something like canvas or leather. I'm more like the cloth you find on the clearance rack--the funky, bright colored one no one else wanted that's kinda thin, uneven, and frays easily.

The number of people who never succeed and fail at their resolution every year is 24%. Much better odds there.

But the "love" side has one vital piece of data to volley back for the win:

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

Bam. Take that sturdy fabric. Everyone likes the clearance rack better, anyways.

So basically, more then half of America is screwed before they even get started this new year.

Are you among them?

I'm kinda tempted to be. Take the easy way out, or what seems like the easy way, at least. But it's like what I've learned about food over the last year or so: what's easiest isn't always what's best. What's convenient isn't always what's good for you. In fact, it's usually the opposite.

You see, setting goals is the easy part. Anybody can do that:

lose weight

Pencil + paper + two words. Done.

The hard part comes afterwards. The follow-through. The finishing. The keep on keepin' on when that's the last thing you want to do. Because you're tired and have had enough and see an easy way out. When you don't feel like working so hard anymore with all the planning and preparing and stuff. The dying to self nonsense. Sometimes you just want to do what you want to do without thinking about the consequences. 

But there are consequences. Because a life left to its own devices, on autopilot, will eventually crash and burn just like anything else. It's inevitable. Ever drive down a street in the city and see the majority of the houses boarded up, paint peeling, roofs sagging, wood rotting with the decay of neglect? Or the child who was never given boundaries or the appropriate discipline or direction while he was young, only to have his freedom locked up behind steel bars because the will could no longer be controlled? 

In order to succeed, there needs to be a plan. Goals. Boundaries and effort to live within and thrive in those boundaries. Hard work and sacrifice. Upkeep and maintenance on a house, parenting skills and love to shepherd a child, and intentional goals and a strategic plan in life. 

And not just any plan, a detailed plan. How will you lose weight? What will you do, each day, to get there? What is the number you're working towards? Write it down. And then tell a friend or two or five, because Lord knows you will need the encouragement and accountability in the valleys. You also need to be prepared to accept the accountability when it smacks you in the face and tells you to keep moving. The valleys will most certainly come, because by June only 46% of the people who made resolutions to begin with will still be working on maintaining them. And to me, that number seems kinda high...

It's not enough to write down lose weight and expect it to miraculously happen on it's own. It won't. That's how I operate most of the time, though, unfortunately. I just sort of "wing it" in life and settle for good enough. Kinda nailing it. Sorta. Because anything above and beyond mediocre requires hard work and discipline, and in my selfish nature, I don't often want to do that.

And more often then not I don't want to strive towards improvement because I miss the value and the worth there. I miss MY value and worth. I don't see it. Because if I could truly grasp my potential or who the Lord has created me to be,  I would never stop running towards that goal. I'd be unstoppable. 

If I don't give life my all, if I settle for just winging it and hoping it all works out okay, I've bought a lie. I've succumbed to the false belief that ultimately I'm not important. That my time is of no value, that I have nothing to offer this world. My friends, there could be nothing farther from the truth, but the Enemy would love for you to buy into those lies. And stay there all year among the other 55%.

Let me be the first one to tell you this year:

You are worth it. You are more then a cheap clearance rack fabric with fraying edges--you are a beautiful, strong tapestry, meticulously and artfully woven together by the designer and Creator Himself. You are valuable, and what your unique, beautiful life has to offer this hurting world is important. YOU are important. You are worth fighting for.

So fight.

Make a detailed plan. Start small. Climbing a mountain and changing the world {or your life} are achieved the same way: one step at a time. One choice at a time. One day at a time. Let's fling our inadequacies behind us and look ahead. To possibility. Let's focus on the goal and keep pushing forward. Let's do this. And I'm starting to sound like a Home Depot commercial. Hey, if a voice-over by Josh Lucas would help a sister out, just insert that here and read on.

But the times when you can't do it, when you simply can't go on another step, remember that He can. And He will always give you the strength you need to keep going. Because what He wants more then anything is for you to look more like Him each day. As long as you're seeking Him, nothing in heaven or on earth can stand in you way. 

Yes, it will be hard. Hard work is by very definition HARD. You know, just incase that slipped by you unnoticed. But it will be worth it, because you're worth it, remember? And this world desperately needs people who care enough about something to work for it even when it sucks. Especially when it sucks. Because the world and the people in it are worth fighting for, too. 

Here's to the New Year and the New You, whatever that happens to be. I'm rooting for ya. Kindly return the favor? 


The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

For When You Wanted Christmas to be Perfect and It's Really Just a Mess

It had a been a busy week at our house, trying to fit birthday party planning in with the normal holiday craziness and schoolwork and life. When the days are full and I literally run from one thing to the next, I get this tightness in my chest that I can't seem to shake. The apprehension of things to come, the anxiety of fitting it all in, the worrying that it won't. It's like the busyness weighs on me and makes it hard to breathe. Hard to think. Impossible to write.

I don't do well with weeks like that. I get impatient and cranky. I hurry, rush and stress. Or at least I feel like I am all the time. And you know those days when you're so cranky you can't even stand being around your own self? Yeah.

Come Wednesday I'd had enough of myself and all the running. I wanted to breathe again and not be so frustrated with the kids all the time.

As I turned right off of our street and drove down the road to pick up the kids from school, I whispered a brief, quiet prayer to God…

I can't do this anymore. I'm sick of the hurrying and the hurting and the crankiness. I don't want to have another night like the ones we've had this week, and I know I can't do it myself. But you can. Please help me to somehow love my kids well, be slow to anger, and find joy in the mess.

We arrived at the school, and the kids ran up and piled into the van, relieved to be out of the cold. We went home and had snacks and worked on homework and I got dinner ready and on the table in record time, which never usually happens around here. My husband got home from work a little early and we all sat around the table and talked about our highs and lows.

After the table was cleared, my son sat down with my husband to do his nightly reading. I was across the room loading the dishwasher and listening to him give the characters in the story different voices and sound effects. Smiling and chuckling to myself, I put another fork and knife into the silverware basket.

Then it hit me.

I haven't yelled. I haven't been frustrated by things that would normally drive me nuts. I've smiled at my kids and even found joy in the chaos that is our after-school-homework-completing-sit-down-and-keep-your-hands-to-yourself-family-dinner craziness that is our weekday life.

I stood quietly and marveled at that small miracle, gratitude filling my heart. All it took was an invitation, and God showed up and did His thing. So seamlessly that I hadn't even noticed until it was already in motion.

Isn't it funny that all around you life can be a mess, yourself included, and all it takes is an invitation, a simple surrender, to usher in the presence of a Holy God. 
Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.
And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:37-38 {MSG}
Jesus wasn't haphazardly born into a messy stable surrounded by stinky farm animals and dirty shepherds--He chose that very place on purpose and for His glory. Nothing about that very first Christmas, that Holy Night, would strike us as perfect. In fact, we would probably say it was far from ideal. An unplanned trip about 70 miles to Bethleham on the back of a donkey, nine months pregnant and exhausted? Finally arriving after dark to find that there is absolutely nowhere to stay, not one room?

Perfect situation? Ideal circumstances? Not so much.

The one and only perfect thing about that very first Christmas was Jesus Himself. And that's still true today. Jesus thrives in the mess. He can be glorified in the mess. All it takes is an invitation.

Foto Friday, My Week in Review: December 5-11

Foto Friday is the collection of photo collages from my week. What used to be seperate daily posts are now conveniently bundled together by the week. Enjoy!

December 5: Happy Birthday, Kiki!!
What better way to celebrate turning the big 2-9 then going to Chuck E Cheese? A shout out to my lovely sister--this party was for her but was not about her… at all. She basically had a party for the kids and called it her birthday. She has such a generous, servant heart and is a blessing. She's also the "fun" aunt, and for good reason. :) We love you, aunt Kiki, and we wish you many more wonderful birthdays!!!

December 6

December 7

December 8

December 9
Okay, so I walked past some tight sweatpants in the women's section and sort of shrugged my shoulders. Then I saw them in the boys clothing section, and I began to get worried. Then I saw a woman WEARING THEM in the cosmetics isle.

People… TIGHT SWEATPANTS?? Please tell me this isn't going to become a thing. I will not be caught dead in them.

Some things were never meant to have adjectives placed in front of them, you know? Just let the sweatpants be sweatpants, for the love… 

And besides, the tightness defeats the entire purpose of sweatpants:

Sweatpants [swet-pants]
noun, ( used with a plural verb)
1. loose-fitting pants of soft, absorbent fabric, as cotton jersey, usuallywith a drawstring at the waist and close-fitting or elastic cuffs at theankles, commonly worn during athletic activity for warmth or to induce sweating.

Furthermore, if any of you subscribe to this latest fashion faux pas, I reserve the right to point and laugh at pictures of you in about ten years when you finally realize this was a bad idea… 

December 10

December 11

This Christmas Will Only Come Once in a Lifetime

I was talking to a friend recently who had received a rather tragic diagnosis about a year ago. It was just a few weeks before Christmas, and life as she knew it had been turned upside down. The tablecloth pulled out from under her, and she was left shaken but still standing. I remember looking at her from across the room at our Christmas Eve open house, with her oxygen in tow but otherwise looking completely normal and healthy, and coming to the realization that this may be her last Christmas.

Has she thought about that? I wondered to myself, pondering in my own heart the gravity and sadness of such a prospect.

The Lord's hand has been upon her this past year, and things have come full circle. She now has a clean bill of health and the hope of many, many more Christmas' to come. To Him be the glory.

Although we're trimming the same tree and hanging the same stockings by the chimney with care, it's a very different Christmas this year. For some, the cancer is gone. For others, the heartbreaking news that the cancer is back. 

I was watching my youngest daughter walk around the house tonight in just her diaper, and I realized that this would be the last Christmas that she would be in those diapers. Come this time next year, and Lord willing long before that, we will officially be a diaper-free household for the first time in eight years.

This will be the last Christmas that the light will reflect off her squishy baby cheeks as she hangs up ornaments on the bottom two feet of the tree, saying, decoratin', momma? Me, helping! and proudly patting her chest. This will be the last year she will walk down the stairs in her fuzzy pink snowman jammies, eyes aglow with the magic of Christmas morning. 

This will be the last Christmas that she insists on shaking her "booty" after sitting on the potty and mispronounces six as "chicken" when counting to ten. The last Christmas that her blond hair ties back in a spiky ponytail just right. 

This may be the last Christmas that my oldest still believes in Santa or that my daughter cries herself to sleep when it's time for the Elf to fly back to the North Pole for good.

This will be the last Christmas that my kids will ever be 8, 6, 4 and 2. 

Knowing it may be the last Christmas, would that change how you lived it? Experienced it? 

Because it is. 

It's the last one of its kind. 

This Christmas will only come once in a lifetime. Next year, things will be a little different. Maybe a lot different. They will be a little older, maybe a little wiser. 

Take notice this year, momma. Make sure you see this season for the rare opportunity that it is. Watch their little faces. Study their little fingers as they open their presents. Don't miss the wonder in their eyes or the magic in their soft whispers. Experience all the joys and memories this month offers and treasure all the precious moments with the littles that you love and hide them in your heart.

This Christmas is one-of-a-kind, much like the snowflakes we hope to see falling outside on that chilly and holy morn. Savor every last drop this month before it melts away, momma. You'll never regret it.

Exciting Changes in the Air... Stay Tuned!!

This month amongst the holiday festivities, birthday parties and Christmas shopping, I'll be working on rolling out a completely new look for the blog on a custom site.


One day this month, before the New Year creeps up and blasts it's horns in your ear and showers you with confetti and celebrations of new beginnings, I'll introduce you to the next chapter in my blogging life. 

So until then… Stay tuned. 

P.S. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I have built in tech-support in my husband, so hopefully it will all come together as I imagine, at least for the most part. {fingers crossed}