Duchess Kate’s Lastest Fashion Choices — and how we can’t please everyone!

This morning, I was skimming through the latest news headlines on Facebook (my trusted source for up to the minute news), when I came across a shocker: Duchess Kate’s latest gown choice was not a favorite amongst some critics. I’ll admit, I was intrigued and clicked on the article to read more. (Because, in my opinion she is so classy and elegant, how could she ever go wrong?)

Apparently, several people were criticizing the latest outfit that she donned for a movie premiere – the dress wasn’t form-fitting enough, her up-do hairstyle was not age appropriate (hey, does my ponytail count as an up-do, because I did that every day for at least a year), and the light blue color of her dress didn’t pop enough.

When I clicked on the comments that people had left about the article, the general consensus was (similar to mine) much more positive: she looked beautiful and the media just needs to relax a bit.

And then it made me think about a mom’s life and how it is so true that you just can’t please everyone, all the time, no matter how hard you try…no matter if you’re the beautiful Duchess Kate who probably has to think non-stop about her public appearances – or a mom who’s trying to decide if she should let her child join a sports team that practices every week on a heavy homework night.

Moms have to make all kinds of choices every day – and they range from pretty minor (what in the world can I cook for dinner that will make 4 picky kids happy?) to pretty major (does this virus seem like a 24 hour thing or something more serious?). Lots of decisions – lots of people to please.

So, what’s a lady to do? First, we have to realize that no one is perfect. If people will criticize Kate’s outfits, they will criticize anything! So take the weight of perfection right off your shoulders.

Second, I’m hoping Kate doesn’t spend another moment worrying about her critics. We all know she’s doing her best…and come to think of it, so am I. And I bet you are, too. We have to remember that we’re not in it to please this world…everyone might not approve – some people may criticize. But we just need to know in our heart that we are making the best choices for our family (whether they’re as talked about as Kate’s last fashion appearance or not!).

Here are a couple of my own fashion choices from this summer – I tried to get out of my comfort zone and challenged myself to wear a dress every day for 30 days. Let me tell you, all of my selections did not get rave reviews by my little critics 🙂 More on that later…

Expect the Challenges

 

 

I am not sure when it finally dawned on me that there is a lot of truth to the phrase “it is ALWAYS something”…I think it was early last year when it seemed like we were hit with one challenge after another. It got to the point where I was just waiting for an issue to arise as soon as we had tackled the last one…I found myself anxious, wondering what would be next — and I didn’t feel like I could ever relax because what was the point?

While I still feel like there is always just another challenge waiting around the bend, I am trying to find a better way to anticipate that. On my weekly planner, I actually added a slot for “challenge”…In my mind, that reserves time in our already chaotic schedule for something out of the ordinary to pop up. So even though I don’t know exactly what curve ball is going to be thrown my way, I feel more prepared…I am ready for it (whatever IT may be)!

Writing down my challenges also serves as a good reminder of what we have made it through. Does surviving the rest of the school year seem tough? Well, all I have to do is look back and remember that period of my life last year when I was eight months pregnant (and felt like I was ten months pregnant) and found myself riding in an ambulance with my oldest son who had a fainting spell at school. That was stressful. But we made it through! And that gives me the courage and confidence to know that even though there is always something else coming, that’s just the way life works — and if we made it through before, we can make it through again!

DSC_3708

And at the end of the day, the challenges are all worth it…

Resist the Rush

Even when I’m not in a hurry, I feel it all the time…that sense of urgency, mixed with anxiety. I am always rushed.

Yesterday, when I had the chance to take my mom out for a rare “girls’ day” for lunch and some fun errands, I found myself eating quickly and zooming us from one place to the next. I finally realized what I have known for a long time: feeling rushed is my new normal – and I’m not okay with that. Here are a few tips for how I plan to “resist the rush”:

1 – Practice relaxing. I am going to order myself to spend 15 minutes each day doing nothing but slowing down — whether that means reading a book, taking a power nap, strolling on a casual walk with Ranger, or just sitting still and enjoying some peace and quiet.

2 – Build in extra time. Everything always takes longer than I think it will. From now on, I will start getting ready 15 minutes earlier than I usually would…I find that it normally only takes that little bit of time to keep us from running around to avoid being late.

3 – Find my calm. I know that even though I will try to leave 15 minutes earlier than normal, that won’t always happen. We will be rushed again at some point (most likely sooner rather than later). When that happens, it is up to me to force myself to slow down and enjoy the moment…or to take a deep breath (maybe 3 deep breaths) and fight the urge to feel stressed and anxious.

My thought is that if I can train myself to always be in a hurry, then I should be able to re-train myself to resist the rush…I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

And just to prove to myself that I do know how to relax, here was an image take two summers ago…

IMG_1122

Trying to capture that feeling on a regular basis is the goal!

 

Gratitude Challenge: Silver Lining

Every Thursday during the month of November, I am going to focus on a “gratitude challenge” — these will be little exercises to help grow the thankfulness in my heart and focus my perspective!  I feel that I really need that this time of year, and so I am excited to participate.  Will you join me?

For this week’s challenge, I am going to try and find the “silver lining” in three things that normally drive me crazy.

For example, if I came upon a situation like this:

…instead of yelling a little and crying a lot, I might think: “Wow!  What a great opportunity to completely clean out my pantry!”

I know this will be hard — really hard — but I’m up for the challenge! For the next week, I will try to find at least three negatives and find the positive in them — someway, some how!

Will you join me?

Makeover your attitude!

I think I started dreading the summer back in February.  I knew that for most of the summer, it would be me and the three — all day long!

My kids are at fun/challenging ages (7, 5, 3) and they are all going through some growing pains. Plus, they manage to break out into a major battle about anything and everything.

So, to put it mildly, the thought of the summer approaching really concerned me.

But then, some time in April, I had an attitude shift. I started thinking about how fun my summers were as a kid — and I realized I was putting way too much worry into this. And not enough thought.

So, I started researching and found some really great resources for making summer memorable for my family — and with that, my sister and I are embarking on our June blog series (beginning next week):

Summer 2012: Survive it and Savor it!

Summer will be hard, but with some strategy in place and a positive attitude, it’s going to be awesome!

Be sure to check back next week for the beginning of our June series, and when you’re feeling really anxious/stressed/negative about something, stop for a moment and see if there is a way to put it into a positive light!

 

Let the summer fun begin!

Have a great weekend!

–Alana

Makeover your mind: win the worry war!

I am the world’s worst worrier…I can find something to worry about any time, any place.  But lately, that’s really started to be draining on me and my family. So, I’ve decided to create a strategy to tackle my worrying problem. Let me know what you think…

Step 1: When a worry creeps into my mind, I will ask this simple question: is this something I can control or something I can’t?

If it’s not something I can control, I will simply stop myself in my tracks and say a prayer about that worry.  Here’s an example: sometimes, when I am driving, I will worry that the person I accidentally cut off while I was trying to grab the stuffed animal that Luke was beating on Logan with from the backseat might develop some road rage and follow me to the grocery store. (Forgive my insanity; my mind has literally melted during this mad month of May!).

Anyways, instead of fretting about that and trying to ascertain if that poor person is indeed a crazy person about to follow me, I will simply say a prayer for the safety of our family (and only check in my rear-view mirror once to make sure he’s gone!).

Step 2: If the uncontrollable worry is something I don’t want to let go of (i.e. a sick family member or a friend who is going through a tough time), I will add it to my “worry later” list. Then I will not allow myself to worry about it until a designated “worry time” at the end of the day. (More on this later.)

Step 3: If the worry is something I can control, then right away, I will make a plan to resolve it – whether that is now or at a later scheduled time. For the past couple of weeks, I have been worrying and stressing about something that was under my control.  Finally (after gaining about 10 pounds and being a generally grumpy girl), I took a brave step and addressed the issue. And it worked out just fine. (Whew – HUGE sigh of relief!!!)

Now, I know that problems won’t always work out that way, but I have to learn to be content with knowing that I have done the best I can do and leave it at that. The key for me is to not just wallow in the “unknown” – I need to address my worry in some way.

So, the two lessons learned here are: if there is something you can control that is bothering you, make a plan of action to resolve it AND once you have completed that action, be able to accept the results. (Those results may not be the results that we want, but that’s a topic for another day!)

Step 4: Remember the “worry time” that I mentioned earlier?  Well, I have heard that it is best to designate a certain time of the day to worry. I can appreciate that advice, but I know that for me, I would really dread that time of day.  Like it would stress me out to have a “worry time” – so, I converted my “worry time” to my prayer time. Whenever I have a worry that won’t go away, whether it’s under my control or not, I will file it away in a mental list (or maybe I’ll even write it down!), and then in the evening, after the kids are in bed and I have some time to myself, I will spend a few minutes in prayer over these worries. I feel like that is the most productive use of my “worry time” – and something that I won’t dread!

Bonus Idea: Have a quote or verse that you can recall whenever you feel yourself start to worry…here are a couple I like:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – A.J. Cronin

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6 NLT

Now, I know that my strategy won’t work for everyone, but I think the key here is to have a strategy.  If worrying is something that weighs you down, figure out a plan to conquer it in your life!

And because a post is always better with a picture, here’s a place where I go to (in my mind!) when I start to worry 🙂

Question for you: how do you win over worry?

Thanks for reading!

Alana

What the Texas Rangers have taught me about life!

I am a baseball fan by marriage.  Growing up, we watched a lot of sports — but it was mostly football and basketball.  When I married Steven, I realized that my life was about to change.

You see, baseball games are played practically every night of the week from April until October.  And my husband doesn’t like to miss a single Rangers game. So, I had a choice: I could either learn to love baseball or spend four hours each evening doing my own thing.

Turns out, I fell in love with baseball. In fact, I’ll find myself calling Steven to find out when the next game is — and persuading him to go to a few!

As I’ve been watching, I realized that the game of baseball has a lot of life lessons, and I thought I would share a few with you:

1 – It’s not over till it’s over…I’m not even going to reference last year’s World Series because my heart is still a little sore over that one, but I’ll look back at something more recent. A few games back, the Rangers’ new star pitcher got to pitch his first game. Now, the Rangers paid a lot of money for this pitcher and there was a TON of media hype about it — the poor guy must have felt so much pressure! This pressure became very evident when the Rangers found themselves down 4-0 in the first inning. Not a good start, not a lot of hope for a comeback. Except they did comeback.  Little by little, with every player doing their part…they were able to overcome that deficit and WIN big time!  Which leads me to my second thought…

2 – Life is a team sport…just like in baseball, life is about everybody doing their share…We all have different roles to fill — and though they might not seem that important (like the laundry pile that is calling my name!), they ARE important and necessary for your family to flourish.

3 – Finally, I’ve learned that it’s a LONG season…as I mentioned earlier, baseball lasts from April to October — practically every single night. Some days, you’re going to win. Some days, you’re going to lose. Sometimes, you’ll hit the game-winning home run (go Josh Hamilton!). Sometimes, you’ll make the error that means a loss for your team. Just like in life, there are ups and downs. It is a long season — don’t get too wrapped up in the outcome of one game!

Okay, what do you think? Have the Texas Rangers (or baseball) taught you anything about life?

Thanks for reading!

Alana

Three Things a Tornado Taught Me…

I have to admit…I was a little scared.  When I walked up to my daughter’s classroom on Tuesday, expecting to go to an Easter Party, I didn’t find them in their room. Instead, I found deserted hallways and my daughter’s class holed up in a conference room.  They were doing a tornado drill, I soon learned. “But it’s not a drill,” a mom whispered to me.  This was real.

For the next two hours, we were stuck in a surreal world — glued to our phones, frantically texting to those with access to TV and internet to get more information, listening very carefully to the announcements over the loud speaker…and powerless to do anything but wait. As I thought back over that time, I realized that this experience was not only disturbing but also full of lessons…

1 – Storms come from out of nowhere: Literally, the rain started at 1:30. We had been hoping that it would hold off so the kids could have their Easter egg hunt, but right before the party, the rain started. As I walked into Emma’s school, I heard the sirens start to go off. And as I hustled to find her, I realized that we had gone from a few sprinkles to a severe weather situation in less than half an hour.

Just like that storm, problems in life can pop up out of thin air. Things can be going along perfectly, when a huge problem will just materialize seemingly out of nowhere. What I’ve learned is, like a weatherman trying to forecast the path of a storm, we can never quite predict when trouble will hit — and I don’t think that’s the point (although it would make life much simpler). The point is that we have to realize that at some point, we will encounter issues. And while we can’t know for sure what those problems will be, just knowing that it’s okay to have problems and that they are a part of life might make them a little easier to deal with.

2 – It’s important to make the best out of a tough situation: Ironically, my five year old son became terrified of tornadoes about a week ago.  For some reason, he heard someone mention one, and then refused to go outside because he was afraid one would hit at any moment. Even without a cloud in the sky, he would suddenly get scared and run inside.  So, I was really concerned for him during this time — especially since I was unable to get to him. I was under lockdown at my daughter’s school and he was under lockdown at his.  But I shouldn’t have worried.

At my son’s school, they kept the kids happy in a cramped bathroom area for almost two hours — and the kids thought they were having a party. A “special” snack time in the bathroom — who had ever heard of such a fun thing? Story time in the bathroom, too? Amazing!  Those sweet teachers kept the mood light and kept the kids blissfully unaware and safe, all at the same time.

We had a similar experience at my daughter’s school — when we realized that we weren’t going anywhere for a while, we just moved the party into the conference room!

3 – It’s always a good time to count your blessings: The day after the tornadoes, I was sitting in my living room, complaining to my mom. My youngest son had an ear infection and I had just set up an appointment with his doctor. The car desperately needed an oil change. Little things really, but “it’s always something” I complained. My mom was listening to me and watching the tornado coverage on TV…

“But think about if we were having to recover from that…” she said, and I looked up to see the horrible destruction that the tornadoes had inflicted on so many homes throughout Texas. How right she was…here I was, complaining about some minor inconveniences — I had already forgotten how lucky we were that a tornado had been spotted very close to our home but had not touched down… Every day brings new challenges, but I have to remember to count my blessings and maintain the proper perspective.

Though my daughter’s Easter party didn’t go exactly as we had planned, it was one we will never forget.  And I think that’s how life is as well!

New Posts!

We’ll be posting several posts each week in the GROW section — to help inspire and inform you!