Resolved to break bad habits (a how to)

Resolved to break bad habits (a how to)With January 1st at our door, many of us are contemplating what we will resolve to do–or not do–in the new year.

This likely may involve breaking some habits.

And I just happened to do some research on this very topic a couple of weeks ago while sitting at a darling little coffee shop. (Brance watches the girls for me so that I can do this from time-to-time and I am always very appreciative. It’s amazing how much I can get done without interruptions and a good Caffe Americano :).

I can’t think of a better time to share what I discovered. It was fascinating and helpful and I am excited to apply it to my own life! Because, who of us, after all, does not have some habit we wouldn’t benefit from breaking!?

Resolved to break bad habits (a how to)How habits form

So basically, here’s the deal. Normally, when we make decisions about different things in life, the part of our brain that is engaged is the prefrontal cortex.

What do I want for dinner? Should we take our vacation in July or August? Do I need a coat today?

Answering these questions requires Continue reading

An AMAZING gift for you and those you love (and it doesn’t cost a dime)

Chistmas_colorsWhere do you find your identity—really, truly?

What things and people in life are you placing your happiness and worth on?

Are you looking for affirmation in your mad parenting skills or the success of your children? Or, perhaps, from your spouse or romantic other?

Maybe it’s your career and the praise of your colleagues where you seek your value. Or the success of your business or project

Perhaps it’s a lifestyle choice. A hobby.

It could be your appearance that you have hung your value on.

Looking for our wholeness and happiness in others and circumstances will always let us down. Every single time.

And that is one big weight we hang on those we love. It’s a lot of pressure. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that it is not loving. It’s dysfunctional.

You see, relationships can’t thrive, not well anyway, when we place the weight of our happiness on another person or their performance.

Spouses and family get tired and may say something short. They get selfish from time-to-time.

Kids make mistakes and misbehave. They have interests of their own—things that we wouldn’t love for them to pursue.

Friends forget to call. They sometimes let us down when we need them most.

And we will never truly be happy if Continue reading

Some Christmas hope and cheer

IMG_3296I’m going to be transparent here. This blog is about enjoying life and it is about being real. I don’t ever want to paint a picture that makes my life seem perfect or that I have it all together.

Because, I don’t. No one does. We’re all just trying to figure life out and how to live the best way we can. Right?

Sooo…

Checkered Bow

One of the interesting things that has transpired since we moved to the North East is that holidays aren’t the same. In years gone by Thanksgiving and Christmas were full to the brim with family.

My parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins OR Brance’s dad and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. We liked to take turns.

And now, there are many Continue reading

Reclaiming your life from “others”

winter_berriesMy day used to rise or fall on the approval of others.

Anybody there? It’s a terrible place to be, right?

And not just that day. A hurtful comment or action could ruin my week or month.

I could ruminate on a difficult situation for days and days.

But never once did all this thinking and worrying and obsessing solve a problem. Never once was I better off for it. In fact, it did nothing but burn valuable energy–emotional, mental, and physical. Something most of us have little to spare.

My husband, Brance, could see the life drain out of me as I was pulled into whatever drama I allowed myself to obsess about. He often identified my worry and obsessing before I even said a word to him by my demeanor. It just sucked the life right out of me.

And there is always something in life we can obsess about. Amen!? Someone who doesn’t like us or treat us well, a difficult situation at our job, a challenging family relationship, un unfair judgment of us by another. There is always something.

But constantly ruminating and worrying and obsessing is no way to live. In fact, I’ll just say it. It’s unhelpful and harmful. And it controls your life–your emotions, your decisions, your time.

A Life Enjoyed

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

I know that it is possible to change. I know that we can learn a new way. One where our circumstances do not control us and steal every bit of joy and our valuable energy. Energy we could be using to live and love and serve. Continue reading

Happy Anniversary: 10 ways I am grateful for Brance

Brance and Lauren
Today Brance and I officially celebrate 10 years of marriage. Well, we took a mountain getaway while visiting my parents in November. But today is the actual day—December 17th.

I’ve done some reflecting on marriage and our little marriage story already as we approached this day. Today I want to make a list of 10 things that I am grateful for as Brance’s wife.Brance and Abigail

– Brance is one of the best dad’s out there. I was blessed with a wonderful, loving father, but I know sadly that isn’t the case for everyone. I felt like one of the best gifts I could give my children was Continue reading

Learning to embrace the life I’ve been given

Trees-skyAs I have mentioned before on the blog, I am naturally a glass-half-empty kind of girl.

I don’t walk around with rose-tinted glasses. I can easily find the negative in any situation, just ask my sweet, optimistic husband. I know, that is not something most people would readily admit. But, it’s true. And I am really working on it, really working on seeing life the way God would have me see it.

The amazing thing is that as I embrace thankfulness, bit by bit, my perspective is changing.

It is easy to assume that people around us have it easier than we do or that their life is somehow better–more glamorous. Especially in this age of social media, amen?! And yet, comparison (aka. jealousy) is a terrible, poisonous thing–for ourselves and the people around us.

You see, discontentment doesn’t just affect me. It affects my husband and kids and family and friends and acquaintances. It even affects the way I interact with the clerk at the grocery checkout. The person that I am on the inside finds ways to seep out all over my life.

Which is a gloriously, wonderful thing if I am growing in grace and truth. If my heart is one of peace and contentment. If my thoughts are uplifting and full of gratitude.

And so, I am seeing some amazing things happen as I learn thankfulness. I am finding that my heart is changing. That the things that stole peace from me in the past no longer do. That a thankful heart is a content heart. That the two always co-exist!

But this is the way of the cross, the path that Christ so beautifully trod many years ago. Calvary’s way. As I learn to thankfully submit to the will of the father for me, for my life–all of it–I can have joy regardless of life’s circumstances.

And that sweet joy is worth every bit of the sacrifice. It’s worth every bit of the effort.

With love for you all,

Lauren

P.S. I hope to be around more often! We were away for Thanksgiving and have been busy dealing with some time-pertinent things. Please know that you have been in my heart and thoughts while I was “away” from this little blog.