Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's Exhausting




There is a song by Taylor Swift where she talks about never getting back together with her boyfriend again. My favorite part of the song is where she talks about the back and forth emotional stuff going on in the relationship and she says, “It’s EXHAUSTING!”

And it’s so true. Some relationships are simply exhausting.

There should be a naturalness (is that a word?) that happens in healthy relationships. That feeling of not needing to talk through every moment of silence, but being comfortable to enjoy it together. That feeling of not talking or getting together for awhile, but not getting insecure during that time frame; knowing you will be able to pick right back up where you left off the next time you are together or speak.

It’s about acceptance. Respect. And no pressure.

Other relationships are so NOT. They are everything different. They are about walking on eggshells so as not to hurt someone else’s feelings. They are about having to perform to a certain level all of the time or live within certain parameters inside of a box created  - lest feathers get ruffled. They are about not even knowing or caring what the other individual is thinking or going through, because the relationship is heavily “me” centered. They are about pressure. Emotions. Expectations.

Some of these relationships we can look at and say – why doesn’t someone set healthy boundaries or terminate that unhealthy relationship? But it’s not always that easy.  Not when it’s a child, a grandparent, an in-law, or someone you work with. Relationships just can’t always be terminated.

It IS exhausting.  It’s draining. And it can damage your own healthy outlook, image, and attitude.

So when you can’t simply move on from an unhealthy relationship, there are a couple of things you can do. 

1.     You can set up boundaries and guidelines. Maybe not verbal ones – but ones that you decide on in your heart. The boundaries need to be loving but firm. For your own health and well being. I would never suggest terminating a relationship all together (especially if it’s family) unless it’s a last resort and all other avenues have been tried first.

2.     You can pray about it. May seem like a small move – but it’s a powerful one. Prayer changes your own heart on many occasions as well as releasing God to work.

3.     You can do research to understand the other person more. Do they struggle with insecurity? Depression? Narcissim? Read up on it. Do your research and find concrete tools to help you learn how to respond and speak when in their presence.

4.     Keep them at arms length. A comfortable distance. See them when you feel strongest or are in stabilizing surroundings. Bring support.

5.     Talk about it with someone you trust. Someone who is seeking, pursuing, and growing in the Lord. This can help you get a different perspective at times and release the emotions that are bound to build up internally. Sometimes it’s your spouse you can talk to. Sometimes a pastor or a dear friend.

6.     Remember there are always two sides to every story. The moment we only see our own side is the moment we’ve lost all perspective.

God can renew any relationship. But in the meantime, do what it takes to protect your own heart and mind so that they don’t get damaged and torn down.

Life shouldn’t be exhausting and relationships shouldn’t be exhausting.

They should be a source of joy in our lives.  Do what it takes (in humility, love, and graciousness) to tap into that joy. For time is short.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's Not All Doom and Gloom Out There



There is a lot of sadness in the world. Every time we hear awful news, we can think ‘not again.’ It can seem as if we don’t even have time to digest previous happenings before some new tragedy unfolds.

Sometimes it can feel like that’s all that is going on. Bad stuff.  Maybe it’s because we feel those emotions so deeply. We carry them around with us for awhile. It takes us time to recover.

But good things happen too. And they are happening today. Around us. It’s not ALL bad out there. I see the good going on too. God is still good and He’s still DOING good.

I think we expect ‘good’ to be normal. We deem the ‘bad’ as not normal. In reality, BOTH are normal parts of a life.  Because we see the good things as things that should always be going on in our normal life, we don’t register them as much. We don’t see that they happen often. We are blessed OFTEN.

Yes. There is bad going on in the world. We live in a hurting world. But there is also good going on.  We just need to open our eyes a little bit more to see it. We need to not let it sweep by in a whiff – but digest it just as we do the hard things. Let the emotions of the good be felt just as deeply as the bad. Tears of praise and gratitude can stick with us just as long as grief, if we allow them to!

We do ourselves a huge misservice to think it’s all “doom and gloom” out there. I’d like to challenge you to see the “praise and glory” in your world instead. I think it will rattle your world as you see that angels are working just as hard (if not harder) than the demons.

Life is a battle. Yes. But every battle doesn’t end in a loss. There are plenty of wins going on in life today. Look for them. SEE them. Feel them. Love them.

And thank God for them.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm Looking The Other Way



My spiritual life gets “blah” sometimes. Let’s be honest – it doesn’t always feel “on fire” or full of miracles. Sometimes it’s ordinary.

It can be very easy to ignore a speaker when He tells a Bible story that you’ve heard already a hundred times. It can be too easy to think you know it all already and that there are no new truths to uncover from God’s Word.

It can be common to go about life and think of God as an afterthought. We are so quick to grab onto Him when we think we’re ill, hurting, or in a desperate state.  But when we go about our days on a normal scale, we fail to glance His way.

Life can be good. And when it is, we can too easily find ourselves looking away. Away from God, away from His Word, and away from His heart.

I don’t often “feel” God, because I forget to SEEK God. I don’t experience the supernatural, amazing, and miraculous, because I don’t spend time reading what He wants me to hear in the Bible, praying, and seeking out His heart.

I’m looking the other way.

I can look at anything. I can look at my amazing life, the people who surround me, an ambition I’m striving towards, beauty and image, or on the other end of the spectrum; I can spend time in woeful self-pity. Either way, my head is turned directly away from Him.

It’s no wonder I can’t feel Him.

I don’t want to look the other way. I don’t want to get distracted or too busy. I don’t want God to be an afterthought in my heart only when I’m in urgent need of His help and His hand on my life.

I want to be aware of Him, always. I want to see Him and feel Him.

I want to look His way and see Him looking back…..at mine.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Door


We are in a new place. In a new house. A new room to sleep in each night.  When I wake up, I look at the ceiling, the room, and the door. And I think about all the different places I’ve slept where I’ve looked at different ceilings and different doors.

The door is actually, a crucial part of the home. Something most people don’t even really notice. They just walk through it; focused on where they are headed. But the door is very symbolic.

It is through the door, that I brought my babies home from the hospital to join our family and change our life forever.

It is through a door, that I walked into a room to view my grandfather in a casket and say goodbye. I knew that an emotional moment would take place on the other side of that door.

My husband carried me over the threshold through the door of our motel; the night we got married.

I’ve walked through the doorway of many hospital rooms to love on people dear to me. Some in pain, some experiencing the excitement of new life in a baby.

The door.

You can’t avoid the door. Every room has one.  You can’t enter or exit without going through it.

Just as every life has a door.  We will enter and we will exit.  One doorway leads to eternal life and one; one does not.

Something so commonplace in life. The door. Something we use daily and don’t think much about it. We take it for granted. We ignore it. We fail to see its significance despite what we turn the handle to see on the other side. As in life. We often take our lives for granted and fail to think about what is on the other side.

God says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mathew 7:7)


The door. An ever important part of life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

One of THOSE Days





There are those days.

The days where nothing seems to go right. You lose your temper with your kids, the errands don’t go well, the day’s agenda gets all messed up, and more.

You get discouraged and blue.

We ALL have those days.

We ALL get discouraged and blue sometimes.

I had one of those not too long ago. It was as if from the moment I woke up, things were just aligned against me. And I didn’t help my own case when I lost my cool with my daughter in the car.

I felt miserable afterwards. ALL morning.  For when I’m not right with my family, I’m just not right at all.

Here’s the thing though. It was one day. ONE day. ONE moment. I can do 100 things right as a mom and a wife, but when I mess up? Those things seem to have a life of their own. Regardless of if I was justified by having a bad day and other things going wrong – I lost it. I made the wrong choice with my attitude and my words.

And it felt lousy.

The thing we need to remember in those moments and on those days, is that just as bad days come – so will good ones. Just as we feel we messed up everything as a mom, so also, will those days come where we see the reward for doing something right. It’s a pendulum and it swings wide sometimes. We have to hang in there.

Just as we need to ask those in our life to forgive us, we need to forgive ourselves. Being human is one of the toughest things to accept about ourselves. But human we are. We will mess up. We will say things we regret. We will react before we think. We won’t handle situations as gracefully as we’d prefer. And yes, sometimes others will remember our words and our response. But hopefully, the bigger picture will win out. Our character, our heart, and who we are generally, in life, on a daily basis.

Don’t let one awful day ruin everything good about who you are. Start fresh again. Get on your knees and ask God to mend broken bridges and thank Him for His large doses of grace and mercy.

Maybe one day was awfully lousy. Maybe some of it was your fault and some of it wasn’t. But one day is just one day and it won’t last forever. Be determined to do better next time as you work on giving yourself grace. For if you can’t extend grace and mercy to yourself; how can you ever expect anyone else to?


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do What You Think You Cannot Do





Each time I do something or overcome something in my life that scares me, or something that I thought I’d never be able to do – I grow courage. I get stronger. I am more satisfied with who I am as a person and I feel more capable.

You see, that thing called ‘fear?’ It holds us back too often. And we let it.

There are so many things in our lives that we are afraid of. What if we chose just one of those things….and we faced it? What if we did just one thing that we thought we couldn’t do?

Maybe it’s getting on a plane and flying, calling someone up and asking them to eat out for lunch (even if you’re afraid they’ll say no), or maybe it’s something entirely different. Whatever it is, what if you COULD do it? What if you DID do it?

I remember in Guatemala how I was terrified to go ziplining above the trees. Yet, inside, I knew I would have fun. I haven’t been that scared in a long time. I had butterflies in my stomach, my arms were literally shaking, and I couldn’t hold still because of my jittery nerves. But I was right. After the first run, I smiled. For it was sooo much fun! And I was so glad that I hadn’t let my fear stop me from doing something that turned out to be so memorable and beautiful.

Sometimes fear is there to protect us. Sometimes, it is simply there because of our own pride or lack of confidence. We don’t think we are capable or gifted. We don’t think we deserve something. Whatever the reasoning – fear can hold us back.

Don’t let it.

Do what you think you cannot do. One thing. Today. And watch the smile creep across your face as you become more of who you are meant to be.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do Happy Marriages Still Exist?


Do happy marriages still exist? And why are they happy? Is it because the couple has a sparkling chemistry between them or that they are financially on solid ground? Or is it something deeper? Something more meaningful?


Does a couple in a happy marriage never argue? Or do they argue often and just get past the obstacle together?

Does a couple in a happy marriage have no challenges to overcome? Or, are they happy and stronger because of the challenges they HAD to overcome together?

Everyone seeks the "secret" to a happy marriage. People wonder why some marriages not only survive, but thrive, while others seemed doomed from the start. Is it a spiritual common ground? Is it maturity? Is it simply commitment?

And could it be all of the above? Not all together at once - but at different times and in different doses?

There ARE still happy marriages. They DO still exist. Couples are committed to each other and are closing the door on discussions of abandoning that commitment. It may not seem that way or feel that way - but they are out there.

I love my husband. I am committed to my husband. Marriage hasn't always been easy or a fairytale, but it's beautiful and growing and ever-changing. Just as it should be.

Yours can be that way too.



http://happywivesclubbook.com/blogtour

Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about what makes a great marriage. You can grab a copy HERE.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Damaged Furniture


In September 2013, we moved from Boise, Idaho to San Antonio, Texas. I was so excited. I’d waited for that day for 3 years. To move from the cold to somewhere sunnier and warmer.

We’d already gone through a couple of transitions with the quick sale of our house and moving into a tiny apartment 3 floors up. So for the first time ever, we decided to hire some movers to help us move our furniture out and load up the trailers.

It wasn’t cheap.

We thought we were being smart. So many times before we’d done it ourselves; relying on family and friends. It was grueling. Stressful. And hard.

Our “smart” move took forever. Loaders on both ends took forever and made us nervous as they tipped, turned, and moved our furniture in and out.

I know furniture is just “material.” You can’t take it with you when you die. But we take very good care of our things. And we don’t replace it often.  So, let me tell you when my furniture arrived in Texas – how distressed we were to see the damage done to it.

Things were dented. Rub marks from no blankets being used. Scrapes. Things broken completely.

Just about every piece of furniture we owned was now marked up in some way, shape, or form.

I can’t tell you what it did to see the big tear in the top of my hanging porch swing. Something I’d always wanted. Something my husband and I bought together as an anniversary gift.

Or the legs missing from my sofa. The one I’d spent almost a year saving up myself to buy.

The nicks and scrapes out of the precious wood rocking horse we’d splurged and bought over on the coast.

There were broken shelves. Dents and scrapes on my nice black fridge.

You name it.

I was upset. My husband was upset. But he felt what was done was done. We’d hired two different moving companies – one in Idaho and one in Texas. Who was to prove who did what damage? They’d blame each other.

I was going to pursue it. I felt most of the damage was done by the ones who loaded our stuff up. But since we didn’t even get our stuff for a week, and then we had to fly off for a wedding out of state – the normal two week reporting time for damage was done.

And we were left with furniture that would never be the same.

We were “out.” At a time when my husband was unemployed and we didn’t know when we’d be able to replace things.

I WAS upset. But the days ticked on and the sadness dissipated a little. We were all together. We were in a new place. Together. Happy.

And things ARE just things after all.  Yes, I still bemoaned the unfairness of it all. I wanted someone to make things right but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was now left with dented, broken, damaged, rubbed, scraped, nicked, and bruised furniture.

It reminded me of how you can’t ever save anything. It gets used. Sometimes it gets abused. But you need to enjoy it. Yes, take care of it the best you can. But nothing lasts forever.

Not relationships. Not jobs. Not people. And certainly not our things.

When we least expect it, we get dented, scraped, and broken. And it’s unfair.
Someone doesn’t always pay for the damage done to us. They get away with it and we are never the same.


We can choose how to react and what kind of attitude to have from that point on. We can sit in the unfairness of it all, or be sad for awhile and then let the days show us what we have to be happy about. We can look on our blessings – as I did.

Life IS unfair. We DO get damaged. But we are still here. And we can still be of use.

Just like my furniture.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

We Pick Who Influences Us In Our Lives




We pick who influences us in our lives. Maybe not who lives in our lives – but we pick who influences them by the people we choose to spend our time with.

We all have our nuclear families. Some are close, some aren’t. Then we have that first outer circle of relationships, and the next layer, and so on. We have a choice of who we look up to in our lives. It doesn’t have to be someone in our family if our family isn’t emotionally healthy. But it can be.  It’s up to us.

We invest in people by our own choosing. I realize there are some obligatory events and situations in life. But for the most part, we have choices. We choose who to text or call. We choose who to go to the mall or a movie with. We choose who to ask out for a lunch date or have over to our home for dinner and games.

WE choose.

We can enhance or hinder who we are as people, based on who we hang around and who we let influence our lives.  It’s not just celebrities whom we can admire! There are very real and authentic people all around us.  People who are gracious, generous, full of life and laughter, compassionate, good listeners, eloquent speakers, wise thinkers, and more. We can pull different qualities from different people based on our own weaknesses and the areas we’d like to grow and strengthen in our hearts and lives.

Each one of our lives go through seasons. Certain people aren’t always in our lives always. But they can still affect us in a good or bad way.  I still remember people from my childhood; they were wonderful examples to me of the kind of person and woman I wanted to be! I choose to let those memories and influences continue to affect me and shape me no matter what season I may happen to be in, with friendships.

Everyone can have good influences in their lives. People they look up to and admire. It’s all a matter of choice. Our choice.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Being Thankful For Blessings Given In the Past




Thankfulness can run deep.  Most often, when we think of thanking God for things or writing down what we are thankful for over Thanksgiving, we think of current things. Things like our house, family, something we currently own, or are able to do.

All important things to be thankful for.

But we forget. We forget so easily the things and blessings that were given to us in the past. Things we asked God for, or things we were thankful for years ago. And just because they aren’t “current,” doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t be thankful. For who puts a time limit on thankfulness? When does it become the time frame in which we should no longer be thankful for something that happened 2 years ago, 5, or 15 years ago?

I say there IS no time frame. We should still be thankful.

I try to recall things from my past from time to time when I’m praying. I try to bring them to the surface of my mind and thank God for the things that happened in my yesterdays, and thank Him again for them TODAY. For they are still blessings that happened in my life. Still things I’m thankful for, even though I’m not currently walking in the feeling of receiving those blessings.

I am STILL thankful God kept me safe from a certain car accident when my girls were little. So from time to time when it’s brought to my mind, I thank Him for protecting us.

I am STILL thankful for a couple of court victories in my life. Just because they happened years ago doesn’t mean I can’t still thank God for their outcomes.

I am STILL thankful for past homes I owned.  Gifts given to me by others. People that God brought into my life. Deliverance from certain spiritual battles.


I’m touched. And I’m thankful when I think of them. Today.

God does so much in our lives. Not just today and currently, but he’s done them for years and years. There is no time limit on saying ‘thank you.’ We can still be reminded of God’s goodness and His faithfulness and we can still honor Him by letting Him know we haven’t forgotten what He’s done for us.

There IS so much to be thankful for. Not just in our lives today – but in our lives as a whole.  Acknowledge it. And be thankful for it all again.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kids Know How to ACT Nice




I love observing teens. I get a kick out of them. They have so much vitality and life to them and they are usually quite honest. It’s refreshing.

We have had quite a few teens at our house over the years. And I’ve done a lot of observing.

I’ve noticed a couple of things in my observations.

1)   Teens who barely talk to adults are teens to be watched.
And
2)   Don’t just watch how teens interact with adults; watch how teens interact with other teens.


A big indicator to me, of a teen who doesn’t care how they are interpreted and is willing to take risks in their life, is a teen who doesn’t talk to adults. It is the kids who interact with their friends’ parents, who are usually the ones who have parents of their own who are involved in their lives. It shows in how they respect adults and carry themselves. They don’t think they are too good or too popular to talk to a “parent.”

On the other hand, I’ve observed many, many teens pull the wool over adults’ eyes because they know how to act nice. I’ve heard adults talk about these same kids and rave about what good kids they are and how mature they are only to find out from teens themselves, that that is not the case.

Kids do know what is expected of them. And they know how to act mature when the situation calls for it. But the true test is to watch them when they don’t know you are watching them.

Listen to their chatter. Observe how they handle themselves online on facebook, twitter, and instagram.  Watch how they treat their peers in basketball, volleyball, or as they walk to and from school.

Watch and learn.

I’ve caught teens rolling their eyes behind their parents’ backs and complaining about them. I’ve seen teens laughing at their peers. I’ve watched how they carry themselves and how generous or not so generous they are with others.

It tells a lot about how they respect others, are empathetic and compassionate with others, and how well they will honor and treasure my child’s feelings when they choose to lay their heart before their peer.

Teens are smart. And overall, most of them are good. But they ARE smart. A few poised words and well-thought out actions in front of adults doesn’t account for a good kid. It simply accounts for a smart one.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Learning To Let Go





Sometimes we hold things too long in our hearts. We cling to them tightly and we struggle to loosen our grips even when all the signs point to the obvious fact that we need to let go.

We can be so stubborn.

Pride is never our friend. It disguises itself as one – but it’s not. It strangles anything that is pure, genuine, and good.

There are battles we need to wage and fight for in life. But there are also things that we need to let go of, in order to be emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy and whole.

We need to let go of the fact that something “unfair” happened to us. It probably did. It happens to everyone.

We need to let go of those expectations that weren’t met. Everyone is disappointed at some point. You win some and you lose some. It’s life.

We need to let go of our jealousies. Not everyone can be top dog. Not everyone gets the treasure. But I’m willing to bet you are still blessed.

We need to let go of our loneliness. There will always be people who aren’t there for us. But we can be there for someone else. And in the process, we aren’t lonely anymore.

We need to learn to let go of our need to be noticed. The right people who love us for the right reasons, will notice us. They will appreciate us. Maybe not every day – but they will love us in all the seasons of our life – good, bad, ugly, and pretty.

There is so much we need to learn to let go of. The ugly things that suffocate us from growing and becoming more loving, honorable, warm people. The things that hold us back from becoming who we truly want to be. Who we were MEANT to be!

Learning to let go is one of the hardest lessons in life. Letting go of our children once they are grown. Letting go of a parent, once they are old and pass away. Letting go of dreams and health.

But it’s part of life. Part of becoming part of a beautiful circle of life. A blessing that God has given us to live, love, and be loved.

So let those grievances go. Swallow the pride that wants to bury you in regrets and live a more free life. A beautiful one.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Are You Hurting?




I love to connect with people and to see what is really going on inside of someone’s heart. So often, we just don’t know or realize the depth of hurts that someone is going through in their life.

My goal with this blog has always been to inspire people and to impact their lives in a positive way. I want to encourage and help others realize that they aren’t alone. The things we feel in our lives aren’t abnormal or ridiculous. Others feel them too and go through those same internal struggles.

I don’t just want to “talk” at you. I want to talk WITH you. I want to connect with you. I want to know what is hurting your heart. I don’t have all the answers – sometimes I don’t have any of the answers. But I can listen. I can love. And I can pray with you and for you.

If you need that right now, if you need someone to come alongside of you and pray with you and for you – won’t you email me? You can email me any time at madetomom (at) yahoo.com and I would love to hear from you. I can also chat with you on my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/dionnasanchezwriter.

I understand sometimes the desire for advice or to talk to someone who we don’t see on a regular basis. I realize we just don’t have the courage to let people know what we are dealing with at times. I would hope that you DO have people in your life whom you can trust and who will be honest with you and love and pray for you.

But if you don’t, I’m here. And I’d love to reach out to you.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Just "Be"




What is your calling?

Are you the person you are supposed to be?

Did you handle that right?

What is your next step?

Are you eating right?

Are you exercising enough?

Did you do your personal devotions this morning?

Are you getting enough sleep?

Did you say ‘thank you?’

Are you spending your time wisely?

Did you floss?

Did you take your vitamin?

Are you spending enough time with your spouse?

Did you say ‘I’m sorry?”




Oh so many questions.

Good questions. But put them all together, and they can be a bit overwhelming.

It’s too much.

WE, sometimes, are too much.  Our brains are on overload for trying to handle everything in life perfectly. We try to balance it all and wonder why we fall short so many times. Why we feel so tired. Why we can’t control our own lives and destiny..

It’s because – well – we can’t!

We were never meant to have all the answers. We aren’t meant to know how to do it all. And trying to wrap our brains around everything can cause us so much stress and anxiety.

We try to do too much and be too much. Instead of just trying to “be.”

Instead of just living life, we analyze life. Control it. Mold it to our own liking.

And it always slips through our fingers at some point.

What is so boring about simply living life normally? Happily? Daily as ourselves? What is so lacking about not having an agenda but existing in completeness where God has placed us?

We are killing ourselves from the inside out.

We all fall short sometimes. We all forget things. Neglect things. Postpone things. Dread things. Ignore things. And it’s okay. We are human.

Take the pressure off. Do your best. Aspire to be inspired. Seek motivation. But just “be.”

Be flawed. Be inadequate. Be clumsy. Be unpolished. Be real. Be human.

BE.

And find freedom.


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