Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mind, Body, Spirit

I have decided that the battle between my laziness and commitments come in a package of three. 1-Mind. 2-Body. 3-Spirit. It doesn't matter which it starts with, but it seems like if I slack in one area, the others suffer. On the flip-side, when I am committed to one area, the others excel! For example, when I stop working out, I also seem to (sub-consciously) stop reading Scripture and stop challenging myself with reading books/scholarly articles/or participating in healthy debates. However, when I am committed to working out, reading Scripture, challenging myself mentally, etc., the other areas seem to just fall into place. It's amazing how this really does work! I first noticed it a few years ago when I got a trainer and lost 30lbs. I never felt stronger in my relationship with the Lord, and I felt like I was participating in activities that were really challenging me to learn and grow more as a well-rounded human. The past year, I struggled so much in my job that it affected me very strongly spiritually. I noticed that I started eating poorly and exercising less and less. I also stopped challenging my mind and became addicted to watching television (dang Netflix and your ever-widening selection). Even though wonderful things were happening all around me, I was unable to enjoy or fully appreciate the beauty in life because I was too lazy to lift my eyelids enough to experience it!

Now that I am in a new job and no longer under the oppression of the last one, I have a renewed sense of commitment to improving myself! I have joined Cross-fit (my hamstrings and back are killing me today!), and I'm trying to train for a half-marathon in March. I have also started a "read through the Bible in one year" plan. (I am already feeling challenged and convicted while experiencing the comfort in spending time with my Heavenly Father). I am attempting to spend less time in front of the television and more time crafting/sewing/reading/blogging/etc. My book club is helping with the reading, Pinterest is helping with the crafting, and YOU are helping with the blogging! :)

I'm excited to see the results of being committed to my whole self. Mind. Body. Spirit. Keep me accountable, ok?! Now, off to the gym to see how I will be strengthened today!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seasons aren't just for weather...

About this time of year I start feeling like expletives are the only way to communicate a little grumpy. There are several reasons for my grumpiness, but I will whittle down the list to the top three: it's too cold, it's too dark, and it's the last week of November, and I'm already sick of Christmas stuff!!! Ok, phew. That's off my chest! Don't get me wrong, I REALLY love the sweetness and magic that come with it: snow, seeing the trees bare and exposed, the world turning white, celebrating the birth of Christ with generosity and peace on earth. I just wish I could experience it all while still being able to feel my fingers and see 5 feet in front of me at 6pm without the help of 3,000 twinkle lights.This leads me into my point.

Seasons. When you hear the word you usually think of the little chart you had in kindergarten with four squares all showing the same tree through the different times of the year: bare, with leaves, with leaves and flowers, with brown falling leaves. Am I right?! Well, for the last few years, when I hear "seasons", I think of different stops on our journey of life. I have experienced a few different seasons in the last few years. The last one I experienced seemed to endure for centuries. I label it "waiting". I was constantly waiting for the next thing. I was waiting to get married. I was waiting for my life to start. I was waiting to find my niche. I was waiting to feel a part of something. I was waiting for my calling. Before that, I experienced "working and learning". I worked hard in college and nursing school to move forward and achieve my goal. I also learned so much about God, the world, and how to survive.

My current season? "adjustment". I got married. I moved across the country. I started a new job (which sucked the very soul out of my being). I left that job and began a whole new career. I have joined a new church and new denomination. I am making new friends. I have to travel by plane to see my family. I am on a budget for the first time. I have to consult with someone on every decision. I no longer live alone and can leave laundry in the dryer for a week or two. And the list continues...This season of adjustment has had many wonderful things associated with it, but there have also been some trials. I have learned a lot.

My Lesson. I believe the Lord is teaching me, more than ever before, how completely out of control I am. I don't mean out of control like a college kid on spring break. I mean, I literally have ZERO control in how things will turn out in life! I can do my best to make wise choices, but in the end, God is ultimately in control.  In a way, it is quite refreshing to know that I don't have the pressure to make everything perfect. In another way, it is scary to relinquish control of your own life and realize that you have no power to make things turn out the way you want them to. For example: When I was praying about leaving the soul-sucking job, I was searching relentlessly for a new job that I might like. I wanted a good schedule, holidays off, equal or comparable pay, etc. I even interviewed for a couple of positions, but nothing panned out. I finally gave up. I stopped looking for a new job, and decided that I would just be miserable in my job until my husband won the lottery and I could quit. That's when I got the text message. sweet, blessed text message. A friend of my mother-in-law's is the director of the vocational nursing division at Amarillo College. One of the instructors under her turned in her notice mid-semester, leaving a position available. Before the job was even posted, I received a text asking if I would ever want to leave oncology nursing and teach. (!!!!!) I applied, interviewed, and got the job within a few weeks! Now, this job is part of my adjustment process. It, of course, is a bit overwhelming going from administering chemo to developing lectures, teaching, and grading, but I feel more blessed than ever. It has shown me that there is a much larger spoon stirring my pot than I could ever even hold.

My next season? It's hard to say! I am just grateful that it isn't up to me. I'm learning to appreciate each season as it comes. Just like I don't want to celebrate Christmas before we've eaten the Turkey and given thanks, I don't want to miss out on the blessings that come from each spiritual season. The truth is, regardless what season it is, I am learning to appreciate the beauty while developing character as I overcome the trials. So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One season at a time, people!

So, if you know me, it is no secret that I am a nazi firm believer that Christmas decorations should not be put up until AFTER Thanksgiving! Last night I drove by Chick-fil-A, and I was so disappointed to see the whole place lit up like it's December 25th! While it was pretty and all, I wanted to wring someone's neck while screaming, "Thanksgiving is still two weeks away! Get a grip, people!!" I love the lights and festivities as much as the next person, but I also love celebrating each holiday as it comes. I'm a huge fan of pilgrims, Squanto, pumpkins, etc. And I love the focus on giving thanks, instead of already stressing about giving gifts. My family has a tradition of eating our Thanksgiving dinner with a wooden Squanto on the table as the centerpiece, and before we can sit down to eat, we all have to say, "Squanto, friend of pilgrim," while placing our hands over our hearts. haha. I know this is a bit extreme on the normal vs. bizarre-o scale, but at least we have a tradition, right?! I really like taking a moment to remember why we are thankful to be in this country. We dog it so much because we have so much political anxiety these days, but we still have so many freedoms that we take for granted. So, take some time today to be thankful for a nation where you can speak against your government and not get arrested, or hug someone of a different religion, or practice your own religion, or live in your nice home, etc, etc. For crying out loud, we are one of the only nations who has bountiful supplies of clean water! That's amazing! Anywho... Hug your kids and place your hand over your heart, and let's all say it together... "Squanto, friend of pilgrim"

               This isn't "the" Squanto, but it's similar. 
                 Just thought I'd put you in the spirit ;)
My husband: in the "Thanksgiving spirit" with a Turkey Hat on

Fun Holiday Recipe
Pumpkin Dip!
                              from my wonderful sister-in-law, Meridith.

3/4 cup (6 oz) cream cheese - I just usually throw in the whole block and I use the low fat kind (helps if at room temp); 1/2 cup pure pumpkin, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Mix all together and serve with apples, pears and/or graham crackers. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So, how WAS the first year of marriage?!

Well, I'll tell ya, I think it was a blast. Of course there are the expected ups and downs that make up the human experience, but for the most part, I think we have grown spiritually and as a couple more than I thought was possible! The best analogy I can come up with is snow skiing. Bare with me (or is it bear?)... You know, when you're riding that chair lift up to the top of the slope, there is so much anticipation and hope and uncertainty about what lies ahead: this was our dating/engagement period. Then, you are at the top of the mountain, so excited to take the run and feel the rush of doing what you were waiting so patiently for. You can see the beauty of the scenery at the peak, and you are filled with excitement and promise for a wonderful time: this is the honeymoon. Then, you take off! You start skiing, and it is so fun!! You feel the release of energy from all that had built up, and you feel like all of the anticipation was worth it! Then, all of a sudden, you fall! Out of nowhere, you don't even know what you hit, but you are tumbling down the mountain, maybe hitting rocks, trees, other skiers, etc on your way down: this is your first fight (fights). But once you're done tumbling, you rest on the cool snow, looking up into the sky, realizing you might be a little bruised, but you are not broken. Then you start to laugh. You realize you had simply lost your footing temporarily when you hit a twig, and even though the fall was a little scary and hurt, you are ok, and you will really love skiing. So, you get up and head down the mountain with a little more perspective and more concentration to notice the twigs when they come in your path.: this is conflict resolution. Then you are able to enjoy the remainder of your ski experience! Then, I suppose, once you reach the bottom of the mountain, you take the chair-lift up to.... pregnancy...? Maybe someday... Any thoughts?

                               The Sharps: Skiing 2011

Who are the Sharps? Why do they need a blog?

We are just a couple of crazy kids trying to make it in this crazy world! We got married in October of 2010, and the day after our honeymoon, we made the cross-country trek to Amarillo, Tx with our dog, Edith, where we set up our home and began our journey! We met when we were young pups, both living in Amarillo. We were best buds for many years, living in different parts of the country (at times, different parts of the world), but we always stayed true to our friendship... Until we realized, through super-natural promptings, that we were life-long friends for a reason! So, we added in a dash of romance and a hefty dose of commitment, and we pledged ourselves to each other as he-spouse and she-spouse til death do us part! It's been a fun time so far, and I have to say, I'm a fan of this whole marriage institution. We love Jesus, we love fun, and we love our life!

So, we don't need a blog for any particular reason, but I think it's fun to be able to document some of the insanity that is our lives for our out-of-town friends and family to be able to laugh, smirk, mock, or respond in any way they deem appropriate! Hopefully it'll be, at least, mildly entertaining, and perhaps a little informative at times too! I might just throw in some fun historical facts about these peeps named Austin and Lizzy (that's us)! Regardless of your motive, thanks for stopping by!

                       Just a typical day in the life of Sharps!
                         (Austin is the one with the boobs)