Monday, April 30, 2012

Choosing Joy

So, life is crazy. There are ups and downs. There are things that you assume are constant and then aren't. There are things that make you happy. There are things that make you sad. There are things that happen that you think you will never recover from. There are things that happen that aren't fair.

So much has happened in my life lately that I don't know how to deal with. People tell me that I will be stronger in the end. That I am better off (or will be anyway). That I will be restored. That God has a plan. That God is in control. That I deserve better. Maybe they're right. But, right now I am sad. So, what can I do?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 says "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

Pretty much sums it up. I have to choose to be joyful. The Bible clearly says to always be joyful. That's not going to come naturally and there are going to be times (probably lots of times) that I don't feel like being joyful, but during those times I have to pitch a fit, stomp my feet and throw things on the ground choose to be joyful. I have to curl up in a fetal position and cry my eyes out choose to be thankful. I believe that it is a shift in mindset. I may feel sad, but that doesn't mean that I have to accept it. I reject the sadness and choose joy instead.

"How do you do that?" you may ask. Well, here are my remedies:

1. First and foremost I get out my Bible. Reading the Bible and spending some time in prayer is a great way for me to gain perspective. It reminds me of the goodness of God. It puts my heart back where it needs to be. Psalm 119:105 says "Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." Spending time with God, especially in His Word guides me and shows me how I should be thinking and feeling.

2. Nature. When I'm feeling down it helps me to get into nature. Sunshine, rain, fresh cut grass, stars, ocean, mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, flowers...any of these helps me feel more centered. Nature helps me to find my place in the universe. It reminds me that I am a part of something much bigger than myself, and while my problems are important, they are not the end of the world.

3. Creativity. Sometimes the best way to stop being sad is to get those emotions out creatively. My friend Amy (who writes a blog called Life With Luke which you should read because it is hilarious!)is an art therapist and is much better at explaining things like this, but in my limited knowledge of the subject it seems like expressing yourself creatively is a way to release thoughts and emotions out of yourself...sometimes it releases things you didn't even know were there. I mean, let's face it, how often did you see Bob Ross unhappy? You can paint, you can draw, you can sculpt, you can write, you can sing, you can play instruments, you can act, you can dance....there's a huge number of creative things you can do.

4. Talk it out. We all know about my love for therapy. A great way to get past the sadness is to talk it out. Maybe you don't want to go to a therapist, no problem, go to a friend. But, make sure it is someone you trust to not spread your business around and whose advice you trust, because when you start to talk it out you become very vulnerable. I also like this piece of advice when it comes to talking it out.

5. Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy. Seems simple right? Well, I don't know if it's simple, but I always feel better after I exercise. If I'm feeling sad and stuck in my head I try to choose a form of exercise that I have to focus on rather than something that allows my mind to wander. For example, I'll go to the dojo and take a karate class rather than hop on the treadmill or elliptical for an hour. Yoga is also really great for refocusing your body and your mind.

These are 5 things that work for me. What do you do to help you choose joy?


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Midweek Confessions

It's that time again. Time for Midweek Confessions. I'm not sure if emyselfandi is having a midweek confessions this week, but if so I'll link up (and you should too!)

*I don't really know my cousins very well. When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma we would visit my grandma and poppo's house every Sunday. Often our cousins would be there and we would play. Cousins would visit from out of state and we would be best friends in an instant. I haven't seen my cousins in years. From what I know from facebook and updates from my parents I have some amazing cousins. No offense to the boys, but the women in my extended family are some of the most incredible people ever. I really want to reconnect with these awesome people.

*I'm a princess (but that's not my confession). In spite of being a princess I really love karate lately. I started doing karate a little over a year ago and then took a break when things in my marriage started going downhill. I was out for about 5 months and Riley and I joined back up a few weeks ago. Getting back in the dojo has been awesome for me. I get a great workout and I get the opportunity to get out some aggression. It's also one of the first activities outside of church and friends that I've done out from Terry's shadow. It's nice to go in there and just be Ali. It's nice to not look over every 5 seconds to see what Terry's doing or if he wants to work together or if he has an opinion on the technique I'm working on. I get to focus on myself for that 45 minutes. I've also found that I'm pretty good at it. I don't know how long I will pursue martial arts, but for now it's awesome.

*All right, time for an embarrassing one. I really like teen dramas. When I was a teenager there were TV shows like Party of Five, Dawson's Creek, and My So-Called Life. Shows in which teenagers came of age and discovered boys, drinking, and a whole mess of other issues that teenagers are faced with. I wasn't allowed to watch these shows. Now that I am a grown-up I have discovered that I really like teen dramas. Currently I can't stop watching 90210 (the new version, not the one from the 90s), Make it or Break it and Switched at Birth. I blame Netflix. If it weren't for Netflix I wouldn't even know these shows existed. I am almost 30 years old and I should be watching things like Mad Men and Crime Shows, but no, I'm watching teen drama. Maybe I am trying to see what I missed out on as a teenager, maybe I just want to deal with simpler things right now. Who knows?

*I really like rain. I love the sunshine, but I love to be out in the rain. I love to walk in the rain, dance in the rain, kiss in the rain. I don't like when rain ruins my outdoor plans or if my hair is straightened and I have to go somewhere and it's raining, but other than that I love it. I love how the rain feels pouring over you like it is washing everything away. I love how the sound drowns out so many others and sometimes my own thoughts. I love it because it's something that no one can control, that it happens whether we want it to or not.

Rainy Day

Rain |

*I'm addicted to Chili Cheese Fritos. Seriously. I can't stop eating them. They may be one of the worst "foods" in the world, but they are oh so delicious. Why can't I be addicted to spinach or brussel sprouts?

So, an update from last week's confessions. I started a new book. I randomly picked out Redemption by Karen Kingsbury. My sister and niece both rave about Karen Kingsbury so I picked out book 1 of a series. I started reading it last night and in the first 100 pages a man had an affair, fell in love with the other woman, told the wife he wanted a divorce, and moved out...all in excruciating detail. Subsequently I have cried through the entire first 1/4 of this book. Awesome choice, Ali. Hopefully it gets better and will actually help me gain perspective on my situation rather than keep me the blubbering mess that I am with every turn of the page.

Have a Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Midweek Confessions

So, I found this fun blog called e, myself and i and every Wednesday she does a Midweek Confession. So, this week I am linking up and you should too!

*I love therapy. I think that everyone should go to therapy. I went this morning and something about it makes me feel so centered and sane and normal. I'm learning how to deal with huge issues in my life as well as little things that I can do to become a more complete, better individual. I highly recommend it!

*Lately I am obsessed with hot wing sauce. I want buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken sandwiches, buffalo cornbread, buffalo mac and cheese. I can't get enough. It makes my mouth burn and sometimes gives me heartburn, but I still want it for every meal.

*I hate folding laundry. I don't have a problem washing and drying the laundry. Riley and I always have clean clothes to wear, I just really hate folding it and putting it away! So, I have 3 baskets of clean laundry sitting in my laundry room ready to be folded and put away and I just can't make myself do it. I especially hate matching socks!

*I love to read, but lately I have no inspiration for books. This makes me sad. I have a whole stack at home that I want to read and a huge list that I want to get from the library but something in me just doesn't feel like it. Hopefully this passes soon!

*I love shiny, sparkly things. Okay, so maybe this isn't much of a confession. How about this one...When I really don't want to clean the house I sometimes put on my tiara and it makes cleaning more fun. I may or may not have done this more than one time in the last week. Oh well, it's fun to be a princess!

So there are my Midweek Confessions...that was fun!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Almost there

Blogging is a little tough right now. On the one hand I want to write light and fluffy because it makes me feel better. On the other hand I want to write deep and profound because that’s where my head is at these days. So, then I just don’t write anything at all and that’s not good either. So what do I write about today? I don’t know. Let’s see where it goes, lol.

When I look out my window at work this is what I see
Trees, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppSee those trees across the parking lot? A few short weeks ago they were bare. I don’t like bare trees. I think that they look ugly and lifeless and angry and hard and sinister. One day I saw a few buds starting to form on the trees, it was getting warmer so I knew that it wouldn’t be long until I didn’t have to look at ugly, bare trees out my window anymore. One day I looked up and out my window and somehow, without me noticing these trees had filled out with all the pretty, green leaves that you see in the picture above.

When I lived in Florida I used to go walk on the beach early in the morning. A lot of times the sky looked a lot like this
Starry and with just the tiniest hint of daytime starting to show up. A lot of times before I knew it and without really noticing the sky would turn into something like this
Night was over and morning had officially begun.

I think this is what happens in our lives sometimes, at least it does in my life. You go through something and you get so focused on what a hard time you are having. You see little glimpses of hope, but the end seems so far away and then one day you realize that it’s over. Morning has come. Spring is here. You realize that you got through it.

I’m in the in-between stage right now. I see glimpses of morning but it’s not quite here yet. This is my wall at work
Wall, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
It’s fun colors and shapes and Bible verses and quotes to remind me that as long as I keep trusting God then I’m going to get through this. That morning will come.

"...Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5