Wednesday, October 26, 2011

caffeine free me

A couple of years ago I heard Lysa Terkeurst speak about fasting.  She mentioned seasons in her life when she had fasted from television {completely???  not even one innocent little episode of house hunters?}...
and from sugar {by sugar - you mean plain raw sugar, right?  nutella and apple pie would surely be ok}.


If I'm honest {and I am} - when I first heard these accounts of self-deprivation I thought they were a little extreme and completely unnecessary.  But something about her confession kept echoing in the corners of my mind.  There was an honesty and confidence in her voice when she explained that these were things that were separating her from God.  They were things that were keeping her from being completely dependent on him.  She encouraged us to think about things in our own life that may be of greater comfort or desirability than a complete reliance on our Jesus.  


It took less than 10 seconds for the words - 'sweet tea' - to enter my consciousness. 


I pretended to ignore it at first.  I'm a southern girl brought up on sweet tea.  What could possibly be wrong with that?  But for some reason every time I pulled through the McDonald's drive-thru to order a large sweet tea {they're only a dollar...come on!} I felt this darkness come over me.  

I know it sounds ridiculous but the truth was - that sweet nectar of the gods was a good thing gone bad in my life.  



I started paying attention to my tea drinking patterns...  
feeling tired and unmotivated?  a sweet tea would pick me right up!
frustrated with the kids?  i deserve a sweet tea to make me feel better!
feeling overwhelmed?  all i need are a few syrupy sips and i'll just forget everything that's dragging me down.


Yep - this was a problem.  So leaning on the verse Lysa had referenced {philippians 4:13} I decided that I could do this sacrificial and ridiculously difficult thing in order to improve the quality of my life and my relationships.  It was hard {I'm embarrassed to say} but for a nearly three months I did not let my lips anywhere near a glass of sweet tea.  I found Lysa's words to be completely true...


I switched from feeling deprived to feeling empowered.


I gradually introduced sweet tea back in from time to time once I thought it no longer held a place of too much importance in my life.  


Fast forward a year and my new drug of choice becomes coffee {and the occasional sweet tea again, too!}.  Once again - not a terrible, awful thing, but I gradually became aware of my dependence on it both physically and psychologically.  

A few months ago I was experiencing severe headaches EVERY day {in the past headaches were a complete rarity for me}.  They were so bad that I seriously thought I might have a brain tumor.  My energy levels would dip so low that I would have to lay down on the couch to watch my kids play on an almost daily basis.  My moods would swing so severely that I could go from docile to raging in seconds.  


This time I knew...

caffeine had to go.

I kept putting it off.  I kept thinking I 'needed' it to get me through until I was in a more stable place from which to wean myself.  

did i really say that?  
i NEED it to get me to a more stable place?  

I was gently reminded that I already had a faith {no matter how weary and fragile} in a great God {who never gets weary and fragile} to get me to that stable place.  Caffeine ultimately wasn't going to cut it. 



I love the caffeine free me.  

It wasn't easy.  I had headaches and a few days of agony, but the turnaround came surprisingly quickly.  

More energy.  
No more afternoon naps.  
More playing with my kids and less watching them through blurry eyes.  
NO headaches.  
And probably best of all - patience...and a peace that penetrates my body, soul and mind.

Don't get me wrong - caffeine free me is NOT perfect. 


But I am certainly experiencing more abundance in my life now that I have kicked caffeine's crown to the curb and my real Savior is back on his throne.

What impostor god have you been bowing down to?



A few fun facts...
  • caffeine is the world's most popular drug
  • caffeinated beverages reach all tissues in the body within 5 minutes
  • short term effects of caffeine may include increased breathing, higher levels of gastric acid in the stomach, increased activity level, raised temperature, elevated neural activity, disrupted sleep patterns sleep patterns, headaches, jitteriness, rapid heartrate, and even delirium
  • long term effects may include insomnia, depression, anxiety, stomach ulcers, and reduced fertility

Monday, October 17, 2011

gifts of fall abound!

my gratitude journal is filling.  {if you have no idea what the heck i am talking about check out this previous post}


if you live in my neck of the woods you have hopefully been basking in the beauty of what i call 'weather perfection'...sunny afternoons sandwiched between cool mornings and evenings.  


joey is out of town and i have been going solo with the kids for the past few days which sometimes results in a frazzled and weary mama.  not this time.  somehow i have found myself unable to keep up with the abundance of 'gifts' that have been jam packed into each day...


::back porch playtime::


::barefoot races in the grass::


::lucy's first biology lesson on the farm - anatomy of a chicken::


::oliver's first horseback ride::


::climbing hay bales::


::bonding with my dad over clemson football::


::family reunions that leave your belly and your heart full::


::successful use of the toilet for my nearly 2 year old {this one has absolutely nothing to do with the season but i had to share because i was just so darn excited!}::


::convincing my brother to participate in this photo op with me and the kids...



i know there will be days when the gifts elude me.  when i will have to dig into the dirt of the day to find them.  fight for them.  for today i am holding open hands as the great giver of gifts pours them into my grateful life.


what are the gifts this season has brought you???

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

priorities



dear lucy and oliver ~
i know that you are too young to completely understand all that has happened in our life the past several months.  i just want to make sure there is one thing that doesn't escape you.  something that i believe is important for you to know as you grow up in our family...


last month your daddy made a decision that i hope will demonstrate to you how much he values our family and how precious you are to him.  i don't want us to forget this decision because i believe that it is a great confirmation of his priorities and of his character as my husband and your father.


after a very dry and difficult season of his career your daddy found himself presented with two job opportunities.  after weeks and weeks without a single offer this chance to choose seemed to be a blessing of abundance...we praised God.  


but we were faced with choosing...  


i prayed and prayed for wisdom about this decision.  the wisdom was given to your daddy and he made his choice with ease and confidence.  a decision that i don't know if i would have made {which explains why God gave him ultimate responsibility and not me!}.


on the one hand there was a job at one of the top golf programs in the country.  a prestigious program that paid very well and had some pretty sweet benefits.  the opportunity to work with a seasoned, well-respected coach who would likely be able to launch him into a desirable head coaching position in just a few years. 


on the other hand...
a job that doesn't pay as well.  a program that has achieved some success but is not considered an established golf powerhouse.  working with a brand new head coach. 


armed with only this information it would seem like a no-brainer to take the 1st one...but there is more to this story...
your daddy did his homework this time around and this is what he found...


there was a flip side to both jobs.


taking the high paying position at the well-known program included a trade-off...moving several hours away from family/friends.  keeping his nose to the grindstone almost every day of those few years.  reporting to work on weekends (including sundays) and holidays without much time off.  living and breathing competitive college golf.


taking the less prestigious position came with the promise of working for a well-respected man who values God and family above golf.  stepping into an athletic department that feels more like a family than a cut throat workplace.  being part of a program that is excited about college golf and supports your efforts to take that program to the highest level and mentor young men along the way.
and the kicker?  this job would put us right back in charlotte - the place we grieved leaving less than a year before.

your daddy chose well.

he could have let pride lead the way and step into a world full of sacrifices for our family.  there's no telling what condition we would have found ourselves in on the other side.
instead he saw the truth of what God was giving him back in charlotte...a job full of promise in a place that our family could flourish.

instead of spending the past couple of days at the golf course from dawn until dusk your daddy went to church with us on sunday and served the families there alongside me.  he played 'tickle worm' and 'hide and seek'  with you.  he was with us at birthday parties and trips to the store and family meals.  he read you stories at bedtime and was the prince {or the dragon} in your fairytale adventures.  he wasn't spending so much time being someone else's coach that he didn't have time to be your daddy and my husband...

for that i pray that he finds favor in his job.  that his career is blessed.  that God will take less time in the office and on the range and multiply it's effectiveness for His glory and for our family's enduring strength and legacy.

your daddy works so hard at his job.  he loves it.  but because of the choice that he made i pray that you will always know that he loves you more.  that in this life his priorities go beyond fleeting earthly success to the eternal things that will endure...