Friday, September 24, 2010

Some thoughts on a FABULOUS quote for a Friday...

"It's never too late to become the person you might have been." ~ Mary Ann Evans (pen name, George Eliot)


OK, a couple of quick thoughts on this. 


 A. Mary Ann Evans is a woman who wrote novels in the late 1800's. This was a time when women writers weren't taken seriously. They were viewed simply as authors of lighthearted romances. But, she knew she had a passion for writing different material. So, instead of letting the stereotypes of the day hold her back, she basically said, "Fine, I'll make up a man's name and put that on all of my stuff. We'll see who will read this lady's awesome writing then." And, she became one of the leading English novelists of the Victorian Era. FABULOUS!


B. She's absolutely right! I'm 40 and I'm out of shape. I've become lazy in all of the areas in which I should have formed healthy habits. I've strayed far from what God intended for me as a woman. No, I'm not saying He planned for me to always look 18, but He did plan for me to maintain a healthy shape. I'm sad when I think of the months and years wasted on a big waistline and low energy. But, IT'S NOT TOO LATE! Whether I want to become a serious writer, get my Master's degree, learn to ride a horse, drop 60 pounds...whatever; I believe God will help me be the person I might have been - for HIM (that's the key). It's never too late! So, this weekend, I'm going running! FABULOUS!

C. Let me know how you put healthy habits into place in your busy life. And, have a FABULOUS weekend!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Time to stop flitting about!

On this journey toward FABULOUS...the most important area in which I can improve is in being a woman who follows God fiercely. Then, I need to focus on absolutely cherishing my family. So, I've been working on spending time consistently in my Bible and showering love on my husband and daughter. As I spend time in the book of James and trying to avoid acting selfishly in my relationships, I can't help but realize the next step on this journey is to reach out to the world around me. And, this makes me think of fruit flies. Fruit flies, you ask? Sure, I mean, don't you think of fruit flies whenever you begin pondering ways in which God can use you in the world despite the chaos of your daily schedule? No? Just me? OK, then, I should probably explain. The Traceys have had an infestation of fruit flies. Over the past week or so we've gone from a few pesky insects to dozens and they're bugging us beyond belief. (Pun intended, of course.) In fact, as I'm typing, one of the little buggers keeps landing on my screen and flitting around just enough to keep my from being able to see the words I'm producing. Oh, ho, ho, flit while you can, little one. Your days are numbered! You see, I've done some research on fruit flies and found out what it takes to eliminate them from your home. I've poured bleach down the drains, I've wiped, I've scrubbed, and I've come across a powerful concoction. One woman on-line wrote about a simple solution she mixes together to trap fruit flies when they become a problem for her. She mixes 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 2 Tbs sugar, and 1 tsp dish soap; stirs it without creating bubbles, sets it out in a custard cup and waits for the little bugs to be drawn to their (sorry if it sounds harsh) death. And, whoa, does this stuff work. We've put out a few containers of the super mix and have found so many little bodies floating in it in under 24 hours! Even our 4-year-old has been squealing with delight, "Mommy, we caught more bugs!" As satisfying as this has been, I've also been observing the little guys and their behavior around the secret concoction. I've determined that, although it must has a powerful draw on their sense of smell, somehow they seem to know that if they go all the way in, they'll never be able to fly back out. I'm probably reading too much into how they get so close, almost close enough to touch the liquid, but then skitter away, only to return a few seconds later. Each time they draw nearer and nearer. I told Jeremy this morning it's almost as if they're thinking, "I really want to dive in to this stuff. It smells SO good. But, I know it will mean the end of me! And, since I don't want to die, I should stay away. But, I just can't!" And the next time I come to check, there they are floating belly up. Jeremy said I was being kind of morbid. And, he's right, but I saw a profound likeness between the flies' behavior and my own. For me, the all-powerful and intoxicating mix that beckons me relentlessly is the trap of doing nothing. And, its lure is SO strong. With a busy schedule full of work, Mommy-hood, cooking, tidying up, social obligations, paying bills, laundry, and so on...doing nothing is very attractive. When I have an evening or a rare weekend free, doing absolutely nothing calls out to me like that vinegar solution calls out to the fruit fly. I know that if I dive all the way in I could see my passion to help others die as my once-soft heart becomes hard again. But, still, I'm drawn to the trap. Now, of course there's nothing wrong with taking a Sabbath, just spending time with God and my family. But for me, it seems that plopping down in front of the TV or to watch a movie with Jeremy or even to read a chapter or two from a novel takes up the majority of whatever free time I have. And, you know, I think it's more than I realize considering how quickly time goes by and one program turns into two, or three, or four. So, here's the question:  Isn't there at least one day a month where I could find a couple of hours to do something for someone else? I don't know what exactly because it will probably involve bringing a preschooler along. I just know there has to be something I can do to make a difference in this world I live in. My husband has signed up to be a mentor at Charter Oak Elementary in Peoria. He'll eat lunch with his assigned student twice a month and try to be a listening ear and let the grade-schooler know he's important. Since I spend my lunches with Alyssa, this won't work for me right now. Of course, praying for my community is important and I've so enjoyed spending time fasting and praying for Peoria and its violent crime issue over the past Labor-Day week. Prayer is an important way to make a difference and one that I need to work into my day a lot more regularly. That's definitely one avenue toward impacting the world around me. Then there are the causes we support financially like Compassion International, Campus Crusade for Christ, 91.5 WCIC, and our own church. And, of course there's the volunteering we do at church, too. But, I'm ready to find that tangible way I can make a difference in the real spite of my busy life. That way in which I can fade to the background and provide support to someone else who's touching lives in my city. Maybe I can work a couple of hours at a Mission Mart or help with a meal time for the South Side Mission. Alyssa could probably even help with something like that. What I know for sure is that it's time to stop flitting around the lure of doing nothing. It's time to spread my wings and fly into a world that's beyond my comfort zone and allow Jesus to use me as His hands and His feet, right here in central Illinois. As I've spent time parked on the New Testament book of James, I've been constantly reminded that faith without works is dead. And, I don't want my faith to die. Are you with me on this? Maybe you've already found a way to get into the heart of your city and make a difference while balancing your busy life. Please...SHARE! Any and all ideas are welcome. Or, if you just want to say you're ready to start looking for that way to break free from the lure of do-nothing...I'd love to read your comments! FABULOUS women believe they can impact their world...and actually do it! I'm so excited for us to begin this faith-in-action adventure together! In the meantime, sleep well my FABULOUS friend!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It is not too late nor too big a dream!

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are far too easily pleased - C.S.Lewis 

Love, love, love, LOVE this quote! Great way to start off a weekend, huh? Our desire to be FABULOUS isn't a dream that surpasses God's ability or the strength He can provide. Let's keep working this weekend on being women who fiercely follow God and absolutely cherish our families. It's going to be a lifelong work, but it is so worth it!

Oh, and one word about families. I'm not assuming we're all married with kiddos. But, I am assuming we all have a family type of network. Whether family means your roommates, your parents, your siblings, or your friends, learning to shower love on them is an essential step toward becoming FABULOUS. At least, that's what I'm discovering on this journey. 

UPDATE - I need to be accountable to you. I'm falling behind in my effort toward reading, soaking in, and possibly memorizing the book of James. I did REALLY well with Chapter One...but so far in September, I'm lucky if I've read through chapter two more than once. So, I'm recommitting here and now to read that chapter at least twice a day and to start letting it absorb into my soul. So far, my goal of saying more affirming and encouraging words to my husband is going well. Of course, I always have room to grown, but I'm working on it every day. And, outside of honking at someone who was traveling at a snail's pace through a green arrow this morning (after which I was totally convicted), I really am seeing progress in my struggle with irritability. I hope that's not just because it's cooler outside! :)

How are you doing? Let's check in with each other from time to time. Next week we'll focus on becoming FABULOUS by believing we can impact our world - even though we're SO busy. I can't wait to hear how God is working in and through you to make a difference in the lives of others!

Happy Weekend! 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

a FABULOUS example

OK, I have to say it: Mandisa is FABULOUS! Of course, I knew she would be, even in person. Beautiful from head to toe. Beautiful face, beautiful voice, beautiful personality. Did I mention the incredible VOICE? Seriously, I'm still not over the fact that she was robbed of the title on Season 5 of American Idol. I know, I know...she's moved on, I should as well. STILL, come on! Besides the out-of-this-world talent that is Mandisa, I'm so glad she embraces her curves. Yes, she's been on quite the weight-loss journey. But, watching her boogie down on stage this past Sunday evening was such an encouragement to me. As someone who's struggled with weight the majority of her adult life, it was like watching a soul-sister on stage. No, I don't mean soul like Aretha. I just felt an inner connection. (I'm sure she completely felt the same way. At least, that's what I've really enjoyed telling myself over the last couple of days.) Seeing this awesome woman shake, shimmy, and dance with reckless abandon, as an expression of the true joy she has in Jesus, was inspiring. She's an example of the FABULOUS woman I'm striving to become, because I know her dancing really did come from that place of joy in spite of her current shape. Watching her, I found my mind rewinding back to the interview Jeremy and I had the privilege to record earlier in the week as promotion for Sunday night's concert at Northminster Presbyterian in Peoria. I remembered her saying the only time it's tough to talk about her quest toward losing 100 pounds is when it's not going well. And, she added, it hasn't been going well the last couple of months. Haven't we all been there? I'M WITH YOU, MANDISA! And, for you to get up there with such grace, zeal, and rhythm, regardless of your disappointment in that one certain area, well...WOW! I could use just a drop of that self confidence as I've also faced disappointment in recent months. It was so frustrating to have my already-way-skinnier-than-me husband carry me through the 91.5 WCIC Biggest Loser: Summer Weight Loss Challenge this past May and June. Over 5 1/2 weeks I struggled to lose a mere 7 pounds. REALLY? Only SEVEN POUNDS? Argh! And, guess what? I've found those 7 pounds. Turns out they didn't go far, and they've brought a few friends home to visit. Isn't that great? Yep, it is SO frustrating. Watching Mandisa this weekend was a reminder that I'm not alone. I have a fellow traveler on this voyage to good health. And she can DANCE! So, Mandisa, whether you lose 100 pounds or gain it, please never stop doing the boogie thing for Jesus! And another thing, on those days when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror during my Body Pump class and think, "Wow, am I really THAT big?"; you continue to provide inspiration. You're FABULOUS and you've reminded me that I can be, too, no matter what size jeans I currently wear! Thank you for that. And, for being my new BFF! Literally, you rock!