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Monday, March 30, 2015

Cultivating a Positive Approach to Life

Friday, March 27, 2015

Farewell to negativity

The idea hit us when we were out on a routine errands trip the other day. It was a sunny day and Ibs and I were enjoying the warmth that the sun provided as it beat down on the roof of the Excursion. It’s a pleasant, kind of novel feeling to be baking in the sun while you’re in the vehicle, and then freezing in the snow as soon as you step out. 

Anyway, we were talking about having a positive outlook on life, and what that looks like. It all started when we were sitting in a parking lot waiting for something, and while we waited we watched the people walking by. It occurred to us that none of them looked happy. In fact, pretty much every single one of them gave off the distinct impression that something was wrong. Like maybe the bank had just foreclosed on their house. Or their dog had died. Or they had found a gnarly bug in their oatmeal.

I don’t think any of those things had happened to any of those people. Most of them were probably having normal days and thinking normal things. It’s just that we are surrounded by negativity – in the news, in the culture, in the world – and it’s easy to get sucked into it.

Is it possible to have a positive outlook on life?
Totally! But you may need to work at it. Do a quick check-up on your conversations: what are the subjects most often discussed around the dinner table in your home? What do your casual comments look like throughout the day? What do your conversations with your friends sound like?

Do you constantly bemoan the lack of great guys (or girls)? Do you rant against President Obama’s latest actions? Do you frequently talk about WHY don’t people live life to the fullest?

It's time for a farewell to negativity.

I don’t mean that you won’t ever make another negative statement in your life. There are plenty of perfectly necessary and helpful – though negative – things that must be said. But let’s start being aware of every word we speak.

Here is a challenge for you: Make a negativity log.

You can do this either for yourself, or for your whole family (you might want to check with them first :). Take a piece of paper and a pen, and keep them handy… and make a little notation every time someone says something negative. Do this for a week, and see what happens! You may be surprised to see how much your casual conversations change.

By the way, we’re doing it too. After that discussion Ibs and I had, we decided we both want to do better – so as of this morning we have started the log. So far so good… only one notation at breakfast! Woohoo!

Wishing you the most positive of days, :)



Reason #1783 Why My Brothers are Amazing

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

With Spring only weeks away, the temperatures are rising and snow is beginning to melt, very slowly but very surely, with the promise of warm weather to come. This week, for the first time in months, we have rain in the forecast... which means that the heaps and heaps of snow on our roof will get wet. Which means it will get heavier. Which means an imminent and gigantic roof collapse.

Actually it's not quite that dire. :) But we did have to get the snow off just to be cautious, so when I stepped out the door this afternoon, this is what I saw:

An Ike, hard at work.

Augs is somewhere behind that looming pile.

Yes, these guys are amazing. And yes, I am totally biased. But even without the bias, they're still amazing.

2015 Winterfest at Ben & Jerry's

Monday, March 9, 2015

I love living only two miles away from the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory. It is a very fattening delicious situation, despite the fact that we actually don't go there frequently at all. But the dreaming and thinking and stomach-growling between times make up for it.

Last week they hosted their annual Waterbury Winterfest, and we were very happy to attend. We were particularly happy about free ice cream tastes, free factory tours, free festiveness, free cheese samples, and free smiles from cheerful Ben & Jerry's employees. (who wouldn't be cheerful if you got to take home 3 pints of B & J's per day??) There was also plenty of free cold wind going around, which we got to sample while walking to and from the B & J's building and trying to take shivering pictures outside.

Seems like Ben & Jerry look a little different these days. 

I'm not sure why we are leaning so far over in this picture. It could have been subconscious, as we prepared to make a flying dash over to the free tasting area. Or it might have been due to the free samples of cold wind. (I fell over dead right after taking this picture) (not really)

By the way, that rabbit/chipmunk/squirrel/woodchuck/whatever-the-sculpture-is was holding a sign that said "Six weeks left [of winter]." Yay for Spring!! And Yay for snow while we still have it!!

Apparently somebody has quite a talent for making snow sculptures!

The tourist crowd around here can be an interesting bunch. A lot of them are from places like New York City or Boston, and many come to Vermont just for a taste of the country. And they always come to Ben & Jerry's. There's a place at the B & J's factory where a large picture of a black-and-white cow is painted on the wall, and as we walked by it, a little boy was tugging at his mother's hand and pointing to it. 
"Look, Mom," he was saying, "Look at that big moose!!"

I love kids. :)

Are You Single & Pining? -- The Contentment Quiz for Christian Girls

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A healthy and Biblical attitude towards future marriage does not include "pining" - the state of wanting a husband desperately, living in discontentment/unhappiness/despair until he arrives. Pining is the opposite of prayerful contentment. Godly contentment means praying and preparing towards your God-given purpose, while wholeheartedly trusting God's timing and rejoicing daily in each of His blessings. 

Pining for marriage is not attractive. In fact, it often does the opposite of attracting a guy: it repels him. Pining and discontentment rob a girl of that inner beauty of the heart, and a wise man (like the one you want to attract) knows that pining now can only lead to discontentment later.

Those who pine for Mr. Right view marriage as the solution to all of their problems; the beginning of their real life; the state that will finally make them truly happy + content.

Reality check: the person you are right now is the same person you will be after getting married.

If you are not content in the state you are in right now, you will have something new to feel discontented with soon after you get married. Like, you can't get pregnant fast enough. Or you have to live too far away from your birth family. Or your husband doesn't spend enough time with you.

Girls who are pining away for marriage are not prepared for marriage.

Achieving current contentment is Marriage Prep 101. To find out how content you are, or whether you are pining away for marriage, here’s a quick heart check:

Contentment Quiz for Christian Girls
1. Do you feel like your life will only truly begin after you get married?
2. Do you believe you cannot be fully happy until a guy comes along for you?
3. Do you think of your single years as wasted time?
4. Do you believe marriage will finally solve all of your problems?
5. Do you believe you will not be lonely after marriage?
6. Do you think of marriage as the ultimate goal in your life?
7. If you knew you were never going to get married, would the future look dismal to you?

Okay, how'd you do? I sure hope you answered No to every question. But if not, here's what you can do to fight the Pining Plague and take the first step towards prepping for God's gift of marriage:

1. Celebrate today! You are alive and able to grow. (celebration is an attitude)
2. Thank God for ALL of His incredible blessings! (gratitude is the key to contentment)
3. Prepare for marriage. (preparation empowers girls)

Philippians 4:11 - "for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." That state of contentment includes your childhood, your single state, your marriage, your old age. Pray towards God's timing and guidance of marriage, but pray with thanksgiving for what you already have, because gratitude is a major cure for discontentment.

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