Day 2988 – Forged By Fire

One of my favorite pictures of growing in Christ, and life really, is the gold/silver and dross scraping. To purify gold/silver, you have to turn up the heat to get the crap out; the dross. After a round of high heat, the smith scrapes away a layer of the dross. This process repeats until the smith can see their reflection in the precious metal (check out this article for more info). This has always been my go to picture of the hard times in life. When an angry outburst shows me just how dark my heart can be, when an embarrassing moment show how deep my pride problem goes. I try to remember this when I’m looking down on myself.

It seems that most of us these days want an easy life. We don’t want to fight with anyone. We don’t want our car to break down. We don’t want to work too hard. We want to have time to sit back and relax. But live in this world for a few years, and you’ll quickly realize, you will be met with challenges, you will be met with hardships, and you will be met with devastating experiences. I think the sooner we can look at these things as part of the growth process, the sooner we’ll live in a state of joyful endurance. A mountain to climb isn’t an obstacle, it is a chance to strengthen your legs. The loss of a loved one reminds us to embrace those who are still here even tighter. A tough experience will mean I am stronger on the other side.

How have you been forged by fire and grown as a result?

This isn’t a purifying process, but a glass factory, those fires are pretty hot though!

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Day 2972 – How I Find New Books To Read – or – Which Cult Should I Join?

I love love love reading. If I go without regular reading time in my life, I become sad, discouraged, and just not filled. Reading brings me joy and makes me think. It gives me ideas. In a lot of ways, reading has changed my life, again and again. I read a lot too, I’m currently at 213 books for the year. Branching out my regular reading to children’s books has been, in some ways, a game changer. It has pushed me to want to read more “non-children’s” books to feel better about how many of my read list are “actual books.”

So how do I find books? What’s my method? How can you steal it?

– First is using Goodreads (this is a link to MY author page! I am still blown away that I have one.) I am connected to other readers, and I find lots of great books through them.

– I check my ever growing To Be Read list on Goodreads. (513 is the current count. Oy.)

– I follow Modern Mrs. Darcy who shares really great recommendations. Her guides and challenges are helpful in building my to be read list.

– I find book recommendations through other books I read. This alone is a rabbit hole! It is so helpful having a place to put them (can I say how much I love Goodreads?)

– I browse the new books at the library. This is probably my best source for great books. I have certain areas I always look (business and self-help type books), but having a small snapshot of all subjects pushes me to look at topics I might not normally read.

– I browse all of the stacks in the library. I love to wander around and grab books that catch my eye. I will typically look until the bag I’m carrying gets too heavy.

All of this lead me to read, Which Cult Should I Join – A Choose-Your-Own Guidebook for the Spiritually Bereft by Jo Stewart. Now, you might be thinking, why is a professing Christian reading this? I picked it up because I thought it looked interesting. I actually learned a lot in the process of reading it. So, while wildly hilarious, it was also informative.

What about you? How do you find new books to read?

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Day 2959 – My Reverse Bucket List (Things I HAVE Accomplished/Done)

As I was trying to figure out what to blog today, one idea was a reverse bucket list. I did a little digging, and basically, it’s a list of things I HAVE done. I thought it would be a great exercise, not only as a way for y’all to get to know me more, but also a way for me to be thankful.

1. Meet and marry someone.

2. Marry my best friend.

3. Take a four cross country road trips.

4. See Jenny Lake again.

5. Make six figures (granted, this was in cumulative years, but still).

6. Write a book*.

7. Write another book*.

8. Successfully quit drinking.

9. Pay off and stay out of debt.

10. Start and continue a blog.

11. Make money from a blog. (It’s a little baby amount, but it’s something!)

12. Read a lot of books.

13. Jump out of a plane.

14. Work for myself.

15. Encourage others to grow their businesses.

What’s on your reverse bucket list?

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* Amazon Affiliate link
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Day 2948 – When Did I Know I Was An Alcoholic

I’m working through my second draft of my memoir, and I’m happy to see it taking somewhat of a logical shape.

Yesterday, we had so much fun hanging out with some friends at a beautiful waterfront bar. Chatting with one of my friends, we talked about what was success for my first book, which was that one person’s mindset was changed.

In my current draft of the memoir, I wrote “I don’t want to write this book. Thinking back to these times doesn’t make me happy. Trying to read other memoirs about drinking is hard to do. I want to forget it all happened. I want to leave those memories in the past. Why would I ever want to go back there? Why would I want to share even more about the things I did? I suppose, if just one person is helped. If one person can move past addiction and treat it finally as a sin, it is worth it.

I think I have my goal for this book.

So, when did I know I was an alcoholic?

Probably in the few days after my last drink. Here’s a snapshot from my journal, which is part thinking out loud, part praying, in the days after that last day.

September 29, 2014 (first day sober)
I do enjoy it and I have had some great times, yet I’ve quit so many times. Can I really not control myself or am I trying to prove to myself that I can? Am I holding on to sin? Should I cut it loose? Do I need to cut it out completely? Truly? Forever? Is it standing in my way?

On October 3, 2014
Thank you also for the clear “it’s time” to quit drinking. Thank you for the strength already against temptation. Let it open doors to honest communications about how Christians aren’t perfect.

Almost three years later and I think it’s so true – that it can open lines of communications. People are shocked when they hear about my sobriety – “but you’re a Christian!”
Thinking back to the months following this moment, I remember thinking that there is almost more stigma against people who don’t drink than people who do. Look at all the memes about drinking at the end of the day, or that say “how could I ever quit drinking, I’d be boring!” I was more embarrassed and nervous to say “no thank you” to a drink, then when I was downing bottle after bottle.

I’m so thankful for sober Jen, because she can go to places like we went yesterday, and remember every minute. I really hope we can live near the water some day.

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Day 2947 – Don’t Wait Until You Are Thirsty To Drink

As I’m making my way through Dream Big, Think Small by Jeff Manion, I read this today “Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.” He was talking about a time he went for a run and didn’t drink any water for hours, which brought on a headache. I thought this was such great advice, one of those things I will hang on the wall.

It can apply to all areas of life, hence why I put this post under all of my categories. Here are a few suggestions of how I take a drink in different areas of my life.

Christianity – On my best days, I listen to a sermon and journal. I’m most successful when I pick a sermon the night before, journal already on my desk, and my work area clean. The days I set myself up for success, typically, I’m successful.

Marriage – We try to have a meaningful, purposeful conversation at least once a day. A time to turn around from the computer screens, phones left on the table, and just talk to each other. With Bret working from home during the last few weeks of his summer break, it’s been much easier to have these conversations.

Business – I think my biggest source of drinking in the area of business is using Asana to keep track of things. It really helps me to see where I am on my many projects, and is such a load off my mind, knowing that everything I’ve discussed with my clients, Bret, and all of my ideas, live in one spot. This is so much better than having a pile of things to do and not knowing what to do next.

Travel – I can’t travel all the time right now. I can’t just hop in the car and take a road trip. To keep myself hydrated in this area, I created a compilation video from our 2016 road trip. It has some of our great moments, and serves as a reminder of what I HAVE experienced.

Life – Recently meditating and yoga have really helped me take a drink. On my personal retreat, I came up with a few mantras about my life. It really helps to bring my mind back to center. And yoga really helps me remember to breathe and stay in tuned with life.

What about you, what do you do to keep yourself hydrated in life?

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