Posted in Living Intentional, Uncategorized

Living next door to those Joneses…Geez!

I have told you all many times that I feel so stuck living in Northern Virginia next door to the Joneses, and well, being friends with them, that it’s hard to not be able to keep up. I struggle with having to turn down invites due to our financial status at the time, or trying to stick to the budget that I just created, and well….that I am wearing the same skirt to work that I have had for over 5 years. But, that’s my life…and well, I need to learn to be content with that. We aren’t starving. We have nice things. We drive reliable cars, have food in the fridge and more than we need.

But I have really been trying to learn to be more content with what we have. The word I want for me and my family is to be “abundant”.  To know that I have a life full of abundance! But the comparison creeps in so often and is such an energy sucker.

I have realized that in order to feel a life of “Abundancy”, I need to find my level of contentment…so this article was spot on for me.

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Paragraph 3 is actually my favorite. I ended up taking this to heart a little over a year ago. I remember the days of the Groupons and Brad Deals and just clicking and buying. I wasn’t rich then, I just thought I had the money, and well, I GOT A GREAT DEAL! Who doesn’t love a deal, right?

I love Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma and Ann Taylor and, and, and….well, with each email that shows up every day, I would open it and it would create a feeling of WANT that actually was detrimental to my thinking, EVERY DAY! It created so much want and then a feeling of let down of “ugh I am so poor” that it really started to hurt my head, my soul, and just physically I was noticing the type of depression setting in that was so sad. I created all of this on my own. I don’t NEED any of it! I just WANTED it.

So it was time to take action! How? Well, I went on the new journey of UNSUBSCRIBE! This was my big turn over to filling my emails with positive sites and nothing retail! I had to give it up, and well, as you see below in Paragraph #1, it was time to “Set my Priorities”!

So, I hope you, too, can gain something from this and help you realize that you ARE enough and you HAVE enough! I hope you can get something fulfilling out this and start a new way to felling content!

 7 WAYS TO BE MORE CONTENT

A few months ago I shared that our family’s theme word for the year is contentment.
After an entire lifetime of wanting to trying to fill my life with beautiful things in the hope that it would bring fulfillment, learning to simply be content with what I have is a huge shift in paradigm.

I backslide sometimes–too often, really–and I find myself getting caught up in the pursuit of wanting something new, in the trap of thinking that there is better than here, of telling myself the reason I’m not satisfied is because I don’t have X or because I haven’t achieved Y.  They are the familiar lies that keep creeping back over and over again.

Even so, slowly and painfully, through much prayer and reflection, I can still feel myself being changed, transformed, renewed.  As this process continues, and as I continue to delve deeper into God’s Word, I am finding that these seven strategies are helping me to be much more content right where I am.

 

1. SET YOUR PRIORITIES

Take the time to actually write down what is most important to you, and to determine what it is you want most out of life.  Is having a bigger house, better clothes, a nicer car or the latest iPhone your ultimate goal?  If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want people to remember you for?   It is much easier to be content with what we have when we truly consider where our priorities lie.  Jesus, in Matthew 6:20-21, put it simpler still: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven….for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

2. STOP COMPARING

This is so easy to say and yet, unless you live in a bubble, so hard to do.  No matter what we do or who we are or how much we have, it is so tempting to see what someone else does or is or has and suddenly want that for ourselves.

As a blogger, my own biggest temptation is comparing myself to other bloggers.  I’ll see another blog that has more subscribers or Facebook fans or blog comments and think, “why are they so much bigger or better than me?”  Then I’ll read an amazingly insightful post or see a super-creative DiY project or delicious-looking recipe on another blog and think “Why couldn’t I think of that.”  But I don’t stop there.  I start questioning everything I am doing, I begin second-guessing my own path, my own content, my own worth.  Suddenly everything I do is complete crap and I might as well just quit altogether.I am learning, slowly, that another person’s success or talent doesn’t negate my own.  I remind myself over and over of the message found in Romans 12:6:  “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”  No two people will walk the same path, and nothing someone else has will fulfill me if I’m not already filled.  My only job is to walk my own path to the best of my abilities.

S

3. CHANGE THE MESSAGE

Do you ever feel like modern culture is just one big advertisement, constantly telling telling us what we need to be happy or successful?  Between television, books, online media, magazines, and even billboards, it is practically impossible to escape the pressure to have more, do more, or be more.  Much of  that message involves filling our lives with things, promoting the idea that stuff will make happy.  Sometimes it is just a “motivational” message, telling us that we should simply be better.  In any case, the idea that what we have and who we are is enough is rarely–if ever–promoted.  Contentment just doesn’t sell.

4. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Discontentment can sneak up on us so quickly, often before we even know it is happening.  Something doesn’t go exactly our way, and suddenly we are wishing the whole world was different.   I especially see this with my kids!  I have found that it helps both them and me to have daily conversations about the blessings in our lives and the things we are grateful for.

Philippians 4:4-7 reminds us to “rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!….Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will gthe-true-definitionuard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I am trying (yet often failing) in my own morning devotions, to be more intentional about thanking God for what He’s done, rather than constantly coming with my own petitions.  This is still hard for me.  To be perfectly honest, my prayers can often be very self-consumed.  There is a lot I still want, but remembering all that I have does make a difference.

5. LIVE PASSIONATELY

Where is your passion?   What do you love to do most of all?  What makes you jump out of bed in the morning, or rush home from work just so that you can have a little extra time to do it?  Is it sewing?  Crafting?  Blogging?  Speaking?  Volunteering? Starting your own business?  Raising children?  Becoming a missionary?  Whatever it is, DO IT.  Do it with abandon, do it like your life depends on it.

There is nothing in the Bible that says we should simply sit quietly by, trying not to make waves.  On the contrary, Jesus specifically said “I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL.”  A full life is one filled with passion, and it is hard to feel discontented when you are following your dreams.

6. FIND POSITIVE FRIENDS

Trying to “keep up with the Jones’” can become all-consuming if everyone you know is caught up in the same more-more-more mentality.  Unspoken competition among friends for the nicest house, most athletic kids, or biggest television (just to name a few!) not only breeds discontentment, but can cause true resentment among the people who should be your support system.bff_6-1

The Bible is pretty clear on this topic, saying “do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  A good way to make sure you’ll never be content is to surround yourself with discontented friends.  Instead, find people who are striving for the same goals.

7. PRAY FOR CHANGE

It always, always, always comes down to prayer.  Pray for contentment, for God to truly transform your heart and satisfy your need for more, and he will.  It is only through God’s grace we are redeemed.  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  (Matthew 7:7)

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Do you ever struggle with discontentment?  What are your strategies for dealing with it?

 

What paragraph struck you the most? I would love to hear! Please comment below and let’s cheer each other on! We can do this!

RL

 

Posted in Gluten Free and Fructose "FREE", Living Intentional, Uncategorized

Social Butterfly no longer, it’s just safer in the cocoon…

Why life has become so hard for me doesn’t have everything to do with the fact that my children are growing, financially we’re not where I thought we would  be, and even not where I thought I would be in my professional life. The hardest part for me has been the past five years where I have gone from  being a very social person and always out with friends and entertaining people in our home, to now I have become a hermit. Anxiety from having to go out with others and attend parties and cookouts, etc. are anything but easy! It doesn’t really have anything to do with anxiety over being social, period. I love my friends! It is the effects of my life now having food interolerence. It is one thing to be gluten-free where people do understand that a little bit more these days, but to have to be fructose free as well makes things very hard. Not many people understand what that is, and the past 3 years of learning all the many foods that contain fructose has been very eyeopening.

The support from my friends truly has been wonderful. I love how my friends try to find different foods and dishes that I can eat. For Bunko and Left Right Center nights they would bring Gluten Free crackers and chips and be excited. They love to offer suggestions, however, it is just not that easy. Having to deal with no garlic, no onions, spices and ingredients in those hidden sauces and prepackaged foods, even as simple as what mustard I can use and which ones I cannot is just frustrating.

This is the part that hurts the most.  The generosity is overwhelming, but I am a people pleaser and the last thing I want to do is to have to tell people, “sorry I can’t eat that”. I get so tired of having to say “no”. It’s just discouraging to them and well, just really starts to piss me off honestly cause it’s then a constant reminder of what I can’t eat.

“Eat some vegetables” they say as they push the platter towards me. 

No I can not have a carrot, yes, the simplest snack of all is on my no-no list. 

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Why is this a burden, I’d like to be skinny like you? Wow, I am so jealous, I wish I could look like you. UGH!

It’s all those times of fun celebrations, gatherings and events that people don’t think about. We were invited to an awesome VIP catered event at the Richmond Nascar race last fall yet I had to pack all of my own food for the day and HOPE they had a wine that didn’t make my throat feel like it was closing up. I mean, it’s bad enough I am drinking wine at a Nascar race, right? Just give me a cold one! 

People always wonder why you are the one not eating? I am so tired of explaining myself and have to go through the whole thing. I hate that it has become my identity when I meet new people. I just want to be Robie Lynn, I am in Sales and Marketing for a  for a new home builder, I am a wife of 24 years to Wally, a mother of 3 with a recently married son and I have a fun blog about being Perfectly Imperfect!  Ugh, I don’t want to be THAT one, that…oh, you can’t eat that.  I want to be known for me. (sigh)

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So through these years as I have now been judged as the person that is the”no-show” and has even stopped receiving the invites. Financially, I can’t play with the Joneses and the big girls all the time, but I did like to pick and choose. But now, I am the one that stopped going out for many personal reasons. There are those that will continue to judge and that will never understand what it is like, unfortunately. These days it’s just easier to stay home within the safety of my own refrigerator and pantry.

Definition of Free

ADJECTIVE
  • Able to act or be done as one wishes; not under the control of another.

WRONG! This would be why I say that being gluten and fructose free is anything but “FREE” for me. It has confined me mentally and physically. I never feel “good, when I feel things seem to be getting better, one little bite of something wrong can trigger the bloat and pain, then its right back to days of just trying to be normal again. I want to be free of the nonstop, constant thoughts of food. I want to be able to walk through a grocery store and try new foods. Shoot forget new foods I just want to eat what I used to eat. It’s like throwing an alcoholic in an ABC store asking to pick up something for you and then watching them drink it. 

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So, here we are once again on a holiday weekend where we have been invited to a party. Three hours before and I am already anxious trying to figure out what food to take and what they are serving. I hate looking like the outcast, I hate offending the host because they are unaware, which then leads to one more conversation having to explain it all over again. Thankfully, I have a husband who has learned to cook for me as now, food is a very negative thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, when it’s good it’s good and I love to eat! But, after five years of losing weight going from a size 8 down to a size 0 and being able to level out between a two and a four find my new size. However, within the past five months I have quickly packed on over 10 pounds and I can only contribute to this to being on new medicine that made me feel better, therefore maybe I ate a bit more than I was in the past, I guess. This is where it is evident that I LOVE to eat! But, yes one of the side effects of this medicine is weight gain. So here I am feeling miserable and now none of my clothes are fitting and we all know how that feels at any point in our life, right? The best part is is I am now told that I look healthy again unlike all the comments before of being accused of anorexia or doing drugs and looking sick. Not sure which side of life I prefer but honestly, I really just want to be free. So, as you all go about your holiday weekend, cookouts and fun foods, please eat a burger for me! Oh, and please be sure to top that off with ice cream in a cone or maybe some watermelon! All I can continue to say is this too shall pass, this is not new for me and I will survive.

For any of you that might be struggling with some food intolerences and know where I am coming from, please feel free to comment and share your experiences.  I’d love to talk about just how imperfect we are, together! 🙂

Happy 4th ya’ll!

RL

 

Posted in Uncategorized, When the NEST EGG is empty!

10 Free Items to Get on YOUR Birthday!

Get on the Email List Now!

Go sign up on their websites so you get your freebies!

I have to admit, I love when April comes around every year cause my inbox is flooded with the Birthday Freebies and Discounts.  I usually find that I can’t even use them all, but one year, I WILL!  So if you haven’t gotten your Birthday Freebies, take a look at this list and get signed up now, before your birthday!

There is nothing better than those extra little celebrations! 🙂 

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10 Free Items To Get on Your Birthday

By: Rachel Cruze

I’ve got to be honest with you guys. I make a really big deal out of birthdays. I just love a good birthday celebration!

One of the great things about having a birthday is free stuff! I’m not talking about gifts, either. I’m talking about all the businesses that will give you free stuff on your birthday.

This is especially awesome if you’re on a tight budget. You get nice stuff at no cost!

Here are some popular companies that offer a free birthday treat. For all of these, you’ll need to sign up to an email list or join a free rewards program to get your birthday treat.

1. Starbucks: Free drink, plus 15% off anything you buy in their online store.

2. Baskin-Robbins: Free ice cream!

3. IHOP: Free stack of pancakes—and they’ll give you a free stack for just signing up too!

4. Redbox: Free rental, plus another free rental on the anniversary of the day you signed up.

5. ULTA Beauty: Gifts rotate each quarter. Past birthday freebies have included a mini mascara, hairspray and eye shadow.

6. Sephora: Free mini gift set from Tarte, Causdalie or Jack Black.

7. Subway: Free 6-inch sub and drink.

8. Moe’s Southwest Grill: Free birthday burrito.

9. Dairy Queen: Free blizzard!

10. Chili’s: Free appetizer or dessert.

This short list is just the start. So many other companies offer free birthday gifts—including Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, LongHorn Steakhouse and Panera Bread.

So the next time your birthday rolls around, go out and enjoy it a little more with these freebies! You don’t even have to work it into the budget! Happy birthday to you.

 

Gotta love FREEBIES,

RL

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