Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

15 Things I Know Now That I’m 37

What I Know at 37

  1. 37 doesn’t feel as old as what my 15 year old self would have me believe.
  2. The best friends I had when I was 17 are still my best friends.
  3. Friends I’ve made in adulthood are fewer and farther between but they are genuine and life-giving.
  4. Having kids has made me a better person.
  5. Going to counseling doesn’t mean you’re crazy, or weak, or on the brink of divorce.
  6. Spiritual growth is never easy or without pain.
  7. Marriage requires love AND work and if you don’t believe me you’re fooling yourself.
  8. Marry someone who is going to be your biggest fan, not your biggest critic.
  9. Kids’ taste buds are liars…everything I cook isn’t “DISGUSTING!”
  10. Just because you start on one path doesn’t mean you can’t veer off onto another; that may have been God’s plan all along.
  11. Shame is a sneaky son of a gun that must be dealt with in order for me to love myself.
  12. I will never know how my parents raised 4 kids, who were involved in multiple activities, without cell phones.
  13. Choosing your battles is a great piece of advice for marriage…and for parenting.
  14. God values BEING with me over anything I could ever DO for Him.
  15. I’ve only got 3 years to lose my baby leftovers because I’ve heard that once you hit 40, losing weight is an uphill battle. Maybe yoga pants and joggers will still be in when I’m 40. And, yes, I’m aware my youngest child is 8. I’m on that really, really long-term weight loss plan.

What are some things you know at your age?

-Courtney

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But how ARE you?

Sweet friends, how have you been? I’ve missed you. I’m coming out of the fog of illness and I’m beginning to see just how lonely January has been. When I say I’ve been sick ALL of January, I’m not exaggerating. From a cough that has hung on for 4 weeks, to the flu, to bronchitis, I’m officially over this month. I wanted to quit Christmas just over a month ago and now I want to quit January 2017. Did I mention I also missed out on a ski trip to Lake Tahoe? Yeah, there was that. It’s been an isolating few weeks and I think I’m finally ready to reemerge back into the world.

And remember when I made the month long resolution to be off social media? Yeah, I’m not doing that again any time soon. I’ve learned lots of things about myself since I’ve been alone a lot and I can say with all honesty, I’m ready for it to be over. As a person that doesn’t work everyday outside the home, I don’t always interact with lots of people throughout the day. I’ve realized that social media was my connection to the world. It was my way to engage with other humans even if it was just through my phone. Being physically away from people for so long and then also taking away social media has left me a bit depressed. I hate to even say that because normally I consider myself a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of girl but this time it’s been different. I haven’t been able to “positive attitude” my way out and that’s been extremely humbling. So yeah, that’s the space I’ve been living in for the past month. It’s not been my favorite.

So what about you? How ARE you? Did you see where our new President was inaugurated? (I know, some of you say he’s NOT your president but if you’re still living in the United States, I hate to break it to you but he actually IS. I digress.) I’m not into chatting about politics very often on here but can we at least discuss Melania’s dress at the Inaugural Ball? STUN-NING.

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I bet designers are chomping at the bit to dress her. And Ivanka’s dress. GORG. I know it’s trivial but I’ve had all I can take of serious/depressing thoughts lately. And can we talk about how well behaved little Barron was? That was an extremely long day with lots of cameras on you and I didn’t see one meltdown. I didn’t see Melania pulling Skittles and Sprite out of her purse to bribe him. He wasn’t staring at an iPhone during the parade or listening to music through his earbuds. I didn’t even see an eye roll out of the kid. Who is this guy? I’ve got a 10 year old and she could keep it together for a while, but seriously? No candy for being good all day? And I feel like I wouldn’t begrudge her a couple of eye rolls. It’s a LONG day! I like to think that when his parents were at all the balls with his older siblings, he was chillin’ in his new room with junk food and watching Dude Perfect videos while working on his bottle flipping. I mean, he’s still a kid, right?

And who is so glad that This Is Us is back?!

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That show. Sigh. It makes me so teary and gives me all the good feelings every time. I mean, Jack the dad? COME ON. He’s perfection. It’s almost like he became the man I knew he could be when he was Jess on Gilmore Girls. And Gerald McRaney as the OB-GYN? Masterful. His monologues make me cry every time! It’s like the creators of the show knew that America needed a new family to root for. A family that is good and makes you want to believe in, well, family. If they’re going to take away Coach and Tammy Taylor, then take away the Bravermans, it’s only fair they give us an extraordinary replacement. If you don’t watch this show, stop wasting your life. Go watch it. From the beginning. If you hate it, I’m not sure I can understand you and I question your life choices.

Thanks for reading all the ramblings today. And thanks for understanding life’s sometimes good and sometimes the pits. Hopefully more good is on the horizon!

-Courtney

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Am I OCD?

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Does this picture bother anyone else?

I was told recently that I may or may not have OCD because I like my socks to match. Can this be right? I would never consider myself one to be obsessive or compulsive about anything. Well, anything but food that is. I can become very obsessed with the thought of food and extremely compulsive trying to get it in my belly. But that’s everyone, right?

I chewed on this OCD idea a couple of days and tried to think of other things in my life that I like to be a certain way.

1. I rearrange the dishwasher when other people put things in the “wrong” way. (I like to maximize my space; doesn’t everyone do this?)

2. I don’t like other people in my family to fold clothes because I like the way I fold  them.

3. I hide food. (Wait, I think that might be a different disorder.)

4. It stresses me out to look in my kids’ drawers because now that they put away their own clothes, they’re basically crumpled up and thrown in a drawer. (How hard is it just to lay them in there? They’re already folded! Wouldn’t it be more work to crumple them up?!)

5. When traveling, I don’t ever want to share a suitcase with my husband. We could be going somewhere for one night and I still want my own bag.

6. I’m pretty neat when I cook/bake. I put ingredients away as I go because I don’t like to have a huge mess when I’m finished. (Oddly enough, I’m not OCD about my kitchen being spotless. I think I just don’t like food being out. You’d think by the looks of my kitchen that I love paper. Sooo many papers. I’m so afraid I’m going to throw away an important one that I keep them all, but really, I hate papers.)

7. When I shower, I wash everything in same order every time. (But that’s more like habit, right? I guess I could try starting with my feet and not my face but that would be so weird.)

8. I kind of freak out if my kids eat fruit that hasn’t been washed. (But I don’t freak out if they haven’t washed their hands before they eat. Hmmm, something’s wrong here.)

9. I can’t go to bed with make up on my face. Even if I’m not wearing eye make up, I still have to wash my face.

10. If candy has a cream/gooey filled center, I can’t eat it in one bite. I have to bite just enough to suck out the goo/cream. (I’m a psycho.)

 

After reading this list, I’m aware of 3 things:

  1. I’m neurotic about doing laundry my way.
  2. I’m only OCD about certain aspects of cleanliness, not all aspects.
  3. I really like food.

 

I’m not a psych/neuro person so I don’t know what classifies someone as OCD, but I feel like maybe we’re all a little bit this way about certain things. Maybe I’m trying to rationalize my own quirks. Whatever. All I know is don’t touch my laundry, don’t eat dirty fruit, and give me all the candy. This pretty much sums it up.

 

Anyone else have any OCD tendencies they’re willing to share?

-Courtney

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Is comparison the ONLY thief of joy?

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“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve liked this quote since the first time I heard it. It’s one of those that made me say “Exactly! That is so right!” So many times in my life I miss joy because I’ve compared myself or my circumstances to someone else’s.

Recently I’ve found something else that steals my joy. Expectation. Expectation has been the thief of my joy. What I’m finding to be true in my life is that when I put my expectation in anything other than God, it’s coming up short. When my expectations are not met, it leaves me angry and irritated.

An example of this happened just last week. I had gone to a doctor’s appointment at 7:30 in the morning. It was going to be a long appointment because I had to receive an infusion (for my UC) and those last usually between 2.5-3.5 hours. After it was finished I was told I needed to get a scan done. My appointment for the scan wasn’t until 1:00 but they were sure I could be “worked in.” So a little after 10:30 I finish my infusion and walk over to my next appointment. They check me in and I take a seat. I wait. And wait. Then I wait some more. Finally after an hour, I go up to the desk to ask if my name has been called and I somehow missed it. She went back to check then told me no. She also asked me if I was aware my appointment was at 1:00. Yes, I told her, I know but I was told I could be “worked in” (Don’t worry, guys, I didn’t use air quotes.) She said ok, they’re just a little backed up. Then she proceeds to tell me that I’m next on the list for this scan. Perfect. I don’t mind waiting a little longer. Another hour goes by. At this point, I want to leave but I feel like I’m too invested. I’ve waited too long to leave now. If I leave now, I’ll just be a schmuck that fell for the old “You’re next in line” bait. (Side note:: I couldn’t help but think of the Friends episode when Phoebe stays on hold for a day because the recording kept telling her she was the next caller. I feel you, Pheebs.)

Finally after 30 more minutes, I get up and walk over to the front desk, hand her my clipboard, and tell the lady I’m leaving. She asked if I wanted to reschedule, I said I’d call. I had let myself get to the “I’m so angry my voice is shaky because I’m trying not to cry I’m so angry” place. It was really a precious sight. I walked out of that place at 1:30. I had waited for 2.5 hours. I felt like a schmuck.

I had the expectation that I could be worked into their schedule and when that didn’t work out I let the waiting steal my joy. The people-watching was sort of phenomenal so at least there was a bit of a silver lining. So often in my life I let my expectations hold my joy. If I put expectations on Kyle and he doesn’t meet them, I’m disappointed. If I put expectations on my kids to be kind to one another or not fight and they do it anyway, I’m irritated. If I plan a day perfectly and it doesn’t work out that way, I feel defeated. If I exercise and eat healthy for 5 days and my body doesn’t change on the outside, I want to give up.

Then it’s like God taps me on the shoulder and whispers in my ear, “You’re putting your expectation, or HOPE, in the world. The world was never meant to fulfill your HOPES. I am the only One who can do that for you.”

 

When I was looking for affirmation of this in the Word I found many verses that supported the truth that our hope is to be found in the Lord, not the things of this world.

 

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”   1 Tim. 6:17 (ESV)

 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”   Heb. 11:1 (ESV)

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”   Rom. 15:13   (NIV)

 

“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”   Rom. 8:24-25 (ESV)

 

When I let my hope, or my expectation, reside in this world I always get what the world has to offer me: disappointment. I’m learning there’s a reason for that. When I allow the joy of knowing Jesus Christ to fill me up, I quit expected Kyle to fill me up. When I remember to deal with my kids the way Christ deals with me, I don’t expect them to be perfect. When I allow for flexibility, or grace, in my schedule, I feel at peace with the day. When I rest in the fact that God doesn’t care if I ever weigh 125lbs again, I can workout hard and know that I did what was best for my body even if the scale doesn’t move. These are the things I need to remember. The world can’t offer me this kind of hope. It’s just not capable of doing it. The world tells me I have to look a certain way or have a certain body to be considered pretty. The world also tells me if people don’t make me happy I should leave them. The world tells me I’m only as good as my Pinterest board or Facebook page makes me look. The world tells me that my job as a parent is to make my kids happy.

The world is full of crap.

The world has made idols of these expectations. These are things we’re supposed to strive for then our lives will be perfect. Have you ever wanted something so badly and then when you got it, it was just ok? This is what we’ve fallen into. We think if we can just be this, or do that, or reach this goal, then we’ll really be somebody. Then when we get there it’s just…ok. If we put our trust and in the God who created us and knows us, this is the only chance we have at joy. He’s the only One with the ability to give it completely.

Expectations are the thief of joy.

Yes, I think this statement is much more accurate.

 

PS–Waiting rooms are also the thief of joy.

-Courtney

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I’m right and you’re wrong, obviously

Why do I still after so many years with Christ feel like I need my self-righteous pride more than I need to extend forgiveness? Why is it so hard? I want the other party not just to think I’m right, I want them to come around to my way of thinking. I get so puffed up with pride that I think that even though we’ve exchanged “sorries”, you need to know that I’m right and you’re wrong. Instead of offering forgiveness, I want to make sure you really, REALLY understand why I’m mad and, ultimately, why I’m justified in my anger. So I sit in silence and wait. I wait for the other party to come around because if I talk first it will be misunderstood as backing down. No, I can’t back down because then they’ll think they’re right and clearly they’re not and I don’t want them to think that I think they’re right because if I do that it’ll mean I’m in the wrong and I definitely DON’T want to be in the wrong. Whew. There’s so much analysis in being self-righteous.

 

It dawns on me during this season of Lent and Holy Week that God would be in the right if He chose to act this way to me when I sin. It also dawns on me that He doesn’t. When God wants to get His point across, it never involves huffing and puffing. It typically doesn’t involve Him crossing His arms and giving me the silent treatment. He doesn’t use these methods. He forgives me. He doesn’t shout at me the reasons why He’s right and I’m wrong. (Side note:: In case you were wondering, He’s always in the right. I know, it’s a hard pill to swallow.) When I repent, He doesn’t feel the need to continue reminding me of what I did wrong or how it made Him feel. He just forgives me. Done. Move on.

 

Oh how I wish I could be more like this. Thank you, God, for not being like me. You choose forgiveness AND forgetfulness. Thanks for doing things I can’t. I may be able to forgive but some things are hard to forget and the devil has a sneaky way of using my memory to keep score. Keeping score is something You don’t do. You settled the score on the cross. Jesus bore my sin, everyone’s sin, on the cross. I’m sorry mine were so heavy, Jesus. I’m sorry my sins took you away from your Father. My pride and self-righteousness were ugly sins you wore on the cross. Sorry doesn’t seem like enough.

 

It’s good for me to sit with my sin sometimes one, to help me see my need for Jesus and two, to feel the weight of gratitude for what He did for me. During this Holy Week, I hope you can find time to sit and let Christ’s mercy wash over you. He took the death that we deserve. No one will ever do that for us again. If you do decide to take a moment and sit with the darkness of your sin and you begin to feel the weight of it just remember: Don’t fear, Sunday’s coming!

 

Happy Holy Week!

-Courtney

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Movie Love

Love. Books have been written about it, songs have been sung about it, movies have been made about it, yet we still get it wrong. We all want it. We all need it. We all go about it differently. How you grew up is a big factor in how you view love. The world also likes to tell us what love is and what it looks like. Everyone has an opinion on love.

 

Confession: I love a good romantic comedy. In real life I’m not a super gushy person. The Bachelor, while being a riveting train wreck to watch, makes me want to hurl when they start getting cheesy on each other after one date. But when you pair a little cheesy with a little funny, I’m hooked. The movies play into our need for romance. Many women want to be swept off their feet and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them. When a man goes to great lengths to prove his love, it’s hard not to fall for him. I mean, what’s more romantic than the guy who is fighting the bad guys to get to his lady? He swims the ocean, climbs the mountain, loses his legs in battle, kills the villain, and he does all this just for a kiss from his true love. Swoon.

 

That being said, let’s switch gears. I’ve been doing a bible study during this season of Lent that has been awesome! You can get it as an app on your phone. It’s called She Reads Truth. It has lots of different studies on there that are either free or just a couple of bucks. So good. Anyway, so I was reading about when Jesus was praying in the garden before He was arrested and I was struck by something. I’ve read/heard this passage many times but never really thought about it like this before.

 

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:41-42

 

I always knew Jesus said this but I guess I never considered what it meant, really. I always thought Jesus wanted to die. In my attempt to make his sacrifice more romantic, I let myself believe that He wanted to hang on a cross and suffer for my sins. After reading this, I looked back at the other gospel accounts to see if they all said the same thing. The 3 gospels that mention Him praying in the garden all include Jesus asking God to take the cup from Him. So basically, asking God to get him out of dying on the cross. Hmmm. I didn’t know what to think about that at first. You mean, my Jesus who loves me didn’t want to be mocked, humiliated, spat on, whipped, and tortured for me? My self-centered nature immediately thought “Well, that can’t be right because He loves me! He should’ve wanted to do those things for me!” Oh sweet love, I have so much to learn. I can’t deny what Scripture says. He specifically asked God to take the cup, or “cross”, from Him. It states it clearly 3 times. This was not the movie love I thought it was.

 

Then I read what Jesus said after He made His request to God. “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Not my will, but yours. Hmmm. He loved his Father so much He would rather do what his Father wanted than what He wanted. Swoon. There’s the movie love, guys. Self-denial is love. Putting someone else’s wants and desires above your own is love. It goes against every single thing the world tells us about love. The world tells us to make ourselves happy. The world tells us if it feels good do it, if it doesn’t then we should bail. The world gives us a version of love that is completely self-centered. By the Bible’s standards, that’s the opposite of what love is. No wonder our world is so disillusioned. We’ve been sold a faulty definition of love.

 

Now, do I think because Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross this means He didn’t love us? Absolutely not. You do hard things for people you love. Sometimes I don’t want to discipline, sometimes I don’t want to forgive, sometimes I don’t want to serve, sometimes I don’t want to listen, but these are things we do when we love others. Clearly, these examples pale in comparison to the hard thing Jesus did. No one’s asking me to hang on a cross for a bunch of people that hate me. Jesus wanted to be obedient because He loved his Dad. And because his Dad loved us, Jesus loved us too. They were one.

 

For a long time I thought Jesus asked God to take the cup because He didn’t want to go through the physical pain. After all, He was human too. I didn’t realize until a couple of years ago His anguish was much more about being separated from the Father than it was about the physical pain He would endure. I can’t remember what book it was that I was reading that talked about this but I remember it blowing my mind. That Jesus would be more sorrowful about being separated from God than the pain that was about to take place on the cross was news to me. He knew His Father was holy and could not be in communion with that which was sinful or unholy. He knew His Father couldn’t be near Him on the cross, He couldn’t comfort Him; He couldn’t take His pain away. This was heartbreaking for Jesus. Jesus, because He was God incarnate, could’ve gotten Himself off the cross. He could’ve gotten out of it. But it meant more to Him to do what God wanted Him to do, even if it was agony.

And to think, God did this because He loved us. Jesus did this because He loved us. He wanted us. He didn’t want to die but He knew He had to get to us and this was the only way. Forget movie love give me Jesus.

If you’ve got a minute, listen to this song by Thad Cockrell called Oh To Be Loved. It reminds me of an old church hymn. Let it run all over you. You won’t be sorry.

-Courtney

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Sticky Grace

“We don’t think of our flaws as the glue that binds us to the people we love, but they are. Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

-Donald Miller

 

 

I’m reading the book Scary Close by Donald Miller right now and let me tell you, it’s got some good stuff in there. These words literally took my breath. I sat there for a good minute just letting all the words wash over me and just kept saying “wow” over and over again. This is so it, isn’t it guys? I try so hard to undermine this statement. I try to be perfect in my relationships so I will never be at fault. So I will always be superior. So I will never be wrong. Yeah, I just put all that out there. I’m not as cool as you thought. I know.

 

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections.” Confession: I hate stickiness. With 3 kids there is a lot of sticky at my house. Not as much as when they were toddlers but it still lives at my house. There’s nothing worse than sitting down and placing your arm on a table and feeling some sort of gooey-ness. It’s nasty. I get the same feeling when I go to open my fridge and the handle has some sort of ickiness hiding on the backside of it. Ew. And don’t get me started on granite countertops. They’re a blessing and a curse for the exact same reason. They hide everything. At least twice a week I sit down to our kitchen island and land my hand in some sort of dried up jelly or apple juice. Curses, you granite! You deceived me again! As you can see, stickiness is a problem for me. And guess what?

 

Grace is sticky.

 

I’m not really what people would call a “go-getter.” I drag my feet. I make up excuses. I say it’s just not really my personality. I think I’ve led myself to believe it’s not my personality to cover up the truth about myself. My flaw. One of many to be sure, but this flaw bleeds into many areas of my life: the fear of not being good enough. You need to know I sat here for a long time before I even had the courage to type those words. Now I’m just staring at the computer screen wondering if I should take them back. I won’t because I have a sneaking suspicion I may not be the only one who struggles with this. I’ve found the beauty of sharing our struggles is finding out we’re not alone. Feeling like you’re alone is the worst.

 

My fear of not being good enough plays out in many different ways. It is one of those fears that are married to the fear of failure/rejection. I have a hard time trying new things or putting myself out there so I end up doing nothing at all. If I do nothing then I certainly can’t fail, right? Then the weirdest thing happens. I do nothing. I stay the same. I don’t grow. I get comfortable in my fear. I cover myself with it like a blanket and settle in. In my warped mind this seems better. I’m used to my fear. We’ve had a longstanding relationship that’s kept me believing the lie that I’m not good enough/smart enough/talented enough/brave enough to change the path laid before me even if I wanted to. For me, starting to write for other people to read is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I never think I’m awesome at it. I never think it’s good enough. I always think I could’ve been funnier or smarter or wiser in my words. This is a major flaw.

 

Wanna know who tells me I’m good enough? The hubs. Ya’ll thought I was going to say God didn’t you? Because of Jesus of course He does, but sometimes God blesses us and gives us a person with skin on to remind us too. Kyle loves me in spite of my fears and this is one of the reasons why I’m stuck to him. He offers me sticky grace. I don’t want to need his words of affirmation but I do. None of us really want to need anything. Scratch that. I shouldn’t lump you in with me. Maybe you are perfectly happy needing people and relying on others in relationships. You are far more mentally healthy than I am. The thing is if I didn’t need grace for my imperfection then I wouldn’t need Jesus, the giver of all grace. And if I didn’t need Jesus it would mean our world is perfect. Last time I checked, our world is far from perfect so I’m going to let that grace take me by the hand. I’m going to let that grace show me that this life isn’t about me anyway so I shouldn’t get too hung up on my flaws. Maybe I’ll even let that grace take the place of my fears and cover me up like a blanket. Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

Anybody else have any flaws they’re willing to share? It’s ok. I promise you’re not the only one.

 

-Courtney

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