The Story of How I Used to Be a Procrastinator

Hi. My name is Sarah. I used to be a procrastinator.

The problem is, I’m just a little afraid I’m relapsing. Summer seems to do this to me. Actually, heat seems to do this to me. By procrastinating, I mean those high school days when I waited until the last second (read: the bitter end) to write that 5 page essay that required research and a trip to the library. I guess somewhere between then and college I wised up a bit. I wrote an end-of-term book report the first week of school so that I could gloat while the other poor procrastinators whined about how they hadn’t written the paper. To some degree, I’ve turned into a “do it now” girl.

For example:

-If I’ve decided I want to rearrange my bedroom, I don’t ponder or choose a good time to do it. No, I decide to choose an 85 degree day when I’m already tired to get it done.

-If I want to make chocolate chip cookies, I don’t think, “Oh, I’ll wait till my next grocery trip and get the ingredients.” Oh no, this girl stops everything to run into Winco for sugar and chocolate chips.

-If I decide to work on a sewing project, but in the middle find that I don’t have the right color thread, I don’t wait till the next time I run errands. Oh no, everything stops so I can get in the car and go get the thread.

Summer, however, really puts a kink in my plans. For example, today I discovered I lacked the garlic I need for the soup I was making. Normally, I probably would have stopped, run into the store, and grabbed a head of garlic. But not today. It is just too hot. I keep thinking of all the things I should do, but I just don’t have the energy for.

Here’s a few of the things I’m avoiding (read: procrastinating):

-scrapbooking (and I love scrapbooking, but not in the heat)

-cleaning (please don’t come over, you might kick up tufts of cat hair)

-my sewing project (because I can’t stand the thought of hunching over the sewing machine in this heat)

-cleaning out the spare room (I never open the window in there. It’s hot. Enough said.)

What I’m doing instead:

-reading blogs…and the archives…years back

-watching Redbox movies

-reading a million books (maybe not a million, but come find me at Goodreads)

-checking facebook. Again. Oh wait, I would do that anyway.

-checking Rotten Tomatoes to see what movies are coming out

-making soup (because I couldn’t think of any better way to spend a hot day) 😉

So, at least as long as this heat lasts, it’s Return of the Procrastinator.

How Self-Centeredness is My Marriage’s Worst Enemy

I’m presently working my way through a book called Spousonomics: Using Economics To Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes. The title sparked my interest, and it’s an enjoyable read, although I find the lengthy explanations of economics a bit tiring. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far the book has covered a few of the main conflicts that married couples face. The first chapter is called “Division of Labor, Or, Why You Should Do the Dishes.” As I read through each “Case Study,” where the authors describe real life couples in real life situations, I thought through what my husband and I have fought about the most.

One evening, I brought this book up in conversation with my husband, and we discussed what seems to cause us to enter a “rough patch.” It’s not division of labor (I foresee that as a future problem, but it’s neutral for the time being).It’s not money or finances. Not because we never argue about money, but because going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University together really helped get us on the same page.

When we hit a rough patch, communication breaks down, and we start avoiding each other. This rough patch can sometimes be triggered by extreme stress/strain, or tough work schedules. I find though that the first thing to switch over is my attitude. I start thinking about the kind of husband my hubby is or is not being. I think about how he NEVER does _________[fill in the blank]. He ALWAYS does ______[fill in the blank], just to annoy me. Every little idiosyncrasy suddenly rears its head. When I’m 100% in this mode, every other move he makes is irritating to me. I suddenly feel a surge of fear and ask myself, “What is happening to my marriage?” Sometimes it takes a confrontation to get me to start analyzing myself. I’ll realize that I have switched my brain over to thinking entirely about MYSELF, MY needs, what I want to do, how I am not being served.

When my heart is in a humble/desperate enough state to stop criticizing for a second, then I realize what I am doing and start turning those questions around. How am I serving my husband’s needs? How am I being kind to him? What would he like to do? What is he feeling? How is he doing? Usually this exercise is enough to bring me off my high horse. Having redirected my focus on what I could be doing to be a better wife, I find that all those annoying idiosyncrasies (that were driving me crazy just 10 minutes ago) suddenly dissolve into the background. I usually find that I am not being kind, and have not looked for ways to serve my husband.

I’m going to end with a passage from a book I hold in high regard. It was given to me by a professor while I was attending college. From The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy McGinnis:

“D.L. Moody was one of the greatest Christian evangelists who ever lived. He could hold a crowd in the palm of his hand, won thousands of converts to the faith, and established several religious institutions. Yet he never displayed the pompous air of self-importance that so many famous evangelists did in that era. He was a tolerant, understanding man who rarely criticized. One of his famous sayings was, ‘Right now I’m having so much trouble with D.L. Moody that I don’t have time to find fault with the other fellow.’ ”

 

 

Cucumber Woes

At this late hour, I was attempting to choke down what is usually one of my favorite foods. Thinly sliced cucumbers with thinly sliced onions dressed in rice vinegar. Normally, I could eat bowls of this and not get tired of eating it. But, alas, all rice vinegars are NOT created alike. In a fit of frugality, I compared the price per ounce of two different brands of rice vinegar. And the bought the cheap vinegar.

I chose this vinegar:

A cheap choice doomed to failure

 

Over THIS vinegar:

Apparently a $1 difference in value makes a lot of difference for my taste buds. Woe is me…better luck next time, I guess!

5 Reasons Why I Would Be a Terrible Health Food Blogger

5 Reasons Why I Would Be a Terrible Health Food Blogger

1. The lighting in my apartment is terrible for food photography. It is always too dark and kind of yellow.

2. My husband wouldn’t eat anything I would make. He’s a mac ‘n’ cheese/Top Ramen/Instant Lunch kind of guy. To anyone whose husband will eat beans, peas, pork, or black olives, lucky, lucky you.

3. I only care about what’s in my food some of the time. One day I can be appalled at the long list of ingredients in Totinoes’ Pizza, or heaven forbid, the HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP that’s in…well, basically everything. The next day (like today), I decide that I really want a cup of hot chocolate with little marshmallows on top (and corn syrup is probably all it’s made of anyway).

4. I can’t invent recipes for the life of me. I usually end up rotating around the same 15 recipes. Meatloaf, lasagna, pasta salad, tacos, meatloaf, lasagna…rinse and repeat. You get the picture.

5. I could never take pictures of the inside of my fridge because it’s not filled with organic almond milk, Greek yogurt, or quinoa. I don’t have children, but it sure looks like I do because my fridge is filled with string cheese and Gogurt.

Rules and Religion

Yes, this is another repost. But it ties in so well with my other repost, “Dying by Morality,” that I couldn’t leave it out. Also written in 2009.

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While I was sitting quietly in church today, our pastor threw out a couple sentences that caught my attention. He said, “There is something wrong with our natural priorities. Sin is not the problem. Our broken relationship with God is the problem.”

Bingo.

Almost anyone will tell you that Jesus came to save us from our sins. Actually, Jesus came to fix our broken relationship with the Father, and He did that by saving us from our sins. It was a means to an end.

As Christians we become so focused on not sinning, on living a moral lifestyle, and we stray from the purpose of it all. Being a Christ-follower is not just about staying away from addictions, not sleeping around, or doing the ‘right’ thing. These are an outworking, the fruits of a healthy relationship with God.

We’ve become a religion of “don’t.” Don’t use bad language, don’t listen to that music, don’t watch those kinds of movies, don’t wear those kinds of clothes. Since when did those things ever rank high on Jesus’ list?

Does God care about sin? Definitely. God is holy and therefore sin disgusts him. However, Jesus didn’t walk around criticizing all the lawlessness.

The story of the Samaritan woman is a perfect example. Most of us are familiar with this story, in which we learn that the Samaritan woman had five husbands and is now living with a man she is not married to. However, that is not the first thing Jesus mentions.

He asks for a drink of water, and uses that to lead into a conversation saying, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).

Later on Jesus asks questions that lead the woman to admit to her immoral life, yet even then, he leaves it at fact. He does not condemn but says, “You certainly spoke the truth.”

The prostitute who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet didn’t hear Him say, “Put on some more clothes you immodest woman.”

Jesus didn’t walk around throwing out rules and enforcing them. He told people, “Follow me. I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Paul nails it in Galatians 3:1-3, “…For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”

Having been saved by grace through a relationship with Jesus Christ, now we turn our focus back to the law?? I am by no means decrying the value of moral living; however, it did not save us nor ever will.

Ever heard someone throw out one of these lines? “I don’t know how she can live that way.” “He needs to straighten out his life.” “She has such an immoral lifestyle.”

They’re missing the point. There is no reason they would not live that way. Why would I even start trying to address a behavior problem when I haven’t even got to the root of the problem?

Our non-Christian friends and acquaintances may be exhibiting the sinful behaviors described by the scriptures: “sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties.”

Of course they are! They are driven by the desires of their sinful nature, they are LOST, they do not have a relationship with their Creator. Paul sums it up at the end of Galations, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves…those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.”

Imagine what the Christian fellowship would be like if we focused all our energy into getting to know God through prayer and through the Scriptures. It gets me excited. It gives me hope! I don’t have to sit in a pit of guilt over what I am or am not doing. This God, my God, has freed me from certain death in the confines of the law given to Moses, and I would like to get to know this God.

So let me extend that invitation to everyone I know—come, let’s drink the living water, and get to know our Father.