Monday, February 16, 2015

Ten Reasons Why You Don't See Progress

You know, there is this cool picture circling around the internet (not the one above, I see it popping on my Instagram feed now and then) with the saying "Progress not perfection" scribbled on it. In it's all simplicity, it has an impact when you first see it. I had plenty of moments thinking of the truth it holds. On this one particularly cloudy day, a while back, I was thinking "ok, ok, I get it. It's about the steps you take to grow, to know more, etc not necessarily to be perfect. But what about if I haven't seen any progress in the last month? Or the last year?". I had those thoughts on my mind when someone in my group of friends touched on the subject. At that point, I knew I wanted to write down a list of things that have held me back from progressing. After some research and introspection, I came up with the list below. I don't say it's the ultimate list.

1. You're far ahead compared with those around you. While some you cannot change (family, coworkers, etc), I suggest that you surround yourself with people that will teach you new skills. Or that will push you to try new challenges.

2. You're afraid to go out of your comfort zone. That is understandable. I bet no one likes to do it. But, usually, the magic happens out of your comfort zone. Take heart!

3. You're afraid to fail. So, what's the worst that can happen?.. Try again! Fail better. Try again, until you succeed. Every new day is a new chance to start over.

4. You're a procrastinator. 'Nuff said!

5. You don't plan. In modern world, if you don't have it on your schedule, it won't happen. Everyone knows that.

6. You don't want it bad enough. We get bombarded with tons of information, decisions making moments every day. Chances are, if you don't want it bad enough, you don't pursue it.

7. You don't realize how hard you need to work for it. Our social media feeds are filled with cute #iwokeuplikethis photos (which everyone knows they are not true). However, our subconscious can be tricked into believing you don't need to work to get something. Reality is, you need to work hard to succeed.

8. You are easily distracted. Again, we live in a society of right now, right here, right my way. It's easy to slip into the wrong perception that having to work for something is unimaginable. But ask all the grand people of all times and see what they say about progress, success and a life well lived. Here's a personal favorite: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." (Nelson Mandela)

9. You're stuck on planning. You know what you want, you want it bad, you're willing to work hard for it, but you like to have everything mapped out before starting. Enjoy the journey. Things may will change along the road. It will be fine, you'll see. One step at a time. Remember, progress, not perfection.

10. You're not consistent. Zig Ziglar said "people often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.". Taking one step and expecting the final outcome is quite irrelevant. Consistency is the key to persevere.

Some of the points listed were, at some point, reasons why I didn't progress. Some are current battles. What does hold you back nowadays?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Love Week!

I know, it's more likely a day, not a week! But my plans were this last week to be a Love Week. You know, that kind of week when you surprise your hubby every day with something, and you share your love, and everything is red and pink and butterflies in your stomach. Well, things didn't go like that. Didn't get a chance to decorate the house (I had a couple of very cute ideas) or prepare my gifts/surprises for Eddie, and to top it off - I was tired and grumpy the whole week! Take that, Love Week! However this whole week Eddie truly, deeply loved me in the midst of my mess. He was patient with me, he forgave my outbursts, he didn't hold any of those moments against me. (Yes, I am bragging about him now.) Even more, he waited me with dinner on the night I get really late home. I'm sitting in my living room now, in the dark (only one candle lit in the whole house), surrounded by calming silence, reflecting on the past few days. How childish my behavior in contrast with Eddie's! But he still loves me. I understand now that my attitude this week could have easily been changed with a moment of meditation. To honestly search my heart and pray for an attitude change.
Unfortunately, this kind of situations don't happen only in family life. I get so hooked up on job, errands, my hobbies and my wants that I put my needs on the back burner. My spiritual needs, that is. To pray more. To study more. To understand more. To listen more. Intentionally. Yet, God still loves me. He pays attention to me. Not only He knows exactly what I need, but He gives it to me. Every. Single. Time. The God that created the entire Universe. Do you know how big the Universe is? Infinite. True. But do you grasp this concept? It's huge. More immense than huge. You and I cannot contain it! And if you don't believe me, look for yourself. Go stargazing. Or even easier: do a search on Hubble Telescope. Still not impressed? Watch this video. When you'll be back (hopefully) to finish reading, you'll understand my amazement. I stand in awe that the Creator of all these wonders loves me so much that He gave His only Son to die for me. A small human. A wanna-be writer. An impatient wife. A faulty friend. There are stars out there that sing for His glory day and night, without stopping. And I constantly leave other chores or worries to steal my time from praising Him. From talking to Him.

This Valentine's Day, I've learned to intentionally make time for my Creator. To pray intentionally. To study intentionally. To listen intentionally.

To be more. Intentionally.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oh, hello ... (again)

I will be honest with you, it's hard to jump right back into writing after taking a lenghty break. I don't know what to say first - should I just jump right back where I left? Should I (re)introduce myself? Should I explain why the long break? I guess the easier thing to do is to take the "this is my blog, I do what I want" attitude and roll with it. But things life is more complicated. Once I decide to write on a public space, I have a responsibility to my readers. It doesn't matter there are three or three thousand readers. The fact that they constantly return and take their precious time to read my ramblings is enough. 

So, here I am again. Typing (more deleting, to be honest) my thoughts away on a cloudy afternoon, craving some warm weather and sipping my tea. I have tons of ideas, but when the time comes to write them down, my mind goes blank. It's a struggle. I wanted to get better at blogging, so I started reading a lot about blogs. The more I've been researching, the more confused I was. And disheartened. I don't have a domain. I don't have a niche. I didn't find "my voice" yet. I don't have amazing graphics. I don't have good photos for my posts, either. I don't have enough knowledge of SEO. And the list goes on. But the thought that maybe, just maybe one person will find what I write helpful makes me keep going. I've had this nagging in my heart since 9th grade to write down my thoughts, my wondering moments because maybe, one day someone will read them and be encouraged. That's when I started journaling. That's why I started to blog. And the same thought has been nagging me since last summer - to keep writing. 

What will you find here? Well, I don't know exactly. I know for sure that you'll find pieces of my heart. I will share with you my thoughts, ideas, funny moments and lessons. 

I will embrace this journey. Would you join me?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Perspectives - the joy thief

Comparison noun \kəm-ˈper-ə-sən, -ˈpa-rə-\
: the act of looking at things to see how they are similar or different
: the act of suggesting that two or more things are similar or in the same category
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

          This year, in my journey I’ve learned a few new things. One of them will be illustrated in the following imaginary conversation:

X texts to Y a picture with Z: “Am I bigger than Z?”
A couple is walking down the street. The girl: “Do you think I’m fatter than that girl?”

          Now, be honest and admit it – you’ve done it. I’ve done it! And most likely the feeling you get from it is not a satisfactory one. You don’t even feel better. It left me doubtful and hopeless. I’d start questioning my abilities to get to my goals – a step away from believing I couldn’t do it. I felt it would be hopeless to do all the work (eat clean and work out), anyway I might never look like that girl. Until one day, it hit me: It is possible I’d never look like someone else. I may always be bigger than someone. And that is OKWe are different human beings – why would I desperately want to be like someone else? I’d stop being me. My body reacts differently to all factors around me – and that is OK.

          To avoid the deceitful consequences of improper comparison, I have decided a couple of things for me:
* The only person I can compare with is my younger self. It feels infinitely better to realize last month I could barely run 90 seconds and now just ran 5 minute. Imagine how I’d feel if I’d compare myself with one that just ran a 5k (let’s not even go to a marathon).
* Look at people for inspiration, not comparison. There are a few people on Instagram that inspire me to keep going: @mollyrunsforlife and @eatingwhole are just 2 of them. It’s hard to look at people for inspiration rather than comparison, but staying focused is important: one inspires me to eat healthy (and gives plenty of healthy food options) and the other one finds such a joy in working out that is contagious.
* Be honest with myself. This journey is not an option anymore. I’m in the process of learning that smaller number on the scale does not equal happiness. Also, I’m keeping things real – if you do it right, you’ll see results. If I slack, I shouldn’t expect results.
* Accept myself. I know you’ve seen it all over the internet, but it’s true. If I don’t like myself now, I will never accept my body. It’s tough, but that’s what it makes it worth it.

What is your joy-thief this week?

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Perspectives

            This year, I’m tired. (You are allowed to say: “WHAT!?!?! You’re just 25!!!”)
    You read correctly. I am tired. I’m tired of giving up. Tired of starting over. Tired of just trying. Of complaining. I’m tired of talking myself down. Tired of not thinking the best of me. I have never thought how much harm I am capable of doing myself by just convincing me I cannot do this or that. I was never aware that one of my biggest complexes was 98% in my head. That I told myself so many times people don’t think the best of me because I’m chubby. (yes, that was hard to put it out here!)
     Even though, in theory I knew it was not true, practically, I was beaten down every single time. On New Year’s Eve, I decided I will stop complaining, comparing, talking myself down and any negative though in my mind and I will start doing. Four months later, a year older, with lots of struggle and tons of discipline and self-control, I am typing this. As my thoughts wander throughout these first months of 2014, I am amazed. For once in my life, I decided I will have no New Year Resolutions, and I’ve done more than I did in the last 3 years: I am learning new things, reading books, discovering new places, trying new things. And the best part? All of these while encouraging myself to be me! So what if the lady in the magazine tells me I should be a size 2 and have (35, 23, 35) measurements? The fact that I can’t fit in a size 2 or 4 doesn’t affect my IQ. (This sounds totally like my sarcastic self) My friends don’t think less of me because of how I look. They appreciate and value my friendship, my loyalty and honesty. They brag about my qualities and make me aware of the parts I still need to work on. I asked my friends to tell me some of my bad habits and things I need to change/work on. I was shocked to realize that the fact that I gained weight was not even on their list. However, all these discoveries did not make me feel more comfortable with how I look. Nor did they vanished all my insecurities. Realisticly speaking, big changes do not happen over night. I came to accept this. So, instead of giving up(just like before), I decided to stick with it. To take small steps, one day at a time.
And miracles happened.

Note: Because the post started to be pretty big, I decided to split it. Stay tuned to read the rest of my story.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My wishes for you, on this new year

via ~
Print available to buy at French Press Mornings
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."   Isaiah 41:10

This was written for my friend, Maya. When I was done writing it, I felt the urge to share with you. So, here you go, what I wish you this year:

1. To get to know God for who He is ("righteous God")

2. To not worry ("... do not be dismayed")

3. To trust in God (" I will uphold you")

4. To not look for your strenght in any other place ("I will strengthen you")

5. To not feel alone ("I am with you")

6. To have your eyes on God; only then, worring won't make sense ("do not be dismayed, for I am with you")

7. To not look for help or support anywhere else, but to God ("I will uphold you with my righteous right hand")

8. To e aware of the One whom you put your trust in ("I am with you ... I am your God")

9. To expect this year to be challenging. Otherwise, why would this verse be in the Bible? It would be useless.

10. To accept the fact that you need God ("I am with you, I am your God, I will strenghten you, I will help you, I will uphold you")

11. To not think of Him as a common God, but as your personal God ("I am your God") because He talks to you personally ("I am with you")

12. To not be afraid. ("Do not fear, for I am with you")

Happy New Year, my dear!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Christmas like no other

         Two more days until Christmas. A young woman walks around Walmart, with no expression on her face. She's has a toy and a pretty dress in her cart. Arrived at the register, she realizez the money in her wallet are enough only for the toy. With a desperate sigh, she mumbles "I hate Christmas!". The lady at the cashier looks at her in amazement. "Isn't this supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?" She's wondering quietly.
            It's Christmas Eve. In the local café, a middle aged lady is sipping a cup of tea. She's hoping in these 10 minutes, she can relax and calm down a second. She has to find a way to to tell her parents the kids don't want to stay at their house for Christmas. "How am I supposed to say "no" to their invitation when Christmas is a time when family stay together? They live alone and the kids are the only grandchildren...". She takes another sip of the hot tea. Dialing her parents' number, she takes a deep breath, and says "I hate this Christmas!". 
             It's Christmas morning. I am sitting in my favorite chair in the house, hot coffee in my hand. I'm looking at my husband talking with our family from Romania. We both miss a Christmas in Romanian style. In my mind, the two stories become vivid in my head. I feel guilty. I said "I hate this Christmas", too. I stop a tear, and I pray quietly: "God, forgive me. I don't want to ever forget the reason of Christmas again."
              This Holiday season was an unusual one for me. However, I've learned so many things throughout the last few weeks. I've realized no matter how different the celebration is, as long as you put your focus on Jesus, your Christmas will be perfect. I've discovered a new me, a renewed calling. I've stopped and cherished the whisper of God in my heart. So, yes, it was a different Christmas, but not an ugly Christmas. 

How was your Christmas? Did you learn something new?...