Thursday, January 30, 2014

True Confessions of A Blogger

ATTENTION

I have a confession to make.

Somebody accused me of something recently and it's true.....so I'm just going to come out with it.

Are you ready? Brace yourself, because it could be rather shocking.

I hope you don't judge me too harshly for this, but here it is:

One of the reasons I blog......is to get attention.

I apologize for the shock this has probably created. It's possible that none of you thought for even a minute that bloggers blog to get attention, but I am here to tell ya, that I write blog posts hoping to gain attention. Yep. It's true! I desire an audience. I hope to captivate people and to keep my audience waiting with baited breath to hear more of what I have to say.....well, maybe not with baited breath, but you know....lurking around, checking in to see if there is anything new, that sort of thing.

This may also be disturbing, but after interviewing a few fellow bloggers, I have learned that.....wait for it............they blog partly for attention too.

Did I just hear an audible gasp?

Seriously, it's really quite surprising what people will do for attention. Things like writing books, public speaking, singing, playing instruments, sports, dancing, social media etc.. I'm pretty sure anyone who engages in any of these activities is hoping to gain attention as one of the rewards for their efforts. Don't get me wrong. I write because I love to write and other people do the things they do because they love to do them, but there is an element in all of us, that hopes to gain attention for the things we do. It's built into our humanity.

Do I blog out of insecurity? Probably, at times. In fact, I'm pretty sure that would be a yes. It's happened. I'm also pretty sure I'm not alone in this.

A profound thought has been brewing in my mind (it's a rare occurrence, but it does happen).

Every single human being desires attention. If you observe people.....really observe them, you will see that it is true! Everyone wants to be noticed, to know they make an impact on people, to know that what they think, feel, say and do is important. Some people behave negatively for attention. Some people gain attention through perfectionism, good grades, their intelligence level, perfect house keeping/decorating skills, their personal style, climbing the corporate ladder, excelling in sports, music, drama, speech, debate, parenting, art, acts of service, giving, cooking, knowledge, fitness, nutrition etc.

So, is it a weakness to desire attention?  It certainly can be if it's out of balance. If you get upset because nobody is checking the "like" box or leaving comments, this could be a problem. I mean....we all like to know that we have an audience, and those are the only measurable ways to determine if anyone is reading what we write, but honestly.....it doesn't matter if there are fifty comments or zero....it is not going to bring true fulfillment to have a following. It just isn't.

Attention on Facebook

If you have been accused of being an attention seeker, consider the source of the accusation; is this coming from someone who genuinely loves you and is trustworthy, or is it coming from someone who is an attention seeker themselves, who may be threatened by the attention you naturally receive? Take an objective view of your own actions by asking for an honest opinion from three or more people in your life that will love you enough to tell you the truth and if the answer is yes, take the time to explore just why you feel such a strong need for it. The Bible says: "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right." Proverbs 20:11.  People around us know the truth about our character before we do, much of the time. We all have blind spots and there is a great freedom when our own eyes are opened to see them, so we can own them and begin to change them.

Remember, it's okay to seek attention for the right reasons. I mean....when I was accused of seeking attention for blogging my first thought really was...well "DUH!"  But seriously, I also do not want to be imbalanced so I explored a little deeper into my own heart. During my quiet times, I searched the scriptures prayerfully regarding this subject and I saw all kinds of people who wanted attention. Guess what....their names are in the Bible. Their stories are in the Bible and many of them left a huge impact because they were willing to be the center of attention in some powerful ways! Some of them got negative attention and some got positive attention, but God being the perfect parent and Creator of our souls gave them all attention, in the right balance and for the right reasons. I also noticed that He designed us with certain needs and He fulfills all of those needs in us, if we are in tune with Him. Proverbs 17:28 gives this warning: "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent." It also says in Matthew 5:15-16 "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Obviously there is a balance here. We should be willing to gain attention for the right reasons, but it shouldn't be an idol or a measuring device for self worth.

Blogging has been an important part of my life for nearly a decade and it is a joy to me....a gift, really, that provides the opportunity to process with fellow writers and learn to develop better writing skills. The blogging community has provided the opportunity to write for an audience. Fellow bloggers have critiqued my writing, encouraged me, loved me right where I'm at and challenged me to grow. Over the years my blogging friends have been an incredible support system of people who really "get" the beauty of blogging. In the past eight years, we have supported each other in prayer, friendships have been formed across the miles of distance between us, family and friends have been able to keep up with our lives and blog posts have been written for each other during major trials, but best of all......I have a history of the years we have spent raising our kids, the births of my babies, and each new grandchild, and a wonderful way to measure the growth God has brought about in my life.

Attention in so many ways

I don't really mind the accusation of being an attention seeker, because I know it's true. I want attention just like every other person with skin on and that's okay, as long as it isn't out of balance and I know that it doesn't matter how many people check the "like" box or make a comment. My identity is not defined by the amount of people who like or don't like my posts. It is not defined by how many people agree with me. It is not defined by accusations, good or bad. It is defined by the One, true and living God and that's enough.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Eat Well, Live Well!

So, anyone who knows me, knows that nutrition is a passion for me. I love to research and apply what I learn and keeping my family healthy is important to me.

It's my job to make food choices for our family and my goal is to keep our medical bills low by giving our family the best nutrition possible without breaking the budget. Trust me, it isn't easy to do with prices of healthy foods skyrocketing, but I sure try. Since at least one of our meals every day, tends to be rushed, the ability to serve a delicious shake that's packed full of some of the best nutrition on the planet is a great way to way to feed the family on the go.

Our favorite flavor is chocolate, but it's nice that the shakes we love come in a variety of flavors.

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We started replacing a meal a day with our favorite shakes two and a half years ago for health reasons. We wanted to get our blood pressure under control. We wanted to get our blood sugar levels stabilized. We wanted to lose weight and we wanted to have some of the healthiest, whole foods on the planet to help us in our fitness and nutrition journey. Our daughter, who is a fitness and nutrition coach, knew what we were looking for and she found it for us. It's done amazing things for our health....everything I mentioned and then some.

If you are looking for super nutrition....that provides a WHOLE meal, giving your body incredible core nutrition, I highly recommend Shakeology.

Here's just one of many videos available that explains why:

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/janataft?bctid=2940901121001

Each month, I join up with a group of other fitness and nutrition coaches and we invite people to join in on our seven day Lean Out Clean Out plan. It's a great way to rid your body of toxins, learn how to choose and prepare nutritious meals and to kind of give yourself a little restart. Participants have reported amazing results and many have returned to participate a second time. If you are interested in joining, the next group starts on February 15th and the cost is $38.00. You must sign up soon, in order to have time to order your shakes and get them shipped to you. It's a great opportunity to find out how you respond to Shakeology as each group member replaces a meal a day with a shake. Meal guidelines are provided as well as grocery shopping lists, on-line support, free coaching and plenty of opportunity to ask questions, encourage and receive encouragement. If you are interested, leave a comment on this post.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, or you can contact me via my website: www.janataft.com

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Books, Cooks, Kids and Craziness!

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Yesterday morning, being Monday and all, I woke up ready for a brand new week and.....a pot of coffee.  I don't know what it is about coffee, but there is something satisfyingly delicious about a hot, fresh, steamy cup, first thing in the morning.

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Natalie made blueberry muffins....healthy ones, even....the perfect companion to my early morning cup (as long as I don't do it too often).

I savored my coffee and muffin while I enjoyed my quiet time. I'm going through the Bible chronologically for the second year in a row and right now, having just completed Job, I'm really enjoying Genesis and the account of Joseph. One thing about Joseph I can really relate to, is how God took him through some really rough waters to humble him, toughen him up, give him discernment, and develop character and leadership in him, all in preparation for the mission He had in store for him. Joseph sure didn't understand why he was sold into slavery by his brothers or why even though he was an honest, hard worker and totally innocent, he was imprisioned, but God allowed those things in his life for a reason. It's comforting to know, that when I'm navigating the roughest waters in life, I can trust God in His sovereignty, that He wastes nothing. He has a purpose in everything.  During my quiet time, it's been really cool to reflect back over the years and see the beauty God has brought out of ashes in my life. Death to old ways of thinking and new, fresh, biblical views of life have sprouted and begun to grow in the new soil of my heart.

A Day Of Fun!

Yesterday my daughter Brandi, brought her five beautiful kiddos over and we spent the day together. We did school with the kids, which they LOVE and so do we.

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Since my kids are pretty independent, once they are all set up and going, I was able to let them sit at the table with their nieces and nephew and work on their seat work, while I got to play with my two littlest grandsons, Jackson and Cooper.

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The older girls finished up their morning classes and Natalie helped get lunch cooking.

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Our oldest grandson and our youngest son, are eight weeks apart and the best of buds.

You know you're a redneck when your grandson is older than your son....ha!

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After lunch, the kids finished up their classes and then the boys were all having a great time looking at Levi's geography book. Levi and Kyran were pretty excited that they could locate our state on the map.

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Our six year old granddaughter has beautiful handwriting.

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Noah loves art, and he enjoyed some free art time while the rest of the kids completed their seat work.

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Hanging out

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Snuggling with Jackson

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For as snuggly as he is, he is just as active. He declared war on his Auntie Christine after nap time.

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Christine loves being an Aunt. She has a very special gift with babies and children.

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Evidence of a day of school and play

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Natalie needed her hair trimmed, so her big sister hauled out the scissors and did a great job. Brandi is multi talented.....love that girl. :)

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More evidence of a day full of craziness....and diapers....on the floor....in the kitchen????

Um....wow. I have no idea why it was there, next to the garbage can.

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Surprisingly, it didn't take long to clean it all up. We have a great cleaning crew......especially when there's a snack involved after the job is done.

We had a great and productive day and after Brandi and four of her kids left, it was our granddaughter, Alahna's turn to spend the night at Papa and Nama's house.  I love that our grandkids live close enough for us to be a part of their lives. It may not last forever. Who knows what God has in store for them, but for now, it's another blessing to count.