Hi, I'm Dara!

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Here on LMS, I share my Whole30 tips, hiking and travel adventures with my family, motivation + life  lessons, and a few blogging biz tips.

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The Importance of Self-Control.

The Importance of Self-Control.

{This entry was originally posted on July, 10, 2012, but the message bears repeating. Almost three years—and another kiddo!— later, I'm still battling to maintain control. *sigh* However, I love the spirit with which I wrote these words and I'm proud of how it turned out. Thus, I'm re-sharing this vintage treasure from the archives. Enjoy!}

This is a sort of progress report on my challenge to be nicer to and more patient with my family. A few weeks ago, I endeavored to change the way I act when I’m at home--or on a trip--with my family. The impetus for this was the fact that I simply didn’t like how I was acting towards the people I loved most in this world. They always deserve my best, not the sloppy leftovers resulting from low blood-sugar, hormones, a bad night’s sleep, general malaise, or any combination thereof.

Thus, the challenge (and what a challenge it was!) was born.  It began around the time of our road trip and has continued up to this very moment. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve improved…and I have failed. The point is, I have been more aware of my tendencies, and I’ve learned a few things.

1. I don’t operate optimally when I haven’t eaten or slept well.

(God help us all if I’m lacking in both!) So, while we were on vacation, I made a point of making sure I ate on a fairly regular basis, which helped tremendously. Because our family of four was sleeping together in one room, my rest was not ideal, a natural trigger for my bad behavior. We were on holiday, so I wanted to be soak up every aspect of the trip, and I pushed myself to do as many things as possible, substituting caffeine for the sleep I badly needed. It worked for a while, but I eventually crashed and could hardly contain the monster within. Blessedly, my husband took the kids out on an excursion so I could recharge; when they returned, I was happy to see them!

2. Music is a MUST!

When the kids were being particularly rowdy or whiny, but I couldn’t distance myself from them—maybe we were in the car or it was too late to leave the hotel—I simply put my iPod in my ears and closed my eyes. I know it sounds a bit hokey, but it is extremely easy for me to zone out when I have music on. After the first few notes hit, I am gone, daydreaming about being in a music video or transporting myself back to the time when I first heard the song. Either way, it soothes and distracts me from the chaos.

You may be asking why I’m doing all this, why I’m making such a public spectacle of my shortcomings. My family is pretty strong, actually, but I want it to be better, and lately I’ve noticed that this is an area I need to work on. My marriage is of utmost importance and is the cornerstone of our family. I should not be communicating to my husband in a way that is rude and disrespectful, no matter the circumstance. He is an equal partner in this marriage and he will be treated as such. It isn’t just about two of us, either; through the eyes of our boys, we are setting the standard of what a healthy, godly relationship looks like.

Love this man like ka-razy!

My children are in their formative years, and I don’t want today’s knee-jerk reaction adversely affecting my future connection with them or the men they become. If I don’t learn to show love and control my mouth, I will lose them, in part or in total. My oldest is only four, but he will be a teenager in the blink of an eye, and I want he and his brother to know that Mom loves and likes them with all her sentimental little heart. Right now, they tell me everything that is on their minds, but one day, they won’t necessarily feel so forthright; maybe their friends will try to make them think they can’t talk to their father and me because a lot of parents say such-and-such, but don’t really mean it. Despite that noise, my boys will know they can come to me, especially with the messy, uncomfortable aspects of life.

I remember when these two were babies! My, how time flies. 

In order to make this a reality, I need to prepare myself now, and a large part of that preparation is learning self-control.

I don’t know if she came up with this definition herself or if she attributes it to someone else, but Joyce Meyer has said self-control is “the ability to delay (momentary) gratification for future pleasures”, a description that profoundly resonates with me. We live in a culture of instant gratification; just about everything we can imagine can be ours rather easily and right now. Some things, however, refuse to yield to our sense of urgency. Success—financial or otherwise—can prove to be elusive to many; true love is hard to come by and is often acquired after finding what you don’t want; millions of folks try to lose weight every day, but relatively few reach their goals; unshakeable faith is a trait admired by many, but its only fortified by trials and tribulations. A strong family also belongs near the top of this list because the work, the investment of time, energy, faith, and love, must be put into it first before the fruits become evident. There will be times when the crop is dormant, but appears to be dead; yet the toiling must continue. The reward, however, is priceless and can effect generations to come.

“Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God for the life of all men." Romans 5:18

Adam and Eve did humanity a disservice, that much is evident. If they’d gotten a glimpse of the long- term effects of their actions, would the fruit have seemed so alluring? I doubt it. Contrastingly, Jesus made a wholly unselfish choice with lasting effects: to freely take the sin of the world upon Himself, so that we could be free.

Because I don't want to be the subject of a tell-all book or a therapy session, I choose to behave.

We are able to live our lives, but our decisions have consequences. I am by no means a perfect wife or parent, but that doesn’t mean I will allow myself to give into complacency. I have the power to change for the better, and I thank God for showing me how to make personal improvements for the good of my family, as well as my relationship with Him.  

Is there anything that has been bothering you lately? Some nagging habit that needs to be improved? Feel free to share it below! 

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