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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: December 2009

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: December 2009

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

December 29, 2009

Black Sheep

I'll be honest with you. I have often felt like the "black sheep" in my family. And, if I were to be honest with myself, with most everyone else as well. Not in the sense that I am a criminal or that I am "bad" {as is the 'technical' black sheep definition}, but just in the idea that I have always felt like I was on the outside. Always the third wheel or the one that just didn't quite fit anywhere. The one on the back-burner. 

In school, I never found a place that I fit.

I remember being the only one from my group of friends in 4th grade to not be in Mrs. Mim's class [She was the "it" teacher for the 4th grade...everyone wanted her class.] I was devastated. All of my friends were in her class and I was forced to make new friends. I remember looking on at lunch because they were all together and feeling left out. During PE & Recess they had their own 'group' I was no longer included in because I wasn't in the same class.

In Junior High, I was the only one not dating and wearing makeup [and the only one still in a training bra...for those of you who would like to know that.] I remember all of my friends having dates to the 6th Grade dance. I also remember standing against the wall...alone...during every. single. slow song. Same thing at the 7th grade dance. And the 8th. I had friends. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't that girl by any means. I just always felt...distant. [If you ever watch Country Music Videos, I was kind of the girl Taylor Swift is portraying in her video "You Belong With Me." Kind of a geek...not exactly popular...you get the idea.]

High School was the worst. I was best friends with the "it" girl and her "it" sister. I was the one the guys came to...when they wanted to ask one of them out. I was always the single friend. I was the one that their boyfriends called when they had a fight, in hopes that I could patch things up for them. I was also always the one that wanted the guy, but never the one the got the guy. I didn't mesh with the popular crowd. I didn't have the right clothes or car or hairstyle or whatever to fit in with them. I found true friendships with people like myself...people who wanted to "be" but just couldn't.

I hated High School. HATED it. I  hear people say that they would love to go back and do it again...uh-uh. Nope. Not this girl. Never, would I ever want to go back to High School. I look back and remember some of  the loneliest times of my life.

I found my way a little in college...by taking up bad habits. I started drinking and smoking and partying with the "it" girls and found myself belonging a little bit. But then, I discovered that even though I was fitting in and making "friends" {and use that in the lightest sense of the word} I was still lonely. I was still best friends with the beautiful girls that everyone wanted to be with. I was still the one sitting at home on Friday Nights when there wasn't a party going on and everyone else was out dating. I was still the one that my friends boyfriends were calling or texting or facebooking to fix an argument or set them up. I was just that person.

Now, as I am an adult and I'm "mature" these things don't bother me. Okay. Kidding. That is a lie. A BIG one. And I know that now I am not alone. There seems to be lots of outsiders out there. Turns out, I married one. Hubby grew up in a family that dealt him the same kind of cards. His grandparents showed favor to his cousins and partiality to them for reasons that are way beyond my grasp. {Trust me...if you knew his 2 cousins, knew their lifestyles & habits...and knew hubby, you would wonder why on Earth they showed them partiality too.} And, as I get older, I find myself looking back and feeling that I was done that way quite often in my own family. That the partiality was shown to my sister, for one reason or another.

And it hurts.

It's painful to feel like you don't measure up and that you are second to someone else. Especially when it is someone that you feel you shouldn't be 'beneath.' We all want to feel wanted. To feel needed. To feel desired and loved and appreciated. To feel like we aren't walking around this Earth without a purpose or anyone to care.

And finally, tonight [well, it will be last night when you read this], after hearing a phone conversation between my hubby and his mother that relates to this very topic, I have realized something. Something that it has taken me 20-something years of tears and pain and heartache and even depression to understand: It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter. At all. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks. It doesn't matter if I am 'popular' {and yes, as a grown woman, wife & mother we all still worry about that and long to belong}or whether I have an overflow of friends. It doesn't matter if I'm "in" or not. You know why?

Because, "you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well...all of the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!" {Psalms 139:13-14, 16-17}

God created me. He made me who I am and the way that I am for a reason. He placed me in those situations and circumstances for a reason. They made me who I am. And despite the pain or the hurt that they may have caused me, I am grateful for them because they made me, ME. It just doesn't matter. All I can do is live the life that I was called to live, in the way that I was called to live and know that that is enough. That's all that I can do. That's all that I need to do. That's all that I want to do.

So, maybe I am the "black sheep"...maybe hubby is to. Maybe we will both always be on the back burner. Maybe we will always bring up the rear and be the sidekicks. But that's okay. Because I am not the only one to feel as if I'm an outsider. There was another. He too was an outsider. And outcast. One who felt "distant." And he understands. He gets it. Who is he?

They call him Jesus.
And he too was a "black sheep."

So for now, I'll continue to be on the back-burner.
It's okay if I'm not "it" or "in."

Because if I'm the club with him, being that sheep, really is okay.


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December 28, 2009

FMM-New Year's Style



Good Morning Everyone! I hope this morning's post finds you well rested from the busyness of the Christmas Holiday. Christmas here in Florida went well, if you don't count the fact that I spent all Christmas Eve & 90% of Christmas Day overcoming that nasty stomach bug going around. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time relaxing and eating {hubby & little man did the eating for me...I lived off of Gatorade and saltines} This morning, Amber over at {aefilkins} is back for another Friend Makin Monday. Today, her topic is about the New Year. And no New Year would be complete without New Year's Resolutions!

I'll be honest with you, I am not very good with resolutions. I'm pretty sure I have never kept one. This year, I am determined to turn over a new leaf and accomplish what I say that I will. On the list for me this year:
  • Get back in shape!- I promise myself this every single year and never really do it. But, I am determined to get  my rear end in gear and lose this last 5-7 pounds of baby weight I am carrying and tone myself back up. Hubby has agreed to keep me accountable and we are going to start running & working out together during the week. It's not that I mind doing it, it's the getting started part that gets me. {Plus, we want to have another baby at some point and I want all of my 'Noah" weight gone so In don't have to worry about it.}
  • Read More.- I already do a lot of reading, but I want to read more than that. And I want to broaden my "reading horizons" so to speak. I tend to stick with the same authors and don't like to read books by people I've never tried out before. This year, I want to pick up some new material.
  • Keep anniversary, birthday, etc. cards caught up.- I try to send cards to our family on their birthdays and stuff, but I tend to either 1) forget or 2) mail them late. This year, I am DETERMINED to make sure everyone gets a card on time.
  • Reach 200+ Followers on this blog.- I don't think this needs a lot of explanation. :)
  • Have some of my writing published in print.- I have sent a few articles off for consideration, but I haven't hear anything back yet. No worries! I am a far cry from giving up.
  • Quiet Time with God DAILY...to include prayer, journaling, & indepth Bible Study.
  • Make more time for just me & hubby {date nights, etc}.
  • Start saving more $$ for Emergencies, Christmas, Etc. 
  • Buy a new camera and learn how to take better quality photos.
  • Try new things with the family. 

I am very excited about the upcoming year. There are a lot of changes and new opportunities awaiting us.W are most likely moving, somewhere NORTH hopefully; Hubby will be undertaking a New job amongst the Coast Guard; and hopefully we will both be starting back to school. I can't wait to see what all is ahead for us. Head on over to Amber's to link up to Friend Makin Monday!

 




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December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!




Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!

~The Kirkland's~

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December 23, 2009

Wifey Wednesdays: 180 Degree's



Today is Wednesday. As is usual, Sheila is hosting "Wifey Wednesday." If you missed last weeks post, I encourage you to go check it out. Last week we were talking about the difference between being a Godly and submissive wife and being a Doormat to our husbands. {And yes, there is a difference}Today, Sheila is asking what the turning point in marriage was. What was it that changed our marriages from barely there existence to flourishing in the eyes of God. 

I think back on the worst time in our young marriage and can clearly see a point where we made the change. I don't remember an exact day or time, but I remember the morning that I woke up thinking, "We are going to be ok. We are going to overcome this and we are going to make it." That acknowledgment felt like a 2-ton weight being lifted off of my shoulders.

It had been a long, long road for us. We had gotten married, had about 2 weeks together as a husband and wife before we found out we were expecting, then hubby was shipped off to Coast Guard training for about a month. It was a whirlwind, and it's not something I think we were truly equipped for at that point. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it for anything. But we just weren't really ready for all of that yet. It was a lot to adjust to and a lot to take in.

The 4 months or so we had before little man was born was full of baby preparation and my ever-changing mood swings. I was highly emotional and poor hubby wasn't even sure how to begin dealing with that. Not to mention, I was prone to break downs in self-esteem, and being 30 pounds heavier than I was used to {being pregnant and all} didn't help with that. I didn't feel at all attractive to my husband. Not even in the slightest. I remember thinking how disappointed hubby had to be in me and my appearance. He had thought he was getting a toned, young, beautiful wife and instead he ended up with a beached whale.

During all of this, hubby had a few habits and tendencies of his own that needed working on. Things that hurt me and caused me pain. And for those things, I grew resentful and hateful. I treated him terribly. Saying and doing things that no wife should do to her husband. There was no trust, no honesty and no communication in our marriage. It was breaking down very quickly and I didn't know what to do to stop it. We were in between church homes at the time, so I had no Christian mentors to turn to; I couldn't seek advice from family because the issues were too deep to rely on family for an unbiased opinion. I felt alone. I sat at home all day every single day crying, hating the life I was living and wondering when things had gotten so bad.

It was the end of the summer, maybe August, when I realized that I needed to make some changes if I expected hubby to change. {I've written about this before, and how the movie "Fireproof" and "The Love Dare" helped to change our marriage. See the marriage tab at the top of the page.} I started spending hours upon hours every day studying God's word and praying. I prayed long, heartfelt prayers to God, begging him to change my husband and to fix our marriage. After literally months and months without seeing a difference, I started to give up on God. I turned by back on him, proclaiming that HE allowed my marriage to fall apart. HE allowed my husband to do things that he knew would break my heart. And HE was too selfish to fix it.

Yeah. Not exactly accusations I am proud to have made against God, but they were made nonetheless. It wasn't until our son was about 5 months old that I realized what was wrong. It came to me in the mall one day. We had something that needed returning to the mall; hubby and I had been fighting and arguing for about 2 hours that morning. I was upset and had cried the entire trip to the mall. My eyes were puffy and bloodshot and I was on the verge of another emotional breakdown as we pulled into the parking lot. I remember getting out of the car and slamming the door. Hubby had his window down and remember turning back to him and saying something along the lines of, "If you were going to be this kind of husband, why did you get married in the first place?" before I stormed off.

With tears streaming down my face, I made my way down the mall to my destination. I made it about halfway back to the car before God revealed to me what was wrong with our marriage. Me. My attitude. My actions. My words. My thoughts. Everything. I was not the wife I needed to be, so how on Earth could I expect my husband to be the kind of man he was supposed to be? Kind of a "pot calling the kettle black" kind of situation. I climbed back in the car and said nothing to my husband. Not so much out of an attempt to be hateful or to prove my point, but because I was taken completely aback by the revelations God had just shown me.

God pointed out that all of those prayers I had been praying over the previous months, weren't being prayed the right way. I was praying for God my make my husband into the man I thought he needed to be, not the man that God called him to be. I was trying to fit him into my perfect mold of a partner, without any acknowledgment to the fact that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't the woman I needed to be. That's a harsh reality to have to face. When God knocks us down a level, he means it. And that's what he did. He threw me off of my high horse mentality, showing me once and for all that HE was the one who was in charge, and I needed to realize that.

From that point on, I focused my energy on my newborn son and on being the kind of wife that God required me to be, not necessarily the kind that I thought hubby deserved. {Thank God hubby wasn't always the kind of husband that I deesrved. Believe me, there were times that I really deserved a lot worse than what I got.} God created each of the complete our partners. He has a standard for the kind of women we are supposed to be, especially when it comes to being a wife and mom.

I purchased "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian and started focusing my prayers for hubby on those specific areas. I started praying more meaningful and heartfelt prayers. But most importantly, I started praying for GOD to work and that GOD'S will would be done in our marriage and in my husband. I spent my Quiet Times reading Christian women blogs and books and scriptures on how to love my husband and be the wife that he needed. I did a lot of writing in my own personal journal, noting changes that I saw in our relationship, but most importantly, the changes that God was making in me.

I would love more than anything to tell you that God fixed our marriage overnight...to say that he snapped his almighty fingers once I realized my faults and everything was suddenly all kinds of peachy. But it wasn't. It was a very long road. One that we continue to travel down. No marriage is perfect, and never will be. But our marriage made the change when I let God in and allowed him to truly work. When I stopped trying to "fix" things and allowed God to have control. When I allowed the Lord to move in me and among our marriage, I started to see a big difference.

All of the changes that I kept trying to make in my husband, slowly started to take effect. But it wasn't by my doing. It was by God's. Because at that point, I wasn't even focused on hubby. I was in no way even concerned with what he needed to differently. I was in-tune to myself and what I needed to change. And when I started showing love and kindness to my husband in a Christlike way, I started to receive that love and kindness back. It's amazing what God will do when we get out of the way and let him.

And that's basically what God has shown me. Whether it be in marriage, in parenting, in other relationships...no matter what the situation is, if I will simply stay out of God's way and allow his will and his timing to prevail, then the outcome will be far greater than I could have EVER imagined. I wouldn't say that our marriage did a 180 degree turn around, per-say. I think my mindset and idea of marriage did the turn around. The marriage itself took time. Are we where we would like to be in our marriage? Not at all. Are we closer to that point than we were 8 months ago? Absolutely. And it's all because of God and us allowing him to have control.








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December 22, 2009

2009: A Year in [Photo] Review

2009 has been a big year for us. Lots of firsts and lots of new beginnings. Today, I'm going to share those firsts with you in pictures. :) In 2009, we have:


Been to Birthday Parties



Made messes




Watched Football




Played with Daddy on the Slide




Eaten Cookies




Learned to Climb




Moved to a BIG BOY car seat




Said Goodbye to family




Grown Teeth {and lots of them}




Learned to smile




Watched Cartoons




Went Swimming




Played in a Firetruck





Learned how to relax





Learned to Stand



Been Trick-or-Treating



Won an SEC Championship {hence the Alabama jersey}




Cried during our first haircut




Made new friends






Dedicated Noah in our church home with Family





Turned ONE!





Played on the Swings and at the Playground




Rode the Carousel with Daddy & Uncle Brock




Met Mr. Peanut




Learned how to clap




Watched a Parade {and played with straws...}




Learned to crawl





Met family for the first time



Built new playmates







Discovered Oreos.



Watched baseball.



Played at the beach...



And in the Pack-N-Play.



Given up Enfamil



In exchange for Juice



And solid foods.



We learned to sleep all night.



More than anything we have lived and loved while doing it. We have fallen in love with one another over and over and over again this year. We've found a church home, and moved into a new house. We've discovered our passions and our purposes. We've forgiven and we've forgotten. We've played, laughed, smiled, and made thousands of memories. I am so excited to see what 2010 holds for us.

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