Motivational Mondays, Uncategorized

Do we NEED a following?

Long ago, in a place far away, Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage.”  Little did he know how much truth would be found in that statement in the age of YouTube and Instagram stories.  A little over a year ago, Jon Acuff wrote a post, “The old rules don’t apply” and the following paragraph really struck me:

When my grandfather was my age, he couldn’t build an audience easily. What would he have done? Run for local government? Try to get a radio show? Write for the city paper? He couldn’t reach a million people with a tweet. He couldn’t live broadcast from his own house with his own phone. He couldn’t sell something on Amazon.

The conclusion of the article is that now we CAN build an audience easily.  We don’t have to run for local government.  We don’t have to get a radio show at a radio station.  We don’t have to write for the city paper.  We CAN reach a million people with a tweet.  We CAN broadcast from our home on our phone.  We CAN sell things on Amazon without ever actually seeing or touching those things.

I guess the question I have is although we CAN do those things, SHOULD we?  Don’t get me wrong.  I am obviously typing this on a blog, trying to reach people and establish a following.  I love listening to podcasts.  I have a Twitter account.  And I have tried selling things on Amazon (failed miserably, but I tried).  But, our world has become so much about “likes” and “followers” and “vlogs” and “pods” that we often fail to give those who are actually going through life WITH us (not following us, but walking along side of us) enough time and attention and love.  I also fear that we have lost our ability to move through life quietly and contentedly.  And I fear that our society has now become more likely to reward those with large followings than those with large hearts or large minds.

What does it do to us when our values are more tied to how many strangers follow us and like us more than giving to others or making the world a better place.  It is hard to be a parent in these days.  It is hard to be a teacher in these days.  It is hard to be a human in these days.  Changing our focus towards the One we follow rather than how many followers we have will be helpful.  So, this week, I plan to do just that.  Stop focusing on posting things on Facebook to be liked.  Stop worrying about whether my blog is being read by many or only a few and focus more on the message I am sharing with others.  Stop looking backwards for followers and start looking up to follow the One who leads best.

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Dog holding a shoe.
Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Loyal

I am once again joining in at Five Minute Friday this week.  I am glad to be sharing feelings and findings in a short five minute burst once again.  No pressure, just a word and my words that follow.  This week’s prompt is “loyal”.  Here we go…

Dog holding a shoe.

When I saw the word loyal, I immediately felt guilty.  Why?  Because I sometimes feel like I lack loyalty.  This photo of the dog with the shoe in it’s mouth captures perfectly my feelings on this subject.  I think I’m a very loyal person, but I come with a lot of flaws.  Just like a dog who loves you more than anything in the world, but eats your shoes (or toys, or door frames, or furniture – just as general examples) every chance they get, I love God and my family and friends, but I can sometimes be found doing the metaphorical equivalent to stealing and chewing on their shoes.  I always have a decent excuse.  I don’t have enough time.  I’m tired.  I have so many other commitments.  I have spent my energy on people at work or at my daughter’s school and can’t face using more energy.

All those excuses are real things.  I am tired.  I do have a busy schedule.  I do have too many commitments.  I do spend a lot of energy at work or volunteering at my daughter’s school.  But, in the end, I have only myself to blame.  I could go to church each and every week that I am home.  I have that much energy and it usually fits in my schedule.  Does it take energy for me to go to a place by myself where I don’t know many people?  For sure.  But, that energy is usually worth it.  I could go and see my sister much more often.  Does it require a drive and a half a day at least to do so?  Yes.  But, I spend half a day doing less important things.  I could spend more time taking care of my house and cooking for my family.  Am I tired?  Yes, but not so tired that I could not cook a meal or clean a room.

In the end, I make the choices I make.  I have to take responsibility and make the choices that are good for me, not easy for me.  I need to remind myself that I am loyal.  And although I am flawed, I can still remain loyal and I can do better.  I can make better decisions and lead a better life.

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Okay – that was a little longer than five minutes, but it was a good flow.  I love Five Minute Fridays that go this easy.  What about you?  Will you write for five?

loyal

Stewardship, Uncategorized

Hard Resetting Life

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Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

School has begun for my daughter.  I start teaching on Monday and continue at my second school the following week.  Our schedules are already filling up.  I am beginning to feel a little stressed out already.  Although our house has gotten much cleaner over the past few days, it is still not where I want it to be.  Although I joined Terrafit at the beginning of the month, I have not been following it for the past two weeks.  Although I want to be eating more healthy, I am not.  Although I want to be walking the dogs each day, I am not.  There is so much in my life and although it seems like incrementally changing would be easiest, I feel like I can’t take the time to do that and even if I had the time, so much of it is related to the other that to make serious changes in one area, I need to change the other area.  So, I’ve decided my life needs a hard reset.

A hard reset, also known as a factory reset or master reset, is the restoration of a device to the state it was in when it left the factory. All settings, applications and data added by the user are removed.  –Whatis.com

So, what does that mean to me?  Well, I’ve added a lot of data as the user of my life over the past five decades.  Not all of that data is good or useful.  I need a restoration to the state I was in when I left the factory.  When God sent me to this place, He had all the settings I needed, but I wandered off the path and started getting new applications and gathering data.  And as the saying goes, Garbage In, Garbage Out.  I’ve got a bit too much Garbage to deal with at this point, so it is just easier to restore to God’s settings.

So, what does that mean moving forward?  Well, first, it means living life with a sense of stewardship.  I was listening to an episode of the podcast Woven last week about stewardship.  It is part of a series and I haven’t finished listening to the series yet, but it made total sense to me.  God has given me all these great things.  A home, plenty of food, friends, my family, a great hometown, not one but two good jobs that I enjoy, access to technology, and so much more.  And I don’t take care of those things the way that I should.  Instead, I am constantly seeking more or better or seeing the lack or the mess.  I am tired of living life that way.  Instead, I want to recognize how blessed I am and not take that for granted, but instead steward those gifts from God to the best of my ability.

So, I’m hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL on my life keyboard and looking more deeply at what my factory settings were.  I’ll have to dig out the owner’s manual (Bible) and see what it has to say about starting over my system and keeping it healthy and happy this time.  Luckily, my factory producer is forgiving and full of grace, so I think He will make this hard reset a little easier.

What about you?  Are you keeping your system well-maintained or do you need to clean some data and applications out in order to steward a better life?  It is a question worth asking!

Terrafit, Uncategorized

Five Reasons I’m Trying Terrafit

If you have been reading this blog for long, you know that I struggle with commitments.  I often start things enthusiastically, only to totally give up on them a few days later.  My fitness and weight loss experience demonstrate this.  I’ve tried Jazzercise.  I went twice but just didn’t feel like it “fit” me.  I tried doing Weight Watchers but it was just all too overwhelming to keep track of the points and figure out the points when I didn’t have them, etc.  I tried to do Beachbody and the meal planning and colored containers was just too much.  I signed up for Flipping Fifty and didn’t even start it, perhaps because I am trying to dismiss my fifty-year landmark.  I have tried online fitness trackers, apps, etc.  Nothing works.  But, I’m not giving up.  I recently stumbled upon a mention of Terrafit on a blog and read up on it and here are five reasons I’m choosing to give it a try:

  1. I get points, but I don’t have to calculate them for every meal.  I love the idea of getting points for doing good (and deleting points for doing bad).  Weight Watchers was fun that way, but I got overwhelmed with having to do each meal, broken into its components to figure out the points.  This one allows me to just give myself points for eating healthy foods and take away points for eating not-so-healthy-foods.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I get points for all sorts of things and they are easy to track.
  2. It uses Doterra Oils and products, but you don’t HAVE to buy them to participate.  I have fallen in love with Doterra Oils, but I don’t want to get a bunch of supplements, shakes, etc.  This program allows me to use some oils, but not necessarily do shakes, etc.  You CAN do them, but you don’t HAVE to do them.  It focuses more on eating and exercising than the products related.
  3. You can win money!  Yeah.  Weight Watchers never offered me that.  In each Terrafit challenge, there is a pot of money that is divided between coach and participants to recognize the top performers (point-wise).  It probably won’t end up being a ton of money, but I bought a whole year for $99 and that allows me to do unlimited challenges.  Usually, they are $25 each.  So, I need to do more than four in a year to get my money back.  I think I can do that.  And, there is the possibility of winning some money back.  It is like playing the lottery, but with healthy food and exercise instead of scratching.
  4. You get a coach.  I need accountability and help and a swift kick in the tush sometimes.  So, getting a personal coach sounds really good.
  5. You get to be on a team.  See #4.  I need all the help I can get!

So, there you have it.  I start my first challenge in two days.  I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life – hovering around 190, sometimes slightly under, sometimes slightly over.  That is a lot of weight on my frame.  I remember when I hit 160 in graduate school and thought I was heavy.  I haven’t grown in height since then, but I have 30 more pounds on me.  It isn’t surprising that I am tired most days, my feet hurt, my back often hurts and I just don’t feel like doing really strenuous exercise.

That has to change.  I want to be active with my daughter and my girl scouts.  I want to do fun things and go on adventures.  I want to feel good, be healthy and set a good example.  So, here goes nothing.  In six weeks, I hope to be lighter in both weight and mood.

terrafit

adulting, Uncategorized

I am 50…now what?

As of July 24, 2018, I am officially 50 years old.  It is a milestone.  A pretty big milestone.  I think I entered into it preferring not to think about it.  I don’t want to be old, but here I am.  So, it got me thinking, now what?  I mean, my life isn’t changing at all.  I still have a 9-year-old (I’m old to be a 9-year old’s mom).  I will still have a job and a half in the Fall (I’m old to be working two plus jobs).  I will still be traveling for work regularly (I’m old enough that I should be traveling for fun, not work).  I will still be trying to figure out a somewhat messy financial situation (I’m too old to not have this figured out).  So, basically, I feel like I’ve been pretty poor at adulting to this point in my life.  I mean, I’ve dealt with some pretty hefty adult situations in the last decade – a seriously ill child, two seriously ill parents, losing both parents.  So, it isn’t that I haven’t had to be an adult.  But, without an emergency situation, I’m pretty bad at adulting.

So, my goal for this first year of my fifth decade (that sounds so much better) is to get better at all aspects of adulting, even when there is not an urgent situation that drives the adulting.  This is something that most people seem to be able to grasp in their 20s.  Even late bloomers get it in their 30s.  But, not me.  I’m late to every party.  I was late finishing college.  I was late in finding a career.  I was late having a child.  I was late buying a house.  Late.  Always late. But, as the saying goes, better late than never.

You'realwayswith me

So, what exactly does this mean to me?  After all, “adulting” is a term used mostly by millennials (we have Adulting Workshops at both my colleges) and I am decades away from being a millennial.  But, according to Oxford Dictionaries, it means, “The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.”  And, as I said above, this is my major weakness.  In times of emergency or urgent need, I can perform as an adult and take care of business.  But, I am not very good at accomplishing all the mundane but necessary tasks that come along with being a responsible adult.  I procrastinate.  I ignore.  I forget.  I simply let things go.  This is what I need to overcome.  I need to practice behaving like a responsible adult.  I need to accomplish mundane but necessary tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.  If I could actually do that, my life would take a turn for the better.  The way better.

So, this is my public notice.  My request for accountability.  My declaration of commitment.  This is not my first and probably won’t be my last.  But, I think I’ve finally figured out why other “changes” I’ve tried to make in the past didn’t work.  It is because, like a child who lacks focus and attention on an arts and craft project, I have simply started a project without any understanding that at some point, that project would become mundane.  There would be no urgent need to complete the project.  Other things would arise that would take my attention away from that original project and would seem more fun, more interesting, more necessary.  And, as a result, I would drop that original project and move to something else.  And that would happen over and over and over again.  My need is not for “change” but for staying the course.

I realize that the word adulting is not without its critics.  The word has been accused of being “gross and sexist”  as well as overused and fake and an indict of our entire societal framework.  But, I’m going to use it anyways, because I am not a millennial.  I am not degrading myself by using it.  I am not claiming to “adult” because I cook a single dinner and I am not a product of the society that produced 20-somethings. I am seriously struggling with consistent, responsible, productive behavior and if I think that focusing on “adulting” for a year will help with that, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to do it at 50!  So, apologies to the haters of the word “adulting.”  But, no apologies for my need to recognize my weaknesses and find a way to overcome them.  And, for today anyway, this is a way!

So, watch this blog to follow along with my adulting attempts in the first year of my fifth decade.

Uncategorized

Telling More Stories Beyond Forty

Hello everyone.  It has been a long, long while since I’ve been on this particular blog.  Once again, I got caught up in “new” and “better” and “starting over with a clean slate” and I lost myself in it all.  Because we are never really new and we never really have a clean slate.  It is a nice thought at first, but it quickly becomes overwhelming to realize that it would mean you lose your history.  Basically, you would have to lose your SELF in order to be really new or to really start over with a totally clean slate.  And that, my friends, just isn’t worth it.  No matter how much “better” it may be.  So, I’m back to my messy, somewhat chaotic blog and my messy, really chaotic life.  And that is okay.  I have my SELF here and I can make improvements, but not totally let go of all that I’ve done.

As I quickly approach the 50th year mark (July 24th folks), I thought that maybe the More at Forty idea I signed up for five years ago was not going to work anymore.  But, you know what?  I can tell more stories and they can be for forty plus!  The specifics of our ages don’t matter so much as the stories we tell and those can cross age ranges quite frequently.  Am I truly MORE than I was five years ago when I started this blog?  I’m not sure.  But, I do have many, many, many MORE stories I can tell.  And there will still be MORE stories to come.  So, that is my focus – telling more stories – past, present and future ones.  My stories as well as those around me (when appropriate).

Welcome back to those who rejoined me after my long hiatus.  I hope to see you on a regular basis and I hope you will enjoy the stories I tell and share your own as well.

joe-shillington-240205

Be more series, Uncategorized

More Followers Monday #1 – Join Up!

I said I was going to start this two weeks ago and missed both the last Mondays.  Sad, but true.  But, here I am posting just before Monday ends.  But, the linkup will be open all week and I hope that some of you will join up this first week.  I’m sure it will be pretty small, but if we all visit and follow the blogs that Linkup and if you share about this linkup on your blog, we can build up our followers slowly but surely!

I think it would be great if you could link to a page that lets the readers know how you would like them to follow you (if you have a preference).  So, link to your Instagram if you’re building your following there or to your Facebook if you need followers there, etc.  Blogs are always welcome, but feel free to link up to other areas if that is where you need More Followers!  In case you missed my original post back a couple of weeks ago, here it is and the linky is at the bottom!

I’ve decided to start a “more” themed post on Mondays in 2017 – More Follower Mondays at More at Forty!  My hope is that we can help each other by generating more followers for our blogs and social media.  I am doing it as a Linkup so we can actually see a blog post that you’d like to drive traffic to, but you can also link to a social media account if that is where you need followers.  I’m new to this Linkup thing so be patient with me, but I think I have it figured out.  My plan is to make the first linkup available on Monday, January 2 and to have one each Monday.  Some Mondays, I may add a theme, but to start, we’re just going with an open-ended invitation to linkup and get more followers!

more-followers-mondays