Five Minute Friday

Returning to Five Minute Fridays

This 20th day of November, I am rejoining Five Minute Fridays after missing the past couple of weeks.  And I haven’t just missed doing them, but I’ve missed being part of the community!  So, I’m glad to be back this week for another five minute write.  This week’s prompt is “Dwell” and I love the resources that Kate has provided for Advent season.  I just realized that our church’s Advent kick off event is this Sunday and I’m so looking forward to it.  It also gives me a chance to use this weekend as a “new” start.  Yet another “new” start…I need them often it seems.

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DWELL –

When I hear the word dwell, I can only think of homes.  We dwell in our homes.  And right now, my home is not really dwell-worthy.  I’ve been struggling.  I thought it had only been since our daughter was born six years ago, but earlier today I found a journal from 2001 (14 years ago for those counting) and it all could have been written this year for the most part.  I struggle with making my house a home and keeping up with the up-keep.  Always.  And it makes me tired.  I want to dwell in a place that I can sink into.  A place I can relax and enjoy and breathe a sigh of relief when I walk into it.  But, maybe it isn’t my home so much as me.  My home is often a reflection of where I am feeling.  If I am feeling in chaos and lost and wandering than my home is a mess, my schedule is a mess, my finances are a mess, etc.  If I can get myself grounded and find some order in my life, it spills over to everywhere else.

So, I think I need to stop seeking a “plan” or a “routine” and start seeking a grounding.  A firm place to rest.  A place to set my eyes and look forward, not necessarily by date and time, but by who I’m supposed to be.  By God’s plan, which doesn’t fit in a planner, but instead fits in my heart and my mind.  I need to know that my life well spent.  I need to feel that I am dwelling in the right place.  And that, then, will be reflected in my dwelling place.

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Well, there you go.  I do like that last couple of lines.

Dwelling

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Celebrate

I’m back again to participate in Five Minute Friday.  I have a few posts that are rolling around in my Drafts folder but haven’t had the time nor the focus to finish them.

This week was MUCH better than the prior week (not having any family members in the hospital is always a plus) with Bean doing well at school all week and handling the heart monitor with grace.  I felt like every day this week was non-stop for me.  Between meetings at work (both scheduled and emergency), crises that popped up throughout the week, a volunteer post at the Farmer’s Market for a school fundraiser last night and my jobs, it has been insane.  But, I feel like I’ve made it through pretty well.  No major tragedies, but I have a TON to do this weekend and early next week.  Thankful to have the weekend off from traveling and health issues, but it certainly won’t be one of “rest”.

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This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “Celebrate!”  So, here goes:

This week I am celebrating small victories.  First, my DD and I were “champions of the morning” as I told her every day this week.  We were able to do everything we needed to do, leave on time and get to school early so she could play before going to class.  I wasn’t stressed or annoyed – even this morning when we had to finish homework in the car on the way to school!  I just felt like we were able to get done what needed to be done.  The biggest difference I can identify – I didn’t get on my computer at all in the morning once she got up.  And she didn’t watch much TV (although she did watch TV one morning when she got up extra early).  So, hopefully we can continue that.

I feel like I have to celebrate the small victories because I’m not scoring many big victories these days.  I am behind at work after last week’s hospital stay and cancelled classes, etc.  I am feeling behind in household stuff, although with my insomnia last night I was able to catch up on quite a bit of that.  But, I felt like my DD had a great week at school and home for the most part.  I felt like celebrating that we were “champions of the morning” made each and every day better.  And I have to remember how meaningful those small celebrations are – both to her and me.

I often berate my small mistakes (and big ones).  And I often feel just a little inadequate when faced with the things I need to deal with: my daughter’s heart problems, my seeming inability to get things done in a timely fashion on a regular basis, one and a half jobs, a traveling husband, illnesses in extended family members and my own health issues (the psoriasis has lessened, but is still there after taking medication for it).  So, I think I have to remember to give myself those little “atta girl”s when I do something well, no matter how small.

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

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A Quick Update – Back to School!

Well, today was Back to School day for my DD:

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I haven’t been posting here much lately for a couple of reasons.  First, we went away for the last four days with family and the internet was spotty at best.  Second, one of the exercises in Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life was to list out my priorities.  When I did so, this blog was not on the list.  I didn’t think about it until afterwards when I went back to review them to set goals and realized the blog was not even on the list, so no goals were needed.

I am a little disappointed as I like the THOUGHT of blogging on a regular basis and forming a community and maybe even making some money from writing one day, but this made it clear that this is just something that is not important RIGHT NOW.  I do like that Crystal Paine (the author) talks about seasons of life and how some things just don’t fit with what you’re doing at THAT TIME.  It doesn’t mean I will never be a “blogger” in some serious way or that I can’t blog when I have the time here, it just means that right now it isn’t really something that is a priority for me.  It is kind of nice to see some things fall away that would stress me out (yes, even though I don’t have a ton of followers or a big demand, I would stress out about missing blogging days).  Blogging when I have so many other things to do is one of them.  Maybe when I get my routines down and time starts to become more available, I will be able to devote more time to it.  But for now, I’m going to aim to do Five Minute Fridays (because I love that exercise and that community) and Six Word Saturday  (because who can’t write six words?) and maybe one other day a week if I have time.

I haven’t found a lot of other things I can just let go of so easily, but I am working at making my classes manageable as far as grading and prep is concerned (trying to do a lot of front-end prep work right now).  I am also NOT volunteering to do things I might have done before because I realize that I need to figure out my schedule and time management and priorities first before I can start adding things in (even those things that are on my priority list).  If you’re curious about my priorities, here they are:

Family/Parenting:  Spending quality time together as a family everyday.  Includes: eating meals – breakfast and dinner together.  Game night once a week.  Family walks three times a week.

Work: Prepare and perform to provide my students the best possible experience both in and out of class.  Includes:  Be prepared!  Start each week with a clear plan for each class and time set aside for grading.  Being present in class.  Focusing on students – their learning and experiences in each class.  Use office hours for work projects.  Focus on advising, grading and Forensics projects.  Finally, stay on top of email!  Zero inbox every three days is the goal!  Respond, Refuse or Refer!

Health:  Get and maintain the best possible health to protect me now and in the future.  Includes:  Do regular check ups for medical and dental.  Eat right – healthy food and 4-5 meals a day.  Exercise – weight resistant/bearing exercise 5X/week and cardio 3X/week.

Finances:  Get all accounts in order/paid up or off and then maintain a budget and spending plan.  Includes:  Get taxes done for 2014.  Conserve money for only things we REALLY want/need. Question everything!  Meal plan to reduce food waste.  Do online points programs to make extra money each month.

Relationships: Establish and maintain relationships with God and good people.  Includes:  Attend church at least 2x/month or more (whenever not traveling for work).  Do morning devotional every day.  Do Bidwell Pres prayer list everyday.  Go out with friends at least 1X/month.  Send 5-10 cards each month to friends, family and coworkers.  Do friends trip 1X/year at least.  Date with my hubby 2X/month.

Life Management: Manage my household responsibly to have a clean, peaceful and enjoyable space, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Includes:  Do MOMS App for daily household duties.  Set up and keep routines that WORK!  Purchase only what you love and declutter all else.  Continue working on simplicity and minimalism in my home and life.

So, that’s not much, huh?

I did include blogging when I did my weekly time block planning (I allowed for seven hours – one per day), but that time block is not going to work unless I get my act together and do the things above.  So, there is blogging in my future – maybe pretty immediate future, but for now, it is not going to be done unless the other stuff is done above.

I will say that reading this book (I am now on page 83) is making reminding me how much I live my life in fire fighting mode.  I simply wait around for the three alarm fires to get so bad I can’t ignore them anymore and then I fight to put them out.  Exhausted after all the effort it takes to get the blaze out, I collapse in a mess and wait for the next three alarm fire.  I need to do some prevention now and make my life calmer, more satisfying and less exhausting.  It won’t be easy.  I’ve been living this way for a while now.  But, I’m looking forward to living a fire-free life!

So, that’s where I am.  You will see me on a somewhat irregular basis for a little bit (hopefully not long).  And when I am here, I hope to be focused on this space and better at writing, sharing and saying things that matter.

Wordless Wednesday

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday on a Thursday

This past week I’ve not taken many pictures really.  Between being sick and then doing 101 things before Noon on Monday and Tuesday, I’ve just not found the time or had the inclination to take many pictures.  But, here’s a few:

First, the weather here has been unseasonably cool and it. is. glorious!  Usually this time of year we are in the 100s most days and breaking into the 110s every once in a while.  But, last week we didn’t have any days that were above the 90s and many days in the 80s!  This week we will have one day in the 100s (tomorrow) and most days were in the low 90s.  I’m getting spoiled.  I wish that every summer was like this here.  This is one of the few things I don’t like about where we live.  It is hard to fully enjoy summer time when you are sweating buckets the whole time and you can’t comfortably go out between the hours of 11 am and 6 pm because it is just too blazing hot.   Hoping for a continuation of the coolness.  Plus, it helps keep the fire danger down in our drought conditions.  So, we took this chance to enjoy the park after church on Sunday.

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Art Camp started this week.  A local artist who used to do elementary school art teaching goes to our church and offers week long art camps a few times during the year and I’ve been waiting until Bean was old enough to attend.  The first day either really wore her out or she was fighting a bit of a bug.  She was zonked out on the couch like this for over two hours!  She rarely naps anymore, so it was unusual and actually quite nice.

Art_camp_was_exhausting._Or_she_has_a_bug_she_is_sleeping_off._Going_to_pede_today_to_make_sure_all_is_good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an example of the artwork – hers is in the middle.

giraffe art work

I also received my Walmart Beauty box.  For $5 they send me a bunch of samples that I can try out.  I’m not very adventurous when it comes to makeup and fragrances, so this gives me a chance to try things without investing much.  This one has some interesting things in it.

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So, that was it for pics this week.  Not a whole lot.  And I’m finally finishing this post that I started yesterday.  Last night I did a Mom’s Night Out (will post about that later this week), so I didn’t get it done.  But, now you have it!

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Being More

Being more is NOT doing more.

This is a reminder to myself as I often forget to consider who my doing is allowing me to BE.  I’ve been doing a lot lately and sometimes that helps to be a better me, but sometimes it ends up making a worse me.  So, I need to start considering what my doing is really producing.

I’ve followed the Abundant Mama for a while no and I love her “Ban Busy” project.  I’m sure she isn’t the only one with such a project, but I happen to have followed hers.  I have fallen off the Ban Busy bandwagon as of late, but its something I want to really work toward making it more possible when the Fall rolls around.  That seems to be the time when things really start to bog down for me.

I’ve been forced to “Savor Slow” the past few days because of my illness.  But, I realize that was probably the result of being way to busy and not restful enough the past few weeks.  So, now that I have a month or so left in the summer (!) I plan to savor some slowness right now and organize myself to be able to do it even when school and work and all the other things that come along with the Fall kick in late in August.

What about you?  Are you a slow goer or a busy, busy bee?  I think there are speeds in between and there are also times when we have to be a busy, busy bee.  But, being aware and making those choices consciously is pretty important.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Hope (and a blog announcement)

Before I start on this week’s Five Minute Friday – a little explanation for my absence as of late.  I left for my mom’s house 12 days ago.  I was there for five days, then took her to my in-laws for the weekend of the Fourth, then went back to my mom’s for three days.  It was exhausting to say the least.  The day before I left, I started to feel a bit under the weather.  By the time I got home on Wednesday, I was miserably sick – running a fever, feeling a stabbing pain in my throat every time I swallowed, achy all over, glands feeling like painful marbles…so, I went to the prompt care clinic on Thursday and confirmed that I have strep throat.  Luckily, the Z-pak the doctor prescribed is already going to work and I’m feeling better.  Not 100% yet, but much better.  We cancelled our camping trip that was scheduled for this weekend and we’ll have a quiet weekend at home.  The neighbor kids are keeping my DD busy and I’ve been able to rest and am just now starting to unpack and clean up a bit.  So, I guess all is well that ends well.  But, the internet was sketchy at my mom’s – I have to use my phone.  In addition, I realize that taking care of my mom, my daughter AND the dog is a bit overwhelming.  I felt like every time I sat down to do something on the computer, someone needed me to do something within minutes.  And by the end of the each day, I was just spent.  I don’t know how people do it caring for multiple children and an aging parent.  It. is. hard.  So, I’m grateful for a quiet weekend at home of rest and unpacking and restoring order to our home life.  My DD has art camp next week each morning from 9 – Noon, so I will get into get some work done a few of those mornings and hopefully have a quiet week ahead of us.  How’s that for a transition?

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 This week’s Five Minute Friday‘s theme is Hope.  Here goes:

Hope runs eternal as the saying goes.  Unfortunately, that phrase is usually said tongue-in-cheek and without much faith.  But, I do believe hope runs eternal.   I have had enough good fortune that came after suffering that I do tend towards optimism in most cases.  And I find that pessimism simply becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I just read an article that discussed an experiment done in the 80s with a group of men.  They were taken to a place and given everything to make them believe they were back in 1959, when they were younger and more active.  The experiment ended five days later with them being more active and losing a lot of what had previous made them aging.  The experiment allowed no mirrors and just gave them everything they needed to simulate life in the 50s.  It seems that we can convince our bodies to live the life we want it to live with the right environment.

I think this is important.  So often, we give up on ourselves – whether because of aging or some disability or family trouble, etc.  But, when we live each day to the fullest, living in hope and gratefulness and true belief that we are meant to do important things and to be there for that experience, we can provide ourselves reason to live better.  To be more.

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That’s it.  Five Minutes.  And what a great place to end so I can talk about my blog’s new focus.  I’ve decided to try to make this blog more than what its been.  To allow myself more than what I’ve been giving to it.  So, as we approach another birthday (I started this blog on birthday in 2013), I feel like I’ve finally found my focus.  As the blog title reads, the reason I started writing the blog was to Be More as I went through the last half of my forties.  I don’t think I really have focused on that much here though.  So, I’ve brainstormed on what it means to “be more” to me.  And here are the things I’ve come up with:

  • Parenting/Family Life – an area where we can not only be more ourselves but support others in a way to allow them to be more as well.
  • Community Building – this is an area that has been on the fringe of my radar screen, but one I would like to bring into the center more.
  • Caregiving – this has been a lot of my life in the last five years and I feel like there is a lot of information I can share with others going through similar situations or knowing someone going through similar situations.
  • Self-care – because without this, no one can be more.  We must first support ourselves before we throw ourselves into the great unknown and attempt to be more.

So, there you have it.  My Five Minute Friday and my blog announcement!  Hopefully you will all stick around to read more in the future on these areas and hopefully there will be others joining you and we can all help each other to be more!

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Minimalism Monday – Getting rid of “stuff”

I’ve decided to start a new Monday focus – minimalism.  I am really serious about making my life simpler and minimalism (at least a slight amount of minimalism) seems to get me everything I really need.  Spend less, less “stuff”, less on my to-do list, more focus on family and well-being.  So, this first post is going to focus on the WHY of it all.

Simplicity - Longfellow

 I think the biggest reason I feel the need to simplify is that I am completely and totally overwhelmed.  My life is OVERSTUFFED!  My home is OVERSTUFFED.  I have stuff piled up everywhere.  And every time I clear off a surface, it is suddenly full of more and different STUFF.  I am disorganized.  My life is chaos.  I just read, “Defending the Family Routine” on Motherlode and I realize that we have zero routine.  I have a family schedule hanging on our wall from the latter part of the school year and I can count the times we stuck to the whole thing on one hand.  Sigh…

So, I’m really trying to “hit reset” on my life – this article over at Elephant Journal could have been written by me.  My key wake up call from it came in these words:

How you do anything, is how you do everything.

If your house is a disorganized mess, so then likely is your life. If your storage area is filled with boxes stuffed with your past, then you are probably also physically holding on to those emotions and wounds too.

If you are ignoring financial obligations, playing the role of the ostrich in your reality, most likely you are shortchanging yourself from prosperity in more than just your bank account.

If your calendar is so very full you have to check it just to see if you have time to make a phone call to a friend, there’s very good chance you are also experiencing adrenal fatigue.

If you consistently ignore the fundamental chores and repairs in your home, then you’re probably also not meeting your basic emotional needs. Just like the clogged bathroom sink you’ve avoided dealing with for a month, your emotions are likely starting to back up, and eventually, they too will flood.

Look around, see what’s in front of you, examine your household habits, then ask yourself— where else does that show up in my life?

The answer to that is EVERYWHERE!  At least that is what I feel like right now.  I am physically holding on to emotions and wounds from the past.  I am shortchanging myself from prosperity in multiple places in my life.  I am almost fearful of success.  I am probably suffering from adrenal fatigue.  Especially during the school year.  And I do have emotions that are backing up…have been backing up for multiple years.  It is the reason I can’t bring myself to watch movies or read books that have sadness in them – I feel like I may start crying and never, ever stop.  I feel like I have so much fear and anxiety that I mask on a daily basis that if I were to ever let it go free it might never stop flowing out of me.

That last paragraph makes me sound like I’m on the edge of a breakdown.  But, I don’t think I am.  I think I’m pretty strong.  I think I’m pretty capable of holding it all together even when everything is falling apart.  I’ve proven that.  But, I also think that holding it together has become tiresome and overwhelming.  So, I’m going to follow the article’s advice…some of it seems a little mystical/new age for me, but I feel like I’ve skipped number one and two (the acknowledgement of the past pains and the “setting it on fire”) and gone to number three – the clean and polish – but, I still need to acknowledge and release.

The remainder I will do, but in a more biblical way I think.  The saying “Let go and Let God.” comes to mind.  And settling into God’s grace and plan for me seems a little more of a relief than trying to hold it together myself.

Well, that turned out to be a little more of a serious post than I first planned.  But, it feels good to get that out.  Release.  Acknowledge.  Let it Go.  Move on.