Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Ten (on a Saturday)

Participating in another Five Minute Friday this Friday.  I’m a bit late because yesterday was my birthday and I went out with friends.  I started this blog two years ago and its been a bit of a chaotic mess of ideas on here, but I think I’ve finally found some focus and hope to get that going in this new year of mine.  But, Five Minute Friday will stay as I love this weekly focused writing exercise and reading other blogger’s posts on the subject matter.  So, without further ado:

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 This week’s prompt is a little different.  The number “ten”.  So, here goes:

Ten.  It is probably one of the most popular numbers in the first 100 to be sure.  Everyone loves a good “Top Ten” list.  But, it is also a milestone marker.  Making it to ten years – in a job, in a marriage, past a diagnosis, etc. are all to be celebrated.  But, in the grand scheme of things, ten is not all that big of a number.  Especially when you’re approaching five of them in your lifetime.  Ten years seems like such a significant amount of time, but its only 20% of my life to this point (almost).  It is only 1/5 of all the time I’ve spent on this earth.  That’s a bit striking.

But, ten becomes almost more meaningful at this point because I am approaching an age where every additional 10 years is not a guarantee (not that any of them are guarantees, but at some point, the likelihood starts to diminish from what it used to be).  So, it seems particularly important to make every year count.  Ten years from now, my DD will be sixteen.  With her health history, even at the ripe age of six, there are no guarantees.  So, it has made me only more aware of the importance of time spent in quality and meaningful activity and togetherness and enjoyment.  Not that I want her to feel the pressure, but I feel it.

Ten.  It is a small number in the grand scheme of things, but it can be a big deal when there are no guarantees.

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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.

Minimalism Monday, Uncategorized

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.

 

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Rise

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Well, I can’t believe another Friday is here already.  I feel like I always have about half my week missing when a week finishes.  Guess I should do something about that…  Today’s prompt is “rise”.  So, here goes:

The first thing I thought about when reading the prompt was “He has risen.” and I went and checked the date to make sure this wasn’t an old prompt from Easter time.  🙂  But, no, it isn’t.  So, that got be thinking about resurrection and rebirth and clean starts.  This has been a really rough time in my life.  And I can’t even really define when it started.  I think it started when my DD came along and it has just been kind of a roller coaster ride since then.  Well, more than a roller coaster ride, a visit to an amusement park.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on one of those relaxing, slow-moving rides that have a lot to see that is beautiful or fun, but not a lot of excitement.  Those rides are nice after long days of walking and standing in lines and doing roller coasters.  Sometimes I feel like I’m in the House of Horrors and although all is dark and quiet for a bit, I know there is always something around the corner that needs to be anticipated.  But, even with that knowledge, you’re still scared to death when the thing actually jumps out at you.  Nothing can prepare you…even riding the ride over and over, you still have that sense of dread and shock.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on a roller coaster and there is good excitement and terrifying, heart-in-your-throat excitement and I want to get off in the middle, but your stuck there until the end.  So, I guess rise for me right now is all about rising above this “stuff” that keeps me trapped in the amusement park rides that I don’t want to be on anymore.  I want to rise above it and rest.

So, at some point, I have to make that choice to rise up and have a clean start.  One that may still include an amusement park ride here and there, but is more livable in between.  I’ve been functioning in a space of stress and dread and fear for too long.  So, today, I’ll rise up and leave the amusement park!

How about you?  Join Five Minute Friday writing over at Kate Montaug!

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – Making Space

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Well, after a night of insomnia (I haven’t had it this bad in a really long time) that actually was pretty productive and thoughtful, I realize that I need space in my life.  I need space in my home (I’ve been cleaning up the piles that have been building up over the last few weeks of busyness, but my garage is a huge mess of stuff that needs to be cleared out, sorted through and lots of it probably needs to go.  I also have started to panic (a full 10 months early) about Bean going to kindergarten next year.  I don’t know how we are going to do it.  I need space in my schedule to get her to school and back each day (and right now I don’t even know when that will be – morning?  afternoon?), five days a week.  With my travel schedule, we often have been gone on Fridays, but that will have to end.  I will have to go to tournaments late I guess.  Everything is so up in the air, it is tough.  In addition, I need space in our budget for emergencies.  We’ve been making it these past few months (barely), but if something big were to arise we would be in a $%^@storm!

So, I’m committing myself to creating space.  Space for myself to do thing I want to do (need to do?).  Space for my daughter to have my undivided attention and engagement.  Space for us to live without tripping over stuff or piling stuff up constantly.  I just spent about two hours cleaning in the garage today and started to notice that many of the things I was moving/organizing were the same things I moved/organized a couple of months ago and again a few months before that.  There is not enough space for it all, so it inevitably starts to pile up everywhere and then needs to be sorted out and reorganized every few months.  I’m tired of it.  Space in our budgets for emergencies.  It will mean cutting back even further on spending.  I’ve been much better about grocery spending the past few months.  But, I spend a lot of frivolous money on small things for Bean and myself sometimes, thinking “it is only a few dollars”.  But a few times of spending a few dollars each week and four weeks in a month and it starts to pile up.  Plus we had the $1000 vet bill last month for the dog and we have car issues which means we’ve been renting a car a couple of days every two weeks or so and that also starts to add up quickly.  It is all just too much.  Finally, and this is a big one for me, space for me to rest and relax and recover each week.  I am constantly feeling on the edge of a break down – physically or mentally – and I can’t do that anymore.  So, I need space to do things that allow me to rest, relax and regroup.  Yoga maybe – I can do that at home in the morning with the TV.  A day of nothing being scheduled each week.  Just doing what I want to do that day.  And I need time alone each week.  I love my daughter dearly, but living life where I’m either with her or working gets to be too much.  I had Thursday mornings this semester without her, but I often scheduled things during that time because it was my “morning off”.  Instead of viewing that as time to fill, I need to view that as sacred space.

That last phrase is really starting to come into focus for me.  Sacred space.  Space that is holy, hallowed, allows connection with God, blessed.  That is what I need more of in my life.  Right now, my space is simply utilitarian.  And sometimes it doesn’t even meet the most basic of those utilitarian needs, so really my space is non-existent in many ways.  I have no boundaries for my space.  So, when something arises or someone calls or my husband asks me to do something, I simply do it.  I don’t even think about it.  I know my work schedule and I am protective of that, but beyond that, my time is your time.  My space is your space (in a literal sense often – today as I was cleaning out the garage a bit, I realized that my friend who stayed with us two summers ago now – so a full year and a half ago she stayed here for about five months because she didn’t have money to pay rent – and her vacuum cleaner and her golf clubs are in our garage.  There is also a full rubbermaid tub of her stuff in our guest room closet.  And I loaded a full-size shopping bag full of her stuff about five months ago when I cleaned out part of the guest room closet.  Nothing is sacred here.  There are no boundaries.  My space is everyone’s space.  This. must. change.

So, I’m going to work on purposeful boundary control.  I am going to ask her to come and get her stuff (she has been living with someone else here in town ever since moving out of here and has never offered to pick up her stuff).  I am going to establish my sacred space on the calendar each week and when people ask if I am available, I am going to say no.  If they ask what I’m doing, I am going to say that I am providing myself with some sacred space.  We’ll see how that goes.

So, there it is.  A different way of saying the same thing I’ve been saying, but maybe this rhetorical change will make the difference for me.

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – Stewardship

I almost didn’t go to church today.  It was one of those days where I just didn’t want to leave the house.  I felt like I was exhausted and slightly out of sorts and didn’t feel like seeing people.  But, I finally decided that I could go to the later service (11:11 am) instead of the one we usually attend (9:45 am) and not have to rush to get ready.  In all honesty, my daughter being so excited about Sunday School was really the driving force behind my decision to go.  The service is much less populated than the 9:45 a.m. so it felt a little less intimidating (sometimes when I’m surrounded by people I feel a little bit like I don’t belong, since I go by myself and sometimes feel out of sorts).  I really wish that I could meet a few people so I could sit next to someone each week who I could talk to and enjoy.  But, we’ll save that for another post.

Today ended up being what they call “Dedication Sunday,” when they take financial promises for the following year.  I’ve never been someone who “tithed,” although I always thought it was a good principle (giving away a certain percentage of your earnings).  I’ve just never been disciplined enough to do it.  But, I thought this was perfect timing to give me a “new year” to start trying to reach my financial goals.  If I can start budgeting my money in such a way as to plan for our expenses, then I can include the “dedication” in that amount.  And next month, in only four short days, I can begin to implement the plan.  The focus of the sermon around Dedication Sunday was stewardship.  And that really struck me in a big way.  The question that really hit me hard was:

What does it mean to live life with stewardship constantly in mind?

I know what stewardship means – to care for, nurture, grow…but, I had never really spent much time thinking about it as a part of my everyday life.  What would life be like if I thought of myself as a steward of EVERY GIFT I receive?  Not just money (the focus of the Dedication Sunday sermon), but my jobs, my students, all of my relationships, my time, my energy, my health, my child, my husband, my community, my neighbors, my church, my experiences, my joy, my love, my laughter, the grace I’ve been given, forgiveness…think of how life would change if my focus was caring for and nurturing all those things.  This blog?  Everything.

So, I’m going to focus on this idea of stewardship.  Taking care of what I have and what I am given as best I can.  With purpose.  I am starting another week tomorrow and I will be a bit exhausted, which always makes taking care difficult.  I need to catch up on my grading tonight and tomorrow is a very, very, very long day (Monday always is).  But, at least I have gotten some decent rest over the weekend and the house is only half a disaster rather than a whole disaster.  So, perhaps I can get though this last week of October with some calm, some rest and some stewardship.  We shall see…

What do you think?  Are you a steward of what you have been given?  Do you think it would change the way you live if you considered yourself one?

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thursday Thumbs Up and an Update on my Reluctance Realization

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Well, these past couple of weeks have really been draining.  I have been stressed to the hilt about money and being behind in my grading at work and being a bit overscheduled (that may or may not be an understatement) and not being able to keep my house clean and organized for more than a 24 hour period and the list goes on and on.  We tried to get my daughter to sleep in her own bed last weekend and that was a disaster which seemed to have the ripple effect of making her sleep poorly all of this week (it is a long story, but I’m just going to leave it at we aren’t ready as a family to make this work, so she is back in our bed again).  Things have not changed much about that list, other than the financial thing, which for the short term (probably a few weeks) is dealt with and much more comfortable.  For the long-term, I am going to have to do something else, but right now, I have a bit of a reprieve.  I am still behind in grading and work obligations.  I am still dealing with a disorganized house and lack of cleaning routine that leads to a total disaster at the end of each exhausting week.  I am still a bit overscheduled, although I did just skip something that was on my calendar today in the name of sanity and I have decided that I need to be STRICT about not scheduling ANYTHING on Thursdays – which is my only guaranteed day of a block of time without my daughter (she is in preschool) and without work obligations (I have nothing until a 3:30 class followed by a weekly Leadership Institute until 7 p.m., so 3 1/2 hours are booked on Thursday, but all else is open).  This time needs to be something I protect for myself.  I work a lot of weekends and every other day of the week I either have my daughter and/or multiple hours of work obligations.  I have viewed this as prime time for scheduling stuff that doesn’t fit in my schedule elsewhere, but no more.  I need this time for MYSELF.  So, that particular decision is not made with any reluctance.  I realized how important this is when I read Kim Raya‘s post on Adrenal Fatigue.  I definitely think I’m suffering from it – not because of the Narcissistic Abuse she discusses but because of my stress levels.

So, my Thursday Thumbs Ups (a little late since I didn’t finish this yesterday) are:

–A second job (got my paycheck yesterday – boy, does that help).

–Halloween decorations

–Thrift store finds

Going to go ahead and finish this up and publish since I’m already a day late.  So much more to talk about, but it will have to wait.  🙂  Maybe it will be part of my Five Minute Friday post.