Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – More

I am joining Five Minute Friday a little late this week. But, better late than never, I suppose. This week’s prompt is “more”. Pretty fitting for my blog’s title, “More at Forty”. But, as you will see, maybe I chose a blog title poorly for my current condition. Here goes…

Just seeing the word “more” kind of puts me in a state of panic nowadays. I’m not sure when it suddenly became stressful to think of “more” of almost anything, but that is where I am at right now. I can’t possibly deal with any “more”. I am buried in “more”. I have “more” on my to-do list than I can do and I have “more” in my house than I can take care of and I have “more” on my wish-list than I can achieve. More is starting to feel like a burden I carry around in a bag that is overflowing and I’m constantly losing things (focus, peace, prayer, calm, etc.) because everything can’t fit in that bag.

So, the question at this point, is what do I possibly get rid of out of this overflowing bag? How do I pack it in a way that what is at risk of falling out is the least valuable (instead of what is the most valuable as it often goes)? Prioritization is the key, but I feel like I need to dump the whole bag out in order to do that and it scares me to see what is down there at the bottom of the bag that I’ve forgotten. I’m afraid of finding things like lost opportunities and disappointments and even long lost joys that aren’t returning. I’m carrying around those things, thinking I will get to them, revisit them, but really they’re just weighing me down because I can’t possibly reach them with all the stuff on top of them.

I don’t have an answer for this problem. I only have fear and dread and stress. I know what I need to do, but I am afraid of doing it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Should I take out one thing at a time or should I dump it all out and start fresh? Can I possibly reach down to the bottom without clearing it all out and find somewhere to start? I just don’t know…

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Five Minute Friday – Search

Oh my, how I have searched. I feel like my last decade has been spent searching. At first, I was searching for answers. What was cardiomyopathy? Did babies really have heart transplants and lead semi-normal lives afterward? What was it like to live in a Ronald McDonald House? Were we really going to be able to do all this medical stuff when we went home? Where was home going to be? Could we go back to doing all the things we had done before? Could we work? Could we send our daughter to school? It was an endless barrage of questions, some answered, some not.

After we came home, I began a search for normal. We had a place to live now, but what was our normal going to be like? I was back at work, but how could I predict if our baby would be healthy or not? How could I get it all done? How could we commute four hours for doctor’s appointments once every three months? How would I find other moms to hang out with when we had been away for months and months and none of my friends or co-workers had babies? Could I leave her with a babysitter? They would have to give her medicines through syringes and deal with a Broviak catheter in her chest. She didn’t sleep in a crib well, so they wouldn’t be able to just “put her down” to sleep. We wouldn’t be able to “put her down” to sleep either. Should we co-sleep? Should we have her continue to sleep in her pack n play like she did at the Ronald McDonald House? She could sleep on the couch next to us in her boppy pillow. Would we ever sleep again?

Once we got through that stage and found our new normal, my search began for myself again. And that search is on-going. I am happy to be a mom. I like my job as a college instructor. I am enjoying being a Girl Scout leader. BUT. Always, the but. Do I want to do 5Ks? Do I want to do crafts? Do I want to compete in something? Am I doing all I am meant to do? Am I ever going to be a mom who can keep the house clean? I think I need to make more money, but maybe I just need to spend less. Should we be living in a house instead of a townhouse? Should I really own six animals? Will I ever get all the laundry done? Am I a writer? Should I be a speaker? Can I reach more people through consulting and maybe make some more money along the way? Am I doing too much? Am I not doing enough? How will I know?

I am in the midst of the search for myself and my goals and what is meant to be. This week, I am trying a new planner I heard about on a podcast. The Rise Up planner by Moira Kucaba. When I heard about it, it spoke to me. I am one who struggles with staying positive, keeping track, focusing on the right things and having a vision for myself. This planner seemed like it might be helpful. I feel like I have zero vision for myself other than to get through it.

Well, I forgot to start my timer. LOL. This may speak to where I am right now in the scheme of things. So, I will let you know how this planner goes!

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Convenient

I am joining Five Minute Friday a day late this week. I’m trying to be as consistent as possible in posting these weekly in 2019, but I’m not yet getting them all on Friday. Improvements can be made! This week’s prompt is “convenient”.

Convenient is not just a word for me. It is a way of life! My Twitter profile reads “Cheap and easy (not me, my food and life in general).” because it is truth. I am not one for making long time investments to doing hair, makeup, making meals or anything else in my life really. I am not sure where this stems from, but it is pretty consistent. If things aren’t simple and easy, I’m probably not going to be doing them long term.

But, I realize that sometimes “convenient” is just another word for “lacking value”. This isn’t always the case of course, but at times, we have to question whether convenience is trading off with something that is of more value. For example, I struggle with finding time to read books nowadays. It seems much more convenient to listen to podcasts or read shorter articles online, etc. But, I feel like that convenience trades off with an experience that is worth having. Getting lost in a book may not be the most “convenient” of things to happen to me, but it is so worth it in the grand scheme of things. Another area where I think convenient trades off with value is food. We’ve made a commitment to trying to eat more at home in 2019. But, even in the first few weeks, it has been tempting for us to eat out because it would be “convenient”. Someone doesn’t have to cook. No dishes are dirtied. But, that convenience usually leaves us feeling bad about what we ate and bad about what we spent. I am starting to be more aware of this tradeoff, even after only a few weeks.

So, although I love for things to be convenient, I also am starting to realize that God has given us things that are more worthy of our time and attention. He has given us the ability to slow down and appreciate investing time and effort in things. We just need to figure out what those things are in our lives. We aren’t all committed to or invested in the same thing. That would be boring. God has given us our own vocations, our own gifts to share and our own challenges as well. If we can take the time to really invest in those vocations, take time to share those gifts and not back down from those challenges, we will most likely find that although it may not be the most convenient way, it is the most rewarding way.

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Five Minute Friday – Better

I am joining the Five Minute Friday community on this first community post of 2019! It probably isn’t an accident that this week’s prompt is “better”.

I am a perfectionist. No one would know that from watching my behavior. I am constantly making a mess, leaving messes and having to fix mistakes I’ve made. But, most of those are problematic because of my perfectionism. I often won’t do something because I know I won’t be able to do it perfectly. That means that nothing gets done and the problem or the situation gets worse. So, I have to learn to embrace “better”. It is the perfect response to perfectionism.

I preach this to my daughter and to my students, but I often forget it myself. I have seen what can be done through incremental improvements. In fact, most things won’t improve at all without incremental improvements. Small steps lead to big trips. So, by being a little better each day, we can become the person we’ve only dreamed of being. By focusing on doing better with our actions – whether they be choosing healthy foods or exercising regularly or writing regularly – we will improve. The difficult part comes in the wait. Patience is often difficult to hold on to while we are only getting slightly better day-to-day. We (well, at least I) want to see the impacts right now! We don’t just want to get better each day, we want to get great immediately.

This year, I’ve chosen “less” as my one word. And one of the ways I will use that word is to focus less on big changes and instead move to just be slightly better day-to-day. Better at taking care of myself, my home, my family and doing my work. I’m not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be the best. I’m just going to have to settle for better and realize that God didn’t make me to be perfect. He made me to live life in His grace and forgiveness, but strive to be better – to try to live as Jesus lived. Not because I can live as Jesus lived, but because trying to live that way – making decisions based on those principles – will make me a better person. Ever-so-slightly better.

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

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Middle

Hello!  If you are joining me from Five Minute Friday, welcome to my little corner of the internet.  Please look around and get to know me and make a comment.  I will be sure to visit you as well and say hi!

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “Middle”.  Let’s get started!

connect-1

I have to be honest.  the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the prompt was that old song, “Stuck in the middle with you.”

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you.
I feel a little stuck in the middle of things right now.  Life for one.  I’ve hit “that age” where I feel like more of my life may have gone by than I have left.  Of course, that can always be the case, but it becomes especially apparent as I get close to 50.  I mean, not many people live to 100, so you really are on the shorter side of life when you get to this point.  But, we often refer to the late 40s and early 50s as the point where people have “mid-life” crises.  I’m not having one of those (yet), but I am starting to wonder how to make this last “half” of life better than the first half of life.  This year is starting to feel better than the past few years have felt as far as that is concerned, but it still feels like pressure.  I think the key that I have come up with is that to make this half better, I need to live more, give more and love more.
Luckily, I have my DD to keep me young and having fun.  And, I don’t often feel like I have “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,” which I have to think is a good thing.
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TIME!
So, there it is.  Wasn’t expecting to talk about mid-life today, but sometimes the prompt just leads you to unknown territory!
What’s your “middle” today?
Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday #1, 2017 – Connect

I am joining in for the first Five Minute Friday of 2017!  I’m excited to get started writing more consistently this year (and hopefully building my blog into something “more” as well) and Five Minute Friday is always a great exercise with a wonderful community along for the ride.  This week’s prompt is “Connect”.

connect

Here goes:

Well.  I am finding it somewhat difficult to connect to the prompt connect.  I’m just not sure where to go with it.  A lot comes to mind.  Connecting with others.  Making connections in my life.  Connecting the dots.  But, none of it is really driving me to write about it.  So, I guess I’ll write about how sometimes, it is difficult to connect with other people and things and that it is okay for that to be the case.  We would not appreciate the times when connections were strong and meaningful if those types of connections were constant and consistent.

I often have problems making close friends for example.  I just don’t connect with others as much as I would like.  And it isn’t for lack of trying.  But, when I do find someone I connect with, I feel it strongly and that connection is there whether we are spending a lot of time together or just a few minutes here and there.  I feel the same about entertainment and activities.  I don’t often feel strong connections with TV shows or movies or exercise programs.  Others seem to find something and really connect with it and loooooove it.  But, I don’t as often.  I connect with things from my past more than anything else.  Perhaps that is where I have my strongest connections – to my past.


That’s it.  I feel that this week was tough.  I’m not sure why.  It has been a long and somewhat stressful day (although I didn’t do much).  My DD is not feeling well.  And although she isn’t feeling horrible either, she did start running a fever tonight and with her past, I seem to be in a bit of a PTSD anxiety attack.  It isn’t horrible either.  I’m not panicked or anything, but I do feel a bit of trepidation about planning and what is going to happen.  In all reality, she will probably get better in a couple of days, without any complications.  We went to the pediatrician today and her lungs sounded good, she had nothing in her ears, her throat didn’t look too bad and she was negative for strep.  So, all good signs, but then she spikes a fever.  It just makes me wonder what is going on in that little body of hers.  And, in reality, it is probably nothing but a normal 7 year old virus that is running its course.  But, in a heart transplant recipient, it doesn’t ever seem like a virus or illness is normal or can just simply run its course without some concern.

So, I’m watching what I connect with – Poirot – on Netflix.  I’m waiting for the coming “Storm of the Decade” here in California, which should be hitting any time now.  I’m intermittently cleaning and organizing and purging.  I’m looking forward to a weekend of quiet and catching up and preparing for Spring 2017.  My DD is supposed to go back to school on Monday.  We will see how she is feeling.  But, I don’t have to worry because I’m not working next week!  We are scheduled to go to heart clinic on Tuesday, but with the illness/fever happening this weekend and the storm of the decade hitting, I think we will be rescheduling that.  So, that sets us up for a relatively quiet week ahead as well.  I can connect with that…