Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stress Doesn't Have to Win

I had a post ready for Monday, but I'm just not sure about it. So I'm going to leave it in drafts awhile longer.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

This week has been so long and so stressful. I stayed an hour longer at work most days grading because Friday was the end of the quarter. Several other things also happened. The kitchen faucet broke. I forgot to feed Ben breakfast twice this week. 2 library audiobook holds came in this week and 2 ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) came in this week. I also already have 2 library books. Ben and Drew started soccer practice this week too.

So it has been crazy!

However I haven't given in to the stress. I have been stressed and upset, but I haven't given in to it. I noticed that I was getting into a spiral of stress and thinking about how stressed I was and then getting more stressed. I didn't let myself sink into that spiral. I stopped that and came up with something much more productive to tell myself and I moved on. It felt like a victory. I think I am abiding in Christ and I am reaping the benefits of that.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lily Turns 3!

Lily is 3 by Slidely Slideshow

A couple years ago I wrote this post. It is that time of year again, Lily's birthday.

Most people notice her curly red hair right away. I think she likes that because she doesn't like anything in her hair, no headbands, no ponytail, no barrette, no nothing.
Others notice how she chatters. Several months ago my husband was asked when she will turn 4. People think she is older than she actually is because of her height and her vocabulary.

What do I think about?
I think of how often she laughs. She wants to be tickled often. I think of how she insists on feeding herself. Only in the last few weeks has she started accepting food when I'm holding the spoon. And even then it is only because I'm making noises and she thinks it is funny. She loves eating chips, mashed potatoes, and meat. She loves drinking milk or juice, lots of milk and juice. She loves reading books. She will pick them and tell herself the story. Sometimes she hands me the book and wants me to read it. The library is one of her favorite places and that makes me so happy. She loves to color, but only with markers. I did get her to color with crayons on Friday when I was coloring with crayons at the library. However, at home she will only color with markers. If I suggest something else, she will not accept it. She has an opinion and does not mind sharing it! If you don't agree with her, she is likely to yell at you, tell you to "Stop cheating me!", or turn her head away and refuse to look at you. She wants to do whatever her brother is doing unless he suggests it. She loves picking flowers and playing with her baby dolls. She loves the color pink, but I think teal . She loves to jump. In fact after children's time this week at church, she jumped her way back down the aisle to our seat. She still doesn't want to cuddle, unless Ben is getting a hug or a cuddle. Then she shoves him away and takes a cuddle. She loves the soundtrack Sing and Frozen. We often listen to those as I am rocking her to sleep. She loves her blankets. She can't fall asleep without at least 4 of them. She doesn't like going potty on our toilet at home. We have tried and she did once, but she says it scares her. So we are impatiently waiting. Mostly I think about her zest for life and her happiness with her world.

I am lucky to be her mom.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Leave Some Space

Photo Credit: Ian Sane

So I'm doing really good at updating my other blog about reading even if I am a day or so off, I get something up there. However, on this one, I'm coming up empty. I have had a thought or two about what to post, but then by the time I sit down, the idea has completely flown away. I also have been struggling with writing in my journal as well. Again I think about doing it when I'm not at home or near my journal. Then I get to home and have the time and the thought has flown away. I don't think it is a coincidence that I am struggling on here and with my journal writing. I think both of those things tell me that I am not paying attention. I'm going through life, but I'm not really sitting to capture my thoughts.

Life has been a bit busier with birthdays, conferences, and my daughter getting up early. I have also checked out too many books from the library recently, so I'm feel like I'm constantly reading against the deadline. Most of these things are not much of a reason to be ignoring my reflecting space. The only one might be my daughter getting up early. She has started getting up about 5 minutes before my alarm. So there is no time to get her back to sleep, so she is just up with me while I"m getting ready. I don't have a sit down focused reflection time in the morning, but I do use some of the quiet time for thinking. Even then, that doesn't offer much of an excuse. I have several other hours in the day, but I just don't make time for reflecting.

Why?

I guess I feel like I have too much to do. I can't take time to stop because then I won't get those other two or three things done. I need to prioritize. I know me. I know if I start sacrificing here, then I'm going to start stressing more and putting more and more on my to do list. I'm going to start feeling like I need to accomplish everything instead of putting some things off or just saying no to some things. Abide is my one word for the year and it picked me because I need to be okay with the stopping. I find that I am running the risk of not leaving space for myself. That is not a good place for me to be.

So even though, I didn't have lots of good thoughts, I sat down to write anyway. I made myself reflect, so I can start capturing more reflections. I made myself leave some space.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Way



Recently I have heard this song referred to in two different sermons by two different pastors. Both sermons mentioned this song as a kind of anthem to selfish materialism. I can see why that comparison is made, but I don't think of the song that way. To me when I hear the line, "I did it my way." It is an anthem for rebellion against the societal norm that pushes us away from God. "I stood tall." I stood against the things telling me to bow the world's system. When my way is God's way, then the words become synonymous. I know that isn't what Sinatra meant, but when someone puts their work out in the world the consumers are going to interpret it personally. There is a whole literary theory about it, reader response theory. And yes there is more to Reader Response Theory than just this simple interpretation, but the sentiment fits.

Mentally I recognize that I look at thing differently than the average person. However, in the everyday walking around, I often forget this. So hearing these 2 pastors whom I respect refer to this song in the opposite of my thinking made me realize that I look at things very differently. I genuinely look at the "secular" music, books, art, etc. and interpret it through a filter of my Christianity. I believe the talent that these people are given is from God and they unconsciously bring him into their work from time to time. I believe God is there to be found in these things even if he isn't "supposed" to be there. Not everything, not every piece, but sometimes.

I thought you might enjoy my observation for today.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Things Saving My Life Now

For the past couple years, Modern Mrs. Darcy has been writing a post around this time of winter about what is saving her life. I think about these things often because life is hard and it is so easy to focus on the bad things and the things that are draining your energy. So I take time to stop and think about the things that are giving me energy and hope and brightness, these are things that are saving my life.

1. Sleep- I haven't gotten enough of it a couple days this week, but in general I have been focused on getting to bed on time and getting up on time. Going through the days feeling rested makes a big difference.

2. Leggings - In the last few months a colleague started selling LuLaRoe, so I bought a couple pairs of leggings. Then a couple more and a couple skirts. I now have clothes that are comfy, pretty, and make me feel good. Feeling good in my clothes is a big deal.

3. National Park Pictures - Most people are complaining about their Facebook feed being full of politics or yelling or something. I don't have that problem. Most everyone is hidden on my Facebook page. For the most part, I see my mom, my husband, Disney movies, and National Parks. And the National Parks post SOOOO many gorgeous photos!! Seeing the beautiful landscape that our nation has been blessed with is saving me.
See?


4. My One Word -  Every year I pick One Word for the year. This year my word is abide. I have set the lock screen and background on my phone with reminders. So even looking at my phone for some reason is a reminder of who I am working to become. This week has been CRAZY busy! 3 long meetings, and 2 parent nights. I haven't had as much quiet reflection as I would like, but I know the work I have done in previous weeks has helped. Deep inside I'm not agitated and flustered. I'm at peace.
Image result for busy is a choice stress is a choice joy is a choice  Image result for abide in my love wallpaper


Overall this year I am so much better off than last year. I am not so desperately clinging to these things that are saving my life. I am holding them looser because I am holding on to the peace of Christ.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Oh the possibilities!

So it is Sunday night and not Friday. Oops. But I'll get a post in this week. And what a week it has been!

Photo Credit: zach Mccarthy


Drew and I were both down with a stomach bug this week. Drew's car was down with a bad transmission until late this week. And I was piled under a mountain of to do lists at school. But we made it through.

As Monday approaches, my mind is filled with a whole world of possibilities. My school schedule for next year looks as if it will include English 3. The possibility alternately terrifies me and invigorates me. I want to share a love of reading. language, and writing with them. But how do I fit all the amazing authors(not already covered) into one year? Oh the possibilities! For success and for failure.

I have also been asked to help at with a women's retreat at a local Spanish church. I have never had a Bible study at church in Spanish. I have only been to a church service a few times in Spanish. But I can speak Spanish in conversation fluently. Again, oh the possibilities! For success and for failure.

This morning I was asked to use my Spanish for church purposes at some point in time if things fall into the right order. I'm obviously being vague because I don't know how much I should or should not say. But trust me, it is out of my comfort zone. It provides a wealth of opportunities for success and for failure.

So the next handful of months will be full of possibilities. It is going to make me uncomfortable. It is going to make me excited. It is going to make depend on God. I have no clue how I will accomplish any of these things. I suppose because it won't be me accomplishing these things. It will be God accomplishing them through me. I certainly don't have the abilities all by myself.

Letting God use me is a scary thing, but without fear, nothing great will be accomplished. So I will move forward in fear and in confidence because God is with me and before me. In the end, I will be a better person, a stronger Christian, and closer to God.

Friday, January 20, 2017

It won't be easy



It is nearing the end of January and many new years resolutions are being broken and going by the wayside. I am among those failing to keep their resolutions. I don't really do resolutions. I do One Word, so there aren't a list of rules for me to remember. It is one word to remember that will guide me through the year. This year my word is abide. I took a circuitous route, but I got to the right word. It has already challenged me. I have no clue how time has flown so quickly over the last two weeks. As such my journal writing, Bible studying, and quiet moments, have slowed down. They aren't gone, but they aren't as frequent either.

I posted last week about the things that spoke to me to help reel me back in. It was good. This week I wasn't so emotional strung out, but I wasn't very focused on abiding or on joy. I did fall into complaining more than I would like. Mentally I recognized it sooner than last week, but verbally, I wasn't so quick. I still sounded like a whiny baby. I still have some things to work on.

I plan on getting a couple new pieces of jewelry. One that says 'abide' and one that says 'joy.' So I can remind myself all the time that I need to work on abide and joy. I have changed the wallpaper on my phone with the word 'abide' and with 'joy'. I don't think I have been quite as flustered with the stress of this week. So I am making progress at stopping before I get too far. I would really like to get to the place where I don't start down the road of stress, frustration, and complaining. Mostly the complaining. I don't want to be that kind of a person that is always complaining when situations get stressful. I don't want to be the emotionally draining friend, relative, or co-worker. I want to be one that encourages. I want to be one that lifts people up and helps them see the unforeseen as a new opportunity.

Becoming a better person is hard, but it is worth it.