Remembering What We Love

I stole the title of this post from my MOPS devotional book.

I just read Chapter 8 today, Confidence Over Conformity: Remembering what we love.

The author talks about how she made a friend at a playdate for her son. They were talking about finding time for the things they like – writing for the author and painting for her friend. The author was writing a book and her friend lamented having no time for art anymore.

I have encountered that sentiment a lot as I somewhat publicly pursue my own interests. I have had people tell me that I’m lucky to be able to do what I love because not everyone can. I’m told that there just isn’t time for mom or dad to focus on themselves. I’m told that to do lists are just too long and the days too full and the nights too short to spend ourselves.

The author goes on to share a story of when she was in a spelling bee in second grade. She got second place and her mother considered it a waste of time. The author never entered another spelling bee. And she struggles to pursue her creative interests because they are “time wasters”.

How often do we all fall into that trap? There are so many more things I could DO instead of knit. Or write. Or run. Or read. Or create. Or consume. Or enjoy.

I could do that load of laundry that’s been staring at me for days. Or just quick unload the dishwasher… and then load it… and then wash down all the counters. Or clean this thing. Or that thing. Or find something “developmental” for my kids to do. Or whatever else. The list just goes on.

In the past few years, I’ve really started to embrace who I am and what I enjoy. At first, I felt like I needed to make money doing these things to make them worthwhile. If I could sell what I knitted, THEN it would be worth my time to spend hours knitting. If I could just get paid to write, THEN it wouldn’t be a waste of time to write. If I could just start on the path to being a famous, sponsored ultramarathoner, THEN it would be worth all the training time required.

Now, I do these things simply because I enjoy them. Because I need to do things I enjoy to maintain my sanity. Because I am me. I am Cari. I am not JUST mother or JUST wife. I am not defined by my relationships to others. God has given me gifts that are intended to simply be enjoyed.

It’s hard to break out of that mindset, isn’t it?

That our interests are only worth pursuing if they accomplish another means. Because enjoyment somehow isn’t a good enough reason to engage in our hobbies.

Growing up, my parents, like all parents, weren’t perfect. They did stuff that screwed me up just like your parents screwed you up and like I will screw up my kids. One thing they did really well, though, was to encourage us exploring interests. I was in Girl Scouts and band and choir and track and cross country and plays and musicals and church and youth group and on and on. I was never the best one, though. I wasn’t first chair. I wasn’t section leader. I wasn’t the perennial winner. I didn’t even get my Gold award.

What I did get, though, is much better. I got support in the things I liked to do. And now, as an adult, it’s been pretty easy to throw off the chains of “I should…” and embrace “I do it because I enjoy it.” I don’t need to make money to make it worthwhile.

How about you? Did you feel supported in your interests? Did you have to be the best for it to be worthwhile? Did you have to have the right interests? Were you completely different from your parents and they were totally cool with it? Did they pursue your interests with you?

What struggles do you have with pursuing hobbies today?

What lies are you believing that say carving out time for yourself is wrong?

God made us all unique. And that includes our hobbies. That includes finding things to do that make us happy. Finding our passions and our interests and using our skills. Even as a Christian, not everything we do needs to be overtly Christian. Perhaps simply enjoying who God made us to be is a good enough testimony. I am worth spending time on myself.

Being creative for the sake of creativity is a great use of our time and energy. God is the ultimate in exploring creativity. How could a creative God think that spending time in creative pursuits is not worthwhile?

Friends, you are worth spending time on yourselves doing things you enjoy simply because you enjoy them. We need to stop believing the lies that say unless we make money or are “accomplishing something”, that our pursuits aren’t worthwhile.

If you like to write, write even if no one will ever read it. If you like to run, run even if you will never race. If you like to read, read even if you never discuss what you’ve read with anyone. And so on. Even if you never make money. Even if those around you don’t understand. Even if those around you try to make you feel bad for investing in yourself.

I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. That’s what Jesus said. The thief comes to destroy and Jesus comes to give life.

Are you believing the thief? Or Jesus?

What can you do today to start eroding your belief in the lie and start building your belief in the truth?

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Recap of 30 30s and goals for 2017

I suppose it’s about time that I share how I did on my 30 30s. In short, it was a series of goals I set for myself to complete during 2016, the year I turned 30. I wanted to push myself to explore new hobbies, to grow in different ways, and to achieve things I may have previously thought impossible.

As far as completion of items, I did terribly. I only completed 9 of 30 categories. I came close in 6 others, but didn’t have the drive to push myself to finish them.

Part of my problem at the very end is that I only wanted to do the things just to check them off my list. It felt really inauthentic, which made it hard for me to push and do it.

However, I don’t see it as a failure. In fact, I learned more about myself through failing to complete things than I would have otherwise. I realized that I really don’t care for working out – either strength training or yoga. While I know these would help take my running to an entirely new level, I don’t have the patience or the drive to do it. At least not on my own. I found that to be very valuable.

I do enjoy writing on my blog, but I didn’t manage to eek out 30 posts in one year. Part of the time, I didn’t have anything to say and sometimes I really just didn’t have the time. However, I have learned that my blog is an important way for me to process through things and I really look forward to processing through some pretty deep and painful hurts over the next year. We are all a product of our experiences and choices and it is high time I let go of some things from my previous prodigal life.

The other thing I realized is that I have lots of hobbies that take time and cannot be done concurrently. I can’t read and knit or run and write at the same time. I also can’t write a blog post and a novel at the same time and each of these takes time. The important thing I’ve realized is that I just need to go with whatever creative whim I happen to be on at the time. It’s okay if I don’t write for weeks at a time while I read or knit a sweater. It’s okay if I give up knitting to write a novel or train for an ultramarathon.

Previously, I had thought I needed to find time during each week to participate in each of these hobbies, but I have realized that as long as I’m feeling fulfilled by the current hobby, it’s okay that I only engage in one or two at a time. I don’t see an uproar here when it’s days or weeks between posts, so it seems you all are living life just fine apart from my musings, though I do want to try to muse with a little more regularity this year. We will see, though.

Some of the goals I had set were things that weren’t actually important to me but I wanted them to be. I haven’t really played guitar for a couple years now and having a $500 guitar hasn’t changed that, even though I wanted it to. It sounds really nice, but I don’t know what to play on it. I don’t know when to play that doesn’t draw toddlers around to pull and pluck and poke and yank and hit it while I play.

I finally did read the entire Harry Potter series this year (actually, in a span of about two weeks…) and it was really enjoyable. I have a stack of other recommended reads by a friend to get through and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really excited about the books and I’m excited about my growing list of other books to read. I am excited about writing my novel and seeing where the story goes. Maybe I’ll publish it, but maybe I won’t.

In all, I found the challenge to be a great success. I feel proud that I even tried to tackle something so huge. I did grow a lot and I see where I still have areas in which to grow. I have really accepted the things that make me happy, the things that I enjoy, that I want to spend my free time on. I have better learned who I am and I have deepened some relationships with friends that I really wanted to do. I’m being more honest, more encouraging, more open, more vulnerable. The best part about it is that my friends really seem to appreciate it. They aren’t scared off like I had thought they would be. They seem to like me for me and that was actually pretty surprising.

For the majority of my life, I’ve been trying really hard to be someone else – whether I tried to be Megan or Kristin or Katie or Cheryl or Alli or Jenna or Nicole or Katie (a different one) – I was always trying to be someone else and not myself. This year, I’ve learned that people like Cari. People like Cari because she is Cari. I have great things to offer if I would just give myself the chance to offer it.

So this year, I have some pretty specific goals, and far fewer. They are all important to me and they are manageable. They are direct, they are measurable, and all of them are either fun or fulfilling.

So, my goals for 2017 are as follows:

  • Finish writing Tamerna book 1.
  • Run an ultramarathon (paid race).
  • Watch all the Harry Potter movies.
  • Read Lord of the Rings.
  • Take the kids to the park more often than I did this year.
  • Purge more unnecessary stuff from my house.
  • Read to the kids from their Bible more often.
  • Read the entire Bible.
  • Finish reading the Sword of Truth series.
  • Engage more intentionally with my friends to deepen our relationships – check in via text message or calling, do more than just push ‘like’ on facebook, etc.
  • Finish knitting my sweater.
  • Play with the kids more AND let them play outside alone more
  • Date my husband more

 

I am always a fan of accountability so any time you want to check in on me, I am a fan of sharing how things are going.

How about you? Do you set goals for an entire year? Do you call them resolutions? Are you experiencing any success yet? I’d love to hear what you’d like to accomplish in 2017!

I See You

Do you ever feel unseen?

Perhaps you feel like nothing you do really matters or that those around you aren’t seeing what you do. Maybe your coworkers. Maybe your spouse. Maybe your children. Maybe your friends.

Maybe you, like me, find yourself wondering from time to time if anything you do matters. If anybody sees you.

I can speak most knowledgeably about being an at home parent, because that is what I do now. I stay home. I live behind my front doors, surrounded by people that come to my knee caps and have a very loose grasp of the English language, very little emotional control, and aren’t all that capable or coordinated. It can be really lonely sometimes, but from my years in the workforce, I know these feelings aren’t limited to living behind closed doors.

Maybe you feel like an outsider at work, like you’ve never really connected with anyone, like you live between two worlds of workers – those who like each other and those who despise each other. Maybe you don’t really directly work alongside anyone so you find you don’t have the chance to get to know anyone very well.

Or maybe you find yourself in an even more extreme situation where you really are alone. Family is far away, if even there. Friends are basically non-existent. Your coworkers make you want to stab yourself in the head so you actively avoid them. You felt judged that one time you went to church so you don’t have a faith community or the one you are a part of is really fake and empty (yeah, it happens).

It’s easy to feel unseen in life, as it fills up, as more and more things demand more and more time. As you get married, have kids, get a dog or two, have separate jobs, hobbies you try to pursue, faith you try to keep up – sometimes it all gets to be a lot and suddenly you look around and the space feels empty around you.

It’s nobody’s fault, though, right? Everyone is on that same train, riding that same ride, looking around at the same empty space once they stop for a moment.

It’s easy to forget that God promises to never leave us. All of us. Not just the ones that go to church.

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  –Deuteronomy 31:6

Moses was speaking to the Isrealites, commanding them to follow Joshua into the Promised Land. However, the situation could just as easily be God commanding us to follow Jesus in to our own personal promised lands.

Friends, God sees you. All the time.

I can be a friend that gets too busy to check in with other friends and suddenly I find it’s been two weeks since I talked to this person or that one. God isn’t like that. He’s a much better friend than I am. He’s always there, whenever I need someone. Maybe I pick a bad day to reach out to a friend when I’m having a rough day – maybe she’s in the hospital and can’t reach back because she seriously feels like her body is going to rupture with pain. God is always there. He’s never in the hospital. He never loses his phone or drops it in the toilet.

If you read the Gospels, which I highly recommend if you haven’t, I think you will see a common theme among Jesus’ interactions with people. In every encounter recorded, the person who is sick or seeking him is seen by him. He doesn’t just heal and run, he forgives sins, he reminds them to go and sin no more, he is astonished by their faith or by their lack of faith – he was a professional people seer.

I forget that all to quickly. I want a physical text or email or message back when things aren’t going well and I reach out. The irony is that I always find myself far more fulfilled when I spend that time I would have spent texting back and forth in prayer instead – the answers I receive in prayer are always more satisfying and reassuring.

Because God sees me.

He knows me. He knows my heart. He knows my situation. He knows the details I’m too ashamed or embarrassed to share with others.

So, friends, while I may not be the best at seeing you and others in your life might not see you as much as you want or need to be seen, remember that God sees you and he is just waiting for you to reach out and be seen by him.

Carry on, friends, and try to see someone else this week.

I am an ultramarathoner

ultramarathon

This weekend, I accomplished something I have wanted to do for quite a long time.

I ran an ultramarathon.

The best part is that I didn’t even have to PAY for it! A free run, 5 mile loops around my house. In pain. For free.

And I still got an awesome t-shirt out of the deal.

itbegins

I split up time with my favorite running buddies (my dogs and myself – I know, lame – haha!) and made a super dorky t-shirt to help motivate myself to keep going.

That’s my little guy up there, almost 14 months old. My daughter was sitting on the steps with her new Elmo book, which she REALLY wanted to take a picture of, but I guess waiting 12 seconds for the picture was a little much.

It was really awesome how excited everyone was for the run – especially the dogs.

first run

Throwback – this is me in April, stuffed into my running clothes, feeling like the wife of the Michelin Man, heading out for just a couple miles. Like, literally, two miles I think. I remember not even wanting to share this picture because I felt SO uncomfortable and chubby and out of shape, but I’m glad I did. I knew I would be.

It’s easy to share the stuff that is SUPER awesome and the pictures where we look super great. I knew that running 2 miles was neither super awesome and I didn’t look super great, but it was important to document the start. The first miles after baby, after winter. And the dogs were turbo excited to go for a run. Finally!

It’s amazing how far I have come, to be honest. From 2 miles in April to 30 miles in October. I feel really good. I feel strong. I feel healthy. I feel vibrant (and to be honest, still a little stiff today, but NOT SORE!!). I just feel better and seriously, if I’d never lost a single pound, that would be enough. Not that I would know if I’d lost weight because we don’t have a scale. It’s enough to just feel better.

Anyway, back to the run-down (see what I did there?). Ha!

5done

It was a little bit cooler than I had initially thought and dressed for, so I had to dress up a little more to survive the chilly wind with these arm-warmers I knitted up a few years ago when doing the Bismarck marathon relay with some friends.

My awesome husband took these pictures and updated my “legions of fans” every lap on facebook. So amazing. So supportive. There is no way I could have done this crazy, CRAZY thing without him really being for it and supportive. I was also really humbled by the fact that my friends, that people I knew, actually gave a crap that I was doing this. I know that we have friends for reasons and friends take an interest in your life, but it was still really humbling to me. I felt a LOT of gratitude toward the people who cared that I was doing this crazy thing for no other reason than “I wanted to.”

So, friends, you are amazing. Thank you for being amazing. Thank you for caring. Seriously. It means so much.

It usually takes me a few miles to warm up, so at the end of 5, I was feeling pretty darn awesome. I had to really consciously keep myself going slow so that I would have enough gas in the tank to go all 30 miles. I was really amped up and wanting to truck. Ultimately, I’m VERY glad I just turtled along the entire time.

10down

Because it was so cold, I didn’t really feel the need to hydrate all that much. However, Coach Husband really got on my case about that after 10 miles, so I tried to be better. After 10, I was still feeling really great and ready for a lap all by myself. However, I knew that it wouldn’t last, so I actually spent part of lap 3 praying for God to give me and my legs strength to finish and thanking him for my husband, my friends, just all the great stuff in my life. I think lap 3 was definitely my gratitude lap – I felt really grateful and humbled.

I thought back to my marathon and how I used that to help power through a really difficult race. I thought of all the people who have helped me finish both my marathons and the spiritual journey I’ve been on this year. I knew I couldn’t do it on my strength, but with God, all things are possible. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. If I hope in the Lord, he will renew me and I will not be weary. Gratitude is an amazing thing.

I had planned to run my 30 next week, actually, and had a small lineup of friends and family to run it all with me, however, due to some unforseen circumstances, I will be out of town. I was grumbling to this lady up here after our Bible study on Wednesday about how bummed I was that I couldn’t do it, that I wouldn’t be able to wear the sweet shirt I ordered for myself and she suggested I do it this weekend and THEN she joined me for the last 10 miles.

It’s amazing how refreshing it is to have a little pick me up in the form of a crazy, high energy friend on the last legs of a super hard goal. It’s like I was saying above, about people I know actually giving a crap that I was doing this. I still smile thinking about it.

Anyway, I was still feeling pretty good after 20 miles, so I was excited to get out for this next lap. I was feeling better after these 20 miles than I did finishing 20 miles last week AND 15 the week before. I still don’t understand it because I certainly didn’t do enough training between to justify such a huge apparent increase in stamina. All I can say is God answered my prayer – he gave me the strength I needed.

By the time the final lap rolled around, I was really starting to be in pain. My feet were hurting, my upper back was getting sore, my legs were starting to hurt, and I was just wearing down. My expression says it all. Mentally, I was excited to finish and accomplish my goal, but physically, it was tough to get back out on the road.

However, you don’t run 5 of 6 laps and then quit. No way. Do or Do Not, right?

So off we went for our final lap. It was slow, it was painful, but it was one of those ‘put your head down and run mental challenge’ laps. I knew I could finish. I had already done 25, I had already done two marathons previously, I knew I could finish. Slowly but surely, one step at a time, I knew I could do it. I told myself ‘don’t start this unless you can finish it’ and I was really motivated to finish.

As far as fueling, I had a nutrigrain bar at 5, 10, and 15 miles to help keep fuel in my body. I also started the day with a big bowl of peanut butter, nutella, honey, and mixed berry oatmeal – a GREAT prerace meal for me. I finished out 20 with half a banana and meant to finish it before my last lap, but since I’d sent it inside, we all forgot about it until about mile 27. A little late for my banana, ha!

signs-for-mama

Unbeknownst to me, a little craft project was taking place during my last lap. As I came up the road back to our house, less than a quarter mile to go, my friend was whooping up a storm and I heard husband whoop back. I didn’t expect them to be outside to be honest. It was COLD! The temp definitely dropped in the last 10 miles and the wind had picked up.

As we crested the little hill up to my driveway, my whole family was out waiting for me. My daughter was holding this yellow sign and when she saw me, she took off running at me “I COLORED A PICTURE FOR YOU, MAMA!”

She was so proud of her picture. I wish I’d had the strength to pick her up, but I was wiped. I took the picture she colored and encouraged her to run with me. Her shoe fell off immediately, but my friend scooped her up and we ran our last .02 miles together. Husband was playing Rocky from our garage stereo and holding his own sign. It was without a doubt the BEST finish ever, even with no medal, no crowd, no pictures – just having my family there was enough for me. The memory I have in my head is good enough for me (thought a video would have been SUPER cute and amazing – we didn’t know how cute she would be right then).

I’ve gotten pretty emotional at the end of both my marathons and, honestly, I expected to be at the end of this too, especially with my family there, but I didn’t. I started to, but I just smiled like an idiot the entire time. The dogs were going crazy, baby boy was sitting in his stroller all like “dude…it’s cold. Let’s go in.” and my daughter was talking talking talking like usual. It was really wonderful – much better than crying I think.

And I got to say some pretty awesome words: I am an ultramarathoner.

The importance of community

The last few weeks have been a little difficult for me mentally and emotionally.

I ran a GREAT 20-miler two weeks ago Saturday and since then, it’s like my mojo has been misplaced. My motivation to keep training has sagged even though I know that it’s precisely the dedication to my training that produced a good run.

Specifically, I’ve been struggling with my times – I have slowed down immensely since I caught a little stomach bug a few weeks back. I had been creeping down into the 10s and even into the 9s a little and was feeling really good. Then I got sick and I’m back to the 11s and 12s. It’s been a little disheartening to see that.

In the midst of that, I reached out to some friends to share what I was feeling. I could logic why things were the way they were, I could explain it without giving excuses, but the logic didn’t really have much effect on the emotions. I still felt slow, I felt like I was sucking, I wondered if I would ever speed up, if I would ever not suck, if I would ever stop aching.

These are the moments we need people on our side, in our corner, cheering us on. People with whom we can be vulnerable without fear of judgment. It would be really easy for me to keep all that emotion bottled up and never say anything, belittling myself for feeling those feelings, knowing I can’t compare myself to other people who don’t have small children and now have the free time to dedicate to that kind of training. It’s easy to do that, to wonder why those older than me are so much faster than me.

I needed my community to support me and that is precisely what I got. I was reminded that I can only do what I do. I was reminded that I am pretty awesome. I was reminded that I am physically able to run. I was reminded that the times will come. I was reminded that my identity is found in Christ and not in my minutes per mile. It took a few days for all of that to sink in, but yesterday and today, it’s like I found my mojo hiding under the covers or something. I rocked my workout yesterday, I sped through today’s 5-miler (in 52 minutes, if you’re curious), and I am feeling motivated to continue these last few weeks leading up to the marathon.

We live in a time where people are so quick to jump and judge, to invalidate feelings and emotions, to tear down instead of build up. However, when we build community, we have a place to go when we are weak and defeated to be supported and built up. Over the summer, I have really internalized the lessons I’ve learned from reading Boundaries. I am internalizing that I have worth by simply being me and not because I have accomplished something. I have found this community where I can be me, where I accept my community members as they are, and where we are all heading the same direction.

If I want to continue to pursue Christ, I have to be around other people who are doing the same, even if we aren’t in the same place spiritually. As long as we are all heading the same way, we can grow in the way that God is calling us to grow. I remember in previous Bible studies, I have searched for this peace about myself that I have just come to find. I find it pretty easy to accept other people as they are, the place in life they’re in, the decisions they make based on their life experiences but I have difficulty extending that same grace to myself.

Until now.

As I learn about myself, as I learn how to extend grace to myself, I give myself the ability to mess up and grow. A mistake is not a permanent mark on my character, it is not an indication of a flaw that diminished my worth – it is simply a mistake, an indication of being human. I have struggled to accept my humanity. My new community has helped tremendously in my ability to accept that because they are human, too. They swear at or around their kids. They lose patience. They don’t want to spend one more second at home today. They don’t want to be touched anymore. They get exasperated. They say things they wish they hadn’t. All of these imperfections in the women that surround me give me strength to carry on, to keep going, to trust myself as a mother and a person.

Community.

It is SO important to find. Whether in real life or online (preferably a mix of both), it is what keeps us all moving forward in life.

 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:19-25

My 30 30s

It is already halfway through 2016! Can you believe it??

I have mentioned a couple times now my 30 30s, but have never managed to find the time to explain what that is, so I am going to introduce the project and do the halfway point recap.

My 30 30s is a challenge I set for myself at the beginning of the year because I turned 30 this year, just a few weeks ago, actually. I have 30 different categories somehow related to the number 30. For example, running 30 consecutive miles or doing 30 strength workouts, taking my dogs for 30 walks, taking my kids to the part 30 times, writing 30 pages of a novel, etc.

I have two items complete already, which is pretty cool. I’ve read 30 stories to Mae from her Children’s Bible and written 30 pages of a novel.

I have four categories with nothing in them yet. One is racing 30 miles, I haven’t raced yet this year. Another is my 30 consecutive mile run, which is tentatively scheduled for November. I have not been out to the gun range or the park yet this year, either with winter and young kids and such. I think I should be able to get that done this summer, though. Patrick is finally old enough to be left behind with someone for a few hours and he is also old enough to take to the park and I don’t have to stress about him eating something he shouldn’t. So I have committed now to making more park visits with all the kiddos on nice days. It will be nice for my daycare mom as well since she only lives  a block or two from the park, so she could just walk over and pick up daycare girl instead of having to drive the six blocks all the way across town to our house. The kids will really enjoy that too, I know.

I have 16 categories with at least 5 items completed, not including my completed categories, which means I have 12 with less than five, four of which have nothing.

I have five categories with more than 10 items completed. These are Yoga 30 times, Serving at church 30 times, Finishing 30 yarn projects, 30 blog posts, and 30 walks with the dogs. I count a walk with the dogs as a walk by itself and not a run. It’s a challenge after all, right?

I have three categories with 15 or more. Half done!! Those are serving, dog walks, and bog posts.

Those are the most. I have no categories with 20 or more that are not completed.

 

So, the big thing now, what am I learning?

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that this can only be completed one day, one decision at a time. It’s a big reminder that life is lived one decision to another. If I choose to not do something from one of these categories, what am I doing instead? Usually wasting time on the internet. I have realized, and even my husband pointed it out yesterday, that I am spending way too much time dinking around on the internet instead of being present in the moment.

I think that generally when I do that, it means it’s time for me to get out of the house and actually socialize with people. I think it’s my mind’s way of letting me know that I am craving some sort of interaction with people other than my immediate family. So, since I am lagging on friend dates (another category) anyway, it’s about time I schedule a few friend dates.

So, over this week, one day at a time, my focus is going to be trying to get away from checking my phone if I need to check out and doing something else off my 30 30s list. Do I need a minute? What about grabbing my guitar (another category) and singing some songs with the kids? What about reading a chapter or two from the Bible instead of scrolling through facebook? What about doing something thoughtful for my husband (another category) instead?

Every moment we have decisions to make, we get to decide who our future self is going to be. Do I want my future self addicted to the internet? No. I really don’t. I am only human and I screw up and slip up. Thankfully I have someone who loves me who is willing to say “Hey, I think you need to cool it with the technology a little” and I know he’s saying it in love and not in judgment.

What about you? Where is an area you want to grow? What are some goals you have? Who do you want your future self to be?

Recapping May

As my husband and I laid down to go to bed last night, I snuggled up to him and sighed.

“This month has been crazy.”

“Yes, it has.” He agreed.

So far, in May, we have gotten the chickens outside, finished the coop, built a run for the chickens, finished our outside perimeter fence, cleaned out the laundry room of chicken evidence.

We took the kids to the doctor more times this month for illnesses than we have in their entire lives combined (except regular check ups), both kids were on nebulizer treatments for wheezing, Patrick had his tongue tie release surgery, he successfully swallowed Tylenol and ate potatoes for the first time, then promptly refused to eat any more solids.

I have gotten and mostly recovered from a hip flexor strain, causing me to miss a full week of training plus another week of recovery training, making me feel behind and unmotivated to catch back up to my training plan.

We discovered we had a budget line item incorrect which meant we were in the red instead of in the black.

I have started, and nearly finished, my first novel and created a plan to write a second. The second should have been my first, as I did all the prep work, but then I got stuck and as I was writing down an idea for another, it just turned into its own novel at its own time. I will soon be one of the 3%.

We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and my 30th birthday all this month. We had a party for my birthday and got to hang out with friends, which was really fun.

We had to replace the tires on our van unexpectedly.

We planted and fenced our first garden out here. I’ve also set up and had torn down and set up again a diaper drying line.

We discovered a local place to buy chicken feed and mulch for our gardens.

I’ve even managed to read my Bible a few times.

Mae has started reading along with some of her books. Well, “reading”. She has them memorized, but it’s sure fun to read a book with her and have her say all the words as you turn the page. She’s also becoming something of a toddler, with all the blessing and cuteness and unpredictable rage that comes with it. Those moments where you stand there and think “What in the world am I supposed to do now?”

Patrick has started real crawling. And not putting EVERYTHING in his mouth as much. He’s more just checking it out with his mouth, which is WAY less dangerous. Suddenly, I feel like he can be outside on the ground with me doing something else for a few minutes and he’ll probably survive. He even crawled up on our outside step yesterday while I hung diapers outside to dry.

 

I look back at this list of adventures just one month has brought us and I think, yeah, it’s perfectly normal that I’ve felt a little stressed over the past few weeks. I realized, though, that in the middle of it all, I prayed (though not as much as I should have) and I carried on. Sure, the household chores fell a little behind or I spent more time hiding behind a screen scrolling through facebook or writing my book than maybe I should have. But we kept on rocking and rolling.

Because really, that’s how life goes. A calm season followed by a busy season followed yet again by a calm one. Things were really starting to feel manageable for probably the first time since Patrick was born, and then May hit. And it was whirlwind of this and that and here and there and buying this and finding that and scraping together something for this project over here.

But June is tomorrow. And a new month will begin. I will try to get back in the saddle of a more intentional, disciplined life. I will try to get back to reading my Bible nearly every morning again. I will try to be faithful again to my training plan. I will try to do some more things from my 30 30s list. I will try to pray more instead of stressing. I will try to have lots more short conversations instead of trying to carve out time for a big long conversation. I will try to be more honest with my feelings and my words in person, which is really hard for me. I will try. And when life drags me back under the surface of the water, I will keep kicking. I will give myself grace. I will give others grace. I will remember that this is a short season in life where things are so intense and so demanding.

I will be more intentional to reach out to my friends and continue building relationships.

This thing called life isn’t meant to be lived alone and we have to try really hard to make those connections that build our villages.

Jesus Christ came that we might have life and have it to the full. He came to give us a life that lights up in our bones and radiates from our soul and gives us meaning in our short time here on Earth. The devil prowls around, sneaking, trying to destroy us. Trying to snuff out that life. Trying to drown us in the busyness of life or the worries or the stresses. Jesus comes to give us life, to breathe into us, to carry us when we feel like we’re drowning. The devil tries to push us further underwater.

Friends, where does your life come from? How have the seasons in your life challenged your walk with God? How have you grown closer?

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. -John 10:10