Dear Diary, Day 1

“So many high hopes I had for myself by this age.” That is what I obviously just typed. But is it true? I don’t recall ever really sitting down and stating out life goals. Sure, my passion planner was a great tool that I used to start getting ideas on paper. A wonderful place to get excited about the possibility of mapping out my future.

But as all things seem to go for me, I stopped with the goal planning mid-Jan and just started listing out each day. Now, don’t get me wrong. That is exactly what you do in a planner. At the basic level that is. BUT the whole idea about planning is to learn how to take your dreams into goals and then into action steps. And there it is folks. The word I believe I ultimately have problems with. The word that perhaps is my demise for not fully engaging in the first line of this entry.

Dreams.

As a 9 (with a strong 6) on the Enneagram, (if you believe in that personality type of revealing – which I do), it’s only logical that I would have trouble with this idea of “dreaming.”

All this to say is that I came to this entry to honestly share that I have come to the conclusion that perhaps my dream if I dare use that word, of becoming a Writer, was really just a “blip” on my screen of life. Perhaps it really wasn’t a dream at all. “Mere longing?”

However, if my dream -my real desire for what I want to do with my life- was to really become a writer, then my daily action steps written in my planner would reflect that more. Don’t you think?

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Halfway through

Everyone has been counting down to Christmas since July, basically. And now we are halfway through November.

So, albeit Nov 16, it seems like Christmas is in full swing. And Thanksgiving is next week looking like “what am I? Chopped liver?” Well for my family, this year is THE YEAR for Thanksgiving. 26 is the number gathering around my mom’s table this year. Why? Because she houses my grandfather. The Patriarch of our clan.

And although it’s been one of the hardest years of my existence on this planet, it seems fitting to have the biggest Thanksgiving I’ve seen in a long while. See, this is what matters: Family; People. Recognizing all the wonderful things God has given me in my life. And it starts with the 26 people gathering around the table next week.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

What I learned from Yesterday – Day 1

As I ate pizza and watched Thor: Ragnarok with my family a few family date nights ago, my mind drifted to the FB messenger conversation I had earlier that day with an old friend. One whom I have not really had contact with for several years.  What had she been up to for the past 10? For starters, living in another country with her family. No doubt doing something missions minded and “Jesus like”.

My friend is a sweet, kind, caring, Jesus loving person. One whom I would compare myself to and say  “wow, I am NOT like her. She really loves God and does things for him and I struggle in that area.” (She’d probably laugh if she read this.) I actually have another friend whose life almost parallels hers. Same heart and missions mindset. My comparison of myself and this particular friend is the same. “Wow, I am NOT like her. She really loves God and does things for him and I struggle in that area.”

And in that next bite of pizza, I thought about how, first of all, I didn’t want to be eating that slice of pizza (actually there were 2 on my plate). Honestly, I really enjoy more of a Paleo/Whole 30 eating style. To me, pizza is the white flag of surrender. Or rather, it’s me “throwing in the towel.” It means I’ve given up on caring what goes in my body and how it will affect me. It means I don’t believe I have any fight left me for changing my eating habits. (I know what you’re thinking – “a little dramatic, don’t you think?”)

Stay with me here.

So although I was enjoying family date night, I started to feel a little depressed.  I have settled in life for pizza- comfort food. And comparing myself to the life of those 2 particular friends made me think “what else have I  settled for in the name of comfort?” Settled for out of fear. Fear of engaging with life – my life- to the fullest. Now, do NOT get me wrong. If you want to eat pizza and watch Thor (it was actually kinda funny) then go ahead. No judgment here.

What I learned from yesterday was that I do want to pursue healthy eating. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let myself down or thrown in the towel of life. And not just in eating, but what challenge has God called me to that I have turned away from out of fear? Fear of giving myself to others because then I wouldn’t have time to myself? Fear of being great in an area and “shining” for God because then I would have to get up the next day and be great again? (I hear another blog post forming in my head).

I thought “what if I was made for more?” What if I had something to offer the world like my missionary minded friends? My journey looks different from theirs because I am different. I get that. But the take away here is I want to make this life count. I only get one shot at this life. And my life- what I do with it- impacts my children and how they live theirs. And that is a lot of pressure when you think about it! But if I am holding on to Jesus and looking to Him for direction, I am gonna be ok. I can do this. Life is about the journey. It’s about failing and falling and getting back up. It’s about learning from yesterday. The good and the bad from it. It’s also about “nailed it” outcomes and “high fiving” others.

So each morning, one of my first thoughts is to pray and ask God for his guidance on the day. And often I feel in my spirit “You got this” because I know that if the day belongs to God- if I surrender my day to Him and trust Him for that day- then with Him all things are possible. So yes, let hope rise up in me today because “I got this!”

And that is what I learned from yesterday.

If we only get today, what do we do with it?

Two things I wanted to share with you today. First, my husband and I watched “Mom’s Night Out” last night (I got to choose because it is Mother’s Day weekend. He got to take a little nap during the movie). I loved it! Mostly because Sean Astin is in it. But also because of an analogy, he gave for mom’s taking time for themselves. Think flight attendant speech before take off and the instructions for when the oxygen mask comes down – put it on yourself first and then your child. In order to be of help to anyone, you have to make sure you are up for it. If you aren’t breathing, what help can you possibly be to someone else?!!

That thought let do this:

Do you ever get stuck thinking about all the things you want to do and the fact that there is only one day to do it? Yes. Only one day. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. Only this minute. You aren’t even guaranteed the next hour. (Work with me here.)

Consider this: if you have been around scripture for a minute, you know that each day is enough to worry about on its own (Matthew 6:34).

So what does this mean to me? Well, if you know me, you know I love planning. LOVE it. Understatement. So is this verse saying not to plan for tomorrow? Not exactly. It says not to worry. There are plenty of other verses about planning (ex: https://dailyverses.net/planning). What I am talking about is not worrying and how that relates to us today.

Still with me? Ok. What would you do differently if you knew you only had today? I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer or morbid. Just posing a question. Would you work harder? Spend more time with your kids? Read more? Exercise?

I was thinking about today being Mother’s Day and kind of an “off day” from Motherhood if you will. Because let’s face it. Today is the day when Mom’s are taken out to eat or a meal prepared for. They are encouraged to relax. Because the rest of the 364 days, they will be “On.” Ok, birthdays are taken off too. But you get the idea.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the things I want to do and the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day. Simple math, right? I mean, if I only have today, then the things I want to do divided by the time I actually have left after sleeping, eating, cooking, working = head exploding. I worry that I won’t get it all done!

That is where the ONE thing principle comes in (or whatever time management principle you use.) For me, this idea of “what is the ONE THING that I need to do right now that helps me move the next domino in my task list or helps makes another thing obsolete” helps bring sanity to my chaos. Whether it is about productivity or relaxation, the same rules apply. When I get overwhelmed by what to do next, I just ask myself what will make the biggest difference for me. For today, and relaxing, it is picking one or two things of fun and then planning the rest of them out for this upcoming week. Something to look forward to if I get the time.

So, I’m going to act like I have time for things. Even if I am not guaranteed time. I am going to prioritize putting my oxygen mask on first. And then what can I do for others.

Photo by Tanya Patrikeyeva on Unsplash

 

Finally at the starting gate

Finally, I am here at the starting gate of 2018. Yes, I know it’s halfway through January, but I feel that I am finally getting some traction to starting the year well. See, back in November/December of 2017, I did start looking into which planner I wanted. I felt alive! Ahead of the game even. I picked out the Panda Planner Weekly 1-Yr and was ready to order but I didn’t at that time because someone (who shall remain anonymous) asked me to send him the link so he could get it for me for Christmas. (How sweet!)

Honestly, I don’t want to seem like I am throwing him under the bus here. I am so appreciative of him and his wanting to get this for me. However, the bottom line is by the time he went to order my planner it was “Sold Out.” GASP! Overall this really is ok. I just printed off a few pdf sheets Panda Planner sent me and pasted them into pages of my current Passion Planner. Problem Solved! Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know that I am an extremely patient and forgiving person. HA HA HA! Totally kidding. What I mean to say is that I love planning. It makes me feel that I have control. And I have come to grips over the past few years that I am a control freak (right, honey?)

Another reason I share this is that I am learning that I can print off pdf versions of my fave planners allowing me to craft my own very special and perfect planner. Thus sending me to my happy place (enter “Nerd Zone” here).

Life Skills 101.

Also, I share about being at the starting gate because I had my kids pick out their planners to purchase. We went to the craft store and bought stickers (all on Sale!) and started our planning class the next day! Yep, this is a class we are having in our Homeschool semester. It’s part of Life Skills 101. It is helping them to see what needs to be done in their day and learn how to plan the fun things they want to do along with the school things they have to do.

It also teaches them how to make goals and set them. How to take steps towards accomplishing them. And who doesn’t love to “sticker” things up! So money well spent to teach a life lesson on how to “live the life you love and love the life you live.”

In the planning zone: it makes me happy

My happy times look like this

  • A rainy day (cloudy, drizzly, pouring, you get the idea).

Generally, with this rainy day, I’d love to be curled up on the sofa by the window, with a book and beverage (coffee, wine, whatever– the time of day may or may not matter because I’m not driving anywhere in this rain. Are you crazy?!)

  • Or, my happy looks like this (and yes, I mean for happy to serve as a noun in this sentence): my planner, pencil, colored pencils, and stickers.

For example, today’s happy blog comes from my desire to be intentional about my life. I’ve been doing some research on how to make sure I am staying on track with homeschooling (because I do have a fear that I will stupid my kids– and yes, I did that on purpose… to enlist a “shock face” from you. No, I am not serious about using “stupid” as a verb).

I found a blogger who is a homeschool mom of 8 and she has joyous lessons to share her experiences with her family. That’s the name of her blog, Joyous Lessons. Love it!

So I use my love of lists and a blank page in my planner. I titled it “Things I like that others do” and I started to jot down ideas people have or systems they have in place. I wrote down the idea. And broke it down into steps or things I need. For example, one of the examples that Joyous Lessons shares is that of a Morning Basket – “all the work done together as a family.” I love this idea. See, she likes nature drawing and journaling and so I wrote that down because that sounds like something my family would enjoy, and I listed ways to make this happen. (As creatively demonstrated below).  I added Binoculars for birdwatching, journal and pencils to document/draw, etc. All I need to add now is snacks and water bottles. And wallah! Let the Happy Begin!

 

Overwhelmed and loving it!

At times, I almost can’t take it. An overwhelmed feeling that something bigger than myself is about to happen to me and I can’t even take it.  Such great anticipation. My facial expressions shift from puzzlement to excitement to fear and then circles back. What I am talking about is the season of life I am in. For example, we are homeschooling for the first time, so with that, comes lots of planning. And reading. And internet searching, printing, highlighting and hole punching. Two kids in two different grade levels for a homeschooling newbie often enlists an initial response of deer-in-headlights. Fear of “messing up my kids and making them stupid” rolls across my head like digital message boards. Continue reading “Overwhelmed and loving it!”

What I want to be when I grow up – A week in the life of my dreams

About a year ago this idea came to me: “If I had a week – 7 days- and I could incorporate a different job each day, what would my week look like?” Wouldn’t this be fun to ask others as sort of a jumping off point to see what’s in their hearts?

Think about that. I can safely rule out Astronaut because I get big time motion sickness over little things these days. Gone are the days of a tight equilibrium. I think equilibrium changes much like the bladder after pregnancy. (Jumping on a trampline is different now—but whatever. Not the point).

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand: Take my “dream week,” for example… Continue reading “What I want to be when I grow up – A week in the life of my dreams”

Plan your work and work your plan and all is well with your soul

Planning. It’s my new passion. And I have a Passion Planner to prove it! You know the old saying “plan your work and work your plan”? It totally swims around my head on a daily basis. My happy place is my planner along side my pens, highlighters and of course, my journal. First of all, that is where the magic happens. From my head to the paper. If it stays in my head, it gets forgotten. Lost. Continue reading “Plan your work and work your plan and all is well with your soul”