Less of More

I was in the middle of making my list when the baby woke up… my first thought was “Bah, so obnoxious- I just want to finish this.”

No, no, NO! If my people start to feel more like a burden than a blessing IM DOING IT ALL WRONG.

2018- this year I just want less.

less fast … more slow

less rush … more savor

less heavy … more light

less noise … more quiet

less complication … more simplicity

less aimless … more intentional

less time management … more margin

less chaos … more peace

less to-do lists … more people-to-connect-with lists

less world … more God

less structure … more creativity

less condemnation … more grace

less hustle … more rest

less force … more delight

less worry … more prayer

less now … more patience

less consumption … more generous giving

less escape … more presence

less stuff … more experience

less indifference … more passion

less pride … more vulnerability

less quick meals … more slow-cooked and dinner table lingering

less grind … more restoration

less accomplishments … more connection

less taking for granted … more gratitude

less all over the place … more rooted

less legalism … more Jesus

less unmanageable … more livable

less band-aids … more healing

less dread … more contentment

less coffee … more sleep

less fear … more boldness

less flimsy … more grounded

less TV … more music

less expectations … more adaptability

less impulse … more wisdom

less irresponsible indulgence … more self control

less timidity … more bravery

less anxiousness … more serenity

less fragmented … more attached

less multi-tasking … more mindfulness

less frantic … more calm

less luke-warm … more fiery hot

less efficiency … more appreciation

less receiving … more serving

less distraction … more awake

less molded and manufactured … more dreams and ideas

less high-speed chase … more Sunday stroll

less control … more trust and faith

less exhausted … more refreshed

less obligations … more imagination

less rigid … more interruptible

less carnal pleasure … more spirit led joy

less all-day every-day … more sabbath

less numbing … more feeling deeply

less empty heart places … more living water

less depleted … more soul filling

less stiff and fixed … more accommodating

less my house is too messy … more imperfect hospitality

less too-busy … more devoted

less selfishness … more worship

less of more … more of less

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Peace&Joy

Today I am stressed and weary. This holiday season has had me constantly moving yet always behind. My focus is all blurry and the more I chase after the things of this world that feel so important, the more defeated I become. The more I hurry, the further behind I fall.

We are staying home for Christmas and I am praying for the precious days ahead. That my pace is intentionally simple and slow, that my thoughts are filled with gratitude, that my focus is properly adjusted, that my daily choices begin to align with my desired outcomes, and that my eyes become wide open- that I would renew my intense passion for the things that matter most- for Jesus, for these four treasured faces I have been given to live life with, for the sweet kids that come through my door day in and day out, for my close friends and family, and for my community, small and large.

I am praying for peace and joy. Not just the kind you paste on a card cause it sounds right- real peace, and real joy- the kind this world cannot provide, but that can be given by He who came to us as a baby- all human, yet all God.

I pray peace and joy over your lives as well. If you are weary and in need of rest, you’ll never find a better source than the Savior born on Christmas Day- physical rest, yes, but the more important soul rest- a heart at peace and filled with joy.

Merry Christmas friends and family! May your days ahead be merry and bright and filled with love!

Real Transparency

This morning I was in bed {like, not still in bed, I had already done Focus T25 that morning. At least I can do some things right!} reading all your comments and basking in the glow of touching women. It feels good. Although I was a little worried about what God was going to use to knock me down a notch and remind me that those were His words flowing through me. You know, to keep me from getting a big head.

I started thinking about how many of my girls were thankful for my transparency. To be honest, it wasn’t difficult for me at all. I’ve always been an open and honest person. To the point of over-sharing. So writing that post was still inside my comfort zone.

Which got me thinking… what could I share that would truly be difficult for me?

I looked around my bedroom.

My ridiculously messy, cluttered, practically unlivable bedroom. That I had been debating back and forth about when it should get cleaned… now? After some work? It certainly needs to get done. I’ve been meaning to do it for days, instead of letting it all pile up… I was ticked at myself, as usual.

But what if I shared a picture? To which I scoffed {inside my head, of course}. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to get outside my comfort zone and show you just how messy life truly is.

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And do you know what happened? As I sit here looking through the photos… it’s not so bad. And it’s not such a big deal. But it felt like a huge deal 20 minutes ago when I was sitting in my bed. It felt like I would be showing you some deep dark secret that no one would be able to believe. {Well, some of you neat freaks may be there… I know Grandma Jan is cringing, it’s the only room in the house she can’t get to! =) } But that wasn’t even true. Yes, clutter can keep you from feeling relaxed and there are definitely positives to a clean house. But there I was, with my buddy playing on the bed next to me, with PBS on the TV, enjoying a glorious Thursday morning I am blessed to have. Messy bedroom be damned. And that voice that is telling me I can’t enjoy this moment just because my bedroom is in utter chaos is telling me a lie!

Aha! Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to get this thing called life and motherhood down. Little by little, Thursday morning Aha! moment by Thursday morning Aha! moment.

I think I’m going to let my mess pile up for another day. 

Enjoy your day everyone! Be joyful and at peace, no matter what you have hiding in your closet. If you have any messy room pictures, feel free to send them my way! =)

 

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Those Tough Days…

First there was that one baby.

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I was so anxious. I was 1200 miles from my family and anyone I could call a friend for more than 6 months. I was newly married to man it’s fair to say I barely knew. All day, all I had to do was watch that baby. Feed him, change him, love him. Husband didn’t even expect dinner on the table when he got home. Could it have really been that hard? But I remember those feelings… so many wonderful ones- so many moments with the sweet little baby I had created with my body and my new little precious family. But there were also those awful ones. I’m drowning here. It’s too much work. I don’t have any friends here, and all the friends I have at home have absolutely no idea what its like to have a baby, let alone be married.

Then there was a deployment.

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A move to MN back in with my parents. And the news of another baby neither of us were remotely ready for. What now? I remember just white knuckling it through the deployment. I was finally surrounded by my family and friends, but all I wanted to do was go back to that 1000 square foot mini-home in Harker Heights, Texas with my baby and my husband.

Eventually we did. And had that other baby.

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And the absolute only thing I ever had to do was watch those sweet boys. Feed them, change them, love them. Husband definitely didn’t expect dinner on the table. But it was so overwhelming. And nobody understood. And I was scared I was forever screwing up these poor innocent children who didn’t deserve a mother who felt like despite years of babysitting and nannying had absolutely no idea what she was doing.

Then we moved to Rochester, NY.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think the stain on Ruben’s shirt is a great indication of my life at this point… =)

There I was living in a hotel room with a newly 2 year old and a baby of 14 months. No friends. No family. All I had to do all day in that hotel room was watch those babies. Feed them, change them, love them. But I remember depression overcoming my life. I’ll never forget the day my very new friend Erin and I were supposed to meet at the gym. I called her in tears just saying “I can’t come. I just can’t make it out the door” Her response was “Yes you can. You have to come!” She had no idea how badly I needed her to force me out of the house- that time and many more. My years in Rochester were so wonderful- I connected with so many women who will always have a very special place in my heart. But parallel to all those great feelings, were my feelings of doubt. Why do they even like me? I couldn’t handle my busy schedule. I had too many friends, too many activities. I would find myself at 9:55 AM crying on my computer typing out how I wasn’t going to make the 10:00 AM Children’s Museum playdate today because “I wasn’t feeling well.” Not exactly a lie. I felt like a failure. Why is it so hard for me to just wake up and be happy? Why are so many days filled with despair and struggle? I’ve always wrestled back and forth with that awful gnawing feeling of self pity. I have zero right to pity myself. I know that I am luckier than 99% of the world. I have never truly wanted for anything. Yet I still can’t be fully happy.

Today I’m in Minnesota. My home state. Where I dreamt all my problems would dissipate.

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I’ve spent my whole morning in anguish over my life. I should be playing with my kids. No, I should be working for ShopYourWay. No, I should be exercising. No, I should be cleaning my house. No, I should be taking the boys out somewhere to socialize with other kids. No, I should be calling my husband. No, I should be doing my devotions. No, I should be menu planning so my kids can eat healthier… does the list ever end? The anxiety starts in the pit of my stomach and rises up, up, up, until it spills out through my tears. Why can’t I do anything right?

I feel like my life and schedule has multiplied tenfold since that day I brought that first baby home. So why does it feel the same? In this moment, in my desire to do it all- to accomplish everything I want to in a day- I would give anything for one day back in any of my previous situations. They were a breeze. Why was I so stressed out? I can’t for the life of me figure it out. Why with each new stage of life, and each new set of responsibilities, do I feel so completely overwhelmed- like theres no possible way I could handle any more?

Let me tell you what I’m starting to think…

It’s a lie. That I tell myself. That the devil whispers in my ear. That my life is supposed to be easy. That for some reason it’s just harder for me. Surely I must be doing something wrong.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy all the time.

God never intended for it to be.

And even though I have blessings above and beyond what I feel like I deserve, I still have hard days. And thats OK. Because life is hard. For everyone. It’s all relative. I don’t have to sit and wallow about why I get sad and overwhelmed. It’s a part of life. I just have to push through. Pretty soon I’ll be filled with worry about helping that one boy finish his science experiment due tomorrow that he just old me about, and being ready to just buy myself a yellow taxi since it seems I spend all my days chauffeuring around those young men. And I’ll long for these preschool days. The very same days I find myself cursing every so often.

What can I do to help myself enjoy more of my days? To take it all in stride- enjoy life for what it is. Messy. Sticky. Hard. Beautiful.

I have come up with a new morning mantra. Yours may be a little different, but I encourage everyone to write one. It can be religion based or not. My goal is to read this every morning, very first thing. I haven’t been able squeeze this into my daily rhythm quite yet, but in the middle of my distraught thoughts today, I remembered that sweet mantra. Those words I wrote for myself. To lift me out of the misery my feebly human brain can twist itself into. To remind myself that I have goals outside of myself and my immediate family. To take a step out of my self-centered heart, look around, and realize the world doesn’t revolve around me. Theres more to life. I want to help people. To make a difference. In order to do this, I need to have peace in my own heart. Only then can I spread that peace through my words and actions. And isn’t that where true peace and joy are found? In helping others?

So, I am encouraging all my lovely friends to join me in picking ourselves up out of any darkness we may currently be in, and spread some peace this holiday season!

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Life is a beautiful struggle- each day is a challenge that I will joyfully accept and overcome. Some days it feels like I have to strive and struggle, but my relationship with God, my husband, my kids, my family, and friends are my reward. I am also rewarded by the accomplishment of my goals- weight loss, comfortable financial position, and a joy-filled, peaceful life.

I have to renew my mind every day. Flush out the negative and breathe in the positive. I am a loved child of God. I am a perfect work in progress. I am a blessing everywhere I go. God has a wonderful plan for my life, and I don’t have to have all the answers now.

Each day I live in the present, and cherish the small moments I am blessed with. I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to do. I live life with the love of Jesus overflowing from within me and with confidence in my worth and value to my family and the world. Through that confidence I can step out into the world and be a blessing with my money, my time, my words, and my love.

And when all else fails… try this =)

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“And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm”

– Casting Crowns

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