Day 13-You Never Change

Y’all, I’ve been smitten.

I’ve been a fan of Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour podcast for a while now and this week’s episode…my oh my.

If you aren’t familiar with Jamie, she and her husband Aaron live in Austin, TX where Jamie runs this amazing Podcast, speaks and writes and Aaron is the Worship Pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church.  The Ivey’s also have 4 adorable children! 

This week on the Happy Hour, Jamie interviewed Jalessa McCreary another worship leader at The Austin Stone.

So of course, I’m almost in tears listening to her story (it’s eerily familiar to my own and I want to be her new BFF now) and then come back to the office and check out all the upcoming music from the new Austin Stone album coming out tomorrowThis Glorious Grace. 

So when I heard this one–I knew it was coming right to this page.

I mean, really.  You Never Change.  How perfect for my 31 days of change series. I can’t even begin to process all my thoughts and emotions about this song.  I’m sure there will be more on this soon.

Day 11-Rest…in it’s practical form (Part 2)

After hitting “publish” yesterday I kept thinking of a few other things that have been helpful throughout this everyday Sabbath journey.  Some of them are actual “to-do’s” but many of them are mindsets that are helpful to transition into.

Check out Part 1 here! 

2015-10-13 08.43.00

  1. Plan your evenings to plan your mornings. This has been really pivotal for me.  When I was working hard to establish an early morning routine, I learned from Hello Mornings the impact of planning your evenings has on the success of your morning routine. I still do my best to have that early morning routine, but what it taught me were some tangible things that you can do in the evenings to make the most of my mornings. Set a bedtime alarm just as you would a wake-up alarm.  This gets you in the habit of going to bed or putting down devices/screens/turning off TV, starting the bedtime routine at a certain time. Being that we live about 30 minutes out from where most of my evening activities might be, I know that generally I need to be leaving an activity by 8:30 pm in order to make my evening alarm a possibility.  And on Tuesday nights when I have the early morning Wednesday meet-up and am leaving my house by 6pm, I do my absolute best to not schedule anything the night before, making it a perfect “Home Night” of the week. And if I am out later and end up in bed later, then I adjust and get up later the next day.
  2. Practice saying “No:. Much of what I’ve mentioned has alluded to some sort of boundary. Sometimes we can think of a boundary as a way to keep something in or keep something out. I’d like us to frame it as a way to protect something. Saying “no” is a boundary of protection. As parents and caregivers we want to protect those we love but often we neglect to protect ourselves from things that are draining, time sucking, life-pulling activities. Saying no is a way to protect yourself from that. And those who love you most will be absolutely thrilled that you’ve said no. They might be disappointed at first, but they’ll get over it eventually and hopefully understand when they see the tangible difference in your life and countenance. Remember, you owe no one an explanation in your No. Only you can control is what you say Yes to, and there’s only time for so many yes’s in one day.
  3. Know you’re gonna miss out on some stuff. When you say no to things, yes, you’re protecting something, but sometimes, practically that means you’re missing out on some things. Good things. But let’s shift our perspective. We are gaining some great things. More time to take in our surroundings. An opportunity spend quality time with your family. Being home to cook more–likely a savings on the budget and our health. Focus on the positive rather than what you may be missing. Also know that everything is a season. Things change. You may be able to say yes to that as seasons change. And that’s more than okay.
  4. Stop the comparison game. This one is tough, I’m not gonna lie. It’s so easy to look at the Jones’ and see all that they are saying yes too. Volunteering in the community. Hosting friends over for dinner in their home. Always looking energized at school pick up. Serving on that school or church committee. But we never ever know what is going on in someone’s heart. Moreover, God created you individually as YOU–no one else can serve the roles that only you can.
    Only you can be the employee, spouse, parent, friend to those people in your life. What are the roles only you can fill–go do that and forget the rest. And yes, I know it’s easier said than done.
  5. What you are giving your own life, soul, family and VIP’s is worth it. Comparison, saying no, missing out, having to go to bed early–it’s all worth it. What are the the priorities in your life? What are those roles only you can fill? No amount of regret or despair or frustration can come from missing out on something big in a family member’s life. Let’s not forget our own life and soul. So often, especially as women, we are always the last on the priority list. I’m learning more and more that I must take care of myself in order to better take care of those I love.

So a few more practical tips on how to make this lifestyle change to one of margin, self-care and space.  All things that I’ll take more of these days!

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.

Day 10-Rest…in it’s practical form (Part 1)

So this rhythm of rest that we’ve adopted–what does that look like actually? I thought I’d share just a few things that have helped me change on this journey to being over-busy to being intentional and creating space for physical, mental and emotional rest and health. Yes, we do our best to Sabbath each week, but I’ve found that it’s just as much the day-to-day that makes me feel I’ve experienced rest or not. Sabbath isn’t just something that was intended to be practiced weekly, but daily, in small ways.

Please know I am not an expert and many of these are still a work in progress.  

2014-06-07 08.08.38-2

  1. Create breathing room-I don’t schedule things back-to-back in one night. A few years ago, my Wednesday nights went from 5pm-10pm with three meetings after being at work all day.  Although the meetings were energizing, I was so physically exhausted I couldn’t follow up on any of the things that I was to do, or process the good work that was happening in these meetings. Even now if I I have more than one thing on the calendar in one evening, I don’t schedule them back to back. I leave space to breathe. To pay attention to the sunset as I drive. To arrive early. To run by the half-price bookstore or Target. To make a phone call. This has been truly monumental and I’d say that it’s been the most long-standing change made.
  2. No more than two activities in an evening-this might seem impossible for you, but just as I learned that the breathing room was important, I’ve learned that the more I pack into my schedule, the less present I am with those things. Even good things. Or seemingly mindless things. For example, I may have a chiropractor appointment, a meeting and need to visit my mom all in one night. To be honest, the thing that probably would get nixed is visiting my mom. Or I would go and be rushed or not fully present. I liken it to a piece of a pie. If I have 4 things to do every day–I can give the best of my attention to those four things. So with the above example, I also add in work and personal/home care and I’ve got a pie 5 things–each slice is a little smaller and my attention is lessened.  If I cut one out, then I’ve got 4 pieces and all is well. Sometimes it’s the small changes that make the biggest impact.
  3. One weeknight with nothing on the calendar– this has been hard.  But probably the most necessary.  This is the night that is open on my calendar other than the note that says “Home night”.  That day (or sometimes the one before), I can decide how I want to spend it. That’s the key–it has to be something I want  to do.  Sometimes, I’m in a state of wanting my house more clean or wanting to have no unfinished laundry hanging over my head. Sometimes the want is a bath. Or Call the Midwife. Or a walk. Or water aerobics. I also try and make this a night that Lew is working.
  4. Balance of productivity and rest on the weekend. When you’re renovating a house and you and your spouse both work full time (one working shift work at night) sometimes you have to take what you can get. I will say that I think balancing out the productive and rest is key.  It can be quite easy to see a fully open weekend and already have a huge list of all that you want to accomplish on whatever project you may be working on. Or perhaps it’s work outside. Or cleaning the house. Or prepping for the school project. Or even good, fun things–going to the orchard, the football game, dinner with friends, birthday party, etc, etc. The list can always go on. And even the good things leave us exhausted. So maybe it’s one day of work on the house and the next of rest, family time, celebrating, etc. Or mornings of productivity and fun evenings.  There has to be balance though or else I come straight back into the work-week flat-lined.
  5. Sabbath-So that Sabbath state. In the traditional Jewish sense, Shabbat was from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. In doing a little refresher research to make sure I had my facts straight, there is even a Sabbath app that will tell you the exact Sabbath times for your location. I’ve read several book on Sabbath over the years (and hope to do a refresh soon) on some of my favorites. One of the books that resonated the most with me was Sabbath in the Suburbs, by Rev. MaryAnn McKibben-Dana. It was practical. And talked about how to observe Sabbath with a family and soccer and church responsibilities and friends and all those fun things we listed above. So how do I even define Sabbath? Her definition has stuck with me:

    Am I making forward progress on something?

    Now, we can over-analyze this to death.  Your knitting or coloring or even playing solitaire is making forward progress, but it’s also relaxing and probably something you don’t do every day.
    So in a nutshell, my definition of Sabbath (traditionally) is from sunset one day until sunset the next (sometimes longer) and includes not making forward progress on anything. I’ll get even more practical about what our Sabbath looks like later today! (And yes, I took yesterday off from forward-progressing this 31 day series for Sabbath).

Books I’ve enjoyed on Sabbath:

I realized I had more to say on this topic so check out part 2 here!

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.

Day 8-New Perspective

Sometimes we have to physically do something to instigate change.

After a long week of battling a cold, not getting much sleep, I ventured to enjoy my Friday.  I put on my favorite pair of Red flats that scream fall to me, some comfy pants and a favorite new tunic, hair in a top knot and I was gonna have a great day.

2012-10-07 07.05.04

Then a phone call on the way to work that wasn’t so fun.  30 minutes of my morning taking all that intention and positivity and seeing it swirl down the drain.

Walk to work thinking I’ll wrangle some coworkers to head to Starbucks.  I’m gonna need the caffeine and the walk will probably help.

No one could go.

More swirling.

Then I remembered that I had the power to change my attitude about this day.  No one can make it better or worse but me. It’s all about  my attitude and perspective. Nothing anyone else does or says can control this.  It’s all about my perception of the situation.

I got my headphones and started on my way to Starbucks  by myself. This song I heard earlier this week kept ringing in my ears so I pulled it up.

There’s beauty in my brokenness, I’ve got true love instead of pain, There’s freedom though You’ve captured me. I’ve got joy instead of mourning.

You give me joy, down deep in my soul.

Never been so free caught in your love for me.  Never been more secure knowing your heart Lord.

Yes you do Lord. 

What do you need to do physically to change your perspective?  For me it was a walk, this song and a lovely Americano. Happy Friday friends.

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.

Day 7- tired 

Some days just get the best of you. Falling asleep on the couch at 7pm, non-stop day with no breaks and the belief that it just can’t only be Thursday. How can it not be Friday?

That’s where I am.

Lots of change these days. And I know it’s just the beginning.

Regardless of the season of life you’re in there are probably some things that have changed in your life that makes you feel crazy.


New job.

New relationship.

Changing seasons (hello allergies and head cold).

New schedule.

New home/town/church/community/safety net.

Regardless of your change you’re not the only one. The best thing about change is….change. It’s not gonna stay this way. That might be terrifying just as much as its comforting. Either way, know that things are going to be different. Be they better or worse, they aren’t gonna be the way they are now forever.

And that is so comforting.

Night night (at 8:15).

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.

31 Days of Change

So I’ve been toying with participating in the #31days writing challenge for a few years. I saw a few posts yesterday morning but it wasn’t until one of my dearest friends posted last night that I thought….”I need to do this.”

You see, I’ve been in a season of change. Lots of things that I feel I can share. Many I can’t share. Or perhaps don’t want to share. I’m Miss Independent, got it on my own, don’t need help.

Or so I thought.

I’m learning more and more about my own insecurities about asking for help. For truly being vulnerable with my life, struggles and need to be in control (can I get an “Amen.”?)

So this space is a way to start loosening my grip. Not be concerned with how many folks have read my post or “liked” it on social media. An outlet. A way for me to share my heart openly about all the change that is happening and how I’m learning to trust God and rely on him and the acceptance that he has for me over anyone else.

Some changes I’ll be addressing over the next month:

  • Working day shift when my husband works nights
  • Being obedient and leaving the church community we’ve known for 6 years to one that God has called us to
  • Second (big) renovation stage of our fixer-upper (5 months and counting)
  • Being an only child and caretaker for my Mom who’s in a nursing home

And the biggest change we’re going to experience (and why I’m starting on day 2 of this challenge rather than day 1), we are super grateful and thrilled to be expecting our first child!  Today is our 6 year anniversary so we chose today to share our great news!

2015-10-01 20.14.26-2

Please know that this isn’t a place for me to vent, but a place for me to process all this change and acknowledge that God sustains us in these moments of change. We don’t have to be the tough one and rely on ourselves to do it all, figure it all out, or be everything.  We get to rest in him. I’m hoping I’ll learn how to do more of that.

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.

{miscellany monday}: july 15

Linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters for miscellany monday…excited about a new way to keep writing…it is therapeutic and I miss it. 

  • Filofax.  I mean.  Where to begin.  I saw this post from my girl Kristi on instagram about her faux filofax she snagged at a local supermarket.  After some digging, I realized that there is a whole world (literally, filofax is created in the UK and most of the obsession with it is international) of filofax obsessed folks out there.  It’s like I’ve found this new tribe of people who speak my language.  With all the changes happening in life, I needed something to help managee that so I snagged the same faux filofax at the same supermarket as MommaKristi and bam–we are off.  I’m loving it, the way it works as my wallet and organizer and that I get to decorate the pages each week.  I just need something to keep me happy in the little things during this crazy season!

    filofax love

    filofax love

  • Remember those big changes?  Well, they are here–my sweet Mama has moved to Kentucky!  She’s been here a week and things are going pretty well.  If you’re interested, I’m updating her progress here.

    Mama D

    Mama D

  • There is a Dunkin Doughnuts close to where my mom is in Lexington.  They offer $1 any sized iced drinks from 3-6pm.  Needless to say this has been my reality more than I’d like to admit. Iced Coffee. Cream. SugarFree Caramel. Delish.

    Mmmmm

    Mmmmm

  • In addition to the filofax, I got this awesome little cash wallet from A Time for Everything to help with the budget.  Absolutely love the pattern I was able to pick out and so far it’s really helping keep our cash management in control (while being stylish!)

    a time for everything!

    a time for everything!

  • We spent time in Virginia with family over the 4th before bringing my mom back to Kentucky.  We also visited some of our favorite spots in Roanoke since it’ll likely be a while before we are back to visit.  Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles, the Roanoke Farmer’s Market and a double visit to our latest Favorite, The River and Rail.  Amazing food. Amazing drinks. Amazing company.
    love

    love

    PS-We also had breakfast with Gangee that morning…

    Gangee

    Gangee

{miscellany monday}: july 1

This is my first linkup with Carissa at lowercase letters for miscellany monday…excited about a new way to keep writing…it is therapeutic and I miss it. 

  • I am excited to have found Carissa’s space. I wanted some loose structure to blogging that didn’t necessarily box me in to doing something crazy to create some consistency and encouragement for me to blog. miscellany monday is the perfect way to start my blogging week as I always have a million thoughts that seem too random to somehow string together in a blog post. Many of them are tweets or instagram pics posted throughout the week. Some of them are thoughts or ideas or apps or websites that just don’t fit into any random social media conversation. So now I have Mondays. And getting back on the Five Minute Friday wagon as well to help with actual writing, flow, ideas, etc.

blogging

  • One of my #SuperSummer goals was to listen to more Podcasts on my drive. Spending an hour in the car a day is a great way to open up my mind to some of the great work that is out there. I’ve been a fan of the Moth for quite some time and I love the stories, but just recently have become a huge fan of Michael Hyatt. I mean, if you’ve had a real-life conversation with me in the past 2 weeks, you’ve probably heard me reference him at some point. Some of my favorites include How to Create More Mental FocusHow to Become a Morning Person and So You’re Overcommitted. Now What?. Great great stuff (and you can read-the entire transcription of his podcasts are on the blog if you prefer).
  • I was re-introduced over the weekend to Lift–an amazing app and website that helps count habit streaks. I’ve added about 20 items from my #SuperSummer list-things I want to do daily & weekly. There have been several new features added since I initially started my account a year ago including reminders! This is going to making moving beyond #SuperSummer into real life come September 1 a possibility.

lift

  • We have some big changes coming our way that I’ll be able to talk about more freely in the next week (and no, I’m not pregnant.). I’ve been so reminded of surrendering our plans and desires so that God can work out his plan in our life. I have some surrendering to do. Crazy season we are already in the midst of–summer class for the beau, more healthy choices for us (AKA: more meal prep and achy limbs from body weight workouts-OUCH!), lots of leadership changes at my job, a very fast summer and then a huge personal change that is going to affect all of these things. Two things that have really given me solace: This post by my dear friend Vivian who is also going through her own season of surrender and this verse:

    “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple. (Luke 14:33 MSG)

  • There are some books that you want to devour, some that are too intense to devour and some that as much as you want to devour them, you know that the longer you read the more of your life that this book can encompass. This is what Bread and Wine has been for me. I am just loving Shawna’s writing, just as I did with Bittersweet (another one I savored). I put the book down and walked into the kitchen and made the blueberry crisp last night with a few tweaks. It was delicious alongside some coconut milk ice cream…YUM! (Update!  See Shawna make her own Blueberry Crisp here thanks to (in)courage!)

07.01.12_berries

Stories

Have you ever started something and thought–“why am I doing this?”  I mean, how did I get here? What lead me to agree to, listen to, participate in this?  Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? It’s boring. Hard. Frustrating. Draining.

Sure–we’ve all had our fair share of moments when we find ourselves doing something–be it career related, family related, home related, self-improvement related–that we would rather not be doing.

Or maybe we reflect back on something we’ve done and wished so desperately that we could erase that from not just our memory, but our reality. “Why did I make that comment that was so cutting to my spouse this morning?” ” Why did I commit to being apart of ____?” ” Why didn’t I wait an hour to cool down before sending that email to my coworker?”

Whether in the moment or reflecting back, these moments–the ones we don’t necessarily like and aren’t so proud they’re apart of us–are such meaningful pieces to the story our life is writing. It’s just as it is in your favorite book or movie. There’s this climax and you know that it’s so important to the overall message, but sometimes it’s still kind of painful to watch or read. However, you are so committed to knowing how this affects the characters and the plot, you plow through, sometimes not even getting the full scope of the difficulty, struggle or pain.  But in the end, you do recall how you got there. Every ounce of difficulty, struggle and painful moment.

story

Today’s a new day. This moment is more new than the one that just passed. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are in this very moment–take a few seconds to breathe that in. Be present. Think about the effects to your story this very moment is having.  And if you have a desired end to your story, then make sure your plot has the proper twists and turns to get you to that end. After all, we only have one story. One life. One message.

What is the message your story is telling?

Don’t bite off more than you can chew…

Training for a half marathon is tough stuff.

Training for a half marathon when you’re significantly overweight is really tough.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m super stoked that I crossed that finish line.

However, there’s a bit of regret that I didn’t train quite like I’d hoped–I never really got a hydrating & fueling schedule down, I didn’t increase my speed like I’d hoped and I abandoned all other forms of physical activity in lieu of half training.

That’s both half-marathon training and half training for the half.  No morning gym session with the beau.  No Cardio Sculpt classes with work friends.  Barely getting in my training runs.

Last week was rough.  Like–really rough.  The beau and I had decided we would complete a Whole30 every quarter or so (January, April, & July, October).  Being out at a conference the week before and then just completely wiped after last Saturday’s race, there was no intentional meal planning or grocery shopping, so needless to say, our Whole30 plans for April started out as a complete failure.

We also have been talking about being more intentional with our budget and saving for a bigger vacation this summer as it’ll be the last one for a while (more on that to come), so we were going to also implement a no-spend April.

Last week also happened to be the last week of my lenten practice of saying no to that lovely thing called Java….

Let’s recap: Implement a Whole30 (no sugar, dairy or grain when we hadn’t meal planned or grocery shopped), no spending outside of groceries (which meant no meals out) and no coffee.

Looking back, I’m happy to see I simply survived last week at all!

About half way through the week we decided we just needed to give it a rest, and come up with a better plan before we could be successful.  Knowing we had a fairly low-key weekend, we had several great discussions about what needed to change, what our plan was going to be and how we could make some small changes to help us be successful on all accounts.

Biggest lesson–don’t bite off more than you can chew.  We were clearly over-zealous in our plans last week thinking we’d be on some sort of super-human high from the half-marathon that we’d be more than able to jump right on a Whole30.  Boy were we ever wrong.

Looking back, the half-marathon completion was a great feat to complete and check off my list.  But completing the half did not allow me to reach all my health goals.  I struggle (greatly) with scale and size issues (partly because I feel we as a society are so super infatuated with these things that do not really equal health–but that’s most definitely another blog for another day).  However, part of those health goals include for me do include becoming smaller and healthier to allow me to meet other goals with more success down the road (more half-marathons, perhaps a Tough Mudder, and hopefully one day, having babies).

I’m gonna get back on the blogging wagon this week (boy, have I missed you by the way) to share some of the techniques we have up our sleeve as a way to help us stay accountable. I hope that you’ll share your thoughts, tips and suggestions along the way.  This week (as many of my recent posts) will be about changes to make our lives more healthy, but in the long run, I’m looking for sustainable practices that will help every area of our life–from physical to financial, the renovation of our house, and the continual renovation of our souls.

Some of our techniques I’ll be sharing about:

  • Fuel In = Food = Eat Clean
  • Fuel Out = Movement = Do something (at least 1 thing) active each day
  • Recover = Sleep  = Down at 9pm &  Up at 5am
  • Internal Living = Balance for mind, body and soul
  • External Living = Clean yo’ house!

Best,