January Coffee Chat


Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

**Imagine we meet up at our favorite spot and have a few minutes to catch up…here goes…

I slowly walk in, scanning the room for your familiar, warm face. The brisk winter air and the warmth of the shop fogs up my glasses so it takes a minute longer to refocus.  As I’m unbundling my scarf and taking off my gloves I walk to the counter and order a cappuccino-my favorite “speciality” drink out these days.

I sit and breathe in the psuedo-silence.  There’s the hum of the espresso machine, and the chatter of other patrons.  I let my eyes fall shut and then I hear a bell–in you walk.

Our drinks arrive and we greet one another with a hug saying it’s been too long, but both clearly understanding that this season is one of hubbub and then silence.  It always is; that transition from busy, busy holiday commitments to New Year’s resolutions/goals/intentions/words and snow and cold.  It makes everyone slow down.

We chat about our venture into the new year, me telling you how for once I didn’t have my typical solo-date out at this very coffee shop where I’d drink endless amounts of drip coffee (after a specialty of course) and scour through the latest goal setting workbook I’d downloaded.  I had finally settled on one as it seemed to be the length I was looking for and something put together by folks my heart was leaning toward in this season. You hadn’t heard of Hello, Goodbye, so we discussed the accompanying podcast I listened to after quickly working through. I rolled my eyes and you tenderly placed your hand on my arm and reminded me to give myself some grace.  With the sickness that plagued our house during the holiday, to being extremely busy with some exciting work projects, things were just going to look different in this season, and that’s okay.

You mentioned that you had settled on your word for the year.  I joked that I settled on a phrase which was ironic that it couldn’t be narrowed down to a word.  Slow and simple.  They both have such a different meanings though.  You nodded and smiled as I mentioned these two words.  So true and needed for our time as we both looked around the now crowded shop, folks in line for their drink scrolling on their phone or checking the clock, eye-rolling at how long it was taking to get their drink.  Our words shared some of the same intention and you mentioned some things you were doing to help keep your focus on yours. You’re working on getting up earlier each morning. I mentioned I was really trying to be less tied to my phone but it wasn’t going so well. It’s such a nasty habit I’ve formed.  I bought a charging station for all our devices. I’ve downloaded the Moment app to track how much time I spend on my phone. I keep going back and forth on deleting certain apps–Facebook for one–but I’m so in love with the morning worship Crossroads is doing on there Monday-Friday at 7:30 I keep it on for that reason alone as some days I’m still walking into my office at that point and it’s been such a fantastic way to start the day.  Speaking of Crossroads, you mention you heard something about the new series that just started.  Yup, How not to be a jerkface.  And it’s just as incredible as the title sounds. Seriously, the perfect start as we’re thinking about these new year’s intentions.

You share a bit about the jerkface encounters you’ve had and you’ve been. I nod in full agreement–I’ve been there too. Literally on my way to church last week to hear this first sermon, someone honked at me when the light turned green as I was trying to find a lipstick at the light.  Actions vs. Intentions.  Every. Single. Time.

That statement –actions vs. intentions–easily shifts us to talk about work and kids. Your work is going well-keeping you busy but the days are passing quickly.  The latest photos of your littles are adorable and we both comment that we can’t believe how quickly time passes and out big all our kids now are.

But back to the year.  There seems to be so much pressure anymore to reinvent yourself every turn of the calendar.  What if we thought of each day like that? I’ve been working harder to look at 90-day goals and monthly goals. But sometimes (as you reminded me earlier) I have to give myself grace. 2018 has started out very slow.  Which is honestly how I landed on my word. Not as much traction in my writing. Not as much advocating for my Beautycounter business. But we’ve been meeting some of those monthly goals. We discuss our strategy for eating at home and sticking to our new budget (the answer? communication, go figure!). You mention  you think it’s okay to scale back and focus on the day-to-day.  We agree that’s why most “New Year’s” goals/resolutions/intentions have failed in our own lives (and perhaps others).  There’s just so much glitter and fanfare about doing this big thing that we forget about the actual thing.

I then start to tell you about another Annie Downs podcast that rocked my world this week about Sabbath. We’ve talked about this numerous times during our coffee chats, but this discussion pulled on my heartstrings.  And reinforced that slow and simple is the way to go.

Our coffees are almost empty and a quick glance at our watch reminds you of your next appointment. Before you head out, you look me square in the eye and remind me that my goal is valid and my phrase is on point. Slow and simple. That’s all we really need. And that you want to hear more about these 90-day goals at our next coffee chat.

As we’re starting to bundle up before we leave, you ask again about the Crossroads series, so I pull out my phone and we watch the trailer. A quick hug and you’re on your way and I pull out Hello, Goodbye from my bag to review one more time…



It’s time to connect…

If I’m being honest, one of the biggest challenges I’ve had since becoming a mama is connecting.

If I’m being honest, there are times I look at pics of groups of girlfriends on annual trips and my heart pangs from a bit of…sadness/jealousy/curiosity/

If I’m being honest, having your kid on a schedule is amazing, but it makes it hard to do anything after 7pm.  Especially when you’re solo-parenting, either a few nights a week.  To those single-mamas and papas…you are my heroes.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to add another thing to my plate this year.  I keep hearing more and more–this morning even while curling my hair–about white-space.

If I’m being honest, sometimes it’s hard to be the person who feels like she’s complaining about the lack of community when in all honesty, I’m incredibly blessed with amazing friends, colleagues and family.

So all this honesty begs the question–why do I still desire connection? Face-to-face? Conversation?  Well, I think that’s part of creation.  The Garden of Eden. We were not made to do life alone.  And while my 30’s have been AMAZING, you guessed it.  If I’m being honest, they’ve been kinda lonely.

I’m saying so what, who cares and jumping in.  Starting this evening, I’m gonna gather online while I sit in my favorite jammies and connect with other mamas who work outside the home. There are some specific challenges that I know my other workin’ mama friends can understand.  And while this group was intended to be for folks in my area–Central KY–I’m gonna open it up tonight and see what happens. So if you’re interested, join up here and you’ll get info about tonight’s gathering. (And don’t worry about the date and time–if you’re interested, hop on and we’ll figure out the best common meeting time for all those who want to commit for 6 weeks as we read Women are Scary!)

workin' mamas

Approaching Advent

Advent: Time of Expectant Waiting and Preparation for the celebration of the Christ child.

As we move into the holiday season, polishing off the last of the turkey and sweet potatoes and start pulling out the storage bins of Christmas decor, I hope we can slow down.

I’ve been busy lately.  Not just on my calendar but in my brain.  Moving 100 miles an hour or more.  Lots of exciting projects at work & at church, a new job for the Beau, a sick toddler who is now on the mend and in the into-everything-not-listening-doesn’t-know-the-meaning-of-no phase.  Oh yeah, and the holidays.

I’ve been thinking and swirling on this for the past week prompted by a friend who posed the question on Facebook about thoughts on Cell Phones.

As I processed my response and wrote back (95% sure from my iPhone), this idea of waiting and preparing came to mind.

Cell phone useage is something I’m constantly trying to improve upon. Not using it when in the presence of another person is my goal but so much easier said than done.
I struggled this year teaching and telling my students not to use it when I was updating attendance and following along with my powerpoints on my phone as I walked around the room.
It’s all about time and place and function. Too often all are abused. (Preaching to the choir here!)

I also think it’s easy when someone brings out their phone to do the same. We’ve lost the art of sitting in the silence. Thinking. Being still. We don’t ALWAYS have to know the latest or what is going on in the lives of others. There’s something to just being single minded and paying attention FULLY to what’s going on right in front of your eyes in your own life. ~My thoughts on cell phones.

How many of us are comfortable with silence? We constantly have TV or music or both going. So when we are really waiting and preparing for something big–say, the coming of the Christ-child–would we really be glued to our phones? Modern society has changed this for sure, but for those of you who have had babies–particularly speaking to the support person–did you have your phone in your hand or were you focused on supporting your wife, daughter, BFF as she labored to bring a child earthside? We don’t want to miss those big moments, but yet every moment we are given on this earth is big and we’re choosing to miss them because we’re more entranced with what’s going on on the other side of that phone.

I know that connections to other humans are important and loneliness can be paralyzing and oh so isolating. I totally get it. Our phones can give so much rich connection, but not at the expense of paying attention to what’s right in front of us–or inside us.  We must be attentive to caring for our souls, connecting with our creator and making space for that silence which can be enlightening (and also terrifying).

As I mentioned, in sharing about my recent car accident that totaled our second vehicle in just as many years, we live distracted lives. Minds buzzing with all those things mentioned above. And now that we’re approaching the holidays, the list continues.  Literally in the past hour, I’ve looked at our calendar and the already scheduled things and then added a post-it to our white board of the “bucket list” things that I hope will happen–Visiting Santa, seeing the lights at the Zoo, our family Christmas date, Christmas shopping for the less fortunate….

But instead of being overwhelmed or look at what might not get checked off the list, I’m going to joyfully add things to our calendar with gratitude–even if it’s just one or two of those things.

I’m not going to be glued to my phone looking at everyone’s gorgeous holiday pics knowing ours have been pushed back a few times due to scheduling conflicts and sick babies.

I’m not going to compare someone else’s decor or meal or girls night out.  JOMO, right?

I’m not going to watch the holiday season pass by by staring at my phone when we are celebrating the arrival and birth of Jesus.

So, how am I gonna do this?

  1. Accountability–sharing these goals with you, my lovely friends whom I hope will join me, or at least call me out if you see me with my nose in my phone.
  2. Purchasing this-going to dock my phone once I come home.  Turn the ringer on (it’s constantly off) and respond to the urgent. Because when the ringer is off, I’m more apt to check it to see what I missed that I didn’t hear a notification for.
  3. Go to bed early. I’ve been feeling ick for a while and I know lots of it has to do with lack of sleep.  I constantly feel like there’s more to be done.  Guess what? There always will be. I get to choose however if I want to take care of me or have an empty sink and clean dishes.  I need to choose me.
  4. Using one of these wall-papers (NSFYM)- Enough said (scroll down to the second set of wallpapers)
  5. Doing more things where I can’t have my phone in hand. Meet up with a friend for coffee and talk to rather than stare at my phone. Be present with June.  Play. Run around the house. Clean. Cook. Do the dishes. Not watch TV. Schedule Zoom catch up with friends. Read a book. Decorate. Work on Holiday cards and gifts.

Advent begins in a week.  I’m desperately wanting a slow December. My body and soul and mind and spirit need it. I know it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse–it feels that way even writing these days–but this is just where I am and I know I’m not the only one. Think about joining me. Let me know if you wanna meet up for coffee–in real life or virtually. December is busy, sure, but my home is always open for a cup of tea under the twinkle lights….