My cup overfloweth

Walking to the car, it was a brisk Monday morning. The kind that bites when you get out of the car to walk into the office. My commute had been cluttered with thoughts of the preceding weekend, all the things on my to-do for the day, but nothing prepared me for the sharp air that took my breath when I opened the car door.

I gathered my work bag, made sure I had my keys and phone and slowly gathered my favorite ceramic mug from the console. The coffee steamed in the car, so once I  stepped onto the pavement, the steam was even more remarkable. However, the dance out of the car was quite tricky.

You see, I had my coffee in a travel mug when I had left for work. The one we purchased early one Sunday morning back in November at a CVS in Lexington. I was singing for our church’s 25th anniversary service and I had forgotten my travel mug. Knowing that I’d need a mug’s worth of coffee versus a small Styrofoam shooter, we acquired yet another travel mug.

But there’s something about a real mug. The way it fits in my hand. How I love drinking out of it sitting at my desk. So that brisk Monday, I transferred the hot contents of the travel mug into the Christmas mug I’ve made year round appropriate. Tricky task for a Monday.

So after I successfully made my way out of the car, looked around to see if any coworkers caught the sight of that jig, I began my trek into the office. Thankful to not have a big campus parking structure and short walk into the student center where my office lives, one foot in front of the other I began.

But I couldn’t take my normal stride. No, it wasn’t snowy or icy. My heels weren’t unreasonably high that day. So what was my trouble?

My cup was almost to the point of overflowing. Right up the the edge. I instantly recalled the work retreat years earlier when I became the joke each morning at breakfast–“When will she learn to not fill her cup so full!  There are refills, ya know, Faith.”

But I liked having a full cup. I liked the amount that was there. It was just right. It gave me just enough jolt I needed.

I just had to learn to slow down in the process of getting from point A to point B if I wanted my cup to be that full.  

Life is no different. My cup continues to be full. There are many things to juggle. When my cup gets a little less full and I feel I have a better handle, something else gets poured in.

But let me tell you a little secret–the flavor of this coffee is incredible with all these different things swirling around in there. I wouldn’t miss any bit of it for the world.  I’ve just got to learn to slow down a bit so I can enjoy every last drop.  

Spend time daily to work on your craft

Photo credit to subsetsum via photopin cc

What gives you energy?  Do that.  What are people gathering around?  Write about that.  Where is momentum growing?  Be there.  What is God prompting you to do?  Listen and act.  ~my paraphrase from ProBlogger, Darren Rouse

I settle in.  I have an hour, maybe, so I quickly search to to find a place in this new cafe that will give me what I need.  Something about the familiarity of spaces like this beckon to my soul.

And the coffee doesn’t hurt.

This is my haven.  The independently owned coffee shop in any town large or small. This is where my soul comes alive.

Be it the jazz music, the locally sold crafts, the tasty flavor roast or the familliar faces if I’ve visiting my favorite spots in my town.

Brings my soul alive.

But let’s be real.  My day rarely allows me to find myself in this setting.  I’m running late most days, trying to determine how best my wardrobe can reflect the temperature outside and the temperature of my office.  What’s on the agenda? Do I need to prep to teach class?  Will I be teaching class? What student to I need to follow up with/send a card to/encourage/hold accountable? How am I going to get the laundry list of things on my to-do list done when I’m booked with meetings all day? Did I lay out meat for dinner? Are the beau’s scrubs washed for clinicals on Saturday? Did I make that phone call to my Mom’s doctor?

I want to be purposeful with every single thing You allow into my life. ~prayer at the #HelloMornings gathering

So how can I grow my craft?  Develop the skills that are really apart of my passion, but aren’t necessarily involved in any of the aforementioned daily tasks?

Poster from Typography Served

It’s the little things.  Being faithful where you are. Having that goal to spend just 15 minutes on a project that seems insurmountable.

Spending 15 minutes every day can allow some people to write that e-book in 3 months. What is it that you are really passionate about? Carve out time to work on that.

How much time do you really have?  Being busy is a form of laziness.  Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing.  ~The Nester (taken from the 4 Hour Work Week)

Perhaps your fifteen minutes isn’t doable or doesn’t work for the thing that you need to focus your energy to. Maybe it’s a relationship that needs attention.

One of the things that made me fall even deeper in love with the Beau was the way he was consistent in his friendship with Michael Parker.

After an accident about 5 years ago, Parker, who was one of the most active folks you’d ever have met, was paralyzed.

Lew is at Parker’s folks’ house once a week. He and Parker drink coffee on the porch in the winter and sit outside looking at the garden Parker plans for his folks in the summer.  And they take in a lot of Cincinnati Reds games in the summer (and fall!)

Be consistent. Consistency trumps frequency. ~Erin Ulrich

What is that project at work you keep putting off?  15 minutes a day.

The project at home you REALLY want to spend time on but just can’t seem to squeeze it in once you’re home from work or when the kids are napping?  Set the alarm to get up 20 minutes early (cause we all know it takes at least 5 minutes to shake out the sleepies).

Is it a relationship? One hour a week. Set an alarm when it’s time to wrap up.  Communicate your expectations to your friend–they are your priority, but you also must make it to your meeting on time. I’ve done it. You won’t be the first one.

Decide how much time you can commit to your craft and then under-schedule yourself and prioritize rest. ~The Nester

Spend the time necessary to refine your craft.  Your relationship.  Your job.  Your marriage.  It will be worth it.  Find your success by determining the actions that need to be repeated daily to be successful. And do it. Utilize the tools in your toolbox to make it happen.

If you don’t love it, don’t do it!  ~Stephanie Bryant

You might just find that 15 minutes of that “coffee shop” feel you can set up in your dining room, kitchen table or even walk-in closet, will do the trick on those days when you can only wish you were hearing the whirr of the espresso machine.  Put on some jazz, start up the tea pot, pull out the french press and settle in…

Be well,

{This is post #3 in my reflections from Allume 2012.  Click here to visit the rest of the series.}