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! 

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  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 2-The main thing

One of the biggest changes in our life over the past year has been the beau’s new career as a nurse and transition to working night shift. In the first 5 years of our marriage, he commuted at least an hour each way Monday-Friday to sit behind a desk, process shipping orders for the software company he worked for. Now during most of the tenure of our marriage, he’s been in school of some sort so I was used to him not being home every night, but the routine of our life was still pretty much the same.

Sunday–church and food/meal prep for the week ahead. Monday-Friday–breakfast/coffee together, work, eat dinner together most nights, go to the gym or walk together. Saturday-he’d have clinicals and then we’d do some sort of date night–be it at home or out on the town.

Life is much different now.

12 hour shifts 2-3 times a week. Never the same days. Leaving for work around 5:45pm–about 30 minutes after I arrive home–and returning back home around 8-8:30 the next morning–long after I’ve left for work. Not sitting behind a desk all day but being on your feet for 12 hours and some nights literally running around for hours at a time. Caring for critically ill patients and their families. Physically, mentally and emotionally draining.

Meal prep is tough–he’s not eating on a normal schedule and these days I’m not feeling like much of a cook (thanks to the Cub). There are times when he’s working 3 days in a row that I may not see him for 3 days especially if I’ve got evening commitments. Sleep schedule. This is the biggie. He’s constantly tired and it’s hard to go do fun stuff when you’re always tired.

This type “A” Girl is living the most non-type “A” life imaginable. 

And while it’s been tough, there are also some really sweet things that come from it.

We don’t have “planned” date nights as often, but we relish the opportunity to run errands together on a Wednesday night and sneak in dinner at a favorite spot. The time we do have off together is so much more meaningful. There are times in which the beau will have a stretch of 5 days off just the way his schedule falls. It’s been so nice to get house renovations completed, or just steal away for a super quick beach getaway when that happens. He rarely works Saturday nights so we relish those as nights we actually get to go to bed together and wake up together on Sunday. Our Sundays have truly become a Sabbath. My gratitude for him and the job he does, how he provides for our family and just being in the same house (even if he’s upstairs sleeping as I write this very blog) overflows.

Spontaneous Beach Getaway!

I’m reminded of the analogy I use with my students of putting in the big rocks first, then the smaller, ones, then gravel, sand and then water. In that order, everything fits. When things are out of order, then your container overflows and things get stressful. That’s where we are.

Things have changed in order to put in this big rock first. Protecting our marriage is so important. I’ve had to say no to people and things I really want to invest in. Even now, I’m trying to figure out how I can continue to make space for what is most important in my life–and for me, that’s my relationship with Christ, our marriage, caring for myself–mind body and soul, creating a loving home and connecting with other women. If it’s not one of those big rocks, it’s not going in first. Intentionality with our schedule to come home right after work on those days he’s works most days is a must. Or determining a time we can meet up for coffee in Lexington. Connection is key. If that doesn’t happen, we easily will fall into the trap of getting a little snippy, and our “sandpaper moments” skyrocket.

This has all lead to more time at home for myself. Whitespace if you will.  And this isn’t always easy, but oh how things come full circle. That was the intention I chose for 2015. It’s October and the intention wasn’t abandoned, it just didn’t become the central focus of my blogging or my every day thoughts.

But what happened was that I began living it. Creating whitespace means a lot of change and sometimes that is hard–hello lonely nights! But learning how to live in this new schedule and support the beau by putting up my kickstand and being present.

A place of stopping. Slowing down. Doing the necessary work. Oiling the chains. Getting a fresh coat of paint.

In summary–Keep the main thing, the main thing. Yup that’s what I’ve done. And I’m oh, so grateful.

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.