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.

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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.  

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  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 9-Rest

My journey to find true rest is has been that-a journey. I’ve always been one to have many irons in the fire, even in high school. I was once in a musical in high school, working part time, leading the choir and singing at church and it was just too much. I had to quit something because all things were suffering-including my grades. And of course the musical-which was the most fun-was what had to go. 
So these days I’ve been learning the importance of rest and work and how they go hand in hand. Our work must come from a place of rest. When we take time to observe the sabbath, rest, spend quality time with those we love, lay down our phones, we are truly able to pour ourselves more into our days of work. And sometimes that means saying no to some really good things-things we even enjoy the most.    

 The transition requires patience and persistence. I’ve been trying to lay down my phone on Sundays-be present, engaged but sometimes if I’m honest, I’m lonely, bored and searching for something on the other side of the screen to fill that void. 

So this change takes discipline and that’s not always easy. But I know when I truly engage and be present and lean into the rest, I’m such a better human. 

Sustain me.

Sustainable: of, relating to, or being a method of {harvesting or} using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

How do I live so that I’m not completely depleted?  Permanently damaged?

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been living with the imagery of my cup overflowing.  Being filled to the brim and the only way to sustain the contents of that cup are to slow down.  So how do I do that?  Like, actually slow down when life seems to be moving at warp speed?  Here are a few of my methods.  This is not a prescription, by any means, but a context for how I’ve been able to function.  Just a few thoughts and nothing is earth-shattering or anything new to most of you, but just a little glimpse into my daily operations as of late…

  1. Plan– I know. Most of you aren’t surprised in the least that this is step one.  It really is all about intentionality. Taking that time to plan out the things in your life that cause you stress. Dinner plans make you have melt-down-into-a-crying-mess-in-the-middle-of-the-kitchen-floor meltdowns? Take some time over your weekend and plan them. Get out your cookbooks, favorite cooking blogs, your planner and (this is key, I think!) something that makes the process more enjoyable–coffee, wine, chocolate–and plan. Utilize an online meal planning tool like Plan to Eat to make the process even quicker. I’ve planned meals in a matter of minutes once taking a few hours to get my account up and running in a fully functional manner (recipes added with their ingredients, etc). What else stresses you out?  For me, it’s my wardrobe. Even with implementing neutrals this month, I’m still stressed each morning in front of the mirror. So on Sundays after I’ve planned my meals, I literally write down in my planner what I’m going to wear each day. Definitely eliminates (most) of the morning crisis in front of my closet when I “just can’t find anything to wear.”
  2. Slow down (when you can)–So in between meetings, car pool, changing diapers, changing laundry, making those meals you’ve planned, trying to fit in exercise, our lives run on fast-forward most of the time. For those of us who work full time, Monday-Fridays are a bear. For those raising kidlets, there never seems to be a break as weekends are quality time with those kids, but also time in which your attention is constantly demanded. Find time to implement some rhythms that allow you to slow down both weekly and daily. Sabbath keeping is important to me and I’ve made it a point to make Sundays feel different than the rest of our week. No watches. Special coffee mugs. Silence, which means no music blasting from our record player or the iPad.  No screen time–tv, iPad, phones (okay, more like limited–still learning on this one). If you want some thoughts on Sabbath keeping, be sure to stay tuned for an upcoming review of Matthew Sleeth’s newest book 24/6 (ps–this Kindle edition is $2.99 right now!  Not sure how long it will last!) For a daily rhythm, check out a quick devotional like Jesus Calling. If finding time alone before the kidlets wake, get involved with the practice of getting up before they do and get involved with accountability through Hello Mornings or Good Morning Girls. I’ve found that accountability here is key.
  3. You are not alone–Find a friend in a similar season of life and carve out time to talk about this. Whether it’s kids, a busy season in ministry, a job that is frustrating or more serious situations that you just need to talk and pray through–life is about community. Having some time set apart on a consistent basis to talk through that has been key for me to process my overflowing cup.

What are some ways you’ve learned to slow down?  I’d love to know some tools that work for you!

Best,

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Thankful

I’ve not been nearly as disciplined with recording my One Thousand Gifts as I had intended, but I’m gonna camp out here for a little bit today…I have a lot to be thankful for this Monday.

  1. The safety of a home knowing destruction was just miles away.
  2. A new running group that even though I was the slowest of the bunch, still welcomed, encouraged and challenged me.
  3. The most beautiful running course I have laid eyes on.  I’ll get several more miles of beauty in 4 weeks when I tackle my first 1/2 marathon.
  4. Monthly Breakfast club with my smallies gals.  You know you’re with friends who are more like family when you can come post-run, throwing on metallic flats and a jean skirt on over your running leggins and proceed to scarf down what was left of the breakfast provided. Don’t worry–I threw on a some body spray and a little mascara as to not be too scary–there were infants present.
  5. Being so extremely tired from a (an almost) 9 mile run, but yet so excited feeling as if you could conquer the world.
  6. An amazing church that challenges me to challenge the status quo and truly listen to God and what he’s saying.
  7. Lovely Sabbath Sundays.
  8. Crafting!  (I promise, I’ll share some photos on Friday!)
  9. Good family management convos with the beau–calendar, budget, meal plan, cleaning plan, hospitality plan.
  10. Making tough decisions in light of being more aware of how we spend time and money.
  11. The creativity to look up lots of new fun recipes and have the adventurous spirit to try them and be creative in the kitchen.
  12. Finding a new food blog with lots of Paleo crockpot options!
  13. Waking up to a gorgeous snowfall this morning–at 2:30am!
  14. Being so excited about the snow that we called a movie-thon downstairs.
  15. Almost in disbelief that this is a possibility for my future!  More on this to come!  Stay tuned!

Best,

 

 

PS–And a Happy Early Birthday to my dear friend Kelly!  Check out the 30 hour sale at iBloom–doors opened early due to the crazy response!

Weekly Roundup-February 17, 2012

Goals:

  • Physical–Got a little off schedule on our runs, but at the same time, I don’t want to get so consumed by running that I can’t still manage things in our life that are also important.  We were traveling,  plus I came down with a cold, so there were a few runs that didn’t happen, but I still got out there yesterday and ran 6 and will run 8 tomorrow.  My knees really bothered me after those 6 miles, but it was also raining, so I coated them with IcyHot last night and they feel a million times better today.  One SUPER exciting thing was our annual Health Risk Assessment at work this week.  I was a little nervous about going because it had been a while since I’d had these levels checked and although I KNOW that Paleo works for us and I’ve seen results in the way my clothes are fitting and on the scale, I was anxious to see if my numbers were going to say the same–boy did they ever!  I could not have been more pleased!

Health Risk Screening Results

  • Spiritual–God has really been reminding me the importance of prayer and what a difference that makes in our lives.  From my prayer runs (which still seem all over the place) to getting a copy of The Circle Maker last week when it was on sale for Kindle, I’m very aware of my prayer life right now.
  • Creative–I haven’t done much crafting lately, but have a lot of things on tap that I want to do, thanks to Pinterest!  Perhaps I’ll carve some time out on Sunday Sabbath to do so!
  • Home--Definitely moving forward on a lot of projects!  We acquired some new furniture pieces while helping Mom clear out her apartment so our bedroom is much more bedroom functional with another dresser and actual bedside tables rather than the TV trays that had been flanking our bed for the past 2.5 years of our marriage.  🙂  We also have moved some pieces around downstairs and are liking how that’s all turning out.  My goal is still to have the Nook “finished” by the end of February.  We have a few things at Ikea and the Container store to pick up so those might not quite be in by then, but it WILL be done by then.
  • Personal–It’s really been a great week!  I entered a muffin contest yesterday and won with my Paleo Pumpkin Dark Chocolate muffins (blog post forthcoming soon!).  Work has been good, a little crazy, but good.  I’m so glad that I cleared my schedule to get some rest this week as I had a bit of a cold (more on this below).

Mom Update: Things are going well–I was able to conference call in to a care plan meeting with the folks there last week and I think we are well on our way to getting Mom better!  We had a really productive weekend there and she is well on the way to being out of her apartment by the end of the month.  She had some good time with her sister Donna on Valentine’s Day.

Yummy Recipes! I’ve had some good things on tap recently AND have actually taken photos, but alas, haven’t downloaded them to the computer just yet.  😦  BUT!  I do have a few from past weeks to share and one from our Valentine’s Day dinner!

Meatzza- Definitely fits the bill when you're eating Paleo but craving pizza!

Brussell Sprouts with Avocado and Bacon, Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa

Valentine's Day: Steak with Bacon and Bleu Cheese Sauce, Brussell Sprouts with Bacon and Dates and Sweet Potato Rounds with Chipotle Sauce


“Pinteresting” Things: New category here.  I’m loving Pinterest and thought for those of you who might not be on there, I’d share a few of my favorite pins from the week.  If you’re on pinterest, feel free to follow my boards!

Last weekend in Virginia, I walked away with a canister of buttons I knew I’d be able to use for a crafting project only to find this one a few days later!

button hair pins

I have a TON of t-shirts that just need to go–they don’t fit right or I just don’t like the cut, but I really don’t want to really get rid of them–looking forward to a crafting day to try this!

t-shirt tank tutorial

We use coconut oil a lot to cook with and I’ve heard it has a ton of uses, but MY, oh MY!  Super excited to try many of these!

uses for coconut oil

Although I took last week off to “recoup”, I’m hoping something like this will really keep me on track, blog-wise.  I’m probably just going to print out the pages and keep them in my Home Management notebook as to not have one more planner in my life.  🙂

blog planner

Things I’m learning: Once again, rest is so important.  I said “no” to things that were just going to “clutter” my week, one thing being this blog.  As much as I love writing and the sense of creativity this little space allows me, I knew that I needed rest, especially after coming down with a cold.  Although the blog and other things I said no to are all great, sometimes we have to allow ourselves the freedom to just say no. 

Interesting quote/Scripture: “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest” Exodus 33:14  This has been my “theme verse” for this week and it has been so nice to remember that God’s presence is with me and giving me rest.// “He renews my soul.” Psalm 23:3–not sure if I had heard that version (God’s word translation) of that specific verse–love the visual and feeling of my soul being renewed.

Hope you’ve had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

Weekly Roundup-February 3, 2012

Goals:

  • Physical–Our Whole30 finished this past week and the beau and I were both very pleased with the results!  We have definitely gone past the “let’s do this for 30 days to see how we feel” phase to more of a “I can’t imagine eating any other way.” Everyone has different views on “diets” and healthy eating and I’m not going to harp on what that means, but I’ve had a lot of folks inquire about Paleo, so I’ve compiled a little post of my own about what Paleo has meant to us.  Running is continuing to be great.  We had a slower week last week, and are building back up to a 7 miler tomorrow.  I’m adjusting to the blisters and got some recommendations for great socks that are supposed to help, so I hope to check those out soon.  They don’t hurt, so I’m thankful fro that.  Cardio Sculpt, a class offered through my work, started this week and I’m pumped to get a little more cardio and sculpting going on…and to hang out with work friends in a non-work environment.  Oh..and yoga begins next week.  My energy level is through the roof and I’m so thankful to have found a rhythm and routine that works for us.
  • Spiritual–Continuing to learn what it means to listen to God.  It’s not always easy, but always worth the time spent silencing your heart and mind and just being still.  So thankful my creator loves me and calls me his own.  Also praying about some new opportunities to serve and fulfill God’s calling on my life.  So thankful for little nudges of God’s love through things like this.  Also some great conversations and opportunities with students that are oh, so fulfilling!
  • Creative–Need to get to some crafting…haven’t gotten anything in that arena done yet.
  • Home--Saturday didn’t see as many things done in regards to the nook…or our trim, for that matter.  BUT, we have LIGHT at the bottom of our stairwell, some new electrical outlets and definite progress was made.  We hope to continue some of these during this coming weekend.  We also are on board with our own personal budgeting plan for 2012 (a little slow, I know) and reigning things in so we can finish house projects and do a few fun things throughout the year.
  • Personal–I have the most awesome husband.  I know many of you out there would say the same thing about yours, but I truly am blessed.  I got a new nickname this morning–Cherry Bomb…the beau said “‘Cause you have red hair and your the bomb.  It’s your biker nickname.”  I mean, how can you not smile at that. Seriously though, it’s been a busy week, but such a good week.  We are doing really well and I’m feeling very productive which always makes one feel great.

Mom Update: Mom is adjusting to the new facility after a rough first 24 hours.  She’s in therapy for her back pain daily and is thankful to have family close by to visit.  If you’d like to send her a card to cheer her up, post a comment with your email and I’ll send you her mailing address.

Yummy Recipes! [Photo phail again!  Agh!]  This week was once again a combo of old standards and new concoctions.  Shepherds Pie was on the table, although I didn’t have onion and for some reason thought the recipe included celery.  It wasn’t until after the celery was diced and sauteing that I realized the error of my ways.  It was still tasty though!   I made Pizza Soup in the crock-pot and that was yummy after getting home from cardio sculpt last night.  I will put less water and more meat and veg in next time though!  I’m excited about tonight’s meal–Meatza Pie and our appetizer feast for the Superbowl on Sunday!  Will definitely have to remember to take some pics to post!

Things I’m learning:  Rest is good.  God is good.  Sleep is good.  Working hard all week (even on Saturdays) makes Sunday Sabbath’s even more sacred and important.  And cleaning the house on Saturday night before Sabbath is even better so you aren’t distracted by mess and wanting to keep working.  That happened last week and I just took a nap.

Interesting quote/Scripture:We must wait for God, we must be awake, we must trust in his hidden action within us.” From Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finley, found in my devotional book this week.  “Refuse to waste energy worrying, and you will have strength to spare.” Another one from this devotional that my dear friend is also using.  Much love Viv!

Hope you’ve had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

Weekly Roundup-January 27

Goals:

  • Physical–Running has been good!  7 miles on Sunday was SOOOO empowering, but tiring.  :).  I’ve been dealing with some major blisters on my feet I’m adjusting to, but overall, it’s been a really good week.    Our Governor Declared March 31st the State’s Day of Running, so I challenge all you Kentuckians out there to RUN on that day! (Run the Bluegrass 1/2 Marathon and 5K Deadline next Deadline is Jan 31!) Food wise, we are still totally on board and loving our Paleo eating plan and are looking forward to a few new “treat” recipes we’ve found (on occasion) once our Whole 30 is over .
  • Spiritual–Trying to figure out a new “routine” for my quiet times in the morning now that running has to fit in there too.  I’m enjoying praying on my runs, but I can’t journal while moving! Absolutely love the Accountability as always–its is so good for my soul and so good to know someone is going to call you to the carpet on things you’ve committed to doing.
  • Creative–I’ve been blogging and hope to spend some time tomorrow working on the Nook.  Haven’t had much time to craft, but I have a few projects I’d like to finish on Sunday during our Sabbath time.
  • Home- So thankful that this past weekend we got 2 BIG projects completed that have been gnawing  at both of us for some time.  We completely cleaned out our panty–got rid of ALL non-paleo items (we had a few still lingering around), swept, reorganized and man, oh, man, it has made such a difference.  We also organized (most) of our DVD collection (it’s pretty extensive) into this DVD container.  We bought it months ago.  Can we say–procrastinate much?
  • Personal–Still baby-steps, but I’m working on drinking less coffee and more water, being disconnected in the evenings (still a struggle for me–MUST leave the phone by the door or upstairs), and working on accomplishing my three things.  One of mine this week was to come up with a cleaning plan/schedule.  I’ve seen several fun ones on Pinterest–anyone have their own recommendations to share?

Mom Update: Been a challenging week with a few set-backs, but we’re excited that she will be moving to the new facility in Virginia today.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  She’s battling some infection and other issues and we need the infection to go away before anything else can be done.

Yummy Recipes! [Photo Phail–I took pics, but forgot to upload!  I’ll do that soon, I promise!] Made some old standards, but started off the week with Paleo Fried Chicken and it was goooood!  My first attempt at fried chicken.  It made plenty, so Lewie was grateful to have some leftovers! I have a little grease burn, but it was worth it!

We finished the week with some old standards that are also super yummy!  Salmon Cakes, Cabbage Noodles with Sausage and Apples and tonight, Sweet Potato Hash!  YUM!

Things I’m learning:  I need my Sabbath time.  We worked really hard around the house on Saturday doing things that had been on our list for weeks and it feels so good to have them accomplished, but we didn’t allow time for our 7 mile run which meant it happened on Sunday.  The temperatures were much warmer then, so it wasn’t so bad, but that meant I had a completely packed day.  Just as I’m a cranky pants if I don’t get my quiet time, I’m cranky and just feel “off” all week with out that Sabbath time.  Definitely making that a priority this week!  I did have some encouragement to just have some Sabbath “moments” so I did that on Wednesday.

Interesting quote/Scripture: “Rather, beauty is something internal that can’t be destroyed. Beauty expresses itself in a gentle and quiet attitude which God considers precious.” 1 Peter 3:4 –Really something I’ve been pondering lately. After reading this scripture,  I then found a beautiful wallpaper on CrossCards  for this verse.  Love it when God does things like that!.  Also, this quote from Run the Bluegrass’ twitter has been a major source of inspiration: Dead Last Finish > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start

Hope you’ve had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

No Plan November

Rest Is More

I know–You’ve heard of No Shave November, but I’m proposing something even better. You may have noticed that today is October 27th and my last post was October 5th.  Yes–crazy month October has been.  And if I’m not careful, that craziness will only continue.

However, I’ve been really challenged to take my Sabbath each week and my daily time of peace and reflection.  I have been reminded just how much of an anchor these are for me.  I recently had quite a focus on Sabbath through church and a women’s retreat I helped lead.  One of the quotes that really stood out to me was from Ann Voskamp, whom I am coming to just absolutely love.  Two thoughts of hers:

Rest time is not lost time; rest time is what gives meaning to the rest of time.”

“If we don’t take breaks, we break.

As we are quickly approaching the holiday season and as much as I love the gatherings and celebrations with friends and family whom I love so dearly, sometimes I get a little anxious at how that’s going to impact my day-to-day or week-to-week life.  The past few months I’ve reflected on calendars that have had events every weekend day of each month.  The weeks are jam packed with after hours work activities and time to catch up with friends.  When I think about the holiday season approaching, sometimes I dread it–and that is the absolute opposite of what I should be doing!   I should be preparing my heart and life for the coming of our Savior.

In thinking of how this might pan out and envisioning stressful tear-filled conversations with the Beau, I had the idea of “No Plan November”.  In looking at our family calendar, outside of a work commitment the first Saturday and going out of town for Thanksgiving, we have no plans for the month–None!.  What an amazing opportunity!  Seriously.  Our family challenge and one that I’m extending to you is that we join together to make November a “No Plan November”.  What that means is that our calendars stay clear for us to focus on family, and friends, but in intentional and  meaningful ways. We plan each day as it greets us.  No making plans for next Saturday night…until Next Saturday.  Want to meet up for coffee?  Call someone that day and see if they’re free.  Want to have some friends over for a meal on Saturday evening?  Call them that morning to see if they can do it.  One step further–what if we actually called them instead of emailed them or texted them.  When’s the last time you’ve heard your college friend’s voice on the phone?  Or that friend from church you’ve just not gotten around to chatting with over a cup of coffee?

If more of us have freed up schedules, then it shouldn’t be too problematic to really take each day as it comes and invest in the opportunities for community that await us–day by day.  Now some of us may already have a packed month and that’s totally okay…I’m just wondering if we can do something small–perhaps one weekend day a month with no plans that leaves us open to the community that could await us.
So feel free to think it over, talk with your family and post a comment below if you too are up for such a challenge.

Best,