1.9.19: Cute Date Alert and Reminder to Be Present

Happy New Year once again!  I like to use this greeting until February.

Yesterday was cute date 1.9.19.

I am struggling with finding the time to do everything I need to do and want to do.  My brain is never in rest mode as it is always thinking in list form, for the things I need or want to do for the three kids, for the family or home as a whole, or for myself.

Even during a morning walk with my baby girl, exploring the still-new ‘hood, my mind was elsewhere, wondering what my next steps are and how I can accomplish them this year.  I have to catch myself and come back in to the sunny moment, as we pick up branched berries and rocks to study.

The era of the smartphone is not good for my inability to shut my mind off.  I even borrowed “How to Break Up with Your Phone” from the library but only skimmed it as I got distracted, probably by my phone, or the kids, or other more pressing or enjoyable matters, and had to return it on its due date as another patron had requested it.

Olive was my cute date to her new Mommy and Me class this year, on cute date 1.9.19, and as I set her down, I happened to check my phone “real quick” and then became preoccupied thinking about more To Do’s that the phone check had sparked.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, I jotted down some notes using the Rule of Life, first introduced to us through our old church in NYC.  Here are the steps:

Step 1
Write down everything you currently do (or hope to do) that nurtures your spirit and fills you with delight  (e.g. people, places, activities).   Normally, when we think of spiritual activities, we limit ourselves to things such as prayer, going to church, worship, and Bible reading. Don’t censor yourself.  Your list may include gardening, walking the dog, being in nature, talking with close friends, cooking, painting, jumping out of airplanes, or any number of other possibilities. List them all!
Step 2
Write down the activities you need to avoid, limit or eliminate that pull you away from remaining anchored in Christ.  This refers to avoiding certain things that impact your spirit negatively – such as violent movies, excessive social media involvement, being harried, and going beyond your limits. The list that you create, whether you know it or not, is your unconscious way of life.
Step 3
What are the challenging “have to’s” in this season of your life that are impact your rhythms? (e.g. caring for aging parents, a special needs child, a demanding season at work, parenting small children, an illness, etc.)

 

I was able to use this as a tool to recognize that in Step 1, rest, being out in nature, doing life with others, writing, reading, prayer and more were crucial for me to be healthy.

Step 2:  excessive social media scrolling and phone-checking and stacking up my days so that there were no margins to breathe were harmful to me and anxiety-inducing.  Kevin, a peacekeeper to a fault, shared that for him, arguing with me was in his Step 2 as something he needs to avoid.  That actually helped me understand his mindset more as I am more confrontational by nature.

And Step 3 is tricky as we are in a season of life where a toddler, as ladylike as she is, zaps our energy and our two growing boys also need us in different ways.  So in one sense, this is a reminder for us to slow it down and not pack it in, but Kevin and I both like to do a lot: participate in different activities and spend time with quality people so that we are not an island unto our family unit.  The key is always balance:  much needed rest, fun, time together as a couple, time alone on our own, but wait, how about one-on-one with each kid, de-cluttering, organizing, grocery-shopping, and more?

On the one hand, I’m excited because the reason I feel overwhelmed is not only because there is so much I need to do, but WANT to do.

Lord, help me to slow my thoughts down and be present; to breathe and know that You are God and I am not.  Even if I drop the ball on some time-sensitive registration or research, it is okay.  I need not constantly check my phone or have my phone rule my life.

Thank You for a new year to fill up.  And thank You that I need not be master of the universe though I try to control my little household.

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These Thoughts Got to Go Somewhere

I am overdue for many things I wanted to write about so I am going to spill them out at once.

  1.  The Despicable Larry Nassar:

    “The disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, a judge announced Wednesday, after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.” (CNN)

    This man violated girls *while their parents were in the room* seeking his help for their daughters’ gymnastics-related injuries.  Gasp!

    This vile man made me realize that even though I try my best to be my kids’ protector, advocate, and cheerleader, there is a tremendous amount of faith involved in letting them go daily.  Faith not only to release them into their large NYC public school, but on fieldtrips and extracurricular activities where I can’t fully know the character of the parent chaperones or coaches or strangers they are bound to come in contact with.  As of now, their activities are not full drop-offs, but I will need to entrust them in this world’s care more and more.

    Please, Lord, protect them.  You are Lord and I am not.  It is not possible for me to be their protector at all times.

2.  Your Privilege is Hanging Out:  A lawyer mom who married wealthy and will likely never work again, by “choice,” posted the most self-indulgent, privileged, tone-deaf and insensitive drivel I have ever seen.  She is a SAHM with a staff that does what most SAHMs have to do for themselves, including a full-time nanny, house cleaner, a gardener, and a gardener who only does the weeding(!).  She is the 1%.

What irked me was that she couldn’t foresee the sh*tstorm she would start by directly and specifically laying out her riches before the weary eyes of most other moms as they got ready for work, whether it was work they must do or choose to do, or SAHMs who do what her staff does for her.  She even added a line about how she is the lady that we all love to hate.  Oof!  You can be that privileged but have the sense to not blast it out on a huge social media group of moms who don’t lead such a charmed life.

For my own health, I need to move on from eyerolling since last night BUT the good that came out of this is that it reminded me that I will definitely invest more in doing stuff that gives me life, OUTSIDE of my beloved kids.  Though Tone Deaf’s creature comforts do sound cushy, it reminded me that my dream is not to become a lady of leisure.  I want to have purpose beyond excessive self-care that sounds more like she doesn’t want to do any chores.

I now work again part-time out of necessity but even without that financial necessity, I would do some form of work because I have longings and skills separate and apart from being a mama.  I find it crucial for my mental health though I know this is a loaded topic and some extremely conservative circles don’t support this notion.  I firmly believe that having my own identity will help when the Empty Nest years hit, even though I stay home more than work.

3.  Rule of Life (as explained by Pastor Rich Villodas  – copied and pasted from one of his posts):

Here are the steps…Step 1
Write down everything you currently do (or hope to do) that nurtures your spirit and fills you with delight  (e.g. people, places, activities).   Normally, when we think of spiritual activities, we limit ourselves to things such as prayer, going to church, worship, and Bible reading. Don’t censor yourself.  Your list may include gardening, walking the dog, being in nature, talking with close friends, cooking, painting, jumping out of airplanes, or any number of other possibilities. List them all!
Step 2
Write down the activities you need to avoid, limit or eliminate that pull you away from remaining anchored in Christ.  This refers to avoiding certain things that impact your spirit negatively – such as violent movies, excessive social media involvement, being harried, and going beyond your limits. The list that you create, whether you know it or not, is your unconscious way of life.
Step 3
What are the challenging “have to’s” in this season of your life that are impact your rhythms? (e.g. caring for aging parents, a special needs child, a demanding season at work, parenting small children, an illness, etc.)
Step 4
Fill in the Rule of Life worksheet.  (See photo below – Pastor Rich’s example)
Step 5 – Share your Rule with someone as a means of helping you utilize it to order your life in the way of Jesus.
My Step 1 – WHAT NURTURES MY SPIRIT definitely includes reading and writing.  And nature.  And beauty.  And even boring adult stuff like making sure we have enough income so that finances don’t suck out my life force.  And nurturing real-life friendships despite busyness.
My Step 2 would be to pull away from excessive Facebooking as evidenced by my wasted energy, viscerally reacting to that lady’s post.
My Step 3 is that we are parenting three small children including our bonus infant while juggling 1.5 work schedules.  I need to respect this limit instead of trying to Amazing Race all around town and feeling guilty for not setting up playdates during this stage.
Thanks for reading.
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