The dailiness of everything, ways to create and cope, help and heal, learn and live!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Lean in to it...

So when I have friends, both young and old asking how do you keep your sanity, how do I deal with the pain? How do I....? There are a million unhelpful answers to that question. I have two 20 year olds and a 17 year old underfoot right now - in a very small house! And quite frankly - I am having to do a lot of deep breathing. So - in the middle of hard things - especially right now with moms being home with the kiddos 24 - 7 - how do we cope?

For young women with young families, telling them that time will be gone before they know it and they need to learn to enjoy it while they are in it, just causes resentment - or seems to. I have seen many Facebook rants about how us older women come in and say things like that. So really - that is not helpful at all - though true it may be. When you are in the middle of what feels like constant stress, constant need, constant need from someone - your energy is depleted. Your will is gone. You are used up and feel like you can't take another minute. I do remember those days.

In my opinion - and this goes for both young mothers with little ones at home on up to us middle agers and older women, there are good ways to deal with the "I can't take it anymores".

The first thing is - make sure you are taking time to read and meditate. Preferably in the mornings before you start your day. It doesn't have to be long. Save your Bible study and ruminations for after the kiddos go to bed, or during nap time. In the mornings, set your timer - 15, 20 - 30 minutes, whatever you feel you have time for that day. Choose an easy Bible reading plan that gives you sustaining scripture and read it, then pray it, then think on it - just for a bit. Then pray over your family and your list of things to do that day and get to work. The timer is there just to help you manage your time well.
8 simple daily Bible reading plans -

This means you either have to plan to get up before your kiddos do, or that you will have to get them busy doing something while you take this time. I'm good with setting them in front of Veggietales - or whatever the babies are watching these days.

That brings me to my next point. The age of social media is crushing in it's life sucking standards. We aren't living life when we try to keep up with all the people around us - we are extinguishing real living. I love social media - especially Facebook. It lets me catch up with extended family and all of my discipleship kiddos I have had over the years. It is a blessing to me. But I am easily sucked into the shiny, happy lives of my friends and can find myself wondering why we can't afford to go to Disney every year, or to the Bahamas, or - well - whatever thing our friends are sharing that day can feel like a jab instead of an encouragement. So - limit your time there. Do not follow the friends who are constantly thrusting their glitzy lives at you. Find the ones that encourage you and make you want to love Jesus more and follow them. You don't have to unfriend anyone. But your feed can be full of people that you enjoy. And heaven forbid that you take your high standard friends at their word for what they are actually doing. Keep your standards high - but trust in God's grace to help you with your babies. Your house does not have to be perfect. You do not have to have hard wood floors, and granite counter tops. You do not have to drive a Tahoe. Make your house a home. Be more driven to make it have a feeling of love and generosity - not that it has the latest Chip and Joanna feel to it. Not that that is wrong - it is just extra and not at all necessary. Find a place where you can enjoy your family without the pressure of the list of things you HAVE to do to make your children able to function successfully in the world.

I wanted to be that mama. The one where people thought I had it together and I was on top of it all. It was exhausting. And frankly - it sucked more of the life out of me than I was willing to give as an older mom. I remember telling people what I did and didn't do. I remember telling them "I always" or "I never" and eventually my always turned into nevers and nevers turned into always. So yeah - that plan never works in my opinion. Instead, remember that God loves your babies even more than you, and he is not going to let them miss an opportunity that will grow them closer to him. He will place those opportunities within  reach of you and your children as they grow. If you want to run your legs off taking them to every sport, every music lesson for multiple instruments, dance and every clinic and feel that they are missing out if you don't get them into travel ball (can you tell I am talking to myself? Because I am) team out there - then you have no one to blame but yourself. It is equally important that they get to sit and look out the window and let their little minds wander, as it is that they are increasing their knowledge and physical prowess. They need to wander and play and enjoy simplicity. Now I get it - even though I seriously lean toward the lazy - I understand you Type A'ers need to move and do. Just find your balance. Happy medium is my favorite go to. Do not let stress ruin your days. Pick carefully what you fill your lives with and learn to let yourself off the hook when things are too hard. God's grace is sufficient - even if your kids don't get to do what you think will make them the best. It's ok. God has them. Walk in faith knowing that your efforts are not what they always need. God's grace is.

Lastly - and I am sure I will think of a million other things that helped as well - but I found when I leaned into something hard, it helped with the crazy, or the hurt, or the pressure. Leaning into it simply put - well let me just use baseball lingo since I am a 3 boy mom and have experienced years of baseball. If you lean into a pitch that is inside and it hits you...you get to first base. You move forward. This is a tactical play. It stings, maybe it hurts - but you move forward. This is sometimes how I deal with life. I just deal with the hard. I hunker down and take the hit knowing it will pass soon enough and that every moment I am given grace and strength by a loving, heavenly Father. I put scripture up around the house that reminds me that I can do it moment by moment and before I know it, I have moved from one hard stage to the next hard stage.

I think it helps to remember that every stage we go through gets easier in some ways and harder in others. It also helps us keep from thinking we are in a worse situation than the ones that have older children. There is never a stage that our children go through that is not difficult in some way. I remember talking to an older friend when she told me that this stage with her grown, married children was the hardest. I was like WHAT? She said that when they were struggling she couldn't fix it anymore. She had to back off and let them manage it themselves. I was devastated. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw that she was right. My comfort in every stage thus far was that I had a semblance of control when it came to helping my boys. That goes away once they become adults. But once again - leaning into it - hunkering down and mourning their failures as they start managing their own lives. It works. It is not always easy and I will say I fight it, but looking at the worst case scenario and reminding myself that God will take care of them, just as he has me, is truly helpful.

God bless you as you find your way. You are always welcome to contact me if you have questions, or need someone to listen.

mismi40 at gmail.com

Friday, June 14, 2019

Everybody loves a story....

and we all have one. Our stories change from day to day. I love to hear the back stories of people and places. One of my favorite things to do when we travel is to look up the weird names of the towns we pass through and see how they got the names. So much fun. So interesting!

But each one of our stories holds the key to why we are the way we are, how we got to be where we are, where we are headed and what drives us.

I have "wallered" in my past. I have wanted to let a moment in time define me. But it was just a chapter. And those hard chapters are best to learn from and move past. Take what you learn, and shake the dust off. Find ways to see those faces that hurt you with joy and supernatural love (love of God - no way I am strong enough to do that), or to use the times you feel you failed as experience for the next hurdle. Gird yourself (encircle with sword - or tools) to defeat the next battle. And what story does not include some kind of battle? It is what builds the character in our faces, they give us the ability to face the future without fear and a chance to offer grace because we know what it feels like to be defeated and to win.

I adore a good story. Mine is of a girl who hoped to sing and lead others in worship and who succeeded at such for a time and who wants to again. One who used her good works as her righteousness and was disillusioned when she found her good works did not mean life would not hold pain. A girl who loved others even when they were not always well loved. And one who trusted unwisely and sometimes very unwisely stepped into situations that would cause her to doubt her faith, to withhold friendship and to be sorry she allowed her hurt to drive her away. And one who found an old friend and married him - her complete opposite, who had three precious boys. But all in all it has been a life full of joy. Though I wish I had fought harder in some cases, I am thankful that God gave me the hard times, so that I can hold out hope to others. And throughout it all there was fun - even in the midst of hurt, there was laughter, and there was love. I was not laid out totally.

I want to encourage those who find themselves in the same place to surround themselves in the fellowship of those who love God  and to be HONEST in their struggles. There are others who are feeling just like you. They need to know they are not alone in their quest to move past the hurt. They need to be encouraged to KNOW that every person despite what their shiny social media stories depict, that there is pain there and they are real people who struggle mightily with the same things you do. We all put our best story forward. I encourage you to be honest about yours. Give us the good and the bad. Don't waller like me - but share it so others can know there is always hope in the midst of the yuck of this life. And there is much joy in this life as well. The yuck kind of helps us enjoy those joyful moments even more.

Share your story with me! I want to hear it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Summer Time

I woke up with things bumping into each other in my head this morning. Why do I love pajamas so much? That egg that Grayson cracked yesterday reminded me of how we can look so beautiful on the outside and be so nasty on the inside. I need to get Andy's grill put together so we can grill tonight...or maybe tomorrow night. Should I get the 19 year old up for class or should I just let him stay there...what if he forgot  set his alarm? Oh my gosh - is that the litter box I smell all the way back here?

These things. All like a bowl of spaghetti in my head. Until I rolled my butt out of the bed and looked out the window. Then I thought, those chairs for the back porch should have been here yesterday- I never saw them. I grabbed my phone and tracked it and sure enough it said it had been delivered. Yikes. I never saw them. I poke my head out the front door and there they are. And I have to put them alllllll together. Along with Andy's grill. phth.

But OH MY GOODNESS! IT IS BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE. AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!

I cannot tell you enough how much I love summer. And I love it in all of it' moods. Sunny and beautiful. Cloudy and humid. Sunny and humid. Thunderstorms are really lovely.

At least at the beginning. Summer is a stunner. It makes my heart skip.

As a paraeducator for special needs - both self contained and inclusion, I need a chunk of time to recharge my batteries. To dream. To read. To let my imagination wander down pathways - meander even. I love to meander. I am a meanderer. I just am not always able to do that. Even though it feels like my normal state. So needless to stay 9 months of full gear tend to wear me down. I pour myself into my job. Because I love it. But it can make me an emotional mess. Working with people - adults can be so hard. Women - you especially - certainly not all of you- but yeah - maybe all of you - dang girls...you  gotta' get those insecurities under wraps. Of course I am talking to myself. My insecurities run RAMPANT. I think honesty kind of helps. Just let it out. Tell people your foibles.

SO THAT UP THERE....that is what it is like in my head all the time. I have to restrain it and redirect it constantly during the school year. But in the summer - I have time and space to let it go. And it is delightful.

I watch TED talks and read lots of stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff. I ponder and I act on things I have wanted to get done. The time my mind stays focused and doesn't run around like a chicken with its head cut off is when I am reading, writing, or watching movies. So I do a lot of that. I clean my house knowing once school starts it will be 9 months before it gets cleaned again. I organize and throw away, give away, re-organize - hoping that I will finally find the key to keeping things where they are supposed to be - (good luck girl -rolling my eyes).

But SUMMER...lets me roam. I don't have to get it all done. I let myself off the hook to enjoy moments that come up. I can take on too much sometimes. But normally that is not a bad thing. I make it harder than it has to be most of the time.

But my heart is thankful for it. And I enjoy it so. It really does make me better for the coming school year. I know that the students and I need it desperately!

So - here's to summer. Enjoy every minute. Happy meandering...if that's your thing. ;)