Be Still

With the warm weather arriving there’s more to enjoy outside!  We are often on-the-go to our newest favorite park.  Our kids are learning to ride bikes and my oldest daughter and I are getting ready for the kids marathon, so we keep busy at the park.  Pool season will soon be upon us soon, so the focus will then shift to swim lessons and such – looking forward to it!

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With the beautiful weather it’s easy to get busy outdoors – which can be a good thing.  At Bible Study today I was reminded of the need to be still.  Be still in the midst of the draw of the outdoors.  Sometimes all of this activity is taking the place of something deeper, and although it’s wonderful, it won’t satisfy.  Activity, pride, etc. can cheat us of God’s best.  As Beth Moore puts it:

It can cheat us of contentment..because you “deserve better than this.”

…cheat you of knowledge…because you already know it all.

…cheat you of healing…because you’re too full of pride to forgive.

…cheat you of genuine friendship…because nobody’s going to know the real you.

…cheat you of love…because real romance demands sacrifice.

…cheat you of God’s glory…because pride convinces you to seek your own.

Hope you have warm weather where you live, and a great Spring.  I hope you find time to be still.  Let me know in the comments what time of day/week works best for you to find quiet.

 

Letting Wonder Woman Go

Has someone ever challenged you to give up the status quo?  Are you a wonder woman or super mom that feels pressure to do it all?  Then this blog post is for you.  If this isn’t you, but you’re still reading, I hope it helps the perfectionist in you…

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For me, not that I was exactly wonder woman, it was when I got pregnant with my third child that I realized that the career that I was chasing was not what I really wanted or more importantly not what my family needed.  My husband would remind me that I was part-time, so I shouldn’t expect huge promotions, but I chased them anyway.  I had it all – I was part-time, had a great job and great family, but I was tired.  I also wanted more down time with my kids.  In the end, I left my job, not realizing that I’d have a profitable business a year or so later, for a fraction of the time.

Every situation is different, but I came to terms with the fact that I shouldn’t ‘have it all’ because that meant there was inevitably something that was missing.  Many times at the root of perfectionism is fear.  God wants to redeem it all.  I suppose the starting point is realizing that we need God, and that our relationship with Him is broken without Jesus.

This may just be a season…with our children this may be just a phase…but we don’t want to miss that phase right?  This looks different for everyone but I want MORE time with my kids and LESS distractions.

asana…an app to replace your paper lists!

Are you looking for a new, paperless way to keep lists?  I used to keep lists in an organized way, like in a planner, but it was always a mess tracking the progress of these “to-dos”, and in the end I had lots of crossed-out words.

I’ve been using asana.com and the asana app to keep track of things for years now.  I use it to keep lists and plan projects.  I use it for both work and personal use, and really recommend it.

Asana was created by a co-founder of Facebook and other individuals to help improve productivity at Facebook.  It’s a great tool because it allows one to create a project, and then tasks under that project, or just create tasks independently from a project.  You can set due dates, make them recurring if necessary, assign tasks to individuals, allow individuals to follow tasks, add attachments, etc.

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Asana has an add-on in Gmail which is great when you want to clear out your inbox and make the email content become a task instead.

There are other productivity tools like asana out there, like Trello, and so this blog post is for you if you needed the nudge to go and try one!

Being blessed with discomfort

Discomfort comes in all kinds of forms.  The sickness inside…the heartache…stress at work…being woken up by a newborn 5x in the middle of the night…discomfort means different things to different people.  To the early bird, getting up early is just the thing.  To the night owl, waking at 5am to write a blog doesn’t seem fun, but here I am up with my 2 year old and I’m tired, but glad to find the time to write this week.

Albert Einstein once said: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”  Not everything that matters can be measured, quantified, etc.  Right now…sleep…I feel like that’s something that matters and can be measured, but then again, how much does one really need?  Everyone’s different.

As a CPA, Einstein’s quote doesn’t surprisingly bother me.  As someone who’s trying to declutter it motivates me – not everything in my house counts – I can live without…  As a mother who’s trying to get sleep I’m wondering if I can apply the counting concept to the lack of sleep, sometimes, and trust that God will multiple benefit of the sleep I do get.

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger,
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort and
To turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

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Art Depicting St Francis of Assisi (see link)

The Family Dinner Project

My husband was traveling for work recently, and I found myself at the dinner table with our three little girls, and I Googled “dinner table games”.  I found this website and have been hooked on it: https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/fun/dinner-games/.  Here are my favorites:

abcs of gratitude

ABCs of Gratitude

Go around the table and each take a turn, in alphabetical order, to say something or someone you’re grateful for.  My oldest daughter who is 6 did really well at this game and it was so much fun.

20 Things I Love About…

For this game you pick a person, place, season (really anything) and you say 20 things you love about ________.  We actually did this game a bit differently at my moms (MOPS) group at church – we went around the table and all wrote down something we liked about the person whose name was at the top of the paper, and then we all read them at the end.  It was really encouraging.

Celebrity

Name a celebrity (say, Whitney Houston) and then another person name’s with the first letter of the previous celebrity’s last name (Hudson Taylor)…then repeat (Thomas Jefferson)…(Jennifer Lopez)………..

GREAT GAMES for car rides too!

Lists using chalkboard paint

Each season our family makes a list of activities, family visiting, vacations etc. – this helps the kids realize that there’s something to look forward to in every season.  It’s fun to look back on what we’ve done and I take a picture of each list.  We’ve done three lists so far and I’ll share them here to give you some ideas!

Summer:

Christmas:

Winter:

Spring has already started, so we better get moving on our list!

It was easy to make the chalkboard – I simply bought chalkboard paper and chalkboard paint markers.  I still have paper left on the original roll after covering the door that you see.  I simply erase with water the chalkboard paint and I’ve gotten three uses out of the one placing of paper.

Here’s the chalkboard paper…

…and chalkboard markers that I used:

This has been a lot of fun!

Birthday Presents (for Kids)

Hi to all (the mommas) who cringe about having a birthday party because of all the fuss and all the ‘junk’ (their kids get)!!

To reduce the birthday clutter, I have used the following poem to accompany the Evites for my oldest daughter’s birthday parties the past couple years and it’s been great for reducing birthday presents (which I have termed ‘junk’ after her 4 year old party):

Just wanted to mention – I’d like to spare you the fuss,
(not to mention my house feels just like ‘toys R us’)
I would like to suggest that for her special day,
If you’re feeling generous and to help on her way,
a couple dollars would be simply terrific,
as she wants to save money for something specific.
I hope you don’t mind or think me too rude
But I’d really appreciate the help if you could!

Some of my friends like to say only bring $7 if the child is turning 7, that sort of thing, but I don’t specify.

My daughter last year was able to buy a bicycle with the money from her party last year and it was awesome!

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I have another friend who does experiences (i.e. memberships, tickets, etc.) for Christmas and birthday gifts – she lets others give her kids physical gifts.

What have you done to minimize the birthday ‘clutter’ but still make your kids feel special and not minimize the celebration?