Grateful Tuesdays- When It’s Easy

 

 

 

So I started out the year really excited for my new series, which I started but never continued. That is not so awesome if you are trying to be a consistent blogger. But plans changed and I had to take on another job, school, etc, and the series just got left in the dust with all of my other brilliant ideas that I never follow through on.

It is so easy to blog about meals, and grocery deals, but it isn’t always easy to be authentic on the internet and share details of what is going on in your life. When it’s easy, I can write about it all day long, but when it’s hard I avoid it like the plague. So here is the real truth: It wasn’t the job, school, etc. It was just that I didn’t make time to do it. Plain and simple.

But don’t we all do that? How often is it easier to scroll through Instagram or Facebook, when we have stuff to actually do? We have lives to actually live and relationships to nurture, but we stare at our phones or televisions because it is easier.

I have always had these huge dreams to write a book, and to be a blogger whose blog is actually read by other people. But that is really hard work and it’s easier (but maybe a little soul crushing)to go work in an office for a steady paycheck. (not that you can’t do both!)It’s easy to ignore your calling and dreams when you tell yourself that it’s crazy and irresponsible.

But even though they often seem crazy, irresponsible, and unattainable, I am GRATEFUL for huge dreams. I am grateful for the ambitions that I have and I want to try to be a better steward of the gifts that God has given me. I am grateful for the hard stuff, because it helps me to grow as a person. Even if it is never more than a hobby, you should be grateful for the things that you love to do and I should too. These are the things that give us joy and we need to make time for them!

What thing that you love have you been avoiding and know you should make time for?

My Word – Grateful Tuesdays

 

For the last few years I have had many friends talk about what their word for the year was. I have always loved the idea of having a word for the year, but I have never bothered to actually do it. This year, I have a word and truth is I sort of came upon it by accident a couple of weeks ago.

These last few months have been a little difficult for Josh and I. We had some things happen that set us back a bit in the fall. So needless to say, we have both really struggled with the why’s of it all. It has been very frustrating and made us wonder if we will ever achieve the goals we have set. Mostly, it has brought on a great feeling of dissatisfaction with our lives right now. To be completely honest, I just feel so tired of feeling this way and allowing life’s struggles to make me feel this way.

I think where this all started for me was on Christmas Eve. Josh and I were up late wrapping the Christmas presents, and I remember worrying that we didn’t get enough for the kids. I imagined their disappointed faces when they saw that there wasn’t quite as much under the tree this year. I went to bed that night hoping that they just wouldn’t notice.

All of my fears and worries were completely put to rest the next morning when (at 7 am, I finally gave in after telling Caleb to go back to sleep at least 5 times since 4 am) all of the kids were really excited about their presents. There were oohs and ahhs even coming from the two tired teenagers. They were grateful for what we had been able to give them, and not disappointed at all. As I watched them open and smile, it just really warmed my heart and I wondered why I had ever been so stressed out in the first place.

That evening, I really began to wonder what my life would be like if I started being more intentionally grateful in my daily life. Instead of focusing on all of the things that aren’t going the way I had hoped, what would happen if I spent more time being grateful for the things that are going right? Right now, I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I hope with every week I can come here and tell you stories of how it has made an impact in my life.

These last weeks have been very frustrating and stressful. However, I was able to think of some things that I am very grateful for this week.

  1. I am grateful for my family.
  2. I am grateful to have a home and heat, especially right now during this cold spell. I am reminding myself that there are many who don’t.
  3. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to finish my degree. (And excited about finally getting it done in the next year and a half.

So instead of ending up with just one word this year, I ended up with a phrase: Live Life Intentionally Grateful”

We’ll see how this goes…

 

P.S. I created a free printable journal if you would like to follow along with me during this journey. Scroll down and look to the right. Enter your email address and click both sign up and subscribe. You will be signed up for my newsletter and receive your free journal. (And don’t worry, I promise not to email you constantly!)

Intentionally Grateful Tuesdays

 

This year, I am setting out to live a more grateful life, and see what kind of changes and effects it has on my daily life. I have often found myself frustrated with life and feeling like I need more in order to be happy. If this or that were different, things would be just right. Do you ever find yourself feeling this way? Instead of feeling frustrated by the things that I don’t have or feel like I should have already accomplished by now, I am going to look for ways to be grateful for the life I already have this year. Every Tuesday, I will be posting a new story about how living this way is making a difference in my life.

I would love it if you would join me as I start this journey in my life! I have prepared a printable workbook that will serve as a journal for you as you begin your intentionally grateful journey this year. The workbook is free, and will be delivered directly to your inbox when you subscribe to my newsletter! All you have to do is look to the right, scroll down a bit, type in your email address and click subscribe. (I promise to never share or sell your info and I also promise not to spam you with constant emails!)

Also, don’t forget to follow my Facebook page, so you can keep up with the weekly posts and share your experiences!

Getting a New Pair of Glasses

I can’t believe it was almost four years ago that I wrote this post. My kids were 14, 9, 4, and 2. I was in the thick of parenting all of the ages. My stresses are different now, but so much of this still rings true. So for all of the moms out there, this one is for you! 

Next week I will turn 32, and I feel like I have been a mother forever at this point. Fourteen years ago, when I turned 18, it would be one week later that I would become a mother. From the time I found out I was pregnant with Alyssa, I never had a doubt that I would keep her, and from that day on I spent most of my time trying to learn how to be an adult. I learned to be strong and that I could make it through anything. Sometimes I feel like I have gone through these last 14 years always trying to be older to compensate for the fact that I was so young. It used to be so hard for me and really hurt my feelings when people would point out how young I looked/was. Once when I was in the mall (only about 4 years ago) this lady thought I was 16, and here I am walking with a couple of kids age 9 &4. Honestly, it kind of made me mad and hurt that this lady had seemed to go out of her way to point out that I must have started young.

When you start out your adult life as a newlywed, pregnant, and already out on your own it is sort of like being thrown into a pool to learn how to swim. Sure you have people telling you what to do, but it is ultimately you that has to swim so that you don’t sink. And along the way there is this constant pressure that you should be doing this or that. You should be all things at all times, so that is what you set your goals to. You will work full time to make sure that your kids had what you didn’t. You will stay at home with your kids and cook all the time and always be in a state of crafty, mommy bliss. And then came the social networks and the blogs and Pinterest and it is like High School : Mommy Edition. Who took their kids to Sunday School? Who cooked healthy awesome meals all this week? Who has the right political agenda? Who buys cute handmade clothes for their kids? Who had fun activities planned out for every day of Christmas break? Who made the best teacher gift? Who can make a wreath that looks just like that one they pinned? And not that there is anything wrong with these things that we post. The thing that is wrong is how we read them. Oh wow, I sure wish I had the time/energy/money to do that.Why do we do that to ourselves?

It is a learning process, this job of motherhood. You have to allow yourself to be and accept who you are. Being unapologetic about who I am scares the crap out of me and I suspect that hiding (besides my thyroid) it has helped lead to this state of anxiety and depression that I have been in lately. From the time I became an adult, I have been different. I wasn’t going to college or getting a job, I was changing diapers. And I was ashamed that I wasn’t doing things “the right way”. I have always looked young and when people would stare at me as I pushed a stroller, I felt shame. So I tried really hard to be this super awesome, mature and extremely responsible person, so people would think all of those things about me. But now I know that I am different and that is alright. I don’t have to pretend to be something that I am not. Some days I get a lot of things done around the house. Some days I get almost nothing done around the house. Some days I do fun awesome things with my kids and some days I just want them to just go play and leave me alone. Some days are really good and some days are really bad and some days are just eh!

Parenting is Hard!

This was what we looked like after grocery shopping on Saturday!

So today I am stepping out into the open to say this: There is no right or wrong way to do things. There is no system out there that works for everyone. Some days you are going to be Suzy homemaker and some days will leave you wishing for a convertible and a beach. Okay, a lot of days. So this is what I am trying so hard to do. Let go of any expectations that I have of myself and just try to be my best self every day. What that means is that I wake up and I have things that I know must be done that day. Like sending out the rent check, making sure there is food to eat, or making sure everyone at least has clean underwear! For now I am letting go of the lists and just doing what I can each day. If I get the house clean, or take the kids somewhere fun, do crafts and painting, don’t yell at anyone, don’t lose my patience, cook an awesome meal, then I had a good day. If I am unable to do anything that day and feel bitter then I have probably let the demons who tell me that I am not good enough in that day. And I need to give myself a break and stop being so tough and trying too hard.

So the pressure is off. No more unrealistic expectations.No more stress about being perfect or looking way too young to have a kid going into high school. Or worrying what people think about the fact that I have four kids. And I am not going to feel guilty about all of the things that I haven’t gotten done. I am going to try to feel good about the things that I have done and press on every day and try to be what I can be that day. I hope you will too and by the way I love all of the cute things that we all post on Facebook etc., because we are just excited that we did something cool and share worthy that day. But when you go through your posts instead of envy thinking that this woman must do this cool stuff all of the time, remember that she has really crappy days too. She posted this today because it was a positive thing and it made her feel good about herself and silently congratulate her because we all know how hard being a parent really is.

Really Important Work

Sometimes I start to write things on here and I get interrupted by my children and never finish them. It is like I lose my train of thought and that is just it. Sometimes I write things on here and I am too scared too publish them. Sometimes I can’t write at all because there is just nothing there. Nothing. It’s as if I am all used up and I just don’t have anything left over. I am numb and I just cannot do anything else. I think I have been pretty numb off and on for a while now, so I find something that I think works for me until it just doesn’t anymore. Then I am numb again. And the cycle goes on and on. And I find myself wondering what does it all mean? What am I doing? What am I DOING? I remind myself that I am doing something so important right now, I am raising little humans, teaching them to be kind, loving and brave. Teaching them to do the right thing and to be nice at school. Helping them to learn about faith and not to be afraid to ask questions and seek out the answers. Teaching them to think for themselves and sometimes just teaching them to hold a pencil, or tie a shoe or even put their pants on. It is such important work, exhausting work, and sometimes it is work that leaves you feeling all used up and spit out. And sometimes it is wonderful when you watch your children do things that you taught them to do. And even though it didn’t seem like it at the time, they were listening to you!

Here is my problem: I can’t shake this nagging feeling that there is something out there that I should be doing. Something more than I am doing now. It is hard to shake the feeling that life has got to be more than this daily stuff. It just seems like there should be more important work than the daily grind, working, working until you must rest. I can’t figure out what it is that nags me constantly, so I come up with all of these ideas, and none of them really seem just right. There is ALWAYS a reason why those things aren’t going to work. Then I remind myself that I am doing REALLY IMPORTANT work. When you are raising children, sometimes the days are so long and hard that you can’t even see that you did something good today. Then you spend time beating yourself up over that moment you had when you yelled at your kid that day because he refused to put his shoes on. You wonder what you are doing wrong when your kids don’t listen to anything you say. But then you have a moment when things go right and you know that you aren’t completely screwing it up. And you have a moment of being so proud of your kids for their accomplishment no matter how big or small.

It is hard to hold on to those moments when your kids are screaming in the grocery store. It is hard to hold on to those moments when your 2 year old cries about everything all morning long and you can’t understand what she is saying! At the end of the day there is just NOTHING left. NOTHING! I always think that the mom’s with the babies and the toddlers and the preschoolers, were are in the thick of it, just trying to do the best we can without pulling our hair out. But it seems like every age comes with its own set of problems and you are just finished with one textbook and the whole thing changes completely. I don’t think we are ever going to know the exact right thing to do at the exact right time. You just have to do what you can, what you think is right and learn to forgive yourself when you screw it up. Perhaps it would be good if all of us mothers kept a journal just for those precious moments and we can pull it out when everything has gone to hell that day. I think it would help me for sure. Sometimes I really need those reminders, I think we all do, especially on the rough days. I know we always try to put our best side out there for everyone to see but I think sometimes it is just good to know that things don’t ever go perfectly for any mom. So if you run across a mom who is having a hard day, just give her a smile, one that says that it is going to be okay!

And one last thing, the other day I was at Target, with my giant buggy empty behind the van while I buckled the kids in and this very nice lady came and said ” If you are done with that, I will take this back for you. It has been a long time, but I have been where you are.” I told her thank you. But what I really meant was ” Thank you for noticing that I could use a little help. The fact that you stopped to help me means a lot to me. And honestly, it really makes my day better knowing that someone cares enough to take a moment to help make my day a little easier.” And maybe that IS the bigger more important thing : Seeing and noticing what is going on around me. Trying to help others. Trying to understand others. It doesn’t have to be anything big to make a difference to someone else. And then not only have you made someone else feel better, you feel better, and if you’re kids are watching, it is probably a better lesson than any speech you could ever give.

Getting A New Pair of Glasses

Next week I will turn 32, and I feel like I have been a mother forever at this point. Fourteen years ago, when I turned 18, it would be one week later that I would become a mother. From the time I found out I was pregnant with Alyssa, I never had a doubt that I would keep her, and from that day on I spent most of my time trying to learn how to be an adult. I learned to be strong and that I could make it through anything. Sometimes I feel like I have gone through these last 14 years always trying to be older to compensate for the fact that I was so young. It used to be so hard for me and really hurt my feelings when people would point out how young I looked/was. Once when I was in the mall (only about 4 years ago) this lady thought I was 16, and here I am walking with a couple of kids age 9 &4. Honestly, it kind of made me mad and hurt that this lady had seemed to go out of her way to point out that I must have started young.

When you start out your adult life as a newlywed, pregnant, and already out on your own it is sort of like being thrown into a pool to learn how to swim. Sure you have people telling you what to do, but it is ultimately you that has to swim so that you don’t sink. And along the way there is this constant pressure that you should be doing this or that. You should be all things at all times, so that is what you set your goals to. You will work full time to make sure that your kids had what you didn’t. You will stay at home with your kids and cook all the time and always be in a state of crafty, mommy bliss. And then came the social networks and the blogs and Pinterest and it is like High School : Mommy Edition. Who took their kids to Sunday School? Who cooked healthy awesome meals all this week? Who has the right political agenda? Who buys cute handmade clothes for their kids? Who had fun activities planned out for every day of Christmas break? Who made the best teacher gift? Who can make a wreath that looks just like that one they pinned? And not that there is anything wrong with these things that we post. The thing that is wrong is how we read them. Oh wow, I sure wish I had the time/energy/money to do that.Why do we do that to ourselves?

It is a learning process, this job of motherhood. You have to allow yourself to be and accept who you are. Being unapologetic about who I am scares the crap out of me and I suspect that hiding (besides my thyroid) it has helped lead to this state of anxiety and depression that I have been in lately. From the time I became an adult, I have been different. I wasn’t going to college or getting a job, I was changing diapers. And I was ashamed that I wasn’t doing things “the right way”. I have always looked young and when people would stare at me as I pushed a stroller, I felt shame. So I tried really hard to be this super awesome, mature and extremely responsible person, so people would think all of those things about me. But now I know that I am different and that is alright. I don’t have to pretend to be something that I am not. Some days I get a lot of things done around the house. Some days I get almost nothing done around the house. Some days I do fun awesome things with my kids and some days I just want them to just go play and leave me alone. Some days are really good and some days are really bad and some days are just eh!

This was what we looked like after grocery shopping on Saturday!

So today I am stepping out into the open to say this: There is no right or wrong way to do things. There is no system out there that works for everyone. Some days you are going to be Suzy homemaker and some days will leave you wishing for a convertible and a beach. Okay, a lot of days. So this is what I am trying so hard to do. Let go of any expectations that I have of myself and just try to be my best self every day. What that means is that I wake up and I have things that I know must be done that day. Like sending out the rent check, making sure there is food to eat, or making sure everyone at least has clean underwear! For now I am letting go of the lists and just doing what I can each day. If I get the house clean, or take the kids somewhere fun, do crafts and painting, don’t yell at anyone, don’t lose my patience, cook an awesome meal, then I had a good day. If I am unable to do anything that day and feel bitter then I have probably let the demons who tell me that I am not good enough in that day. And I need to give myself a break and stop being so tough and trying too hard.

So the pressure is off. No more unrealistic expectations.No more stress about being perfect or looking way too young to have a kid going into high school. Or worrying what people think about the fact that I have four kids. And I am not going to feel guilty about all of the things that I haven’t gotten done. I am going to try to feel good about the things that I have done and press on every day and try to be what I can be that day. I hope you will too and by the way I love all of the cute things that we all post on Facebook etc., because we are just excited that we did something cool and share worthy that day. But when you go through your posts instead of envy thinking that this woman must do this cool stuff all of the time, remember that she has really crappy days too. She posted this today because it was a positive thing and it made her feel good about herself and silently congratulate her because we all know how hard being a parent really is.