Before You Set Goals for 2017

An older woman once said that she talked out both sides of her mouth. She would say, “get up off the couch and get to work” at the same time that she was saying, “there’s grace for rest and recognition of limits.” But she explained that she was talking to both sides of the personality spectrum. There are some people who need all the extra prodding just to get up and get the basics done. And there are some people who will push, push, push until they are about to fall over from exhaustion.

It’s helpful to learn about yourself. Pay attention to what motivates you, take personality tests, find what works for you when it comes to planning and doing your work. Then you know how to talk to yourself.

I tend to to fall on the how many things can I cross off my list the fastest side. Usually this comes in handy, but as I’ve gotten deeper in motherhood, I’ve come to realize that’s not always the best method when you’re trying to nurture children and not just clean the house.

Choosing the Adventure

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. -Helen Keller

(Sometimes living an adventure means that you fracture your ankle at volleyball practice. But I’ll take the fractured ankle over sidelining myself in life for fear of what might happen.) I read the above quote on Instagram (I seriously love the inspiration I’ve curated for myself on IG) and was reminded that I get to choose my attitude every single day.

One of my favorite things about my life as a stay-at-home mom (I’m not sure I can legitimately call myself that anymore) is the variety of the work I get to do. I get to do the daily work with my munchkins: living life, doing school, and learning to get along. I get to write and podcast. I get to sing. I get to coach volleyball. I keep a friend’s baby and get my baby fix on. If variety is the spice of life, we’re pretty spicy around here. And I love that. There’s absolutely no time to be bored.

When You Want Personal Growth

I went up for the hit at practice and barely grazed the ball. I might not have played volleyball for six years but there was something else wrong with my hitting. So I asked. Even though I was a coach and maybe should have had it all together, I walked over to another coach, who is an excellent hitter, and said, “ok, what am I doing wrong?”

He told me. The next hit wasn’t great (remember that whole six year gap?) but it did feel like hitting when I corrected the problem.

So much of growth comes from being teachable. It was the first thing I told my girls when we held our first practice alone. Learning to play volleyball is, in a large part, based on how teachable you are. Will you be offended when you’re corrected? Will you do what you’re told, even if you think you know better? Will you complete the practice necessary to get better and refuse to give up?

Sports don’t prepare most people for a life of sports. Sure, a talented few will move on to play in college, and an even smaller number will play some type of professional ball. But for most of us, sports is a fun outlet where we can learn skills that will help us in life.

Laundry on the Couch

When we came home from church Sunday night we sat the boys down at the table for a snack and an episode or two of Fireman Sam and I started what I call my ‘house attack.’ I folded a load of clothes, put more clothes in the washer and dryer. I cleaned the bathroom. (Really, I did, even though it still smells like pee.) I got out pajamas and diapers and towels for bedtime showers. I picked up our bedroom and watered my succulent.

That’s a lot of how cleaning and laundry go around here anymore. A few years ago, that would have been a failure; now it’s just a manageable way of life.

We attempt to keep our house fairly clean and neat. I have a weekly cleaning schedule. The boys and I regularly pick up toys through the day. My husband pitches in with whatever needs to be done. We’re throwing out clutter.

How to Get Your Work Done

It’s the earlier morning as I’m writing. I won’t quite claim early morning since most of the working world is already up. I’m trying to ease back into my morning work habits and here I am, writing before my kids are up. As early as I’d like? Nope. Did I do the whole morning routine I’d like to? Nope. And I almost stayed in bed because of that. But then I realized that I’m going to want at the end of the day is to have written. And if all I get is 200 words, that will be better than none.

It doesn’t help me to say “well, the kids will be up soon so it’s not worth my time.” It doesn’t help me to make excuses like, “I don’t have three hours to work on this; I only have thirty minutes.” We can spend our lives looking for the big chunks of time, moments that are uninterruptible. But if we want to do real work, we have to do it in real life. That means working in fifteen minute chunks between laundry and running errands and lunch breaks. That means working when we’d rather drift back to sleep for a few minutes or dig into a good book. (Although, bonus, reading is totally part of the work of being a writer.)

When You Need to Say “No”

I should have known better. The opening scene was a family with young kids who were leaving for vacation the next day. But I was chilled out on the couch and Justin had turned on the tv before he left to get our takeout and it was vacation. So I kept watching.
You have to understand that I stopped watching Criminal Minds when I was pregnant with Micah. I love The Mentalist; Psych is my favorite show in the world; and I can’t wait for Sherlock to come back on. But Criminal Minds is a “no” and I would never have considered watching it if we had been at home.
As I watched the opening scene it didn’t cross my mind that I was making a choice. By not saying “no” I was saying “yes.” And I watched the whole show in its horrifying glory (families leaving on vacation found murdered in their basements!) and then two more episodes as well.

5 Things I’d Tell You: Volume 1

Podcasters and bloggers who do meet-ups are my heroes. That sounds like great fun to me but I live in a small town and it’s just not on the agenda for the near future. In its place, grab your coffee and listen to five things I’d tell you if we were sitting in the coffee shop nearby listening to some live music and pretending to work.

1. I’m saying “no” to new things right now. I hate saying “no.” There are so many things I want to do and I love to help people but I’ve been forced into this. There will be no margin left in my schedule if I say “yes” to anything else presently. I’ve chosen the work that I have now (hopefully following the leading of God) and I’m going to throw myself into it.