We have all heard of the old adage about having “too many balls in the air”. You have to decide which are most important and focus on them. I can attest to that. I used to be queen of Yes. Yes I can help you raise money. Yes I can donate calligraphy, Yes, I can work both kids parties at the same time. You know the drill. I have done a lot better in this area and those folks that really know me have seen this to be true.
Two years ago I was sick for no apparent reason other than stress. My parents weren’t doing well health wise and I was worried about them. Our church was in the midst of a Grand Opening and there was a mission trip at the same time that I was to co-lead. I was a Junior League Member trying to fulfill my obligations all on top of being a full-time employed mother of two that couldn’t say no.
I started waking up and my arms would be asleep, painfully asleep, only I wasn’t lying on them. I itched to no end. I started noticing a rash on my arms and I would break out in sweats. (Not the cute Juicey Couture, either! ) I saw the doctor 4 times in one week and was on antibiotics. They did numerous blood tests and I just knew at any moment, Dr. Gregory House was going to walk in and say that I had Lupus.
I was at a loss and so I started cutting back. I stepped down from JLLR which killed my soul. I stepped down off two Boards that I was residing over and I focused only on my family and my church. immediately, the rash went away. I was so frustrated that I let myself get so stressed and worked up over life situations that I could have prevented. I was no good to anyone when I was stressed out chasing all of those balls trying to make sure I didn’t drop one. Now, the load is much manageable and I am only juggling a few. From time to time I will throw in an extra but only if I know I won’t drop it.
Maintaining a healthy balance is so important in life. I encourage you to make a list of the things you are active in and see if it really defines who you are and if it is enriching your life. An easy way to start is to look at your checkbook. You spend money on what you care about the most. Figure out which things are most important and make them a priority. It will make a huge difference I bet.
So, I have been on this journey of balancing life and finding Uncommon Joy thanks to Ellen Miller’s “Inspiration for Girlfriends juggling Not-So-Perfect, Often-Crazy, but Gloriously Real lives”. It has been a week and basically today is a recap to see what progress I have made. I can honestly say that it has made me more aware of how I react to everyday situations. In fact, here is a really ugly confession that pains me to even write. I woke up early to take the kids to school, a task my husband usually does. I found out that they had to wait outside for around 15 minutes before the gym opened for early arrivals and I couldn’t bear to think of them freezing. (Sounds noble right, just wait.) On the way to school KD whimpers that she left her bag and lunch at home to which I angrily reply, “Great! Now I have to go home and get your crap and bring it back to school.” She almost cried when I caught myself and apologized to her and told her that I had left my phone too, and people forget things all of the time. I felt so tiny and ugly because I know that she will remember that. There will be a time when she is with her kids and it will spark in her mind and she will remember how ugly I was to her. I know this because I can remember waiting for mom to pick me up and I was the last one. She would come barreling down the road, pull a U-turn and screech to a stop in front of me. It always made me nervous and I would think, “Gee, I’m just waiting for a ride.” I laugh about it now.
The things we do to the ones we love. Well, at least we can learn from it and make better choices next time. So far I should have: stopped allowing others to influence my sense of well-being, find my treasures in other things, let go of the past, be in the moment, give something away and find glory in what I have. I’m not sure I have nailed them all but I know I am more aware of myself and others around me. As I tell the kids, I am trying to make good choices.
Today was early out so I picked up the kids and we ate brownies and watched T.V. together. Just hanging out was so nice. It’s Friday so I am including a photo of something that brings me great joy. My kids. Here is to Photo Friday!
Today’s reading questions whether or not you are in the moment. You can say you are because you are surrounded by things that are going on and therefore that makes you present in the moment but are you REALLY in it.
I fall prey to busyness. I always have things to do and until I get a maid, I am forever cleaning, although my house doesn’t look like it. I find myself at times saying, “Not right now” or “I’ll be there in a minute”. In fact, as horrid as this sounds, only a few weeks ago my precious angel asked me to sing a lullaby for bed and I told her I’d be right there. I totally forgot. I went upstairs and realized that she had fallen fast asleep with her eye mask on with Gypsy sleeping right on top of her as usual. My heart broke. Don’t get me wrong, I know things like that happen and it will probably not be THE THING that she is haunted by all her life, “The night my mother failed to have the energy or attention span to sing me one tiny song...”. It still made me sad to think she was lying there waiting for me and I never showed. I was definitely not in the moment. I was in my own moment.
Most of the time I believe I am available to the kids for whatever reason. Even in the car I try to remind them of the many blessings that surround us. Countless trips have been taken in which I am constantly saying, “Oh! Look at those clouds!” or “Isn’t that sky so beautiful?” I want my children to live in the moment and appreciate all of the little things. It is so important to me to be tuned in and actually hear and know what my kids are saying and doing. We have enough moments already where we are all on the same room singing our own favorite songs, out loud, at various levels, while my husband says, “Can’t you at least all sing the same song?!?”
One thing we began doing again is family dinner. Just eating around the dinner table with the T.V. off and listening to the retelling of the days events is so special. I am trying to make sure that I don’t miss out on the little things by not being present and by making sure when I am, that I am truly plugged in to what is going on around me.
Mu husband often pokes fun at the various projects I take on and the different non-profit organizations I help. From donating calligraphy, painting or raising funds, I am always busy with side projects. I am also a bit obsessive about how things look and want them to be the best that I can make them. After all, my name it attached to it and you never know who might see it and want to mass produce it and voila! My first million will be made. I will be the first to say though that I am far from perfect. If you know me at all then you know how crazy I can be trying to accomplish all that I want to get done. I have raised my voice at my children. I have cursed when steeping on a Polly Pocket in the middle of the night. I have shot my husband (OK not really but I know I have thought about it before). I am not proud of my silly behavior but I also know that I can always try to make a better choice next time and hopefully will evolve into a decent mother that doesn’t leave her children scarred and in years of therapy.
Today I have been reading about finding joy in the fact that, “God has his own agenda and it is greater than my own.” I totally get that and I always give it over to God so that he may deal with it but sometimes I think he is much slower than me and I can fix it if I just…take…it…back. That’s when I pull so hard that it hits me in the face (and then comes the cursing again, urg!). I am trying to learn to put my faith in God’s grace and mercy. That I need to find my treasure in Him and not place it in things like, well, things! My treasure can’t be my home or, deep breath here, my family. What?!? But I AM mom! I am WIFE! I have been defined by how many cookies I bake, rooms I decorate and songs I sing before bed. This is a totally different ballgame.
If I place my trust and focus in Him, and not stay focused on ME, then I can be joyful regardless of how angry LD is because some game went sour or how some boy called KD a name and now she is having a complete meltdown or even if Hubs gets fired and we don’t know what we are going to do. If my treasure is with Him, then I can maintain a peace that not only allows me to be more focused on being supportive for my family in their times of need but I will also maintain a bit of sanity. This sounds win/win for everybody. I can focus on being the parent that I truly want to be and not get wrapped up in the worldly drama that in all reality, does not or even will not even effect me. It’s not about me!
This is great knowledge and I hope I can stay focused on giving it to Him and making Him my treasure. I don’t have to be perfect because it really doesn’t matter and after all no one is but Him! Sure, I can still do all of the things that I love (and Hubs can call me Marcia Stewart which I secretly think is cute) but they will not come before what my focus is, “letting go of something by recognizing that it wasn’t mine all alone.” It all belongs to Him. By letting go I am gaining patience. By letting go I am gaining strength. By letting go I have a tighter grip on what is truly important.
So what are your treasures?