Posted in Sunday quotes

Sunday reflections (15)

Thinking about time this morning. How fast it goes at times and how it is the only commodity we cannot replenish. There is no substitute we can create for it. There is no replacement if we run out of natural material.

Time is so valuable. Today I can’t help but think how important it is to be deliberate with your time. Last year my word for the year was deliberate. I tried very hard to be committed to making specific choices. Choices about mental health. Physical health. Who I spent my time with and what I did with that time. Possibly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It brought me here.

Living your best life is a choice everyday. Some days are tougher than others. But each day we get to choose our attitude and hopefully how we spend our time. Make it count, it doesn’t come again.

Posted in vocabulary

Friday’s Word (5)

The day is almost over here in the Pacific Northwest and I realized I was so busy running around, that I just about forgot to post today’s vocabulary word.  

I’m not even sure exactly how to pronounce this word,  but I like the meaning.  I’m one who embodies this. Obsessed with freedom.  I am usually attempting to seek what will allow me the most freedom; most especially to spend time with my children.  Time freedom matters the most to me,  time is so fleeting and something we can never get back.  

What kind of freedom do you seek? 

Posted in Tuesday Treasures

Tuesday Treasures #2

Treasure:  Noun: “anything or person greatly valued or highly prized”
Verb:  “to regard or treat as precious; cherish.”

Cherish: Verb: “to hold or treat as dear; feel love for, to care for tenderly; nurture

Today’s treasure is about my kids.  Thinking about what I highly value and cherish, nothing tops my kiddos.  This is the norm for most of us, but this week’s treasure is about the TIME I get with them.

Time is a gift we don’t often spend too much energy thinking on or paying enough attention to in my opinion because we are too busy living.  We have busy lives; getting kids to school, getting off to work, shopping, running errands, making food, paying the bills, etc.  Often we are so busy taking care of life, that time goes by and we don’t seem to stop and think about how fast it all goes.  We might think about it for a moment, try to slow down and enjoy it, but we are often pulled to the next thing.

Maybe because I have teenagers and I am looking at one of them graduating in the next 8 months, (early), the process of looking at and applying for colleges is upon us and I am preparing for a new season, I may be more sensitive these days to treasure the time I get with them.   Maybe because I share them with their Dad and do not see my kids every single day, I am often aware of how fast the time is going.

But I wanted to talk mostly about ways to make the most of the time you have together. In our house, none of us are big TV watchers, so we spend more time playing games together, talking,  sharing stories of our days, cooking together, etc.  I have always tried to make sure that we connect every day, all together and one and one with them.

Today I am treasuring that the past few weeks have seen quite a bit of TIME together.  From a crafty night with my daughter, to a dinner date with my son, to family movie night we have been spending more time together.   For most of their lives, I have lived alone with them, in an environment of an open space floor plan, so we have always been in each other’s spaces, A LOT (too much they would probably say).  I ascribe to the mindset that love grows best in tiny spaces, in my world that seems to ring true.

Because we are rarely facing away from each other (ie; facing the television) we talk more.  We share our days, our thoughts and our frustrations more.  Not that we all always get along, I am Mom after all and they are kids, but for the most part, things are smooth these days.  I am very thankful that even though my kids are now teenagers, they still enjoy hanging with Mom some of the time.

So I wanted to say; take the time to cherish the time you get with your littles.  Before you know it, you are looking at them running out the door to build their own lives.  We do no get any moments back and they all go so fast.  I once heard a woman speaker say that she loved every stage of raising her kids.  She didn’t wish for a different time, or to get through a particularly tough stage, she tried to enjoy each stage of raising kids because she knew it was a short season of life.   I had young kiddos at the time, who took every ounce of energy, I kinda thought she was crazy, how can you enjoy the constant questions, the constant needs?  But I have tried really hard in the past 5-6 years to really apply this thought.  To value each stage, to cherish the TIME I get with them.

I thought I would share some of the things we do in our home to show that we value TIME together:

  • We play the High/Low game.  My kids’ Dad and I saw this in a movie many many years ago and I adopted the practice once my kids went to school.  Every day after school I ask, what was the High, what was the Low from the day.  Everyone takes a turn sharing.  This has sparked many conversations, created laughs and been a way to connect with my kiddos, to show them that I value them, that I want to know them and about their worlds.
  • We have at least one meal a day where we all sit down together.  This can be hard to do as they are so busy with sports and activities, so this has not always been dinner.  Sometimes it has been breakfast.  Often times this family meal has been on the go, sitting in the car, eating Subway as we are waiting for practice to start.  But we try very hard to at least once a day connect over a meal, maybe just a leftover practice from my own childhood, but it has been invaluable for us.
  • As I stated, we do not watch much TV.  As a matter of fact, I turned the TV on the other day for background noise and my oldest asked if we could turn it off, she would rather we be able to talk.  When the TV is on, we become more focused on that than each other.  But we do have one or two TV shows that we do watch together as a family.  Usually, this is a funny 30-minute program where we have our phones, laptops, tablets set away.  It’s an easy downtime, relaxing, change of focus for us before we go back to homework or the night routines
  • We try to make sure we laugh together OFTEN!  One year I added this as a family goal, to laugh daily.  Since that time, we have made this a priority.  With so much chaos and sad things in this life, it can be easy to get depressive and down.  Laughter covers over a lot.  Try to laugh often as a family, the feel-good emotions it sparks in our brains is invaluable.
  • We create together.  Not everyone is crafty, but in our house, we find ways to share creativity.  I am a quilter and a card maker.  My daughter likes to make dream catchers and other items.  My son is into programming and working on his youtube streaming.  Each of us has some kind of creative outlet and we try to support each other.  That can be by helping cut out fabric, gluing something, watching or providing feedback, offering an extra hand.  Being supportive of each other’s interests creates value as well.

Giving kids our time, slowing down to make sure they know they are important, gives back ten fold when they are older.  I feel very fortunate that my teenagers still want to hang out with me.  That is the reward I think for parenting and investing the TIME into them, not just to discipline and train, but to get to know each other, to show them who we are, and see who they are separate from us.  As we invest in them, they, in turn, invest in us.  Treasure the time now, let them know how much you cherish them, giving our TIME is how they know this!

 

Posted in lists

Beat the Manic Monday Blues! 10 ways to start the day, without getting out of bed!

It’s another Manic Monday! For so many of us, this is how we feel the first morning of a work or school week.  We start with stress, often tired and rushed as we start the week early, by an alarm clock after a weekend of possibly more freedom in the schedule.

But maybe if we change our morning habits, we can approach Monday’s or any day with renewal, rather than stress.  Here is a list of 10 things that we can do to start our mornings calmer, more relaxed and ready to tackle whatever Monday or the week brings.

10 things you can do this morning to start your day:

  1.  Set the alarm for 10 minutes earlier and do not hit snooze.  When we hit snooze we are just stalling and setting up ourselves to dread the day rather than embrace the day.  Setting the alarm for 10 minutes earlier is to give us the “extra” time to practice the rest of the list.
  2. Breathe.  Take 5-10 deep, cleansing breaths.  According to many different sites; Deep breathing can help you relax, decrease anxiety, improve coping skills and even help to lower your blood pressure.
  3.  Stretch.  As a suffer from back pain for many many years, the only way I could get out of bed was to stretch in bed first.  Sometimes that included yoga moves such as cat and cow, but for this purpose, just do a few full body stretches.  Hands above the head, reach legs out, anything that feels comfortable.  Maybe bring legs up to the chest and stretch back out.  Do not do if this hurts, but focus on feeling body elongate and the muscles stretch out across the body.
  4. Meditate for 2-3 minutes.  Find a meditation that you enjoy.  One that perhaps is specific to waking up.  Instead of the moment we awake, we hit the ground with constant thought and movement, try to calmly start the day with quiet, soft music that allows you to center thoughts.
  5. Drink a glass of water.   Before going to bed the night before set a glass of water next to the bed.  After all the breathing, stretching and meditating, drink the water slowly.  Supposedly this can help increase energy, the flow of oxygen through your body and help in digestion.
  6. Snuggle your partner if you have one.  There is no specific order for this one. When you turn the alarm off, this may be the first thing you want to do, perhaps practicing the list together.  But instead of being in a hurry to leave your bed and tackle the day, take a moment to hug your partner.  Physical touch can be healing, a source of comfort and a reminder you are a team, tackling the world together.
  7. Look at the calendar.  Now is when you can pull the phone out, as we all seem to sleep with our smartphones these days. Look at what you have scheduled for the day.  Don’t look beyond the day, just start with this morning.  Get an idea of what is on the agenda,
  8. While on the phone, either look at Pinterest for a quote or set up a daily quote to be delivered to your email.  Something inspirational, motivating.  If you are starting a workout regime, read a fitness post. If you are about to be home with kids all day, read a mommy blog.  If you are heading into a long day of work meetings, find a quote about teamwork or fulfillment in a job well done.  Reading a positive affirmation or quote sets your mind on positive ideas.  Rather than dreading the day or worrying, find ideas that bring a smile.
    In our house, we ascribe to the mindset that what you focus on will be how you behave, so set your mind on positive things.   This does not mean those bad moments won’t occur, but this is a much better way to start the day on an upbeat, positive note.
  9. Make a list.  I keep a pad of paper next to my bed because I am a writer and often wake up in the middle of the night with some thoughts I want to write down. Utilize that pad of paper to make a list for the day.  For the chores or errands or notes for a meeting.  It could be a list for the kiddos or partner.  Writing down a list can help organize your thoughts and help you feel more prepared to tackle the day.
  10. Make the bed as you get out of it.  I am a bed maker.  Something about having the main piece of furniture in the room looking nice and all put together makes me happy.  If you make the bed first thing, then as you are getting ready or come back and forth through out the morning, you will already feel that one thing was accomplished.  It’s not a BIG thing, but it’s one less task you have to come back to.

Monday is still going to be there 10 minutes later.  The kids will still be getting up and needing breakfast and all things else.  But when you start the day calmer, refreshed, less hurried and frazzled, you are more approachable for those family and work mates that you will be interacting with.  Taking 10 extra minutes to take care of you in the morning could be vital to creating peace and tranquility in your self, home, relationships, etc.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have any ideas to add to the list?  Do you do something every morning or weekly that helps create calm in your life as you tackle each day? Share with me, I would like to hear your ideas as well.

We do not have to dread Mondays!  When we start the day calmly, we have more patience and energy to tackle whatever we might face.

Embrace the day! Go out with a smile and a sense of renewal.

Posted in General

12 Months, 12 days, 12 hours…

One year, one month, one day; life changes in an instant!  One year ago today, I was waking up to an unexpected surprise.  Having been on and off again with my long term boyfriend, I was kind of surprised to see an email from him when I awoke about midday (the joy of night shift sleep).  We had been kinda arguing and not at the best place when I opened the email.  I was half asleep, so I glanced, tried to process and went back to sleep. It vaguely registered that he had emailed me a proposal!  As in the THE Question many girls want!  To Marry him!  He had asked me to marry him!!!  Quite honestly I thought, he must be out of his mind.

engagement ringI went back to sleep and went into work that evening, not really thinking much of it. Later that evening, we connected and he brought it up, thinking perhaps I was ignoring the email (as was my nature to do).  He was SERIOUS! He meant it!  He asked me directly face to face to marry him and life changed…in less than a 12 hour shift. Less than a moment.

And now 12 months later, life has changed again.  We are no longer together.  We have both moved on and seem to be happier for it.

Marking the time of One Year, brings me new thoughts and revelations about how fast life changes.  How quickly we go from happy to sad,  from joy to sorrow, from laughter to tears.  This day does not hold any negative emotions, but a reminder that once upon a time, there was a boy who asked a girl to marry him.  She said yes.  But they did not end up happily ever after together….but perhaps they are both happier ever after.

Time continues to march on for each of us.  A year later and I wouldn’t trade where I am at.  There are new adventures to be had.  New people to meet.   New ideas to create.  New places to explore.  Whether life changes in 12 months, 12 days, 12 hours or 12 minutes, embrace the new!  Sometimes the view a year later is so much brighter than you can imagine.  The possibilities so endless that you can barely contain the joy in embracing them and moving forward!

How do you embrace the changes, unexpected or unplanned? The ones that bring pain but also joy?  Time continues on, how do you mark the changes?

Always.
Choose Joy.

Jen