Being Intentional Starts at Home

It’s been two weeks since I started my medicine and even though it’s a little early yet, I think I can feel a difference. It seems easier to focus on things. Easier to set a goal and actually accomplish it! (Woot!) I don’t think I’m having as many days where I’m indescribably sad. These are good things, REALLY good things.

I know that I have a bit of a journey ahead of me and it involves not just a quick fix but learning some skills that will carry with me too. One of them is to learn how to be more intentional with my life. Right now I’m focusing on being more intentional at home but there are so many areas I’d like to apply this to. Making sure I’m keeping up with dishes and laundry and the bathroom and sweeping and mopping. Seemingly simple things, but things that on my worst days that are the hardest to do. And I realized that when those things weren’t done it was making me feel worse.

So, enough is enough, because I DON’T WANT TO BE IN THIS PLACE ANYMORE. That’s my motto these days. 🙂 Here’s the thing guys – I’m ACTUALLY doing it. I’m impressing myself with the stuff that I’ve accomplished, and I’m thinking ahead. Plus, all this housework actually makes me feel better about myself too – double bonus!

The great things is that I’m not doing all this intentional-ity on my own. I’ve joined a Facebook group called Thrive Intentionally that’s all about supporting one another and setting goals and holding each other accountable for them in a nice, loving. we can do this kind of way. I LOVE it! It’s really helped me to stay on track. I’d highly encourage you to stop over join the group and say hi! If you’re looking to make some changes in your life, this is a great way to get up some motivation to actually do it.

– Jess 🙂

Getting Past the Exhaustion

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

Such an inspiring quote. The thought that I can do even a little something right now, right this very instant to make things better. Smile at a stranger. Laugh with my two year old. Help someone in need.

I love it. And it’s something I want to remind myself over and over until I really “get it” because it’s simple and powerful.

Yet sometimes I see stuff like this and I just feel exhausted at the thought of it. If I’m to be honest, this thought of exhaustion, tiredness, or of the effort that something takes, I focus on that WAY too much. I’m not proud to say that, not at all, but it’s what happens to me.

Anyone else just feel exhausted thinking about such things? I can’t be alone on this one.

Don’t get me wrong this feeling of exhaustion isn’t limited to saving the world. It creeps in at 10pm when there is a sink full of dishes. It creeps in when there are important phone calls I need to make. It creeps in at the thought of cleaning the closet in my boys room. Or when I think about opening a youth center in my town.

The funny thing is that the thing that is actually exhausting is the fact that I don’t do those things. It’s more exhausting to leave the tasks alone and sit on the couch and flip through Facebook. It’s more exhausting to hit the snooze button 17 times or to wake up to a sink full of dishes that you, yet again, have no intention of starting because – it’s too exhausting.

I know I’ve trained myself to think this way and it’s something that I don’t even consciously think about most days but looking at my life I can see it’s there and it needs to change if I’m going to go forward instead of in circles.

How do we get past these thoughts?

For me, I need to remind myself of the truth instead of the lie.

The lie: Doing that project, or choosing happiness, or changing the world is too exhausting.
The Truth: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9

The lie: It doesn’t matter if I do my dishes(or laundry or cleaning the car etc) or not because nobody will see.
The Truth: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

That’s great for the mental attack I get at the thought of something but there is one sure fire way I can attack my exhaustion (or rather perceived exhaustion) that seems to work every time. I simply get up and do some thing. It doesn’t matter what. And yes it’s sometimes harder than it sounds, but it works.

I have to remind myself that motion begets motion. An object in motion will stay in motion until a force stops it. See what I’m getting at here? The more you start, the more you finish. The more you finish the better you feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself the less exhausted you feel and when you feel less exhausted you change the world.

I’m beginning to realize I’ve spent too much time not doing things because I was scared it was going to be too much for me. Or because of a myriad of other fears I’m sure. I NEED to remind myself that I have not been given a spirit of fear but that of love, power and a sound mind.

At the end of the day I’d rather actually be exhausted because I did things that will change the world than be exhausted because I played on my phone all day. Even if the only world I am changing at the moment is my own home, or the lives of my children, it’s all important and it’s all worth it.

So here’s to an exhausting life – I hope you live one too! 🙂

What makes you feel absolutely exhausted at the thought of it? What ways have you combated that?

– Jess 🙂

 

The Receiving End of a Random Act of Kindness

starbucks

It’s not very often that I’m on the receiving end of a RAOK from a total stranger. So when the man behind the counter said “It’s on me” I was a little taken aback.

I had stopped to treat myself to a cup of Starbucks coffee on my way to pick up my older boys. I don’t do this often, and maybe he could tell. I confidently ordered my grande Verona and the total came to $2.04. I handed over my debit card and got the most embarrassing news ever. It was denied. For a $2 cup of coffee. I hastily began shuffling through my wallet which had nothing more than old receipts in it for some cash. To avoid the fact that it actually was an awkward moment for the two of us I cut the ice with a “well this is embarrassing” comment. More than that, I was really disappointed. Perhaps this was why I had that nagging feeling not to stop?

As I was fumbling, he was saying something to me but I didn’t understand at first. He said “It’s ok – it’s just a cup of coffee, take it.” I was flabbergasted I mean absolutely surprised. He didn’t have to do that and I was surprised that he did.

In that moment I felt what it was like to receive a gift that I didn’t deserve or expect but that I was very grateful for. I felt like it was God reminding me that I have the power to do that every single day and that there was a time in my life where doing that for someone else was what I lived for.

So this is what it’s like when I pay for the car behind me in the drive through. And this is what it’s like when I drop off groceries to a friend who I know is struggling.

I want so badly to be able to do those things on a large scale and I just can’t right now financially. But maybe I can pay for a car behind me. And maybe I can buy a few extra groceries every week and bring them to the food pantry or to a friend. I can do that. And I know that as I am faithful in the small things again, He will be faithful when He needs me to do the big.

That small gesture reminded me that I felt 100x better when I was giving. That seemingly insignificant cup of coffee given to a stranger reminded me that I have been called to be a light and I need to shine.

Thank you my new coffee friend for doing what you felt was right. It did more than you could ever know.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness? What was your experience like?

When Progress Doesn’t Feel Like Progress

I can tell things are changing.

It’s nothing huge and it’s nothing I can necessarily pinpoint. There are certainly more ok days, less bad days, and even a few great days; these days.

Not much has changed in our personal situation, in fact 2013 has dumped more than me and my family than I ever knew could happen to us. So I know it’s not just an external thing that is making it seem like I feel better. No, its internal, it’s inside, things are changing.

This week in my counseling session I told my therapist that I find myself getting angry these days. A feeling that I have never really felt before. I mean I never used to be angry. Ever. Not once would a family member or friend describe me as having that emotion. So to me, it’s new and overwhelming and a little scary.

She looked at me, smiled, and said “I think that’s progress.”

Baffled, i thought didn’t she hear me? Isn’t this bad? I mean anger is not good, right? And then it hit me, I felt something. I mean really felt an emotion other than sadness. For the first time in I don’t know how long I felt another emotion. It’s not my proudest accomplishment. But she’s right it is progress.

Sometimes progress doesn’t look like hearts and flowers and smiley faces. Sometimes progress is a small step outside the invisible box. And I realized that if I can feel something other than nothing, then I bet I can start feeling happy and joyful and compassionate and excitement.

And that my friends, got me excited! 😉

-Jess

Bringing Up the Past

After about 20 minutes of driving to get my stubborn and very tired 2-year old to sleep (#mommyproblems) I stopped at my parents house so  we both could have some peace and quiet. The great thing about most weekdays is that my parents are at work so I can come and eat their cookies and go and no one is the wiser. Well my mom usually knows because she’s a mom and well she knows

I spent some time making myself tea and idling on the interwebs until I found my old card making supplies. My mom has put them away so neatly and there was a ton of paper and stamps and general crafty type stuff that made me feel instantly creative.

As I went through the container of super organized stuff I stumbled upon some old journals of mine. You know from like 11 years ago and one from 6 years ago. Yeah. 

Of course being the sentimental freak I HAD to read them. Thankfully I knew better than to read word for word. I only flipped through but still what I found was no less disconcerting. Seeing yet again that there is a constant theme in my life of questions and inaction and that a mere 11 years ago I was grappling with the same questions and seemingly loss of confidence as I am now makes me so sad. Will I ever make any progress? 

I’ve spent years in counseling and rehashed so much from my past and I truly believe I’ve found a ton a healing though that. It makes me ask – how much more craptacular memories are there? Or is it just my perspective? 

Part of me wants to burn these books because bringing up the past is really just bad news in this case. I want to forget what I wrote. Part of me wants to hold onto them because the words and the tears and the pages are a part of me. I don’t want to bring them to my house right now – what am I going to do with them? 

Despite the slight fear of the fact that my mom could open them and read them – I’m pretty sure she hasn’t and won’t. And really if I know her like I do, even if she does read them she won’t say anything. 

I think I’m going to leave the past where it was found – at the bottom of that storage container. Because I’ve been through it already and I’m trusting that if there is something there that I need to deal with God will help me through that. And that, to me, is real progress.

– Jess 🙂

Progress

It took well over an hour for my youngest , Noah, to fall asleep tonight.

He refused to eat for me as well today and definitely did exactly what I told him not to do, just after I told him not to do it.

It’s days like these that make me want to throw in the towel and recoil into the thought that I’m not doing well at this parenting thing. And then I remind myself that he’s two and things could be worse, temper tantrum in the grocery store worse. Or worse like mommy can’t get out of bed to even try to parent today worse.

Thank God I wasn’t at that point today.

I would have missed the adorable laugh of my toddler. I would have missed his silly ways. I would have missed the crazy things that come out of his mouth and the fact that he all of a sudden, half way through his ice cream, needed a cone.

Today is a good day, today I can see the forest for the trees & brush off the “bad” for all the good. 🙂 This isn’t typical but ill take it. And hopefully when bedtime tomorrow night isn’t going as planned I can remember all the good things about the day and remind myself that I AM a good parent,just like I was able to do tonight.

That my friends is progress in the face of depression!

-Jess