Monday, April 14, 2014

1001 gifts

I'm going to count gifts today.
  • #981: Waking up early without wanting to cry
  • #982: I have met all of my exercise goals for this month
  • #983: AND I still feel excited about my exercise goals for this month
  • #984: Ben fixed my tail-light and I can drive my car without fear of being pulled over
  • #985: 
    My cute and comfortable red skirt
  • #986: We tried a new soup recipe last week and it turned out really delicious
  • #987: Reading for pleasure
  • #988: The sobering realization, yet again, that I cannot do my job, at all, without deep partnership with God
  • #989: New clients AND familiar clients
  • #990:
    Baby plants are growing at the farm!
  • #991: I have serious silly-ness hidden within me and Ben knows right where to find it
  • #992: Surprising my parents by installing the new microwave while they were gone
  • #993: Recognizing that knowing how to handle "not getting what you want when you want it" well is one of the most valuable life skills and being able to cultivate it despite discomfort
  • #994: Thin mint coffee creamer sweetening my afternoon
  • #995:
    Time in my day to relax and create
  • #996: Practicing the piano twice before I even get to my last-chance practice at 9 PM on Monday night
  • #997: Chapstick and hand creme
  • #998: Reading about King Saul in 1 Samuel and understanding how the fear of man can really mess you up
  • #999: Grace to care more about loving God than impressing the people around me
  • #1000: Fullness of joy found in relationship with God
  • #1001: How making space in my schedule for rest and being has made life feel so much more possible

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Growing Pains...

You may be wondering what happened to me during February and March and I have been asking myself that same question recently. There was a lot going on and no time for writing.

I had two wonderful opportunities open up. My mom started teaching a Bible study on Heaven on Monday nights and Ben and I were invited to join a group of young couples who were going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace curriculum on Thursday nights. My mom is a talented teacher of God's word and I have gotten so excited about spending eternity with God in a real place that I can't wait to experience. Financial Peace University (FPU) has been great too and Ben and I are learning some valuable principles and strategies about money, budgeting and savings. But the downside to all of this is that I filled up my only two open nights during the week.

Now, I did pause and consider the consequences of my actions before I committed to these two opportunities. I remembered the brutal exhaustion that I lived with in Chicago when it was my custom to keep a packed schedule. I wondered if packing my schedule would tempt me to stuff my feelings down again and stop taking good care of myself physically because there just aren't enough resources to do everything. But, both opportunities felt significant and everything would be said and done in just 11 weeks. I literally thought, "I can handle that schedule for 3 months."

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Full weeks bled into full weekends and my anxious symptoms of headaches, stomach aches and trouble sleeping started to appear. It became really difficult to find time to play the piano and writing stopped completely. Even my work, which I love, started to feel heavier and more wearisome. My feelings finally caught up with me a few weeks ago when I started crying one Tuesday morning and couldn't stop. Fortunately, Ben was home and he comforted me. But, this really got my attention and confirmed to me that I cannot and do not want to live in this frantic way.

Since then, I have tried to slow way down. I'm still committed every night of the week and I want to honor those commitments through the end of this month. But, we aren't scheduling as much for our days off. We are trying to consecrate one full day each week to rest. We are asking God to teach us how to live well and to show us the rhythm that He has designed for our life. I'm making self-care more of a priority, especially getting active and eating better. I'm still having tearful conversations with Ben more often than I would like, but it is such a relief to take care of my feelings well again. I'm making time to write, play the piano, think, breathe and create. I'm excited to look back in another month or so and celebrate how much I've grown.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #968: This is my 100th blog post. I almost counted them myself because I could not believe that blogger stats was telling me the truth and I have written that many blog posts.
  • #969: Dinner with a friend and being able to be my self
  • #970: The freedom to set my schedule and rest
  • #971: Drinking cold water after a run
  • #972: 
    This piece of art that was given to me for my office and is absolutely lovely!
  • #973: When the temperature starts with a 6
  • #974: The Wounded Heart by Dan B. Allender
  • #975: God providing our first-quarter tax payment!
  • #976: Making summer plans and feeling excitement grow
  • #977: Ben working on his bike
  • #978: Having a whole house to ourselves when my parents are gone on vacation
  • #979: An unexpected visit with my sister in the middle of the day
  • #980: How strong God's grace really is in my weakness