Today, I am READY.

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“When we settle we sacrifice ourselves, and in doing this we hurt our authentic connection wth others.” Shannon Kaiser Adventures for Your Soul

I am no longer a spring chicken. I have cracks in my armor and it seems to just be missing in places. I have had my head down and my blinders on, peeking out only when necessary only to look up find a life I didn’t exactly plan – one that just happened. I have settled. I have been hiding behind my job, my kids, and around 80 extra pounds instead of taking life by the nose. And today, today I am done with that. I am done settling and being afraid. I’m done avoiding and I’m done hiding. Today I am READY.  Life as me, the best I can be.

Yeah, yeah, I know you have heard this before. What is different this time? Why will I succeed in getting healthy and happy this time? I don’t know exactly I just feel it in my bones. I will do this and it will be a struggle but it will be worth it!

I will be documenting this crazy journey here – as an accountability tool. I love to write. . .

Thanks to Shannon Kaiser for her awesome book Adventures for Your Soul – this book is currently my daily dose of positive “you can do it” inspiration. You will see more inspirational quotes from this awesome book as I move along this journey to a healthier, happier me. 

The Dread of Decision

When trying to make a decision, my family looks like we are engaged in desperate game of volleyball – no one wants to be the one to let the ball drop in the sand by making a decision!

Decision making has become an albatross in my family. No one wants to bear the weight of it. This albatross passing happens most often when it is time to decide what we will eat for dinner – or say today – where we will go for lunch after church (with the added dreaded decision of – do we go have a sit down dining experience? or do we get it and bring it home?) On this occasion the dread of decision led to a stalemate where we stomped off to our cars discussing it along the way. Inevitably, one of the kids chose to get sandwiches and take them home.

Now, I am sad. Sad I didn’t get a sit down dinner with my entire family where we talked and enjoyed each other’s company. But, perhaps in the mood we were in because of the dread of decision it would have been more of a verbal volley of irritation. Who knows. What I do know is this dread of decision is getting in the way of peace in my family.

Why don’t I want to just make all the decisions? Well, I could. But, when my dream is to share the responsibility with my family because we are “all in this together” then my being sole decision maker sort of defeats the purpose. I want my kids to understand and respect what others want as well as how to make a decision without bickering.  I do not want the almighty matriarch role – I just want to hang with my fam!

In my classroom, instead of choosing who will be in groups, I have a set of cards with each kid’s name on one. When its time to do group work, the kids pull random cards to choose groups so the groups are totally random. I was trying to think of a less obvious way to do the same thing with the dinner decision. One of my very best friends once told me that when she and her husband were remodeling their house they made decisions based on how they ACTUALLY live not on how they WISHED they lived. I think this is brilliant. So, in the spirit of how we each really, really hate to be the one to decide, I will get us together (family meeting!) and come up with two lists – one of restaurants close by to get something to take home and another of our favorite out to eat restaurants. I will write them down as suggested. Then when time to decide, we just go to the next name on the list. (I keep my planner with me all the time! I can have it out in a snap!)

As far as deciding on whether we need a take home or a sit down meal, I think this is a decision we will just have to make on the fly.

How else is this dread of decision affecting my life? I will be looking out for this one in the weeks to come to see where else this weird little fear is raising its head!

P.S. I would also like to note the irony: In the spirit of not having a conflict over differing views over something as inconsequential as where we eat, we are having conflict. There is confrontation in avoidance as well as disagreement.

Going to Church OR Feeling Naked

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A roadside sign warns drivers along Alabama Highway I-65 North in Deatsville that they need to to church the avoid the wrath of the Devil. The sign was erected by the late W.S. “Billy” Newell in the late 1980’s as a way to “wake up the people,” Newell told NPR in 2005. Newell briefly changed the sign to, “We Love Lucy,” when 2006 gubernatorial candidate Lucy Baxley. Newell died in 2009. (Photo by Carmen K. Sisson/Cloudybright)

Thanks to  Carmen K. Sisson for her awesome photograph! Click her name to check out her photography and free-lance journalism bio! 

“In his moments of insecurity he was haunted by the suggestion that life might be, after all, significant.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and the Damned)

“The important thing isn’t what other people think you are; it’s who you are.” – Shannon L. Alder

“You can even say that I hated myself at certain periods. I was too fat, or maybe too tall, or maybe just plain too ugly … you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority. I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive. I found the only way to get the better of them was by adopting a forceful, concentrated drive.” Audrey Hepburn

I have not been active in my church community in several years.  This is for a myriad of reasons – all having to do with me and some very trying times in the life of my little family. In the interest of being a more centered, effective person, I know that going to church makes me feel connected to my God, my community, and my purpose.  So, why is it so hard to go?

1 – I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON! And, here in the South, Sunday School and Big Church are where the action (or discussion) is.

2 – I FEEL COMPLETELY EXPOSED. Which is scary (and avoidable by NOT going to church).

You see the conundrum.

So, today we went to church. I felt exposed and judged and I acknowledged with every step that this was my problem, my perception, not reality. I know this because I saw smiles, and welcoming greetings, and invitations to Bible studies. I left today feeling good, not stripped naked, which is my worst fear.

Next week, I will make it to Sunday School and I will brave the fear that I will regret something that I say while there. (Which, really is strange. I rarely misspeak while in my classroom of judgmental teenagers, and when I do I acknowledge it and move on, no big deal. But, in church, I truly feel as if I am being sized up with every word.) I will also be brave enough to be self-confident enough to remain focused on the benefits to ME – I will be a more centered and effective person by participating in worthwhile studies meant to help me be a better person and manager of my time in order to truly live life.

How often am I inhibited by my self-doubt? How much do I miss simply to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable social anxiety? How much of my life am I not living? Church is just one example and even if you are not a particularly religious person, can you relate to the social anxiety I am describing?

HOW TO ORGANIZE MYSELF TO GO TO CHURCH:

  1. BUY a couple of church worthy outfits that I feel comfortably hidden in (lack or wardrobe cannot be an excuse anymore).
  2. Choose a Sunday NIGHT Bible study, buy the book, and GO this Sunday.
  3. Prepare the clothes for all of the family BEFORE Sunday morning to avoid my lack of morning person-ness getting us all off to a bad start.
  4. Reach out to one or two if my church friends so I feel more comfortable when I go.

P.S.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a group who would reach out to people like me to let me know what was going on and invite me to join? Something more personal than the newsletter? Someone who could make me feel welcome whenever I chose to jump back in again??? Ah well – one step at a time. Maybe this is something I can do when I am not wearing so many hats at school and when I am feeling comfortable at church!!

Share the load. . .

“People tend to become like you treat them or believe them to be.”

– Stephen R. Covey

I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVE, LOVE this commercial. I was raised in the South, where traditionally, mom stays home with the kids and takes care of the housework and the general raising of the kids. I did this. I stayed home until my youngest went to kindergarten – which was about 12ish years at home with my kids and the albatross of doing it ALL.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am thankful beyond measure for my years at home with my kids. I am NOT, however, a great housekeeper, chef, or budget person. I HATE housework. I do it, but I don’t love it.  I was miserable at home. I spent so much time missing the joy of my sweet babies because I knew I “needed” to be home working on the house. Ugh. To get those days back. . .

When I started working, I felt a joy I had never felt before. I am independent, I am contributing to my family in a way I can feel successful.  I never felt successful at housework, at managing our home.  It was hard to feel like a failure so often and it also welled up an embarrassing amount of guilt for wanting to do anything for myself.

I have worked for the past 6 years and it has become more and more apparent that my kids need to be involved in keeping our house a home. In some ways, I feel like we all need to live as if we were roommates, not family, so we learn to fully respect each other’s shared and personal space. My kids need to know how to be good roommates and good steward’s of their time, just as I do.

For the past few weeks I have been texting a chores list to my kids daily so they will know what is expected of them to help get our home in order. Our lives are so busy and so spread out between soccer, football, tumble, etc. that our needs change too often for a chore chart set in stone. So, I evaluate in the morning who is doing what and what needs to be done and spread it out. It is working ok so far – especially since I have a 6th, 9th, and 12th grader.

Any suggestions on how to manage this more effectively? I’m happy to hear your thoughts!

To plan is . . .

planning – noun; the process of making plans for something

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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Ben Franklin

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” – Winston Churchill

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – John Wooden

Planning. I love a pretty planner. I love to plan. However, planning consistently has proved to be a challenge for me. I tend to be a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of girl. I also tend to let my tasks swallow me up and only realize I’ve missed an opportunity or have nothing clean to wear when I am desperately searching for a clean pair of panties 15 minutes before I have to walk out the door – which may or may not have happened within the last week . . .

When I do plan, I feel more in control of my life and feel like I am more effective while wearing each of my different hats (mom, wife, teacher, IB Coordinator, yearbook sponsor, newspaper sponsor, etc. . . . .. . . ) It is important.

Recently, I bought a new planner. For the past 3 years I have faithfully used a Erin Condren Life Planner. This year I am trying a Plum Paper ME Planner and so far it is helping me stay on top of my goal to plan each week – activities, to do’s, meals, exercise, etc. (Granted, I only began on Feb. 1 – but my fingers are crossed!).

My goal is to discover and live my convictions with balance and I believe planning will go a long way in helping me accomplish this goal. What exactly needs balance? When thinking long and hard about this question (like years) I came up with the following list: Faith, marriage, parenthood, health, finance, education, work, and friendships (after all, that is what life is about, right?). These are the areas that need my consistent attention in order to feel complete, balanced, and in true discovery for my convictions.

Step one to accomplishing this goal?

PLAN CONSISTENTLY!

 

Websites @ planning:

http://iheartplanners.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/HowtoColorCodeYourPlanner-17.jpg

http://www.girl-organized.com/category/planners/

http://theswirlblog.com/2015/07/31/planning-for-planners-part-3-the-plum-paper-planner/

http://www.success.com/article/7-habits-of-highly-effective-people

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/9-tips-to-create-a-balanced-life/

This is me . . .

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This is my mission statement:

Be positive.

Be supportive.

Spend time with those I love.

This is my only life.  I will live it body and soul.

This is the question:

How in the world do I accomplish the fireworks explosion of “to-dos” and still live my mission statement? 

This is the blog of the journey I am undertaking to truly discover and live my convictions.