Daily Snapshots – Day #26

“…life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” – Charles Swindoll

I am grateful for … living in a neighborhood within a 10 min car ride of grocery stores, church, work, our doctor’s office and J’s school (it just makes my little Sarnian heart give a contented sigh).

I am hopeful that… I don’t get discouraged when unimportant setbacks happen (unimportant like when the house goes from tidy to tornado). And challenge myself to … celebrate the small wins. Instead of focusing on all that hasn’t been done or won’t get done or “wants” to get done, focus on setting small goals and knowing that the accomplishment of each small goal gets me closer and closer to achieving my bigger goal. Don’t be complacent, but don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t perfected everything.

I enjoyed … eating healthier over a girl’s weekend (where the host is a dietician and magically made food that was both super nutritious and super delicious), which has inspired me to take small steps to eating healthier. There wasn’t a mass change, but over the past month I’ve made gradual changes – swapping chips for bean crisps, peanut butter to natural peanut butter, yogurt to greek yogurt…..last night I made Portobello mushroom burgers for the first time. Too bad the response was a “Ya, they’re good…but you’re never going to turn a mushroom into meat.” 🙂

I’m also enjoying reading books again – something I enjoyed as a child, but got away from as high school and university had enough mandatory reading…and until now I hadn’t prioritized it, or even remembered how much I enjoyed reading. I used to make excuses to myself that I read lots of articles online…but there’s a difference between pulling a book where the topic interests you, and getting articles pushed to you through buzzy/bait-click titles and article summaries that begin by essentially asking “are you a good enough parent?”

Previous Challenge: I am hopeful that… I get more sleep. And challenge myself to … get to bed by 10pm each day (meaning, I need to head upstairs by 9:30pm…like the 9:30pm that happened 40 minutes ago).

Update on Previous Challenge: This happened! I ended up in bed around 7:30pm last night, reading until about 9:30pm. There were dirty dishes in the kitchen, unfolded laundry that laid crumpled in the basket…but I felt like my body and mind just needed to rest…and it’s a good thing I did because lo and behold I was awake from 2am-4:30am with a teething baby. Still tired, but much better off than I would’ve otherwise been! 

Daily Snapshots – Day #25

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford 

I am grateful for … daughters who play imaginative games in the car, supportive & appreciative co-workers, increased intentionality over the last few years, various opportunities to gain perspective on how blessed we are, and all time spent with friends. There’s endless lists of things to be grateful for – but the one that speaks most to me right now is having had the opportunity to get glimpses into blessings we’ve taken for granted.

As part of my Deacon role I’ve worked with folks who didn’t have grocery money, who had to choose between paying bills and replacing their daughters’ hole-filled pants, folks who fled war-torn countries and were so appreciative of being able to walk freely outdoors and enjoy the sunshine & small patches of grass.

When I initially left my previous role, without a plan to get another job too soon, it was the first time I actually needed to budget and be mindful of the grocery bill. It felt scary to think “we’re not millionaires, can we actually make this adjustment?” If you think you can, you can. Plus…I had no idea how much I had taken for granted.

As contrary as it sounds, significantly reducing our income has given me an opportunity to truly see how abundant our lives were, and how abundant they still are. To think the number of times I thought “we do okay, but it’s not like we’re rich.” We truly were and are.

This past Saturday our family went to a Jays game. It amazed me how 10 years ago I enjoyed our nicer seats and pricey concession food, but didn’t think too much of it. And now, when we go, heading up to our nosebleed seats, I’m grateful for the opportunity to freely watch a baseball game, to purchase a few snacks, and I’m amazed that there are actually people walking around selling us food & drinks. It’s like we’re kings and queens being served from our seats! I think about a refugee family whose currently in hiding, seeking asylum…I think about countries that are facing severe famine, and I’m amazed with what’s available to us.

I am hopeful that… I get more sleep. And challenge myself to … get to bed by 10pm each day (meaning, I need to head upstairs by 9:30pm…like the 9:30pm that happened 40 minutes ago).

I enjoyed … an “average morning” with the girls of running errands, eating a snack and visiting the park. It’s when I look back at photos of when J was 2 year old and younger that it really hits me that the children grow up quickly. It’s so true that the days are long but the years are short, and I hope to try to squeeze memories out of all of them.

Previous Challenge: I am hopeful that… I recognize that that the only expectations I need to fulfill are my own. I’ve realized that everyone has different perceptions or interpretations of events, and each person builds their own assumptions or truths based on their perception…I struggle when someone views events in my life and draws truths from them that are different from mine – because I then feel there’s an expectation that goes along with it and I likely won’t meet that expectation. Actually, I assume there’s an expectation that goes with it and put that pressure on myself. And challenge myself to … set some short/medium/long term goals to get clear on the expectations I’m striving to fulfil. I also challenge myself to increase my self-awareness to and in a given situation do a mental pause and check-in to see if my feelings are based on fact or on assumptions. I think this can be tricky because you don’t always realize you’ve made an assumption…but let’s give it a go.

Update on Previous Challenge: Hmm…I often find that I get away from these daily snapshots, and when I come back to it I look at my previous challenge and think “Dang…I could’ve used that.” Or maybe I just keep making the same mistakes over and over again…what can I say, I’m a work in progress! 🙂 I did set a few vague short/medium/long term goals, but only in a couple areas of life, and not the fuller picture I’d like. I think breaking it down that way is great in theory but feels a bit tedious and overwhelming, so instead I’d like to start with determining a broad mission/purpose statement for myself and 3 goals I’d like to accomplish in 2017 that align with that mission.

Some gratitude…

The days seem to be whizzing by – each has it’s own challenges, but overall the move to working part-time has been a fantastic blessing for our family. For a gratitude blog, I haven’t posted a whole lot of gratitude lately (I really need to consider bringing back those “Daily Snapshots”).

At any rate, here are a few updates on the past month and 4 things I’m thankful for.

  1. Decluttering breakthrough – I’ve been slowly decluttering for the past couple of years…but in the 1.5 months I was off and the girls were in daycare part-time (partially to pad the shock of our daycare providers’ reduced income) I made some solid headway…just last week I got to the point where the main floor and basement aren’t perfect, but can be tidied in 5-10min. It used to be a 30min-3hr ordeal, so the gains are pretty significant! It’s resulted in less stress, a more relaxed environment, and more time to play & be present with the kids.
  2. Feeling at peace – Answering those mid-night cries always jumpstarts your heart (and feet) a bit, but I’m so thankful that now I can answer those cries, sit and rock my babe, and be content – knowing that there is nothing I’d rather be doing at that moment then feeling the weight of her body in my arms & listening to the sweet sound of her breathing in and out. Knowing that even if I get just a few hours of sleep, when I go into work my to-do list is manageable and not a shitstorm of crises to wade through (although those can be fun to work through & conquer, but it’s too much at this time in my life).
  3. Increased clarity – In all honesty, I’m not getting that much more sleep than when I was working full-time – but my mind has a bit more energy and a bit more clarity than it used to. I recently attended a meeting for our church’s officebearers – and while it went 7:30-10pm, on a week night (we were all a bit bleary-eyed by the end!), I was surprised that while I was physically exhausted, mentally my brain was lighting up and thinking of various ways to apply the learnings to upcoming projects/missions.
  4. Missed opportunities – At the beginning of the year, there was an opportunity for H to work abroad for several months. While I was 100% onboard, H wasn’t sure whether he wanted to take it. He decided not to take it and it left me both shocked and a bit disappointed. The placement was in England. Everytime I read about one of the attacks I’m saddened for the victims, their families, the English, and those who will continue to be unfairly portrayed in a negative light…but I’m also incredibly thankful that we are currently in Canada.

At the crux of it all – I feel like I actually have the ability to be present in the moment, instead of missing out on the “now” because I’m busy planning & fighting the fires that are coming around the corner.