Sunday, September 25, 2016

In The Now

- Diffusing clove, cinnamon, black pepper, and orange oil. Smells like autumn.

- Appreciating the cooler weather. Keeping the windows open all day. It was 60° inside this morning when I woke up which was lovely.

- There's never enough time, never enough money. In general, this doesn't bother me until I'm sad, and then it makes me feel like I've failed as a person.

- Drinking a venti flat white. Appreciating how a hefty dose of caffeine makes me feel less miserable for a few hours.

- Dealing with back pain and joint pain and brain fog. Totally unable to sort out what's due to stress, what's due to all the gluten I ate after life started to feel unmanageable, and what's due to injury.

- Crying a lot, especially towards the end of the week. I had a panic attack on Thursday night (first one I've had in YEARS). Right now I'm just trying to put one foot in front of the other and keep dealing with it, while also being kind to myself and also not let down any of the many folks who are depending on me in one way or another. Bah. I'm so tired.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On Not Being Loving

It was not a good week last week.

If you had asked me on Friday what the problem was, I would have said there were behavior issues galore. At one point I thought the kids had conspired to drive me insane. One day everyone was "red zoned" by nine o'clock.  I spent one swim practice telling the same child repeatedly to keep his hands off the smaller child he was bullying. I had a difficult encounter with a person and I did not respond well. I was working hard but not getting enough done. It was like the universe itself was set against me.

You know what, though? My answer has changed. The problem last week was me. I was not loving.

I had a moment towards the end of the week where I suddenly stopped midstride and said to myself, "Nothing I am doing matters at all." I was completely convinced of it. Nothing seemed to have changed, but this work that I do that I normally regard as world - changing (because if helping to shape little lives doesn't make the world better, I don't know what does!) suddenly seemed meaningless. So what if kids learned to swim. So what if they swam fast or didn't DQ on their backstroke flipturn. So what if M learned to read. Everything seemed very unimportant. I was unimportant. 

It took me days longer than it should have to remember:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have no love, I am just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have enough faith to move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. 

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have no love, I am nothing.

Love is patient and kind... It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful (ouch)... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (Paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13)

It stings to realize that you've invalidated yourself in a way that nobody else has the power to do. And it hurts - it really, really hurts, in a feeling small, injured heart of way - to realize that not only have you failed, but you failed in the one area of your life you've long claimed is the one most important to you.

In fact, in a true "pride before fall" moment, I posted this last week on my Instagram:

"I read this quote yesterday by Anna McCarthy (www.justajesusfollower.com): "I am designed to love and love well." It hit home powerfully and stuck with me all day. There are (a lot of) days where I'm not doing anything particularly well. Where I struggle to do any one thing well... But I love well... I love passionately, deeply, fiercely. I have found my purpose in life, and I am infinitely, perfectly designed for it."

It's ironic how it only takes a few weak moments to lose track of what is most important. And you know what? It's funny that nothing in my life changed last week.  I didn't do anything differently. Nobody watching would have seen any change. But my heart had shifted, and while it was misaligned, I was right - nothing I did mattered.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fall Bucket List

*1. Bake muffins for the coaches
*2. Drink a flat white
3. Start Christmas shopping
*4. Go to the fair
5. Take a walk to enjoy the leaves
6. Do a pumpkin craft with the kids
7. Visit the corn maze
8. Try making my own green powder
9. Host a fall craft party
10. Buy a new sweater
11. Unpack fall bedding (buy flannel sheets?)
12. Sleep with the windows open
13. Make apple butter
*14. Burn a CD (or make a new playlist) for listening with the windows open
*15. Eat honeycrisp apples
*16. Make chili in the crockpot
*17. Go to Art Fest
*18. Buy new essential oils (cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg)
19. Winterize trailer
20. Weekend at Floyd
21. Send a care package to Anna and Liz
22. Watch a sunset
23. Be kind to myself
24. Take the kids on a Starbucks date
*25. Try a new tea
26. Write regularly

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Right Now

Right now, I am overwhelmed (and that's okay). I'm doing really, really well in some areas and I'm barely keeping from failing in others (and that's okay). I'm making my best effort at staying away from gluten and grains and sometimes I've forgotten and eaten something without thinking and that's okay (and this actually seems to be enough to still have an impact. Even MB noticed how much better I seemed).

I'm giving myself permission to cry because, again, overwhelmed, and also permission to self - talk like an insane person, even if that means repeating "It's going to be fine. Just keep going" out loud a hundred times (and that's okay). But also, permission to notice how the ripples in the pool are so beautiful they hurt, or how my heart skips a beat in terror and gratefulness the first time a child calls me "coach". Even though it probably means I'm a nut for even noticing (it's okay). I'm giving myself permission to totally freak out because there is so much to do, and there are just moments where I think of more things I didn't realize until now also have to get done (and that's okay). And after I freak out I pull it together and I get it done, because.

And I just keep reminding myself that it's okay - that this is just a season - that someday I'm going to realize I've got this and it's not so crazy anymore - and all I have to do in the meantime is to keep going.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Minimalising

This has been the summer of minimalising. I don't know what shifted in my psyche or changed in the universe, but I've been spectacularly successful at decluttering,  letting go of belongings, paring down. It feels right.

The "couch of shame" is gone, save for one small laundry basket that I use to corral items that are in transit to new homes (friends, thrift store, donation center). I've gone through literally every square inch of my trailer and purged through everything. I have a better idea of what is important and what is not, what makes me happy and what doesn't.  And I've gotten into the habit of taking a few minutes to evaluate areas as I use them. Skimming through a box if DVDS when I watch a movie to see if there are any I no longer want. Or mentally evaluating my wardrobe as I do laundry, to see if there's anything not worth putting back.

And here's a funny thing I've realized - decluttering AFTER the big purge is actually easier.  This makes sense, if you think about it - during the big purge you're trying to make decisions about 20 DVDs all at once. Afterwards, you're only making decisions about 1 or 2 at a time. Discarding half of your wardrobe is scary - what will you wear?! - but realizing that you no longer need this particular shirt is easy.

This is important. Why didn't I realize this before?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Stream of Consciousness

Finishing the bathroom remodel. I should have done this years ago - it's amazing how transformative a little paint and a few updates can be! The biggest project (installing the new high profile toilet) will have to get done next weekend, but it looks amazing. Also - washing out my crockpot and wondering at how easy it is now, with the new high faucet, when it used to be such a pain.

(With all the home improvement projects I've been doing lately, I am forced to contemplate: do I want new flooring? I have some in mind, I think I might buy a few tiles and lay them out to see how I feel.)

Sitting down to pay all the bills yesterday, and being struck suddenly with an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. Not only because I am employed and able to pay bills, but that I am able to pay those bills doing work I love. That's precious.

Having lunch with someone who loves me, and walking around for the next few days feeling deeply loved and thus unstoppable. Thinking about the nature of faith, and how sometimes God uses others around us to speak Truth into our lives.

Not reading much of Atlas shrugged. Gotta get back to that.

Experimenting with going gluten free (some success and some failures). Discovering strawberry seltzer water (yum!). Making veggie pizza rounds (slices of zucchini topped with tomato sauce, thin slices of Roma tomato, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese) and falling into a pan of them - so, sooo good! Finding spiraling veggies at the grocery store (I don't want to own a spiralizer, but I want to be able to buy them every once in awhile).

Thinking my tiny garden was NEVER going to do anything, and then the next day it bloomed.

Explaining how pickles are made to Mason and the triplets.

Getting a stack of antique books and reveling in them - the smell, the feel, the type. (I kept one that I fell in love with and will pass the rest on to a friend with similar appreciation!)

Playing with Zephyr, and snuggling Zipper. I love their tiny faces and paws. Zipper is getting much better at being picked up (he's always liked being held, but always been skittish about getting lifted). I love seeing Zeph hang out in his hammock. :)

Thinking about our trip to the beach, and anticipating a fresh dose of inspiration. Making plans and writing lessons for next year. Spending Tuesdays and Thursdays cheering for Ruth at swim meets. Learning how to be a timer with Cris (and only screwing it up once!).  Putting cream in my coffee and needing to stop and watch as it melds (my version of "stop and smell the roses"). Pricing out a new phone (and deciding I'll wait til Christmas sales). Looking at tons of tiny houses and getting excited because my floor plan is staying pretty consistent - I think I'm ready to get some blueprints made and some price quotes.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Lately

I'm...

- getting stuff done. Painting the kitchen backsplash orange (love it! Though not sure this will be the final end. Still contemplating tile). Painting the bathroom (finally!) and all the prep work that entails - putty, sanding, cleaning. Decluttering in a MAJOR way. Buying a new kitchen light after Allen told me he'd install it for me, only to realize midtown that it was incompatible (bah). Installing a reading light in my sleeping compartment (whee!). Cleaning EVERYTHING.

- watching: the fifth season of Castle. I was baffled because I didn't remember any of the episodes, until I checked the year and realized that the fifth season was released the same month I ruptured my eardrums (coming up on three years this September) and I watched it while dozing in and out and on pain meds. Crazy.

- enjoying: the positive energy around the pool this week :). Four days in a row that I got to sleep in (!!! I refuse to be guilted about it). Grilling (all by myself, because I-am-woman-hear-me-roar). Getting a rare cool, overcast day to leave the windows open and listen to the birds. Ice cream (I'm not normally a fan, but I've been craving it like crazy these past few days).

- excited about: my tiny garden growing (still no produce but I have hope!). All the swim teachers coming back from vacation this week (whee!). A week with a lot of downtime, split between getting stuff done and relaxing.

- listening to: Jack Johnson. Herman's Hermits. The Beach Boys. Lots of GLAD.

- cooking: Italian sausage with kale and blistered tomatoes. Lots of green juice. Spring rolls (and spring roll salad, after the leftovers fell apart). Grilled sausages, zucchini, tomatoes, and Mexican corn (ohmagersh, so good). Bunless cheeseburger with avocado, kale/chard/spinach mix, and tomato (and coconut mayo - so amazing!).