Thursday, April 30, 2015

Challenge - Week Nine

Over two months into my challenge and honestly, it would be so much easier to revert to old-Lisa. Not that old-Lisa was all that bad compared to some, but trying to be intentional with every blessed thing is definitely requires more energy, more thoughtfulness. Most days, it would be much easier to put the kids on the bus and stay in my jammies all day long. But at days end, I feel guilty, uber unproductive, and have no exciting stories to report to the family. Every good thing seems to include struggle...most days, I don't want to exercise and do my devotions, but historically, I know I'm a wreck without both. So, I hunker down and finish the tasks. Feeling immediately better, I attack the day on a positive vibe. I'm motivated to make that lunch date with a new friend. I attack my chores with new found vigor. I call my sweet Aunt Bootsie and set a date for a long overdue visit before months have passed and busy-ness occupies my calendar.

Last weekend was testosterone filled...Celebrating sons birthday by playing paintball followed by a Sunday of baseball. I hadn't played paintball since a random social event in college...but this Mother tore it up! It was crazy thrilling...I jumped, dived, hid, crawled, provided cover fire, and pelted six 13 year olds. Exilarating. As I strolled between courses in my many paint stained layers ( to prevent painful stings), I noticed many cute, paint-free moms sitting sidelines. They gave me the once over as I stood a little taller knowing I had participated...I got dirty for my little man...I didn't even consider there was an option to do otherwise.

One day, too soon, I may not have baseball games to watch and cheer or a fabulous excuse to play paintball.  He won't want to play with me anymore. Til then, I'll continue to make memories for the both of us.


My previous pain gauge was childbirth. “Will this tattoo hurt? I've had two children, nothing can hurt as much as that”. My new bar has become watching a parent die...nothing can hurt as much as that. It'll be four months soon, and I can still picture her taking those final breaths...arching her head back against the top right portion of the pillow. Glad I am the only one to carry that image. Glad that it was only wailing, no gnashing of teeth on her part, mine, or any other family member. But looking back, the room itself always carried a peaceful atmosphere. Those closest to me noticed I omitted obvious drama from my daily reports. It surely circled, but never landed in the room...hallway conversations, stressful briefs, worry, sadness, confusion. Her thankful mindset and the uplifting praise music set the precedent. Nothing else mattered.

Tapping into that same mindset on a daily basis is no easy task. The path of least resistance is to feel easy to turn it all off and withdraw from every single thing. But what kind of legacy would I be manifesting? This being positive thing takes work. So, I take lead from my Mom...I play praise music. I've read that scripture is stronger than a double edged to cut thru bone and marrow. Wouldn't musical verse have the same affect? It speaks life and changes perspective...I've seen it happen with my children. Sour moods become helpful, lighter.

Regardless of my situation, regardless of my surroundings, regardless of my fickle energy level and mood, I have unlimited access to joy...anywhere, anytime. Instead of changing the situation, I change. I simply need to press play and offer up my praise...Thank you for my husband, thank you for my children, thank you for our health, thank you for our work, thank you for our church, thank you for our friends, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for our warm beds, thank you even for my dog. To that giant pile of laundry which will tie me to the washer all day long, thank you for the blessed abundance of clothing options. To the rain that so often falls in April, thank you for my beautiful green grass and emerging flowers. To the neighbor that never secures his recycling, thank you that we have healthy legs and hands to retrieve the clutter. Seemingly negative situations will never change...but my attitude towards them certainly can.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Challenge - Time for Self & Others

Learning that there are close friends dealing with issues bigger than mine, shaking off the blues, I pulled up my britches, helped a friend and began volunteering at my church donation center. It felt soul-satisfying kinda good. One task less for my friend to complete and an opportunity to help others in more dire straits than my own. Like everything else, though, there is balance to be found. Never wanting to be mindlessly busy. Never wanting to become the self-less martyr. Finding if I start with stillness, asking if the task is mine, I can filter out the tasks that are best left for others. Balancing helping others with making time for myself was delicate. So much of what I do, what any mother does, is for, friends, church, community. I craved and sought out something solely for me this week and found it in Yoga. Setting up my mat, block, blankets, quieting my mind while waiting patiently for the teacher to instruct me. Praying hands to heart, I set my intention...instant tears. What IS my intention? Not just for that hour of Yoga, but for Life in general. Am I flitting around, untethered, from one event or crisis to another? Tabling that deep thought for another time and moving from one pose to another. Balance and I are not best friends, so all I could do was concentrate on holding still. No awareness of others in the room, not concerned that they might scoff my angles or judge my poses. The post Yoga Shavasna is my favorite hour of intention towards every muscle ends with complete stillness. Pushing aside busy mind chatter of tasks, concerns, conversations, only hearing my breath. All tension melts away. Left feeling such peace and ready to filter out the unimportant from my list. Another first for me this season was hitting the ground running, literally. Tim and I went for a hearty run thru the first run in over a year. It wasn't pretty. The final stretch includes a Mt. Everest climb up the hill parallel to our home. My mailbox is the finish line and I ceremoniously threw my hands up in celebration/relief while desperately gasping for air. Not a glamorous look, but it was complete and it was all for me. Deciding that my schedule needs to allow equal time for me and for others. Time to refill the tank so I can properly love.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Challenge - Week 7 & 8

Week Seven into my challenge and I call a big, fat, giant redo! Backing up a little, there was certainly joy to be found...a full day getting to know a new friend and liking what I found. Pleased with myself that I stepped out of my comfort zone and made my own play date. The house is also certainly becoming more joy-filled...Tim is pleased that his basement is coming together and retaining it's testosterone. Challenge items checked.

The call for redo circled around my children this week. I found myself feeling like the red-headed step child (no offense to red-headed step children). Seemingly good things went unappreciated and like a sleepy toddler, I declared a end to all nice things...forever. As if. In hind sight, I realize doing nice things doesn't always generate the excitement you expect. Realistically, I have two elevated and amazing children and I should realize that bad days, or several bad days are par for the teenage course.

A secondary redo is called and retracted for the process of fluffing our nest. Eleven years of primer in our bedroom was finally refreshed with a calming coat of grey paint. The process required dresser drawers being removed, drop cloths laid, switch plates removed, heavy furniture moved from it's very fixed spot...One task requiring two or three additional steps...very 'If You Give A Mouse A Cookie' type of a process. Knee deep in Spring Cleaning needy furniture while Tim diligently painted. Waiting for the swan to emerge from the ugly and very dusty duckling. Walls finished and furniture replaced, I'm happy with our new space. Piles gone, dust removed, it's a sweet, love-filled place. Framing Tim's artwork to present a meaningful view versus a quickly bought massed-produced print. Another often passed room now features yellow curtains that spill butter colored light over a pair of rustic piggies that make me chuckle. I suppose with any new growth, some pains must occur. Accepting the pain and waiting patiently for the grand reveal.
Week Eight brought me far too much free time. Feeling like a spoiled-first-world-stay-at-home mom, but with too much free time comes waste. Finding days that are structured are more productive. By mid-week, I realized I needed a schedule. Something I can rely on to fill my days. Work out, devotions, time-structured cleaning (or else I'd clean all day or not at all), leaving time for errands, writing, volunteering, or an impromptu lunch.

Too much time also left excess space for thinking and dwelling. Easter was tough...her loss heavy in the meaningful songs during church service, while preparing a meal for the family, and resisting the urge to call her. Instead of dwelling, I sought out a space to volunteer. Hoping that helping others will redirect my pains. My problems aren't nearly as all-consuming and destructive as others. Choosing to spread the love instead of keeping it hidden under a depressed and broken basket.