celebration · home · renewal

Breaking Away

Spring has arrived! The season of rain showers, baseball, egg hunts, birdsong, flowers, and promise. And yet despite it all, I am ready for a break. Spring break, that is.

Our little part of the world takes a late school break so when it finally arrives, my family is in desperate need of rest and relaxation. Sometimes we coordinate a big trip and venture across country but the past few years, we have retreated to our happy place – a city where we lived for a couple of years, one nestled among soothing mountains and fresh air.

When my husband and I moved there, it was opposite from what we knew with a differing landscape and culture. But we fell in love with the area, so much that even after we moved away, we began to call it home. Perhaps one reason? Our son was born there and though he has been raised elsewhere for much of his young life, he has come to appreciate his birthplace as much as we do.

And so we are breaking away from it all and escaping to our home away from home. It is familiar enough that we can forego strict itineraries and explore on a whim. Hikes, tours, restaurants, scenic drives, attractions. We have been there and done most but enjoy it so much we do not mind doing it again. The area is constantly growing and changing, and there is always something new to see and do. It never disappoints.

My family will revisit and renew and recharge. And when we return to the daily grind, hopefully we will look back and remember … it is possible to break away from it all.


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daily life · home · simplicity

Replace The To Do With I Did

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This week was going great until Tuesday night. Well, maybe not great but relatively good.

In trying to juggle my multiple writing tasks, I am in desperate need of a more structured schedule. And this was THE week. I was motivated to get organized with book outlines, blogging, family needs, and big house projects. I was committed to my TO DO lists. I was planning and prioritizing and letting go of perfection and then it happened …

LIFE.

Late Tuesday evening my son was injured in basketball practice. Not a sprain or broken bone but a fall flat on his face, bloody nose, split swollen lip, broken front tooth in half and root exposed kind of injury. My husband and I dropped what we were doing and ran over to where my son and his coach waited. As I went to hug my boy, I saw the destruction to his sweet, handsome face but perhaps more importantly, I detected the fear hidden behind tear-stained eyes.

The TO DO list I stringently toiled over just minutes before no longer mattered. I did not care about spring landscaping or my new book idea or the baseball equipment I needed to buy. Too much to do was immediately scratched off and replaced with one solitary thing: the well-being of my child.

A fellow basketball parent (who just so happens to be an endodontist) was gracious enough to perform emergency treatment. At a time when I am usually ready for bed, I sat in a shadowy medical office learning all about pulpotomies while watching my son handle it like the champ I know he is. As he leaned back in the exam chair with bright light circling his bruised mouth and blood spattering his shirt, I became hyper-focused in the moment.

I awoke this morning with a different to-do list and a desperate need to get my son smiling again. I have no idea how long that will take. It may entail a lot more treatment and pain and medication and soft food and mom snuggles. But I am ready.

My other TO DO list has been forgotten. I have put all other things on hold in order to focus on one: my I DID IT list.

Because once we get through this parenting challenge and look back, I will see that I DID whatever I could to help my son. I DID drop everything and focus on what matters. I DID show him the love and patience and compassion and help a child needs when they are hurting so much. I DID take time to research and ensure the best recovery path. I DID reduce stress and the overwhelming aspect of it all by eliminating distractions. I DID IT and my family came out better and stronger.

I like the idea of an I DID IT list so much I am instilling it in my planning sessions. This weekend while I map out my schedule for the following week, I will also reflect on the previous week and acknowledge the atta-girl, way to go accomplishments.

No matter how big, no matter how small, I want to be able to say I DID IT.

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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE

daily life · happiness · home · letting go · renewal

10 Tips To Bloom Where You Are Planted

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Over the course of twenty-seven years, my husband and I have moved five times. This number does not include the countless moves across town during our college and early years. These are the big moves – ones to a different city or state.

It has not always been easy digging up roots and planting them in a new spot. There have been definite bumps along the way, yet with each move we are better informed and prepared for the next. More importantly, my little family (son included) is adventurous and despite all of the stress relocation can bring, we enjoy the process and become excited at whatever awaits.

Some things I have learned to manage the craziness of it all:
1) RELY ON – If you move with a spouse, partner, or friend, lean on each other for support whenever the stress or loneliness becomes too much. If you venture out on your own, maintain connection with someone you trust from back home. Despite the distance, they can help you get through the rough patches.

2) DISCOVER – Schedule “explore days.” Take over the role of tourist and visit historical sites, heritage markers, museums, and parks. Finding out about the region where you live will make it feel more like home.

3) BE PATIENT – Do not force things. Friendships. Job. Dating. Home. School. It takes time for everything to come together. Pushing too fast will only lead to frustration and create disappointment, especially if reality does not match expectations. The best things truly do come to those who wait.

4) LEARN – Watch the local news. Read the newspapers. Attend a community meeting or gathering. As a citizen, following the events and people in your area will create a deeper connection.

5) BE OPEN – A new town or city means new experiences. Try different restaurants, visit unique shops, attend a play or musical, find a favorite local hangout, support the school sports program, and if there is an ethnic or cultural fair, go. Seek out places you have never been. Embrace activities you have never done.

6) CONNECT – If you workout, join a gym. Find a welcoming place to worship. Become involved in your child’s school. Have a hobby? Track down a club. If you are a bit introverted or tend to overschedule, be careful of doing too much too soon. Work into these things slowly and do not overcommit.

7) BE GRATEFUL – Many people never get to visit new places, let alone live in them! Gratitude for this remarkable experience is paramount. When you appreciate the special opportunity you have been given, the transition not only becomes easier to bear but amazing.

8) PAUSE – No matter how organized, the chaos of a move is overwhelming. Set aside time to be alone. Enjoy quiet nights. Unpack at your own pace. Settle into the comfort of your surroundings. Take a moment to watch a movie or read a book. Treating yourself will energize you to keep after that long to-do list.

9) REFLECT – If you had a bad experience in your previous town, consider how you can make it better this time around. Job, finances, relationships, or mistakes you have made are lessons in disguise. Analyze what happened, accept your role, and dedicate this as a time of change.

10) REINVENT – This is your chance to do things differently. No one knows you. If there has been something you wanted to change, now is the perfect time. Do not pretend to be someone other than who you are, however. Simply embrace the ability to start fresh and view yourself through new eyes.

Bonus Tip!
11) LIVE – Wherever you are and whatever the moment – that is where you belong and the best place to be! Do not fall into the trap of comparing the past and present. Avoid dwelling on what was left behind. Be wary of overdreaming about what your life could or should be like in the future. Remove the idea things will be better once you do [insert crazy thought here]. Give yourself the gift of living in the now.

I have learned to embrace the challenges of each move and love the journey. Yes, there have been sacrifices but there have also been wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime rewards. Life is what you make it. Home is where you live it.

Nurture the place where you have been planted and it will grow into something quite beautiful.

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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE