Will It Satisfy?

If I clean out my closet and leave nothing in there but my essentials…
If I say “no” to things that don’t really matter but just cause more busyness…
If I live my life intentionally, stopping to be in the moments…
If I simplify and modify will it satisfy?
Attempting to get the balance right isn’t easy.
I am trying.

“WITHOUT GRACE, MINIMALISM IS ANOTHER METRIC FOR PERFECTION.”
― Erin LoechnerChasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path

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Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone…

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I am still reading Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path, by Erin Loechner. I have to smile thinking about how long it is taking me to get through the book. It is a great book, and I am enjoying reading it…life is just so busy for me right now I don’t have the time to read as much as I would like. Does anyone else see the irony in that? I keep telling myself life will calm down when I am through with this semester of grad school classes. It will be better when I graduate with my Master’s degree. Life will slow down after I finish typing the rest of the summaries for my homeschooling families. I will have the opportunity to breathe when my husband and I successfully get all our adult children out of the house and on their own. Slowing down, saying “no”, relaxing, is always down the road, tomorrow, next month, next year…… it is never now. This day. This moment. I genuinely want it to be. I’ll be honest with you. I have a difficult time relaxing. Like so many wives and mothers, slowing down is not easy for me. Even when I am sitting, I am thinking of the million things I need to get done. This, let’s face it, can be exhausting in and of itself.  These are legitimate things. Things that if I don’t do them, probably won’t get done…and they need to get done…but, this is no way to live.

Lately, since beginning the book, I am thinking more about how and when to say “no” to activities. I am slowly learning that “no” is not a bad word, and saying no doesn’t make me a bad person. I don’t think I am meant to live this one life I have in exhaustion. God has plans for me, and He is not about having me burn my candle at both ends until there is nothing left.

So, with that said, I am continuing daily to make a concerted effort to slow down. I will try to enjoy each day because once it is gone, it is gone.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'”           Matthew 11:28

When Life Threatens To Bust Me Wide Open

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The things meant to sustain us, are often the things that drain us…

Some days break me. Crack me wide open. I feel exhausted and moody. Eeyore has nothing on me. You all know what I’m saying. We’ve all been there.

It is not one thing in particular, but many small things that chip away at me. The cat puked on the couch. My grand daughter is not interested in hugs and kisses this morning, even when I desperately need her sweetness. My students are not into the lessons I am trying to teach. I am pouring myself into the Revolutionary War and all I get in return is a blank stare. My college classes are drowning me in assignments that I try to squeeze into the cracks of my otherwise hectic life, and my resentment toward my <innocent> professor grows. I am behind in typing my home school summaries. (Parents, please forgive me!) Messes I didn’t make. Muck I didn’t create. And Misunderstandings that I hate.  Life is hard. And all I really want to do is curl up in a blanket, read a book and forget about schedules, deadlines, and craziness.

Just when I was feeling like I was going under for the third time, and life was looking bleak, my husband reminded me of something. He said, “Dawn, remember your one thousand gifts. Remember your practice of writing all your blessings”.  “Yes”, I barely whisper. Blessings. Things that God chooses to gift me with. All the small but great. The subtle but sensational. The soft, and wonderful and silly. I write on the good days, to sustain me through the bad ones. To remind me through the hard. The jagged and broken. On those days when I am fragile and cry over running out of green tea.

When life threatens to bust me wide open, or worse when it punctures me leaving a slow leak of joy….emptying me. I will choose joy.

Today I choose joy. I choose life. I choose to be thankful.

*Rainy Saturdays *Cool Fall-like weather *September *Fall is on the way! *Sleeping in *Wearing leggings and an oversized t-shirt (comfy clothes) *Reading my Chasing Slow book *Quiet house *A husband who loves me even when I feel unlovable *Safety for my children *A grand daughter that turned one a few days ago. *Excellent lab results *The smell of coffee brewing. *A God who whispers to me, calming my soul. *Friends *Second, and third, and fourth chances at getting things right. *Smiles *A new haircut *Old quilts * Dog licks *Netflix *Dancing to music in the kitchen *Gluten-free pizza *Family *Texts from my sister *Laughing

 

Life Still Isn’t Slow…

I am still reading Chasing Slow. The book isn’t a massive volume and I very much enjoy reading it, but finding the time to slow down, on most days, can be daunting. How apropos that I would need to slow down to read about slowing down. Go figure.

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I, probably like most people, have lived a life that has taken many unexpected twists and turns. I often ponder the fact that when I was in high school I didn’t think I’d go to college five hundred miles away, in Tennessee. When I was was in college I never expected to stay in Tennessee after graduation, but to go back to my home state of Maryland to teach. The summer after I graduated from college, I never expected one of my professors to contact me about a special education job in a school in rural Tennessee. I didn’t expect to stay in Tennesse for the next twenty years. I didn’t know when I married at twenty-four that I’d be widowed and a single parent just a short eight years later. I didn’t know if I’d get remarried, especially to a man that lived in Texas. Yep. I married that guy. After a few years we decided to move to Ohio, and build our own house in the middle of what used to be a farm field. All these things, events, this life I call my own, none of this was part of my master plan. When I was a teenager I thought I’d live in a Cape Cod style house, in one of the New England states. I’d enjoy leaf peeping during the Autumn months, hikes through the mountains, and spend time reading books of poetry by Robert Frost. Alas, the Master Planner, had other plans for me. Better plans. Special plans. Surprising plans.

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Those of you that know me, know I am not a laid back kind of person…and yes, the world needs people like me! I am the one with the to-do list and the daytimer planner. I like things organized, alphabetized, and accessorized. I love a good surprise if it is a fun birthday gift or a Christmas present, but not so much anything else. If I start something I want to finish it. I don’t like loose ends. Yet, here I am in rural Ohio, surrounded by corn fields, and occasionally the neighbor’s rogue llamas.

Life still isn’t slow….but, I am working on it.

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Slowing Down and Being Intentional

I am so excited.

Over a book.

Yes, a book. I read the first bit of it online.

I’ve been wanting to get this book since it came out earlier this year. It will arrive by Wednesday.

It is the book, Chasing Slow, by Erin Loechner. She talks about appreciation. Gratitude. Being intentional.

Yes. I have been attempting to work on those very things for the past several years, but who doesn’t need the reminder? To know there are others that struggle with these things too?

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As I sit here typing, my eyes glance around the kitchen. Notes and magnets askew on the refrigerator, the Keurig needs the water tank refilled, pet nose prints on the windows, and finger prints all over the stove and dishwasher. The counter needs to be wiped down, again, and my feet feel the grit on the floor. Why are my eyes always drawn to the negative? Instead, I want them to focus on my granddaughter playing in her high chair, smiling like only an 11-month-old can, a glass of cold green tea, and the feel of cool air conditioning (after having just recently been fixed).  I am choosing to make a change.

My soul craves the slower life, the more intentional life. I have been blessed with so much, and yes, I am thankful in a big way. But, am I thankful in the-everyday-way? Do I own my things, or do they own me? Do, I schedule my life, or does my calendar rule me? My life often feels hurried and I’m left harried. That is just not what I want.

I don’t want a wild race to next week, or next month, or even next year. I long to slow down and be intentional. I want to savor the days and make them what I want, not what I must. Slowing down is about more than just getting rid of “stuff”, it is also about changing my mindset. I am sure I will try and fail, then have to dust my self off and get back at it. What am I motivated by? How can I make this one life something I enjoy and not just one I strive to get through?

Over the next several months I will be working hard on simplifying, slowing down, and letting go. I plan on posting periodically about this journey.  You will read about the triumphs as well as the messy stuff. I suspect this journey to slow will not be an easy one for me……

I Have To Catch Up

It has been several weeks since I’ve posted. I think it might be the longest I’ve gone without posting, in YEARS. For those of you that don’t know, I’m working on my Masters Degree Autism Spectrum Disorders. There is a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and a lot of researching. There is also a lot of tired (according to me). That is no joke, people. Working, taking grad classes, and having a family, and dealing with, well you know, stuff…. it makes for a bit of crazy. Sunday night I finished, and turned in, my last paper for the semester. I did a little happy dance once I hit the “submit” button. What a relief!

Now I can relax and enjoy my time, and write some blog posts! Tomorrow I will begin my blogging marathon. I have to catch up, after all.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Good Morning, so glad you came to visit. I love having company. Would you like a mug of coffee on this chilly, gray day? Yes? Just pull up a stool at the kitchen counter. Let’s talk……

I really enjoy getting to know my “bloggy” friends. I know that if we all lived closer together, this scene really would take place. I have readers from all over the world and we are each different…yet, we have so many characteristics that are the same. Many people think that the internet is “evil”…and let’s face it, it can be if that is what one is looking for. I choose to use the internet to “talk” with my neighbors….to share more of myself, in hopes that they can also see themselves in my stories. It makes us all feel a little bit closer.

Mmmm…..the coffee is especially good this morning. You want another cup? What flavor creamer? My mom and husband both tell me I need to learn to drink it, straight up, black. I say, why waste good creamer? There is nothing wrong with french vanilla or cinnamon swirl. Right?

This morning I’ve already been practicing my lines for the “Mary” monologue that I am doing tonight, at my church’s Good Friday service. Friends, would you remember me, that the words I speak would not be my own…but, that those listening tonight would hear the words of Mary and realize how much Jesus loves them?

I know it’s a gray day outside. This morning when I walked the dog, the wind was starting to pick up. A storm is obviously on the way. That is the Midwest for you…not quite ready for Spring yet. Gray clouds scud across the sky. Hey, why don’t you look out my front kitchen window? Doesn’t the farm across the road look like something out of a Norman Rockwell picture?  A red barn in the middle of an open field. I really enjoy my view. I like the wide open spaces that the country allows. Maybe, after the rain we can go for a walk? We can visit Jazz, my daughter’s horse, in the barn. The dogs would love to go for a walk with us. The llamas across the road will lift up their heads and sniff the air. They are curious animals and will keep an eye on us as we walk.

Walking and talking. One of my favorite past times. There is nothing better than sharing with friends.

Yesterday I bought some new curtains. Well, actually I used a gift certificate that I had. I don’t think anyone else in my family appreciates them as much as I do. That’s okay. God gave me an eye for aesthetics. I’m all for practical, but I also long for beauty. I appreciate the way the light pools on the floor, making a warm oasis. The shimmer of morning as it peeks through the curtains. The richness of the wood cabinets. The smell of my cinnamon/vanilla candle. I love color, and texture and smell. I think that God will have heaven be one big explosion of the senses. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Uh oh….the rain has started.

You have to go? Alright then. Maybe you can you come back tomorrow? I’ve really enjoyed our time together. It’s great having you as a neighbor.

*** What’s happening at your house on this Good Friday? I’ll pull up a chair and you can tell me.***