Archives for June 2014

Take Time to Get Lost in Your Thoughts!

images-1

Sometimes I am amazed at how much technology we have available to us.  The possibilities are endless with social media, on-line news, shopping, games, e-books, Pinterest,  and blogs. We have many ways to communicate via the internet through modes such as e-mail, FaceTime or instant messaging.  Not to mention texting, tweeting and Instagram.  This list hits only the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure  more is coming our way.  If we let it, technology could literally consume our lives.

I do love many aspects of technology.  I have been able to re-connect with old friends and can share in the lives of family members that live across the country.  I love seeing the pictures of my friends and family and their children.  I also love being able to FaceTime with my niece and nephews who live far away.

At the risk of sounding like a “fuddy dud”, lately, I have found myself wondering when is it all too much?  I think that it is a personal decision for each individual, but I have been considering my own use of technology and wondering if I need to make a change.

I think some of my technology use has just become a habit. For instance, when I have a couple minutes to wait in a doctor’s office and I pull out my phone and mindlessly flip through social media or if I’m waiting for my daughter and I pull out my phone to check e-mail.  I am an avid reader, but have found technology slowly creeping in on my reading time.  I only have so many minutes before bed that I can actually stay awake and I find reading is being edged out.

Now if surfing social media and other sites is relaxing for you, I say go for it, but lately I have been finding myself feeling scattered and edgy.  Jules talked about being on “overload” in her last post and I’m wondering if technology overuse is contributing to my own feelings of being overwhelmed.  I don’t get the same feeling of peace from surfing the web as I do from reading a good book, crafting or spending time with my girls playing a game or just hanging out together.

The other thing that I find technology is robbing me of, is time to think.  Those moments I used to spend waiting in the car or in a doctor’s office used to allow me time to think and reflect.  In order to feel a sense of peace and calm, I need downtime to just think and reflect, anticipate and dream.  It is in those quiet moments that I may even hear the still small voice of God.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (KJV)

“11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”

So lately, when I find myself with a few minutes of downtime, instead of reaching for my phone, I have been trying to spend that time just sitting quietly with my thoughts, looking around me, maybe even doing a little “people watching” (which is sometimes way more interesting than anything you would see on the internet!). After a few weeks of doing this, I have felt more in balance and have experienced a greater sense of peace in my daily life.  I want to be a good example to my girls, maybe if they see me stepping away from technology more often and taking some time to “think”, they will be inspired to do the same. We will be taking a family vacation this summer that will involve very little wifi/internet access.  I’m excited for this “forced” break from technology and have great hopes that we will all draw closer in our personal relationships and expand our thoughts and activities in tech -free ways. (I know, I know-I may be wishing for that technology after lots of tech free days together!)  I have high hopes!

What do you think?  Have we lost the art of being alone with our thoughts, taking time to just be still?

Okay, I’m signing off to go do some thinking!

~Blessings,
Jen

 

Overload!

Overload

Good Morning Everyone!

This post is coming a little late because frankly, I couldn’t for the life of me think of an earth shattering, highly inspiring, wonderful story to share. I’m thinking maybe because my brain is on such overload that it’s frozen? Ever felt that way? Sometimes I wish that I could just plug my brain in and download some of the unneeded items. I know I’m getting older, but I sure seem to be forgetting a lot of things lately. My cousin posted in Facebook yesterday about going to do something, getting distracted, doing about 6 other things and by the end forgetting what it was she was originally going to do. I had to laugh because that is so me! Sometimes I try to figure out, am I ADHD, or just on overload. And then I go over my schedule in my head and I think it’s overload. I have so many things rolling around in my brain to keep track of that I think I do just end up in overload. Having a job with unpredictable hours and never knowing if the schedule is going to go as planned: trying to work in seeing my 4 grandchildren; trying to figure out how and when I can get back to Georgia to see my other grandchildren; trying to make the older kids softball/baseball games and work getting in the way; how am I going to get the house cleaned, outside stuff done and don’t forget the laundry. I have my own lunch to pack every day which for some reason seems to take a long time. And there we go, what am I going to put in that lunch, because last night I got home from work at 8:30 which meant no dinner, so no leftovers. Heaven help me if I actually had children at home to be taking care of. Kudos to the mom’s out there doing this and taking care of kids. My daughter called at 8:00 last night and I said I was “resting.” She asked why I would be napping at 8. Well, it was so I could stay awake until bedtime. In addition to all of the above I also have something called fibromyalgia which causes chronic pain and lack of sleep, and that is a whole other story. So see? This is why I want to “download” some of this. My brain just feels full. Despite all of this I really try hard to never forget to hav fun. Having fun is so important. It IS a priority to me. (Refer back to getting house cleaned, laundry, etc. not getting done because I will always pick fun!) My sister is such the opposite of me. She is organized and cleans a lot. I asked her the other day, why are you cleaning again. Isn’t there something more fun to do. It seems she doesn’t always get enough fun. We constantly try and plan things but just can’t seem to find time.

Okay, so where am I going with all this? I told you it would be rambling. It’s my life right now. Do I dream of having all the time in the world to do what I want, when I want…well sure I do. But truthfully, after a few days of that I would probably be bored to death. This is who I am, who I’ve always been and probably will always be. After all, every day this is what I try and teach my clients. Be who you are. You are the boss of you. Take care of yourself and ALWAYS be sure to put some fun in your life.!

I just wonder if anyone else out there can relate with these ramblings! Maybe I will consider those lists my sister is always talking about…maybe it would help…but knowing me, I would just lose the list!!

I hope you all have a great day!!

Julie

P.S. Forgot about keeping up with social media, keeping up with my little games and trying to keep the 2000 emails out of my inbox!!!

Summer Vacation Sanity Saver!

Unknown-1

Tomorrow is officially the first day of Summer, but many of you with school-age children have already started your summers with school ending for most students this week (Finally here in Michigan!  We all had a lot of snow days to make up!)  I am a teacher so I am very blessed to be able to enjoy lots of time with my kids during the summer.  Those endless days can seem pretty dreamy at the beginning of summer vacation, but I find that all too soon those free days result in restless kids hanging around saying they are bored, or the temptation of too much TV or electronics creep in.

I’ve seen a lot of ideas floating around on Pinterest that are great ways to schedule your child’s summer, but I wanted something a little simpler.  What if we just couldn’t make every Tuesday “Take a Day Trip” Day?  I just didn’t want to commit to that much of a schedule all summer long.

The first day of vacation I tried to just “go with the flow” and see how things went and it was okay for a little while, then Little One became grumpy when I asked her to do some chores and practice the piano.  She had not planned on that in her day!  It continued with endless requests to do things that were not really feasible at the time.  We both just seemed a little out of sorts.

So today I tried something different.  I knew we had things we had to get done, but I also wanted some time for fun.  So in about two minutes I wrote out a tentative list of how her day would go.  It included some chores and some school work (I know, I know-school work?  the teacher in me just can’t help myself!) as well as plenty of outdoor time and a bike ride with Mom.  Oldest has a full week of marching band practice and seems to keep pretty busy on her own, so only Little one got an agenda list. I presented it to Little One after breakfast and she read it over and got to work on the first item, no complaining or grumbling to be heard!  I think she really liked knowing what to expect from her day and the fun things to look forward to made the chores and schoolwork bearable.  We have already had to adjust the list a little because we had lots of outside time planned and it turned out to be a rainy day, but she was okay with some substitutions.  Instead of a bike ride, we may do a board game or art project.

I know this type of thing might not work for all families, but as a teacher, I find that most young kids do better with at least some structure.  Little One really liked checking things off of her list and I think she felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

How about you?  How do you fill the extra time at home during summer vacation?  We would love to hear your ideas.

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Sometimes it’s Just the Little Things

Flower for blog I recently returned home from Atlanta where I had been visiting my youngest grandchildren. I am a VERY involved grandmother and it is really hard having them so far away. So facing my first day back to  work was a little depressing. I have been working hard to attract some birds to my yard after my cats chased them all away a few years. I had a few precious minutes before my mad rush to get out the door (seriously, I don’t know why I do that to myself, but I do…every day!!) so I grabbed my camera and quietly sat on the front porch. It was really beautiful out there this morning. I did snap a few pictures of the birds, but then I turned the camera lens to the flowers. This is what I got. For some reason I just loved it. So beautiful and simple. It inspired me to go out and have a beautiful day despite being a little tired and a little melancholy. Some days that’s all we can do! Hope you enjoy.

 

Peace,

Julie

Just a Couple of Dreamers

Unknown

So Jules and I have been accused of being just “a couple of dreamers” or having our heads in the clouds.  There is some truth to this, we do like to dream and plan and conspire! That is one of the many things I love about my sister,  we can openly share our dreams with each other and know that we won’t be judged.  In fact one dream may lead to another dream and the next thing you know we are writing a blog together!  We have been doing this for years, just ask our family about the flip flops we made and sold!  Some of our dreams have been better than others.

I recently read an article in Guideposts, which is a wonderful inspirational magazine started by Norman Vincent Peale, author of  The Power of Positive Thinking.  The story was by Dolly Parton and it was titled, “Dolly’s Dreams”.  A quote from this article really resonated with me.

“There is a difference between a wish and a dream.  You can sit around and wish for good things to happen to you, but a dream is something you have to pursue, something you make happen.”…”You’ve got to be responsible for your dreams.  You’ve got to take care of them the way you take care of your children, protect them, say no to people who want to remake them their own way.”…”Because most of all, you have to trust him (God) with your dreams.  Maybe he’s got something planned that’s even better than you expect.” Dolly Parton- Guideposts, June 2014

I can’t imagine living my life without dreaming.  I think this quote sums it up nicely, you can’t just sit around and wait for your dreams to come true, you have to do something, take that next step to make it happen.   Thinking of ideas and dreaming makes me feel excited about all of the possibilities out there!

I know Jules and I are not done dreaming, in fact we have already been talking about plans for expanding our blog.  I think it might be in our DNA, we are the daughters of one of the biggest dreamers I have ever known.  I am dedicating this blog entry to our Dad who went home to be with the Lord twenty-six years ago on June 13th.  He was a true inspiration and pursued many dreams in a life that ended too young.  From starting his own business to opening a hometown newspaper or flying his own plane and many other adventures, there was never a dull moment.  We miss you Dad!

What about you?  Is there a special dream you have tucked away in the back of your mind?  I encourage to to take one tiny step today toward pursuing that dream!

~Blessings,

Jen

images

Comfort to Future Empty Nesters!

empty nest

 

Ahh….spring, flowers blooming, temperatures rising, and graduation! Mine are long graduated, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been seeing pictures, hearing about the tears flowing and watching all the graduations. It is a glorious time. (For some of us like me, it was like a miracle performed by Jesus himself when I saw that a certain child of mine actually did graduate!!!)

Now I know some of you out there are just slightly panicking over what might be your last child graduating, you may be wishing this summer to go by slooooow, so that you get that lovely graduate to yourself for yet a little bit longer. I am here to give you HOPE!!! The Empty Next Syndrome is very short lived. I’m telling you this….EMBRACE it…you might think it is forever, it isn’t. As these lovely young graduates grow and mature, eventually they will find that special someone. Ok, now you can get back into business…wedding planning, showers, etc etc…you feel for a bit that you have them back…especially if its a daughter. Then the wedding is over, and there is the let down again…but wait, do not fear…its not over, because those lovely graduates start giving you GRANDCHILDREN!!!! Now that, that is the biggest reward of all….this is what you have been waiting for all of these years. Now guess what…you get to do the kid thing all over again, but without any of the responsibility. Our lives are now full with basketball games, volleyball games, softball, baseball, dance and all of those special school things. See, you only lose this for a little while. Again, instead of making friends with your kids friends, you are making friends with you grandchildren’s grandparents. It’s just a big circle. And relationships with grandchildren…they are so special. Technology has helped that a lot. Last night before bedtime I was texting with my 12 year old granddaughter. She shares a lot of things with me that she doesn’t always tell her parents. She also feels comfortable enough to vent about “my son” and what he is doing!!! LOL…they used to tell me to spank him!

So there you have it! Remember, it doesn’t end with graduation, you are just getting a well deserved break until those grandchildren come along. Now some of you may be thinking, well I don’t have kids, so what’s in it for me. Nieces, nephews, there are a lot of kids young and old that need a positive adult in their life. My 8 year old niece requested a meeting the other day to talk about a sleepover…just priceless.

So celebrate those graduations, and then enjoy your little break…trust me, it will all be worth it!!

 

Peace

Julie