Ready for some thoughts and emotions on a Thursday night…err, early Friday morning?
1. Please don’t cry. That is the phrase I think (and sometimes say) throughout the day. Because it’s hard to think straight with a whimpering or crying baby in the room, it’s just one of those things. I try to concentrate and get things done and continue to pursue some of the things I like or want to do, but the reality is, I have to do less of all that so I can just be there and fill my baby’s needs. It’s still a shift and a balancing act, but a good one that I am grateful to work on.
2. Get motivated. It’s easy to feel like we need to “get through” the holidays before we take steps toward positive personal change or development–that such things only begin (and sometimes end) in January. I think it can happen at anytime, and maybe the time for that is now. Working out, eating better, investing in the lives of others, reading books, cleaning out closets/drawers–all of those things seem to not only feel good afterwards but also seem to bring more life and energy into my days.
3. Love anyway. I shed a few tears of my own tonight as I read and thought about Aleppo. It’s absolutely tragic. I feel far away and almost helpless to make a difference, but I can give and pray. So that’s what I did and will continue to do. If you’re looking for somewhere to give to the refugees, I had several friends post about Preemptive Love Coalition. After some research and consideration of my own, felt it was a worthwhile place to start with donations.
The month of December is off and running…here we are barely more than a week in, which means Christmas is just two and a half weeks from now. Time needs to SLOW DOWN.
1. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear”– Buddy the Elf. I don’t consider myself a musician, but I do enjoy playing gigs with my husband. Last Friday we played our first show since the little one was born, and it felt good. Lots of original music and Christmas music, what’s not to love? Granted, there was a baby crying here and there (who brings a crying baby out on the town? oh yeah, me) but also so many great people I’m lucky to know and spend my days with.
2. Sometimes there are questions without answers. As our life has shifted and we’ve taken on new routines and responsibilities, a lot of questions have been raised as to what’s the best way to do this or that. Questions that keep you up at night or questions that you crowdsource for answers. I want to know the answers and know I’m handling what life throws at me the way I should. But maybe there aren’t always answers. Sometimes you just press forward without a solid plan and swerve when you need to.
3. Pick just one thing. The holidays can get crazy, and it’s easy to be swept up in “all the things” that people do to celebrate. There’s the tree and the parties and the presents and the cards and the carols and the lights and the shows and the food and the travel. It’s a lot. Maybe too much. Okay, it’s just too much. And then you look on the internet and see the pretty pictures of one of those things and think–“ahh! I’m behind! I’m letting everyone down or letting myself down.” But, as with much of life, we can’t do it all all of the time. So, just pick one. Pick one thing you’re going to be really good at over the holidays and give yourself some grace and space with the rest of them. Is it that tree you love to decorate? Is it traveling to see people you love? Is it sending a Christmas card? Or is it just watching the holiday classics in your jammies for a day? Pick one that you feel is manageable and enjoyable and then let the rest fall in line in order of importance or maybe just don’t worry about it at all. We’ll all have a better holiday season that way if we aren’t scrambling to do it all. For us, it’s the Christmas card this year, one of our favorite holiday traditions. We’re going to own it, and it’s going to be awesome, but don’t mind me if you see that the tree is slightly crooked and the presents aren’t nicely tied underneath it.
I know, I know, it’s not Thanksgiving anymore. We all shared our thanks and moved on to all the things we could buy or get for Christmas. But, as I may have done before, I want to go back to the thankful part. Perhaps it’s better to be reminded of gratitude when inundated with sales and stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I bought some new jeans last weekend, but still find thankfulness to be pretty valuable, even after we’ve finished off the turkey and pie. So, here are three things I’m incredibly thankful for (besides the obvious friends and family, because of course I’m thankful for those).
1.Comforts of home. This was going to say, “my bed,” but then I wanted to change it to “my house” but felt like the couch was being left out and then the practical side in me said “there’ a baby in this house, what would we do without the washer and dryer!?” So, let’s sum it up by saying I am so grateful for the many comforts of home. A bed to squeeze in those few hours of sleep I somehow manage to find each night and a couch on which to rest, work, and slouch during the day. A washer and dryer (and I guess other cleaning products in the house) to keep some level of cleanliness when I get around to it and simply a house to clean at all. This house has easily been my favorite of all the places we’ve lived, not only because it’s where we first brought our sweet little baby, but it has simply become our home. This list is barely scratching the surface because I can’t imagine life without electricity or running water or a refrigerator. Let’s face it, there are just too many comforts of home to be thankful for, and I haven’t even mentioned Netflix.
2. Health. I think it’s easy to take your health for granted until it’s bad or maybe someone you know is facing health challenges. I don’t want to wait around for either of those, so I’m just going to claim my gratitude for my health right now. Are their ways it could continue to be strengthened and improved? You betcha. But I’m glad that there are online videos for yoga and zumba (despite how crazy it looks), doctors when needed, and my apple a day (which helps me justify a little chocolate most days, too).
3. The Thursday Three. Now I’m talking about writing the piece that I usually use to write about writing? WHAT? So meta. Or something. I’m grateful for this little outlet of a blog, and the Thursday Three post has been a way to get something written almost every week (with the exception of much of last year’s hiatus). It has allowed me to think through each week and share tidbits and highlights with you. I’ve written over 100 Thursday Three posts over nearly four years, and I’m grateful to continue doing so today.
Look at me…two weeks in a row of a Thursday Three. It’s almost like a trend or something.
1. Balance is key. We’ve practically been living in a season of survival the past few months. Only in the past week or two have we started to reintroduce exercising, playing music, and making space for individual creativity. So here I am, sitting in a coffee shop while writing my thoughts–totally baby-free. As a couple and as a family, we’re asking the question of how to find balance in our lives and somehow make it work for everybody. It requires some planning and some sacrifice, but it seems to be worth it in the end. If you have tips and systems that have worked well for you, I’d definitely be interested in hearing them.
2. My phone is overloaded with pictures of my kid. (So much for balance, eh?) I know I’m biased, but I think he’s pretty stinking cute. To be honest, I haven’t figured out what I think about sharing countless photos on the internet (of him or me, really). Maybe one here or there. Occasionally, I send some photos of him in a text to people I think might want to see the latest facial expression or outfit he’s rocking. Like everything, I’m overthinking it and questioning how much I want him to be all over the internet. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer, but I do think it’s worth considering what we are putting online and what the long-term impact might be. Ugh. The world is crazy and the future of the internet is a mystery to me. I know I can’t protect him from everything, but I do have some responsibility as a parent to look out for him and his well-being. So, please humor me while I think it over and know that the photos might be sparse in the meantime. (But what the heck? I can’t add a photo from my week without including him because he’s in ALL the photos…so here you go, a week’s worth all at once).
3. We need each other. I’ve heard and read so many thoughts and feelings this past week regarding the election and the actions that have followed. Frankly, it’s hard to sort through it all. Last week, all I could say was that kindness was the first place I planned to start. I think the thing I’ve found to be true in it all is how much we need to support and love one another as a community, a city, a state, and a country. There’s so much that has already been said on the internet, and I don’t want to pretend I have something big or profound to add. I just think that at the bottom of it all, we each want love and support. We want someone to say, “I’m for you and I’m with you.” I think that means seeing a need amongst the people around you and filling it. It can mean showing up, even without being asked. It means prayer, money, food, time, and energy given to someone else or for someone else. As much as living in isolation or only surrounded by those who think and feel the exact same as we do sounds nice (and can have its place from time to time), the strength and mutual respect/understanding that can be gained by recognizing that we need each other is invaluable.
This is just going to have to be a whopper of a post because it has been SO LONG since I’ve written a Thursday Three. But let’s face it, I’m still too lazy to think up five things for a Friday Five. So, Thursday Three it is. Let’s catch up on the big things from the last few months, shall we?
1. We had a kid. A cute, kicking, crying, smiling kid is now under our constant care and responsibility. Poor thing. We’re two months in, and so far we all seem to love each other a whole lot. Granted, he loves his cloud mobile hanging over the changing table more than anything else in the world, but we like to pretend he is keen on us as well. We sure are smitten.
2. We released an album. It’s perfectly normal to release your biggest creative endeavor the same month as having a baby, right? Hold the applause because the reality is, most of it was done months ago, but it was time to finally put on the finishing touches and send it out into the world. So we did. You (and your mom and whoever else is interested) are more than welcome to listen to it and even download it for free (or pay what you want…but mostly, we want people to hear it even more than we want them to pay for it).
3. Kindness is key. In the past few months we have been the recipient of so much love and kindness, and I am incredibly grateful. My hope is to also spread kindness to those around me, whether in return for the kindness I’ve received or just out of love and grace. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to write something without responding to the election results and the feelings of everyone around me. There’s a lot going on, and it’s difficult to know what to do. But I think we all know how to be kind and can start there. That’s my plan at least.
Is it Thursday, really? I feel like the last week has been a blur, and the days are all merging together. Winter seems to do that to a person, especially when you’re stuck indoors. This weekend promises some sort of wintry mix, and around here that means the town is about to shut down. Guess we’ll just have to set up camp in the living room and hang on to our flashlights until the storm passes.
1. Saturday mornings are my favorite. I’m sure people have reasons to wake up and go do things on Saturdays, but I much prefer a slow start, breakfast on the porch (weather permitting), and a quiet beginning to the day.
2. Keep in contact with your loved ones. Sometimes we remember what it was like to be really cold and then gloat a little that we aren’t so cold anymore. I know this next weekend we’ll see some winter conditions, but it’s just for a weekend, not for months on end. Considering our lovely Saturday morning, it seemed only right to share a piece of our life with my mom as well as a little friendly “encouragement” considering what she was up against. It’s the perfect way to tell someone you’re thinking of them.
3. Being sick is the worst. I go on and on about not having expectationsand looking at life more realistically…and then I go and get sick, causing me to cancel every plan and commitment of the week. I thought I had it covered by just not making plans more than a few weeks out. Wrong again. Let’s just take it one day at a time I guess. Some sort of bug hit me on Saturday night and just won’t quit. I won’t share any photos or my symptoms (you’re welcome), but will take your pity, prayers, and Netflix recommendations.
What a week it has been. Anybody with me? Nothing too crazy, but it takes thought and intention to keep from covering yourself in blankets on the couch all day. Oh, winter.
1. Hug a kid. I should probably preface this by saying it’d be good to actually know this kid and maybe even have permission from their parents if necessary. But past that, I highly recommend it. They are usually all for it and this time of year the puffy coats that make them like little walking teddy bears are simply adorable. Is there a point to this hug? Just to show a little love and remind you where the world is headed–the future is definitely not all bad.
2. Take a walk. I know, it’s cold outside. Even here in North Carolina we’re having to take our coats out finally and wear a few layers. I’m not really a fan of winter, but I am a big fan of walking. When it’s decent outside, you’ll find me roaming the many trails nearby or the sidewalks downtown. When it is cold, watch out–I’m power walking through the mall. Sounds silly, but I can’t keep cooped up all winter long and the mall doesn’t require any sort of membership or serious preparation to show up. Plus, my favorite part about walking is going with a friend and talking while we walk, instead of going somewhere to sit still and pay for food or coffee.
3. Appreciate what you see on a daily basis. We can go through so much of our day seeing the same thing all of the time and ignore it. Last night, on a walk, the hubby wanted a quick picture of me with Krispy Kreme (but failed to follow it up by buying a donut). Very random, but the point was not our undying love for fresh & hot donuts, but a corner of our neighborhood we so regularly walk by, in a town we moved to three and a half years ago, where we have grown so much.