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Showing posts from March, 2017

Celebration Vacation

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It wasn't so much of a vacation as forty-eight hour stay and fifteen hours of travel between 3pm Friday and 6am Monday. 




We got to take part in a wonderful 90th birthday celebration in Pennsylvania for Grandma Jean, my husband's paternal grandmother. We got to visit with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles who we rarely get to see and spend a glorious 74 degree day playing outside in the morning and celebrating in the evening.


We learned some family history, played games, explored a cemetery, took a drive to the top of a mountain, and listened with interest as Grandma Jean told us about growing up in Pavia, PA, without running water or electricity - a small village that now has those things, but is devoid of cell phone reception. 



My husband took two days off for this trip, which normally would have me stressing over how much time off he has left between sick days he's taken already this year and our upcoming time at Camp Calumet for both Spring Cleaning weekend and over…

Apparently

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One of the things I've let go of this Lent in order to make room for faith and family is time online. Apparently so, since this blog has been quite sparse this Lent. 
I've learned something quite interesting - it's increasingly difficult to keep up with friends and family members when I'm not on social media so much! I miss day after day of Facebook updates because I'm choosing to devote my time to real-life interactions with friends and family. People these days seem to send out life updates to the masses instead of communicating individually with others. I do as well, and it wasn't so apparent until recently.
I thought I might catch up on social media today if I found the time, but have decided that, if there's something of utmost importance, someone will let me know. Right? There is no way I can catch up with everyone's past week without devoting an entire day to the process. 
Another thing I've noticed is that apparently I have help in keeping rel…

Storm Prep

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We live in New England, where a blizzard dumped a foot and a half of snow and provided a nice opportunity for our family to spend time together ... cleaning. 

Ok, so we didn't spend the entire time cleaning, but I did take the opportunity over the past few days to get a bunch of cleaning done around the house, just in case we lost power...and because it needed to be done. Somehow our youngest children were more willing to do some major cleaning and decluttering in the name of storm prep.

We cleaned up the dining room/kitchen (one big room) just in case we needed to close the upstairs bedrooms and set up air mattresses on the first floor, where we would do our best to provide light and some heat in the case of a power outage. In the process, stray children's items made it back to their rooms, craft supplies were put in their proper place, and the surface of the table appeared. Donations were organized and homeschool bins from last session's co-op classes were updated for Spri…

Aquarium Adventure or Crazy Homeschoolers on a Snowy Day

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At School of Lay Ministry the other night we got on the topic of finding blessings and living in gratitude even, and especially, in the most difficult of situations. Dealing with cancer? Pray for the most treatable kind. Having a difficult time walking? Decorate your crutches with duct tape! 

Letting go of anger, disappointment, worry, and frustration breeds acceptance, gratitude, and even joy. 

We were supposed to be going to Mystic Aquarium yesterday, taking some teenage friends along. I had snacks packed, membership and extra tickets ready.  However, there was a bunch of white stuff falling from the sky and things weren't looking promising. 

It used to be that things not going according to plan, especially when friends are coming along, would have me stressed and anxious. But what does stress and anxiety do other than ruin everyone's day? Instead, we waited to see what would happen with the weather and the road conditions ... and checked the Aquarium website, which let us know…

The Day That Wouldn't Have Happened

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Letting go is beginning to make room.
Yesterday's usual obligations cleared out by letting go made room for a day out with my three youngest children. 
We were blessed with the opportunity to entertain two year old Elin while her parents filled out job applications. We spent some time inside reading books, playing with a truck, and about ninety seconds watching tv. Then we were outside showing Coren, who hadn't been for a visit yet, the sights. We sat at picnic tables and blew bubbles, went up and down the steps, and discovered that the front of the building was much more windy than the parking lot around back! 
Inside again, our little hostess brought us a plate of Turkish crackers and delighted in singing and dancing to the ABC song in various forms thanks to YouTube. And, of course, a rousing game of  "I See You" thanks to Alia. 
Before we knew it, it was time for an amazing lunch at Plan B and then we were off to the Children's Museum to use Alia and Coren's …

Commitments

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I do a lot. A lot. 

Doing, helping, being involved in faith, theater, homeschool, and other communities is what keeps me going despite chronic illness and pain.

But recently I have felt that some of my commitments have not been serving me well. It was time to let go of a few things and make room in my life for more self care and family time. Once I let go of these obligations, I knew it was the right choice, as I felt lighter and more free. 

In addition, I have found myself saying no to things I normally would have said yes to. Some were opportunities that I would have said yes to in a heartbeat in the past, but took time for careful consideration before declining. 

Sometimes we forget that we can't do it all; that saying no is ok; and that a no from us will be an opportunity for someone else.

Expectations

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Sometimes we need to let go of expectations and see what happens. 

Teaching Puppetry in various forms at Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op has taught me a lot about expectations. Sometimes expectations are a good thing. Sometimes they can hinder creativity and growth.

I have high expectations for my students. I expect them to treat each other with respect, to support each other, and to work together. I also expect them to think for themselves and to be able to work on their own when needed. I expect them to listen, to hear, to respond, and to remember. I also expect that they will make mistakes, have bad days, and have just as much grace for themselves during these times as I do for them.

Many parents find it interesting that I "get" their children to do things they wouldn't normally do. I've found that letting the children know that I expect them to participate in class as fully as possible, but that they have the option of doing something different leads to beautiful things…

Mail Time

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Letting go and making room...
Mail takes up a lot of mental and emotional space, as well as physical space. I knew it was time to clean things out when I found a grocery store ad from last year, along with some Christmas cards in my pile of mail awaiting my attention. The important stuff (bills) get dealt with in a more timely manner, but other things get opened and put back in the pile or mentally noted and, well, sit there unopened. So today is the day I start going through mail and other paperwork that's taking over a shelf on my bookcase and deal with it all. 

It amazes me, as I go through mail, how I feel about different types of mail. I experience a bit of panic every time there's a bill. That's what being financially challenged does to a person. Some bits of mail I have difficulty letting go of - like Christmas cards with kind notes. However, the minimalist in me knows that the sentiment will live in my heart, and the best place for the card is in the recycle bin. Jun…

Virtual Clutter

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Practicing awareness of how I feel about every aspect of my life is part of my letting go and making room journey this Lent. Upon getting online this morning, I realized that I felt overwhelmed by the number of emails awaiting me in my email accounts. Thousands of unread messages left me with a feeling of being mired down.
So I took action. I deleted thousands of emails I read and don't need or would never read from two different email accounts. I unsubscribed from newsletters. I went through my facebook likes and unliked many pages that were cluttering my feed and wasting my time. I unfriended some people as well. 
I lightened my virtual load, and it's amazing how much quicker my scans of email and social media are, and how much more relaxed I feel in the process. It seems like a small change, but its impact is greater than I expected.

Let Go, Make Room

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The Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner at Tuesday Night Sunday School is over. The pancake race is done. The word-that-cannot-be-said-again-until-Easter has been boxed up. We are entering Lent. 

Every year for Lent, I choose a Lenten discipline of some sort or another. I have written Lenten Love Letters, practiced daily Gratitude, and have traveled through Lent in Thought, Word, and Deed. This year I'm going to Make Room.

During Lent, I'm going to strive to let go of something to make room for faith, joy, breath, peace of mind, or just plain physical room in my house each day. I might let go of belongings, habits, thought patterns, obligations, or anything else that does not serve me or the way I wish to live my life well. 

I will write about my journey along the way, but will not promise to write every day as I have in the past. The first thing I'm letting go of is the pressure to write daily during a time in my life that I'm going through immense struggles amidst immeasurabl…