Thursday, August 29, 2013

Savoring the Moments

Slow Down Challenge Day 2: Savoring

"We must savor every moment. The trouble is sometimes life can be bittersweet. It comes with all kinds of twists and turns, moments when we don't know what the point of it all is.  During those times, it may be tempting to live in the past or want to push ahead to the future. But those are the times we must cherish the most. . . No it's not easy to slow down and enjoy every breath, every meal, every inconvenient interaction. But that is what we must do." ~Jeff Goins

Learning to savor every moment, including the difficult ones, is not an easy task to accomplish.  But when we learn to be grateful, even in the nitty gritty, I truly believe that there are blessings to be had.

The challenge for Day 2 was to take the time to truly savor and enjoy a meal. I will be the first to admit that while I LOVE food, I often find myself rushing through meals. I think my personality can lend itself to hurrying from one thing to the next, thus why I feel this challenge was important to undertake.

I decided to put this into practice over a dinner out with amazing company. I learned a few things:
  1. I just don't think it's in my DNA to chew a bite of food a minimum of 20 times. I mean it; it's just impossible.
  2. It's really easy to smile between bites when you are sharing a meal with someone you love.
  3. Being present in the moment enables you to value the relationship, the time spent in community and appreciate the little things you might otherwise overlook when rushing. For instance; how deliciously sweet watermelon tastes on a warm summer evening, how mango salsa takes a chicken sandwich from just good to plain wow, and how a good laugh can make a bad day ten times better.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Being Able to Notice

Slow Down Challenge Day 1 - Notice:  "Take time to notice the things that other people are overlooking. Find a way to interrupt your busy schedule and enjoy what's right in front of you. . . These are not distractions from life; they are life itself."

The day had been long, I was tired and the past week and a half have been a bit rough and stressful.  Driving home, no part of me whatsoever wanted to go for a run or do anything other than sit on my butt for the next hour before my plans for the evening.

But knowing that I am doing this challenge and having promised myself that I will do what it takes to work through stress in a healthy way; I made myself get outside.  I put in my earphones, turned on worship music and began putting foot to pavement.

When I reached the Crow Canyon creek and gardens, there was no one else around so I decided to slow down and soak it all in.

It was quiet except for the warm breeze that rustled the trees and the music coming through my earphones.  Hillsong's Desert Song played:

All of my life, in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship.

As I listened to the lyrics, I felt deeply content and hopeful. I was thankful for the time alone and in that time to myself I could once again recognize I am never doing this life on my own.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Slowing Down

I started Jeff Goins' Slow Down Challenge yesterday, a five-day series with the aim of learning to live your everyday life with intention and focusing on the things that matter.  I happened upon this challenge through Twitter and it immediately caught my attention.  Goins' says:

"When we slow down, we do better, more creative work; we become better stewards of the relationships in our lives; and we grow grateful for the small things in life. . . The reality is, this is true for all of us, wherever we are. Right now is the only time you will ever have. So it has to be the best — because it’s all you get. Better make the most of it."

Part of the reason this spoke to me is the stage I'm in right now in my life. Working full time with two kids can be exhausting. There are nightmare-filled, sleepless nights; a never ending to-do list of household chores; potty training ups and downs; work deadlines; homework; sibling squabbles; comforting let downs and hurt hearts and more.

Some weeks the days run one into the other and Friday is here before it seems Monday has even finished. At times I can find myself thinking; "I can't wait until we are past potty training; it'll be nice when they are no longer afraid of the dark and want to sleep in." But there are dangers in that, because before I know it they will be all grown up and not my little ones anymore. And I will miss those nighttime snuggles and jelly smeared faces.

I don't want to take these moments and days for granted. I want to find joy in it all; in every moment, in the difficult, the frustrating, the exhausting, the exciting, the happy and the fun. I want to see what God is doing and as Goins' so eloquently says, I want to be grateful for the small stuff.  So as I begin this short five day journey, I'm praying that God will continue to open my eyes to see what He is doing in my life and the lives of my children. I'm also praying that He will show me how to rest, to be thankful for this very moment and to not always be waiting for the next step or next phase.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Faith For Fear

"I'm giving You fear and You give faith
I'm giving You doubt
You give me grace
For every step I've never been alone"
~Sidewalk Prophets
The little miss is finally in a big girl bed. It's pink, flowers and princesses - everything a little girl loves. And love it she does. . .during the day. When it comes to nighttime, her bed becomes the enemy and she fights me on having to sleep in it alone. Most nights still she will cry and cry or she will wake up in the night calling for me, whimpering that she is scared.
Some nights I am blurry eyed, half-asleep and inpatient - telling her there is nothing to be afraid of and to go back to sleep, hoping that this time she will believe me. But other nights I am not the walking dead and have more clarity and patience to try and help her through the fears.
A lot of her fears seem irrational to me; monsters in the closet, wolves under the bed, and other images born of a very active imagination. But to her these fears are very real dangers that lurk around every corner. It's my job as her mom to comfort her and help her work through it.
But it's more than just a duty I have to perform in my role as mother. I want to do it because I love her. Born out of my love for her is the desire to help her walk through the difficult stuff, to comfort her fears, hold her close when she is upset, and teach her that because of our Savior, we have nothing to fear. I constantly pray for the wisdom and discernment to help me teach both my little ones to walk in faith. Even in my sleep deprived, middle of the night, inpatient and grumpy state - my love for them and desire to be there for them, doesn't change. 
I see this in my relationship with my children, knowing that I am imperfect and flawed, and yet I still have difficulty at times believing the same is true for the One who loved me enough to die. There are days where I assume the Lord becomes frustrated with my fears and sees them as irrational and silly. I wonder if He thinks, "how many times have I proven to her that I am always with her and here she is again worrying about tomorrow."  
Thankfully, He is a God whose very nature is love. He loves me so much that He is patient with my fears.
Even if it's the hundredth time I've worried about:
My children's safety, He whispers, "They are mine and I am watching over them every moment of every day. I love them and I love you."
My finances, He whispers, "Trust me with all I've given you. I love you."
My heart being broken, He whispers, "Place your heart in my hands; I can guard it and I can heal it. I love you."
My future, He whispers: "Your future is under my control and I will walk every step with you. I love you."
He loves me enough to never stop showing me that He is here, even if I've questioned or faltered a thousand times. He is always guiding me towards Him, turning my fears into faith and proving He will neither leave me nor forsake me.
I am beyond thankful that He is "a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:15)