Time for a random rambling today ~ pull up a chair and pour a glass of sweet tea – this one just might take awhile.
As I shared last week, this move has been not-so-easy on our family (or on me.) Thankfully though, this last week things have eased up a bit, and I know with time we’ll find our place here too. In the midst of it though, there have been things that I’ve noticed have made life a little more liveable each day. The reality is, we all struggle through difficult things in life ~ whether it be a move, an illness, parenting struggles, or the death of someone we love dearly.
Life (at times) is hard. There’s just no way around it. But, choosing to do a few certain things have helped ease a little stress here, and maybe they’ll be helpful for you too.
1. Get dressed, pray, exercise (even if only for a few minutes) and shine your sink, every single day. I don’t know where the magic is in these tricks, but they really do work ~ promise. 😉
2. Skype, call, or text a friend. I’ve so missed a few friends from home, but have checked in with them through Skype, by sending a quick text, or calling them while folding laundry. I can’t tell you how much fun I had skyping a friend video of our new home (she even gave me decorating tips while I walked through the house), and just a simple one-sentence text to another friend really brightened my day. It’s amazing what simply connecting with real people who care for you can do to lift your spirits!
3. If you need to, do some tidying. Y’all, last week when I just about lost it, my husband came home and saw me in one mess of an office, and knew something had to be done. I kept telling him that since we didn’t have anywhere for most of the items to go until we had bookshelves, there was no point in tidying so I just needed to live with it. (It may be months or longer before we get those bookshelves as I’m trying to come up with a perfect plan – clearly spending hours each day in an office which is a disaster is not a great plan!)
He enlisted the help of our kids, and in less than 30 minutes the entire room was cleared out to storage in the basement. I had no idea how much the clutter was bothering me, but goodness just having a tidy (albeit empty!) spot to work in has drastically reduced my stress level. If you’ve got some clutter in your life that’s making a difficult situation even more stressful, determine to take a few hours this weekend to just clean something out. (I promise, you’ll be so glad you did!)
4. Watch Facebook less if you need to. Goodness, I love Facebook for keeping up with friends as much as anyone does, but last weekend I realized that watching what my friends were doing in Alabama that our family was missing out on was not helping. More importantly, I realized it was making a challenging situation even more difficult for my kids if they happened to scroll through and see what their friends were up to while we weren’t there.
Instead of living the life we’ve been given here in Ohio, Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever it is for you), made us wish for something that couldn’t happen right now. If you’re going through something difficult (especially with a friend), limiting your time on social media and just really living might just change your perspective.
My son took these pictures in our backyard the other night ~ amazing!
5. Find the beauty right where you are. Never (ever) in a million years would we have snapped that picture in the backyard of our home in Alabama, and it truly is beautiful here. We used to walk to Publix (which I miss ~ so much!), but now we can walk to the river. We used to have a back yard full of landscaping, now we have a yard abuzz with thousands of fireflies each night and watch deer from our kitchen window at just about every meal. I’m still praying for grass one of these days (ugh!), but there’s beauty here already, if I just take a moment to open my eyes to see it.
If you’re going through something that just hurts so badly, try to find something oh-so-beautiful even in your situation. It might be a special snuggle with a child who’s struggling through a difficult season of their life, or maybe a walk outside to see some flowers in bloom. No matter what your situation, there is something beautiful to be found right where you’re at, so take a second to find it and just drink it in.
6. Realize you can’t do it all. I’ve been attending a Bible Study at the church we’ve been visiting here, and the message from Priscilla Schirer last week was on prioritizing. (Yikes!) She shared that a Godly friend encouraged her that she couldn’t do everything during the season of her life when her kids were young, so she needed to focus only on her top priorities.
This summer, the only things I can really tackle are making our move as painless for my family as possible, and keeping up (somewhat!) here on PPP. I’ve been convicted that I so often put my business ahead of my family, and right now they need to be first. School will be here before you know it, and I’ll never get back today with my family. I hate that in many ways (because I really do enjoy what I do here so much!), but until at least mid-August, they need a wee bit more attention right now.
What that means also is that there are lots of things I’m saying no to. This isn’t a season when I’m going to run 20 miles every week, I’m not going to bake homemade bread for dinner all that often, most of my penny pinching will be done just by shopping Aldi, and my house isn’t going to be perfectly clean even once. If you’re in a stressful season, really consider what your big priorities are, and then give yourself grace for the stuff you just can’t manage.
From my old office ~ we waited years for that room and I can’t wait to figure out what we’ll do here!
7. Dream. Big. Taking the time to dream has undoubtedly been the thing that has helped me to just feel some peace this last week (and even a little excitement as we’re here.) We’ve always put some effort into dreaming big in our homes, and I think in the midst of the move I’d forgotten how precious it is just to imagine something new for our future, even if we can’t have it all today.
Last week my (wise) husband encouraged me to really start thinking about my new office specifically and in general about our home, and to start dreaming about what I really wanted it to be. I hemmed and hawed, and generally felt like I’d come up with the simplest way to tackle what we have, just settling for something that would work.
He encouraged me instead to really dream about how I could make this space absolutely perfect – no holding back. Now, we may never get that big ole’ dream I’ve started thinking up, but since my dreams are free, I might just as well imagine ~ and maybe one day those dreams will become a possibility. We’ve walked around our yard and started planning what we’d like to see in each spot one day. In our last home we did the same thing, even staking out trees that didn’t get planted for years, just to start dreaming. Eventually, much of what we dreamed really did happened, but we would never have gotten there if we didn’t dream big to start with!
If you’re struggling through something that just feels overwhelming, try to look past the mountain in your life right now, and dream of where you may be in a year, two years, or even five years down the road. Dream of what you really want, not just what you’ll settle for. Work towards your dream even in the midst of your struggles, and know that those dreams might just become real for you one day too.
There are seasons of life that just come with so many overwhelming things it’s hard to even see outside right where you are. This week as I’ve struggled to find peace here it hasn’t all been easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. (And it sure doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan right here!) If you’re struggling too, be encouraged that you are not alone, and that God has a perfect plan only for you.