Rest

Happy Sunday Friends! It’s been a little over a week since my last post. I was exhausted in every sense of the word and I needed some recovery. Funny, just as soon as I declared my word of the year FOCUS, I found myself taken in a direction to shake my focus. That is just how it can be. When you set your mind and heart towards the things God wants for you and has for you, the distractor comes with his distractions. Trust me, he knows you and he knows what distracts you and throws you off course. Yes, last week, I needed rest and I did get that, but I also needed to push through my distraction and maintain my focus. Rest can be physical – which I definitely needed, but rest can also be for the mind and emotions. That is the kind of rest that comes from giving what concerns you and upsets you and hurts you over to God. That rest comes from meditating on his Word, his promises, and speaking those affirming words over your life. It is the rest that comes from closing your eyes, cuddling up like a child and resting in the comfort and FAITH that God will take care of you. Sometimes it seems easier to try to take care of ourselves, but it drains us. Why do that when truly handing it over to God will do just the opposite — restore us?

As I write this, I am still working through the second part of the rest — the true handoff. Am I the only one? What do you do to truly give your challenges over to God (not just in words or meditation but deep down in your heart)? Hope to hear from you and thank you for the prayers last week.

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Don’t Grow Weary

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It’s Friday guys. My cheery nature wants to say Happy Friday with exuberance but this week I have honestly not been feeling so cheery. This week, I have been feeling tired, drained, worn out, overworked and worst of all underappreciated and undervalued. My energy is tapped and my mind, body and spirit is running on fumes.

The past two mornings I skipped my workout so I could start working at 5:30 a.m. Trying to stop this bad habit before it solidifies, I fought the urge to work and instead did what I needed to do for my well-being — and worked out. Of course that doesn’t stop the mind from thinking of the massive to do list…at least not my mind…and even during my workout I felt the drain even before starting my workday.

As I worked out, I talked to God a bit (well maybe vented is a better word) and even released a few tears. In that God reminded me not to grow weary in well-doing. Well-doing is well-doing. It isn’t necessarily just in giving, or serving others or things we consider spiritual. It is also in those other areas like work, life commitments, chores, and other things that wear us down.

This morning God was giving me a hug, reminding me not to grow weary but to keep going. Keep being my cheery self, keep giving that to others, continue to do good work with a good attitude amd let him do the rest. He reminded me of the need to affirm that He is my provider. That he will provide whatever rest, time, additional resources, minimal interruptions, and mental recovery that I need if I just push through and not grow weary.

So with that said I thank God for a good day in advance, a blessed day, an accomplished day. I thank Him for giving me the emotional and spiritual replenishing needed. If you feel weary today, this week or even this month for whatever your reasons are, remember God’s promises to see you through. Let it refresh you and preserve you. Let it be the inertia that pushes you through. Have a Happy Friday and Be Blessed!

Project Manage My Life

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I am a project manager at heart. PMP, Agile, SCRUM certified project manager whether it be IT systems, management systems, data, training, digital marketing, you name it. Yet as I think this morning about my life, I realized hey, maybe I need to approach life with some of the same tenets of Project Management.

This morning I decided my word for the year is FOCUS because I really want to complete things that I have desired for a few years now and continually get distracted and pulled from. As I decided on my word of FOCUS and thinking about the things that I wanted to FOCUS on, I could really see how easy it could be to lose focus. Funny thing is that we do things for other people but sometimes forget to apply our professional expertise to our personal life. To stay focused, I need a clear scope, clear goals, a clear plan and roadmap for each goal, some clear measurable targets and status meetings with none other but myself each month to stay on track. Most importantly, I have to manage my scope creep like I would for any other client. It’s hard for your own goals. There is so much you want to accomplish but this year I will stay focused. This year I will project manage myself — in terms of my goals. Some people may see that as a bad thing. Some will see it as being rigid, but think about it, this is how successful initiatives happen all the time. Why can’t we see accomplishing our goals as successful initiatives to bring to fruition. Besides, I’m running this project in an Agile environment so no worries, flexibility will be built in. 🙂

God is so cool in that He puts within us or around us what we need, to be who He wants us to be, both to ourselves in the world. As you think about your word this year and your goals, I know you will find the same to be true.

What’s your word for this year? What are you doing to stay on track?

While it is yet night….

I think the woman in Proverbs 31 was on to something. She was a busy, juggling, multitasking and very accomplished mama from my vantage point. How did she do it all? I have heard some say they don’t like her. I’ve heard it said that she makes it hard for anyone to live up to. That the pressure to be like her is too much, but I think she’s a BOSS. She was a Renaissance woman before there were Renaissance women. She took care of her family, she pursued her interests, she engaged in some entrepreneurial activities, she was encouraging, supportive to her husband, present with her family, she served her community and she kept herself together. (#selfcare)

She’s not an unrealistic ideal, she’s a role model for balance.

People may read Prov. 31 and infer that she was exhausted. I mean she was up before the sun each day. Again, I read that as a wise woman who realized that there is no better time to get done what you want to get done (or maybe even need to get done) than while it is yet night. In other words — the house is quiet and the family hasn’t started to stir.

Have you ever noticed that when the whole house is up, you can’t seem to find time to accomplish what you set out to do.  It’s classic, as wives, moms, employees, career women, we get sucked into the day once the day starts for everyone else.

For the past few weeks I have gotten up while it is yet still night (4-5 days a week) and I have been able to develop a routine…a consistent routine. A routine that makes me feel that I am moving toward my goals.. I have time to workout 4-5 days a week, have my vitamins, tea and a healthy breakfast, say my affirmations, read my bible, and sometimes like today, write a bit in the morning too.  It feels good to make time for what’s is needed to start my day on the right trajectory. It feels right to put on my own mask first as they say in the airline industry. When I do that, I can be a more present mom, supportive spouse, and less annoyed colleague. I can manage my work, my home and even find time for my pursuits.

I used to think it was a suggestion to start the day while it is yet quiet but I now think maybe this amazing woman wasn’t doing it as function of preference but rather wisdom.

Be balanced, be blessed!

Latoya

Game by Game

Photo Credit: Jean-Daniel Francoeur

Week by week….Game by Game. That is actually something I recently read on facebook. My old neighbor was referring to his team winning football games and making it to the big game, but it made me think about life. The beginning of the year has proven to be exhausting at work to say the least. Teams seem drained and it is just the first month in (almost). This week, I couldn’t help hearing the lackluster sound in the voice of colleagues and even heard it within in my own speech at times. The same week, after a call with about 30 or so team members, a colleague messaged me and said wow everyone seemed so defeated on the call.

While the calendar date changed, so much of the challenges we were dealing with in life have remained the same so maybe we should take on the advice of my neighbor and handle it day by day….week by week…game by game. Maybe we should stop focusing on the entire overwhelming picture and just take each step week by week. Rather than focusing on the Superbowl (our life’s ambitions, dreams, upcoming personal events or professional deliverables), let’s just focus on tomorrow or even this upcoming week. Martin Luther King Jr said, “Faith is taking the first steps even when we can’t see the whole staircase”.

Let’s not be defeated by what overwhelms us — by what we cannot see, by what’s can’t figure out, by what we can’t imagine how it’s gonna turn out, or if we have the bandwidth or the energy to complete. As we start this week, let’s focus on just what’s before us. Let’s plan to win this game, this week. The rest of it will come together.

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34).

Date Night

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So my husband and I don’t really go out due to the whole pandemic thing and all but we still absolutely NEED date night. Work, kids, family — the release is so important so what did we do tonight. We had our own little vision board party. We started with a bunch of magazines, boards, markers, and about five different hard ciders. It was cool — cider tasting and vision board making. Nothing fancy but definitely fun. By the end of the night, we had laughs, a few new ciders to add to the rotation, and the visual plan for our life and family. God loves marriage. He created it. He wants us marrieds to enjoy this life. I know He doesn’t want COVID, the winter chill or anything else to get in the way.

During the pandemic our date night life took a backseat in 2020 and this year, whether inside or socially distanced outside, we WILL maintain our date time together in 2021. In fact, that is one of our goals for the year. So what are you and your love doing to keep the fun this year? I need all the help! We’d love to hear from you.

Masks

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Funny thing, tonight I typed in 2021 and what returned were multiple images of people wearing masks. I couldn’t help think that masks are not new to 2021 or even 2020 for that matter.

Yes, in the US physical masks seem to be a new thing in the past year but in reality most of us have been wearing masks most of our lives. Masks hide who we are, what we are thinking (since you can’t decipher most emotions through masks), they stifle our speech and often times cause us not to breath. It’s interesting that in 2020 and 2021 we are bothered by masks because they are hiding who I am (my pink lips), the lower half of my face, or incumbering my ability to breath — yet our inauthenticity — the real masks have been doing that for years.

While we think mask wearing is new — many of us have worn some type of mask for years so much so that we may not even know our fully authentic selves. This year, one of my goals is to try to uncover, re-excavate my authentic self. When I was 27, I read a great book, Excavating the Authentic Self by Sara Ban Breathnach – https://amzn.to/3ox7OcP. I think I may pick it up again. How can we live our most beautiful lives if we have lost sight of our beautiful authentic selves. Let’s together stop hiding who we are, what we need, what we like and the joys that are oxygen to our souls.

Last year, everyone was online sharing people’s posts, pics, etc. with the hashtag #Goals. Really, they were saying that their goals was what other people had. Let’s determine our goals based upon our authentic selves. Let’s live out our own goals, with our own truths and live out our own authentic lives.

Obsessive Perfection Disorder

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OPD – Obsessive Perfection Disorder. I definitely have it. I self-diagnosed myself yesterday. The house was so quiet. The kids were outside playing. My husband was running errands and I was left with the beautiful sound of my own thoughts. (I rather enjoy that sound from time to time.) While I had this precious time, I realized that I wasn’t using it. I was walking around the house incessantly picking up and obsessing over anything out of place and I moved through each room, I was noting if it were ah, finally perfect. To myself I was like, “this is weird.” The perfect areas, I smiled and quickly moved past, but the areas where things were out of place I not only focused on – I obsessed.

As I caught myself, I realized that is what we do in life. We gingerly glide by the perfect areas and obsess over areas needing our attention. We don’t enjoy the living in our accomplishments and joys, but rather we obsess over what’s still not quite right. We can have 8 perfect things, 8 perfect areas, but yet we focus on the 2 that have dust along the trim or where something that isn’t quite perfect.

Why did I not spend time in the perfect areas and bask in their beauty, enjoy some time relishing in its splendor. These were the peaceful, beautiful places where I felt most accomplished. These areas were not always so inviting and calm. Yet, I gave them a nod and moved onto something that needed to be perfected to obsess about. Obsessive Perfection Disorder is robbing me of so much. It robs me of enjoying the fruits of my labor. It robs me of appreciating my blessings. It robs me of living in my present. It steals the gift of today.

Our contentment and joy in life comes from what we focus on. I don’t want to regret that I missed the beauty of my present, because I obsessed over the areas still in process. There is so much good in our lives if only we would take the time not just to see it, but to bask in it. This week, let’s spend sometime in the beautiful rooms of our life. Let’s stand in their doorways, look around, smile, and take in their beauty.

50 More Weeks

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How did it go last week? Did you imagine your most beautiful authentic life? How did it look? What were you doing? How were you feeling? I hope you really thought about it. God wants us each to live our best life – in real life.

Each year not only in my professional life but in my personal life, I do some Annual Planning. Essentially I think about what I want to accomplish in my family life, as a mom, wife, professional and just as a woman enjoying her life. God wants us to have a vision for our life. As we move into week 2 of this great new year on the road to our great new selves, do a little annual planning of your own. If you have tried this before and it wasn’t successful, maybe try annual planning God’s way.

  1. Include the right participants. You may be thinking who else do I need but me if this is my annual plan. True, but there is always at least one other that we always need to invite. Invite God into the planning process with you. Ask him to clarify for you if your plan aligns to His will for your life. Ask for his help with what you are desiring. Without Him our plans can never be successful.
  2. Write down your plans, your vision. Make it simple. Make it plan. Type it in your phone, maybe a vision board, or a mind map. Just get it out of your head and somewhere where you can see it. (Write the vision and make it plain.) I keep mine tacked to my mom desk right off the kitchen and also in my phone. You can never have it available in too many places :).
  3. Meditate on that plan. Meditate on things that are good, lovely, honorable, pure, etc. Meditate on your dreams. If God was included in your plan — the plan should be made up of things that are good, lovely, honorable, and align to God’s word. I actually add my desires to my morning affirmations to keep me focused on them and to continually bring my heart’s petitions before God. ( I definitely want to keep Him engaged in the work of the year — all year.)
  4. Get Help. The first helper I suggest is God. Ask Him to help you. Remind Him of his promises to help you. You could even incorporate that into your daily affirmations from step 3. If your goals means that you could use a life coach, professional mentor or financial planner get one (or at least read books written by some). I love good “self-help” books.
  5. Have Faith that God will help you. Have faith in your abilities and God’s power. Yeah, sure you think you’re awesome and you believe in God but believing you can accomplish all your dreams and believing in God’s true power to help you do whatever this is maybe weak. They are not the same. Specifically, believe in God’s power to help you with your plan. Believe in your true awesomeness – not the one you may post online in pics. Belief is the quickest thing to lose in the midst of challenges but hold fast to your belief all year long. Believe even if others say its not possible. God is limitless and you are his beautiful workmanship.
  6. Do the work of the plan. If your plan includes weight loss – do the work. If it’s a great marriage – do the work. Whatever it is – Do the Work – Make the time. Faith without the work is dead. A plan without a push goes no where.
  7. Get a partner (or partners). Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another. Get with a friend, relative, spouse, or even online group. You need the encouragement and support and so do they. You also may both need the swift kick from time to time :).

Enjoy planning this week! Enjoy becoming your new you!

New Normal

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Well, 2021 is here. Expectations of newness, better-ness, and return to normalcy are things I keep hearing. But what is normalcy? It is the return to the way things were before…but is that really what we want? I am going with no. This morning I woke up with scripture about thinking on what is good. What was good for you this year? Maybe you prefer to make the good of this year and past years your new normal as opposed to yearning for the old normal. I think if 2020 taught us nothing else, it taught us that what was isn’t what has to be. This year we can all craft our own new normal. Take a little of this that I love from this period, and a little of that from another.

What worked really well last year? Did you and your family have dinner together more. Make that your new normal. Did you and your spouse make time to enjoy activities together? Keep that too. Did you work remotely this year? If so, a LOT of companies are moving into a remote workforce so there are opportunities out there. Your new normal is just that – YOURS — so make it whatever you want it to be. Imagine your most beautiful life and then determine to create it. This week I challenge you to think about, even dream about the life you want. This year I challenge you to start implementing pieces of it.