We’re Looking at the Wrong Stuff!

I’ve heard most of us look at our phones over 100 times a day.

All this endless looking at stuff momentarily fills a void doesn’t it? Somedays I feel it too. This restlessness, this covering over. Why?

Sometimes it’s habit, but many times we look repeatedly when we feel stuck or restless.

For one reason or another we are thinking or acting in circles and can’t find our way out. We feel frustrated, helpless, and useless. So, we start looking at stuff to distract ourselves and fill the void.

Here’s the thing: We are looking at the wrong stuff to fill the void!

When we start looking at THE STUFF that we know we need to, the stuff we are afraid to, the stuff that matters, the restlessness fades. When we start doing brave things, the things we know are deep in our hearts, the things that help other people and make a healthy difference in the world, we will feel needed and encouraged and the void will be filled.

The endless looking at the unimportant can stop.

“Part of being our best selves is having the guts to not avert our eyes, to look closely at what scares us, what disappoints us, what threatens us. By looking closely we have a chance to make change happen.”  Seth Godin (from the blog post Avert Your Eyes)

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Squirrels Don’t Collect Happy Thoughts

They collect nuts, it’s in their DNA. They choose which nuts they want, but nuts are about all they collect. They don’t have a choice in the matter.

We, however, we get to choose what we collect. We get to choose what friends we collect, what skills we collect, what ideas we collect, and what words we want to collect in our minds and hearts.

We even get to collect world views and character traits for ourselves. And if we don’t like the ones we have, we can throw them out and collect new ones.

We can collect happy thoughts or sad ones, proactive habits or lazy ones.

We can collect healthy relationships or unhealthy ones, wisdom or foolishness, kindness or cruelty, generosity or greed.

We can even collect light and darkness. It is our choice.

The amount of freedom we have to shape our lives through what we collect is unlimited.

But the decision is our, and ours alone. We are given a body to live in and a timeframe for which we are here, but the wake and legacy we leave as individuals is completely up to us and is entirely influenced by what we choose to collect.

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Fringe Minutes

These are the minutes that sit on the edge of one activity, looking into the horizons of the next.

They are minutes we have very little control over physically, but are some of the most influential mentally.

Many of mine are spent rocking my little girl to sleep, or stirring soup.

Usually fringe minutes are wasted by trying to be two places at once. We do one activity while our minds skip ahead to what we are anxious to get to next. This makes us present in neither moment for when we get to the next, our minds skip forward again…. and so we go through our days.

It’s a crummy habit, for life can only be lived in the moment we are in.

Today I experimented with some of my fringe minutes. I made myself think of nothing else but what I was doing. I shut out the thoughts of the next thing and gave myself permission to simply BE in the moment I was in, and enjoy it.

An amazing thing happened. Time slowed, I am sure of it, and I felt fully present, un-rushed, focused, relaxed, and fulfilled.

It was like spending time with that one amazing person who looks you full in the face as if you are their one and only concern in life. (We all love those people!)

I found life to be vibrantly alive in the fringe minutes. Almost electric in its refreshment.

I learned two valuable lessons today:

  • My days activities do not have to dictate my feelings or my thoughts. I have control over my thoughts and feelings during every single minute of my day!
  • Fringe minutes are some of the most valuable (and probably least used) sources of refreshment!
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Exploding Milk, Eggo Waffles, and Wild Expectations

Yesterday, I dropped an entire glass gallon of milk on the wood floor in our kitchen.

Miraculously it bounced top-first and landed unbroken on its side, speckling the dark wood on my kitchen floor with milky white droplets which escaped from the loosened top.

My heart played catch up as I knelt down to wipe up the drops with a wet cloth. I had envisioned milk and glass shards exploding all over my entire kitchen.

It would have been a buggar to clean up.

My dreadful expectations of broken glass and spilled milk were replaced with gratitude. I was only wiping up drops instead of massive puddles and razor sharp glass.

But, not all expectations leave us feeling so relieved. In fact, many times they leave us feeling both disappointed and angry at life, and those we love.

Expectations are rather curious creatures actually.

I picture them as cute and cuddly (but sneaky and naughty) little creatures who live in our brains and tell us stories of what our future (and our ventures) should (and will) look like. We love the stories these creatures tell and naively embrace them as stone hard truth. We then proceed to hang our hopes and dreams on them, these expectations.

And this is exactly where we go wrong.

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Here’s the scoop

Friends, we realize it has been a while since we have posted here, and we wanted to give you a little update.

It has been a really adventurous start to 2015 for us!!! We feel more encouraged about this year than ever! At the beginning of the year we used Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever program and got some much needed clarity on where we are going and why.

It is a wonderful program, and going through it together was really helpful and impactful for us.

Such a wonderful feeling to know where you are headed in life!

So, here’s the scoop. We will be taking 3 more weeks away from writing here on the blog. This will allow for much needed time to complete a couple of other projects. One of them is my book project that has lingered on the verge of completion for way too long!

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A simple trick to lower stress and be more present

IMG_3684It can be so easy to rush from one thing to the next with a million things on our minds, constantly thinking, “What time is it? What time is it?”

And not only is it easy to be busy and rushed, it’s often worn as a badge of honor. “Look at me, I’m so important.” Or, “You think you’re busy, let me tell you my story…”

But this only gives us a false sense of significance and leads to stress and not being present. For me, I need to make a conscious effort not to “start” work before I actually start work. To not be checking the clock and thinking of all I want to get done while I’m listening to my three year old.

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Scheming Dishes, Red Taillights, and Silence

The taillights which had stopped red in the night just ahead of me seemed for once a relief. Traffic. Silence. Stillness.

The red glow of the lights jolted my sluggish and congested mind. Even traffic is a gift when children are sleeping.

Not twenty minutes earlier I had wisked my two littles into the backseat of our car and out into the cold. The house had gotten too wallish. The ceilings lower than what seemed humanly possible. Could I even stand up straight in there?! I think the dishes were even scheming and planning to multiply as I closed the door behind me.

We were going out. Anywhere.

In the quiet drive that followed, I felt myself unravel. Life always flashes before me in these moments, the wild beauty and mystery of it all.

It’s amazing how quickly silence does this to our spirits. We unravel when there is finally nothing to distract, or pull at us. We unravel when we give ourselves room to think.

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When life is flying on by (6 ways to counter this)

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how in all our busyness, life can seem to fly on by at breakneck speeds. I find myself thinking things like, “Wait, it’s the end of the month already? I thought the month just started!”

It’s then I realize that I’ve probably had my head buried in something for too long. I’m not fully present and it’s making the days fly on by. It could be that I have my head buried in my work, a house project, or just all the weekly activities I’ve committed to. Either way, life is flying on by and I look up wondering where it’s gone.

In trying to counter this, I noticed it makes a huge difference when I allow time for things like introspection, reflection, reading, and silence.

And the irony is that the less we feel we have the time for these things, the more we actually need them. It’s the days where everything seems to be going crazy and that we need to go go go that we’d benefit the most from slowing down.

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The Rules of Coloring, or Why Perfect is a Perfect Place to Hide But a Terrifying Place to Live

A few days ago my son and I were drawing and coloring an imaginary town on a neatly flattened cardboard box.

The town had a scenic road which curled past houses, lots of trees, and even a stately brick church with a gold bell hanging from it’s steeple.

It was perfect (and I was perfect for having drawn it with him).

I was really proud of my (I mean our) town. And as I finished drawing some trees, I asked my son to start coloring them for me. “Sure mom,” he said as he grabbed a nearby purple crayon with his still chubby 3 year old fingers and proceeded to scribble (I mean color) all over the tree I had just finished drawing. Continue reading

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I Just Made My First Dollar on Amazon!!!

IMG_1571 copyI just made my first dollar (well, $4.02 to be exact) from the book I wrote and put up on Amazon!!! (!!!!!)

Finally seeing a spark of progress on something you have worked very hard on and offered to the world (with shaking hands) is truly encouraging!

For about 2 years now I have been experimenting with creating a source of income that is fairly independent of my time and completely independent of my location. My Braces Made Easy book is the finished product of one of those experiments.

(I also recently started, and am still building this site.)

I really love being involved in bringing in an income for our family, but I also don’t want to be working every day while trying to care for two small children. Thus, I’m trying things that enable me to combine both.

The projects that I enjoy pursuing are helpful, simple, scary, (Seth Godin talks more about scary, simple projects in this podcast) and use my current abilities and interests.

My goal with them is that they keep me stepping out and trying things and keep me moving forward.

So, who knows where they will lead. Who knows if they will work, or not work, but I’m trying something. Great beauty and growth come from trying (I have to remind myself of this often!).

Tell me: Is there a scary/simple project you could start to get you moving in the direction you would like to go? Or, perhaps you have started one already. Please share!

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