Sometimes I come to this little space and the words flow freely. Thoughts form quickly and I can’t type fast enough. Other times I login, open a new post and stare at the blinking cursor, type a little bit, then decide to pick it up another day.
If you can’t tell by my radio silence lately, I’ve been in a season of the latter.
It has been a very hard few weeks. One of my best friends has been going through hell as she watches her newborn baby suffer with an unexpected heart condition. He is so sick and it was all so unexpected. How can you go through nine months of ultrasounds and doctors visits and not detect a broken heart? I went to see them the weekend after Owen was born, which was active and productive, but I sit here now feeling helpless and weary for them. It’s hard to focus on anything besides that sweet baby boy sometimes, and I feel the fear and hope on the other end of the phone whenever I talk with my friend.
In desperation to do something I created a t-shirt campaign to help pay for some of their medical expenses. If you want to help, we are selling “Team Owen” t-shirts and onesies to help raise money and show support. The campaign ends March 28th. Thank you for all of those who have supported and prayed for them so far! That little boy is a fighter and is loved by so many.
In other news, I have started to tutor an Iraqi woman once a week. It all came about so randomly and perfectly. After reading so many books on social injustice (Radical, 7, Generous Justice), I felt a tug on my heart to be a part of something here in my city. Sure I could join an organization, but I really wanted something organic and natural; actually become friends with the poor. But how in the world do you begin an authentic relationship with a population that you never come in contact with?
I asked the girls in my small group to pray for an opportunity, and literally two days later I got a message from a friend who leads an ESL program where I volunteer to bring food every few months. She asked if I would be interested in tutoring an Iraqi refugee who is pregnant and has two small children. As soon as I found out she lives a mile from where I work, I eagerly agreed. I’ve only met with her three times and already I am humbled by her kindness. She’s the nicest, friendliest and most hospitable woman I have ever met. I look forward to our English lessons every week.
Adding more to my plate has forced me to pursue a balanced life. I used to think that balance was figuring out how to evenly accomplish everything you want to and still remain zen. I am learning balance looks more like owning up to your failures and accepting that you can only do so many things well. It is choosing the best over the good.
Two things I am trying to figure out: how to run my household well and how to take care of myself. I am slightly embarrassed to admit how hard both of those things are for me.
First, how to run a household. I just have a self-sufficient guy and a low-maintenance dog, how hard is it to manage a house? It’s not like I have a brood of children to take care of. Nevertheless the thought of making dinner is crippling sometimes, and oftentimes I approach Sunday evenings with dread.
Second, taking care of myself. Is it really that important? After months of neglect, I’ve decided my answer needs to be yes. I need to put myself first sometimes. That sounds very unChristian to admit, but I am a happier and more helpful person to all the people when I exercise on a regular basis, eat healthy, and have enough time alone to decompress.
So, how do I start becoming more balanced? I’m not sure, to be honest, because I’ve become accustomed to being mediocre at all the juggling. But I know a balanced life means saying no to more things in order to say yes to the important ones. To be intentional about my time. To make Sundays count. To not go out of town at the drop of an invitation. To schedule exercise and view it as necessary not optional. To partner with J on the home. To create margin so that I can be flexible.
I am choosing to say YES to:
- Working hard (then leaving work at work)
- Yoga and pilates classes
- Meal planning and real food
- Date nights and adventures with J
- Teaching ESL once a week
- Reading before bed
- An organized and meaningful home
- Running with Leia
- Co-leading a small group and cultivating relationships
- Catching up with sisters/mom/friends on my way home from work
- More time at my house
- Blogging, whenever I want to
I am choosing to say NO to:
- Watching TV shows I don’t love
- Social media
- Reading hundreds of blogs
- Desserts during the week
- Shopping out of boredom
- Saying yes because of guilt or obligation
- Impulse food decisions
- Blogging out of pressure
One of the things on both lists is this blog. I really love this space as it offers such a great release of creative energy for me at times. Other times, though, I feel pressure to post more and better. Once upon a time, I thought I could turn this blog into a big money-maker and generate enough income for me to go full time whenever we have kids. Ha! That dream has since passed, and that’s okay.
Over the years I have been discouraged by the lack of growth and found myself constantly comparing to others who seemed to juggle blogging and life so easy. I know what kind of time and energy it takes to grow a blog, but my real job and real life (two things I genuinely love) have always gotten in the way. And whenever I’ve put too much pressure on it, the fun is gone. It goes from a hobby to another chore.
This post, for example, is waaaaay longer than recommended and easily could have been split into four different posts. It would have been shared four more times on social media and probably gotten four more times the traffic and four more times the hits and four more times the ad payments. To that I say — whatever. It is so much easier and so much more fun to just sit and write away instead of thinking about strategy and what photo could be shareable on Pinterest and what clever title I can write to make this more searchable.
I’m going back to blogging for me first, my beloved always-following readers second, new readers third, and advertisers very, very last.
In summary: it’s been a long winter. Come quickly, spring!