Swapping out lenses

About a year ago I had a powerful thought hit me during my quiet time – what if I were to change the lens from which I viewed life from the setting of MY life and onto THIS life.  What if I saw our kids as THESE kids instead of just MY kids.  And on and on.

Like anything, there are dangerous extremes here that would fully negate my point so I don’t want to advocate going off the deep end of irresponsibility –> “Its not really MY life so I’ll just sit back and see how it plays out!” but I guess I was more thinking of the other extreme of entitlement –> picture in your head the sound of a 2 yr olds high pitch scream “Mine, MINE!!”

When I only see things in terms of me — my happiness, my contentment, my well behaved kids and my picture perfect life I start to drift into entitlement territory.  I become convinced that if I do it all just right then I am entitled to positive outcomes.  If the outcome is not so hot, either I must have done it wrong or some sweet fool wronged me or there was a mix up along the way because that was NOT how it was supposed to be.  {listen close….you can hear that 2 yr old again, can’t you}

The problems with that view are not only obvious but too vast to list.  There are alot of “me’s” in that paragraph and the only mention of someone else is that sweet fool who screwed up.  🙂   If we camp out there too long we not only become bitter and self-absorbed but we run the risk of forgetting how to see beyond ourselves!  In times when life gets messy it is really easy in this mindset to park in the ‘Why me?’ of it all.  This isn’t how I envisioned MY life.  This isn’t what I was worked toward.  This isn’t what I want.  Because lets face it — we all know of people who have done it all right, who always put others first, who always took the high road — and life still didn’t go their way.

So what happens when we switch the lens to THIS and THESE.  This life.  Yes, I’m living it and have responsibilities in it, but I don’t have the tight gripped ownership that I once thought I did.  Things happen outside of my control and my plan.  Things aren’t all about me.  Sometimes the sacrifices and the hard times are to grow me — but sometimes they are not about me at all!  Sometimes they are there to grow others and sometimes (I really believe) they are just to make me take my eyes off of myself.

Life is not an if/then equation.  It doesn’t work that way.  We are given promises from a good God who wants good things for us.

He promises that He is always there for us… not that we’ll never feel lonely.

He promises that He loves us… not that everyone will love us.

He promises an end to the story that is perfect… not a perfect story.

I fully trust that I am in THIS life for a reason.  I have THESE kids and THIS husband and THESE friends for a reason.  And that reason isn’t ME.  It’s so much more!  I pray that I can hover somewhere safely between irresponsibility and entitlement to see how it all plays out for His purpose.  And in those times when I drift toward entitlement, will someone kindly put me in a time out please?

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 10:07 am  Comments (2)  

Secret Agent Woman

Sometimes that is what I feel like.  Like I am living a double life.  In one life I am the wife and Mom who is cleaning house, taking kids to and fro, working on things at school and living my sweet little suburban life.  In the other I am the medical facilitator for my Mom – going to appointments to decipher and explain the jargon, researching treatments online, setting up appointments, sorting benefit explanations and bills.  And I do an odd dance of bouncing between the 2, sometimes multiple times in the same day.

I am thinking of this mainly I guess because of this weekend.  Mom was in the hospital getting chemo.  Our Saturday morning started like usual with breakfast crumbs everywhere, nerf bullets flying, packing up the troops and heading to basketball games.  My mind was full with cheering on my gang – those heavenly/sinful burgers from the concession stand – and visiting with friends who were there doing the same thing.  Great day.  But as we left my family piled into one car to head home and continue the day while I got in another to make the drive to the hospital.  On my way there I couldn’t help but have this feeling that I was very literally switching gears.  Leaving one life to head into another.  Its an odd feeling.  Of course I told my mom about the basketball games and all that we had done that morning, but it was as though I was telling a story of someone else – like that all hadn’t just happened an hour before but in another life.  My other life.  Weird.

Then it happened again on Sunday.  Church, lunch, a drive in the country with the fam enjoying the sunshine made me forget about my other life for a bit.  Until I got a text that Mom had fallen out of bed and was in pain and staying in the hospital one more day.  Que that sound of a record screeching — an in your face reminder that I lead these 2 lives and the other one was calling.

I fear that I’m not explaining it well — it isn’t as though there are times that I FORGET that my Mom is sick or that kids are at home and need rides and meals while I am at the hospital — but it is some sort of mental categorization or something that keeps them just separate enough so that I can function well in both.  Maybe that is good.  Maybe its not.  But in an effort to be honest and transparent it is what it is.

And from my desk I am seeing laundry baskets pile up and people are asking for food.  Time for this agent to get her Mom pants on and get to work!  ❤

Published in: on January 16, 2012 at 10:22 am  Comments (4)  

The Art of Procrastination

The calendar showed that this week was set to be a busy one. A long radiology consult with Mom, hosting Bunko which entailed lots of cooking/cleaning/prep, and running the Reading Counts bookstore at school. With regular life stuff mixed in it was manageably full. Now add a 5 yr old who is snot from head to toe, having trouble breathing and running a fever for 4 days. Ugh. Caroline got hit with strep and bless her heart she was a mess this week. Yet I giggle and think that this wasn’t all that different from any other week in my life….life is just busy. Period.

However, even during the busiest of weeks there are moments/hours where I get to choose what happens and I am realizing that almost always lately fitness takes a huge backseat. I said after New Years I would get back to working out. It has happened once. 😉 It isn’t that I haven’t HAD time, but I choose other things instead. Today for example I have 2 hours till I need to be at school for the bookstore and I am choosing a 2nd cup of coffee and the blog instead of working out. The other day I cleaned the pantry. One day I did extra bible study. All good stuff. Nobody can ever claim that I am lazy – and I certainly don’t think that I am – but I will painfully find a million other things to do to avoid working out.

Funny thing is, I know that I will feel better once I do. I look back at our post-P90X pictures and remember how proud I was of myself and how ‘healthy’ I felt at the pinnacle. Because of where I am now vs where I was last time when we started I could be back to fighting shape in no time. The time is there (though I still claim “I have no time”) I just choose not to use it for working out.

So I guess I am wondering what it will take for me to prioritize working out? When we did P90X last spring I was diligent – I rarely if EVER missed a workout, followed the diet to a T, and didn’t slack or substitute videos or anything! I think the key is that I am a rule follower. It wasn’t self control and will power – I kind of stink at those – it was that I said I was going to do it and therefore I had to do it. The blessing/curse of being a perfectionist. A refusal to fail.

I guess the good news is that I am embracing a concept in a book I recently read called “The Relief of Imperfection”. I really don’t feel all that guilty for not getting back into the swing. Though I wish I wanted to work out I’m not beating myself up for not doing it. There is a bit of peace to be found in being comfortable with your decisions! And in a 2nd cup of coffee…Mmmm.

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 11:33 am  Comments (2)  

Happy New Year!

Tis the day for reflection and refocusing, right?!  Twist my arm – here I go!

2011 had good and bad rolled all into one.  Not unlike most years, but maybe this one pushed the extremes of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ just a bit!  Ritchie and I took on the challenge of doing P90X last spring  — changed eating habits, worked out daily, got in great shape — something I’ve never done in my life and always wanted to try was finally accomplished.  That was good.  We have all 3 kids in school this year and they are doing great and loving it.  That is good.  We have friends who are like family to us and have stood by us and loved us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.  That is very good.  I have grown so much spiritually and am becoming more and more the person I am meant to be.  That is great.

And…we’ve had our share of bad.  Ritchie’s dad has been sick and had a roller coaster year of feeling better/feeling worse and trying to figure out just what is going on and what will help.  We’ve prayed friends through cancer treatments.  We missed out on a special trip seeing my dad & step mom.  Mom got a stage 4 cancer diagnosis which has led us all to more doctor visits, tests & hospital stays than in all of our years put together.  We’ve been stressed, we’ve cried, and we’ve hurt.

But in my way of math, Good + Bad = Blessed.

That is because recognizing your blessings has nothing to do with circumstances.  Several of those ‘good’ things from above (and many more that I failed to list) were direct results of having the ‘bad’ in our worlds.  One wouldn’t have existed without the other.  Its a matter of perspective and  choice and though I’m not foolish enough to tell you that I love the bad, I am trusting enough to know that it came for a reason.

So looking ahead to 2012 I can already see the same mix coming in to play.  One of our kitty sisters is having to leave our home this week.  That isn’t going to be fun.  Sicknesses and treatments are still ongoing realities in our world with outcomes unknown.  Ritchie’s company has undergone a buyout and we have NO idea what that will fully mean for us in the coming year.  This morning we are weighing in (literally) and realizing that much of our fitness gain from 2011 has been replaced by a different type of gain.  The list goes on and on….

…but so will the blessings.  So will the good.  I am excited to see where it weaves itself in and if I will be in tune enough to see it.  I pray that I am.

So I don’t have resolutions per say but ideas for this year and some itches I need to scratch.  I want to create more — sewing, crafting, something.  Last year that slipped away a bit and I miss it.  I want to take more pictures.  I would love a girls trip – or a road trip – or something.  I want to be a better wife – really bad.  I feel like I drop the ball there alot.  I want to continue dates with each of my kids to get that quality time in.  I want to dig deeper into this little calling I think I have and figure out how to get closer to fulfilling it.

Happy 2012 everyone!!!  May it be BLESSED for each and every one of you!!!


Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 11:00 am  Comments (1)