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Archive for the ‘Mind’ Category

Almost There…

My students are facing finals, and I am soooo glad that I’m not in high school anymore.  While I’m working everyday, I’m dreaming of what’s to come!

Things that I am saving for the summer:

  • Organize recipes and cookbooks.  Make a binder of all the loose papers I have.
  • Try to go pescatarian for an anti-inflammatory diet.  See if back and overall health improve with the changes.  Come up with lots of great new recipes.
  • Buy a house.
  • Move into said house.
  • Study “good works” in the Bible.  Get over my anxiety about studying the Bible.
  • Cook at home more.
  • Make a website for my business and finalize my new business plan.
  • Learn how to stick to a budget.

Things I have been doing that will help my summer be totally rocking if I can keep them up:

  • Losing weight.  Legs and arms are already looking quite nice!
  • Not crowding every day full with stuff to do.
  • Being realistic about what I can accomplish, give, do, etc…
  • Staying conscious of where our money goes.
  • Praying that God will meet all of our needs even though I won’t be working as much.

What I’d like to do this summer:

  • Go on a long vacation to Dawn Ranch in Sonoma and swim in the Russian River all day long while sipping lightly chilled rose as Honey chases birds.
  • Not babysit every single day.

What I will actually be doing this summer:

  • Celebrating 5 year of marriage!
  • Going to the beach with my favorite dog as many times as possible.
  • Being outside as much as possible.
  • Going to Vermont for a family reunion.
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Great Day

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Next time, we’re getting goggles! Photo credit: Chris Dods

Even though I’ve tutored for so long that my brain is mush, it’s been a great day!
1. I got on the scale at Weight Watchers and was down 4 lbs (total of 13 so far). Goooo me!
2. I enjoyed an amazingly yummy Frappuccino as an afternoon pick me up. Holy cow was it good.
3. I saw my first solar eclipse as an adult- and didn’t burn my retinas, thanks to this nifty tip from my hubby. (See photo) He’s awesome. Xoxo
3. I made a ton of money.
4. I only have two more days of real push before summer! Hooray.

More Poppies

This may seem like the tiniest little thing, but I got great joy out of some poppies on this morning’s walk.

I have never seen this variety- with the paper thin petals making a poof ball- or poppies of this gentle purple color.

Taking the time to look around, listen, and pay attention makes life that much more pleasure-filled.  Sometimes, I get a kick out of something that I’ve seen and enjoyed a hundred times before- like an avocado tree with fruit on it.  Other times, I discover something new.

It doesn’t even take any extra time, but it makes everything more wonderful.  That’s the best part.  I don’t have to fit it into an already busy schedule!

Makes me excited for what I’ll find tomorrow.

 

Not It!

I am not the best housekeeper.  I take forever to do things, because I want them done perfectly.  This comes back to bite me; I take too much time to clean, so I don’t clean, which then means it takes longer to clean when I do.  Ugh.

To add to the mayhem, we’re not very good at picking up and putting things away, so in order to even begin to clean, we first have to organize and de-clutter.  So basically, we have to clean to clean.  We work so hard on the organizing bit that we have no more energy or time to do the actual dusting, vacuuming, etc.

The cherry on the pile- Chris decided recently that he doesn’t want to do floors anymore, because he has been doing them for the last 4 years.  (Also, because, with a dog, there is hair everywhere, and I’d like him to move the furniture to get it all up.)  I can’t do floors because of my back; the motion just sends it all out of whack. So if we want a squeaky clean house, Chris has to take that part.  And over the years, chores get old!!

So, yeah, I have a lot of excuses….  and I’m not even writing them all down, because I’m starting to get embarrassed.

Nevertheless, a clean house is very important to us for many reasons, but especially for our own mental health, so we had to do something.  We decided to stop living in a mess and hired someone to clean for us.

This was actually a really, really hard decision.  Here’s why I felt I couldn’t have something this good:

  1. I haven’t earned it.  It’s like being the boss before I’m the administrative assistant.  You know, I haven’t worked my way up the ladder by getting good at it myself and then passing it off.
  2. I don’t deserve it.  Like I should make myself do it because we aren’t old enough, rich enough, etc…
  3. It’s being lazy/undedicated/some other lame word. We’re adults and should figure out how to do this ourselves and take care of our own you-know-what.
  4. We don’t have the money.

#4 is actually based mostly in reality, because we do not have a lot of disposable income.  But it came down to this…  Should I feel guilty all the time over not taking care of the house (which I did), or should I find a solution (which I did)? Learning what I have the capacity for and what to let go of will be a lifelong process, but something had to give NOW.

I did the math and, while my numbers might be fuzzy, figured it out!  I’ve had a babysitting job every Friday for the last year and a half that I’ve thinking of quitting so that I have a proper 2 day weekend.  I sat down one day and contemplated whether I would rather babysit and have my friend clean or stay home and clean it myself.  Instead of staying home and doing something that I really don’t like and am not good at, I now make $2 less per hour babysitting than I pay my friend to clean.

Let me tell you; it’s been life-altering!  For example:

  • When things are clean, it’s just easy to keep them clean!
  • We straighten the house at least once a week in preparation for cleaning, but more often than not, we do it every day for our own pleasure.  It is a joy to have a clean house to come home to- not just on Fridays but every day.
  • I even enjoy babysitting now WAY more than before because I know that my hard work is allowing me something really special when I get home.
  • We’ve also had people over more often (and spur of the moment!) because we don’t have to run around cleaning before everyone arrives.

Chris summed it up two weeks ago when he said, “I love having a cleaner.  The house looks amazing, and I’m not even tired.”

So, feel free to stop by any time…  The house will be spic and span!

No, It’s a Good Thing!

My sister, Sarah, is coming to visit next month.  She is coming because she loves me and wants to spend time with me.  The trip was spurred on by the fact that I didn’t go back for Christmas this year because it was too big of a push for me mentally; I just needed some down time.  Chris and I got it by staying in California, but we really missed being with our families for the holidays.

Sarah decided to come visit, because she knew it would bless me, build me up, and care for me.  We and I are super close, can tell each other anything, and love each other immensely.  She is one of my best friends, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

I explain this, because it got kinda twisted last week in my mind.  All the sudden, I started thinking about this future visit as a stressful time.  It was actually really strange, because she’s really low key and just wants to be with me.  Honestly, even if we sat on the couch all week, I’m sure she would be happy to have some time to relax and talk in person without two little munchkins (the cutest kids on earth, Elijah and Norah) running around.  Plus, she’s coming over my students’ break, so I don’t even have to juggle work!

But my odd response to the visit was another sign that I had my head on backward (see this week’s previous posts if you don’t believe me).  So I changed my mind.

In this situation, that change was really easy to enact.  I’ve been thinking about the fun things that we can do while she’s here (Año Nuevo’s elephant seals, Sonoma wine tasting, Santa Cruz, walks to take in all the California flowers in bloom, antiquing in my neighborhood), the way that we’ll stay up way too late chatting like we always have (since we shared a room when we were young), and getting to meet her little boy, Benjamin, for the first time.

Maybe we won’t do any of the activities that I’ve envisioned…  but who cares?!?  My little sis, who knows me better than the entire world, is coming to visit!  Maybe we’ll just cook and drink her yummy margaritas.

I am so excited now for her trip, but it took me realizing that the time together will bring joy and love and life instead of added responsibility.  And what little extra duties are required of me, I’m willing to take on, because that time together is totally worth it.

Even if I give up my bed for a few days.  But you would, too, if you knew how cute Benjamin was!

A Few Extra Minutes

I stayed in bed until 10 am this morning, and it was transformative.  I woke up late and then totally ignored all the responsibilities that lurked beyond the boundaries of the bed.  I lounged around, just breathing and taking in the softness of the sheets and how cushy the pillow was.  Utterly amazing.

I knew this was meant to be when the dog slept in, too; this never, ever happens.  She usually demands a walk by 8:30, but usually we’re up and moving much earlier.  Today, she was still snoring at 9:30.

It is really, truly incredible what those extra minutes in bed did for my mind and body.

Finally, after a long week and a half of being so. very. tired., I feel like myself again.  When I got up, I didn’t even rush into the things I had to do.  Chris and I took Honey for a walk and then had a chill birthday breakfast (his, not mine) down the street.  After coming home, I slowly tackled the day, taking care of one thing at a time, and working at a sensible pace.  I stayed peaceful and relaxed all day.

It’s nice to be back.

Not Sooooo Much!

I made a pledge to myself this weekend:  I am going to take better care of myself.  The last month has been a whirlwind of taking care of everyone but me, and the migraines every day last week were the proof in the pudding.  While I love doing things for others, it shouldn’t come at such a heavy load on me, my mind, and my body.

The apathy that I talked about in my first post (click here to view) has lessened since January in most aspects of my life, but it crept back in my actions toward myself.  I was eating badly (in my terms, not in the terms of the average American), overscheduling, running myself ragged, and wearing myself down.  Boo for me!

The reality of this cycle was that I wasn’t my best for anyone, and I wasn’t even really taking care of people as well as I could.  I wasn’t saying “no” to anything that came my way, and I just wasn’t being realistic at all.  My motto, “Be Your Best; let go of the rest,” was being totally ignored.

In fact, I was taking the rest, gathering it all up in my arms, and trying to cram it into every little nook and cranny of time and mind that I could find.  Exhausting carrying all that extra load.  It had to stop.

Each day, I will do something for myself.  Most days, that will take the shape of a blog post, which I love and helps cut through the crazy.  Some days will include reading the Bible for longer than usual, soaking in a bath, relaxing with a glass of wine, reading a magazine, taking an extra long morning walk, or sitting outside with my feet planted on the ground.  In fact, I’ve already started one thing- a daily change- that I’ll tell you about later this week.

I’m sure that on some days I will fall back into old patterns, but realizing my problem will help me make the changes that are needed.  I know that some of you out there are great at self-care, so give me your tips!  What do you do to take care of yourself?

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