inspiration

humility

Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but thinking more about everything else.

It doesn’t require putting yourself down, but lifting others up.

Humility means that you have confidence, but you are honest about what you can and can’t do, and you see how others can help you.

Humility is realizing your place in a greater whole. It’s being a member of a team and a group and wanting the group’s success more than your own.

Humility is trusting yourself and trusting others and knowing that you can’t go at it alone.

Real humility is not demeaning, but the opposite: you gain self-worth and confidence as you realize your place and accept the help and support that have always been holding you up.

fractured

reality

reality is never quite what you expect

more full of joy than you imagined

yet pulling back at you is the struggle

everything is bigger than you imagined

complicated

 

what do you want to be when you grow up

becomes a fairy tale because

your dreams are merely fantasy

and you are instead left with that fact

that dreams never really come true

because life is different from your thoughts

 

failure is an unexpected detour, turning onto

the unending route of reality

the destination forgotten because it never existed

 

and yet this is not a roller coaster of ups and downs

it’s a journey in a landscape

failure is not a trench, but a valley of everything

 

unexpected

better

essay

enjoying the pain

This is hard to explain, but I will try.

Probably my whole life, I have hated feeling certain things: anger, guilt, confusion, and discouragement. I would try to avoid feeling, but you know what happens when you try not to feel something? You might end up feeling it a lot more intensely.

So because I hate feeling angry, I feel even angrier. Because I avoid being discouraged, I get more discouraged. Because I try not be depressed, I feel depressed.

I’ve been reading a book about acceptance and commitment therapy. I read a section where someone said they had learned to enjoy feeling anxious. Feeling anxious is just part of life. We all feel it. And it’s okay to feel it.

It’s okay to be angry and sad and discouraged and confused. It’s okay to feel those things. And when it’s okay, and you accept those feeling in your life, then things become a lot better. You can actually learn to enjoy the pain, in a way. People who exercise a lot, or love going on roller coasters, or love intensive jobs have learned how to enjoy pain because they know it makes them better.

I will always have times where I feel anger, guilt, and sadness. But when I allow myself to feel those things, instead of fighting against them and closing myself up, I can start to live my life again.

A few days ago, I was angry at my husband. But I accepted that. I didn’t fight it. And it went away. I removed myself from that fight (he didn’t really do anything wrong anyway) and just let it happen. I didn’t yell and try to make the problem go away. It just existed, and that was fine–I could feel angry and jealous and all of that without needed to resolve it. And then later, I was playing with my kids and I found myself laughing, and laughing a lot. I let myself feel anger–and then I was able to let myself feel joy. (This is still a major work in progress.)

I can find a lot more positive emotions, like laughter and happiness, because I’m no longer afraid of my own feelings.

Emotions have never been my enemy. They are my friend. Even the grief and depression and the anxiety and the worry. They are all part of my life. And I can accept them. I am more than how I feel.

I don’t know if that will make any sense to you. Because I have heard the same message over and over again and I never really understood. I still hated my feelings.

But today, I don’t.

Uncategorized

Thoughts on Pacing Myself

  • It can be better to do a little bit regularly than a lot all at once.
  • Just because I can fit it all on my list doesn’t mean that I should fit it all on my list.
  • It’s okay to have quiet moments.
  • Transitions take time. Plan for them.
  • I always underestimate the amount of time something will take me. I usually have to double it.
  • I often need to lower expectations for myself in order for me to do more. Freeing myself of my own high expectations allows me to be a lot happier.
  • I do a lot more than I think I do.
  • I can’t sustain a really high level of doing everything I possibly can and I often crash after trying. To avoid crashes, it can be better not to do quite as much.
  • Keeping up my mental and physical health takes time, and sometimes much more time than I expect, but it’s really important.
  • Sometimes what I want to do when I’m exhausted will simply make me more tired.
  • Being present with myself and my life is a much better way to deal with exhaustion.
  • I can’t perfect myself and my life all at once. I have to work a little bit at a time.
  • I can keep going in a good direction, even if it is slow.

essay

A new decade

I have a significant birthday coming up–only significant because we have ten fingers on our hands and therefore we have a base-ten system and we get fascinated with decades. If we were using a base-twelve system, there would be nothing significant about my birthday at all.

But here we are. I’m entering a new decade and therefore I’m reflective. I’m not going to be young anymore.

In the last decade, I have graduated from college, gotten married, had two-full time jobs, and had four children and became a stay-at-home mom. We’ve lived in three different states and moved a lot. I’ve supported my husband in his school and career. I’ve also self-published two novels, maintained multiple blogs, taken a lot of photographs, worked on my family history, and decorated multiple houses. And I’ve read at least 52 books every year. I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve been part of different communities. I’ve taught my children as well as I can.

I am in a good place right now, and I’m heading in a good direction. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve done enough, particularly because life has not turned out how I expected it to. I have failed in some things. I have never been a successful writer, and now I don’t plan on pursuing writing anymore. I have dealt with some mental health issues and I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. Some times I don’t feel like I’ve done enough.

But being a mom was always been my dream, and I am so incredibly grateful for my family. They are enough. If I hadn’t accomplished anything on my own, I could be happy knowing that I am doing my best to raise my four children and have a happy home and a happy family.

And next to my family, I am most grateful for the friends that I have made. I miss friends I have moved away from a whole lot, but I am grateful for the opportunity to make friends in new places. Friendship is one of the biggest accomplishments there is in life–and it can be hard sometimes, but it’s worth it.

inspiration

The joy of a simple life

I am currently reading a self-help book that drives down the same, worn-out path of trying to convince the reader that they can accomplish a lot because the author has accomplished a lot. If the reader follows the path of the author by doing specific things, then the reader will also be successful. And usually success is defined in a specific way, such as wealth, career accomplishment, and general productivity and happiness.

This is a false narrative.

We all live different lives. Some of us won’t ever be successful in certain ways–we have struggles, and sometimes those struggles never go away. You may not make much money. You may struggle to spend your time wisely. You might struggle with mental health, making daily happiness seem impossible. You might fail in career goals. Your family might fall apart in a way that can’t be put back together again.

It’s a lie that we can all achieve a certain kind of success.

But that’s okay. Because you don’t need that sort of success in your life anyway.

We are given are specific circumstances. We do the best we can, and we make mistakes. But we keep trying. And while we do want to be the best we can be, that may mean that we live a simple, unnoticed live, filled with problems.

My Grandma Jane lived a simple life. She was an incredibly talented woman in many different ways: computers, crocheting, sewing, bookkeeping, genealogy, and more. But she dealt with a huge amount of challenges in her life–health problems, infertility, financial struggles, family difficulties, and trying to overcome her own weaknesses.

I love my Grandma Jane very much and she means a lot to me. She helped others in small and simple ways, and that was enough.

Sometimes we get so caught up in being successful in the certain ways we want that we forget that the small and simple things we do are so much more important.

I don’t want to live in a big house and have lots of money. I don’t want to get the best grades or a high-profile job. I don’t need to start a successful business or publish books or whatever.

Because my life doesn’t have to be successful in those ways at all. I want to love and serve in small and simple ways. I want to keep trying even if life become difficult. I don’t need to be noticed, because I am already loved.

 

inspiration · my life

You can cry about the spilled milk … after it’s cleaned up.

So it’s about 5:30 in the evening. I really want my husband to be home. I’ve been working on some things on the computer, which means that either my kids are watching way too much television or the house is a wreck. When I get off the computer, I find that it is both: the house is covered cracker and brownie crumbs. A can of cooked carrots has managed to make a presence in every single room of the house. Half my books are on the floor. And the kids have been binge watching YouTube videos yet again, even though I told them not to (I’m getting a device to shut off the TV; I hope it works).

In the middle of this, I look down to see that my daughter has something nasty on her leg. Yes, it’s poop. It’s not her poop. The poop belongs to the naked three-year-old. He’s naked because he successfully went poop in the toilet earlier and he never got himself dressed again. But this time, he pooped in the toy room. I am glad it’s not on the carpet in the living room like it was two days ago.

So I have to clean up the poop. When that is done, I just want to cry because there is still so much to do.

But I think to myself: Not right now. You can cry about this in a minute, but right now you are going to clean everything up. And then I clean (most of) it up. (When I’m done cleaning, I write this blog post.)

It’s okay to cry over spilled milk. I’ve done it before when my kids have spilled bowls of cereal FOUR DAYS IN A ROW. But it’s better to cry about it AFTER you clean it up. You’re already upset, so it’s not going to make things worse to actually clean up your messes. It might actually make it better. And if it doesn’t, when you’re done cleaning, lock yourself in your room and let yourself feel awful for a few minutes and take time to breathe. It’s okay.

essay

I don’t know

Recently, I was teaching a lesson in church and someone commenting mentioned that even though she was sharing advice, she didn’t feel like she had it all figured out. I feel the same way a lot. If you could look into my day-to-day operations, you would know that I do not have it all together and I make mistakes on a constant basis.

But I keep trying. And that’s enough, because trying is all I’ve got. When I yell at my kids, I’m going to apologize and try not to yell again. When I spend half the day in my pajamas doing nothing, I’m going to get up and get in the shower and clean the house. When I fail at my goals, I’m going to keep setting goals anyway.

I know a lot more than I can actually do. I know what I want my life to look like, but I can’t always actually put that into effect. There is a large gap there, and there always will be.

So some days I don’t have advice because I’m not perfect and I make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are quite overwhelming. I am so deficient in so many ways. But so is everyone.

And it doesn’t matter if I have it figured out. I can keep taking that next step anyway.

(I wrote this post because I was procrastinating cleaning my house.)

Uncategorized

Recognize your struggles

It’s okay to fall down.

It’s okay to have a hard time. The hard time exists whether you admit or not. It’s easier to admit it.

It’s okay to realize that lemons are really sour and not make lemonade. Sometimes you don’t want to hide the sour; you want it to use it.

It’s okay to cry when bad things happen. You don’t have to be happy all the time.

It’s okay to make mistakes and struggle and admit that you aren’t doing great. The mistakes are there whether you admit them or not.

It’s okay to forget about the silver linings for a moment and just admit that things are difficult. Silver linings don’t take away all the pain.

It’s okay to think that life is hard. Because it is.

It is okay to realize that your dreams are never going to happen and that you have failed in certain ways. Sometimes dreams don’t work with reality.

We can accept life for what it is. And sometimes life is messy and difficult. But it’s also happy and wonderful too. It’s all of that together. It doesn’t have to be always happy and good. It doesn’t always have to be sad either. Sometimes it’s a mess of in-between.

But we wake up every morning, we decide what we’re going to do next, and that’s all we have.

I’ve spent too much of my life trying to force it into a specific template instead of just letting it be how it is. And when I accept life for what it is, I am much more able to do that next thing instead of worrying about what I wished would have happened.

I’m trying, and the trying is enough.

 

my life

I can do this

I don’t exactly like talking to people on the phone. When I was young, I was downright terrified of it. I’m not sure why–maybe I was afraid that I would look like an idiot and not know what to say.

Somehow, I had this fear that if I was in the middle of a conversation, the experience would be so overwhelming that my brain would stop working and I wouldn’t know what to say or I would say the entirely wrong thing. And sometimes, admittedly, conversation does not work out as expected and I do say things that aren’t quite what I meant.

But really, it’s my fear of saying the wrong thing that actually makes me say the wrong thing. Because when I’m not afraid, I just think and talk and things work out fine.

I watched this video the other day:

When I watched that video about artificial intelligence that could hold a conversation like a human, it made me realize: I am smarter than Google Duplex, and so I can talk on the phone (and in other places) just fine and I don’t have to be afraid anymore. That program has a limited amount of responsiveness, and it can hold a conversation and not look like an idiot (though I am sure sometimes it does look like an idiot when it’s not on camera). I have years of experience with working with people, and the ability to think creatively and come up with new responses.

I don’t have to be afraid because I am actually completely capable.

I have also been listening to a few chapters of a book about making a good first impression and getting along with people. It’s pretty easy, really: make eye contact, don’t close yourself off, smile, find common ground–simple things.

If you happen to be shy or socially awkward or any of that, realize that you are just fine how you are. You are smarter than a robot–so you are capable of conversation and connections. Yes, there might be awkward moments, but your brain is capable of responding, correcting, and continuing onward. You can do it. There’s no reason to be afraid.