Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Taking the time to breathe properly...

Do you remember that time (the other day) when I said I was going to commit myself to a 30 day photography challenge?  And do you remember that time when I said I was also going to edit all of those same 30 photos in photoshop?  And then do you remember when I said I was basically cheating on the challenge because I was so busy producing Christmas garlands that I couldn't find time to sweep my floors and what on earth was I thinking committing to something like a 30 day challenge right in the middle of the busiest time of my work year?  (Okay I might not have said all of that last part.)

The point is... I let myself off the hook. 

I didn't want to quit.  But here's the thing.  Sometimes you have to know when you're in over your head.  Sometimes you have to have the courage to stop in the midst of the chaos that you created and prioritize.  You have to find the peace, right where it is, and grab it with both hands, even if it means putting the camera down, ignoring the dirty floors and watching Little House on the Prairie.

I've been taking this amazing class on Thursday nights with my man, at our church.  It's all about why Christians stay stuck.  Last Thursday night, the instructor had us take a position where we felt the most comfortable (I resisted laying on the floor) and focus on breathing in and out.  She had us really pay attention to our lungs, and the chair we were sitting in, etc, and really be present in that very moment.  She quietly walked us through our day by asking us to think through it and remember what things had been good, bad, funny, troubling, stressful, etc.  I know it sounds crazy but something about just getting truly quiet and breathing and mentally going through my day piece by piece actually put me in a place of relaxed peace. I loved it.  It made me so aware of how many days I rush here and there, the radio on, the to-do list piling up and I forget to BE in the moment.  Present.  No matter if things aren't going according to plan.  If the lady behind me at the Post office says something mean.  Or if the server at the printers goes down.  It reminds me to live in that moment when my BFF texts me back and forth for a half hour, about bumping into an old girlfriend of Adrain's, causing me to laugh and laugh and savor the fun moments like a delicious treat.  It reminds me to say yes to the sweet blue eyes begging me to go for a walk after school. And REST. 

I'm a work in progress, that's for sure.  And in favor of being real with myself, being present in all the moments- good or bad so that I can be a blessing to others... I am not going to force myself to finish a photo challenge right now.  Do you ever do this? 

Do you have anything weighing you down that you simply need to give yourself permission to eliminate from your list?  It feels so good! 
We did take SOME photos... it was a fun treasure hunt.  We needed to find an animal.  This is a neighborhood kitty that Ava is desperately convinced is pregnant.  (I don't think it is... I think it's just kinda fat.) Ava is also convinced that she is going to also get one of these kittens (her mother and grandmother are crazy allergic) and is conniving with an Auntie via text messages about garage kitty doors and kitty houses for the winter.  Y'all can totally pray for me on that one.  Ha!
  This one was supposed to be "Changes to come."  I loved this. 

"Green."  Kinda boring.  I bet I would have come up with something more fun if I'd really committed. Just saying.

So yeah.  I quit my challenge.  But I'm good with that.  I plan to BE and REST a little more.  How about you?
Mark 6:31 
And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while." For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.


  1. Oh Amen to the letting yourself off the hook! This is a lesson I am repeatedly having to learn! Life can just sweep you up into the frenzy and if we aren't careful we do forget to be present. I will be honest here and say that the last 8 months have been all about slowing down and savoring the moment. When we got our little Sweet T I had no choice. Newborns do not allow for crazy go go go. I have had to sit and feed her. Sit and rock her. Sit with her. She has forced me into a slower pace and I have absolutely LOVED every single solitary second. I am now faced with an extremely mobile 8month old who is on the verge of walking! As a result I have found myself very close to allowing myself to get swept up! But thankfully God has gently reminded me to slow down. I am so grateful that we serve such a loving and compassionate God. He never bats an eyelash at how loooooooong it can take me to catch on to His way of thinking! LOL
    Blessing my friend for this slowed down pace you're entering. Its nice to breathe, isn't it?

  2. This whole year is about being and resting for me.
    It took me 10 weeks to get just a little used to it.
    I'm now at the point where I see this as a real gift from the Lord.
    He's showing me my identity in him...crazy how much of my identity was wrapped up in being a mom/homeschooler/homemaker.

    I'm a Martha, if there ever was one, and he's bringing out the Mary in me....I like her. :)

    1. Ps. I'm REALLY proud of you for letting yourself off the hook.
      It is GOOD to know when we've picked up something that our life just doesn't need in a particular season.

  3. I think the green mailboxes were pretty clever. I would have probably not thought outside the box (no pun intended!) and photographed trees! Your class sounds amazing and I especially love that your hubby goes with you! On top of teaching full time and finding quality time with Ava and Caroline, I actually have ADDED something only because it forces me to s-l-o-w down. The new Whole Foods near my house offers free classes, including cooking classes. I went to the cooking class on squashes the other night. There is also a class coming up on stress, I need that one! I think of you whenever I leave or come home because your super cute VW bus is in my entry way! XO

  4. Oh, I always love you photos! Gorgeous! I just quit something too! I had committed to blogging for 31 days about my struggles to balance my life...but the obligation to post every single day was not contributing to my life balance. So I quit 15 days in. It's remarkably freeing.

  5. I did this at the end of the summer, only I let my kid off the hook with a commitment. That was almost even harder than letting myself off the hook (which I've learned to do) because you know as parents we are all, "You made a commitment, blah blah blah. You know? Everyone benefitted. Best decision we could have made.

  6. The pictures were wonderful...loved the mail boxes :)

  7. I think a lot of us bloggers need to cut back and live just in our homes and with our families and less online. Good for you. I know I have cut way back and it feels great.

  8. I have let myself off the hook before, and it feels good. I need to figure out what I can let go of now. I wish I could be at peace more. I feel like I'm always in catch up mode.

    On a happier note, I made your turkey teriyaki burgers last night. I've made them 100 times before, but last night I used ground turkey...I really liked it! I love cilantro, and the sauce you created to go with the burgers was perfecto!

    Love coming here. {hugs}

  9. This made me think of Hebrews 12:1-2 (especially part of verse 1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, [[let us throw off everything that hinders]] and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Think about it...throw off everything that hinders (NIV), lay aside every weight (NAS), things that aren't necessarily bad, but things that we put on ourselves that hinder us from the important things or hinder us from being who God wants us to your case "being present." Good for you for recognizing it and being real with yourself!! :) Oh yeah, I love the mailboxes!! Don't sell yourself short. You have a great eye for photography and beautiful things!! :)

  10. i think there's such freedom in obedience and in saying NO to too much! rest is a must and i truly believe when we don't think we need it or make time for it, we are being prideful - thinking we can do it all. God is gracious to give rest to our weary bodies! proud of you!!!

  11. Three words. Good. For. You. Best gift ever.

  12. So proud of you! It all sounds so easy to do, "Say no", "it's too much for now" I'm always preaching this to my girls, but.....not me, cause I'm Mom and mom is strong, and can do anything. It's a wise woman that can see what's important, and what needs to wait for a season. I too had to say no to the photo challenge (just doing it with my daughter, no posting) I has hernia surgery on last Friday, and the old "grey" (lol) mare isn't what she use to be. But I will catch up with my daughter later. Love you Sasha, you always give me "food" for thought, and I love that.

  13. I think it's wonderful that you let yourself off the hook. To recognize and then act upon the need to eliminate things, even very good things, for the sake of being, resting, spending time with our family, takes courage and discipline in this day and age. I just had to do the same thing with Nester's 31 Days. A very good thing, but I was allowing it to create very unneeded pressure (which I was putting on myslef). So good to let things go sometimes! Proud of you!

  14. Rest is always good....rushing just gets our stress levels too high. I always think of the person trying to pass me driving and we end up at the red light at the same time. At the end of the day we will have accomplished what God had for us...He has ordained all our days and they have been written in His book...Psalms 139:16

  15. The first principal I worked for--as I worked my tail off, went to school full time and invested 100 percent into my students lives. . .told me it was okay to have a goal but the reality? There are many ways to get there. Not to feel I HAD to take the said staraightest path. Pressing pause on the "chaos you created" is necessary and the kindest thing you can do for yourself sometimes: )