Life gets away…

Where do the days go? I know they are made of seconds, minutes and hours. But they go all to fast, and I don’t know how to make them slow down.

I feel like I’ve blinked, and summer is wrapping up. When your day job is in higher education, August’s arrival means it’s full speed ahead for weeks on end.

So I’ve got 25 days until my summer is over. My to do list at home and at work is entirely too long. So… here’s to working a little smarter and finding a better balance. I want to start my year with a clean slate, a plan, and energy.

And I think knowing that is going to be half my battle.

How do you find a better balance when things get busy?

[Really. tell me. I can use the help!]

 

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Oh, hey there…

Oh, weekends.

It’s almost 2 in the afternoon, and I’m sitting in bed. It feels heavenly. I haven’t been a total sloth today. I’ve done 2.5 loads of dishes and I’m working on round two of laundry.

But right now? I’m curled up in the middle of the laundry, watching Law and Order: SVU and enjoying a good snuggle with my pillow.

It’s been a {quite a} few long weeks. I’m tired. My brain has been on overload. My body too, if I’m honest. So it’s time for a day of rest. Real rest. Mind, body and soul. And it feels good.

I told someone recently that I’m a complete extrovert. Until I’m not. And then I tend to shut down for a few days. This is that day, and it is a much-needed weekend of little to nothing.

So here’s to catching up, finding my voice, telling a few stories, and enjoying every minute of it.

February 2016 goals…

I’m just a little bit behind… but I’m here. So, let’s talk the frozen month and goals.

With a trip to a conference for work in the middle of this month, I’m keeping it simple and scaling things back to the most important for the month. Maybe I’ll be a little more successful in the important things than I was last month?

February 2016 Goals:

  • Be intentional about time with Jesus. Daily devotion.
  • Lose 4 pounds.
  • Read a non-fiction book.
  • Create a cleaning routine. Start to use it.
  • Blog. (At least a few times)

What are you working toward this month?

How I did: January 2016 goals

So. My first goal recap of 2016 is here. It wasn’t the best start. But February is here. I’m armed with a new planner. And I’m determined, even if I am behind.

January 2016 Goals – How I did:

  • Be intentional about time with Jesus. Daily devotion. Verdict: CONTINUING IN FEBRUARY.
  • Lose 6 pounds. Verdict: CONTINUING IN FEBRUARY.
  • Read a non-fiction book. Verdict: ACCOMPLISHED
    • Review coming soon, but I tackled Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love.
  • Cook a new meal each week. Verdict: ACCOMPLISHED
    • Week 1 – Crustless spinach quiche. Verdict? Great ready-made breakfast for the week.
    • Week 1 – Pesto salmon with Italian vegetables. TWO RECIPES. Victory. Also, this salmon was to die for. Even my husband LOVED it and said it’s his favorite salmon.
    • Week 2 – Light chicken parm. Served this over zucchini noodles and Brett said it was a win.
    • Week 3 – Chicken mozzarella pasta with sun-dried tomatoes. This was good, but it wasn’t perfect. I didn’t use the same kind of noodles, I kind of burnt the sun-dried tomatoes, and my sauce wasn’t thick enough. But taste was decent. I need to try this again.
    • Week 4 – Not quite. But I was ahead.
  • Create a cleaning routine. Verdict: TRY AGAIN.

More than a song…

Some days are hard. I think that’s the thing I’ve come to realize about life as a grown up.

For all the amazing things – and there are many, many amazing parts of the adult world – there are some seriously crappy times.

I used to think you could ignore the bad days. I thought you could wish them away. I thought you could be good enough that they wouldn’t happen. Really, how funny is that? I’ve (slowly, I’ll admit it) come to realize that there is nothing you can do about it. You are going to have bad days. Sometimes you are even going to have bad weeks or months. You can only control so much. Some people aren’t the brightest crayons in the box. Some times things just don’t go your way.

I’m learning to be grateful for the bad days. On the bad days, I’m reminded of how much God loves me. I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be married to a man who will go to the greatest lengths to make me smile. (That’s a longer story for another post). I’m reminded of how awesome it is to have friends who know you so well that the rest of the world can disappear when you sit down together with coffee or wine.

I was having a bad day a couple of weeks ago. Driving to work, I was listening to music from my phone and I just froze. I’ve had Casting Crowns’ Thrive album for over a year, but I had never noticed the song that came on. It was the perfect song for that moment. I’ve listened to it almost every day since because it is a reminder I need in my life.

Just take a few minutes and listen.

It kind of leaves you speechless doesn’t it? Here’s to finding time to be held.

*****

“Just Be Held”

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding onAnd when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it goSo when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be heldIf your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always willAnd not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go

Learning to say no…

I wound up kicking off 2016 with a couple of decisions about what should be on my plate this year. I struggled. I knew saying yes wouldn’t make me happy, but I do hate to disappoint people and organizations I love and believe in.

If you don’t read/follow/love Jen Hatmaker, let me take a minute to encourage you to do that. My non-fiction book for this month is her latest, For the Love. But her Facebook page provides almost daily laughter and inspiration. Check her out. Really.

In the midst of trying to reach a decision, a friend pointed me directly to this post and I have to share it with you.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 9.01.34 AM

That thought process for me? It’s life changing. “If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.” Oh my goodness, thank you Jen. That’s freeing. I refuse to say the guilty yes or the resentful yes. I will only say yes if it’s a HELL YES. Y’all hold me to that, ok?

So I’ve learned something just a few days into 2016. I said no.

Saying no is hard. But I’m learning, and remembering that saying no a few times will leave me room for the things I cannot envision my life without.

Here’s to a year of well-placed nos.

Measure your life…

IMG_5852

I’m a writer by trade, so words have a lot of meaning to me. I’ve got two journalism degrees, and write everything from social media posts to newsletters and web stories to magazine features now.

But most of the time, it’s not really my words I’m focusing on.

It’s the quotes of others and the stories they tell that matter day in and day out. But on a nighttime car ride with a dear friend last night, we started talking. I love those kind of talks. The ones that are big and bold. The ones that aren’t afraid. The ones that give you hope and strength. The ones that speak to your soul.

In the middle of one of one of the rounds of our talk, I stumbled onto a thought. We think a lot about the work we are doing – at home, at work and everywhere in between. We plan it, measure it and track it.

And I think more often than not, we forget what actually matters. This is what I came up with…

“Don’t measure the work you are doing.

Measure the impact you have.”

Really, I’m kind of proud. That’s my own thought. My own quote. The friend I was with is an incredible big-picture thinker. She comes up with the best ideas, the best thoughts. So yeah, a little part of me was just proud at what I thought.

But really. Imagine if this was what we spent our time focusing on. What would that look like? So this week, this month, this year? I’ll do the work I need to, but I’m going to set my sights on the impact I’m having.

Don't measure the work you are doing. Measure the impact you have. {jessiepjones.wordpress.com}