Sunday, January 19, 2014

Starting a New Year with Shalom

Wow - we are starting the third full week of 2014.  I did not understand when my parents said the years go by faster as you get older... but, today I suddenly realize there is some truth in the statement -  time seems to move faster as we age. 
Everyone says I am a master of multitasking - this morning at church a friend commented that the only downtime I must have is when I collapse to sleep.  Personally I don't think I manage my time wisely. There are a lot of things in my life I want to do, but I never seem to have the time to accomplish them. 
"Stress does not come from being busy, stress comes from being busy about things we don't want to do, or form not being busy about things we do want to do" Patricia Sprinkle, Women Who Do Too Much.  
I have been reading a few books on how to simplify my life. Marcia Ramsland book "Simplify Your Life" .  As I was reading one sentence jumped out at me "We must want change more than we want status quo."  Currently I think I am living the status quo...a fulltime job as the quality / compliance officer for a rural health system, volunteer director of a free health clinic, part-time online faculty for a BSN to RN nursing program, I serve on the board of 2 community organizations, I teach diabetic classes, I am rescues mom to 14 four-legged babies, mom to 5 adult children, and wife to my best friend.  All of this while completing a post-master's certificate in nursing family practice and now studying for boards..  Ugh---- I am tired just writing it all down. 

There has to be more to life???  Running a half-marathon, developing a yoga practice, sewing a quilt, knitting a scarf in less than 6 months. 
All the time I was in school I had two goals - to be able to teach from home and to provide healthcare to those who do not have access.  When I look at my life now, I can finally achieve both of these goals - so why do I keep doing things I really don't want to do... why do I continue to create stress in my life?
All of the above being said, this morning I had a moment of clarity.  I have been off work from the hospital system for 7 weeks with The Big Man (he had a knee replacement). Yes, I could have gone back to work, but he has supported me for the last 20 years and I was not about to leave him till the physician says he is cleared.  So, why do I not  just stay home, study for boards, teach my online classes and find balance?
So - here it is, this week I resign from the best paying job that I have ever is just a job.  I know that "God's plan for our lives is not that all the circumstances will be peaceful or even pleasant.  God's plan is that we will experience shalom in each of them and know that our future has hope" (Patricia Sprinkle, Women Who Do Too Much).

 How are you finding balance? Do you experience Shalom in your life?
~Connie ~

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Training Thursday~New Shoes

Well today did not go as I had planned.  While the Big Man was at physical therapy I got two calls from two of our children.  Youngest daughter crying saying she had lost the oldest son's dog.  Second call was from the oldest son on vacation in Hawaii saying the youngest daughter had lost his dog - Lexus
Lexus somehow got of the backyard - she would not come back to my daughter, she was running.
I called the youngest son, and told him as soon as the Big Man finished physical therapy we were headed to find Lexus - like most children my may fight among themselves but let one of them get in trouble - and they rally.
Youngest son said he would help and headed that way.
  Being the grandparents we are, we drove 60 miles to where the kids live.
It is 35 degrees, feels like 25 and drizzling rain.
Since I hadn't planned on running today I was wearing dress boots.
Lexus was terrified - we saw her a couple of times running across an open field and hiding in a tree-lined ditch.  After running across the field a couple of times - I went back to my son's house and picked up Lilly - awesome sister to Lexus
Lilly is the awesome sister because with her short little legs she is very near to the wet cold ground.  She doesn't like wet or cold - but she didn't balk at trying to help find her sister. 
Do you ever wonder what goes on in a dog's mind?
Lexus saw Lilly but she was too scared to come to me or Lilly.
Lilly looked at me - like enough, let's go get her - and we are running across the field again.
Remember the black boots?
Well they are not made for wet, muddy, 35 degree weather - my feet were cold and wet.
Just as Lilly runs up on Lexus - I slipped.
Pulling a groin muscle and landing on the ground. Awesome grandpuppy Lilly comes back to check on me and Lilly follows.
Nanny - having dogged a few calves in her life - grabs scared cold Lexus.
 Sitting in the mud, holding a terrified Lexus - I call youngest daughter to help me get out of the field.
2 hours of running in 35 degree weather in dress boots - Lexus is home safe and sound.
Doggie Dad (oldest son) is now enjoying his vacation in Hawaii.
And, Nanny with a pulled groin muscle got a new pair of socks and shoes.
What would you have done?

~ Connie ~ 


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Getting Started - Finding Balance

As I sit here with a lap full of Chihuahua's listening to wind whip across a frozen Northeast Arkansas, I am reminded of how blessed we are.  
January is the month when people start over - they make resolutions, joining gyms, and stock up on healthy groceries.  Me - no resolutions, no gym memberships, and I have been focusing on eating healthy for 9 months. 
At the start of 2014 I am focusing on finding balance in my life.  All work and no play makes a girl get old and grumpy. 
I have come to recognize the "superwoman syndrome": the idea that I should be able to fill all needs, including my own, all the time.
The next few days I am going to be focusing on the following:
Thinking about what is most important for me to accomplish, and why. How can I make the most of my talent and energy in order to reach my goals? What is the benefit of focusing on these few things? Does it give me more time with my family, open up more opportunities, provide additional income?
The last year and half of  imbalance has created a sense that my balance is slipping. But I have come to realize that  occasionally you have to lose your balance in order to regain it. The mistake we often make is accepting our imbalances as part of who we are -- giving up instead of trying to recover balance ~ Not this girl.  
I haven't wanted to believe that I have taken on too much, because I want to do it all and are hesitant to let anything go -- whether it's a job, obligation, or opportunity. I know that the imbalance in my life has been affecting me, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
 A great way to experience balance in my life is to change the way I do some normal, everyday things. Of course, changing everything at once is sure to throw me off, but try I am thinking I will try one thing at a time.
 I have found over the last six weeks of my husbands rehab, I love to cook.  I hate how my kitchen has fallen apart over the last 18 months while I was in school. This week is my kitchen  - I am going to organize and decorate.
How do you find balance in your life?
~ Connie ~



Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Traditions ~ Resolutions

As I sit watching the sun shine through the window,  on New Year's Day morning,  with a hot cup of coffee and listen to my four-legged children play - I am thinking about the New Year and wondering why do we think that the New Year is the time to begin again?  Why is the New Year going to hold all the promises we want?
According to Wikipedia who cites Thomas A. Green (1997). Folklore: an encyclopedia of beliefs, customs, tales, music, and art "A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past." Sociology sees tradition as a social construct used to contrast past with the present and as a form of rationality used to justify certain course of action (S. Langlois, 2001).
Maybe the New Year isn't about starting new but more about contrasting the past with the future we want???? 
For me, I love my life.  I am not saying my life is perfect but, it is comfortable.  I am striving to do what is right and to be a good person.  Isn't that what God wants us to be???
Good - to live in his image. 
I have to say I have been caught up in the last 24 hours reflecting on 2013 and planning for 2014.  Every year I plan to participate in Ali Edwards "One Little Word" challenge.  I purchase the class - download the layouts and stop...I seem to never have the time to put the layout together. I do put together a layout that usually sits on my desk to remind me of my word. 
In 2013 my word was balance.  In 2013 word was "Time".  Funny as I was thinking about my word for 2014 I keep thinking about the word balance.  I feel like I ran through 2013 out of balance.  Between a fulltime job (40+ hours a week), a parttime job, operating a volunteer free health clinic, completing the last two semesters of my  Family Nurse Practitioner Degree, teaching Diabetic Education class, volunteering with the Blytheville Humane Society, one son diagnosed with a life altering disease, and the Big Man having knee replacement surgery.... there hasn't been much me time.  
In 2014 I want down time. I want time to think, I want time to be creative, I want time to feel my muscles work - run, yoga... I want time to catch a few trout.
But, in 2014 we have big plans.  I am opening my own family practice, we are opening a dog boarding business, and I want to take a Yoga instructor class.    - Is this balanced???
I am not sure - but the one thing that I do know is - no more New Year's Resolutions for this girl. Everyday is a gift - I am going to work hard on being the person God wants me to be.  And just maybe I will find balance in all that I do in 2014.
Happy New Year
~ Connie  ~