No Hustle In Your Bustle?

It’s that time of year and the holiday hustle and bustle is in full effect. However, something strange is happening with me. I have no urge absolutely no desire to spend money I don’t have. I have pangs of guilt that the few gifts I have purchased won’t be nearly enough or well received. I’ve racked my brain for creative gifts for those that I love and I hope that they might like what I’ve come up with. All I want to convey is how much I love and appreciate the family and friends that God has placed in my life. I am trying to take this time to really reflect on the blessings that surround me. The small things that will never come my way again. (As in decorated Chest of Drawers to include garland and a bathrobe tie, say what?! Please note exhibit A.) The kids are getting older, parents and grandparents are too. I tell myself repeatedly, focus Barika, focus!

Exhibit A: Surprise room decoration by the hope and help babies.
Exhibit A: Surprise room decoration by the hope and help babies.

One thing that we have done as a family to help us focus on the meaning and reason for the Christmas season is by incorporating Advent readings at home. If you aren’t familiar with Advent it’s a time of reflection and preparation for Christmas. The 3 weeks leading up to Christmas we do our best to gather nightly as a family to read a passage on the advent focus for the week, sing a song, pray and talk about why we have, Peace, Hope or Joy. It has been awesome to hear the things that the girls have to say. To include a prayer to keep aliens from outer space from invading earth. I think that has a lot to do with the littlest girl’s obsession with Miles from Tomorrow Land. Or the request to sing God is So Good every night. Well because He is right? These little family gatherings help me and hopefully us, to keep the main thing the main thing.   It takes less than 10 minutes and allows us time as a family to slow down and be thankful. I blot out the less than serene moments of crying and fighting over who will light the candle or sing the song. Or the one word answers and at times snarky response from the eldest. The shoving to blow out the candle, all of that isn’t stored in my picture perfect memory of our family time together. No, not stored in my mind just out here on the interwebs for all of the world to relive with me.

It’s easy to get caught up in spending way more than you have or focusing on what you don’t have or can’t give. We can ward off focusing in on our perceived lack and refocus on the abundance that surrounds us. I’m pretty good at seeing the big picture thankful for shelter, clothing, food, etc. I’m trying to improve my mindfulness of the little things each day. Here’s a list of 5 things I am really thankful for as I reflect on Hope, Peace and Joy that comes with the birth of Jesus.

  1. God has consistently provided for our family throughout this year. We have not gone without anything that we needed
  2. My Husband is a creative genius and is moving into a new season of opportunity and success.
  3. My heart baby has college acceptances and is maturing into a lovely young woman.
  4. My hope baby has a wiggly front tooth that is hanging on by a thread and is a reading champ
  5. My help baby recited her whole part for her school Christmas play and keeps us in stiches with her comedic timing.

What are some of the things remind you of the Hope, Joy and Peace that already surround you today? I would love to hear about some of the little things that remind you to be thankful feel free to share in the comments.

Do Something Terrifying

Georgio / / CC BY

Would you believe that when I contemplated taking to the ‘internets’ to begin writing I was terrified and from time to time still am terrified? Terror like sweaty palms and anxiety just before hitting post? Complete with a side of what if nobody ever reads it or thinks its silly. Wow, so now I’m letting you in on my inner thoughts, this does not seem like it will bode well. Ok, back to the matter at hand. In actually writing a miracle occurred. And the miracle was around all of the negative talk going on in my brain. Do you know what the miracle was? When I hit the button to publish my post I did not keel over by way of massive heart attack. Each time that I sit down and write and take the risk to share I see ways that I can take bigger risk. This blog is an opportunity to take a risk and reap the rewards as I seek to help encourage and motivate others do something daring and bold. It may seem like a small thing but it’s the small things that turn into big things bit by bit.

I know that God has gifted you and me with unique talents and skills to impact the world around us. I am guilty for praying all the while taking no action. Knowing that there are things I should do or say but as per usual fear grabs me and I try to make my inaction spiritual by suggesting I haven’t been led to move. It can be scary to take risk and somethings may go wrong along the way, however, it would be worse to never take the risk and die without living life on purpose.

Are there situations/circumstances in your life that aren’t getting better? What if you shifted from seeing your circumstances as a ‘problem’ but see them for the opportunities instead?  I’d love to hear about some of the thoughts that are hardest to re-frame.

You Are Not the Biggest Loser

ohsarahrose / / CC BY-ND

I used to think the discomfort I felt was because I failed to make the right decision about something along the way. Right and wrong decisions do not signal the end of my story. Maybe the decision I made, in hindsight, was not the best choice.  And I find myself in a round of “what the heck were you thinking?” Which can quickly turn into an episode of you are the biggest loser self talk, unless I choose to stop that train of thinking in its track. I try to acknowledge that perhaps I could have said or done things differently and move on.  I can either make the most of the OPPORTUNITY to correct or redirect or I can beat myself up indefinitely.  I am choosing the former.

I’m allowing the family and friends both new and old to gently help me re-frame my thinking when I go into a Biggest Loser Tailspin. I am choosing to re-frame my thinking regarding the future and the endless possibilities before me. It’s not easy to believe that I can continue to grow and experience better. I am trying to pay attention and be open to the opportunities as they present themselves.  I am giving myself permission to take the risk and seize the opportunities big and small. How are you actively working to re-frame your internal dialogue? Do you ever have biggest loser moments, I’d love to hear from you sound off in the comments.