I am the Evidence of Things Not Seen

I am the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

As I’ve watched the chaos occurring in the world today I’ve found myself pondering and wondering what the heck is going on. I honestly question people’s ability to demonstrate empathy and compassion. I wonder aloud will it ever get better. Right now, it doesn’t look like it ever will. But then I did something that I oftentimes resist. I got quiet, put the phone down and turned inward. I desperately wanted, needed to hear something from God. I needed to know that everything was going to be alright, that my Husband, Father, Brother, Nephews and Daughters would all be alright. The psychological turmoil and angst occurring within me was swirling into anger. Which by the way is not the problem. Anger in itself is not the problem what I do with it is where things get tricky. Each of us have the obligation to do something with the anger we feel. We should be motivated to action. It pricks something in us to do something different. Whether that is to work on or let go of relationships that no longer serve us. Should we change professions, start a business, become a local activist, what in the world should we do. Our angst and anger should move us to say something, to do SOMETHING.  However, our movement should be led by quiet reflection and sheer determination. You need quiet to gain clarity. I need quiet to gain clarity. Being strategic in how you respond and dole out righteous indignation, requires one, me, to take at a minimum of 5 minutes to gain focus on what I should do next. And for me that generally starts with an intentional search for quiet.

Quiet I needed so quiet I found…by retreating to my quiet place, the bathroom. Don’t lie, you know that’s where you hide too.   I told (Ok, screamed at) my kids beating down the door,  “I NEED PRIVACY GO PLAY FOR 5 MINUTES, PLEASE!!!!  I was committed to having quiet no matter what even if I was barricading the bathroom door and screaming like a crazy woman. I had to have it, and this day they let me have it.

As their terrified feet scurried away the quietness came and settled in and I was able to take a deep breath and hang my head. And then it happened, gently and in an assuming way, in an effortless way I began to ponder those who came before me. I’m odd like that a therapist once told me I focus on the past, but for me it helps me maintain focus and resolve. And in my effort to find some focus some resolve to keep hoping in a world that seems increasingly hopeless; I was reminded that I am the things that my grandparents, and great-grandparents, and great-great-great-great grandparents hoped for but had never seen. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I looked up out of my panic and looked around at all of the excess that surrounds me. My great-great-grandmother couldn’t have imagined that any of her descendants would live like we do. That we would have access to opportunity like we do. That I would have the right to lift my voice in disapproval and live to tell about it. Yes, the system is filled with flaws and inequality and we must push back and dismantle the broken parts. We must build and rebuild over and over again. How dare we do anything less than continue striving to make the world around us better for our children. To hope and work towards the world we envision in our head and believe in our hearts that it  is indeed possible. WE may never live to see our hopes and dreams come to pass but we shouldn’t sit back and say whelp that’s just the way it is. I come from a people who have always found a way to not only survive but to thrive even in the most adverse situations. Life can always be better, there will always be days times when you question the humanity of the world around you. But the question is now, what are YOU going to do about it? WE must, I must, and YOU must do your part. I realized that in the midst of chaos that we should be the evidence of the very things that our ancestors hoped for. It is clear to me that I am the substance of things hoped for the very evidence of things not seen. Now is the time to make the most of our lives by seeking justice and loving mercy, making life better for those that come behind us.  

 

Does your life currently reflect the hopes of your fore-parents? If not, why not?  What do you think it would take to better align with the better life they wanted for you?

Sound off in the comments.

Corporate Job and Snow Delays

I originally thought I’d write this eloquent and thought provoking post about all of the fun Pintresty things that I did with my kids while we were snowed in for 11 days. YES ELEVEN DAYS!!!! I must confess that I still have illusions of grandeur about what our days off would look like. In my mind I’d be doing crafty art projects, keeping the hot cocoa flowing and of course we’d be frolicking in the snow for hours. Well, I hate to report that was not even remotely close to what went down in our household. Schools were closed but work, as in my full time job, was open. And not only was it open we had to deliver on something with a really, really tight timeline. So tight that it required working late nights and over the weekend in the midst of the epic snow storm. So what did that mean for the kiddos who have been home for going on two weeks? It meant my husband and I had to do a lot of creative tag teaming, both of us had to work.

For example, my Help baby does not care one iota about the fact that I have a headset strapped to my head, when she’s hungry she’s hungry and gets hangry quickly when she falls off of her eating routine. Which at school is something like 10 am, 12pm and 3pm, but this week it felt like every five minutes. I literally had a moment of carrying my laptop with my headset on into the kitchen while fixing the kids lunch., why ,because I was on back to back calls that day. Now, if I had been forward thinking I would have dialed in from my land line, but nooooooooooo that was not how I was operating last week. Let’s be real I was trying to survive.

Trying to keep my job, prevent the kids from overdosing on TV and maintaining some level of marital bliss. Oh and let me add somewhere in there helping shovel over 3 feet of snow. Things were not nearly as Pintresy Perfect as I would have liked. Instead I thought I’d write some of the things I learned during Winter Break Part Deux:

  1. Feeding a 4 year old Marshmallows as a hold over snack only results in said
    Workhelp
    Marshmallow request number 6,892

    4 year old asking for the “Lellow” every hour on the hour and she will come and find you to fulfill her request.

  2. While in theory it would seem like Nick Jr. can help distract the kids for 30 minutes or so that is not the case when there are Barbies and puzzles in the vicinity. No, instead Nick Jr. will be on in the background playing like the theme music in some demented fight till the death screaming match over barbie clothes and puzzle pieces. Note to self: Next blizzard Nick Jr. or fighting, not both.
  3. The place where toys live will likely end up looking like a volcanic eruption of Mount Toy. Surely Mt. Toy will explode each and everyday, multiple times a day. It’s all good.  That is, until you make the little angels clean up the toys, then my friend, you are in for a treat. Your children’s burgeoning talent in  the dramatic arts, will be on full display. Complete with crying, whining, tiredness, fainting- every emotion known to man will assault your senses and sanity. You will temporarily marvel at their fervor and commitment to the finer dramatic elements. Do not become dismayed by their over the top antics. Being home bound for ELEVEN days does in fact have some positives.  During snow days you will have the unique opportunity to show them where the art of drama began.
  4. A Simple request to clean  up can turn into a “Theater Arts” project when  Mom decides to take part by being equally as dramatic and offers to clean up the toy lava. All it takes is silence and a trash bag. After you’ve asked 8 million times, silently get a gallon trash bag and begin calmly placing toys in the trash bag. And then its like a miracle everyone moves into action. I don’t have to prep my kids with what I’m going to do as we’ve had this discussion  many times over most of the time the rustle of the trash bag is like a director yelling “End Scene!” And everyone scurries to clean up.
    ToyExplosion
    Mt. Toy volcanic eruption
  5. Understand that finding a “quiet place” to work is not really possible. Instead you should seek a location where the herd of buffalo running overhead is muted enough that folks on your conference call remain unaware of  the chaos just outside of your door/over your head. Yep, I retreated to the basement because I needed to read and write uninterrupted. I’ve found this works better than having to press the mute button like your shooting fireballs in the original Super Mario Brothers game…think I successfully dated myself with that last sentence, oh well.

    Skates
    Not a buffalo, just a kid who found roller skates that were hidden away and decided to try them out, in the house!
  6. When you can no longer ignore the sound of buffaloes on roller skates overhead, you may come upstairs and find and actual kid on roller skates. And in that moment go ahead and let out a full belly laugh because you have to appreciate kids and their creativity.

 

 

 

 

I’d love to hear how you manage working and school or child care not being available during snow days or other natural disasters. How do you keep sane? Share a funny story about something that happened during an unplanned school break in the comments below. I love to hear from you! Be sure to sign up to get updates on the blog and other cool stuff.

 

 

 

4 Ways to Shake Perfectionism: Breathe, Pray, Move, and Listen

As I worked like a crazy person into the wee hours of the night. I felt my anxiety levels rise and my mind began to shift to all the ways and reasons why I couldn’t do the task placed before. For some reason the fear and uncertainty of what my client would think virtually paralyzed me. The work had been done for about an hour yet I read and spell checked, checked fonts and checked the alignment of the graphics. Only to grow more uncertain. While attention to detail is a great skill to have it seems to me there is something inherently wrong with allowing that attention to detail to consume you and prevent you from considering a task complete.

I am slowly realizing that things that pop up in my professional life are often found in other areas of my life as well. The desire for everything to be just so often keeps me from getting started. Until I have conversation with myself saying “Just start! What’s the worst that can happen” and this seems to be when, if I’m not careful, my anxiety kicks into overdrive. I start rehearsing all the ‘worst’ that could happen and before I know it the precious time I need to
complete the task has evaporated.

So while I haven’t totally mastered letting go of my desire to want everything to appear perfect I do implement some techniques that help me snap out of it, focus and get things done.

Breathe

Close my eyes and take 10 Deep Breaths. Now that seems simple but if you are impatient like me taking deep breaths can seemingly take to
o long when you are under the pressure to get some work done. I generally spend the first 3 breaths thinking ‘why don’t I feel calmer, I should feel calmer by now”. By about breath 7 I’m feeling some of the stress leave me.

Pray

Whisper a prayer. There is a time for long drawn out prayers and sometimes I do that too but if I’m feeling extremely anxious, I keep it simple and say “God I need your help here I am freaking out, please help!” Sometimes it gets more elaborate than that but that is always my starting point.

Move

Take a 5-10 minute break and actually go outside and take a walk without music or cell phone. Just a quick step outside for fresh air does wonders.

BreatheListen

Put on some good tunes to help remind me of the greater plan for my life and how every circumstance surrounding me is pushing me closer towards my purpose, the very thing I was created to live out.

 

What are some things that you do to help yourself focus and complete the task at hand?