Five Things Friday: Remember Me

Okay, truth. Today is Saturday. But let’s play pretend. Let’s pretend I actually did write this down when I thought about it.

The other night driving home, I was catching up on podcasts and listening to The Simple Show. Tsh’s guest was a woman who took the blog of her late friend and turned it into a book. She reorganized a few posts, added some context, and basically let her friend write her own book about her life motto – choose joy. It was a beautiful interview that’s totally worth checking out, and it got me thinking. What would a book about this blog say about me? Does my blog explain my life motto? Obviously, not everyone publishes drafts of chapters every time we click ‘new post,’ not everyone has been blessed that way or chosen to have that kind of message. But we all ARE leaving footprints. Where do mine lead?

Perhaps the more important question is where do I want them to lead? What do I want people one day to run across this site and take away about me? It’s all about perspective, right?

image

Five Footprints I Want to Leave Here:

1. I adore my husband.
We fight over dumb stuff (but only dumb stuff) and we get agitated sometimes but this man is my best friend. I’ll never stop trying to impress him, to support him, to help him, to feed him. You don’t get to badmouth him, you don’t get to question his morals, you don’t get to sabotage him. We’re a team, even if we may have trouble getting in sync, that’s our problem, not yours.

2. I believe in God, Our Father, and I believe He works things out in the end.
He sent His son to live with us and teach us by example and die for us, because humans are never going to be perfect. His love is perfect and that’s enough for me. You can’t believe in that and accept His offering without accepting the responsibility that comes with it – to follow His rules. That’s where we (as humans) have trouble, but when your heart is in the right place, you’ll get better. But things that happen to us aren’t because of us, they’re for us. Collectively. What happens to you might be a lesson for me. He’s giving us lessons always, even if it feels wrong or unfair or hurts, the lessons always work out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

3. I’m not perfect and some of these flaws are here to stay. And I can accept that.
I’m lazy by nature. I will always find ways to procrastinate work until tomorrow. Sometimes I still work, just on other junk, and sometimes I just watch My Diet is Better Than Yours and Biggest Loser and Shark Tank all day. I have an insane tolerance for clutter and dog hair. I feel like the people around me need to know my every thought (maybe that’s why my blog is stream of consciousness-personal opinion-word vomit). I hold other people to a higher standard than I hold myself. I do feel guilt over a lot of things I do, but some aren’t going away. I’ll always want someone else to decide where we eat. I’ll always go the extra mile and then complain about it. I keep striving to improve, but I don’t hate myself for being a work in progress.

4. Never stop learning and asking questions and getting new perspectives.
I read, I find podcasts, I read Wikipedia to inspire more ideas, I want to know why this is the best way before I make a decision. My 101 in 1001 is full of things I want to see for the first time or make myself do a second time or discover things I didn’t even know I wanted to do. I love my job because although I’ve been in the same area for five years, I’m still learning new stuff.

5. Do things that bring you happiness whenever you can, especially if it involves making someone else happy too.
Do you like cheesy old movies? Watch them. Do you enjoy working out? Pump it. Do you like singing or writing or dancing for others? Perform your heart out. Life is too short for just the “have-to-do” list and your soul needs to play on the “get-to-do” list every now and then. Laughter is so beautiful. I never pass up a chance for a pun or some wit (okay, okay, or “that’s what she said.” I find it hilarious,  no matter what my husband says) because I think there is always a light side.

image

I’m sure more things – better lasting impressions – will come to me. Layers of legacies, if you will. But if I can leave at least this much, I think I’d be content. This is how I want you to remember me.

Advertisements

Five Duh Moments

I only get sick once a year. Maybe twice. I think I missed class for sickness in college only a handful of times. I did develop (discover?) allergies, but a good Claritin-D or Zyrtec kept me going. I just had too much going on to be sick. Even that awful freshman year spring Tuesday schedule! In the four years at my job, I’ve never called in sick. I think we have sick time… I’ve never asked. Sick days aren’t really an option in the life I’ve had, and my body has been pretty agreeable with that plan this far.

But it’s upon us. It’s just a cold, I’m sure, that my husband harbored for three days and then passed to me, but when you get sick so rarely, you forget what it’s like. Suddenly you have the worst headache ever in history, the worst congestion ever felt by man or beast, and your throat is one hacking cough away from entirely disentegrating off your body.

Oklahoma is still in full winter (mud, cold, wind, clouds) so I’m less jealous today of the feed crew. I might be able to thank my stars today that they can handle things without me, and I’ll catch up on dishes and laundry. As I’m working, mulling over life and responding to podcasters in my head, some things occur to me. These aren’t earth-shattering revelations by any means. I can’t take credit for radical thought with this deathly cough. Ahem.

image

Five Duh Moments
1. Take the trash out before it’s full.
The kitchen trash (an itty bitty can in the cabinet under the sink) is a major point of contention, for some reason. If you head off the problem, it’s not a problem.

2. Similarly, wash the half load.
When it’s really cold out, the washing machine has issues draining. If it can’t drain, it overflows and needs every remaining junk towel in the house (Please tell me I’m not the only woman with old, threadbare, or ridiculous towels in the mudroom.) and a couple of t-shirts from the rag bag. I hate running the washing machine (when it’ll drain, of course) half full but I hate piles of sopping wet cotton and stray dog hair worse. So I did it. It made me happy.

3. Take the extra blankets off the bed.
I was being cute last time I changed the sheets, and just topped the bed with a waffle knit throw. I froze that night. I layered an extra blanket on my side. Two days later, I realized my husband was cold too, so I threw the duvet on top. I melted under three blankets. For a week! No one has been comfortable in any phase of this setup. Why didn’t I just accept after the first night that my cute plan didn’t work, and replace it with just the duvet to begin with?

4. Accept that the floors will be muddy for three weeks…. or eight…. let’s call it June.
Perfect isn’t really a thing we’re going to hit. Perfection is subjective. Perfection is fleeting. Perfection actually isn’t sustainable within a happy life. You can find beauty in flaws, for sure, and even prefer them to perfection – once you accept that mud is going to keep happening, and it’s not efficient for muddy feet to keep out of a spotless kitchen, so stressing over keeping a kitchen spotless in these conditions just isn’t worth it. It will quit raining one day, this too shall pass, and then we can talk about scrubbing the floors.

5. You’re never going to feel like working out.
You going to have to make yourself do it anyway. Once you can breathe, I mean. You can’t wait until you “feel like” being an adult. We’re stuck here. So go balance your checkbook and pay the bills and send the birthday cards, and keep smiling.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe and dry and healthy. And appreciating the small things.

So the dishes are done. Laundry is done. Sheets are changed. I’m almost caught up on my reading in Matthew. Mail has been sorted. And they fed cows in the ick. Everything has a season.

Five Things for the New Year

Let’s be honest – I’m never going to be one of those bloggers who hits it big. I’m not going to write a blogging schedule and spend weeks on articles, I’m never going to hit the point I can monetize my readers (I think there are seven of you now), I don’t want to turn my life into a reality show. Young House Love got soooooo much flak because they Photoshopped an early baby belly out of a DIY project picture when they weren’t ready to announce her pregnancy. No thanks. I don’t even tell you my husband’s name most of the time, I really don’t want you passing judgment on me.

Wow. I digressed a little. All that to say, you get real me. I forget to post, even my Five Things Fridays. I write when I feel like it. And the time between a spark of an idea for a topic and hitting the publish button is usually about 20 minutes. I proofread for grammar as I go, and I skim through for the overall story arc as I go. I’m on my phone 99% of the time. You get cooler digressions and better hyperlinks when I’m on the computer. And you get my random thoughts, not a play by play of my life. You get the inner struggle of a farm wife with a city life, not necessarily proof of either.

image

Luckily, the inner struggle isn’t all bad. You can struggle over good things, two awesome opportunities for your time. And I do. Oh how I do. Each new year brings more of that, as I make new file folders and put away the old, as I dream of what could be.

Five Things I’m Most Looking Forward To in 2016
1. Work-life balance
80 hours in two weeks. That’s not really so much to commit to, and that leaves a fair amount of time for life. IF you go home at 9 hours, or 8, and get your other Fridays off, and leave the computer at home. I don’t like driving home at 9 pm. I don’t like cancelling workouts and runs. I have another week of vacation coming this year, and I have to learn to use it.

2. Keeping habits
I have the best of intentions. I have routines written down for everything. My life is perfect on paper. Something in me wants to rebel against plans, though, and that has to stop. I’m going to get to work on a consistent and earlier schedule (and stay on track there), keep up on paperwork, housework, and workouts, get past Matthew in my daily Bible reading, and take better care of myself with haircuts and my beloved pedicures and stuff like that. I’ve got to keep my wanderlust under control or 2016 will go like 2015 and its predecessors.

3. My Passion Planner.
It’s so pretty. Find them here. I heard about them on a YouTube video and went looking, found the free sample pages, followed the Instagram. I like it. Half of me craves structure (the other half of me wants to demolish all of it, but see above).

4. Cleaning out
I’m not a minimalist, by any means, but I’m tired of stuff smothering me. I don’t mind having a ton of stuff I use, and I like having a stock of canned food and toilet paper and stuff like that. But the pile of sweaters in my closet that I can’t get even see? The room of stuff his folks left behind? The shelves in the garage I can’t even reach? Let’s talk about these. Make room for what matters, and then have lots of that.

5. The mystery.
On the flip side of over-scheduling my life is the fact life will do what it pleases. There is a bigger plan, there is a Master hand at work, and even if you don’t believe in God, we’re all pawns subject to death, taxes, other people’s bad choices, the weather, and the horrific noises coming out of Nashville. I kinda wanna know what surprises are in store for me, for my family, for society. Election years have so much potential. I think that’s why we fight so hard to prove one candidate’s vision and ability to get there is better. I love surprises.

Here’s to 2016 – to the things I want, and to the things that will happen anyway!

Harvest Love: Six Things on a Saturday

I was home yesterday. I thought several times about writing, and I… just didn’t. I took the child to the vet, cleaned house (learned how to really clean cast iron, thanks Pinterest!) and took a friend on run therapy. Writing just didn’t make the cut.

This is the time of year when my husband and I lead separate lives. The hard thing about having farm ground for thirty miles is not knowing where the guys are today or this afternoon, and adding up to an hour of travel time to the already unpredictable harvest schedule. It’s kind of nice, on the other hand, that with the logistics of farming fields that are so apart geographically and so different agronomically, planting for beans or wheat stretches for weeks and so harvest is spread out too. Early beans were ready in September, but they’re still cutting late and long season beans. Harvest can last into January if it turns muddy and we’re kept out of the fields.

Whether you’re a farm wife on an operation that works around the clock and finishes wheat harvest in six days, or on an operation like ours that cuts two or three days a week for three months, I have six things that show love even when harvest is calling the shots. Not that I’m perfect at all of these, and of course you should consider your own spouse’s Love Language when finding ways to show love, but life is really about the little things. ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Clean laundry.
You know that feeling when you come home and crawl into bed and the sheets are cool and clean and fresh? You get a nice night’s sleep, and in the morning you have clean shirts and socks and jeans, and life is just good. You dig? As much as I enjoy this, I know my farmer appreciates it even more after (and before) another 16 hour day.

2. Meal planning.
The problem here is mental overload. Fighting dust and equipment and idiot city drivers and worrying about weather and yield and coordinating trucks and drivers and… yeah. They worry about a lot. They’ll appreciate not having to decide what to cook for dinner too, for a few nights. It won’t last forever, be strong!

3. Snack bags.
Around and around and around… I don’t know about your husband, but mine eats a lot. I don’t know about you, but I eat a lot. All day, err day. A brown paper sack of snacks can save the day when you have to load One. More. Truck. before you can quit for the night. Plus, if you load the sack yourself (helllooooo, love notes), you know they aren’t stopping at the convenience store for junk food and crap.

4. Text messaging.
I don’t know how generations of farm wives before me handled harvest. I’m sure the guys weren’t as strung out as mine are today, for one, but I can’t imagine not knowing when the pickups will be rolling back in, when to have supper ready. Two way radios and cellular phones solved some of this, but still require free hands and focus. Text messages make life so much easier. A fast “I love you” can wait until the next unload, or turn row, or whenever. Encouragement without getting in the way = win.

5. Making decisions.
Back to the meal planning – running equipment all day is physical and mental work. Can I make this decision alone? Can it wait a couple days? I learned this in the office. Every distraction costs so much in terms of losing focus you have and getting that back. If I can put off bugging my husband, I’m going to. This is a hard way to show love, because he doesn’t know I chose to save him from a conversation, and I can’t gracefully point it out and give myself brownie points. But it *is* just a short period of time, and hopefully we don’t need to keep score anyways.

image

6. Date night.
Maybe it’s riding a couple rounds while you’re free. Maybe it’s grabbing him from a field (when they’re not moving equipment home) and having supper alone. Maybe it’s something bigger you plan ahead and get to look forward to the whole harvest. Don Williams (we’re old souls) came to our city a couple weeks ago, and that was the first night we’ve gotten cleaned up and gone out for a real date in a long time. Win.

How do you show love when time is tight?
Happy Saturday!

Half Marathon Eve

It’s finally heeeeeeeeere!

Between family issues (= schedule off, bad food and sleep, stress, and skipping workouts) and an emergency visit to the chiropractor (apparently your back muscles can pull your ribs out of place), I’m nervous. My long runs were supposed to taper from 12.5 to 11, 8, and race, with three runs in the week. I made all four runs on the longest week, but just one the next and 6 instead of 11, one before 8, and one this week. We’ll see…

Five Things Post Run:
1. Pictures!! Ahhh that medal is going to be so pretty!
2. 16 oz chocolate milk. If they don’t have any there, this will bump down the list a couple spots. I can chug chocolate milk like you’ve never seen. And they say it’s perfect carb:protein recovery!
3. Untie my shoes, maybe even switch shoes. I’m going to be so sick of my neon pink Asics. And along the same lines, if it’s chilly, I’ll be eyeing comfy sweats.
4. Food. Our local 10K serves big pieces of coffee cake, and while I know that’s a long shot, there’s bound to be something to munch on. I’m really not even all that picky. ๐Ÿ™‚

image

5. Grocery shopping. Because let’s be honest. Once the shine wears off and we get back to town, it’s back to the real world and grabbing supplies for the next week.

Maybe I’ll sneak a 4a in there and let you know how it goes ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy Friday!

Backdate the FTF

It’s been a crazy crazy couple weeks. Family is the most important thing – you do what you have to, to cover them, to save them, to love them. And then, slowly, life goes back to normal.

I have to write. I don’t even care if people read (hi, my four readers!) but I have to organize my thoughts, and save them for future reference. So writing makes life normal. Routines make me happy, so we’re going to catch up on a couple missed Five Things Fridays, even though today is Saturday.

Five Things That Make Life Normal
1. Cleaning schedules
Monday bathrooms, Tuesday office, Wednesday living room, Thursday bedroom, Friday laundry. The dusting and the junk mail and organizing my work heels and my cowboy boots and my running shoes.
2. Cooking
With fresh meat and real veggies is best, but I’d take even skillet-in-a-bag in a pinch. I need to sustain and nourish and satisfy.
3. Commuting
I’d rather live where we do than in town, and the time bookending my day draws a line between the farm wife and the city life, lets me shift gears, and gives the introvert in me some peace and quiet.
4. Running
One foot, then the other. My back starts to sweat. The miles roll by and breathing gets harder. My shoulders tense up and my calves get tight and sometimes my knee pinches. But then, when I let it, when I don’t drown it in podcasts and playlists, magic happens. My body is screaming and taking all of the superficial thoughts away. The big stuff comes up. Truth comes. But even when I’m keeping the truth in a cupboard, I never feel more alive than with the wind in my face.
5. Church
Just as my commute bookends my day, Sunday morning anchors my week. Worship puts me in the right frame of mind, and I get to reflect on the past week and prepare for the coming week. Communion is a chance to reaffirm my faith. And you can’t help but sing hymns the rest of the day.

So although life never stays the same, I find comfort in the normal things to get me through the crazy.

Until then,

Morning FTF

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.

Martin Luther

This time of year is special, not just for my birthday, but because my birthday marks the beginning of another year with my husband. We had kinda started talking, but we weren’t so close yet that he skipped his fall break weekend for my 21sr birthday. So I went out with lots of friends and he dug an old cow skull out of the pasture and laughed at the handful of less-than-completely-sober texts he got. Then came Homecoming Week, which ended with a sincere heart to heart about what we each wanted out of life and how we were affecting people around us. Two trips to the farm later, the rest is history. Every year gets better.

image

You’ve heard me talk a lot about my personal development genre hobby. One recurring theme is routines, especially of morning routines. Routines make things easy, second nature. Morning routines make days easy, intentional and productive. A lot of things you read about don’t work for me – I have no kids, I have running groups in the evening so I don’t workout at 6 am, and I will never acquire a taste for coffee or hot water with lemon. But there are things I do want first thing. I’ll never get the morning routine I want by magic, so let’s make it happen.

Five Things I Will Put in My Mornings
1. A round of yoga flow/stretching. I don’t have time for a whole workout, but I can – and should – stretch and get my joints moving. Bonus points if I can get my better half to do it too and work out those farmer kinks in his neck and shoulders.

2. One housework task. A load of laundry in the washer before I leave, wiping down sinks, putting clothes back where they belong… the little things add up. And one begets a second, but if I only do one, it’s okay.

image

3. Leave a love note. Ironically, the biggest thing about my mornings is what I’m taking out of them. I want as much morning stuff moved to the night before. That’ll leave me plenty of time to leave little sticky notes. Everywhere.

4. Prayer journal. I don’t read like I ought to, I don’t write like I ought to, I don’t pray like I ought to. I like being able to flip back and remember what was important to me. And if one day I don’t have strength to pray anew, I can pull from strong me.

5. Text my besties. Every morning, someone needs an ‘I love you’ or a ‘Have a great day, rockstar’ or even just a ‘how are you?’ Busy is no excuse.

Have a great morning – and weekend – and Homecoming!!

image

Five Things I’m Thankful For

Busy busy day today. One of our closest couple-friends is getting married TOMORROW!! So I got to sleep in for a little bit, then got up and showered and went to their house to get stuff going with that. It was a great morning, we were laughing and singing to cheesy rap music and grumbling about how hungry we were and how far behind schedule.

And then everything changed. They happen so suddenly, bombs like those, don’t they? Everything’s okay now, the wedding will go on, but it was a scary couple hours when we just didn’t know. All we could do was pray. And drive really fast.

So, in honor of that, FTF: gratitude

1. My husband would drop the world for me if I needed him.
2. I have this amazing, extended, adopted, loving family that would drop the world if I needed them.
3. I have enough to survive any crisis. Money, faith, strength, whatever I need, I find a way to make what I have be enough.
4. There are brilliant minds all around me.
5. My running family is so incredible. So so blessed with them.

image

The Problem with Self-Help (FTF)

Like I said a while back, I read a lot of self-help books. Every major bestselling (or Kindle free) book on time management or habits or productivity, I’ve probably at least scanned the jacket of it. They’re all the same.
1. Define your core values and your priorities.
2. Define what success looks like for you.
3. Set goals for what you want to do, minding your priorities, and break each goal into bite size pieces.
5. Create daily routines and habits that emphasize the good (a bite of your goal, sleep, exercise, warm water with lemon) and discourage the bad (toxic people, time wasters, inefficient goal-chasing).
And voila, a “life by design.”

I devour book after book like this. I play along. I imagine my life in 5 years. I write my priorities. I consider the discord between my priorities and my actions. I try to write SMART goals that ignite my soul and make my heart sing.

But I fail. We all fail. There are so many books because everyone has a solution for getting it to stick this time. If one book actually worked, we wouldn’t need so many verses of the same song and dance. (I’m having a ball mocking all the clichรฉs, can you tell??? Hellooooo 7 am Friday.)

But it occurred to me the other day, why all the books fail, what they all have in common. I have yet to find (please let me know if one exists) a book that mentions prayer in the five steps. What do YOU want to have. What makes YOU happy. What do YOU want to do. What’s that they say about best laid plans?

So I’m proposing five new steps to a more fulfilling life. Your priorities are God, family, friends, and health, in some order, so let’s get that out of the way.
1. Pray for clarity in finding your purpose, your role in His master plan, on Earth.
2. Define goals and habits you want.
3. Reflect and pray about these goals, and pay attention to whether your heart ignites passion or begrudgingly accepts (or even fights) them.
4. Do not pursue goals that don’t resonate with your soul, and don’t ignore what your soul really wants. I believe God gave us free will, but also designed us a brain and an instinct like His to discern this kinda thing.
5. Break the passion goals into bite size pieces like above. Continue as above, plus constant feedback about our spirit and our intent. Is reaching this goal purely for your benefit, or will it improve someone else’s life too? Are we trying to improve our lives to simplify and get back to what matters, or are we chasing the Joneses and their chaos?

At least some of the books have that going for them, they recognize that “having everything” often includes stress and no time to relax, and is not actually most people’s idea of success. But still they suggest goals like number of sales or dollars or something so that you can have the breathing room to live your personal life the way you want.

Stop the cycle. Start on your knees and ask for guidance, ask for vision, ask for strength to carry out whatever He would have you do today. As long as you’re following that and minding your family,  friends, and health, He’ll take care of the rest.

image

Happy weekend!