Managing versus Living

What a weird season the world has been in lately. Things just feel different.

I’ve wanted to hide away and get out there, all at the same time.

I’ve wanted to mingle with dear friends and hole up with my little family, all at the same time.

I’ve wanted to bury my head in the sand and fight back, all at the same time.

How about you? How are things going in your corner of the world?

We’ve had a busy summer here so far. All fun things but SO busy. The big kids have church camps coming up, Ellie and Roo are excited to be in a play this summer, we’ve had vacation Bible school and other camps AND are excited about our annual reunion trip with Down syndrome/adoption friends. I’m exhausted just typing that all out!

My mind is thinking ahead to getting school curriculum ordered for this fall and one of the kids even mentioned CHRISTMAS today!!! Hold up and let me survive the summer first! Ha!

I love doing all the things but often I long for simpler times. I feel like I spend all my time managing life.

I started reading a book this week that has been on my list for a while…

HANDS FREE MAMA

Man, talk about convicting! I feel like she is speaking directly to me. I’ve been listening to the book on Hoopla (if you don’t have this app, run…don’t walk and download it!!) so I haven’t underlined any quotes or favorite passages. But this stuck with me…

There is a difference in MANAGING life and LIVING it.

OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!

I feel like I am in constant management mode. I feel like I’m the only one who KNOWS all the things. I manage my own business from home, I work a part-time job for someone else from home, I know when all the things need to happen, I know when things need to be purchased, I know when the bills are due, I know who has to be where and when.

ALL.THE.THINGS.

But the things I do are GOOD.

It’s good when I remember to get my girls to ballet on the right days and at the right times.

It’s good when I remember we need to buy more peanut butter and fruit or that it’s time to swap out the washer and the dryer loads.

It’s good when I remember that I need to pay the car insurance by a certain day so that we still have insurance.

All good things.

But I’m realizing that I am focusing on management instead of life.

I don’t want to leave this earth and my kids talk about me by saying things like…

“Momma was so good at putting together a grocery budget…”

“Momma was so good at posting on social media…”

“Momma did a great job at keeping the laundry caught up…”

Cue the momma tears.

I want them to remember that I was PRESENT.

I want them to remember seeing me without my phone or my iPad in my hands.

I want them to remember me saying YES instead of maybe later.

I want them to remember me looking into their eyes when they spoke to me.

Some days I do really well…there are moments…

I love that all three of my big kids come and sit with me at night and talk about all the random things on their minds.

I love that I’ve created a different relationship with my children than I have with my parents.

I love that my children will remember that Momma always sang and danced at home and made them laugh and that I wasn’t afraid to laugh at myself.

I’m committed to making changes and admitting when I can do better…

I’m committed to spending less time with a phone in my hands and more time holding theirs.

I’m committed to making sure my children have memories of me DOING the things instead of just WATCHING the things.

I’m committed to finding a balance between connection on social media and disconnecting to make my family my top priority.

I’m looking forward to unplugging on an upcoming family trip.

I want to be a better steward of my time when it comes to work so that my children know they come first.

I’ve dabbled some on the Telegram app as a way to step back from Facebook. It feels good…if you miss me on Facebook, you can find me there.

I plan to spend more time here on my blog when I just need an outlet to write and share and talk things through. It won’t matter if anyone ever reads it. It will still have served its purpose.

I want to truly connect with friends and not just through social media. I want to go have coffee face to face. I want to invite a friend to a movie. I want to make that phone call to catch up.

Praying that God opens my eyes to the ways I can take off my management hat and put on my living hat.

I want to have a life WELL LIVED not WELL MANAGED.

I’m guessing you do too.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!!

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!! 💙💛 Today on 3/21 we celebrate. See these three cuties below? While you have TWO copies of your 21st chromosome, they have THREE!

Want to know what comes in that third copy?

A lot of extra sweetness (most days) 😉

A lot of extra stubborn (every day) 🤣

A lot of extra love ❤️

That’s what I see.

Want to know what the world sees?

They see the r-word. 😔

They see a burden. 😔

They see incompetence. 😔

Today I love to see you wearing your crazy socks and yellow & blue to celebrate my babies. #rockyoursocks 💙💛

But even more, I’d love for you to stand with my babies.

When someone uses the r-word around you, SPEAK UP. Tell them it’s hurtful. Ask them to choose a different word.

When you look at my babies, see them for the blessing they are. Do we have hard days? Yes. But doesn’t every one?

When you interact with my babies, ASSUME COMPETENCE. They can do the things! Sometimes it just takes them a little longer or they have to do it in a different way.

Today we celebrate.

But we also want to advocate and educate.

We want you to see our babies as we see them.

You are creating the world my babies live in.

Do them proud.💙💛

Well, hello there….

Gosh, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been here.

Remember when blogs were all the rage? I used to check many of them faithfully every day. I followed the lives of families I didn’t even know. Ha!

Then along came Facebook. I remember being at lunch with a group of local moms who were chatting about being on Facebook. I chimed in that I was on Facebook too! One of the moms said, “You’re on Facebook but you’re not ON Facebook!” Touché…I had an account but didn’t actively post or even interact much.

Obviously I took that as a challenge and stepped up my game. She might have created a monster. Ha!

I went on to use Facebook to connect with current friends, old friends and even to make new friends. Facebook helped me share my love of oils with you and helped us through the hardest seasons during our adoptions, job loss and so much more.

It has been a blessing in many ways.

But it’s also been a curse and a distraction.

At times it has drawn me in and wasted my time. It’s made friends enemies when I shared an unpopular opinion. It has raised my blood pressure. It’s trapped me into comparison and made me feel less than.

I’ve taken breaks throughout the years and sometimes I’ve just wanted to walk away completely. But ugghhhhhh….it’s so hard. It feels like an addiction. Knowing what’s going on in your friends’ lives, seeing cute pictures of their kids and reading funny stories. It feels like Facebook has become such a source of education for me too. So many great groups I belong to where I have learned so much. When I took breaks from FB, I missed those groups so much.

I see so many friends jumping ship for other apps.

I’ve tried a few of them but it all feels the same. Like I’m feeding an addiction….an addiction for information maybe? It’s just a weird feeling to try and unpack my relationship with social media.

I hardly remember not having it.

How did I interact with friends before social media?

Wonder if Yahoo groups are still a thing?🤔🤣🤣🤣

Anyway, I’m rambling at this point. Not sure what the future holds for the way we connect.

I do know that I love the connection I have with all of you on social media and I’m not sure how to foster that without it.

I don’t think there’s a perfect answer.

I think for now, I’m going to evaluate the ways I really want to connect with friends, businesses and educational groups online.

I want to spend more time writing here even if it’s only for me. (Maybe my mom reads it too. Ha!)

Blogs can feel so one sided….if you hopped over and read this post, I’d love for you to comment and say hi.

I think if you scroll up above my picture, you can click “Leave a Comment”. Maybe one of these days I’ll master all of this! Ha!

How do you really connect with friends near and far? Is social media overwhelming for you too right now? I’d love to hear.❤️

Love You friend.

Jenifer

Your tribe…

Continuing to enjoy my social media sabbatical. Day eleven. Today’s a dreary day in North Alabama. Rainy and cool as I’m sitting at ballet class. Not MY ballet class mind you. I can barely walk and talk at the same time. I am definitely not coordinated enough to dance.

While I’m waiting on my two biggest girls, I’m devouring “You are the Girl for the Job” by Jess Connolly.

The book was a gift from a dear friend and it was just what I needed in this season. I’ve made sure to have my pen handy and underlined way more of this book than is normal or recommended.

In my reading today she touches on COMMUNITY. I think she might have even read my mind possibly before she wrote this particular chapter.

She mentions that she finds women fall into basically two groups:

“A. Some women feel left out of the tribe mentality altogether, like they missed that lesson in elementary school. I had one friend cry to me a few years ago because no one ever taught her how to use foundation or host a great slumber party. I remember telling her: Me either. I don’t think those lessons ever took place.

B. I’ve found that there is a host of women who do have a crew of tight-knit friends, but they still feel alone, and maybe even anxious that their tribe keeps them from thriving and living their most abundant life.”

I feel like I’m a mix of both. I’ve never felt as though I found my TRIBE. Do I have friends? Absolutely. And some pretty amazing ones. But their numbers are few. I would venture to say that only a handful of women know me at my core. Like truly KNOW me.

I bet many THINK they know me, but they don’t.

As an extrovert, I feel like I quickly make friends, but maybe they’d qualify more as acquaintances.

There are more times I’ve felt the sting of loneliness more than the warmth of friendship.

The circle that I keep closest knows all my stories. Good and bad.

But I hold that close. I don’t let just anyone into that circle. What if they knew the REAL me? Would they still like me? Would they want to be my friend? Would they stand in judgement?

I’m good at letting others in just “enough” while keep them at a safe distance at the same time.

A defense mechanism I think. It plays into the feeling that, at the end of the day, I can truly only count on myself.

My thoughts are whirling but I want to continue reading….I’ll be back soon.

What about you?

Have you found your tribe?

Do you feel like others really know you?

Do you still feel alone even when surrounded by friends?

Scroll back up and leave me a comment…I’d love to chat.

Sabbatical…

80466300_10159124823323448_6771361472262963200_n

Seems like life has been throwing some tough punches lately. And I’ve lost my ability to block.

After a suggestion from my dear friend, I’ve decided to take a social media sabbatical for the month of February. As scary as it sounds, I am honestly looking forward to it. I’ll remove the apps from my phone and enjoy a relatively quiet month.

A sabbatical is a break from work…social media can be WORK…amiright!?!?!?  I want to do all the things, be all the things…but I don’t owe that to anyone. I need to learn how to have a healthy relationship with social media and for it not to take over my life.

A break feels hard for an extrovert like me! I love keeping up with everyone! I love seeing all the babies and challenges and victories.

But sometimes it’s all too much, you know? You feel surrounded by friends and yet lonely at the same time. Social media begins to feel like “REAL LIFE” and honestly it is anything but!

The comparison game is the worst. I see posts from friends, acquaintances, strangers…and I compare. Look how clean their house is and how well decorated…look at their new car or their trip to Disney. Too much time spent there has me feeling lacking instead of blessed. A break will do me good.

My prayer for the month is that God reveals Himself to me in new ways. That I turn my focus inward and love on my family without distractions.

I’m praying that I have real human interactions throughout the month instead of digital ones. I’m ready for some coffee dates with friends! Maybe I can even drag some of them to our new street taco hangout in town!

I’m looking forward to dusting off my family blog and sharing some thoughts here throughout the month of February if it feels right.

I pray that this month long break shows me what is necessary and what is unnecessary.

If I cross your mind and you want to say hello, please don’t hesitate! Email me! Text me!