Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Aim for Progression, Not Perfection!

As I told you in my State of Life Address, I have been lending my heart and mind to FAR too many things.  In turn, I have found myself completely stressed, emotionally exhausted, and physically rundown.

As I try to pick and choose where to invest my heart, I have learned a few things about myself.

In a conversation with some friends of ours, my friend Robbie pointed out that I am a perfectionist.  When I quickly corrected him letting him know that my life is RARELY in order his response left me silent.  He said,

"No, not like that.  You are a perfectionist in that if you have 10 things to do and you only complete 6, you scrap the whole day.  It's all or nothing for you."

Wow.  I had never thought of it that way. 

Just that night, they had shown up 15 minutes early for dinner; the house wasn't ready, I had no makeup on, the kids weren't completely dressed, and I hadn't vacuumed under the table.  Those points CONSUMED my brain.  I spent the first hour apologizing for this, that, and everything else instead of seeing the fact we were enjoying each others company and about to sit down to a great dinner.  HELLO!?!?!  I'm missing the big picture here!

He went on to say that we should be going for Progression, NOT Perfection.  By aiming for perfection, I do not acknowledge the progress that I have made, therefore putting me right back to square one.  But, if I would just acknowledge and accept the progression that was made, be it a lot or a little, I can then pick up where I left off and keep moving.  It leaves room for learning rather than complete disappointment and standstill.

Maybe I am not quick to learn these things but MAN, that made so much sense to me!

This really got me thinking.  How often do we as mom's talk about what we need to work on and how we aren't doing enough?  Now, how often do we have conversations about how well we are doing?  It's backwards!  While it is good to be aware of our shortcomings and work to improve them, when it's all that we focus on, we start aiming for perfection and losing sight of our progression.

I, for one, will never be perfect.  I will never do everything right or have everything done.  Quite frankly, if I do, it's probably at the expense of my husband and children...NOT WORTH IT! 

I am a work in progress.  To ignore such progress is to ignore the journey.  If we ignore the journey, we'll never reach true perfection which can only be found in Heaven.

Now THAT is an 'Ah-Ha' moment!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fantastic Resource: Lenten Adventure!

On Fat Tuesday, I told ya'll about my husband and I's Lenten resolution to do a better job preparing our family prayer time in the evenings.

A few weeks before Lent started, I received a postcard in the mail about Lenten Adventure.  My curiosity was peaked and I actually managed to keep up with the postcard for a solid week before getting around to going to the website.  The first thing I read was:

"What is Lenten Adventure?FREE video, music, and fun activities delivered to your email inbox all through Lent! Join the Holy Heroes Adventure Guides for your Best Lent Ever!"
SCORE!!!  Even better, it's FREEEEEE!!!

I signed up and was excited to receive my first e-mail.  When I did, I was so pleasantly surprised!  It came with video's, stories, coloring pages, cross word puzzles, etc.  It seems to be run by a family with the kids doing the instructions and videos.  My kids really respond to seeing the other children so excited!

While the whole program does not apply to my kiddos (we're still learning letters, not quite putting them together), it provided this creatively challenged mama a platform to teach my kids about preparing our hearts for Holy Week and Easter.  They have loved the video's, listening to the stories, coloring their pictures, and talking about what is going on.  My kids look forward to it every single night!

What I have loved the most about this program is that it is teaching ME how to teach my kids about Christ.  It takes it farther than saying the blessing, night prayers, or going to Mass.  It has given me the opportunity to teach them about LIVING their faith, not just doing it. 

Little P is very serious about making sacrifices to 'prepare his heart for Jesus'.  I wanted to do something so the kids could see how much they are doing to prepare their hearts so we have started a paper chain.  Each time they purposely do something to prepare their hears for Jesus (i.e. listening the first time, not whining, letting the other sibling for first), we right it down on a strip of paper and attach it to the other links.  As the weeks go on, we can watch the chain get longer and longer as the excitement builds for Christ's Rising.  Then, on Easter morning, we can open all of them up and read everything we did to prepare our hearts for Jesus.  They LOVE it!

Even if you are not Catholic or do not usually celebrate the time leading up to Easter, still look into Lenten Adventure.  You can weed out anything that you do not want to use but man the benefits are endless!  My kiddos, especially Little P, is really understanding that there is something so much bigger than the 'here and now'.  It is really cool! 

And quite frankly, because of this program, so far this has been one of the best Lent's I've ever had!  I am re-learning so many basics that you tend to skip over as an adult. 

So, what are you waiting for?  Hop on over and sign up!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Housing Update

It has been far too long since I've updated ya'll on the current status of our Log House Adventure.
This whole thing has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life.  As you all know, we were not looking to move.  When we came upon this house, I immediately shut it down.  It didn't fit with the picture that was in my head.  But just as with anything that is good, my heart softened and I was willing to listen to what my husband had to say.  As we prayed and talked about it, we both felt very called to slowly move forward.  Through the whole process, we kept the same mantra,

"We'll give it our all, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't work."

So, that's what we did.  We negotiated, we went under contract, we put our current house on the market, we wrestled with the bank, we cleaned and showed our house, we met with contractors, we met with inspectors, we figured out financing, and we waited.

With all of these steps, it was very hard to continue to trust in a plan greater than my own.  Being a planner at heart, this whole ordeal went COMPLETELY against everything in me.  I couldn't plan a darned thing and it made me so anxious.  All I could do is trust that we were doing what we were called to do for that day.

As time went on, and we were nearing our 30 day's until closing mark, P and I had to make a decision.  If our current home did not sell in the allotted time, do we close on the log home?  We had a few offers for renters, could 'technically' afford to keep both homes for a little bit, but was that smart?

After a lot of talking, arguing (mostly on my part...thank you anxiety), and praying, we came to the decision that we should let the log house go.  We decided that we were too young to be carrying two homes and if for some reason our economy got even worse, it would negatively effect the rest of our lives.  It would ruin everything we had worked for thus far.

So, for right now, our current home is still on the market and we are hoping that it sells sooner than later.  It could go a few ways:

1) If we go under contract on this house and the log house is still for sale, we'll go back to it and move forward.

2) If the log house goes under contract before we get an offer on our house, we'll take our house off the market.  We're not looking to move 'just because'.

3) If by mid-April, our house is still on the market and there have been no offers, we will take it off the market.  This can't go on forever.

So, there you have it.  We are at complete peace with our decision but still hopeful that it will work out.  We are learning a lot about being called to something 'only for a time'.  All we can do is listen to the inspirations that we receive and follow.  No matter what the big plan is, I know that it will bring me and my family fulfillment. 

But, I will admit, I would REALLY like to be filled in, if possible.  :-)
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