Giving Myself Some Grace


Thank you to those who have been patiently waiting for the next installment. It’s been a while, and I appreciate you extending me grace. 

Originally I had planned to do a 31 day series along with about 1500 other bloggers during the month of October. I started writing those posts and organizing the flow, but instead I chose to simplify my life, not make it harder.

And making this choice, meant a moment of tremendous growth for me. Truly. When I told my husband that I wasn’t going to do the 31 day series, he stopped what he was doing and walked across the room to give me a hug and tell me how proud he was!Why? Because I’ve been known to stress myself, and my family, out by following through on crazy expectations that have been placed on me by…. myself. Yeah, I know. Shake your head. Roll your eyes. I’ll wait. Actually, here’s an example: 
A couple of years ago I stayed up until almost midnight on November 30th making handmade envelopes for an advent activity. Yes, you read correctly. I spent hours creating holiday envelopes knowing they would be torn into and discarded every day by my 2-year old.Why? Because I wanted to make a custom advent activity for her based on something I had seen on…you guessed it: Pinterest.
Yes, my daughter loved ripping open those perfectly folded envelopes. They were beautiful and each activity had been carefully chosen and planned to fit into our family schedule. And sure, the activities were fun. But putting such stress on myself and causing an argument that night between my husband and I… yes, you can see how I’ve grown. And, yes, my husband is oh-so-patient with me!
And while I can wallow in the regret of my idiotic ways, or time wasted, I’m here to encourage you not to do the same thing.
So, back to my decision.
There I was at the end of September staring at the calendar. We had trips planned for both the beginning and end of the month. Sandwiched in-between those trips (to 2 opposite sides of the country – seriously!) were 10 days of out-of-town family visiting. I realized then that my routine would be thrown off. And I can work through chaos. But I knew it would be more than I wanted to try to control.
And there are people (whoever they are) who can get it all done in advance. They have the skills and help to do what I could have done. (Complete all the work ahead of time and auto-publish at pre-determined times.) But, I’m both not-that-experienced AND I didn’t care enough to do it. There, I said it.
I  mean, I love you – my readers. And I love to write and create and start the conversations. But soaking up time with my family, creating memories and actually living the life that I encourage others to live, was such a better use of my time this past month then pushing out 31 days of material for you to consume.
Because we all believe that rest is important. That having a family day, a Sabbath, or areas of “margin” are necessary. We agree. We encourage others to do it. And yet, we often fail to follow through for ourselves. Sure, we book a vacation. But we keep working. We take things off the calendar, but fill it in other ways. We very rarely stop. Completely stop.
So, I decided to stop for a couple of weeks this month. And, I want to say thank you, for being gracious with me. I  also wanted to encourage you with this thought:

As we start sprinting into the holiday season with kids costumes and parties, travel plans and Thanksgiving dinners, make sure to extend yourself some grace.

And then as you start with the craze of Christmas baking, shopping, wrapping, attending plays and events… extend yourself some more.

Force yourself to say NO to things. Especially those that are obligatory and you dread doing every year anyway.Find ways to create new rhythms and traditions that are fun and not overbearing for those you love. Cut yourself some slack. Allow your family to reap the reward of the slack: less stress. Less running around doing and more time being present with those you love. Create memories not stressful situations.
So, you missed your workout 3 days in a row. You are now part of the 101 million people who, on New Years Day, will be vowing to have a healthier 2015. Welcome to the club! So, you said no to the block party of the century because you were double booked, or gasp! youhad something else you’d rather do. Do the people who matter most to you care? No? Then don’t go. And enjoy not going!
Create and bring people together around food and atmospheres that are fun and comfortable. Don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money and time creating food based on what Martha Stewart (and her team) created to grace the front of a (photo-shopped) magazine cover. If you use Pinterest- put a timer on. Don’t get sucked in. Find your inspiration and then make your plans based in what works for YOUR budget, calendar and family (speaking with experience on this one.) 

Don’t try to keep up with others. Know what you want to say YES to so that you are willing and able to say NO to everything else. Have grace when others have to say NO to you. And finally, reserve much grace for yourself.