In 2019, I’m going back to one of my first loves: writing occasional blog posts about what’s going on in my life. My only goal is to reflect on each month and as it draws to a close, take note where my intentions and actions intersect. I’m calling this 12 part series, “The Art of Paying Attention.”
I’ll keep these updates brief. They are mostly just for my own accountability and contemplation. Taking inspiration from Emily P. Freeman’s “What I Learned” series I participated in a few years ago and the act of “soulful listening,” I know this exercise will be valuable for me. I hope you also find some inspiration of your own.
Each month this year, I am keeping my intentions (or goals) to no more than six or seven small but significant items that help me to live out what is most important in my life. Below are the intentions I set for January and a short note on how I found myself paying attention.
Do 5 TRX Workouts:
Total Workouts: ZERO. This TRX system is still sitting in the hall closet where I stored it at the end of January. I’ve thought about getting it out, but haven’t done it once. Not. once. I had intentions of doing a workout one or two mornings each week and then one on each weekend.
Paying Attention: What I know to be true is that we make time for what is important to us and right now I would tell you that my health is important and yet I neglect it most of the time. I would tell you I love exercise, but what is true is that I used to love exercise. I would tell you that I consider myself an active person, but what is true is that I used to be an active person. Am I up on my feet all day long as a teacher and wife and mom and home economist? Yes. Am I busy and moving about? Yes. But as far as dedicated, regulated, heart-rate pumping, muscle-building exercise I don’t do much. Working outside the home has truly eaten into any and all margin for personal care that I have. Not an excuse, but something to consider going forward.
Read Three Books:
I was actually able to read more than three books. Here are the titles I read:
- A Million Little Ways (Emily P. Freeman)
- The Remarkable Ordinary (Frederick Buechner)
- Mother (Maya Angelou)
- You Learn By Living (Eleanor Roosevelt)
- Every Moment Holy
Paying Attention: Loved every one of these books: Emily Freeman is someone whose books and blog I’ve read for years. Love her Instagram and adore her podcast, The Next Right Thing. Frederick Buechner is an artist and I love his style. Maya Angelou is someone I’ve loved since graduate school and consider her in my pantheon of “aunt” figures in my life. I fell down an Eleanor Roosevelt rabbit hole this summer with a few books I read about her life. I also watched the seven-part Ken Burns series on Netflix. This book was very simple but full of practical wisdom.
Have Mammogram + Well Check:
I mentioned in my Paying Attention: January post that we switched over to Tricare Prime at the first of the year so the kids and I were all overdue for well visits. I loathe going to the doctor myself (HUGE source of anxiety). Since the beginning of 2019, I have had one doctor’s visit, extensive bloodwork, an ER visit, and a mammogram. Everything is fine. It’s all lady-stuff that is apparently part of getting older. I’ll leave it at that. My mammogram came back normal and for that I am very grateful. Deep sigh of relief.
Paying Attention: As part of my Rule of Life, I have made it a priority to make sure I am getting regular physical checkups, keeping suggested routine tests like mammograms, and having twice yearly dental visits despite my irrational fears associated with going. Moving around so much and having to constantly see new providers often feels overwhelming, but I have decided that this is the one body I have and I need to maintain it to the best of my ability.
Host One Family Dinner:
This is another intention that just didn’t happen. Between Ryan’s rotation, a weekend out of town for a basketball tournament, lots of softball games, and my birthday it just never felt like we had a free weekend to do it. We did go to the birthday party of a family friend, went to a chapel fellowship for the Super Bowl, the kids had a fun movie night with some of their friends, I attended my BMC coffee group’s Favorites Party, and our weekend in Monroe was full of meals with other folks, but as far as hosting another family for dinner in our house, it simply didn’t happen.
Paying Attention: Having friends over for a meal is very fun and important to me. But like most things in our life right now, it must be planned in advance and written on the family calendar or LIFE just seems to take over and before we know it, another month has passed and we haven’t hosted company.
Meet a Friend for Coffee:
Earlier in the month, I met a new friend for coffee and breakfast at our local Hazel’s Tea Parlor. It was a nice time getting to know her better and chatting about kids, homeschooling, ministry, writing, and books. It fills me up so much to make new friends and try to encourage them about life here at Fort Polk. It gets a bad rap and I love helping to find the good and passing along our “survival tips.”
Paying Attention: Just like the hosting another family didn’t happen this month, I am sure meeting a friend could have just as easily been left off the calendar too. I’m really glad my friend and I were able to align our schedules for even a few hours to make this meet up happen.
February Blog Post:
So those were my February intentions and how I particularly paid attention to my life. Below I’ll include some noteworthy honorable mentions for the month.
- getting all of the kids’ physicals done, including new blood labs to see if Thomas is still allergic to peanuts (he is!!); getting Epi-Pen prescriptions filled, getting Child and Youth Service (CYS) paperwork filled out in triplicate so I can get the kids all registered for the Teen Center this summer– I am truly grateful for the free medical care we have received–no co-pays, no lab fees, no bills, no cost prescriptions
- Hank turned two! That dog has brought so much joy into our lives and home. We love him so much
- A month of dress up days at school every Wednesday in February
- Thomas attended a formal with a friend of his and got to
- Mae took the ACT at Leesville High School and made the travel varsity softball team
- Kate had a “sick day” from school which ended up being just a day for her to have me all to herself; she also had two playdates with one of her friends
- My awesome mom found me another antique Jenny Lind* bed similar to the one I found in Columbia for $35 at Goodwill. She only paid $50 for it!! She’s saving it at her house until we can get it from her. *Not to be confused with my $40 brass bed from Athens found on Craigslist
- Ryan and I had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and have both enjoyed watching “Homecoming” on Amazon Prime as well as A Star is Born
- I officially wore through every single item of winter clothing I have. Didn’t love it all and this process will help me continue my on-going purging and curating of my spin on capsule wardrobes