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 March and a short note on how I found myself paying attention.
Plan a Day of Silence:
In keeping with my Rule of Life I mentioned in January, I wanted to begin a practice of the spiritual discipline of silence. This was a significant and meaningful experience for me. I actually wrote at length about it here.
Paying Attention: Boy, oh boy! I have know for quite some time just how much of a spiritual and emotional deficit I fall into when I don’t have periods of time alone with God, praying, listening, processing, pouring out my heart–all the things. I enjoyed my day near the first part of the month and have been trying every weekend since to plan another day of doing this. Life is busy and full, and we get so immersed in all we have on our plates that I know I need to make this a regular occurrence.
Read Three Books:
I’d been on a streak of at least five books for January and February, but March caught up with me. I did read the three books I set out to read.
- Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive (Land)
- Invitation to Retreat (Barton)
- Liturgy of the Ordinary (Warren)
Paying Attention: Again, I loved everything I read this month. Maid was an accidental find at the public library. I taught from two similar books during my college teaching years and the memoir style of making the American Dream a reality by overcoming hardship was nothing short of inspiring. Invitation to Retreat was my second Ruth Haley Barton book and it’s going on my must-read to anyone who is looking for a great book on creating rhythms and spiritual disciplines. Liturgy of the Ordinary was one that I didn’t want to rush through because it just felt so very honest and real as it presented the idea that our faith is best lived out in small moments.
Get Kids Registered for MSTC/CYS:
Just to give some insight on how our life works with military services, this item/goal was far more daunting and time consuming than meets the eye. It took getting all three kids’ a current physical, allergy retesting and Epi-pen madness for Thomas complete with multiple trips the pharmacy, and then hours of my life that I can’t get back at CYS and the MSTC (Teen Center) making multiple trips to each site for documents, signatures, and more inefficiency. Grrrr.
Paying Attention: We have access to many “free” services and programs as military families–many available right here on post. Things like youth sports, fun activities, and free usage of gyms, centers, and other facilities. The catch is that you must be officially registered. While it took many weeks to get every piece of the registration puzzle in place, we are all set for summer. I know our kids (and their friends) will enjoy the MSTC. It will give them a place to hang out during the hottest months of the year. Even more so than just making use of services available to us, I want to be more mindful of enjoying what’s right in front of us, right here and now. Instead of being so focused on a future dream, it’s a good reminder to stop and savor today.
Pin all TPT Products to Pinterest:
My Teachers Pay Teachers project has definitely taken a backseat this school year with me working. However, I wanted to make sure what products I have already listed were also pinned so they would get more traffic. TPT has definitely been one of my greatest, most fun, ways to stay connected to the educational world and earn a little pocket change.
Paying Attention: I’m definitely ready to get back to developing and listing more items in my store. As we continue to move around and my own job/employment opportunities are sporadic, I love that I have a way to put in my own hours to develop passive income.
Schedule Eye Exam + Counseling:
I have made contact and scheduled both. The eye exam happened on 4/12 and the counseling has been a little less smooth process than I originally planned.
Paying Attention: Both of these goals fall under taking care of myself. I haven’t had an eye appointment in five years and know that I need new glasses. I actually found out I need bifocals/progressive lenses. #oldlady As for the counseling, I also realize that I could greatly benefit from this and have made contact with a local counselor. It took her a very long time to finally get back with me and we have had some scheduling snafus. I am still hopeful to get this started after school ends in May. Between now and then, it just feels busy and our family schedule is overwhelming. I believe I’ll have more time to focus on this during the summer months.
March Blog Post:
So those were my March intentions and how I particularly paid attention to my life. Below I’ll include some noteworthy honorable mentions for the month.
- Chapel Next moved back in at Main Post Chapel, we had a post-chapel fellowship at the post bowling alley, I attended IF: Military, and Mae and Thomas went on the Youth of the Chapel (YOC) Spring Retreat
- SOFTBALL, SOFTBALL, SOFTBALL and more softball. Kate and Mae are both playing now, Mae for the school and Kate through CYS on post–lots of fun, but also lots of traveling and lots of busy
- While we didn’t host another family for dinner, we did host a game night and I hosted a small coffee/breakfast date for a visiting chaplain spouse
- I was a featured guest on the Milspouse Matters podcast
- Did some house/duplex “nest” fluffing for spring which included a new soy candle from Target and some antique windows from an antique place in DeRidder
- We celebrated Ryan’s 40th birthday with as little fanfare as possible (per his request)
- The kids all competed in the strongest youth competition through CYS and two of the three brought home trophies–the entire family was featured in the JRTC + Fort Polk Guardian (click on the link of the PDF–turn to pages 12/13)
- I’ve been on a mission to budget and keep our grocery budget in check (not sure how much I have written about our goal to purchase a vacation/rental property in Big Canoe, but we are in gazelle mode right now to save our down payment) and I am happy to report another month is in the books with great care and attention to detail
- We enjoyed a nice neighborhood fire pit night with the Harrell Hood
- And my biggest laugh of the month was this amazing sermon–I seriously can’t quit watching it–I think Bishop Bullwinkle is serious but oh my word…