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 April and a short note on how I found myself paying attention.
Reset Back Porch For Spring:
For winter, I took down my porch curtains and rolled up my rug. My ferns lasted for a long time but basically we just didn’t use the back porch a ton during the winter and rainy spring. In anticipation of warmer weather, I wanted to spruce the porch again.
Paying Attention: That porch is an entire, extra living space in our tiny home. It brings me much joy to sit out there and read, relax, talk on the phone, and spend time with my family. Part of paying attention is being mindful and grateful for what you have no matter the size or condition–duplexes included.
What I realized is that when we are all out there, we are missing one seat so I added an adirondack chair. I also realized how soothing chimes are when the wind blows so I added some chimes. Last year’s drop cloth curtains didn’t hold up great so I simply hung some linen-y curtains that I’d been storing. Better to use something I already own that isn’t being utilized than buy new. All in all, this space is now ready for lots of summer fun. We already had a fire pit night on Good Friday.
Read Three Books:
I’ve been trucking right along on this intention ALL YEAR long until April. I got started on Richard Rohr’s Universal Christ and stalled out. April was the pinnacle of Kate and Mae’s softball seasons and I almost don’t remember having any free time to read.
Paying Attention: Actually I did have time. I didn’t invest in books because I was so tired and run down that I just fell into the deep hole of social media on my phone. I had plenty of time to read, but I didn’t prioritize it. Instead I just zoned out to Instagram and podcasts. This is a perfect example of how/why I am “paying attention” in the first place. Instead of going down this path indefinitely, I can course correct and get back on the book wagon.
Host Mom + Dad for Spring Break:
Our school’s spring break was terribly late in the school year and I literally wasn’t sure if I would make it to that fateful day. Thankfully, I knew my folks were coming for a visit so there was such a bright light at the end of the tunnel urging all of us along.
Paying Attention: I wanted to be fully present when my parents were here and not let myself be distracted by other things. I also wanted to serve them with hospitality their entire stay. We enjoyed a wonderful visit, full of softball games, meals around our table, and even a road trip to Abbeville, LA for Mae’s state tournament. I’m always so grateful for visitors!
Pin TPT products to Pinterest:
As I am preparing to finish my school year and transition away from my paid professional position, I wanted to set the stage for some summer plans I have with my TPT hustle. I am having consistent success with this endeavor and want to keep growing my product offerings and income.
Paying Attention: I sometimes feel like I’m one of those people that goes so far…but then doesn’t quite finish the drill. I realized that the only thing I hadn’t done for my TPT resources was to pin them to Pinterest as one, final, potential traffic source. This action was something quick and easy to do. It made me feel like I could achieve this small step before I get going on my long list of TPT projects for summer and fall. TPT is a creative, teacher-adjacent, income-generating hobby. I’m about to regain some valuable free time where I can watch it flourish.
Sleep in My Bed 30 Nights:
Sleep and getting adequate rest is something that falls under my daily Rule of Life. I do prioritize sleep because I know I need a solid 8-9 hours per night. I have an evening routine of shutting down my phone (usually) around 8:00 pm. I take baths, use essential oils, prepare for sleep, and I’ve even been using the “Bedtime” feature on my iPhone. This month, I wanted so badly to force myself to stay in my bed every single night, no matter how fitfully I was resting and no matter how disruptive my sleep had been.
Paying Attention: BAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAA
I can only dream (see what I did there?) of having stayed in my bed for all 30 nights of April. I would go for three or four night stretches and then have one or two really bad nights and move to my faithful (quiet) spot on our downstairs couch. I am really trying to wean myself from taking Benadryl every night (it’s not habit forming, or is it?) in order to sleep through the noise in our bedroom. I can say that Ryan has had a sleep study done a few years back and he’s even mentioned his snoring to his PCM, but alas the end result is that I don’t end up sleeping in our bed a lot. I hate that. I don’t want to be one of those couples that sleeps separately, but right now I just want to be one of those couples who sleeps!
April Blog Post:
So those were my April intentions and how I particularly paid attention to my life. Below I’ll include some noteworthy honorable mentions for the month.
- Glasses, Glasses, Glasses! Mae and I got our (overpriced) glasses from the eye doctor, but we also discovered Zenni Optical (thanks Kim!) and I now have an extra pair of regular glasses, PRESCRIPTION SUNGLASSES (where have you been all my life?), and Mae has three extra pairs of glasses. Such fun frames and such a steal on price!
- I was able to meet my friend Ciara for a fun lunch date at Hazels. Seriously going to miss this girl a TON! She was one of my first friends here at Polk and she has been such a kindred spirit and wonderful friend.
- Kellie and I did a fun #GratefulGurus 30 Days of Gratitude on our Milspo Gurus Instagram. It was a lot of fun and a very good way to reflect on some of the good things in military life.
- In April Thomas competed (and won a superior rating) at the state academic literary rally at LSU.
- Mae’s softball team went to the ACEL state softball tournament and took home the runner up title.
- Kate’s school choir performed for the FTCA VIP’s (Very Important Parents) at their annual breakfast. They did a spoof of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ and it was a hoot.
- We had a wonderful Easter! Lots to be thankful for and celebrate.
- Hank stayed at Doggy Daycare for the first time. We survived standardized testing week at school. We played a fun round of Catan (where I won for the first time ever!). I got a new military ID card. I stared going to the gym for the express purpose of weight training. We celebrated a friend’s birthday. I wrote an article about being the Enneagram Police. Onward to May, and closing out this school year!