Paying Attention: May

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.”

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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.

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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 May and a short note on how I found myself paying attention.

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FUN:

As the final weeks of school approached I was definitely feeling the stress of ending our very busy, very full year. I knew that putting some fun on the calendar would be just what the doctor ordered.

First up was attending the John Crist show with Cassie and Ciara in Lake Charles. I haven’t been to a fun girls night out on the town in so long I can’t even remember the last time I did it. JC was hilarious and we got Chick-Fil-A for dinner. A great evening with great company.

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Next up was our BMC Bunco Night and group photo. By now, more than 2/3 of these women are gone and have moved on to their next assignment, but this group will forever be in my heart. They have all been an integral part of surviving JRTC OPS Group and Fort Polk. Such gems!

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Finally, the last event in the May FUN column was getting to attend a ball with Ryan. It wasn’t his main OPS Group ball but one where he was called in for the chaplain duties (invocation and benediction). I found my dress on Poshmark for a literal steal and it is one of my favorites I have worn.

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Paying Attention: I realized about half way through the school year that I had not been prioritizing some let loose and chill moments for myself. I get too caught up in making sure every other person in my life has and gets what they need and in the process I let what fills Claire up go untended. That’s changing! 

 

Read Three Books:

April was a slow reading month, but I got back on the wagon in May. I love reading and this month had a little more variety than my usual lineup.

Paying Attention: So one way I got back on track with reading is that I finally took advantage of my Vernon Parish Public Library privileges and got my Hoopla account activated. Each of these three books are ones I listened to on my walks, on drives, or generally any time I had a quiet moment.  

 

10K Steps Each Day:

This was one of those goals that I set because I got a FitBit for Christmas (thanks Ron and Becky), and because I knew with school ending and the weather staying consistently warmer that I’d be able to reach.

Paying Attention: I had a few days where I hit 16K or even 12K steps but most days fell short of the 10K goal. I’d get close with 8500 or 9000. For me, the payoff was in the trying! I don’t need a watch to tell me I am active or sedentary. My body and mind can tell me that. The overall outcome of this goal is that it got me outside and it got me moving: two things I need consistently each and every day.

 

Order New Kitchen Knives:

Each month I like to have a practical “goal” on my list that I can check off easily and quickly. Ordering knives was just such a goal. This is one of those things I put off, not because they are expensive or because I didn’t need them. I just kept putting it off.

I didn’t buy the most fancy or expensive knives but instead found this set on Amazon. I like that they are colorful, have covers, and are sharp. A set of six costs under $20 and over 3700 people love them. Done and done.

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Paying Attention: Knives are something I use literally (multiple times) every single day. Why I waited so long, I have no clue. This was such an easy solution that has had such a great payoff. It makes me excited to cook and prepare food now that I have better tools to do it. Tired of hearing Gretchen Rubin mantras yet? “If you can’t get out of it, get into it.” These knives are helping me get into that daily task of meal prepping and cooking. 

 

Organize/Purge School Closet:

It’s no secret that were are a** over teakettle in this tiny duplex so every literal square inch has a use for our things. The tiny coat closet the kids had been using all school year to house their backpacks, school books, supplies, projects, and sports bags and equipment was almost terrifying to me to look inside.

I couldn’t wait to clean it out and get rid of all non essential items. Whew!

I’ve already deleted the few photos I took for a before and after, but I think there was a metaphor there for putting an exclamation point on the ending of the 2018-2019 school year and “making space” for what’s next for our family. (Spoiler: we are going back to homeschooling and I may just write a blog post about it.)

 

May Blog Post:

So those were my May intentions and how I particularly paid attention to my life. Below I’ll include some noteworthy honorable mentions for the month.

  • Eighteen visits to Cantrell Gym for me! I’ve been trying to get back into lifting some weights and it felt so good to be back there with a consistent habit.
  • Seeing our kids rack up at their end of the year awards ceremonies for academics, sports, DARE, and such. I certainly don’t want this to sound braggy, but when you have homeschooled for seven years, there is a little bit of a collective holding of the breath to see how your approach would translate to a traditional school setting. Seeing our kids soar (even despite some rocky moments for them all) was so incredibly validating. To say I am proud of them is an understatement.

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  • L E E S V I L L E,  L O U I S I A N A  got Walmart Grocery Pickup and a choir of angels began to sing, Glory to God in the Highest…

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  • There was Mother’s Day! As always the kids and Ryan make this day so special for me. Greatest job I’ll ever have!

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  • Successfully finished out my year as a fourth grade teacher at FTCA. It was a wonderful opportunity, a lot of personal growth took place, and I have a lot of words about the whole experience that I am still processing. I may end up writing a post about my year at some point.

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  • The girls and I worked kitchen staff/hospitality for Fort Polk’s Camp in the City. It was loads of fun!
  • Mostly, we just back to our regularly scheduled programming of having fun, loving our pup, playing board games, hanging with our people…

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Thank you May! Welcome June!

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