Spontaneous Relaxation

StarbucksSometimes having a spontaneous change in plans is a good thing!

After arriving home from work, I was so down in the dumps. All my stress over the past few weeks had caught up with me. I sat in front of the computer screen with my head in my hands.

My husband proclaimed he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to work on the computer right after getting home from work. And yes, I was actually working on something; not just surfing the net, playing a game, or Facebooking.

He suggested a change of plans. Instead of running the distance we were supposed to tonight, we ran a fast mile. And instead of working on things at home, we got out of the house and relaxed at Starbucks.

Sure, there were a number of things we could have been working on at home. But every once in a while we need to be able to step back, recognize what in reality has to be done, and drop everything else. Take a break.

I know now that I needed one. I feel so much better. So why don’t you, go take a break?

Don’t Do It.

What are you thinking on?

What are you thinking on?

Have you ever gone through trials, and thought if only you had someone else’s life?

Don’t do it.

It’s easy enough see the good things in another person’s life…. But remember, you can’t see all the bad. You can’t see the heartache. You can’t see the trials. You can’t see the broken relationships. You can’t see the disease. You can’t see the addictions. You can’t see what’s lacking. You can’t see the stress. You can’t see the tears. You can’t see the pain inflicted. You can’t see the pain received. You may see some. But not all.

The other night a friend compared it to “the Facebook picture”. On Facebook many people have happy pictures, and comment about the amazing things going on in their lives. But most people don’t share everything. Our friend said someone she knows has a profile that makes it look like they have the perfect life:  A loving spouse, children, fun and exciting trips and activities. But if you could see behind the scenes, you would see the anxiety, depression, tears, and strained and broken relationships.

Everyone has trials. The trials we bear may cause us, or those we love, to suffer so much. But so far, we have survived. Is it possible that if we did experience someone else’s life…. experienced someone else’s trials…. we would not be able to stand up under what they’re going through? Would we not survive? People may try to weigh the severity of trials in different ways, but we are all different people. What one person may be able to handle, another would crumble under.

Trials would be truly devastating if nothing good could come from them. But I believe in a God who loves us, and takes the worst of times and uses it toward good. Even if you don’t believe in God, good can come out of trials. We can learn appreciation for things or others. Relationships can be healed or made stronger. Connections may develop or opportunities presented. We can become better people:  more patient, kind, loving, understanding, forgiving, smarter, empathetic, etc.

I’m not saying trials are easy, or that we should be thrilled to have them. Seeing people suffer, I just don’t want them to lose out on what can come from trials. Wishing for another person’s life can easily distract us from the good that comes in our own. There is always something to hold on to.

Rest.

How many times do we desire rest? How often do we rest? How many people take time and prioritize rest?

I know that’s something I struggle with.

I always have something I could be doing….marathon training, writing my blog, working on my two book ideas, learning how to use different programs I want to implement in my projects, doing the research behind ideas I have for church, networking, reading about leadership and small business, budgeting financial goals, and the list could go on. Don’t forget playing with my two fur-babies and maintaining a spectacular marriage!

My husband occasionally has to put his hands on my shoulders and say, stop. (And that’s one of the ways we balance each other out just perfectly!)

I used to fight the idea of rest. I would get all frustrated at myself, that I wasn’t able to cram over a hundred “to do” things in one day. It would stress me out!

Now, I am much more open to the idea. But more likely than not, I’ll just forget I need to stop and take the time.

Rest enables us to be more productive during other hours in the day. Rest lowers stress levels. Rest is good for our minds, bodies, souls, and relationships.

That’s one of the reasons I don’t listen to music most of the time while running, even during that 15 miler I did the other day. Silence, other than cars passing and the occasional animal, helps my brain to relax. I also use it as an opportunity to talk with God.

The other day my husband was bemoaning the fact that it felt like our weeknights were nonexistent, and weekends……what are weekends again? So tonight, I insisted on preparing supper so he could have some time to just sit and read. Rest is important.

I have learned the hard way a couple times. My body took on flu symptoms and literally forced me to crash. It was not the flu. I don’t want to ever experience that again. And I hope you never will.

So…..How ’bout you go rest.

It’s been a year!

I published my very first post on July 21, 2011, titled The Beginning of Our Impossible Dreams.

Let’s celebrate!

So much has changed in just a year! A year ago we debated moving halfway around the world. And my husband decided to quit his job to pursue his passion of the fine arts. Now, even though we decided not to move to Thailand, we do live in a very different city, and my husband has a very different job. It’s crazy all the things that can occur in a year. The craziest thing of all is that we both believe we’re exactly where God wants us.

In honor of my blog’s year anniversary, I thought I’d list my top five posts. This is based on the number of views each post received, not including being read from the home page view.

1.  WealthRock: Joseph Irons

2.  Financial Success: James Smith

3.  The Beginning of Our Impossible Dreams

4.  Can Stress and Communication Co-exist?

5.  Get Motivated! Business Seminar

Thanks for reading!

Anniversary Surprise!

Our six year anniversary held a sweet, wonderful surprise…

My steering wheel decided it didn’t like turning anymore, and instead of our planned celebratory evening, the evening was spent getting the car checked over.

Bleh.

The guy at the shop said it was probably the steering fluid. I asked if it could be electrical, since I heard a number of clicks and saw lights flashing before the steering went out. So he said he would check the battery. (That’s not what I meant by electrical)

He could find nothing wrong, so sent me off.

I went home and my husband took it for a drive. He discovered a few additional things not working:  the power windows would only go up and down in park; not drive or reverse, the radio = no sound, shifting sometimes refused to happen (it’s not good doing 25 at 4,000 rpm).

The next day my husband took it to a shop where one of the workers did not want to look at it because they thought it was possessed.

The third day, the problem was finally figured out. And fortunately it was only one thing that needed replaced:  the computer.

When you only have one vehicle, zero extra money, and you’re supposed to be celebrating your marriage…. It can be a little stressful.

Fortunately, I have the most wonderful husband in the world! Besides hugs and prayers, he made time for us to celebrate the day after our anniversary. He took me out for a picnic at a gorgeous park. It was perfect!

The Picnic

Can Stress and Communication Co-exist?

I am stressed. Not as much now as I was earlier in the week.

In The Beginning of Our Impossible Dreams, I mention a few situations that were stressful. And in Got Job? I mentioned part of the stressful process I went through in looking for a job. After God showed up at just the right moment in each of those instances, I declared I would never be worried about anything again! How naive!

Faith is a good thing. And I should have it. But I was being naive about my humanness. I am prone to worry.

A Little Foggy Ahead?

And when I’m stressed, I need more communication to keep the stress level down. My husband and I learned that the hard way earlier this week. My stress level was increasing….where are we going to live? when are we going to make enough money to live on? (I wouldn’t be so stressed if this just affected us, but we’re depending on his mom’s good graces for our current housing.) My husband isn’t working a regular 9-5 job and I only had a partial idea of how he was using his time throughout the day. So the stress skewed my interpretation of his work.

We had a miscommunication. I had a melt-down. We came back together and came up with our best solution:  He would time-track his work in a little book. That way I could see what was going on–have a little security blanket. Much better than not communicating about it and better than me peppering him with twenty questions….or more.

It’s funny. When I’m stressed I withdrawal. But when I’m stressed I need more communication. What a contradiction!

Any tips from you about the best way to communicate during stressful times, or to deal with stress?

There’s No Place Like Home…

We bought a house in June 2011. Our first home of our own. And because of circumstances I have written about in previous posts (see Changes In the New Year and Got Job?), we already need to sell it.

Almost every homeowner knows the kind of stress that can come with trying to sell a house. And understands the precarious balancing act of  buying another at the same time.

Our current circumstance is a mixed blessing! We never had to put our house on the market. A family found out we were going to sell our house and approached us about doing a lease option. My husband drew up a contract, and it looks like all will benefit!

The “downside” is we have less than a month to find a place to live, and get all our stuff out. The past couple months we have looked at apartments, anywhere from studio to two bedroom, rental houses, and foreclosed homes. Nothing seems right yet. Either it’s too far away from work, too small, not safe enough, or not in our price range. Also, leasing our last house instead of directly selling it could affect our ability to be approved for a loan.

It’s tempting to think things won’t work out. But people go through these types of circumstances all the time. We just need to keep plowing ahead, looking at all our options, and what we need will pop up when we need it.

At Home?