Departing

Even though I write honestly on my blog, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual goings-on of my life. If it did, then the vast majority of recent posts would have been related to my upcoming trip to Moldova, because it’s been all I’ve been breathing and planning and talking about for the last several weeks. I’m heading to the airport at dinnertime, and it’s mid-afternoon now.

I chose this map to show you because it shows where exactly in Europe Moldova is located.

Mapa-de-las-Principales-Instalaciones-de-la-Industria-de-Defensa-de-Moldavia-4491People keep asking me if I’m nervous. I think nervousness is the emotion that I am probably feeling the least, to be honest. I feel peaceful and happy. Back in February I posted a letter here on this blog explaining how this trip came about. This morning I was reflecting on all of that and feeling the weight of this day. The importance of this moment. How long I’ve been waiting, and all the streams of life that God worked together to intersect in today. It’s amazing.

And yet, even though it feels like a completion, it also feels like a door. I’m about to step through to something that I absolutely cannot see. I don’t where I’m going. I don’t know what I will be doing or feeling. I can’t imagine what it will look, see, taste, smell, feel like. Feel like. I don’t know. But God’s in it, and I’m excited.

My plane leaves in a few hours and I’m not finished packing, so I’m going to leave this post right short. I just wanted to say goodbye to you few who read it. I’ll arrive home July 10th, and you should hear from me shortly thereafter. I just wanted to give you a goodbye hug of sorts. So goodbye. Hug!

Overview

In light of recent posts I know this one should be longer, but it’s after 11 and this girl needs to head to bed.

Reasons why today was awesome:

1. I got to stay in the meeting.

2. The meeting was awesome.

3. Someone else cleaned my house.

4. Someone else cooked my dinner.

5. I saw about a billion people that I love.

6. I got to stay up late and work on a photobook of our trip to Oregon a year ago.

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7. My husband is a dreamboat.

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Jealous

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. – William Penn

So this will make for three woeful posts in a row. Or if not woeful, then certainly not upbeat. At least I’m blogging right? Haha.

I assure you that I’m not as melancholy as I seem. There have been a lot of good times lately, and life these days is generally less stressful than it has been in years. But when something is prickling at me it helps to write it out I guess.

So the other day I had a pretty cool moment. I learned a little lesson about myself, and I simultaneously received an answer to a question I’d been having in my heart for sometime. The question had to do with 1 Corinthians 13 which is one of my favorite verses in scripture, and it is all about love. I first encountered this scripture as a young adult and new Christian. I was attending a lot of weddings at that time, and because this verse is so pretty, and about love, and brimming over with beautiful ideals, it is frequently read aloud at weddings. I got to know it as the wedding verse. A few years later, in one of the more challenging times of my life, I rediscovered 1 Corinthians 13 when I realized that it wasn’t intended for married couples at all. This verse is given as a teaching on how the church – Christians – are to treat one another. I actually think it describes what our approach to all other people should be. And when you take the time to consider each description separately, and really meditate on what they means for your own life, it is actually incredibly challenging. For several weeks that spring I took each point and tried to focus on each one for a week at a time, and tried how to emulate it better. I’ll never forget that season. I learned a lot. I loved a lot. I grew in love.

But that was years ago, and I have forgotten the verse! And this has been the question on my mind – how, exactly does that verse go again? I’ve got the first two points down pat: Love is patient. Love is kind.

Again. Love is patient, love is kind, love is patient, love is kind, love is patient, love is kind.

I have my moments but I feel like I’ve maybe even mastered these two – okay, maybe not mastered. As I said, I have my moments. But I do think on these two and exercise them regularly. And I do know what some of the others are: Love never gives up. Love doesn’t put itself before others. I understand the general gist of the scripture. I have a lot left to learn, and I’m far from perfecting love, but I try and live by these truths everyday.

So it was nagging at me that I didn’t have this very central and pivotal verse memorized. I want to know them all as well as love is patient love is kind love is patient love is kind, so that I can be mindful of them and try and live the life that Jesus modeled for me.

Which brings me to the lesson I received the other day. I was thinking about my life, and how it’s pretty good. And I was trying to get to the root of why I don’t feel awesome and fulfilled in spite of having it pretty good. I was mentally evaluating all of the things in my life that nag or bother me or that I consider my “problems,” and it suddenly dawned on me that in every case that I feel a great sense of dissatisfaction, or worry, or fear, it is because I feel jealous of someone.

Actually, wait. That’s not how it happened. I just remembered that I was reading in scripture when the jealousy issue dawned on me. In church we’ve been learning about our identities in Christ. In 1 Peter chapters 1 and 2 it says, among other things, that we are chosen, that we are a royal priesthood, that we are a holy nation, and all kinds of other wonderful, almost unimaginably wonderful things. So I was back in those scriptures trying to get a handle on how those truths apply to me (because I certainly don’t feel some of those things). Reading through chapters 1 and 2 that morning, I noticed that it also says, essentially, that because we are all these things, we are called to holy living and should “show sincere love to to each other as brothers and sisters,” and also to “get rid of all evil behavior” such as “deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy and all unkind speech.”

And that’s when my jealousy problem dawned on me. You see, when I think of evil, I think of slave traders and rapists and murderers. Maybe even the sins that have to do with lust and greed. Abuse. Things that we, in our society, would consider truly vile acts. But scripture is often a mirror, and there was nasty jealousy staring me back in my face. I quickly realized just how deep and far-reaching I had let it creep through my heart and my life.  I immediately began searching for a solution.

The remedy, I thought, must be love.

So I flipped right to 1 Corinthians 13, thinking it must have advice to offer. And there it was, Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. Yes. The very next item on the list. I might have laughed out loud. God is a wonderful parent and teacher, and I delight in his ways!

So that’s where my focus is now. Rooting this nasty weed out of the garden of my heart.

It might be slow going. That realization occurred almost a week ago, and just today I tried to express my feelings of inadequacy to my husband. In so many areas of life I feel like he is awesome and I am mediocre, and I feel like it’s not fair. Yep. He’s so awesome that I got upset at him for it. After the fact, I remembered, Oh yeah. I’m trying to work on that.

Have any of you dealt with this before? Do you have any advice? I feel like I’m going around in a bit of a circle. The antidote to jealousy is love, but the instructions on how to love well say not to be jealous. And the first two commands of love – be patient, be kind – are positive actions and attitudes. Don’t be jealous is presented as a negative. How does one not be jealous?  Appreciation maybe? Thankfulness on the other person’s behalf?

Dear husband: I’m so thankful, on your behalf, that everything you touch turns to gold, and that everything you attempt transmutes into unbelievable success!

Dear neighbor: I’m so thankful, on your behalf, of you thin tan legs, your enormous rack and your fun loving, easy going approach to life. And your kayaks.

Dear co-workers: I’m so thankful, on your behalf, that you are invited to participate in the staff meetings. Especially you, the eighteen year old summer intern whose paycheck is bigger than mine (To be fair, it’s because of summer -intern – government- grants that the church receives, not a reflection of reality. But still.) I’m brimming over with happiness for you!

Wow. I’m really wearing my immaturity on my sleeve today! Clearly I need to somehow move from sarcasm to genuine care, here.

I decided to look up some quotes for inspiration. Some of them were downright depressing, like the one I started this post with (although it is certainly true!) Here are some more:

“Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties.” – Gene Tierney (ouch!)

“Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.” – Fulton J. Sheen (Yep. I covered that one already.)

“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” – H.G. Wells (ouch again!)

“Jealousy is the jaundice of the soul.” – John Dryden (Okay. I’m starting to get the point.)

And some of the quotes offer a little more good advice and hope:

“The surest route to breeding jealousy is to compare. Since feeling jealousy comes from feeling less than other, comparisons only fan the fires.” -Dorothy Corkville Briggs. (I don’t know who you are Dorothy, but this is a good reminder to weed out comparative thoughts.)

“To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter.” – Francoise Sagan (I don’t see the direct link, but more light-heartedness has got to be good.)

“Magnanimous people have no vanity, they have no jealousy, and they feed on the true and the solid wherever they find it. And what is more, they find it everywhere.” – Van Wyck Brooks (If that is true, I should aim to become more magnanimous. As soon as I look it up in the dictionary. )

“Jealousy would be far less torturous if we understood that love is a passion entirely unrelated to our merits.”  -Paul Eldridge

and

“Jealousy contains more of self-love than of love.” – Francoise de la Rouchefoucauld.

Those last two remind me that the answer of real love lies in being less focused on self. The more I recede in importance in my own regard, the less I will be bothered by my own shortcomings. If I can focus on others with appreciation and thankfulness without comparing myself to them, I can transform my jealousy into love. because I’ll be thinking about them. And not me.

What do you think? Am I getting close?

Help.

On Hormones

When my daughters were little there was a lot of ribbing towards my husband about being the only guy in the house. We always joked about ‘one day’ when we would all be PMSing at the same time.

That day has not yet come.

But sh*t is about to go down.

My oldest daughter, who has always been the quiet, straight-laced, drama-free one, has spent this school year going boy crazy, and now at the age of ten and a half is suddenly crying for no reason. I’ll find her weeping in her bedroom and try and comfort her. “I feel so sad, but I don’t know whyyyyy,” she moans.

Sometimes she just wants her Daddy. He was the only one who could get her to settle when she was an infant. It’s kind of funny to see him rocking her in his arms with her ten-feet long legs hanging out the side of the arm chair. She asked me, “Do you sometimes just feel so emotional around Daddy?”

Oh dear.

So the other day I had a full blown pre-menstrual blowout. I screamed at my kids. Then I slammed my bedroom door for full effect. Then I slammed the ensuite door because I felt like I just hadn’t slammed enough yet. Then I was so ashamed of myself for all that slamming that I turned off the light, closed the curtains, and lay face down on the floor behind the bed and began to sob. My husband eventually found me and crawled in beside me and rubbed my back and murmured understanding things.

This was me: Nobody ever listens to me until I have to be a bitch and then I’m a bitch and I don’t want to be a biiiiiiitch. I listed off about six scenarios from the previous few days, including the exchange I had just had with the girls, where I felt that was the pattern of my life. My complaints were weak and I knew it. The more I tried to explain, the more I realized that I had no reasonable explanation for my behavior, and I realized that my period was due any day. Finally I admitted, I’m probably PMSing which is making it all seem worse than it is. 

So I’m 33 years old and I had a temper tantrum.

It was so bizarre. I don’t do that. I mean, I have mood swings, but screaming? No. Door slamming? Nuh-uh. I can count on one hand the instances in my life that I have lost it.

This crazy incident did reveal that my husband and I have both grown. I, for the first time ever, admitted that I was experiencing PMS, all on my own, and apologized for my crazy. And he, for the first time ever, rubbed my back and said ‘I know how you feel Baby, I sometimes feel like that too,” which is THE BEST THING A HUSBAND COULD EVER SAY, instead of the thing he used to say, which was, “are you supposed to get your period soon?”

Which brings to mind this funny video, that I’m sure you’ve already seen:

And in the end, my episode and my daughter’s crying jags happened within a short enough time span that it opened the door for me to sit down with her and talk about hormones and our changing bodies and draw parallels between her weird feelings and my weird feelings. After talking about periods (which she knew about) and PMS (which she didn’t), she said, “So, boys don’t get this? This never happens to boys?”

“No,” I said.

“That SUCKS,” she said. “Women did NOT get a good deal on that one.”

No, they didn’t. But I’m not sure my husband got a good deal on this one either, 3 for 1, but he sure is being a trooper.

Reassess

I didn’t plan on blogging today. But I found myself with a small pocket of time and I was already in the basement switching loads of laundry over. The blog called to me. So I left the laundry basket on the landing and allowed my afternoon plans shift into soft focus and my feet to follow my heart into the computer room.

And now what? I think about writing on this blog so often but I never get here. Now that I’m here I don’t know what to write. It all wants to come pouring out, but I don’t have that kind of time. Regular blogging would be the answer to that, of course.

Hopefully there is a new laptop in my not-so-distant future.

I’ve been mentally reassessing my blog. Blogging is definitely a part of my life that I don’t want to let go. I learned that when I deleted my long time blog, Danka’s World. I still feel it was the right thing for me at the right time. I don’t regret it, exactly. After just a few months I found that I really missed blogging itself, even though I still felt that I did right in deleting my old one. So after a short blogging hiatus I started this blog. New. Fresh. Anonymous.

But I haven’t settled into it. I thought that writing anonymously would allow me to write about things that I think and feel deeply about without offending or embarrassing people in my life. In fact, I haven’t blogged about that stuff much, if at all, on this new blog anyway. And the thing that sucks about being anonymous is that you can’t talk to very many people about it.

And I’ve never really settled into the blog’s name or my silly moniker.

I’ve been thinking about doing it again. Deleting my old blog. Starting a new one. Danka 2.0 or something. Fresh. New. Public.

IF I decide to go that route, I’ll wait until I’m set up with a computer again. I can’t blog at work, and all of my other internet usage is currently being done from my iPhone, which is not very conducive to writing.

I feel like I could close this post here. Wrap it up, all tidy-like. But while we’re on the topic of reassessment, I’ll let you know that I’ve been spending some time reassessing  other parts of my life as well. My job, for instance.

(For a moment I hesitated to write that, because one of my regular readers is a board member at the church where I work (Hi Aneta!) but then I remembered she is also a near and dear friend, mentor, all-around amazing lady and blogging is what brought us together in the first place, so pshaw!)

Just over a year ago, when I was about to graduate from university, I was pretty much begging and pleading God to give me this job. And he did. For which I am grateful. Except that I’m not sure the job is the best fit. I love my church. I love the people I work with. I try and do a really good job of what I do. I just don’t love what I do all that much. I feel like I’m bored 60% of the time. 25% is good and productive and the last 15% is stress. The things I find stressful don’t matter all that much, and I realize that stress is a normal part of any job anyway.

It’s the boredom that gets me most. I’m a receptionist. Being a receptionist is just not intellectually stimulating in any way. Or creatively stimulating. Or skill building. Or resume building. The worst part of the week is Tuesday staff meeting. I make coffee and compile sheets of data into neat little packets and greet my friends – all of my co-workers are my friends – as they come in the front door to gather in the Lead Pastor’s office. Sometimes I am welcomed in to go over calendar details and receive a task-list. And then I am dismissed. That’s the hard part. I believe in the work of the church. I am passionate and eager and want to do everything I can to contribute. I have been participating in the life of this church in particular since 1999 when I first met Jesus. But every week I am dismissed as the meeting gears up. I close the door behind me so that my friends can discuss ministry and vision and what God is doing, and they plan and pray together, and I fiddle with the photocopier or reorganize the filing cabinet or stare off into space waiting for the phone to ring. By myself. In the quiet. Tuesday staff meeting is the hardest part of my workweek because it is the time when I most closely stare this question in the face – what am I doing here? Not much, it would seem.

It doesn’t sound like I’m all that grateful does it? But I am. When I say I begged God for that job, it is true. I begged so hard. I feel like he is a Dad who let his little kid have something frivolous because the kid was just SO excited. That being said, just because God let me have it, doesn’t mean he called me to it, and in the past I have found it a lot easier to struggle through difficult, menial, and seemingly meaningless things, if I felt God wanted me there even if I didn’t always understand why.  I don’t necessarily feel called by God into what I am currently doing.

I’m glad for my job for other reasons too. My husband is very publicly an atheist, so I felt it was a great grace and miracle that I would be allowed to occupy such a visible and involved role in the church at all. I’m not being derogatory about my husband’s position when I say that, but having diametrical beliefs in a marriage does bring some complications to life. We do pretty well, and I’m just thankful that our marital dynamic didn’t prevent me from working in my church that I love. There are lots of practical benefits. I just mentioned that all my coworkers are my friends, which is the truth, and how many people can say that? And the number one benefit of my job is what it allows in my life – to put family first. I work 32 hours a week. I basically work school hours. Being able to get back to my kids after school instead of finding other care for them is a luxury not many working parents can boast about.

So yeah. Pros. Cons. I’ve been reassessing my job choice but I haven’t landed anywhere with that one yet. I’m pretty certain there is a Master’s degree in my future. But that is a whole other blog post.

Thanks for reading.

Comfort is a Trap and Other Musings from the Basement

A word of warning – I need to fit as many updates into this post as possible before my husband arrives home and we have to leave to go to his Dad’s birthday party. Five minutes? Half an hour? More? Who knows?

The title of this post is a phrase that has been swimming around in my head all week. Last Monday I had one of those mornings where I stayed in bed far too long. I mashed the snooze button repeatedly and the allotted time passed to accomplish the task I had set the early alarm for in the first place. The bed was so cozy and warm. Out of bed was so… not. So I lingered, and lingered… and suddenly I thought , “I’m just so comfortable! And my comfort is making me stuck.” An avalanche of realization dropped into my skull as I simultaneously considered all of the areas of my life where that little nugget of truth is applicable. I got out of bed right away and did the thing I had meant to do, albeit not as well as I should have.

All week long I’ve been looking at my habits, and different areas of my life, and I’ve been thinking – am I stuck? Have I allowed myself to let comfort get in the way of doing what I really want here? Too often, the answer is yes.

So that is that.

In other news, it is high time I provide an update about  my monthly resolutions. In March I learned that I suck at being healthy. The only aspect of my March resolutions that I actually stuck with was to keep up the running training. I don’t even remember what the other resolutions were. Terrible.

Which brings me to April. I didn’t set a particular resolution this month because I had two major deadlines coming up – both arrive next week in fact – and I wanted to focus on meeting those goals. The first is that I am running a 5k race (well, more of a community run than a race, I guess) one week from today. And the other is that I am submitting a piece to a writing contest. The deadline is May 1st, and I’m almost ready. I’m hoping to submit sometime in the next week. It is nice to be running again, and writing again, although I feel like a bit of a noob in both areas.

For May, I am doing something a little different. I am going to avoid being photographed at all as a personal protest to society’s current obsession with image. In addition to that, I am going to do my best to refrain from taking any photographs at all. That part will be much trickier as it has become second nature to whip out my phone and snap pictures several times each day. For the month of May, if I see a rainbow I am going to experience it with my senses instead of my iPhone camera lens like I did two days ago:

IMG_20130419_191627I will see you on instagram in June!

 

Welcome to the Dungeon

Usually I write posts on my laptop from the comfy couch or the dining table, but since my laptop finally bit it, today I am borrowing my honey’s computer and writing to you from the dungeon. Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun. Geon.

photoWelcome to the dungeon. I figure if I begin the tour of our house here, you can only be more and more impressed as I progress. Yes I said house tour. (It’s about time!) (Pictures, yay!)

This is a tiny windowless room at the back of the basement. The neat and tidy desk with a computer  on it is my husband’s. The desk that is upchucking all over the place is mine. We carried my new little white and birch Ikea desk in here the day we moved in, and subsequently started piling random stuff on it. The end.

I never come in here.

Actually I come in here to give my husband a kiss when I’m going out, or to get a new battery for my toothbrush, wrapping paper if I have a gift to give, and, even more likely, I come in here to dump more stuff on my desk.

Do you like the star light? There are also little glow in the dark stars all over the ceiling. I wanted those my whole childhood and now I’ve got them.

photo (2)I said this room was windowless, but it actually has a window! A glass block window. Leading not to the sunny outdoors, but out to the t.v. room.

Also, varied ceiling heights.

So quirky.

It serves a great purpose though. It is so nice to have an extra room for all this stuff. In our old house the computer and bookcase were crammed into the kitchen which annoyed me to no end. And, unlike most basements it isn’t at all dank, and it doesn’t smell. It’s not perfect but it’s fresh and clean and useful.

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Random pipe in the floor! And now you’ve seen the dungeon.

What I’m Reading Now

I have one big and uncomplicated pleasure in life, and that is reading. Sometimes it can get a little out of control. When I was young I would have a book in every room, one on the stairs, a few in my bag, and one stashed at work. Eventually I decided to rein it in a little and created a few guidelines for my reading life. I would try to have only one fiction and one non-fiction title on the go at once. I would also try to decide early on – say, the first quarter to third of the book – whether or not a book was worth sticking with. If a book doesn’t grab me fairly early I ditch it. There are so many awesome books out there and so little time to read, that I don’t want to waste my time on books that don’t either give me great pleasure or teach me something new and valuable.

But lately I’ve been on a little bit of a free-for-all. I’ve been digging in to all kinds of magazines. I ran into a favourite prof a few weeks ago and at my request he e-mailed me an academic paper that he is working on on two philosophers that I’m interested in, so I’ve been reading that. And I’ve suddenly got four books on the go all at once. I guess left my reading rules behind me this spring. Life has generally been feeling abundant and free to me lately. I guess those emotions have spilled over into my reading life too.

1. Draw the Circle; the 40 day prayer challenge

draw-circle-40-day-prayer-challenge-mark-batterson-paperback-cover-art  We are doing a 40 day prayer challenge at church for Lent. We’ve been reading this book together – it has a four to five page section to read each day for 40 days. I like it because it doesn’t actually have the prayers written in it. Each day is a short lesson or story – about prayer, about God, and testimonies of answered prayers. Each day you are expected to then pray your own prayers.

Maybe I’ll blog more about this experience in the future, but for today, I’l just say that it had been good.

2. There is a Season by Patrick Lane

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When I went to a writer’s festival on the Sunshine Coast last summer, Patrick Lane was there and he did a poetry reading. They were beautiful and haunting and that is no surprise, as he is one of Canada’s most well known poets. At the end of the festival I purchased a signed copy of his memoir. It stood in line in my ‘to read’ pile all fall and I finally opened its cover in January. It is slow going with this one, I think because the writing is so rich. But also, it is very sad. I can only take so much at once.

 

3. A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

Unknown-1 The fiction I’ve read so far in 2013 has been somewhat unsatisfying. I wanted something to really engage the imagination. At my birthday party at the end of February someone pointed out the Game of Thrones series sitting on my bookshelf. I almost forgot I had it. I had purchased the set of 4 novels at Costco for some summer reading in 2012 and never got around to cracking them. So I finally did, about  a week ago. Great stuff so far. Lots of characters. Very exciting. It’s one of those books where you keep referring back to the maps printed in the front cover. At 200 pages in I’m only 1/4 through the novel, and there are three more after this one. Love it.

4. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Unknown-2As I wrapped up my philosophy degree I thought that if I could go back and take more courses, I might delve into psychology. Not instead of what I already learned in school, but in addition to. In January I thought I might intentionally do a little psychology reading in 2013, and when I found myself at Chapters with some spending money burning in my pocket a few weeks ago, this is what jumped out at me. I started reading it as soon as I got home. It is so interesting! The author looks at the two ways the mind thinks. It thinks quickly, automatically – that part that helps you to immediately recognize emotion in the face of another human being, or know the answer to 2 x 2. If english is your first language and you see a word written in english or hear a phrase spoken in english you can’t choose to not understand it. The mind also thinks slowly, the kind of process that is required in order to multiply 24 x 47, or count the number of times ‘the’ is written in this blog post. This book examines the relationship between the two ways of thinking, and the author seems to be arguing that while the slow, reasoning part of the brain thinks it is in charge, it is more like a back-seat driver. I’m enjoying it so far.

So that’s what I’m reading these days. How about you?

On Doing It All

In the life of a mother there is an endless list of things to feel badly about.

Mostly, I have left the mommy-guilt phase behind. I spent a lot of time in that head-space when my kids were small. Even as I spent so much energy trying to do right by them I also felt I was doing something to ruin them at every turn. Every time something went wrong for one of them, I, at least in part, turned the finger of blame upon myself.

Then I realized that they’re pretty great kids. And they have good lives. And that every parent makes mistakes. And that usually those mistakes aren’t that big of a deal anyway. And yeah. I let it go. Mostly.

Today I’m feeling guilty. Just a little – I’m not having a bad day. I’m generally happy. The sun is shining and I’m being productive and I’m having a good time and I feel like a good mother. I have a little girl sick at home and I’m enjoying caring for her. I’m so glad that I get to do it.

I feel guilty now. Not as a mother, but as an employee. Because last week I missed a day of work to nurse my other daughter while she was home sick, now I’m missing a second day, and I’ve already booked two days off later this month to travel with my family to Vancouver for our semi-annual trip to the BC Children’s Hospital. That’s four days out of the month – combined, almost an entire week of work – away from my office responsibilities to take care of my priorities.

And priorities they are. When I applied for my job there were two big reasons why I wanted it. The first reason was the place of employment. I love my church, I loved working there part time in another capacity, and I want to give my daily efforts to the cause of the local church. I am blessed to be able to be. I know it. But the other, equally weighted reason I wanted the job is because I knew it would allow me to make my family the priority. I wanted the job precisely for times like these.

I know I shouldn’t feel bad but I do. Why?

When I was out with run club after church yesterday some of us ladies were talking about work-life balance and about the guilt. There were about six of us in the conversation and each one of us has kids, ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years. Most of us work in the 20 – 35 hour per week range, and even the ones who stay home feel the pressure that they’re not contributing to their households financially. Returning to work is as much of a pressure for them as going to work is for the rest of us. A few of us, stay at home and working mothers alike, hire out certain jobs – the cleaning, the cooking, one of us even has a nanny. But every one of us who hires out feels so, so bad that we don’t just do these things ourselves.

We feel guilty about our mothering. We feel guilty as employees. We feel guilty about our lack of housekeeping and gardening and community involvement. We feel guilty about everything. We were wondering… why.

Then someone said it.

We want to give 100% everywhere.

I think that’s right. There are other contributing factors, to be sure. I also think that we women are much harder on ourselves than anyone else is. But that statement pretty much sums it up for me. I wish I could do everything better. I want to give 100% everywhere.

What do you think? Do you feel guilty? How come?

Resolutions Update

Ah the failures and fortunes of February.

If you’re reading this blog for the first time, just know that started 2013 with the plan to try a new resolution every month. In January it was my goal to blog every day. I didn’t, but I blogged most days, and the point of my January goal was to get me blogging regularly again. And I am. So I win.

In February it was “all about my body.” And well, I don’t even remember the goals I set. So, um, well, I suppose I fail them all. One good thing is that someone at church started a Run Club at church to train for an annual, local, and upcoming 5km. I joined, and I’ve been plugging away at my walk / run routine three times each week. We run as a group after church on Sundays, and I have to say that I love the camaraderie. The other two days I’ve been going alone, and occasionally with my sister.

I just realized today that March is upon us and not only did I abandon my resolutions in February, I haven’t even thought about what to do for March. It took me about three seconds to come up with something.

DO OVER!

I’ve decided to refocus and narrow down my ‘healthy body’ goals. These are my goals for March, starting tomorrow (March 4).

1. No drinking except for special occasions.

The rules basically go like this:

A friend’s birthday party out at a restaurant IS a special occasion.

TGIF and I need to unwind IS NOT a special occasion.

The reasons for this rule basically are:

Booze has hidden calories.

Booze makes me snacky, and every time I drink I inevitably eat more, and eat worse.

I drink too often for no other reason than, hey it’s dinner time, break out the wine!

And, while I know a nice glass of red wine has some health benefits, drinking is generally not a healthy undertaking and I could afford to do a lot less of it.

2. Run three times per week.

This should be pretty easy to keep up because I’m already in a pretty good routine. 

This time around I learned the trick of putting it in my calendar, in the same pen colour and with the same seriousness as any of my daughters’ activities. For too long I have been putting self care into the last family-priority slot. Every Sunday I look at the week’s activities, figure out which two days work best (Sundays are pretty much automatic because of our group) and write them down. Then, the morning of, I can think, okay, today we’re having x for dinner, g-child has b-activity and it’s run day. And then I do it.

3. Walk each day that I don’t run.

Long solitary walks are one of life’s greatest joys, in my opinion. Getting out there everyday will give me the double benefit of more physical activity and increased happiness and inner peace.

I do believe this will be my hardest goal to achieve, because it’s hard to do anything everyday, especially when life gets busy. But I will try.

4. Perfect eating Mondays.

I can’t eat perfectly everyday. I’m not even in a frame of mind where I could eat perfectly 5 days per week and cheat on weekends. But I can eat perfectly on Mondays. Hey, it’s a start.

I’m looking forward to updating you with my progress on these goals. I am employing a new habit-forming app I got called Life Tracker.