Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Life in America is a rat race.  We all seem to be running for that proverbial carrot, except, it begs the question - is that really worth all the stress? I feel very lucky. As a girl, I traveled a lot around the United States and the world.  The benefit of moving and traveling is that, I got to see, early on, that my way wasn’t the only way.

Much of the world understands something that many Americans miss.  They know what they are working for.  Life is more than a job and to enjoy life means investing in you and the relationships in your life.

When I was living in Germany, my step mom got 6 weeks vacation.  That was not after years of service - that was to start!  Rest and family time was important and valued as a culture. During my semester abroad in London, I worked for a PR company.   I was required to be gone for a full hour for lunch and on more than one occasion I was asked to stop working so fast.  The pace was something I’d never experienced at a job in the US.  Europeans know there is more to life than just "geterdone." They work to live not live to work.  They understand that a well rested human produces more because they have more to give.

Recently,  I was communicating with a friend via Facebook comments.  She had a baby a few months ago.  She, like me, is a recovering overachiever, and was struggling with the lack of managing her to-do list.  When a baby comes into your life, that to-do list needs to go away.  Babies need our time and attention and the bar of what we can accomplish needs to drop considerably.  I reminded her about this season and the expectation adjustment that needs to take place.

I also reminded her of the Israelites in the desert.  After Moses leads the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, they spend 40 years wandering in the desert (it wasn't supposed to be that long, but they had a bad moment that needed time allow them to move on). So the question is: was their live less valuable because they wandered in the desert 40 years? No! Our value is not found in what we can accomplish and yet, I know I’ve unwittingly believed that lie at times (who am I kidding, I believe it all the time).

This is a hard reminder because many of us, work to gain value.  We feel like we are only amazing when we are slaying our day, but truthfully, our value is constant and not dependent on what we do.  People are valuable, period.

We need to understand that there are times in life when we need to change the expectations.  There is value in taking it slow and enjoying life.  There is value in giving people the time and attention they need. There is value in resting so your body can heal or stay well.  There is value in taking moments of quiet mediation so your brain can regroup.  We also need to have patience with those who have lost their way.  Yes, the recovering drug addict may have regrets from years they let drugs control their life, but they are still valuable, which is why they fight to overcome the addiction.

Take some time to understand your season.  The opposite truth is also worth looking at.  Maybe your kids are grown and you have time and freedom you didn't have and now you need to add a bit to your life plate.  Where are you in life?  What season?  Are you taking that into consideration as you organize your days, weeks and months?  We need to make the moments count, but that won't look the same for all of us.  What does that look like for you?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Any procrastinators out there?  I am a procrastinator.  Its a topic I've heard a lot about, because, well, I can relate.  The thing is there is both good and bad out there on the subject. 

In college, I had a professor discuss the benefits of procrastination.  He shared that the adrenaline we get from procrastination actually fuels our ability to be productive.  Where it goes into the negative zone, is when we overuse it and can only be productive when we are amping up the adrenaline in constant procrastination, this can cause adrenal fatigue, thus hurting our bodies.

I've heard many people talk about procrastination as just a way to be lazy, and someone just putting off work.  I'm sure there is truth there, but probably the most accurate assessment for me of procrastination came from Kevin Leman.  Dr. Kevin Leman is a psychologist who studies and speaks on subjects like parenting, birth order, personalities, and marriage.  I find his birth order work to be insightful and I've enjoyed reading his books over the years. 

Kevin shares that procrastination can be a result of perfectionist influences.  Those who grew up with perfectionism as a guiding standard tend to procrastinate because they are avoiding the judgement of their process.  Doing it last minute gives less time for being judged on their work and also gives an excuse if they are judged because they just did it last minute.  

This completely makes sense to me.  It rings true, just as well as getting the adrenaline rush from doing things with less time.  Not only do I get a rush of adrenaline when I'm flying about, but I often feel better about myself for accomplishing my list in record time, but I'm pretty sure that is a false high and truthfully would have been more responsible to give the tasks the time and attention they deserve.  

The lesson that has helped me, is to just do it now.  Haven't we learned that the hare doesn't win in the end, the tortoise does.  Taking the work load and being consistent wins every time.  

Rushing often brings mistakes and seems to keep our brains from processing all it needs to, leading to forgotten tasks along the way.  
When I am finishing up after an event, I find, if I don't put everything away when I am done, stuff can sit around for weeks and pile up with the rest of the things I haven't accomplished.  

My motto has become, "Why put off for tomorrow, what I can do today."  

The Bible in James 4:14, reminds us that we don't know what tomorrow will bring.  I can't tell you how many times I have forced myself to finish something only to get a sick kid, or a friend in crisis who needs me, or some other life happening the next day and realize, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish it.  

We never know what will come up in life and we have to be diligent to accomplish what is on our plate.  I'm not an expert in this, I am a human in process, trying to apply what I have learned along the way and in turn, share it with you.  I know I am not alone in this and I want to share what God is teaching me.   

Evaluating why I procrastinate is a valuable lesson in self-discovery as well as self-improvement.  Saying self-improvement after discussing perfectionism seems crazy, I know, but for me improving means being less perfect and more forgiving of myself.  Its becoming more healthy as an individual.  Worrying about what others think or letting their opinions keep me down isn't healthy and I don't want to live with that weight on my shoulders.  

I'm not concluding this by saying procrastination is bad.  I am saying, evaluate why you procrastinate and deal with what you need to and remember - a little procrastination goes a long way.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Life Mud

Sundays are busy days.  Not only do I work for a church and have three events in one day, but my husband is a professional volunteer at our church and has his own lengthy to-do list.  Getting out the door can be a challenge, and if there are unusual happenings in the morning, then things can go sideways quick.  

Two Sundays ago, was such a Sunday.  There was a potluck after church that I needed to go early and set up for it; I also needed to bring food for the event when we left for church, plus I had some things people needed for upcoming events I needed to take with me, and I promised a friend I'd leave some things outside my front door for her.  

Guess what? 

I left the house and left the food on the counter.  Thankfully my husband grabbed it and brought when we he came five minutes later. After setting up I realized I'd left those papers I needed at home.   I ran home (thankfully its only five blocks from the church) to grab them.  After getting back to church, I realized I hadn't set out the items for my friend.  

At this point I was engaging in some negative self-talk and was beating myself up for making so many mistakes in my morning and forgetting so much.  I drove home with my head hanging and pulled up to the house the same time my friend did.  This is a women I've known and run into over the past 8 years but haven't spent a lot of time with in recent years, aside from Facebook encounters.  We started talking and kept talking for 45 minutes.  Life had happened and connection was needed for both of us in that moment. 

I drove back to church and felt something.  I felt like divine intervention had taken place.  Had I been on my game and remembered to set out what she needed, I would not have been there when she arrived.  She would have grabbed it and went on her way.  That would have been fine, its not like our one talk was life altering or anything, but to me, it felt special.  It felt like an unplanned gem in the day.   

Here was my take away: Being wise with our time is important.  While life is more than our to-do list, we do all have things that we need to get done - its just reality. But by merely living by the list we could miss out on the unplanned beauties in life. 

I'm a Christian, and I believe God is always at work and is working for us in ways we don't even know about.  Being included in something God is doing is magical, especially when you don't see it coming.  I once felt God told me to say hi to a woman I passed by coming out of Costco.  When I said hello, she started talking to me.  She shared her journey with cancer, and I was able to hug her, pray with her and encourage her. My mind was blown and I was blessed by the interaction.  How many people do we pass by each day with no knowledge of who they are and what they need? But God knows and if we are open to him, he will use us and trust me it can blow your mind!

Isaiah 55:8-9 - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." 

 Getting stuck in my head and trapped in my perfectly planned schedule means I miss out on the sweet spots in life.  And when I don't get it right, instead of beating myself up, I must embrace the imperfection because I will find a blessing in the mix.  This also applies to you.  Love the life mud because it can be fun!  

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Time Debt & 5 Ways to Help!

I've said it before and I will say it again - the shower is the best think tank.  The other day, I was once again hit with an idea while in the shower.  It was the concept of time debt and really how to determine how much you have and how to get out of time debt. 

My husband and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University several years ago and honestly its time we go get a refresher course.  If you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, he is a financial guru.  He explains how to know what you are spending and making, how to make a budget, how to get rid of debt and save for the future.  His program is amazing!  

As I thought about his principles of finance, I realized they also applied to time.  Time management is the theme for this month and its great to start out with time debt.  The truth is time mismanagement
 often happens without much thought.  We end up signing up for more in life than we can deliver on.  This is a problem for a lot of reasons.  We can come across as a flake and get a bad reputation, but it can also cause a lot of stress in our lives when we always feel behind.  The pressure of not getting it done can be a heavy burden!

Just like in finances, with time, your first step is in discovering where your mismanagement is happening and finding a solution is: 

1. Create Categories 

Start this process by listing all the areas of life that you have.  I did this with circles, like plates, because life so often feels like spinning plates.  I wrote a category in each circle:  Family, Friends, Work (that maybe be more than one plate if you have a side hustle or two), Household Duties, Spiritual Life, Self-Care, Volunteer Commitments, etc.  

2. List Out the Duties

Next make a to-do list for every category.  I know this will take some time and thought, but its worth it in the long run.  

3. Cost it Out

Go through each list and assign in an average time to accomplish.  So cleaning the house might be 4 hours a week and shuttling the kids around is six hours a week, etc.  You may have to track some of these in a given week or two to get a good feel for how much time you put into laundry each week or a certain work task. 

4. Add It Up 

Add each column, then add up all of it.  Depending if you did it for a day, week, or month, you will then add up the amount of time that is available in that time frame, and make sure you added sleep in there! 

5.  Take a Look and Begin to Ask Questions

Look at the lists. Do you have more time commitments than time available?  Were you surprised by the length of some versus other lists?  Take note of a few things.  If you have time debt, how much do you have?  What does the time per category communicate about your priorities?  Does it line up with what's most important to you?  If you have time debt, what can you take off your plate?  What needs to be readjusted.  Do you have time to say yes to the requests of others or is it time to say no?  

Getting a handle on where your time goes, really helps you to understand the value of what you say yes and no to.  Change can happen when we are able to take a look at the issues and be empowered to do something about it.  

Did you find this helpful?  Let me know!  Sharing from my life and what I'm learning makes the challenges I face so worth it.  I told God long ago, "If I have to go through it, you better use it!"  He's taken me up on that time and time again.  Happy Wednesday!  Let's see how we can face time management together this month.