2020 has felt like a year that would never end, and yet, I experienced a slight panic realizing today is the last day of November. Where did the year go?
While much of my time has been spent at home, I hope my efforts were impactful outside the boundaries of our family and farm. I volunteer as library lady two afternoons a week at my children’s school and am a lector and song leader at church. In spite of hell and high water, my friends and I work sporadic lunches, happy hours, and lengthy, meme-filled text messages into our chaotic schedules. Making weekly phone calls and sending cards manifests my desire to keep connected with those I love, but I continue to wonder if it’s enough. Do you ever feel the same?
Refillable, as in the ability to be replenished, has to be one of the most optimistic words I can think of.
When the coffee has all been chugged, the ice cream has all be inhaled, or the treats have all been taken, it may be a downer. You may feel depleted, but that doesn’t mean you are defeated. It means you have an opportunity to scavenge for something sweeter, saltier, or just a bit more savory.
Let me give an example of how easy it is to tap into some positive purpose when your energy cup is empty.
My 7 year-old son has started reading chapter books and it is ROUGH. He struggles with phonetics and may have a hole in his attention span reservoir. He loves the book we are reading (Ready Freddy!: Shark Tooth Tale By: Abby Klien), but EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. we struggle, cry, throw fits, and read in a slow, robotic cadence through the chapters. Last night was no exception. The enthusiasm was not flowing for my boy, but once he read the next chapter title things turned around.
Chapter 4 – “If You Have Lemons, Make Lemonade” was all about Freddy finding ways to make money to buy a fossilized megalodon tooth (My son is obsessed with megalodons and lemonade stands.) Freddy’s elderly neighbor Mrs. Golden had broken her ankle but still had a friendly dog that needed walking. Her situation was a bummer, but my son started understanding that even sad situations can lead to happy opportunities. Freddy was able to help Mrs. Golden care for her dog AND earn money towards the purchase of that precious megalodon tooth.
Relationships are hard. Friendships should be easy, but as an adult making friends and having healthy friendships is way too stinking hard.
Even if you have lifelong besties, finding time to get together is more challenging than giving the heads of Mount Rushmore a facial. There’s too much ground to cover, too many variables, and the critics condemning your efforts can be relentless.
Here is what I have discovered.
Hell and high water are going to come. Keep your plans anyway.
When hell and high water get there, be willing to support your friends; keep dates with those still available; reschedule with those who need it; go with the flow.
Friendship in adulthood is tough but necessary.
When camaraderie happens, it must be celebrated.
Great friends can be found in weird and unexpected places. Accept healthy friendships when they present themselves.
You’re basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.
We do! We need water. We need sunlight. We are definitely emotional!
While we all have our basic needs, fulfilling those needs is often impacted by our ability or inability to take-in the required air, water, sun, exercise, and nutrition. Similarly, if we do not allow for positive encounters in our day or uplifting words in our speech, it’s really hard to squeeze them in later. After the sun goes down, you can’t exactly be like, “Hey, sun, could you come out and shine for just a bit? I missed you earlier.”
Doritos are not allowed in my house. Not in the snack size, family size, or the party size. Doritos are not allowed in my house in any size, shape, flavor, or package.
I will eat them.
If I have Doritos, I will eat them. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
On a camping trip this summer, I splurged and bought a bag of those delectable Doritos and said to myself, “I’m going to be on vacation. I want to eat like I’m on vacation.”
And I did.
A large portion of that bag was consumed by me. And a large portion of the next two days were drug down by a terrible stomach ache. (My stomach apparently does not share my love for those triangular treats.)
The timeline of my 1st grader’s life according to him.
In a recent Social Studies lesson, my son was learning about timelines. The last activity on the page was to make a timeline of events in his life. Of course we began with when he was born. The only other events he chose to include were getting our dog and starting school. When the time came to add 2020, I asked what he wanted to record for current events.
Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Anthony is stuck at home.”
Those five words spoke volumes. They reflected how our current situation has defined this period in our lives. Stuck.
This assignment reminded me of a homework activity my daughter had last fall. She was to interview family members and ask what event they believed defined their generation. Both hubby and I believed that 9/11 was the defining experience for those of our age. My mother-in-law and father-in-law said Vietnam or Korean Wars. Greg’s grandmother said World War II and a tornado that had hit their hometown. It was funny to me how tragedies seemed to determine our identities. Why is it that we don’t typically use the advent of a new invention or success as the center to what we see in ourselves?
Getting carded at a store, gas station, bank, or restaurant can be embarrassing or uplifting, depending on your age and situation. Now I know of one carding situation that is a positive any time it happens. These magical moments occur when the mailbox door is opened and a card is inside waiting just for you.
For years I have been a card stamper. I LOVE designing, making, and sending cards to people. For about the last 4 years, I have made it a habit to give or send at least one card a week. The last three or four months I’ve been slacking though.
With the COVID 19 quarantine upon us, I took to my crafting table and whipped up a bunch of new cards. Maybe it was anxiety or fear, maybe it was a need to hide from my cooped up family, maybe it was a desire to get some creative juices flowing before the grumpiness of being stationary set in, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I made almost 20 cards in less than an hour and a list of who I wanted to receive them.
In my creative excitement, I sent pics of my progress to my #1 Stampin’ Up sister Rebecca. (She led our stamping club for the last 10+ years.) I was so proud to share my creations with her and my rekindled flame for bringing joy through cards.
Today a friend texted that she was sad I quit my blog.
I was sadder that someone thought I gave up my Intentergy.
As most of us have been in a whirlwind with the events of the last few weeks, I felt it was my duty to take time and share some Intentergy and reassure everyone that there is still plenty of energy with positive purpose here.
Two weeks ago I had the distinct privilege of sharing some positive purpose with the teachers at St. Teresa School in Campbell, Mo. We faced the frustrations of teaching in spring time…. little did we know 6 days later, we would have to walk away from our schools and move learning into the homes of our students.
The beautiful staff at St. Teresa took me at my word that I could be paid in chocolate.
At our meeting the teachers and I discussed the power of counting up our blessings and successes and not letting the count downs lead to let downs. Even though I was afraid they might string me up for blaspheme, I shared my belief that we shouldn’t count down the days until summer break. They may have furrowed their brows at me a bit, but after hearing a story from my first year of teaching, they began to understand my reasoning behind this belief.
My first year I filled a position that had been the turnstile for a revolving door of educators. The students were more accustomed to teachers leaving than teachers staying.
One March afternoon, I was tutoring a student in my classroom and we heard my neighboring teacher loudly announcing how many days were left until summer break. I tried to cheer the struggling student by saying, “You’ve improved so much this year. I bet you’ll be glad to move on to bigger and better things next year.”
The student frowned and said, “I guess you’re gonna leave too. You want to get away from us just like they (the other teachers) all do.”
We all know life is messy. Many of us feel like there is just too much going on in our lives. Our mole hills really are mountains and a simpler existence would make getting through the day so much easier.
Each day in March, I encourage you to toss out, donate, or give away at least one thing that you no longer use or that just takes up too much space in your place. Once you start the process of picking out the excess, you will find the act of eliminating the unnecessary empowering.
Don’t know where to start?
Consider your closet or dresser. Anything you didn’t wear in the last year is perfect for purging.
Give the kitchen cabinets a sweep. Gadgets, pans, or expired products provide instant pitches or pass alongs.
What about your catch-all drawer? I am certain there are some Box-tops to go to education, coupons that no longer count, or just some stuff that would benefit from being organized.