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Living with Intention: Choosing to Finish the Race

I was a loser in high school.

No, literally.  A loser.

Track.  Golf.  Every sport required in PE.  I lost them all.  I was clearly NOT athletically inclined.

My sophomore year I ran on the track team (I’m pretty sure there were no try-outs).  I started out running the 800.  And I lost.  Then somehow I got thrown into hurdles which my school didn’t even have so my only practice was at the track meet itself.  I lost all of those meets, too.

But one thing I never did was quit.

At the beginning of the season, my dad had pulled me aside for a heart to heart right before my first meet.  And here’s what he said…

“Hey kid, good luck.  Just remember it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.  All that matters is you do your best and you finish the race.”

Apparently I took him seriously.

And I lost every meet that season.  But I never quit.  Not once.  And I never gave it anything less than my best.  Not once.

Then we moved to Texas and I harbored no false illusions that I should run track again.  I still ran, but it was just for me.  Unfortunately, I did need one more p.e. credit so I signed up for golf.  And I was awful.  I mean really, really awful.  (My school even arranged for a private coach to come out and give me lessons for a few weeks.)  But my dad’s words echoed in my head and no matter how awful I was, I never quit.  I kept swinging with all my might.

These days I run purely for exercise and I NEVER pick up a golf club, but I still find myself in the midst of a race.  Every day.

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Mothering.

And there are days I want to quit.

Days I want to let everyone pass me by while I sit on the sidelines.

Days I want to throw in the towel and just give up.  On my own kids.  On my own mothering style.  On my own ideals and expectations.  On homeschooling and whole-food meals and patience.

There are days when I want to give less than my best.  Days when I wonder if it really matters if I put my all into school lessons and meal planning.  Days when I think I can’t possibly deal with one more issue or listen to one more complaint.

Weeks go by and I get lost in the forest and can no longer see the trees.  You know those weeks.  The ones where the one kid disrespects you every chance he gets, another complains wildly about the most insignificant things, everyone complains that they hate school (which you’ve poured your heart lovingly into preparing), no meal is complete without a dozen disgruntled comments, and you spend every free moment toting the ungrateful little people from one extra-curricular to the next.

And the thought to quit is so appealing.

I could just toss them all into school and sign them up for after-school care and every sport and extra-curricular known to man and spend my waking hours basking in well, whatever I feel like basking in.  Shoot, to make the dream complete, maybe I could even hire a personal chef and a maid so that no complaint ever directly involves me.  Yep, that plan crosses my mind often.

But then I remember Dad’s advice.

And I know he was right.  All that matters is I give it my best and I finish the race.

It’s that intention, to give it my best and not to give up, that drives me every day.  Every day that I want to pull the covers over my head and ignore the chaos.  Every day that I am assaulted with whining and complaining and snotty noses.

Those are the days I have to take a deep breath and remember that finishing a race is a choice.  And it is a choice meant to be made with intention. 

We don’t start a race intending to quit.  We start with the intention of finishing.  Sometimes we lose sight of that intention as we focus on winning (ie. being the most admired mom out there [“how does she do it?”] or maybe being the mom with the most well-behaved kids at the weekly playdate [“those kids are so amazing”] or just being the mom that has it all together [“her house is perfect, her kids are perfect, her life is perfect”]), but the reality is we forget that finishing, with our best effort, is really all that matters.

So tomorrow I’ll try again.  I’ll get up and I’ll give it my best.  And it might be a good day or it might be a rotten day, but I’ll be able to sleep peacefully knowing that I gave it my all and I didn’t quit.

It’s a long run, this mothering race, but I am quite sure that finishing this race might just be one of the most intentional things I ever do in my life.

 

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{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Delighting in simplicity.  Taking a moment to intentionally be delighted.  Finding joy in an ordinary moment.  This is living with every intention.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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Here’s to 2018: May It Be Filled with Extra-Ordinary Moments

There are moments that stick with us forever.  Fleeting glimpses of what really matters.  And then, of course, there are the moments in between those prophetic moments.  The daily, ordinary moments that end up defining our lives.

I remember once, when I was about 14 years old, I came home from school and headed straight for the hammock in our backyard.  I dramatically threw myself in, thankful the drama of the day was over and I could just bask in my book.  There was nothing unusual about this…this was a completely ordinary moment for me.  But that afternoon, I laid my book across my chest and just soaked up the moment.  I stared up into the tree above me and I intentionally took note of just how perfect the moment was.  The weather that day was lovely…an odd combination of low humidity and a crisp autumn breeze.  Leaves were falling around me and I could smell one of Grandma’s pies through the open windows.  I had left the phone inside and, of course, this was pre-texting and pre-Internet days.  So it was literally just me and my book and this moment.  I thought if I could bottle this weather and this moment of content, I would.  And I’d live in this moment forever.

In hindsight, I realize that the only reason I could appreciate the beauty of that particular afternoon (and probably the only reason I remember it) was because it was a moment different from all the daily moments.  And not because there was something extra special about that particular moment.  On the contrary, I took an ordinary moment and made it extra-ordinary just by paying attention to all its details.

Sometimes we need to make our ordinary moments extra-ordinary to help us see the beauty of our everyday lives. 

2017 has been a year filled with the ordinary moments: work, school lessons, family meals, laundry, ballet, piano and strings lessons, playtime, sibling rivalry, and all the joy of milestones in between like birthdays and lost teeth and learning to read and camping trips.

But 2017 has also had its share of noticed extra-ordinary moments which have helped us appreciate the beauty of our daily moments.

In the spring the kids and I spent a week homeschooling in the woods.  It was a week to recapture some of the things we had lost in the busy shuffle of school lessons.  We remembered how much we loved to read together and tell stories and watercolor paint in our nature notebooks.  We spent the week uninterrupted by text messages, phone calls and Facebook notifications and we reveled in the small discoveries we made…a rock in the shape of a heart, the idea that we could hike over four miles with small children, the joy of singing folksongs over a campfire we had built ourselves.  We came back with a new appreciation for our family culture and our ordinary homeschooling days.

In the fall we trekked out, as a family, to West Texas for ten days and developed a whole new appreciation for the suburbs and the convenience of civilization.  But those ten days?  Full of extra-ordinary moments.  We rediscovered our joy at playing games together and conversations by the fire lit sparks in our souls as we connected and grew together.  We spent hours hiking and exploring and reveling in the beautiful simplicity of nature.  We delighted in the break from the ordinary and then we returned to the ordinary with eyes wide open.

But not all of our extra-ordinary moments were moments when we were away from the dailiness of life.  Sometimes finding extra-ordinary moments meant stopping long enough to see the ordinary moments with new eyes.  In a culture where everything is rushed, sometimes this takes major effort.  But each ordinary moment deserves respect…after all, these ordinary moments add up to define us.  I catch a glimpse of beautiful little Katie, who begged for a bike with a basket for her fourth birthday, and I watch her as she now goes up and down the sidewalk without her training wheels.  It’s extra-ordinary: for her, it’s the joy of feeling the wind in her hair; for me it’s this realization that she’s growing up.  SHE is extra-ordinary.  All of my children are.  I look over at long, lanky Joseph (who now has a preference to be called Joey) and I stop and listen to that beautiful melody that he’s tapping out on the piano.  That’s a culmination of ordinary moments: piano lessons, hours of practice and a love for music.  Or how about William?  I sit at the top of the stairs in my parents’ house and I listen to him have a conversation with my dad.  A conversation about engineering and chemistry and physics.  And I realize that somehow this 8 year old has turned into a conversationalist, who asks wise questions and attempts to argue his way through life logically.  And then sweet Andrew.  Every day for the past five months, there has been an ordinary moment trying to teach him to read.  And now he does it.  I don’t even remember the day when he could do it, but as I listen, I hear his sweet voice sound out each blend, each consonant and I marvel that so many ordinary moments could add up to this extra-ordinary moment.

Unlike generations past, we don’t live in a period of time where survival is a constant threat.  We don’t live on rationed food.  When we worry about a loved one, they’re typically just a text away…we don’t have to wait weeks wondering whether everything is okay.  We don’t live in a time where we are reminded daily of how precious this life is.  But this life is precious and these moments, even the daily ones, are extra-ordinary.  It’s up to us to stop long enough to breathe in the delight of our daily moments.  Because while the extra-ordinary moments help us keep things in focus, the ordinary moments are the ones that define us.  Which leaves me wondering…what do my ordinary moments say about me?

As a new year approaches, I am reminded that all of our lives are one year shorter as another year has passed us by.  Our time is limited in this precious life, so I implore you to let 2018 be the year that your daily moments define you in the way you want to be remembered.

Let every ordinary moment be extra-ordinary in this new year. 

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Loving Where You Live

When I was a kid we moved around a bit.  My dad served in the Navy and where the Navy needed him, we moved.  I remember being little and complaining once about having to move again and my mom quoted a poem to me.  She said, “If you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.”  Of course her wisdom was completely lost on my six year old complaint.

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I spent my college years traveling as often as I could.  I summered in cities far away from where I lived so that I could see what else was out there.  I dreamed of the places I’d live someday.  I dreamed of the streets I’d wander as I got to know a new place.  I dreamed of the people I’d meet, the restaurants I’d eat at, the eclectic places I’d find my groove in.  I fell in love with city after city.  Except, somehow, I managed to never fell in love with the city I actually lived in.

Until now. 

I have learned to follow Mom’s advice…”If you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.”

I CHOOSE to love where I live. 

It’s hot down here.  Really, really hot.  And it’s far from everything.  You have to have my city as your destination to come here…we aren’t on the way to anything and you don’t pass through us to get somewhere else…we ARE the endpoint.  (Although to a Texan this may not seem like a big deal as everything in Texas is far away.)  We’re a big city with this weird small town mentality, so we’re all stuck in limbo.  Living near the coast, there is an extremely laid back attitude…everybody worries about everything tomorrow.  And there’s basically one season.  Summer.

But still I have found the good.  I have intentionally found the good.

It’s so easy to complain.  To notice the worst of a situation.  To proclaim that the grass certainly is greener on the other side {or in the other city}.  Finding the negative in everything, well, It’s a terrible habit, but it is simply a mindset.  Something I can choose to change.

Finding something positive has to be an intentional choice.

It’s funny how we come to see our mindset and the poison it leaks into our everyday life.  It took four little people and their views for me to see that there is wonder everywhere.  Including this city.

If you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.”

I want a city that celebrates beauty.  There is beauty here.  Have you seen our bayfront?  Have you visited our Oso Preserve?  Have you looked out over the bay in the morning and watched the sun rise?  Have you gone out to Port Aransas and seen the dolphins and the sea turtles and the stingrays right at your fingertips?

I want a city that celebrates nature.  Nature abounds here.  Have you seen the bobcat babies out at the Oso Preserve rolling around?  Have you visited the Nueces Delta Preserve and watched the birds?  Have you spent a day on the Gulf and felt the summer breeze as your toes sunk in the sand or maybe gone out early enough to see the baby sea turtles make their way to the water?  Have you walked the trails at the Botanical Gardens and seen the natural beauty our deep southern city has to offer?

I want a city that celebrates intentional moments.  There is TIME for intentional moments here.  Remember how everyone is so relaxed?  If I choose to embrace that mentality, then I finally have a chance to slow down and actually live my life with intention.  I’m not sure the same could be said about a large city where the opportunities are endless.

I want a city that makes me happy.  Sunny days make me happy.  The beach makes me happy.  The breeze that makes the heat bearable makes me happy.  Knowing the people at the grocery store and the bank and my neighborhood makes me happy.  Not having to sit in traffic makes me happy.  A short drive to anywhere in my city makes me happy.

I want a city that celebrates education.  We have a gorgeous University here, as well as a community college, both full of bright young men and women.  We have the Texas State Aquarium with educated volunteers and staff that can answer any one of my kids’ millions of questions.  We have an annual Texas Outdoor Challenge that gives us the opportunity to embrace our local nature spots.  We have historical Goliad and San Antonio within driving distance to explore at our leisure.

I want a city that is charming.  That complaint about being a big city with a small town attitude?  Yeah, it turns out that there’s quite a bit of charm in that.  We haven’t become a big city with a big city attitude.  Somehow this city has preserved all its small town charm despite the growth.  Have you visited our downtown area?  Have you perused the fresh produce at our farmer’s market?  Have you walked along the seawall?

I want a city that celebrates goodness.  There is goodness here.  Have you met the people?  It’s the people that keep me here.  They’re kind and friendly and warm and interesting.  These people here are the most welcoming and inviting and accepting.  And I am grateful.

I may not have chosen to live here, but I do choose to LOVE where I liveIf you want to live in a kind of town, the kind of town you like, you needn’t pack your bags and go on a long, long hike.

Still not convinced that you can fall in love with your city?  Try being a tourist in your town.

If you’d like to live
in the kind of town
like the kind of town you’d like.
You needn’t slip
your clothes in a grip
and start on a long, long hike.

For you’ll only find
what you’ve left behind.
There’s nothing that’s really new.
You’re knocking yourself,
when you knock your town.
It isn’t your town – it’s you!

Real towns are not made
of people afraid
when somebody else gets ahead.
When everyone works
and nobody shirks,
you can raise a Town from the dead!

So, if while you make
your personal stake,
your neighbor can make his, too.
You can make a town
what you want it to be.
It isn’t the town – it’s you!

– Author unknown

 

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{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

There is beauty and wonder EVERYWHERE.  It’s up to us to slow down enough to actually see it.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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A String of Choices

Our lives are just one long string of choices.

This ability to make choices rules us.  It starts the minute our feet hit the floor in the morning and it continues until we drift off to sleep each night.

Every decision defines us.  It shapes our souls and breathes life into our priorities.

Some choices are easier to make.  Some are so difficult we find ourselves on our knees asking for guidance.

Some are permanent.  Others allow forgiveness and a second chance.

Some are thoughtless.  Some are habit driven.  Ingrained in our heads to the point where we don’t even really think that we’re making a choice.

Some of them we make not realizing their effect on us until it’s too late to choose otherwise.

The word choice by definition means “an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities” which means there’s always something we’re NOT choosing when we make a choice

The choice to work a little later rather than bow out a bit early to watch the sun set.  The choice to check our phone again rather than engage in a conversation with the people sitting right there in front of us.  The choice to multi-task rather than focusing on this moment…this conversation…this person.  The choice to commit to too much rather than choosing one thing and soaking up all its glory.  The choice to do rather than to be.  The choice to worry about the future rather than to live in this moment.

I think of all the choices I’ve made.  All the moments I’ve chosen things over people.  All the moments I’ve chosen complex over simple.  All the moments I’ve chosen not to listen, not to do, not to accept.  All the moments I’ve chosen worry over contentment.  And I know that those choices haven’t necessarily been the difficult ones nor have they all been the permanent ones.  Instead I like to think they’ve become my teaching ones.  The choices that make me feel empty or scared or sad or overwhelmed…those are the choices that give me a glimpse of what I don’t want my life to feel like.

And so I choose to make each decision a little more consciously.  It’s about making life-affirming, people-loving, simple-living, world-appreciating choices.  And it’s done with gratitude and openness and intention.  Because when we choose with intention, we choose consciously.  We choose what we want our life to say.

So today I choose to live with every intention.  I choose the people right here with me.  I choose joy and gratitude.  I choose simple.  I choose contentment.  I choose glory in the beauty that comes naturally.

And you?  Whatever you choose, let your choices reflect your intentions.

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A Chance Encounter

Our paths crossed ever so briefly.

She was sitting on the beach, her feet in the water, down by the lake near our campsite.  A phone in her hands, she looked up and smiled at the kids as they ran past her splashing in the water.  We exchanged pleasantries and discovered we were camping neighbors.  Hers was the lone tent we had seen set off in the distance, flanked by a solitary chair.  We teased her that she had come looking for peace and quiet and we were the farthest thing from peace and quiet.  She smiled and said she wasn’t bothered.

I laid out our beach blanket and settled down to watch the kids splash about through the eye of my camera.  Several times I thought about going over and talking to her.  I was curious about her story.  Everyone has one.  We once met a woman well into her 60s who was biking across the states, living in a tent smaller than my kids’ school table.  Another time we met a dad who had taken his daughter out camping for the first time and happened to be traveling to our hometown to visit his mother.  I wondered what her story was.  A young lady with a beautiful smile and an easy laugh, alone in the woods.

But something wasn’t quite right.

By her side was a red tumbler.  I remember noticing it because it reminded me of my grandma and her Tupperware tumbler that she filled with alcohol every evening.

The kids laughed and splashed about and soon the young woman rose, unsteadily, to her feet.  She wavered into the water and made a shallow dive to submerge herself.  I remember thinking how cold that must have been.

We watched intently, voicing our fears that perhaps she wouldn’t resurface.  She did.  She attempted to climb up upon the pier and lost her balance, falling backwards into the water.  She tried again and this time she managed to make it up to the top of the pier.  She walked out to the middle of the platform and took a drunken, swaying dive into the water.  We held our breath until she resurfaced.

She swam back to the shore, picked up her phone and immediately began using it again.

We all let out an audible sigh of relief.  She was out of the water.  Safe.

Later when we were drying the kids off and loading up the car to return to our campsite, she left the beach and came up to her car.  Thinking I’d see her later, I did nothing more than smile her way.  She refilled her drink and then got into her car.  We never heard the car start nor did we see her drive away, but we loaded up the kids and drove back to our site, assuming she was safely on shore.

We occasionally glanced her way, towards the lone tent, expecting to see her car at any moment, but the minutes passed and she didn’t return.

She was, for all intent, a stranger.  And as a stranger, there were invisible boundaries I did not know existed.  Boundaries I only feel now with hindsight being twenty-twenty.

I went to bed uneasy.  Where was her car?  Why hadn’t she returned to her campsite?  I wondered if I should be more concerned.  Should I be looking for her?  But what could I do?  She was an adult.  When I had last seen her she had been safely out of the lake, far from the water.  For all I knew she had driven into town and was drinking away the night at a local bar.  Maybe she had met a friend in town for dinner.  Maybe she had gone wandering down the trails to walk off the effects of the alcohol.

They found her the next morning, further downstream.  Her death was declared an accidental drowning.

There are a lot of unsaid should-haves here.  A lot of unrest and regret.  I should have made sure she got back safely to her campsite.  I should have alerted a park ranger.  I should have talked to her there on the shore.  I should have listened to that unease in the bottom of my stomach.  I should have gone looking for her back at the lake.

But that would be a bit arrogant, wouldn’t it?  To assume that somehow I could have twisted the hands of her fate?

Of course I don’t know her.  And that makes the whole thing just seem unfair.  How was it that we were given the task of being the last to see her, the last to talk to her?  I have the last photograph of her trapped on my camera.  Shouldn’t that mean something more than what it does?  Which is essentially a tale of strangers crossing paths.

I didn’t save her.  I didn’t even know she needed saving.  I hardly talked to her.  And maybe she needed someone to talk to.  I didn’t check on her.  Clearly she needed someone to check on her.  I didn’t invite her over to roast s’mores and sit around the campfire.  Maybe she needed to feel invited.  I didn’t stop her from drinking or driving or swimming.  And she needed someone to stop her.

But again, all of that assumes arrogance.  To assume that one brief conversation, one invitation, one moment could change the course of fate.  To assume that even if I had tried to stop her or save her or check on her that I could have done something.

I don’t accept responsibility for what happened.  Any sane person could reason that I did nothing wrong.  She was a grown woman, aware of the risks of drinking and swimming.  Although, truth be told, it’s just as easy to reason that I did do something wrong.  How could I leave a drunk woman near a body of water?  How could I not do something when her car was still missing?  How could I think she was any better off getting in her car?  How did I allow her being out of the water to alleviate my responsibility?

Because.  Because if nothing had happened, if she had shown back up late that night or even the next morning with a massive hangover and clothes still damp with lake water, I wouldn’t have thought twice about my choices the previous afternoon.

But that thought?  It doesn’t make it settle any easier in my soul.

There was a reason that we were the last ones to see her.  The last ones to talk, however briefly, to her.  And oh how I wish I knew that reason. Not to alleviate me of some heavy guilt or to free me of my part in her last day, but to make her death make sense.  To give an untimely death to a vibrant young woman a purpose.

I have to believe though that there is a reason buried somewhere in the confines of a terrible situation.  A reason that it all happened exactly as it did.  That’s faith interwoven desperately with hope.

I want to believe it’s about me.  I’m desperately trying to figure out why I hesitated and didn’t go over to talk to her.  I want to know why three times I felt something tugging at me to let her be.  I want to know why I ignored that unsettled feeling when she didn’t return that night.  I want to know why her smile still haunts me.

But this one isn’t about me.  There was something greater at work than I can imagine.  There’s a purpose there, something tucked away in that memory I now have of a stranger that will always be a part of me.

Perhaps it’s a lesson of intentionality.

A lesson to be present in this moment right now because there is no guarantee that there will be another moment after this one.  A lesson to tell the ones we love that we love them right now because there might not be another moment to tell them. A lesson to talk to the lonely stranger on the beach right now because I might not get a chance to hear her story tomorrow.

This might be the only moment I get.

We were the last to see her.  The last to speak to her.  The last to witness some of her final moments.  That can’t be an accident nor can it be forgotten and I owe it to this stranger to not let that chance meeting be in vain.

So I  go on.  I spend my days believing that her death had a reason.  A reason I will probably never fully understand, but I trust that our paths crossed exactly as they did exactly when they did because they were meant to.

And I hope those last memories…the kids splashing and laughing, the sun shining on the lake, the breeze rustling the leaves, I hope those were the lovely thoughts she had as she passed from this life to the next.

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Chihuahua Syndrome

You know that whole idea that little dogs that hang out with big dogs think they’re big dogs because they look at the other dogs and just assume they’re the same size?  We call that the Chihuahua Syndrome over here.  And Katie has it.

She hangs out with the boys all week long and while (luckily!) she doesn’t think she’s a boy, she does think she’s much bigger and much more capable than she is.  Case in point:  A few months ago the boys climbed up on top of the air conditioning unit and were jumping off with wild abandon.  Katie followed, thinking she was quite capable of the same dangerous feat and ended up spraining her wrist in the process.

Sometimes it works to her benefit.  She learned to swim at two, well and without fear, because her 4, 6 and 8 year old brothers were doing it.  She “does” school and eagerly “writes” letters alongside the boys.  She’s quite capable of self-care, never realizing that she’s got a two year gap between herself and the next brother.  She demands equality, telling us that she can stay up as late as the boys, she can go on that ride at the fun park.  Doggone it, she can DO whatever the boys can do.  And it’s not about gender to her.  It’s about a fuzzy view of self.

She looks at them as if it’s a mirror that reflects her while completely avoiding the fact that she is, in essence, nothing like them.  She’s her own unique little being and she’s not meant to live her life as a reflection of someone else.

One day recently we were out bike riding and I was explaining to William about Katie and her chihuahua syndrome and, while the essence of the topic completely escaped Katie’s thoughts, it did manage to kick her imagination into gear and she said to me, “I’m the baby chihuahua and you’re the mama chihuahua.”  After which she completely dissolved in a fit of giggles and “arfs.”

But her casual thought got me thinking.  “…you’re the mama chihuahua.”

It’s true.  So true.

I look at other moms and I treat them as a reflection of me and I begin to think that I must do what they do because, after all, I need to keep up with the big dogs.  I click from Pinterest project to Pinterest project and scan beautiful blogs with beautiful stories and I actually allow myself to see me reflected in them.  I meet a mom at playgroup and I see how calm and together she is and I think that’s what I should look like.  I gather with friends and I am sure that their ideas are the answer to everything wrong in my life and I must do things just as they do.  I allow myself to actually think that I must do whatever they do because, doggone it, even if it kills me, I must keep up with them.

I see the perfect cupcakes, the clean house, the adorably dressed children, the impeccable yard and I just keep trying to keep up.

But this is wrong.  All wrong.

Because I am bound to fall and sprain my wrist if I continue to try to keep up with the big dogs.

How can I possibly read that beautiful post that reflects the journey of that family and allow myself to think that perhaps my journey is meant to look just like that?  How can I see those Pinterest projects and think that doing something like that defines me as a mom?  How can I continue to fall into the comparison trap knowing that I’ll always find myself lacking?  How can I keep trying my best to be a big dog when I’m really just a little dog with my own little puppies?

I can try and try all I want but I’m NOT that mom.  I’m me.

See my little family over here.  We’re completely different than that family over there.  Our house looks different.  Our schooling looks different.  Our meals look different.  Our conversations sound different.  Our journey is different.

I am my own unique little being and I’m not meant to live my life as a reflection of someone else.

 

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Not Everything Intentional is Intentionally Planned

It’s so easy to make rules about life.  To imagine things as black and white and perfectly planned.  Then you walk out into the world armed with a list of rules and expectations and sure enough, you run smack dab into a gray situation.

And you have to choose.

It’s not always easy or obvious.  Your rules don’t fit and you find yourself redefining the original rules and expectations.  Life is fluid.  Sometimes you just have to go with it.

Being intentional is no different.  When you decide to be intentional about life it can almost become a religion.  A rule to live by.  A mantra.

But you have to be careful because being intentional isn’t the same as setting goals or planning ahead and it’s really easy to begin to blur that line as you shift into trying to live a life of being intentional.  Sure a calendar helps you to be intentional about your time and learning to set realistic goals makes being intentional more possible, but being intentional is really about this moment.  Whatever this moment is, whether it is intentionally planned or unintentionally presented.

Take this little guy.  He followed us home last month.

Daxson shook his head.  Now’s not the time for a dog, he mouthed to me as the dog happily licked my kids.  He was right.  This wasn’t an intentionally planned moment.

But this dog.

He’s sweet and docile and extremely lovable.  He makes my kids giggle and he brings unbiased love to our little domain.  He’s loyal and protective and always happy to see us.

He was homeless, having been dumped in our neighborhood, and in need of people.

So we made a decision.

We kept him.

We chose that one moment over a multitude of future what-if moments and we chose to keep him.

Sometimes life is like that.  We fail to be present in this moment because we’re far too busy thinking about our imaginary future moments.  Being intentional is about THIS MOMENT right now and how we choose to live THIS MOMENT.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

Sometimes it’s the message we leave behind us, without words, that speaks of what’s in our hearts.  Let your message be intentional.

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