30 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 23-25

I’m a little late but I’m grateful for
-my job: it’s so flexible I can manage (most days) the chaos of my traveling circus

-my home: it’s warm and cozy and despite the mess, it’s where my ❤️ is

-watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with my kiddos 
 (Photo credit Charles Shultz)

#CharlieBrown #Thanksgiving #30DaysofThankfulness #gratitude #homeiswheretheheartis #bossbabe #travelingcircus

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

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Running Just as Fast as I Can

If you know me, you understand I’m using my title ironically. I don’t run. Unless something scary is chasing me.

 (Photo credit Thug Life shirts)

But it feels like with all the pieces of my world swirling around I am running to catch up. I choose to believe that even though it feels like things are falling apart some days, they are really just falling into place.

I just need to figure out how to stop running.

It’s hard, because when I take a look at my life, I’m not sure what I can drop or remove or take away. I feel as if we’ve already culled all extraneous things, people and events: I can’t cut much more or I’ll be slicing bone.

I’m not built for speed. I’m built for yoga or weight training or walking but never for speed. So where does that leave those of us who are running to catch up, mostly due to life circumstances?

I don’t have the answers, but I do have a handful of ideas that I’ll be trying to implement. For instance, if I’m going to do all the caregiving I do–both for my four munchkins and for my disabled vet hubby–I need to make sure I’m taking care of me. For me this means getting exercise, reading for fun, talking to girlfriends and finding a space in my head and my house for some peace and quiet.

 (photo credit 3amdad.tumblr.com)

And finding time to drink copious amounts of coffee.

 (photo credit mrcoffee.com)

I also need to have a weekly Date Night with the man I caregive for so that we remain connected as lovers and friends. Otherwise it’s more like I’m nurse and he’s patient, which he wouldn’t mind at certain times if you get my drift, but in real every day life that’s hard on a relationship.

Spending quality time with each of my kiddos is also in my priority list. Not just in a hurry-up-get-ready-for-school-eat-your-breakfast sort of way, but really spending time talking with and listening to each kid’s heart. With lots of kids in the house I’m still trying to find my way through this.

 (Photo credit lifelovelauren.com)

Getting organized is also in my master plan to rule the world. Or at least my life. We’ve had some obstacles here between all the kids, a couple of moves, trying to survive 2013, publishing a book, getting creative enough to write another, and all the mountains of paperwork required by the VA for retirement and disability and caregiving. Have I mentioned that each department within the VA can’t see the paperwork we already submitted to another department? Just means an avalanche of papers are threatening to take over my life.

So while I’m theoretically running to catch up with my life and my loves, I’m reminding myself that giving myself a break and counting my blessings are a necessary part of this process. For my survival.

And my sanity.

 (photo credit Instagram)

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Give Yourself a Break

I hate to say it, but we’re starting off this week a little rough. I don’t know if it’s the weather or the anticipated break but yesterday and this morning have wrung me out to the core. 

There’s no one thing; it’s just the pile of things that weighs me down. Anyone else? 

 (photo credit livelifehappy.com)

Between the late night taking Charlie the Service Dog to the doggy ER (probable abscessed tooth, we’re following up with our regular vet today) and not hitting my caffeine limit yet today, I’m dragging booty. And of course I’m not super happy about spending money on doggy dental right before Christmas.

Sigh.

No longer can I party at the doggy ER all night then wake up super early to get four kids out the door. Remember those days? Some of you are still living them but I’m older now and I can’t do it. Back in the day I could stay up all night, grab breakfast with no sleep and head to class where my brain would still function pretty well.

Even a few years (and a few kids) ago, I could be up with a baby most of the night, hit the coffee hard and still make sound decisions at work.

Now–not so much.

Let’s just say there’s not enough coffee in the world today to make me feel comfortable doing much with the money/number side of my job. I’ll be doing things like checking the mail and returning phone calls and scheduling site visits. And I’ll take it easy on myself and continue to caffeinate.

And remind myself that I’m doing the best I can. 

Sometimes that’s the most kind thing we can do for ourselves. Keeping things in perspective, not talking bad to or about ourselves just because it’s a rocky start or a hard day. We can turn our own days around just by giving ourselves a break. 

 (photo credit Pommel Lane)

Don’t wait for anyone else to do it for you. No matter what you’re walking through or towards today, do your best and forget the rest. And then give yourself a break, remind yourself there are new mercies for all of us everyday, and live in peace despite your circumstances.

Take a minute. Breathe. Drink coffee. 

 (Photo credit single mothers.us)

This is my plan before I tackle the rest of my day. And no matter the outcomes of all the crazy I have going on, it will still be a blessed day.  

 (Photo credit evepostapple.tumblr.com)

I hope yours is too, friends.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 22

  (Photo credit On Sutton Place)
Grateful for Sundays–church, family dinners, afternoon naps, snuggling in the nest with the baby. What a great start to my week!
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Writer’s Blah

With January rapidly approaching and my sophomore effort at being an author not even close to finished, I’m way too Zen to be this far from my goal. 

I should be more nervous.

I don’t even have writer’s block–I have writer’s blah. Nothing I’m writing–when I even write–seems to be too terrific. My Internal Editor is in full force and effect and she is loud. And demanding. And annoying. She hasn’t made an appearance for awhile and she chooses now to show up?

I’m so over her.

In my procrastinating–which many artists, dreamers, writer’s and creative types will tell you is a necessary part of the process–I’ve come up with my Top 7 Ways to Avoid Writing Altogether. 

 (photo credit daniellaporte.com)

1. Clean stuff. I loathe cleaning but when I’m under the gun it sure seems like I have a cleaning emergency. This week alone I have finished my girly Harry Potter under the stairs closet and started going through kids’ clothes to donate. Who is this woman and what has she done with my domestically challenged self?! 

 (photo credit Meredith Shafer)

2. Writing on my blog. I have been so neglectful of my blog this fall and now it seems I’m brimming with ideas. I can’t stop. Someone help me.

3. Cleaning out my email inbox. Why oh why do several of my procrastination techniques involve cleaning? It must be a sickness. And why can’t I just do this all the time?

4. Checking new releases on Netflix. Yep, if I’m already “working” in my jammie pants and am burrowed into the nest in our bed and I’m tired of cleaning out my inbox I tend to need to see what’s new on Netflix. It’s all about being at the forefront of trends. 

Because that will help me write. 

 (photo credit buzzfeed.com)

5. Drinking coffee. You wouldn’t think drinking coffee would help my procrastination…but it does. I can tell myself to linger over a cup of liquid sanity in the stillness of the morning before everyone’s awake like no one’s business. Or tell myself just one more cup. Because if you’re not shaky it’s not enough coffee.  

 (Photo credit buyhimthat.com)

Speaking of, I think I’ll grab another cuppa joe while I procrastinate finishing this list of procrastination techniques… 

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 20

  
I’m grateful for Date Night with this guy! A chance to finish a conversation, relax, really see each other–what a gift😍💞 

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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#datenight #gratitude #30DaysofThankfulness #thankful #husbandandwifeforlife #marriage #dateyourspouse

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19 (I’m super late lol)

  Thankful for creativity in any form, for the artists and musicians and the dreamers and the writers–life without creativity would be so blah…

(photo credit Pinterest) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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#art #artist #writer #amwriting #writersofinstagram #music #musician #photographer #photos #create #creativity #dreambig

Grieving

This is a hard subject to tackle. But there seems to be so much of it in the world at large and in my own world these days that I feel wrong ignoring it.

Yesterday I had two really amazing conversations with friends. I wrote a post about one of them, deciding that choosing joy is always an option; the other, I had to mull over a bit. Because the other conversation was about grieving.

Download, print, enjoy.:

(photo credit shopredautumn.com)

Raw grief about does me in. I am an empathetic person with a cavernous capacity to feel what you feel. And I have grieved. Maybe not the same things as you. But I have felt a kind of grief that brought me to my knees, the pain doubling me over, the hope in my heart snuffed out letting only darkness in.

Whew, deep breaths.

When I spoke to my friend yesterday, she told me she was having a rough morning. She lost her grown son not too long ago and her whole family is devastated and decimated by their loss, as any family would be when someone is gone too soon. But as we spoke, I was so encouraged to hear that she has held on to her faith, that she has opened the curtains just enough to let some light in.

She was telling me about her special room: she had started working on this music room/prayer room/breathing space in August before her son passed. She said it was such a gift to have it now that he’s gone. And there were other people and circumstances that had been planted long before her loss that were like beacons of hope to her during this grief.

I was so inspired by her willingness to be raw and emotional and real in the midst of her grief. She was feeling it, but she was holding onto that beautiful edge of light that had entered her room. She was still standing, still filled with hope, and still worried about taking care of everyone around her.

Hope holds a breaking heart together.:

(photo credit aholyexperience.com)

Life is not fair. If it was, my beautiful friend would still have her son, and he and his lovely bride would raise their four boys and make more memories. And no one would be hungry. Or homeless. And veterans who serve their country wouldn’t come back broken into pieces. And anyone who could love and provide a home for a baby would have one.

I rail at these injustices sometimes.

But then I take a look at my life and ask myself, “Would I change it?” The answer is no. Even the hardest, worst things that have happened have made me this person and placed me in this space at this moment. And the worst of the worst has shown me how to reach back and give others hope and help pull them up. It seems this pulling up of others blesses me beyond measure.

If you live long enough, grief will touch your life. Some get mired in it, never to escape its grasp. And some, like my friend, manage to hold on every day to a growing seed of hope and measure of joy. The grief isn’t gone; it’s just tempered with a softness that tends to attract goodness.

For all my friends who may be grieving, I am here for you. I will help pull you up when you are ready. Despite your grief, and often because of how I see you walk through it, you are a blessing to me.

Thank you for sharing these hard things with me, for trusting me, and for letting me walk alongside you with my prayers, my presence, my service. Grief never ends, but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.:

(photo credit engelta.hubpages.com)

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

I’m grateful for sweet surprises. Unexpected generosity. Beautiful creativity. The twelve year old made this sign for me💗💗💗  That may be a bridge over troubled waters…😍

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
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#create #generosity #art #artist