Thanksday #91

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(tap, tap, tap)

Check one, two…check one, two, three…

Is this thing on?

(ahem)

Hi, my name is Monica and it’s been FOUR MONTHS since my last Thanksday.

(My penance will be abstaining from the Cheez-It.)

I know, four months. It’s pretty ridiculous. It’s not that I haven’t been thankful — because believe you me, the thanks are thick — I’ve just been focused on some other things. Like kids and husband and kids and husband in school and this BE thing, and because of all that, I’ve let this little ol’ blog slide. But as I mentioned on one of our BE podcasts recently, I miss my Thanksdays. I miss being silly and letting loose. I miss keeping track of my thankfuls in Evernote. I miss the consistency of writing each week.

And mostly I miss your comments about what you’re thankful for. Those always make me laugh and inspire me to no end.

So I’m stretching and creaking and blowing off the cobwebs and getting this ship pointed back in the right direction. (Did you hear my knees just crack?)

Without further ado, thankfuls this week are (in no particular order):

1. 9 am School Starts. My kids’ school and preschool both start at 9 am. And it is the most wonderful, blessed thing on the face of the earth. I cannot count how many mornings I’ve blowed dry my hair at 8:15 am and thought, “Thank you GOD that school doesn’t start until 9!” Our mornings are smooth(er) and calm(er) than they would be if we all rushed around like crazy people to leave the house at 7:40. It would be pandemonium. Chaos. Anarchy! (I’d be the anarchist, purposely making them tardy every. single. day.)

2. FitBit. I got a FitBit over Christmas break and I’m in love. It’s the Flex — I wear it on my wrist and it tracks everything I do, from showering to walking around the house to sleeping. I’ve linked it to my Lose It account and so I am keeping meticulous track of activity and food, and it’s been incredibly insightful for me. (Such as, I like to eat. Who knew??) In fact, I’ve discovered since I got it that my sleep patterns are totally whack. Every single night, it seems I follow the pattern of restless sleep for 10 minutes, restful sleep for 30. Restless for 10, restful for 30. And that happens all night every night. No wonder I’m a fatigued mess and IV coffee all day long. Just have to figure out what to do to fix that. Any ideas??

3. Down Time. I started something new this week — I won’t call it a “resolution” per se, but a plan to be more intentional at home. From 5 o’clock each day until the kids go to bed, I put down the computer, phone and iPad, and allow myself to be present. This not only provides down time for me, but makes me more aware of the kids and the house and helps me to slow down and enjoy our evenings. It’s made our nights (really, it’s made ME) more relaxed and enjoyable…and while the kids might be playing on the stuff and doing other things, I’m not. I’m just there in the mix with them…ready if they need me or are asking me anything. It’s been a blessing for me.

4. Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia. I’m trying to limit my artificial sweetener intake and use just pure Stevia when necessary. But since most coffee shops and restaurants don’t carry it, I bought a bottle in the Vanilla Creme flavor to keep in my purse everywhere I go. I’m sure I look incredibly sketch doing it — like I’m sneaking drops of liquid crack into my coffee — but it’s working for me. Score.

5.  Aloneness. I admit, I’m that weird mom who loves having her kids home from break. I was fervently praying we’d have a couple snow/bad weather days to stay home after the new year to prolong school just a little. bit. longer. I love the lack of schedule, the hanging out in PJs, the laughter and giggles, naps — all of it. HOWEVER. Now that the kids are back, my introverted self who thrives on silence and being alone has been very, very happy and has a much fuller energy tank after a couple mornings alone in her house. Just sitting here by the sunny window in an eerily quiet house with my hot stevia’d coffee warms the cockles of my heart. Yes, the cockles of my heart.

6. HCJ and AI. Listen, I haven’t watched American Idol in years. Once Simon left I couldn’t care less about the show. So I’ve had no intentions of watching Idol ever again. Until. One night, mindlessly watching TV and reading, I heard that smooth voice and charming personality leap through the screen into the living room. I looked up in amazement as I saw Harry Connick, Jr as a judge for the upcoming season. And in a split nano-second, I decided I AM ALL IN. I will be watching every single episode all season long. I’m back, I’m hooked, I might actually call in and vote. Well played, Idol.

7. Be Still Be FreeI am beyond blessed that God has allowed me to be a part of this amazing thing He’s doing with BE. Week after week, with every podcast and post, He is so faithful to us. I shake my head in amazement often.

8. Seat Warmers. It was a balmy 1-degree earlier this week. Need I say more?

9. A Hilarious Husband. There is no one — not a single one — who makes me laugh as much as my husband does. This has been a particularly hilarious week, and I’m beyond thankful for a spouse who loves to enjoy life, not just live it.

10. Grown-up Furniture. For the first time in our marriage we have a real dresser. And real nightstands. And our master bedroom — for the first time in almost 11 years — isn’t the shabbiest room in the house with all the leftovers. #whatadifference

Well friends, that felt good. Real good. I guess Thanksday blogging is really like riding a bike.

Steely. Out.

What are you thankful for this week?

Be Still Be Free Podcasts

I have done a bad job of linking from here to BE each week for our podcasts! I think I’m three weeks behind, so to catch up, just visit Be Still Be Free or click on each image below for the topic you’d like to listen to and it’ll take you to that week’s post.

Happy listening!

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Week 8: BE BEAUTIFUL

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Week 9: BE JOYFUL

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Week 10: BE THANKFUL

To make sure you don’t miss any podcasts, be sure to click over to iTunes and subscribe — it’s free! — and each week the podcast will automatically load into your account for you.

Also, looking for some fun and unique Christmas gifts? Check out the BE shop! Give the gift of BE this Christmas!

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Have a blessed and thankful this week!

No Vacancy

Rooms available

There is NO. ROOM. at this inn.

Why? Well…

I wrote for almost THIRTY ONE DAYS IN A ROW the same month we launched This Thing.

And then it was Halloween and I wore an afro.

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And then it was November and our church had a luau. (Because of course!)

LUAU

And I wrote about naked trees and emptiness.

And now it’s just days (DAYS!) before Thanksgiving and I feel sort of out of words.

Especially since I’m verbally expressing a few words here and here.

I just don’t know if I’m going to have many words here for the next few weeks. Because The Elf is making a return soon and the church Christmas production is coming up and then Paxton’s 4th birthday and good grief I have to shop and wrap and decorate!

All this to say — consider this fair warning that this place may be a little closed for business for the next few weeks as I focus on BEING with my family and friends over the holidays. I know that goes against everything PLATFORM — but whatevs. Jesus didn’t forsake His being to focus on His platform, now did He?

(I just Jesus Juke’d my own self.)

(There should be a law.)

Please make sure to check out Be Still Be Free in my absence, because this is The Thing that has most of my focus and attention in this particular season, and rightfully so. It’s the bomb-diggity, yo. Supa-phly with a ‘ph’ and all that jazz.

I love you to pieces, and receive all the grace you’re throwing my way.

Wishing you an incredible, gravy-and-jellied-cranberry-full Thanksgiving!

Being Content

RESTORATION HARDWARE

The catalogs arrive in the mailbox piled high, with glossy covers and they promise — these catalogs — warmth for my home and gatherings around the table and time spent with family.

So I open them up with childlike glee and flip the glossy pages one by one. With every turn I glance around my living room and notice. I notice the old, stained couch. The spots where I messed up painting the shelves. The vases that you loved when you bought them but just seem blah for no apparent reason now.

And suddenly, because I saw what I don’t have, everything I loved just moments before seemed insignificant and outdated.

I opened the pages to the latest issue of What Could Be and instantly my worn and well-loved copy of What I Have doesn’t measure up.

It happens outside of the catalogs, you know. The stirring of dissatisfaction and discontentment leaps off glossy pages and into our matte lives at church and school and work and play and promises happier marriages and better behaved kids and thinner! richer! now! if we stare at them long enough.

And we buy into it — the carefully crafted advertising (I know, I worked there) that promises you can Build It and Be It and Have It if only…

If only.

Sometimes it happens in places we consider safe and exempt from the glossiness of paper. Sometimes discontent shows up unexpectedly in our safe places with otherwise content comrades. Like when you walk into a blogging conference with 450 other Jesus-minded word specialists and suddenly your blog isn’t big enough, shiny enough, artsy enough or godly enough. And you realize you aren’t extroverted enough or bold enough to just walk up to her and strike up a conversation.

Sometimes discontent shows up in the places you thought would be the absolute safest. And you realize your contentment foundation is as flimsy as the uv-coated paper the catalogs are printed on.

So then what?

Join me over at my other home, Be Still Be Free, today to participate on the journey toward discovering what it really means to BE CONTENT. We have a 30-minute podcast, blog post, practical applications, additional resources and free printable to help us walk through the contentment process.

Click here to hop over!

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So the 31 Days is over, and quite honestly, I miss it. I miss the daily reminder to be, just be, just be. I miss the challenge of creeping up on 9 o’clock at night and sitting down to figure out what on earth I’m writing about for tomorrow. I miss relying on God at those times and feeling Him just download a post into my brain and typing away and being amazed by what He gives me.

But fortunately, not having a 31 days challenge frees me up to think a little bit more about the place that launched just four weeks ago — Be Still Be Free. It frees me up to get a little more creative about what we can offer you as far as resources and tangibles and reminders TO BE that you can hold in your hand and literally put in your pocket.

So more on that to come. (wink, wink)

Being Honest (31 Days #28)

To read all the posts in the 31 Days series, click here.

I tried to write from Allume the first two days, but I just couldn’t put things into words, and I’m not sure I can yet. But I can say I have a lot to process. As in, miles and miles to process. As in, this weekend left me with a multitude of opportunities to be honest with myself, and I didn’t like most of it.

Until I can sift it all down into brain-wrappable thoughts, I wanted to let you know that episode 4 of the Be Still Be Free podcast is live today! Today starts a 5-week series called Be Good To Yourselfand over the next five weeks we’ll discover what it means to Be Honest, Be Content, Be Emotionally & Mentally Healthy, Be Spiritually & Physically Healthy and Be Beautiful.

Y’all, it’s going to be a soul-churning few weeks.

In a good way. I hope.

So click on over to Be Still Be Free to read the post, get tips on practical application, free downloads and additional resources, and listen to the podcast.

And I’ll be back Tuesday either with thoughts about Allume, or random thoughts about Being a Unicorn or something like that.