In the Sweet Sunshine

Seeking simplicity and rest in a tired world

Month: January 2018

A post about… alarm clocks?

Guess what?? I bought an alarm clock!

I’m your typical smartphone user. Currently an iPhone 6s to be exact. Four “pages” of apps, many of which are condensed into folders for ease of finding what I’m looking for.

But I’m ashamed to admit I’m very addicted to it.

Waiting in line at the grocery store? Check Facebook! Feeding my baby a bottle? See what’s new on Instagram! Two minutes till the microwave is finished? Hey look I got an email!

Of course, my phone isn’t completely evil, it also provides great tools to make my life easier. We only have one real flashlight in the house, since our phones are always with us. I don’t know if I could find a calculator in the house (well, I know there’s one in my husband’s backpack since he’s a math teacher). And for the last five years, I’ve used the alarm clock feature daily during the school year.

When my oldest was about two, she started getting up in the morning WAY too early for my liking. I knew she was smart, so I took the digital alarm clock from my nightstand and put it in her room, covered the minutes with a sticky note, and wrote the number 7 on the note. I taught her that when the numbers matched (aka, it was 7:something), she could come out of her room. IT WORKED.

Fast forward five years, now she and her sister share a bedroom with that same clock. They both know they need to stay in their room until 7:00. Plus they use the “sleep” button for listening to the radio while they play.

They love my clock.

But do you know what I’ve realized about myself? If I use my phone as my alarm clock, next to my bed (even if it’s in do-not-disturb mode!), I will find myself scrolling Facebook “one last time” at night, or checking my email as soon as my alarm goes off to see if I’ve missed anything overnight.

Do you do the same?

We’ve all heard the research telling us how bad it is for our eyes and our bodies to be looking at screens right before sleep, not to mention how our brains and moods are affected. More than anything, I was convicted about how attached to my phone I’d become, and I needed to find ways to start distancing myself from it.

So I bought a real, honest-to-goodness, old-school, radio-alarm-clock. And now my phone lives in the kitchen overnight, charging, away from my curious eyes.

I now keep a book on my nightstand instead, and have started reading before bed (even if it’s only 10 minutes before my eyes get droopy). I’m able to get up and see my family out the door for work and school and actually WAKE UP before checking to see what I missed overnight. (okay, I’ll admit I push the little button once when I walk by in the morning, just to make sure I didn’t miss any emergency texts or phone calls)

Small steps, right friends?

P.S. I ended up not reading the fine print on the box of my new clock, and not realizing how GIGANTIC the number display was. I used it for one night next to my bed and actually had trouble sleeping. The next day I switched it with the clock in my girls’ room (on the other side of the room from their beds). And now I have my trusty old clock back again. 🙂

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It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. -Ecclesiastes 5:18 NLT

Hygge

It’s been the buzzword of the last couple of years that no one knows how to pronounce (for the record, I’m pretty sure it’s hue-guh). It evokes images of fireplaces, slippers, and fluffy blankets. “Coziness” could be a basic English translation, plus feelings of well-being and contentment. I fell in love with the idea simply because it’s Scandinavian;  my husband and I both have Norwegian ancestry.

The past two weeks have been a struggle for me. My teacher-husband and older kids have been off school for Christmas break, so we suddenly went from just me and the baby to ALL FIVE of us home all day, every day. For a few days it was fun, sleeping in and sharing all of our meals together. Playing with new Christmas presents and reading lots of books.

Then I started getting a bit of cabin fever. You see, the last two weeks have been the coldest of the year here in mid-Michigan. High temperatures have been in the teens, lows overnight below zero, and windchills… let’s not talk about it. Which means I don’t feel comfortable sending my 7- and 5-year-old outside very often.

The weather forecast says warmer, more seasonal temps are on the way… just in time for them to head back to school.

At the beginning of break I had some ideas of actually going places, like museums and the LEGO store. But laziness set in, and each day began to slip by without plans. I started to wonder…

We have all this free time! I NEED to plan something for us to do!!

Am I depriving my children because we’re not taking advantage of this opportunity??

I’m such a bad lazy mom!!

Other people would LOVE to have a chance like this!!

And that’s the kicker. “Other people.” I started playing the comparison game, and my initial reaction was that I’d lost.

Whose family is this anyway? Are my kids or husband angry with me because we didn’t go somewhere and do something “fun” on our break? Will the question at school “what did you do over break?” evoke feelings of regret, or will my family have an answer they’re content with?

I haven’t asked them, but here’s what I hope they’ll say…

I read LOTS of books!

I slept in EVERY DAY! 

We played SO MANY games! (yes board games AND video games 🙂 )

Mom made awesome food!! (I can hope 😉 )

We finished a 1000 PIECE puzzle!!

I played outside in the snow one day and my FINGERS FROZE!! 

I learned to play piano!!

We stayed up till midnight on New Year’s Eve!! 

When I stopped to think about this, my attitude about the past two weeks shifted. Don’t these sound like the kind of memories we want our kids to have? Yes the big adventures and events and trips are great too (I’m hoping to plan a couple for summer break), but I also want our family to be able to find joy in the little things. My daughter’s classmate might have gone to Disney World, but I want her to be just as happy about beating Daddy in Mario Kart.

Life can’t always be about the big and flashy. Let’s find joy in the simple and cozy today, shall we?

P.S. I wish I had a fireplace, a cuddly cat, and plaid slippers, but I don’t. You can choose to find the coziness and joy of hygge no matter what material possessions you do or don’t have. 🙂

 

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It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. -Ecclesiastes 5:18 NLT

One word

When the “one word for the new year” craze started a few years ago, I rolled my eyes and thought it a bit too off-the-wall for me. There was no way I could build my entire year around a single idea or concept. So much was unknown about the coming year, would I really want to tie myself down to making decisions based on one thing? It was too broad and too vague.

In January 2016, my husband and I did our typical “goal jar” tradition, where we each write down big and small things (make homemade ice cream, blog more often, write songs and make an album…) then look at them together. That year, we had each written down something about our house — but they were a bit conflicting.

We had moved into our house in 2009, and started to finish the basement, but never got it completed. I said my goal for 2016 was to “move – or at least prep the house for moving.” But the goal he wrote down was “finish the basement and enjoy it.”

I’d been looking at our house with a sort of I-want-to-get-out-of-here-and-move-on-to-the-next-part-of-our-lives mentality. But during our discussion, my eyes were opened to looking at the here and now instead of the future.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I did indeed have a “word” for 2016 — home. And once I acknowledged that, I started seeing the word and theme everywhere. I read a few books about home (like this one and this one). And guess what? Five months later we found out we were pregnant, and NEEDED to finish that basement to have enough bedroom space. 🙂

I really did grow that year in that one, simple, broad-yet-specific word.

2017 went “word”-less for me, and that was okay. I didn’t dwell on it too much as my brain was focused on all-things-baby (she was born February 13). Now we’ve reached 2018, and all the one-word talk is happening again.

I’m considering making THRIVE my “word” for 2018.

Last year was spent mostly in survival mode, adjusting to life with three kids and simply being on autopilot (understandable!). In the fall I took an online class called Like Your Life with one of my favorite authors and podcasters. It was amazing to take some time for myself (even if it was only in short moments throughout the day), and through the guided questions I discovered passions and skills I’ve had for years but had never actually put into words.

As I reach the end of the 90-day-goal timeframe from the course, I’ll admit I’ve only followed through with one of the three goals I set. And that’s okay with me! Daily life is full of kids and activities, and even as I type this my 10-month old is pulling on my computer screen. 🙂 That’s the beauty of 90-day goals — it’s easy to reevaluate and restart when needed because it’s such a short timeframe.

Dictionary.com defines THRIVE as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish”.  I love that, because I have some areas of my life where I want to grow in this year, but I also want to do more than simply grow. I want to put concentrated effort into one or two things at a time and see where it takes me. Wish me luck!

Do you choose a “word” for your year?

heckyes.me

The first week of January is a time when many of us make a list of things we want to accomplish, like decluttering or losing weight. But the truth is, living a simple, fulfilling life doesn’t involve a checklist. There’s not some master to-do list that works for all of us. There’s actually an essential first step we all have to take before we can do those well-meaning things. And it’s this:

We have to know who we are. The ins and outs of how we’re uniquely wired.

This should be your first pursuit instead of cleaning out the garage or cancelling all your appointments. Because once you figure out who you really are, then you can discover your purpose. And once you’ve nailed down who you are and what you’re about, then you can take an honest look at your life, make reachable goals for simplifying that you actually care about, and even be a force of good in the world.

And of course, also get a handle on that laundry pile. And start that business. And volunteer for that charity that makes your heart pound.

heckyes.me

The Like Your Life course is self-paced, contains 30+ video lessons, a journaling workbook, audio downloads, and more. Once you’re in the course, you can come back to it again and again (I plan to work through it at least once a year!). It opens for enrollment a couple of times a year, and if you’re reading this the first week of January 2018, the course is currently open! Head here to learn more and enroll (and if the course isn’t currently open, you can join the waitlist to be notified when it is).

I hope you’ll take advantage of this life-coaching course, it really opened my eyes to some things about myself that I’m excited to pursue in the coming year!

 

P.S. If you’re wondering whether or not to add on the Facebook accountability group, DO IT. The encouragement and discussion is so worthwhile, and the weekly office hours with Tsh are awesome.

P.P.S. Wondering what the one goal is that I actually pursued after taking the course? Starting this blog. 🙂 The purpose statement I developed during the course was “I care about faith and family, and am good at communication and problem solving, so I’m here to grow in and write about simplicity and rest.” It might change as time goes on, but it’s what I’m working on in my year of THRIVE.

 

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It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. -Ecclesiastes 5:18 NLT