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Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Give yourself Permission

As I was just sitting here thinking about what to post today, and not really feeling like posting because My neck is tight, it's that time of the month, I realized I WON'T be sleeping in tomorrow and well, I just am not feeling it, the thought popped in my head "give yourself permission". Permission for what? I have no idea. But you will. You will know what you, yourself, personally need to give yourself permission to do or to feel or to think. I'm sure as I go through my day, I will know what this means for me.

It is now the end of the day and I almost didn't finish this post because I was busy looking at soccer videos.

And yes, I did give myself permission...permission to enjoy the beautiful fall leaves, permission to spend the evening at home because I wasn't feeling great instead of going to a birthday party, permission to not get the million things done that came to mind, that I couldn't do because my nails aren't dry...lol, true story though (I need to go to the bathroom, I have a load of laundry in the wash, dishes in the sink and a few other things I know I was supposed to do).

So don't be afraid to give yourself permission, in whatever degree you need to for the moment!

With Joy UNquenchable,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Holiday Expectations, Part 2

Do you feel like you're getting a handle on your holiday expectations? Are you able to finally breathe and say "you know, such and such doesn't really matter, it's the relationships and memories that really matter". Still not quite sure? Start out by making a few lists.

1.  A list of traditions:

  •      If you are married, ones handed down from both sides of the family and ones you might want to start for yourselves. 
  • If you are single but maybe living on your own or with roommates you can do the same, or you can think of a new tradition you want to incorporate in to your family or with friends.
  • Traditions would include things like:
    • When do we get a tree
    • What kinds of goodies get made
    • When do we open presents
    • Fill in the blanks.....

2.  A list of expectations:

  • Meals: Who will host, what will be served, who will bring what, who to invite
  • Gifts: Will names be exchanged throughout all extended family on all sides, gifts for just immediate family, gifts for friends, how much will be spent.
  • Decorations: Full on Better Homes and Gardens Cover Issue, simple yet meaningful, or not at all.
  • Family participation: Do you expect everyone to jump on board with your plans (do they even know your plans)
  • The entire house needs to be decked out in lights..I don't care what it costs.
  • Fill in your own blanks
Now, go through that list and decide what is realistic and what can be put in the "round file", even if it's not a permanent round file, you just realize that for now, this isn't going to work. I truly believe we can lower our expectations without compromising quality, memories, tradition. It just means we're willing to make adjustments for the good of everyone around us.

Here are some things that we have done:

  • We had decided that once we had kids, we wanted to spend Christmas morning at our own house. Now, this wasn't set in stone and sometimes we changed that, but it was important to us so we made plans to travel to visit family later that morning.
  • We also decided that we didn't HAVE to celebrate with family on those specific days, we could celebrate the next weekend or whenever it worked for everyone. 
  • My mom used to always do seafood on Christmas Eve, but hubby isn't as huge of a fan and it's spendy so we changed it up and now I make Clam Chowder for Christmas Eve
  • We used to buy gifts for everyone in the extended family (parents, siblings, nieces/nephews) and friends. Over the years we've had to adjust that as finances change, and if we do buy gifts for others we don't break the bank. We don't break the bank anyways.
  • Every Christmas morning I make cinnamon rolls. I don't know how this one started, but somewhere along the line it became our tradition and it has stuck.
  • While my hubby's family used to open all their presents on Christmas Eve, I just couldn't do it, so sometimes we open one on Christmas Eve and the rest in the morning.
  • As much as I love to host holiday, my Mother In Law really loves it and prefers if we have the holiday at their house. I decided I was okay with that and always make sure I bring several dishes to share. We usually head to their house early and spend the day. 
  • Every now and then we do a Christmas Card, but that can get expensive so sometimes I've done an email letter, or we've done a FB video or something creative and not as expensive.
  • When money is tight I cut down on the baked goods I make (because I usually cannot remember to buy things a little as a time in the months leading up to the holidays).
So you see, sometimes you just need to adjust your expectations in order to more fully enjoy the holidays. The above are just a few things we've done. Your expectations will look different than mine, or your sisters or someone elses. Just go with your flow and enjoy yourselves. 

With Joy UNquenchable,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Holiday Expectations Part 1

Yesterday we talked a bit about gearing up for the Holidays. Sometimes our emotions can get in the way and circumstances can get our eyes off what is really important. We set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and those around us and pretty soon we're dreading the holidays. Just this morning, my youngest daughter said "the next few months are my favorite: I mean, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, yummy food!" I just chuckled to myself thinking of all the work that means for me but so much fun for her. Don't get me wrong...it's a lot of work, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I have had to learn, however, to lower my expectations and just enjoy the moment.

As you look back on Holiday's past, were you relaxed and "in the moment" or were you silently stressed and on to the next thing in your mind? Different seasons of life can cause us to re-evaluate our expectations. If we fail to re-evaluate we will be met with disappointment upon disappointment. Why? Because we based those expectations on the circumstances of the past years and found the current moment sorely lacking.

Whether you are single, newly, married without kids, married with kids, new to an empty nest, divorced, etc..you have expectations of what the holiday's are supposed to be. Hallmark commercials blare perfection, family traditions run through your mind (and if you are married, you are marrying your husbands traditions as well), Newspaper Ads bombard us with everything we supposedly "must have". Social media is filled with stories of what everyone else has planned, what their home and tree looks like, the 20 course meal they are serving (and making all on their own). Blogs are filled with so many ideas. Pinterest is jam packed over the top decorations and recipes. It never ends.

Where do your expectations fit in with all of this. Maybe there are even "wars" in your own home about what should/should not be done, who should be invited, what we are eating, how much to spend on gifts, who to buy gifts for, etc....Just the other night my hubby had the audacity (lol) to suggest we didn't need a tree this year for Christmas....we almost put him out in the dog kennel.

What are some of the expectations you've had over the years?

What are some of the expectations you have for this year?

Are they realistic? Are they peace inducing?

Are you holding on to these expectations at the expense of joy and happiness just for the sake of "this is what we've always done", or "this is what is expected".

Is your family on board?

Our expectations will look different from the next persons, and that is completely okay. Please don't compare.

Tomorrow we'll go a little deeper and I'll share some of my own experiences.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Living Inside Out: Gearing Up for Holidays

It's the end of October, and just around the corner is coming YOU.KNOW.WHAT! Yes, the holidays...Halloween (which many go all out for), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and for us two birthdays! YIKES! Who in the world managed the creation of the holiday schedule? Oh, let's just lump the major ones all in a few month time frame!

Holidays can wreak Havoc on someones ability to Live Inside Out. No other time does the Outside scream louder for our attention. Tomorrow I'll talk about expectations but today lets just chat about gearing up our minds and emotions for the next few months. I believe that if we can gear up our emotions and our minds (thoughts), we can place appropriate expectations on the months to come. As the days go on, we'll see more Pinterest Holiday Pins, more blog posts, more FB posts that can begin to make us feel less than adequate in our abilities to pull off the perfect holidays. Been there, done that. Not only that, but the weather is a bit (or a lot) gloomier so our moods may tend to be a bit more on the down side.

The key to heading off disaster early is to recognize our own mental and emotional fragility when it comes to these times. By now, as adults, we are more than aware of the things that make us tick and the things that make our "bombs" go off. We take so much time getting physically ready but rarely do we take time to prepare our hearts, minds and emotions. From year to year circumstances can change which will ultimately impact how the upcoming holidays will take place. Maybe a job change, a death in the family, additions to our families with new expectations, stress in relationships, physical limitations, the state of world economics, the list could go on. The question is, what are you going to do to make sure you do not fall apart trying to make everyone else happy?

For me, personally, it's important to remind myself that the physical, tangible things are not the core of what these holidays mean for us as a family...yes, they are fun, but that is not what I want to hold on to. I love decorating for the holidays, but this year things have been so busy and my emotions have been a little wonky so I just did not have any desire to decorate for fall. I decided that I'd rather not decorate, then feel the stress of climbing up in the attic of my pumphouse to pull down my tubs, only to take them down a month later for Christmas. I chose to choose my battles. For me, it would also be turning my thoughts towards who I am and the fact that my Papa God is not moved by anything on the external, but by my heart of love for him and His heart of love for me. Spending time contemplating my oneness with Him and love for my family and others helps me keep a proper perspective during these times. I am already aware that my own personal emotions are more sensitive than they were last year, so I need to have a plan, I need to realize and remember to breathe....often...inhale, exhale. It's all okay. It doesn't have to be what everyone else says it needs to be. It just has to be what fits our family. That's it!

What can you do to prepare your heart, mind, emotions for the upcoming months? Maybe keep a journal, maybe turn off Pinterest, maybe sit the family down or send out an email if everyone is crazy busy and share your heart (because if they don't know what you're feeling or your heart, then we can't expect them to be on board with us).

Tomorrow we'll tackle some expectations. I'll leave you with a few quotes about holidays.

  • Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch ~Evelyn Glennie
  • Holidays are all different depending on the company and time in your life. ~Dominic Monoghan
  • The Holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can. ~Giada DiLaurentis

With Joy UNquenchable,

Friday, October 17, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: it's okay to have a rough week

This week has been rough! Physically, mentally and emotionally. I had no desire to post, not much of a desire to do anything. I've come to some conclusions that haven't been that fun and some things I need to do to take care of myself but not sure how to go about doing it when I feel at the end of my rope already. So this week I didn't blog. And that is just fine. It's okay to have a rough week now and then as long as we are aware of it and are resting in God's goodness no matter what (not sure I did a great job of that either). I definitely didn't do a good job living inside out, that's for sure. Tomorrow's a new day and all that can change.

With Joy UNquenchable,


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