Aussie and proud ('scuse the post-Australia Day breakfast dirty dishes, this is a warts-and-all blog after all!!)
Happy Australia Day to all you Aussies here in this beautiful country of ours, and to all those scattered far and wide across this planet!! My dear sister, my kids and my mum and I went to our local Australia Day breakfast this morning, I love the events like this that draw our community together, and as always I was reduced to tears when as a community we sang 'We Are Australian' (I know, I'm a sap!). It's days like today that when we stop to remember where we've come from, what we've been through in our relatively short 'life' as a nation, and how it is the Aussie spirit to lend your mate a hand when he needs it that makes me so proud to be Australian. I know our history is far, far from spotless (what country's isn't??), and I pray that as a nation we can continue to move forward in harmony, to celebrate the differences of all the people and cultures who inhabit this huge land. We are so incredibly blessed to live in this country of freedom, of wealth and peace, I can only speak for myself but I know I take all of those things for granted - especially never haven't experienced any other culture than where I live - and I am trying to be intentional about giving thanks for the blessed, blessed life I live.
To the topic at hand - a week and a half into this being intentional gig, and so far, so good!! Very, very far from perfect, but different, and a good different. Routines are becoming, well, routine, especially in the morning. Get up - make bed- make coffee - prayer/quiet/reading time - shower - breakfast (yes, I had to put 'eat breakfast' on the list, because I kept getting to about 10:00am and wondering why I was hungry!). I'm absolutely loving the menu plan, it's absolutely taken away that groan of 'what am I going to cook tonight?', but still allows the flexibility of impromptu dinners with family and friends. I especially loved shopping from the plan, it's made me so much more prepared, and again has taken away the 'wondering' factor of meals in this house.
I think the 'to do' list has made the biggest difference, especially prioritising the MIT's (Most Important Tasks) a la Simple Mom, and eating my frog each day makes everything else seem so much more achievable. I've also found applying the same concept to my job brilliant, and am absolutely LOVING crossing everything off my various lists. I think that might be why I've found this way of managing my life relatively easy to adopt, I love lists. I write lists for everything, and the fact that this 'process' involves a few lists makes it right up my alley. I find crossing tasks off the list so satisfying, and I can see what I've acieved and what still needs to be done at a glance. I'm still finding the balance of the most realistic number of items on the list, because I have a propensity to put too many things on there, and not get everything done, and feel like I've failed, and wonder why I bother to keep going.....rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.
Prioritising my MIT's and eating my frog have freed me from that stupid self-imposed guilt, and I'm being much kinder on myself as to my expectations of what I can achieve in a day. I'm a single mum with 3 kids who works full-time in a job that takes a lot of mental and emotional energy, I'm involved in a couple of ministries at my church (including being a worship leader), I play taxi to the kids after work and on weekends, and have just committed to the gym again after about 6 months of being unwell. Oh yeah, being unwell would be the chronic illness I have that involves constant pain and can flare-up at any time and knock me off my feet. Just for fun. And I still expect myself to keep a tidy-at-all-times house, maintain a neat garden (that of course I'm growing all of our food requirements in (insert roling of eyes) ), cook everything from scratch, renovate my house and engage in all my various creative pursuits. And this year DD's calisthenics will involve sequinning. Yep. Reading that makes me tired. And realise more than ever how ridiculous my expectations are of myself.
We can't do it all, as women, as humans. I don't know whose expectations that we can are higher, ourselves or society's, at the end of the day I don't think it really matters, because ultimately, we are the only ones who can decide what is important to us, what are our priorities, and what is most worth spending our valuable time on. God gave us all 24 hours in a day to 'spend' on following His directions for us, and He gives us the desires of our hearts, He 'creates' what is important to us, and at 35, I think I'm *just* starting to work this all out. I can't do everything. I can't worry about what anyone else expects of me. I have to work out how to 'spend' my 24 hours (and I so wish I didn't have to spend any of them sleeping!) wisely and most effectively, and sometimes that means not doing, it means just being. And we need to be intentional about that. We need to find the balance that's right for us - God, family, work, play, serving others. I'm *so* not 'there' yet, and I don't know if I ever will be, because if there's only one thing in life that's constant, it's change, and we need to be willing to move, to bend, to be moulded, and at times to be refined in the fire. I learned a long time ago that life is a rollercoaster, and the only thing we can do is hang on for the ride - I know for me it has sometimes felt like I'm clinging by my fingertips, and other times I'm firmly secured in the seat, loving the thrill of the highs, and that's all part of the balance.
When I started posting on here again, my intention was to record my journey of living intentionally, to have something to hold myself accountable, and to hopefully see a record of progress. As I think more and more about being intentional, about applying these principles to my life, I'm finding more focus, thinking more about what's *really* important. Whilst I know what's important to me, I've never actually sat down and defined exactly what that is, identified what my priorities are that I need to spend my hours on, and I starting to write here again is helping me with that. This blog will likely evolve and change as I go along, as I find my balance, as I live with intention and purpose. I have no idea if I'll be doing this solo or if anyone will join me on the way, ultimately this is the journey God is leading me on, and I'm just going to hang on for the ride.
What's important to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.