Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is It Still Called Juggling If Half the Balls Are on the Ground?!

This week was another crazy-busy week. Back to school time is always so excitingly hectic. As I sat at my desk this week frantically trying to knock things off my To-Do list, the thought crossed my mind, "Is it still called juggling if half the balls are on the ground?!"

Surely I am not the only one who felt that way this week. You are juggling work, laundry, bills, church, shopping lists, dinner, and meetings and along the way you fumble a thing or two (or three, or four). Welcome to juggling 101! Since I didn't have enough things on my list To-Do list this week, insert sarcastic laugh, I googled How to Juggle. Actually there were some tips from Wikihow that might help us in juggling our lives.

Tip One
Relax, breathe, and don't get frustrated. Juggling can be difficult and it might take days for you to be able to juggle.
Sometimes we get so frantic in juggling our lives that we forget to relax and breathe! It is a necessity to success. Not taking those breathers leads to frustration and growing frustrated only makes the task more challenging. We have got to remember to take time to relax and breathe! Our society as a whole tends to think that stopping to breathe is a bad thing. Our work ethics lead us to be a little proud if we are firing off emails at midnight or responding to them even on vacation. We are addicted (finger pointing at self) to busyness. It is causing us to be less meaningfully productive, less satisfied, and less centered. We have got to relax and breathe!

Tip Two
If you fail, do not worry. Take a break and when you are ready, try again.
We are going to fail. Sometimes we set expectations of ourselves and others so high that we leave no room for failure and yet we know failure is going to happen. We can also look at history and see that failure sometimes leads to the greatest lessons and advancements. Allow yourself, and those around you, permission to fail with the expectation that we will learn from those failures and be better for it in the future! The energy we spend worrying is much better spent in other ways! We are going to fail, but do not worry. Take a break and when you are ready, try again.

Tip Three
Avoid juggling heavy objects.
There are some tasks that are too big to be juggled. You need to set down every other item and focus completely on the one task. Juggling sometimes keeps us from focusing on the things that matter most. We get so busy that we juggle our time with our families away. We try to do too many things and end up not doing any of them well. We need to prioritize. God and family cannot be juggled. Set down your balls and focus on the things that matter. There are some objects that you do not want to drop!

Tip Four
Do not attempt to juggle fire axes. Only professionals are equipped to do this.
I love this one! I think that I may have attempted to juggle fire axes before. I have a few scars to prove it! Some things are best left to the pros! Are there some things in your life that you have been juggling that you need to let go? Are there some decisions you have been trying to make, some relationships you have been trying to mend, some changes you have been trying to handle, that you need to release to a professional? Some things I juggle belong to God and not to me. He is able and willing to handle them and He will make it look so easy! My friend, do not attempt to juggle fire axes! Leave it to the professional!

Tip Five
This one wasn't on wiki how but should be. Have fun.
Juggling balls is intended to be fun, so is juggling life. No one dies wishing they had done more work, juggled more tasks, felt more stressed, missed more chances to laugh. In the end the thing that matters most is the way we loved. So at work have fun and love those around you. At home, put down the balls and enjoy your family. At church, have fun praising the God who made you and share his love with others. As you juggle, have some fun! Life is a ball, not about juggling them!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Want Less

I Want Less
by Anna Masten Jackson

I want less...
Less busy, more stillness.
Less worry, more peace.
Less pride, more humility.
Less desire, more satisfaction.
Less controlling, more releasing.
Less planning, more enjoying.
Less sitting, more moving.
Less complaining, more thankfulness.
Less stress, more rest.
Less judging, more grace.
Less anger, more forgiveness.
Less justification, more justice.
Less selfishness, more generosity.
Less technology, more relationship.
Less discouragement, more cheering.
Less doubt, more belief.
Less arguing, more understanding.
Less Facebook, more Bible.
Less fast food, more dinner.
Less deception, more trust.
Less silence, more communication.
Less brokenness, more healing.
Less indoors, more back porch .
Less hate, more love.
Less anxiety, more joy.
Less frustration, more patience.
Less faux, more genuine.
Less stuff, more time.
Less pity, more kindness.
Less talk, more action.
Less doubt, more hope.
Less fear, more faith.
Less negativity, more blessings.
Less talk, more listening.
Less sinfulness, more goodness.
Less abrasive, more gentleness.
Less of me, more of God.

John 3:30

Our world is all about more, more, more. As our thirst for more has increased the quality of life and happiness seems to have decreased. What if we have more when we have less? What is your list of less?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Paintings on Sandcastle Walls

I feel like I am running around hanging pictures on sandcastle walls.~ Anna

The past few weeks have been so busy!  Early mornings, late nights, and so much to do in between. It has been one of those seasons where your To Do list gets longer each day instead of shorter. Someone asked me the other day how things were going and I told them, "I feel like I am running around trying to hang pictures on sandcastle walls!" That imagery popped into my head and captures so perfectly how I feel. Just about the time I get the paintings hung and straightened I feel the sand shift and the picture has to be reworked--- if it hasn't fallen and totally shattered!

Isn't life just like that? We get things all straight and perfect and a wave comes through and knocks it catywampus! Waves like your husband dropping a coffee cup on his foot severing a tendon and requiring surgery (yes, that is one of my current waves), colliding agendas at work, schedules that are packed with activity, kids who need to be fed (and with 14 year old twin boys that is a big ole wave!), trying to squeeze the last joys of summer, and on and on. Sometimes the waves are awesomely delightful unexpected surges, sometimes they are devastating tides that knock out a whole wing of your sandcastle. Regardless of the type, all I can tell you is that the waves are going to come.

You know we all live in sandcastles. Everything is temporary and in a constant state of change. We deceive ourselves when we act as though we can really control much (and trust me, anyone who knows me will tell you I struggle with this. Hi, my name is Anna, and I am a control freak.)  So how do we keep from being frustrated when our paintings won't stay straight?  This is what I am thinking:

1. Realize this life is a sandcastle, not a fortress. Change will come. Learn to adapt.

2. Get used to a little imperfection. There is no such thing as perfect in the world of sandcastles. You cannot keep millions and millions of individual particles of sand in line. A little imperfection creates some depth and contrast. Embrace it.

3. Maybe the beauty of life is in the sandcastle and not the paintings we try to hang on it. Perhaps we focus on the wrong kind of beauty. Enjoy the sandcastle for what it is; an ever hanging structure with great opportunities for improvement!

4. Try to relax and have a little fun with your sandcastle. Have you ever seen a kid on the beach running around with a checklist, calendar and stopwatch as they build a castle? Nope, they plop down with a bucket and enjoy.  Relax! When waves come through it is a chance to get to play in the sand. Perspective my friends, it is all about perspective.

5. Building (and rebuilding)  sandcastles is a lot more fun with a friend. When waves come a long that shake the walls of your sandcastle, remember you don't have to rebuild alone. So often we try to do things in our own power and strength. God is a great builder of sandcastles. He is happy to help us build and talk about creative! Your sandcastle will be awesome!

So today, I am setting down my hammer and nails and picking up a shovel and bucket instead. I think I will stop focusing on the pictures and start focusing on the sandcastle. Wanna come play in the sand?