Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hope

Years ago, Emily Dickinson wrote a poem that went like this:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
 
 
I can relate.  I especially love the part about the tune without the words because I feel like often hope is unable to be expressed, or, if you were to try, some part of it would be lost.
 
Back in July of last year, God gave me this verse to hang on to and for quite a while, it felt like the only ray of hope I had.
 
It was Isaiah 43:19.   "Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
 
I don't know about you, but I don't think I've ever seen a river in a desert.  At least, if there is one, its a miracle.  And I just kept thinking "If He can do that, He must be able to, somehow, someway, heal my heart and deal with my issues."
 
I have never in my life had so much to say but no words to say it.  When I try to explain what I have been going through, I just falter and stumble and can't get the words together in a way that makes sense to even myself, much less anyone else.
 
It feels lonely.  I feel misunderstood a lot.  But I am thinking that may be part of the hope.  I don't need to be understood, because HE gets me. And there is peace in that.
 
I am learning that all of those things that I had been told all my life:
 
"God is good"
"Just trust Him"
"He is our only Hope"
"Jesus cares"
 
They are true.
 
I just needed a different door to open to those truths so that I could see them in a new light and make them start to make sense to me.  Sometimes we block love in ways that we don't have the tools to understand until we face the fears that are keeping the blocks in place.
 
One of the most profound thing I have read in the last while is this:
 
"The miracle we want is most often a change in our perception."  We need to pray "God, I am willing to see this situation differently."  All He needs is a willing heart and He can take care of the rest.
 
I've changed so much that some days I don't even recognize myself.  Even the title of my blog "An Extrovert Expounds" -- strikes me as ironic because I'm not even sure I am still an extrovert and I haven't "expounded" on anything in a long time.
 
To go through a valley so deep and wide that it feels like when you come out on the other side, people don't even recognize you or who you've become, is one of the strangest experiences I have had in my lifetime thus far.
 
But underneath it is all the beginnings of this deep settled-ness and peace.  Around the edges of the lonely there is a ray of sunshine.  Against the backdrop of the shadows there is a hint of dawn. And that feels like hope to me.
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When You have Nothing to Give

I haven't written a blog post in almost 6 months.

Well, I tried once back in July and honestly, what came out when I sat down to write was so desperate and sad and raw that I couldn't bring myself to let the rest of the world see that much pain and vulnerability.

I have gone through the toughest year of my life.  I shouldn't even use past tense here because really, I could say that I am still going through the toughest year of my life.  Except that soon it will be more than a year.

I don't know how to sum up, for the curious or concerned reader, what all has gone on with me.

You could call it an identity crises.  You could call it losing my way.  You could call it "the emotional oblivion of my twenties catching up to me."  Either way, what I have gone through and am going through stripped me of a lot of things that I cared about. 

I wanted to share this for those of you who have a friend who might be going through something similar. I want to tell you, from my perspective, what a friend who is going through a really rough time might need from you.

You see, I've always been that friend who puts lot of effort into a relationship.  I value my friends greatly. I make sure to call. To message. To let my friends know what they mean to me.  That's how I roll and that's what my friends are used to when they think of me.

But this past year has brought me to a place where I simply just did.not.have.the.energy to invest in my girlfriend relationships. It bothered me. I didn't know how to handle it.  I felt like a bad friend. I tried to keep up, but I cannot describe it any differently than that I was simply stripped of the energy needed to maintain friendships in the way that I have always thought they should be maintained and cared for.

I can see good in it.  I think throughout my life I have relied too much on my friends, going to them instead of to my own spirit or to God.  Seeking out answers from my friends when those answers were actually somewhere deep inside of me.  I just needed to dig for them and trust that I knew the way.

I know I hurt some friends in this process. I know there were some that did not understand why I had changed so much.  Heck, I didn't understand it, so how could I explain it to them.  Others had been in my shoes at one time or another in life and understood that this is a season and I'll eventually come through it.  Not unchanged, necessarily, but maybe finding a balance in my relationships that is somewhere nearer to healthy.

The following is what I want to say to you, if you currently or some day in the future find yourself in this kind of a situation with a friend.  I am speaking from my own experience and I recognize that everyone is different, so be sensitive to that, but this is what I wanted from my friends in this past year.


*Don't give up on me.  I'm still me and I'll come through this eventually.

*Don't take my lack of engagement personally!!  It is not meant that way at all and I just feel guilty if you take it that way.

*Give me space to not talk about things if I don't want to.  Let me sit with my pain but let me know that you are there for me if/when I do want to talk.

*Send me a message to say you miss me.  Write me a card.  Even if I seem wooden in my responses to that, it means the world to me.

*Pray for me.  Lots.

*Be secure enough in our friendship that you will be able to trust that it will return to something resembling normal one day.  Continue to engage with me as you can. But know also that I will understand if my lack of engagement changes the dynamics of our relationship a bit.

*Don't be afraid of my struggles when I do want to talk.  Don't let the depths of my struggle and the craziness that is going on in my head make you run away.  I need you! 

*Allow me to grow and change, just as I hope I allow you to grow and change.  Try to understand, if you can.  Your acceptance of my issues is a balm to my soul.

*Love me unconditionally.  You loving me even when I have nothing to give means the world to me. But do it in a way that feels authentic to you. 


I know this may sound self-centered, but I don't mean it that way.  This is just some advice from a girl whose been there and wants to help others who may have a friend in this kind of need.

Who knows?  Maybe she'll come through all of the difficulties and be a person who knows how to love more fully.  Maybe she'll be a better friend in the end.  Maybe she'll be there for you when the tables are turned.

And maybe not.  But you'll know that you loved her well through it all.


PS -- I could list names and specifics of things that friends have said and done and how they have been there for me in this season of my life.  I am so grateful for that!! Whether giving a listening ear and just walking with me through all of this, sending me a card or a message, just plain showing grace and understanding, it all matters and I will not forget your loyalty and love! 
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You don't know what you don't know...

Last week I read the following story that someone had posted on Facebook.  Maybe you saw it too. Maybe you had a completely different reaction than I did.  But the idea for writing this post has been swirling around in my head ever since.
 
Here is the article I read --
 
 
Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach the
m manners, have them do their chores.

But Mom, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.
Photo: Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Mom, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, during all of these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all. ♥

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, during all of these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.
 
(End of article)
 
 
I read this and my reaction was anger and frustration.  And some other emotions that I couldn't initially identify.  (Just to be clear...nothing at all against the friend who posted this on her Facebook, this has nothing to do with her.)
 
Here's the thing:  You don't know what you don't know.
 
Maybe this Mom just spent the morning baking cookies with her kids and her phone was not even turned on.
 
Maybe she's going through a really rough time in her life and she is busy texting a friend, who is her lifeline right now.
 
Maybe just this morning she contemplated getting in her car, dropping her kids off with her Mother, and just driving.  Not knowing where she is going or when she will be back.  Just leaving.  And inside, she pulled herself together, grabbed her three kids and her phone, and took them to the park.  She said to herself "If I can just make it through today..."
 
Maybe, just maybe, she knows what I know.  That kids will NEVER get tired of your attention even if you give it to them all of the time.  They will want more.  And more. And they will suck you dry.  Maybe she believes that it is OK for kids to have to entertain themselves sometimes.  Honestly, I think its cool that she even TOOK them to the park.  She could have sat inside and watched TV all day.
 
Maybe she's struggling as a Mom and God only knows that if she HAD to be present with her kids every moment of every day, she wouldn't be able to do it.  She would literally have to run away.  That she feels this pressure on her chest all the time...and elephant of guilt and "should have's" and "I'm not enoughs."
 
Yes, our children are growing up.  No, they won't always want us to take them to the park.  But that's how life is.  Things change.  Children grow up.  And its a good thing.  You can't keep them in a time warp.
 
I get the idea of enjoying moments with your children.  I think it is important!  I know that I will one day look back and say "Wow! Weren't those the days?"  But I think that right now a lot of times.  But that doesn't mean that I am always fully present to watch every little stunt my boys do or see every twirly-dance my daughter does.
 
They need me, yes.  They need my love and attention and acceptance.  I am important in their lives. 
 
But I am not their whole world. And they aren't mine.   I have a life of my own too.  And its OK if I want to live it. 
 
And if that includes taking them to a park and then sitting there and reading a book or chatting with a girlfriend or being on my phone while they play, then don't try to make me feel guilty about it.  They're fine.  They're totally fine. 
 
Maybe this feeling of anger and frustration and "I don't know if I can breathe" comes from a place in my life right now where I feel suffocated by the needs of those around me.  I feel like I've hit a wall and I need to do some things for me.  I don't want to resent my children.  I am so happy they are in my life and I was the one who chose to be a Mother.  I know that! 
 
But I need some space.  I need some breathing room.  I need to stop worrying about how every decision might impact their fragile physche.  I need to be able to frickin' be on my phone while they play at the park. 
 
Because without that balance and without feeding my own soul and without setting boundaries, I can't even be a Mom.
 
I think I am just sick and tired of the pressure.  All the time.  I just want to live.  I want to enjoy the moments that I get and the ones that slip by...well, so what? 
 
I realize that this might seem controversial.  I know this article that I copied here was meant to be written in a sweet and caring and non-judgmental way.  But am I the only one who still feels the judgment?  Subtle as it may be.  We are assuming a lot of negative things about this Mom. And we don't even know her!! 
 
I feel naked and vulnerable in writing this post.  But it has been in my head ever since last Friday and I can't get it out.  So here is my bumbling attempt to express myself. 
Pin It Now!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

{Ask and you shall receive}

The weekend before last I attended a women's conference with a few friends.

I had signed up months ago and the time came, so I went.

I honestly was not in a very good place in my heart.  I felt cold towards God, discouraged and cynical.

In fact, all of those sweet Christian ladies in one place was almost too much for me.  The hugging and the smiles and the kind words were just a bit much for this girl who was more in a place of saying "Screw it all" than singing Halelujah.

I made fun of the main speaker and sat when we were supposed to stand during praise and worship. I refused to wear my name tag because I hate them.

But God knew what He was doing when He put it in my mind to commit to attending this conference so many months ago.  He has such a heart of persistant love for me.  For you too.

My heart started to soften by noon on Friday and God started speaking to me through what I was hearing in the workshops.

The class on Friday afternoon is what really hit me.  It was actually titled "4 Messages Children of Any Age Need to Hear" and I almost didn't sign up for it but something drew me to it.

What it was really all about is our identity in Christ and how God's love for us is not affected by our performance.  They talked about how, when we read the Bible, we should be asking more about "What should I be learning about WHO I AM" than thinking "What should I do?" 

This was such a balm to my soul because I struggle so much with feeling like God's love for me is based on my performance. And then I get very discouraged cuz I mess up SO much. And then I feel like God is disappointed with me.  It follows that then I withdraw from Him because I feel like He is displeased. Next thing I know, I am feeling discouraged and cynical.

The workshop leader also shared a story that impacted me in a huge way.  She said that in one of her really discouraging times, she was talking to a friend about how she felt.  She told her friend that she felt like she was sitting in the thick muck in the bottom of a pond, and she could barely see, through the murky water, the light shining from up above.  She thought to herself "If I would just have the spiritual energy and faith to swim to the surface, then maybe I could get close enough to the light to see it clearly."  And her friend, with so much grace and wisdom, said to her "What if Jesus was IN the muck WITH you??"  This so described how I often feel.  I have this notion in my head that I need to somehow get to a certain place before Jesus will reach out to meet me. 

He's in the muck WITH me??  How can that be?  How can He, the God of all creation and the Savior of the world, stand to be that close to the ugliness that is my soul?  It brings tears to my eyes even now to think of that truth. 

I sat there in the second to top row of the auditorium by myself.  I was just trying to hold back the tears. And I felt God whisper to me that I should go and talk to the lady who led the session and share with her my story.  I didn't want to, because I felt very emotional and I knew I would cry and I hate to cry in front of others.  Tears are cleansing. I know that.  But I am so used to holding my emotions in and keeping everything under control and I feel very vulnerable when I cry.

But I said "Ok, God.  I'll talk with her."  I sat there and waited until she was finished talking to someone else.  I felt kind of foolish, just hanging around.  But I waited anyway.

I walked up to her and I just said "Can you tell me more about how you got from that place of discouragement to where you are now?"  And then I started to cry.  Ugly, red faced crying.  And I couldn't stop.  She was so kind to me. So gentle.  So full of love and wisdom and grace. 

She told me that I have to remember that it is a journey.  I need to know that even sometimes when I can't see any progress being made, every time I make the choice to continue to persue my relationship with Jesus, there IS progress.  She asked me if I knew what faith it took just to continue to pursue God even when He seems far away?  No.  I didn't know that.  I didn't see that.  All I could see was where I was in relation to where I wished I would be.

And then she asked me if I knew of anything that was blocking me from going deeper in my understanding of God's love for me.  I said I couldn't think of anything, but that I would pray about it.

We finished talking and I went into the next session but this was the prayer that was on my heart and my lips.

"God.  Just show me if there is anything at all that is blocking me from understanding more of Your perfect love for me.  Help me to be willing to accept whatever you might show me."

I just prayed that prayer over and over during the course of the next day.  I felt desperate for an answer. But I had no idea when/if it would come.  I just wanted to trust Him that He knew what I could handle and when.

I spent the next day at the conference and then drove home part way with a friend.  We had a great time talking about what we had learned and about life and struggles.

The last hour I had to drive alone and instead of turning on music, as I would normally do, I just started talking to God.  Just a raw and honest and real conversation with Him about everything I was feeling and thinking.

I know this might sound weird, but it was almost like God just took over my words and they just poured out of me with such honesty and clarity and emotion that I knew it wasn't just me.  I just talked and cried and prayed and listened.

And God answered my prayer.  In the midst of that pouring out of my heart before God, He showed me something that was blocking His flow of love through me.  I had been unaware of it.

You know how sometimes you have something so painful and hard in your life and you ask God to heal it or take it away?  And you wait and you wait and you beg God and you pray and you might even fast. But nothing changes.  The struggle is still there. The temptation is still strong.

And you beat your head against the wall and you say "Why, God??  Why?  Why won't you take this away from me? I'm not asking for anything that is wrong. In fact, it seems to be a good thing.  Don't you love me?"

God showed me so clearly that I had allowed resentment and anger towards Him to creep into my heart because of an unanswered prayer that I had prayed for years.  He showed me that I had shut down my heart to trusting in His goodness because how could He, being a good God, not answer a good prayer that came from the depths of my soul?

Then He, so lovingly and kindly, showed me something else.  He showed me that the reason He could never answer that prayer completely is because I would never completely let go.  Its like He is just there waiting for me to completely release the struggle to Him and say "Whatever you want, God." Without expectation.  Just Let Go. 

I cried some more and I repented of the bitterness and distrust in God's goodness that I had let come into my heart.  I thanked Him for answering my prayer and for giving me a heart that could see the answer.  I thanked Him for knowing me so well and knowing what would speak to my heart in such a powerful way. 

And I knew that this was just another brick in the wall of trust in God.  It was also a reminder to me of how many, many times my own self  is what gets in the way of God doing His work in me.  Yet I continue to try to struggle and kick and fight for what I want and what I believe should happen, sometimes even under the guise of thinking I know what God wants for me.

He just wants me to surrender and trust Him.  That's what He wants.  So simple yet so very hard.
Pin It Now!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

{GRACE}

I am broken and flawed.

Trying to decide how much of that to show to people at times feels like a dance of terror.

I want to be perfect.  I want to get it all right.

Yet I am so far from that.  Discouragement is one of the enemy's most effective tools to use against me.  Feeling isolated and alone in my struggles is another.

My counsellor told me recently that we are all "terminally unique" until we start sharing our story with others. Let me tell you, being vulnerable and sharing your struggles takes courage. Maybe it comes naturally to some people, but I hit a certain point of openness and then I just want to shut down.

I want to keep my own secrets just that -- secrets.

The antidote is simple but so profound.

GRACE.

I can tell you that the relationships in my life that are most meaningful and sacred to me are the ones that are full of grace.  Its the things that seem little, really.  Facial expressions that show love and understanding instead of not-so-carefully-masked-as-you-think horror when I admit that thing that I did or thought the other day.  It is a spirit within the conversation in general...when the conversation is full of judgment towards others, you can bet those judgments towards me aren't going to be the exception.  Its a willingness to ask me about it later.  To not be afraid of my issues or give the impression that my "disease" might somehow rub off on you.

What is one of the best ways to allow someone else to be vulnerable with you?  It is to first be vulnerable with them.  But when you try that and you get the cold shoulder or the look of horror or something in your relationship shifts slightly after you are a bit too honest, does it really make you want to go back for more of that?  Not me.

These are things I am working through.  I know that my identity isn't in what "so and so" thinks of me.  But it still hurts when you feel like you are being punished for being honest and vulnerable.

I am struggling to learn how to be more vulnerable. I have been hurt recently and I am realizing that it did more damage than I orignally thought.  Healing from that has been an on-going process.



I spent some time with a friend this past weekend and she just glows with grace.  She makes me feel like I can be me...ugliness and all.  And it is a gift.  Such a gift.

I asked her how she learned to be so vulnerable with others and to show such grace.
She looked me in the eye and said "Its really very simple.  When you've gotten to a place where you have messed up so much that you really don't have any image to keep up, you'll find yourself being more honest and open.  When you don't care what people think so much, you will allow them to take or leave what you say."

Life just seems to me to be full of one paradox after another and this is another one of them.

We need to be soft hearted and not become calloused or jaded, but yet we need to be strong enough that it doesn't define us when others reject us. 

I feel like I have so much more to say about this, but like many other times, I struggle to find the words to write it down.

This is just a part of what is swirling around in my never-stops-thinking brain!
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

{Pain}

I wrote this poem out a very dark place in early December.  I have had it sitting here in my unpublished posts for over 3 months, afraid to let it see the light of day. 

But I feel like God is saying now is the day to share it.  Maybe it can help someone else who is struggling, even if it just lets you know that you are not alone in the struggle. 

I thank God I am not in this place anymore.  There is hope!  But I can't say I'll never be there again.  Life is hard.  Pain is real.  But God is greater!


{Pain}

Running scared,
Chased by fears.
Hiding my pain
without any tears.

Many thoughts,
all a mess.
Wanting more,
but getting less.

Someone to say,
you're safe with me.
I'm not afraid
of what you might be.

The Voice keeps
chanting in my head.
Years of decisions,
where have they led?

Looking for shelter
from the storm.
Some place where
I am safe and warm.

I feel lost in a
city with no roads.
Pushing buttons but
still can't find the code.

Wanting answers,
looking for clues.
All is at stake,
yet nothing to lose.

Feeling so broken
and empty inside.
Wishing my scars
weren't so easy to hide.

Am I more fucked up
than all the rest?
Or are they just
putting forth their best?

My cry echoes
up towards the sky,
silence meets my
questions.  Why?
Pin It Now!

Friday, March 15, 2013

How I spend my time...

I have been thinking about time management lately and wondering what exactly I spend my time on?

It feels like the days fly by and I am SO busy and yet all I seem to be doing is surviving and getting the things done that HAVE to be done.

This little experiment I did was sparked by a discussion that I had with someone where they were talking about how important is to find things to do that we are passionate about. Otherwise, life can become very mundane and boring and then we tend to look for ways of escape from our reality. And that is usually not healthy.

I wondered aloud when I would ever have time for those things?  It seems like everything takes time and costs money.  Both of which are in short supply.

You know how no matter what you want to do, "there's an app for that"?

Well, I found an app for tracking time and I decided I was going to see just exactly where my time went.

The app is called ATracker Lite and it was free on my I-phone.

It only took a little bit of time to set up all of my categories and then you just put the button by the category when you start sometime and push the button for the next category when you switch to that.  It was very simple and effective. And if you mess up or forget to stop when you should or whatever, you can edit it or correct it afterwards.

I figured it would also keep me on task because if I am in the "bookwork" category, then I don't have time to be surfing Facebook in between. I had been reading anyway how multi-tasking is not productive, so I thought that this would also keep me focused on one thing at a time and maybe that would be good for me.

Honestly, that thing about multi-tasking is still up for debate in my brain.  I DO feel like I accomplish more because I multi-task.  But, hey, who am I to argue with experts?

So, last week from Monday morning to Thursday night I kept diligent track of my time.  This was a very normal/average week for me, so it gives a good snapshot of my life.  Mundane as it is.

If inquiring minds want to know, here is how I spent my time for 4 days.

Sleeping -- 25 hours  (This was kind of frustrating to me that I spent a THIRD of my time sleeping, although I guess I should be thankful that I get a solid 8 hours of sleep pretty much every night.)

Bookwork -- 20.5 hours (This included bookwork that I did away from home and at home.)

Driving -- 2.5 hours

Errands -- 2 hours and 45 minutes (Those dang errands!!  And this didn't even include grocery shopping, because I didn't go in those 4 days.)

Exercising -- 1 hour

Food prep and eating -- 3.5 hours (I guess we had a lot of quick suppers that week. I know we had leftovers at one meal.  But I don't usually spend a lot of time cooking as a general rule. I do quick and easy.)

Fun for me -- 45 minutes (I think that this was trying on new clothing/outfits that I had bought.)

Housework -- 2 hours and 11 minutes (Laundry, dishwasher, random cleaning, packing lunches, etc.)

Reading -- 1 hour and 12 minutes

Rest/Time with God -- 1 hour and 9 minutes (this was devotional time and meditation time)

Showering and getting ready -- 2.5 hours (This was one that seemed high to me.  But I honestly think that I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to getting ready, etc.  I have to leave the house appropriately dressed pretty much every day, but still, I am curious how this would compare to other women.)

Shopping -- 41 minutes (This could probably also go in the "Fun for me" category. This was a little clothing shopping outing to brighten my Monday!)

Talking on the phone -- 26 minutes.  (I talked on the phone more than this, but I was either doing housework or bookwork while I talked, so I put that into those categories.  This was time where I was just sitting and talking on the phone. Which rarely happens with me.)

Time with friends -- 7 hours (This seemed really high to me.  But it included our weekly Community Group/Bible Study, my weekly coffee with my parents, and my weekly "Wednesday Girls" get together. So this would be pretty normal. Plus, I often have another social thing or two in my week, like book club or going out for dinner with a friend.)

Time with Jeremy -- 2 hours and 24 minutes (This was time with Jeremy that was not also "Time with Kids" or "Time with friends" where he was along. I should have maybe called it "alone time with Jeremy".  Not much in four days, though, is it?)

Time with kids -- 4 hours and 37 minutes (Basically, what I found is that whenever I had "spare time" I would pretty much hang out with the kids.  This didn't include meal times or times in the morning when I was working on housework as they were getting ready for school or whatever.  They are gone to school so much of the time, that during the week I try to be with them when I can.)

Watching TV -- 20 minutes (1 episode of "Community" -- One thing you cannot put on me is that I spend too much time watching TV.  I rarely watch it.  I don't have time!)

Web surfing/blog reading/Facebook -- 2 hours (I thought that this category might be a lot higher, which was one of the reasons that I wanted to track my time.  And some of this time was even productive type of web surfing, where I was looking up something specific, etc.  So not much to cut out there!)

And that was it.  My whole 4 days. And then I left for 2 days for a Women's Conference, so that is where it stopped.

I honestly felt kind of discouraged by this. Because I didn't see a lot of places to cut things and make more time for something I am passionate about.

I guess sleeping less would be one of the most obvious, but I feel like that would affect me negatively anyway.

Comments or thoughts?
Pin It Now!