Archive for the ‘Healthy Me’ Category

New directions

Hello all,

I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know that I am going to be temporarily shutting down my writing on this blog. I am taking a season to evaluate where I am at in my writing, what direction I want to go and how I want to spend my energy as a young mom. I debated taking the blog down, but I think I will leave it up for now. There may come a time in the future that I completely rework it, but for now I will leave it where it is at for anyone who may come to see it.

Hoping you all are well and praying that there will be a time for writing in the direction and with the energy my heart so desires in the future.

On a quest for joy in the journey,
~ Melissa

Important…or urgent?

I am generally a social, outgoing person. But I have found that with two kids and a busy husband, my life can get caught up in the crazy life of just trying to keep up with the urgent needs around me. Eisenhower spoke truth when he said, “Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.”

For me, this means that I get caught up with chores, with appointments, with bills and schedules. I forget people, relationships, laughter, rest. I forget to open my doors and spend time connecting my heart.
Today I was honored to have a house full of kids. There was a lot of chaos, laughter and messes. A few tears. Some coffee. It was perfect. I let go of the “urgent” (I really need to clean my bedroom) and did what was truly important.

It isn’t always possible to ignore the cleaning – in fact, it can sometimes be the important thing. But most often it is playing with your child, or opening your home, or being brave enough to ask someone for help, or making tea and skyping a friend.

I urge you today to ask yourself – “What has my attention and time? Is it the urgent or is it the important?”

~ Melissa

Day 25, 26 & 27: A message in your season

Sorry I have been absent friends, I have been somewhere without Internet! But I am excited to finish this month & share some of my thoughts with you.

A few days ago I recieved something in the mail I have been eagerly awaiting.

Isn’t it wonderful? This is a message that speaks to me where I am. In my season. I am a stay-at-home mom who can often get caught up in comparision. I have spoken before this topic, and it is still a temptation I must avoid.(Of course, saying goodbye to the Internet is a very helpful step in this process). But even still, I need something reminding me that where I am is where I am meant to be. And I need a challenge to see my now as a place I can cultivate life and beauty.

The grass is greener where you water it.
Beautiful truth.

Just to let you peek into my world, here is the exact state of my kitchen when I took a minute to hang this picture. Why yes, that is the leftovers from making lunch. And yes, it’s almost 3 p.m. as I write this. Why do you ask? ūüôā

What about you? Is there a message that speaks to you in this season? It could be a quote, or a verse. You could paint it & frame it. Or write it on your mirror. Or in your journal. But whatever you do, get it in front of yourself often.

Until tomorrow,
~ Melissa

Click here to see a list of all previous 31 Days of Making a Home posts

Goodbye, Internet

The Wisest Man said, “..If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.”
I have been pondering this as I have gone through my Simple September. While my finances and food choices have seen a lot of good from the month, it has become very apparent to me that the Internet is a place where I am, dare I say, addicted. I have very little self-control. Bored? Internet. Lonely? Internet. Frustrated? Internet. It is my escape from the realities of life. A few weekends ago my sister came into town and I was talking with her about how much I struggle with the “siren call” of the Internet. She said that she had observed several times throughout the weekend where I was sitting on the couch with my Ipad instead of interacting with my sweet girl. She said it had made her said because she wanted to tell me, “You are missing this!” It was such a heart reality check. I don’t want to miss out on my girls sweet years because I am distracted by trivial sludge. I want to “enter life”.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Last weekend we moved to a new house. This meant making a¬†decision¬†about the Internet in our new home. I had originally asked my husband if he would be willing to consider not having it installed. He readily agreed, and we went about trying to figure out how life would work without Internet. We realized it wouldn’t.

As a resident, my husband always has patient charts to complete. He has 72 hours after seeing a patient to record his thoughts, their conversation and the treatment plan. He averages 35 charts a week (~15 hours of additonal work per week). We discussed him staying at the hospital until he finished them, but that would mean a 7-730p arrival time from work about three days a week. Which would mean he would really only see the girls on the weekend (since he already has evening responsibilities about twice a week). So we really need a way for him to work from home if he is going to see the girls at all. And then there is my blog, which I feel called to do. I could possibly go to places that have free wifi, but trying to bring a toddler and a 3month old to such places could be straight insanity.

So we decided to have the Internet installed. I wasn’t very happy with this plan, because I don’t want the Internet! Be gone foul beast! The solution? Evidently you can set your router to turn off the Internet during particular times of the day. We are setting ours to be on from 5am-8:30am and then 7p-midnight. This will allow my husband the time he needs to work on charts and allow me time to upload to my blog and catch up on other Interney things (financial updating, reading the blogs I love, emails, etc). However, it is only on during times the girls are asleep, which will be great for helping me to focus on them.

I need to detox. I need lots of quiet space for my heart to be still. I need to be forced to create. Forced to read (REAL books). I need to connect with real people. Maybe even have a real conversation with them, and not just send a quick email.

The Internet is not sin. But it is often the catalyst for sin. The sin of discontent, jealousy, laziness, acedia. It can cause my heart to foster impatience, comparision and materialism.

Less of this.

More of this.

Yes, more kissing my husband in trees…we are doing far, far too little of that lately.

So goodbye, Internet…

Hello, real life.

~ Melissa

What about you? Is there something in your life that has you under it’s control? What do you need to do to change it? Something drastic?


My heart abhors a vacuum

I recently wrote about how time abhors a vacuum. As I have pondered this, I realize that my soul abhors a vacuum as well. In this technologically driven world, I am constantly surrounded by distraction. And I welcome it. I welcome it because my heart is afraid. “Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we imediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distractions manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.” – Henri Nouwen

I recently read something that struck home to me on this point. “…we have become, as Kierkegaard said, tranquilized by the trivial. When the tranquilizer wears off and the analgesics of busyness and distraction lie beyond our reach, we have no other option than to face our inner worlds. In the twenty-first century there is no task more difficult, no spiritual discipline more painful, than learning to be still. But there is none more rewarding.”

As I shut off the Internet and choose how to fill my time, I find that my soul squirms at the quiet. It doesn’t want to face the interior noises. The practice of quiet that has been so central to the teachings of the Church, has largely been lost today. Indeed, I fear that I have never learned how to be quiet. Or, perhaps, I have forgotten it. I don’t want empty space and so I fill it with noise. With Facebook or Pinterest, or even my precious blogging.

This is why technology is so dangerous. It can lure us away from the things that are truly important to the things that are merely urgent, or (even worse) completely trivial. I heard John Piper say this: “We have a curse on human nature called triviality. The big problems with television and movies [and the Internet, and video games] aren’t sex and violence. It’s banality. It’s living every day as though TV [Internet, video games, movies] mattered.”

In Henri Nouwen’s book “The Way of the Heart“, he talks about solitude, silence and prayer. He quotes a woman names Mother Theodora who says “‚Ķyou should realize that as soon as you intend to live in peace, at once evil comes and weighs down your soul through accidie (sense of boredom), faintheartedness, and evil thoughts. It also attacks your body through sickness, debility, weakening of the knees and all the members. It dissapates the strenth of soul and body, so that one believes one is ill and no longer able to pray. But if we are vigilant, all these temptations will fall away.”

I see in myself in these words. As Paul wrote, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
I want to sit down and peer into my heart. I want to allow myself to face the interior noise and find Peace. But instead I continue to find myself distracted. I find new ways to tranqualize my soul. I can echo Paul completely when he said, “Wretched [woman] that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)

What I have found is that our souls hold deep wounds. Pain from many years. And so we start to run. We fill our lives with things that will squelch the silence (even good things). The problem is that once we cut ourselves off from the noise, we must first face the pain in ourselves before we can see the joy.

For me, facing the noise has meant a return to counseling. Every time I quiet myself, I find tears and hurts. Some new, some old. But I cannot sort through them on my own. So I am back with a trusted counselor who is helping me to see Truth and light. Who is helping me to face what comes when I grow silent. And it is a journey towards good.

What about you? Does your heart abhor a vacuum? Do you fill your life with the tranquelizors of the world? I hope and pray you will join me on the journey of life.

~ Melissa

Around the mulberry bush

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this update:

My little family is moving to a new house in two weeks. Unfortunately, as of this morning we have no house to move into. The house we were going to be in fell through and we are left without a next step. Thankfully we have friends who have offered to let us move in with them, should it come to that. And we are already set up to see two houses this afternoon. Hoping one of them works out.

I have to say, though, that I don’t think that this is coincidence. I am only six days into my Simple September and I have already seen that it is going to be a life-changing month. The chaos has gotten a little quieter, and my heart has gotten louder. And I am hearing it speak some things that are years in the making. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Last night I was talking to my husband about some of these things and realizing they bring a whole new lease on life. This morning I awoke to an email that said “Sorry, the house isn’t going to be available anymore”. I was starting to feel the stress of it, the weight of trying to find a place to live. And then I decided – to heck with that! I am not going to lose my joy over this one. There are small green buds breaking through the surface of some really old patches of dirt in my heart. I am seeing life, and growth.¬†And I’ll be hanged if I am going to let some little ol’ thing like not having a house steal the joy of discovering some really precious truths.

So instead of crying, I laughed. And thought, “O well! I have a good Father who loves me.”
That’s all.

We will be back to our regular blogging tomorrow!

Chasing down joy in the journey,

~ Melissa

Time Abhors a Vacuum

Have you ever heard the quote “Nature abhors a vacuum”?
It’s a basic scientific principle that most learn in junior high. Essentially, there are no “empty spaces” in nature. If you leave a field plowed and come back to it a year later, it will be full of weeds and grass. Small creatures will have moved in and made their home.

I have been observing that there are other things in life that abhor a vaccuum as well. One of these is time. Like nature, there are no empty places in time. This has seemed especially relevant as I am endeavoring to cut back the Internet this month. It is leaving an empty place in my days. And those empty places will be filled with something.

A book I have been reading recently stated this : “With the constant barrage of information and communication, it’s virtually impossible to turn off the noise and busyness without being intentional.” And I so desire to turn off the barrage. My heart needs time to think. This month, I don’t just want to turn off the Internet, I want to fill that time with intentional living.

This is where it comes down to choosing. I can either choose what to spend those empty moments on, or let them be filled with things not of my choosing, but of circumstances. Those circumstances could be good things (like cleaning my home), or wasteful things (like television), but it will be something. My activity or passivity will determine what fills the vacuum of my time. (And I have found that almost always my passivity will fill the space with useless things.) Rather than letting my time fritter away, I want to make choices that are mine, and own them. Right now, for instance. As soon as this post is done I could do so many thing. Read, journal, clean. But the thing I probably need the most is sleep (my baby girl was up a lot last night). And so I will gladly choose to rest while I can.

I have dreams for my time this month. I want to fill it with creative space for my heart, my mind, and my body. I have so many projects that are floating around in my head that I want to do. I have people to connect with. I have a heart full of hope and song and longing to delve into.

What about you? Are you letting life’s barrage fill your time? Or are you choosing to live out of your heart?

Intentionally on the journey,
~ Melissa