Gratitude in the Middle……of the Mundane

Mundane

The mundane, the day in and day out. The mundane can be as some put it…BORING. It’s the washing of the dishes for the 4,503rd time. It’s also doing the laundry for the 15,450th time. If you look at it as just the act of doing, yes it seems so mundane and even boring.

Change the narrative

what if we changed the narrative, first in our heads and hearts, and then what comes out of our mouths?

So much of our day-to-day life is affected by what we think and then what we say. And then what we say influences those around us.

My question is what if we stopped looking at those very acts as mundane and instead looked at those tasks as gifts?

I struggle with this. A LOT. My brain gets distracted and bored easily. I’d much rather be…..you name it but I need to be responsible too

Negative self-talk makes us see life in a negative light. And that goes for the mundane as well. When we change the narrative we change the perspective.

Changing the Perspective

Much like the choice of changing the narrative we can choose to change the perspective we have on what our day looks like. Yes, our day can be absolutely rotten. But we aren’t talking about the rotten, that’s coming. Today we are talking about picking up the toys, checking the mail, washing the dishes, throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, forgetting to move it to the dryer yet again, and hitting the repeat button like a teenager playing the same song over and over and over again. You love the song at first BUT over time it loses its meaning…..or really we lose sight of its meaning. We just get cold to the meaning.

So let’s change our narrative and our perspective!

We have some Choices to make

Let’s start by thanking God for those tasks and our ability to do them.

I know this first hand because there are a couple of things I wish I could do BUT I can’t. And as Can’t I mean I physically can’t….one is actually illegal for me to do!

I cannot drive (though I was once almost mistakenly given a driver’s license a story for another time). I know that I never got to experience the mundane of driving kids here there and everywhere. But I ask you to see what a gift it is. Time with your kiddos. rocking out to their tunes and sharing yours, singing out at the top of your lungs, or having heart conversations.

Be grateful to God for what you have. Just like I am choosing to be grateful for what I have….a unique relationship within my family. I Have to rely on my hubby. If I have to go somewhere I don’t go alone. He’s with me. We have more conversations in the car just because that’s the time we have.

So now it’s Your turn

What’s something that you maybe view as mundane or take for granted that you can choose to change the narrative and perspective on this week? Can you look at that through the eyes of someone who may have different circumstances than you?

Let me know how you intend to change the narrative and/or perspective this next week in the comments below and have a great week!

You can check out the rest of the Gratitude in the Middle posts here

Gratitude in the Middle……of Life

life

LIFE HAPPENS…

sometimes it’s exciting and new and other times life hard. Just Plain. Hard. And then other days it’s mundane. There are dishes to be done. Mom can you find my other boot. The dog did what? And the list goes on and on.

Ok so the dog thing probably lands in the exciting category.

I have no recollection when gratitude became such a HUGE part of my everyday life, but when it did something happened….I changed.

Transformation

I was angry and unhappy. For many reasons, some perhaps we will get into in the near future. Gratitude took my eyes off of me and my own struggles and placed them on the one who had blessed me beyond belief.

Whether it was the exciting,, the mundane or the hard….OR the just down right extraordinary I discovered I found a new sense of joy in the middle of it all. AND the really amazing thing was as I began to make gratitude a daily practice I began to take notice of these little tiny things. It became a game to see just how many I could write down in my little notebook a day.

Have I ever mentioned I am a highly competitive person? Maybe my hubby can share just how ruthless I can bee playing Phase 10….JK don’t ask!

I find joy in the weird little things. AND I have realized that some people don’t know how to handle me. My joy is often misunderstood. And I chuckle. WHY? Because people aren’t use to that kind of joy. We are so programmed to think about the negative.

Perspective

People complain A LOT. I can complain A LOT. Sometimes life is hard and that is all we can see. That is why I started choosing gratitude over the anger. I just couldn’t handle that lifestyle anymore. I put my energy into a different direction. it really is about perspective and focus.

That’s part of the reason I can laugh at myself for setting off an IV pump 9,345 times in a 3 hour span….(pssst it really wasn’t that many times but I am sure the 3 nurses who took turns resetting the thing felt like it was). I am so grateful, so so so grateful that I can go sit in a chair for 3 hours and get antibodies that keep me healthy so I can take care of my family and be a part of church. I am so very grateful both to the nurses and for the nurses. God gave them a special kind of patience!, care and love.

The challenge

So no matter what kind of day you are having, start by choosing 3 things you are grateful for. If you choose 3 things a day to be grateful for you will have 1,095 things that you can count as blessings by the end of the year.

As a side note I am thankful for coffee 365 days out of the year. No one says you can’t choose something to be grateful for more than once!

Life is all sorts of craziness and everyday that God gives us breath is one more reason to be grateful. Don’t believe me wait til next week!

How about you? in whatever season of life you are in right now what are you thankful for?

Birds chirping is top of my list. Along with warmer days, sunshine and farmers!

Don’t quite know where to start Check out Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare.

You can also check out my Joy Dare Challenge from last year where I used her prompts!

Gratitude In the Middle

Gratitude

Hello friends! Welcome to Gratitude in the Middle! I can just hear you now saying “Mary what on earth is Gratitude in the Middle?”

Have no fear I’m going to explain it right here (sorry I was reverting to my inner poet.)

Gratitude in the middle is what this years Thankful Thursday is going to look like. I know it took me til March to get this out there but sometimes other things need to happen first and that is exactly what needed to happen for me. I needed to work through some stuff (more on that next week when I talk what RESTORE looks like for the first three months of this year.

Gratitude in the Middle

This year’s weekly thankfulness post is going to look a little different than other years. Usually I spent Thursday’s post listing out what I am thankful for…and this is a great practice for a number of reasons and we will get into that in future blog posts, but specifically on Thursdays we are going to chat about what Gratitude in the Middle of various seasons of life looks like…Say for instance grief, change, or illness. Don’t worry there will be lots of positive scenarios too.

I want to have this discussion because Gratitude when directed and focused on the right person (PSSST the short answer is God) has the capability to really affect our perspective on life in General and it affects how we view future circumstances as well.

Gratitude in the Middle is….

…….On Thursdays which in in the Middle of the week (kind of).

So instead of a lengthy list in the middle of the week let’s meet to discuss how we can best be grateful in whatever season we are currently in. Now sometimes seasons don’t change week by week (I mean this winter has been going on for at least a decade now right ??? Just kidding!).

So I will be pulling from past seasons in life to share what worked and what didn’t in those seasons pertaining to gratitude.

We will also discuss what keeps us from being grateful….we will call them gratitude gators.

And I might even have some fun stuff along the way. I have some really neat ideas in the future about like printable resources or graphics.

I hope you Join me on this journey as we explore GRATITUDE IN THE MIDDLE!

You can check out my previous posts (2021 Joy Dare) and (Thankful Thursday) here.

And you can check out one of my favorite book on the subject of Gratitude One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (Not an affiliate link)

So how about you, what season are you in right now? Are you finding it hard to have gratitude? We have all struggled with this…it comes and it goes.

Blessings

Mary

Boundaries and Schedule Changes

Boundaries

Hello Friends! I hope you are having a great week! Today we are going to have a conversation about some changes that are taking place in my life and that we be directly affecting the blog here. I have, over the last couple of weeks, been implementing some boundaries for myself. And even though I am not quite ready to share the not so immediate effects of those boundaries I am ready to share how and why the blog has changed and will continue to do so over the next few months.

Back Story

It’s no secret around here that a little over a year ago I had some major health struggles. Struggles that found me in and out of the hospital 4 times in the month of December in 2020. It found me having a procedure to kill off a tumor that caused damage to internal organs which then resulted in me needing heavy narcotics because when something is dying inside of you it is excruciating and then finally my body (much to the doctors and hospital staff’s surprise ) expelling the tumor on it’s own. And finally waiting the longest week of my life to find out if said tumor was cancer or not. (Praise the Lord it wasn’t).

It was a wild ride BUT a spiral happened that NO one could see. Not even me. See my health issues didn’t end there. There were still major repercussion from Decembers adventures.

Low iron levels related to the amount of blood loss was a huge problem. they were so low they were undetectable. They couldn’t find iron in my system. I ate everything I could get my hands on that was rich in iron (except liver).Have you ever had molasses in your coffee? Yeah don’t! I was desperate BUT my body couldn’t absorb it. I was taking 3 iron pills a day with little to no help. I was living in a constant state of panic attack due to iron levels. It was BAD and to help cope and distract myself I got lost on my phone.

The Reality

As much as I use my phone for helpful useful things I found myself living in a constantly distracted state. When I was stressed I reached for my phone. I chose to get lost in it. Finally in August Hubby advocated for me at the hematologists office for iron infusions. I would sleep all the time. I could barely move without being completely wiped out. The doctor wanted to wait until I had all of my GI tests done but Hubby asked why I couldn’t have them before and boy was I grateful that he did. They said I wouldn’t see a difference right away.They were wrong. It was a two infusion series. The first one I sat though a complete conference day right after. Which is saying a lot because I could barely move at times. Having little to no iron creates a painful state of existence, So between the hurting body, the racing heart and extreme fatigue I wasn’t sure how a conference would work. A few days later I had the second dose and OH BOY I was like a new human being. It just keep getting better.

BUT…..

As I looked back at my prayer journals I began to see a pattern emerging. I was praying every single day that God would help me to not be so distracted. ALL of the time. We had gone through a major life change in the process where hubby left his ministry position he had been at for 12 years. We had no idea where God was leading us next we just knew we were supposed to leave. We picked a church an hour away from home for various reasons.

For nearly 7 months I prayed and prayed and prayed for distractions to leave. And day after day after day I chose to get lost in my phone.

That is until this February when I picked up the book hubby got for me at Christmas called The Life Giving Home written by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. I read Sarah’s chapter on distractions. Which was her phone…ACK! Now this is NOT the first time the topic of “phones” has come up. Phone usage has been in NUMEROUS sermons at our new church. And yet I could dismiss them as “BUT I am a blogger I need to be tied to my phone”. The reality is though my phone usage had very little to do with my blog. It had everything to do with serving as a distraction from my blog and everything else under the sun. It wasn’t until the word DISTRACTION was right in front of my face AND I had COVID that forced me to come to understand the reality of my situation. So that day I sent some Boundaries .

The Boundaries

The very first thing I did was delete Instagram and Facebook from my phone. I still need to use them for my blog. So getting rid of them completely wasn’t an option.

the second thing I did was set a time frame for when I could use social media on my laptop. And that’s from 4-8 pm. It allows me enough time to make posts and then comment back on them if need be. And when the comments are made and I don’t see them right away GUESS WHAT…They are still there the next day…..NO JOKE!

Is it a perfect system NOPE. have I followed it strictly NOPE. BUT life has changed in so many ways…like… I have read double the books I read last month. No it’s not a new distraction.

I have changed immensely…I have a new schedule in place that has been working amazingly.

It Came with an Unforeseen Consequence

We teach our children that there are positive and negative consequences that come with our life choices. You will often hear hubby and I and even our children say Make better life choices.

Well when I chose to set this boundary it became very obvious within just a weeks time that the phone was distracting me from far more than just daily tasks. I hadn’t healed from some major life stuff and all of that in one morning came spilling out. At first I thought it had been a TERRIBLE life choice BUT now I can see how much I have changed in just over a week. THAT is a blog series for a different time.

For now though I have a clarity of mind that I haven’t had in ……ever.

Quite frankly it’s been amazing. I will say though it’s because I have been willing (although reluctant at times ) to do the hard work. I have written nearly 100 pages in my journal..

Letting Go of Mental Chess

I like to play games. All sorts of games (I love WORDLE). I had become a master at mental chess and I didn’t even realize it. Here how mental chess goes “I can’t do x, because if I do X, then person, A Will do Y”.

I had a rather lengthy conversation with our pastor about this, He’s the one who called it mental chess and then he told me. ” You’ll never win. ”

Later this week I looked at my ever growing list of blog post Ideas and there is a set of “green” posts. They are a different color because I felt they were unpublishable so I had determined to journal them…..because if I posted them XYZ might happen. I said out loud as I read them off MENTAL CHESS.

Now does it mean I will post them tomorrow…NO. I won’t. They are going to take some time to write because they are hard perhaps even RAW. There will be a lot more of that around here because I’m letting go of that mental chess I have become so accustomed to playing. I don’t want to waste my mental capabilities on a game I am NOT going to win. Why would I want to use mental headspace for such nonsense I like to win.

Schedule Changes

So as it stands I had already made the change for Sunday afternoons being blogging time. That’s going to stay the same it just works. IF I get to go into church on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and/orFridays with Hubby (until we move ) I intend to use that time for blogging time. But for now I am able to use Sundays to complete blogging work for the week on Sundays.

  • Mondays will be the normal Happy Homemaker Monday posts. Mondays are also going to be blog work. I have Monday afternoons and evenings to myself- Thanks hubby for that blessing for this introverted homeschooling mom with 3 extroverted children.
  • Tuesdays are family nights here so no posts will go live
  • Wednesdays and Fridays are flex days so If I can get more than Mondays and Thursdays blog posts done they will be scheduled on Wednesdays or Fridays
  • Thursdays are our Thankfulness days – this is the Gratitude in the Middle posts.

Mondays and Thursdays are the MUSTS. All else is icing on the cake.

Next week I hope to have a very special treat. I want to introduce you to two women who have been supporting me through all of this stuff and really lifted my hands (a Moses reference) as I blogged through that Choosing Courage 100 day blogging project last fall. It’s just another step in letting go of the mental chess because I was worried about what other people might think when I shared WHO they are and the role they are playing!

These two women have never met each other and when I said I need to have coffee with the two of you they made it happen. No questions asked. This is why these two women are on my prayer team for this ministry and whatever lies ahead.

Thank you so much for being here and reading and living life right along side of me. I know this has been a much longer post than normal and I appreciate you sticking through to the end.

Are you ready to join me on this Journey?

Catching Up: Weeks 9-11

Catching

Well Hello There

Today we are going to do a little catching up! I can’t believe that it has been three weeks since we last did an update. Life has been a whirlwind of busy here.

October wasn’t necessarily supposed to work out the way it did- but it was amazing. And that’s ok. It was super amazing really! I have no complaints other than the month of October was complicated by hubby catching a cold (He has to do some work in the cold rain and he paid for it).

But let’s get on with the Update,

Choosing Courage 100 day Writing Project

Today is day 79!!!! I can’t believe it! It’s been a whirlwind. When I started this Journey I was so stressed about it- I have received so much flack about my writing. Now it’s just part go my morning. I have hit a few rough patches though where Satans lies start echoing in my brain.

I have also hit and” I don’t want to stage”- “I’m too tired”. This really came up over the last few weeks and that really had a lot to do with some stuff my body was going through physically. I fought through and basically that is why I had to let go of the “extra” posts during the month of October.

I did accomplish all 31 days of the Write 31 Days writing challenge. WHICH WAS HUGE!! That was 31 days of writing something HARD every day. Thankfully it fit into the 100 day Project.

Little Old Me

I mentioned above that I hit a snag in the Challenges where my body and mind said “I don’t want to do this anymore”. I am so glad that I have a team behind me now. Just as those thoughts started entering my mind they would send me a text saying how encouraging the posts were. They didn’t know the struggles. It was the shot in the arm I needed to push through. I am also glad a had a few blog posts done ahead so I could just do a little writing and the posts that were already written would go live.

Testing for Celiacs

At the beginning of October I was told I needed to go back onto gluten so I could be ready for a double scope that was scheduled in December. (They put me on a cancellation list so I had to be ready for at least 2 weeks but ideally 4). Well gluten makes me feel like a slug and also affects my iron levels- My iron has been in good place since August so yeah slug-like is a great definition of how I felt.

Then one night I was sitting at our kids soccer game and I got a call- Can I do my scope next week. YEP. So then that last week I ate as much Gluten as I could and was just a couple days shy of that four week mark. I still don’t know the results yet but it feels good to be off the gluten.

IVIG

The week before the scopes I had my first dose of IVIG. It’s a dose of Immunoglobulin I get via an IV infusion. Basically I have an autoimmune issue that keeps my body from making enough antibodies so I can spend much of the winter sick. And as we discovered Vaccines only work a little bit.

I had gotten two infusions of iron in August and those were easy. 45 minutes and I am done. HOWEVER IVIG took 3 1/2 hours. I was a little nervous about getting antsy. I don’t sit well. It wasn’t as bad as I thought I read half a book, ate breakfast (yeah that was a neat surprise) . I went home and was fine. Until the next day.

HOLY NAUSEAUSNESS.

So now Zofran is my new best friend for the two days afterwards. BUT I have been living on allergy medicine for a while with huge sinus headaches. Guess what I don’t have anymore?!?

Even in the middle of hubby catching his cold and then our daughter being next and taking care of them I only had one day I was iffy. THATS AMAZING!

Hubby

My poor hubby has been run ragged over the last month. But it has been a good month for him as well. I wish I could say November was going to be different but likely it won’t be.

Hubby Taught his first of two Old testament survey classes (The other is Next weekend). This has always been a dream of his and he is so good at it. He has been working on the class between the two sessions as well prepping for the next in person session grading assignments and the like. He has also been working his construction job and working part-time for the church we attend,

Not to mention the various church interviews, applications and questionnaires, phone calls and emails and all the other stuff that comes with The looking for a church process.

Plus he has been working to finish up some other jobs that were not supposed to take that long but goodness it has been a wet summer and fall. It has been crazy to fit it all in. All the while taking time to make memories with friends and evening hiking in the Adirondacks with his brother and our oldest 2 kiddos

The kids

The kids are almost to the end of their first quarter of school. They are doing well but I think that Thanksgiving break is much needed.

The older two just finished their soccer season and both of their teams finished very well.

The younger two have just enjoyed life. All four kids are enjoying Youth group at our church and all four are actively serving Sunday morning in our churches kids ministry. It’s so exciting to see them take off on this new journey.

Anticipation

I cannot believe that we only have 4 weeks lefs in this 100 day writing project. As we enter this last month I will be making some decisions about what blogging looks like going forward. I can tell you it won’t be 7 days a week. As much as it has been good it has also been stretching in the schedule department.

I will let somethings go- as I have learned over this last month. I can’t do it all (Oh wait THAT has been something God has been teaching me my WHOLE life!). I don’t quite know what that looks like yet but this updates will be coming soon.

I don’t like catching up- I don’t like feeling like I am so behind. I won’t be “Catching up” on the Joy Dare posts I will just be doing this weeks gratitude prompts.

Thank you for doing me today

Catching up can sometimes be arduous so I hope today wasn’t too long ! I’m so very thankful that you are invested in this journey with me.

What to know what this journey is all about? You can check out this link that takes you all the way back to August!