inspiring joy filled living

Simple Things

May 28, 2021

What if you flipped open your calendar and saw a Saturday with wide-open spaces? No plans, no pencil marks–completely free.  (Yes, I still love a paper calendar!)  What would you do? First thoughts? Knee-jerk reactions? Coming off a year that was kinda filled with empty Saturdays the irony was there were so many limitations and restrictions. In the beginning, I embraced my yoga pants and slippers. I watered my plants more in those early months than ever before and my brown thumb was even starting to look a little green. After living in our house for 10 years, I finally put shelf paper in a few neglected cupboards and organized closets like it was my job. Projects that I had started over the years but had been interrupted by having babies or whatever other curve ball life threw my way were starting to get done. We even finally built a cabinet for the girls’ bathroom–4 years after the remodel! But when we started to see that weeks turned into months, the monotony started to settle in. The world felt like it was coming undone and the news confirmed many of those fears. The seasons changed around us but the lockdowns continued to drag on and the longing for normalcy grew more intense.

When I think back to last spring, I can’t help but remember the edge of uncertainty.  What was this thing? I had to Google what pandemic even meant.  We have learned so much and lived a lot of life since last March.  In a weird way, it almost feels like coming out of hibernation as Spring is ushering in warmer days and fewer rules.  More adventures and fewer regulations.  

One lesson I do want to take with me as we transition into this new normal is how I started to recognize and embrace the simpler things.  To notice the little moments.  I was a rusher in my previous life.  Shuttling kids here, volunteering there, cooking dinner while taking work calls, and usually balancing a preschooler who wants to help me with everything.  I was working a lot of late nights and running out the door as soon as the sitter walked in.  Looking back, I’m grateful for the time spent.  For my business to grow at exactly the time I needed it to.  And yet, I’m also grateful for now.  The rhythm is shifting to creative ways to work from home and find a different kind of balance.  As the kids are starting to venture back to school, it’s giving me an opportunity to take a step back and reflect.

This leads me back to the question of an empty Saturday.  So my knee-jerk, itching to go anywhere reaction would be to say I’d hop in my car and just go!  The mountains are my favorite place, throw in a lake and I’m a super happy girl.  So if there were no restraints, that is where I would land! I might even bring my family! Ha!

Now if that wide-open Saturday was more of a day spent hanging in my zip code, my wishlist would look a bit different than it would have even a year ago.  I have come to realize that the parts of life I loved the most throughout this year aren’t even necessarily places but rather moments.  The tiniest, most fleeting bits of joy that come when you least expect them.  Last night in the car on our way to dinner my four-year-old drew a picture of a beaver and said, “Look, it’s Justin Beaver!”  All of us were laughing so hard because as Holy was blasting through the speakers she said it would be fantastic if Justin Bieber was in fact a beaver. Then her blue eyes lit up as she finished the thought by saying it would be even better if he were Justin Unicorn. Priceless.

Her sweet innocence and the adorable beaver brought laughter the rest of the evening as the memory would bubble up and someone would start giggling again, which cracked us all up.  I’m not sure I would have appreciated it the same way before.  My goal this year is to open up our lives to allow more of those sweet moments.  To laugh more at the joys right in front of us.  The spontaneous trips to the beach, the games of Uno that get silly because our resident preschooler enjoys picking up cards instead of getting rid of them (it cracks up my 9-year-old every time!), or even the, Hey! We have to run a quick errand! (but somehow we end up at Fosters Freeze for cones).  To say yes to the playdates with friends we haven’t seen in so long and sip on sparkling water as I do the pick-up-kids-from-school run because Guava sparkling water is fabulous.

Simple things for me also look like doing things I love to do mixed in with a bit of self-care.  I’ve been writing in the early morning hours again and reading at night which has just felt like a warm blanket for the soul. I’m carving out time to work out, even if some days it’s only 20 minutes on the treadmill. I will say making dinner is way more fun when I put on a delicious face mask. Right now, I’m obsessed with these eye gel masks! I’ve been listening to podcasts, planting carrots, and singing at the top of my lungs while I put away laundry.  Usually, a kid or two will join in–if I’m lucky, in both singing and laundry! My next hope is to get my courage up and start posting my singing to social media, more on that to come. Just about ten years ago I decided to put my singing career on hold to raise babies and I’m excited to see what this next chapter has in store.

A wide-open Saturday sounds glorious, but until then, I’m being more intentional in finding those few minutes to breathe in the good around me.  The shifting is happening, slowly, but I do feel it.  Maybe you do too. To address what I absolutely need to address today and not worry so much about the other stuff right now.  To start planting seeds with the knowledge that flowers don’t bloom overnight. This season of life doesn’t require perfection.  My looks good on paper life didn’t bring joy before.  I’m learning to better decipher the necessary from the not so much.  And to hug my kids more.  To tell my husband he is a rockstar.  To text friends and tell them they are awesome.  To give myself grace and put whatever is dishwasher safe in the dishwasher because I’m tired of washing things.  Maybe I can see it more clearly because the hope of better days feels like it’s on the horizon.  My appreciation for lessons learned is wrapped up in gratitude because more normalcy seems to be returning.  To stand on the edge, peer over the cliff and remember that control is relative.  Instead of manufacturing the outcomes, I’m doing my best to let the beauty of the moment unfold before me.  To work hard and then stop.  Push forward and then celebrate the win, no matter how small.  To see the simple joys and find refreshment in them. The mountains don’t feel so big when there are rest stops and the views along the way are beautiful.  

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