real life

You Can REST, but You Can't QUIT

There’s nothing like the month of May to remind you how tired you are. Moms and kids alike are counting down the days until school is out and dropping the ball on all sorts of stuff. You may remember this blog post by Jen Hatmaker that went viral a few years ago:

A few weeks ago, I forgot to take my son to church. The church we’ve been attending every single Sunday for the last ten years. The church where my husband is the actual pastor. That church. As I was getting off the exit, Aaron called me and said, “Forgetting someone?”

Whoops.

In my defense, I normally drive two kids to church on Sunday, and since my younger daughter had a friend spend the night the night before, I did have two kids in the car—one was mine, and one was our neighbor.

So yeah, I forget someone. And I didn’t even have time to go back home and get him.

Two weeks after that, I forgot about a club meeting being hosted at my house. I might have begun thinking I was in the early stages of Alzheimers, but since my co-leader forgot about the meeting too, and she’s nearly a decade younger than me, I didn’t feel so bad.

We’re all in this together, folks.

May is filled wth sports tournaments, dances, end of year parties, and tests. Our brains are TIRED.

I was behind a bus on my way home from a meeting yesterday afternoon, and I counted 17 kids who all exited the bus while staring down at their phones. They were zombies.

But who could blame them? If I wasn’t the one driving, I probably would have been staring at my phone too! And truly, I do find myself zoning out at the end of everyday. It’s a conscious effort to keep going.

(This is the quote that hangs in my daughter’s room. She’s a runner.)

Unless you puke, faint, or die KEEP GOING.
— Jillian Michaels

I don’t want to wish away May. It’s a beautiful month. We’ve finally said goodbye to winter. The grass is green, the trees are filled with leaves, and warm weather greets us every morning. The key to having an awesome May is the key to every busy season: PREPARATION.

In September, I know that May is going to be busy. This should not be a surprise. I have a calendar. I know what sports my kids’ play. I know there will banquets and teacher appreciation and graduation parties. I know all of this MONTHS in advance. None of it should take me by surprise.

1) Begin stocking the gift closet after Christmas or at least take notes on things you see that would make great gifts. These are some of my favorite go-to gifts for graduates: You can purchase this or this and it will be here in two days. And of course, cash is always appreciated. No advance planning necessary.

2) Plan easy meals: My kid-friendly favorites are these Ham & Cheese Party Sandwiches, Homemade Pizzas, or anything that uses a grocery store rotisserie chicken (Chicken & Noodles, Chicken Tacos, Broccoli Rice)

3) Remember to exercise. This is the one thing you’ll be tempted to drop immediately. After all, who has time to exercise? I say, who has time not to? I love to work out in the morning, but during this season, I realized I just couldn’t do that every day. On the days I can, I do, but on the days that are just too busy I settle for running up to my gym while my daughter is at dance. I can only get in 30-40 minutes, but that’s enough time to do what I need to do. Plus, I don’t feel guilty about wasting time in the car or resentful because I didn’t get to exercise at all. If all else fails, just take the dogs for an extra lap down the street. That’s all it takes—a little bit extra and you’ll feel great.

4) Schedule a day to spend time with friends. There’s a lot to celebrate, but in May it’s almost never about you. Even Mother’s Day comes with pressure to honor our own parents and grandparents and spend time with our children. It’s lovely, of course, but celebrations are important for morale. They give us hope and remind us that we have friends and purpose, and that life is fun. Grab coffee with a friend, go for a walk together, see a movie while the kids are in school. (I did this today and lingered an hour longer than I probably should have, and I don’t regret it for one second.)

5) This post is about rest. It’s about taking a break for a moment when what really sounds good is taking a break forever. As the school year draws to a close and the kids are cleaning out their desks and throwing out all their old papers, think about how you can implement this same ritual at home. This is a great time for you to take a personal inventory of all the things you really don’t need anymore (Say goodbye to all the yucky water bottles and lunch boxes. Say goodbye to all those papers you’ve been saving just in case.). Get rid of the stuff you can see, and then get rid of the stuff on your calendar. What do you want to continue? What is coming to a natural end? What makes you feel alive?

Enjoy your summer, and we’ll talk about next year in August.

See you soon!

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Mission Driven Monday--Kim Gentry Meyer

Meet Kim Gentry Meyer!

Kim Meyer is an accomplished singer and songwriter with a passion for animal welfare. She's channeling her creativity and love for animals into a brand new project aimed at helping kids understand how to better care for animals. Kim is partnering with a children’s book author to write an accompanying soundtrack full of songs about animals. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Kim is living the dream alongside her husband, Adam, in Boston, MA. In this conversation, we explore how you don't have to be the BEST at one thing as long as you can be PRETTY GOOD at two or three different things. "Use all you have," is a motto we won't soon forget. Thanks for following your mission, Kim!

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’
— Erma Bombeck

Important Links from this Episode:

Animal Welfare Work: What Baxter Started

Kim’s Music:

Connect with Kim: Instagram Handle and Facebook

whatbaxterstarted.com and https://www.facebook.com/whatbaxterstarted/


The children's songs she wrote for the two books will be available at this site: https://petpunditpublishing.com/. The website is currently being redone, but they will be up soon. Stay tuned!

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How Do I Know What I'm Supposed to Do With My Life?

Last week, I attended a magic show hosted by renowned magician, Peter Morrison. For a full hour, our party was mesmerized by sleight of hand tricks, mentalism, and illusion. Plus, Peter is an engaging personality with a twinkling eye and a winning smile. You can’t help but sit on the edge of your seat.

Between sets, he regaled us with personal stories of his journey as a magician. I was struck by this little tidbit: “I practiced 8-10 hours a day 7 days a week for five years.”

Wow!

Is there anything you love so much you’d be willing to practice 10 hours a day for five full years? I often say, “I wish I could” when I see somebody doing something cool, never stopping to think how long it probably took them to get there.

That means the thing you love has to become your job before it’s actually your job. And it’s not rocket science—you will get better at whatever you practice.

So here’s two important questions to ponder:

  1. What’s the main thing that deserves your energy?

  2. Can you narrow your brand to discover the things you do really well?

Knowing who you are and what you want is a lifelong process, but the magic is in the process.

It’s time to start practicing now.

Pursue not only what interests you, but also what you’re good at. And remember what Greg McKeown said about priorities in his book, Essentialism.

Creating an essential intent is hard. It takes courage, insight, and foresight to see which activities and efforts will add up to your single highest point of contribution. It takes asking tough questions, making real trade-offs, and exercising serious discipline to cut out the competing priorities that distract us from our true intention. Yet it is worth the effort because only with real clarity of purpose can people, teams, and organizations fully mobilize and achieve something truly excellent
— Greg McKeown, Essentialism
  • Cultivate vulnerability. Believe it or not, this will actually give you more confidence!

  • Practice direction-setting. A lot of people start out with good intentions. Direction, not intention, determines destination.

  • Craft a process for the life you want. Be patient when it comes to the results. All rhythms also include seasons of rest. Be radically iterative through the process and you will find that you absolutely will improve over time.

“Who you are is continuously transforming through courageous creativity and a deep commitment to what you believe.”

I don’t know if I’ll ever love something enough to practice a full ten hours a day, and at this stage of life, I don’t have ten hours a day to devote to my one true love—but if I can find two or even five hours in a day, then that’s something worth pursuing.

What’s your thing?

Share in the comments below, and I’ll make a commitment to cheer you on!

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